Modernization of Secrecy System is Stalled

Today’s national security classification system “relies on antiquated policies from another era that undercut its effectiveness today,” the Information Security Oversight Office told the President in a report released yesterday. Modernizing the system is a “government-wide imperative,” the new ISOO annual report said. But that is a familiar refrain by now. It is much the same message that […]

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Army Playing Cards Feature Iranian Weapons

In a not very subtle sign of the times, the U.S. Army has produced a deck of playing cards featuring weaponry used or held by Iran in order to familiarize soldiers with Iran’s inventory of weapons and presumably to facilitate their recognition on the battlefield. The Iran collection follows similar decks of playing cards illustrated with Chinese and Russian weapons. Another […]

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Kashmir, Autonomous Weapons, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Kashmir: Background, Recent Developments, and U.S. Policy, August 16, 2019 Global Trends in HIV/AIDS, CRS In Focus, updated August 15, 2019 Retroactive Legislation: A Primer for Congress, CRS In Focus, August 15, 2019 Words Taken Down: Calling Members to Order for Disorderly Language in the House, […]

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NARA Drives Govt Transition to All-Electronic Records

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is embarking on an ambitious effort to phase out the acquisition of paper records by 2022 and to transition to all-electronic record keeping. The White House Office of Management and Budget has endorsed the initiative and has directed all federal agencies to adopt exclusively electronic formats for managing […]

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Domestic Terrorism: Some Considerations

The problem of domestic terrorism is distinct from that of foreign terrorism because of the constitutional protections enjoyed by U.S. persons, the Congressional Research Service explained last week. “Constitutional principles — including federalism and the rights to free speech, free association, peaceable assembly, petition for the redress of grievances — may complicate the task of conferring domestic […]

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Extreme Weather Threatens Military Facilities

Extreme weather events and rising sea levels are causing damage to U.S. military facilities and could threaten U.S. military infrastructure around the world. “Is the military ready for climate change?,” asked Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA). “It is not.” “In the last 12 months, severe storms have devastated Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air […]

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Up for Debate: Should U.S. Reduce Arms Sales Abroad?

Over the coming year, high school students around the country will debate whether the U.S. should reduce its arms sales to foreign countries. Specifically, the national debate topic that was selected for the 2019-20 school year is: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms […]

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Pentagon Pivots to More “Public Engagement”

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who took office last week, has directed senior military and civilian defense officials to “more actively engage with the public,” according to a Pentagon memo issued on Friday. “Simply put, the Department benefits when we thoughtfully engage with the American public, Congressional leaders, international community, and the media,” wrote Jonathan Rath Hoffman, […]

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Limits on Free Expression: An International View

While many countries recognize freedom of speech as a fundamental value, every country also imposes some legal limits on free speech. A new report from the Law Library of Congress surveys the legal limitations on free expression in thirteen countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Germany, France, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and […]

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Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2019

There are only nineteen years since 1798 when the U.S. did not have armed forces engaged in military operations abroad, according to an updated tally from the Congressional Research Service. See Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2019, updated July 17, 2019. The most recent year in which U.S. military forces were […]

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