Financial Accounts May Be “Modified” to Shield Classified Programs

In an apparent departure from “generally accepted accounting principles,” federal agencies will be permitted to publish financial statements that are altered so as to protect information on classified spending from disclosure. The new policy was developed by the government’s Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) in response to concerns raised by the Department of Defense […]

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Historical Advisory Committee Reports Setbacks in 2017

The substantial progress that was achieved in recent years in producing the State Department’s official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series was reversed in several respects last year, according to a new annual report from the Department’s Historical Advisory Committee. The FRUS series is required by statute to publish a “thorough, accurate, and […]

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Classified Human Subjects Research Continues at DOE

A dozen classified programs that involved research on human subjects were underway last year at the Department of Energy. Human subjects research refers broadly to the collection of scientific data from human subjects. This could involve physical procedures that are performed on the subjects, or simply interviews and other forms of interaction with them. Little information is […]

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Accountability of Presidential Advisors, & More from CRS

New reports from the Congressional Research Service this week include the following. Advising the President: Rules Governing Access and Accountability of Presidential Advisors, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 6, 2018 The European Deterrence Initiative: A Budgetary Overview, CRS In Focus, August 8, 2018 Iran’s Threats, the Strait of Hormuz, and Oil Markets: In Brief, August 6, 2018 Nord […]

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Tariff Escalation: A Timeline, and More from CRS

The Trump Administration has moved aggressively to impose tariffs and other restrictions on foreign imports, “but it is unclear what specific outcomes the Administration is seeking,” according to the Congressional Research Service. “Increasing U.S. tariffs or imposing other import restrictions through these laws potentially opens the United States to complaints that it is violating its WTO […]

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US Sanctions on Russia, and More from CRS

The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia in recent years “for aggression against Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber activity, human rights violations, weapons proliferation,” and other causes. The range of sanctions was surveyed in a new Congressional Research Service publication. The sanctions include “blocking U.S.-based assets; prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in transactions related to those […]

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Bang the Drum Quickly: Army Percussion

The use of percussion instruments in military bands is exhaustively explored in a new publication from the U.S. Army. “While a civilian percussionist may specialize on one particular percussion instrument, the Army requires a percussionist to be responsible for over 50 percussion instruments” including bongos and cowbells. A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound […]

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Congress Urges Cyber Ops Against Russia, Others

Rebuking the Trump Administration for its “passivity,” Congress is pressing the Department of Defense to engage in “active defense” in cyberspace against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. A new provision in the conference report on the FY2019 national defense authorization act (sect. 1642) would “authorize the National Command Authority to direct the Commander, U.S. […]

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BMD Flight Test Schedule Must Be Unclassified

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense classified the schedule of flight tests of ballistic missile defense systems, even though such information had previously been unclassified and publicly disclosed. Rejecting that move, Congress has now told the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency that the flight test schedule must be unclassified. A new provision in the FY2019 […]

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Bid to Rectify the “Black Budget” Fails

The so-called “black” budget — which refers to classified government spending on military procurement, operations, and intelligence — is not merely secret. It is actually deceptive and misleading, since it produces a distortion in the amount and the presentation of the published budget. The amount of money that is purportedly appropriated for the US Air […]

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