White House Directive Spawns Confusion

Four months after President Trump issued his National Security Presidential Memorandum 5 on US policy towards Cuba and ordered it to be published in the Federal Register, that has still not been accomplished. The Memorandum, posted on the White House web site on June 16, states that “The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and […]

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Last JFK Assassination Records May Be Released Soon

The nominal deadline for release of the last remaining records concerning the assassination of President Kennedy under the terms of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 is October 26, 2017. Agencies have an opportunity to request postponement of release, beyond the deadline, of a few thousand records that are still being withheld, subject […]

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US Global Health Spending in Dispute, & More from CRS

The Trump Administration budget request proposes a substantial cut to US spending on global health programs, as described in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. But Congress appears poised to provide at least some of the funds that the executive branch had sought to eliminate. “The FY2018 budget request includes almost $7 billion […]

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Army Operations: The New Operational Environment

Other nations, including current and potential adversaries, possess military capabilities that now match or exceed those of the United States, according to a new US Army doctrinal publication. “Today’s operational environment presents threats to the Army and joint force that are significantly more dangerous in terms of capability and magnitude than those we faced in Iraq […]

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Enhanced Vetting of Foreign Nationals, & More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. President Trump’s Proclamation on Enhanced Vetting of Foreign Nationals from Designated Countries, CRS Insight, September 29, 2017 Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Armed Services: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 4, 2017 Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and […]

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The Power to Exclude Aliens, & More from CRS

The U.S. Constitution does not mention immigration. But the Supreme Court has held that Congress has essentially complete (“plenary”) power to regulate immigration and that the executive branch has broad authority to enforce laws concerning alien entry to the US. In fact, as a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains, Congress can make […]

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Defense Bill Requires Declassification of Toxic Releases

In an unusual assertion of congressional authority over national security classification policy, the Senate adopted a provision that would require the Secretary of Defense to declassify certain classified documents regarding military exposures to toxic releases. The provision was authored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and was included in the Senate version of the National Defense […]

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Congressional Research Service Podcasts

For those who like to receive their government policy information and analysis in audio format (I don’t), the Congressional Research Service has launched a new series of podcasts. The first ones, produced by the CRS Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division, are a little rusty, as if the CRS analysts were reading from prepared texts […]

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2017 Supreme Court Term: A Preview, & More from CRS

The October 2016 term of the US Supreme Court was widely seen as “diminished both with regard to volume and content” compared to prior years. But the upcoming term is likely to be different. “With the Court already accepting over 30 cases, many of which raise difficult questions in various areas of law, the October […]

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