White House: Prepare for the Unpredictable

“The Nation must prepare to mitigate an unpredictable global security and national emergency environment,” the White House said in a report to Congress this month. The report, transmitted by President Trump on April 3, provided principles for reform of the selective service process by which young Americans enter the military. The report was required by […]

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History of Iran Covert Action Deferred Indefinitely

A declassified U.S. Government documentary history of the momentous 1953 coup in Iran, in which Central Intelligence Agency personnel participated, had been the object of widespread demand from historians and others for decades. In recent years, it finally seemed to be on the verge of publication. But now its release has been postponed indefinitely. Last […]

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Army Explores Counter-Drone Techniques

Having developed and utilized unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) for surveillance, targeting and attack, the US military now finds itself in the position of having to defend against the same technology. The US Army last week issued a new manual on Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Techniques (ATP 3-01.81, April 13, 2017). “UASs have advanced technologically […]

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Sharing Classified Info with Foreign Governments

Disclosing classified information to foreign government personnel is ordinarily forbidden, and may constitute espionage. But sometimes it is permitted, even to non-allies. “National Disclosure Policy Committee (NDPC) policy prohibits the release of classified information [to] a foreign government without an explicit authorization, such as an Exception to United States (U.S.) National Disclosure Policy (ENDP), and […]

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US Military Advantage in Cyberspace is Challenged

The superiority of the US military in cyberspace, which once could be taken for granted, is gradually eroding, says an Army Field Manual published this week. In the past decade, “U.S. forces dominated cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) in Afghanistan and Iraq against enemies and adversaries lacking the technical capabilities to challenge our superiority […]

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“Risk Avoidance” Leads to Over-Classification

When government officials consider whether to classify national security information, they should not aim for perfect security, according to new guidance from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Instead, classifiers should seek to limit unnecessary vulnerabilities, while keeping broader mission objectives in view. “A Risk Avoidance strategy — eliminating risk entirely — is […]

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Climate Change: Legal Issues, & More from CRS

Federal laws and regulations underlying the U.S. government’s approach to climate change, and litigation regarding their scope and implementation, are discussed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See U.S. Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: Selected Legal Issues, April 3, 2017. Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the […]

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Mandating Declassification in Congress

Last week a bill was introduced in the Senate “to require the Secretary of Defense to declassify certain documents related to incidents in which members of the Armed Forces were exposed to toxic substances.” The bill (S. 726), introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), generally requires declassification of all “documents […]

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