The Longest “Emergency”: 40 Years and Counting

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that an Australian man had been sentenced to 24 months in prison for illegally exporting aircraft parts and other items to Iran without a license, in violation of a law known as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The case relied on a 1979 declaration of national emergency […]

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Demolishing and Creating Norms of Disclosure

By refusing to disclose his tax returns, President Trump has breached — and may have demolished — the longstanding norm under which sitting presidents and presidential candidates are expected to voluntarily disclose their federal tax returns. At the same time, there is reason to think that new norms of disclosure can be created. The conditions […]

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The Mueller Report: Can Congress Get It?

If the Attorney General decided to withhold portions of the pending report of the Special Counsel, he might justify his decision by citing legal protections for grand jury information and for executive privilege. But there are exceptions to both of these categories, and Congress has tools of its own to pursue the desired information, the […]

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Contractors: All Major Military Operations Rely on Them

Military contractors are such an integral part of U.S. military forces that “most military operations will include contracted support,” a newly updated Pentagon manual explains. In fact, “While some limited-duration operations, such as noncombatant evacuation operations, may use limited contracted support, all major operations will involve significant contracted support.” Aside from their prominent role in […]

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Tracking “Unobligated” Military Construction Funds

A new congressional tally of military construction projects that have unobligated fund balances turned up hundreds of current projects fitting that description. See “FY2017-2019 Military Construction Projects/Programs with Unobligated Balances.” Because the President declared a national emergency, some of the funds for those military construction activities could be repurposed in order to pay for barriers along […]

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What is a National Emergency?, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Definition of National Emergency under the National Emergencies Act, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 1, 2019 Foreign Affairs Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Funding: Background and Current Status, CRS In Focus, updated March 4, 2019 EU Data Protection Rules and U.S. Implications, CRS In Focus, updated February 7, 2019 […]

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Military Deception: A Handbook

Military tacticians use deception to induce an opponent to act against his own interests, or to refrain from acting when it would be advantageous. The theory and techniques of military deception were detailed this week in a new Army publication for military planners that also implicitly illuminates the role of deception in other contexts. In […]

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National Emergencies, & More from CRS

New and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service, some but not all of which are now published at crsreports.congress.gov, include the following. National Emergency Powers, updated February 27, 2019 Department of Defense Use of Other Transaction Authority: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, updated February 22, 2019 Defense Primer: Electronic Warfare, CRS In Focus, […]

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Army: Domestic Ops Must Respect Constitutional Boundaries

The use of military forces to perform domestic functions — such as constructing barriers along the US-Mexico border — could pose fundamental legal, policy and administrative challenges. “Military forces operating freely within civilian jurisdictions risk upsetting the constitutional balance between civil authority, the military, and the private sector,” the Army said this week in a newly […]

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EU-Japan Trade Agreement Leaves US Out, & More from CRS

A new free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Japan places the US at a disadvantage, at least temporarily, the Congressional Research Service said. The new agreement entered into force this month. The two trading partners negotiated what Japan called the “world’s largest, free, industrialized economic zone” without the US partly in response to […]

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