NRO: We Are “Forward Leaning” on Declassification

The National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. intelligence agency that builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites, says it is all for increased openness, within certain boundaries. “The NRO takes very seriously its commitment to greater openness and transparency, and makes every effort, in all of its information review and release programs, to release as much […]

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USAF Upgrades Secrecy of Nuclear Weapons Inspections

The U.S. Air Force has upgraded the classification of information pertaining to nuclear weapons inspections performed by the Inspector General, reducing or eliminating public references to the outcome of such inspections. Until recently, the IG weapons inspections could be described in unclassified reports. Now they will be classified at least at the Confidential level. An […]

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Intelligence Budget Requests for FY2018 Published

The Trump Administration requested $57.7 billion for the National Intelligence Program in Fiscal Year 2018, up from a requested $54.9 billion in FY 2017. The Administration requested $20.7 billion dollars for the Military Intelligence Program in FY 2018, up from a requested $18.5 billion in FY 2017. (The amounts actually appropriated in FY 2017 have […]

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Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released

The Department of State yesterday released a long-suppressed volume of historical records documenting the role of the United States in the 1953 coup against the Iranian government of Mohammad Mosadeq. “This retrospective volume focuses on the evolution of U.S. thinking on Iran as well as the U.S. Government covert operation that resulted in Mosadeq’s overthrow […]

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“Readiness” and Secrecy in the US Military

Is there a “readiness crisis” in the U.S. military? The answer is uncertain because the question itself is unclear. But a perceived need to improve readiness has become a primary DoD justification for increased military spending. Meanwhile, previously unclassified indicators of military readiness are now being classified so that they are no longer publicly available. […]

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DoD Again Seeks FOIA Exemption for Military Tactics

For the third time, the Department of Defense is asking Congress to enact a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for certain military tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP), as well as rules of engagement, that are sensitive but unclassified. “The effectiveness of United States military operations is dependent upon adversaries, or potential adversaries, […]

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DoD Seeks New Authority for Drone Countermeasures

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) could be used by malicious actors to conduct unauthorized surveillance or to deliver hazardous payloads within the United States. But defending against such threats may violate the law as currently written. “Some of the most promising technical countermeasures for detecting and mitigating UAS may be construed to be illegal […]

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Legal Issues in the Paris Agreement Withdrawal

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change raises a series of legal, procedural and policy questions that have yet to be decisively answered, said the Congressional Research Service last week. Among those questions: Will the US follow the prescribed multi-year procedure for withdrawal? Or can the US […]

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Monitoring Nuclear Testing is Getting Easier

The ability to detect a clandestine nuclear explosion in order to verify a ban on nuclear testing and to detect violations has improved dramatically in the past two decades. There have been “technological and scientific revolutions in the fields of seismology, acoustics, and radionuclide sciences as they relate to nuclear explosion monitoring,” according to a […]

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Qatar and Its Neighbors, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Qatar and its Neighbors: Disputes and Possible Implications, CRS Insight, June 6, 2017 Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Policy: In Brief, updated June 6, 2017 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, updated June 6, 2017 […]

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