Pentagon Moves to Support War in the “Grey Zone”

The Department of Defense issued a directive this month based on new authority granted by Congress last year to engage in “low-visibility, irregular warfare” operations. In the FY2018 defense authorization act (PL 115-91, sect. 1202) Congress specifically authorized the Secretary of Defense “to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in […]

Read More

Considering a “Space Force,” & More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service says that, as a constitutional matter, it will be up to Congress to determine whether and how to reorganize the management of US national security assets in space, and whether to establish a new “space force,” as the Trump Administration has proposed. “The constitutional framework appears to contemplate that the role […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More