Domestic Terrorism: An Overview, & More from CRS

The problem of “domestic terrorism” is examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service, along with an assessment of the government’s difficulty in addressing it. “Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), domestic terrorists–people who commit crimes within the homeland and draw inspiration from U.S.-based extremist ideologies and movements–have not received as much […]

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Secrecy Review Cancels Some Obsolete Secrets

One of the innovations in the current executive order on national security classification, issued by President Obama in 2009, was to require agencies to perform a periodic review of all classification guidance to ensure that it is current, threat-based, and otherwise appropriate. The second such Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) has recently been completed with modest but positive results, […]

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Special Ops, Counter-Propaganda, Overclassification

The House Armed Services Committee took a retrospective look at US special operations forces earlier this year, thirty years after the establishment of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). “SOCOM has a lot of missions it is responsible for, and has had several new ones added to it,” said Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY) at a hearing earlier […]

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State Dept Slow to Follow White House Order

When President Trump issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) on US policy towards Cuba on June 16, he included a provision ordering that it be published in the Federal Register: “The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.” Now, more than two months later, the […]

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DoD Releases Plan to Split Acquisition Office

In response to congressional direction, the Department of Defense is planning to divide its existing defense acquisition office into two separate organizations. The change, which would take effect in February 2018, is predicated on the belief that it would promote technological innovation and increase efficiency. A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides background […]

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Charlottesville as a Federal Criminal Case

The car attack in Charlottesville that killed Heather Heyer and wounded many others has already been charged by the State of Virginia as a case of second degree murder. But the attack may also end up as a federal case, particularly since Attorney General Sessions announced a federal investigation into the matter last Monday. “For […]

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Trump Budget Would Reduce Most Federal R&D

The Trump Administration budget request would cut federal spending on research and development in every major agency except for the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the Congressional Research Service said yesterday in a new report. “Nearly every federal agency would see its R&D funding decrease under the President’s FY2018 request compared to their FY2016 levels,” […]

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Trump Admin Would Curtail Carbon Capture Research

The Trump Administration budget request for FY 2018 would “severely reduce” Energy Department funding for development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies intended to combat the climate change effects of burning fossil fuels. The United States has “more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal,” President Trump said last month, implying that remedial measures […]

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The Changing US Role in the World

By its actions and its refusals to act, the Trump Administration is changing the profile of the United States in global affairs. Whether demonstrating disdain for longtime allies, disrupting diplomatic relationships and international agreements, or cultivating ties with authoritarian figures in Russia and elsewhere, President Trump seems to be radically altering the character and meaning […]

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Number of New Secrets in 2016 At New Low

Last year executive branch agencies created the fewest new national security secrets ever reported, according to an annual report published today by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). The number of new secrets — or “original classification decisions” — was 39,240 in 2016, an all-time low. The previous low of 46,800 was set in 2014. […]

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