Protecting Privacy in the 2020 Census

In 2018 the Census Bureau discovered that results of the 2010 census could be processed and matched with external sources in such a way as to reveal confidential personal information, in violation of the law. “This had not been thought to be feasible owing to the large amount of data and computation involved,” a new report from […]

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Protecting Against Rogue Drones

The threat to public safety from unmanned aerial systems (drones) is not just foreseeable — it already exists in the form of numerous near-collisions with manned aircraft, a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. “Between 2016 and 2019, airline pilots reported, on average, more than 100 drone sightings per month to FAA, and social […]

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COVID-19 Highlights Need for Public Intelligence

Hobbled by secrecy and timidity, the U.S. intelligence community has been conspicuously absent from efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the most serious national and global security challenge of our time. The silence of intelligence today represents a departure from the straightforward approach of then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who offered the clearest public […]

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The Military Role in Combating COVID-19

There is a bewildering amount of official guidance on the role of the military in circumstances such as the current pandemic. But the practical impact of that guidance, whatever it may be, is unclear. Like the proverbial war plan that cannot survive first contact with the enemy, Pentagon doctrine on infectious disease seems to have been […]

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SkyGuardian Drone Takes Flight Over Southwest US

General Atomics’ SkyGuardian drone, a non-weaponized variant of the military’s MQ-9 Reaper, last week completed a test flight through civil airspace from Palmdale, California to Yuma, Arizona, the company announced. The April 3 flight demonstration, sponsored by NASA, marks a further step in the planned integration of drones into the National Airspace System. General Atomics said […]

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The Urgency of Military History

The task of the military historian differs from that of the academic historian because military history has an operational dimension. It is supposed to help inform current military operations with the lessons and the perspectives of the past. “The historian must always bear in mind that the whole purpose of the history office is to […]

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Pentagon Asks to Keep Future Spending Secret

Updated below The Department of Defense is quietly asking Congress to rescind the requirement to produce an unclassified version of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) database. Preparation of the unclassified FYDP, which provides estimates of defense spending for the next five years, has been required by law since 1989 (10 USC 221) and has […]

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Freedom of Information in the Time of COVID-19

In principle, the COVID-19 outbreak could provide a compelling new justification for expediting the processing of certain Freedom of Information Act requests related to the pandemic. But it is more likely to slow down the handling of most requests as agency employees work remotely and other concerns are understandably prioritized. The impact of COVID-19 was […]

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Policy Impacts of COVID-19 (CRS)

New resources from the Congressional Research Service add some depth to current news reporting on how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting — and being addressed by — US policy. * COVID-19: Cybercrime Opportunities and Law Enforcement Response “Officials have reported criminals using public interest in COVID-19 to their advantage. For instance, the Department of Justice […]

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“Strengthening Deterrence” with More Nuclear Bombs?

Earlier this month the Department of Defense acknowledged that it has recently begun to deploy low-yield nuclear warheads on certain submarine ballistic missiles. “This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence. . . and demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario,” […]

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