The Trump Defense Budget Proposals, and More from CRS

Would the Trump Administration’s defense budget proposals comply with the current Budget Control Act limits on defense spending? “No,” answered the Congressional Research Service CRS in a new report, which was authored by CRS specialist Pat Towell and analyst Lynn M. Williams. See The Trump Administration’s March 2017 Defense Budget Proposals: Frequently Asked Questions, April 3, […]

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USAF Adopts More Expansive Disclosure Policy

The US Air Force should practice an information policy of “maximum disclosure, minimum delay,” says a newly revised Air Force directive. See Air Force Instruction 35-107, Public Web and Social Communication, 15 March 2017. “The free flow of information between the government and the public is essential to a democratic society. It is also essential […]

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Survival and Resistance Under Extreme Conditions

Sometimes eating bugs may be the right thing to do. “When food is limited and insects are available, they can become a valuable food source.” That bit of practical wisdom comes from a new US Air Force Handbook on Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) Operations that was published this week. However, “Caterpillars with hairs should […]

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Congressional Redistricting Law, & More from CRS

Former President Barack Obama “is gearing up to throw himself into the wonky and highly partisan issue of redistricting, with the goal of reversing the electoral declines Democrats experienced under his watch,” the Washington Post and other news outlets reported this week. The legal framework governing redistricting is discussed in a new report from the […]

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An Introduction to Defense Policy

Most people are not going to read a book-length study of nuclear weapons command and control, and they shouldn’t have to. But those who need a quick sketch — whether they are reporters, students, or regular citizens — can now find a concise, two-page introduction to the topic from the Congressional Research Service. See Defense […]

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US Army: Hand and Arm Signals

Under ordinary circumstances, the U.S. Army relies on high-speed digital communications. But sometimes that is not an option, and soldiers must revert to more primitive methods. “When electrical and/or digital means of communication are inadequate, or not available,” a new Army publication explains, messages may be transmitted “through the use of hand-and-arm signals, flags, pyrotechnics, […]

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Talking About the Defense Budget, and More from CRS

The U.S. defense budget is comprised of several distinct components, including “base” and supplemental spending, nuclear weapons expenses, veterans benefits, and other defense-related costs. When discussing “the defense budget,” it is therefore important to specify what is being described. Depending on what is included or excluded, “total” U.S. defense spending each year can vary by […]

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“Competing Observables” Complicate Deception

Deception plays an important role in many military operations. But is hard to deceive an opponent (or anyone else) when evidence of that deception is visible in plain sight. A new military term — “competing observable” — has been introduced to capture this problem. In the context of military deception, an ordinary “observable” is defined […]

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Science & Technology Issues Facing Congress, & More from CRS

Science and technology policy issues that may soon come before Congress were surveyed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. Overarching issues include the impact of recent reductions in federal spending for research and development. “Concerns about reductions in federal R&D funding have been exacerbated by increases in the R&D investments of other […]

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Proposed NSA Headquarters Expansion Under Review

The National Security Agency is proposing to expand and modernize its headquarters site at Fort Meade, Maryland. “For NSA/CSS to continue leading the Intelligence Community into the next 50 years with state-of-the-art technologies and productivity, its mission elements require new, centralized facilities and infrastructure,” according to a newly released Final Environmental Impact Statement for the […]

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