Electric Grid Security Still “a Work in Progress”

Threats to the U.S. electric power grid in recent years, including actual attacks on transmission substations, have prompted utilities and regulators to adopt various steps to enhance grid security. A new report from the Congressional Research Service reviews the observable changes in security practices to date and discusses the current threat environment. See NERC Standards […]

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2017 Nuclear Stockpile Total Declassified

The number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. nuclear stockpile dropped to 3,822 as of September 30, 2017, down from 4,018 a year earlier. (Retired weapons awaiting dismantlement are not included in the totals.)The totals do not include weapons that are retired and awaiting dismantlement.) Meanwhile, 354 nuclear weapons were dismantled in 2017, up from 258 […]

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Modes of Constitutional Interpretation

The US Constitution leaves many basic questions of constitutional law unanswered, whether because they could not be anticipated or because the text is broadly worded or ambiguous. Consequently, “Interpretation is necessary to determine the meaning of ambiguous provisions of the Constitution or to answer fundamental questions left unaddressed by the drafters,” a new report from the […]

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Does CRS Need to “Recalibrate Its Objectivity”?

Last year, the Congressional Research Service generated more than 1,100 new products and and updated 2,100 others, according to a new CRS annual report to Congress. The annual report describes the Service’s structure, operation, recent activities and new initiatives. It scarcely mentions thorny issues such as the adequacy of the CRS budget, or the challenges posed by […]

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Declassification News

The National Declassification Center released a listing of 134 record collections that have undergone declassification review in the past five months. The collections include records on the Weapons System Evaluations Group (discussed here), a compilation of records assembled by Judge Merrick Garland when he was special assistant to the attorney general in 1979-81 (discussed here), embassy files from Indonesia, Iraq, and […]

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US Air Force Limits Media Access, Interviews

Updated below The US Air Force is suspending media embeds, base visits and interviews “until further notice” and it “will temporarily limit the number and type of public engagements” by public affairs officers and others while they are retrained to protect sensitive information, according to guidance obtained by Defense News. “In line with the new National […]

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Censuring the President, and More from CRS

House Democrats have introduced two resolutions in the current Congress to censure the President. Neither resolution is expected to advance. But a new memo from the Congressional Research Service considers whether such resolutions are permissible in practice, and concludes: “It would appear that Congress may censure the President through a simple (one chamber) or concurrent (two chamber) resolution, or other […]

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Documenting the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group

The National Declassification Center is preparing to release a set of newly declassified records concerning a little-known Pentagon advisory group called the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEG) that operated from 1948 to 1976. The purpose of the WSEG was “to provide rigorous, unprejudiced and independent analyses and evaluations of present and future weapons systems under […]

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US Strategic Nuclear Forces, and More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service recently updated its report on US nuclear weapons and programs. See U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues by Amy F. Woolf, March 6, 2018. That is also the subject of a new survey prepared by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris of the Federation of American Scientists. See […]

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