Covert vs. Clandestine: Defining Terms

The differences between “covert action” performed by the CIA and “clandestine activities” conducted by the military, as well as the distinct legal frameworks and reporting requirements that govern them, are revisited in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See Covert Action and Clandestine Activities of the Intelligence Community: Selected Definitions in Brief, April […]

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A Peace Treaty with North Korea?, & More from CRS

In the past 25 years, there have been multiple failed attempts to negotiate a peace treaty or a non-aggression pact with North Korea and to formally end the Korean War. A new report from the Congressional Research Service surveys these efforts with an eye toward the upcoming Trump-Kim summit and current initiatives aimed at North […]

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Homeland Defense: An Update

The Joint Chiefs of Staff last week issued updated doctrine on homeland defense, including new guidance on cyberspace operations, unmanned aerial systems, defense support of civil authorities, and even a bit of national security classification policy. See Joint Publication 3-27, Homeland Defense, April 10, 2018. Homeland defense (HD) is related to homeland security, but it is […]

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Use of Armed Forces to Secure the Border

The legal framework governing the deployment and use of armed forces to guard the US border with Mexico is surveyed in a new publication from the Congressional Research Service. See The President’s Authority to Use the National Guard or the Armed Forces to Secure the Border, CRS Legal Sidebar, April 19, 2018. Other new and updated reports […]

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A Forum for Classified Research on Cybersecurity

By definition, scientists who perform classified research cannot take full advantage of the standard practice of peer review and publication to assure the quality of their work and to disseminate their findings. Instead, military and intelligence agencies tend to provide limited disclosure of classified research to a select, security-cleared audience. In 2013, the US intelligence […]

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USA v. Terry Albury: A Guilty Plea

The second prosecution of an accused leaker in the Trump Administration (after Reality Winner) will yield the first conviction. Former FBI special agent Terry J. Albury pleaded guilty this week to unlawful disclosure and retention of national defense information, each of which is a felony under the Espionage Act statutes. The plea agreement, signed by […]

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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, and More from CRS

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the single largest procurement program in the Department of Defense, which anticipates acquiring thousands of these aircraft. But while “the F-35 promises significant advances in military capability…, reaching that capability has put the program above its original budget and behind the planned schedule,” according to the Congressional Research Service. […]

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US Gifts to Foreign Individuals Reported

The Obama Administration gave dozens of wrist watches to various foreign leaders in 2014. A newly released State Department report to Congress lists all of the gifts presented by President Obama, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden, Mrs. Biden, and Secretary of State Kerry to foreign individuals. The 32 page report reflects the fact that the […]

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Growing Pentagon Secrecy Draws Questions

In just the last few weeks and months, U.S. military officials imposed new restrictions on media interviews and base visits, at least temporarily; they blocked (but later permitted) publication of current data on the extent of insurgent control of Afghanistan; and they classified previously unclassified information concerning future flight tests of ballistic missile defense systems. […]

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Special Operations Forces Aiming to Expand

The 2019 budget request for U.S. Special Operations Command — $13.6 billion — is 10% higher than the 2018 level and is the largest budget request ever submitted by US SOCOM. U.S. special operations forces, which are currently deployed in 90 countries, have more than doubled in size from 33,000 personnel in 2001 to around […]

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