Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released

The Department of State yesterday released a long-suppressed volume of historical records documenting the role of the United States in the 1953 coup against the Iranian government of Mohammad Mosadeq. “This retrospective volume focuses on the evolution of U.S. thinking on Iran as well as the U.S. Government covert operation that resulted in Mosadeq’s overthrow […]

Read More

“Readiness” and Secrecy in the US Military

Is there a “readiness crisis” in the U.S. military? The answer is uncertain because the question itself is unclear. But a perceived need to improve readiness has become a primary DoD justification for increased military spending. Meanwhile, previously unclassified indicators of military readiness are now being classified so that they are no longer publicly available. […]

Read More

DoD Again Seeks FOIA Exemption for Military Tactics

For the third time, the Department of Defense is asking Congress to enact a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for certain military tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP), as well as rules of engagement, that are sensitive but unclassified. “The effectiveness of United States military operations is dependent upon adversaries, or potential adversaries, […]

Read More

DoD Seeks New Authority for Drone Countermeasures

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) could be used by malicious actors to conduct unauthorized surveillance or to deliver hazardous payloads within the United States. But defending against such threats may violate the law as currently written. “Some of the most promising technical countermeasures for detecting and mitigating UAS may be construed to be illegal […]

Read More

Legal Issues in the Paris Agreement Withdrawal

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change raises a series of legal, procedural and policy questions that have yet to be decisively answered, said the Congressional Research Service last week. Among those questions: Will the US follow the prescribed multi-year procedure for withdrawal? Or can the US […]

Read More

Monitoring Nuclear Testing is Getting Easier

The ability to detect a clandestine nuclear explosion in order to verify a ban on nuclear testing and to detect violations has improved dramatically in the past two decades. There have been “technological and scientific revolutions in the fields of seismology, acoustics, and radionuclide sciences as they relate to nuclear explosion monitoring,” according to a […]

Read More

Qatar and Its Neighbors, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Qatar and its Neighbors: Disputes and Possible Implications, CRS Insight, June 6, 2017 Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Policy: In Brief, updated June 6, 2017 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, updated June 6, 2017 […]

Read More

CRS Titles Listed in New Annual Report

The Congressional Research Service prepared 1,197 new reports and publications last year, as well as 2,471 updates of previous reports. The new reports were identified by title and number in an internal version of the CRS annual report for fiscal year 2016 that has not been previously made public. Among the notable 2016 reports listed […]

Read More

State Department Press Briefings Go Dark

Updated below Core practices of open government are eroding in the Trump Administration, with new limitations on the ability of the press to effectively question officials on U.S. foreign policy. The problem is starkly illustrated by comparing the press briefing schedules of the State Department for May 2016 and May 2017. In May 2016, the […]

Read More

Net Neutrality, and More from CRS

New and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Net Neutrality: Back to the Future, CRS Legal Sidebar, May 30, 2017 East Asia’s Foreign Exchange Rate Policies, updated May 26, 2017 U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trends and Projections: Role of the Clean Power Plan and Other Factors, updated May 31, 2017 Respirable […]

Read More