Mark Bradley Named To Be New ISOO Director

In what must be one of the very last national security-related posts to be filled in the Obama Administration, national security lawyer and former CIA officer Mark A. Bradley was named as the next director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), which is responsible for oversight of the national security secrecy system government-wide. He […]

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What Can President Trump “Undo”?, & More from CRS

The steps that the incoming Trump Administration could take to revise or reverse policies of the Obama Administration are considered in several new publications from the Congressional Research Service. “While the Constitution does not permit the President to single-handedly repeal or amend statutes, there is much that a new President can do to rapidly reverse […]

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Presidential Transitions, & More from CRS

The complexities and some of the potential pitfalls of the presidential transition period are described in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. “A variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to what some may characterize as the unfolding drama of a presidential transition. Interparty transitions in particular might be contentious.” The report […]

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Security Clearances and Presidential Authority

“Security clearances are not mandated for the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, or other constitutional officers,” a recentCongressional Research Service report explains. “The criteria for election or appointment to these positions are specified in the U.S. Constitution, and except by constitutional amendment, no additional criteria (e.g., holding a security clearance) may […]

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Garwin to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The celebrated and accomplished individuals selected by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — include figures such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill and Melinda Gates, Robert Redford, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan– and Richard L. Garwin. As noted by a November 16 White House news release, “Richard Garwin […]

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Melvin Laird: A Declassified History

Melvin R. Laird, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Nixon Administration, passed away on November 16. His tenure as Secretary was described in an official history published last year by the Department of Defense that is based in part on classified government archives. “Although the text has been declassified, some of the official […]

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Joint Chiefs Urge “Due Diligence” in Targeting the Enemy

The proper selection and validation of enemy targets in war is a critical function for military planners and intelligence analysts. Errors can result in horrific civilian casualties and may also be strategically counterproductive. “In extreme cases, failure to exercise due diligence in target development can result in outcomes that have negative strategic repercussions for the […]

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Congress May Overturn Some Agency Rules, & More from CRS

“With a change of presidential administrations taking place in January, some in Congress are paying renewed attention to a parliamentary mechanism that might enable the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after late-May 2016,” a newly updated brief from the Congressional Research Service explains. “The […]

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Transparency Will Need a Reboot in the Trump Era

The future of transparency in the Trump Administration is uncertain. It will ultimately be determined in practice as the new Administration embarks on its programs, determines its priorities, appoints its personnel, engages with Congress and confronts the public. On his first full day in office, President Obama famously pledged to conduct the most transparent Administration […]

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Intelligence Community Spending, & More from CRS

In a deeply fractured political environment, the work of the Congressional Research Service may be even more valuable than ever. Non-partisan to a fault, CRS provides the same policy analysis to Republicans and Democrats, to problem-solvers and to nihilists. CRS reports can therefore help to establish a common framework for debate, and a shared vocabulary […]

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