Carter Page: Corruption Can Erode Secrecy Authority

Corruption in the executive branch diminishes the ability of federal agencies to preserve secrecy, wrote a then-21 year old named Carter Page in 1993 when he was a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy. See Balancing Congressional Needs for Classified Information: A Case Study of the Strategic Defense Initiative by Carter W. Page, May 17, 1993. […]

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JASON Science Advisory Panel Preserved

Congress has directed the Department of Defense to reach an “arrangement with the JASON scientific advisory group to conduct national security studies and analyses.” Last spring DoD officials sought to let the existing contract with the JASONs lapse, leaving the panel without a sponsor and threatening its continued viability. The new legislation rejects that move, although […]

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DoD To Report on Nuclear Programs of US, Russia, China

In a challenge to Pentagon secrecy, Congress has told the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to prepare an unclassified report on the nuclear weapons programs of the United States, Russia and China. The requirement was included in the new House-Senate conference version of the FY2020 defense authorization act (sect. 1676). The mandated […]

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Improved Access to Open Source Intelligence Urged

Congress should require the Director of National Intelligence to make open source intelligence more widely available, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended in its latest annual report. Open source intelligence refers to information of intelligence value that is openly published and can be freely gathered without resort to clandestine methods. Such material, and […]

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Artificial Intelligence and National Security, and More from CRS

The 2019 defense authorization act directed the Secretary of Defense to produce a definition of artificial intelligence (AI) by August 13, 2019 to help guide law and policy. But that was not done. Therefore “no official U.S. government definition of AI yet exists,” the Congressional Research Service observed in a newly updated report on the subject. But plenty […]

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Bill Would Require Congressional Approval of “National Emergencies”

Under current law, the President can declare a national emergency — and exercise extraordinary emergency authorities — but the ensuing state of emergency cannot be terminated by Congress without veto-proof majorities in both houses. A pending bill known as the ARTICLE ONE Act (S. 764) would invert that scenario so that an emergency declared by […]

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Life Underground: US Army Subterranean Operations

Subterranean operations involving the use of tunnels and underground facilities pose growing challenges to the U.S. military, a new Army manual indicates. “Today, over 10,000 known subterranean facilities exist around the world,” the manual says. “Whether to protect vital assets and capabilities, mitigate weapon system and sensor overmatch, to strengthen a larger defensive position, or simply […]

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Transparency vs. Good Government

It is usually taken for granted that transparency is a prerequisite to good government. The idea seems obvious. “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing,” said President Obama in 2009. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” But in practice, that is not always […]

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Managing the Department of Defense: An Overview

More than 2.8 million U.S. military and civilian defense personnel were deployed in more than 150 countries around the world last year. No one person can fully comprehend the workings of the Department of Defense. It is a massively complicated bureaucratic construct composed not only of the military services (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps), […]

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