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Category Archives: Defense

The Kurds and Possible Iraqi Kurdish Independence

CRS – The Kurds and Possible Iraqi Kurdish Independence. Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs; Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. July 15, 2014 (IN10105)

“Approximately 30 million ethnic Kurds inhabit a largely mountainous region at the intersection of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. In recent years, Kurdish populations have increasingly influenced regional developments, particularly given ongoing conflict and change in Iraq and Syria and long-standing efforts by Turkey’s Kurds to obtain greater political rights (see CRS Report R43612, Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy). These developments are of interest to Congress and the Obama Administration, in light of recent indications that the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq may seek outright independence.”

U.S. Sanctions on Russia in Response to Events in Ukraine

CRS Report, July 18, 2014 (IN10048): “Many view Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine on March 18, 2014, and efforts to destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine as the culmination of long-standing Russian resentment of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian leaders have claimed they have the right to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots” (thoseContinue Reading

U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians – CRS

U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians. Jim Zanotti - Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. July 3, 2014. “Since the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed more than $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, who are among theContinue Reading

Former State Dept Exec Calls Executive Order 12333 a “Legal Loophole” for Spying on Americans

EFF – “What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?” That’s the question John Napier Tye, a former StateDepartment section chief for Internet freedom, calls on the government to answer in his powerful op-ed published today by the Washington Post. In it, Tye calls the NSA’s surveillance operations abroad, conducted under ExecutiveContinue Reading

EPIC Files Lawsuit For Details of Government Profiling System

“EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about a controversial government data mining program, operated by the Department of Homeland Security. The “Analytical Framework for Intelligence“ contains a vast amount of sensitive personal information obtained from government agencies and the private sector. The system is used by the DHS for link analysis, anomaly detection, pattern analysis, andContinue Reading

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image

“Revelations about the scope of American electronic surveillance efforts have generated headlines around the world over the past year. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread global opposition to U.S. eavesdropping and a decline in the view that the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people. But in most countries there isContinue Reading

FAA Statement–Expanded Notice to Airmen Released

“On the evening of July 17, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) prohibiting U.S. flight operations until further notice, in the airspace over eastern Ukraine, due to recent events and the potential for continued hazardous activities. The restricted area includes the entire Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk flight information regions (FIRs).  This actionContinue Reading

Global Cybercrime: The Interplay of Politics and Law

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) - Aaron Shull, June 2014 “Examining global cybercrime as solely a legal issue misses an important facet of the problem. Understanding the applicable legal rules, both domestically and internationally, is important. However, major state actors are using concerted efforts to engage in nefarious cyber activities with the intention ofContinue Reading

Afghanistan Midyear Report 2014: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

“Ground combat among parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan surpassed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2014, according to a major report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), launched today in the Afghan capital ofContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – FDIC Information Security, Missile Defense, National Nuclear Security Administration

INFORMATION SECURITY: FDIC Made Progress in Securing Key Financial Systems, but Weaknesses Remain, GAO-14-674: Published: Jul 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2014. MISSILE DEFENSE: DOD’s Report Provides Limited Insight on Improvements to Homeland Missile Defense and Acquisition Plans, GAO-14-626R: Published: Jul 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2014. NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: Agency Expanded Use of Some Federal Oversight Reforms, butContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Federal Workforce, Helium Program, Medicaid Payment, Military Training, VA Disability Claims Processing

FEDERAL WORKFORCE: Human Capital Management Challenges and the Path to Reform, GAO-14-723T: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2014. HELIUM PROGRAM: BLM’s Implementation of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, GAO-14-751T: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2014. MEDICAID PAYMENT: Comparisons of Selected Services under Fee-for-Service, Managed Care, and Private Insurance, GAO-14-533: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15,Continue Reading

New SIPRI military expenditure data for NATO countries

“SIPRI’s extended dataset of military expenditure of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states is now freely available online, alongside our main military expenditure dataset for all countries. The data, which makes use of NATO data on members’ military spending and other sources, extends back at least to each country’s year of joining…The 15 countries withContinue Reading