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Category Archives: Defense

SIGAR – Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan: After a Decade of Reconstruction and Over $7 Billion in Counternarctics Efforts, Poppy Cultivation Levels Are At An All Time-High, October 2014.

“As of June 30, 2014, the United States has spent approximately $7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Multiple sources of funding support these efforts, including the Department of Defense (DOD) Afghan Security Forces Fund, the State Department’s (State) International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement fund, the DOD Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities fund, financial support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Economic Support Fund. Counternarcotics efforts include the development of Afghan government counternarcotics capacity, operational support to Afghan
counternarcotics forces; encouragement of alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers; financial incentives to Afghan authorities to enforce counternarcotics laws; and, in limited instances, counternarcotics operations conducted by U.S. authorities in coordination with their Afghan counterparts. Despite the significant financial expenditure, opium poppy cultivation has far exceeded previous records. Affordable deep-well technology has turned 200,000 hectares of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land over the past decade. Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation. Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared ‘poppy free’ have seen a resurgence in cultivation. Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, considered a model for successful counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts and deemed ‘poppy free’ by the UNODC in 2008, saw a fourfold increase in opium poppy cultivation between 2012 and 2013. The UNODC estimates that the value of the opium and its derivative products produced in Afghanistan was nearly $3 billion in 2013, up from $2 billion in 2012. This represents an increase of 50 percent in a single year.”

New GAO Report – Combatting Terrorism

Strategy to Counter Iran in the Western Hemisphere Has Gaps That State Department Should Address, GAO-14-834: Published: Sep 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 2014. “The activities of Iranian government elements, such as a 2011 attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in the United States, could pose a threat to U.S. national security. Congress enacted theContinue Reading

NRC Staff Issues Volume 3 of Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report

News release: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has published Volume 3 of its safety evaluation  report on the proposed underground geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. Volume 3 covers the period after a repository at Yucca Mountain would be permanently closed should NRC authorize construction following completion of the remaining steps in the licensing process.Continue Reading

Safeguarding the Personal Information of all People – ODNI

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) – Safeguarding the Personal Information of all People, July 2014. “As the President said in his speech on January 17, 2014, “the challenges posed by threats like terrorism, proliferation, and cyber-attacks are not going away any time soon, and for our intelligence community to be effective over theContinue Reading

DoD Contract Spending and the Industrial Base, 2000–2013

A Report of the CSIS National Security Program on Industry and Resources, October 2014 “Over the past decade, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has issued a series of analytical reports on federal contract spending for national security and across the government. This latest report analyzes contracting for products, services, and research and developmentContinue Reading

DHS Yearbook of Immigration Statistics

“The Yearbook of Immigration Statistics is a compendium of tables that provides data on foreign nationals who, during a fiscal year, were granted lawful permanent residence (i.e., admitted as immigrants or became legal permanent residents), were admitted into the United States on a temporary basis (e.g., tourists, students, or workers), applied for asylum or refugeeContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Climate Change, Specialty Metals

CLIMATE CHANGE: USDA’s Ongoing Efforts Can Be Enhanced with Better Metrics and More Relevant Information for Farmers, GAO-14-755: Published: Sep 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 16, 2014: “In 2012, the United States produced about $395 billion in agricultural commodities, with about half of this revenue from crop sales and half from livestock. According to the Third National ClimateContinue Reading

Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa

CRS: Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa, October 10, 2014. “After more than a decade of combating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United States now faces an increasingly diverse threat from Al Qaeda affiliates in the Middle East and Africa and from emerging groups that have adopted aspects of Al Qaeda’s ideologyContinue Reading

DoD FY 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap

Department of Defense FY 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap “Climate change will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.  The Department is responding to climate change in two ways: adaptation, or efforts to plan for the changes that are occurring or expected to occur;Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Combatting Nuclear Smuggling, CPSC, Ocean Acidification

COMBATING NUCLEAR SMUGGLING: Risk-Informed Covert Assessments and Oversight of Corrective Actions Could Strengthen Capabilities at the Border, GAO-14-826: Published: Sep 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2014: CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION: Challenges and Options for Responding to New and Emerging Risks, GAO-15-17: Published: Oct 14, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2014: “CPSC is responsible for ensuring the safety of thousands ofContinue Reading

Priority Agenda Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources

“The interagency Council on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience, established by Section 6 of the Order, convened a Climate and Natural Resources Working Group (CNRWG) to complete the inventory, assessment, and plan called for in Section 3 of the Order. The CNRWG includes Departments of Defense, Interior, and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National OceanicContinue Reading

U.S. State Department Iraq-Syria Conflict Without Borders Map October 2014

Via Public Intelligence – “The following is part of a series produced by the State Department’s Humanitarian Information Unit.  A map produced in late June for the same series is also available.