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Category Archives: Defense

Updated Death and Injury Rates of U.S. Military Personnel During the Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan

Matthew Goldberg (CBO):  “In Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended on August 31, 2010, some 3,482 hostile deaths occurred among U.S. military personnel and 31,947 people were wounded in action (WIA). More than 1,800 hostile deaths occurred during Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan and surrounding countries) through November 2014; about 20,000 more people were wounded in action. In the Iraq conflict, a larger proportion of wounded personnel survived their wounds than was the case during the Vietnam War, but the increased survival rates are not as high as some studies have asserted. Prior to the surge in troop levels that began in early 2007, the survival rate was 90.4 percent in Iraq—compared with 86.5 percent in Vietnam. Amputation rates are difficult to measure consistently, but I estimate that 2.6 percent of all WIA and 9.0 percent of medically-evacuated WIA from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters combined resulted in the major loss of a limb. An elevated non-hostile death rate (including deaths from accidents, illnesses, or suicides) in Iraq before the surge resulted in about 220 more deaths during the first four years of that conflict (March 2003−March 2007) than would have been expected in peacetime among a population the size of the one that deployed to Iraq. Relative to such a peacetime benchmark, I find essentially no additional non-hostile deaths in Iraq after March 2007. For the conflict in Afghanistan, I estimate about 200 additional non-hostile deaths relative to a comparable benchmark through December 2013.”

New GAO Reports – DHS, Fair Labor Standards Act, FEMA. State and Local Govt’s, Tax Exempt Organizations

Department of Homeland Security: Continued Action Needed to Strengthen Management of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime, GAO-15-95: Published: Dec 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 2014. Fair Labor Standards Act: Extending Protections to Home Care Workers, GAO-15-12: Published: Dec 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 2014. Federal Emergency Management Agency: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Oversight of Administrative Costs forContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Defense Infrastructure, Hanford Cleanup, Higher Education, NRC, Tax Filing Season

Defense Infrastructure: Risk Assessment Needed to Identify If Foreign Encroachment Threatens Test and Training Ranges, GAO-15-149: Published: Dec 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2014. Hanford Cleanup: Condition of Tanks May Further Limit DOE’s Ability to Respond to Leaks and Intrusions, GAO-15-40: Published: Nov 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2014. Higher Education: State Funding Trends andContinue Reading

GPO Releases Official Digital and Print Version of Senate CIA Report

“The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes available the official and authentic digital and print versions of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, together with a forward by Chairman Feinstein and Additional and Minority Views (Senate Report 113-288). This document comprises the declassified Executive SummaryContinue Reading

An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2015 Shipbuilding Plan

“The Department of Defense (DoD) submitted the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan, which covers fiscal years 2015 to 2044, to the Congress in July 2014. The total costs of carrying out the 2015 plan—an average of about $21 billion in 2014 dollars per year over the next 30 years—would be one-third higher than the funding amountsContinue Reading

Captured Documents Illuminate Structure of Islamic State Financing

Boston Globe: The terrorist bureaucracy: Inside the files of the Islamic State in Iraq. An exclusive look at captured documents reveals the tight organizational structure — and vulnerabilities — of a violent movement “The group takes a bureaucratic, systematized approach to maintaining power that makes it look in some ways more like a settled government thanContinue Reading

New GAO Report – College and Career Readiness, Health Care, Hurricane Sandy, Aviation Securrity

College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain, GAO-15-104R: Published: Dec 12, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2014. Grant Program Consolidations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Congressional Oversight, GAO-15-125: Published: Dec 12, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2014. Grants Management: Programs at HHS and HUD Collect Administrative Cost Information butContinue Reading

SIGAR High Risk List

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction December 2014 “SIGAR’s experience in Afghanistan, as well as the experience of other oversight agencies, has shown that there are several sources of risk in implementing reconstruction programs in Afghanistan. These include (but are not limited to): • limited institutional and human-capital capacity in Afghan institutions • operational demands and constraints imposed by anContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – DOD Contract Services, Flood Insurance, Nuclear Weapons, DOJ Professional Misconduct

DOD Contract Services: Improved Planning and Implementation of Fiscal Controls Needed, GAO-15-115: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 2014. DOE and NNSA Project Management: Analysis of Alternatives Could Be Improved by Incorporating Best Practices, GAO-15-37: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 2014. Federal Subcontracting: Linking Small Business Subcontractors to Prime Contracts Is NotContinue Reading

Congress Tells DoD to Report on Leaks

Secrecy News – Steven Aftergood: For the next two years, Congress wants to receive quarterly reports from the Department of Defense on how the Pentagon is responding to leaks of classified information. The reporting requirement was included in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 (Sec. 1052). “Compromises of classified information cause indiscriminate andContinue Reading

Warrant Canaries as Tools for Transparency in the Wake of the Snowden Disclosures

Gilens, Naomi, The NSA Has Not Been Here: Warrant Canaries as Tools for Transparency in the Wake of the Snowden Disclosures (April 2014). Available for dowload at at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2498150 “Technology companies are increasingly experimenting with “warrant canaries” as a means of increasing transparency around the national security orders they receive. A warrant canary isContinue Reading

WaPo – Why nuclear superiority matters for compellence

Matthew Kroenig, Miriam Krieger and Hans Noel – Washington Post: “As diplomats work on a comprehensive nuclear deal to keep Iran from the bomb, Russia’s nuclear saber rattles in ways not seen since the 1980s, and North Korea, China, India and Pakistan expand and modernize their nuclear arsenals, the role of nuclear weapons is returning to theContinue Reading