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Category Archives: Defense

What’s at Stake in This Election? The American Democratic Experiment

The New York Times / Opinion – Trump’s former director of national intelligence on how to firmly and unambiguously reassure all Americans that their votes will be counted. By Mr. Coats served as the director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019.
“…Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace. If those are the results of this tumultuous election year, we are lost, no matter which candidate wins. No American, and certainly no American leader, should want such an outcome. Total destruction and sowing salt in the earth of American democracy is a catastrophe well beyond simple defeat and a poison for generations. An electoral victory on these terms would be no victory at all. The judgment of history, reflecting on the death of enlightened democracy, would be harsh. The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond…”

Americans’ Views of Government: Low Trust, but Some Positive Performance Ratings

“For years, public trust in the federal government has hovered at near-record lows. That remains the case today, as the United States struggles with a pandemic and economic recession. Just 20% of U.S. adults say they trust the government in Washington to “do the right thing” just about always or most of the time. Yet… Continue Reading

A Low-Yield, Submarine-Launched Nuclear Warhead: Overview of the Expert Debate

CRS – A Low-Yield, Submarine-Launched Nuclear Warhead: Overview of the Expert Debate Updated September 9, 2020 – “The Trump Administration has developed a new low-yield version of the W-76 warhead for existing submarine-launched Trident II (D-5) missiles. Unclassified sources state that the current W76-1 warhead has an explosive yield of around 100 kilotons. The National… Continue Reading

Barr’s removal of career national security official, weeks before election, raises concerns

ABC News: “Current and former national security officials are raising concerns over Attorney General William Barr’s recent decision to remove the head of a Justice Department office that helps ensure federal counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities are legal – and replace him with a political appointee with relatively limited experience. “It’s very alarming,” said Katrina Mulligan,… Continue Reading

The Freedom of Information Act – A Legal Overview Updated

CRS report via LC – The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): A Legal Overview, Updated August 24, 2020: “Originally enacted in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) establishes a three-part system that requires federal agencies to disclose a large swath of government information to the public. First, FOIA directs agencies to publish substantive and… Continue Reading

Resources on Deep Fakes and National Security

Deep Fakes and National Security, August 26, 2020. “Deep fakes”—a term that first emerged in 2017 to describe realistic photo, audio, video, and other forgeries generated with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies—could present a variety of national security challenges in the years to come.As these technologies continue to mature, they could hold significant implications for congressional… Continue Reading

Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan Russia Report Volume 5

“U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the below statement on the release of the fifth and final volume of the Committee’s bipartisan Russia investigation titled, “Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities”: “After more than three and a half years of work, millions of documents, and… Continue Reading

The Other Way Trump Could Destroy the Next Presidency

The Atlantic [paywall] – via MSN [no paywall]: “…Presidential transitions are the connective tissue of the American political process. Past presidents and members of Congress have recognized the importance of a smooth transition through legislation and norms established in past handovers. Outgoing President George H. W. Bush underlined this point in his valedictory note to… Continue Reading

DOD, FBI, DHS release info on malware used in Chinese government-led hacking campaigns

CyberScoop: ” The U.S. government publicly put forth information Monday that exposed malware used in Chinese government hacking efforts for more than a decade. The Chinese government has been using malware, referred to as Taidoor, to target government agencies, entities in the private sector, and think tanks since 2008, according to a joint announcement from the… Continue Reading

Americans Fault China for Its Role in the Spread of COVID-19

“Americans’ views of China have continued to sour, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Today, 73% of U.S. adults say they have an unfavorable view of the country, up 26 percentage points since 2018. Since March alone, negative views of China have increased 7 points, and there is a widespread sense that China… Continue Reading

Hackers Broke Into Real News Sites to Plant Fake Stories

Wired – A disinfo operation broke into the content management systems of Eastern European media outlets in a campaign to spread misinformation about NATO. “Over the past few years, online disinformation has taken evolutionary leaps forward, with the Internet Research Agency pumping out artificial outrage on social media and hackers leaking documents—both real and fabricated—to… Continue Reading

Confederate Symbols: Relation to Federal Lands and Programs

CRS report via LC: Confederate Symbols: Relation to Federal Lands and Programs. Updated July 28, 2020. “Congress is considering the relationship of Confederate symbols to federal lands and programs. A number of federal agencies administer assets or fund activities in which references to the Civil War Confederacy, Confederate flags and artifacts, and commemorations of Confederate… Continue Reading