Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Defense

14 Trillion of Pentagon Spending on war in Afghanistan went to 5 government contractors

Watson Institute, Brown University / William D. Hartung Center for International Policy: Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 Pentagon Spending Surge – September 13, 2021: “Pentagon spending has totaled over $14 trillion since the start of the war in Afghanistan, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.A large portion of these contracts — one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years — have gone to just five major corporations: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. The $75 billion in Pentagon contracts received by Lockheed Martin in fiscal year 2020 is well over one and one-half times the entire budget for the State Department and Agency for International Development for that year, which totaled $44 billion. Weapons makers have spent $2.5 billion on lobbying over the past two decades, employing, on average, over 700 lobbyists per year over the past five years. That is more than one for every member of Congress. Numerous companies took advantage of wartime conditions—which require speed of delivery and often involve less rigorous oversight—to overcharge the government or engage in outright fraud. In 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud and abuse had totaled between $31 billion and $60 billion. As the U.S. reduces the size of its military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, exaggerated estimates of the military challenges posed by China have become the new rationale of choice in arguments for keeping the Pentagon budget at historically high levels. Military contractors will continue to profit from this inflated spending…”

The D.C. Underground Atlas

“Washington, D.C.’s federal architects have a special proclivity for underground tunnels. District residents navigate the tubes like human submarines, and rely on their services for basic needs like drinking water and central heat. Contributing factors include the city’s unique building height limit, extreme weather, and the security considerations of recent decades. As a result, Washington sits atop… Continue Reading

The Capitol Police Said Jan. 6 Unrest On Capitol Grounds Would Be “Highly Improbable”

BuzzFeedNews: “BuzzFeed News has exclusively obtained the permits Capitol Police issued for protests on Capitol grounds for Jan. 6 — a rare window into a secretive organization and its most consequential day. The chief of the Capitol Police and its top intelligence officer personally approved permits for six demonstrations to be held on Jan. 6,… Continue Reading

The US Budgetary Costs of the Post 9/11 Wars

20 Years of War – A Costs of War Research Series, Watson Institute of Public and International Affairs, Brown University: “The United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $6.4 Trillion through Fiscal Year 2020 in budgetary costs related to and caused by the post-9/11 wars—an estimated $5.4 Trillion in appropriations in… Continue Reading

U.S. Military Withdrawal and Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan: Frequently Asked Questions

CRS Report – U.S. Military Withdrawal and Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan: Frequently Asked Questions, August 20, 2021: “On August 15, 2021, the Taliban entered the Afghan capital of Kabul, completing a rapid takeover over the country that surprised many Afghans and Americans alike. The Taliban’s advance came as the United States was completing the military… Continue Reading

US mission in Afghanistan a failure: Government watchdog

Follow up to previous posting – The Afghanistan Papers A secret history of the war – see also two new reports from Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR): SIGAR released its 11th lessons learned report examining the past 20 years of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. After spending $145 billion trying to rebuild… Continue Reading

The Afghanistan Papers A secret history of the war

“A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals [Dec. 9, 2019] that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. The documents were generated by… Continue Reading

Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media

RAND – Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media Study Overview and Conclusions by Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Joe Cheravitch, Alyssa Demus, Scott W. Harold, Jeffrey W. Hornung, Jenny Jun, Michael Schwille, Elina Treyger, Nathan Vest “How are state adversaries using disinformation on social media to advance their interests? What does the Joint Force—and the… Continue Reading

White House Issues Memorandum on Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems

National Law Review: “On July 28, 2021, President Biden signed a National Security Memorandum entitled “Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems” (the “Memorandum”). The Memorandum formally establishes an Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative and directs the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of… Continue Reading

Explore Thousands Of FAA Drone And Unidentified Aircraft Incident Reports With Our Interactive Tool

The Drive: “We are excited to announce the launch of our new interactive tool that maps and makes searchable thousands of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and unidentified aircraft incident reports. The vast dataset is drawn from information compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration. Some of the reports are highly unusual, going far beyond typical low-altitude… Continue Reading

Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power

Virtual Capitalist: “Today’s infographic, created all the way back in 1931 by a man named John B. Sparks, maps the ebb and flow of global power going all the way back to 2,000 B.C. on one coherent timeline.  Histomap, published by Rand McNally in 1931, is an ambitious attempt at fitting a mountain of historical… Continue Reading