Archive for Security

Presidential Use of Nuclear Force

With increased tensions on the Korean peninsula that are coupled with the bombastic utterances emanating from Washington, there is a renewed interest in the question as to whether the president has unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons. Such is the concern that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on this topic – Nuclear Weapons Authority. Other recent reports include these from the Congressional Research Service: Can Congress Limit the President’s Power to Launch Nuclear Weapons?,  “Legislation Limiting the President’s Power to Use Nuclear Weapons: Separation of Powers Implications.”,  Defense Primer: President’s Constitutional Authority with Regard to the Armed Forces.

That this is an area fraught with danger can be readily seen in this document-laden briefing book from the National Security Archive – U.S. Presidents and the Nuclear Taboo.

Does he have the power? It depends on whom you listen to. But be assured that this is one of the thorniest areas of contention between the executive and legislative branches of our government. It has yet to be fully resolved and maybe never will.


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National Security Reports – November 2017 Update

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Cybersecurity Resources

CRS has issued a substantially revised version of its report  Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents; it is current through November 9, 2017. If you need updated information on this ever-growing field, this document should be of great assistance for tracking government publications. The HTML version is replete with active links.


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National Security Reports – October 2017 Update

Cybersecurity, Encryption and United States National Security Matters (Hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee, 2016 – published 2017); Dark WebArms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy, U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts, Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2017 (all CRS); Countering the Islamic Insurgency (Joint Special Operations University); Authorization for Use of Military Force and Current Terrorist Threats (Hearing, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, July 25, 2017); Authorization for Use of Military Force (Hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, October 30, 2017; C-SPAN); and Beyond the Caliphate Project (Center for Combating Terrorism)




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What Happened in Niger?

We may never know the entire situation, but this CRS report certainly will inform us – Niger: Frequently Asked Questions About the October 2017 Attack on U.S. Soldiers; it can be read in conjunction with this PolitiFact piece – The big picture: Niger and what we know about what happened to U.S. troops. Both come with references. Another excellent site is the Council on Foreign Relations Niger page.

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“Beyond the Caliphate” Project

Sponsored by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, this undertaking “… documents and identifies activity linked to and inspired by the Islamic State outside of the territory it claims as part of its physical Caliphate. In doing so, the project seeks to provide insights into how the influence, operational reach, and capabilities of the Islamic State are changing in certain locales over time.” At present, three brief reports have been released: Morocco, Southeast Asia, and Turkey.

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Terrorism in Great Britain

Terrorism in Great Britain: the statistics presents a brief background to events leading up to its enactment of the Terrorism Act 2000.  It then proceeds to enumerate the various instances of terrorism as extracted from the Global Terrorism Database that pertain to Great Britain as well as detailed information of the perpetrators. The dates of coverage run from 2001/02 through 2016/17. A plethora of data are presented succinctly.

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