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CRS Insights: Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights (October 1, 2014)

CRS Insights: Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights (October 1, 2014)

Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On September 16, 2014, President Obama announced a major increase in the U.S. response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Department of Defense (DOD) submitted requests to Congress to make excess Overseas Contingency Operations funds appropriated for FY2014 available to support this effort. The requested funds would be used to provide humanitarian assistance, including:

  • transportation of DOD and non-DOD personnel and supplies;
  • coordination of delivery of supplies from both DOD and non-DOD sources such as isolation units,
  • personnel protective equipment, and medical supplies;
  • construction of 17 planned Ebola treatment units;
  • and, training and education in support of sanitation and mortuary affairs functions to limit the spread of the Ebola outbreak.

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Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information
Source: RAND Corporation

In the U.S. Navy, there is a growing demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data, which help Navy commanders obtain situational awareness and help Navy vessels perform a host of mission-critical tasks. The amount of data generated by ISR sensors has, however, become overwhelming, and Navy analysts are struggling to keep pace with this data flood. Their challenges include extremely slow download times, workstations cluttered with applications, and stovepiped databases and networks — challenges that are only going to intensify as the Navy fields new and additional sensors in the coming years. Indeed, if the Navy does not change the way it collects, processes, exploits, and disseminates information, it will reach an ISR “tipping point” — the point at which its analysts are no longer able to complete a minimum number of exploitation tasks within given time constraints — as soon as 2016.

The authors explore options for solving the Navy’s “big data” challenge, considering changes across four dimensions: people, tools and technology, data and data architectures, and demand and demand management. They recommend that the Navy pursue a cloud solution — a strategy similar to those adopted by Google, the Intelligence Community, and other large organizations grappling with big data’s challenges and opportunities.

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50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons Today

50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons Today
Source: Brookings Institution

Their number and role in U.S. security have been reduced, but nuclear weapons still provide important security benefits to the United States and its allies. While the prospects for moving to lower levels than those in New START now appear limited, the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings put together an updated list of “50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons,” originally published in 1998.

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DoD Press Briefing on Navy Yard Shooting investigations

Defense Department Press Briefing on Implementation Plans as a Result of the Washington Navy Yard Shooting Investigations and Reviews by Secretary Hagel and Navy Secretary Mabus in the Pentagon Briefing Room
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Okay. Six months ago, the Department of Defense lost 12 members of its family in a senseless act of violence at the Washington Navy Yard. I said at the time that where there are gaps or inadequacies in the department’s security, we’ll find them and we’ll correct them.

And accordingly today, I’m announcing steps DoD is taking to enhance physical security at our installations and improve security clearance procedures responding to lessons learned from this terrible, terrible tragedy. These new measures are based on the recommendations of two reviews that I ordered in the aftermath of the shooting, including an internal review, led by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, and an outside review, led by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton, who is with us today, and retired Admiral Eric Olson.

Secretary Mabus, who joins me here this morning, also directed the Department of the Navy to conduct its own reviews of security standards, which complemented our work. I appreciate the hard work and the thorough analysis that went into all of these efforts by all of these people.

The reviews identified troubling gaps in DoD’s ability to detect, prevent, and respond to instances where someone working for us, a government employee, member of our military, or a contractor, decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people.

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CRS — The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues

The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Military Order (M.O.) pertaining to the detention, treatment, and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism. Military commissions pursuant to the M.O. began in November 2004 against four persons declared eligible for trial, but the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld invalidated the military commissions as improper under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To permit military commissions to go forward, Congress approved the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), conferring authority to promulgate rules that depart from the strictures of the UCMJ and possibly U.S. international obligations. Military commissions proceedings were reinstated and resulted in three convictions under the Bush Administration.

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Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide

Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide
Source: RAND Corporation

Historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a stalemate have generally followed a seven-step path. A “master narrative” distilled from these cases could help guide and assess the progress toward a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

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