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CRS — Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons (February 23, 2015)

March 6, 2015 Comments off

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The FY2013 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310, Section 1037) indicated that it is the sense of Congress that “the United States should pursue negotiations with the Russian Federation aimed at the reduction of Russian deployed and nondeployed nonstrategic nuclear forces.” The United States and Russia have not included limits on these weapons in past arms control agreements. Nevertheless, some analysts and Members of Congress have argued that disparities in the numbers of nonstrategic nuclear weapons may become more important as the United States and Russia reduce their numbers of deployed long-range, strategic nuclear weapons.

CRS — Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress (March 3, 2015)

March 6, 2015 Comments off

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Navy’s proposed FY2016 budget requests funding for the procurement of nine new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the Navy’s goal for achieving and maintaining a fleet of 306 ships). The nine ships include two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class Aegis destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), one LPD-17 class amphibious ship, and one TAO(X) class oiler. The Navy’s proposed FY2016-FY2020 five-year shipbuilding plan includes a total of 48 ships, compared to a total of 44 ships in the FY2015-FY2019 five-year shipbuilding plan.

CRS — A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Issues and Current Proposals in Brief (February 20, 2015)

March 6, 2015 Comments off

A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Issues and Current Proposals in Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In 2014, the armed offensive of the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh) in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria raised significant concerns for the United States. After first ordering multiple deployments of U.S. troops to Iraq to provide security to diplomatic personnel and facilities, advise Iraqi security forces, and conduct intelligence gathering and reconnaissance, President Obama began ordering U.S. military airstrikes on IS forces in Iraq in August 2014. Later in September, after laying out plans for expanded use of military force against the Islamic State in a televised speech to the American people, the President ordered U.S. military airstrikes in Syria against both IS forces and forces of the “Khorasan Group,” identified by the President as part of Al Qaeda. The intensified U.S. military engagement has raised numerous questions in Congress and beyond about the President’s authority to use military force against the Islamic State1 Efforts began near the end of the 113th Congress to consider enactment of a new authorization for use of military force targeting the Islamic State, and have continued into the 114th Congress. In addition, the President provided Congress a new authorization proposal in February 2015.

See also: The Obama Administration’s Proposed AUMF against the Islamic State: Some Immediate Takeaways, CRS Legal Sidebar (February 19, 2015) (PDF)

Heritage Foundation Releases First Annual “Index of U.S. Military Strength”

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Heritage Foundation Releases First Annual “Index of U.S. Military Strength”
Source: Heritage Foundation

The U.S. military may be weaker than you think. All but one branch of America’s military and nuclear forces are currently operating at “marginal” strength levels. The exception is the Air Force, which is rated as “strong” in the “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” released today by The Heritage Foundation.

A first-of-its-kind report, the Index provides an in-depth analysis of global threats to vital U.S. interests and our armed forces’ ability to prevail against them. It concludes that, overall, U.S. armed forces are not capable of prevailing when fighting two regional conflicts at once, a longstanding strategic objective. It notes that, while terrorism still presents a serious threat, Russia and China pose the greatest danger to U.S. national security.

The Rise of IPv6: Benefits and Costs of Transforming Military Cyberspace

March 4, 2015 Comments off

The Rise of IPv6: Benefits and Costs of Transforming Military Cyberspace
Source: Air & Space Power Journal

Unbeknownst to many people, the fundamental structure of the Internet is changing for the first time in its history with the exhaustion of Internet protocol version four (IPv4) and the transition towards IPv6. The Air Force has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to lead the Department of Defense (DOD) and the nation in the transition to IPv6. It appears that only a clear leadership commitment and direction will spur the necessary transition. When this does occur, a strategy must be in place to assure that this transition is not a hastily executed solution but one that has clear goals and road maps for the secure implementation of IPv6 throughout the Air Force. Our cyber operators must begin training now in the operating environment in which they will certainly be immersed during the next decade. Protecting the network and developing the next generation of norms for cyber operations will allow for assured and rapid execution of core Air Force missions. Harnessing IPv6 is critical if the Air Force is to remain the best equipped, trained, and most lethal force on the planet.

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram

March 2, 2015 Comments off

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram
Source: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Two reports related to research on Boko Haram are now available online. These include a qualitative report, by START research director Amy Pate and a statistical analysis of the impact of interventions on Boko Haram activity, by START researcher John Stevenson. The research was supported by a Centers of Excellence Supplemental award from the Office of University Programs at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Strategic Multilayer Assessment office of the Department of Defense.

Boko Haram has been the subject of much international scrutiny in recent months, beginning after the April 2014 kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls, an event that led to a worldwide cry over social media to “bring back our girls.” In recent weeks, a coalition of Nigerian, Chadian, Nigerien, and Cameroonian troops have made gains against Boko Haram, but it still holds multiple towns in northeast Nigeria.

The reports explore the following research questions:

  • What are Boko Haram’s strengths and potential vulnerabilities?
  • What policies can be employed to counter Boko Haram’s strengths and exploit its weaknesses?
  • What are USAFRICOM options for engaging U.S. government and foreign partners to deploy policies to counter Boko Haram?

Strengthening Collaborations With the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Effectiveness Research on Mind and Body Interventions

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Strengthening Collaborations With the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Effectiveness Research on Mind and Body Interventions
Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
From press release:

The feasibility of conducting larger-scale research studies on nondrug approaches for pain management in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should be assessed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This recommendation was delivered in a report by a working group of the Center’s Advisory Council.

“Chronic pain is a major public health problem that affects more than 100 million Americans, and research shows that it may disproportionately affect military personnel and Veterans,” said Lloyd Michener, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; chair of the working group. “The high rates of chronic pain in the military and Veteran populations are alarming. New strategies for managing this widespread condition are urgently needed.”

The working group recommended that the proposed research should:

  • Assess the impact of pain on patient function and quality of life as primary outcome measures, with changes in the use of opioids and other drugs as a secondary outcome;
  • Evaluate an integrated package of nondrug treatments, an integrative model of care, or a holistic approach to care rather than focusing on individual complementary health approaches;
  • Focus on patients in the early stages of chronic pain;
  • Leverage natural experiments and existing resources whenever possible; and
  • Be pragmatic and embedded in the delivery of care.
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