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DoD Release of the Report of Military and Security Developments in China

May 14, 2015 Comments off

DoD Release of the Report of Military and Security Developments in China
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Department of Defense released the “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China”. This annual report informs Congress of the Department of Defense’s assessment of military and security developments involving China.

As stipulated by law, the report is a DoD product and is transmitted to Congress by the secretary of defense. It is coordinated with other agencies and departments across the U.S. government and is the authoritative assessment from the United States government on military and security developments involving China.

Final Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission

May 13, 2015 Comments off

Final Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

We are honored to submit to the President and the Congress of the United States the enclosed recommendations to modernize the Uniformed Services’ (the Services) compensation and retirement system. We are confident these recommendations will ensure that the Services can maintain the most professional All-Volunteer Force possible, during both peacetime and wartime. Our confidence stems from our unwavering commitment to the interests of Service members and their families. In fact, our recommendations, which all members of this Commission unanimously support, are designed to protect both the overall value of the current benefits package and the quality of life of the 21st century Force—those who serve, those who have served, and the families that support them.

See also: Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission Report (DoD)

FY14 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military

May 8, 2015 Comments off

FY14 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

From fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013, there was an unprecedented 53% increase in victim reports of sexual assault. In fiscal year 2014, the high level of reporting seen in fiscal year 2013 was sustained with 6,131 reports of sexual assault (see Figure 1, below). This figure represents an increase of 11% over fiscal year 2013 numbers. In fiscal year 2014, victims made 4,660 Unrestricted Reports and 1,840 initial Restricted Reports of sexual assault. At the close of fiscal year 2014, 1,471 reports remained Restricted. Over time, the percentage of victims who convert their Restricted Reports to Unrestricted Reports has remained relatively stable with an average of 15%. However, in fiscal year 2014, the conversion rate increased to 20%.

Overall, surveys of sexual assault victims suggest that those who reported their sexual assault were satisfied with their decision. According to the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study, approximately 72% of Service member victims who indicated that they reported their sexual assault said they would make the same decision if they had to do it over again. Furthermore, according to the Survivor Experience Survey, 73% of Service member victims who participated in the survey indicated that, based on their overall experience of reporting, they would recommend that others report.

All the President’s Psychologists

April 30, 2015 Comments off

All the President’s Psychologists (PDF)

Lead authors:
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.
Nathaniel Raymond
Steven Reisner, Ph.D.

Co­authors:
Scott A. Allen, M.D. 
Isaac L. Baker
Allen S. Keller, M.D.

Reviewer:
Jean Maria Arrigo, Ph.D.

This report analyzes emails from the accounts of deceased RAND Corporation researcher and apparent CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) contractor Mr. Scott Gerwehr.1 Sixteen emails were selected for detailed analysis from a larger collection of 638 emails that were obtained by Mr. James Risen, author of Pay Any Price and a reporter for the New York Times. The emails were provided to the authors for analysis with the approval of the original sources of the emails, and with the agreement that only those selected as most relevant to the scope of the report would be released. All 638 emails were reviewed by the authors.

No findings of this report were in any way contradicted by the emails not included. The time frame of the emails analyzed in this report spans 2003 to 2006. (See more on methods and sources of data in Appendix I.) This report also includes publicly available information obtained from a variety of sources including the American Psychological Association’s website, released government documents, and reports in the media

Emails were selected for detailed analysis because they are evidence of the George W. Bush Administration’s integral role in shaping American Psychological Association (APA) ethics policy on psychologist participation in national security interrogations after September 11, 2001. Other emails were chosen because they either conflict with or contradict past public statements made by APA officials, as well as disclose new information related to this issue that the APA appears to have concealed. (See Appendix II for all primary source emails cited in this report.)

Based on analysis of the Gerwehr emails and reference to related open source documents, the authors note five key findings related to the APA:

1. The APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House, and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations that comported with then­classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program.

2. A US government research scientist, who had recently served as President Bush’s behavioral science advisor, is reported to have secretly drafted “language related to research” inserted by APA officials into the 2005 APA ethics policy on interrogations. While the exact language of the alleged contribution is not known, the section on research aligned that policy with the then­-classified Bradbury “torture memos.” The Bradbury memos directed health professionals to research and assess the supposed safety, efficacy, and health impacts of the “enhanced” interrogation techniques. The memos were introduced at a time when CIA Office of Medical Services (OMS) personnel were protesting the expanded involvement of health professionals in helping determine the legality of the techniques.

3. The APA had numerous contacts with CIA contract psychologists Drs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen starting in at least 2003, including contacts related to interrogation techniques; at least one senior APA official was informed of their clandestine role at the CIA related to interrogations; yet APA has consistently denied such contacts.

4. APA did not disclose Dr. James Mitchell’s past APA membership when it released its 2007 statement in response to journalists’ revelations regarding Mitchell’s role in abusive interrogations. Nor did APA include such information in its letter to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists in 2010; APA staff sought to obscure past contacts with the CIA and with Mitchell and Jessen and their firm, Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

5. Despite substantial contact between the APA, the White House and CIA officials, including the over 600 emails noted in this report, there is no evidence that any APA official expressed concern over mounting reports of psychologist involvement in detainee abuse during four years of direct email communications with senior members of the US intelligence community.

See: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says (New York Times)

A Relevant Risk Approach to Mental Health Inquiries in Question 21 of the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86)

April 24, 2015 Comments off

A Relevant Risk Approach to Mental Health Inquiries in Question 21 of the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Background
Individuals vetted by the government for initial or continuing eligibility to access classified information must fill out a personnel security questionnaire as part of a screening process designed to identify those who are not likely to be trustworthy, reliable , or loyal to the United States. Question 21 in the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF – 86) asks applicants if they have consulted with a mental health professional in the last 7 years , with certain groups exempted . This approach identifies too many individuals for investigative follow – up who do not have a mental health condition that pose s an unacceptable risk , and likely misses other at – risk individuals . Disagreements over the goal, effectiveness , and adverse consequences ( e.g., stigmatizing the use of mental health services ) associated with this question have resulted in previous Question 21 wording changes but have not significantly resolved concerns.

Highlights
A proposed “r elevant r isk ” approach to Question 21 — focusing only on standardized clinical conditions that could pose a security risk as well as mental health related hospitalizations — would not represent an obstacle to mental health care for the vast majority of personnel and would be consistent with Department of Defense ( DoD ) policy to foster a culture of support with respect to mental he alth. This approach would reduce the costs associated with unnecessary Q uestion 21 follow – up investigative work, as well as much of the stigma – related adverse consequences associated with the current Q uestion 21. At the same time , the “relevant risk” appro ach would identify more effectively the small number of individuals with mental health conditions that may pose security risks. In addition, t his report evaluates the benefits for both security and clinical care for having separate professionals conduct se curity fitness evaluations vice individuals’ mental health treatment.

Carter Unveils New DoD Cyber Strategy in Silicon Valley

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Carter Unveils New DoD Cyber Strategy in Silicon Valley
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Ash Carter today unveiled the Defense Department’s second cyber strategy to guide the development of DoD’s cyber forces and to strengthen its cyber defenses and its posture on cyber deterrence.

Carter discussed the new strategy — an update to the original strategy released in 2011 — before an audience at Stanford University on the first day of a two-day trip to Silicon Valley in California.

Deterrence is a key part of the new cyber strategy, which describes the department’s contributions to a broader national set of capabilities to deter adversaries from conducting cyberattacks, according to a fact sheet about the strategy.

The department assumes that the totality of U.S. actions — including declaratory policy, substantial indications and warning capabilities, defensive posture, response procedures and resilient U.S. networks and systems –- will deter cyberattacks on U.S. interests, the fact sheet added.

DARPA Shares Its Vision for the Future

April 1, 2015 Comments off

DARPA Shares Its Vision for the Future (PDF)
Source: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DARPA today released Breakthrough Technologies for National Security, a biennial report summarizing the Agency’s historical mission, current and evolving focus areas and recent transitions of DARPA-developed technologies to the military Services and other sectors. The report’s release coincided with testimony by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar before the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, at a hearing entitled “Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Science and Technology Programs: Laying the Groundwork to Maintain Technological Superiority.” The full report is available at http://go.usa.gov/3rut4.

Breakthrough Technologies for National Security affirms that America is in a strong strategic position today, in large part because of its longstanding technological dominance. But it also notes that a number of challenges threaten that status, including the global spread of ever more powerful and less expensive technologies and the emergence of disruptive non-nation-state actors in addition to ongoing threats from peer adversaries.

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