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Today’s Rising Terrorist Threat and the Danger to the United States: Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of The 9/11 Commission Report

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Today’s Rising Terrorist Threat and the Danger to the United States: Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of The 9/11 Commission Report
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

Ten years ago today, we issued The 9/11 Commission Report, the official report of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. As we wrote in that report, we were acutely mindful of the responsibility we bore to the American people—and the families of the victims—to provide the most complete account possible of the events leading up to that terrible day. We used what we learned from that awful history to make recommendations as to how to make America safer. Most of those recommendations have been enacted into law or adopted as policy.

A decade later, we are struck by how dramatically the world has changed. In the United States, federal, state, and local authorities have implemented major security reforms to protect the country. Overseas, the United States and allies went on the offensive against al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Ten years ago, many feared that al Qaeda would launch more catastrophic attacks on the United States. That has not happened. While homegrown terrorists struck Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon, with tragic results, and while major attempted attacks on aviation have been disrupted, no attack on a scale approaching that of 9/11 has taken place.

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America’s Long-Term Care Crisis: Challenges in Financing and Delivery

April 10, 2014 Comments off

America’s Long-Term Care Crisis: Challenges in Financing and Delivery
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

An estimated 12 million Americans are currently in need of long-term services and supports (LTSS)—defined as institutional or home-based assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or medication management—including both seniors and persons under age 65 living with physical or cognitive limitations. In the next two decades, the U.S. health care system will face a tidal wave of aging baby boomers. This, among many other factors, will create an unsustainable demand for LTSS in the coming years.

Fewer family caregivers, increasingly limited personal financial resources, and growing strains on federal, state, and family budgets will further complicate efforts to organize and finance services. Although there is tremendous variation in what is, or will be, needed, fully 70 percent of people who reach the age of 65 will require some form of LTSS at some point in their lives. The number of Americans needing LTSS at any one time is expected to more than double from 12 million today to 27 million by 2050. Indeed, the demand for LTSS will substantially outpace the rate of growth in the U.S. economy over the next decade and drive significant growth in Medicaid spending.

Bipartisan Policy Center’s Experts Publish Recommendations to Improve Preparedness for a Cyber Attack on the North American Electricity Grid

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Bipartisan Policy Center’s Experts Publish Recommendations to Improve Preparedness for a Cyber Attack on the North American Electricity Grid
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) today published a new report through its Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative with recommendations on how to better prepare for cyber attacks against the electric grid. The report is authored by the initiative’s co-chairs General (Ret.) Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency; Curt Hébert, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and former executive vice president of Entergy Corporation; and Susan Tierney, former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Energy.

Cyber attacks on key energy infrastructure, including the electricity system, are increasing in terms of frequency and sophistication. Electric grid failures are costly and have the potential to profoundly disrupt delivery of essential services, including communications, food, water, health care and emergency response. In light of these developments, BPC convened the Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative – a hybrid project of BPC’s Energy and Homeland Security Projects – to tackle these challenges.

Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment

September 26, 2013 Comments off

Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

Al-Qaeda’s core in Pakistan exerts less control over its affiliated groups and the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan has decimated the group’s leadership. Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia have also suffered significant losses as a result of U.S. and allied countries’ counterterrorism operations over the past three years. As a result, many counterterrorism officials believe the chances of a large-scale, catastrophic terrorist attack by al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda-affiliated or -inspired organization occurring in the United States are small.

At the same time, however, al-Qaeda and allied groups today are situated in more places than on September 11, 2001. They maintain a presence in some 16 different theatres of operation—compared with half as many as recently as five years ago. Although some of these operational environments are less amenable than others (South Asia, Southeast Asia), a few have been the sites of revival and resuscitation (Iraq and North Africa) or of expansion (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Syria).

A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-wide Cost Containment

June 7, 2013 Comments off

A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-wide Cost Containment

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

High and rising health care costs consume a large and rapidly growing portion of the federal budget, crowding out investments in other crucial priorities such as education, defense and infrastructure and putting pressure on other priorities of households, businesses and governments.

This trend will only accelerate with the aging of the population and its increased dependence on federal and state financing of health care. Yet despite our high national spending, health care in the United States is uneven in quality and often wasteful, uncoordinated and inefficient. Leaders on both sides of the political aisle, and in the health and economic policy communities, recognize the urgency of improving the quality and effectiveness of care, while slowing the growth of spending. However, far too often, attempts to address our nation’s health and budget issues have been fragmented and unproductive, frequently due to partisan disagreements over how to approach these highly sensitive issues.

We, the four leaders of the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Care Cost Containment Initiative, came together to bridge this divide—to start a constructive dialogue on strengthening the U.S. health care system.

America’s Housing Future: New Directions for National Policy

February 26, 2013 Comments off

America’s Housing Future: New Directions for National Policy

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

From press release:

A bipartisan commission of former Cabinet secretaries, former Senators and other leading housing and economic experts unveiled a new vision for housing policy today, which aims to further our nation’s economic recovery and improve the lives of millions of Americans. The recommendations propose scaling back the government role in the nation’s housing finance system and reforming housing assistance programs to better meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable households.

The commission is co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, former Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, former Senator and HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and includes 17 other individuals from diverse professional and political backgrounds.

The report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, entitled Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy, proposes a new housing finance system that calls for a far greater role for the private sector, a continued but limited role for the federal government, the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and reform of the Federal Housing Administration to improve efficiency and avoid crowd-out of private capital.

Through these reforms, the plan would address the broken mortgage finance system while creating a stable and strong housing market that provides greater taxpayer protection and supports a more vibrant economy.

Science panel calls for federal research into geoengineering

October 6, 2011 Comments off

Science panel calls for federal research into geoengineering
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

Leading experts on climate change science and technology are calling on the federal government to launch a coordinated investigation of the potential effectiveness, feasibility, and consequences of so-called geoengineering.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Task Force on Climate Remediation Research says in its report that ideas such as removal of CO2 from the atmosphere or using particles to reflect sunlight back into space should be investigated in case they turn out to be necessary.

+ Full Report (PDF)

See: Science panel calls for federal research into geoengineering

Tenth Anniversary Report Card: The Status of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations

August 31, 2011 Comments off

Tenth Anniversary Report Card: The Status of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

“Today, our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure than it was a decade ago. We have damaged our enemy, but the ideology of violent Islamist extremism is alive and attracting new adherents, including right here in our own country. With important 9/11 Commission recommendations outlined in this report still unfulfilled, we fail to achieve the security we could or should have…

“The terrorist threat will be with us far into the future, demanding that we be ever vigilant. Changing circumstances require that we regularly reassess our priorities and expenditures to determine what is needed to defend our country and people.

“Our terrorist adversaries and the tactics and techniques they employ are evolving rapidly. We will see new attempts, and likely successful attacks. One of our major deficiencies before the 9/11 attacks was a failure by national security agencies to adapt quickly to new and different kinds of enemies. We must not make that mistake again.”

+ Full Report (PDF)
+ Report Card (PDF)

Debt Limit Analysis

July 28, 2011 Comments off

Debt Limit Analysis (PDF)
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

The purpose of this analysis is to shed light on the operation of the debt limit in case Congress does not raise the limit before the federal government runs short of cash and is no longer able to meet all of its obligations.

In particular, we have addressed three questions:

  1. What is the date past which the government will be unable to honor all obligations?
  2. If that date is passed without a debt limit increase, what will be the effect on federal spending?
  3. If that date is passed without a debt limit increase, what are the potential consequences in the market for Treasury securities, as well as in other markets and in the broader economy?

Preventing Violent Radicalization in America

June 26, 2011 Comments off

Preventing Violent Radicalization in America
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

Last September’s report by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group, Assessing the Terrorist Threat, concluded that the lack of a coherent approach towards domestic counter-radicalization has left America “vulnerable to a threat that is not only diversifying, but arguably intensifying.” The purpose of this report is to provide guidance on ongoing efforts aimed at developing such an approach.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Hat tip: Homeland Security Digital Library

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