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Executive & Military

US Government Concludes no “War Crimes” in Kunduz Strike, But Fails to Explain Why

The US government’s 120-page report on the Kunduz airstrike — in which US forces killed 42 civilians and destroyed a Médicins Sans Frontières hospital — found that US forces violated their rules of engagement and violated fundamental rules of international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict).…   continue »

Congress’s Embarrassingly Empty (National Security) Record

This week, we learned the United States will send 250 special operations troops to the war in Syria, bringing the publicly known total number of American troops operating in the country to 300. This news came little more than a week after the Pentagon announced it was sending 200 more troops and Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, pushing the official US troop numbers there to 4,087 (this number doesn’t include units temporarily deployed into Iraq).…   continue »

Yes, Russia’s Antics in the Baltic Sea Violate “International Rules”

Recently, Russian aircraft ‘buzzed’ a US Navy ship and ‘barrel rolled’ over a US Air Force plane above the Baltic Sea. The fallout cast a distracting pall over last week’s NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels. The first such conference since Russia annexed Crimea, it was intended to defuse tensions between the alliance and Russia and allow dialogue on issues like Ukraine and Syria.…   continue »

The National Security Council as FOIA “Agency”

Two weeks ago, Rep. Jacki Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced a bill that would define the National Security Council (NSC) as an “agency” for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The bill, H.R. 4922 – Transparency in National Security Act, aims to reverse the effect of two federal appellate court rulings that rendered the NSC, as an entity, beyond the scope of FOIA notwithstanding 20 years of NSC processing of FOIA requests. …   continue »

The FBI’s Warrantless Surveillance Back Door Just Opened a Little Wider

On Tuesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a redacted version of an opinion by Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that is chock full of revelations about how the NSA and FBI handle – and mishandle – data collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).…   continue »

Guide to the Presidential Candidates’ National Security Positions

Last spring, we launched the first version of Just Security’s guide to the 2016 presidential candidates’ positions on national security matters. We relaunched the guide in February of this year with interactive features designed to make it easier use.

Today, we’ve updated it to reflect the candidates’ latest statements and position refinements, including those made in the wake of the Brussels attacks and interviews with the editorial boards of various publications.…   continue »

The State Department Adviser Signals a Middle Road on Common Article 1

In his remarks to the American Society of International Law earlier this month, State Department Legal Adviser Brian Egan stated that the United States’ commitment to upholding the law of armed conflict extends “to promoting law of armed conflict compliance by our partners.” He observed that partnerships with both state and non-state actors are important to current US military operations, including recent campaigns against ISIL.…   continue »