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Executive & Military

Moving Beyond the “Going Dark” Frame

For more than a year now, this site has posted dozens of articles critiquing the US government’s claims that it needs a method of accessing encrypted digital communications lest criminals and other ne’ers-do-wells be able to “go dark” from the eyes of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.…   continue »

America’s Muddled Approach to Fighting ISIS

Last month, the Los Angeles Times ran a story that helped highlight one facet of the muddled thinking afflicting the US government’s campaign against ISIS: While the military wants to sabotage the group’s cyber propaganda and recruitment capabilities, FBI and intelligence officials argue doing so would close a critical window into its operations and ability to detect domestic terrorist plots.…   continue »

It’s All About the Associated Forces

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quietly joined the battle over authorizing the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last week. To the surprise of many given his recent comments on the issue, he put an Authorization for the Use of Force, or AUMF, into the record, bypassing any committee process and clearing the way for rapid consideration of this measure by the Senate should he choose.…   continue »

Reflecting on 25 Years of US Policy Towards Iraq

January marks the 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War. Many in the military look back on Operation Desert Storm with nostalgia. Objectives were limited, clear and achievable. Assumptions were rational. There was no mission creep. It was the perfect all-American war.…   continue »

Instability and Terrorism in Africa’s Sahel: A Primer

Africa’s Sahel region has been in the international news a lot since 2012, largely because of its increasing political instability and insecurity. More recently, the region has gained attention because of a terrorist attack on the Radisson Blue Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, on November 20, 2015 — the attack killed 22 people, including two attackers — and a similar attack on the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on January 15 of this year, which left a death toll of 30.…   continue »

A Wider Talent Pool Means a Stronger Marine Corps: A Response to Rep. Hunter

In a January 8 interview with Politico, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) asserted that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’s support for opening all combat roles in the Marine Corps to women makes him “a greater threat to the Marine Corps than ISIS.” We will let the reader decide who poses a greater threat to the United States Marine Corps: a civilian leader working hard to strengthen national security by ensuring the American people are protected by the best our country has to offer or a brutal terrorist organization with a troubling global radicalization and recruitment track record and a preference for brutal public executions and other deplorable practices.…   continue »

National Security Letters and Leak Investigations

Journalists were reminded again last week of how little legal protection actually exists when the federal government decides to investigate national security leaks.

In an ongoing Freedom of Information Act suit, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has sought the guidelines used by the Justice Department in deciding when federal agents can use National Security Letters to pursue information about reporters.…   continue »

“Ideating” on ISIS and Silicon Valley

In a lot of Silicon Valley meetings, participants “iterate,” “ideate,” and “sync,” and do other buzzwordy things. Every once in a while something innovative and impactful comes out of those meetings. If more of those Silicon Valley innovations can be brought to the fight against ISIS, that’s a good thing.…   continue »