Wednesday, October 31, 2007

National Strategy for Information Sharing released

The White House released its latest national strategy document today.

The National Strategy for Information Sharing can be found at
or as a PDF at

The Factsheet is available at

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New DSB report - Foreign Influence on DoD Software

The Defense Science Board (DSB) has posted a new report.

The report on Mission Impact of Foreign Influence on DoD Software can be found at

According to the memorandum of endorsement by Dr. Schneider, this report
"was established to complement the 2005 DSB study on High Performance
Microchip Supply
which focused on the implications of semiconductor
fabrication in foreign countries. The task force found that the DoD
faces similar consequences from the possible exploitation of software,
increasingly developed outside of the United States, it its systems."

The 2005 report can be found at

These and other DSB reports can be found at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Friday's Miscellany for 10-26-2007

Items of Interest [with thanks to the IDA Library for some of the links]

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Amnesty International

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Center for Defense Information (CDI)

Centre for Military and Strategic Studies (CMSS) and the Institute of World Affairs (IWA)

Center for Security Policy

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Congress. House. Oversight Committee. National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Foreign Policy Institute

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Heritage Foundation

Human Rights Watch

Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)

International Crisis Group

Jamestown Foundation

Lexington Institute


Strategic Studies Institute

United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan

United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

REPORT - Cost of the War in Iraq/Afghanistan

As reported in the news this morning, here's the link to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the estimated costs of the war so far. This is from the testimony of CBO Director Peter Orszag submitted to the House Committee on the Budget.

Testimony on Estimated Costs of U.S. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and of Other Activities Related to the War on Terrorism, October 24, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

REPORT: Homeland Security Academic Environment

A new report on the growing and changing nature of the HS Academic Environment.

The Homeland Security Academic Environment: A Review of Current Activities and Issues for Consideration
written by John Rollins and Joseph Rowan for the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium (HSDEC).

Executive Summary

The Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium (HSDEC) requested a report that reviewed the academic programs that now comprise the homeland security academic environment. Publicly available data was gathered and this information formed the basis of the analytic judgments contained in this report. The schools and programs listed, and their accompanying information, are the product of interaction with homeland security consortiums, discussions with academic colleagues, review of school brochures and online material, and receipt of university press releases.

The homeland security academic discipline is currently an evolving ungoverned environment of numerous programs purporting to prepare students for various positions of responsibility. Many of today’s homeland security offerings are an amalgam of pre-9/11 programs and courses that have since been revised to reflect some undetermined level of education and instruction in homeland security issues. Homeland security programs can take numerous forms including: certificate, associates, bachelor, masters, and doctoral. While commonalties do exist in the course offerings of many of these programs, it appears many programs were established using current institutional courses that have since been revised to address homeland security related issues. As the discipline continues to mature, program commonalities, core teaching areas, and course standardization may emerge that shape the homeland security academic environment and produce graduates conversant on a standard set of homeland security topics. Many in the profession of homeland security seek such standardization; however, some members of the academic community and other homeland security professionals are concerned that the diversity of issues related to the discipline does not lend itself to identifiable core teachings. Using homeland security topics as the foundation, some in the academic community have suggested emphasis on teaching critical analytic thinking skills and imaginative approaches to problem solving rather than focusing on contemporary security-related issues.

Based on a review of the available data it does not appear that the homeland security academic environment has matured to the point that common core courses are being taught at any level of higher education. To date, formal program or course recommendations have not been offered to the bodies currently supporting homeland security academic development. The DHS University System was recently established to address training and education efforts for current Departmental employees. As this System matures, it is possible that DHS will attempt to identify homeland security areas of focus that could form the core of future academic offerings. However, before there is agreement and recognition of homeland security as an academic undertaking, there needs to be acceptance and an understanding of the discipline as a profession.

Most homeland security practitioners and academicians agree that greater attention is needed to the role and utility of homeland security as a permanent and well-understood discipline. Many agree that in order for the field to mature the homeland security environment must be further defined which in turn would support the development of core educational objectives.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday's Miscellany for 10-19-2007

Items of Interest

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Amnesty International

Brookings Institute
Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Center for Catastrophe Preparedness & Response (CCPR)

Center for Security Policy

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA)

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Heritage Foundation

Human Right Watch

International Crisis Group (ICG)

Jamestown Foundation

Office of the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR)


Reform Institute

Strategic Studies Institute (Army War College)

US Navy

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

White House

Public Health and Medical Preparedness -- HSPD-21

The White House released its latest Homeland Security Presidential

HSPD-21 is for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. Its
stated purpose is that "establishes a National Strategy for Public
Health and Medical Preparedness (Strategy), which builds upon principles
set forth in Biodefense for the 21st Century (April 2004) and will
transform our national approach to protecting the health of the American
people against all disasters."

It can be found at

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Maritime Strategy

The Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard have released a new cooperative Maritime Strategy. The report entitled “A Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century Seapower” was released at the International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College today.

The report can be found at or from main site

A video of the conference can be found at

Friday, October 12, 2007

REPORT -- Intelligence Community 500 day plan

The DNI has released its 500 Day Plan as a continuation to its process for integration and collaboration amongst the members of the Intelligence Community.

The new plan -- United States Intelligence Community (IC) 500 Day Plan for Integration and Collaboration is available at

The previous plans can be found as follows:

100 Day plan

100 Day Plan Follow-up

Friday's Miscellany for 10-12-2007

Items of Interest

Amnesty International

BASIC (British American Security Information Council)

Brookings Institution

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Center for American Progress (CAP)

Center for Defense Information (CDI)

James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (MIIS CNS)

Center for Security Policy

Combating Terrorism Center (USMA)

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

Government Accounting Office (GAO)

Heritage Foundation

Hudson Institute

Human Rights Watch

Federation of International Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies’ Operational Update

International Crisis Group

Lexington Institute

Oxfam International & the International Action Network on Small Arms


Strategic Studies Institute (Army War College)

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq

UN Development Programme

UN High Commissioner on Refugees

Veteran's Disability Benefits Commission

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

White House

Thursday, October 11, 2007

REPORT: Veteran's Disability Benefits Commission

The Veteran's Disability Benefits Commission has released their report
Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans' Disability Benefits in the 21st
." The report can be accessed from

The PDF of the full report is available at

The executive summary is available at

The related documents are avaialble at

Excerpt from the Exec Summary:
The Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission was established by Public Law 108-136, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004. Between May 2005 and October 2007, the Commission conducted an in-depth analysis of the benefits and services available to veterans, service members, their survivors, and their families to compensate and provide assistance for the effects of disabilities and deaths attributable to military service. The Department of Veterans Affairs expended $40.5 billion on the wide array of these benefits and services in fiscal year 2006. The Commission addressed the appropriateness and purpose of benefits, benefit levels and payment rates, and the processes and procedures used to determine eligibility. The Commission reviewed past studies on these subjects, the legislative history of the benefit
programs, and related issues that have been debated repeatedly over many decades.

The Commission identified eight principles for guiding the development and delivery of future benefits for veterans and their families.

1. Benefits should recognize the often enormous sacrifices of military service as a continuing cost of war, and commend military service as the highest obligation of citizenship.
2. The goal of disability benefits should be rehabilitation and reintegration into civilian life to the maximum extent possible and preservation of the veterans' dignity.
3. Benefits should be uniformly based on severity of service-connected disability without regard to the circumstances of the disability (wartime v. peacetime, combat v. training, or geographical
4. Benefits and services should be provided that collectively compensate for the consequence of service-connected disability on the average impairment of earnings capacity, the ability to engage in usual life activities, and quality of life.
5. Benefits and standards for determining benefits should be updated or adapted frequently based on changes in the economic and social impact of disability and impairment, advances in medical knowledge and technology, and the evolving nature of warfare and military service.
6. Benefits should include access to a full range of health care provided at no cost to service-disabled veterans. Priority for care must be based on service connection and degree of disability.
7. Funding and resources to adequately meet the needs of service-disabled veterans and their families must be fully provided while being aware of the burden on current and future generations.
8. Benefits to our nation's service-disabled veterans must be delivered in a consistent, fair, equitable, and timely manner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Private Military Contractors in Iraq

Given the latest news and hearings, these might be of some interest. Several House Oversight Committee reports were released in the last couple of days.

“Blackwater USA: Private Military Contractor Activity in Iraq and Afghanistan” House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing, October 2, 2007 [not much there yet but more will be added after the hearing]

“Additional Information about Blackwater USA.” House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Memorandum from the Majority Staff –. October 1, 2007

“Private Military Contractors in Iraq: An Examination of Blackwater’s Actions in Fallujah.” House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Majority Staff report. Sept 2007

“War Profiteering and Other Contractor Crimes Committed Overseas.” House. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. June 19, 2007

“Iraqi Reconstruction: Reliance on Private Military Contractors “ House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing – Feb 7, 2007 [includes links to the video of the hearing, witness statements, and more]

Various letters to and from the Committee, the State Dept and Blackwater

CPA Memorandum 17 – Registration Requirements for Private Security Companies (PSC) with Annexes including Annex A- Rules for the Use of Force by Contractors in Iraq and Annex B – Code of Conduct for Private Security Companies Operating Iraq

“Abuses in Private Security and Reconstruction Contracting in Iraq: Ensuring Accountability, Protecting Whistleblowers.” Senate Democratic Party Committee Hearing. September 21, 2007. [includes statements and links to the video of the hearing]

Selected other sources:

“The Private Military Firms: Historical Evolution and Industry Analysis.” NPS thesis. June 2007.

“Analysis of Security Contractors in Deployed Environments.” NPS Thesis. December 2006

“A Critical Analysis of the Coordination, Command and Control of Contractors in Iraq.” NPS Thesis. December 2006

“Outsourcing Small Wars: Expanding the Role of Private Military Companies in U.S. Military Operations.” NPS Thesis. September 2005.

“Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed to Improve Use of Private Security Providers.” GAO July 2005

“Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues” CRS report updated July 11, 2007

DCAF Backgrounder “Private Military Companies” April 2004

“The Private Military Industry and Iraq: What Have We Learned and Where to Next?” DCAF Policy Paper. Nov 2004

“Phasing Out Private Security Contractors in Iraq” USAWC Strategic Leadership Course paper. March 2006

“Private Security Contractors on the Battlefield.” USAWC Strategy Research Project. March 2006

“Operational Implications of Private Military Companies in the Global War on Terror. Army Command and General Staff College, 2005

“Public War, Private Fight? The United States and Private Military Companies” Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper no. 12. Fort Leavenworth Combat Studies Institute. 2005

NEW National Strategy for Homeland Security

FYI - the White House has released its new National Strategy for Homeland Security. It can be found at

The full PDF version is available at

The Fact Sheet on it can be found at

The 2002 report can be found at

Useful Iraq related reports

A couple of new reports by Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) might be of particular use with some interesting graphs and charts on various topics.

Pandora’s Box: Iraqi Federalism, Separatism, “Hard” Partitioning and US Policy.
This working draft report from Oct 9, 2007 looks at federalizing or partitioning Iraq. Useful graphs/charts include topics such as: refugees and displaced persons, maps of threats and ethno-sectarian violence, Iraqi military and civilian casualties, public opinion, demographics, infrastructure and more.

Political, Military and Economic Dynamics in Iraq: A Graphic Overview.
This revised October 2007 report shows, through the use of graphs and maps, topics such as: sectarian & ethnic divisions, oil fields, weekly attack trends by type, high profile and IED attacks, major threats and the state of Al Qaeda, insurgent concentrations, US aid status, crude oil production and more.