United States

Foreign Affairs Article

Too Many Secrets

Authors: Ron Wyden and John Dickas

One of the most persistent challenges of U.S. national security policy is balancing 
the short-term benefits of secrecy with the long-term benefits of openness. Government agencies responsible for dealing with national security threats will often be more effective if they are allowed to keep certain details about their activities secret.

See more in United States; Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

The Torture Blame Game

Author: Robert Jervis

At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission.

See more in United States; Intelligence

Op-Ed

Misreading the Fed on a Rate Increase

Author: Benn Steil
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil’s op-ed explains how the mechanics of implementing Federal Reserve monetary policy have changed radically since the crisis. Little known is that the new plumbing is not actually controlled by the FOMC, but by the much smaller Board of Governors. Given that the Board is decidedly more dovish than the FOMC, Fed watchers focused on the latter may be expecting a more aggressive timing and pace of rate rises than is likely.

See more in United States; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

The Self-Contradictory 'Stand' Against the PATRIOT Act

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

“Had the program been in place more than a decade ago, it would likely have prevented 9/11. And it has the potential to prevent the next 9/11.”So wrote Mike Morrell, the CIA’s former acting director, about section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the National Security Agency to search telephone “metadata” (i.e., connections between telephone numbers not the content of calls) to ferret out terrorists. Now section 215 is no more.

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Primary Sources

USA FREEDOM Act of 2015

This legislation was introduced to Congress on April 28, 2015, as H.R. 2048 Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015. President Obama signed it into law on June 2, 2015. The act is an overhaul of the National Security Council's intelligence gathering program, the largest reform of the program since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

See more in United States; Intelligence; Organization of Government

Op-Ed

Did the Game Just Change in the South China Sea? (And What Should the U.S. Do About It?)

Author: Jerome A. Cohen
China File

As the 14th annual Asia Security Summit—or the Shangri-la Dialogue, as it has come to be known—gets underway in Singapore, we asked contributors to comment on what appears to be a recent escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China over the two countries’ presence in the South China Sea.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Conflict Assessment