Congressional Research Service. May 14, 2012.
Interest in congressional oversight of intelligence has risen again in recent Congresses, in part because of disputes over reporting to Congress by intelligence community (IC) components on sensitive matters, including developments generated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The changes in the oversight structure adopted or proposed in recent Congresses, however, also reflect earlier concerns, such as increasing independent auditing authority for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the intelligence community, adding offices of inspectors general (OIGs), clarifying reporting requirements to Congress, and restructuring Congress’s oversight mechanisms.
RAND Corporation. May 3, 2012.
The U.S. Department of Defense will receive more detailed, transparent and credible assessments of its counterinsurgency campaigns by replacing its top-down approach with a bottom-up method driven by contextual, narrative reporting provided by commanders on the ground, according to a new RAND Corporation report. The study finds that “contextual assessment”—which replaces standardized and aggregated quantitative metrics with a nested mix of qualitative and quantitative data and commanders’ input from the battalion to the theater level—is a superior way to gauge the success or failure of COIN operations. Indeed, in late 2011 after the study was completed the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan began developing and implementing an improved COIN assessment methodology. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2012/RAND_MG1086.pdf [PDF format, 342 pages].
Department of Defense. American Forces Press Service. April 24, 2012.
“The Defense Department has begun a new effort to better integrate defense intelligence with the broader intelligence community and make the department a better, more versatile organization”, a senior Pentagon spokesman told reporters.
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116064 [HTML format].
Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Statement by Honorable James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. January 31, 2012.
This statement provides extensive detail about numerous state and nonstate actors, crosscutting political, economic, and military developments and transnational trends, all of which constitute our nation’s strategic and tactical landscape. Although I believe that counterterrorism, counterproliferation, cybersecurity, and counterintelligence are at the immediate forefront of our security concerns, it is virtually impossible to rank—in terms of long-term importance—the numerous, potential threats to US national security. The United States no longer faces—as in the Cold War—one dominant threat. Rather, it is the multiplicity and interconnectedness of potential threats—and the actors behind them—that constitute our biggest challenge. Indeed, even the four categories noted above are also inextricably linked, reflecting a quickly changing international environment of rising new powers, rapid diffusion of power to nonstate actors and ever greater access by individuals and small groups to lethal technologies.
http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf [PDF format, 31 pages].
Congressional Research Service. January 3, 2012.
Unmanned aerial systems comprise a rapidly growing portion of the military budget, and have been a long-term interest of Congress. At times, Congress has encouraged the development of such systems; in other instances, it has attempted to rein in or better organize the Department of Defense’s efforts. Their use in conflicts such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and humanitarian relief operations such as Haiti, revealed the advantages and disadvantages provided by unmanned aircraft. Congressional considerations include the proper pace, scope, and management of DOD UAS procurement; appropriate investment priorities for UAS versus manned aircraft; UAS future roles and applications; legal issues arising from the use of UAS; issues of operational control and data management; personnel issues; industrial base issues; and technology proliferation.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/180677.pdf [PDF format, 55 pages].