• National emergencyTrump declares national emergency

    President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency, bypassing Congress to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, and setting up a legal challenge that could help determine the limits of U.S. presidential power.

  • National emergencyCan Congress or the courts reverse Trump’s national emergency?

    By Chris Edelson

    President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to pay for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, after Congress, in its new spending bill, denied him the full money to build it. Presidents generally claim emergency power two ways: through inherent or implied authority under the U.S. Constitution or under statutory authority granted by Congress. The U.S. Constitution says nothing specific about presidential emergency power: Presidents can only claim such authority is implied or inherent. The emergency powers the Constitution does describe are actually assigned to Congress. Congress has delegated some emergency powers to the president through statutes, including the National Emergencies Act. But Congress retains the power to reject a president’s declaration of a national emergency. Now the question is: Will Congress use the power available to it, or will it play the role of passive spectator?

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  • TerrorismTo be effective, terrorism prevention programs need strengthening

    National capabilities for terrorism prevention — which refers to options other than traditional law-enforcement action to respond to the risk of individual radicalization to violence — are relatively limited, with most relying on local or non-government efforts and only a subset receiving federal support, according to a new report. to address the gaps in capability, the most effective path for the federal government would be to strengthen, broaden and sustain this local and non-governmental capacity. But such efforts will be hampered because past counterterrorism and countering-violent-extremism (CVE) efforts have significantly damaged trust in some communities.

  • National security challengesOn rogues and peers: Russian, Chinese challenges to U.S. national security

    Russia and China represent distinct challenges to U.S. national security. Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate.

  • CybersecurityHow far should organizations be able to go to defend against cyberattacks?

    By Scott Shackelford

    Organizations can and should be encouraged to take passive defense measures, like gathering intelligence on potential attackers and reporting intrusions. But in my view they should be discouraged – if not prevented – from acting aggressively, because of the risk of destabilizing corporate and international relations. If the quest for cyber peace degenerates into a tit-for-tat battle of digital vigilantism, global insecurity will be greater, not less.

  • Hemispheric securityGuyana faces "creeping coup"

    Venezuela is not the only country in South America facing political instability and crisis:  After losing a parliamentary vote of non-confidence on December 21st, in the small neighboring country of Guyana, the government of President David Granger has refused to resign or schedule elections, in clear violation of the constitution.

  • EspionageU.S. charges former Air Force intel officer with spying for Iran

    A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer who defected to Iran six years ago has been charged with spying for the Iranian government and helping Iran target other U.S. intelligence agents. Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of disclosing the code name and classified mission of a U.S. military special access program to the Iranian government. She was also charged with helping Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former co-workers, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

  • China syndromeHuawei espionage arrests in Poland: A wake-up call to Europe

    By Thomas Morley and Matt Schrader

    U.S. and European intelligence services have been warning that Huawei, a jewel in the crown of the China’s growing technology industry, cannot be trusted in its protestations that it does not cooperate with the country’s intelligence agencies, or that it respects the rule of law and the intellectual property of its competitors. European governments should exclude Huawei from their telecommunications infrastructure before the company becomes too enmeshed in the continent’s 5G systems to be fully, securely, and painlessly removed at a later date. Failure to do so would give China truly unprecedented tools to corrupt, influence, and subvert Western democracies and the rule of law that is so vital to their continued health and the health of the post-War international system.

  • Software securityDeveloping a system to identify, patch software security holes

    DARPA is funding research of security vulnerabilities in web software. A new system called GAMEPLAY (for Graph Analysis for Mechanized Exploit-generation and vulnerability Patching Leveraging human Assistance for improved Yield) will spot security weaknesses in the millions – sometimes billions – of lines of code that run websites including banking and online shopping which are attractive to hackers.

  • SuperbugsNew estimates aim to define the true burden of superbug infections

    By Chris Dall

    Millions of Americans who experience complications from an antibiotic-resistant infection each year. These infections place a substantial clinical, emotional, and financial burden on patients, their families, and the US healthcare system. But just how many people in the United States are dying from antibiotic resistance? Many researchers and epidemiologists wrestle with that question.

  • ResilienceKeeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.

  • ResilienceUsing data utilization to augment community resilience, disaster response

    A civil engineering who researches resilience against extreme events and natural hazards is responding to lessons learned from California’s deadly Camp Fire by outlining how to utilize the power of data to improve disaster response and minimize economic loss and human harm in similar events.

  • Infrastructure protectionParadigm shift needed for making bridges tsunami-resistant

    Over the past fifteen years, big earthquakes whose epicenters were in the ocean off the coasts of Japan and Indonesia have caused tsunamis that killed more than 250,000 people and caused more than $200 billion in damage. The damage includes washing away or otherwise dislodging hundreds of bridges, emphasizing the need to better understand the wave impacts’ underlying physics. Researchers argue in a new study that a paradigm shift is needed for assessing bridges’ tsunami risk.

  • Climate threatsIn one generation, climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles

    In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. New web application helps visualize climate changes in 540 North American cities.

  • Our picksThe other Maria Butinas; cybersecurity legislation 'goes to die'; blocking Saudi Arabia’s path to the bomb, and more

    ·  Maria Butina is not unique

    ·  Trump dismisses FBI data, asks followers to trust him when he says border fence made El Paso safer

    ·  GreyEnergy malware has ‘massive amounts of junk code’ meant to confuse researchers

    ·  New housing struggle emerges for those displaced by Hurricane Michael

    ·  Scoop: Israel rejected 2014 Saudi proposal on Palestinian peace talks

    ·  U.S. senate proposal would block Saudi path to atomic weapon in nuclear deal

    ·  The case for hiring more police officers

    ·  Where cybersecurity legislation ‘goes to die’ in Congress

  • Hemisphere watchDrug cartels target Obrador; Venezuela, Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Corollary; Haiti blackouts, and more

    ·  AMLO security crackdown met with Mexico cartel death threats

    ·  America’s cocaine habit fueled its migrant crisis

    ·  Former DHS chief: There’s no security crisis near the southern border

    ·  Alternative futures: United Kingdom options in Venezuela

    ·  Venezuela: What’s the mission, Mr. President?

    ·  Venezuela, the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary

    ·  Venezuela: U.S. sanctions hurt, but the economic crisis is home grown

    ·  Mexico’s fourth transformation

    ·  Guatemala must not grant amnesty to war criminals

    ·  Routine blackouts in Haiti symbolize a loss of political power for its citizens

    ·  Why Venezuela’s oil money could keep undermining its economy and democracy

  • Space securityRussia, China threaten U.S. space dominance: Pentagon

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s lead intelligence agency, has warned that Russia and China are building technologies which will soon threaten U.S. dominance in space. Both countries “are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space,” the report said. Russian doctrine “involves employing ground, air, and space-based systems to target an adversary’s satellites, with attacks ranging from temporary jamming or sensor blinding to destruction of enemy spacecraft and supporting infrastructure,” the report said.

  • Skilled-work visasReform of U.S. skilled-worker visa program wins praise

    The Trump administration’s new rules for a U.S. visa program widely used for technology workers are getting cautious praise from Silicon Valley amid surging demand for high-skill employees. The H-1B visa program, which admits 85,000 foreign nationals each year, will give higher priority to people with postgraduate degrees from U.S. universities, under a final rule the Department of Homeland Security published in January.

  • ImmigrationGermany needs 260,000 immigrants a year to meet labor demand: Study

    Germany needs at least 260,000 new migrant workers per year until 2060 in order to meet growing labor shortages caused by demographic decline. Since migration to Germany from other EU countries is declining, at least 146,000 people each year would need to immigrate from non-EU member states.

  • School shootingsSchool shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

    By Jillian Peterson and James Densley

    Our initial analysis of the school shooting data found some noteworthy patterns. All mass school shooters since 1966 had a large number of risk factors for violence. Forty-five percent had witnessed or experienced childhood trauma, 77 percent had mental health concerns, as evidenced in a prior diagnosis, previous counseling or hospitalization, or medication use, and 75 percent had an interest in past shootings, as evidenced in their writing, social media posts or other activities. The majority of mass school shooters – 87 percent – showed signs of a crisis, as exhibited in their behavior, before the shooting. Seventy-eight percent revealed their plans ahead of time, often on social media. As juveniles, they also used guns that they stole from parents, caregivers and other significant adults in their lives. Our analysis found that about 80 percent of mass school shooters were suicidal. These findings make it clearer why current strategies are inadequate.

  • Gun violenceMental illness not to blame for gun violence: Study

    Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms. Researchers found that the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. The researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

  • BiothreatsAntimicrobial resistance: A neglected biodefense vulnerability

    We typically think that biodefense is about defending against bioterrorism or the next pandemic – or, in extreme cases, about some laboratory accident. Biodefense is mostly about all these things, but also about much more. Antimicrobial resistance is not a headline-grabbing topic and it certainly is not getting its own apocalyptic outbreak movie anytime soon, but the microbial threat has been growing since antibiotics were first discovered.