• WEAPON SYSTEMSThe Inside Story of How the Navy Spent Billions on the “Little Crappy Ship”

    By Joaquin Sapien

    Littoral combat ships were supposed to launch the Navy into the future. Instead they broke down across the globe and many of their weapons never worked. Now the Navy is getting rid of them. One is less than five years old.

  • DEFAULT DANGERThis Debt Ceiling Showdown Is Especially Risky

    On Thursday, 19 January 2022, the federal government hit its $31.4 trillion debt limit. That means that it can’t borrow any additional money to meet its obligations, which include everything from issuing Social Security checks to paying interest on Treasury bonds. Past fights over the borrowing limit didn’t spark a financial crisis. This time could be different, according to two experts.

  • DEFAULT DANGERU.S. Debt Default Could Trigger Dollar’s Collapse – and Severely Erode America’s Political and Economic Might

    By Michael Humphries

    Brinkmanship over the debt ceiling has become a regular ritual. As an economist, I know that defaulting on the national debt would have real-life consequences. Even the threat of pushing the U.S. into default has an economic impact. In August 2021, the mere prospect of a potential default led to an unprecedented downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, hurting America’s financial prestige as well as countless individuals, including retirees. And that was caused by the mere specter of default. An actual default would be far more damaging.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSearching for Critical Minerals

    The U.S. Geological Survey announced that, thanks to substantial funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it will invest about $2.8 million to collect a large swath of geophysical data focusing on critical mineral resources in northeastern Washington State.

  • R&DFederal Research Funding Has Positive “Ripple Effects”

    Federal funding for biomedical research has a “ripple effect” of stimulating new studies even beyond the original purposes of a grant and may provide unexpected benefits.

  • BUNDESWEHRGermany's Military Budget: Unanswered Questions

    By Ben Knight

    Germany’s defense budget is not exactly small, and it has now been given a massive defense budget boost — but it is dogged by allegations of inefficiency. The parliamentary Bundeswehr commissioner’s report was not comforting.

  • Hazard mitigationAdministration Commits $3.46 Billion to Reduce Effects of Climate Change

    Communities across the country have been impacted by the effects of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and other events. The increasing duration, intensity, and severity of such disasters—which are exacerbated by climate change as well as changes in population, land use, and weather patterns—are alarming and devastating. New funds made available by the government for hazard mitigation.

  • EpidemicsTrump Puts VP Pence in Charge of COVID-19 Response

    In a televised speech to the nation last night, President Donald Trump addressed the growing threat of COVID-19 and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of a task force to lead US response efforts. The speech comes a day after officials from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said community spread was all but inevitable in the United States, while Trump said during a press conference in India that the situation was under control stateside. Trump also said that “We will essentially have a flu shot for this very soon,” said Trump, but experts cautioned that no vaccine will be ready for use for at least another year to 18 months.

  • Flood buyoutsFlood Buyouts Benefit the Whitest At-Risk Neighborhoods

    The federal flood buyout program disproportionally benefits at-risk homes in the whitest communities of America’s largest cities, according to a new study. The study provides the first nationwide, peer-reviewed analysis of racial inequalities in the implementation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood buyout program. The researchers examined data in 500 municipalities across the U.S. between 1990 and 2015.

  • Costs of warThe Iraq War Has Cost the U.S. Nearly $2 Trillion

    By Neta C. Crawford

    Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1,922 billion in current dollars. This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

  • Perspective: Oligarchs, populists, and the EU The Money Farmers: How Oligarchs and Populists Milk the E.U. for Millions

    Before 1990, under Communism, farmers in the rich-soil fields west Budapest were growing wheat and corn for a government that had stolen their land. The New York Times reports that today, their children toil for new overlords, a group of oligarchs and political patrons who have annexed the land through opaque deals with the Hungarian government of Victor Orban. “Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65 billion in farm subsidies intended to support farmers around the Continent and keep rural communities alive. But across Hungary and much of Central and Eastern Europe, the bulk goes to a connected and powerful few. re is a twist: these land barons are financed and emboldened by the European Union.” The Times adds: “Europe’s farm program, a system that was instrumental in forming the European Union, is now being exploited by the same antidemocratic forces that threaten the bloc from within.”

  • PerspectiveClimate Change Will Strain Federal Finances

    The federal government is ill-prepared to shoulder what could be a trillion-dollar fiscal crisis associated with extreme weather, floods, wildfires and other climate disasters through 2100, federal investigators have found. In the latest of a series of reports, the Government Accountability Office says that costs of disaster assistance to taxpayers since 2005 have swelled to nearly $500 billion—and they keep getting higher.

  • Military spendingWorld military expenditure reaches $1.8 trillion in 2018

    Military spending in Ukraine and several other Central and Eastern European countries rose sharply in 2018, largely in reaction to perceived threats from Russia, a leading research institute says. Total world military expenditure rose to $1822 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 2.6 percent from 2017, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

  • BiothreatsFunding restored to National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures lab

    The Fort Detrick, Maryland-based National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is no longer facing an immediate jeopardy. The federal omnibus spending bill,  released last Wednesday evening, provided full funding for the biohazard laboratory – funding which the original administration’s budget proposal eliminated.

  • Digital privacyPrivacy of Americans not protected in omnibus spending bill

    The CLOUD Act, inserted at the very end of the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill, will make substantial amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It grants U.S. law enforcement entities new powers to compel U.S. companies to disclose communications and data on U.S. and foreign users that is stored overseas. It also empowers foreign governments to demand the stored and real-time data and communications of users outside the U.S.