Six years ago, President Obama stood in Hradcany Square in Prague, Czech Republic and announced “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” The President outlined a broad and bold strategy that focused on stopping rogue nuclear states, securing nuclear materials, and lowering weapon stockpiles.
New National Security
On July 20, a flag raising ceremony drew hundreds of spectators and marked the reopening of the Cuban embassy in the United States. The short ceremony paled in comparison to the monumental shift in US foreign policy that the embassy opening represents. After years of estrangement, Cuba and the United States officially normalized diplomatic relations, ending a generation long stand-off.
Seemingly overnight, the terrorist organization ISIS established an illegitimate state spanning the borders of Iraq and Syria. Systematic human rights abuses and dramatic executions have drawn the world’s attention to the group; however, ISIS does not pose an immediate existential threat to the United States, begging the question: are there options other than putting US put boots on the ground to combat this problem?
Somewhere between Veep’s hilarious satire of Washington politics and Homeland’s gripping intrigue of counter-terrorist intelligence, HBO brings us its newest geopolitical “dramedy”: Brink. While we would hope events in this show to be reserved to fantasy, in fact, Brink’s pilot episode hits almost too close to home.
The 1987 INF treaty prohibits Russia and the United States from having land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500-5500 kilometers. The United States has accused Russia of testing a cruise missile that would violate this range, although there is no evidence that they have deployed these cruise missiles.
The Obama administration has requested $12.6 billion for the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) as part of its Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Energy budget request. $1.9 billion of that request will go towards Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation (DNN) programs tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and materials. The programs facilitate cooperation with international partners to better secure, monitor, and dispose of vulnerable nuclear material (military and civilian) and other radiological waste.
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released its biennial update to its High Risk List – a compilation of government programs that are identified as “high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.” Department of Defense weapon systems acquisition and Department of Energy contract management have both been on the GAO’s High Risk List for the last 25 years.