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Tag Archives: Department of Defense

U.S. Air Strikes in Iraq Begin

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Friday, August 8, 2014 at 9:44 AM

The Pentagon tweets that the U.S. military has begun airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in Iraq.  Precisely, force has been deployed against IS artillery that was used “against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.”  I have not yet seen a clear explanation of the domestic legal basis for the strikes, but the mention . . .
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More Machinations in Second Circuit Targeted Killing FOIA Litigation

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Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

The release last month of the Al-Aulaqi Office of Legal Counsel memo, it turns out, was not the end of the Second Circuit litigation regarding the New York Times and ACLU’s FOIA requests for information on the government’s targeted killing programs. A petition for rehearing en banc is still pending. And yesterday, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, and . . .
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Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force

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Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

I seem to have a knack for working for military services at a time when they are viewed as the redheaded stepchildren of the Department of Defense—ugly, dispensable ducklings.  When I left my position as General Counsel of the Army in early 2001, pundits were challenging the continued relevance of ground forces in the 21st . . .
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Killer Robots and the Laws of War in Monday’s Wall Street Journal

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Monday, November 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an op-ed piece by Matt and me on the regulation of autonomous weapon systems, “Killer Robots and the Laws of War: Autonomous Weapons Are Coming and Can Save Lives. Let’s Make Sure They’re Used Ethically and Legally.”  Although the topic has not been especially visible in the United States (at . . .
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General Keith Alexander on the NSA Scandals

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Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I haven’t watched this yet. Will publish thoughts on it after I have done so—if I have any. In the meantime, here are Josh Gerstein’s from Politico: The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of . . .
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10/25 Motions Session #4: Photos and 802 Conferences

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Friday, October 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Many different motions get batted around during the pre-lunch period, but only two take up substantial argument time.  (The remainder—among other things, AE120, regarding the prosecution’s proposed changes to the charge sheet, and a discovery motion regarding the interactions of the government with the makers of Zero Dark Thirty—are either deferred until December, or will . . .
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Jeremy Rabkin Responds on the Shutdown and National Security

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University, sent me an email in response to my post from Sunday about the shutdown and national security. He poses a series of questions, which I reproduce here: Ben Wittes’s posts on the government shutdown raise questions not yet addressed. (1) The shutdown allows exemptions for government employees . . .
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DoD Special Envoy for Gitmo Closure Named: Paul Lewis

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The Pentagon has just announced the new DoD special envoy for Guantanamo closure: Paul Lewis. Secretary Hagel Announces Appointment to Key Defense Post Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today announced the appointment of Paul M. Lewis to the position of Special Envoy for Guantanamo closure. This announcement reflects the Department’s commitment to implementing the President’s directive to . . .
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Chuck Hagel on the Pay Our Military Act

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Monday, October 7, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released the following letter and memorandum over the weekend concerning the implementation of the Pay Our Military Act, which was passed in the hours before the shutdown. As the New York Times reported, 400,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense have been recalled this week. The memorandum explains that the employees are those “whose responsibilities provide . . .
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Has the Tea Party Forgotten About 9-11?

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Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM

As the government lurches towards a likely shutdown on Tuesday, Tea Party Republicans should remember that the United States remains a country at war, not only in Afghanistan, but with al-Qaida and its affiliates around the world.  Tea Party Republicans may not be worried about the political perils of a government shutdown to the Republican . . .
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The Obama Administration’s National Security Legal Team

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Ben observed last week that in the midst of the most significant war powers debate of this Presidency, many of the top national security legal positions in the Administration remain unfilled.  So who is minding the store?  Fortunately, some very highly qualified and experienced lawyers, all of whom are currently working around the clock. At . . .
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Two Detainees Transferred to Algeria

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Big news from the Department of Defense this morning: two detainees have been transferred from the Guantanamo detention facility to the government of Algeria. Recall that at the end of July, the White House announced that two Algerian detainees had been certified for transfer. Here’s the text of the DoD’s press release: The Department of Defense announced today . . .
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The Return of the Detainees to Algeria

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Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 9:31 PM

The White House announcement on Friday that the Defense Department plans to transfer two Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo to Algeria represents the most recent action in a long series of efforts by both the Bush and Obama Administrations to repatriate Algerian detainees from Guantanamo.  In previous years, both Administrations focused their public messaging on the . . .
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DOD’s Weak Rationale for Keeping Enemy Identities Secret

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Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Cora Currier at Pro Publica has an important story on why DOD won’t publish the list of AUMF “associated forces” against whom we are at war.  DOD’s rationale: A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause “serious damage to national security.” “Because elements that might be considered ‘associated forces’ can build credibility by . . .
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The Long, Classified War

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM

A recent cluster of stories – on al Qaeda’s growth, dispersion, and resilience, on the USG’s increased use of surveillance drones outside of “hot war zones,” on the USG possibly ramping up secret war in Somalia, and on the covert action to arm certain Syrian rebels – got me wondering about the debate in May on the proper scope of the AUMF.  . . .
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Congress Must Figure Out What Our Government Is Doing In The Name of the AUMF

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Friday, May 17, 2013 at 10:02 AM

A common assumption in the debate about the appropriate legal regime for extra-AUMF threats is that the AUMF is cabined and cannot be extended to newly threatening Islamist terrorist threats.  Yesterday’s SASC hearing exploded this assumption.  The hearing made clear that the Obama administration’s long insistence that it is deeply legally restrained under the AUMF . . .
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Questions Someone Should Ask DOD About Its Report on Chinese Cyber-Operations

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 2:12 PM

As Paul noted, a new Pentagon Report to Congress states: In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information.  China is using its computer network . . .
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The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I have a long review in the New Republic of Mark Mazzetti’s excellent new book, The Way of the Knife.  The first half of the review simply summarizes the book, the main point of which is to demonstrate how since 9/11 the CIA and DOD have changed to become like one another.  In short, the CIA has become (in . . .
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NGO Letter to the President on Targeted Killing

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Last week a group of major human rights NGOs sent this letter to the President on U.S. targeted killing practices.  It calls on the Obama administration to “publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure . . .
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Amicus Support for Samantar Cert Petition

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Monday, April 15, 2013 at 8:02 PM

What do the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka and former Attorneys General William Barr, Ed Meese, and Dick Thornburgh have in common? Answer:   They all believe that the Supreme Court should grant the petition for certiorari of former Somali Defense Minister Mohamed Ali Samantar, after the Fourth Circuit held that foreign government officials . . .
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