Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017

The Department of Defense (DOD) has released its "Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China" which addresses the "current and probable
future course of military-technological development of the People’s Liberation Army and the tenets and probable development of Chinese security strategy and military strategy, and of the military organizations and operational concepts supporting such development over the next 20 years." The report also addresses "United States-China engagement and cooperation on security matters during the period covered by the report, including through United States-China military-to-military contacts, and the United States strategy for such engagement and cooperation in the future."
Read an executive summary or the full report.


Congressional Budget Office Report on Repeal of the ACA (Obamacare)

On June 26, 2017 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released their report on the Senate's amendment to H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of  2017, designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The report indicates the senate version, if passed, would "reduce federal deficits by $321 billion over the coming decade and increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to current law." By 2026 for people under age 65 under the senate version, 49 million are projected to be without insurance compared with 28 million under the current law.  Although the CBO and the JCT state estimates cannot be made with certainty, they conclude "the amount of federal revenues collected and the amount of spending on Medicaid would almost surely both be lower than under current law" in addition to the number of underinsured people being greater than under the current law.

For more information, read a PDF of their report.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Legal Questions About President Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

On June 9, 2017 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a "Legal Sidebar" report and analysis entitled President Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Raises Legal Questions.
The questions are:
Pt. 1
  • Will the United States Follow the Multi-Year Process for Withdrawal in Article 28?
  • Can the United States Immediately Withdraw from the Paris Agreement?
  • To What Extent Does the Trump Administration Consider the Paris Agreement Binding Under International Law?
  • Will the United States Remain in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?
Pt. 2
  • What is the United States’ Role in Future Climate Change Meetings Organized Under the Paris Agreement?
  • What are the Prospects for Legal Challenges to the Withdrawal?
  • What Legal Risks did the President Seek to Avoid by Announcing the Exit?
See the answers at https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/withdrawal.pdf

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trends in Nuclear Explosion Monitoring Research & Development

 National Laboratories (Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Naval Research, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia) released a report in June 2017 entitled Trends in Nuclear Explosion Monitoring Research & Development — A Physics Perspective LA-UR-17-21274. According to the abstract, the report "reviews the accessible literature, as it relates to nuclear explosion monitoring and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT, 1996), for four research areas: source physics (understanding signal generation), signal propagation (accounting for changes through physical media), sensors (recording the signals), and signal analysis (processing the signal). Over 40 trends are addressed "exploring the value and benefit (of each) to the monitoring mission." The report also presents "key papers that advanced the science, and promising research and development for the future."