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News Roundup and Notes: May 1, 2015

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.


Islamist militants clashed with the Syrian army overnight in Latakia province, close to President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral home.…   continue »

Three Quick Thoughts on the Drone Strike in Pakistan That Killed Two Innocent Civilians

Below are my initial thoughts on today’s tragic news that a January 2015 US “targeted killing” drone strike in Pakistan killed two innocent civilians held as hostages by al-Qaeda:

(1) Why the sudden transparency about the American and Italian civilian victims but not the many non-Western civilians killed in US operations?  continue »

The Power of Rhetoric in the Civilian-Military Divide

On April 10, Stephen Preston, General Counsel for the Defense Department, spoke at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. He ended his remarks on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in standard fashion:

We agency counsel all serve the same client, the United States of America, and each of us answers to the head of our respective agencies.

  continue »

The DEA’s Bulk Collection Program

Defenders of the NSA’s notorious bulk telephony program have stressed since it was first disclosed that the massive database of calling information can only be used for national security investigations of foreign terror groups, and is tightly regulated by the FISA Court. …   continue »

The Right Way to Share Information and Improve Cybersecurity

This year is turning out to be a banner one for flawed proposals that would allow businesses to share information about Americans’ online activity with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the name of cybersecurity. First came the White House plan in January, then the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — which passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on a 14-1 vote earlier this month — and on Tuesday, the House introduced the Protecting Cyber Networks Act.…   continue »

Preparing for Cyber War: A Clarion Call

This post is the latest installment of our “Monday Reflections” feature, in which a different Just Security editor examines the big stories from the previous week or looks ahead to key developments on the horizon.

In every War College in the world, two core principles of military planning are that “hope is not a plan” and “the enemy gets a vote.” Any plan developed without sensitivity to these two maxims is doomed to fail.…   continue »