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  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2015 by Olivia Enos U.S. Should Not Stand By While Government in Burma Undermines Religious Liberty

    Burma’s President Thein Sein has proposed four pieces of legislation that threaten the very fiber of Burma’s already halting democratic reform process. If passed, the Protection of Race and Religion bills would violate religious liberty and institute potentially severe population control measures. The U.S. should maintain its opposition to them. Religion Laws The…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2015 by Edmund F. Haislmaier King v. Burwell: Assessing the Claimed Effects of a Decision for the Plaintiffs

    Should the Supreme Court rule in King v. Burwell—a case challenging the Obama Administration’s implementation of the premium tax credit provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—that the statute restricts the payment of premium tax credits only to individuals obtaining coverage “through an Exchange established by [a] State,” its ruling would preclude the Treasury paying…

  • Issue Brief posted February 4, 2015 by David Inserra FEMA Reform Needed: Congress Must Act

    Several weeks ago, President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would provide work authorization and protection from deportation to as many as 5 million unlawful immigrants. A serious consequence of this policy is the harmful redirection of attention and resources from other pressing homeland security issues. In order to implement the…

  • Issue Brief posted October 31, 2014 by David Inserra Five Questions the Secret Service Review Panel Must Answer

    A ‌series of alarming security breaches have caused ‌many to question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President.[1] In the wake of these events, an independent four-member review panel—two senior officials each from the Bush and Obama Administrations—will investigate the Secret Service’s recent security breaches and advise the Department of Homeland Security…

  • Issue Brief posted May 29, 2014 by David Inserra Reforming DHS Through the Appropriations Process

    In March, President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is given a total budget authority of $60.9 billion plus another $710 million that the President proposed as part of a supplement known as the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI). The result is a 1.6 percent increase in the DHS budget,…

  • Posted on May 5, 2014 by Olivia Enos South Asia Still Major Hotspot for International Terrorism

    Despite the degradation of al-Qaeda’s core leadership based in Pakistan and its increased reliance on regional affiliate...…

  • Posted on May 2, 2014 by Helle Dale Finally: A Benghazi Select Committee

    The Benghazi scandal finally will get the investigative attention it should have gotten months ago. House Speaker John...…

  • Posted on May 1, 2014 by Helle Dale 'The Point Is We Should Have Tried’—Brigadier General on Failure to Rescue Americans in Benghazi

    Dominos are falling in the Benghazi cover-up. Today, explosive and emotional testimony from Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell...…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Diem Nguyen Salmon Congress Should Not Cut Critical Defense Capabilities and Readiness

    A month after the fiscal year (FY) 2015 defense budget was submitted to Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the report Estimated Impacts of Sequestration-Level Funding.[1] The report highlights areas where additional cuts will be made in order to comply with sequestration-level funding. While it dutifully tabulates the affects on procurement programs,…

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  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Backgrounder posted June 21, 2012 by Helle C. Dale, Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Janice A. Smith Challenging America: How Russia, China, and Other Countries Use Public Diplomacy to Compete with the U.S.

    Abstract: Competing aggressively with the United States for the “hearts and minds” of people around the world, many state and non-state actors are funneling significant resources into their public diplomacy strategies. The Chinese government announced in 2009 that it would spend almost $7 billion on a “global media drive” to improve its image. The Russian…

  • Issue Brief posted May 22, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach The U.S. State Department Should Designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization

    When the Nigerian sect Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, and the Nigerian Taliban emerged from their year-long hiatus in 2010, few in Washington noticed.[1] But when Boko Haram launched a suicide attack against the United Nations headquarters in the capital city of Abuja last August, the organization made it known that its strikes…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2015 by Olivia Enos U.S. Should Not Stand By While Government in Burma Undermines Religious Liberty

    Burma’s President Thein Sein has proposed four pieces of legislation that threaten the very fiber of Burma’s already halting democratic reform process. If passed, the Protection of Race and Religion bills would violate religious liberty and institute potentially severe population control measures. The U.S. should maintain its opposition to them. Religion Laws The…

  • Backgrounder posted August 8, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer, Anthony B. Kim The U.S. Should Link Foreign Aid and U.N. General Assembly Voting

    Abstract: Countries that receive U.S. foreign aid routinely oppose U.S. diplomatic initiatives and vote against the U.S. in the United Nations. While linking humanitarian and security aid to support of U.S. policy priorities would undermine the purposes and effect of that aid, the effectiveness of development aid in improving economic growth and development among…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learn from Iraq: don’t abandon Afghanistan

    Former secretary of state, national security adviser and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavy weight. At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood—stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-frame glasses—and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.” Whom could he have been talking…

  • WebMemo posted June 28, 2011 by Helle C. Dale, Jessica Zuckerman U.S. Must Improve Internet Freedom Outreach Effort

    More than 2 billion people worldwide now have some degree of access to the Internet, a figure that has doubled over the past five years. Yet while the Internet is emerging as an increasingly powerful tool for political activism, governments around the world are also becoming more expert at controlling electronic communication. As part of the U.S. effort to defend…

  • Backgrounder posted August 23, 2010 by Walter Lohman, Nicholas Hamisevicz Make China Account for Its Dismal Human Rights Record

    Abstract: China’s human rights record is dismal and not improving. Successive editions of the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices have documented China’s lack of progress in human rights, ranging from continued abuses in Tibet to imprisonment and harsh treatment of political prisoners to a general crackdown on religious groups that…

  • WebMemo posted March 22, 2010 by Helle C. Dale Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications Review: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight

    How the U.S. government communicates with the world—explaining policies, presenting facts about American life and values, promoting the national interest by helping foreign audiences understand America—is a matter of no small importance. During the Cold War, for example, engagement in the war of ideas through the United States Information Agency was a critical…

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  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2015 by Olivia Enos U.S. Should Not Stand By While Government in Burma Undermines Religious Liberty

    Burma’s President Thein Sein has proposed four pieces of legislation that threaten the very fiber of Burma’s already halting democratic reform process. If passed, the Protection of Race and Religion bills would violate religious liberty and institute potentially severe population control measures. The U.S. should maintain its opposition to them. Religion Laws The…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013 by Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. This…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2013 by James Phillips Kerry Offers More Aid but Still Lacks Sound Strategy on Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry has embarked on his first official trip abroad, traveling to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Although NATO and European issues have been featured prominently in Kerry’s early stops, much of his agenda will focus on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of…

  • Issue Brief posted February 21, 2013 by Luke Coffey, Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. John Kerry’s Grand Tour: Priorities for Europe

    From February 24 to March 6, John Kerry will make his first trip overseas since being appointed U.S. Secretary of State. During this period, he will be visiting the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The Obama Administration has too often taken America’s relations with Europe for granted. Secretary…

  • Issue Brief posted January 9, 2013 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy on Europe

    In the coming weeks, the United States Senate will begin the confirmation process for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for Director of the CIA. All three have been prominent backers of President…

  • Issue Brief posted November 14, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Morgan Lorraine Roach Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

    Understanding what was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi and the tragic results is vital for preparing for future security threats to embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions. The attack in Benghazi reveals a terrorist attack profile that the U.S. is likely to see again. If the U.S. is to learn the lessons of this…

  • Issue Brief posted September 20, 2012 by Baker Spring, Michaela Dodge The Folly of the State Department’s Assessment of U.S. Arms Control Compliance

    The State Department recently released its 2012 report, Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, or Annual Compliance Report. It informs Congress and the public about how the United States and other countries are fulfilling their multilateral and bilateral treaty obligations regarding arms control and…

  • Issue Brief posted September 11, 2012 by Baker Spring, Michaela Dodge Annual Compliance Report: Lack of Clarity Damaging to U.S. Security

    The State Department’s August 2012 report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (the so-called Annual Compliance Report) is an exercise in ambiguity which illustrates the difficulties involved in judging other countries’ compliance with multilateral and bilateral treaties related to weapons of mass…

Find more work on Department of State
Find more work on Department of State