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Committee for Economic Development;
Executive summary of "Education for Global Leadership: The Importance of International Studies and Foreign Language Education for U.S. Economic and National Security" report. Includes findings and recommendations in brief.
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at University of Maryland;
Existing survey data do not provide comprehensive baseline information about U.S. beliefs and attitudes on terrorism and counterterrorism. Improved understanding of public attitudes can inform programs and tools related to managing public risk perception, increasing effectiveness of pre- and post-event communication by Federal, state, and local officials, and building and supporting more resilient social networks within and across communities.
In this project, systematic survey data was collected from a sample of Americans in response to a range of newly developed survey questions. The survey was developed by two leading survey methodologists, following consultations with a research team of experts who study the dynamics of terrorism, counterterrorism, and community resilience, as well as with practitioners and officials from throughout the homeland security community. The questions were administered to members of a web panel by the on-line survey firm Knowledge Networks, and a second wave of the survey will be issued approximately six months after the first wave to allow for analysis of attitudes over time.
The first wave of the questionnaire was completed, from September 28, 2012 to October 12, 2012, by 1,576 individuals 18 years of age and older. The first section of the questionnaire assessed the salience of terrorism by asking respondents whether they had thought about terrorism in the preceding week, how likely they thought a terrorist attack in the United States was in the next year, and whether they had done anything differently in the past year because of the possibility of such an attack.
The second section of the questionnaire posed questions about how likely respondents would be to call the police in response to various actions potentially related to terrorism and how concerned respondents felt the government should be about these actions. Respondents who said they had thought about a terrorist attack in the last week were more likely than other respondents to say they were likely to call the police in response to the various situations described to them.
The survey then assessed respondents' awareness and evaluation of government efforts related to terrorism in the United States. A large majority of the respondents said that the U.S. government has been very effective (33 percent) or somewhat effective (54 percent) at preventing terrorism; less than 13 percent characterized the government as not too effective or not effective at all.
In a final section of the survey, we asked respondents about two specific programs focused on increasing communication between members of the public and the government on topics related to terrorism.
Aspen Institute Justice & Society Program;
Nearly a decade after the 9/11 Commission issued its report on the greatest act of terrorismon U.S. soil, one of its most significant recommendations has not been acted upon. The call for consolidated Congressionaloversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is, in the words of Commission co-chair Thomas H. Kean, "maybe the toughest recommendation" because Congress does not usually reform itself.
To underscore the importance of this reform, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Aspen Institute's Justice and Society Program convened a task force in April 2013, including 9/11 Commission cochairs Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former DHS officials under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and members of Congress (Appendix). While the failure to reform DHS oversight may be invisible to the public, it is not without consequence or risk.
Fragmented jurisdiction impedes DHS' ability to deal with three major vulnerabilities: thethreats posed by small aircraft and boats; cyberattacks; and biological weapons."I think we've been distinctly less securefrom a biological or chemical attack than wewould have been had we had a more rationaland targeted program of identifying the most serious threats," said former Sen. BobGraham (D., Fla.). As the 9/11 Commission Report noted: "So long as oversight is governed by current Congressional rules and resolutions, we believe that the American people will not get the security they want and need."
Earlier work by policy groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Brookings Institution attests to the consensus that consolidated oversight of DHS is needed. Among the concerns: More than 100 Congressional committees and subcommittees claim jurisdiction over it. In 2009, the department spent the equivalent of 66 worky ears responding to Congressional inquiries.Moreover, the messages regarding homeland security that come out of Congress sometimes appear to conflict or are drowned outaltogether. As former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff noted, "When many voices speak, it's like no voice speaks."
The task force recommends that:
DHS should have an oversight structure that resembles the one governing other critical departments, such as Defenseand Justice.
Committees claiming jurisdiction over DHS should have overlapping membership. Since a new committee structure cannot be implemented until the 114th Congress is seated in 2015, the task force also recommends these interim steps toward more focused oversight:
Time-limiting subcommittee referrals to expedite matters of national security.
Passing, for the first time since formation of the department in 2002, an authorization bill for DHS, giving the department clear direction from Congress.
This report describes counter-terrorism measures in effect in the United States after March 15, 2004. These measures are in response to an Executive Order that prohibits transactions with individuals and organisations deemed by the Executive Branch to be associated with terrorism. This handbook could help foundations interested in avoiding the legal consequences of providing support to organisations which may currently or in the future be associated with terrorism.
Pew Research Center;
The women who serve in today's military differ from the men who serve in a number of ways. Compared with their male counterparts, a greater share of military women are black and a smaller share are married. Also, women veterans of the post-9/11 era are less likely than men to have served in combat and more likely to be critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other ways, however, military women are not different from military men: they are just as likely to be officers; they joined the armed services for similar reasons; and post-9/11 veterans of both sexes have experienced a similar mix of struggles and rewards upon returning to civilian life.
Since 1973, when the United States military ended conscription and established an all-volunteer force, the number of women serving on active duty has risen dramatically. The share of women among the enlisted ranks has increased seven-fold, from 2% to 14%, and the share among commissioned officers has quadrupled, from 4% to 16%.
Department of Defense policy prohibits the assignment of women to any "unit below brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat." While this policy excludes women from being assigned to infantry, special operations commandos and some other roles, female members of the armed forces may still find themselves in situations that require combat action, such as defending their units if they come under attack.2
This report explores the changing role of women in the military using several data sources. Two Department of Defense publications -- Population Representation in the Military Forces, FY2010 and Demographics 2010: Profile of the Military Community -- provide the overall trends in military participation by gender, as well as demographic and occupational profiles of male and female military personnel.
The report also draws on data from two surveys of military veterans: a Pew Research Center survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,853 veterans conducted July 28-Sept. 4, 2011, and the July 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS) Veterans Supplement (n=9,739 veterans).
Center for Military Health Policy Research, RAND Health;
Since late 2001, U.S. military forces have been engaged in conflicts around the globe, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. These conflicts have exacted a substantial toll on soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen, and this toll goes beyond the well-publicized casualty figures. It extends to the stress that repetitive deployments can have on the individual servicemember and his or her family. This stress can manifest itself in different ways -- increased divorce rates, spouse and child abuse, mental distress, substance abuse -- but one of the most troubling manifestations is suicide, which is increasing across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The increase in suicides among members of the military has raised concern among policymakers, military leaders, and the population at large. While DoD and the military services have had a number of efforts under way to deal with the increase in suicides among their members, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs asked RAND to review the current evidence detailing suicide epidemiology in the military, identify "state-of-the-art" suicide-prevention programs, describe and catalog suicide-prevention activities in DoD and across each service, and recommend ways to ensure that the activities in DoD and across each service reflect state-of-the-art prevention science.
As part of a systemwide transformation, the VA formed its National Center for Patient Safety to foster an organizational culture of safety within its nationwide network of hospitals and outpatient clinics. A recent medical team training program designed to improve communication among operating room staff was associated with a reduction in surgical mortality and improvements in quality of care, on-time surgery starts, and staff morale. The program is now being expanded to other clinical units, along with a patient engagement program that prevents errors by facilitating communication relating to patients' daily care plans. A recognition program stimulated facilities to conduct timelier and higher-quality root-cause analyses of reported safety events to identify stronger actions for preventing their recurrence. Other initiatives have reduced rates of health care -- associated infections, patient mortality, and post-operative complications. Success factors include leadership accountability for performance and organizational support for testing, expanding, and adopting improvements.
Pew Research Center;
As Russian troops remain in Ukraine's Crimea region and Crimea's Parliament has set up a secession vote, Americans
prefer the U.S. to not get too involved in the situation. By a roughly two-to-one margin (56% vs. 29%), the public says it is more important for the U.S. to not get involved in the situation with Russia and Ukraine than to take a firm stand against Russian actions.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
From the era of Woodrow Wilson, when the United States committed itself to support the Zionist program in Palestine, American public opinion on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been formed and policy has been made from a restricted, generally Israel-centered vantage point. This frame of reference has excluded the Palestinian perspective and, in the struggle for Palestine that culminated in the Palestinians' dispossession in 1948, has made it impossible for U.S. policymakers to take this seminal episode into account in shaping Middle East policy.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
Following Israel's creation in 1948, the Palestinians disappeared from United States policy considerations and did not reemerge until the late 1960s, when they forced themselves on the world's consciousness with a series of terrorist actions and a determined assertion of national aims. With the exception of the Carter administration, the history of the two decades of American policy-making that followed is one of a concerted effort to suppress the Palestinian question as a political issue and to undermine the Palestinian Liberation Organization. This article, the second in a three-part series, examines the frame of reference that molded policymaker thinking on Palestinian-Israeli issues--one centered on the Israeli perspective and basically ignorant of the Palestinian viewpoint--from the Eisenhower administration through the Reagan years.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
The policymakers most responsible for shaping policy on the Palestinian-Israeli question in both the Bush and the Clinton administrations, a team led by special mediator Dennis Ross, came of age politically at a time when the Palestinian perspective was virtually excluded from American political discourse. These policymakers, by their own testimony emotionally involved in Arab-Israeli issues because of their Jewish roots, are naturally inclined to view the issue from the traditional Israel-centered vantage point despite their occasionally harsh criticism of Israel's right-wing government and their vaunted understanding of Palestinian sensibilities. Part III of this series examines how the old frame of reference still determines policy even in an era when Palestinians are seen as legitimate participants in the peace process.