from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 73
August 30, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


The procedures for challenging the outcome of a presidential election are summarized in a new publication from the Congressional Research Service.

"The initial responsibility for resolving challenges, recounts, and contests to the results of a presidential election" lies with each individual state, CRS noted. But under some circumstances, challenges to a presidential election can work their way up to Congress for resolution. See How Can the Results of a Presidential Election Be Contested?, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 26, 2016:

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following:

Saudi Military Campaign in Yemen Draws Congressional Attention to U.S. Arms Sales, CRS Insight, August 30, 2016:

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated August 29, 2016:

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, updated August 26, 2016:

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, updated August 26, 2016:

Gangs in Central America, updated August 29, 2016:

American Agriculture and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, updated August 30, 2016:

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation, August 26, 2016:

Tolling U.S. Highways, August 26, 2016:

Labor Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet, August 26, 2016:

Supreme Court: Length of the Scalia Vacancy in Historical Context, CRS Insight, August 26, 2016:


Autonomous military technologies that are capable of independently selecting a course of action to achieve a goal are maturing rapidly, the Defense Science Board said in a newly published study.

"Autonomy, fueled by advances in artificial intelligence, has attained a 'tipping point' in value," the DSB study said.

"Autonomy will deliver substantial operational value--in multiple dimensions--across an increasingly broad spectrum of DoD missions, but the DoD must move more rapidly to realize this value. Allies and adversaries alike also have access to increasingly rapid technological advances occurring globally," the study said.

The Board recommended that the Department of Defense undertake a series of pilot projects "intended to demonstrate the range of benefits of autonomy for the warfighter."

The Board did not consider catastrophic failures modes associated with autonomous technologies in any depth.

But the study did say that "an autonomous system must be designed so that humans (and/or machines) can straightforwardly determine whether, once it has been deployed, it is operating reliably and within its envelope of competence -- and, if not, that appropriate action can be taken."

See Summer Study on Autonomy, Defense Science Board, June 2016:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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