Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Normally, the Fed conducts monetary policy by setting a target for the federal funds rate – the rate at which banks borrow and lend reserves on an overnight basis. It meets its target through open market operations, financial transactions traditionally involving U.S. Treasury securities. Beginning in 2007, the federal funds target was reduced from 5.25%… Continue Reading Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Recent debates about U.S. nuclear weapons have questioned what role weapons with shorter ranges and lower yields can play in addressing emerging threats in Europe and Asia. These weapons, often referred to as nonstrategic nuclear weapons, have not been limited by past U.S.-Russian arms control agreements, although some analysts argue such limits would be of… Continue Reading Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Cooperation With Other Countries: A Primer

In order for the United States to engage in significant civilian nuclear cooperation with other states, it must conclude a framework agreement that meets specific requirements under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA). Significant nuclear cooperation includes the export of reactors, critical parts of reactors, and reactor fuel. The AEA also provides for… Continue Reading Nuclear Cooperation With Other Countries: A Primer

Missile Defense Review 2019

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) states that the Defense Department’s “enduring mission is to provide combat-credible military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our nation.” This 2019 Missile Defense Review (MDR) is fully aligned with the NDS, writes acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. The MDR was conducted pursuant to… Continue Reading Missile Defense Review 2019

Between Russia and Iran: Room to Pursue American Interests in Syria

President Donald Trump has underscored containing Iran’s sway as a key element in establishing a “strong and lasting footprint” in Syria as the United States moves toward bringing its Soldiers home. In pursuing this key American objective, this paper recommends that Washington take advantage of the “daylight” between Russia and Iran, and that it be… Continue Reading Between Russia and Iran: Room to Pursue American Interests in Syria

U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America

Central America has received renewed attention from U.S. policymakers over the past few years as the region has become a major transit corridor for illicit drugs and has surpassed Mexico as the largest source of irregular migration to the United States. These narcotics and migrant flows are the latest symptoms of deep-rooted challenges in several… Continue Reading U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America

Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Promoting democratic institutions, processes, and values has long been a U.S. foreign policy objective, though the priority given to this objective has been inconsistent. World events, competing priorities, and political change within the United States all shape the attention and resources provided to democracy promotion efforts and influence whether such efforts focus on supporting fair… Continue Reading Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform

Prior to the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in 1976 and 1977, respectively, Congress did not take much interest in conducting oversight of the intelligence community (IC). The Subcommittees on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the congressional Armed Services Committees had… Continue Reading Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform