U.S. Policy Update for Friday, 27 May 2016

World map, political view

Today’s topics:     Embassy  & Consulate Closure /  Memorial Day / G7 in Japan /  DoD Budget Uncertainty


Embassy & Consulate Holiday Closure

We are closed

The U.S. Embassy in London, and our our Consulates-General in  Belfast and in Edinburgh will be CLOSED on Monday, 30 May 2016 for the U.S. Memorial Day / UK Spring  Bank holidays.

In an emergency involving a U.S. citizen in England or Wales, you can reach us after hours, seven days a week, via the main Embassy telephone number: (0)20-7499-9000 (if dialing from the U.S.: 011-44-20-7499-9000). Please note that this number is NOT for visa inquiries.
In the case of a U.S. citizen in Northern Ireland, please contact the Consulate General in Belfast for assistance.
In the case of a U.S. citizen in Scotland,please contact the Consulate General in Edinburgh.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Holiday Honors American War Dead   The Memorial Day holiday celebrated by Americans on the last Monday of May represents for many the unofficial beginning of summer. Many will travel over the long holiday weekend to seek out friends and family, beaches and amusement parks. But most will pause at some point to recall the holiday’s true purpose: honoring those who died defending their nation.

Dressed headstones at the Cambridge American cemetery
Cambridge American cemetery dressed for Memorial Day

Memorial Day entertainments throughout the United States range from large sporting events to quintessentially small-town celebrations. The Indianapolis (“Indy”) 500 motor race, by some measures the world’s largest single-day sporting event, attracts an estimated global audience of more than 320 million.

Congress established Memorial Day as a federal holiday in 1971 and fixed its observance on the last Monday in May.

Department of Defense

A solider in the foreground holding a machine gun while a Black Hawk helicopter hovers in the background
Special Tactics Training Squadron Airmen from the 24th Special Operations Wing fast rope from a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride)

26 May 2016 Budget Uncertainty Threatens Readiness, Pentagon Spokesman Says Budget uncertainty threatens readiness and training, underscoring the need for reliable funding for defense operations, the Pentagon’s press secretary told reporters.
There have been warnings for some time indicating that readiness and training would suffer amid sequestration spending cuts and in the budget uncertainty of the last few years, Peter Cook said.

“Ultimately, there’s a price to be paid for budget gridlock, particularly with the Department of Defense,” he added.

The Defense Department’s $582.7 billion budget request for fiscal year 2017 takes the needs of the services into account, Cook said, and it includes significant and aggressive investment in dealing with readiness issues. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been vocal about the need for continued budget certainty and investments in modernization, force structure and readiness, Cook pointed out.


G7 – Japan

27 May 2016 Global Growth the ‘Urgent Priority’, G-7 Leaders Conclude   Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthiest economies called global growth their “urgent priority” and expressed concern about North Korea, Russia and maritime disputes as their summit in Japan came to a close Friday.

A final statement of the meeting addressed broad issues facing the global economy while glossing over a difference of opinions among G-7 leaders over fiscal stimulus.


State Department

26 May 2016  Partners of the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit Announced  The U.S. Department of State announced today the partners and steering committee for the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to be hosted by President Obama June 22-24 at Stanford University. The Summit will be attended by more than 700 entrepreneurs from 170 countries around the world, including a large number of social entrepreneurs.

Attendees will participate in three days of interactive discussions and workshops with top Silicon Valley executives and investors from around the world. The State Department is working with selected partners through the SPARK Initiative, a consortium of organizations committed to supporting greater investment in global entrepreneurship.

25 May 2016 The United States Welcomes Release of [Azerbaijani] Journalist Khadija Ismayilova


White House

26 May 2016 Letter from the President — Space Report  “The report is the result of an interagency process with the objectives to reduce risks to the United States and our allies in space; and to protect and preserve the rights, access, capabilities, use, and freedom of action of the United States in space. “