U.S. Policy Update for Thursday, 03 March 2016

North Korea

02 March 2016 United States Sanctions Entities and Individuals Linked to North Korean Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs (state.gov)   The United States welcomes the unanimous adoption today of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2270. North Korea’s nuclear and missile proliferation activities violate multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, destabilize the region, and undermine the global nonproliferation regime. The international community has condemned North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation activity and its continued efforts to advance its nuclear and missile programs, including its announced January 6 nuclear test and its February 7 launch using ballistic missile technology. These provocative acts continue to threaten international peace and security and have only resulted in North Korea becoming further isolated from the international community.

02 March 2016 Secretary Kerry on Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2270 on North Korea (state.gov)   “This resolution contains the toughest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades, and includes mandatory cargo inspections, sectoral sanctions on North Korean trade in natural resources, and other rigorous provisions unprecedented in the North Korean sanctions regime. Today’s action, and the international consensus it represents, will hold the regime to account for its increasingly provocative behavior and the threat it poses to not only security on the peninsula, but also to the world.

Department of Defense

02 March 2016 DoD Invites Vetted Specialists to ‘Hack’ the Pentagon (defense.gov)  The Defense Department is launching a pilot programto allow vetted computer security specialists to do their best to hack DoD public web pages.  Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the “Hack the Pentagon” is the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government.  Bug bounty programs are offers by software developers and company websites to reward people who report bugs related to vulnerabilities or hacking exploits.

01 March 2016 DoD’s Carter: DoD Must Innovate to Lead in a Competitive World  (defense.gov)    The Defense Department doesn’t get to choose the many global challenges it faces, but it can set a course for the future that embraces innovation and keeps DoD competitive in a competitive world said Defense Secretary Ash Carter.  … Five evolving challenges — Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and terrorism — drive DoD’s planning and budgeting, he said.  A common theme across the budget is that DoD must innovate to be competitive in a competitive world, one of the reasons the department will spend $71.8 billion on research and development next year alone.

Narcotics

02 March 2016 State Department releases 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (state.gov)   The two-volume report offers a comprehensive assessment of the efforts of foreign governments to reduce illicit narcotics production, trafficking and use, in keeping with their international obligations under UN treaties, while also presenting information on governments’ efforts to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the INCSR.
It’s also notable that in 2016, the United Nations General Assembly will convene the international drug control community in April for a Special Session on drugs, the first in almost twenty years.
The full text of the INCSR Volumes I and II are available for review at State.gov.

Human Rights

02 March 2016 Deputy Secretary of State Blinken Statement at the Human Rights Council (state.gov)   “Mister President of the Council, distinguished delegates, it is an honor to represent the United States here at the Human Rights Council on its 10th anniversary. The United States’ commitment to the mandate and mission of this Council runs deep into our nation’s history, where it is engraved into our founding values and etched into standards we strive to hold ourselves to every day. … In the face of global human rights challenges, this Council has acted to defend civil society and protect space for individuals to speak their minds freely, hold their leaders accountable, join together in peaceful protest, and develop solutions to problems that governments alone cannot tackle. But there is much more work to do.”

U.S. Presidential Elections 2016

03 March 2016 What is ‘Super Tuesday,’ and why is it important? (ShareAmerica)   The major U.S. political parties — Democratic and Republican — select their presidential and vice presidential candidates at a party convention to which each state (and several U.S. territories) sends delegates. During February 2016, four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — are selecting delegates.
But on March 1, Super Tuesday, 14 U.S. states and territories will hold primaries and caucuses to choose more than 1,000 Democratic and 600 Republican delegates pledged to one or another of the presidential candidates. Since a Democrat needs 2,382 delegates, and a Republican 1,237, to capture the party nomination, Super Tuesday states play a big role in choosing each party’s standard-bearer.

We have collected background materials for the U.S. Presidential election and election process in the United States of America on our U.S. Elections page. Topics include:

U.S. Citizens: we have many advisories for absentee and overseas voting on our website!