U.S. Policy Update for Friday, 03 June 2016

Today’s topics:     Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 / US-EU eHealth project / DoD’s carter to Shangri-La conference / Clean Energy Ministerial / New Foreign Relations books digitized /


Country Reports on Terrorism 2015

The Country Reports on Terrorism are submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act.

From Chapter 1 ( Strategic Assessment) of the Report:  The global terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2015, becoming increasingly decentralized and diffuse. Terrorist groups continued to exploit an absence of credible and effective state institutions, where avenues for free and peaceful expression of opinion were blocked, justice systems lacked credibility, and where security force abuses and government corruption went unchecked.

02 June 2016 Special Briefing by Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Justin Siberell  Country Reports on Terrorism 2015

Justin Siberell, Acting Coordinator of Counterterrorism, DoS
Justin Siberell, Acting Coordinator of Counterterrorism, DoS

In 2015, the United States faced a dynamic and evolving terrorist threat environment. The international community made important progress in degrading terrorist safe havens – in particular, a sizeable reduction in the amount of territory held by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, in Iraq and Syria, as well as the finances and foreign terrorist fighters available to it. At the same time, however, instability in key regions of the world, along with weak or nonexistent governance, sectarian conflict, and porous borders continue to provide terrorist groups like ISIL the opportunity to extend their reach, terrorize civilians, and attract and mobilize new recruits.

Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the last – past several years. More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria. And 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan.


Health & Technology

A nurse talks with a mother and child at a Pittsburgh hospita
A nurse talks with a mother and child at a Pittsburgh hospital that keeps paperless medical records, allowing physicians to view a chest X-ray like this remotely. (AP Images)

02 June 2016  U.S., Europe tackle health challenges together, with technology  Imagine that a tourist newly arrived in a destination overseas is hit by a bus, knocked unconscious and rushed to a hospital. Doctors and nurses know the name in the passport but nothing about medical history, allergies to medications or other special conditions.

But what if that patient’s electronic health record could be easily retrieved before surgery? And if the medical codes and terminology collected in one country matched what doctors relied on in the next?

That’s been the goal of an ambitious eHealth project that the United States and the European Union undertook in 2010. The first stage finished last year, and work is expected to resume soon on a “road map” to bolster trans-Atlantic cooperation in eHealth among governments, international-standards agencies, health-care companies and entrepreneurs.


White House

02 June 2016 Fact Sheet: U.S. Hosts World’s Energy Ministers to Scale Up Clean Energy and Drive Implementation of the Paris Agreement  Government and business leaders gather in San Francisco at the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) and the Mission Innovation Ministerial to accelerate clean energy deployment and to double clean energy R&D Investments over five years to $30 Billion per year.


Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Ash Carter hosts a meeting with Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, May 30, 2015 (DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett)
Defense Secretary Ash Carter hosts a meeting with Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, May 30, 2015 (DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett)

02 June 2016 Carter to Speak at Singapore Conference, Says U.S. Presence in Region is Significant    Making his fifth trip to the Asia-Pacific region since becoming defense secretary in 2015 shows the significance of the U.S. military’s longstanding presence there, said Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The secretary said the U.S. military’s rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region is the single-most consequential element of America’s future, because half of the world’s population and half the economic activity exist there.

The U.S. rebalance continues, he said, adding that U.S. military presence shows the United States stands for principle, inclusion and collective approaches to common security issues there, such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, relief efforts, maritime security and freedom of the commons.

Additionally, the strength of the U.S. military’s presence in the region has also led to progress with Japan and Korea and Taiwan, Southeast Asia “and, today, China and India,” he said.

02 June 2016 Obama Addresses Members of Air Force Academy’s 2016 Graduating Class President Barack Obama shared with the graduating cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy some of the lessons he has learned in more than seven years as president and commander in chief during a commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado, today.

The president addressed the 812 new second lieutenants and discussed lessons he had learned about national security. The president also saluted Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who’s slated to retire as the top officer in his service.

State Department

02 June 2016 Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Quarterly Release of Newly Digitized Foreign Relations Volumes The Department of State today announces the release of newly digitized versions of twenty-three volumes from the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of U.S. foreign relations. These volumes cover events that took place between 1940 and 1951 and were originally published in print between 1955 and 1982: