U.S. Domestic Policy Publications

Transforming Earthquake Detection and Science through Citizen Seismology

Jun 28, 2013
This white paper describes a groundbreaking system of citizen science projects by the U.S. Geological Survey and other scientific institutions to detect and monitor earthquakes and engage the public in scientific research about seismic events. These approaches seek to provide a more robust earthquake alert network and generate more real-time motion data. The paper also looks at how future efforts could be improved. Successful crowdsourcing projects at the federal level must navigate a web of practical, legal and policy considerations. This paper identifies some of these hurdles and provides lessons learned so that others may apply them to their unique missions.

The Trans - Atlantic South Partnership: Positions on Building a Mutually Beneficial Partnership with Africa

May 21, 2013
It is very simple. Until the U.S. is as optimally invested, or doing business as briskly as the Chinese, the EU, Indians, Brazilians or Vietnamese; the world’s largest economy can neither expand its commercial footprint in Africa nor make a portentous impact on the lives of over a billion Africans.

U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Guatemala and Mexico

May 13, 2013
Goodman's paper discusses U.S. firearms trafficking to Mexico as well as the lesser known phenomenon of the illicit movement of U.S.-origin firearms to Guatemala.

Congress Takes Recess From Pro Formas

Apr 22, 2013
So far this Congress has been spared the brief “pro forma” sessions used to block presidential recess appointments in previous Congresses. Both parties have done it to prevent a president of the other party from filling judicial or executive branch vacancies while Congress is away. A recent court decision however, may change all that.

Privacy and Missing Persons after Natural Disasters

Apr 19, 2013
When a natural disaster occurs, government agencies, humanitarian organizations, private companies, volunteers, and others collect information about missing persons to aid the search effort. Often this processing of information about missing persons exacerbates the complexities and uncertainties of privacy rules. This report offers a roadmap to the legal and policy issues surrounding privacy and missing persons following natural disasters.

Rubber-Band Politics' Snapback Sting

Mar 12, 2013
Sometimes Congress’s budget gimmicks snap back and sting. Sequestration (or across the board spending cuts) wasn’t supposed to happen, but something snapped, and everyone got stung.

Setting Priorities for U.S. Policy in Latin America

Mar 05, 2013
The Obama administration will need to establish clear priorities for U.S.–Latin American relations that advance U.S. interests in remarkably changed circumstances. No single approach to the region can guide U.S. policy, nor can policy be successful if it does not recognize the changes in the region over the past decade that are reflected in the hemisphere’s economic and political vitality.

Educating for Democracy: The Taube Discussion Series on Teaching American Values

Mar 05, 2013
What are core American values, and how should they be taught in the nation's classrooms? Four lectures on the subject were presented by the Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor, Dr. Donna E. Shalala, Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky, and Prof. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot. The lightly edited version of their talks provides thoughts about both basic values and the approaches most likely to be successful with K-12 students.

On Cybersecurity, Crowdsourcing, and Social Cyber-Attack

Mar 04, 2013
Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information.

Process Gimmicks Can't Replace Policymaking

Jan 24, 2013
It is often said that process is policy; that he who makes the rules controls policy outcomes. But in recent years, process has often been used to avoid tough policy choices, especially when it comes to getting government spending under control, writes Don Wolfensberger.