The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

GREELEY, CO - OCTOBER 30:  Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rainbow flag given to him by supporter Max Nowak during a campaign rally at the Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of University of Northern Colorado October 30, 2016 in Greeley, Colorado. With less than nine days until Americans go to the polls, Trump is campaigning in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, July 26, the President Trump issued the following series of tweets announcing a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military: After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Continue reading The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

Federal outlays by agency and select program area, 1962–2015.

News outlets have been reviewing the Trump administration’s proposed budget for FY 2018. The proposal makes deep cuts to several federal agencies and spending categories, while also increasing funding to a select few agencies. The article linked above discusses the budget breakdown in greater depth, comparing different programs and agencies to see where the cuts fall. Notably, some programs and agencies associated with foreign policymaking receive deep cuts. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Post’s report concerning some of the key agencies and programs that deal with foreign affairs. The State Department, USAID, and various international programs housed within Treasury receive Continue reading The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

News broke late last night that President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor (NSA), retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, resigned his position amidst mounting concerns that he had improper and possibly illegal exchanges with Russia’s ambassador, and concerns that he was possibly compromised and vulnerable to blackmail. I’m not going to wade into these weightier issues. Flynn’s appointment to be President Trump’s NSA has long been controversial for a number of reasons, and I doubt that we’ve heard the last of this particular case as investigations into his relations with Russian officials appear to be ongoing. Instead, I was curious as to Continue reading On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

This post is based on the article “Regions of Hierarchy and Security: US Troop Deployments, Spatial Relations, and Defense Burdens”, by Michael Allen (Boise State University), Michael Flynn (Kansas State University), and Julie VanDusky–Allen (Boise State University), which is forthcoming in International Interactions. Since the end of World War II, the United States has deployed tens-of-thousands of military personnel overseas. In spite of their importance to foreign policy, relatively little research has focused on understanding the effects of these deployments. However, recent years have seen an increase in research on the effects of such deployments on a wide range of Continue reading How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

Constitutional Courts and the Dissolution of Political Parties

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Mert Moral and Efe Tokdemir for their forthcoming article in the International Political Science Review entitled, “Justices ‘en Garde’: ideological determinants of the dissolution of anti-establishment parties”. Mert is currently a doctoral candidate in political science at Binghamton University. Efe is a doctoral candidate in political science at Binghamton University and is currently a visiting scholar at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University.  The Constitutional Court of Turkey (CCT), the counterpart of the Supreme Court in the U.S., has long been an influential actor in Turkish politics. Continue reading Constitutional Courts and the Dissolution of Political Parties

How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

This is a guest post by Alissandra T. Stoyan (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Kansas State University) and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University). This post is based on their article, “Constraining Executive Action: The Role of Legislator Professionalization in Latin America,” forthcoming at Governance and now available through Early View online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gove.12210/abstract Traditionally Latin American presidents have been viewed as excessively powerful, given both their constitutionally-endowed authority as well as their tendency to ignore the rule of law. Yet, across the region today, legislatures are asserting themselves and challenging executives. Brazilian Continue reading How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

Terrorist Groups and Reputation Building

The following is a guest post by Seden Akcinaroglu and Efe Tokdemir. Seden is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. Efe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. This post is based on research from their recent article, “To instill fear or love: Terrorist groups and strategy of building reputation”, in the Conflict Management and Peace Science. In an earlier post dated February 24th 2016, the authors explain the data and the measurement in detail. Terror Groups and Their Actions: Multiple Messages Send to Multiple Audiences Terrorism is once again Continue reading Terrorist Groups and Reputation Building

Mapping subnational administrative areas

Between teaching classes and a couple of projects that I’ve been working on lately, I’ve been finding Stata’s spmap command to be a really useful tool for generating maps to display data. One project in particular has involved the collection of some new data for examining various developmental outcomes at the subnational level. To some extent this is new territory for me, but the idea of being able to display the geographic distribution of some of the key variables that we’re interested in was really attractive. I’ve found shapefiles for generating global maps, as well as maps of the US, but Continue reading Mapping subnational administrative areas

It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

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During the Russian invasion of Crimea, I previously mentioned that I, Julie VanDusky-Allen, and Michael Flynn, were working on a research project that examined the effect that hosting varying amounts of foreign (i.e. US) troops has on the defense spending of local and regional governments. Earlier this week, that article became available in Foreign Policy Analysis’ Early View. If you have taught game theory long enough, or if you have read enough anecdotes by people who have, one thing that you learn is that students, once they have learned and consumed the lessons from the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), seem to see it everywhere—even when it Continue reading It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

Should the Decisions of Administrative Law Judges Be Subject to Public Opinion?

In the United States, if a citizen has a dispute with an executive agency, they can take the dispute in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter in resolving the dispute. For example, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies someone disabilities benefits, that person can appeal the decision, and an ALJ is supposed to either award or deny the claim based solely on the facts of the case. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has tried to ensure ALJs remain neutral agents. The OPM has established rules and procedures Continue reading Should the Decisions of Administrative Law Judges Be Subject to Public Opinion?