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davidtrump

​​​​​​​Cybersecurity, Racial issues & NASA

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Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity emerged as an important issue during Obama's presidency. In 2009, the Obama administration established United States Cyber Command, an armed forces sub-unified command charged with defending the military against cyber attacks. Sony Pictures suffered a major hack in 2014, which the US government alleges originated from North Korea in retaliation for the release of the film The Interview. China also developed sophisticated cyber-warfare forces. In 2015, Obama declared cyber-attacks on the US a national emergency. Later that year, Obama signed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act into law.  In 2016, the Democratic National Committee and other US organizations were hacked, and the FBI and CIA concluded that Russia sponsored the hacking in hopes of helping Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The email accounts of other prominent individuals, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director John O. Brennan, were also hacked, leading to new fears about the confidentiality of emails.

Racial issues

In his speeches as president, Obama did not make more overt references to race relations than his predecessors, but according to one study, he implemented stronger policy action on behalf of African-Americans than any president since the Nixon era.

Following Obama's election, many pondered the existence of a "postracial America." However, lingering racial tensions quickly became apparent, and many African-Americans expressed outrage over what they saw as "racial venom" directed at Obama's presidency. In July 2009, prominent African-American Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts home by a local police officer, sparking a controversy after Obama stated that the police acted "stupidly" in handling the incident. To reduce tensions, Obama invited Gates and the police officer to the White House in what became known as the "Beer Summit". Several other incidents during Obama's presidency sparked outrage in the African-American community and/or the law enforcement community, and Obama sought to build trust between law enforcement officials and civil rights activists. The acquittal of George Zimmerman following the shooting of Trayvon Martin sparked national outrage, leading to Obama giving a speech in which he noted that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a wave of protests. These and other events led to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. Some in the law enforcement community criticized Obama's condemnation of racial bias after incidents in which police action led to the death of African-American men, while some racial justice activists criticized Obama's expressions of empathy for the police. Though Obama entered office reluctant to talk about race, by 2014 he began openly discussing the disadvantages faced by many members of minority groups. In a March 2016 Gallup poll, nearly one third of Americans said they worried "a great deal" about race relations, a higher figure than in any previous Gallup poll since 2001.

NASA

In July 2009, Obama appointed Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, as NASA Administrator. That same year, Obama set up the Augustine panel to review the Constellation program. In February 2010, Obama announced that he was cutting the program from the 2011 United States federal budget, describing it as "over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation." After the decision drew criticism in the United States, a new "Flexible path to Mars" plan was unveiled at a space conference in April 2010. It included new technology programs, increased R&D spending, an increase in NASA's 2011 budget from $18.3 billion to $19 billion, a focus on the International Space Station, and plans to contract future transportation to Low Earth orbit to private companies. During Obama's presidency, NASA designed the Space Launch System and developed the Commercial Crew Development and Commercial Orbital Transportation Services to cooperate with private space flight companies. These private companies, including SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Boeing, and Bigelow Aerospace, became increasingly active during Obama's presidency. The Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, and NASA relied on the Russian space program to launch its astronauts into orbit for the remainder of the Obama administration. Obama's presidency also saw the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Science Laboratory. In 2016, Obama called on the United States to land a human on Mars by the 2030s.

Other initiatives

Obama took steps to promote various technologies and the technological prowess of the United States. The number of American adults using the internet grew from 74% in 2008 to 84% in 2013, and Obama pushed programs to extend broadband internet to lower income Americans. Over the opposition of many Republicans, the Federal Communications Commission began regulating internet providers as public utilities, with the goal of protecting "net neutrality." Obama launched 18F and the United States Digital Service, two organizations devoted to modernizing government information technology. The stimulus package included money to build high-speed rail networks such as the proposed Florida High Speed Corridor, but political resistance and funding problems stymied those efforts. In January 2016, Obama announced a plan to invest $4 billion in the development of self-driving cars, as well as an initiative by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for self-driving cars.  That same month, Obama called for a national effort led by Vice President Biden to develop a cure for cancer.

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