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Friday, January 29, 2010

War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance

 Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in International Security


Two separate but closely related issues confront Congress each time the President introduces armed forces into a situation abroad that conceivably could lead to their involvement in hostilities. One issue concerns the division of war powers between the President and Congress, whether the use of armed forces falls within the purview of the congressional power to declare war and the War Powers Resolution (WPR). The other issue is whether or not Congress concurs in the wisdom of the action. This report does not deal with the substantive merits of using armed forces in specific cases, but rather with congressional authorization for military action, and the application and effectiveness of the WPR. The purpose of the WPR (P.L. 93-148, passed over President Nixon's veto on November 7, 1973) is to ensure that Congress and the President share in making decisions that may get the United States involved in hostilities. Compliance becomes an issue whenever the President introduces U.S. forces abroad in situations that might be construed as hostilities or imminent hostilities. Criteria for compliance include prior consultation with Congress, fulfillment of the reporting requirements, and congressional authorization. If the President has not complied fully, the issue becomes what action Congress should take to bring about compliance or to influence U.S. policy. A related issue has been congressional authorization of U.N. peacekeeping or other U.N.-sponsored actions. 

For over three decades, war powers and the War Powers Resolution have been an issue in U.S. military actions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and Europe. Presidents have submitted 127 reports to Congress as a result of the War Powers Resolution, although only one (the Mayaguez situation) cited Section 4(a)(1) or specifically stated that forces had been introduced into hostilities or imminent hostilities. Congress invoked the WPR in the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution (P.L. 98-119), which authorized the Marines to remain in Lebanon for 18 months. In addition, P.L. 102-1, enacted in January 1991, authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces in response to Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, stated that it constituted specific statutory authorization within the meaning of the WPR. On November 9, 1993, the House used a section of the WPR to state that U.S. forces should be withdrawn from Somalia by March 31, 1994; Congress had already taken this action in appropriations legislation. War powers have been at issue in former Yugoslavia/Bosnia/Kosovo, Iraq, and Haiti. Authorizing military actions in response to the terrorist attacks against the United States of September 11, 2001, through P.L. 107-40 directly involved war powers. The continued use of force to obtain Iraqi compliance with U.N. resolutions remained a war powers issue from the end of the Gulf war on February 28, 1991, until the enactment of P.L. 107-243, in October 2002, which explicitly authorized the President to use force against Iraq, an authority he exercised in March 2003, and continues to exercise for military operations in Iraq. 

Debate continues on whether using the War Powers Resolution is effective as a means of assuring congressional participation in decisions that might get the United States involved in a significant military conflict. Proposals have been made to modify or repeal the resolution. None have been enacted to date. This report will be updated as events warrant. 


Date of Report: January 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: RL33532
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U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress

Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

India, which has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not have International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear material in peaceful nuclear activities, exploded a "peaceful" nuclear device in 1974, convincing the world of the need for greater restrictions on nuclear trade. The United States created the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as a direct response to India's test, halted nuclear exports to India a few years later, and worked to convince other states to do the same. India tested nuclear weapons again in 1998. However, President Bush announced July 18, 2005, he would "work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India" and would "also seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies," in the context of a broader partnership with India. 

U.S. nuclear cooperation is governed by the Atomic Energy Act (AEA). P.L. 109-401, which President Bush signed into law on December 18, 2006, provides waivers of several provisions of the AEA (Sections 123 a. (2), 128, and 129). It requires that several steps occur before nuclear cooperation can proceed. On September 10, 2008, President Bush submitted to Congress a written determination that these requirements had been met. That same day, the President submitted the text of the proposed agreement, which had not yet been signed. The President also submitted a written determination (also required by the AEA) "that the performance of the proposed agreement will promote and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security." In addition, President Bush submitted several documents, including classified and unclassified versions of a Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement, which is required by section 123 of the AEA. The Department of State also submitted a report required by P.L. 109- 401 on various aspects of the agreement. 

On September 27, 2008, the House passed H.R. 7081, which approved the agreement. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved identical legislation, S. 3548, September 23. The Senate passed H.R. 7081 October 1. President Bush signed P.L. 110-369 into law October 8. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and India's External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee signed the agreement October 10, and it entered into force December 6, 2008. 

However, several steps remain before U.S. companies can start nuclear trade with India. For example, P.L. 110-369 requires that, before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can issue licenses for U.S. nuclear exports to India, the President must determine and certify to Congress that New Delhi's IAEA safeguards agreement has entered into force and that India's declaration of its nuclear facilities to the agency "is not materially inconsistent with the facilities and schedule" described in a separation plan that New Delhi provided to Washington. India's safeguards agreement entered into force in May 2009, and New Delhi has filed the declaration with the IAEA. The President, however, has not submitted the required certifications to Congress. 

Furthermore, U.S. firms will likely be very reluctant to engage in nuclear trade with India if the government does not become party to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which has not yet entered into force. India also is reportedly insisting that New Delhi and Washington conclude an agreement on a reprocessing facility in India before New Delhi signs contracts with U.S. nuclear firms. 
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Date of Report: January 11, 2010
Number of Pages: 47
Order Number: RL33016
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Veterans Health Administration: Community-Based Outpatient Clinics

Sidath Viranga Panangala
Specialist in Veterans Policy

Bryce H.P. Mendez


In the early 1990s, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—one of the three administrations of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—began developing a strategy to expand its capacity to provide outpatient primary care, especially for veterans who had to travel long distances to receive care at VA facilities. To facilitate access to primary care closer to where veterans reside, VHA began implementing a system for approving and establishing Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). 

A CBOC is a fixed health care site that is geographically distinct or separate from its parent VA medical facility. A CBOC can be either VA-owned and VA-staffed or contracted to Healthcare Management Organizations (HMO). Regardless of how it is administered, a CBOC must have the necessary professional medical staff, access to diagnostic testing and treatment capability, and the referral arrangements needed to ensure continuity of health care for current or eligible veteran patients. VA policies require all CBOCs to be operated in a manner that provides veterans with consistent, safe, high-quality health care. 

CBOCs are managed at the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) level, and planning and development of a new CBOC is based on the VA's need, available resources, local market circumstances, and veteran preference. 

In FY2010, VA expects to have a total of 833 operational CBOCs throughout the United States and its territories to serve over 2.8 million veteran patients. In addition to primary care, CBOCs provide mental health services, management of acute and chronic medical conditions, and pharmacy benefits, among other services. It should be noted that the type of medical services available at a CBOC can vary from clinic to clinic. 

This report provides an overview of VA's rationale in establishing CBOCs, describes how they are managed and administered, discusses medical services provided at CBOCs, and summarizes what is known about the quality and cost of providing care in CBOCs compared to primary care clinics at VA Medical Centers. Lastly, it describes the process for developing a new CBOC. This report will be updated if events warrant.


Date of Report: January 28, 2010
Number of Pages: 17
Order Number: R41044
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CRS Issue Statement on Nuclear Weapons: U.S. Posture and Programs and Arms Control


Amy F. Woolf, Coordinator
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy
 

Jonathan Medalia
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

George Mangan
Information Research Specialist

President Obama outlined his Administration's priorities and goals for U.S. nuclear weapons and arms control policy in a speech in Prague, in April 2009. The President stated that "the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" and that America was committed to seeking "the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." He recognized that this goal would not be reached quickly, but he pledged that the United States would "reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same." At the same time, he indicated that "as long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies."

Congress has shown a continuing interest in both of these issue areas—the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy and the programs and budgets dedicated to maintaining the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the FY2008 Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated that the next Administration conduct a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in 2009. The Obama Administration plans to submit its report on the NPR to Congress in early March 2010. This report is to offer the Administration's conclusions on the key threats to U.S. national security, the role nuclear weapons can play in addressing these threats, and the size and structure of the future U.S. nuclear arsenal. It is also likely to highlight the relationship between U.S. nuclear weapons strategy and U.S. nonproliferation goals.


Date of Report: January 6, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40355
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CRS Issue Statement on Military Weapons and Equipment Programs

Pat Towell, Coordinator
Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget

Steven A. Hildreth
Specialist in Missile Defense

Carl Ek
Specialist in International Relations

Jonathan Medalia
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Mari-Jana "M-J" Oboroceanu
Information Research Specialist

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation



A major responsibility of Congress is to provide U.S. military forces with weapons and equipment. Annual funding supports the development, acquisition and maintenance of a wide variety of military systems and items. 

This year, pressures on the federal budget as a result of the current financial crisis may lead to tighter constraints on defense spending and thus exacerbate the problem of balancing the cost of current military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq against the cost of modernizing the Services for the long run. This perennial challenge may be particularly salient in 2010 because, in addition to submitting its annual DOD budget request, the Administration will publish the results of the legislatively-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which is intended to be a far reaching assessment of U.S. force structure and plans. A major theme of that review may be the issue of deciding how to balance the need to equip U.S. forces to fight a conventional war against a potential near-peer competitor against the need to equip them to wage irregular warfare against unconventional adversaries, such as they currently face in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40351
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CRS Issue Statement on Military Strategies and Force Structure

Stephen Daggett, Coordinator
Specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets

he 111th Congress will be presented with a wide range of national security issues as the U.S. government undertakes both the intellectual and practical task of updating and revising its military strategy and force planning to meet the demands of a rapidly changing international security environment. Much of the discussion will be shaped by the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), on which the Defense Department is required to issue a report no later than February 2010, when the President's budget is due to Congress. The QDR normally follows a statement of National Security Strategy by the White House. The strategy report is required to define U.S. global interests and objectives and to describe the foreign policy as well as military capabilities needed to implement U.S. national security strategy. The new Administration has not completed a report, however, leaving many aspects of national security strategy yet to be fully defined. 

In recent years, it has very widely been agreed that the global security environment necessitates an "all of government" approach to national security that combines "soft power" skills, most often applied by civilian agencies, with the military's traditional "hard power." A great deal of interest has been expressed in reexamining how well the U.S. government is organized to apply all instruments of national power to achieve its national security objectives, how to balance major roles and responsibilities among key agencies, and how to integrate agency efforts. The shift of economic strength from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the rise of China as a major global power, may become a matter of increasing congressional attention in shaping global economic policy, foreign policy, and defense strategy. Meanwhile, managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and assessing the effectiveness of the Administration's expanded, though not open-ended, commitment in Afghanistan will remain a major focus of congressional oversight and debate.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40350
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CRS Issue Statement on Military Personnel and Compensation

Charles A. Henning, Coordinator
Specialist in Military Manpower Policy


Military operations undertaken in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 have significantly changed the duty requirements, expectations, and environment for members of the Armed Forces and their families, particularly in the Army, the Marine Corps, and the reserve components. These changes have resulted in congressional and executive branch action to: (1) increase the size and change the structure of the military services; and, (2) adjust certain aspects of the military compensation system to recognize the greater sacrifices being made by service members and to sustain acceptable recruiting and retention rates. The second session of the 111th Congress may well revisit these issues in light of ongoing concerns about these topics. For example, the Secretary of Defense recently announced plans to temporarily further increase the size of the Army by 22,000 soldiers. In February, the congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is scheduled to be released and is expected to focus on the capabilities and forces needed to address today's conflicts and tomorrow's threats. The issues raised by the QDR and the continuing growth of the Army will likely be evaluated in light of both the dramatic increase in Department of Defense personnel costs over the past decade and the recent U.S. economic and financial downturn. 

The Administration's plans to redeploy over 100,000 U.S. personnel and most of their equipment from Iraq and to "surge" an additional 30,000 service members to combat operations in Afghanistan during 2010 will likely highlight other personnel issues. This realignment of forces has implications for the operating tempo, "dwell time," continued family separations, and, potentially, recruiting and retention. Efforts will continue to increase the supply of certain high skill units such as special forces, civil affairs, and information operations; improving training in foreign language and cultural skills; and enhancing the military's ability to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces.



Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40349
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CRS Issue Statement on International Crime and Narcotics

Liana Sun Wyler, Coordinator
Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics

International crime may pose policy challenges of interest to the 111th Congress, as such activities affect a broad spectrum of U.S. foreign policy objectives. Examples of such challenges include drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, financial crime, corruption, organized crime, maritime piracy, environmental crimes, cybercrime, and other illicit activities. Major U.S. efforts to counter threats posed by the international drug trade have focused on Afghanistan, the Andean region of South America, and Mexico. In addition, policymakers have recently formulated responses to emerging narco-hotspots, including West Africa. Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation or forced labor is another major area of congressional concern. Significant overlap in the illicit financing of the drug trade, organized criminal activity, and terrorism has increased oversight focus on efforts to combat various forms of international money laundering. Policymakers remain challenged by the wide variety of transnational criminal activity, ranging from maritime piracy to wildlife crime. The expansion and sophistication of cybercrime poses another growing security threat confronting policymakers.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: IS40307
Price: $7.95

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CRS Issue Statement on Intelligence Policy

Richard A. Best Jr., Coordinator
Specialist in National Defense


Increasingly, there is little difference between what is "foreign" intelligence and what is "domestic" intelligence. Information can be collected abroad that is of importance to those responsible for law enforcement and, conversely, some information collected within U.S. borders addresses important foreign intelligence concerns. This is especially the case in regard to situations in which parties overseas seek to undertake terrorist attacks within the United States. A number of key statutes (especially the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458)) were enacted in the wake of 9/11 to remove the dichotomy between foreign and domestic intelligence collection and analysis. Given recent terrorist attacks, the second session of the 111th Congress is likely to continue to be concerned that the new organizational relationships put into place in recent years are optimized to deal with the new intelligence environment– including mechanisms to encourage the greater sharing of information while protecting the civil liberties of U.S. persons. An area of particular concern is likely to be counterterrorism capabilities in regard to Al Qaeda and the extent to which the targeting of drone attacks has been misdirected by false information deliberately given to the CIA. Congress is also expected to pay especially close attention to the status of organizational changes in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) designed to enhance the FBI's intelligence collection and analysis capabilities. In addition, Congress will likely monitor the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its efforts to share intelligence with state and local governments. Particular interest in improving the effectiveness of watchlists for airline travelers is likely.


Date of Report: January 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40334
Price: $7.95

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

CRS Issue Statement on Defense Acquisition

Valerie Bailey Grasso, Coordinator
Specialist in Defense Acquisition


The Department of Defense (DOD) has fielded, by all accounts, a technologically advanced and superior military force in the world and is supplied by a sophisticated acquisition system. This acquisition system is comprised of the management policy and processes that guide all DOD acquisition programs. However, at the same time, DOD has experienced significant problems managing the costs, schedule, and performance of this acquisition system, despite continued efforts to reform defense acquisition policies, personnel, and processes. 

In recent years, Congress has expressed increasing concerns with the management of the DOD acquisition system. Congressional concerns include the failure of DOD to develop effective acquisition strategies to field weapons systems and effectively provide oversight and accountability for service contracts and contractors, particularly with the broader policy questions raised in the awarding and managing of contracts for reconstruction and combat support services performed in Iraq. Recent reports of weapon system cost overruns and instances of waste, fraud, abuse, and contract mismanagement point to a continued need for investigations, hearings, and other oversight activities for the second session of the 111th Congress. Congress has already taken steps to address some of the problems through the passage of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Public Law 111-23. Other related legislative initiatives introduced but not enacted during the 111th Congress were the Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight Act, H.R. 2101, and the Contractor Accountability Act, H.R.1360.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: IS40307
Price: $7.95

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty

Amy F. Woolf Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy


On May 24, 2002, President Bush and Russia's President Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the Moscow Treaty). It mandated that the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 6, 2003; the Russian Duma did the same on May 14, 2003. The Treaty entered into force on June 1, 2003. 

Russia entered the negotiations seeking a "legally binding document" that would contain limits, definitions, counting rules and elimination rules that resembled those in the START Treaties. Russia also wanted the new Treaty to contain a statement noting U.S. missile defenses would not undermine the effectiveness of Russia's offensive forces. The United States preferred a less formal process in which the two nations would state their intentions to reduce their nuclear forces, possibly accompanied by a document outlining added monitoring and transparency measures. Furthermore, the United States had no intention of including restrictions on missile defenses in an agreement outlining reductions in strategic offensive nuclear weapons. 

Russia convinced the United States to sign a legally binding treaty, but the United States rejected any limits and counting rules that would require the elimination of delivery vehicles and warheads removed from service. It wanted the flexibility to reduce its forces at its own pace, and to restore warheads to deployed forces if conditions warranted. The Treaty contains four substantive Articles. The first limits each side to 1,700-2,200 strategic nuclear warheads, but states that the parties can determine the structure of their forces themselves. The second states that START I remains in force; the parties can use that Treaty's verification regime to monitor reductions under the new Treaty. The third established a bilateral implementation commission and the fourth sets December 31, 2012, for the Treaty's expiration and notes that either party can withdraw on three months notice. 

Under the new Treaty, the United States has retained most of the delivery vehicles planned for START II, which would have limited each side to 3,500 warheads. But the United States has removed additional warheads from deployed forces and leaves out of its tally warheads that could be deployed on systems in overhaul or assigned to conventional missions. Russia has eliminated many of its existing ballistic missiles and submarines, retaining fewer than 150 multiple warhead ICBMs, around 200 single warhead ICBMs, and 10 ballistic missile submarines. 

According to official and unofficial reports, both sides have implemented the Treaty smoothly. However, they have not held all the planned consultations, as there has been little to discuss. Instead, the two nations began, in 2006, to hold discussions about the 2009 expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which contains monitoring provisions that aid with verification of the Moscow Treaty. The 111th Congress may have the opportunity to review and oversee these discussions. This report will be updated when events warrant.


Date of Report: January 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RL31448
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CRS Issue Statement on Defense Authorization and Appropriations

Pat Towell, Coordinator
Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget

Stephen Daggett
Specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets

Amy Belasco
Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

Thomas J. Nicola
Legislative Attorney

Mari-Jana "M-J" Oboroceanu
Information Research Specialist



Defense spending is a major focus of attention in Congress every year, initially in action on the congressional budget resolution, which recommends overall spending for national defense, and later when Congress considers annual defense authorization and appropriations bills. Congress also regularly considers supplemental appropriations for military operations abroad, often early in the agenda of a new legislative session. 

In the Second Session of the 111th Congress, supplemental appropriations for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of FY2010 are again expected to be considered early in the year. A supplemental appropriations bill may become a vehicle for debate about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan and their mission and about the metrics by which to determine the degree to which U.S. goals in that country are being achieved.



Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 2
Order Number: IS40465
Price: $7.95

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CRS Issue Statement on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations

Daniel H. Else, Coordinator
Specialist in National Defense

Sidath Viranga Panangala
Analyst in Veterans Policy

Christine Scott
Specialist in Social Policy



he closing, reduction in scope, or expansion of military installations on domestic soil and

overseas, the privatization of government-built military housing, the provision of benefits

and medical care to eligible veterans, and the redeployment of military units to the United

States from overseas garrisons have drawn congressional attention in recent sessions. The funds

to support all of these activities are provided by the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and

Related Agencies Appropriations Act debated annually in both chambers.



For the Second Session of the 111th Congress, issues directly related to military construction

could include enhancement of infrastructure in communities absorbing an expanded military

presence due to the 2005 round of base closures and realignments and a reassessment of the

number and location of U.S. military installations overseas.


Date of Report: January 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 2
Order Number: IS40464
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CRS Issue Statement on WMD and Missile Proliferation

Mary Beth Nikitin, Coordinator
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs

Steven A. Hildreth
Specialist in Missile Defense

Emma Chanlett-Avery
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Larry A. Niksch
Specialist in Asian Affairs


The possible proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons (known collectively as Weapons of Mass Destruction—WMD) and their delivery systems to additional nations or subnational groups poses significant challenges for U.S. national security policy. The complex challenges presented by the threat of WMD proliferation have diplomatic, technological, and economic aspects. The United States is a signatory to several international agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention, that seek to contain the spread of these weapons to other nations. Washington also pursues policies that seek to slow or prevent the proliferation of weapons or materials from specific countries, such as Russia, Pakistan, and China, and to dissuade or prevent the acquisition of these weapons and related technologies by specific countries, such as Iran and North Korea, and subnational or terrorist groups.


Date of Report: January 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40408
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Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy


During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union both deployed thousands of "nonstrategic" nuclear weapons that were intended to be used in support of troops in the field during a conflict. These included nuclear mines; artillery; short, medium, and long-range ballistic missiles; cruise missiles; and gravity bombs. In contrast with the longer-range "strategic" nuclear weapons, these weapons had a lower profile in policy debates and arms control negotiations. At the end of the 1980s, before the demise of the Soviet Union, each nation still had thousands of these weapons deployed with their troops in the field, aboard naval vessels, and on aircraft. 

In 1991, both the United States and Soviet Union announced that they would withdraw most and eliminate many of their nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The United States now retains approximately 1,100 nonstrategic nuclear weapons, with a few hundred deployed with aircraft in Europe and the remaining stored in the United States. Estimates vary, but experts believe Russia still has between 2,000 and 6,000 warheads for nonstrategic nuclear weapons in its arsenal. The Bush Administration indicated that nuclear weapons remained essential to U.S. national security interests, but it did quietly redeploy and remove some of the nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. In addition, Russia has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons in its national security concept. Some analysts argue that Russia has backed away from its commitments from 1991 and may develop and deploy new types of nonstrategic nuclear weapons. 

Analysts have identified a number of issues with the continued deployment of U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. These include questions about the safety and security of Russia's weapons and the possibility that some might be lost, stolen, or sold to another nation or group; questions about the role of these weapons in U.S. and Russian security policy, and the likelihood that either nation might use these weapons in a regional contingency with a non-nuclear nation; questions about the role that these weapons play in NATO policy and whether there is a continuing need for the United States to deploy these weapons at bases overseas; and questions about the relationship between nonstrategic nuclear weapons and U.S. nonproliferation policy, particularly whether a U.S. policy that views these weapons as a militarily useful tool might encourage other nations to acquire their own nuclear weapons, or at least complicate U.S. policy to discourage such acquisition. 

Some argue that these weapons do not create any problems and the United States should not alter its policy. Others, however, argue that the United States should reduce its reliance on these weapons and encourage Russia to do the same. Many have suggested that the United States and Russia expand efforts to cooperate on ensuring the safe and secure storage and elimination of these weapons, possibly by negotiating an arms control treaty that would limit these weapons and allow for increased transparency in monitoring their deployment and elimination. Others have suggested that any potential new U.S.-Russian arms control treaty count both strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. This might encourage reductions or the elimination of these weapons. The 111th Congress may review some of these proposals. 

This report will be updated as needed.


Date of Report: January 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: RL32572
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Terrorist Attacks on Commercial Airlines: Federal Criminal Prohibitions

Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law



Summary 

Federal authorities can and have prosecuted terrorist attacks on commercial airlines under a wide variety of federal statutes. Some of those statutes outlaw crimes committed aboard a commercial airliner; some, crimes committed against the aircraft itself; others, crimes involving the use of firearms or explosives; still others, crimes committed for terrorist purposes. Within each category, the law reaches co-conspirators and other accomplices. Moreover, although most apply when committed within the United States, many apply to terrorist attacks overseas, particularly but necessarily, when the victims are Americans or U.S. airlines.


Introduction

A handful of terrorists have been prosecuted in federal court for attacks on commercial airlines or their passengers. Most often they have been charged with several crimes. Prosecution for some crimes depends upon where they were committed; some on the nationality of the airline, of the victim, or of the offender; some on whether the crimes has been planned, attempted, or completed; some on the nature of the attack; and some without regard to any of these factors. For instance, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged so-called Christmas bomber, has been charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; attempt to destroy an aircraft within such jurisdiction; placing an endangering destructive device upon an aircraft there; and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.1 The offenses with which terrorists may be charged fall within one or more of several categories: crimes committed aboard an aircraft; crimes committed against an aircraft; crimes committed using dangerous instrumentalities, such as a bomb; crimes of terrorism; crimes committed by or against certain classes of individuals; and crimes for which accomplices may be liable. This is a brief description of those offenses, and an outline of the penalties to which they may be subject and of the jurisdictional circumstances under which offenses they may be federally prosecuted regardless of whether they are committed within the United States or overseas. Perhaps because of the range of existing criminal proscriptions, there have been no legislative proposals to enlarge upon them as of yet.2



Date of Report: January 22, 2010
Number of Pages: 19
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CRS Issue Statement on Detainee Treatment

Michael John Garcia, Coordinator
Legislative Attorney


Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Congress passed the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), which authorized the President to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against persons and entities who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks against the United States. During subsequent military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the United States has captured and interrogated numerous persons suspected of enemy belligerency and/or terrorist activity. Over the years, issues relating to detainee treatment in the "war on terror" have been the subject of numerous legal and policy disputes. 

Potential issues that may arise in the second session of the 111th Congress include the following. 

Standards for Interrogation and Treatment of Detainees 


Over the years, rules concerning the treatment of detainees have become more stringent as a result of Supreme Court rulings concerning the applicability of the Geneva Conventions and legislative enactments imposing higher standards for the treatment of detainees. In January 2009, President Obama issued a series of Executive Orders related to the treatment of wartime detainees. Among other things, these Orders established uniform standards for the interrogation of suspected belligerents, and created special task forces to review U.S. detention, interrogation, and rendition policies. New judicial or legislative developments may further affect standards for the treatment of detainees. 

While the Supreme Court has determined that, at a minimum, Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions applies to at least some of detainees, questions may continue to arise regarding the relevant international legal regime governing the detention, interrogation, and treatment of persons detained in the "war on terror." Issues may include the application of other provisions of the Geneva Conventions to detainees, as well as the relevance of human rights agreements like the Convention Against Torture to standards for the treatment of detainees.


Date of Report: January 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 5
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CRS Issue Statement on Civil Liberties and National Security

Edward C. Liu, Coordinator
Legislative Attorney


Balancing the need to detect and thwart activities that pose a threat to U.S. national security with the need to safeguard the civil liberties of U.S. persons continues to be an important policy challenge facing the 111th Congress. As the final report issued by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission Report) noted, 

We must find ways of reconciling security with liberty, since the success of one helps protect the other. The choice between security and liberty is a false choice, as nothing is more likely to endanger America's liberties than the success of a terrorist attack at home. Our history has shown us that insecurity threatens liberty. Yet, if our liberties are curtailed, we lose the values that we are struggling to defend. 

Tactics employed to detect national security threats continue to implicate individuals' civil liberties. Electronic surveillance of communications to and from foreign intelligence targets can also capture innocent conversations and chill the exercise of First Amendment rights. New technologies may more effectively screen for explosives or other weapons, but simultaneously produce more revealing images of passengers' bodies. The broadened use of national security letters can provide investigators with a fuller picture to better allocate resources toward more serious threats, but also subject a larger universe of private financial or personal documents to disclosure. As Congress attempts to strike an appropriate balance between the need to detect and thwart activities that pose a threat to U.S. national security and the need to safeguard the civil liberties of U.S. persons, the following issues are likely to remain of interest.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 4
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Strategic Arms Control After START: Issues and Options

Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy


The United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991; it entered into force in December 1994 and expired on December 5, 2009. The United States and Russia have held several meetings to discuss options for continuing their arms control relationship. They are currently negotiating a new Treaty that would replace START. 

START counts each deployed ICBM, SLBM, and bomber as a single delivery vehicle under the Treaty limit of 1,600 delivery vehicles and attributes an agreed number of warheads to each deployed delivery vehicle. This attribution rule provides the total number of warheads that count under the 6,000 warhead limit in the Treaty. To verify compliance with START, each side monitors the numbers and locations of ballistic missiles, launchers and heavy bombers deployed by the other country. The parties use a wide variety of means to collect information—or monitor—these forces and activities. Some of these monitoring systems, such as overhead satellites, operate outside the territories of the treaty parties. They have also been required to exchange copious amounts of data on locations, operations, and technical characteristics of the treaty-limited items. This verification regime has allowed the parties to remain confident in each other's compliance with the Treaty. 

The United States and Russia began to discuss their options for arms control after START in mid- 2006. During the Bush Administration, they were unable to agree on a path forward. Neither side wanted to extend START in its current form, as some of the Treaty's provisions have begun to interfere with some military programs on both sides. Russia wants to replace START with a new Treaty that would further reduce deployed forces while using many of the same definitions and counting rules in START. The United States initially did not want to negotiate a new treaty, but, under the Bush Administration, would have been willing to extend, informally, some of START's monitoring provisions. In 2008, the Bush Administration agreed to conclude a new Treaty, with monitoring provisions attached, but this Treaty would resemble the far less formal Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty that the two sides signed in 2002. In December 2008, the two sides agreed that they wanted to replace START before it expired, but acknowledged that this task would have to be left to negotiations between Russia and the Obama Administration. President Obama and President Medvedev agreed at their meeting on April 2, 2009, to pursue "new and verifiable reductions" in their strategic offensive arms. The two sides are now pursuing negotiations on the new Treaty. 

The United States and Russia could have chosen from a number of options for the future of their arms control relationship. They have allowed START to lapse while negotiating a new Treaty, but they could have extended START for five years during this process. They could also have extended START, then amended it to ease some of the outdated provisions. Instead of negotiating a new Treaty, they could have pursued less formal arrangements to manage their nuclear forces. Moreover, if a new treaty includes further reductions in nuclear weapons, it could use some START definitions and counting rules or the less formal Moscow Treaty declarations. 

This report will be updated as needed.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 35
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CRS Issue Statement on Veterans’ Benefits

Sidath Viranga Panangala, Coordinator
Specialist in Veterans Policy


Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) are the largest sustained ground combat missions undertaken by the United States since the Vietnam War. Over 1.7 million servicemembers have been deployed to these two theaters of operation. Since FY2002, more than 1.0 million OEF and OIF veterans have left active duty making them potentially eligible for benefits and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Obama Administration has begun the process of drawing down forces from Iraq and surging the number of combat forces in Afghanistan. These factors will have a continued impact on VA health care, disability, education, vocational rehabilitation, employment and housing benefits. The 2nd Session of the 111th Congress will continue to focus on the treatment and compensation of this latest generation of veterans as well as aging veterans from previous conflicts.


Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 5
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CRS Issue Statement on R&D to Enhance Homeland Security

Frank Gottron, Coordinator
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy


The federal government invests in research and development (R&D) to improve the government's ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks. Given the diverse nature of current and future terrorist threats, homeland security R&D involves nearly every scientific and technical discipline. In addition to conducting and sponsoring much of this R&D, the government is leveraging its investment by encouraging the private sector to similarly invest. Congress continues to face difficult decisions regarding funding, prioritizing, coordinating, and executing the federal government homeland security R&D agenda. 

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) gave the Directorate of Science and Technology within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsibility for most DHS R&D-related activities. This Directorate has been reorganized multiple times since its inception and has received intense congressional scrutiny. How DHS prioritizes, coordinates, and executes its R&D agenda remains an oversight issue for Congress.


Date of Report: January 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: IS40372
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—Responsibilities and Potential Congressional Concerns

Richard A. Best Jr.
Specialist in National Defense



The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established in 2004 to ensure that information from any source about potential terrorist acts against the U.S. could be made available to analysts and that appropriate responses could be planned. Investigations of the 9/11 attacks had demonstrated that information possessed by different agencies had not been shared and thus that disparate indications of the looming threat had not been connected and warning had not been provided. As a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the NCTC is composed of analysts with backgrounds in many government agencies and has access to various agency databases. It prepares studies ranging from strategic assessment of the future terrorist threats to daily briefings and situation reports. It is also responsible, directly to the President, for planning (but not directing) counterterrorism efforts. The NCTC received a statutory charter in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458); it currently operates with a staff of some 600 analysts from a headquarters in northern Virginia. The Senate must consent to the appointment of the NCTC Director. 

Two recent incidents—the assassination by an Army Major of some 13 individuals at Fort Hood Army Base on November 5, 2009 and the failed attempt to trigger a bomb on an airliner approaching Detroit on December 25, 2009—led to increased concern about counterterrorism capabilities domestically and internationally. An Executive Branch assessment of the December bombing attempt concluded that, whereas information sharing had been adequate, analysts had failed to "connect the dots" and achieve an understanding of an ongoing plot. Attention has focused on the NCTC which is responsible for ensuring both the sharing of information and for all-source analysis of terrorist issues. 

Congressional hearings have been scheduled to review what was known in advance about the individuals involved in these two incidents. Congress may choose to go further to review the statutory responsibilities of NCTC as well as the record of the Center since it was established in 2004. This Report will be updated as more information becomes available.



Date of Report: January 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: R41022
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

Mary Beth Nikitin
Analyst in Nonproliferation


The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was formed to increase international cooperation in interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials. The Initiative was announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003. PSI does not create a new legal framework but aims to use existing national authorities and international law to achieve its goals. Initially, 11 nations signed on to the "Statement of Interdiction Principles" that guides PSI cooperation. As of August 2009, 95 countries have committed formally to the PSI principles, although the extent of participation may vary by country. PSI has no secretariat, but an Operational Experts Group (OEG), made up of 20 PSI participants, coordinates activities. 

Although WMD interdiction efforts took place with international cooperation before PSI was formed, supporters argue that PSI training exercises and boarding agreements give a structure and expectation of cooperation that will improve interdiction efforts. Many observers believe that PSI's "strengthened political commitment of like-minded states" to cooperate on interdiction is a successful approach to counter-proliferation policy. But some caution that it may be difficult to measure the initiative's effectiveness, guarantee even participation, or sustain the effort over time in the absence of a formal multilateral framework. Others support expanding membership and improving inter-governmental and U.S. interagency coordination as the best way to improve the program. President Obama in an April 2009 speech said that PSI should be turned into a "durable international institution," but how this would be implemented is not yet clear. This report will be updated as events warrant.


Date of Report: January 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 12
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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Jonathan Medalia
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy


A comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty (CTBT) is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties currently bar all but underground tests with a maximum force equal to 150,000 tons of TNT. The Natural Resources Defense Council states the United States conducted 1,030 nuclear tests, the Soviet Union 715, the United Kingdom 45, France 210, and China 45. The last U.S. test was held in 1992; Russia claims it has not tested since 1990. In 1998, India and Pakistan announced several nuclear tests. Each declared a test moratorium; neither has signed the CTBT. North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006. 

Since 1997, the United States has held 23 "subcritical experiments" at the Nevada Test Site to study how plutonium behaves under pressures generated by explosives. It asserts these experiments do not violate the CTBT because they cannot produce a self-sustaining chain reaction. Russia reportedly held some since 1998. 

The U.N. General Assembly adopted the CTBT in 1996. As of January 6, 2010, 182 states had signed it; 151, including Russia, had ratified. Of the 44 that must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force, 41 had signed and 35 had ratified. Five conferences have been held to facilitate entry into force, most recently in 2009. 

In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate. In October 1999, the Senate rejected it, 48 for, 51 against, 1 present. It is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's calendar. It would require a two-thirds Senate vote to send the treaty back to the President for disposal or to give advice and consent for ratification. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, "my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty." U.S. ratification would be followed by a diplomatic effort to secure ratification by the remaining states that must ratify for the treaty to enter into force. 

Past nuclear testing treaties have been accompanied by "safeguards," unilateral measures consistent with the treaties that the United States can take to buttress its nuclear intelligence and weapons. President Clinton conditioned his support for the CTBT on a package of safeguards, and President Obama said in his Prague speech, "As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies." Thus, safeguards may accompany a future CTBT debate. 

Congress addresses nuclear weapon issues in the annual National Defense Authorization Act and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. It considers the Stockpile Stewardship Program (listed as Weapons Activities), which seeks to maintain nuclear weapons without testing; the FY2010 appropriation is $6.384 billion. Congress considers a U.S. contribution to a global system to monitor possible nuclear tests. The FY2010 appropriation is $30.0 million. 

This report will be updated. For a detailed presentation of pros and cons, see CRS Report RL34394, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Issues and Arguments, by Jonathan Medalia. For a discussion of safeguards and the CTBT, see CRS Report R40612, Comprehensive Nuclear- Test-Ban Treaty: Updated "Safeguards" and Net Assessments, by Jonathan Medalia.


Date of Report: January 6, 2010
Number of Pages: 49
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

U.S. Periods of War

Barbara Salazar Torreon
Information Research Specialist


Many wars or conflicts in U.S. history have federally designated "periods of war," dates marking their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans' pension or disability benefits. Confusion can occur because beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" in many nonofficial sources are often different from those given in treaties and other official sources of information, and armistice dates can be confused with termination dates. This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties. This report will be updated when events warrant. For additional information, see CRS Report RL31133, Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications.


Date of Report: January 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 10
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

Richard F. Grimmett Specialist in International Security


This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the re-transfer to third party nations of such military items. Under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress must be formally notified 30 calendar days before the Administration can take the final steps to conclude a government-to-government foreign military sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more, or design and construction services valued at $200 million or more. In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, Congress must be formally notified 15 calendar days before the Administration can proceed with the sale. However, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand. Commercially licensed arms sales also must be formally notified to Congress 30 calendar days before the export license is issued if they involve the sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, or defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more (Section 36(c) AECA). In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, Congress must be formally notified 15 calendar days before the Administration is authorized to proceed with a given sale. As with government-to-government sales, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand. 

Furthermore, commercially licensed arms sales cases involving defense articles that are firearms controlled under category I of the United States Munitions List and valued at $1 million or more must also be formally notified to Congress for review 30 days prior to the license for export being approved. In the case of proposed licences for such sales to NATO members, Australia, Japan or New Zealand, 15 days prior notification is required. 

In general, the executive branch, after complying with the terms of applicable U.S. law, principally contained in the AECA, is free to proceed with an arms sales proposal unless Congress passes legislation prohibiting or modifying the proposed sale. Under current law Congress must overcome two fundamental obstacles to block or modify a Presidential sale of military equipment: it must pass legislation expressing its will on the sale, and it must be capable of overriding a presumptive Presidential veto of such legislation. Congress, however, is free to pass legislation to block or modify an arms sale at any time up to the point of delivery of the items involved. This report will be updated, if notable changes in these review procedures or applicable law occur.

Date of Report: January 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 9
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs


The Navy has begun a program modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. The program's estimated total cost is about $16.6 billion in constant FY2010 dollars. The Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requests $674.8 million in funding for Aegis ship modernization. The modernizations are intended to ensure that the ships can be operated cost-effectively throughout their entire 35-year intended service lives. The program poses several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the issue of which shipyards should perform the work, and how the modernization program fits into the Navy's larger plans for the future of its surface combatant force. 

The explanatory statement for the final version of the FY2010 DOD appropriations act (H.R. 3326/P.L. 111-118 of December 19, 2009) reduces by $1.2 million the Navy's FY2010 request for $315.3 million in Other Procurement, Navy (OPN) funding for Aegis cruiser modernization and increases by $2.5 million the Navy's FY2010 request for $142.3 million in OPN funding for Aegis destroyer modernization.

Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 12
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V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Aircraft: Background and Issues for Congress

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation


The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter and flies forward like an airplane. Department of Defense (DOD) plans call for procuring a total of 458 V- 22s—360 MV-22s for the Marine Corps; 50 CV-22 special operations variants for U.S. Special Operations Command, or USSOCOM (funded jointly by the Air Force and USSOCOM); and 48 HV-22s for the Navy. 

Through FY2009, a total of 181 V-22s have been procured—155 MV-22s for the Marine Corps, and 26 CV-22s for USSOCOM. These totals include several V-22s that have been procured in recent years through supplemental appropriations bills. V-22s are currently being procured under a $10.4 billion, multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement covering the period FY2008-FY2012. The MYP contract , which was awarded on March 28, 2008, covers the procurement of 167 aircraft—141 MV-22s and 26 CV-22s. 

The proposed FY2010 budget requested funding for the procurement of 30 MV-22s and five CV- 22s. The budget requested about $2.3 billion in procurement and advance procurement funding for procurement of MV-22s, and about $565 million in procurement and advance procurement funding for procurement of CV-22s. 

For FY2010, the V-22 program poses potential a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including the aircraft's reliability and maintainability. A June 23, 2009, hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reviewed a number of issues concerning the V-22 program, including the aircraft's reliability and maintainability. 

FY2010 defense authorization bill:
The conference report (H.Rept. 111-288 of October 7, 2009) on the FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84 of October 28, 2009) authorizes the Administration's FY2010 request for procurement and advance procurement funding for the procurement of MV-22s and CV-22s. 

FY2010 DOD appropriations bill:
In lieu of a conference report, the House Appropriations Committee on December 15, 2009, released an explanatory statement on a final version of H.R. 3326. This version was passed by the House on December 16, 2009, and by the Senate on December 19, 2009, and signed into law on December 19, 2009, as P.L. 111-118. 

The explanatory statement approves the Administration's FY2010 requests for procurement and advance procurement funding for the procurement of MV-22s and CV-22s. Air Force research and development is cut $12.5 million, to $77.0 million, for "reduction to growth."


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 56
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke Specialist in Naval Affairs

CVN-78 and CVN-79 are the first two ships in the Navy's new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. CVN-78 was procured in FY2008 and is scheduled to enter service in 2015. The ship's procurement cost is estimated in the proposed FY2010 budget at $10,846 million in then-year dollars—$389 million (about 3.7%) more than the estimate in the FY2009 budget. Although CVN-78 was procured in FY2008, it is being funded with four-year incremental funding across FY2008-FY2011. The proposed FY2010 requests $739.3 million in procurement funding to help complete the ship's procurement cost. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in June 2008 that it estimates that CVN-78 will cost about $900 million more than the Navy estimates, and that if "CVN-78 experienced cost growth similar to that of other lead ships that the Navy has purchased in the past 10 years, costs could be much higher still." The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and other observers have expressed concern that difficulties in developing the CVN-78's new electromagnetic aircraft catapult (called the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, or EMALS), could delay the schedule for building the ship and increase the ship's construction cost. GAO highlighted the issue in a March 2009 report to Congress. The issue was the subject of a July 16, 2009, hearing before the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. 

CVN-79 was scheduled under the FY2009 budget to be procured in FY2012. Under the proposed FY2010 budget, the ship's procurement would be deferred one year, to FY2013. CVN-79's procurement cost was estimated in the FY2009 budget at about $9.2 billion in then-year dollars. The ship has been receiving advance procurement (AP) funding since FY2007 (including about $1.2 billion in AP funding in FY2009). The proposed FY2010 budget requests $484.4 million in AP funding for the ship. (The FY2009 budget had projected that about $807 million would be requested in FY2010.) Deferring CVN-79's procurement to FY2013 has almost certainly increased the ship's estimated procurement cost, but the Navy has not released a new cost estimate for the ship. 

One potential FY2010 issue for Congress is whether to approve DOD's proposal to defer CVN- 79's procurement to FY2013, or instead maintain FY2012 as the ship's year of procurement. A second potential FY2010 issue for Congress is whether to provide a legislative waiver permitting the Navy's carrier force to temporarily decline from 11 ships to 10 ships during a 33-month period between 2012 (when the aging aircraft carrier Enterprise [CVN-65] is scheduled to retire) and 2015 (when CVN-78 is scheduled to enter service as its replacement). 

In the FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84 of October 28, 2009), Section 124(b), permits the Navy to use advance procurement funding provided for CVN-79 in FY2010 and subsequent years for advance construction activities. Section 126 requires the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the congressional defense committees on the effects of using a fiveyear interval for the construction of Ford-class aircraft carriers. Section 1023 authorizes a waiver to 10 USC 5062(b), so as to permit the Navy's carrier force to decline from 11 ships to 10 between the decommissioning of the Enterprise (CVN-65) and the commissioning of CVN-78, and requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the operational risk of temporarily reducing the size of the carrier force. Section 1076 expresses the sense of the Congress regarding carrier air wing force structure. 

The explanatory statement on the final version of the FY2010 DOD appropriations act (H.R. 3326/P.L., 111-118 of December 19, 2009) approves the Administration's FY2010 request for procurement and advance procurement funding for the CVN-78 program.


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 27
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Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

On April 6, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced a number of decisions regarding the Department of Defense's (DOD's) proposed FY2010 defense budget. Among these was a decision to defer the procurement of an 11th San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship (and of another sealift-type ship called the Mobile Landing Platform, or MLP) from FY2010 to FY2011 "in order to assess costs and analyze the amount of these capabilities the nation needs." 

The Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requested $872.4 million in procurement funding to complete the cost of the 10th LPD-17, which was authorized but only partially funded in FY2009. The FY2010 budget estimates the procurement cost of this ship at $1,852.5 million. The ship has received $980.1 million in prior-year funding, most of which was provided in FY2009. The proposed FY2010 budget also requested $184.6 million in advance procurement (AP) funding for an 11th LPD-17 class ship to be procured in FY2011. 

Although the Navy's planned 313-ship fleet calls for a 31-ship amphibious force that includes 10 LPD-17s, Navy and Marine Corps officials agree that a 33-ship amphibious force that includes 11 LPD-17s would be needed to minimally meet the Marine Corps' goal of having an amphibious ship force with enough combined capacity to lift the assault echelons (AEs) of two Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs). A 33-ship force would include 15 amphibious ships for each MEB, and three additional ships to account for 10% to 15% of the amphibious ship force being in overhaul at any given time. 

Marine Corps and Navy officials agree that a 38-ship amphibious force would more fully meet the Marine Corps' 2.0 MEB AE amphibious lift requirement. Such a force would include 17 amphibious ships for each MEB, and four additional ships to account for 10% to 15% of the amphibious ship force being in overhaul at any given time. Although a 38-ship force would more fully meet the Marine Corps' lift requirement, it appears that the Navy and Marine Corps have agreed to accept the operational risks associated with having a 33-ship force rather than a 38-ship force. 

The explanatory statement for the final version of the FY2010 DOD appropriations act (H.R. 3326/P.L. 111-118 of December 19, 2009) approves the Navy's FY2010 request for procurement and advance procurement funding for the LPD-17 program.


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 41
Order Number: RL34476
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Air Force Next-Generation Bomber: Background and Issues for Congress

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation

As part of its proposed FY2010 defense budget, the Administration proposed deferring the start of a program to develop a next-generation bomber (NGB) for the Air Force, pending the completion of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and associated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and in light of strategic arms control negotiations with Russia. The Administration's proposed FY2010 budget requested no funding specifically identified in public budget documents as being for an NGB program. Prior to the submission of the FY2010 budget, the Air Force was conducting research and development work aimed at fielding a next-generation bomber by 2018. Although the proposed FY2010 defense budget proposed deferring the start of an NGB program, the Secretary of Defense and Air Force officials in 2009 have expressed support for the need to eventually start such a program. The Air Force's FY2010 unfunded requirements list (URL)—a list of programs desired by the Air Force but not funded in the Air Force's proposed FY2010 budget—includes a classified $140-million item that some press accounts have identified as being for continued work on a next-generation bomber. 

FY2010 defense authorization bill:
The conference report (H.Rept. 111-288 of October 7, 2009) on the FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84 of October 28, 2009) authorizes no FY2010 funding in the Air Force research and development line item (PE0604015F) that is explicitly identified in public budget documents as being for a next-generation bomber. The conference report authorizes $182 million in additional funding in the Air Force research and development account for a line item identified as "Other Programs," but it is not clear whether any of this funding is related to a next-generation bomber. Section 255 of the act makes a series of findings regarding long-range strike capability and bombers, and makes it U.S. policy to support a development program for next-generation bomber aircraft technologies. 

FY2010 DOD appropriations bill:
In lieu of a conference report, the House Appropriations Committee on December 15, 2009, released an explanatory statement on a final version of H.R. 3326. This version was passed by the House on December 16, 2009, and by the Senate on December 19, 2009, and signed into law on December 19, 2009, as P.L. 111-118. The explanatory statement appropriates no FY2010 funding in the Air Force research and development line item (PE0604015F) that is explicitly identified in public budget documents as being for a next-generation bomber. Classified AIR Force R&D programs are increased by $24.1 million overall, with one unidentified classified program receiving an increase of $160.0 million.


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 48
Order Number: RL34406
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Air Force KC-X Tanker Aircraft Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation

On September 24, 2009, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced its proposed strategy for conducting a new competition between Boeing and a team consisting of Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS, the parent company of Airbus) for a program to build 179 new KC-X aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force. The estimated total value of the 179-aircraft KC-X program is roughly $35 billion. Boeing is expected to offer a KCX design based on either its 767 or 777 airliner (or it may offer two designs, one based on each airliner), while Northrop/EADS is expected to offer a KC-X design based on the Airbus A330 airliner. Boeing would build its KC-X in Seattle, WA, and Wichita, KS, while Northrop/EADS would build its KC-X in a plant that would be established in Mobile, AL. 

The KC-X acquisition program is a subject of intense interest because of the dollar value of the contract, the number of jobs it would create, the importance of tanker aircraft to U.S. military operations, and because DOD's attempts to acquire a new tanker over the past several years have ultimately failed. DOD's proposed new KC-X acquisition competition strategy poses several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the following: Has DOD adequately defined the required capabilities for the KC-X and established a fair and adequate framework for scoring and evaluating the Boeing and Northrop/EADS bids against those required capabilities? Should a September 4 World Trade Organization (WTO) preliminary ruling on commercial aircraft subsidies be taken into account in evaluating the KC-X bids? Should Boeing's pricing data for the 2007-2008 KC-X competition be shared with Northrop/EADS in a manner equivalent to how Northrop/EADS' pricing data for the 2007-2008 competition was shared with Boeing? Is DOD proposing to use appropriate contact types for the KC-X acquisition? Should the Air Force should be in charge of the new KC-X competition? Should DOD split the KC-X program between Boeing and Northrop/EADS? 

New issues emerged on December 1, 2009, when Northrop Grumman's Chief Executive Officer stated in a letter to DOD that were the draft Request for Proposals (RFP) not revised, Northrop Grumman would not enter a bid: Should DOD structure its RFP to ensure that at least two competitors will bid? If competition is deemed necessary, to what extent should requirements or budget be changed to enhance competition? 

FY2010 defense authorization bill:
The conference report (H.Rept. 111-288 of October 7, 2009) on the FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84 of October 28, 2009) authorizes the Administration's request for $439.6 million in Air Force research and development funding for the KC-X program. Section 1081 of the act amends Section 1081(a) of the FY2008 defense authorization act (H.R. 4986/P.L. 110-181 of January 28, 2008) to require the Secretary of the Air Force to conduct a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of using commercial fee-for-service air refueling tanker aircraft for Air Force operations, unless the Secretary of Defense submits a notification that pursuing such a program is not in the national interest. Section 1082 provides the Secretary of the Air Force authority to use multiyear contracts to conduct the pilot program described in Section 1081 of the FY2008 defense authorization act. 

FY2010 DOD appropriations bill:
In lieu of a conference report, the House Appropriations Committee on December 15, 2009, released an explanatory statement on a final version of H.R. 3326. This version was passed by the House on December 16, 2009, and by the Senate on December 19, 2009, and signed into law on December 19, 2009, as P.L. 111-118. The bill establishes a Tanker Replacement Transfer Fund in the amount of $291.7 million. In lieu of a conference report on H.R. 3326, the House Appropriations Committee on December 15, 2009, released an explanatory statement on an intended final version of H.R. 3326. The explanatory statement provides $15 million for management of the tanker program.


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 96
Order Number: RL34398
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Navy CG(X) Cruiser Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

On December 7, 2009, it was reported that the Navy wants to cancel its planned CG(X) cruiser and instead procure an improved version of the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class Aegis destroyer. Earlier press reporting had suggested that the Navy might be heading toward such a change in plans. The Navy reportedly was concerned about the projected high cost of the CG(X), and has concluded that it does not need a ship as capable as the CG(X) to adequately perform future anti-air warfare (AAW) and ballistic missile defense (BMD) missions. The Navy's desire to cancel the CG(X) and instead procure improved DDG-51s reportedly will be reflected in the Navy's proposed FY2011 budget, which is to be submitted to Congress in early February 2010. 

Prior to this reported change in plans, the Navy had wanted to procure as many as 19 CG(X)s. The Navy had wanted to procure the first CG(X) around FY2017 and have it enter service around 2023. The Navy had been developing technologies and studying design options for the CG(X), and the Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requested $340 million in research and development funding for it. The improved DDG-51 that the Navy reportedly now wants to procure would be considerably less expensive to procure than the CG(X). The improved DDG-51 would have more AAW and BMD capability than the current DDG-51 design, but less AAW and BMD capability than what was envisioned for the CG(X). Potential issues for Congress arising from the Navy's reported new plan include the following: 

• Is there an adequate analytical basis for canceling the CG(X) and instead procuring improved DDG-51s? Should an analysis of alternatives (AOA) or the equivalent of an AOA be performed before committing to this course of action? 

• Is there adequate stability in Navy planning for acquisition of surface combatants? 

• Would an improved DDG-51 be an adequate substitute for the CG(X)? 

• What would be the potential operational implications of a Navy equipped with improved DDG-51s instead of CG(X)s? 

• What would be the potential industrial-base consequences of canceling the CG(X) and instead procuring improved DDG-51s? 

• What would be some potential alternatives to canceling the CG(X) and instead procuring improved DDG-51s? 

Regarding the final question above, potential alternatives include but are not limited to the following: 

• Maintain the Navy's previous plan of procuring non-modified DDG-51s until the start of CG(X) procurement around FY2017. 

• Cancel the CG(X) and procure a version of the DDG-51 with more substantial modifications than what the Navy appears to be contemplating. 

• Cancel the CG(X) and procure a modified version of the DDG-1000 destroyer. 

• Cancel the CG(X) and procure non-modified DDG-51s while developing a cost constrained new-design destroyer that might begin procurement around FY2017. 

• Backfit existing DDG-51s with the improved radar and combat system modifications that the Navy appears to be contemplating for the modified DDG- 51s that it reportedly wants to build in coming years.


Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 55
Order Number: RL34179
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Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense—Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

As part of its effort to develop an integrated global ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, the Department of Defense (DOD) has modified or is modifying several Navy Aegis cruisers and many Navy Aegis destroyers for BMD operations. DOD has also deployed a large BMD radar— the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX)—on a modified floating oil platform. 

The proposed FY2010 defense budget requests a total of $1,859.5 million for the Aegis BMD program, including $1,690.8 million in research and development funding for the program and $168.7 million in procurement funds for the SM-3 interceptor missile. The proposed FY2010 budget would fund, among other things, the installation of BMD capability on six Aegis ships, which would increase the total number of Aegis BMD ships to 27. The proposed FY2010 budget also requests $174.6 million for continued operations of the SBX. 

On September 17, 2009, the Obama Administration announced that it wants to set aside the Bush Administration's proposed European BMD architecture and instead pursue a different European BMD architecture that would involve, among other things, a significant use of land- and seabased SM-3 interceptors and the Aegis BMD system. 

The eventual role of sea-based systems in the worldwide U.S. BMD architecture has not been determined. The overall issue for Congress discussed in this report is: What should be the role of sea-based systems in U.S. ballistic missile defense, and are DOD's programs for sea-based BMD capabilities appropriately structured and funded? 

The Aegis BMD system in its current configuration is intended to track ballistic missiles of all ranges, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and to intercept shorter-ranged ballistic missiles. The current configuration is not intended to intercept ICBMs. Future versions of the Aegis BMD system are to include a faster interceptor designed to intercept certain ICBMs. The Aegis BMD system has achieved 16 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts in 20 attempts. This total includes two successful intercepts and one unsuccessful intercept by Japanese Aegis ships in three Japanese test flights. The Aegis BMD system has also achieved 3 successful endoatmospheric intercepts in 3 attempts, for a combined total of 19 successful exo- and endoatmospheric intercepts in 23 attempts. The Aegis BMD system was also temporarily modified and used successfully on February 20, 2008, to shoot down an inoperative U.S. surveillance satellite. Japan has acquired the Aegis BMD system, and some other allied navies have expressed an interest in adding BMD capabilities to their ships. 

Potential issues for Congress regarding sea-based BMD systems include oversight questions raised by the Administration's proposed new architecture for BMD in Europe, the number of SM- 3 interceptors planned for procurement, the number of Aegis BMD ships, whether development of a far-term sea-based terminal-defense BMD capability should be accelerated, technical risk in the Aegis BMD program, potential allied sea-based BMD programs, and whether development and testing of the Aegis BMD system offers any lessons for development and testing of other BMD systems.

Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 80
Order Number: RL33745
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Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke 
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant that is to be equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame. The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. 

There are currently two LCS designs—one designed and produced by an industry team led by Lockheed, and one designed and produced by an industry team led by General Dynamics. The first ship in the program—LCS-1, funded in FY2005 and built to the Lockheed design—was commissioned into service on November 8, 2008. The second ship in the program—LCS-2, funded in FY2006 and built to the General Dynamics design—was delivered to the Navy on December 18, 2009, and is scheduled to be commissioned into service on January 16, 2010. LCS- 3 (being built to the Lockheed design) and LCS-4 (being built to the General Dynamics design) were funded in FY2009 at a combined cost of $1,020 million and are under construction. The Navy's proposed FY2010 budget, submitted in May 2009, requested $1,380 million for the procurement of three more LCSs—an average of $460 million per ship, which at the time was the unit procurement cost cap for LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years. 

On September 16, 2009, the Navy announced a proposed new strategy for acquiring LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years. Under the Navy's proposed strategy, the Navy would reduce the number of LCSs to be procured in FY2010 from three to two, and would hold a pricebased competition to pick a single design to which all LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years would be built. (The process of selecting the single design for all future production is called a down select.) The winner of the down select would be awarded a contract to build 10 LCSs over the five-year period FY2010-FY2014, at a rate of two ships per year. The Navy would then hold a second competition—open to all bidders other than the shipyard building the 10 LCSs in FY2010-FY2014—to select a second shipyard to build up to five additional LCSs to the same design in FY2012-FY2014 (one ship in FY2012, and two ships per year in FY2013-FY2014). These two shipyards would then compete for contracts to build LCSs procured in FY2015 and subsequent years. 

FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84:
The conference report (H.Rept. 111- 288 of October 7, 2009) on H.R. 2647 contains three provisions relating directly to the LCS program: Section 121 provides the Navy the contracting authority to implement the LCS acquisition strategy that the Navy announced on September 16, 2009, and amends the LCS unit procurement cost cap to $480 million per ship, with provisions for adjusting that figure over time to take inflation and other events into account. Section 122 requires the LCS program to be treated as a major defense acquisition program (MDAP) for purposes of program management and oversight. Section 123 requires a report on the Navy's plan for homeporting LCSs. 

FY2010 Department of Defense appropriations act (H.R. 3326/P.L. 111-118):
The explanatory statement for H.R. 3326/P.L. 111-118 provides $1,080 million for the procurement of two LCSs, or an average of $540 million per ship. The explanatory statement states that a rescission of $84.8 million in FY2009 Other Procurement, Navy (OPN) funding that is made by Section 8042 of the act includes a rescission of $66 million for LCS mission modules.

Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 73
Order Number: RL33741
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