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Wednesday, March 31, 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. They have just completed a new Treaty that would replace START, and plan to sign it on April 8. 

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 have just completed negotiations on new START 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.


Date of Report: March 26, 2010
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: R40084
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

International Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Security Threats, U.S. Policy, and Considerations for Congress

John Rollins
Acting Section Research Manager/Specialist in Terrorism and National Security

Liana Sun Wyler
Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics

The involvement of insurgent and extremist groups in criminal activity is an issue that has been a concern of U.S. administrations for decades. In recent years, some observers have claimed that interactions between international terrorists and criminals are increasing. If true, expanded links between criminal and terrorist networks could increase U.S. vulnerability to attack by terrorist groups with enhanced criminal capabilities and financial resources. An expanded range of combined criminal and terrorist activity could also affect the global economy and U.S. foreign policy goals, undermining licit international commerce and the promotion of good governance and rule of law. Threats posed by a crime-terrorism nexus may be particularly challenging, as the scale and nature of their cooperation are believed to vary widely and limited anecdotal evidence largely serves as the basis for current understanding of the problem. 

U.S. efforts to combat the relationship between crime and terrorism are a subset of broader policy responses to transnational crime and international terrorism individually. While numerous U.S. strategies and programs are designed to combat international terrorism and transnational crime separately, fewer efforts focus specifically on addressing the confluence of the two. Those efforts that do exist focus mainly on (1) human smuggling and clandestine terrorist travel, (2) money laundering and terrorist financing, and (3) narcoterrorism links between drug traffickers and terrorists. Many of these efforts, including the creation of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, the reorganization of the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and the expanded extraterritorial jurisdiction authority to investigate and prosecute international narcoterrorism cases, occurred in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Congress played a large role in such efforts, holding at least eight hearings specifically on some aspect of criminal-terrorist interactions between the end of 2000 and 2005. Legislation that has expanded and adjusted agency authorities, resources, and responsibilities related to the crime terrorism nexus includes the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56), the Intelligence Reform Act and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 107-458), the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-177), and appropriations-related legislation through the 111th Congress for various U.S. agencies, including the Departments of State and Defense. 

This report provides a primer on the confluence of transnational terrorist and criminal groups and related activities abroad. It evaluates possible motivations and disincentives for cooperation between terrorist and criminal organizations, variations in the scope of crime-terrorism links, and the types of criminal activities—fundraising, material and logistics support, and exploitation of corruption and gaps in the rule of law—used by terrorist organizations to sustain operations. This report also discusses several international case studies to illustrate the range of crime-terrorism convergence and non-convergence, including Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company; the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); the 2004 Madrid bombers; the Taliban; Hezbollah; Al Qaeda; the 2005 London bombers; Al-Shabaab; as well as known or alleged crime-terrorism facilitators such as Viktor Bout, Monzer Al Kasser, and Abu Ghadiyah. Policy considerations discussed in this report include possible tensions between counterterrorism and anti-crime policy objectives, implications for U.S. foreign aid, gaps in human intelligence and analysis, the value of financial intelligence in combating the crime-terrorism nexus, impact of digital and physical safe havens and ungoverned spaces, implications for nuclear proliferation, and effects of crime terrorism links in conflict and post-conflict zones. Unless otherwise noted, this report does not address potential crime-terrorism links in the domestic or border environment.


Date of Report: March 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 56
Order Number: R41004
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Sending Mail to Members of the Armed Forces at Reduced or Free Postage: An Overview

Kevin R. Kosar
Analyst in American National Government

Members of the Armed Forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. 

However, there never has been a comparable policy to permit individuals in the United States to send letters and packages to troops serving overseas. That said, the federal government does subsidize the postage an individual pays to send mail to troops. A sender is charged only for the cost of the domestic portion of the delivery—the Department of Defense pays the cost to move the mail from the United States to troops overseas. Additionally, since October 2008 the U.S. Postal Service has offered a discounted package service to families wishing to send packages to members of the Armed Services stationed overseas. 

Legislation—H.R. 704 (and the identical H.R. 2126) and H.R. 707—has been introduced in the 111th Congress to establish a free-mail-to-troops postage benefit. Each of these bills would provide members of the Armed Forces serving overseas with free-postage vouchers every month. Recipients of these vouchers would be able to transfer them to family members or other persons in the United States, who then could use the vouchers to mail a letter or package to the troops postage-free. Both of these bills have been referred to the House Committee on Armed Services' Subcommittee on Military Personnel. 

When the House passed H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, on June 25, 2009, it included the text of H.R. 707 as Section 666. However, when the Senate approved an amended version of H.R. 2647 on July 23, it did not include the free postage benefit. Additionally, neither the House nor the Senate Appropriations Committee included a free postage benefit when it approved H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010. 

The potential cost of either H.R. 704 (and the identical H.R. 2126) or H.R. 707 to the federal government is unknown. The Congressional Budget Office has not published a score of either bill, and neither piece of legislation details the means through which the postage benefit is to be administered. Nor do the bills place any restrictions on the dimensions of a package that may be shipped with a voucher, although the shape of a package significantly affects the U.S. Postal Service's costs to deliver it.


Date of Report: March 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: R40550
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Rothe Development Corporation v. Department of Defense: The Constitutionality of Federal Contracting Programs for Minority-Owned and Other Small Businesses

Jody Feder
Legislative Attorney

Kate M. Manuel
Legislative Attorney

This report discusses Rothe Development Corporation v. Department of Defense, a case involving a constitutional challenge to a minority contracting program authorized under Section 1207 of the Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Act of 1987. This program allowed DOD to take 10% off the price of offers submitted by "small disadvantaged businesses" in determining which offer had the lowest price or represented the best value for the government. Section 1207 also incorporated a presumption that minorities are socially and economically disadvantaged. 

On November 4, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down the DOD preference program, holding that Section 1207 was facially unconstitutional because Congress did not have sufficient evidence to conclude that there was racial discrimination in defense contracting when it reauthorized the program in 2006. Later, on February 27, 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, to which the case had been remanded for entry of judgment, enjoined defense agencies from implementing other programs authorized by Section 1207 because these programs were "contingent" on the subsections containing the price preference and must "also fall" when they do. These programs included technical and infrastructure assistance for certain minority-serving institutions (MSIs) of higher education, including historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions (ANNHIs), and majority-minority institutions (MMIs). However, the first session of the 111th Congress enacted legislation (P.L. 111-84) that authorizes defense agencies to provide assistance similar to that authorized under Section 1207 to MSIs. 

The report examines the Rothe decision in detail; describes existing contracting programs for minority-owned and women-owned small businesses; and analyzes Rothe's potential effect on these programs, including the Business Development Program under Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act
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Date of Report: March 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: R40440
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Federal Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: Overview and Policy Options

R. Sam Garrett
Analyst in American National Government

Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

This report provides an overview and analysis of two recurring questions surrounding the federal government's role in financing presidential nominating conventions. First, how much public funding supports presidential nominating conventions? Second, what options exist for changing that amount if Congress chooses to do so? Both issues have generated controversy in the past and continue to be the subject of debate. Four bills introduced in the 110th Congress proposed changes to the structure or amounts of federal funds for presidential nominating conventions. Those bills (H.R. 72, H.R. 484, S. 436, and S. 2412) would have affected Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) convention grants. (Two other bills, H.R. 776 and H.R. 4294, would have affected nonfederal convention funds.) In the 111th Congress, H.R. 2992 proposes to eliminate public funding for presidential nominating conventions, although this measure does not appear to affect separate security funding discussed in this report. As of this writing, there has been no major legislative activity on the presidential public financing program—including with respect to convention funding. 

The 110th Congress enacted one law (P.L. 110-161) in FY2008 that affected convention security funding with the appropriation of $100 million for the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions (each was allocated $50 million). This security funding was not provided to party convention committees but to the state and local law enforcement entities assisting in securing the convention sites. The Administration's FY2011 budget request proposed $20 million for a National Special Security Event State and Local Reimbursement Fund (NSSE Fund). The NSSE Fund would reimburse state and local governments for costs incurred when providing security at NSSEs, such as presidential nominating conventions. 

A total of approximately $133.6 million in federal funds supported the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions. Such funding was provided through separate federal programs that support public financing of presidential campaigns and convention security. Some Members of Congress and others have objected to federal convention funding and have argued that the events should be entirely self-supporting. Others, however, contend that public funding is necessary to avoid real or apparent corruption in this aspect of the presidential nominating process. If Congress decides to revisit convention financing, a variety of policy options discussed in this report might present alternatives to current funding arrangements. 

Additional discussion of public financing of presidential campaigns appears in CRS Report RL34534, Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns: Overview and Analysis, by R. Sam Garrett. For additional information on National Special Security Events, which include presidential nominating conventions, see CRS Report RS22754, National Special Security Events, by Shawn Reese.


Date of Report: March 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 17
Order Number: RL34630
Price: $29.95

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FEMA’s Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer

Francis X. McCarthy
Analyst in Emergency Management Policy

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act - 42 U.S.C. 5721 et seq.) authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after catastrophes occur, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident. 

The end result of a presidential disaster declaration is well known, if not entirely understood. Various forms of assistance are provided, including aid to families and individuals for uninsured needs and assistance to state and local governments and certain non-profits in rebuilding or replacing damaged infrastructure. 

The amount of assistance provided through presidential disaster declarations has exceeded $100 billion. Often, in recent years, Congress has enacted supplemental appropriations legislation to cover unanticipated costs. While the amounts spent by the federal government on different programs may be reported, and the progress of the recovery can be observed, much less is known about the process that initiates all of this activity. Yet, it is a process that has resulted in an average of more than one disaster declaration a week over the last decade. 

The disaster declaration procedure is foremost a process that preserves the discretion of the governor to request assistance and the President to decide to grant, or not to grant, supplemental help. The process employs some measurable criteria in two broad areas: Individual Assistance that aids families and individuals and Public Assistance that is mainly for repairs to infrastructure. The criteria, however, also considers many other factors, in each category of assistance, that help decision makers assess the impact of an event on communities and states. 

Under current law, the decision to issue a declaration rests solely with the President. Congress has no formal role, but has taken actions to adjust the terms of the process. For example, P.L. 109-295 established an advocate to help small states with the declaration process. More recently, Congress introduced legislation, H.R. 3377, that would direct FEMA to update some of its criteria for considering Individual Assistance declarations. 

Congress continues to examine the process and has received some recommendations for improvements. Given the importance of the decision, and the size of the overall spending involved, hearings have been held in the 111th Congress to review the declaration process so as to ensure fairness and equity in the process and its results.


Date of Report: March 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: RL34146
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Federal Building and Facility Security

Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

Lorraine H. Tong
Analyst in American National Government

The security of federal government buildings and facilities affects not only the daily operations of the federal government but also the health, well-being, and safety of federal employees and the public. Recent congressional action concerning the security of federal buildings includes P.L. 111-83 (FY2010 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security), which addressed the issue of the transfer of the Federal Protective Service from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the National Protection and Programs Directorate. 

For the purposes of this report, federal facilities include any building leased or owned by the General Services Administration. In FY2007, the federal government's real property portfolio comprised 446,000 buildings with an area of 3.3 billion square feet and a replacement value of $772.8 billion. 

Security of federal facilities includes physical security assets such as closed-circuit television cameras, barrier material, and security guards (both federally employed and contracted). Federal facility security practices have been subject to criticism by government auditors and security experts. Elements that have received criticism include the use of private security guards, the management and security practices of the Federal Protective Service, and the coordination of federal facility security.


Date of Report: March 24, 2010
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R41138
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces: Facts and Issues

Keith Bea
Specialist in American National Government

Since the early 1990s, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces have been certified, trained, and funded by the federal government. Twenty-eight task forces are located in 19 states. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials may call out the task force (or forces) in closest proximity to the disaster to help locate and extricate victims from collapsed buildings and structures. The task forces represent a partnership involving federal, local government, and private sector experts. Most recently, USAR teams received considerable publicity, and reportedly achieved life-saving results, in their mission to Haiti after the earthquakes of early 2010. 

Legislation pending before Congress would affect the USAR system in two ways. First, H.R. 119 would designate a New Jersey task force to be part of the system. Other legislation (H.R. 706 and H.R. 3377) would establish statutory authority and federal funding for a USAR response system. Members of Congress will consider FY2011 funding for the task forces during the second session of the 111th Congress, and may elect to debate issues associated with the deployment of USAR task forces to foreign countries.


Date of Report: March 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21073
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GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Timeframes and Procedures

Kate M. Manuel
Legislative Attorney

Moshe Schwartz
Analyst in Defense Acquisition

Bid protests, especially bid protests filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), have recently received increased congressional scrutiny due to protests of high-profile awards and reports that the number of protests is increasing. The potential delay of contract award or performance triggered by a GAO protest, coupled with the increasing number of GAO protests, has also prompted concerns about the impact of protests upon agency operations, especially in the Department of Defense. 

GAO, the contracting agencies, and the Court of Federal Claims all have authority to hear bid protests; however, GAO hears more protests annually than the Court of Federal Claims, the only other forum for which data are readily available. GAO's bid-protest process includes some unique features—most notably, the stay of contract award or performance commonly triggered by a GAO protest—that make GAO a desirable forum for disappointed bidders and offerors. 

Legislation and regulations establish what issues may be protested with GAO and who may bring a protest. GAO may hear claims of alleged illegalities or improprieties in solicitations, cancellations of solicitations, or awards or proposed awards of contracts. It is, however, barred from hearing certain issues, such as challenges to small business size certifications. Any "interested party"—or actual or prospective bidder or offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of the contract or by failure to award it—may file a protest. 

Procedures for bringing and conducting GAO protests are designed to ensure "the inexpensive and expeditious resolution of [bid] protests." Protesters need not file formal briefs or technical pleadings, can represent themselves, and can have protests decided without hearings. All protests are to be resolved within 100 calendar days of their filing, and deadlines for mandatory and optional events within the GAO bid-protest process ensure decisions can be reached within this timeframe. 

Filing a GAO protest generally triggers an automatic stay of contract award or performance during the pendency of the protest. A similar stay does not result when protests are filed with the Court of Federal Claims. Agencies can, however, override stays because urgent and compelling circumstances will not permit waiting for GAO's decision, or because performance of the contract is in the best interests of the United States. Agencies must inform GAO of their override decisions, but GAO cannot prevent an agency override. 

GAO may deny or sustain a protest. A denial allows the agency to proceed with the challenged award. When GAO sustains a protest, it also makes recommendations to the agency about the challenged award, such as re-competing the contract or issuing a new solicitation. GAO's recommendations are not legally binding upon the agency because the "separation of powers" doctrine precludes legislative branch agencies, such as GAO, from controlling the actions of executive branch agencies. However, the agency is to notify GAO if it does not fully implement GAO's recommendations. GAO is, then, to inform Congress of agency noncompliance. Agencies comply with GAO recommendations in most protests. However, compliance with GAO recommendations, or reliance on GAO precedent, does not immunize agencies from court challenges to their procurement actions. 

Protesters disappointed with GAO's decision can seek reconsideration from GAO. They can also "appeal" GAO's decision by filing a bid protest with the Court of Federal Claims.


Date of Report: March 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: R40228
Price: $29.95

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Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector

Claudia Copeland
Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy

Damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack or natural disaster could disrupt the delivery of vital human services in this country, threatening public health and the environment, or possibly causing loss of life. Interest in such problems has increased greatly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. 

Across the country, water infrastructure systems extend over vast areas, and ownership and operation responsibility are both public and private, but are overwhelmingly non-federal. Since the attacks, federal dam operators and local water and wastewater utilities have been under heightened security conditions and are evaluating security plans and measures. There are no federal standards or agreed-upon industry practices within the water infrastructure sector to govern readiness, response to security incidents, and recovery. Efforts to develop protocols and tools are ongoing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This report presents an overview of this large and diverse sector, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since 9/11, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest. 

Policymakers have been considering a number of initiatives, including enhanced physical security, better communication and coordination, and research. A key issue is how additional protections and resources directed at public and private sector priorities will be funded. In response, Congress has provided $923 million in appropriations for security at water infrastructure facilities (to assess and protect federal facilities and support security assessment and risk reduction activities by non-federal facilities) and passed a bill requiring drinking water utilities to conduct security vulnerability assessments (P.L. 107-188). When Congress created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002 (P.L. 107-297), it gave DHS responsibilities to coordinate information to secure the nation's critical infrastructure, including the water sector. Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the lead federal agency for protecting drinking water and wastewater utility systems. 

Recent congressional interest has focused on two legislative issues: (1) security of wastewater utilities, and (2) whether to include water utilities in chemical plant security regulations implemented by DHS. In the 109th Congress, a Senate committee approved legislation to encourage wastewater treatment works to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop site security plans. Similar legislation was introduced in the 110th Congress, and has been introduced in the 111th Congress (H.R. 2883). Congress also has turned attention to legislation to extend DHS's Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (H.R. 2868) and as part of that debate has been considering whether to preserve an existing exemption for water utilities from chemical facility standards or to include them in the scope of DHS security rules. Continuing attention to these issues in the 111th Congress is likely. 
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Date of Report: March 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: RL32189
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Enterprise: Operational Overview and Oversight Challenges for Congress

Mark A. Randol
Specialist in Domestic Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism

The primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, the Department) is to "prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that do occur in the United States. Since its inception in 2003, DHS has had an intelligence component to support this mission and has been a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). Following a major reorganization of the DHS (called the Second Stage Review or "2SR") in July 2005, former Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff established a strengthened Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and made the Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis (now Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis) the Chief Intelligence Officer for the Department. He also tasked I&A with ensuring that intelligence is coordinated, fused, and analyzed within the Department to provide a common operational picture; provide a primary connection between DHS and the IC as a whole; and to act as a primary source of information for state, local and private sector partners. 

Today, the DHS Intelligence Enterprise (DHS IE) consists of I&A, two headquarters elements supported by I&A, and the intelligence elements of six DHS operational components: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and U.S. Secret Service (USSS). 

Congress made information sharing a top priority of the Department's intelligence component in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and underscored its importance through the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Since the 2SR reorganization, Congress imposed additional requirements for intelligence analysis; information sharing; department-wide intelligence integration; and support to state, local, tribal governments, and the private sector through the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. 

On February 11, 2010, the Senate confirmed President Obama's selection of Caryn Wagner to serve as Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. As she assumes responsibility for the DHS IE, Congress will likely be interested in the progress of integration of the Department's intelligence components and the quality and relevance of the intelligence DHS IE produces for front line law enforcement and security officials who are responsible for protecting America and its people. In February, DHS produced its first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), a comprehensive assessment outlining its long-term strategy and priorities for homeland security and guidance on the Department's programs, assets, capabilities, budget, policies, and authorities. The next step in the Department's QHSR process is to conduct a "bottom-up review" to systematically link strategy to program to budget. The results of that review will be particularly important as Congress considers an authorization bill for DHS. 

This report provides an overview of the DHS IE both at headquarters and within the components. It examines how DHS IE is organized and supports key departmental activities to include homeland security analysis and threat warning; border security; critical infrastructure protection; support to, and the sharing of information with, state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. It also discusses several oversight challenges and options for Congress to consider on these issues.


Date of Report: March 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 61
Order Number: R40602
Price: $29.95

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F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation

For four successive years, Congress has rejected administration proposals to terminate the program to develop the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 engine as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that currently powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The administration's FY2011 budget submission again proposes to terminate the program. 

The alternate engine program began in FY1996, when defense authorization conferees directed DOD to ensure that the JSF (then "JAST") program "provides for adequate engine competition." Through FY2009, Congress has provided approximately $2.5 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine program. The program is expected to need an additional $2.9 billion through 2017 to complete the development of the F136 engine. 

Critics of the proposal to terminate the F136 alternate engine argue that termination was driven more by immediate budget pressures on the department than the long-term pros and cons of the F136 program. They argue that engine competition on the F-15 and F-16 programs saved money and resulted in greater reliability. Some who applaud the proposed termination say that single source engine production contracts have been the norm, not the exception. Long-term engine affordability, they claim, is best achieved by procuring engines through multiyear contracts from a single source. 

Cancelling the F136 engine poses questions on the operational risk—particularly of fleet grounding—posed by having a single engine design and supplier. Additional issues include the potential impact this termination might have on the U.S. defense industrial base and on U.S. relations with key allied countries involved in the alternate engine program. Finally, eliminating competitive market forces for DOD business worth billions of dollars may concern those who seek efficiency from DOD's acquisition system and raises the challenge of cost control in a single-supplier environment. 

Continuing F136 development raises issues of impact on the F-35 acquisition program, including possible reduction of the numbers of F-35s that could be acquired if program funds are used for the alternate engine. It also raises issues of the outyear costs and operational concerns stemming from the requirement to support two different engines in the field. 
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Date of Report: March 22, 2010
Number of Pages: 54
Order Number: R41131
Price: $29.95

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Veterans and Homelessness

Libby Perl
Specialist in Housing Policy

The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that in FY2008 it assessed more than 1,500 veterans who served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom theater of operations for participation in its Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program. Both male and female veterans have been overrepresented in the homeless population, and as the number of veterans increases due to the current wars, there is concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The current economic downturn also has raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans. 

Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration. These programs provide health care and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans programs), employment assistance (Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and Compensated Work Therapy program), transitional housing (Grant and Per Diem and Loan Guarantee programs) as well as other supportive services. The VA also works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH). In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers while the VA provides supportive services. In addition, two newly enacted programs focus on homelessness prevention through supportive services. 

Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the current conflicts. One issue is the need for permanent supportive housing for low-income and homeless veterans. Congress has taken steps to make permanent housing available for homeless veterans by appropriating $75 million for additional HUD-VASH vouchers in each of the FY2008, FY2009, and FY2010 HUD appropriations acts. In FY2008 and FY2009, the appropriations funded more than 20,000 new vouchers that were distributed to housing authorities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The amount appropriated in FY2010 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117) is expected to fund another 10,000 vouchers. 

A second issue is the concern that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are at risk of homelessness may not receive the services they need. Efforts are being made to coordinate services between the VA and Department of Defense to ensure that those leaving military service transition to VA programs. In addition, concerns have risen about the needs of female veterans, whose numbers are increasing. Women veterans face challenges that could contribute to their risks of homelessness. They are more likely to have experienced sexual abuse than women in the general population and are more likely than male veterans to be single parents. Few homeless programs for veterans have the facilities to provide separate accommodations for women and women with children. 

The VA has responded to concerns about homeless veterans by announcing a plan to end homelessness among veterans within five years. The plan was announced in November 2009.


Date of Report: March 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 38
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress

Frank Gottron
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Dana A. Shea
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Recent reports by congressional commissions and others, in combination with the inclusion of bioterrorism issues in President Obama's State of the Union address, have increased congressional attention to the threat of bioterrorism. Federal efforts to combat the threat of bioterrorism predate the anthrax attacks of 2001, but have significantly increased since then. These efforts have been developed as part of and in parallel with other defenses against conventional terrorism. The continued attempts by terrorist groups to launch attacks targeted at U.S. citizens have increased concerns that federal counterterrorism activities are insufficient to face the threat. 

The federal government's efforts to address the perceived threat of bioterrorism span many different agencies and are organized and directed through several strategy and planning documents. These agencies have implemented numerous disparate actions and programs in their statutory areas to address the threat. 

Despite these efforts, many experts, including congressional commissions, non-governmental organizations, and industry representatives, have highlighted weaknesses or flaws in the federal government's biodefense activities. Recent reports by congressional commissions have stated that the federal government's efforts to address the bioterrorism threat could be significantly improved. 

Key questions face congressional policymakers in these areas: Are the efforts already underway sufficient to face the threat of bioterrorism? Have the federal investments to date met the expectations of Congress or other stakeholders? Should these existing programs be altered, augmented, or terminated in the current environment of fiscal challenge? What is the appropriate federal role in response to the threat of bioterrorism, and what mechanisms are most appropriate for involving other stakeholders, including state and local jurisdictions, industry, and others? 

Congressional oversight of bioterrorism crosses the jurisdiction of many congressional committees. As a result, such oversight is often issue-based. Because of the diversity of federal biodefense efforts, a complete view of the complete federal bioterrorism effort is beyond the scope of this report. Instead, this report focuses on four areas critical to the success of the biodefense enterprise that the 111th Congress is likely to consider: strategic planning; risk assessment; surveillance; and the development, procurement, and distribution of medical countermeasures. 

Congress, through authorizing and appropriations legislation and its oversight activities, continues to influence the federal response to the bioterrorism threat. Congressional policymakers will likely be faced with many difficult choices about the priority of maintaining, shrinking, or expanding existing programs versus creating new programs to address identified deficiencies. Augmenting such programs may incur additional costs in a time of fiscal challenges while maintaining or shrinking such programs may be deemed as incurring unacceptable risks, given the potential for significant casualties and economic effects from a large-scale bioterror attack.



Date of Report: March 18, 2010
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The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

The U.S. Secret Service has two missions—criminal investigations and protection. Criminal investigation activities, which have expanded since its inception as a small anti-counterfeiting operation at the end of the Civil War, now encompass financial crimes, identity theft, counterfeiting, computer fraud, and computer-based attacks on the nation's financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure, among other areas. Protection activities, which have expanded and evolved since the 1890s, include the safety and security of the President, Vice President, their families, and other identified individuals and locations. 

In March 2003, the U.S. Secret Service was transferred from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of Homeland Security as a distinct entity. Prior to enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), the U.S. Secret Service had been part of the Treasury Department for over 100 years. 

During an April 2008 hearing on the FY2009 budget request for the U.S. Secret Service, Members of Congress raised questions related to the missions and organizational location of the Service, and on December 2, 2009, the House Homeland Security Committee conducted a hearing on and questioned U.S. Secret Service presidential protection operations following a White House security breach. Are the two missions of the Service compatible and how should they be prioritized? Is the Department of Homeland Security the most appropriate organizational and administrative location for the Secret Service? These, and other policy questions, have been raised and addressed at different times by Congress and various administrations during the long history of the Service. Additionally, there has been increased interest in the Service due to the recent inaugural security operations and the protection of President Barack Obama. Some may contend that these and other questions call for renewed attention given the recent increase in demand for the Service's protection function (for example, see P.L. 110-326 enacted by the 110th Congress) and the advent of new technology used in financial crimes.


Date of Report: March 8, 2010
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International Drug Control Policy

Liana Sun Wyler
Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics

This report provides an overview of U.S. international drug control policy. It describes major international counternarcotics initiatives and evaluates the broad array of U.S. drug control policy tools currently in use. The report also considers alternative counterdrug policy approaches to current initiatives and raises several counterdrug policy issues and considerations for policy makers. 

Illegal drugs refer to narcotic, psychotropic, and related substances whose production, sale, and use are restricted by domestic law and international drug control agreements. Common illegal drugs include cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs. International trade in these drugs represents a lucrative and what at times seems to be an intractable criminal enterprise, affecting countries worldwide and generating between $100 billion and $1 trillion in illicit profits per year. Revenue from the illegal drug industry provides international drug trafficking organizations with the resources to evade and compete with law enforcement officials; penetrate legitimate economic structures through money laundering; and, in some instances, challenge the authority of national governments. Despite apparent national resolve to address international narcotics trafficking, tensions appear at times between U.S. international drug control policy and other U.S. foreign policy goals and concerns. Pursuit of international drug control policies can sometimes negatively affect national interests by exacerbating political instability and economic dislocation in countries where narcotics production is entrenched economically and socially. Drug supply interdiction programs and U.S. systems to facilitate the international movement of legitimate goods, people, and wealth also are often at odds. The high priority of terrorism in U.S. foreign policy has resulted in increased attention to links between drug and terrorism groups; a challenge facing policy makers, however, is how to avoid diverting counterdrug resources for anti-terrorism ends in areas of potentially low payoff. 

Congress is involved in all aspects of U.S. international drug control policy, regularly appropriating funds for counterdrug initiatives, conducting oversight activities on federal counterdrug programs, and legislating changes to agency authorities and other counterdrug policies. Major U.S. programs to combat drug production and trafficking exist in the Andean region of South America, Afghanistan, and Mexico. The U.S. government is also involved in developing several new counternarcotics programs, including in West Africa, the Caribbean (Caribbean Basin Security Initiative), and Central America (Central America Regional Security Initiative). Through its appropriations and federal oversight responsibilities, the 111th Congress may chose to continue tackling several emerging policy issues concerning U.S. international drug control policy, including the role of the Department of Defense in counterdrug foreign assistance; the balance between alternative development and eradication programs; and how to address the vast array of cross-cutting and transnational dimensions of the international drug trade, ranging from police corruption to drug-related violence to links between drug trafficking organization and terrorist groups.



Date of Report: March 8, 2010
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Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which are large, long-range missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. The SSBNs' basic mission is to remain hidden at sea with their SLBMs, so as to deter a nuclear attack on the United States by another country. Navy SSBNs form one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent force, or "triad," which also includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and landbased long-range bombers. The Navy currently operates 14 Ohio (SSBN-726) class SSBNs, the first of which is projected to reach the end of its service life in 2027.

The Navy is currently conducting development and design work on a planned class of 12 nextgeneration ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, which the service wants to procure as replacements for the 14 Ohio-class boats. The SSBN(X) program, also known as the Ohio-class replacement program, received $497.4 million in research and development funding in the Navy's FY2010 budget, and the Navy's proposed FY2011 budget requests an additional $672.3 million in research and development funding for the program. Navy plans call for procuring the first SSBN(X) in FY2019, with advance procurement funding for the boat beginning in FY2015.

The Navy preliminarily estimates the procurement cost of each SSBN(X) at $6 billion to $7 billion in FY2010 dollars—a figure equivalent to roughly one-half of the Navy's budget each year for procuring new ships. Some observers are concerned that the SSBN(X) program will significantly compound a challenge the Navy faces concerning the affordability of its long-term shipbuilding program. These observers are concerned that procuring 12 SSBN(X)s during the 15- year period FY2019-FY2033, as called for in Navy plans, could lead to reductions in procurement rates for other types of Navy ships during those years. The Navy's report on its 30-year (FY2011- FY2040) shipbuilding plan states: "While the SSBN(X) is being procured, the Navy will be limited in its ability to procure other ship classes."

Potential FY2011 issues for Congress include the following:

• the accuracy of the Navy's preliminary estimate of the procurement cost of each SSBN(X);

• the prospective affordability of the SSBN(X) program and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs; and

• which shipyard or shipyards will build SSBN(X)s.

Options for reducing the cost of the SSBN(X) program or its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs include procuring fewer than 12 SSBN(X)s; reducing the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to be carried by each SSBN(X); designing the SSBN(X) to carry a smaller SLBM; stretching out the schedule for procuring SSBN(X)s and making greater use of split funding (i.e., two-year incremental funding) in procuring them; funding the procurement of SSBN(X)s in a part of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget other than the Navy's shipbuilding account; and increasing the Navy's shipbuilding budget.

This report focuses on the SSBN(X) as a Navy shipbuilding program. CRS Report RL33640,
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, by Amy F. Woolf, discusses the SSBN(X) as an element of future U.S. strategic nuclear forces in the context of strategic nuclear arms control agreements.




Date of Report: March 19, 2010
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gun Control Legislation

William J. Krouse
Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy

Congress has continued to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. Past legislative proposals have raised the following questions: What restrictions on firearms are permissible under the Constitution? Does gun control help reduce violent crime? Would household, street corner, and schoolyard disputes be less lethal if firearms were more difficult to acquire? Or, would more restrictive gun control policies diminish an individual's ability to defend himself? Speaking to these questions either in whole or part, on June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court issued its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and found that the District of Columbia (DC) handgun ban violated an individual's right under the Second Amendment to possess lawfully a firearm in his home for self-defense. In the 110th Congress, pro-gun Members of the House of Representatives, who were dissatisfied with the District's response to the Heller decision, passed a bill that would have further overturned provisions of the District's gun laws. In the 111th Congress, pro-gun Members of the Senate amended the DC voting rights bill (S. 160) with language similar to the House bill (described above) and passed that bill on February 26, 2009. Although the House leadership attempted to negotiate an end to the impasse over the District's gun laws and bring its version of the DC voting rights bill (H.R. 157) to the floor, this proposal has been tabled for the time being. 

Also, in the 111th Congress, Members revisited several other gun control issues that were previously considered in the 110th Congress. For example, Senator Tom Coburn successfully amended the Credit CARD Act of 2009 (H.R. 627) with a provision that will allow people to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The House voted on the Coburn amendment as a separate measure and passed it as well. President Barack Obama signed H.R. 627 into law on May 22, 2009 (P.L. 111-24). Senator Roger Wicker amended the FY2010 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill (H.R. 3288) with language to authorize private persons to carry firearms in their checked luggage on Amtrak trains. H.R. 3288 became the vehicle for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, and the Wicker provision was included in this bill. The President signed H.R. 3288 into law (P.L. 111-117). The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has reported the Veteran 2nd Amendment Protection Act (S. 669), which would revamp procedures by which veterans are adjudicated "mentally incompetent" and, thus, lose their firearms possession eligibility. The House Committee on Financial Services reported a bill (H.R. 3045; H.Rept. 111- 277) that includes a provision that would prohibit public housing authorities from barring tenants from possessing firearms. And the Senate Judiciary Committee approved amendments (S. 1132) to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA; P.L. 108-277), which authorizes certain qualified police officers to carry concealed firearms across state lines. 

In addition, in the 111th Congress, an amendment offered by Senator John Thune to the FY2010 Defense Authorization Act (S. 1390) was narrowly defeated that would have provided for national reciprocity between states regarding the concealed carry of firearms. Several committees have held congressional hearings on gun trafficking and smuggling across the Southwest border from the United States to Mexico. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), includes increased funding for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate additional gun trafficking cases. Other salient and recurring gun control issues for the 111th Congress could include (1) denying firearms and explosives to persons watch-listed as known or suspected terrorists, (2) retaining Brady background check records for approved firearm transactions to enhance terrorist screening, (3) more strictly regulating certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, (4) further regulating certain firearms previously defined in statute as "assault weapons," and (5) requiring background checks for private firearm transfers at gun shows.


Date of Report: March 10, 2010
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Air Force KC-X Tanker Aircraft Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Jeremiah Gertler
Specialist in Military Aviation

On February 24, 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) released its Request for Proposals for a program to build 179 new KC-X aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force, a contract valued at roughly $35 billion. 

On March 8, 2010, the team of Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company announced that they would not bid for the contract, leaving Boeing as the only expected bidder. Boeing will offer a KC-X design based on its 767 airliner, to be built in Seattle, WA, and Wichita, KS. 

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 bids against those required capabilities? Should the Air Force be in charge of the new KC-X competition? If there is only one bidder, how will DOD determine an appropriate price for the tankers and control costs throughout the program? 

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: March 12, 2010
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Veterans’ Benefits: The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

Christine Scott
Specialist in Social Policy

Carol D. Davis
Information Research Specialist

The number of service members, National Guard, and Reservists who separate from active duty with service-connected disabilities is expected to rise as a result of the engagement of the U.S. Armed Forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. There is concern in Congress that these individuals receive the care and services that will enable them to transition successfully back to civilian life. These veterans must be able to rejoin their families and communities, become employed, and continue to enjoy the highest quality of life possible, given their disabilities. 

Congress authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Service (VR&E), to provide the support disabled veterans need to successfully complete rehabilitation plans tailored to their individual needs. The VR&E has recently restructured its program in an effort to better accomplish the goal of enabling disabled veterans to gain appropriate employment or live independently. More specialists and counselors have been hired in regional VA offices, and the VR&E has instituted outreach efforts to encourage more veterans who might be eligible for these services to apply to participate in the program. The VR&E has also entered into cooperative agreements with other federal agencies, such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Education, and with private organizations to provide an integrated approach to addressing the employment needs of disabled service members and veterans. 

The VR&E administers four programs: (1) training and rehabilitation for veterans with service connected disabilities; (2) vocational and educational counseling; (3) vocational training for Vietnam veterans' children with Spina Bifida; and (4) special restorative training. In addition, the Coming Home to Work Program of the VR&E Service is designed to facilitate the veterans' return to the work force with maximum speed. This report describes VR&E program services available to veterans with service-connected disabilities and to their families. It provides information about eligibility and entitlement, the application process, and resources available through other agencies. A brief history of the program is also provided.


Date of Report: February 26, 2010
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Richard A. Best Jr.
Specialist in National Defense

To address the challenges facing the U.S. Intelligence Community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) was signed, providing for a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. The legislation also established a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The needs of intelligence "consumers"—ranging from the White House to cabinet agencies to military commanders—must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded duplication of effort while some intelligence "targets" have been neglected. 

The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational relationships remain complex, especially for Defense Department agencies. Members of Congress will be seeking to observe the extent to which effective coordination is accomplished. 

International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a difficult analytical challenge, vividly demonstrated by the attempted bombing of a commercial aircraft approaching Detroit on December 25, 2009. Counterterrorism requires the close coordination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but there remain many institutional and procedural issues that complicate cooperation between the two sets of agencies. 

Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other countries. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language expertise. Whether all terrorist surveillance efforts have been consistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) has been a matter of controversy. 

Intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inaccurate and Members have criticized the performance of the Intelligence Community in regard to current conditions in Iraq, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human intelligence, it is widely agreed, is also essential. 

Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence agencies. The use of precision guided munitions depends on accurate, real-time targeting data; integrating intelligence data into military operations challenges traditional organizational relationships and requires innovative technological approaches. Stability operations now underway in Afghanistan may require very different sets of intelligence skills. 
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Date of Report: February 26, 2010
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Defense Logistical Support Contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan: Issues for Congress

Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition


This report examines logistical support contracts for troop support services in Iraq and Afghanistan administered through the U.S. Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP). LOGCAP is an initiative designed to manage the use of civilian contractors that perform services during times of war and other military mobilizations. On April 18, 2008, DOD announced the Army's LOGCAP IV contract awards to three companies—DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, TX; Fluor Intercontinental, Inc, Greenville, SC; and KBR, Houston, TX, through a full and open competition. The LOGCAP IV contract calls for each company to compete for task orders. Each company may be awarded up to $5 billion annually for troop support services with a maximum annual value of $15 billion. As of March 2010, each company has been awarded at least one task order under LOGCAP IV. Over the life of LOGCAP IV, the maximum contract value is $150 billion. The U.S. Army Sustainment Command awarded the first performance task order on September 25, 2008 to Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., for logistical support services in Afghanistan. 

LOGCAP, an Army program designed to manage civilian contractors, is now in transition. The current LOGCAP III contractor supports the drawdown in Iraq by providing logistical services, theater transportation, augmentation of maintenance services, and other combat support services. According to Army contracting officials, all LOGCAP requirements in Kuwait have successfully transitioned from LOGCAP III to LOGCAP IV contracts. The transition of requirements is continuing from LOGCAP III to LOGCAP IV contracts, and will be used for combat support services in Afghanistan. 

Congress is concerned about the Federal oversight and management of DOD contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly under programs like LOGCAP. Recent assessments from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), DOD Office of the Inspector General (DOD-IG), the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), and the Defense Contract Audit Agency reveal a lack of accountability for large sums of money spent for Iraq contracts. According to the congressional testimony of Charles Williams, Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, there are more than 600 oversight positions still vacant in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress is also concerned about the size of contractor insurance premiums through the Defense Base Act (DBA); such premiums comprise significant costs under LOGCAP. The DBA requires that many Federal government contractors and subcontractors provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees who work outside of the United States. The U.S. Army's LOGCAP contract covers costs for DBA insurance and includes significant overheard and other costs beyond the costs of the actual insurance claims. 
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Date of Report: March 4, 2010
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol

Chad C. Haddal
Analyst in Immigration Policy

The United States Border Patrol (USBP) has a long and storied history as our nation's first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBP's primary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers and other criminals along the border. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved the Immigration and Naturalization Service and placed the USBP within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within DHS, the USBP forms a part of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection under the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. 

During the last decade, the USBP has seen its budget and manpower more than triple. This expansion was the direct result of Congressional concerns about illegal immigration and the agency's adoption of "Prevention Through Deterrence" as its chief operational strategy in 1994. The strategy called for placing USBP resources and manpower directly at the areas of greatest illegal immigration in order to detect, deter, and apprehend aliens attempting to cross the border between official points of entry. Post 9/11, the USBP refocused its strategy on preventing the entry of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, as laid out in its recently released National Strategy. In addition to a workforce of over 20,000 agents, the USBP deploys vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and many different technologies to defend the border. 

In the course of discharging its duties, the USBP patrols 8,000 miles of American international borders with Mexico and Canada and the coastal waters around Florida and Puerto Rico. However, there are significant geographic, political, and immigration-related differences between the northern border with Canada and the southwest border with Mexico. Accordingly, the USBP deploys a different mix of personnel and resources along the two borders. Due to the fact that approximately 98.7% of unauthorized migrant apprehensions by the USBP occur along the southwest border, the USBP deploys over 85% of its agents there to deter illegal immigration. The northern border is more than two times longer than the southwest border, features far lower numbers of aliens attempting to enter illegally, but may be more vulnerable to terrorist infiltration. As a consequence of this, the USBP has focused its northern border efforts on deploying technology and cooperating closely with Canadian authorities through the creation of International Border Enforcement Teams. 

Some issues for Congress to consider could include the slow rate of integration between the USBP's biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the increasing attacks on Border Patrol agents, and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended northern border as well as the more porous southwest border.


Date of Report: March 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: RL32562
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Fiscal Year 2011 Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities

Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

The President's budget request proposed total appropriations of $4.0 billion in FY2011 for homeland security assistance to states and localities, which is $142 million less than Congress appropriated in FY2010. These assistance programs are used by state and local governments, primarily first responder entities, to meet homeland security needs and enhance capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from both man-made and natural disasters. 

The Administration's budget request not only proposes to reduce total appropriations for these programs, but also to eliminate some programs, such as the Metropolitan Medical Response System, the Emergency Operations Centers Program, and the Interoperable Communications Program. This report briefly discusses issues of debate associated with the budget request


Date of Report: March 11, 2010
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: R41105
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Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2011

Anna C. Henning
Legislative Attorney

Edward C. Liu
Legislative Attorney

Three amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are set to expire (sunset) on February 28, 2011. The three sunsetting amendments expanded the scope of federal intelligence-gathering authority following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Two amendments were enacted as part of the USA PATRIOT Act. Section 206 of the USA PATRIOT Act amended FISA to permit multipoint, or "roving," wiretaps by adding flexibility to the degree of specificity with which the location or facility subject to electronic surveillance under FISA must be identified. Section 215 enlarged the scope of materials that could be sought under FISA to include "any tangible thing." It also lowered the standard required before a court order may be issued to compel their production. 

The third amendment was enacted in 2004, as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act (IRTPA). Section 6001(a) of the IRTPA changed the rules regarding the types of individuals who may be targets of FISA-authorized searches. Also known as the "lone wolf" provision, it permits surveillance of non-U.S. persons engaged in international terrorism without requiring evidence linking those persons to an identifiable foreign power or terrorist organization. 

Although these provisions are set to sunset, grandfather clauses permit them to remain effective with respect to investigations that began, or potential offenses that took place, before the sunset date. 

The 111th Congress twice enacted temporary extensions to the expiration date for the three amendments. Several bills introduced prior to the temporary extensions would amend the expiring provisions and related authorities. Two such bills—the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009 (S. 1692) and the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845)— were reported favorably by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. These and other proposals are likely to inform the legislative debate regarding a longer-term extension of the expiring authorities. 
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Date of Report: March 2, 2010
Number of Pages: 18
Order Number: R40138
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Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) at a rate of one per year for the past several years, and a total of 12 boats have been procured through FY2011. The Navy's proposed FY2011 budget increases the procurement rate to two boats per year. The eight boats to be procured in the five-year period FY2009-FY2013 (boats 11 through 18) are being procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement. 

The Navy's proposed FY2011 budget requests $3,441.5 million in procurement funding to complete the procurement cost of the 13th and 14th Virginia-class boats. The FY2011 budget estimates the combined procurement cost of these two boats at $5,344.4 million, and the boats have received a total of $1,903.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) and Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) funding. The Navy's proposed FY2011 budget also requests $1,436.8 million in AP funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years, and $254.4 million in Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) purchases of long-leadtime items for Virginia-class boats to be procured under the FY2009-FY2013 MYP arrangement.


Date of Report: February 26, 2010
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: RL32418
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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. 

The Navy's FY2011 budget submission retains, for the time being at least, the goal of achieving and maintaining a 313-ship fleet that the Navy first presented to Congress in February 2006. Although the 313-ship goal remains in place, some elements of Navy ship force planning that have emerged since 2006 appear to diverge from elements of the 313-ship plan. The Navy's report on its FY2011 30-year (FY2011-FY2040) shipbuilding plan refers to a forthcoming force structure assessment (FSA). Such an assessment could produce a replacement for the 313-ship plan. It is not clear when the FSA might be conducted, or when a replacement for the 313-ship plan might be issued. 

The Navy's proposed FY2011 budget requests funding for the procurement of nine new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the 313-ship goal). The nine ships include two attack submarines, two destroyers, two Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), one amphibious assault ship, one Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ship (i.e., a maritime prepositioning ship), and one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). 

The Navy's five-year (FY2011-FY2015) shipbuilding plan includes a total of 50 new battle force ships, or an average of 10 per year. Of the 50 ships in the plan, half are relatively inexpensive LCSs or JHSVs. 

The Navy's FY2011 30-year (FY2011-FY2040) shipbuilding plan includes 276 ships. The Navy estimates that executing the plan would require an average of $15.9 billion per year in constant FY2010 dollars. In past years, the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO's) estimate of the cost of implementing the 30-year shipbuilding plan has been higher than the Navy's estimate, reinforcing concerns among some observers about the prospective affordability of the plan. CBO is now assessing the potential cost of the Navy's FY2011 30-year shipbuilding plan. 

The Navy projects that implementing the 30-year plan would result in a fleet that grows from 284 ships in FY2011 to 315 ships in FY2020, reaches a peak of 320 ships in FY2024, drops below 313 ships in FY2027, declines to 288 ships in FY2032-FY2033, and then increases to 301 ships in FY2039-FY2040. The Navy projects that the attack submarine and cruiser-destroyer forces will drop substantially below required levels in the latter years of the 30-year plan. 
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Date of Report: March 2, 2010
Number of Pages: 16
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

Anna C. Henning, Coordinator
Legislative Attorney

Elizabeth B. Bazan
Legislative Attorney

Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

Edward C. Liu
Legislative Attorney

Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The most controversial sections of the act facilitate the federal government's collection of more information, from a greater number of sources, than had previously been authorized in criminal or foreign intelligence investigations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and the national security letter (NSL) statutes were all bolstered. With the changes came greater access to records showing an individual's spending and communication patterns as well as increased authority to intercept e-mail and telephone conversations and to search homes and businesses. In some cases, evidentiary standards required to obtain court approval for the collection of information were lowered. Other approaches included expanding the scope of information subject to search, adding flexibility to the methods by which information could be collected, and broadening the purposes for which information may be sought. 

Some perceived the changes as necessary to unearth terrorist cells and update investigative authorities to respond to the new technologies and characteristics of ever-shifting threats. Others argued that authorities granted by the USA PATRIOT Act and subsequent measures could unnecessarily undermine constitutional rights over time. In response to such concerns, sunset provisions were established for many of the changes. 

Subsequent measures made most of the USA PATRIOT Act changes permanent. However, three authorities affecting the collection of foreign intelligence information are set to expire on February 28, 2011: the lone wolf, roving wiretap, and business record sections of FISA. The 111th Congress replaced an earlier expiration date with the 2011 date. Before that change was made, the impending expiration prompted legislative proposals which revisit changes made by the USA PATRIOT Act and related measures. Two such bills—the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009 (S. 1692) and the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845)—were reported from their respective judiciary committees. 

In addition to the expiring provisions, these and other bills introduced during the 111th Congress (e.g., S. 1686, S. 1725, S. 1726, S. 2336, H.R. 1800, H.R. 3846, H.R. 3969, and H.R. 4005) address a range of issues, including national security letters, minimization requirements, nondisclosure requirements (gag orders), interception of international communications, and retroactive repeal of communication provider immunity for Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) assistance. This report surveys the legal environment in which the legislative proposals arise. 
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Date of Report: March 2, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: R40980
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Thursday, March 11, 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. 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.


Date of Report: March 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: R40084
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Visa Security Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security

Ruth Ellen Wasem
Specialist in Immigration Policy

The case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who allegedly attempted to ignite an explosive device on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009, has refocused attention on the responsibilities of the Departments of State and Homeland Security for the visa process. He was traveling on a multi-year, multiple-entry tourist visa issued to him in June 2008. State Department officials have acknowledged that Abdulmutallab's father came into the Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 19, 2009, to express his concerns about his son, and that those officials at the Embassy in Abuja sent a cable to the National Counterterrorism Center. State Department officials maintain they had insufficient information to revoke his visa at that time. 

Foreign nationals (i.e., aliens) not already legally residing in the United States who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa to be admitted, with certain exceptions noted in law. The Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) each play key roles in administering the law and policies on the admission of aliens. Although the DOS's Consular Affairs is responsible for issuing visas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) in DHS approves immigrant petitions, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS operates the Visa Security Program in selected embassies abroad, and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in DHS inspects all people who enter the United States. In addition, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has a significant policy role through its adjudicatory decisions on specific immigration cases. 

Although there was a discussion of assigning all visa issuance responsibilities to DHS when the department was being created, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) opted not to do so. Rather, P.L. 107-296 drew on compromise language stating that DHS issues regulations regarding visa issuances and assigns staff to consular posts abroad to advise, review, and conduct investigations, and that DOS's Consular Affairs continues to issue visas. 

Some have expressed the view that DOS has too much control over visas, maintaining that the Homeland Security Act intended DHS to be the lead department and DOS to merely administer the visa process. Proponents of DOS playing the principal role in visa issuances assert that only consular officers in the field have the country-specific knowledge to make decisions about whether an alien is admissible and that staffing 250 diplomatic and consular posts around the world would stretch DHS beyond its capacity. Whether the visa security roles and procedures are adequately funded may arise as the FY2011 budget is considered.


Date of Report: March 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: R41093
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress

Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces

Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Cluster munitions are air-dropped or ground-launched weapons that release a number of smaller submunitions intended to kill enemy personnel or destroy vehicles. Cluster munitions were developed in World War II and are part of many nations' weapons stockpiles. Cluster munitions have been used frequently in combat, including the early phases of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cluster munitions have been highly criticized internationally for causing a significant number of civilian deaths, and efforts have been undertaken to ban and regulate their use. The Department of Defense (DOD) continues to view cluster munitions as a military necessity but has instituted a policy to reduce the failure rate of cluster munitions to 1% or less by 2018. 

There are two major international initiatives to address cluster munitions: the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and negotiations under the UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The Obama Administration has reiterated U.S. opposition to the CCM, which will enter into force August 1, 2010, but is participating in negotiations regarding cluster munitions under the CCW.


Date of Report: February 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS22907
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