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Friday, May 27, 2011

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 intelligence agencies that are part of the Defense Department. 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 21
st 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. Particular challenges relate to the protection of civil liberties that surround collecting information about U.S. persons.

Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other countries, with a much higher need for situational awareness of third world societies. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language expertise.

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 Afghanistan, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human intelligence, it is widely agreed, is also essential, but very challenging to acquire.

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.



Date of Report: May 17, 2011
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL33539
Price: $29.95

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Defense: FY2011 Authorization and Appropriations


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

The President’s FY2011 budget request, released February 1, 2010, requested authorization of $725.9 billion in new budget authority in the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act. In addition to $548.9 billion for the regular (non-war) operations of the Department of Defense (DOD), the authorization request included $159.3 billion for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, bringing the total DOD request for FY2011 to $708.2 billion. The request also included $17.7 billion for defense-related activities of the Department of Energy.

The President’s FY2011 DOD appropriations request, totaling $709.0 billion, was accompanied by a request for a supplemental FY2010 DOD appropriation of $33.7 billion. The supplemental request included $33.0 billion for war costs and $655 million to pay DOD’s share of the cost of humanitarian relief operations in Haiti, struck on January 12, 2010, by a devastating earthquake.

The $548.9 billion appropriation requested for DOD’s so-called “base budget”—that is, all activities other than war costs—was $18.2 billion higher than the amount appropriated for DOD non-war costs in FY2010. By DOD’s estimate, this 3.4% increase would have amounted to a “real” increase of 1.8% in purchasing power, after taking into account the cost of inflation.

On May 28, 2010, the House passed H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011, which would have authorized $725.9 billion for DOD and other defense-related activities, a reduction of less than $3 million from the Administration’s request for programs covered by that legislation. The House bill would have added to the budget $485 million to continue development of the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), despite warnings by Defense Secretary Robert H. Gates that he would recommend a veto of any bill that would continue that project. An amendment adopted by the House would have repealed a 1993 law that, in effect, bars from military service those who are openly homosexual.

On June 4, 2010, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported its version of the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454; S.Rept. 111-201), which would have authorized $725.7 billion for DOD and other defense-related activities, a reduction of $240.7 million from the Administration’s request. The committee bill would have repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law and it would not add funds for the JSF alternate engine. Controversy over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and other provisions blocked Senate action on S. 3454 for months.

Meanwhile, informal negotiations among senior members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees produced a compromise bill, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 6523). This bill was cleared for the President on December 22, 2010, and was signed by the President on January 7, 2011 (P.L. 111-383). The enacted defense authorization bill included no provision relating to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which was repealed by separate legislation (H.R. 2965; P.L. 111-321).

Neither the House nor the Senate passed any FY2011 appropriations bills before the fiscal year began on October 1, 2010, so DOD—like other federal agencies—was funded through the first six months of FY2011 by a series of continuing resolutions. The legislative battle over the FY2011 budget wound up on April 15, 2011, when the President signed H.R. 1473 (P.L. 112-10), funding Defense and other agencies through the balance of FY2011. For DOD, the bill provided a total of $688.6 billion, which is $20.4 billion less than the President’s request. The bill included no funds for the JSF alternate engine.



Date of Report: May 17, 2011
Number of Pages: 94
Order Number: R41254
Price: $29.95

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Securing Nuclear Materials: The 2010 Summit and Issues for Congress


Mary Beth Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation

In an April 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama pledged that his Administration would launch “a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” To motivate world leaders to achieve this goal, the President hosted a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, on April 12-13, 2010. Leaders of 47 countries attended the summit, including many heads of state. Attendees represent a wide geographic range of states and nuclear capabilities, and include China, India, Israel, and Pakistan. The summit resulted in a joint statement saying that international cooperative action is necessary to prevent an act of nuclear terrorism. Summit attendees also pledged to improve nuclear security standards, bring international agreements into force, and share best practices.

Nuclear security measures refer to a wide range of actions to prevent theft or diversion of nuclear material or sabotage at an installation or in transit. They could include physical protection measures, material control and accounting, personnel reliability screening, and training. A broader understanding of nuclear security also includes measures to prevent and detect illicit trafficking— cargo inspections, border security, and interdiction measures.

The U.S. government has worked for more than a decade both domestically and in partnership with other countries to address this problem through multiple programs at the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and State. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also played a lead role in these efforts, particularly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Congress will continue to decide on funding for the U.S. domestic and international programs focused on nuclear material security and nuclear terrorism prevention. Congress is also likely to assess implementation of the Administration’s goal to secure nuclear materials by the end of 2013. The Obama Administration’s FY2011 and FY2012 congressional budget request proposed overall increases in funding for nuclear security-related accounts, with the stated purpose of ramping up programs to meet the President’s four-year goal.



Date of Report: May 20, 2011
Number of Pages: 28
Order Number: R41169
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Military Base Closures: Socioeconomic Impacts


Tadlock Cowan
Analyst in Natural Resources and Rural Development

Oscar R. Gonzales
Analyst in Economic Development Policy


The most recent Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission submitted its final report to the Administration on September 8, 2005. Implementation of the BRAC round is occurring and, barring future congressional action, the recommendations are expected to be completed by September 15, 2011. In the report, the commission rejected 13 of the initial Department of Defense recommendations, significantly modified the recommendations for 13 other installations, and approved 22 major closures. The loss of related jobs, and efforts to replace them and to implement a viable base reuse plan, can pose significant challenges for affected communities. However, while base closures and realignments often create socioeconomic distress in communities initially, research has shown that they generally have not had the dire effects that many communities expected. For rural areas, however, the impacts can be greater and the economic recovery slower. Drawing from existing studies, this report assesses the potential community impacts and proposals for minimizing those impacts.

For additional information on the BRAC process, see CRS Report RL32216, Military Base Closures: Implementing the 2005 Round, by David E. Lockwood; and CRS Report RL33766, Military Base Closures and Realignment: Status of the 2005 Implementation Plan, by Kristine E. Blackwell.



Date of Report: May 17, 2011
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS22417
Price: $19.95

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress


Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces

Thomas K. Livingston
Air Force Fellow


Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations, and the Administration has given U.S. SOF greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has close to 60,000 active duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel from all four services and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians assigned to its headquarters, its four components, and one sub-unified command. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) directs increases in SOF force structure, particularly in terms of increasing enabling units and rotary and fixed-wing SOF aviation assets and units. USSOCOM Commander, Admiral Eric T. Olson, in commenting on the current state of the forces under his command, noted that since September 11, 2001, USSOCOM manpower has nearly doubled, the budget nearly tripled, and overseas deployments have quadrupled; because of this high level of demand, the admiral added, SOF is beginning to show some “fraying around the edges” and one potential way to combat this is by finding ways to get SOF “more time at home.” Admiral Olson also noted the effectiveness of Section 1208 authority, which provides funds for SOF to train and equip regular and irregular indigenous forces to conduct counterterrorism operations.

Vice Admiral William McRaven, the current commander of the Joint Special operations Command (JSOC) has been recommended by the Secretary of Defense for nomination to replace Admiral Olson, who is retiring this year, as USSOCOM Commander. USSOCOM’s FY2012 Budget Request is $10.5 billion—with $7.2 billion in the baseline budget and $3.3 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, representing an increase of seven percent over the FY2011 Budget Request of $9.8 billion.

In March 2011, the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command was established to command the 160
th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and other Army Special Operations aviation organizations.

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities completed its mark-up of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) and recommended fully funding the President’s $10.5 billion budget request. In addition, a number of new reporting requirements were established regarding aviation foreign internal defense, USSOCOM command structure, counterterrorism operations, Section 1208 authorities, and the role of military information support operations (MISO).

On January 6, 2011, DOD announced starting in FY2015, the Army would decrease its permanently authorized endstrength by 27,000 soldiers and the Marines would lose anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 Marines. In addition, starting in 2012, the Air Force will reduce forces by 5,750. Because USSOCOM draws its operators and support troops from the Services, it will have a smaller force pool to draw its members from. Another implication is these force reductions might also have an impact on the creation and sustainment of Army and Marine Corps “enabling” units that USSOCOM is seeking to support operations.

Another potential issue involves initiatives to get more “time at home” for SOF troops to help reduce stress on service members and their families. One of the major factors is that SOF does not either have access to or the appropriate types of training facilities near their home stations, thereby necessitating travel away from their bases and families to conduct pre-deployment training.



Date of Report: May 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RS21048
Price: $29.95

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