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Friday, September 30, 2011

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea—have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives, and neither is currently in operational condition. The Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair Polar Star and return it to service for 7 to 10 years; the Coast Guard expects the reactivation project to be completed in December 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that Polar Sea had suffered an unexpected engine casualty; the ship has been unavailable for operation since then.

The Coast Guard’s third polar icebreaker—Healy—entered service in 2000. Compared to Polar Star and Polar Sea, Healy has less icebreaking capability (it is considered a medium polar icebreaker), but more capability for supporting scientific research. The ship is used primarily for supporting scientific research in the Arctic.

The Coast Guard’s FY2012 budget proposes decommissioning Polar Sea in FY2011 and transitioning its crew to the reactivated Polar Star. The resulting U.S. polar icebreaking fleet would consist of one heavy polar icebreaker (Polar Star) and one medium polar icebreaker (Healy).

The Coast Guard has stated since 2008 that it is studying how many polar icebreakers, with what capabilities, it will need in the future. In July 2011, the Coast Guard provided to Congress a study on the Coast Guard’s missions and capabilities for operations in high-latitude (i.e., polar) areas. The study, commonly known as the High Latitude Study and dated July 2010 on its cover, concluded the following: “The Coast Guard requires three heavy and three medium icebreakers to fulfill its statutory missions. The Coast Guard requires six heavy and four medium icebreakers to fulfill its statutory missions and maintain the continuous presence requirements of the [2010] Naval Operations Concept. Applying non-material alternatives for crewing and homeporting reduces the overall requirement to four heavy and two medium icebreakers.”

Following any decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in 8 to 10 years. The Coast Guard estimated in February 2008 that new replacement ships might cost $800 million to $925 million each in 2008 dollars, and that the alternative of extending the service lives of Polar Sea and Polar Star for 25 years might cost about $400 million per ship. In August 2010, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp, reportedly estimated the cost of extending their lives at about $500 million per ship.

Potential issues for Congress regarding Coast Guard polar icebreaker modernization include the potential impact on U.S. polar missions of the United States currently having no operational heavy polar icebreakers; the length of time that the Coast Guard has been studying requirements for polar icebreakers; the numbers and capabilities of polar icebreakers the Coast Guard will need in the future; whether to provide these icebreakers through construction of new ships or service life extensions of existing polar icebreakers; and whether new ships should be funded entirely in the Coast Guard budget, or partly or entirely in some other part of the federal budget, such as the Department of Defense (DOD) budget, the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget, or both.



Date of Report: September 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 59
Order Number: RL34391
Price: $29.95

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Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements


Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

Mary Beth Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation

Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation


Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms. The pace of implementation slowed, however, in the 1990s, and the Bush Administration usually preferred unilateral or ad hoc measures to formal treaties and agreements to address U.S. security concerns. But the Obama Administration has resumed bilateral negotiations with Russia and pledged its support for a number of multilateral arms control and nonproliferation efforts.

The United States and Soviet Union began to sign agreements limiting their strategic offensive nuclear weapons in the early 1970s. Progress in negotiating and implementing these agreements was often slow, and subject to the tenor of the broader U.S.-Soviet relationship. As the Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s, the pace of negotiations quickened, with the two sides signing treaties limiting intermediate range and long-range weapons. But progress again slowed in the 1990s, as U.S. missile defense plans and a range of other policy conflicts intervened in the U.S.- Russian relationship. At the same time, however, the two sides began to cooperate on securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Through these cooperative efforts, the United States now allocates more than $1 billion each year to threat reduction programs in the former Soviet Union.

The United States is also a prominent actor in an international regime that attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. This regime, although suffering from some setbacks in recent years in Iran and North Korea, includes formal treaties, export control coordination and enforcement, U.N. resolutions, and organizational controls. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) serves as the cornerstone of this regime, with all but four nations participating in it. The International Atomic Energy Agency not only monitors nuclear programs to make sure they remain peaceful, but also helps nations develop and advance those programs. Other measures, such as sanctions, interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavors, also seek to slow or stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons.

The international community has also adopted a number of agreements that address non-nuclear weapons. The CFE Treaty and Open Skies Treaty sought to stabilize the conventional balance in Europe in the waning years of the Cold War. Other arrangements seek to slow the spread of technologies that nations could use to develop advanced conventional weapons. The Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions sought to eliminate both of these types of weapons completely.



Date of Report: September 2
0, 2011
Number of Pages:
72
Order Number: RL33
865
Price: $29.95

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Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The term Deepwater refers to more than a dozen separate Coast Guard acquisition programs for replacing and modernizing the service’s aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and aircraft. Until April 2007, the Coast Guard pursued these programs as a single, integrated acquisition program that was known as the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) program or Deepwater program for short. Since April 2007, the Coast Guard has pursued them as separate acquisition programs. Deepwater acquisition programs include plans for, among other things, 91 new cutters, 124 new small boats, and 247 new or modernized airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The year 2007 was a watershed year for Deepwater acquisition. The management and execution of what was then the single, integrated Deepwater program was strongly criticized by various observers. House and Senate committees held several oversight hearings on the program. Bills were introduced to restructure or reform the program in various ways. Coast Guard and industry officials acknowledged certain problems in the program’s management and execution and defended the program’s management and execution in other respects. The Coast Guard announced a number of reform actions that significantly altered the service’s approach to Deepwater acquisition (and to Coast Guard acquisition in general). Among these was the change from a single, integrated Deepwater acquisition program to a collection of separate acquisition programs.

The Coast Guard’s management of Deepwater acquisition programs, including implementation of recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), is a topic of continuing congressional oversight. Additional oversight issues include reporting of information to Congress on Deepwater programs; cost growth in, and budget planning for, Deepwater acquisition programs; a Coast Guard fleet mix analysis that could lead to changes in planned Deepwater asset quantities; and execution of individual Deepwater acquisition programs.

The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2012 budget submission states that it “proposes the elimination of the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) sub-appropriation and disaggregation of the IDS construct from the Coast Guard’s Acquisition, Construction and Improvement (AC&I) appropriation…. Consistent with the dissolution of Integrated CG Systems and the disaggregation of the Deepwater Acquisition into asset-based Acquisition Program Baselines, the proposed changes align projects that were formerly grouped under Integrated Deepwater Systems (IDS) with the existing authorized structure for Vessels, Aviation, Shore, Other Equipment, and Personnel and Management.”

The Coast Guard’s FY2012 budget appears to request $975.5 million in acquisition funding for Deepwater programs, including $289.9 million for aircraft, $512.0 million for surface ships and boats, and $173.6 million for other items.



Date of Report: September 2
0, 2011
Number of Pages:
58
Order Number: RL33
753
Price: $29.95

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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 (CIA).

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 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. 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: September 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: RL33539
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010


Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in International Security

This report is prepared annually to provide Congress with official, unclassified, quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years for use in its policy oversight functions. All agreement and delivery data in this report for the United States are government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) transactions. Similar data are provided on worldwide conventional arms transfers by all suppliers, but the principal focus is the level of arms transfers by major weapons suppliers to nations in the developing world.

Developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers. During the years 2003-2010, the value of arms transfer agreements with developing nations comprised 72.9% of all such agreements worldwide. More recently, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 78.9% of all such agreements globally from 2007-2010, and 76.2% of these agreements in 2010.

The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2010 was over $30.7 billion. This was a decline from $49.8 billion in 2009. In 2010, the value of all arms deliveries to developing nations was nearly $21.9 billion, the highest total in these deliveries values since 2006 (in constant 2010 dollars).

Recently, from 2007 to 2010, the United States and Russia have dominated the arms market in the developing world, with both nations either ranking first or second for each of these four years in the value of arms transfer agreements. From 2007 to 2010, the United States made nearly $72 billion in such agreements, 40.1% all these agreements expressed in constant 2010 dollars. Russia made $37.1 billion, 20.7% of these agreements. During this same period, collectively, the United States and Russia made 60.8% of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations, ($109.1 billion [in constant 2010 dollars]) during this four-year period.

In 2010, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with over $14.9 billion or 48.6% of these agreements, a significant increase in market share from 2009, when the United States held a 30.3% market share. In second place was Russia with $7.6 billion or 24.7% of such agreements.

In 2010, the United States ranked first in the value of arms deliveries to developing nations at $8.6 billion, or 39.2% of all such deliveries. Russia ranked second in these deliveries at $4.8 billion or 21.4%.

In worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2010—to both developed and developing nations—the United States dominated, ranking first with $21.3 billion in such agreements or 52.7% of all such agreements. Ranking second in worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2010 was Russia with $7.8 billion in such global agreements or 19.3%. The value of all arms transfer agreements worldwide in 2010 was $40.4 billion. This was a substantial decrease in arms agreements values over 2009 of 38.1%, and the lowest worldwide arms agreements total since 2003.

In 2010, India ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $5.8 billion in such agreements. Taiwan ranked second with $2.7 billion in such agreements. Saudi Arabia ranked third with $2.2 billion.



Date of Report:
September 22, 2011
Number of Pages:
89
Order Number: R420
17
Price: $29.95

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