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Thursday, April 19, 2012

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.

In February 2006, the Navy presented to Congress a goal of achieving and maintaining a fleet of 313 ships, consisting of certain types and quantities of ships. On March 28, 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD) submitted to Congress an FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan that includes a revised goal for a fleet of about 310-316 ships. The Navy is conducting a force structure assessment, to be completed later this year, that could lead to a refinement of this 310-316-ship plan.

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests funding for the procurement of 10 new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the 310-316 ship goal). The 10 ships include one Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier; two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class Aegis destroyers, four Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), and one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). These ships are all funded through the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) account.

The FY2013-FY2017 five-year shipbuilding plan contains a total of 41 ships—14 ships, or about 25%, less than the 55 ships in the FY2012 five-year (FY2012-FY2016) shipbuilding plan, and 16 ships less, or about 28%, less than the 57 ships that were planned for FY2013-FY2017 under the FY2012 budget. Of the 16 ships no longer planned for FY2013-FY2017, nine were eliminated from the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and seven were deferred to years beyond FY2017. The nine ships that were eliminated were eight Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) and one TAGOS ocean surveillance ship. The seven ships deferred beyond FY2017 were one Virginia-class attack submarine, two LCSs, one LSD(X) amphibious ship, and three TAO(X) oilers. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget also proposes the early retirement of seven Aegis cruisers and the placement into Reduced Operating Status (ROS) of two LSD-type amphibious ships.

The Navy’s FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan, which was submitted to Congress on March 28, 2012 (more than a month after the submission of the FY2013 budget on February 13, 2012), does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the Navy’s 310-316 ship goal over the long run. The Navy projects that the fleet would remain below 310 ships during the entire 30-year period, and experience shortfalls in cruisers-destroyers, attack submarines, and amphibious ships. The projected cruiser-destroyer and attack submarine shortfalls are smaller than they were projected to be under the FY2012 30-year (FY2012- FY2041) shipbuilding plan, due in part to a reduction in the cruiser-destroyer force-level goal and the insertion of additional destroyers and attack submarines into the FY2013 30-year plan.

CBO is currently preparing its estimate of the cost of the FY2013 30-year shipbuilding plan. In its June 2011 report on the cost of the FY2012 30-year plan, CBO estimated that the plan would cost an average of $18.0 billion per year in constant FY2011 dollars to implement, or about 16% more than the Navy estimated. CBO’s estimate was about 7% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the first 10 years of the plan, about 10% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the second 10 years of the plan, and about 31% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the final 10 years of the plan.



Date of Report:
March 30, 2012
Number of Pages:
28
Order Number: R
L32665
Price: $29.95

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Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents


Jennifer K. Elsea
Legislative Attorney

The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, P.L. 112-81, affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), P.L. 107-40, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. The act provides for the first time a statutory definition of covered persons whose detention is authorized pursuant to the AUMF. During debate of the provision, significant attention focused on the applicability of this detention authority to U.S. citizens and other persons within the United States. The Senate adopted an amendment to clarify that the provision was not intended to affect any existing law or authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens or lawful resident aliens, or any other persons captured or arrested in the United States. This report analyzes the existing law and authority to detain U.S. persons, including American citizens and resident aliens, as well as other persons within the United States who are suspected of being members, agents, or associates of Al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations as “enemy combatants.”

The Supreme Court in 2004 affirmed the President’s power to detain “enemy combatants,” including those who are U.S. citizens, as part of the necessary force authorized by Congress after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a plurality held that a U.S. citizen allegedly captured during combat in Afghanistan and incarcerated at a Navy brig in South Carolina is entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard by a neutral decision maker regarding the government’s reasons for detaining him. On the same day, the Court in Rumsfeld v. Padilla overturned a lower court’s grant of habeas corpus to another U.S. citizen in military custody in South Carolina on jurisdictional grounds, leaving undecided whether the authority to detain also applies to U.S. citizens arrested in the United States by civilian authorities. Lower courts that have addressed the issue of wartime detention within the United States have reached conflicting conclusions. While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ultimately confirmed the detention authority in principle in two separate cases (one of which was subsequently vacated), the government avoided taking the argument to the Supreme Court by indicting the accused detainees for federal crimes, making their habeas appeals moot and leaving the law generally unsettled.

This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented. The report concludes by discussing Congress’s role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons (H.R. 3676, H.R. 3785, H.R. 3702, S. 2003, H.R. 4092, H.R. 4192, S. 2175).



Date of Report: April 11, 2012
Number of Pages: 53
Order Number: R42337
Price: $29.95

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The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012: Detainee Matters


Jennifer K. Elsea
Legislative Attorney

Michael John Garcia
Legislative Attorney


The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (2012 NDAA, P.L. 112-81) contains a subtitle addressing issues related to detainees at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more broadly, the disposition of persons captured in the course of hostilities against Al Qaeda and associated forces. Much of the debate surrounding passage of the act centered on what appears to be an effort to confirm or, as some observers view it, expand the detention authority that Congress implicitly granted the President via the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF, P.L. 107-40) in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The 2012 NDAA, as enacted, largely adopts the detention provisions from the Senate bill,
S. 1867, with several modified provisions from the House bill, H.R. 1540, along with a few modifications inserted at conference in an effort to avoid a presidential veto. It authorizes the detention of certain categories of persons and requires the military detention of a subset of them (subject to waiver by the President); regulates status determinations for persons held pursuant to the AUMF, regardless of location; regulates periodic review proceedings concerning the continued detention of Guantanamo detainees; and continues current funding restrictions that relate to Guantanamo detainee transfers to foreign countries. The act continues to bar military funds from being used to transfer detainees from Guantanamo into the United States for trial or other purposes, although it does not directly bar criminal trials for terrorism suspects (similar transfer restrictions are found in appropriations enactments in effect for FY2012).

During floor debate on
S. 1867, significant attention centered on the extent to which the bill and existing law permit the military detention of U.S. citizens believed to be enemy belligerents, especially if arrested within the United States. A single amendment was made to the detainee provisions (ultimately included in the final version of the act) to clarify that the bill’s affirmation of detention authority under the AUMF is not intended to affect any existing authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens or lawful resident aliens, or any other persons captured or arrested in the United States. When signing the 2012 NDAA into law, President Obama stated that he would “not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

While Congress deliberated over the competing House and Senate bills, the White House expressed strong criticism of both bills’ detainee provisions, and threatened to veto any legislation “that challenges or constrains the President’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the Nation.” A few modifications were made during conference to assuage some of the Administration’s concerns. President Obama ultimately lifted the veto threat and signed the 2012 NDAA into law, though he issued a statement criticizing many of the bill’s detainee provisions. Among other things, he declared that the mandatory military detention provision would be implemented in a manner that would preserve a maximum degree of flexibility, and that the Administration would not “adhere to a rigid across-the-board requirement for military detention.” In February 2012, President Obama issued a directive to implement this policy, including by exercising waiver authority to prevent the mandatory military detention provision’s application in a broad range of circumstances.

This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by the detainee provisions of the FY2012 NDAA, provides a section-by-section analysis, and discusses executive interpretation and implementation of the act’s mandatory military detention provision.



Date of Report: April 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 41
Order Number: R42143
Price: $29.95

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Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress


Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

Some Members of Congress have expressed concern over U.S. acquisition of rare earth materials composed of rare earth elements used in various components of defense weapon systems. Rare earth elements consist of 17 elements on the periodic table, including 15 elements beginning with atomic number 57 (lanthanum) and extending through number 71 (lutetium), as well as two other elements having similar properties (yttrium and scandium). These are referred to as “rare” because although relatively abundant in total quantity, they appear in low concentrations in the earth’s crust and extraction and processing is both difficult and costly.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the United States was the leader in global rare earth production. Since then, production has shifted almost entirely to China, in part due to lower labor costs and lower environmental standards. China now produces about 97% of rare earth oxides, is the only exporter of commercial quantities of rare earth refined metals, and is the majority producer of the world’s two strongest magnets (samarium cobalt (SmCo) and neodymium iron boron (NeFeB) permanent rare earth magnets). An underinvestment in the U.S. supply chain for rare earths has resulted in a situation where, with few exceptions, there is a lack of domestic refining, fabricating, metal-making, alloying, and magnet manufacturing capacity to process rare earths.

In 2010, a series of events and press reports highlighted what some referred to as the rare earth “crisis.” Some policymakers were concerned that China had cut its rare earth exports and appeared to be restricting the world’s access to rare earths, with a nearly total U.S. dependence on China for rare earth elements, including oxides, phosphors, metals, alloys, and magnets. Additionally, some policymakers had expressed growing concern that the United States had lost its domestic capacity to produce strategic and critical materials, and its implications for U.S. national security.

Pursuant to Section 843, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 (P.L. 111-383) and S.Rept. 111-201 (accompanying S. 3454), Congress had mandated that the Secretary of Defense conduct an assessment of rare earth supply chain issues and develop a plan to address any vulnerabilities. DOD was required to assess which rare earths met the following criteria: (1) the rare earth material was critical to the production, sustainment, or operation of significant U.S. military equipment; and (2) the rare earth material was subject to interruption of supply, based on actions or events outside the control of the U.S. government. The seven-page report was issued in March 2012.

On March 13, 2012, President Obama announced that the United States had joined with Japan and the European Union to bring a World Trade Organization (WTO) joint dispute resolution case against China because of China’s restrictive policies on rare earths and other minerals. Given DOD’s assessment of the supply and demand for rare earths for defense purposes, coupled with the recent announcement of Molycorp’s proposed acquisition of Neo Material Technologies, Congress may use its oversight role to seek more complete answers to the following important questions: 

         Given Molycorp’s purchase of Neo Material Technologies and the potential for the migration of domestic rare earth minerals to Molycorp’s processing facilities in China, how will this move affect the domestic supply of rare earth minerals for the production of U.S. defense weapon systems?
         Given that DOD’s assessment of future supply and demand was based on previous estimates using 2010 data, could there be concern for a possible rare earth material supply shortage or vulnerability that could affect national security? 
         Are there substitutes for rare earth materials that are economic, efficient, and available? 
         Does dependence on foreign sources alone for rare earths pose a national security problem? 
Congress may encourage DOD to develop a collaborative, long-term, well-thought-out strategy designed to identify any material weaknesses and vulnerabilities associated with rare earths and to protect long-term U.S. national security interests.


Date of Report: April 11, 2012
Number of Pages: 34
Order Number: R41744
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles. These more powerful lasers might, among other things, provide Navy surface ships with a terminal-defense capability against certain ballistic missiles, including China’s new anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM).

The Navy and DOD have conducted development work on three principal types of lasers for potential use on Navy surface ships—fiber solid state lasers (SSLs), slab SSLs, and free electron lasers (FELs). One fiber SSL prototype demonstrator developed by the Navy was the Laser Weapon System (LaWS); another Navy fiber SSL effort is called the Tactical Laser System (TLS). Among DOD’s multiple efforts to develop slab SSLs for military use was the Maritime Laser Demonstration (MLD), a prototype laser weapon developed as a rapid demonstration project. The Navy has developed a lower-power FEL prototype and is now developing a prototype with scaled-up power. These lasers differ in terms of their relative merits as potential shipboard weapons.

Although the Navy is developing laser technologies and prototypes of potential shipboard lasers, and has a generalized vision for shipboard lasers, the Navy currently does not have a program of record for procuring a production version of a shipboard laser, or a roadmap that calls for installing lasers on specific surface ships by specific dates. The possibility of equipping Navy surface ships with lasers in coming years raises a number of potential issues for Congress, including the following: 

         whether the Navy should act now to adopt a program of record for procuring a production version of a shipboard laser, and/or a roadmap that calls for installing lasers on specific surface ships by specific dates; 
         how many types of lasers to continue developing, particularly given constraints on Navy funding, and the relative merits of types currently being developed; and 
         the potential implications of shipboard lasers for the design and acquisition of Navy ships, including the Flight III DDG-51 destroyer that the Navy wants to begin procuring in FY2016. 
Congress in past years has provided some additional funding to help support Navy development of potential shipboard lasers. For FY2013 and subsequent years, Congress has several options regarding potential shipboard lasers. In addition to decisions on whether or not to fund continued development of potential shipboard lasers, these options include, among other things, the following: encouraging or directing the Navy or some other DOD organization to perform an analysis of alternatives (AOA) comparing the cost-effectiveness of lasers and traditional kinetic weapons (such as missiles and guns) for countering surface, air, and missile targets, and encouraging or directing the Navy to adopt a program of record for procuring a production version of a shipboard laser, and/or a roadmap that calls for installing lasers on specific surface ships by specific dates.


Date of Report: April 6, 2012
Number of Pages:
61
Order Number: R
41526
Price: $29.95

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