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Monday, July 30, 2012

Overview of the Appeal Process for Veterans’ Claims


Daniel T. Shedd
Legislative Attorney

Congress, through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides a variety of benefits and services to veterans and to certain members of their families. These benefits include disability compensation and pensions, education benefits, survivor benefits, medical treatment, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and burial and memorial benefits. In order to receive these benefits, a veteran (or an eligible family member) must apply for them by submitting the necessary information to a local VA office. The local VA office will make an initial determination on the application for benefits. Any veteran who is not satisfied with the local VA’s determination is permitted to appeal the decision. This report provides a step-by-step breakdown of the appeal process for veterans’ claims.

After an appeal is filed, the local VA office will again review the claim. If the local VA office still denies the claim, the local VA office will prepare the claim file for the appeal and provide the claimant with a blank VA Form 9—a form that must be completed to make an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). Claimants must follow specific procedures to request the appeal and must meet certain deadlines for submitting the proper information

The claimant may choose to have a hearing with the BVA during the appeal process. There are three different types of hearings that the claimant may choose: (1) an in-person hearing with a BVA member, held in Washington, DC; (2) an in-person hearing with a BVA member, held at a local VA office; or (3) a teleconference hearing. The hearings with the BVA are informal and nonadversarial in nature. The claimant will be given the opportunity to explain the reasons for the appeal and to submit additional evidence during the hearing. The claimant may be represented during the appeal process.

After the BVA reaches a decision on the appeal, there are further options the claimant may pursue if he or she is still not satisfied with the BVA decision. A claimant may file a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). The CAVC, an Article I court, has exclusive jurisdiction to review decisions of the BVA. A claimant must submit a notice of appeal within 120 days of receiving the decision from the BVA. However, a recent Supreme Court decision, Henderson v. Shinseki, clarified that the 120-day deadline is not a “jurisdictional” deadline. Therefore, an appeal to the CAVC will not necessarily be dismissed for missing the deadline. However, the claimant must have a good reason for filing late, such as an inability to meet the deadline due to mental incapacity. This report will examine this case and discuss various acceptable reasons for missing the 120-day deadline.

In the 112th Congress, various pieces of legislation have been proposed that would alter the appeal process. These proposals range from extending the 120-day filing deadline with the CAVC to permitting the BVA to review newly submitted evidence without having to remand the case to a local VA office for an initial review. The proposed legislation in the 112th Congress is discussed in Appendix A to this report.


Date of Report: July 16, 2012
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R42609
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Defense: FY2013 Authorization and Appropriations


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

President Obama’s $613.9 billion FY2013 budget request for the Department of Defense (DOD) is $31.8 billion less than was appropriated for the agency in FY2012. The end of U.S. combat in Iraq and the declining tempo of operations in Afghanistan account for the bulk of the overall reduction: The budget request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)—DOD activities in those two countries—is $88.5 billion, which is $26.6 billion less than was provided for those operations in FY2012.

However, the Administration’s $525.4 billion request for DOD’s so-called “base budget”—funds for all DOD activities other than OCO—is $5.2 billion less than was provided for FY2012 and $45.3 billion less than the FY2013 base budget the Administration had projected a year earlier, in February of 2011. The proposed reduction in the base budget—and planned reductions of more than $50 billion per year through FY2021, compared with the FY2011 projection—reflects the Administration’ s effort to reduce federal spending as required by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, enacted on August 2, 2011 (P.L. 112-25). All told, the Obama Administration’s current projection would reduce DOD budgets by $486.9 billion over a 10-year period (FY2012- FY2021), compared with its February 2011 plan. (See “FY2013 Defense Budget Overview,” pp. 1-4.)

According to the Administration, the FY2013 DOD budget request is consistent with the initial spending caps set by the BCA. Both H.R. 4310, the version of the FY2013 National Defense Authorization passed by the House on May 18, 2012, and H.R. 5856, the companion DOD appropriations bill for FY2013, reported by the House Appropriations Committee on May 25, 2012, would exceed the Administration request—by $3.7 billion in the case of the authorization bill and by $3.1 billion in the case of the appropriation bill.

On the other hand, S. 3254, the version of the authorization bill reported June 4, 2012, by the Senate Armed Services Committee, would keep FY2013 DOD funding within the initial BCA caps, exceeding the budget request by $197.0 million.

Each version of the authorization bill would add to the request several billion dollars to overturn several cost-cutting initiatives incorporated in the Administration’s budget, including proposed reductions in the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. However, the House version would go further in rejecting the proposed savings. Similarly, while both versions of the authorization bill would add to the request funds for programs Congress historically has favored (such as missile defense and equipment for reserve and National Guard forces), the Senate bill is more generous in this regard. (See “NDAA: The Broad Outlines,” p.13-15, and “DOD Appropriations Overview” pp. 34-38.)

The House committee-reported appropriation bill generally parallels the House-passed authorization.


Date of Report: July 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 70
Order Number: R42607
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information


Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

The Department of Defense (DOD) through a Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) component called DLA Disposition Services [formerly the Defense Utilization and Marketing Service (DRMS)] has a policy for disposing of government equipment and supplies considered surplus or deemed unnecessary, or excess to the agency’s currently designated mission. DLA Disposition Services is responsible for property reuse (including resale), precious metal recovery, recycling, hazardous property disposal, and the demilitarization of military equipment. The effort to dispose of surplus military equipment dates back to the end of World War II when the federal government sought to reduce a massive inventory of surplus military equipment by making such equipment available to civilians. (The disposal of surplus real property, including land, buildings, commercial facilities, and equipment situated thereon, is assigned to the General Services Administration, Office of Property Disposal.)


Date of Report: July 18, 2012
Number of Pages: 8
Order Number: RS20549
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The Berry Amendment: Requiring Defense Procurement to Come from Domestic Sources


Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

This report examines the original intent and purpose of the Berry Amendment and legislative proposals to amend the application of domestic source restrictions, as well as potential options for Congress. In order to protect the U.S. industrial base during periods of adversity and war, Congress passed domestic source restrictions as part of the 1941 Fifth Supplemental Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act. These provisions later became known as the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment [Title 10 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 2533a, Requirement to Buy Certain Articles from American Sources; Exceptions] contains a number of domestic source restrictions that prohibit DOD from acquiring food, clothing (including military uniforms), fabrics (including ballistic fibers), stainless steel, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown or produced in the United States. The Berry Amendment applies to DOD purchases only.

There are new proposals affecting the Berry Amendment, including H.R. 2955, the “American Shoes for American Servicemembers Act,” and H.R. 679, the Berry Amendment Extension Act. Provisions were enacted in the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 (P.L. 111-383), to prohibit DOD from specifying the use of fire-resistant, rayon fiber in certain solicitations, and to provide DOD with a non-availability exception for the procurement of domestic hand or measuring tools.

P.L. 111-383 also required the Comptroller General to report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on assessing the supply chain for the procurement of fire-resistant and fireretardant fibers and materials for the production of military uniforms. GAO released its report to Congress in June 2011, and stated that an Austrian company was the sole source for fire-resistant rayon fiber for the manufacture of fire-resistant uniforms for military personnel. GAO concluded that DOD had taken steps to identify and test alternative fire-resistant, fabric blends to meet current demands, but found debate over whether the flame resistant characteristics of fireresistant rayon were superior to other alternatives. GAO did not provide a recommendation.

Some policymakers believe that policies like the Berry Amendment contradict free trade policies, and that the presence and degree of such competition is the most effective tool for promoting efficiencies and improving quality. On the other hand, some other policymakers believe that key domestic sectors (like manufacturing) need the protections afforded by the Berry Amendment. The debate over the Berry Amendment raises several questions, among them: (1) If the United States does not produce a solely domestic item, or if U.S. manufacturers are at maximum production capability, should DOD restrict procurement from foreign sources, and (2) to what extent do U.S. national security interests and industrial base concerns justify waiver of the Berry Amendment?



Date of Report: July 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: RL31236
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Coast Guard’s program of record (POR) calls for procuring eight National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs have a combined estimated acquisition cost of about $16.8 billion, and the Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requests a total of $852 million in acquisition funding for the three programs.

NSCs are the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters. They have an estimated average procurement cost of about $684 million per ship. The first three are now in service, and the fourth and fifth are under construction. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $683 million for the NSC program, including $658 million to complete the funding for the sixth NSC.

OPCs are to be smaller, less expensive, and in some respects less capable than NSCs. They have an estimated average procurement cost of about $324 million per ship. The first OPC is to be procured in FY2017. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $30 million for the OPC program.

FRCs are considerably smaller and less expensive than OPCs. They have an estimated average procurement cost of about $68 million per boat. A total of 18 have been funded through FY2012. The first entered service on April 14, 2012; the second was delivered to the Coast Guard on May 26, 2012; and the third is scheduled to be delivered by the end of FY2012. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $139 million for the FRC program.

Potential oversight issues for Congress regarding the NSC, OPC, and FRC programs include the following:

  • the absence of funding in the Coast Guard’s FY2013 five-year (FY2013-FY2017) capital investment plan for the seventh and eighth NSCs; 
  • hull corrosion and leaks in the third NSC; 
  • the Coast Guard’s proposal to restructure the use of FY2012 FRC acquisition funding so as to procure four FRCs in FY2012 rather than six, and to defer the procurement of the other two FY2012-funded FRCs to FY2013; 
  • delays, cost growth, and testing issues in the FRC program; 
  • the Coast Guard’s acquisition strategy for the OPC; 
  • the potential for using multiyear procurement (MYP) in acquiring new cutters; 
  • the adequacy of the Coast Guard’s planned NSC, OPC, and FRC procurement quantities; 
  • whether eight NSCs, 25 OPCs, and 58 FRCs is the best mix of cutters that could be procured for roughly the same total amount of acquisition funding; and 
  • the adequacy of information available to Congress to support review and oversight of Coast Guard procurement programs, including cutter procurement programs.

Date of Report: July 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 55
Order Number: R42567
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Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress


Moshe Schwartz
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

Katherine Blakeley
Research Associate

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Department of Defense (DOD) spends billions of dollars per year on fuel, and is pursuing numerous initiatives for reducing its fuel needs and changing the mix of energy sources that it uses. DOD’s energy initiatives pose several potential oversight issues for Congress, and have been topics of discussion and debate at hearings on DOD’s proposed FY2013 budget.

By some accounts, DOD is the largest organizational user of petroleum in the world. Even so, DOD’s share of total U.S. energy consumption is fairly small. DOD is by far the largest U.S. government user of energy. The amount of money that DOD spends on petroleum-based fuels is large in absolute terms, but relatively small as a percentage of DOD’s overall budget. DOD’s fuel costs have increased substantially over the last decade, to about $17 billion in FY2011. Petroleum-based liquid fuels are by far DOD’s largest source of energy, accounting for approximately two-thirds of DOD energy consumption. When DOD’s fuel use is divided by service, the Air Force is the largest user; when divided by platform type, aircraft are the largest user.

According to DOD, currently about 75% of DOD’s energy use is operational energy and about 25% is installation energy. Operational energy is defined in law as “the energy required for training, moving, and sustaining military forces and weapons platforms for military operations.” Installation energy is not defined in law, but in practice refers to energy used at installations, including non-tactical vehicles, that does not fall under the definition of operational energy.

DOD’s reliance on fuel can lead to financial, operational, and strategic challenges and risks. Financial challenges and risks relate to the possibility of a longer-term trend of increasing costs for fuel, and to shorter-term volatility in fuel prices. Operational challenges and risks relate to: (1) the diversion of resources to the task of moving fuel to the battlefield; (2) the negative impact of fuel requirements on the mobility of U.S. forces and the combat effectiveness of U.S. equipment, and (3) the vulnerability of fuel supply lines to disruption. Strategic challenges and risks relate to getting fuel to the overseas operating area, and ensuring the global free flow of oil.

As part of its FY2013 budget submission, DOD has requested more than $1.4 billion for operational energy initiatives in FY2013. DOD’s office of Operational Energy Plans and Programs, headed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs (ASD (OEPP)), is responsible for developing DOD policy for operational energy and alternative fuels, and for coordinating operational energy efforts across the services.

Congress has been concerned with energy policy since the 1970s, and has passed legislation relating to federal government energy use, including DOD installation energy use. Congress has set specific energy-reduction targets for DOD installation energy, but not for operational energy.

Potential oversight issues for Congress regarding DOD’s energy initiatives include:

  • DOD’s coordination of operational energy initiatives being pursued by the military services. 
  • DOD’s efforts to gather reliable data and develop metrics for evaluating DOD’s energy initiatives. 
  • DOD’s estimates of future fuel costs. 
  • DOD’s role in federal energy initiatives. 
  • The Navy’s initiative to help jumpstart a domestic advanced biofuels industry. 
  • The potential implications for DOD energy initiatives of shifts in U.S. military strategy.

Date of Report: July 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 69
Order Number: R42558
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gun Control Legislation


William J. Krouse
Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy

Congress has debated the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. Since March 2011, much of the gun control debate in the 112th Congress has swirled around allegations that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) mishandled a Phoenix, AZ-based gun trafficking investigation known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” In the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55), Congress included a provision that reflects a Senate-adopted amendment that forbids the expenditure of any funding provided under it to be used by a federal law enforcement officer to transfer an operable firearm to a person known or suspected to be connected with a drug cartel without that firearm being continuously monitored or controlled. The act, however, does not include language adopted during House full committee markup to prohibit ATF from collecting multiple long gun sales reports in Southwest Border states.

The 112th Congress continues to consider the implications of Operation Fast and Furious and several gun control issues. On June 28, 2012, the House passed a resolution (H.Res. 711) citing Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to produce additional, subpoenaed documents related to Operation Fast and Furious to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. On May 18, 2012, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310), which amends a provision that limits the Secretary of Defense’s authority to regulate firearms privately held by members of the Armed Forces off-base. On May 10, 2012, the House passed a Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) that would fund ATF for FY2013 and, on April 19, 2012, the Senate Committee on Appropriations reported a similar bill (S. 2323). Both bills include several gun control-related provisions, such as a ban on additional shotgun importation regulations.

On April 17, 2012, the House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089), a bill that would require agencies that manage federal public lands to facilitate access to and use of those lands for the purposes of recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting with certain exceptions set out in statute. Language to a similar effect was included in the FY2013 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 6091), which the House Committee on Appropriations reported on July 10, 2012.

On November 16, 2011, the House passed a bill (H.R. 822) that would establish a greater degree of reciprocity between states that issue concealed carry permits for handguns to civilians than currently exists under state law. On October 11, 2011, the House passed a Veterans’ Benefits Act (H.R. 2349) that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from determining a beneficiary to be mentally incompetent for the purposes of gun control, unless such a determination were made by a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority based upon a finding that the beneficiary posed a danger to himself or others. In May 2011, firearms-related amendments to bills reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act were considered (H.R. 1800, S. 1038, and S. 990), but they were not passed.

The tragic shootings in Tucson, AZ, on January 8, 2011, in which 6 people were killed and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, also generated attention. Several Members introduced proposals that arguably address issues related to the shooter’s mental illness and drug use (see S. 436/H.R. 1781) and his use of large capacity ammunition feeding devices (LCAFDs) (see H.R. 308 and S. 32), as well as a proposal to ban firearms within the proximity of certain high-level federal officials (see H.R. 367 and H.R. 496).

In addition to legislative action in the 112th Congress, this report also includes discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past or current congressional interest. Those issues include (1) screening firearms background check applicants against terrorist watch lists, (2) combating gun trafficking and straw purchases, (3) reforming the regulation of federally licensed gun dealers, (4) requiring background checks for private firearms transfers at gun shows, (5) more-strictly regulating certain firearms previously defined in statute as “semiautomatic assault weapons,” and (6) banning or requiring the registration of certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, which are commonly referred to as “sniper” rifles. To set these and other emerging issues in context, this report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th and 112th Congresses.


Date of Report: July 11, 2012
Number of Pages: 108
Order Number: RL32842
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Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress

Trafficking in persons, or human trafficking, refers to the subjection of men, women, and children
to exploitative conditions that can be tantamount to slavery. Reports suggest that human
trafficking is a global phenomenon, victimizing millions of people each year and contributing to a
multi-billion dollar criminal industry. It is a centuries-old problem that, despite international and
U.S. efforts to eliminate it, continues to occur in virtually every country in the world. Human
trafficking is also an international and cross-cutting policy problem that bears on a range of major
national security, human rights, criminal justice, social, economic, migration, gender, public
health, and labor issues.

The U.S. government and successive Congresses have long played a leading role in international
efforts to combat human trafficking. Key U.S. foreign policy responses include the following:
  • Foreign Country Reporting to describe annual progress made by foreign governments to combat human trafficking, child soldiers, and forced labor.
  • Foreign Product Blacklisting to identify goods made with convict, forced, or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor.
  • Foreign Aid to support foreign countries’ efforts to combat human trafficking.
  • Foreign Aid Restrictions to punish countries that are willfully noncompliant with anti-trafficking standards.
  • Conditions on Trade Preference Program Beneficiaries to offer certain countries export privileges to the United States, only if they also adhere to international standards against forced labor and child trafficking.
  • Preventing U.S. Government Participation in Trafficking Overseas to punish and deter trafficking-related violations among U.S. government personnel and contractors.
Although there is widespread support among policy makers for the continuation of U.S. antitrafficking goals, ongoing reports of such trafficking worldwide raise questions regarding whether
sufficient progress has been made to deter and ultimately eliminate the problem, the end goal of
current U.S. anti-trafficking policies. This report explores current foreign policy issues
confronting U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, the interrelationship among existing
polices, and the historical and current role of Congress in such efforts.

The 112th Congress has introduced and taken action on several bills related to human trafficking,
including bills to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the cornerstone
legislative vehicle for current U.S. policy to combat human trafficking, beyond FY2011 (S. 1301,
H.R. 2830, and H.R. 3589). Given recent challenges in balancing budget priorities, the 112th
Congress may choose to consider certain aspects of this issue further, including the effectiveness
of international anti-trafficking projects, interagency coordination mechanisms, and the
monitoring and enforcement of anti-trafficking regulations, particularly as they relate to the
activities of U.S. government contractors and subcontractors operating overseas. See the
Appendix for further discussion of legislative activity in the 112th Congress. For an overview of
domestic and international provisions in the TVPA, see CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in
Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana Sun Wyler.


Date of Report: July 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 36
Order Number: R42497
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Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues


Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

Prompt global strike (PGS) would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on Earth with conventional weapons in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or “fleeting targets” at the start of or during a conflict. Congress has generally supported the PGS mission, but it has restricted funding and suggested some changes in funding for specific programs.

Many analysts believe that the United States should use long-range ballistic missiles armed with conventional warheads for the PGS mission. These weapons would not substitute for nuclear weapons in the U.S. war plan but would, instead, provide a “niche” capability, with a small number of weapons directed against select, critical targets, which might expand the range of U.S. conventional options. Some analysts, however, have raised concerns about the possibility that U.S. adversaries might misinterpret the launch of a missile with conventional warheads and conclude that the missiles carry nuclear weapons. DOD is considering a number of systems that might provide the United States with long-range strike capabilities.

The Air Force and Navy have both considered deploying conventional warheads on their longrange ballistic missiles. The Navy sought to deploy conventional warheads on a small number of Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In FY2008, Congress rejected the requested funding for this program, but the Navy has continued to consider the possibility of deploying intermediate-range technologies for the prompt strike mission. The Air Force and DARPA are developing a hypersonic glide delivery vehicle that could deploy on a modified Peacekeeper landbased ballistic missile—a system known as the Conventional Strike Missile (CSM). In FY2008, Congress created a single, combined fund for the conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) mission. This fund is supporting research and development into the Air Force CSM and two possible hypersonic glide vehicles. Congress appropriated $174.8 million for CPGS capability development in FY2012; DOD has requested $$110.4 million in FY2013.

When Congress reviews the budget requests for CPGS weapons, it may question DOD’s rationale for the mission, reviewing whether the United States might have to attack targets promptly at the start of or during a conflict, when it could not rely on forward-based land or naval forces. It might also review whether this capability would reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons or whether, as some critics have asserted, it might upset stability and possibly increase the risk of a nuclear response to a U.S. attack. This risk derives, in part, from the possibility that nations detecting the launch of a U.S. PGS weapon would not be able to determine whether the weapon carried a nuclear or conventional warhead. Congress has raised concerns about this possibility in the past.

Although the Air Force Conventional Strike Missile is a key contender for the CPGS mission, the Air Force may not be able to deploy this system until later in this decade, as the hypersonic glide vehicle has not yet had a successful test flight. Hence, Congress may review other weapons options for the PGS mission. These include not only ballistic missiles and boost-glide systems, but also bombers, cruise missiles, and possibly scramjets or other advanced technologies.

Finally, Congress is likely to question how the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in April 2010, would affect U.S. plans for the CPGS mission. Warheads deployed on boost-glide systems would not be affected by the treaty because these are new types of strategic offensive arms. But those deployed in existing types of reentry vehicles on existing types of ballistic missiles would count against the treaty limits.


Date of Report: July 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 43
Order Number: R41464
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom


Hannah Fischer
Information Research Specialist

This report presents statistics regarding U.S. military casualties in Operation New Dawn (OND, Iraq), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF, Iraq), and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, Afghanistan), including those concerning post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, evacuations, and the demographics of casualties. Some of these statistics are publicly available at the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) website, while others have been obtained through contact with experts at DOD.

Daily updates of total U.S. military casualties in OND, OIF, and OEF can be found at the DOD’s website, at http://www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf. In addition, CRS Report R40824, Iraq Casualties: U.S. Military Forces and Iraqi Civilians, Police, and Security Forces, contains statistics on U.S. military and Iraqi civilian casualties, while CRS Report R41084, Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians, contains statistics on U.S. military and Afghan civilian casualties.

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn have ended. However, updates to the casualty statistics continue for both operations.


Date of Report: June 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: RS22452
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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.

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 new 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 at various points in ballistic missile submarines, 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: July 2, 2012
Number of Pages: 54
Order Number: RL32665
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Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy’s FY2013 budget submission calls for procuring nine Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers in FY2013-FY2017, in annual quantities of 2-1-2-2-2. The five DDG-51s scheduled for procurement in FY2013-FY2015, and one of the two scheduled for procurement in FY2016, are to be of the current Flight IIA design. The Navy wants to begin procuring a new version of the DDG-51 design, called the Flight III design, starting with the second of the two ships scheduled for procurement in FY2016. The two DDG-51s scheduled for procurement in FY2017 are also to be of the Flight III design. The Flight III design is to feature a new and more capable radar called the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). The Navy this year is requesting congressional approval to use a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement for the nine DDG-51s scheduled for procurement in FY2013-FY2017.

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $3,048.6 million to complete the procurement funding for the two DDG-51s scheduled for procurement in FY2013. The Navy estimates the total procurement cost of these ships at $3,149.4 million, and the ships have received $100.7 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding. The FY2013 budget also requests $466.3 million in AP funding for DDG-51s to be procured in future fiscal years. Much of this AP funding is for Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) procurement of selected components of the nine DDG-51s to be procured under the proposed FY2013-FY2017 MYP arrangement. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget also requests $669.2 million in procurement funding to help complete procurement costs for three Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyers procured in FY2007-FY2009, and $223.6 million in research and development funding for the AMDR.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on January 24, 2012, discusses several potential oversight issues for Congress regarding the Navy’s plans for procuring DDG- 51s, particularly the Flight III version. Some of these issues were first raised in this CRS report; the GAO report developed these issues at length and added some additional issues. Potential FY2013 issues for Congress concerning destroyer procurement include the following:

  • whether actions should be taken to mitigate the projected shortfall in cruisers and destroyers; 
  • whether to approve the Navy’s request for a DDG-51 MYP arrangement beginning in FY2013, and if so, whether it should include Flight III DDG-51s; 
  • the possibility of adding a tenth ship to the proposed DDG-51 MYP arrangement; 
  • whether there is an adequate analytical basis for procuring Flight III DDG-51s in lieu of the previously planned CG(X) cruiser; 
  • whether the Flight III DDG-51 would have sufficient air and missile capability to adequately perform future air and missile defense missions; 
  • cost, schedule, and technical risk in the Flight III DDG-51 program; 
  • whether the Flight III DDG-51 design would have sufficient growth margin for a projected 35- or 40-year service life; 
  • whether the categorization of the Flight III DDG-51 program in the DOD acquisition process provides for a sufficient level of oversight for the program; and 
  • schedule risk for recently procured Flight IIA DDG-51s.

Date of Report: July 2, 2012
Number of Pages: 62
Order Number: RL32109
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Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN) Homeporting at Mayport: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget defers the Navy’s plan to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Mayport, FL. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget and the FY2013- FY2017 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) contain no funding for Military Construction (MilCon) projects required to homeport a CVN at Mayport. The Navy states: “Although the FY 2013 budget does not contain a construction project supporting the homeporting of a CVN in Mayport, FL, the Department [of the Navy] is committed to the requirement and policy to strategically disperse CVNs on each coast. This is a deferral at this time due to fiscal constraints.”

The Navy’s five Atlantic Fleet CVNs are all homeported at Norfolk, VA. The Navy wants to establish a second Atlantic Fleet CVN home port by homeporting a CVN at Mayport. Prior to the submission of the FY2013 budget, Navy plans called for having Mayport ready to homeport a CVN in 2019. Transferring a CVN from Norfolk to Mayport would shift from Norfolk to Mayport the local economic activity associated with homeporting a CVN, which some sources estimate as being worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

The Navy’s desire to homeport a CVN at Mayport is an issue of strong interest to certain Members of Congress from Florida and Virginia. Certain Members of Congress from Florida have expressed support for the Navy’s desire to homeport a CVN at Mayport, arguing (as have DOD and the Navy) that the benefits in terms of mitigating risks to the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet CVNs are worth the costs associated with moving a CVN to Mayport. Certain Members of Congress from Virginia have expressed skepticism regarding, or opposition to, the Navy’s desire to homeport a CVN at Mayport, arguing that the benefits in terms of mitigating risks to the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet CVNs are questionable or uncertain, and that the funding needed to implement the proposal could achieve greater benefits if it were spent on other Navy priorities.


Date of Report: July 2, 2012
Number of Pages: 73
Order Number: R40248
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The Navy Biofuel Initiative Under the Defense Production Act


Anthony Andrews
Specialist in Energy and Defense Policy

Kelsi Bracmort
Specialist in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

Jared T. Brown
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

The Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture, and the Navy have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “assist the development and support of a sustainable commercial biofuels industry.” The objective of the MOU is the construction or retrofitting of multiple domestic commercial or pre-commercial scale advanced drop-in biofuel plants and refineries. The MOU would support the Navy’s goal of deploying a “Green Strike Group” by the end of 2012, and “Great Green Fleet” by 2016 fueled in part with a 50/50 blend of hydrotreated renewable jet fuel (biofuel). The Navy proposes to use authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) to develop a domestic industrial capacity to supply biofuel. In its FY2013 Congressional Budget Request, the Department of Energy (DOE) requested authority to transfer funds to the DPA Fund, offering the justification that it will support the MOU with the technical expertise to move pilot-scale demonstration projects to larger-scale production in support of the Navy’s Green Fleet Goal. Agriculture, Energy, and the Navy expect to fund this initiative at $510 million in aggregate over three years.

In the past, Congress has found it in the interest of national defense preparedness for government to assure that a domestic industrial capacity exists to produce fuel. Congress set aside the (now depleted) Naval Oil Reserves and Oil Shale Reserves to provide for the Navy’s fuel requirements. Congress later promoted alternative fuel from coal through the U.S. Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act of 1944 to aid the execution of World War II, and to conserve and increase national oil resources. The act authorized the Secretary of the Interior to construct, maintain, and operate plants producing synthetic liquid fuel from coal, oil shale, and agricultural and forestry products. During the Korean War, the DPA authorized the President to have liquid fuels processed and refined for government use or resale, and to make improvements to government- or privately-owned facilities engaged in processing and refining liquid fuels when it would aid the national defense. In 1980, Congress amended the DPA to authorize the President’s purchase of synthetic fuels for national defense. Most recently, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed the Secretary of Energy, in cooperation with the Secretaries of the Interior and Defense, to develop a program to accelerate the commercial development of strategic unconventional fuels, including but not limited to oil shale and tar sands resources within the United States. Except for exploiting the Naval Oil Reserve, policies that directed alternative fuel development for national defense interests have had to challenge newly discovered petroleum resources that presented clear economic advantages over alternative fuels.

Domestic crude oil production in the United States has increased over the past few years, reversing a decline that began in 1986. The United States is now a net exporter of refined petroleum products. Over the next 10 years, continued development of unconventional oil resources, in combination with the ongoing development of offshore resources in the Gulf of Mexico may push domestic crude oil production to a level not seen since 1994, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

An important policy question for Congress may be whether a domestic biofuel industry is necessary for national defense, and whether proceeding under the authority of the DPA offers the necessary stimulus. A domestic biofuel industry may satisfy concerns for a secure, domestic, alternative fuel source independent of unstable foreign petroleum suppliers. However, adding biofuel to the military’s supply chain does not relieve logistical issues with delivering fuel to forward operating areas, where fuel supply issues have been more about vulnerability than availability.


Date of Report: June 22, 2012
Number of Pages: 22
Order Number: R42568
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues


Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Mary Beth Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 90-110 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps could enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal. Whether and to what extent Pakistan’s current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its “minimum credible deterrent” is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan.

Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal. In addition to overhauling nuclear command and control structures since September 11, 2001, Islamabad has implemented new personnel security programs. Moreover, Pakistani and some U.S. officials argue that, since the 2004 revelations about a procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A. Q. Khan, Islamabad has taken a number of steps to improve its nuclear security and to prevent further proliferation of nuclearrelated technologies and materials. A number of important initiatives, such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programs have improved Pakistan’s security situation in recent years.

However, instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question. Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan’s nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls. While U.S. and Pakistani officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards. For a broader discussion, see CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt.

This report updates a previous version published November 30, 2011.


Date of Report: June 26, 2012
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: RL34248
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