Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): An Explanation



R. Chuck Mason
Legislative Attorney

Recognizing the special burdens that members of the military may encounter trying to meet their financial obligations while serving their country, in 1940 Congress passed the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The law was amended from time to time, ordinarily in response to military operations that required the activation of the Reserves. P.L. 108-189, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), was enacted on December 19, 2003, as a modernization and restatement of the protections contained in the SSCRA. Much like with the SSCRA, the SCRA has been amended since its initial passage and proposed changes continue to be introduced in Congress. Most recently, P.L. 112-154, the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, enacted on August 6, 2012, extended protections related to mortgages and foreclosures until December 31, 2014. This report summarizes the rights granted to persons serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and in some instances, to their dependents, under the SCRA.

The SCRA provides protections for servicemembers in the event that their military service impedes their ability to meet financial obligations incurred before entry into active military service. Forgiving of all debts or the extinguishment of contractual obligations on behalf of servicemembers who have been called up for active duty is not required, nor is absolute immunity from civil lawsuits provided. Instead, the act suspends civil claims against servicemembers and protects them from default judgments. The SCRA includes provisions that prohibit the eviction of military members and their dependents from rental or mortgaged property; create a cap on interest at 6% on debts incurred prior to an individual entering active duty military service; protect against the cancellation of life insurance or the non-reinstatement of health insurance policies; allow some professionals to suspend malpractice or liability insurance while on active duty; and proscribe taxation in multiple jurisdictions and forced property sales in order to pay overdue taxes. The U.S. Attorney General is authorized to commence a civil action to enforce provisions of the SCRA. Additionally, servicemembers and their dependents have the right to commence a civil action, that is, a private cause of action, to enforce protections afforded them under the SCRA.



Date of Report: August 22, 2012
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL34575
Price: $29.95

To Order:


RL34575.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART

e-mail congress@pennyhill.com

Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2012



Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in International Security

This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments, especially U.S. military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.

The instances differ greatly in number of forces, purpose, extent of hostilities, and legal authorization. Eleven times in its history the United States has formally declared war against foreign nations. These 11 U.S. war declarations encompassed 5 separate wars: the war with Great Britain declared in 1812; the war with Mexico declared in 1846; the war with Spain declared in 1898; the First World War, during which the United States declared war with Germany and with Austria-Hungary during 1917; and World War II, during which the United States declared war against Japan, Germany, and Italy in 1941, and against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania in 1942.

Some of the instances were extended military engagements that might be considered undeclared wars. These include the Undeclared Naval War with France from 1798 to 1800; the First Barbary War from 1801 to 1805; the Second Barbary War of 1815; the Korean War of 1950-1953; the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973; the Persian Gulf War of 1991; global actions against foreign terrorists after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States; and the war with Iraq in 2003. With the exception of the Korean War, all of these conflicts received congressional authorization in some form short of a formal declaration of war. Other, more recent instances often involve deployment of U.S. military forces as part of a multinational operation associated with NATO or the United Nations.

The majority of the instances listed prior to World War II were brief Marine or Navy actions to protect U.S. citizens or promote U.S. interests. A number were actions against pirates or bandits. Covert actions, disaster relief, and routine alliance stationing and training exercises are not included here, nor are the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and the continual use of U.S. military units in the exploration, settlement, and pacification of the western part of the United States.



Date of Report: September 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: R42738
Price: $29.95

To Order:

e-mail congress@pennyhill.com

Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

U.S. Arms Sales: Agreements with and Deliveries to Major Clients, 2004-2011



Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in International Security

This report provides background data on U.S. arms sales agreements with and deliveries to its major purchasers during calendar years 2004-2011, made through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. In a series of data tables, it lists the total dollar values of U.S. government-togovernment arms sales agreements with its top five purchasers, and the total dollar values of U.S. arms deliveries to those purchasers, in five specific regions of the world for three specific periods: 2004-2007, 2008-2011, and 2011 alone. In addition, the report provides data tables listing the total dollar values of U.S. government-to-government arms agreements with and deliveries to its top 10 purchasers worldwide for the periods 2004-2007, 2008-2011, and for 2011 alone.

This report is prepared in conjunction with CRS Report R42678, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2004-2011, by Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr. That annual report details both U.S. and foreign arms transfer activities globally and provides analysis of arms trade trends. The intent here is to complement that elaborate worldwide treatment of the international arms trade by focusing exclusively on U.S. arms sales and deliveries, and providing the names of the major U.S. arms customers, by region, together with the total dollar values of their arms purchases or deliveries for the calendar years 2004-2007, 2008-2011, and 2011.



Date of Report: September 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: R42737
Price: $19.95

To Order:

e-mail congress@pennyhill.com

Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications: A Summary of Executive Order 13618



Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

In the event of a national security crisis or disaster, federal, state, local, and territorial government and private sector communications are important. National security and emergency preparedness communication systems include landline, wireless, broadcast and cable television, radio, public safety systems, satellite communications, and the Internet. For instance, federal national security and emergency preparedness communications programs include the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, and classified messaging related to the Continuity of Government Condition. Reliable and secure telecommunications systems are necessary to effectively manage national security incidents and emergencies.

On July 6, 2012, President Barrack Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13618 which addresses the federal government’s need and responsibility to communicate during national security and emergency situations and crises by assigning federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions. EO 13618 is a continuation of older executive orders issued by other presidents and is related to the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. §606). This executive order, however, changes federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions by dissolving the National Communications System, establishing an executive committee to oversee federal national security and emergency preparedness communications functions, establishing a programs office within the Department of Homeland Security to assist the executive committee, and assigning specific responsibilities to federal government entities. This report provides a summary of EO 13618 provisions, and a brief discussion of its salient points.


Date of Report: September 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R42740
Price: $29.95

To Order:


R42740.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART

e-mail congress@pennyhill.com

Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.


Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Acquisition: Issues for Congress



Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in International Security

Rebecca S. Lange
Air Force Fellow

Increasing calls for intelligence support and continuing innovations in intelligence technologies combine to create significant challenges for both the executive and legislative branches. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems are integral components of both national policymaking and military operations, including counterterrorism operations, but they are costly and complicated and they must be linked in order to provide users with a comprehensive understanding of issues based on information from all sources. Relationships among organizations responsible for designing, acquiring, and operating these systems are also complicated, as are oversight arrangements in Congress. These complications have meant that even though many effective systems have been fielded, there have also been lengthy delays and massive cost overruns. Uncertainties about the long-term acquisition plans for ISR systems persist even as pressures continue for increasing the availability of ISR systems in current and future military operations and for national policymaking.

These challenges have been widely recognized. A number of independent assessments have urged development of “architectures” or roadmaps setting forth agreed-upon plans for requirements and acquisition and deployment schedules. Most observers would agree that such a document would be highly desirable, but there are significant reasons why developing such an architecture and gaining an enduring consensus remain problematic. First, ISR technologies are not static; whereas it is possible to plan for aircraft, ships, or tanks that can be used for decades, it is doubtful that today’s inventory of satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, and manned aircraft will still be the right mix a few years hence. Some believe that a “cast-in-concrete” plan would inhibit the ability to take advantage of new technologies or techniques as they emerge. Secondly, achieving consensus on such a plan would be greatly affected by the separate priorities of different parts of the intelligence community, the Defense Department, and Washington policymakers. The needs of policymakers and military commanders are different and are usually reconciled only on a caseby- case basis. Furthermore, different congressional oversight committees may also have different perspectives on priorities and some may seek to emphasize funding for specific systems.

The Director of National Intelligence could be given authority to reach across current organizational boundaries to define requirements and priorities. Some propose establishing a position for a separate “ISR Czar” to do this. Few observers believe that ISR programs could be carved out of the intelligence budget and/or the defense budget, and placed under the control of a single officer or lead agency. There is a strong likelihood that separate needs and concerns that affect the current systems will not disappear, even if one official has a new and expansive charter. Similar concerns would exist in regard to the jurisdictions of congressional oversight committees.

A fundamental question is not whether a long-term plan can be agreed upon and implemented, or whether the current disparate bureaucratic arrangements can be transformed, but whether the conflicting priorities and budgetary realities can be at least recognized and addressed in approximately the same timeframe by all responsible officials. ISR systems can be viewed as providing a test case for the interagency cooperation that observers believe will be increasingly important throughout the federal government.


Date of Report: September 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R41284
Price: $29.95

To Order:


R41284.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART

e-mail congress@pennyhill.com

Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.