Refugee Admissions and Resettlement, and More from CRS

Newly updated publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, February 18, 2015

U.S. Tsunami Program: A Brief Overview, February 20, 2015

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis, February 23, 2015

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, February 23, 2015

Adapting to Climate Change, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service describes government agency plans to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change, as required by a 2013 executive order.
 
The first step is a vulnerability assessment. For the Department of Defense, climate change may have “potential impacts on geopolitics and national security interests that could result in [new] military operations, risks to existing military infrastructure, and hindrances to readiness and the ability to execute missions.”
 
“Climate change could affect the type, scope, frequency, tactics, and location of military operations worldwide,” the CRS report said. Already, “The Air Force has found that the combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea levels on the Alaskan coast has increased coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early-warning and communication installations.”
 
The new CRS report surveys the range of agency responses to date. See Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015.

Other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.
 
The Obama Administration’s Proposed AUMF Against the Islamic State: Some Immediate Takeaways, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 19, 2015

Common Questions About Federal Records and Related Agency Requirements, February 2, 2015

China’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), January 30, 2015

International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law, February 18, 2015

Veto Override Procedure in the House and Senate, February 25, 2015

Anthem Data Breach: How Safe is Health Information Under HIPAA?, CRS Insights, February 24, 2015

Number of African American Judges Reaches All-Time High: Do Issues Remain?, CRS Insights, February 23, 2015

USCIS Funding and Accountability to Congress, CRS Insights, February 19, 2015

U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights, February 13, 2015

and see, relatedly, How Much Are Americans Worth? By Aaron Gluck, International Affairs Review

CRS on DoD Procurement Programs

Newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service on various Department of Defense procurement programs and related issues include the following.

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

The Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress, February 25, 2015

Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Perspectives on the SSCI Torture Report, and More from CRS

New reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Perspectives on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) “Torture Report” and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: In Brief, February 10, 2015

U.S. Sanctions on Russia: Economic Implications, February 4, 2015

Alien Removals and Returns: Overview and Trends, February 3, 2015

A Guide to Describing the Income Distribution, February 5, 2015

The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy, February 9, 2015

Bee Health: The Role of Pesticides, February 9, 2015

Newly updated versions of prior CRS reports that Congress has also withheld from online public distribution include these.

The United States and Europe: Current Issues, February 3, 2015

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations, February 11, 2015

The Presidential Records Act: Background and Recent Issues for Congress, December 31, 2014

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, February 11, 2015

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions, February 9, 2015

Tailoring the Patent System for Specific Industries, February 6, 2015

The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI): Budget Authority and Request, FY2010-FY2016, February 6, 2015

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: Congressional Responses and Options, February 5, 2015

Evaluating the “Past Performance” of Federal Contractors: Legal Requirements and Issues, February 5, 2015

The Target and Other Financial Data Breaches: Frequently Asked Questions, February 4, 2015

Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs, February 4, 2015

Terminating Contracts for the Government’s Convenience: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, February 3, 2015

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, February 3, 2015

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism, January 12, 2015

Crime and Forfeiture, January 22, 2015

A Profile of the 114th Congress, and More from CRS

The membership of the new Congress has set several new demographic records, according to a survey by the Congressional Research Service.

“One hundred eight women (a record number) serve in the 114th Congress: 88 in the House, including four Delegates, and 20 in the Senate. There are 46 African American Members of the House and two in the Senate. This House number includes two Delegates. There are 38 Hispanic or Latino Members (a record number) serving: 34 in the House, including one Delegate and the Resident Commissioner, and four in the Senate. A record 14 Members (11 Representatives, two Delegates, and one Senator) are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Two American Indians (Native Americans) serve in the House,” CRS found.

“The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 114th Congress was 57.0 years; of Senators, 61.0 years. The overwhelming majority of Members of Congress have a college education.” See Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile, January 22, 2015.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 114th Congress, January 28, 2015

Nigeria’s 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis, January 28, 2015

Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2015 Action in the 114th Congress, January 30, 2015

H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015: Report in Brief, January 27, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Overview, January 30, 2015

Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline, January 22, 2015

In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), January 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, January 23, 2015

Defense: FY2015 Authorization and Appropriations, January 28, 2015

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions, January 30, 2015

Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues, January 28, 2015

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015, January 26, 2015

Who Regulates Whom and How? An Overview of U.S. Financial Regulatory Policy for Banking and Securities Markets, January 30, 2015

Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of “Oil” and Related Issues for Congress, January 22, 2015

U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments, January 23, 2015

National Security Letters: Proposals in the 113th Congress, January 22, 2015

 

Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing, and More from CRS

New and updated products from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following.

U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia, CRS Insights, January 23, 2015

Who’s Your Mommy/Daddy? Citizenship Policy Evolves with Medical Technology, CRS Legal Sidebar, January 27, 2015

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Support, January 27, 2015

Information Warfare: Cyberattacks on Sony, CRS Insights, January 30, 2015

Biennial Budgeting: Options, Issues, and Previous Congressional Action, February 2, 2015

Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress, January 28, 2015

U.S. Natural Gas Exports: New Opportunities, Uncertain Outcomes, January 28, 2015

Health Care for Veterans: Suicide Prevention, January 30, 2015

Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation, January 23, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress, January 30, 2015

Instability in Yemen, and More from CRS

The population of Yemen has quadrupled over the last 30 years, the Congressional Research Service noted in a newly updated report, exacerbating that nation’s widespread poverty and contributing to the upheaval that is now unfolding. See Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations, January 21, 2015.

The United States currently provides refuge to over 300,000 foreign nationals from 11 countries facing civil rest or natural disasters, according to another CRS report. See Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues, January 12, 2015.

The major policy provisions of the last two intelligence authorization bills were itemized and described by CRS in Intelligence Authorization Legislation for FY2014 and FY2015: Provisions, Status, Intelligence Community Framework, January 14, 2015.

The losses to the U.S. treasury due to tax evasion may reach as high as $100 billion per year. CRS looked at how it happens and how it might be fixed in Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion, January 15, 2015.

Other noteworthy new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Changes in the Purposes and Frequency of Authorizations of Appropriations, January 16, 2015

Qualifications of Members of Congress, January 15, 2015

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief, January 13, 2015

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs, January 20, 2015

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response, January 15, 2015

Military Pay: Key Questions and Answers, January 20, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape, January 9, 2015

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress, January 13, 2015

North Korea: Back on the State Sponsors of Terrorism Lists?, January 21, 2015

China’s Mineral Industry and U.S. Access to Strategic and Critical Minerals: Issues for Congress, January 9, 2015

China and WMD Proliferation, and More from CRS

New or newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues, January 5, 2015

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, December 23, 2014

Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress, January 6, 2015

Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, January 5, 2015

Terrorism Risk Insurance Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis, January 7, 2015

Keystone XL Pipeline: Overview and Recent Developments, January 5, 2015

U.S. Crude Oil Export Policy: Background and Considerations, December 31, 2014

DoD Cyber Operations, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service presents an introduction to U.S. military operations in cyberspace and the thorny policy issues that arise from them.

“This report presents an overview of the threat landscape in cyberspace, including the types of offensive weapons available, the targets they are designed to attack, and the types of actors carrying out the attacks. It presents a picture of what kinds of offensive and defensive tools exist and a brief overview of recent attacks. The report then describes the current status of U.S. capabilities, and the national and international authorities under which the U.S. Department of Defense carries out cyber operations.”

The Department of Defense requested $5.1 billion for “cybersecurity” in 2015, the CRS report noted. Cybersecurity here includes funding for cyberspace operations, information assurance, U.S. Cyber Command, the National Cybersecurity Initiative, and related functions. See Cyber Operations in DoD Policy and Plans: Issues for Congress, January 5, 2015.

(The CRS report includes only a capsule summary description of the Stuxnet episode.  A fuller account is presented in Kim Zetter’s gripping book Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon.)

Other noteworthy new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief, December 24, 2014

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues, January 8, 2015

Proposed Retirement of A-10 Aircraft: Background in Brief, January 5, 2015

American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, January 2, 2015

A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense–Issues for Congress, December 31, 2014

Secret Sessions of the House and Senate: Authority, Confidentiality, and Frequency, December 30, 2014

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, December 24, 2014

Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress, December 23, 2014

Definitions of “Inherently Governmental Function” in Federal Procurement Law and Guidance, December 23, 2014

Congressional Careers: Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2015, January 3, 2015

The Congressional Research Service has never been more frequently cited or more influential in informing public discourse than it is today, as its publications are increasingly shared with the public in violation of official policy.

But budget cuts and congressional dysfunction seem to have bred discontent among some staff members, judging from an article by former CRS analyst Kevin R. Kosar.

“Thanks to growing pressure from a hyper-partisan Congress, my ability to write clearly and forthrightly about the problems of government–and possible solutions–was limited. And even when we did find time and space to do serious research, lawmakers ignored our work or trashed us if our findings ran contrary to their beliefs. When no legislation is likely to move through the system, there’s simply not much market for the work the CRS, at its best, can do,” he wrote. See “Why I Quit the Congressional Research Service,” Washington Monthly, January/February 2015.

Congressional Oversight Manual, & More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service has updated its Congressional Oversight Manual. The 150-page document describes the tools and procedures that Congress has at its disposal to perform the oversight function.

Other noteworthy new CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following:

The Political Question Doctrine: Justiciability and the Separation of Powers, December 23, 2014

Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview, December 22, 2014