DoD Security Cooperation Programs, & More from CRS

The Department of Defense has assumed a growing role in providing assistance to foreign military and security services over the past decade, often supplanting the Department of State. The evolution of DoD security cooperation activities is traced in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Since military aid became a major component of U.S. foreign assistance to counter the rise of the Soviet Union after World War II, the State Department has historically exercised the lead in security assistance activities,” CRS noted.

Over time, however, “Congress began to expand gradually the scope and character of the statutory framework by authorizing DOD to directly train, equip, and otherwise assist foreign military and other security forces….”

“As DOD’s security cooperation responsibilities and authorities have multiplied, general agreement has emerged that the statutory framework has evolved into a cumbersome system.”

“Congress has provided DOD with, by CRS’s estimate, more than 80 separate authorities to assist and engage with foreign governments, militaries, security forces, and populations, although other organizations have identified a larger number of authorities.”

Those legislative authorities for DoD security cooperation programs are tabulated in the CRS report along with associated funding levels for many of the individual programs. See DOD Security Cooperation: An Overview of Authorities and Issues, August 23, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from public release include the following.

Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State, updated August 24, 2016

Heroin Trafficking in the United States, August 23, 2016

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, updated August 24, 2016

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, updated August 25, 2016

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, updated August 22, 2016

Federal Support for Reproductive Health Services: Frequently Asked Questions, updated August 24, 2016

History of House and Senate Restaurants: Context for Current Operations and Issues, August 23, 2016

House and Senate Restaurants: Current Operations and Issues for Congress, August 23, 2016

Reforming the U.S. Postal Service: Background and Issues for Congress, August 25, 2016

Active Protection for Combat Vehicles, & More from CRS

Efforts to develop Active Protection Systems (APS) to defend military combat vehicles against rocket-propelled grenades or anti-tank missiles are reviewed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

An Active Protection System is supposed to detect an incoming threat, such as a grenade or a missile, and employ countermeasures to destroy or deflect it, all within a very brief period of time.

“A number of nations have operationally deployed APS on combat vehicles — Russia and Israel most notably — and some experts characterize U.S. efforts as somewhat lagging,” the CRS report said. “U.S. military officials contend there are still a number of developmental and safety challenges that must be overcome before current APS systems are suitable for battlefield deployment.”

See Army and Marine Corps Active Protection System (APS) Efforts, August 23, 2016.

Other new and updated Congressional Research Service reports that have not been publicly released include the following.

Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of the Economic Espionage Act, updated August 19, 2016

The Zika Outbreak Is Declared a Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico, CRS Insight, August 17, 2016

Organization of American States: Background and Issues for Congress, updated August 22, 2016

U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners, updated August 18, 2016

Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of the FY2017 Military Construction Appropriations Bills, August 18, 2016

Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated August 18, 2016

Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated August 18, 2016

Taxation of U.S. Olympic Medal Winners, CRS Insight, August 18, 2016

How Treasury Issues Debt, updated August 18, 2016

Overview of CEQ Guidance on Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change, CRS Insight, August 18, 2016

Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy, updated August 19, 2016

Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations, updated August 23, 2016

No First Use of Nuclear Weapons, & More from CRS

Recent reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been publicly released include the following.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Considering “No First Use”, CRS Insight, August 16, 2016

Coordinated Party Expenditures in Federal Elections: An Overview, updated August 15, 2016

Introduction to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), August 16, 2016

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy, updated August 16, 2016

Airline Passenger Rights: The Federal Role in Aviation Consumer Protection, August 17, 2016

Legal Status of CEQ’s Final Guidance on Climate Change in Environmental Reviews under NEPA, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 17, 2016

U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices, updated August 16, 2016

General Policy Statements: Legal Overview, April 14, 2016

Dude, Where’s My Jurisdiction? Congressional Efforts to Strip Federal Courts of Jurisdiction, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 17, 2016

Natural Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, & More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service in the last few days include the following.

Natural Gas Discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, August 15, 2016

Al Qaeda and U.S. Policy: Middle East and Africa, updated August 11, 2016

Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2016, updated August 15, 2016

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated August 12, 2016

Methane: An Introduction to Emission Sources and Reduction Strategies, updated August 15, 2016

Revisiting U.S.-Mexico Sugar Agreements, CRS Insight, August 12, 2016

Repair, Modification, or Resale of Software-Enabled Consumer Electronic Devices: Copyright Law Issues, August 11, 2016

Next Steps for Auction of TV Broadcast Airwaves to Commercial Carriers, CRS Insight, August 15, 2016

DOJ Brings Forfeiture Action to Seize and Return $1 Billion Embezzled Malaysian Government Assets, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 15, 2016

Cybersecurity Issues and Challenges: In Brief, updated August 12, 2016

DC Circuit Holds an Agency Official’s Private Email Account Not Beyond the Reach of FOIA, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 9, 2016

Slack in the Labor Market, and More from CRS

Reports of the Congressional Research Service are predicated on the belief that readers in Congress or elsewhere care about the minutia of government policy. But if this was ever true, is it still the case today?

The members of CRS’s presumed target audience have not yet made up their minds about any number of issues, and they eagerly look forward to weighing the competing arguments pro and con. Are there such people?

To Congress, CRS reports must be treated as a controlled substance. CRS is literally prohibited from making them directly available to the public. If anybody were able to get their hands on them, who knows what might happen?

Let’s find out. New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have been withheld from public distribution in the last few days include the following.

How Much Slack Remains in the Labor Market?, CRS Insight, August 5, 2016

Evolution of the Meaning of “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act, August 8, 2016

Implementing Bills for Trade Agreements: Statutory Procedures Under Trade Promotion Authority, August 8, 2016

Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA, updated August 8, 2016

Overview of Funding Mechanisms in the Federal Budget Process, and Selected Examples, August 4, 2016

Automakers Seek to Align Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Regulations, CRS Insight, August 8, 2016

Al Qaeda’s Syria Affiliate Declares Independence, CRS Insight, August 5, 2016

Trafficking in Persons and U.S. Foreign Policy Responses in the 114th Congress, August 5, 2016

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress, updated August 8, 2016

Prosecuting Offenses Against Congress, and More from CRS

If someone lied to Congress under oath, how would criminal prosecution of such an offense be initiated?

The suggestion by some Republican members of Congress that Hillary Clinton may have perjured herself in testimony before Congress provided an occasion for the Congressional Research Service to review the relevant law.

“The constitutional separation of powers significantly limits Congress’s role in the enforcement of federal law,” CRS explained. “Because exercising both the power to make and enforce the law would be an apparent violation of the separation of powers, Congress may neither itself, nor through its officers, directly enforce federal law.”

However, “In limited circumstances, Congress has enacted referral procedures in an attempt to influence or participate in the process by which certain criminal provisions are enforced. The criminal contempt of Congress statute provides such an example.” See Prosecution of Criminal Offenses against Congress, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 26, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Security Cooperation and the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), CRS Insight, July 27, 2016

The Islamist Militant Threat in Bangladesh, CRS Insight, July 21, 2016

Federal Assistance for Victims of Terrorism or Mass Violence: In Brief, August 3, 2016

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, updated August 4, 2016

A New Aid Package for Israel, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

An Apparent First in U.S. Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Ground Vehicles, CRS Insight, July 26, 2016

Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: Trends in Import Restrictions, CRS Insight, July 29, 2016

2016 Rio Games: Anti-Doping Testing, CRS Insight, August 3, 2016

Fatal Balloon Accident Highlights Disagreement Between Safety Agencies, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

Workers’ Compensation: Overview and Issues, August 3, 2016

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated August 3, 2016

Orlando Shooting Revives Debate over Restricting Blood Donations by Gay Men, CRS Insight, August 1, 2016

Zika Poses New Challenges for Blood Centers, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

The Federal Circuit Rules on Trademarks Considered Offensive: May Affect Redskins Trademark Dispute, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 4, 2016

Olympic Safety and Security, and More from CRS

Issues affecting the safety and security of athletes and spectators at the 2016 Olympic Games, which begins August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were reviewed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

Concerns addressed in the CRS report include the Zika virus outbreak, domestic crime, the threat of terrorism, environmental hazards, and more. See The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental, and Doping Issues, July 28, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Supplemental Appropriations for Zika Response: The FY2016 Conference Agreement in Brief, July 14, 2016

The Department of Defense Acquisition Workforce: Background, Analysis, and Questions for Congress, July 29, 2016

FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Issues, July 29, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Analysis of Economic Studies, June 30, 2016

State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: From the Mid-1990s to the Present, updated August 1, 2016

Numerical Limits on Permanent Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-country Ceilings, updated July 28, 2016

Federal Benefits and Services for People with Low Income: Overview of Spending Trends, FY2008-FY2015, July 29, 2016

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness and Loan Repayment Programs, updated July 28, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Budget: Fact Sheet, July 28, 2016

Police Shootings and Federal Support for Law Enforcement Safety, CRS Insight, July 19, 2016

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons, updated August 1, 2016

Turkey: Failed Coup and Implications for U.S. Policy, CRS Insight, July 19, 2016

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey, CRS Insight, August 2, 2016

Titles of All 2015 CRS Reports Published

An internal congressional edition of the 2015 annual report of the Congressional Research Service includes a helpful listing of the titles of all CRS reports and other products that were issued in 2015 (at pp. 47-124).

The availability of such a list makes it possible to identify and request specific reports whose existence would otherwise be unknown.

The public edition of the 2015 CRS annual report, which is posted on the Library of Congress website, excludes the list of new CRS products.

NATO’s Warsaw Summit, and More from CRS

The July 8-9 NATO summit meeting in Warsaw, Poland, is previewed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Among other things, NATO leaders are expected to announce the rotational deployment of 4,000 troops to Poland and the three Baltic states, an expanded training mission for Iraqi soldiers, and additional NATO support for Afghanistan and Ukraine. NATO leaders will also assess member state progress in implementing defense spending and capabilities development commitments, a key U.S. priority. Finally, NATO is expected to formally invite Montenegro to become the 29th member of the alliance,” the report said.

The new report includes data on alliance defense spending and defense spending by individual NATO member states.  See NATO’s Warsaw Summit: In Brief, June 30, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

“Right-Sizing” the National Security Council Staff?, CRS Insight, June 30, 2016

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Armed Services: Background and Issues for Congress, updated July 1, 2016

Sanctuary Jurisdictions and Criminal Aliens: In Brief, updated July 1, 2016

Brazil in Crisis, CRS Insight, updated July 6, 2016

State Voter Identification Requirements: Analysis, Legal Issues, and Policy Considerations, updated July 5, 2016

Derivatives: Introduction and Legislation in the 114th Congress, July 1, 2016

Overview of Health Insurance Exchanges, updated July 1, 2016

Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues, updated July 1, 2016

The Freedom of Information Act Turns Fifty & Is Revised, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 1, 2016

Slow Economic Growth, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Slow Growth in the Current U.S. Economic Expansion, June 24, 2016

Economic Growth Slower Than Previous 10 Expansions, CRS Insight, June 30, 2016

The Economic Effects of Trade: Overview and Policy Challenges, June 29, 2016

Job Creation in the Manufacturing Revival, updated June 28, 2016

U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Policy, June 27, 2016

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2017, June 24, 2016

Digital Searches and Seizures: Overview of Proposed Amendments to Rule 41 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, June 29, 2016

Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives, updated June 27, 2016

Midnight Rules: Congressional Oversight and Options, CRS Insight, June 27, 2016

Senate Action on U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During the Eighth Year of a Presidency, CRS Insight, June 30, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Supreme Court’s 4-4 Split on Immigration, CRS Legal Sidebar, June 24, 2016

Iran’s Foreign Policy, updated June 27, 2016

Financing U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba, CRS Insight, June 24, 2016

After Brexit: A Diminished or Enhanced EU?, CRS Insight, June 29, 2016

Possible Economic Impact of Brexit, CRS Insight, June 28, 2016

Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy Considerations, June 29, 2016

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer, updated June 28, 2016