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More Troops for Afghanistan?, and More from CRS

The possibility that more U.S. troops will be deployed to Afghanistan, a move that is reportedly under consideration by the Trump Administration, was critically examined by the Congressional Research Service in a new report.

One source of uncertainty concerns the shifting U.S. strategy in the region.

“Since the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan, the United States and its allies have pursued a variety of different strategic objectives,” including counterterrorism and nation-building. But “Within the military campaign alone, those objectives are, at times, in tension with each other,” CRS said. “At present, it is difficult to discern an overall, coherent strategy for Afghanistan, although this may be resolved by the Trump Administration’s review of U.S. activities in that region.”

“Given the complexity of the campaign, along with the imprecise nature of U.S. goals for the region and absent a definitive statement from the Trump Administration regarding its priorities, it is currently difficult to evaluate the likely impact that additional forces may have.” See Additional Troops for Afghanistan? Considerations for Congress, May 19, 2017.

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

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated May 19, 2017

A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense–Issues for Congress, updated May 19, 2017

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress, updated May 19, 2017

21st Century U.S. Energy Sources: A Primer, May 19, 2017

The Value of Energy Tax Incentives for Different Types of Energy Resources: In Brief, May 18, 2017

OPEC and Non-OPEC Crude Oil Production Agreement: Compliance Status, CRS Insight, May 17, 2017

North American Free Trade Agreement: Notification for Renegotiation, CRS Insight, May 19, 2017

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA): Compensation Related to Exposure to Radiation from Atomic Weapons Testing and Uranium Mining, updated May 18, 2017

Obstruction of Justice Statutes: Legal Issues Concerning FBI Investigations, Specific Intent, and Executive Branch Personnel, CRS Legal Sidebar, May 19, 2017

As an institution, the Congressional Research Service is facing significant upheaval in the near term as many of its most senior analysts are expected to retire, with attendant loss of expertise. “Roughly about 25% of our staff will be eligible to retire in the next fiscal year,” CRS director Dr. Mary Mazanec told the House Legislative Appropriations subcommittee last week.

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