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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Year: 2012
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union

Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union

Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.
Description: Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar amendment, authorizing U.S. threat reduction assistance to the former Soviet Union, in November 1991, after a failed coup in Moscow and the disintegration of the Soviet Union raised concerns about the safety and security of Soviet nuclear weapons. It has evolved from an emergency response to impending chaos in the Soviet Union, to a more comprehensive threat reduction and nonproliferation effort, to a broader program seeking to keep nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from leaking out of the former Soviet Union and into the hands of rogue nations or terrorist groups, to a global program to address the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Analysts have debated numerous issues related to U.S. nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance. These include questions about the coordination of and priority given to these programs in the U.S. government, questions about Russia's willingness to provide the United States with access to its weapons facilities, questions about the President's ability to waive certification requirements so that the programs can go forward, and questions about the need to expand the efforts into a global program that receives funding from numerous nations and possibly extends assistance to others outside the former Soviet Union.
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Northern Ireland: The Peace Process

Northern Ireland: The Peace Process

Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Description: Since 1969, over 3,500 people have died as a result of political violence in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom. The British and Irish governments as well as the Northern Ireland political parties participating in the peace talks announced an agreement, the Good Friday Agreement (also known as the Belfast Agreement), which called for devolved government in which unionist and nationalist parties would share power. U.S. administrations and many Members of Congress have actively supported the Northern Ireland peace process. For decades, the United States has provided development aid through the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). In recent years, congressional hearings have focused on the peace process, police reforms, and the status of public inquiries into several murders in Northern Ireland in which collusion between the security forces and paramilitary groups is suspected. Many such issues related to Northern Ireland may continue to be of interest in the 112th Congress.
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U.S. Defense Articles and Services Supplied to Foreign Recipients: Restrictions on Their Use

U.S. Defense Articles and Services Supplied to Foreign Recipients: Restrictions on Their Use

Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F.
Description: In accordance with United States law, the U.S. Government places conditions on the use of defense articles and defense services transferred by it to foreign recipients. Violation of these conditions can lead to the suspension of deliveries or termination of the contracts for such defense items, among other things. This report covers the details and meanings of these reports.
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The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Appropriations Overview

The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Appropriations Overview

Date: March 5, 2012
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.
Description: This report is a look at the funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a laboratory of the Department of Commerce. NIST is mandated to provide technical services to facilitate the competitiveness of U.S. industry. In 2007, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) was terminated and replaced by the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). However, no funding was appropriated for TIP in the FY2012 appropriations legislation and NIST is "...currently taking the necessary actions for an orderly shutdown." In April 2009, the current President stated his decision to double the budget of key science agencies, including NIST, over the next 10 years. While additional funding has been forthcoming, it remains to be seen how support for internal R&D at NIST will evolve and how this might affect financing of extramural efforts such as MEP. The dispensation of funding for NIST programs may influence the way by which the federal government supports technology development for commercial application.
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Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: A look at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011 which notably wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) have influenced current legislation. This report concludes with discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interest.
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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report discusses the effects of economic sanctions against Iran; support to the Iranian democracy movement; and opposition against Iranian human rights violations and Iranian support for Syrian human rights violations. The Obama Administration identifies Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests. The sense of imminent crisis with Iran which greeted the beginning of 2012 follows three years in which the Obama Administration first offered Iran's leaders consistent and sustained engagement in exchange for limits to its nuclear program but, since 2010, has emphasized pressuring Iran through economic sanctions.
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Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Over the past several years, policymakers have been concerned about Iran's increasing activities in Latin America, particularly its relations with Venezuela, although there has been disagreement over the extent and significance of Iran's relations with the region. In the 112th Congress, several initiatives have been introduced related to terrorism issues in the Western Hemisphere regarding Mexico, Venezuela, and the activities of Iran and Hezbollah, and several oversight hearings have been held.
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Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. Decisions that Congress makes concerning these programs could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
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The Army's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

The Army's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: March 1, 2012
Creator: Feickert, Andrew
Description: This report looks at the history and current need for a Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program. Potential issues for Congress include the role and need for the GCV in a downsized Army that will likely have fewer heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs).
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Economic Development Administration: Reauthorization and Funding Issues in the 112th Congress

Economic Development Administration: Reauthorization and Funding Issues in the 112th Congress

Date: March 1, 2012
Creator: Boyd, Eugene
Description: The 112th Congress may consider legislation to reauthorize and amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act (PWEDA), whose statutory authority expired on September 30, 2008. As part of those deliberations, Congress may consider a number of changes in the structure of Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance programs.
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