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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Federal Role in Rail Transit Safety

The Federal Role in Rail Transit Safety

Date: July 6, 2009
Creator: Peterman, David Randall & Mallett, William J.
Description: On June 22, 2009, two transit trains in Washington, DC, collided, resulting in nine deaths and dozens of injuries. It was the worst crash in the history of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's rail transit system. This crash has raised questions about the safety of rail transit and the government's role in ensuring that safety. Nationwide, rail transit is considered one of the safest modes of transportation. This report discusses the State Safety Oversight Program, which went into effect in 1997 and mandates that states are responsible for the safety of the rail transit systems within their borders. This report also explores several issues that Federal Transit Administration (FTA) representatives have discussed in regards to improving the Safety Oversight Program.
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Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: May 29, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report discusses the possibility of increasing the number of Navy surface ships powered by nuclear energy, including the Navy's planned CG(X) cruiser. The report explores a 2006 Navy study that discusses budget considerations, the cost of a nuclear-powered ship compared to a ship powered by crude oil, and other suggestions relating to this proposed expansion. The overall report has a specific emphasis on the planned CG(X) cruiser, and how the implementation of this cruiser may be delayed by current budget proposals.
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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: July 15, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: Concerns about the Navy's prospective ability to afford its long-range shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet. The issue for Congress that is discussed in this report is how to respond to the Navy's proposed force structure and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. military capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the Navy shipbuilding industrial base.
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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 2, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The issue for Congress that is discussed in this report is how to respond to the Navy's proposed force structure and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. military capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the Navy shipbuilding industrial base.
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Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Date: April 24, 2009
Creator: Ploch, Lauren; Blanchard, Christopher M.; O'Rourke, Ronald; Mason, R. Chuck & King, Rawle O.
Description: This report discusses recent (2008-2009) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
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Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance

Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance

Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Description: Higher gasoline prices and concerns over U.S. oil dependence have raised interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Use of NGVs for personal transportation has focused on compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to gasoline. Consumer interest has grown, both for new NGVs as well as for conversions of existing personal vehicles to run on CNG. This report finds that the market for natural gas vehicles will likely remain limited unless the differential between natural gas and gasoline prices remains high in order to offset the higher purchase price for an NGV. Conversions of existing vehicles will also continue to be restricted unless the Clean Air Act (CAA) is amended or if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes changes to its enforcement of the CAA.
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Labor-Management Relations and the Federal Aviation Administration: Background and Current Legislative Issues

Labor-Management Relations and the Federal Aviation Administration: Background and Current Legislative Issues

Date: January 8, 2008
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O.
Description: This report discusses labor-management relations at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the 2006 implementation of a new labor contract on air traffic controllers. The FAA's ability to implement the new contract with its controllers was arguably supported by a mediation procedure prescribed by federal law. This report provides background information on the mediation procedure, discusses litigation involving the FAA and two labor organizations, and examines legislative attempts to amend the existing system.
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Military Airlift: C-17 Program Background

Military Airlift: C-17 Program Background

Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Bolkcom, Christopher & Knight, William
Description: The C-17 Globemaster III is a long-range cargo aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force since 1993. To date, Congress has funded 190 C-17s for the Air Force. The C-17 program remains a key issue as Congress evaluates the needs of DOD's strategic airlift force. This paper provides program background for the C-17. For more detailed analysis of current issues regarding the C-17 acquisition, see CRS Report RL34264, Strategic Airlift Modernization: Analysis of C-5 Modernization and C-17 Acquisition Issues.
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DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

Date: October 31, 2008
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) in recent years has leased some foreign-built cargo ships for total periods, including options and renewals, of almost 10 years - a length of time that some observers argue effectively circumvents a legal requirement that U.S. military ships be built in U.S. shipyards. These observers, particularly the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), have proposed reducing the current five-year legal limit on ship leases to two years for foreign-built ships. DOD has opposed the idea, arguing that its ship leases are the most cost-effective way to meet its needs for the ships in question.
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DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) in recent years has leased some foreign-built cargo ships for total periods, including options and renewals, of almost 10 years - a length of time that some observers argue effectively circumvents a legal requirement that U.S. military ships be built in U.S. shipyards. These observers, particularly the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), have proposed reducing the current five-year legal limit on ship leases to two years for foreign-built ships. DOD has opposed the idea, arguing that its ship leases are the most cost-effective way to meet its needs for the ships in question.
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DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) in recent years has leased some foreign-built cargo ships for total periods, including options and renewals, of almost 10 years - a length of time that some observers argue effectively circumvents a legal requirement that U.S. military ships be built in U.S. shipyards. These observers, particularly the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), have proposed reducing the current five-year legal limit on ship leases to two years for foreign-built ships. DOD has opposed the idea, arguing that its ship leases are the most cost-effective way to meet its needs for the ships in question.
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Border Security: Key Agencies and Their Missions

Border Security: Key Agencies and Their Missions

Date: May 13, 2008
Creator: Nunez-Neto, Blas
Description: After the massive reorganization of federal agencies precipitated by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are now four main federal agencies charged with securing the United States' borders: the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This report briefly describes each agency's role in securing our nation's borders.
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Potential Military Use of Airships and Aerostats

Potential Military Use of Airships and Aerostats

Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Bolkcom, Christopher
Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) has a history of using lighter-than-air (LTA) platforms. Aerostats have recently been fielded to protect deployed U.S. troops. Contemporary interest is growing in using airships for numerous missions. This report examines the various concepts being considered and describes the issues for Congress.
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Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Date: September 12, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime homeland security. For FY2007, the Coast Guard is requesting a total of about $4.5 billion for missions defined in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 as the Coast Guard's homeland security missions. This equates to about 54% of the Coast Guard's total requested FY2007 budget. The Coast Guard's homeland security operations pose several potential issues for Congress, including adequacy of Coast Guard resources for performing both homeland security and non-homeland security missions, and Coast Guard coordination with other agencies involved in maritime homeland security.
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Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Date: August 14, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime homeland security. For FY2007, the Coast Guard is requesting a total of about $4.5 billion for missions defined in The Homeland Security Act of 2002 as the Coast Guard's homeland security missions. This equates to about 54% of the Coast Guard's total requested FY2007 budget. The Coast Guard's homeland security operations pose several potential issues for Congress, including adequacy of Coast Guard resources for performing both homeland security and non-homeland security missions, and Coast Guard coordination with other agencies involved in maritime homeland security.
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Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime homeland security. For FY2007, the Coast Guard is requesting a total of about $4.5 billion for missions defined in The Homeland Security Act of 2002 as the Coast Guard's homeland security missions. This equates to about 54% of the Coast Guard's total requested FY2007 budget. The Coast Guard's homeland security operations pose several potential issues for Congress, including adequacy of Coast Guard resources for performing both homeland security and non-homeland security missions, and Coast Guard coordination with other agencies involved in maritime homeland security.
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Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: September 6, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Coast Guard's budget requests $934.431 million for the Deepwater acquisition program. The House-reported version of H.R. 5441, the FY2007 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, recommends $892.64 million for the Deepwater program; the Senate-reported version recommends $993.631 million.
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Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Deepwater program is a $24 billion, 25-year acquisition program to replace or modernize 93 Coast Guard ships and 207 Coast Guard aircraft. The Coast Guard's FY2007 budget requests $934.431 million for the program. Some Members of Congress have criticized and expressed strong concerns over the Deepwater program on several grounds. The House-reported version of H.R. 5441, the FY2007 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, recommends $892.64 million for the Deepwater program.
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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 22, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy in February 2006 proposed to maintain in coming years a fleet of 313 ships, including, among other things, 11 aircraft carriers, 48 attack submarines (SSNs), 88 cruisers and destroyers, 55 Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), 31 amphibious ships, and a Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future), or MPF(F), squadron with 12 new-construction amphibious and sealift-type ships. The Navy says that for its shipbuilding plans to be affordable and executable, the Navy needs to control certain non-shipbuilding expenditures and build ships within estimated costs. The Navy's shipbuilding plans raise potential issues regarding the shipbuilding industrial base, particularly in the areas of the submarine design and engineering base, and the surface combatant construction base.
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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: August 14, 2006
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy in February 2006 proposed to maintain in coming years a fleet of 313 ships, including, among other things, 11 aircraft carriers, 48 attack submarines (SSNs), 88 cruisers and destroyers, 55 Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), 31 amphibious ships, and a Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future), or MPF(F), squadron with 12 new-construction amphibious and sealift-type ships. The Navy says that for its shipbuilding plans to be affordable and executable, the Navy needs to control certain non-shipbuilding expenditures and build ships within estimated costs. The Navy's shipbuilding plans raise potential issues regarding the shipbuilding industrial base, particularly in the areas of the submarine design and engineering base, and the surface combatant construction base.
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Passenger Rail Security: Overview of Issues

Passenger Rail Security: Overview of Issues

Date: July 14, 2006
Creator: Peterman, David Randall
Description: The 9/11 Commission called for a systematic analysis of transportation assets, the risks to those assets, and the costs and benefits of different approaches to defending those assets. A key challenge facing Congress is balancing the desire for and cost of increased rail passenger security with the impacts of security measures on the operating efficiency of passenger rail systems, with the potential costs that could be incurred in the event of one or more attacks, and with the costs and benefits of other options for promoting homeland security. Some argue for greatly increased federal funding to help secure passenger rail systems against terrorist attack. Others argue that rail systems are difficult to defend and are only one among many groups potential terrorist targets, making the development of enhanced rail systems security an inefficient use of resources.
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Transportation Security: Issues for the 109th Congress

Transportation Security: Issues for the 109th Congress

Date: June 23, 2006
Creator: Peterman, David Randall
Description: The nation's air, land, and marine transportation systems are designed for accessibility and efficiency, two characteristics that make them highly vulnerable to terrorist attack. The focus of this issue brief is how best to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility and consequences of another terrorist attack without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties.
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Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations -- Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 30, 2005
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime homeland security. The Coast Guard's homeland security operations pose several potential issues for Congress, including adequacy of Coast Guard resources for performing both homeland security and non-homeland security missions, and Coast Guard coordination with other agencies involved in maritime homeland security.
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Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations--Background and Issues for Congress

Homeland Security: Coast Guard Operations--Background and Issues for Congress

Date: February 19, 2002
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard significantly increased homeland-security operations to protect U.S. ports and waterways from potential maritime terrorist threats. The Coast Guard accomplished this in part by diverting resources from other missions. Increased requirements for homeland-security operations after September 11 appear to have added to a pre-existing tension between Coast Guard mission responsibilities and available resources. The Coast Guard's new homeland-security operations raise potential issues for Congress regarding the adequacy of Coast Guard assets and funding, the Coast Guard's legal authorities, the Coast Guard's location within the executive branch, and coordination between the Coast Guard and other agencies.
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