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Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Description: This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in Russia, focusing on the impact of Vladimir Putin's leadership and the leadership of his successor/protégé, Dmitriy Medvedev, both of which have steered Russia away from democratization. The report also discusses the state of the economy since the Soviet collapse in 1999, how the recent global economic downturn has affected Russia, the state of Russia's military, and the current relationship between Russia and the United States.
Date: December 21, 2012
Creator: Nichol, Jim

Small Business Size Standards: A Historical Analysis of Contemporary Issues

Description: This report provides a historical examination of the SBA's size standards, assesses competing views concerning how to define a small business, and discusses how the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 might affect program eligibility. It also discusses H.R. 585, the Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011, which would authorize the SBA's Office of Chief Counsel for Advocacy to approve or disapprove a size standard proposed by a federal agency if it deviates from the SBA's size standards.
Date: December 6, 2012
Creator: Dilger, Robert J.

China's Economic Conditions

Description: This report provides background on China's economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to keep its economy growing strong; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China's economic rise for the United States.
Date: December 4, 2012
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.

Iran Sanctions

Description: This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and, in so doing, provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
Date: December 7, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and identifies issues for Congress on Department of Defense (DOD) energy initiatives. DOD spends billions of dollars per year on fuel, and is pursuing numerous initiatives for reducing its fuel needs and changing the mix of energy sources that it uses. DOD's energy initiatives pose several potential policy and oversight issues for Congress, and have been topics of discussion and debate at hearings on DOD's proposed FY2013 budget. Congress' decisions on DOD energy initiatives could substantially affect DOD capabilities, funding requirements, and U.S. energy industries.
Date: December 10, 2012
Creator: Schwartz, Moshe; Blakeley, Katherine & O'Rourke, Ronald

Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy and Key Issues for Congress in 2012

Description: This report provides an overview of U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012, including the Obama Administration's priorities for U.S. policy and a brief comparison of policies under the Obama and Bush Administrations. It then examines congressional interest in Latin America, first providing an overview, and then looking at selected countries and regional issues and key policy issues faced by Congress in 2012. The final section of the report analyzes several key events in the region that took place in 2012: the Pope's trip to Cuba in March, the sixth Summit of the Americas in April, Mexico's elections in July, and Venezuela's upcoming elections in October.
Date: December 21, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.; Beittel, June S.; Leland, Anne; Meyer, Peter J.; Ribando Seelke, Clare & Taft-Morales, Maureen

The National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an analysis of flood risk management, summarizes major challenges facing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and outlines key reforms in the recently enacted Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The report also identifies and presents some key remaining flood management issues for congressional considerations, and it concludes with a discussion of relevant policy options for the future financial management of flood hazards in the United States.
Date: December 10, 2012
Creator: King, Rawle O.

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians

Description: This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). OEF actions took place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also include American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.
Date: December 6, 2012
Creator: Chesser, Susan G.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012: Detainee Matters

Description: This report offers a brief background of the salient issues and provides a section-by-section analysis of the detainee provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012. It also discusses executive interpretation and implementation of the act's mandatory military detention provision. Finally, it addresses detainee provisions in the 2013 defense authorization bills passed by each house, which have also drawn veto threats from the President.
Date: December 11, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Garcia, Michael J.

Presidential Reorganization Authority: History, Recent Initiatives, and Options for Congress

Description: This report summarizes the repeated renewal and evolution of presidential reorganization authority from 1932 to 1984, as well as subsequent unsuccessful efforts to renew it since then. The report then discusses President Obama's request in the context of this background. Finally, the report provides analysis of the possible options for congressional consideration relative to this legislation.
Date: December 11, 2012
Creator: Hogue, Henry B.

The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework

Description: This report provides an overview of the relationship between executive and legislative authority over national security information, and summarizes the current laws that form the legal framework protecting classified information, including current executive orders and some agency regulations pertaining to the handling of unauthorized disclosures of classified information by government officers and employees. The report also summarizes criminal laws that pertain specifically to the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, as well as civil and administrative penalties. Finally, the report describes some recent developments in executive branch security policies and legislation currently before Congress (S. 3454).
Date: December 17, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.

Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy and Key Issues for Congress in 2012

Description: This report provides an overview of U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Obama Administration's priorities for U.S. policy and a brief comparison of policies under the Obama and Bush Administrations. It then examines congressional interest in Latin America, first providing an overview, and then looking at selected countries and regional issues and identifying key policy issues facing Congress in 2012. The final section of the report analyzes several upcoming events in the region in 2012 that could have an impact on developments in several countries or on U.S. relations with the region.
Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.; Beittel, June S.; Leland, Anne; Seelke, Clare Ribando & Taft-Morales, Maureen

The Financial Action Task Force: An Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and of its progress to date in gaining broad international support for its recommendations. The FATF is an independent, intergovernmental policymaking body was established by the 1989 G-7 Summit in Paris as a result of growing concerns among the summit participants about the threat posed to the international banking system by money laundering.
Date: May 9, 2012
Creator: Jackson, James K.

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides a brief overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. The United States has provided significant military and economic assistance to Egypt since the late 1970s. U.S. policy makers have routinely justified aid to Egypt as an investment in regional stability, built primarily on long-running military cooperation and on sustaining the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Date: December 6, 2012
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.

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

Description: This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program. The Navy's proposed FY2013 budget requests $564.9 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program. Decisions that Congress makes on the Ohio replacement program could substantially affect U.S. military capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: December 21, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report focuses on the potential implications of China's naval modernization for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning.
Date: December 10, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald