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The Federal Budget: Current and Upcoming Issues

Description: This report examines changes to the Federal Budget for Fiscal Years 2008-2010. The report considers the factors that have an effect on various budgetary functions and decisions. The report specifically focuses on the effect of the 2007-2008 financial recession on the budget, but also considers more long-term fiscal issues such as health care for retiring Baby-Boomers.
Date: December 31, 2009
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.

Security Classification Policy and Procedure: E.O. 12958, as Amended

Description: This report describes security classification policy and procedure, largely prescribed in a series of successive presidential executive orders issued over the past 50 years. This policy provides the rationale and arrangements for designating information officially secret for reasons of national security, and for its declassification as well.
Date: December 31, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.

Understanding China's Political System

Description: This report provides an overview of contemporary PRC (People's Republic of China) politics by analyzing the main institutional actors and their interactions. The goal is not so much to provide the definitive study of the current political dynamics in China, but to offer a framework for examining and understanding PRC politics as they play out with respect to particular policies or issues.
Date: December 31, 2009
Creator: Dumbaugh, Kerry & Martin, Michael F.

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
Date: December 30, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Desalination: Status and Federal Issues

Description: This report discusses desalination in the context of federal policy. Interest in desalination of seawater, brackish water, and contaminated freshwater has increased in the United States as the technology's costs have fallen and pressure to develop new water supplies has grown. Adoption of desalination, however, remains constrained by financial, environmental, and regulatory and social factors.
Date: December 30, 2009
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.

Terrorist Watchlist Checks and Air Passenger Prescreening

Description: This report discusses the controversy continues to surround U.S. air passenger prescreening and terrorist watchlist checks. In the past, such controversy centered around diverted international flights and misidentified passengers. Recent incidents raise new policy issues regarding the interaction between these broader terrorist databases and systems and the "No-Fly" and selectee lists, as well as the relationship between passenger prescreening processes.
Date: December 30, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J. & Elias, Bart

Congressional Review Act: Rules Not Submitted to GAO and Congress

Description: This report discusses the Congressional Review Act (CRA; 5 U.S.C. ยง801-808), which was enacted to improve congressional authority over agency rulemaking, and requires federal agencies to submit all of their final rules to both houses of Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) before they can take effect.
Date: December 29, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Curtis W.

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Description: This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy. It covers the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
Date: December 29, 2009
Creator: Kerr, Paul K.

Iran Sanctions

Description: This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue.
Date: December 24, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Date: December 23, 2009
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.

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. This report is based on unclassified open-source information, such as the annual Department of Defense (DOD) report to Congress on China's military power, an August 2009 report from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and published reference sources such as Jane's Fighting Ships.
Date: December 23, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald