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Morocco: Current Issues

Description: This report discusses the current political and foreign policy status of Morocco, especially with regard to its relationship with the United States and its struggles combating terrorism.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Migdalovitz, Carol

Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report describes the relationship between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman, especially with respect to Oman's support of U.S. efforts toward peace in the Middle East, the U.S. free trade agreement with Oman, and Oman's relatively close relations with Iran, the last of which seems incongruous with the other positive aspects of Oman's relationship with the U.S.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: Border Searches Under the Fourth Amendment

Description: This report first outlines the statutes authorizing certain federal officers to conduct warrantless searches. It then addresses the scope of the government's constitutional authority to search and seize persons and property at the border. It also describes the varying levels of suspicion generally required for each type of border search as interpreted by the courts. Finally, this report lists several bills before the 111th Congress that address border searches. This report does not address interior searches and seizures performed by immigration personnel since they are not traditional "border searches."
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule

Russia's Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States

Description: As has been the case with most of the world's economies, the Russian economy has been hit hard by the current global financial crisis. Even before the financial crisis, however, Russia was showing signs of economic problems. Russian economic policies and performance raise important policy questions for the United States and the U.S.-Russian relationship which this report addresses. Might Russia's robust economic growth return? Is an economically strong Russia a threat or benefit to the United States? Is Russia following economic strategies that promote a market economy that underlies the international trade system manifested in the World Trade Organization?
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Cooper, William H.

Science, Technology, and American Diplomacy: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of current U.S. international S&T policy; describes the role of the Department of State (DOS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other federal agencies; and discusses possible policy options for Congress. It focuses on international science and technology diplomacy, where American leadership in science and technology is used as a diplomatic tool to enhance another country's development and to improve understanding by other nations of U.S. values and ways of doing business.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Stine, Deborah D.

Science, Technology, and American Diplomacy: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of current U.S. international science and technology (S&T) policy; describes the role of the Department of State (DOS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other federal agencies; and discusses possible policy options for Congress. It focuses on international science and technology diplomacy, where American leadership in science and technology is used as a diplomatic tool to enhance other country's development and to improve understanding by other nations of U.S. values and ways of doing business.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Stine, Deborah D.

The Technology Innovation Program

Description: The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed " ... to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. The elimination of ATP and the creation of TIP have renewed the debate over the role of the federal government in promoting commercial technology development. This report discusses the opposing sides of this ongoing debate.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.

Tunisia: Current Issues

Description: This report discusses the governmental structure and current political state of Tunisia, as well as additional general information regarding Tunisia's economy and dealings with terrorist groups. This report also describes the U.S.-Tunisian relationship in brief.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Migdalovitz, Carol

Afghanistan: Politics, Government Formation and Performance

Description: The Afghan central government's limited writ and widespread official corruption are helping sustain a Taliban insurgency, and have fed pessimism about the Afghanistan stabilization effort. This report discusses the current tumultuous political state of Afghanistan, focusing particularly on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his struggle with the Taliban terrorist group. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the U.S. with regard to these struggles, and describes various U.S. efforts currently underway to help Afghanistan build a stable government and economy.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Canada's Financial System: An Overview

Description: This report discusses the relative stability of Canada's financial system in comparison to the financial systems of other nations around the globe that are suffering from the current financial crisis. This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

Description: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950's when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with the Association of Public Television Stations, is implementing a program that will disseminate national alert messages over digital broadcast airwaves, using satellite and public TV broadcast towers. This program is referred to as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle national alerts. The 111th Congress may pursue additional oversight to related programs that would continue to improve the nation's capability to provide alerts and information before, during, and after an emergency.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.

Iraq: U.S. Casualties

Description: This report consists of a brief table summarizing casualty data compiled by the Department of Defense (DOD), including fatalities during Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 19, 2003, and since May 1, 2003, including statistics on those wounded, but not killed, since March 19, 2003.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Chesser, Susan G.

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Description: In a speech on March 14, 2002, President Bush outlined a proposal for a major new U.S. foreign aid initiative. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provides assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that are pursuing political and economic reforms in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom. This report describes the MCC and how it differs from other past and current U.S. aid practices.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Tarnoff, Curt

Veterans and Homelessness

Description: The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. As the number of veterans increases due to the current wars, there is concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The current economic downturn also has raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans. Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the current conflicts, which this report discusses in detail.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Perl, Libby

Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard

Description: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140), significantly expanded the renewable fuel standard (RFS) established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005, P.L. 109-58). The RFS requires the use of 9.0 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008, increasing to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
Date: June 25, 2009
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Bracmort, Kelsi

Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard

Description: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) significantly expanded the renewable fuel standard (RFS) established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. EISA requires an increasing amount of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 mandate be met with "advanced biofuels." This report defines the classification "biofuels," discusses the ongoing debate regarding several aspects of biofuels endeavors, and discusses related legislative efforts on climate change policy and low-carbon fuel standards.
Date: June 25, 2009
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Bracmort, Kelsi S.

The Army's M-4 Carbine: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The M-4 carbine is the Army's primary individual combat weapon for infantry units. The M-4 uses a direct gas impingement system that blows carbon from the fired cartridge back into the weapon's receiver, which can lead to weapon malfunctions. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is replacing its M-4s with the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR), a modular weapon with a short-stroke piston system that eliminates carbon blow back, which theoretically improves reliability. Some have questioned why the Army has not adopted the SCAR or another similarly designed weapon. A series of studies and tests of the M-4 and potential competitors have added to this debate, and the Army has taken steps to begin evaluating other weapons to replace the M-4.
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: Feickert, Andrew

Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Critical Barriers and Congressional Policy

Description: This report focuses on electricity efficiency in buildings. It also discusses improved energy efficiency in transportation (to and from buildings), reducing direct use of fossil fuels in buildings, and reducing energy use or carbon emissions associated with building materials and construction (e.g., steel and concrete).
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.; Sissine, Fred & Fischer, Eric A.

Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Critical Barriers and Congressional Policy

Description: Federal policymakers are debating a range of potential initiatives for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from U.S. energy sources. An overarching policy issue which arises from carbon control proposals is how the CO2 reduction targets could be achieved. One method that has garnered significant attention is increasing the electricity efficiency in buildings. Analysts have identified a number of critical socioeconomic and policy barriers which have historically limited the impact of federal and state building efficiency programs. This report describes those barriers, the degree to which federal law has addressed them, and their implications for meeting future U.S. carbon reduction targets.
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.; Sissine, Fred & Fischer, Eric A.

The Financial Crisis: Impact on and Response by the European Union

Description: According to the most recent National Threat Assessment, the global financial crisis and its geopolitical implications pose the primary near-term security concern of the United States. Over the short run, both the EU and the United States are attempting to resolve the financial crisis while stimulating domestic demand to stem the economic downturn. These efforts have born little progress so far as the economic recession and the financial crisis have become reinforcing events, causing EU governments to forge policy responses to both crises. This report discusses this situation in detail and also discusses individual efforts by both the U.S. and EU to combat the effects of the crisis.
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.