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Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters.
Date: February 5, 2014
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

Qatar: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report presents an overview of Qatar's history and recent economic and political developments. The report discusses U.S. relations with Qatar, U.S. military cooperation and foreign assistance, political reform and elections, as well as human rights and social issues.
Date: January 30, 2014
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M.

Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues

Description: This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress and related issues and legislation. Over more than two decades, Congress has established 40 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources.
Date: June 4, 2013
Creator: Vincent, Carol Hardy & Comay, Laura B.

Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Description: This report covers the recent economical and political development in Nigeria; elections, development challenges, reform initiatives, social issues, security concerns, and international relations in Nigeria. The report ends with some concerns for Congress, including U.S.-Nigerian trade issues, Nigerian counter-terrorism efforts, and U.S. assistance to Nigeria.
Date: April 24, 2013
Creator: Ploch, Lauren

Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments

Description: This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partner, China, and legislation.
Date: November 27, 2013
Creator: Kan, Shirley A.

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: December 27, 2013
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Description: This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosion and was in 1996 adopted by the U.N. General Assembly but rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997. This report discusses the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). This report also discusses other nuclear weapons-related issues as well as the long history of nuclear testing.
Date: June 10, 2013
Creator: Medalia, Jonathan

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background

Description: This report discusses the USA PATRIOT Act (107-56) and its expanded authority to issue national security letters (NSLs). A report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) found that in its pre-amendment use of expanded USA PATRIOT Act authority the FBI had "used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies," but that no criminal laws had been broken.
Date: January 3, 2014
Creator: Doyle, Charles

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities

Description: This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. The government's support of IT R&D began because it had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study.
Date: June 10, 2013
Creator: Figliola, Patricia Moloney

China-U.S. Trade Issues

Description: This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation.
Date: January 13, 2014
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.

Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report supplies brief answers to some frequently-asked questions regarding recess appointments. These are appointments to high-level policy-making positions in federal departments which are generally confirmed by the Senate. When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval.
Date: July 7, 2013
Creator: Hogue, Henry B.

The Paris Club and International Debt Relief

Description: This report discusses the Paris Club, a voluntary, informal group of creditor nations who meet approximately 10 times per year and provide debt relief to developing countries. Members of the Paris Club agree to renegotiate and/or reduce official debt owed to them on a case-by-case basis.
Date: December 11, 2013
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.