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Debarment and Suspension of Government Contractors: An Overview of the Law Including Recently Enacted and Proposed Amendments

Description: The amount spent on government contracts, coupled with widely reported contractors misconduct, has generated congressional interest in debarment and suspension. The 110th Congress enacted several bills addressing debarment and suspension, including the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, and several others, all of which are detailed in this report.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases

Description: This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Examination of Temporal Trends in Electricity Reliability Based on Reports from U.S. Electric Utilities

Description: Since the 1960s, the U.S. electric power system has experienced a major blackout about once every 10 years. Each has been a vivid reminder of the importance society places on the continuous availability of electricity and has led to calls for changes to enhance reliability. At the root of these calls are judgments about what reliability is worth and how much should be paid to ensure it. In principle, comprehensive information on the actual reliability of the electric power system and on how proposed changes would affect reliability ought to help inform these judgments. Yet, comprehensive, national-scale information on the reliability of the U.S. electric power system is lacking. This report helps to address this information gap by assessing trends in U.S. electricity reliability based on information reported by electric utilities on power interruptions experienced by their customers. Our research augments prior investigations, which focused only on power interruptions originating in the bulk power system, by considering interruptions originating both from the bulk power system and from within local distribution systems. Our research also accounts for differences among utility reliability reporting practices by employing statistical techniques that remove the influence of these differences on the trends that we identify. The research analyzes up to 10 years of electricity reliability information collected from 155 U.S. electric utilities, which together account for roughly 50% of total U.S. electricity sales. The questions analyzed include: 1. Are there trends in reported electricity reliability over time? 2. How are trends in reported electricity reliability affected by the installation or upgrade of an automated outage management system? 3. How are trends in reported electricity reliability affected by the use of IEEE Standard 1366-2003?
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Eto, Joseph H.; LaCommare, Kristina Hamachi; Larsen, Peter; Todd, Annika & Fisher, Emily
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploration of Optimization Options for Increasing Performance of a GPU Implementation of a Three-dimensional Bilateral Filter

Description: This report explores using GPUs as a platform for performing high performance medical image data processing, specifically smoothing using a 3D bilateral filter, which performs anisotropic, edge-preserving smoothing. The algorithm consists of a running a specialized 3D convolution kernel over a source volume to produce an output volume. Overall, our objective is to understand what algorithmic design choices and configuration options lead to optimal performance of this algorithm on the GPU. We explore the performance impact of using different memory access patterns, of using different types of device/on-chip memories, of using strictly aligned and unaligned memory, and of varying the size/shape of thread blocks. Our results reveal optimal configuration parameters for our algorithm when executed sample 3D medical data set, and show performance gains ranging from 30x to over 200x as compared to a single-threaded CPU implementation.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Bethel, E. Wes & Bethel, E. Wes
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Aid to Roads and Highways Since the 18th Century: A Legislative History

Description: The federal government has provided aid for roads and highways since the establishment of the United States in 1789. This report comprises a brief history of such aid, detailing some precedent setters and more recent funding through the Highway Trust Fund, which was created in 1956.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Williamson, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

INVESTIGATION OF PLUTONIUM AND URANIUM UPTAKE INTO MCU SOLVENT AND NEXT GENERATION SOLVENT

Description: At the request of the Savannah River Remediation (SRR) customer, the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) examined the plutonium (Pu) and uranium (U) uptake into the Next Generation Solvent (NGS) that will be used at the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF). SRNL examined archived samples of solvent used in Extraction-Scrub-Strip (ESS) tests, as well as samples from new tests designed explicitly to examine the Pu and U uptake. Direct radiocounting for Pu and U provided the best results. Using the radiocounting results, we found that in all cases there were <3.41E-12 g Pu/g of NGS and <1.17E-05 g U/g of NGS in multiple samples, even after extended contact times and high aqueous:organic volume phase ratios. These values are conservative as they do not allow for release or removal of the actinides by scrub, strip, or solvent wash processes. The values do not account for extended use or any increase that may occur due to radiolytic damage of the solvent.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Peters, T. & Fink, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requested funding for the procurement of 10 new battle force ships. Issues for Congress include the appropriate future size and structure of the Navy in light of changes in strategic and budget circumstances, the sufficiency of the Navy's FY2012 30-year shipbuilding plan for achieving and maintaining the Navy's 313-ship goal, and the affordability of the FY2012 30-year shipbuilding plan.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the CVN-78 program, which includes the CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 as the first three ships in the Navy's new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs).
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement

Description: In the last two decades, organized crime has grown more complex, posing evolving challenges for U.S. federal law enforcement. These criminals have transformed their operations in ways that broaden their reach and make it harder for law enforcement to combat them. They have adopted more-networked structural models, internationalized their operations, and grown more tech savvy. They are a significant challenge to U.S. law enforcement. There still is no single agency charged with investigating organized crime in the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been designated the lead investigative agency for terrorism. Further, resources to tackle this issue are divided among many federal agencies. As such, Congress may exert its oversight authority regarding the federal coordination of organized crime investigations via the 2011 strategy. Policymakers may also debate the efficacy of current resources appropriated to combat organized crime.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P. & Finklea, Kristin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Proof-of-Principle Echo-enabled Harmonic Generation Free Electron Laser Experiment at SLAC

Description: With the advent of X-ray Free Electron Lasers (FELs), new methods have been developed to extend capabilities at short wavelengths beyond Self-Amplified Spontaneous Emission (SASE). In particular, seeding of a FEL allows for temporal control of the radiation pulse and increases the peak brightness by orders of magnitude. Most recently, Gennady Stupakov and colleagues at SLAC proposed a new technique: Echo-Enabled Harmonic Generation (EEHG). Here a laser microbunches the beam in an undulator and the beam is sheared in a chicane. This process is repeated with a second laser, undulator and chicane. The interplay between these allows a seeding of the X-ray laser up to the 100th harmonic of the first laser. After introducing the physics of FELs and the EEHG seeding technique, we describe contributions to the experimental effort. We will present detailed studies of the experiment including the choice of parameters and their optimization, the emittance effect, spontaneous emission in the undulators, the second laser phase effect, and measurements of the jitter between RF stations. Finally, the status and preliminary results of the Echo-7 experiment will be outlined.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Pernet, Pierre-Louis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Recess Appointments: A Legal Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of the Recess Appointments Clause, exploring its historical application and legal interpretation by the executive branch, the courts, and the Comptroller General. Furthermore, congressional legislation designed to prevent the President's overuse or misuse of the Clause is also explored.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department