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CRS — U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A number of proposals designed to increase domestic energy supply, enhance security, and/or amend the requirements of environmental statutes that apply to energy development were before the 113th Congress and are likely to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress. A key question in this discussion is how much oil and gas is produced in the United States each year and how much of that comes from federal versus non-federal areas. Oil production has fluctuated on federal lands over the past five fiscal years but has increased dramatically on non-federal lands. Non-federal crude oil production has been rapidly increasing in the past few years, partly due to favorable geology and the ease of leasing, rising by 3.0 million barrels per day (mbd) between FY2010 and FY2014, causing the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production to fall from 36.4% to 21.4%.

Crude oil production on federal lands, particularly offshore, however, is likely to continue to make a significant contribution to the U.S energy supply picture and could remain consistently higher than previous decades, but still fall as a percent of total U.S. production, if production on non-federal lands continues to rise at a faster rate.

CRS — Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The growing number and modernization of ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific region poses a security challenge for the United States and its allies and is thus a concern for many in Congress. The United States has made ballistic missile defense (BMD) a central component of protection for forward-deployed U.S. forces and extended deterrence for allied security. The configuration of sensors, command-and-control centers, and BMD assets in the region has slowly evolved with contributions from treaty allies, primarily Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

Observers believe that North Korea has an arsenal of hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles and likely dozens of medium-range Nodong missiles; the extended-range Nodongs are considered capable of reaching Japan and U.S. bases there. Longer-range North Korean missiles appear to be under development but remain unreliable, with only one successful test out of five in the past 15 years. The U.S. intelligence community has not yet concluded that North Korea can build nuclear warheads small enough to put on ballistic missiles, but there is significant debate among experts on this question.

Editorial: Congressional Research Belongs to the Public

June 18, 2015 Comments off

Congressional Research Belongs to the Public
Source: New York Times

In Washington, the reports have become commodities traded and sold by policy wonks.

Every day, the Congressional Research Service, a little-known government agency attached to the Library of Congress, churns out papers on issues as varied as the defense budget, the farm bill and nuclear weapons. They’re not classified. They’re nonpartisan. And unlike many government reports, they’re fairly easy to understand. Yet it’s hard for most people to get copies of reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as an in-house think-tank for lawmakers. That is absurd.

CRS — Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding (March 10, 2015)

June 4, 2015 Comments off

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398). Currently administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. A related program is the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program, which provides grants for hiring, recruiting, and retaining firefighters.

See also: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program (March 10, 2015) (PDF)

CRS — United States Fire Administration: An Overview (March 11, 2015)

June 4, 2015 Comments off

United States Fire Administration: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire.

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports on Military and Defense

June 4, 2015 Comments off

CRS — Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Fact Sheet on Legislation, FY1995-FY2015 (March 24, 2015)

June 2, 2015 Comments off

Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Fact Sheet on Legislation, FY1995-FY2015 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress currently appropriates foreign affairs funding through annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations.1 Prior to FY2008, however, Congress provided funds for the Department of State and international broadcasting within the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies appropriations (CJS) and separately provided foreign aid funds within Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs appropriations. The transition between the different alignments occurred in the 109th Congress with a change in appropriations subcommittee jurisdiction. For that Congress, the House of Representatives appropriated State Department funds separately from foreign aid, as in earlier Congresses, but the Senate appropriated State and foreign aid funds within one bill—the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations. By the 110th Congress, funding for both the Department of State and foreign aid were aligned into the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations in both the House and Senate.

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