Both House and Senate bills competing to become the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 contain a subtitle addressing issues related to detainees at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more broadly, hostilities against Al Qaeda and other entities. At the heart of both bills’ detainee provisions appears to be an effort to confirm or, as some observers view it, expand the detention authority that Congress implicitly granted the President via the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF, P.L. 107-40) in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Congress has long been concerned about whether U.S. policy advances the national interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of China’s technology reportedly include Pakistan and countries said by the State Department to have supported terrorism, such as Iran. This CRS Report, updated as warranted, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, supplies from China have aggravated trends that result in ambiguous technical aid, more indigenous capabilities, longer-range missiles, and secondary (retransferred) proliferation. According to unclassified intelligence reports submitted as required to Congress, China has been a “key supplier” of technology, particularly PRC entities providing nuclear and missile-related technology to Pakistan and missile-related technology to Iran.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the Bureau) is the lead federal law enforcement agency charged with counterterrorism investigations. Since the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks, the FBI has implemented a series of reforms intended to transform itself from a largely reactive law enforcement agency focused on investigations of criminal activity into a more proactive, agile, flexible, and intelligence-driven agency that can prevent acts of terrorism.
Direct Overt U.S. Aid and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2012, prepared for the Congressional Research Service by K. Alan Kronstadt, Specialist in South Asian Affairs.
The federal government loses both individual and corporate income tax revenue from the shifting of profits and income into low-tax countries, often referred to as tax havens. The revenue losses from this tax avoidance and evasion are difficult to estimate, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around $100 billion per year. International tax avoidance can arise from large multinational corporations who shift profits into low-tax foreign subsidiaries or wealthy individual investors who set up secret bank accounts in tax haven countries.
U.S. aid to Africa initially reached a peak in 1985, when global competition with the Soviet Union was at a high point. After the cold war ended, security assistance levels for Africa began to decline. In 1995, at the outset of the 104th Congress, substantial reductions in aid to Africa had been anticipated, as many questioned the importance of Africa to U.S. national security interests in the post-cold war era. As the debate went forward, however, congressional reports and bills emphasized U.S. humanitarian, economic, and other interests in Africa. Aid levels did fall, but gradually began to increase again in FY1997. U.S. assistance to Africa is reaching new highs due to a significant increase in health care sectors under the Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS) program. U.S. aid to Africa nearly quadrupled from $1.2 billion in FY2006 to $6.7 billion in FY2010. Moreover, the United States is the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to Africa. Between FY1999 and FY2009, the United States provided over $10.1 billion to East and Central African countries and an estimated $2.2 billion to Southern Africa countries.
Major anti-government protests broke out in Libya on February 15 and have since intensified, eliciting violent government responses. The demonstrations are in opposition to the 42-year regime of Libya’s leader, Muammar al Qadhafi. As of February 18, some sources have reported that opposition forces have taken over areas of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, and its surroundings in Libya’s northeastern Mediterranean region of Cyrenaica.
After experiencing serious unrest during the late 1990s, Bahrain undertook several steps to enhance the inclusion of the Shiite majority in governance. However, protests erupting following the uprising that overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, demonstrate that Shiite grievances over the distribution of power and economic opportunities remain unsatisfied. The new unrest comes four months after smaller protests against the efforts by the Sunni-led government’s efforts to maintain its tight grip on power in the October 23, 2010, parliamentary election. That election, no matter the outcome, would not have unseated the ruling Al Khalifa family from power, but the Shiite population was hoping that winning a majority in the elected lower house could give it greater authority with which to challenge the ruling family. In advance of the elections, the government launched a wave of arrests intended to try to discredit
some of the hard-line Shiite leadership as tools of Iran.
In Mexico, the violence generated by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in recent years has been, according to some, unprecedented. In 2006, Mexico’s newly elected President Felipe Calderón launched an aggressive campaign—an initiative that has defined his administration— against the DTOs that has been met with a violent response from the DTOs. Government enforcement efforts have had successes in removing some of the key leaders in all of the seven major DTOs. However, these efforts have led to violent succession struggles within the DTOs themselves. In July 2010, the Mexican government announced that more than 28,000 people had been killed in drug trafficking-related violence since December 2006, when President Calderón came to office.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist militia, political party, social welfare organization, and U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization. Its armed element receives support from Iran and Syria and possesses significant paramilitary and unconventional warfare capabilities. In the wake of the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and an armed domestic confrontation between Hezbollah and rival Lebanese groups in May 2008, Lebanon’s political process is now intensely focused on Hezbollah’s future role in the country. Lebanese factions are working to define Hezbollah’s role through a series of “National Dialogue” discussions.
This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.
This report is prepared annually to provide Congress with official, unclassified, quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years for use in its policy oversight functions. All agreement and delivery data in this report for the United States are government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) transactions. Similar data are provided on worldwide conventional arms transfers by all suppliers, but the principal focus is the level of arms transfers by major weapons suppliers to nations in the developing world.
Kyrgyzstan is a small and poor country in Central Asia that gained independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union (see Figure A-1). It has developed a notable but fragile civil society. Progress in democratization has been set back by problematic elections (one of which helped precipitate a coup in 2005 that brought Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power), contention over constitutions, and corruption. The April 2010 coup appears to have been triggered by popular discontent over rising utility prices and government repression. After two days of popular unrest in the capital of Bishkek and other cities, opposition politicians ousted the Bakiyev administration on April 8 and declared an interim government pending a new presidential election in six months. Roza Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, was declared the acting prime minister.
Drug trafficking is viewed as a primary threat to citizen security and U.S. interests in Latin America and the Caribbean despite decades of anti-drug efforts by the United States and partner governments. The production and trafficking of popular illicit drugs—cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and methamphetamine—generates a multi-billion dollar black market in which Latin American criminal and terrorist organizations thrive. These groups challenge state authority in source and transit countries where governments are often fragile and easily corrupted. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) largely control the U.S. illicit drug market and have been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as the “greatest organized crime threat to the United States.” Drug trafficking-related crime and violence in the region has escalated in recent years, raising the drug issue to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy concerns.
The Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Under current MDA and Navy plans, the number of BMD-capable Navy Aegis ships is scheduled to grow from 20 at the end of FY2010 to 38 at the end of FY2015. MDA and Navy plans also call for an increasing portion of the Navy’s BMD-capable Aegis ships to be equipped with newer and more capable versions of the Aegis BMD system.
An emergency preparedness and response program provides resources and support to individuals and communities that might be affected by a broad range of disruptive incidents. These incidents may be caused by natural phenomena such as severe weather, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, or disease outbreaks. Incidents might result from human activity as well, and could include accidents, criminal acts, terrorism, or other attacks. Concerns have been raised whether current preparedness and response policies and capacities are sufficient.
Interruptions of congressional operations by incidents such as episodic computer virus infections, or the anthrax contamination that took place during autumn 2001, have demonstrated the importance of congressional continuity of operations (COOP) planning. COOP planning refers to the internal effort of an organization to assure that the capability exists to continue essential functions in response to a comprehensive array of potential operational interruptions. For Congress, COOP planning is related to a second level of preparedness, continuity of government (COG) planning. Congressional COG planning focuses on ensuring that Congress is able to carry out its legislative responsibilities under Article I of the Constitution.
Since the 1990s, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has pursued the issues of bribery and tax havens, resulting in changes to certain U.S. laws. In addition, the OECD, under the direction of its member countries, spearheaded an international agreement to outlaw crimes of bribery, and it continues to coordinate efforts aimed at reducing the occurrence of money laundering, corruption, and tax havens.
During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union both deployed thousands of “nonstrategic” nuclear weapons that were intended to be used in support of troops in the field during a conflict. These included nuclear mines; artillery; short, medium, and long-range ballistic missiles; cruise missiles; and gravity bombs. In contrast with the longer-range “strategic” nuclear weapons, these weapons had a lower profile in policy debates and arms control negotiations. At the end of the 1980s, before the demise of the Soviet Union, each nation still had thousands of these weapons deployed with their troops in the field, aboard naval vessels, and on aircraft. In 1991, both the United States and Soviet Union announced that they would withdraw most and eliminate many of their nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
The European Union’s (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU’s efforts to meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol. It covers more than 10,000 energy intensive facilities across the 27 EU Member countries; covered entities emit about 45% of the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions. A “Phase 1” trading period began January 1, 2005. A second, Phase 2, trading period began in 2008, covering the period of the Kyoto Protocol. A Phase 3 will begin in 2013 designed to reduce emissions by 21% from 2005 levels.
High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an instantaneous, intense energy field that can overload or disrupt at a distance numerous electrical systems and high technology microcircuits, which are especially sensitive to power surges. A large scale EMP effect can be produced by a single nuclear explosion detonated high in the atmosphere. This method is referred to as High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). A similar, smaller-scale EMP effect can be created using non-nuclear devices with powerful batteries or reactive chemicals. This method is called High Power Microwave (HPM). Several nations, including reported sponsors of terrorism, may currently have a capability to use EMP as a weapon for cyber warfare or cyber terrorism to disrupt communications and other parts of the U.S. critical infrastructure. Also, some equipment and weapons used by the U.S. military may be vulnerable to the effects of EMP.
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established in 2004 to ensure that information from any source about potential terrorist acts against the U.S. could be made available to analysts and that appropriate responses could be planned. Investigations of the 9/11 attacks had demonstrated that information possessed by different agencies had not been shared and thus that disparate indications of the looming threat had not been connected and warning had not been provided. As a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the NCTC is composed of analysts with backgrounds in many government agencies and has access to various agency databases.
Al Qaeda (AQ) has evolved into a significantly different terrorist organization than the one that perpetrated the September 11, 2001, attacks. At the time, Al Qaeda was composed mostly of a core cadre of veterans of the Afghan insurgency against the Soviets, with a centralized leadership structure, made up mostly of Egyptians. Most of the organization’s plots either emanated from the top or were approved by the leadership. Some analysts describe pre-9/11 Al Qaeda as akin to a corporation, with Osama Bin Laden acting as an agile Chief Executive Officer issuing orders and soliciting ideas from subordinates.
Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act, in part, to “provid[e] enhanced investigative tools” to “assist in the prevention of future terrorist activities and the preliminary acts and crimes which further such activities.” To that end, the Act eased restrictions on the government’s ability to collect information regarding people’s activities and conversations, both in domestic criminal investigations and in the realms of foreign intelligence gathering and national security.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, having been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.