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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cybersecurity: CRS Experts


Eric A. Fischer
Senior Specialist in Science and Technology

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy issues related to cybersecurity bills currently being debated in the 112th Congress. Concerns about information-system security, often referred to as cybersecurity, are longstanding. The frequency, impact, and sophistication of cyberattacks and the growth of cybercrime and cyberespionage have added urgency to the concerns. Consensus has been growing that the policy framework for cybersecurity take into account the diversity and continuing evolution of the technology and threats—from spam to botnets to hacktivism, cyberterrorism, and cyberwar— and the increasing role of the Internet in the U.S. economy and the lives of citizens. Among the issues Congress will likely confront are cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, most of which is owned by the private sector; information sharing, both of unclassified and classified information, along with protection of privacy and civil liberties; prevention of and response to domestic and international cybercrime and espionage; the relationship between cyberspace and national security; and how federal funding should be invested to protect information systems.


Date of Report: July 23, 2012
Number of Pages: 5
Order Number: R42619
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement


Kristin M. Finklea
Specialist in Domestic Security

Catherine A. Theohary
Analyst in National Security Policy and Information Operations

Twenty-first century criminals increasingly rely on the Internet and advanced technologies to further their criminal operations. These criminals can easily leverage the Internet to carry out traditional crimes such as distributing illicit drugs and sex trafficking. In addition, they exploit the digital world to facilitate crimes that are often technology driven, including identity theft, payment card fraud, and intellectual property theft. Cybercrimes have economic, public health, and national security implications, among others. For over three decades, Congress has been concerned about cybercrime and its related threats. Today, these concerns often arise among a larger discussion surrounding the federal government’s role in ensuring U.S. cyber security.

Conceptualizing cybercrime involves a number of key elements and questions that include where do the criminal acts exist in the real and digital worlds (and what technologies are involved in carrying out the crimes), why are malicious activities initiated, and who is involved in carrying out the malicious acts?

• One way of viewing cybercrimes is that they may be digital versions of traditional, real world offenses. They could be considered traditional, or “real world,” crimes if not for the incorporated element of virtual or cyberspace. In some instances, however, it may seem that law enforcement struggles to keep up with developments in the virtual world, which transform routine activities once driven by paper records in the real world. As a result, criminals are often prosecuted using laws intended to combat crimes in the real world.

• The distinction between cybercrime and other malicious acts in the virtual realm is the actor’s motivation. Cyber criminals can exhibit a wide range of self interests, deriving profit, notoriety, and/or gratification from activities such as hacking, cyber stalking, and online child pornography. Without knowing the criminal intent or motivation, however, some activities of cyber criminals and other malicious actors may appear on the surface to be similar, causing confusion as to whether a particular action should be categorized as cybercrime or not. When referring to cybercrime incidents, terms such as cyber attack, cyber espionage, and cyber war are often loosely applied, and they may obscure the motives of the actors involved.

• Criminal attribution is a key delineating factor between cybercrime and other cyber threats. When investigating a given threat, law enforcement is challenged with tracing the action to its source and determining whether the actor is a criminal or whether the actor may be a terrorist or state actor posing a potentially greater national security threat. This is highlighted by examining the online collective known as Anonymous. Some refer to Anonymous as a group of online activists, others see the collective as a group of criminal actors, and still others have likened it to online insurgents.

The U.S. government does not appear to have an official definition of cybercrime that distinguishes it from crimes committed in what is considered the real world. Similarly, there is not a definition of cybercrime that distinguishes it from other forms of cyber threats, and the term is often used interchangeably with other Internet- or technology-linked malicious acts. Federal law enforcement agencies often define cybercrime based on their jurisdiction and the crimes they are charged with investigating. And, just as there is no overarching definition for cybercrime, there is no single agency that has been designated as the lead investigative agency for combating cybercrime.

Congress may question whether it is necessary to have a clear definition of what constitutes cybercrime (e.g., S. 2105, S. 3414) and what delineates it from other real world and cyber threats. On one hand, if the purpose of defining cybercrime is for investigating and prosecuting any of the various crimes under the broader cybercrime umbrella, it may be less critical to create a definition of the umbrella term and more imperative to clearly define which specific activities constitute crimes—regardless of whether they are considered real world crimes or cybercrimes. On the other hand, a distinction between cybercrime and other malicious activities may be beneficial for creating specific policies on combating the ever-expanding range of cyber threats. If government agencies and private sector businesses design strategies and missions around combating cybercrime, it may be useful to communicate a clear definition of cybercrime to those individuals who may be involved in carrying out the strategies.

The United States does not have a national strategy exclusively focused on combating cybercrime. Rather, there are other, broader strategies that have cybercrime components (a selection of which are presented in the Appendix). Policymakers may question whether there should be a distinct strategy for combating cybercrime or whether efforts to control these crimes are best addressed through more wide-ranging strategies such as those targeting cyber security or transnational organized crime. Congress may also question whether these broader strategies provide specific cybercrime-related objectives and clear means to achieve these goals.

Comprehensive data on cybercrime incidents and their impact are not available, and without exact numbers on the current scope and prevalence of cybercrime, it is difficult to evaluate the magnitude of the threats posed by cyber criminals. There are a number of issues that have prevented the accurate measurement and tracking of cybercrime. For one, the lack of a clear sense of what constitutes cybercrime presents a barrier to tracking inclusive cybercrime data. Additionally, much of the available data on cybercrime is self-reported, and individuals or organizations may not realize a cybercrime has taken place or may elect—for a host of reasons— not to report it. Policymakers may debate whether to direct a thorough evaluation of the threats posed by cyber criminals.


Date of Report: July 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: R42547
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources


Rita Tehan
Information Research Specialist

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have been initiated by individuals, as well as countries. Targets have included government networks, military defenses, companies, or political organizations, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, or intimidating political activists. In addition, national borders mean little or nothing to cyberattackers, and attributing an attack to a specific location can be difficult, which also makes a response problematic.

Congress has been actively involved in cybersecurity issues, holding hearings every year since 2001. There is no shortage of data on this topic: government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, security consultants, and trade associations have issued hundreds of reports, studies, analyses, and statistics.

This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues. This report includes information on

  • “Legislation” 
  • “Hearings in the 112th Congress” 
  • “Executive Orders and Presidential Directives” 
  • “Data and Statistics” 
  • “Cybersecurity Glossaries” 
  • “Reports by Topic” 
    • Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports 
    • White House/Office of Management and Budget reports 
    • Military/DOD 
    • Cloud Computing 
    • Critical Infrastructure 
    • National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) 
    • Cybercrime/Cyberwar 
    • International 
    • Education/Training/Workforce 
    • Research and Development (R&D) 
    • “Related Resources: Other Websites”

Date of Report: July 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 64
Order Number: R42507
Price: $29.95

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Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service


Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Given the large potential impact broadband access may have on the economic development of rural America, concern has been raised over a “digital divide” between rural and urban or suburban areas with respect to broadband deployment. While there are many examples of rural communities with state of the art telecommunications facilities, recent surveys and studies have indicated that, in general, rural areas tend to lag behind urban and suburban areas in broadband deployment.

Citing the lagging deployment of broadband in many rural areas, Congress and the Administration acted in 2001 and 2002 to initiate pilot broadband loan and grant programs within the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Subsequently, Section 6103 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171) amended the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to authorize a loan and loan guarantee program to provide funds for the costs of the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities. The RUS/USDA houses two assistance programs exclusively dedicated to financing broadband deployment: the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program and the Community Connect Grant Program.

For the broadband loan program, the Administration’s FY2013 budget proposal requested $8.915 million to subsidize a loan level of $94.139 million. The Administration requested $13.379 million for broadband grants in FY2013. On April 26, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported S. 2375, recommending $6 million to subsidize a loan level of $63 million for the broadband loan and loan guarantee program, and $10.372 million for broadband grants. On June 19, 2012, the House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the agriculture appropriations bill, H.R. 5973, recommending $2 million to subsidize a loan level of $21 million for the broadband loan and loan guarantee program, and $10.165 million for broadband grants.

The 110th Congress considered reauthorization and modification of the loan and loan guarantee program as part of the 2008 farm bill. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 became law on June 18, 2008 (P.L. 110-246). Title VI (Rural Development) contains authorizing language for the broadband loan program.

During 2009 and 2010, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (also referred to as the Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program) was on hiatus as RUS implemented the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). At the same time, final regulations implementing the broadband loan program as reauthorized by the 2008 farm bill were refined to reflect, in part, RUS experience in implementing BIP. Subsequently, on March 14, 2011, an Interim Rule and Notice was published in the Federal Register setting forth the rules and regulations for the broadband loan program as reauthorized by P.L. 110-246.

As reauthorized by the 2008 farm bill, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is currently authorized through FY2012. The 112th Congress is considering reauthorization of the broadband loan program in the 2012 farm bill. The Senate version (Section 6104 of S. 3240) was passed on June 21, 2012. On July 12, 2012, House farm bill legislation (H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM)) was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture.


Date of Report: July 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 34
Order Number: RL33816
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Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress


Frank Gottron
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Dana A. Shea
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The federal government generally supports the publication of federally funded research results because wide dissemination may drive innovation, job creation, technology development, and the advance of science. However, some research results could also be used for malicious purposes. Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders, are considering whether current policies concerning publishing such research results sufficiently balances the potential benefits with the potential harms. The current issues under debate cut across traditional policy areas, involving simultaneous consideration of security, scientific, health, export, and international policy. Because of the complexity of these issues, analysis according to one set of policy priorities may adversely affect other policy priorities. For example, maximizing security may lead to detriments in public health and scientific advancement, while maximizing scientific advancement may lead to security risks. Accounting for such trade-offs may allow policymakers to establish regulatory frameworks that more effectively maximize the benefits from dual-use research while mitigating its potential risks.

The current consideration of these issues began in late 2011, when two groups of U.S. government-funded scientists submitted papers to academic journals detailing genetic modifications that increase the transmissibility of a deadly influenza strain. Although these research results may improve pandemic influenza preparedness and response, they may also increase the probability that a highly contagious and deadly influenza strain will be introduced, either accidently or deliberately, into the human population.

Stakeholders, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, journal publishers, and scientists, debated whether the possible benefits of publication outweighed the potential harms. The editors of the scientific journals decided to publish modified versions of both papers.

The controversy surrounding the publication of these influenza experiments demonstrated flaws in the existing federal mechanisms to identify and balance potential benefits of life science research and security trade-offs. Responding to these cases, the Administration released a new government-wide policy to address some of these flaws. It requires agencies that fund life science research to regularly review research portfolios and develop methods to mitigate security risks.

It is not clear whether Congress will agree with the Administration that the new policy sufficiently addresses all of the dual-use issues brought to light by this recent controversy. Congress could decide to allow the new policy to be fully implemented before evaluating whether it appropriately addresses the policy issues. Alternatively, Congress could require agencies to implement robust processes to identify potential research of concern prior to funding; require federal prepublication review of all potential research of concern to establish appropriate limits on the distribution of the research results; require federal licensing of researchers permitted to conduct such experiments and access results; and limit such research to the most safe and secure laboratories.

This report describes the underlying controversy, the potential benefits and harms of publishing these manuscripts, the actions taken by domestic and international stakeholders, and options to improve the way research is handled to minimize security concerns.


Date of Report: July 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: R42606
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Department of Defense Implementation of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management


Patricia Moloney Figliola, Coordinator
Specialist in Internet and Telecommunications Policy

Anthony Andrews
Specialist in Energy and Defense Policy

Eric A. Fischer
Senior Specialist in Science and Technology

The Department of Defense (DOD) is the single largest energy consumer in the nation. As the largest owner of federal data centers, with 772, the DOD has more than twice as many centers as any other agency. By consolidating some of its data centers, DOD could have a significant positive impact on energy savings for the federal government. DOD has instituted a number of policy directives, as have all federal agencies, that influence energy use in its data centers.

Data centers are facilities—buildings or parts of buildings—used to store, manage, and disseminate electronic information for a computer network. They house servers, which are computers used to perform network-management functions such as data storage and processing, and communications equipment and devices to connect the servers with the network. Data centers usually draw their power from the electric grid, but they may also contain specialized power conversion and backup equipment to maintain reliable power. Power consumption varies greatly among data centers but is typically many times higher than for other kinds of buildings.

Within the context of the FDCCI, DOD’s efforts are intended to address concerns about rising energy demands and costs of data centers, associated increases in carbon emissions, expanding real-estate footprints of data centers, and rising real-estate costs. According to DOD, the Department plans to reduce the number of its data centers by about 30% by 2013, and the number of servers by 25%. DOD intends to use savings generated from consolidation to pay the consolidation costs. DOD also plans to use cloud computing as part of its savings effort.

As with any endeavor being implemented across so many departments and agencies, proper management of the initiative will be crucial to its success and, in turn, to achieving the projected savings. Unlike many programs that are overseen by a single committee, implementation of the FDCCI may require oversight by any committee with legislative jurisdiction over a department or agency. Understanding the management challenges and policy considerations involved with data center consolidation (e.g., balancing up-front costs with ongoing savings, maintaining data security, and maximizing energy savings through facilities design) as well as being aware of the issues specific to implementing the FDCCI are important steps to achieving effective Congressional oversight of the FDCCI. In conducting oversight, Congress may wish to—

  1. conduct hearings to monitor the activities of OMB as it manages the FDCCI or the progress of individual departments and agencies as they implement the FDCCI; 
  2. review FDCCI plans and status reports created internally by the individual department or agency, or externally by GAO or the committee of jurisdiction. 
Finally, Congress may wish to examine the current “reach” of the FDCCI and consider whether expanding the initiative to include other agencies, as the GAO has recommended, is appropriate.


Date of Report: July 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: R42604
Price: $29.95

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Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources


Rita Tehan
Information Research Specialist

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have been initiated by individuals, as well as countries. Targets have included government networks, military defenses, companies, or political organizations, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, or intimidating political activists. In addition, national borders mean little or nothing to cyberattackers, and attributing an attack to a specific location can be difficult, which also makes a response problematic.

Congress has been actively involved in cybersecurity issues, holding hearings every year since 2001. There is no shortage of data on this topic: government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, security consultants, and trade associations have issued hundreds of reports, studies, analyses, and statistics.

This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues.

This report includes information on

  • “Legislation” 
  • “Hearings in the 112th Congress” 
  • “Executive Orders and Presidential Directives” 
  • “Data and Statistics” 
  • “Cybersecurity Glossaries” 
  • “Reports by Topic” 
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports 
  • White House/Office of Management and Budget reports 
  • Military/DOD 
  • Cloud Computing 
  • Critical Infrastructure 
  • National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) 
  • Cybercrime/Cyberwar 
  • International 
  • Education/Training/Workforce 
  • Research and Development (R&D) 
  • “Related Resources: Other Websites” 
The report will be updated as needed.


Date of Report: July 3, 2012
Number of Pages: 60
Order Number: R42507
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2013


John F. Sargent Jr., Coordinator
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Congress has received President Obama’s budget request for FY2013 which includes $140.820 billion for research and development (R&D), a $1.951 billion (1.4%) increase from the FY2012 estimated funding level of $138.869 billion. The request represents the President’s R&D priorities; Congress may opt to agree with part or all of the request, or may express different priorities through the appropriations process. In particular, Congress will play a central role in determining the extent to which the federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. Low or negative growth in the overall R&D investment may require movement of resources across disciplines, programs, or agencies to address priorities.

Funding for R&D is highly concentrated in a few departments. Under President Obama’s FY2013 budget request, seven federal agencies would receive 95.8% of total federal R&D funding, with the Department of Defense (50.6%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (22.3%, primarily for the National Institutes of Health) accounting for nearly three-fourths of all R&D funding.

Among the largest changes proposed in the President’s request, the R&D budget of the Department of Defense would fall by $1.535 billion (-2.1%), while R&D funding for the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would increase by $1.329 billion. The NIST growth is fueled by increases in funding for its core research laboratories and by the establishment of two new initiatives: $1 billion for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which seeks to promote the development of manufacturing technologies with broad applications, and $300 million for a Wireless Innovation (WIN) Fund to help develop cutting-edge technologies for public safety users.

President Obama has requested increases in the R&D budgets of NIST, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science that were targeted for doubling over 7 years, from their FY2006 levels, by the America COMPETES Act, and over 10 years by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. The funding requested for FY2013 is consistent with a doubling timeframe of 17 years, much longer than authorized by either act.

The President’s budget request continues support for three multi-agency R&D initiatives in FY2013, proposing $1.766 billion for the National Nanotechnology Initiative, an increase of $70 million (4.1%) over FY2012; $3.807 billion for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program, an increase of $69 million (1.8%); and $2.633 billion for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, an increase of $136 million (5.6%).

In recent years, Congress has used a variety of mechanisms to complete the annual appropriations process after the start of the fiscal year. This may affect agencies’ execution of their R&D budgets, including delaying or canceling some planned R&D and equipment acquisition.


Date of Report: June 21, 2012
Number of Pages: 56
Order Number: R42410
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rural Broadband: The Roles of the Rural Utilities Service and the Universal Service Fund


Angele A. Gilroy
Specialist in Telecommunications Policy

Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Since the initial deployment of broadband in the late 1990s, Congress has viewed broadband infrastructure deployment as a means towards improving regional economic development, and in the long term, to create jobs. According to the National Broadband Plan, the lack of adequate broadband infrastructure is most pressing in rural America, where the costs of serving large geographical areas, coupled with low population densities, often reduce economic incentives for telecommunications providers to invest in and maintain broadband infrastructure and service.

Historically, the federal government has provided financial assistance to give telecommunications providers the capital to invest in rural telecommunications infrastructure and to maintain an adequate return on their investment. Currently, there are two ongoing federal vehicles which direct money to fund broadband in rural areas: the broadband and telecommunications programs at the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

While both the RUS and USF programs share some of the same goals (e.g., improving broadband availability and adoption in rural areas), the two programs are different with respect to their funding mechanism, scope, and emphasis. For example, RUS grants and loans are used as upfront capital to invest in broadband infrastructure, while the USF provides ongoing subsidies to keep the operation of telecommunications and broadband networks in high cost areas economically viable for providers. Another key difference is that the RUS programs are funded through annual appropriations, while USF is funded through mandatory contributions from telecommunications carriers that provide interstate service, and is not subject to the annual congressional budget process.

Both programs are currently at a pivotal point in the 112th Congress. The statute authorizing the Rural Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee program was significantly modified in the 2008 farm bill, and may be addressed once more in the 2012 farm bill. Meanwhile, the USF is undergoing a major and unprecedented transition through a series of reforms being developed by the FCC, and Congress has adopted an oversight role with respect to those reforms. In shaping and monitoring the future evolution of these programs, Congress is assessing how best to leverage these programs to ensure that the goals of the National Broadband Plan—including universal broadband service by 2020—are met to the greatest extent possible.


Date of Report: June 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R42524
Price: $29.95

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Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service


Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Given the large potential impact broadband access may have on the economic development of rural America, concern has been raised over a “digital divide” between rural and urban or suburban areas with respect to broadband deployment. While there are many examples of rural communities with state of the art telecommunications facilities, recent surveys and studies have indicated that, in general, rural areas tend to lag behind urban and suburban areas in broadband deployment.

Citing the lagging deployment of broadband in many rural areas, Congress and the Administration acted in 2001 and 2002 to initiate pilot broadband loan and grant programs within the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Subsequently, Section 6103 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171) amended the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to authorize a loan and loan guarantee program to provide funds for the costs of the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities. The RUS/USDA houses two assistance programs exclusively dedicated to financing broadband deployment: the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program and the Community Connect Grant Program.

For the broadband loan program, the Administration’s FY2013 budget proposal requested $8.915 million to subsidize a loan level of $94.139 million. The Administration requested $13.379 million for broadband grants in FY2013. On April 26, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported S. 2375, recommending $6 million to subsidize a loan level of $63 million for the broadband loan and loan guarantee program, and $10.372 million for broadband grants. On June 19, 2012, the House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the agriculture appropriations bill, H.R. 5973, recommending $2 million to subsidize a loan level of $21 million for the broadband loan and loan guarantee program, and $10.165 million for broadband grants.

The 110th Congress considered reauthorization and modification of the loan and loan guarantee program as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 became law on June 18, 2008 (P.L. 110-246). Title VI (Rural Development) contains authorizing language for the broadband loan program.

During 2009 and 2010, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (also referred to as the Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program) was on hiatus as RUS implemented the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). At the same time, final regulations implementing the broadband loan program as reauthorized by the 2008 Farm Bill were refined to reflect, in part, RUS experience in implementing BIP. Subsequently, on March 14, 2011, an Interim Rule and Notice was published in the Federal Register setting forth the rules and regulations for the broadband loan program as reauthorized by P.L. 110-246.

As reauthorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is currently authorized through FY2012. The 112th Congress is considering reauthorization of the broadband loan program in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate version (section 6104 of S. 3240) was passed on June 21, 2012. As part of this consideration, Congress may focus on how effectively and cost efficiently the RUS broadband prog rams are addressing the lack of adequate broadband service in underserved rural communities.


Date of Report: June 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: RL33816
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America COMPETES 2010 and the FY2013 Budget


Heather B. Gonzalez
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The 112th Congress faces several budget and appropriations decisions that may affect implementation of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (America COMPETES 2010, P.L. 111-358). Signed on January 4, 2011, this law seeks to improve U.S. competitiveness and innovation by authorizing, among other things, increased federal support for research in the physical sciences and engineering; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. P.L. 111-358 reauthorizes the 2007 America COMPETES Act (America COMPETES 2007, P.L. 110-69), which authorized similar activities from FY2008 to FY2010.

The President’s FY2013 budget request seeks increased funding for many America COMPETES 2010 research-related activities but includes few specific requests for the law’s STEM education provisions. This approach is consistent with prior legislative and executive actions. One exception to this trend is the President’s request for an increase in the main education account at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The FY2013 request also seeks an overall increase of 4.1% for the so-called “doubling path” accounts at the NSF, Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) core laboratory and construction. This growth rate is less than the authorized growth rate of 6.3% and equal to the FY2012 enacted growth rate (4.1%). Some legislators have expressed concerns about the feasibility of the doubling effort given the nation’s current fiscal challenges. In light of these challenges, stakeholders may perceive any increases in research funding to be a win for science.

As of June 27, 2012, the House and the Senate Committee on Appropriations had moved on two of three annual appropriations acts that typically contain funding for COMPETES Act provisions: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) and Energy and Water Development (E&W). Table 1 includes the FY2013 funding status of selected provisions from the 2010 act.

In brief, the House and the Senate Committee on Appropriations would continue increasing funding for targeted doubling path accounts in FY2013, albeit at a lower rate than in prior years. Proposed growth rates for these accounts are 3.8% and 3.9% (House and Senate committee, respectively) or almost a 20-year doubling period. The House and the Senate Committee on Appropriations disagree about funding for ARPA-E. The House provides $200.0 million for the energy innovation program while the Senate Committee on Appropriations recommends the authorized level of $312.0 million.

As for STEM education, both the House and the Senate Committee on Appropriations propose the full request for the main education account at NSF. If passed, that account would receive its first increase in two years. On the other hand, the House Committee on Appropriations expresses concern about DOE education activities and recommends reduced funding—consistent with the request—for some programs. (It is not clear how these changes will affect COMPETES Act programs because DOE does not typically seek funds for educational activities under these laws.) Both the House and the Senate Committee on Appropriations would provide the requested funding level for the primary education and training account at DOE’s Office of Science.

Other COMPETES Act authorizations with funding provisions in the respective proposed FY2013 appropriations acts are the Regional Innovation Program, Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing, and funding for NIST.


Date of Report: June 27, 2012
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R42430
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Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions


Eric A. Fischer
Senior Specialist in Science and Technology

For more than a decade, various experts have expressed increasing concerns about cybersecurity, in light of the growing frequency, impact, and sophistication of attacks on information systems in the United States and abroad. Consensus has also been building that the current legislative framework for cybersecurity might need to be revised.

The complex federal role in cybersecurity involves both securing federal systems and assisting in protecting nonfederal systems. Under current law, all federal agencies have cybersecurity responsibilities relating to their own systems, and many have sector-specific responsibilities for critical infrastructure.

More than 50 statutes address various aspects of cybersecurity either directly or indirectly, but there is no overarching framework legislation in place. While revisions to most of those laws have been proposed over the past few years, no major cybersecurity legislation has been enacted since 2002.

Recent legislative proposals, including many bills introduced in the 111th and 112th Congresses, have focused largely on issues in 10 broad areas (see “Selected Issues Addressed in Proposed Legislation” for an overview of how current legislative proposals would address issues in several of those areas):

  •  national strategy and the role of government, 
  •  reform of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), 
  • protection of critical infrastructure (including the electricity grid and the chemical industry), 
  • information sharing and cross-sector coordination, 
  • breaches resulting in theft or exposure of personal data such as financial information, 
  • cybercrime, 
  • privacy in the context of electronic commerce, 
  • international efforts, 
  • research and development, and 
  • the cybersecurity workforce. 
For most of those topics, at least some of the bills addressing them have proposed changes to current laws. Several of the bills specifically focused on cybersecurity have received committee or floor action, but none have become law.

Comprehensive legislative proposals on cybersecurity that have received considerable attention in 2012 are S. 2105, recommendations from a House Republican task force, and a proposal by the Obama Administration. They differ in approach, with S. 2105 proposing the most extensive regulatory framework and organizational changes of the three, and the task force recommendations focusing more on incentives for improving private-sector cybersecurity. An alternative to S. 2105, S. 3342 (a refinement of S. 2151), does not include enhanced regulatory authority or new federal entities, but does include cybercrime provisions.

Several narrower House bills have been introduced that address some of the issues raised and recommendations made by the House task force. Four passed the House the week of April 23:

  • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2096), which addresses federal cybersecurity R&D and the development of technical standards; 
  • Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), which focuses on information sharing and coordination, including sharing of classified information; 
  • Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2012 (H.R. 3834), which addresses R&D in networking and information technology, including but not limited to security; and 
  • Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2012 (H.R. 4257), which addresses FISMA reform. 
One was ordered reported out of the full committee but did not come to the floor:

  • Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act of 2011 or PRECISE Act of 2011 (H.R. 3674), which addresses the role of the Department of Homeland Security in cybersecurity, including protection of federal systems, personnel, R&D, information sharing, and public/private sector collaboration in protecting critical infrastructure; 
Together, those House and Senate bills address most of the issues listed above, although in different ways. All include proposed revisions to some existing laws covered in this report.


Date of Report: June 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 65
Order Number: R42114
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress


Dana A. Shea
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 112th Congress has extended this authority through October 4, 2012. The Obama Administration has requested a one-year extension of this authority until October 4, 2013. Congressional policymakers have debated the scope and details of reauthorization and continue to consider legislation establishing an authority with longer duration. Some Members of Congress support an extension, either short- or long-term, of the existing authority. Other Members call for revision and more extensive codification of chemical facility security regulatory provisions. Questions regarding the current law’s effectiveness in reducing chemical facility risk and the sufficiency of federal funding for chemical facility security exacerbate the tension between continuing current policies and changing the statutory authority.

The DHS is in the process of implementing the authorized regulations, called chemical facility anti-terrorism standards (CFATS). The DHS finalized CFATS regulations in 2007. No chemical facilities have completed the CFATS process, which starts with information submission by chemical facilities and finishes with inspection and approval of facility security measures by DHS. Several factors, including the amount of detailed information provided to DHS, effectiveness of DHS program management, and the availability of CFATS inspectors, likely complicate the inspection process and lead to delays in inspection. Policymakers have questioned whether the compliance rate with CFATS is sufficient to address this homeland security issue.

Key policy issues debated in previous Congresses contribute to the current reauthorization debate. These issues include the adequacy of DHS resources and efforts; the appropriateness and scope of federal preemption of state chemical facility security activities; the availability of information for public comment, potential litigation, and congressional oversight; the range of facilities that DHS identifies as chemical facilities; and the ability of inherently safer technologies to achieve security goals.

The 112th Congress might take various approaches to this issue. Congress might allow the statutory authority to expire but continue providing appropriations to administer the regulations. Congress might permanently or temporarily extend the statutory authority to observe the impact of the current regulations and, if necessary, address any perceived weaknesses at a later date. Congress might codify the existing regulations in statute and reduce the discretion available to the Secretary of Homeland Security to change the current regulatory framework. Alternatively, Congress might substantively change the current regulation’s implementation, scope, or impact by amending the existing statute or creating a new one. Finally, Congress might choose to terminate the program by allowing its authority to lapse and removing funding for the program. This last approach would leave chemical facility security regulation to the discretion of state and local governments.

Both appropriation and authorization legislation in the 112th Congress addresses chemical facility security. P.L. 112-74 extended the existing authority until October 4, 2012. Both FY2013 homeland security appropriations bills (S. 3216 and H.R. 5855, as passed by the House) would extend the existing authority until October 4, 2013. Authorizing legislation includes H.R. 225; H.R. 901, reported as amended by the House Committee on Homeland Security and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; H.R. 908, reported as amended by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; H.R. 916; H.R. 2890; S. 473, reported as amended by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; S. 709; and S. 711.


Date of Report: June 11, 2012
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: R41642
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress


Linda K. Moore
Specialist in Telecommunications Policy

The convergence of wireless telecommunications technology with the Internet Protocol (IP) is fostering new generations of mobile technologies. This transformation has created new demands for advanced communications infrastructure and radio frequency spectrum capacity that can support high-speed, content-rich uses. Furthermore, a number of services, in addition to consumer and business communications, rely at least in part on wireless links to broadband (highspeed/ high-capacity) infrastructure such as the Internet and IP-enabled networks. Policies to provide additional spectrum for mobile broadband services are generally viewed as drivers that would stimulate technological innovation and economic growth.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96, signed February 22, 2012) included provisions to expedite the availability of spectrum for commercial use. These include expediting auctions of licenses for spectrum designated for mobile broadband; authorizing incentive auctions, which would permit television broadcasters to receive compensation for steps they might take to release some of their airwaves for mobile broadband; requiring that specified federal holdings be auctioned or reassigned for commercial use; and providing for the availability of spectrum for unlicensed use. The act also includes provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.

Increasing the amount of spectrum available to support new mobile technologies is one step toward meeting future demand for mobile services. This report discusses some of the commercial and federal spectrum policy changes required by the act. It also summarizes new policy directions for spectrum management under consideration in the 112th Congress, such as the encouragement of new technologies that use spectrum more efficiently.


Date of Report: June 21, 2012
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R40674
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