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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Federal Support for Academic Research


Christine M. Matthews
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

From the time of Vannevar Bush and his 1945 report on U.S. science policy, academic research has played a role in the nation’s economy. Vannevar Bush’s report, Science the Endless Frontier, maintained that major investments in research should be made to the nation’s universities. He stated that the research capacity of the colleges and universities was significantly important to long-term national interests. Currently, some Members of Congress have expressed concern about the health and competitiveness of the nation’s colleges and universities. There are those who continue to maintain that the long-term competitiveness of the nation is linked to the strength of the academic research infrastructure. It has been shown that academic research is integrated into the economy and impacts at both the local and national level. By one estimate, approximately 80% of leading industries have resulted from research conducted at colleges and universities.

Colleges and universities are the primary performers of basic research, with the federal government being the largest funding source. In FY2008, the federal government provided approximately 60% of an estimated $51.9 billion of research and development funds expended by academic institutions. When measured in current dollars, federal academic support increased by 2.5% between FY2007 and FY2008. When inflation is taken into account, it equates to an increase of 0.2% from FY2007 to FY2008 following two years of decline in constant dollars since FY2005. An issue before the 112th Congress is that with further budget reductions expected, how does the nation best reduce the budget while adjusting the support for research conducted at colleges and universities?



Date of Report: August 15, 2012
Number of Pages: 26
Order Number: R41895
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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.

Congressional policymakers have questioned DHS’s effectiveness in 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 chemical facilities identified by DHS; 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 address 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: August 14, 2012
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: R41642
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Friday, August 24, 2012

The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress


Linda K. Moore
Specialist in Telecommunications Policy

Since September 11, 2001, when communications failures contributed to the tragedies of the day, Congress has passed several laws intended to create a nationwide emergency communications capability. Yet the United States has continued to strive for a solution that assures seamless communications among first responders and emergency personnel at the scene of a major disaster. To address this problem, Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, and assigned additional spectrum to accommodate the new network. In addition, the act has designated federal appropriations of over $7 billion for the network and other public safety needs. These funds will be provided through new revenue from the auction of spectrum licenses. The cost of construction of a nationwide network for public safety is estimated by experts to be in the tens of billions of dollars over the long term, with similarly large sums needed for maintenance and operation. In expectation that public-private partnerships to build the new network will reduce costs to the public sector, the law has provided requirements and guidelines for shared use.

The act has mandated that technical standards developed for the new network incorporate commercial standards for Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is a fourth-generation wireless technology that bases its operating standards on the Internet Protocol (IP). IP-enabled networks and wireless devices provide higher capacity and transmission speeds than earlier generations of technology. LTE represents the convergence of wireless technology with the Internet, bringing the capacity and resiliency of packet-switched networks to emergency communications. It is generally believed that the use of LTE and IP standards will greatly enhance communications for emergency response and recovery.

There are many challenges for public safety leaders and policy makers in establishing IP-enabled technologies as the baseline for the development of future solutions for response and recovery. One of the immediate challenges in developing standards is the need for a clear policy on the use of spectrum for commercial and public safety LTE. Because public safety planning has lagged behind commercial efforts to build LTE networks, the work on design and development of technical requirements is incomplete. Many experts are concerned that these delays may place public safety officials at a disadvantage in negotiating with potential partners, increase costs, and add further delays in moving forward to build a nationwide broadband network. Requirements in the act for standards development may be insufficient to overcome current technical obstacles for desired network features such as roaming between public safety and commercial networks.

In addition to monitoring progress in building the new broadband network for public safety, Congress may want to consider new policies for spectrum management and wireless innovation that would facilitate the transition to IP-enabled networks. Acceleration of innovation in nextgeneration wireless technologies would likely benefit not only public safety communications but also all consumers of wireless service and the American economy.



Date of Report: August 7, 2012
Number of Pages: 28
Order Number: R42543
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Tuesday, August 21, 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: August 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 22
Order Number: R40674
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Friday, August 17, 2012

U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview


Christine M. Matthews
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (P.L.81-507). The NSF has the broad mission of supporting science and engineering in general and funding basic research across many disciplines. The agency provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities. The majority of the research supported by the NSF is conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. Approximately 82.3% ($3,900.6 million) of NSF’s estimated FY2009 $4,742.0 million research and development (R&D) budget was awarded to U.S. colleges and universities.

The Administration’s FY2013 budget request for NSF is $7,373.1 million, 4.8% above the FY2012 estimated level of $7,033.1 million. The FY2013 request includes $5,983.3 million for Research and Related Activities (R&RA), $875.6 million for Education and Human Resources, $196.2 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC), $299.4 million for Agency Operations and Award Management, $4.4 million for the National Science Board (NSB), and $14.2 million for the Office of Inspector General.


Date of Report: August 8, 2012
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: 95-307
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Wiretapping, Tape Recorders, and Legal Ethics: An Overview of Questions Posed by Attorney Involvement in Secretly Recording Conversation


Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

In some jurisdictions, it is unethical for an attorney to secretly record a conversation even though it is not illegal to do so. A few states require the consent of all parties to a conversation before it may be recorded. Recording without mutual consent is both illegal and unethical in those jurisdictions. Elsewhere the matter is more uncertain.

In 1974, the American Bar Association (ABA) opined that surreptitiously recording a conversation without the knowledge or consent of all of the participants violated the ethical prohibition against engaging in conduct involving “ dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” The ABA conceded, however, that law enforcement recording, conducted under judicial supervision, might breach no ethical standard. Reaction among the authorities responsible for regulation of the practice of law in the various states was mixed. In 2001, the ABA reversed its earlier opinion and announced that it no longer considered one-party consent recording per se unethical when it is otherwise lawful.

Today, this is the view of a majority of the jurisdictions on record. A substantial number, however, disagree. An even greater number have yet announce to an opinion.

A sampling of the views of various bar associations in the question is attached. An earlier version of this report once appeared under the same title as CRS Report 98-250. An abridged version of this report is available without footnotes or attachment as CRS Report R42649, Wiretapping, Tape Recorders, and Legal Ethics: An Abridged Overview of Questions Posed by Attorney Involvement in Secretly Recording Conversation.


Date of Report: August 9, 2012
Number of Pages: 29
Order Number: R42650
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Wiretapping, Tape Recorders, and Legal Ethics: An Abridged Overview of Questions Posed by Attorney Involvement in Secretly Recording Conversation


Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

In some jurisdictions, it is unethical for an attorney to secretly record a conversation even though it is not illegal to do so. A few states require the consent of all parties to a conversation before it may be recorded. Recording without mutual consent is both illegal and unethical in those jurisdictions. Elsewhere the issue is more complicated.

In 1974, the American Bar Association (ABA) opined that surreptitiously recording a conversation without the knowledge or consent of all of the participants violated the ethical prohibition against engaging in conduct involving “ dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” The ABA conceded, however, that law enforcement recording, conducted under judicial supervision, might breach no ethical standard. Reaction among the authorities responsible for regulation of the practice of law in the various states was mixed. In 2001, the ABA reversed its earlier opinion and announced that it no longer considered one-party consent recording per se unethical when it is otherwise lawful.

Today, this is the view of a majority of the jurisdictions on record. A substantial number, however, disagree. An even greater number have yet to announce an opinion.

An earlier version of this report once appeared as CRS Report 98-251. An unabridged version of this report is available with the footnotes and attachment as CRS Report R42650, Wiretapping, Tape Recorders, and Legal Ethics: An Overview of Questions Posed by Attorney Involvement in Secretly Recording Conversation.


Date of Report: August 9, 2012
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: R42649
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Thursday, August 16, 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: August 3, 2012
Number of Pages: 66
Order Number: R42507
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Background and Issues for Congressional Oversight of ARRA Broadband Awards


Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, P.L. 111-5) provided an unprecedented level of federal funding for broadband projects across the nation. These projects are intended to expand broadband availability and adoption in unserved and underserved areas, which in turn is believed to contribute to increased future economic development in those areas.

The ARRA provided nearly $7 billion for broadband grant and loan programs to be administered by two separate agencies: the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With the ARRA broadband projects awarded and now moving forward, the focus in Congress has shifted to oversight. Projects are required to be substantially complete within two years, and fully complete within three years. NTIA and RUS are monitoring the awards to protect against waste, fraud, and abuse, and to ensure that each project reaches its promised milestones, goals, and outcomes. A key oversight role will be played by the Offices of Inspector General in the DOC and the USDA, which are monitoring the projects for waste, fraud, and abuse, and are investigating specific complaints. Both NTIA and RUS have the authority to reclaim and recover awards (either for cause or in cases where awardees decide not to pursue the project) and return the deobligated funds to the U.S. Treasury.

The 112th Congress will play an important oversight role. A number of committees, including the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; the House Committee on Agriculture; the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to monitor the ARRA broadband programs in NTIA and RUS.

To date, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has held two oversight hearings on the ARRA broadband programs. On October 5, 2011, the House passed H.R. 1343, which seeks to clarify and reinforce the requirement that deobligated ARRA broadband funding is returned to the U.S. Treasury. The legislation also sets forth requirements for how NTIA and RUS must respond to information and recommendations received from the Office of the Inspector General and the Comptroller General. A companion bill, S. 1659, has been introduced in the Senate.

As the ARRA broadband projects move forward, the primary issue for the 112th Congress is how to ensure that the money is being spent wisely and will most effectively provide broadband service to areas of the nation that need it most, while at the same time minimizing any unwarranted disruption to private sector broadband deployment. Congress will also be assessing how the broadband stimulus projects fit into the overall goals of the National Broadband Plan.



Date of Report: July 31, 2012
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: R41775
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs


Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

Angele A. Gilroy
Specialist in Telecommunications Policy


The “digital divide” is a term that has been used to characterize a gap between “information haves and have-nots,” or in other words, between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not. One important subset of the digital divide debate concerns high-speed Internet access and advanced telecommunications services, also known as broadband. Broadband is provided by a series of technologies (e.g., cable, telephone wire, fiber, satellite, wireless) that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than traditional “dial-up” Internet access over telephone lines.

Broadband technologies are currently being deployed primarily by the private sector throughout the United States. While the numbers of new broadband subscribers continue to grow, studies and data suggest that the rate of broadband deployment in urban/suburban and high income areas is outpacing deployment in rural and low-income areas. Some policymakers, believing that disparities in broadband access across American society could have adverse economic and social consequences on those left behind, assert that the federal government should play a more active role to avoid a “digital divide” in broadband access.

With the conclusion of the grant and loan awards announced by broadband programs temporarily established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program and the Community Connect Broadband Grants, both at the Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are currently the only ongoing federal funding programs exclusively dedicated to deploying broadband infrastructure. However, there exist other federal programs that provide financial assistance for various aspects of telecommunications development, including broadband. The major vehicle for funding telecommunications development, particularly in rural and low-income areas, is the Universal Service Fund (USF) under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although the USF’s High Cost Program does not explicitly fund broadband infrastructure, subsidies are used, in many cases, to upgrade existing telephone networks so that they are capable of delivering high-speed services. Additionally, subsidies provided by USF’s Schools and Libraries Program and Rural Health Care Program are used for a variety of telecommunications services, including broadband access. Currently the USF is undergoing a major transition from a mechanism to support voice telephone service to one that supports the deployment, adoption, and utilization of both fixed and mobile broadband.

To the extent that the 112th Congress may consider various options for further encouraging broadband deployment and adoption, a key issue is how to strike a balance between providing federal assistance for unserved and underserved areas where the private sector may not be providing acceptable levels of broadband service, while at the same time minimizing any deleterious effects that government intervention in the marketplace may have on competition and private sector investment.



Date of Report: August 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: RL30719
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