New Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress”

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) earlier this month released and posted a valuable new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)-related report:

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress
By Wendy Ginsberg, Analyst in American National Government
March 8, 2013
R41933

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Report on U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)

The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) has recently published a 166-page report on the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), prepared for the GPO, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the U.S. Congress — please see:

Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age (January 2013)

Among other things, the report contains 15 recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1. To enable the federal government to carry out its role of providing information to its citizens, Congress should establish a collaborative interagency process, and designate a lead agency or interagency organization, to develop and implement a government-wide strategy for managing the lifecycle of digital government information.
  • Recommendation 2. To ensure GPO can carry out its mandate of providing permanent public access to government information, GPO should enhance its position and capabilities by offering an expanded set of services on a cost-recovery basis that contribute to the lifecycle management of government information. These services could include content management, metadata creation, authentication, preservation, and cataloging. GPO should develop strategies to encourage executive branch agencies to provide publications to GPO to enable permanent public access.
  • Recommendation 3. To safeguard the historical documents of our democracy for future generations, GPO should work with depository libraries and other library groups to develop a comprehensive plan for preserving the print collection of government documents. This plan should include cataloging, digitizing, and preserving tangible copies of government publications, a timeline for completion, and options for supporting the effort financially, as well as a process for ingesting digitized copies into the Federal Digital System. Congress should appropriate funds for the purpose of cataloging, digitizing, and preserving the government collection.
  • Recommendation 4. To ensure the long-term preservation and access of digital government publications, GPO and Congress should explore alternative funding models for the Federal Digital System in order to ensure a stable and sufficient funding source.
  • Recommendation 5. To preserve the relevance and viability of the Federal Depository Library Program, GPO should continue to collaborate with depository libraries and the broader library community to develop a national strategic plan for the program that gives libraries the flexibility and tools they need to provide permanent public access to government information in the digital age.
  • Recommendation 6. To ensure the Publication and Information Sales Program continues to play a role in information dissemination and is able to recover costs, GPO should continue to aggressively research and expand into new markets.
  • Recommendation 7. To enable further cost reductions, Congress should consider changes in its demand for print. GPO should develop estimates of cost savings that could be realized through potential changes in the requirements for printing the Congressional Record. GPO should quantify the savings that could be realized through such options as printing fewer copies of the Congressional Record or ending the daily start-of-business print requirement while continuing to provide electronic access.
  • Recommendation 8. To continue to realize government-wide benefits, GPO should continue to perform executive branch printing, while further reducing costs and improving customer service.
  • Recommendation 9. To generate additional revenue, GPO should continue to pursue smart card business. To assist GPO in growing this business and to leverage GPO’s smart card expertise for public benefit, Congress should consider whether to
  • Recommendation 10. To effectively integrate and align the agency’s human resource policies, programs, and practices with its strategies for achieving mission success and desired programmatic results, GPO should develop and institutionalize a human capital planning capacity. GPO should make strategic human capital planning a high priority and use multiple strategies to ensure the recruitment, retention, development, and rewarding of a highly motivated and diverse workforce.
  • Recommendation 11. To ensure it is able to continue to plan for and respond to future changes, GPO should continue its transformation by enhancing its strategic planning capabilities, broadening its change management efforts, and continually reviewing customer product and service needs.
  • Recommendation 12. To achieve future organizational and operational cost savings in the Customer Services program, GPO should further consolidate regional office locations, space, and staff and continue to identify and implement best management practices (such as cross training, telework, work sharing arrangements, and increasing managerial spans of control) and available technologies to the greatest extent possible.
  • Recommendation 13. To realize significant potential savings and enhance revenues (as well as improve customer service), GPO should accelerate the development and deployment of a new automated print procurement system.
  • Recommendation 14. To reduce GPO’s facilities footprint while increasing the leasing of unused building space, GPO should continue pursuing incremental lease arrangements.
  • Recommendation 15. To address workforce skills imbalances, GPO should continue to pursue targeted, gradual staffing reductions in specific areas, as well as functional consolidations, when feasible and appropriate.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

CRS Report — “The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework”

This past December 17th, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a new report

“The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework”
[No. RS21900] by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney

From the report’s summary:

The publication of secret information by WikiLeaks and multiple media outlets, followed by news coverage of leaks involving high-profile national security operations, has heightened interest in the legal framework that governs security classification and declassification, access to classified information, agency procedures for preventing and responding to unauthorized disclosures, and penalties for improper disclosure. Classification authority generally rests with the executive branch, although Congress has enacted legislation regarding the protection of certain sensitive information. While the Supreme Court has stated that the President has inherent constitutional authority to control access to sensitive information relating to the national defense or to foreign affairs, no court has found that Congress is without authority to legislate in this area.

This report provides an overview of the relationship between executive and legislative authority over national security information, and summarizes the current laws that form the legal framework protecting classified information, including current executive orders and some agency regulations pertaining to the handling of unauthorized disclosures of classified information by government officers and employees. The report also summarizes criminal laws that pertain specifically to the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, as well as civil and administrative penalties. Finally, the report describes some recent developments in executive branch security policies and legislation currently before Congress (S. 3454).

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) late last year put out an interesting report on lawmaking in the U.S. Congress:

Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance

Following up on and related to an earlier post as to the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a 48-page report:

Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance (Nov. 9, 2010)

The purpose and scope of the report are stated as “to provide background and analysis for Congress on U.S. rule of law (ROL) and justice sector assistance programs in Afghanistan … by defining ROL and the justice sector, describing the scope of the ROL problem in Afghanistan, including the role of corruption, and surveying the range of Afghan justice sector institutions.”

Hat tip to Docuticker.com.

New Congressional Research Report on Lobbying the Executive Branch

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) came out in December 2009 with a new and helpful report:

Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

The report addresses, among other things:

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Cross-posted in Law Library Blog.