The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an independent government agency that helps the federal government to conduct and disseminate research and other information to the American public. It is charged with the responsibility of assisting Congress in its role of making policy and budget decisions. The Congressional Research Service (CRS), also known as Congress’ think tank, is an independent agency of the U.S. Congress that provides research, statistical analysis and reports to members and staff of Congress on all aspects of public policy.
Government-funded independent agencies are required to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. However, this law only applies to government agencies and departments and the reporting requirements are very strict. This means that CRS reports are not released for all types of reports, even if they are related to any aspect of the work of a specific agency. In fact, all research service reports are filed under seal in a vault, and their use for dissemination is strictly limited to a select group of individuals. The only exception to the limited distribution of research reports is to provide copies to members of Congress or their staff.
These reports are prepared by professional research staff and are primarily used by Congress and its staff for analysis purposes. They also provide important information about issues of concern to the public and the media. All CRS reports are given three years after their initial release. Reports may be made available in different formats, including: hard copy, electronic document format (EDF), or electronically stored information (EST). Reports that include a classified annex are available through designated Department of Defense (DoD) or Office of Management and Budget (OMB) websites only.
CRS research service reports have a number of purposes. They may be prepared to inform the public or the media about a certain issue, or to provide analysis and recommendations for policy and budget decisions. The reports may be used to analyze the effectiveness of the Department of Defense and its programs, and to determine how the Department could be improved. They can also be used to develop recommendations for increasing the funding and efficiency of the Department of Defense.
CRS reports may also be prepared to evaluate the performance of the U.S. military, U.S. intelligence community, and U.S. law enforcement agencies. They may also be prepared to assess the performance of private companies in the field of public safety. There are also other uses for the reports. CRS reports are commonly used to create educational curriculum materials, publish guides, write books, and submit manuscripts, and to present lectures, symposiums, and publications. On issues of interest.
A number of organizations such as the American Association of University Professors, National Academy of Sciences, American Geographical Society, and Institute of Medicine are funded by CRS to produce reports on a variety of topics on which the public has wide-ranging interests. These organizations will often produce reports that are accessible to the general public. However, they often require the permission of Congress to do so. For example, most people do not know that the CRS produced a report in 2020 that discusses the impact of global warming on the environment and the impact on national security of greenhouse gas emissions on the atmosphere.
Most of the documents produced by the CRS for use by the general public are provided to the public on the Internet. However, the vast majority of research service reports are not accessible to the public and are only available to those who are authorized to do so. If you intend to obtain one of these reports, you must request one via the normal channels provided by the CRS and then submit it through the appropriate agency to request a copy.
If you are interested in obtaining the research service reports in the public use, it is highly recommended that you make sure that you request a copy through the proper channels. Some of these channels include submitting an online request at the appropriate link provided for your requested document; requesting a CD-ROM of the report; or requesting a hard copy of the same report from the Congressional Research Service. A number of government agencies and private researchers provide online services to facilitate this process. You can usually find a website that provides this service at the CRS site.