Researching The NATO Emerging Technology Topic: Recommended Congressional Research Service Reports

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is Congress’s think tank: a policy research institute housed within the Library of Congress that produces non-partisan reports for members of Congress and their staff members.

The research produced by the CRS is extremely valuable for debaters. Their reports are an excellent source of issue briefings that can help students quickly get up to speed on a policy issue. They are also a useful source for topicality, inherency, “normal means,” and other descriptive (“factual”) evidence. Think of them like Wikipedia entries, but written for a policy audience and with more depth and details. (Not surprisingly, many CRS researchers are former debaters.)

When learning and researching a new topic, CRS is always one of the first sources I consult. I was reminded of this today when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted on her Instagram story about the importance and value of CRS reports:

As AOC noted, the CRS’s research is now (mostly) available to the public. Before 2018, many CRS reports could be found on various websites — they aren’t subject to copyright laws — but they were officially “confidential” and required formal approval before they could be legally published. (And before internet access became ubiquitous, debaters had to write a letter to the Library of Congress to request paper copies of CRS reports; I did that several times when I was in high school, and receiving the big envelope of CRS reports in the mail was always an exciting day.)

Now, the CRS is required by law to share their research with the public via their official website: https://crsreports.congress.gov/. Their research is also accessible via unofficial sites like EveryCRSReport.com and the Federation of American Scientists, but those sources are less necessary now that CRS officially publishes their research.

Below, I have shared a list of CRS research materials that will be useful for debaters preparing for the NATO emerging technology topic. They are sub-divided by general topic area, but there is significant overlap between the categories. Each category’s reports are listed in chronological order with the most recently published reports at the top.

NATO

Ukraine

Security Cooperation

U.S. Relations with NATO Allies

Emerging Technology

CRS is constantly publishing new research. An RSS feed of newly-published reports is available from the unofficial EveryCRSReport.com.