When Congress returns for a lame duck session after the election, it will be faced with long list of unfinished legislative business, including passing the FY2011 Defense Authorization bill.  In late May, the full House passed the FY2011 Defense Authorization Bill, but the Senate only reported its version of the bill out of the full committee.  The Senate leadership hopes to take up the bill next month and reconcile (conference) its differences with the House so a bill can go to the President before adjournment in December.  There are a number of significant issues that conferees will have to address including language on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the military pay raise, and funding for the F-35 alternative engine (which the president has threatened to veto).  Analyzing the components of the authorization bill can be an arduous and time-consuming task for even the most experienced legislative expert.  However, help is at hand.  For those who don’t have the time or experience to do this research on their own, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has done most of the work for you.  CRS has just released a comprehensive analysis of both bills.  The report describes the president’s request, provides a legislative history of the bill, and presents a bill-by-bill synopsis of the major issues in both bills.  It focuses on the main issues and programs and includes a number of detailed tables.