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Service Federal Research Division

History

For nearly 75 years, FRD has used staff members’ research expertise and analytic experience to support clients across a range of domestic and international topics. Through its work, the division furthers the Library’s mission of making its vast collections and resources available to the federal government and American people.

Originally known as the Air Research Unit, FRD was established in March 1948 to provide research support for the newly formed U.S. Air Force and later worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency. From 1963 to 1970, as the Defense Research Division, the organization’s mandate expanded to include the rest of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1970, FRD assumed its current name and the mandate expanded once again to include all of the federal government, outside of Congress. Since 2018, the division has partnered with the Law Library of Congress’s Global Legal Research Directorate to provide global legal research services to the federal community.

For more detailed information about the division’s history, please see the following documents written by former chiefs and current staff members.