Mike Turner, the top Republican on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011:
“I thank my good friend, the chairman, and congratulate him on this year’s Strategic Forces Mark. This is the chairman’s first Subcommittee Mark and I want to commend him on his leadership and thoughtfulness.
“This year’s Mark is a strong reflection of the bipartisan priorities and concerns shared by this subcommittee. It contains many sound measures and budget recommendations that will provide key capabilities to our warfighters, strengthen our nation’s strategic forces, and sustain the intellectual capital and industrial base supporting our national security infrastructure.
Nuclear Weapons Programs and Policy
“Last year, the bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission noted that the National Nuclear Security Administration’s ‘physical infrastructure is in serious need of transformation’ and that the ‘intellectual infrastructure is also in trouble.’ The Commission went further to highlight that ‘the production complex requires significant modernization and refurbishment.’
“I am therefore pleased that the Mark endorses the 13-percent funding increase for NNSA and recommends additional funding for Pantex and Y-12. However, our commitment to the sustainment and modernization of our nation’s deterrence capabilities cannot be measured with a single year’s budget. I hope the subcommittee can continue to work in a bipartisan manner to press the Administration and our colleagues in Congress to sustain this funding in the outyears.
“Though the Nuclear Posture Review endorses the committee’s Stockpile Management Program—which was established in law last year—it appears to place artificial limitations on the options for managing the stockpile, specifically on replacement options. The Mark clarifies ‘that nothing within the statute would limit management of the nuclear weapons stockpile using the spectrum of options identified by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States.’ The Mark also supports the funding necessary to start or continue important warhead life extension activities with the W-76, B-61, and W-78, which will ensure the long-term safety, security, and reliability of these systems.
“Despite the positive measures being taken in the Chairman’s Mark, I remain concerned about the Administration’s changes to U.S. nuclear policy. The NPR changes our nation’s long-standing policy of calculated ambiguity to a policy that takes options off the table in protecting the United States and our allies from potential aggressors. Furthermore, the NPR signals a clear intent to make deeper cuts to our nuclear forces beyond New START but does not provide the strategic rationale or change in threat to justify more cuts.
“I share the President’s vision for ‘a world without nuclear weapons,’ but as French President Nicholas Sarkozy said last fall, ‘We live in a real world, not in a virtual one.’ We therefore, have a responsibility to craft nuclear policies that strengthen our nation’s security, not disarm it. I plan to address these concerns during our full committee markup next week.
Missile Defense Programs and Policy
“In the area of missile defense, I am pleased to associate myself with the Chairman’s efforts to bolster funding for missile defense. Earlier in the year, many of us argued that a topline increase was necessary to implement the Administration’s myriad missile defense commitments: sustain our homeland defense capabilities, implement the new Phased Adaptive Approach for Europe, expand missile defense inventories, increase testing, strengthen international cooperation, and continue promising science and technology.
“The Mark adds funds for Aegis and THAAD production. There was bipartisan concern that—despite the Administration’s plans for Aegis and THAAD inventory growth—the budget request created near-term production gaps and inefficiencies for industry because the bulk of the funding was pushed to the outyears. The Mark also requires a report on the regional missile defense architectures highlighted in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, including the resulting force structure and inventory requirements.
“I am particularly pleased that the Mark increases funding for directed energy research. It was clear that the budget request was not sufficient to support further flight testing using the Airborne Laser Test Bed as well as mature innovative directed energy technologies. The Mark also provides robust funding for important U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs.
“I remain concerned about the lack of detail our committee has received on the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe. As I said at our missile defense hearing last month, there is an opportunity to gain bipartisan support on this approach, but the committee must have confidence that the plans are credible; that policy decisions are supported by sound analysis; that cost, performance, and risk is well understood; and that the necessary force structure and resources are backed by an adequate budget. Without such information, the committee is limited in its ability to conduct effective oversight.
“The Mark supports the restoration of funds for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program and the completion of Missile Field-Two in Alaska—both of which I advocated for last year. However, I remain concerned that the Administration’s hedging strategy may not go far enough to provide sufficient protection of the U.S. homeland. The Phased Adaptive Approach is not planned to cover the U.S. homeland until 2020, yet the ICBM threat from Iran could materialize as early as 2015. In fact, despite the Administration’s conclusion last year that the long-range threat was not materializing as rapidly as once thought, we are seeing new details emerge on North Korea and Iran’s long-range missile programs.
“We need to ensure that the Administration follows through on the commitment it made in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review to ‘continue development and assessment of a two-stage ground-based interceptor’ as a hedge in case the threat comes earlier or in case any technical challenges arise with the later models of the SM–3 interceptor.
“Lastly, Russian suggestions that their adherence to the New START Treaty would be conditional upon U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe are troublesome. Some press articles have suggested a tacit commitment from the White House that there would be no strategic missile defenses in Europe. This committee clearly stated its position in last year’s bill: ‘the follow-on treaty to the START Treaty [should] not include any limitations on the ballistic missile defense systems.’ Furthermore, I expect the Administration to fully implement all four phases of its Phased Adaptive Approach for Europe to protect the United States and Europe from short, medium, and long-range ballistic missile threats.
Space and Intelligence Programs and Policy
“The Mark makes sound adjustments in the areas of national security space and intelligence. The Mark continues to provide stable funding for important space acquisition programs in the areas of: satellite communications, GPS, missile warning, space situational awareness, launch, and Operationally Responsive Space. The Mark recommends a significant reduction to the NPOESS program. Given the recent decision to restructure the program, authorizing full funding of the legacy NPOESS program by DoD seemed premature absent a clear way ahead.
“The committee has spent a considerable amount of time this year examining industrial base issues. In particular, the Mark reflects our bipartisan concern about the viability of the solid rocket motor and military satellite communications industrial base, and it provides some sustainment funding for each.
“The Mark also includes an important intelligence provision which authorizes the lead integrator for space intelligence analysis to conduct original intelligence analysis and production in the areas it has been given responsibility. Last fall it came to my attention that the Defense Intelligence Agency had issued guidance prohibiting the National Air and Space Intelligence Center from doing ‘original analysis’ in certain counterspace areas, despite its longstanding technical expertise and history in such areas. I did not believe this was in our nation’s best interest, especially with the Department’s increased emphasis on space situational awareness and space protection. I greatly appreciate the Chairman’s willingness to work with me on this provision.
“Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude by congratulating you on this product. However, as I have stated, I do have some outstanding concerns which my colleagues and I will seek to address in the full committee markup next week.
“Nonetheless, I believe we have a well-crafted Mark before us that we will continue to build upon as the Mark is taken up by the full committee next week. You have my commitment to work across the aisle as we move this bill through the House and Senate.
“On a final note, I would like to thank the other members of the subcommittee and the staff for their hard work this year. I would also like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your candor and openness as we have prepared the Mark.
“I recommend adoption of the Chairman’s Mark and encourage my colleagues to support it.”