Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, introduced the Maintaining the President’s Commitment to our Nuclear Deterrent and National Security Act of 2012 (H.R. 4178). The 50-page bill cites the President’s promises surrounding nuclear modernization and would codify those commitments into law.

“The long-term health and credibility of our nuclear deterrent depends on this bill, as does our national security. During the Senate’s consideration of the New START Treaty, the President made many promises to achieve support for Senate ratification. With the President’s FY13 budget request, it is now apparent that those promises have been broken. This bill will correct that and ensure the promises are kept,” said Turner.

If enacted, the bill would directly link reductions in U.S. nuclear forces with successful execution of the President’s nuclear modernization plan. It would require construction of key new plutonium and uranium facilities, prevent asymmetries between the sizes of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, and codify the President’s promise of full funding for modernization of the nuclear stockpile. Further, the bill would refuse funding for implementing the results of the President’s ongoing nuclear employment strategy review to allow ample time for Congress to consider it. Reports in the media have stated that the President’s review could recommend unilateral reductions of up to 80 percent of U.S. nuclear forces. 

“This legislation is important not only to modernize our nuclear force, but also the infrastructure that supports it. But Congress must also fix the agency responsible for that infrastructure; the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). It is clear that NNSA is broken and unable to carry out its mission. It appears to be unable to provide the warheads and infrastructure the military needs, despite receiving billions of dollars from the budget of the Department of Defense. One of the key reasons the Administration is failing to meet its promises is that our nuclear weapons enterprise is broken,” added Turner.

The NNSA has squandered billions of dollars of Department of Defense (DOD) investment, failed to deliver a Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility, and significantly delayed or slowed critical nuclear warhead life extension programs. Turner intends to address these problems in a bipartisan manner in the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.

Section-by-Section Summary of the Maintaining the President’s Commitment to our Nuclear Deterrent and National Security Act of 2012

Bill Number: H.R. 4178

Sponsor: Chairman Mike Turner

Original Cosponsors: Fleming, Brooks, Lamborn, Franks, Forbes, Rehberg, Jeff Miller (FL)

Sec. 3. Congressional Findings citing the direct linkage between nuclear modernization efforts and U.S. strategic force reductions. 

Sec. 4. Codification of Condition Nine of the Senate’s Resolution of Ratification on the New START Treaty.  The section further provides that Congress will not fund nuclear warhead reductions in any year in which the President’s modernization commitments in his section 1251 plan are not being requested and appropriated. 

Sec. 5. Congressional Findings citing the President’s previously stated policies regarding post-New START nuclear reductions.  This section further provides that Congress will refuse to fund the President’s ongoing review of the nation’s nuclear war plan, which reportedly could result in 80% reductions to the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cannot be implemented by the Department of Defense unless Sequestration under the Budget Control Act has been eliminated and the President’s modernization commitments in his section 1251 plan are being requested and appropriated Further, Congress will not provide funding for the implementation of that review until, at least,  Congress receives a detailed explanation of the nature and reason for the proposed nuclear posture.  

Sec. 6. Congressional Findings citing the President’s promises to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons triad.  This section further provides that Congress will not fund the reduction of any U.S. nuclear weapons delivery systems unless the President certifies that modernization of the U.S. triad is occurring according to his 1251 plan.  

Sec. 7. Congressional Findings stating the importance of preventing Russian nuclear force superiority over the nuclear forces of the United States and other nations.  This section codifies Declaration Five of the Resolution of Ratification of the New START treaty by providing a limitation that nuclear force reductions should be implemented in such a way as to assure Russia does not deploy nuclear force levels superior to those of the United States. 

Sec. 8. Provides that the President must report to Congress, in any year he proposes U.S. nuclear force reductions; such report must detail developments in the nuclear forces of other states with nuclear weapons.  The Commander of U.S. Strategic Command must also assess whether or not such reductions proposed by the President will prevent the U.S. from responding to technical surprise in the reliability of U.S. nuclear forces or unplanned strategic or geopolitical events. 

Sec. 9. Congressional Findings citing the President’s promises to construct a new plutonium processing and uranium processing facility.  This section adds a limitation that no reductions to the U.S. nuclear weapons “hedge” – those nuclear weapons the U.S. maintains that are not deployed, or are in reserve status –  may be effected in any year absent the carrying out of the President’s promises to have the plutonium and uranium facility operational by 2021.  

Sec. 10. Congressional Findings regarding the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review’s proposal to de-MIRV, or remove Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, from the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force to promote strategic stability. The section will provide that Congress will not fund a proposal to de-MIRV the U.S. land-based deterrent if the Russian Federation and/or the People’s Republic of China are MIRVing their land-based nuclear forces.  

Sec. 12.  States Congressional Findings and U.S. Policy regarding the U.S. extended deterrent in Europe.  The provision provides that Congress will not fund a proposal by the President to relocate, consolidate or reduce U.S. forward-deployed nuclear weapons in Europe, absent the express wish of the host nation, a unanimous decision by the Alliance, or reciprocal actions by the Russian Federation regarding its vast asymmetry of thousands of tactical nuclear weapons.