“I thank my 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 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. The Mark is a strong reflection of the bipartisan priorities and concerns shared by this subcommittee. Members will address their additional concerns with amendments later today.
“The Mark endorses the 13-percent funding increase for NNSA and recommends additional funding for Pantex and Y-12. It also supports the funding necessary to start or continue important warhead life extension activities which will ensure the long-term safety, security, and reliability of these systems. I hope the committee can continue to work in a bipartisan manner to press the Administration and our colleagues in Congress to sustain this funding in the outyears.
“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. Congress and the executive branch have a responsibility to craft nuclear policies that strengthen our nation’s security, not disarm it. I plan to address these concerns today.
“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.
“The Mark adds funds for Aegis and THAAD production, increases funding for directed energy research, and also provides robust funding for important U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs.
“I remain concerned, however, 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. Without detailed 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.
“Russian suggestions that their adherence to the New START Treaty would be conditional upon U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe are troublesome. I think Congress has been and should continue to be clear: there should be no limits on our missile defenses.
“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 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.
“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 today.
“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.”