U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, released the following prepared remarks for Floor consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011:
“I thank the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon, and the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for their leadership in guiding this bill through the House.
“I would like to thank Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman, Mr. Langevin, and congratulate him on this year’s Strategic Forces Mark, and also thank the other members of the subcommittee and the staff for their hard work this year.
“I support the committee-passed version of H.R. 5136. The bill is a strong reflection of the bipartisan priorities and concerns shared by the committee. It contains sound provisions that provide key capabilities to our warfighters and strengthens our nation’s strategic forces:
- “It endorses an increase in funding for the modernization of our nation’s nuclear deterrence capabilities, although this funding must be sustained in the outyears.
- “It includes a strong bipartisan message aimed at the Administration that the Congress believes the recently-released Nuclear Posture Review weakens the national security of the United States by eliminating options to defend against a catastrophic nuclear, biological, chemical, or conventional attack against the United States.
- “It includes a $362 million increase in funding for missile defense, which I strongly support, and holds the Administration accountable for deploying missile defenses in Europe to protect the United States and our NATO allies.
- “It establishes a Sense of Congress that there would be no limitations on U.S. missile defenses in Europe in the New START Treaty, despite Russian statements to the contrary.
- “It also makes sound adjustments in the areas of national security space and intelligence.
“However, I remain concerned that the bill does not go far enough to provide a sufficient hedge to protect the United States. The Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe is not planned to cover the U.S. homeland until 2020; yet the ICBM threat from Iran could materialize as early as 2015, according to the latest intelligence assessments. Regrettably, an amendment I offered in full committee to address this gap was rejected.
“Equally important, this bill strengthens safety and family rights of our military personnel. I want to thank Chairwoman Davis and Ranking Member Wilson for incorporating bipartisan language from the Tsongas/Turner Defense STRONG Act that seeks to enhance sexual assault protections as well as improve training requirements to better protect service members. I also appreciate the progress we have made on this issue over the years with my friend, Congresswoman Harman, and applaud the Amendment under consideration which adopts a provision from our H. Con. Res. 28 and will provide Permanent-Change-of-Station options for victims of sexual assault.
“Furthermore, the NDAA would protect the fundamental child custody rights of military parents. Once again, it highlights the need for a baseline of child custody protections for our men and women in uniform. The bill also includes language that criticizes an unofficial DoD report as an incomplete product that does not ascertain the full scope of this problem.
“Lastly, the NDAA directs the GAO to study increased cooperation and technology transfer efforts between the Joint IED Defeat Organization, the rest of DoD, the Department of State, and foreign countries. Such efforts seek to build partnership capacity in post-conflict zones, as well as save lives from land mines and unexploded ordinance in countries like Bosnia.
“I thank my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee for working together to pass the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. It is my hope that we can retain the language passed by the Committee so that the House can vote in a bipartisan manner to pass this legislation.”