Washington, D.C. – Following a hearing before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Chairman Mike Turner wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, reiterating his subcommittee’s call for full funding of the modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. The Subcommittee held a hearing last week on U.S. nuclear policy and posture, with a witness panel consisting of the key military and administration officials responsible for the U.S. nuclear deterrent. During the hearing, the witnesses discussed, in depth, the cuts to the nuclear modernization efforts of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) proposed by the House and Senate FY12 Energy and Water appropriations bills.
“Our witnesses were deeply concerned about these cuts, and reinforced the administration’s position that full funding for NNSA’s defense activities is critical, even with the tremendous fiscal pressures facing the nation,” writes Turner.
Dr. Jim Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, warned: “As you look at the level of reductions that have been proposed by both the House and the Senate appropriations, some essential activities will not be undertaken. If you look within those reductions, at the specifics, we have particular concerns in the Department of Defense on reductions in funding for the B61 life extension program…and also in the W78 life extension program.”
NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino also cautioned against allowing our modernization efforts to lapse: “It is critical to accept the linkage between modernizing our current stockpile in order to achieve the policy objective of decreasing the number of weapons we have in our stockpile while still ensuring that the deterrent is safe, secure, and effective.”
Turner continued to state that, “in view of the testimony provided to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee on Wednesday, it is clear that failure to fund the modernization effort could call into question the New START Treaty itself. This is of course something the Congress must consider in the appropriations and authorization bills this year—and each and every year the treaty is in force.”
“While I understand the fiscal difficulties facing the nation, and your responsibility to make tough decisions with limited resources, I hope you will consider the views of these senior national security officials, and restore full FY12 funding for nuclear modernization programs within NNSA,” closed Turner.