Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014by Representative Mike Rogers
Posted on 2013-12-12
ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of
the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act, and H.R. 3304, the
underlying bill that would waive the time limit for the President to
consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a handful of American heroes,
including Mr. Bennie Adkins of Opelika, Alabama, along with several
other deserving veterans. While this honor has long been delayed, we
thank them by this action today.
I would also like to thank the hardworking men and women at the Anniston Army Depot and all they do for our [[Page H8040]] men and women in uniform. This bill will help provide them and all of the installations in the Third District with the certainty they need in the coming years.
As chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, I will highlight some of the important oversight the FY14 NDAA includes.
First, this bill fully funds the B-61 Life Extension program. The bipartisan and bicameral Armed Services Committees agree this program is vital to our national security, our strategic deterrent, and the extended deterrence we provide to our allies in Europe and Asia.
I would also note the agreement makes clear that the Congress will not provide one penny to implement the New START Treaty reductions unless the administration first comes up here and tells us what it plans to do and gives us a chance to say whether or not we agree.
Secondly, this bill provides a $358 million increase above the President's budget for our missile defenses, including our cooperation with Israel.
This bill also includes important national security space provisions. It ensures the U.S. is not relying on space capabilities of the People's Republic of China, and it promotes more cost-effective procurement of commercial satellite services.
Mr. Speaker, we would not be here today without the leadership of Chairman Buck McKeon. I want to thank him for his leadership and all that he does for our men and women in service. I also want to thank my friend and ranking member, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, for his dedication and professionalism this year. With another year, we may even see eye to eye on SEC football; but I doubt it. I ask my colleagues to vote ``yes.'' Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act, and H.R. 3304, the underlying bill that would waive the time limit for the president to consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a handful of American heroes including Mr. Bennie Adkins of Opelika, AL along with several other deserving veterans. While this honor has been delayed we thank them for their service today.
I would also like to thank the hard working men and women at the Anniston Army Depot and all that they do for our men and women in uniform. This bill will help provide them the certainty needed in the coming years.
As my colleagues before me have made clear, this bill is a vital piece of legislation for the men and women of our military.
General Dempsey warned the Congressional Leadership this past Monday of the consequences for national security if the Senate were to choose not to take up this legislation.
As the Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, I would like to highlight the important things this bill does in the areas of missile defense, nuclear weapons, and national security space.
First, this bill fully funds the B61 Life Extension Program (LEP) at NNSA and the associated tail-kit funding at the Air Force.
The bipartisan and bicameral armed services committees agree with the Administration: the B61 LEP is absolutely vital to our national security, our strategic deterrent, and the extended deterrence we provide to allies in Europe and in Asia.
There is simply no good reason to change course in mid-stream on this LEP, and we would incur great risk if a decision was made to do so.
I would also note the agreement makes clear that the Congress will not provide one penny to implement the New START Treaty reductions unless the Administration comes up here first and tells us how it plans to do that and we get a chance to state whether we agree. That is how this process is supposed to work: the President proposes and the Congress disposes.
The NDAA includes several provisions to control costs, improve efficiency, and prioritize nuclear modernization programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
The Armed Services Committee has been pursuing much-needed reform at the NNSA for several years, and this bill will continue to advance toward the end goal of an effective and efficient nuclear enterprise.
In response to major and repeated security failures at NNSA nuclear facilities, including the shocking incursion by an octogenarian nun at one of the supposedly most secure nuclear sites in the world, the bill contains several measures to improve security at NNSA.
These measures include a requirement for the NNSA Administrator to annually certify the security of nuclear weapons, materials, and classified information and the creation of a new Center for Security Technology, Analysis, Response, and Testing.
We will continue to watch the security issue very carefully, and ensure that those responsible for past failures are held accountable.
This bill takes several important steps to ensure U.S. strategic forces remain a top priority.
It ensures the Air Force will maintain the capability to deploy multiple nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), should technical problems or deteriorating international relations require doing so, and restricts efforts to unnecessarily or arbitrarily reduce U.S. ICBM forces.
The bill also requires that the long-range standoff cruise missile currently under development has both nuclear and conventional variants; the bill provides the Air Force the flexibility to develop these variants in a cost-effective manner.
I also highlight Section 266 of the bill, which expresses a strong Sense of Congress that the OHIO-class replacement ballistic missile submarine program, in particular the common missile compartment of this program, must remain on track so that it delivers on-schedule to support our British allies.
Britain and the United States have been partners in sea-based strategic deterrence for decades, and we must fulfill our commitment to this essential ally.
Mr. Speaker, I would also like to ensure there is no confusion with respect to Section 3112 of this bill.
This provision would create a Cost Estimating and Program Evaluation office within the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
This office is intended to bring some rigor to an agency that has regularly seen major nuclear facility construction projects hit with major cost increases.
My hope is that the office will lead to more accurate and timely cost estimates, and thereby help restore credibility to the NNSA.
Importantly, the purview of this office is not intended to cover the Naval Reactors program within NNSA.
Naval Reactors has a long history of program management excellence, and this new office is not meant to interfere with this success.
I have spoken to Chairman Mark Udall of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and he and I agree that this provision should have no impact at all on the function of the Naval Reactors office.
I will be working with Senator Udall and the NNSA to ensure there is no uncertainty about section 3112.
We both agree that if there is any such uncertainty, it will be clarified in the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act.
I also note Section 3117 of the bill would authorize the NNSA to carry out a ``modular'' approach to replacing critical plutonium capabilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The replacement of these capabilities is at the core of President Obama's commitment to build a responsive nuclear infrastructure.
Further delay is unacceptable.
The Department of Defense has reviewed the modular approach, and the Nuclear Weapons Council has endorsed it.
The NNSA must begin executing this strategy immediately, and the Nuclear Weapons Council must ensure NNSA puts behind the effort the resources needed.
I understand a reprogramming proposal related to the plutonium strategy is still pending, and I will work with Chairman McKeon to continue to leverage this reprogramming to ensure NNSA begins executing this program immediately.
Second, this bill provides a $358 million increase above the President's budget for our missile defenses.
These funds are essential to reverse the damage done to our missile defenses under this Administration.
We have included authorization for a new homeland missile defense sensor and a new kill vehicle, as well as $20 million to continue the planning we started last year for the East Coast missile defense site.
Additionally, this bill includes funding for missile defense cooperation with our allies, including $188 million on top of the President's budget request for Iron Dome, David's Sling, and Arrow missile defenses.
These increases are a reflection of the commitment of this nation to the security of our ally Israel.
And, it draws a line in the sand when it comes to allies entering into missile defense deals with China or in terms of the Obama Administration's efforts to induce Russia to join a missile defense deal.
The bill also includes important national security space provisions, such as a provision I authored to ensure the United States is not relying on space capabilities of the People's Republic of China; a provision to ensure the State Department is unable to proceed with an agreement to locate Russian satellite ground stations in the United States; and it promotes more cost-effective procurement of commercial satellite services.
[[Page H8041]] This bill provides the continued support and advancement of critical national security space programs.
Our military forces have come to depend on space capabilities, such as missile warning, communications, and GPS.
Potential adversaries have taken note of strategic reliance on these systems, and they are developing a range of weapons to destroy and disable our satellites.
In response to these threats, the bill requires that an independent panel be established to review the U.S. space security and defense efforts, and provide recommended paths forward.
The bill also requires improved information sharing within the United States government concerning any intentional adversary counter-space actions against U.S. national security space systems.
Additionally, Section 220 and Section 915 provide support for the Operationally Responsive Space program, including responsive launch activities, to ensure that the Department is developing capabilities and means to respond to urgent warfighter space needs.
The Department's acquisition of commercial satellite services is in need of reform.
Over one billion dollars a year are spent on these services, and the Department currently procures them in the most inefficient manner possible, through one-year leases.
This year's NDAA directs the DoD to develop a strategy to enable multi-year procurement approaches and encourages the pursuit of a variety of methods to reduce cost and meet military requirements.
And our space capabilities would not be possible without an effective space launch program.
As the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program moves into the next phase, which is planned to be competitive, we will maintain close oversight to ensure the taxpayer's and warfighter's interests are protected. We can accept nothing less than the highest mission reliability when it comes to critical, multi-billion dollar national security space payloads.
Mr. Speaker, we would not be here today without the leadership of Chairman Buck McKeon.
I would like to thank him for his leadership and all that he does for the men and women of this country's armed services.
I would also like to thank my Ranking Member, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, for his dedication and professionalism this year.
While we may not see eye-to-eye on SEC football, he has been a pleasure to work with and I look forward to working with him to build on our successes this year in next year's bill.