Contact: Josh Holly-202.226.3988
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, senior Republican on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, today released the following floor statement during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
“I thank my good friend, Mr. Hunter for yielding to me, and thank him for his work and leadership on this legislation. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of HR 1585, the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. I would like to congratulate the chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, the gentlelady from California, Ms. Tauscher, on her first mark as chairman. She has been cooperative and straightforward, which I appreciate. This effort has resulted in a product where we agree on far more than we disagree.
“This subcommittee tackles complex and often partisan issues, such as ballistic missile defense and nuclear weapons policy.
“This year’s process has been further complicated due to the fact that our subcommittee allocation was cut by over a billion dollars from the administration’s request.
“In the area of missile defense, the bill continues the policy set forth by this committee last year that places a priority on near-term missile defense capabilities. The bill increases the request for Patriot PAC-3 by $11.8 million to buy 4 additional interceptors, and adds $78 million to the President’s request for Aegis ballistic missile defense, and fully funds the request for THAAD.
“This measure also contains a reduction in funding for the proposed European Third Site. I understand the chairman’s rationale and her concern about moving forward without formal agreements with the host nations in place.
“However, I am pleased my amendment was accepted during the full committee markup which encourages DOD to seek a reprogramming request in the event that we reach agreements with the host nations in Fiscal Year 2008.
“While I support most of the provisions in this legislation, like many on my side of the aisle, I remain concerned about the $776 million topline cut levied on the Missile Defense Agency, especially when progress is being seen in so many of their programs. Now is not the time to further reduce funding, or slow down, the development and fielding of those missile defense elements that are critical to our nation’s defense and the protection of our deployed forces and allies. In the time since last year’s bill, we have seen a clear demonstration of the threat to our security, including:
- “North Korea’s test of several short-range missiles and a longer-range Taepo-Dong-2 missile;
- “Iran’s continued development and test of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles; and
- “North Korea’s nuclear test; and
- “Iran’s efforts to continue uranium enrichment in the face of international criticism.
“I understand the need to focus on near-term capabilities, but as we move the bill forward, we need to work together to identify the right balance between investments in near-term systems and future capabilities.
“In the area of space, the legislation contains a provision I strongly support which places a priority on the protection of our space assets, and increases funding for space situational awareness and operationally responsive space capabilities. Consistent with previous bipartisan efforts to improve space acquisition, HR 1585 continues its emphasis on program execution. The bill reflects a measured approach to space acquisition that overlaps new modernization programs with continuing legacy programs.
“HR 1585 fully funds Transformational Satellite, or TSAT, which has made significant progress in maturing critical technologies and following GAO’s knowledge-based approach. It also supports Space Radar.
Though the program’s details are classified, I believe Space Radar’s all weather, day-night, 24-7, surveillance and reconnaissance capability is vital for the protection of our forces and supporting intelligence users.
“The measure reflects a bipartisan agreement on the Atomic Energy Defense Activities, particularly on the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program. RRW has the potential to increase the reliability, safety, and security of our nuclear weapons stockpile and reduce the likelihood of testing. RRW funding is reduced but maintained at a level to allow NNSA to take a measured, knowledge-based approach by focusing on detailed design and cost studies.
“As I mentioned early, there is far more in this bill that we agree on, than disagree on. In an effort to address some of the areas on which we disagree, some of our members plan to offer amendments later today. It is my hope that my colleagues will support these efforts. I would also caution members from further reducing funding for missile defense or space programs. As I mentioned earlier, these programs have already taken a cut of over one billion dollars. Any further reductions to these critical programs would have very detrimental effects to our national defense.
“Mr. Chairman, I hope the bill can be improved in the areas that I have raised either on the floor today or in conference. I urge support for this measure and yield back the balance of my time.”