Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement at the subcommittee markup for H.R. 2670 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024. The Subcommittee's mark is available here.
Rep. Lamborn’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
With that, I welcome my colleagues to the Strategic Forces subcommittee’s markup of National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024. I want to thank the members of the subcommittee, and especially Ranking Member Moulton, for the work they’ve done this year. This subcommittee has a strong history of bipartisan cooperation, and the mark we have before us today reflects a continuation of that bipartisan approach.
First and foremost, this mark supports the ongoing effort to modernize our nuclear deterrent. It modernizes the supporting laboratory and production infrastructure managed by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. It invests in both homeland and regional missile defenses. It also continues to support the Department of Defense’s transition from legacy space architectures to more capable and resilient constellations.
The mark will accelerate the development of offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities. This is one area where the United States severely lags behind China and Russia, and closing this gap has been one of my top priorities as Chairman.
To close this gap, we must expand our test infrastructure and add additional range space to fully meet the demand for hypersonic flight-testing and to evaluate missile end-game performance. Building on measures included in last year’s authorization bill, the subcommittee mark includes a provision that requires the Department to evaluate and conduct the associated environmental review processes for additional air corridors for hypersonic testing.
It also includes provisions to strengthen Congressional oversight over the Department’s activities by establishing a major force program for nuclear command, control, and communications programs. It will also require the Department to develop an integrated master schedule for the Sentinel missile program.
The mark includes a requirement for the Department to notify Congress about nuclear cooperation between Russia and China. This subcommittee has played a key role in highlighting the way Russia fuels China’s nuclear breakout, and this is something we will continue to closely monitor.
In military space, we continue to find ways to drive innovation and support commercial and small businesses contributions to the space enterprise. If we are truly going to get the benefit of our commercial partners, especially on the use of commercial space situational awareness data for combatant commanders, we need to incentivize and create more opportunities to share information on the threats they will face. This requires addressing the overclassification of space systems by mandating a relook at classification guidance documents.
In closing, I’d like to thank the subcommittee’s staff led by Ryan Tully and professional staff members Whitney Verett, Peter Schirtzinger, and Maria Vastola for their efforts this year. I’d also like to express my appreciation to Bryn Woollacott and Julia Valenzuela on my staff, Zach Calderon the Strat Research Assistant, and staffers from other personal offices for their contributions.