WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, made the following remarks on the Subcommittee's markup. For the text of the mark and to watch the markup click here.
"Before getting into the details of the Mark, I want to start off by thanking my colleague and friend, the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cooper.
We have traveled together to see French and British nuclear warheads and our overseas missile defenses, I have gotten to know his sweet wife; we have spent countless hours in innumerable briefings learning about some really scary stuff—proof that our oversight is desperately needed; and, we have worked together in a transparent and completely bipartisan way, for four years now.
I appreciate his thoughtful input and the seriousness with which he approaches this subject. I just wish he had better judgment when it comes to college football.
So let me turn to the details of this Mark, of which I am very proud.
Let’s start with national security space; the subcommittee Mark tackles the serious foreign counterspace threat to our space systems by providing the necessary resources to build up our space security and defense capabilities, and by ensuring the Department is organized properly and has the authorities it needs to maintain our national security space advantage long into the future.
The Mark also ensures that key national security requirements will be met for space weather capabilities by starting the transfer of acquisition authority and budget authority for that mission from the Air Force to the National Reconnaissance Office.
Concerning the nuclear enterprise, the Mark consolidates and strengthens the Air Force’s organizational structures to ensure the nation’s nuclear command and control and missile warning systems remain robust. I know the Air Force would prefer to be left alone to organize itself as it sees fit, but I continue to worry that when four different four star generals are in charge of something, no one is in charge of it. Nuclear command and control is too important to be left to suffer from poor organization.
The Mark prohibits the Department of Energy from sending U.S. taxpayer money to Russia until the Secretary of Energy certifies there is no backlog of deferred physical security infrastructure projects in the U.S. nuclear enterprise. Putin doesn’t need our money, he’s got more than enough to invade Ukraine and Syria and to violate the INF treaty.
It provides enhanced authority for the Department of Energy to mitigate threats from unmanned aircraft at its most sensitive nuclear facilities.
Concerning NNSA’s core mission, we have recommended to the Chairman an increase of over $300 million to NNSA’s critical nuclear weapons activities, including $150 million to get on top of the massive deferred maintenance problem across our nuclear enterprise.
Jim and I have seen these problems first hand in our trips, and we need to fix these problems before they hurt the dedicated workers in this enterprise or shut down the mission. As NNSA has said to this committee, 'infrastructure risks become safety and program risks.'
And, it sets clear priorities by fully funding the National Nuclear Security Administration’s core nuclear weapons production programs while prohibiting funding for Secretary Kerry’s announced 20% acceleration to the rate at which the U.S. dismantles retired nuclear weapons, which is another way of saying 'unilateral disarmament.' This is just common sense.
Concerning missile defense, the Mark fences half of the funding for the Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense radar modernization program. Let me be clear about this: I will take a back seat to no one in supporting modernization of Patriot. But I will demand that the Army do better for its soldiers, including its air defenders, than delaying the procurement of a modern radar until 2028 (at the earliest). The United States must do better than to keep 58 year old radars in the field.
The Mark also would fence $10 million in funding that DOD provides to the White House until the Congress receives both the plan, and sees the beginning of implementation of, the development of military responses to the Russian violation of the INF treaty, consistent with section 1243 of the FY16 NDAA.
And most significantly to me, we have recommended to the Chairman a significant increase of over $400 million for the Missile Defense Agency and full funding of the request of our allies in Israel, $600.7 million, for co-development and co-production of Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3.
These are vital increases to keep our missiles defenses, and those of our allies, paced well-ahead of our adversaries increasingly complex ballistic missile capabilities.
Now is not the time to cut these programs and activities as the President’s budget proposed."