Washington D.C. – Strategic Forces Subcommittee Ranking Member Loretta Sanchez made the following statement at today’s Strategic Forces subcommittee markup: 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman for this Strategic Forces mark, and for your leadership on our Subcommittee.  

“The mark authorizes funding for nuclear weapons, defense nuclear clean-up programs, nuclear forces, missile defense and military space programs.

“I support many important provisions in the mark that promote a strong national security, particularly provisions that focus on cost-effectiveness and accountability.  To name a few:

• Maintaining a safe, secure and reliable nuclear arsenal while addressing the need to avoid cost overruns and schedule delays.

• Fully authorizing defense environmental clean-up activities.

• Supporting investments in missile defense, and specifically increasing funding for regional missile defense assets to protect our deployed forces and allies against short- and medium-range missile threats, through increases for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), an additional AN/TPY-2 radar, and providing robust funding for missile defense for Israel.

• Pressing the Missile Defense Agency to address the risks of concurrence on development and production of missile defense systems, and ensuring more realistic testing.

• Provisions on increasing accountability for the Air Force space launch acquisition, and protecting long-term and cost-effective investments in military space assets including restoring funding to the Space Test Program and preserving an Operationally Responsive Space capability.

“I am concerned about several of the provisions in the mark, including:

• Governance and management reforms that will undermine independent oversight related to safety, including nuclear safety, for the nuclear weapons complex and may lead to weaker or inconsistent standards for protecting workers and the public.

• Increasing funding for nuclear weapons while slashing over half of the number of National Nuclear Security Administration employees who plan and oversee work done at the nuclear weapons complex, even as the mark transfers to NNSA many responsibilities until now under the purview of the Department of Energy.

• I know several of our Subcommittee members have concerns about funding cuts to the missile defense Precision Tracking Space System.  

• I also question the need to increase funding for Ground-Based Midcourse defense program while test failures are still being addressed, and the need to mandate a costly East Coast missile defense site.

“I look forward to engaging in an informed debate at full committee mark-up on opportunities for further progress nuclear weapons reductions to strengthen our national security and on how to ensure we apply limited tax dollars effectively.

“As the Department of Defense and STRATCOM continue to critically re-examine Cold War-derived requirements, the Administration is looking at how to adapt our nuclear deterrent to respond to the most pressing threats and the risks of nuclear proliferation.  

“Thank you again for the bipartisan work that our Subcommittee has accomplished and for your leadership in continuing our tradition of bipartisanship and transparency.   

“It is a pleasure to work with Chairman Turner and our Subcommittee’s members on these important issues.  I would like to thank all our members for their contributions to our subcommittee.”