WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), Ranking Member Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Terry Everett (R-AL) made the following comments upon the release of the interim report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. The Interim Report can be found at www.usip.org/strategic_posture .
SKELTON, HUNTER, TAUSCHER, EVERETT Comment on the Interim Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States
December 15, 2008
"The Members of this commission, led by Chairman Bill Perry and Vice Chairman Jim Schlesinger, have produced a thorough, balanced, and thoughtful interim report,” Chairman Skelton said. “I commend them on their encouraging work and look forward to the final product."
Ranking Member Hunter stated, "The Commission is to be congratulated on a thorough analysis of America's strategic posture. It is heartening that the Commission strongly validated the need for the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Hopefully, the Commission's interim report will be useful in the program prioritization that will take place during the next budget cycle."
“The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States has given us an important snapshot into its work with this interim report and I look forward to their final report in April. I worked in Congress to create this commission because America needs a real public debate about the role of our nuclear weapons,” Subcommittee Chairman Tauscher said.
“I have long advocated for one of the central observations of the interim report that ‘High confidence in stockpile reliability not only is important for maintaining deterrence, it is also vital for making substantial reductions in the size of our stockpile.’ Indeed, I believe it is in our strategic and security interest to do so. We can move smartly as a nation to support a smaller nuclear complex while making significant cuts in our arsenal and meet our military requirements. These have been my goals as Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and I look forward to furthering our work to address this pressing security challenge,” Tauscher concluded.
“I welcome the release of the Commission’s interim report in compliance with the 2008 defense bill,” commented Subcommittee Ranking Member Everett. “Their work is important for the new Congress and the new Administration in shaping future strategic policy in the face of unrelenting threats to our national security. There was much in the interim report that I agreed with, including the need to maintain a credible, safe, and reliable nuclear deterrent for the United States and our allies.”
Everett concluded, “The threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism will remain a major concern and the report also underscores the necessity of non-proliferation and arms control measures, as well as finding ways to cooperate with other nations to achieve these aims. Additionally, it highlights opportunities for potential stockpile reductions, but conditional upon instrastructure refurbishment. I understand the final report will also provide further insight on the Reliable Replacement Warhead proposal and our nuclear force structure. I want to extend my personal thanks and gratitude for the service of these 12 commissioners. It is noteworthy that such a diverse body of strategic thinkers achieved consensus on some very challenging issues. I look forward to the Commission’s final findings and recommendations and hope their work will be seriously studied by my successors on the House Armed Services Committee and in the Administration.”
The Commission was created by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, and began its work in spring 2008. Due to a delay in funding, delivery of the Commission's final report has been postponed from December 1, 2008 until April 1, 2009.