Wednesday, November 7, 2007

House-Senate Conference Committee Funds RRW

House and Senate Conferees agreed yesterday to a FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, which could soon go to the President’s desk. At just over $459 billion, the bill is $3.5 billion less than the President’s FY 2008 budget request, but $39.7 billion more than the FY 2007 enacted level for the Department of Defense.

Significantly, funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program was limited to $15 million, effectively adopting the Senate’s funding levels. The Senate-approved bill had cut the President’s request for RRW funding from $30 million down to $15 million, although the House-approved version had completely zeroed out RRW funding. The Conferees also included language to restrict the funding to Phase 2A, design definition and cost study.

This development, however, was noticeably absent from the highlights sheet released by both the House and the Senate as well as the summaries of the report released by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

The summaries did, however, provide key information on other issues important to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation:

Missile Defense
The joint-House-Senate bill provides $8.7 billion for missile defense programs, a reduction of $185 million from the President’s budget request. Notably, it reduces funding for the European Third Site program by $85 million and provides no funding for the Space Test Bed.

The bill also:
· Fully funds Theater High Altitude Area Defense
· Provides an additional $80 million for test and training range upgrades and support and ground-based missile defense enhancements
· Provides an additional $75 million for the Aegis program for the Ballistic Signal Processor, Standard Missiles, Ship installations and upgrades, and an asymmetric defense initiative
· Adds $75 million for Arrow co-production, the Upper-tier program, and Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense
· Provides an additional $120 million for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program

Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction
At $1.51 billion, the bill provides $57 million above the amended President’s budget request.

Prompt Global Strike
The bill also establishes the Prompt Global Strike initiative for $100 million, which consolidates disparate efforts from across the Department.

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