Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Analysis of House-Senate Agreement on the FY2009 Defense Authorization Bill (S.3001)

The Center’s John Isaacs and Travis Sharp today put out a terrific Analysis of House-Senate Agreement on the FY2009 Defense Authorization Bill (S.3001). Included below are the summary and the highlights and funding provisions relating to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation issues. The full analysis is available here.

Facing a full workload before leaving town for the campaign trail and ongoing member objections to earmarks, Congress decided to skip the normal conference procedure for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Defense Authorization bill (S.3001). Working together, the House and Senate produced a joint bill that now must gain final approval from the House and Senate before it can be sent to President Bush for his signature. The House is scheduled to take up the bill on Wednesday, September 24, under an unusual procedure (i.e. suspension calendar) that requires a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The Senate is scheduled to take up the bill before leaving town, probably by this weekend.

The bill fully authorizes the administration’s $542.5 billion National Defense (function 050) request. The bill also authorizes $68.5 billion in "bridge" funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for a “base” budget plus “bridge” budget grand total of $611.1 billion. Please note that the “bridge” war funding package was already appropriated by Congress in May-June 2008.

HIGHLIGHTS

European Missile Defense Authorizes $465.8 million for the missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, a cut of $246.3 million from the administration request. Bans spending for the procurement, site activation, construction, preparation of equipment for or deployment of a long-range missile defense system in Europe until the two countries have signed and ratified (votes in Parliament) the missile defense basing agreement and a status of forces agreement permitting the stationing of the missiles and the radar and associated personnel. The Secretary of Defense also has to certify that the system “has demonstrated, through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, a high probability of working in an operationally effective manner and the ability to accomplish the mission.” (Section 233, p.78)

Missile Defense Effectiveness Report Requires an annual report by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation that characterizes the operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of all elements of the ballistic missile defense system that have been fielded or tested before the end of the receding fiscal year. (Section 231, p.72) A joint explanatory statement on missile defense problems stated:

We are discouraged to note that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Test and Targets program has had another disappointing year. MDA failed to conduct a single intercept flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system during fiscal year 2008, and canceled a planned and budgeted GMD flight test, designated FTG-04. Instead, it conducted a sensor flight test, FTX-03. Over the last several years, MDA has not managed to conduct an average of even one GMD intercept flight test per year, despite the fact that Congress has authorized and appropriated over $200.0 million per year to conduct two flight tests each year.

In addition, a test of the GMD system was aborted in May 2007 when the target failed to reach the necessary altitude, and a flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was aborted on September 17, 2008, when the target missile failed shortly after launch. (Joint Explanatory Statement on the bill p.15)

Spaced Based Test Bed Denies any funds for the Space Test Bed for space-based interceptor weapons.

Boost-Phase Missile Defense Requires an independent study on the feasibility and practicality of boost-phase missile defense. The National Academy of Sciences is also tasked with preparing a report on the same subject. (Section 232, p.73)

Space Posture Review Requires by December 1, 2009 a space posture review covering the next decade. (Section 913, p.536)

Reliable Replacement Warhead Redirects all $33.3 million requested for these new nuclear weapons to other, higher priority activities.

Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) “Nunn-Lugar” – Authorizes $434.1 million for this non-proliferation program (an increase of $20 million from the administration request), allocated as follows: $79.9 million for strategic offensive arms elimination in Russia; $ 6.4 million for strategic offensive arms elimination Ukraine; $24.1 million for nuclear weapons storage security in Russia; $40.8 million for nuclear weapons transportation security in Russia; $59.3 million for weapons of mass destruction proliferation prevention in the states of the former Soviet Union; $184.5 million for biological threat reduction in the former Soviet Union; $ 1.0 million for chemical weapons destruction; $ 10.0 million for new Cooperative Threat Reduction initiatives; and $ 20.1 million for “other.” (Section 1302, p.725)

Department of Energy Non-Proliferation Programs Authorizes: $451.7 million for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative for highly enriched uranium reactor conversion to secure domestic research and test reactors, to secure and remove U.S. origin high risk radiological sources, to secure and remove international high risk radiological sources, and to dispose of U.S. origin highly enriched uranium located outside the United States (an increase of $120 million from the budget request); $339.7 million for the International Nuclear Materials and Cooperation program to secure nuclear weapons and weapons materials outside the United States (an increase of $22 million from the budget request); $300.1 million for non-proliferation verification research and development (an increase of $25 million from the request).

Commission on U.S. Strategic Nuclear Posture Extends the date for completion of a final report from December 1, 2008 to April 1, 2009 and the expiration date of the commission from June 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009, but still requires an interim report by December 1, 2008 on the commission’s initial findings, conclusions and recommendations. (Section 1060, p.639)

Conventional “Prompt Global Strike” Technology – Requires a report to identify any legal, treaty, or policy related issues that might be associated with prompt global strike, an initiative to place conventional warheads atop missiles traditionally used for nuclear warheads. The report must clarify whether the system itself could be confused with a nuclear weapons system. In addition, the report would set forth a description of the types of targets against which the concept might be used. (Joint Explanatory Statement on the bill, p.31)

Iran Sanctions – Contains no new sanctions on Iran.

Iran Report – Requires an annual report on Iran’s capability to produce nuclear weapons, including its uranium enrichment program and plutonium production capabilities. In addition, the President is required to notify Congress if Iran resumes its nuclear weapons program.

FUNDING PROVISIONS

DIVISION C

Atomic Energy Defense Activities in the Department of Energy (Budget Function 053)
Administration request: $17.3 billion
Authorization bill: $17.4 billion


Click here
for the full analysis.

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