Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Major Senate Amendments to FY08 Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate may vote today on two amendments – one from Lieberman, one from Levin-Reed – debating the effects of the troop surge in Iraq. The Senate also may vote on a Webb amendment on a long-term agreement with Iraq. Senators are attempting to reach agreement on a list of amendments to be debated. If no deal is reached, the Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on a motion to limit debate on the bill.

Highlighted below are amendments related to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation issues. New information is bolded and italicized. Amendments are divided into:

  • Weapons Of Mass Destruction
  • Other Foreign Policy Issues/Terrorism
  • Misc. Pentagon, Department Of Energy Issues
  • Amendments Already Considered


Missile defense in Europe

Sens. Sessions (R-AL), Nelson (D-NE), Lieberman (I-CT), Kyl (R-AZ), Inhofe (R-OK), Graham (R-SC), Vitter (R-LA), Brownback (R-KS), and Chambliss (R-GA) filed amendment No. 5536 offering a sense of the Senate that the United States should fully fund and proceed with the deployment of a missile defense system in Europe as soon as technically feasible.

Missile defense in Europe

Sen. Nelson (D-FL) filed amendment No. 5562 offering a sense of the Senate that while the Senate recognizes the importance of decisions taken by the Governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, it reaffirms that no funding should be obligated until the system has demonstrated through "successful, operationally realistic flight testing, that it has a high probability of accomplishing its mission in an operationally effective manner."

Sustainment of Minuteman III ICBMs

Sens. Hatch (R-UT), Bennett (R-UT), and Inhofe (R-OK) filed amendment No. 5547 offering a sense of the Senate that a national security risk may be created if production of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ceases without plans to repair or replace motors if needed after 2010.

Sense of Congress on renewal of START I treaty

Sen. Bingaman (D-NM) filed amendment No. 5423 to express the sense of Congress that the President should renew the treaty between the U.S. and Russia on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, signed at Moscow July 31, 1991 (commonly referred to as the “START I Treaty”), before the expiration date of December 5, 2009.

Study on surveillance of nuclear weapons stockpile

Sen. Bingaman (D-NM) filed amendment No. 5424 to conduct an independent technical study of the efforts of the National Nuclear Security Administration to monitor the aging of, and to detect defects related to aging in, nuclear weapons components and materials that could affect the reliability of nuclear weapons currently in the nuclear weapons stockpile.

Restrictions on nuclear agreement with Russia

Sen. Coleman (R-MN) filed amendment No. 5362 to prevent the United States from entering into an agreement for cooperation with Russia pursuant to section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act until the following certifications have been made: 1) Russia has suspended all nuclear assistance to Iran and all transfers of advanced conventional weapons and missiles to Iran, or Iran has completely, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantled all nuclear enrichment-related and reprocessing-related programs; and 2) all Russian forces have been withdrawn from the undisputed territory of the sovereign state of Georgia.

Report on incentives for U.S. Air Force personnel working on nuclear weapons

Sen. Conrad (D-ND) filed amendment No. 5367 to require a report on assessing the feasibility, advisability, utility, and cost effectiveness of establishing new retention bonuses or assignment incentive pay for members of the Air Force involved in the operation, maintenance, handling, and security of nuclear weapons.

Annual report on military power of Iran

Sen. Brownback (R-KS) filed amendment No. 5360 to require the Secretary of Defense to submit to the appropriate committees of Congress an annual report, in both unclassified and classified form, on the current and future military and security strategy of Iran.

Airborne laser

Sen. Brownback (R-KS) filed amendment No. 5359 on the airborne laser system.


Iran sanctions

Sens. Dodd (D-CT) and Shelby (R-AL) filed amendment Nos. 5485 and 5572, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2008.

Enhanced partnership with Pakistan

Sens. Biden (D-DE), Kerry (D-MA) and Hagel (R-NE) filed amendment No. 5374 to: 1) authorize governmental assistance funds to Pakistan of up to $1.5 billion per year in each of the next five fiscal years; 2) restrict military assistance funds after FY 2010 unless it is certified that Pakistani security forces are making concerted efforts to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban and not interfering in Pakistan’s political and judicial processes; and 3) require a comprehensive, cross-border strategy for working with Pakistan, Afghanistan, NATO, and other like-minded allies to best implement effective counterterrorism and counterinsurgency measurers.

Counterterrorism report

Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) filed Amendment No. 5299 to require the Executive Branch to produce a semiannual comprehensive report on the status of U.S. efforts, and the level of progress achieved to date, to combat and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates under the Global War on Terrorism.

South and Central Asia

Sens. Biden (D-DE) and Lugar (R-IN) filed amendment No. 5441 to create the position of special envoy for South and Central Asia regional cooperation.


Director of independent cost assessment

Sens. Levin (D-MI), McCain (R-AZ) and Akaka (D-HI) filed amendment No. 5353 to create a Director of Independent Cost Assessment in the Department of Defense responsible for monitoring and reviewing all cost estimates and cost analyses conducted in connection with major defense acquisition programs.

Providing assistance in major attacks

Sen. Feingold (D-WI) filed amendment No.5300 requiring the establishment Within the Armed Forces of units for assistance in managing consequences of incidents of national significance involving a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear Device, or High-Yield Explosives.

Military inventory system

Sen. Sanders (I-VT), Feingold (D-WI) and Whitehouse (D-RI) filed amendment No. 5320 to improve inventory systems of the military departments and reducing the acquisition of unnecessary secondary inventory. The amendment would fence off $100 million in inventory purchases until the Secretary of Defense makes some required certifications about reducing inventories beyond requirements.


Missile defense

Sens. Kyl (R-AZ), Warner, Vitter, Inhofe, Martinez, Levin amendment No. 5414 modified from an earlier version earmarking $89 million to deploy the missile defense X-band radar at a classified location was adopted by voice vote on September 10.

Missile defense

Sens. Vitter (R-LA), Inhofe (R-OK) and Kyl (R-AZ) amendment No. 5280 to increase missile defense funding was defeated 39 – 57 on September 10. The amendment would have added $100 million for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and $171 million for other missile defense programs, including up to $87 million for the Ground Based Midcourse Defense.

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