Monday, June 30, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-Up

Congress is in recess for the 4th of July holiday. Last week, the Senate finally completed approval of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House Appropriations Committee approved the annual Energy and Water funding bill that includes nuclear weapons work and non-proliferation funding. The Senate failed to complete action on the new wiretapping bill approved by the House.



On June 17, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee marked up or wrote its annual bill that included $33.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2009. It cut all funds for the Reliable Replacement Warhead and prohibited any spending for the project. The Subcommittee also cut the $302 million requested for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to $120 million and restricted the use of the remaining funds, recommended no funding (a cutof $145 million) for the manufacture of new nuclear weapons pits (which are the core of the weapons), and no funds (a cut of $100 million) for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility Replacement. The committee increased funding for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative from $220 million to $407 million, Non-Proliferation and International Security from $140 million to $185 million and international nuclear materials protection and cooperation from $4! 30 million to $609 million.

On June 25, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill as reported by the Subcommittee.

The Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee tentatively scheduled its mark-up for July 8 with a full Committee mark-up for July 10.


The House of Representatives may consider a resolution introduced by Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Mike Pence (R-IN) that has more than 200 sponsors. H.Con.Res. 362 is non-binding resolution that demands that President Bush initiate an international effort to prohibit petroleum exports to Iran and impose stringent inspections on everything entering or departing Iran. Some view a potential blockade as an act of war. The Senate version is S. Res. 580, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and John Thune (R-SD) that currently has 32 co-sponsors.


On June 26, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 92 - 6 and sent it to the President for signing.


The full Senate is likely to consider the bill sometime in July -- maybe.


As part of the completed fiscal year 2008/2009 Supplemental Appropriations to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress tacked on a waiver to the 1994 Glenn amendment, an amendment which limited the United States' ability to provide financial assistance to North Korea for dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program. The waiver was an arcane but crucial step in enabling further progress to be made on removing nuclear materials and shutting down North Korea's Yongbyon reactor. Up until now, the Glenn amendment had hindered the Department of Energy from funding work to verify and assist North Korea in disabling and dismantling its nuclear weapons programs.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Steve Andreasen: With nuclear weapons, a lot can go wrong

Steve Andreasen penned an interesting op-ed in Thursday’s Star Tribune in which he argues that the recent spat of errors involving nuclear weapons underscores the potential dangers associated with maintaining tactical nuclear weapons. Provided below are the key points of his piece.

Most Americans -- including senior government and military officials -- would have thought absurd a sequence of events whereby nuclear-armed cruise missiles could be mistakenly loaded under the wing of a B-52 bomber in North Dakota and flown across the country to a base in Louisiana without anyone knowing the nuclear warheads were aboard the plane, or that they were missing from their base, for 36 hours. Yet, this is exactly what happened in August 2007.

Shockingly, this was only one slip-up with respect to nuclear weapons security that led Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remove the Air Force's top two officials this month. In March, it was disclosed that the Air Force had mistakenly shipped parts for nuclear missiles to Taiwan, believing the equipment to be helicopter batteries. And just last week, another disclosure from an internal Air Force Blue Ribbon Review conducted after the B-52 incident: that "most" bases that store U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe do not meet Department of Defense security requirements.

That U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe have not been under the most stringent lock and key could and should spark a long-overdue discussion within NATO regarding the role of short-range, or "tactical," nuclear weapons in European security -- and whether the benefits of continuing these nuclear deployments outweigh the risks.


One of the most important security threats relevant to those bonds is the threat of nuclear terrorism. The presence of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe has little if any relevance to dealing with this problem -- terrorists are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of nuclear retaliation. More likely, the continued existence of tactical nuclear weapons exacerbates the terrorist threat, as these weapons are smaller and more portable and thus are inviting targets for theft -- especially if the bases storing these weapons are not adequately secured.

Despite the recently documented failings surrounding the security of U.S. nuclear weapons, the more alarming issue from the standpoint of nuclear terrorism is the security of Russian tactical nuclear arms. Russia continues to deploy its own arsenal of thousands of short-range nuclear bombs opposite NATO -- and claims with Buck Turgidson-like certainty that there is "no" possibility of a security breach "ever" occurring. Moreover, Russia points to the continued presence of U.S. nuclear weapons on European soil as a reason for keeping its own.

Recent events have given the United States, NATO and Russia fair warning that unless we collectively break free from our nuclear autopilot, we may be heading for a nuclear catastrophe. Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn have called for a dialogue within NATO -- as the attitudes of European governments and publics on this point are crucial -- and with Russia on consolidating these weapons to enhance their security and as a first step toward their elimination. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have made statements indicating their support for reducing and eliminating tactical nuclear weapons. Let's make sure they don't forget about this in 2009.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mitt Romney: Non-proliferation a “Liberal” Issue

In an interview with CNN Anchor John Roberts this morning, former Massachusetts Gov. and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney called non-proliferation a “liberal” issue. Roberts' take on the interview and Romney's bizarre labeling is below.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything in this race for the White House, along comes something truly surprising. Such was the case on Thursday's American Morning. I was speaking with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney about Sen. John McCain's new line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama. McCain hopes to paint Obama as a politician who puts party and self-interest above the needs of the nation, claiming that the Illinois senator has “never been a part of a bipartisan group that came together to solve a controversial issue”.

This morning, Romney faithfully repeated that charge. When I pointed out that Obama reached across party lines to work with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, on a non-proliferation measure, and with Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Oregon, on increasing gas mileage requirements, Romney shot back, saying that “Actually, on both cases, you’re talking about two liberal positions, non-proliferation as well as the gasoline mileage."

It struck me as rather odd – having covered five years of the Bush administration as a White House correspondent – that the governor would view non-proliferation as a “liberal” issue. I seem to recall a little ditty called the “Proliferation Security Initiative,” launched by President Bush on May 31, 2003. The aim of the initiative is to enlist the nations of the world to “stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.” Whether the program is a success is very much in question (though the administration claims it is), but I’ve never heard anyone call it a “liberal” position.

So what about the Lugar-Obama measure – conceived as an adjunct to the Proliferation Security Initiative - did it qualify as “liberal?” Here’s how Lugar’s office described it in a press release: “The Lugar-Obama initiative enhances U.S. efforts to destroy conventional weapons stockpiles and to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction throughout the world.” Lugar has a bit of a middling score from the American Conservative Union (78.02 lifetime) and has been called a ‘moderate’ from time to time. But ‘liberal’? I asked Lugar’s press secretary Andy Fisher about it this morning “National security is not liberal,” he told me, “At all.”

It’s true that two of the biggest non-proliferation measures have been passed by Democrats – the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 1978 Non-Proliferation Act (John Glenn D-Ohio), but every president since Eisenhower has sought to curb the spread of either nuclear weapons, or the missiles to deliver them.


With so much on the line in this election, we’ll likely hear plenty of wild charges thrown back and forth. Some, it seems, will be a little wilder than others.

Bush Administration Continues to Neglect Arms Control and Nonproliferation

On Sunday, the Boston Globe reported that the White House has no intention of filling the position of United States Coordinator for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism anytime soon.

Congress established the position within the Executive Office of the President by way of H.R. 1, also known as "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007." According to the law, which passed both the House and the Senate by wide margins and was signed into law by the President on August 3, 2007, the Coordinator would serve as the “principal adviser to the president on all matters relating to the prevention of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism.”

The Bush administration argues that a nuclear terrorism “czar” “is unnecessary given extensive coordination and synchronization mechanisms that now exist within the executive branch.” Oh, if only that were the case. In reality, the executive branch is in dire need of a senior official with direct access to the President to formulate a comprehensive and well-coordinated U.S. strategy and policies for preventing WMD proliferation and terrorism and the authority to lead interagency coordination to implement such a strategy and policies.

Under the Bush administration’s watch, the ability of the U.S. national security bureaucracy to effectively address important arms control and nonproliferation issues has significantly deteriorated. Secretary Rice’s July 2005 reorganization plan, which eliminated the nonproliferation and arms control bureaus and combined them into a new Bureau for International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) has, among other things, weakened the State Department’s ability to achieve priority nonproliferation objectives, resulted in an exodus of key staff members that has left the new nonproliferation bureau starving for experience and expertise in arms control and nonproliferation policy and multilateral diplomacy, and made it more difficult for the next administration to pursue a renewed arms control agenda.

In a welcome and much-needed shift from the policies of the Bush administration, both presumptive nominees for President have stated that they intend to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime and pursue further legally binding and verifiable reductions in the number of U.S. and Russia nuclear weapons. In order to achieve this much-needed progress on effective nuclear arms control and non-proliferation, the next President will need to construct a bureaucratic structure that enhances, rather than undermines, the capacity of the United States to pursue bold arms control and nonproliferation measures. Filling the position of United States Coordinator for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism would be a great place to start.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nukes in the News: Time to Adapt

If you want to sleep well at night, you may want to stop following the news about nuclear weapons. It appears that the U.S. military is unsure exactly where all of ours are. According to some sources, more than 1,000 sensitive nuclear missile components currently inventoried in the U.S. arsenal have been misplaced.

This is but one – albeit major – additional step in a series of very public and very serious nuclear blunders by the Air Force in recent months (not including other defense-related criticisms). First, there was the accidental B-52 flight of six armed nuclear cruise missiles from North Dakota to Louisiana. Then, it was discovered that the U.S. accidentally shipped nuclear missile nose cone fuses instead of helicopter batteries to Taiwan, a mistake only caught seventeen months later. In response to these two foul-ups, Secretary of Defense Gates requested and received the resignation of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley– a quite un-Bush-administration-like public display of accountability.

A day after this unprecedented step, Gen. Mosley questioned whether the mistakes were "just an isolated case of a human frailty" or "systemic bigger issues that we have to find and fix." Gates sided with the latter, stating that the follow-up report from Admiral Kirkland Donald indicated both incidents originated from the "gradual erosion of nuclear standards and a lack of effective oversight by air force leadership."

Just ten days later, another internal Air Force report revealed yet another nuclear mishap that seems to validate this claim. Hans Kristensen obtained a partially declassified version of the full report and shared,

An internal U.S. Air Force investigation has determined that “most sites” currently used for deploying nuclear weapons in Europe do not meet Department of Defense security requirements.
The report – the Air Force Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures - found that,
Host nation security at overseas nuclear-capable units varies from country to country in terms of personnel, facilities, and equipment… inconsistencies in personnel, facilities, and equipment provided to the security mission by the host nation were evident as the team traveled from site to site….Examples of areas noted in need of repair at several of the sites include support buildings, fencing, lighting, and security systems.
That's a significant problem for the 300-ish nuclear weapons stored by the U.S. in six NATO countries across Europe. Since the release of the report, numerous voices have echoed the call for at least a revision of the current status of U.S. nuclear forces. Germany wants the weapons removed, and NATO wants nothing to do with it – especially when it comes to blame. Even Sen. John McCain has discussed reducing "and hopefully eliminat[ing]" deployments of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Larry Korb published an article in response to these recent foul-ups, "The U.S. Air Force's indifference toward nuclear weapons," where he identifies that these grave mistakes are not surprising, given the poor evolution of U.S. nuclear forces to the post-Cold War world. He argues that historically, the Air Force's dominance arose from its Cold War leadership in the development and deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. But,
As conventional weapons became smarter and more lethal, it became clear that nuclear weapons had little military utility… [After the Cold War] strategic nuclear deterrence was no longer seen as central to U.S. security and the attention and resources of the policy makers in general and the air force in particular began to shift elsewhere.
The recent mistakes are not surprising, "given this lack of attention to nuclear weapons." But, he argues,
The bigger issue is why the Pentagon still needs to keep so many nuclear weapons in its inventory nearly two decades after the Cold War--particularly when just about everyone in the military believes they present minimal strategic utility… Today, Washington continues to maintain nearly 10,000 warheads. Reducing that number to no more than 1,000 (600 operational and 400 in reserve) would be more than enough for deterrence.
Korb's article seems to provide the answer to Mosley's question about "systemic issues" in the Air Force's approach to nuclear security, to Gates' acknowledgment of an "erosion of nuclear standards," to the Blue Ribbon Review's findings of lax security at our nuclear sites, and to the numerous blunders over the past year. That answer will be a massive overhaul of current U.S. nuclear policy, and – as many groups and prominent leaders call for - the eventual elimination of those weapons.

Kristensen reminds us of the billions of dollars put into homeland security to increase security at our nation's nuclear weapons sites since 9/11, and the Bush administration's use of allegedly ensuing "safety and control" as justification for building new nuclear weapons.

That justification certainly seems to fall through in light of the mistaken flight of armed nuclear weapons, the mistaken shipment of their parts to a foreign country, 1,000 additional mis-placed parts, and lax security guarding our nukes in Europe. All that in less than a year.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't need mistakes like those mentioned here to make or even to suggest necessary adaptations to nuclear policy – a changing international environment and some logical reasoning (maybe we don't need enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over) would be enough. And we certainly wouldn't need the increased lethality of conventional forces to convince ourselves that it was okay to quit playing around with so many nuclear weapons – an awareness of their devastating impact on human life, international relations, the environment, and even defense budgets would be enough. But we all know the world's nuclear circumstances are far from ideal.

The outcomes from these recent mistakes could have been far worse, and the one good outcome seems to be that new voices and the Air Force itself are publicly acknowledging the need for for a different U.S. nuclear policy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

U.S.-India Nuclear Deal: Status and Update

The Center's Leonor Tomero has put together a terrific update on the U.S.-India nuclear deal. Provided below is a summary of her findings; the full update can be found here.

The U.S.-India nuclear deal has been delayed since last summer, when India and the International Atomic Energy Agency negotiated a safeguards agreement. For almost nine months, the deal has been in limbo due to opposition from Indian political parties like Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian Communists that oppose the deal. The Indian Communists, who see the deal as a threat to an independent Indian foreign policy, threatened to withdraw from the coalition government led by Prime Minister Singh if India signed the safeguards agreement.

So far, meetings within India's governing coalition have failed to produce an agreement. One more meeting is now scheduled for June 25. Time is running out in 2008 for the Indian government to sign the safeguards agreement, have the Nuclear Suppliers Group change international rules to allow nuclear trade with India, and then have both houses of the U.S. Congress approve the agreement.

The U.S. Congress approved the first phase of the deal in 2006 in what was called the 2006 Henry Hyde Act. This second phase of the U.S.-India nuclear trade agreement poses significant dangers for U.S. and international nuclear non-proliferation efforts and fails to uphold the non-proliferation requirements that Congress approved in 2006.

Click here for the full update on the U.S.-India nuclear deal by Tomero.

Monday, June 23, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-Up

Last week, the House finally voted to approve a new version of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this week before the 4th of July recess begins on Friday. The House also approved a new wiretapping bill that the Senate is expected to consider this week. The House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee marked up its annual funding bill that includes nuclear weapons work and non-proliferation funding; the full Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill this week. The Senate Finance Committee approved new sanctions on Iran.



On June 17, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee marked up or wrote its annual bill that approves $33.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2009. It cut all funds for the Reliable Replacement Warhead and increased nuclear non-proliferation funding by $283 million. The Subcommittee also eliminated all $301.5 million for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

The full House Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for June 25.


On June 18, the Senate Finance Committee voted 19 - 2 to approve a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran. The measure also includes language to block a U.S-Russia nuclear agreement (a "123" agreement) because of Moscow’s provision of nuclear fuel and conventional weapons to Iran. On May 13, the Bush administration submitted the nuclear deal to Congress, which would allow U.S. nuclear companies access to the Russian market and the transfer of nuclear materials between the two countries. Congress has 90 days of “continuous session” to block the deal An effort by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to strip out the language blocking the Russia agreement failed, 4-15.


On June 19, the House approved a new version of the Supplemental bill. It voted 269 - 155 for $161.8 billion in war funding. The House had a separate vote on the portion of the bill that included expanded GI Bill education benefits for returning veterans, extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks, a moratorium on six Medicaid provisions, emergency funding for flood victims in the Middle West, Hurricane Katrina relief in Louisiana and $10.1 billion for the international affairs budget. The second vote was 416 - 12.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration this week.



The House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled its mark-up or writing of this bill for July 16. The full House Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for July 23.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Perhaps the U.S. India Nuclear Deal Isn't Dead After All?

For weeks, the conventional wisdom has been that due to domestic politics in India, the U.S.-India nuclear deal would not come to fruition during the last days of the Bush administration. While this is still the most likely scenario, it appears that the deal’s epitaph shouldn’t be written just yet:

In the face of the Left’s unrelenting opposition to the India-US nuclear deal, the Congress [Party], in a major shift of stance, is seriously evaluating the political fallout of sewing up the India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA without their consent….Congress sources confirmed to Hindustan Times the possibility of the government signing the agreement despite the Communists’ rigid opposition. But the final call would be taken after the UPA-Left committee meeting now slated on June 25.
Will the Congress Party actually call the Left’s bluff? If so, would the Left recall its support for the governing coalition, thereby forcing elections in either November or December? And if the Congress Party goes ahead and signs a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, would there be enough time to complete the next two stages in the deal (NSG approval of an exemption for India and U.S. Congressional approval of the U.S.-India 123 agreement) before the Bush administration leaves office?

There's also this twist, as reported today by the Associated Press:
With no guarantee that the next U.S. president will be as strong a proponent of the deal as Bush, [Indian Prime Minister] Singh and [Congress Party leader Sonia] Gandhi are re-evaluating that position and appear willing to hold elections if the communists won't budge, the businessman said. A major factor in their reasoning, he said, is the early monsoon rains, which could result in a strong fall harvest, pushing down food prices just as the elections would take place. That would also help the government tame inflation, which hit a 13-year high of 11.05 percent Friday.
Be sure to stay tuned!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Highlights of Senate Hearing on State's Arms Control and Nonproliferation Capabilities

Last Friday (June 6) the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight and Government Management, The Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia held a hearing entitled “National Security Bureaucracy for Arms Control, Counterproliferation, and Nonproliferation Part II: The Role of the Department of State.”

The witness list for the hearing included two representatives from the Department of State: Ms. Patricia McNerney, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Ms. Linda S. Taglialatela, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Human Resources. McNerney’s testimony can be found here.

Friday’s hearing was the second in a series of hearings on the effectiveness of the State Department’s arms control, counterproliferation, and nonproliferation bureaucracy, also known as the T Bureau, particularly in the wake of the reorganizations that resulted in (1) the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)-State Department merger in 1999 and (2) the merger of the arms control and nonproliferation bureaus into the new Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) in 2005. During the first hearing, witnesses testified that the State Department’s current organizational structure has compromised its ability to implement effective arms control and nonproliferation policy.

Friday’s hearing focused primarily on the diplomatic and human capital readiness challenges confronting the T Bureau. Here are some (paraphrased) highlights from the Q/A:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI): There have been reports that the 2005 merger caused many experienced career officers to leave the new ISN Bureau. How much attrition has ISN experienced since 2005?

Taglialatela: No merit system principles or laws were violated. Everyone had a position to go to after the reorganization. Some employees did choose to leave, but since the reorganization we haven’t experienced a high rate of attrition; things have pretty much stabilized. The State Department has one of the lowest attrition rates in the federal government.


Akaka: A witness from the last hearing said that a large number of full time equivalent (FTE) personnel positions were eliminated in the wake of the 2005 merger. Were any FTE positions elminated? If so, why were they eliminated?

Taglialatela: None of these positions were eliminated; they were shifted to other areas of the T Bureau. The total number of FTEs left in ISN was probably less that what was in the Bureau of Arms Control and the Bureau of Nonproliferation because some of those functions were shifted to other areas.


Akaka: One of the criticisms of the 2005 reorganization is that the panel tasked with crafting the recommendations for the reorganization operated in near secrecy without the benefit of the Department's human resources expertise. Why was the undersecretary for management not put in charge of implementing this reorganization?

Taglialatela: In hindsight I think the process could have been much more transparent.


Akaka: The State Department's Office of Inspector General reports released in December 2004 concluded that the Nonproliferation Bureau was overworked, the Arms Control Bureau was underworked, and the Verification and Compliance Bureau should be downsized and its responsbilities reduced. However, the new ISN Bureau was apparently reduced in staff size far below the total size of the combined number before the merger, while the new Verification, Compliance and Implementation Bureau grew in size and responsibilities. Why the apparent departure from the findings and conclusions of the OIG?

Taglialatela: The Inspector General’s recommendations do not have to be implemented; they only require a response from the Bureau’s to which they’re directed.
McNerney: Secretary Rice and Under Secretary Bob Joseph made the ultimate reorganization decisions, and they felt that it was necessary to take some of the responsibility of the Arms Control Bureau and add it to the Verification and Compliance Bureau


Taglialatela: One of the things that needs to be made clear is that from 2004 or 2005 to now, the State Department has not received any additional resources. The bureaus domestically have all lost resources because of reprogramming to staffing our embassy in Iraq, our embassy in Kabul, and expanding our presence in Pakistan.


Akaka: The foreign service gives Foreign Service Officers [FSOs] little incentive to obtain the knowledge for leadership positions in nonproliferation and arms control. How would you develop a career path for FSOs in these areas?

McNerney: Spending a couple of years at a functional bureau really doesn't build the kind of relationships out to the embassies. So many of our postings for vacancies go unfilled. There are great challenges, but I've talked to the director general about how he can attract good FSOs through incentives.
Taglialatela: We’re beginning to require that FSOs undertake nontraditional tours (such as in functional bureaus like ISN) before they can move from the foreign service into the senior foreign service.


Akaka: Do either of you have any, say three, recommendations?

1. Don’t recreate a separate agency for arms control and nonproliferation. Our employees are proud to be working at the State Department.
2. Create incentives/opportunities for civil servants to advance to senior executive service (SES) positions
3. Hire uniquely for unique expertise

Despite the best efforts of McNerney and Taglialatela to shine a positive light on the ability of the State Department to address critical arms control and nonproliferation issues, the hearing illustrated the numerous inadequacies of the current organizational structure and the serious human capital problems that continue to prevent the T Bureau from effectively carrying out its mission.

Congressional Schedule for DoD and DoE Bills

Provided below is an updated schedule of Congressional action on key Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DoE) bills, as prepared by David Culp of FCNL. Click to enlarge.

Monday, June 16, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-Up

Last week, Congress again postponed action on the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once more, the House is expected to act on the bill this week, and perhaps the Senate too. The Senate is also expected to consider the Fiscal Year Defense Authorization bill -- as early as this week but possibly not until after the 4th of July recess. The House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee will mark up the funding bill that includes nuclear weapons work and non-proliferation funding.


The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled its mark-up or writing of this bill for June 17. The full House Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for June 24.


The Supplemental bill will now be considered by the House for approval, rejection or modification of the Senate-passed measure, before going to the President for signature or a veto. One possible outcome is that the House will now pass the war funding, the GI education bill, and not much else, and the Senate will agree to the House-passed version. However, Senate Democrats are pushing to include in the bill other provisions, including a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Reminder: there will be no House-Senate conference on this bill.

Missile Defense Monitor

Missile defense developments to report over the past two weeks include:

1) On June 5, MDA conducted a successful test of a component of its Aegis BMD system. Unlike the part of the Navy’s Aegis system that uses an SM-3 “hit-to-kill” interceptor to destroy short- to intermediate-range targets during the midcourse phase of their flight, last week’s test of the Sea-Based Terminal (SBT) system used two SM-2 Block IV interceptors, which use blast fragmentation warheads, to destroy a short-range missile during the terminal phase of its flight.

MDA first demonstrated the ability to target short-range ballistic missiles using the SM-2 Block IV interceptor against short-range missiles during a test in May 2006, and hopes to field an initial SBT capability on 18 Aegis BMD ships sometime in FY 2009.

Overall, the Aegis system has now been successful on 12 out of 14 tests since 2002. The most recent success prompted the skipper of the ship from which the SM-2 Block IV’s were launched, the USS Lake Erie, to proclaim, “I am suffering from post-shot euphoria.” Maybe I’ll catch the same malady when I attend Northrop Grumman’s Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) demonstration at the end of June!

2) During a visit to Washington this week, Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg stated that approval of the U.S. proposal to place a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic could be defeated by widespread Czech public opposition.

As yours truly has repeatedly reminded all you missile defense wonks out there (see here for proof), any agreement must be ratified by the Czech parliament (and perhaps even survive a public referendum). Though Secretary Rice is scheduled to sign an agreement on June 10 during a visit to Prague, it’s looking increasingly likely that the U.S. will have to find another destination for its radar.

3) During a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is expected to press NATO members to agree on options for a NATO missile defense system. The long-range anti-missile system the U.S. hopes to deploy in the Czech Republic and Poland would not cover large swaths of southeastern Europe in range of Iranian short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, including parts of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and almost all of Turkey.

Nine NATO countries are currently working on an Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) system, which is designed to allow NATO countries to coordinate their response to an attack via short- to intermediate range missiles. The system is slated to become “initially operational” by 2010.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Memorandum to Obama and McCain: A New Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Agenda

The past eight years of the Bush administration have been disastrous for arms control and nonproliferation initiatives. The next president, however, can make significant progress in repairing the damage and moving these important issues forward.

As such, I recently prepared a memo to the president-elect, which details four points for a larger arms control and nonproliferation agenda:

  • Pursue a Follow-On Agreement to START I
  • Build a Bipartisan Consensus Leading to CTBT Ratification
  • Urge BWC Universalization, Advance Confidence-Building Measures, and Open Compliance Protocol Negotiations
  • Negotiate a Treaty and Other Measures to Ban Space Weapons

Click here to read the full memo to John McCain and Barack Obama.

Analysis of Senate Armed Services Committee Action on FY2009 Defense Authorization Bill (S. 3001)

The Center’s Chris Hellman and Travis Sharp put out their Analysis of Senate Armed Services Committee Action on the FY2009 Defense Authorization Bill (S 3001) yesterday. The full analysis is available here, while an analysis of House action on the FY2009 Defense Authorization is here for comparison.

The Senate Armed Services Committee released its markup of S. 3001, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Defense Authorization bill, on May 1, 2008. The bill, S. 3001, as reported to the full Senate by the Armed Services Committee, fully funds the administration's $612.5 billion FY2009 National Defense request.

S. 3001 provides $542.5 billion for National Defense (function 050), plus $70 billion in "bridge" funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for a total of $612.5 billion. Of the $70 billion in war funding, $19.9 billion is for Afghanistan, $49.6 billion is for Iraq, and $500 million is for war-related military construction. $70 billion will not be enough to fund ongoing military operations throughout all of FY2009, but it will, as the Committee's press release notes, "provide sufficient funding to allow the next administration to take office without facing an immediate financial crisis in the DOD budget."

The full Senate may take up consideration of S. 3001 as early as the week of June 16.

Included below are highlights, funding provisions, funding levels, and key policy provisions relating to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation issues.


Missile Defense – Cuts $270 million from the administration's request for the Missile Defense Agency. Includes an additional $270 million for near-term missile defense capabilities, including Aegis BMD, THAAD, Short-Range BMD, and the Arrow missile program. Places restrictions on the continued development of a third missile defense site based in Europe (see "Key Policy Provisions" below). Eliminates the $10 million request for the Space Test Bed.

Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) – Retains the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration RRW request of $10 million, but eliminates the Navy's RRW request of $23.3 million slated for "Phase 3" engineering development activities.

Nonproliferation Programs – Adds $20 million to the administration's $414.1 million request for DOD's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) ("Nunn-Lugar") program for states of the former Soviet Union. Provides $1.8 billion for the Department of Energy's nonproliferation programs, $552 million above the request.


Atomic Energy Defense Activities in the Department of Energy (Budget Function 053)
Administration request: $15.9 billion
Committee: $15.9 billion


BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE (Missile Defense Agency only)
Administration request: $9.3 billion
Committee: $9.0 billion, $269 million below request


Department of Energy Nonproliferation Programs
Administration request: $1.247 billion
Committee: $1.799 billion ($552 million above request)

DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction Program ("Nunn-Lugar")
Administration request: $414.1 million
Committee: $434.1 million


National Nuclear Security Administration
Administration request: $9.1 billion
Committee: $9.6 billion, which includes $6.61 billion for "Weapons Activities," $7.4 million below the "Weapons Activities" request
NOTE: $552 million increase in DOE nonproliferation program funding, above, explains growth from $9.1 billion NNSA request to $9.6 billion Committee recommendation)

Defense Environmental Clean-up
Administration request: $5.3 billion
Committee: $5.3 billion


Restriction on Funds for European Missile Defense – Restricts funding for the third missile defense site in Europe until the Polish and Czech governments give final approval. The bill also restricts funding from being 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."

Review of U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense – Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a review of the ballistic missile defense policy and strategy of the United States. The review must be submitted to Congress no later than January 31, 2010. The bill also requires an independent assessment of the costs and benefits of boost phase missile defense. The study would be responsible for examining the Airborne Laser and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor programs, among others.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just a Bunch of Hot Air

* Special guest post by intern extraordinaire Kevin Shkolnik

When I received this Northrop Grumman flier, I was pretty excited. A demonstration of a Kinetic Energy Interceptor! Cool! To be honest, I didn't really know what a Kinetic Energy Interceptor was, and I haven't even heard the words "kinetic energy" since fourth grade science class. But, it has a picture of fire on it... so it must be cool.

Upon closer inspection, there are a few things about this event that have made me a bit unsure of whether or not I want to go. For starters, the "interactive demonstration" is scheduled to take place in the Rayburn Foyer. The Rayburn Foyer is in the Rayburn House office building, which, based on the flier's photograph of a giant fire ball exploding from a tubular rocket, is no place for a ballistic missile demonstration.

John McCain's "a google" revealed what the Kinetic Energy Interceptor actually is:

KEI is the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) element that is being designed to destroy enemy ballistic missiles during their boost and early midcourse phases of flight.

KEI destroys enemy missiles at their most vulnerable point - the boost/ascent phase of flight. This is the phase when missiles are moving relatively slowly, their location is more predictable, and before reentry vehicles, decoying warheads, or countermeasures can be deployed.
In other words, KEI is EXACTLY what I thought it was.

Note to House interns: you may want to think twice about volunteering to attend this event. My guess is the exhaust fumes of the Interceptor, combined with the imminent fireball unleashed upon impact with the incoming ballistic missile, will be a bit hot (no, not this kind of hot, which also goes on in Rayburn apparently).

Another thing about the flier: I'm not a graphics design expert, but I know ClipArt when I see it. The KEI program received $340 million in fiscal year 2008, and DOD wants $386 million more for it this year. With all that coin, can these guys seriously not afford Photoshop?

Maybe they don't need to worry about it. In its markup of the 2009 Defense Authorization bill released last month, the Senate Armed Services Committee noted that KEI is demanding "a very large sum of funds for a program at such an early stage of development." The Committee added its judgment that the KEI program has "lost focus and direction." Then they cut $45 million from the $386 million request.

Ouch. Can you say program cancellation under the next administration?

It seems as if KEI has fallen on troubled times, like many programs within the missile-defense-industrial-complex. The last thing Northrop needs is an immolated intern in Rayburn next week. So, to the House gawkers who may be loitering around the Rayburn Foyer next week, I beg of you to mind the gap.

All that said... I'll see you at the demonstration.

Obama, McCain, and Arms Control in 2009

We know what McCain claimed in his most recent speech on nuclear weapons and nuclear policy, but do any of those positions differ from his previous stances? Where does he stand relative to Obama on issues of arms control?

Find out in the Center's recent side-by-side analysis of the two presumptive presidential nominees' positions on issues of national security, including RRW, START, the CTBT, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction, and relations with India, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Leonor Tomero and John Isaacs, with research assistance from star intern Kimberly Mills, find among other things, that:

  • McCain's position on building new nuclear weapons represents a significant departure from his past legislative votes.
  • Obama introduced legislation to - among other things - take action on renewing START.
  • Despite our already tenuous relationship with Russia, McCain wants to ensure that the G-8 "becomes again a club of leading market democracies" that excludes Russia.
Find out more in the full comparison.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nuclear Arms Control and Nonproliferation Highlights of SIPRI Yearbook 2008

On Monday (June 9), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual yearbook on armaments, disarmament, and international security.

Speaking at the launch of the 2008 yearbook, SIPRI director Dr. Bates Gill noted, “We probably have before us one of the most promising opportunities to see real progress in nuclear-related arms control and nonproliferation than we have seen, at least over the past 10 years.”

Gill alluded approvingly to a recent speech on nuclear nonproliferation policy by presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and applauded presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama for calling for a world free of nuclear weapons (for a series of CACNP summaries and analyses on McCain’s speech and the specifics of the candidates’ arms control and nonproliferation platforms, see here, here, and here).

In addition, Gill spoke highly of the efforts of Kissinger, Schultz, Perry, and Nunn, who, according to Gill, “are arguing very forcefully of the need of the major world powers, particularly the United States and Russia, to take serious steps in the coming years to hold up their side of the bargain that is enshrined in the NPT.” As I noted in a post yesterday, the impact that these men have made on the global debate about nuclear weapons cannot be overstated.

As far as the nuclear arms control and nonproliferation substance of the yearbook, highlights include:
  • As of January 2008, the United States continues to deploy 4,075 strategic and non-strategic warheads, while Russia continues to deploy 5,189 such warheads.
  • If all nuclear warheads are counted – operational warheads, spares, those in both active and inactive storage, and intact warheads scheduled for later dismantlement – those states that possess nuclear weapons together possess a total of more than 25, 000 warheads, approximately 24,000 of which are in the possession of the U.S. and Russia.
  • As of 2007, global stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) totaled approximately 1370 tons (not including 346 tons to be blended down).
  • As of 2007, global military stocks of separated plutonium totaled approximately 228–282 tons and civilian stocks totaled 244.9 tons.
And to think that before a December 2007 announcement by the Bush administration approving a cut of 4,500 warheads, the United States possessed approximately 10,000 warheads! Despite all of the Bush administration’s talk about how the threats we face today differ from those we faced during the Cold War, our (and Russia’s) nuclear doctrine remains firmly on a Cold War footing. This is a strategic mindset the next president will have to free America's national security bureaucracy from if he hopes to truly reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Calls for Nuke Commission, Reiterates Position on Nuke Trade with India

During a talk today in Kyoto, Japan, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the creation of a new International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. According to Rudd, the goal of the Commission is to forge a global consensus on how to breathe life into the NPT in the lead-up to the 2010 NPT review conference.

“We can’t afford for that (2005 experience) to happen again and for the NPT treaty simply to die the death of a thousand cuts,” the prime minister said. “We’ve got to work on it.” Admitting that such a task would not be easy, Rudd argued, “It’s time for us also as Australians to reconstitute our global disarmament credentials…. There’s no guarantees of success. But you’ve got to give it a huge shove.”

Though Australia has a history of thinking seriously about eliminating nuclear weapons (see the Canberra Commission, which the new Commission is meant to pick up from), the prime minister’s announcement illustrated the impact Schultz, Perry, Kissinger, and Nunn have made on the global debate about nuclear weapons. Rudd explicitly cited the Wall Street Journal op-eds by the “Four Horsemen,” noting that the “men were not peaceniks, but experienced global negotiators.”

Rudd also used the occasion to reiterate his government’s commitment not to export uranium to India so long as it refused to sign the NPT:

Our policy platform on that is clear. We’ve indicated that we believe it’s important to maintain the integrity of the NPT….I understand full well the arguments put by the Government of India….I’ve had presentations on this matter from the Government of the United States about the importance of India's particular circumstances. However, I would remind you of where our policy stands and it comes off the back of the platform of the Australian Labor Party.
The Rudd government’s position on this issue represents a significant and positive reversal from the government of former Prime Minister John Howard. Howard had stated that Australia would supply uranium to India once (1) New Delhi negotiated a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, (2) the NSG rule prohibiting nuclear trade with India was changed, and (3) the U.S. Congress approved the U.S.-India 123 agreement.

In contrast, Rudd appears to have put the integrity of the nuclear nonproliferation regime ahead of the prospect of financial gain (though it is important to point out that the Rudd government maintains that it would give “thoughtful and serious consideration to joining a consensus” at the NSG to allow India to conduct civilian nuclear trade with other nuclear suppliers).

Monday, June 9, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-up

Congress completed work on the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution this past week, but postponed action on the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House is expected to act on the Supplemental this week, and perhaps the Senate too. The Senate is also expected to consider the Fiscal Year Defense Authorization bill, but not for another week or two. The House Appropriations Committee is moving close to writing the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bills.


The Supplemental bill now moves back to the House for approval, rejection or modification of the Senate-passed measure, likely early in June, before going to the President for signature or a veto. One possible outcome is that the House will now pass the war funding, the GI education bill, and not much else, and the Senate will agree to the House-passed version. However, Senate Democrats are pushing to include in the bill other provisions, including a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Reminder: there will be no House-Senate conference on this bill.


A House-Senate conference to resolve differences between the two versions of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution was concluded on May 20. The conference report provided $1.1 trillion in Fiscal Year 2009 discretionary spending, which is $21 billion above the $991.6 billion requested by the Administration. The total budget including mandatory spending (Social Security, Medicare), is $3 trillion. The recommended funding for defense discretionary funding is $537.8 billion in budget authority and $568.7 billion in outlays -- not including money to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conference report also provided $38.3 billion for International Affairs budget authority and $38.4 billion in outlays. Although this funding level is $1.5 billion below the Administration's request, it is $4 billion above the FY08 enacted level of $34.3 billion.

On June 4, the Senate adopted the Budget Resolution conference report by a vote of 48 to 45. Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Peter Domenici (R-NM) withheld their "no" votes as both Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) were absent.

On June 5, the House voted 214 to 210 to adopt the conference report.


The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled its mark-up or writing of this bill for July 16. The full House Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for July 23.


The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled its mark-up or writing of this bill for June 17. The full House Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for June 24.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Congressional Schedule for DoD and DoE Bills (updated)

Provided below is an updated schedule of Congressional action on key Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DoE) bills, as prepared by David Culp of FCNL. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Growing Economic Ties Better Deterrence

The Center's Kingston Reif had an excellent letter to the editor published last week in the Washington Times. Check it out below.

James T. Hackett's column on India's strategic posture suffers from two major problems ("India's missile power lifts off," Commentary, May 22).

First, emphasizing the threat to India posed by China obscures the fact that China is set to overtake the United States as India's largest bilateral trade partner. Moreover, China and India recently announced that New Delhi plans to host a second round of joint military exercises with Beijing this year.

Though India understandably is taking the necessary precautions to prepare itself for any contingency, growing economic and military ties will do more than ballistic missiles to reduce the likelihood of war between India and China.

Second, while effective Indian missile defenses could in theory limit the damage caused by a missile attack against India, they would not bolster deterrence because India already has the ability to target China and Pakistan with its ballistic missiles.

Though the benefits of Indian missile defenses would be minimal at best, the costs could be grave. Indian missile defenses could cause China and Pakistan to reassess the viability of their credible minimum deterrents, thereby exacerbating an already existing arms race in the region.

Scoville Fellow
Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Washington, DC

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

McCain's Nuclear Weapons Speech: Cheers, Jeers, and Questions

Sen. John McCain's speech last week certainly falls short of calling for a world free of nuclear weapons, but the good news is that his presidency shouldn't look exactly like Bush III.

The Center's Leonor Tomero released today an excellent summary of his much talked about Denver speech on nuclear security. While some find his statements largely in line with Bush's, Tomero finds a number of high points: a willingness to begin to address the threat of nuclear weapons, a commitment to internationalism and diplomacy, and a recognition of the necessity of U.S. non-proliferation leadership.

Her summary, cheers, and jeers follow.

In his speech about nuclear weapons issues delivered on May 27, 2008, Senator John McCain raised important issues for the next Administration. His remarks signaled a welcome shift from the Bush Administration's repudiation of important tools that can effectively reduce the dangers posed by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, tools which served us well during the Cold War and which remain important for the continued viability of the non-proliferation framework.

Senator McCain's remarks signal a significant change from the Bush Administration in certain important areas, including a renewed commitment to pursuing further legally-binding and verifiable reductions in the number of U.S. and Russia nuclear weapons; opening a discussion on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); strengthening efforts to secure vulnerable bomb-grade material; pursuing negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT); and increasing funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Questions remain about specific policies, including whether Senator McCain will continue the successful engagement with North Korea to achieve a verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program, and whether he will be willing to negotiate directly with Iran. Another concern is his support of an ineffective and provocative missile defense which rankles the Russians and does nothing to reduce the more likely risk of a hostile country or terrorist group detonating a nuclear weapon in the United States or from a U.S. harbor.
  • McCain recognized the threat and the urgent need to address the danger of nuclear weapons.
  • McCain proposed "broad-minded internationalism, and determined diplomacy" to re-engage in international cooperation, a shift from the Bush Administration's aversion to multilateralism and international cooperation.
  • McCain gave a clear commitment to reducing significantly the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal by negotiating further legally-binding and verifiable reductions with Russia.
  • McCain acknowledged the special leadership role that the United States and Russia play.
  • McCain affirmed his commitment to a moratorium on nuclear weapon testing, in place since 1992, and expressed his preference for opening a discussion on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
  • McCain expressed support for strengthening the non-proliferation regime by increasing funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • McCain endorsed increased funding for Cooperative Threat Reduction ("Nunn-Lugar") programs.
  • McCain urged that the United States "should move quickly with other nations to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty to end production of the most dangerous nuclear materials."
  • McCain was vague with respect to the number of nuclear weapons that the United States should maintain.
  • McCain was ambiguous about whether he would support new nuclear weapons.
  • While McCain noted the danger of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and Iran's nuclear program, he does not specify how he would address these challenges.
  • McCain proposed to continue to threaten the use of nuclear weapons to deter the use of chemical and biological weapons.
  • McCain's support for missile defense may exacerbate a nuclear arms race while failing to provide an effective defense for the United States.
  • McCain's support for a U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal undermines nuclear non-proliferation.
  • McCain support for resuming reprocessing in the United States undermines efforts to keep other countries from developing these technologies even while he affirmed his desire to limit the spread of reprocessing and uranium enrichment technology.
  • McCain undercut his proposals to pursue nuclear weapons reduction negotiations with Russia by proposing to expel Russia from the G-8, the group of eight industrialized countries that meet periodically to cooperate on economic issues.
For additional resources on the increasingly likely Obama-McCain match-up for November, check out the great resources of (our sister organization) Council for a Livable World, especially a great article by Executive Director John Isaacs, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Monday, June 2, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-up

Congress returns from recess this week from the Memorial Day recess. Pending action on national security issues is possible, including House consideration of the Senate-passed Supplemental Appropriations bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On May 22, the Senate approved funding for the war, rejected Iraq-related provisions, and added, with a veto-proof majority, the G.I. bill and a number of domestic funding provisions. Rather than a House-Senate conference to resolve differences between the House version of the bill and the Senate version, the House will either accept, reject, or modify what the Senate passed on May 22.