Former SecDef Gates and the Future of Defense Reform (Fingers Crossed)

The Army JLENS blimp fiasco, the $43 million Afghan gas station, the fumbling F-35 program, the NDAA veto, government shutdowns, the Syrian train-and-equip program, etc. These are just some of the issues that have come up in recent times that highlight the desperate need to work towards defense reform in the United States. And the work should start now.






Spending Bills Clear Congress, Despite Delays

After more than a few budget antics this weekend, both the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, H.R. 3979) and FY15 Omnibus (H.R. 83), or “Cromnibus,” have cleared Congress.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees completed behind-the-scenes negotiations on the NDAA on December 1st then moved on to a vote in the House on December 5th, where the bill passed 300-119. On December 12th, the Senate lent its approval to the bill by a vote of 89-11, marking the 53rd consecutive NDAA approved by Congress.











Analysis of the NDAA and Cromnibus

Monstrous names must follow monstrous documents, because the so-called “Cromnibus,” filed yesterday in the House, clocks in at just over 1,600 pages. Now I know you were really excited to sit down with a cup of cocoa and read through them all, and I …











Amendments To Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House

Below is a summary of amendments on nuclear weapons, missile defense, and related issues submitted for consideration by the House to the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), or H.R. 4435. The bill was debated this week on the House floor and passed this morning by a vote of 325-98.

You can read our early reaction to the full bill here.

Over on the Senate side, the Senate Armed Services Committee has completed its (closed) markup of its version of the NDAA. A summary of the bill could be available later today or tomorrow.

The numbers to the left of the permitted amendments are the numbers for floor votes. The second number is the original Rules Committee number.

Rejected 192-229 – Floor amendment #1: Blumenauer (OR) #308 – NNSA Nuclear Weapons Spending – Authorizes the Secretary of the Air Force to procure not more than 10  radar upgrades for the Air National Guard F-15C/D aircraft, which is offset by cuts to levels authorized beyond the President’s Budget Request, spread across 9 accounts.

Rejected 194-227 – Floor amendment #3: Sanchez, Loretta (CA) #157 – Nonproliferation Funding  – Gives the Pentagon authority to transfer funds to nuclear nonproliferation, not only to weapons activities and naval reactors. Currently, the bill language limits fund transfers to only weapons activities and naval reactors.

Approved 222-196 – Floor amendment #6: Daines (MT), Cramer, Kevin (ND), Lamborn (CO), Lummis (WY) #76 – ICBM silos – – Strikes subsection (c) of Section 1634 of the bill which terminates in 2021 the requirement that 450 ICBM silos remain in at least warm status.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #14 – Kildee (MN) #243 – NNSA Nuclear Weapons Spending – Allocates $10 million dollars to develop additional financial literacy training programs for incoming and transitioning service members, which would be funded by offsetting the $15.1 billion dollar shipbuilding account and a $902.2 nuclear weapons refurbishment account. Along w/Kildee floor amendment #161 (see below), the amendments reduced funding for the W76 and B61 LEPs by $7.5 million each.

Approved 233-191 – Floor amendment #17 – Lamborn (CO) #61 – New START Treaty – Blocks the use of funds for implementing the New START treaty until certification that the Russian Federation is respecting Ukrainian sovereignty and is no longer violating the INF or CFE treaties.

Approved 224-199 – Floor amendment #24 – Blumenauer (OR) #221 – CBO Nuclear Costs Study – Requires Congressional Budget Office to update, on an annual basis, their report on the projected costs of U.S. nuclear forces.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #28 – Hastings (WA) #126 – Defense Environmental Cleanup – Restores $20 million of the proposed cut to defense environmental cleanup by reducing funding for NNSA weapons activities by $20 million.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #84 – Fortenberry (NE) #317 – Nuclear Nonproliferation – Would require a report as to how the Department of Defense will manage its mission related to nuclear forces, deterrence, nonproliferation and terrorism.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #128 – Gibson (NY) and Garamendi (CA) #38 – AUMF for Syria or Iran – States that nothing in the FY15 NDAA shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Syria or Iran. (Note: Johnson (GA) submitted an identical amendment #255.)

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #129 – Gosar (AZ) #24 – Iran – Declares that “it is the policy of the United States to fully support Israel’s lawful exercise of self-defense, including actions to halt regional aggression.”

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #131 – Roskam (IL) and Walorski (IN) #5 – Iran – Expresses the Sense of Congress calling on the United States to immediately arm Israel with bunker-buster bombs and refueling tankers “to remove any existential threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program.”

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #145 – Turner (OH) #16 – US Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – Limits availability of FY 2015 funds for removal or consolidation of dual-capable aircraft from Europe.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #147 – Polis (CO) and Nadler (NY) #278 – Missile Defense – – Updates a Sense of Congress in the HASC bill to say that the Secretary of Defense should not procure additional capability enhancement II exoatmospheric kill vehicles for deployment until after the date on which a successful operationally realistic flight intercept flight test of the kill vehicle has occurred.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #148 – Brooks (AL), Rogers (AL), and Turner (OH) #165 – INF Treaty – Requires a Plan to Counter Certain Ground-launched Ballistic Missiles and Cruise Missiles and for other purposes.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #149 – Foster (IL) #252 – Missile Defense – Requires the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) to study the testing program of the ground based midcourse missile defense (GMD) system. IDA would be required to produce a report on the effectiveness of the testing program and recommendations for how it can be improved.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #155 – Larsen (WA) #191 – Nuclear Verification and Monitoring – Requires the creation of an interagency plan for verification and monitoring relating to the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons and fissile material.

Approved by voice vote – Floor amendment #161 – Kildee (MN) #244 – NNSA Nuclear Weapons Spending – Allocates $10 million dollars to develop additional financial literacy training programs for incoming and transitioning service members, which would be funded by offsetting the $15.1 billion dollar shipbuilding account and a $902.2 nuclear weapons refurbishment account. Along w/Kildee floor amendment #14 (see above), the amendments reduced funding for the W76 and B61 LEPs by $7.5 million each.

GOP REFUSE TO ALLOW TO BE DEBATED:  Quigley (IL) and Garamendi (CA) #147 – Directs GAO to conduct an analysis of the justification and rationale for maintaining the nuclear triad, and to identify any excess that may result in cost savings.

GOP REFUSE TO ALLOW TO BE DEBATED:  Sanchez (CA) and Larsen (WA) #158 – Nuclear Weapons Deployed in Europe – Requires a certification that the cost of sustaining and forward-deploying nuclear weapons in Europe will be shared by NATO members, and not just paid by the United States.

GOP REFUSE TO ALLOW TO BE DEBATED:  Doggett (TX) #238 – Iran – Sense of Congress to say that a comprehensive agreement with Iran relating to Iran’s nuclear program should substantially increase the security of the people of the USand include significant and verifiable constraints sufficient to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The amendment also expresses the Sense of Congress that existing sanctions related to Iran’s other proscribed activities will continue to be strictly enforced until Iran ceases such activities.