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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. This bill makes investments in our nation's military, authorizes funding to further strengthen our national security, and provides resources and aid to service members and their families.
However, I am disappointed with a Sense of Congress that was added to this bill during the House Armed Services Committee Markup. This Sense of Congress states that the administration's recently released Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) weakens our national security. I disagree with that position. The Nuclear Posture Review, led by the Department of Defense, states that America's nuclear arsenal will be maintained safely and securely without the need to develop new nuclear warheads.
The Nuclear Posture Review is particularly important as it shuts the door on new nuclear weapons testing. I have long had concerns that the development of new nuclear weapons could lead us back down a path to new nuclear weapons testing, which I strongly oppose. Utahns and others living downwind of the Nevada Test Site have paid dearly for government deception about the safety of past nuclear weapons testing activities. I will continue to work to ensure that history is not repeated. Evidence has long supported the fact that our current nuclear arsenal is a sufficient and reliable deterrent. In 2006 the National Nuclear Security Administration released the results of a five-year, peer-reviewed study which found that plutonium remains potent as a weapons fuel for at least 90 years and perhaps much longer.
I believe the NPR sets us on a path forward that secures our existing weapons stockpile as a continued, effective deterrent, combined with efforts to reduce nuclear danger in the world. This direction will allow the U.S. to focus on securing the intelligence and the conventional weapons that we need to deal with the real and ongoing terrorist threat that we face and assuring our continued national security. I hope that as the Senate considers this bill, it will reevaluate this misguided Sense of the Congress and recognize the importance of the Nuclear Posture Review.
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