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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Chairman, I would say first and foremost that the true destabilizing force in the Western Pacific today is nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea. There have been many efforts to try to pursue solutions in that regard: six-party talks and many different things. It is time that the United States have some additional options. The language in the NDAA that we have merely says that we need a report to be conducted regarding the efficacy of additional nuclear or conventional weapons in the Western Pacific region. It technically doesn't even mention South Korea. It is true that the South Korean people and some of the South Korean leaders have debated and some of them are arguing for the redeployment of the tactical nuclear weapons on the peninsula because they see North Korea's nuclear forces as the most destabilizing aspect.

This amendment that the gentleman puts forward simply says that it would not be in the national security interests of the United States, and I think that that's not in evidence at this point. I believe that having this language in our defense bill actually strengthens the administration's hand to promote some sort of a more just solution here and takes the country and the world in a safer direction.

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment prohibits FY13 NNSA nonproliferation activities with Russia until the Secretary of Energy, in cooperation with the Secretaries of State and Defense, can certify two things: first, that Russia is no longer providing support to the Assad regime's efforts to suppress the Syrian people; and, second, that Russia is not providing technology or equipment to Iran, North Korea, or Syria that contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Chairman, this NNSA program for years has been an effort on our part to assist Russia to secure potential lost nuclear weapons and to help them be able to store and deal with some of the nuclear materials that they may have difficulty doing. But it's come to a point now where we have reached what I consider almost like a schizophrenic relationship here where we are funding Russia's own responsibility to deal with some of their older nuclear technology while allowing them to free up funds to spend on new nuclear technology which they sell to some of our enemies.

Mr. Chairman, that's not keeping faith with the American people. It's not keeping faith with the cause of human peace in the world. And, Mr. Chairman, we need to send Russia a message that we are committed to making sure that we don't arm our enemies and we don't support brutal regimes that suppress innocent people trying to fight for freedom in the world.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment does have two waivers that allow the NNSA to finish current activities due to be completed in fiscal year 2013 or to allow an activity to continue, if the Secretary of Energy believes it's in the national security interest of the United States to do so. In the meantime, Mr. Chairman, this is something that we need to pass, and I would hope that my colleagues would support it.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Well, Mr. Chairman, I would just say that when we are working with what was once the Soviet Union--now Russia--to try to prevent nonproliferation, and we supplied the money to help them prevent proliferation in the world of nuclear weapons while at the same time they are taking that exact same technology and giving it or selling it at great profit many times to our enemies, it just is an example of national cognitive dissonance, and it is something that we should change as quickly as we can.

Russia is one of Syria's main arms suppliers, having supplied an estimated $1 billion worth of arms, including surface-to-air missiles in 2011. It represents a challenge to peace in the region. And, Mr. Chairman, we simply have no business continuing to subsidize them if we're suggesting that we are trying to prevent proliferation while subsidizing their proliferation.

I would just urge the passage of this amendment.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, we should remember as a Nation that there was a time when we were the only country on Earth that had nuclear weapons capability. But that fell into foreign hands and the arms race was born. We should also remember that there was a time when we produced almost all of our uranium needs for our nuclear power plants. Today, we import over 90 percent of that.

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