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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BERG. Mr. Chairman, I have the distinct honor to represent several military installations in my State of North Dakota, including the Minot Air Force Base, the home of the 91st Missile Wing and the 5th Bomber Wing, which relates to the amendment I have to offer today.

The amendment, which I offer today, along with my colleagues Mrs. Lummis of Wyoming and Mr. Denny Rehberg of Montana, is very straightforward. It prohibits the fiscal year 2013 funds from being used to implement plans under the New START Treaty to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and their delivery system, which significantly reduces America's ability to develop and use our nuclear defense capabilities.

We all know that during the 2010 lame duck session the Senate ratified the New START Treaty, and President Obama made a promise to Congress that as long as he was President we will continue to invest in nuclear modernization.

Mr. Chairman, since then, he has backed away from his promise, and we all heard the President's unsettling off-mike comments that he would have more flexibility after the November elections.

The treaty provides for 7 years for the United States and Russia to reduce the number of deployed ICBMs, deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles and deployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments to no more than 700 weapons.

I know that many of us may not agree on the appropriate level of deployed nuclear weapons or our view on the New START Treaty. However, we need to make one thing clear: nowhere in the New START Treaty does it require reductions from the United States to make these cuts prior to fiscal year or during fiscal year 2013.

Furthermore, we're still waiting on the administration to tell us exactly how sharp the cuts in our deployed nuclear weapons could be under the New START Treaty.

The Associated Press has reported the Obama administration is going beyond the level laid out in the New START Treaty and is considering as much as an 80-percent reduction in our current nuclear arsenal.

It appears that the administration is planning drastic cuts to our nuclear arsenal and could be planning to move away from our nuclear triad strategy altogether. All three legs of our Nation's nuclear triad are complementary to the defense of our Nation.

Drastic cuts in our overall level of our Nation's nuclear arsenal puts our national security at risk and sharp reductions to any one leg of the nuclear triad would destabilize a sound defense strategy.

Therefore, since the President made an agreement to modernize our arsenal, and Congress is still waiting to hear what those specifics are, Congress should not provide funding to facilitate these reductions.

I urge adoption of these amendments.

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