Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, introduced the Securing Our Nuclear Weapons and Facilities Act, legislation that would transfer responsibility for providing security at certain National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) nuclear weapons facilities to the Department of Defense (DOD). Under the bill, the military would provide security for nuclear weapons and special nuclear material at NNSA's sites in the same manner as it does for nuclear weapons in military custody. In addition, responsibility for securing transportation of nuclear weapons would also shift to DOD.
"Last week my Subcommittee heard directly from NNSA officials and experts on the Y-12 incident and the alarming lapse of security. On a bipartisan basis we were stunned by the series of failures, at all levels, that enabled this incident to occur. We were also dismayed by the lack of accountability in responsible federal officials. It is clear that the NNSA is broken and we must take immediate action to ensure the security of the nation's nuclear materials," said Turner.
In May of this year, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R.4310). The bill contained a series of reforms sponsored by Turner that would overhaul the governance, management, and oversight of the nuclear security enterprise. The bill would shift NNSA from focusing on paperwork and overly bureaucratic processes to ensuring NNSA's mission is performed safely, securely, and effectively.
"Shifting security to the military provides a number of advantages over the current system. Our military has the capabilities, training, and cultural mindset needed to secure the nation's most powerful weapons. NNSA was originally created by Congress because of major security and mismanagement problems at DOE. For 12 years DOE and NNSA have been saying they will get things right--this latest incident proves once again that they haven't. I am not willing to risk having security for our nuclear weapons continue to reside inside this broken system," added Turner.
Cosponsors of Turner's bill include: Reps. Trent Franks (AZ-02), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Austin Scott (GA-08), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mike Rogers (AL-03), and Jon Fleming (LA-04).