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Hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee - FY14 Strategic Programs of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Senator UDALL. Good afternoon. The Subcommittee on Strategic
Forces will come to order.

This afternoon we will receive testimony from the National Nuclear Security Administration regarding their fiscal year 2014 budget request. We will also hear from the Department of Energy's
Office of Environmental Management and the GAO.

As I just did earlier, I want to thank all of the witnesses or taking time out of your busy schedules to appear today, and I hope this hearing will be informative not only for the Senators in attendance today but to you all in understanding our views on different
aspects of your programs.

I mentioned to all of our witnesses that it is a busy day on the
Hill. I anticipate a Senator to drop by, but that is no indication of
the importance that we all hold the work that you do in.

We have two panels today. The first panel will feature the acting
Administrator of the NNSA, Ms. Neile Miller. And for the second
panel, we will have Dr. Don Cook, the Deputy Administrator for
Defense Programs; Admiral John Richardson, the Deputy Administrator for Naval Reactors; Mr. Dave Huizenga, the Senior Advisor
for Environmental Management; and Mr. David Trimble, the Director for Natural Resources and Environment of the General Accountability Office.
In terms of logistics, I thought we could give Ms. Miller a half
hour to about 3:15. Now, let us see. We are going to adjust that,
but about a half hour. And then the second panel will have 45 minutes to an hour. This should have us finishing up 3:45 to 4 o'clock.
We want to make sure people have time to really explore the topics
today.

With that, let me make a few opening remarks.
For the fiscal year 2014, the budget request for the NNSA is
$7.868 billion, which is an increase of 4.1 percent relative to fiscal
year 2012. Accounting for shifts in budget categories, the request
is about 2.7 percent below section 1251 report number of $8.4 billion.

While reductions are notable, they are less than other programs are facing in our current budget climate, especially with sequestration being in effect.
For the Naval Reactors program, the fiscal year 2014 budget is
$1.246 billion, which is an increase of 15.1 percent. That increase
is mainly for refueling a test and training reactor and construction
of a spent fuel handling facility, both of which are important to
DOD fleet operations.

The Office of Environmental Management request is $5.62 billion, down 1.2 percent from fiscal year 2012. Not accounted for at the present time is how fiscal year 2013 reductions due to sequestration will affect these programs in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.

I understand the NNSA will lose about $600 million. The Environmental Management Program will lose about $420 million, and assuming a similar cut of 8 percent, that would yield a reduction for
naval reactors of about $87 million.

There are several issues I would like to explore in this hearing.
First, I would like to know from both panels what effects sequestration will have on programs already underway, whether in terms
of delays in achieving milestones or in the ability to affect out-year
schedules. It seems clear that the effects of sequestration will compound themselves in the out-years in ways that will increase time
and cost.

Second, I would like to know from Administrator Miller what
steps she is taking to control the costs of the B61 program and
other life extension programs. I understand that Director Miller is
working with the DOD Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation Office, better known as CAPE, but if we are living with two estimates, one by the NNSA and one by CAPE, we will need to know which one Congress should rely on.

Third, I would like to understand from Mr. Huizenga what is
being done to keep a bad situation from getting worse with the
waste treatment plant, especially regarding the ability to empty
leaking tanks and begin treating at a minimum low-level waste
from those tanks. We have a special commitment to all the communities where the DOE is cleaning up former defense sites and we
need to keep it.

Fourth, as always, I would like to hear from the GAO on their
observations about what could be improved with existing projects
at NNSA and the Office of Environmental Management. The NNSA
has shelved two major construction projects. The chemistry, metallurgy research replacement project was stopped when it was 70
percent complete. $450 million had already been spent. The pit de-
assembly conversion project was also stopped after spending $400
million. Combined, that is close to a billion dollars.

Obviously, the waste treatment plant is another category, but I
suspect there are common problems underlying all three projects
that the GAO can give recommendations on. My hope is that those
recommendations will provide lessons learned before embarking on
some of the life extension programs over the next 5 years.

Again, let me thank everybody for coming. I see we have been
joined by my colleague from the wonderful State of Indiana, the
Hoosier State, Senator Donnelly. Senator Donnelly, if you had any
opening remarks you would like to make, the floor is yours.
Senator DONNELLY. No, Mr. Chairman. I am looking forward to
the testimony.

Senator UDALL. Great. Thank you for being here.
Administrator Miller, the floor is yours. We look forward to your
comments.


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