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Hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee - FY13 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Missile Defense


Location: Washington, DC

The Strategic Forces Subcommittee held a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Missile Defense. Chairman Michael Turner made the following remarks:

"We have a great team of witnesses today for this important topic:

The Honorable Brad Roberts
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy
U.S. Department of Defense

Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly
Missile Defense Agency

"General, I note this may be your last year appearance before us as your term is up this December. We thank you for your 22 years of service to the United States, General, and we wish you well.

The Honorable J. Michael Gilmore
Director, Operational Test and Evaluation
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Mr. David Ahern
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Strategic and Tactical Systems
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

"Since entering office, the Obama Administration has demonstrated a lack of interest in, and support for, missile defense--specifically, the defense of the United States. In its first budget submission to the Congress, President Obama slashed $1.16 billion out of the missile defense budget, more than a ten percent reduction, in a single year. If you turn your attention to the screen, you will see the FY09 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) from the Bush Administration and the FY10 FYDP from the Obama Administration.

"The President's FY13 submission is, in fact, lower than the President's own FY10 budget request by over $100 million. Remember, slide 1 shows that the FY10 request from the Obama Administration was $1.6 billion less than the previous President recommended and slide 2 shows it was less even than than President Obama's own budget request for FY10.

"What's more, the MDA FY13 FYDP projection for FY13-16 is $3.6 billion less than even President Obama's FY12 FDYP projection for FY13-16 just last year and $2 billion less than the previous administration projected for FY13. And where the President has requested support for missile defense, it has been to support regional missile defenses to the exclusion of national missile defense. According to MDA budget charts, the United States under the Obama Administration will be spending approximately $4 or $5 on regional missile defense, including the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), for every $1 on national missile defense; this trend continues over the FYDP.

"Let me caveat to say that everyone of these slides comes right from MDA or MDA numbers, other than slide 6 which we put together based on the MDA Budget Outline breakdowns for FY13. I note the so-called "hedge" we see on slide 5 is the IIB and PTSS systems, which the MDA Budget Outline for FY13 labels an EPAA regional contributor. As we know, the Administration is "contributing" the EPAA to NATO free-of-charge. Such a contribution could cost the U.S. as much as $8.5 billion over the course of the FYDP (FY13-17). Possibly more.

"According to the GAO, responding to a request regarding the EPAA from Mr. Langevin and me in 2009, "the limited visibility into the costs and schedule for EPAA…reflect the oversight challenges with the acquisition of missile defense capabilities that we have previously reported."

"Senator Sessions and I were concerned enough about these challenges related to the EPAA that we wrote to Mr. Frank Kendall, the President's nominee for the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in November of last year to ask for help in remedying what GAO has found concerning an inability to cost the EPAA system. Three months later, less than three weeks ago, we were told that DOD would work to develop such a cost; I hope so, but I understand we won't have it until July.

"We need these costs because as we look ahead to the budget, we have to understand how we're helping the Administration to deliver on what it says is its number one priority: the defense of the homeland. I have to say, I'm not sure how we're doing that in this budget.

"The final budget of the previous Administration, the FY09 budget request, requested $1.5 billion for national missile defense, the ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system. But, the President's budget request for FY13 seeks $900 million -- $260 million less than the FY12 request, which was itself a decrease of $185.0 million from FY11.

"At the same time, we have had two test failures of the GMD system, and I understand we won't see a return-to-flight flight test for the CE2 kill vehicle for two more months than projected (to July 2012) and the return-to-flight intercept test for the CE2 kill vehicle will be delayed three months (to December 2012). Yet, the nuclear and missile programs of Iran and North Korea have continued to expand. And, Secretary Gates referenced a potential new North Korean mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in June of 2011 at the Shangri La conference:

with the continued development of long-range missiles and potentially a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and their continued development of nuclear weapons, North Korea is in the process of becoming a direct threat to the United States.

"A road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile would be a profound leap forward in North Korea's ballistic missile technology. I remind my colleagues of our classified briefing on this subject last November.

"Yet, we cut GMD, and General O'Reilly, this budget continues to underfund national missile defense. General, I appreciated your comment in my office the other day that more of your time is spent on GMD than any other program, but, I have to say, your time doesn't appear to be a substitute for the Administration's short changing of the programs in its budgets as evidenced by the last two test failures.

"And now I see that we're going to mothball Missile Field 1 and the Sea-based X-band radar. General, I know you'll say that we're not mothballing the SBX system, but the $10 million request simply does not fund keeping this radar in a ready status able to deployed to defend the homeland at a moment's notice. I am grateful that the Administration appears ready to finally brief the hedging strategy for homeland missile defense, but, I note that this strategy is long overdue. Dr. Roberts, we've discussed this. Dr. Miller and you essentially promised we would have this within weeks of your last appearance before us this time last year.

"I trust that the strategy will answer this committee's concerns, but, I note that there is no money in the budget request to do anything approximating a real hedge. No money to deploy additional GBIs, beyond the test articles being purchased this year. No money to dig more holes at Fort Greely or Vandenberg, or even to maintain all of the silos we have there.

"And, when five members of this subcommittee and I wrote to Secretary Panetta in November asking about the hedging strategy, the response we got back indicates that while Iran and North Korea are developing and perhaps readying the deployment of significant numbers of ICBMs, the Obama Administration is concentrating on building communications terminals and crossing its fingers about reliability improvements. I will make both of these letters a part of the record. I note that we are not, in fact, even testing the system against an ICBM target for three, possibly four more years.

"And, I don't even see a dollar for an East Coast site, which NORTHCOM recommended before the EPAA was announced, and which the Institute for Defense Analyses and the National Academies of Sciences, recently recommended. Not even a cent for environmental impact study work, which would consume at least 18 months of time. Why not knock this out of the way to at least have the option to proceed if you're wrong about the Iranian threat?

"Let me note something else of interest to the Subcommittee: the Administration made a series of promises to the Congress in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and the 1251 plan. Dr. Roberts, I know you are intimately familiar with those promises. When the President decided to break his promise to fully fund that plan he reevaluated his policy and decided that it could afford more risk by delaying the B61 gravity bomb, the W76 warhead, and indefinitely delaying the CMRR facility in New Mexico.

"However, when the president decided to cut $3.6 billion out of his own missile defense budget, we lose six GBI silos in Alaska, we mothball the SBX, we cut the number of TPY-2 radars we are procuring, we cut three THAAD batteries and over sixty THAAD interceptors…yet, we continue with the EPAA without delay.

"In fact, we increase the budget for the PTSS system and other EPAA systems like the IIB missile, which, according to the MDA budget outline for FY13, which I will make a part of the record, are regional systems in support of the EPAA.

"Now I don't think we should have to choose between regional missile defense and national missile defense, but, I also don't think it's a good idea, as apparently the president does, to gut our GMD system, or for the president to cut his own missile budget by $3.2 over the next several years, or to underfund missile defense by $2 billion this year alone based on the level of funding the Bush Administration projected we would fund missile defense.

"Let me dwell on this graphic long enough to note that many of these cuts occurred when the Obama Administration first came to office…it isn't possible to blame all of these cuts on the Budget Control Act as the president does all too often when convenient to him. The President's missile defense policy must be reevaluated, and national missile defense must be adequately funded, as opposed to the mere lip service paid to it by the Obama Administration."

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