REP. [MICHAEL] TURNER: The next issue goes to the issue of reducing without the hedge. You know, our provision [in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act] is the chemistry military research facility in New Mexico, the uranium processing facility in Tennessee, that they need to be operational. President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, said to the Carnegie Endowment earlier this year in fact if Congress approves the president’s funding program for the nuclear complex, it allows us to reduce the size of our nuclear stockpile because we’d be able to maintain a robust hedge against technical problems with a much smaller reserve force.
We had put in the legislation that these two facilities had to be operational. Obviously if they’re not operational, they’re not contributing to the hedge. Is it now the administration’s policy that they’re not necessary for further reductions in the hedge?
MR. [JIM] MILLER: Mr. Chairman, is a B-52 bomber that is no longer operational considered in this category?
MR. MILLER: So there’s a semantic question that we would need to clarify, and that is this is a relatively small issue, is whether the intent of the House is to have this applied to nuclear warheads only, or to delivery systems. Frankly, I’ve heard both of those explanations. That’s a relatively smaller issue. It’s important but I would hope that the intent was nuclear warhead. If that is the case then what it says is that given the timelines — if we have received full funding, the timelines for making CMRR and UPF operational, it means that there may be no retirement, dismantlement or elimination of non-deployed weapons until the mid-2020s.
Is that something that makes sense for the country? My guess is, my strong view actually, is that the answer is likely to be no. [emphasis mine.]
Exchange between Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee and Dr. James Miller, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, at a November 2 Subcommittee hearing on the current status and future direction for U.S. nuclear weapons policy and posture. For more information on this and other nuclear policy-related limitations attached to the House version of the defense bill by Rep. Turner, see here.
We’ll also likely be commenting on other aspects of the November 2 hearing (in fact we already have here), which included all sorts of interests nuggets dear to the heart of NoH.