Dear Representative Larsen,
As you are proceeding with the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference, we write to highlight two issues we believe are essential to our national security.
OPPOSE: Restrictions on nuclear verification technology: Sec. 3120 in the House version.
This provision unnecessarily ties the hands of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to research technologies that may allow us to monitor dangerous nuclear materials and ensure the verification of future arms control agreements. Without this technology, it will be easier for terrorist groups and rogue states to acquire nuclear materials and produce nuclear weapons. It makes no sense to prohibit research into this essential field.
OPPOSE: Restrictions on nuclear weapons dismantlement: Sec. 3121 in the House version.
This provision unnecessarily ties the hands of NNSA and the Pentagon to make determinations about the management of the nuclear weapons stockpile and could waste taxpayer money by requiring secure storage and management of weapons that have already been retired. A recent GAO report (GAO 14-449) notes that the Navy saved $190 million by avoiding construction costs for a storage facility when W-76 warhead dismantlement was accelerated.
OPPOSE: Restrictions on the use of fixed portal monitors: Sec. 3121 in the House version.
This provision unnecessarily prohibits the use of fixed portal monitors for detecting nuclear weapons-grade and radiological material at major border crossings and ports in foreign countries. It is nonsensical to place permanent bans on tools that might stop terrorist groups and rogue states from acquiring nuclear and radiological materials.
Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations and for your hard work on this year’s NDAA.
Arms Control Association
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Union of Concerned Scientists
Women’s Action for New Directions