On May 24 the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved its version of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254).
The Committee authorized approximately $550.7 billion for national defense (function 050) – excluding war funding. This is a slight increase of approximately $70 million over the President’s budget request, but still $4.67 billion above the Budget Control Act’s FY 2013 cap of $546 billion on non-war 050 spending. In contrast, the House version of the defense bill (H.R. 4310) is approximately $3.6 billion over the President’s request and more than $8 billion above the Budget Control Act cap.
The House bill includes a number of policy and funding proposals that would 1) block the Pentagon’s ability to implement the New START treaty; 2) prevent the President and senior military leaders from making changes to U.S. nuclear posture beyond those outlined in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and agreed to in the New START treaty; and 3) drastically increase spending on nuclear weapons programs and national missile defense. See our full analysis of the House bill here.
As was the case last year, the Senate bill does not impose policy or funding limitations on New START implementation or future changes to US nuclear policy, posture, and force size. Contrary to the House bill, it also does not include a provision calling for the completion of a missile defense interceptor site on the East Coast of the United States by 2015 and endorses US efforts to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.
S. 3254 funds strategic forces programs at the Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at or near the administration’s requested level – save for one key exception. Like the House version of the bill, the Senate version requires construction of a new plutonium facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (aka the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF)) by the end of 2024. It authorizes the expenditure of FY 2013 funds for the construction of the facility.
Head over to the mothership for the full summary of the bill.