Some Key Elements of House Armed Services Committee Draft FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 2500)

Note: source of material with only a page number from Strategic Forces Subcommittee mark –

Source of other items from Chairman Adam Smith’s full committee mark available from Political Pro behind a paywall –


Nuclear Forces

  • Prohibits funds for the deployment of W76-2 low-yield warhead (p.6) and cuts entire $10 million request for the program (Chairman’s mark, p.67 of the bill).
  • Makes permanent the prohibition on mobile variant of Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (p.6)
  • Eliminates requirement for a conventional variant of the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) (p.7)
  • Terminates the prohibition on accelerating nuclear weapon dismantlement and the maximum funds designated to carry out dismantlement and disposition activities (p.10)
  • Repeals the requirement for the Department of Energy to demonstrate the capability to produce war reserve plutonium pits at a rate sufficient to produce 80 pits per year by 2027 (p.10)
  • Requires the Pentagon to notify Congress of official Nuclear Weapons Council meetings and share information concerning such meetings within 30 days (p.6)
  • Directs the Pentagon to enter into a contract to support the JASON scientific advisory group, requires 90-day notification to Congress before termination of such contract and provides notification to congressional defense committees should the contract expire without renewal (p.4)
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct an independent study on extending the life of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles to 2050 (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1650, p.41 of the bill).
  • Requires an independent study on the policy of no-first use of nuclear weapons by a federally funded research and development center (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1649, p.41 of the bill).


Missile Defense

  • Bars adding a space-based ballistic missile intercept layer to the ballistic missile defense system with capability that is only able to be deployed in space (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1665, p.82 of the bill).
  • Bars testing the capability to defeat a simple intercontinental ballistic missile threat using the standard missile 3 block IIA missile interceptor until the Pentagon certifies that the missile interceptor has been tested sufficiently to demonstrate that the missile interceptor is operationally effective and suitable against medium- to intermediate range threats. (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1645, p.80 of the bill).
  • Requires an independent, federally funded research and development center assessment of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) alignment to the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering rather than as an independent agency (p.7)
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the Director of the Missile Defense Agency must address technical issues discovered in the redesigned kill vehicle prior to production (p.8)
  • Requires the Pentagon to designate an interceptor site for potential future deployment in the contiguous US, a third missile defense site (p.9)
  • Extends to 2024 the requirement for DoD to provide a briefing on costs to forward-deployed nuclear weapons in Europe (p.7)
  • Directs the Missile Defense Agency to continue development of a sensor payload for a space sensor layer for hypersonic and ballistic missile tracking and submit a report with program details (p.8)


Conventional Prompt Global Strike Weapon System

  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the Under Secretary of Defense of Policy has not responded regarding the “miscalculation and ambiguity risks of hypersonic weapons,” prohibits development exclusive to a submarine-launched platform, and directs the Navy to submit a report on requirements for integrating conventional prompt strike on surface ships (p.9)


Open Skies Treaty

  • Reaffirms Congress’s commitment to the Open Skies Treaty, prohibits the use of DoD funds to suspend, terminate, or withdraw from Open Skies unless “certain certification requirements are made,” updates reporting requirements on flights conducted under Open Skies (p.4)
  • Because of the Pentagon’s refusal to provide information regarding the Administration’s policies and strategies related to nuclear arms control, requires a report on the implications of Russia’s deployment of intermediate-range cruise and ballistic missiles, what new programs or capabilities that the U.S. would need to counter the Russian deployment, the threat from Russian nuclear forces if New START lapses, and other elements (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1235, p.42 of the bill).


Misc. provisions

  • Bars reducing U.S. forces in South Korea below 28,500 unless the Secretary of Defense certifies that such a reduction is in the national security interest of the United States and will not significantly undermine the security of the United States’ allies in the region (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1243, p.33 of the bill).
  • Bars spending Pentagon funds to build the border wall between the U.S and Mexico (Chairman’s mark, Sec. 1046, p.43 of the bill).

Note: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) offered an amendment in the Strategic Forces Subcommittee striking “Prohibition on Availability of Funds for Deployment of Low-Yield Ballistic Missile Warhead, “Prohibition on the Use of Funds to Suspend, Terminate, or Withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty”, “Notification of Meetings Held by the Nuclear Weapons Council”, and “Modification to Plutonium Pit Production Capacity” from the mark; motion failed 8-10 along party lines.