STRATEGY, NOT COLD WAR IDEOLOGY, SHOULD GUIDE CONFEREES ON DEFENSE BILL
Military, Science and Political Experts Comment on Key Policies in Senate and House NDAA related to East Coast missile defense, Iran sanctions, the Shaheen Amendment, GITMO and Los Alamos Plutonium Facility
Washington DC – December 12, 2012 – New Release – The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation hosted a press call today with:
- Lt. General (USA, Ret.) Robert Gard, PhD, Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation,
- The Honorable Phillip Coyle, the Center’s Senior Science Fellow and former Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs in the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology
- John Isaacs, the Center’s Executive Director
- Kingston Reif, the Center’s Director of Nonproliferation Programs and,
- Laicie Heeley, the Center’s Senior Policy Analyst.
Nuclear Weapons Policy:
“The Republican leadership seems stuck in the Cold War, authorizing hundreds of million on nuclear weapons and missile defense programs that military leaders did not request,” said Reif. “Pentagon spending should be driven by strategic need and affordability.”
“The House authorized $4 billion more than the Senate but the final allocation of funds going to the Pentagon will depend on decisions by the appropriators, the fiscal cliff negotiations and the potential sequester,” Isaacs.
“The Shaheen Amendment granting military women the same medical insurance coverage for abortion caused by rape or incest as civilian federal employees corrects a long-standing injustice,” said Lt. General Gard. “There are more than 400,000 women serving in America’s military; and the Senate bill corrects discrimination against them that has been in effect since 1981; the House does not.”
Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility:
“The courts have a solid track record of trials of terrorists in civilian courts and detention of those convicted in the U.S.,” said General Gard. “Yet, Congress continues to block the President from closing the facility.”
East Coast Missile Defense:
“The National Academy has found fault with nearly every aspect of current national missile defense programs. Shouldn’t we first figure out how to do a better job designing and testing the inceptors before spending billions more?” said Coyle.
“The White House, the Pentagon and the Appropriators have said that East Coast missile defense is not needed,” said Coyle. “We are talking billions; it is unlikely under current fiscal circumstances to see people spending more money.”
“Authorizing an East Coast missile defense system will just give us more white elephants,” said Isaacs. “Representative Mike Turner and Senator Kelly Ayotte are promoting an East Coast missile defense as the next great thing – despite serious technical problems with the system – but it is very doubtful that the appropriators will fund the project in the next fiscal year.”
“Fort Drum, New York, has the upper hand to be the location of an East Coast missile defense site – if it is ever built,” said Coyle.
“Internationally-approved sanctions are having a huge impact on Iran and its currency, and the Congress has never met an Iranian sanction it didn’t like,” said Isaacs. “The White House is not happy with the Kirk-Menendez amendment because it limits its ability to resolve the situation with Iran diplomatically.”
“I see loads of support for the sanctions on Capitol Hill so I don’t see it coming out in conference,” said Heeley.
“The House wants to see the Afghan war continue with all 68,000 troops kept away from home until 2015. The Senate passed the first majority vote to get Americans out of Afghanistan,” said Isaacs.
Plutonium Research Facility:
“A five-year delay is politically equivalent to a death sentence for a program,” said Isaacs. “New studies on the total lifetime of plutonium nuclear pits make it seem less and less likely that the program will be resurrected any time soon.”
“In today’s fiscal climate, it makes sense to look at other cheaper options to allow for the maintenance of a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile,” said Reif.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org