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USA House approves, by one vote, policy to maintain nuclear missile triad

missile-moneyHouse Bill Shifts Some Nuclear Weapons Funds To Pay for Veterans Care Defense OneDouglas P. Guarino 27 May 14 “……..The House approved by voice vote an amendment offered by Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., — whose home state hosts ground-based missile silos — that would make it “the policy of the United States to operate, sustain and modernize or replace the triad” in its entirety.

The House bill also contains language, to which the White House objects, that would require that every intercontinental ballistic missile silo currently containing a deployed missile be kept operational.

At press time, all of the potential discrepancies with the House bill and the Senate version of the annual defense authorization bill were not yet clear. The Senate Armed Services Committee completed drafting its version of the bill on Thursday, but had not yet released the full text of the legislation.

One apparent difference is that the Senate bill would authorize $365 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program — the entire amount that the Obama administration requested. TheCTR program — which secures and dismantles potential weapons of mass destruction throughout the world that are considered to be a threat to the United States — would be cut by $10.5 million under the House bill.

Unlike the House bill, the Senate legislation would also provide $346 million — $145 million more than the administration requested — to continue construction of a controversial facility in South Carolina that would convert excess bomb-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel. The administration is looking to suspend construction of the facility while it explores other, possibly cheaper, methods of disposing of the plutonium.

Some lawmakers are questioning the administration’s cost estimates, however, and have suggested it should be able to make a decision in less than the 18 months it has projected. Senate appropriators at a budget hearing earlier this month gave National Nuclear Security Administration officials two weeks to come up with new ways to make the original mixed-oxide fuel conversion plan cost less.

According to NNSA spokesman Derrick Robinson, administration officials did have a follow-up meeting with Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. last week. It was “a substantive conversation that discussed a range of options and challenges, which included a discussion of MOXcosts and options,” he said.

Robinson did not provide any revised cost projections. http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2014/05/house-bill-shifts-some-nuclear-weapons-funds-pay-veterans-care/85261/

May 29, 2014 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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