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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) on New START Implementation Act

    At the end of December, the Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) Treaty by a vote of 71-26. Many Senators who voiced concerns regarding the treaty’s provisions and implications were persuaded to vote for it after receiving assurances from the Obama Administration that our nuclear weapons would receive much needed modernization. Although I trust these promises were made in good faith, we must ensure they will be kept through the passage of binding legislation. On May 5th, with the support of House Armed Services Chairman (HASC) Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, I introduced H.R. 1750, – The New START Implementation Act. Sen. Jon Kyl has indicated that in short time he will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

    The purpose of this bill is to hold both the current and future administrations accountable to the promises made during the New START ratification debate of 2010. Chief amongst these promises is the “grand bargain” that treaty ratification would be approved only if the administration agreed to a robust ten-year nuclear modernization program. This agreement would spend $85 billion over the next 10 years on updating warheads and modernizing our nation’s nuclear weapons.

    The difficulty with the bargain is that Congress cannot appropriate money in advance for a ten year period.  This bill would create a lasting link between nuclear modernization and the implementation of the New START treaty’s required reductions, and thereby hold this and future administrations accountable.  While the Senate alone advises and consents to treaties, both houses of Congress share an important constitutional role in their implementation. In that vein, this bill requires that Congress be involved in any changes to our nuclear strategy.

    Besides holding the administration to past promises, the bill addresses several other major components of U.S. strategic forces. This includes some concerns about what the White House may be planning in the wake of New START—nuclear weapon and triad reductions, withdrawing non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe, and limiting missile defense capabilities. As the U.S. proceeds with nuclear reductions, it is all the more important that our strategic posture remains coherent and our deterrent remains credible. The highway of our national defense requires prudent speed bumps to guard against racing down the “Road to Zero.”

    Memory of the New START treaty debate will not remain fresh for long.  Introducing a bill on the broad array of our strategic posture would remind the administration and the public—both today and in the coming years—that quantitative reductions must be accompanied by qualitative improvements to our strategic posture. Failure to lay down a precedent for Fiscal Year 2012 will make it that much harder in the future to remind legislative and executive branch colleagues to sustain modernization in the years to come. This bill also seeks to stem the repeat of discussion surrounding international agreements that might limit our nation’s freedom of action in the area of missile defense.

    While my legislation awaits full consideration by the Armed Services Committee and the House, I have already included three of its provisions in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These provisions are to be considered by the HASC on May 11th. This includes Section 6 which directs the Secretary of Defense to assess whether current and future U.S. nuclear forces meet their deterrence and defense objectives. Also, Section 7 of the New START Implementation Act included in the NDAA sets an annual review of the safety, security, reliability and effectiveness of our nuclear delivery systems and the command over these weapons. Finally, Section 9 included in the NDAA codifies fiscal year 2010 modernization plans for our nuclear stockpile, delivery systems, and infrastructure.

    Maintaining a robust nuclear deterrent is essential in today’s world of emerging threats. Our country and our allies around the globe rely on America’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against those nations whose intentions remain unclear and increasingly aggressive.  Its passage would reaffirm the importance of extended deterrence for our allies, including the value of forward-deployed non-strategic weapons in Europe.  I look forward to working alongside Chairman McKeon and Sen. Kyl in seeing that the New START Implementation Act becomes law.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) on New START Implementation Act

    1. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      I'm glad someone besides the fox is guarding the henhouse. I still feel that we were sold down the river with New START. The Russians are very happy with it. That should be a hint.

    2. Gordon, Jonesboro GA says:

      I agree with Dinah's comments. Further, no one could explain to me the rush to ratify the treaty beyond that's what the Ruskies wanted. I notice that they're not in any hurry to "ratify" it. Anything that has Obama's fingerprints on it is not good the the USA. Heck, he'll eventually apologize for the killing of Osama, claiming that he was sinking a 90' putt on the 8th hole and that it was Bush that gave the kill order.

    3. Pingback: Heritage Files Brief Opposing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate | The Foundry

    4. Redfray, Pea Ridge, says:

      This sounds good except, what about groups of people who are not from a country that is willing go down the "Road to Zero"? This maybe why the Russians are happy with the New Start. In my opinion, it is stupid to trust those who sign there name and do something opposite. Now we know there is technology to up-date our nuclear defenses, and we need an act of congress to get it done. I'm guessing the American taxpayer did not pay for the research that improved our nuclear technology? So now, we must make a law that allows us to use that technology for our national security. I wish we had new technology to improve the thinking of our elected officials.

    5. YnotNOW says:

      Thank you, Rep Turner, for helping our country to remain strong. This bill is a minimum to balance the downside of New START, and should gain easy passage in the House. Do you have any idea whether it will have similar support in the Senate?

    6. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      New Start is not worth the paper it is written on the Russians were already at New Start levels so they were happy to sign it this treaty. Now Obama has moved onto tactical nukes where the Russians are far superior and guess what? They are not in a hurry to cut these weapons.

      As Gomer Pyle said, "Surprise, surprise, surprise"!

      We need to research, develop, test (yes test) and deploy new modern nuclear warheads. If we are going to 1550 deployed and a couple more thousand in reserve we should have no doubt we have the ability to produce NEW warheads.

      Plus these warheads should be developed from a new ultra modern nuclear enterprise to be placed on a new Triad including MMII, D5 and bomber replacements. I would also produce a new line of tactical weapons for a new stealth cruise missile. Restart RNEP, RRW and the ACI programs immediately. The US should be world leading in all things nuclear.

      The nuclear enterprise should have a “ramping up” potential to double or triple warhead production to avoid strategic surprise or strategic deception.

      I would leave ZERO doubt in anyone’s mind that the US intends to preserve a strong nuclear deterrent.

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