National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2006
[Congressional Record: July 22, 2005 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the
Senate will resume consideration of S. 1042, which the clerk will
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
A bill (S. 1042) to authorize appropriations for fiscal
year 2006 for military activities of the Department of
Defense, for military construction, and for defense
activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe
personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed
Forces, and for other purposes.
Frist amendment No. 1342, to support certain youth
organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America and Girl
Scouts of America.
Inhofe amendment No. 1311, to protect the economic and
energy security of the United States.
Inhofe/Collins amendment No. 1312, to express the sense of
Congress that the President should take immediate steps to
establish a plan to implement the recommendations of the 2004
Report to Congress of the United States-China Economic and
Security Review Commission.
Inhofe/Kyl amendment No. 1313, to require an annual report
on the use of United States funds with respect to the
activities and management of the International Committee of
the Red Cross.
Lautenberg amendment No. 1351, to stop corporations from
Ensign amendment No. 1374, to require a report on the use
of riot control agents.
Ensign amendment No. 1375, to require a report on the costs
incurred by the Department of Defense in implementing or
supporting resolutions of the United Nations Security
Collins amendment No. 1377 (to Amendment No. 1351), to
ensure that certain persons do not evade or avoid the
prohibition imposed under the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act.
Durbin amendment No. 1379, to require certain dietary
supplement manufacturers to report certain serious adverse
Hutchison/Nelson (FL) amendment No. 1357, to express the
sense of the Senate with regard to manned space flight.
Thune amendment No. 1389, to postpone the 2005 round of
defense base closure and realignment.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Virginia.
Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I was present last night. We had a
colloquy among ourselves not unlike what took place today. The
Republican leader, Senator Frist, entrusted me with the management of
this bill. It was my decision with regard to the votes. It was my
decision that we file a cloture motion. I accept full responsibility
for those decisions. I am proud of the way we operate on this side,
where our leadership reposes in their managers those responsibilities;
I accept them. If, in due course, it proves to be in error, I accept
that responsibility. But I do believe, based on some 27 years of
experience managing this bill, that we can achieve the opportunity for
all Senators to have their amendments heard and voted upon in a timely
The matter of cloture, as it ripens on Tuesday, can be addressed by
the leadership, in consultation with the managers, and a determination
made as to whether it should or should not be invoked. I think that
decision, in large measure, would be dependent on what we can achieve
between now and Tuesday.
I look upon this in a very positive way. I have confidence in this
institution, confidence in the managers of this bill to see that it is
done in a fair and proper manner and done in the best interests
certainly of the men and women of the Armed Forces.
I yield the floor.
Mr. LEVIN. I wonder if the Senator will yield. For about 1 minute, I
will go back to the history, and I will not go through it all. Last
year, we spent 7 days on this bill. The 1st filing of cloture was on
the 11th day of debate, after considering 42 amendments. The 2nd filing
of cloture was on the 15th day of debate. I think it is totally
inappropriate to file cloture today.
I have no better friend in this body than the Senator from Virginia.
I was glad to hear what he basically just said, which is that he is
going to take a close look at where we are before this vote takes
place. He has always been openminded. I hope he will reconsider this
cloture motion. We are going to make progress today, even though there
are no votes.
It is difficult for Senators. Senator Kennedy is going to be offering
a very important amendment in a few moments, but the vote on that is
not going to take place until probably after the cloture because we
have so many amendments that are stacked up here. He deserves better
and, more importantly, the subject matter of the amendment deserves
better than to be debated on a Friday and then laid aside and not voted
on until many days later. Traditionally, we try to vote on amendments
after they are debated--shortly after, not days and days after they are
We are going to accommodate the demands of the schedule by trying to
offer a lot of amendments today and on Monday in order to see if we can
show enough progress here so that the motion for cloture will be
vitiated. That is our hope. I hope the Senator from Virginia will do
what he always does so magnificently, which is maintain an open mind,
keep options open, and see what kind of progress can be made to avoid a
divisive vote. It is inappropriate to have a cloture vote this soon
after the debate begins.
I yield the floor.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, just to finish, I have a practice of not
bringing up personal situations, and I am still going to refrain. If
continued to be pushed on this issue, I will recount several things
that occurred yesterday where I tried to accommodate interests on that
side of the aisle, and when it is said that not a Democratic vote was
taken, I know of one vote where I pleaded that it be made, found the
time, but the sponsors decided--and it was a joint amendment with a
Republican and a Democrat--not to do that.
I am not going to get involved in personal situations, but there is a
limit to the patience of the Senator from Virginia. On this matter by
Mr. Kennedy, I respect my good friend. Our friendship goes back as long
as any two Members in this Chamber. This amendment is an important
amendment, there is no question about it. But I ask the Senator from
Michigan, was not the same amendment voted on by the Senate 3 weeks
Mr. LEVIN. We will have to wait and see the precise nature of the
Mr. WARNER. It is very similar, if not identical.
Mr. LEVIN. I commend my friend from Virginia for his temperament, his
ability to withhold any suggestion of personal comment. He is to be
commended. He is literally a role model for that. The Senator from
Virginia is correct. He showed great care for the Members of this body
yesterday, gave great consideration to the Members, and I commend him
Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I yield the floor.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Massachusetts is
Amendment No. 1415
Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, I join the ranking member of the Armed
Services Committee, Senator Levin, in paying tribute to the Armed
Services Committee. I have been lucky enough to be on that committee
now for 24 years. I must say that all of us have the highest regard and
respect for the Senator from Virginia, the chairman of the committee.
There has never been a time that he has not been courteous and diligent
and thoughtful and considerate for those who have differing views that
come up before the committee.
I understand the remarks by the Senator from Michigan and also our
leader, Senator Reid; and although our friend takes the responsibility,
we have been around here long enough to know that the overall schedule
and timetable is made by the majority leader, with all due respect. He
has the responsibility, obviously, for the Senate and the Senate
The part which is of concern is this, and I will mention this
briefly. When we have cloture, we find out that many amendments that
are related and are enormously important in terms of the subject
matter, which is the Defense authorization bill, are effectively
I took a quick look at some of the amendments that have been filed to
date. We have a Stabenow amendment to fully fund health care for
veterans. Nobody could watch the news last night and not understand the
challenge our veterans are having in getting coverage and being treated
well. That is true in my State, and the Nation was alerted again. We
have had some debate on that issue. It is an issue of enormous
importance. We make a commitment to those young men and women who
volunteer and fight in our wars that they are going to have their needs
attended to when they come back. They are not being attended to.
The Senator from Michigan, Ms. Stabenow, has an amendment that
probably would not be eligible after cloture. It is on pay equity for
reservists who are being deployed. We have so many being deployed over
in Iraq, and it is an important amendment to make sure they are to be
compensated. It is very important in terms of morale and, most of all,
in terms of fairness for the reservists.
Then there is reform of the Pentagon procurement, with all of the
kinds of challenges we have seen on the purchasing of the humvee. We
reviewed that last night once again. An article that was written in the
New York Times and the purchase conflict between the services, the lack
of priority that was given really as a result of a failure of our
procurement policies, we can do something about that, but we are not
going to do something about it if we have cloture. Then there is the
limitation of profits on defense contractors. We don't have to take a
lot of time on that issue, but I think the American taxpayer, when they
see hundreds of millions in windfall profits going to so many defense
contractors, would have to say that spending a few moments on that to
make sure, for example, the allegations that our troops are going to
get the food they deserve and need on time and not be given second-
level food is something that ought to be debated.
My amendment with Senator Feinstein and Senator Kerry on bunker
busters relates to the whole issue of nuclear proliferation and
stability. We probably would not be eligible to bring that up. There
have been important issues on funding for the cooperative threat
reduction, which is so important in terms of the nuclear proliferation,
with the very important and impressive study released this last week.
Those give you a little bit of a flavor, and they are related to
national security and defense. We are told we don't have time for that.
I have been here when we spent 2 full weeks debating bankruptcy and for
the credit card companies. The result of the bankruptcy bill we passed
here means the profits for the credit card companies are going up $5.6
billion this next year. We spent 2 weeks on that issue that will
benefit special interests. We spent more than a week on class action,
which will benefit very special interests. We spent more than a week on
highways. If you can spend more than a week on highways and you can
look after the credit card companies and you can look after the major
financial interests in class action, surely we can debate these issues
that are related to the security and well-being of the troops of this
That is the point. I believe it is irrefutable myself. We were told
last night, well, we had heard that Senator Levin, Senator Reid, and
others might propose a commission to look into the whole question of
the torture policies that have taken place at Abu Ghraib. We had 12
different studies done by the Armed Services Committee, and we still
don't have anybody in the civilian areas that has been held
accountable, even though they were the architects of the torture
policy. This has given us a black eye all over the world. It has been
an incentive, and it is inflaming al-Qaida. It has been a recruiting
tool used in order to gather more recruits for al-Qaida.
It had been suggested that we have an independent commission review
that. And then guess what happened. Within a matter of hours, the White
House says, If that amendment is accepted, I will veto the bill that is
developing with Defense authorization. Imagine that. The President will
veto the bill if that amendment is accepted. He will veto the bill that
provides the resources for our fighting men and women if we are going
to have an independent kind of review about how we got into all of this
trouble in terms of torture and inflaming al-Qaida because of those
activities. They are going to veto the bill. Therefore, we are going to
We don't have to be around here for a number of years to understand
what is happening. That is just plain wrong, Mr. President. It is just
plain wrong. It is not the way this body ought to be doing business.
These issues are too important. People are ready to debate them.
We had the amendment that I have here, which is very similar to the
amendment Senator Feinstein and I offered earlier on another
appropriations bill. It is a matter of enormous importance in terms of
the issue of nuclear proliferation.
There is an excellent study this last week about the worst weapons in
the worst hands. The National Security Advisory Group is chaired by
Willian Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and is made up of an
extraordinary group of men and women who have spent their lives in
terms of national security and defense and talking about the dangers of
increased nuclear weapons. Well, we have now in this bill the design
for new nuclear weapons. They will say: No, we don't, it is only $4.5
million. Look at the Department of Energy's congressional budget, right
here on page 63, where cumulatively they are planning to spend a half
billion dollars on it. New nuclear weapon? We are looking at a new
nuclear weapon in the Defense authorization bill.
Look at the front page here of the New York Times, right up on the
top: ``New York Starts to Inspect Bags on the Subways.'' What is the
greatest threat to our homeland security, a new nuclear weapon or--here
it is--``New York Starts to Inspect Bags on the Subways.'' The second
story: Bombs set in London at four sites, failed to explode, no one
hurt. And we are going out and building another nuclear weapon.
We welcome the opportunity to address the Senate now on Friday, but
this is a matter of enormous importance and consequence. We are told
these issues are not as important as freeing the gun industry from
liability, a special interest. So we have an NRA check. I know where
the votes are on that. We are going to get another special interest
check. We have a special interest check for credit cards, a special
interest check because of class actions, and we are going to get
another one now from the NRA.
We are not going to have the chance for these Senators to be able to
debate pay equity for the reserves? Health care for veterans? No. We
don't have the time. What is more important to us? I have plans at the
end of next week along with everybody else, but what is more important
than continuing and finishing this legislation? That is what we are
supposed to do as Senators.
Mr. President, when you look over where we spend the time and how we
have spent the time, surely these issues that are of such fundamental
importance to our national security and to the security of the American
people deserve the kind of time our leader and Senator Levin have
For the past 60 years, one of the principal tenets of the American
national security policy has been to limit the number of nuclear
weapons in the world and to limit the number of countries that possess
In 1962, President Kennedy warned that if action weren't taken at
that time, there would be 20 nuclear weapon nations by the end of the
1970s. That is what he said in 1962. Because of initiatives he and
successive Presidents--Republican and Democrat--took to prevent that,
today there are only eight nuclear armed states.
Through careful negotiations, we arrived at the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty, the foundation of all current global nuclear arms
control. The nonproliferation treaty, signed in 1968, has long stood
for the fundamental principle that the world will be safer if nuclear
proliferation doesn't extend to other countries.
I send to the desk an amendment on behalf of myself, the Senator from
California, Mrs. Feinstein, and my colleague and friend, the Senator
from Massachusetts, Mr. Kerry.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, the pending
amendment is set aside.
The clerk will report.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Kennedy], for himself,
Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Feingold, and Mr. Bingaman,
proposes an amendment numbered 1415.
Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the
reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so
The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To transfer funds authorized to be appropriated to the
Department of Energy for the National Nuclear Security Administration
for weapons activities and available for the Robust Nuclear Earth
Penetrator to the Army National Guard, Washington, District of
On page 378, between lines 10 and 11, insert the following:
SEC. 3114. TRANSFER OF FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR ROBUST NUCLEAR
EARTH PENETRATOR TO THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD OF
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
(a) Reduction in Funds Available for Robust Nuclear Earth
Penetrator.--The amount authorized to be appropriated to the
Department of Energy for the National Nuclear Security
Administration for weapons activities by section 3101(a)(1)
is hereby reduced by $4,000,000, which reduction shall be
allocated to amounts available for the Robust Nuclear Earth
(b) Increase in Funds Available to Army National Guard,
Washington, District of Columbia, Chapter.--The amount
authorized to be appropriated by section 301(10) for
operation and maintenance for the Army National Guard is
hereby increased by $4,000,000, with the amount of such
increase to be available for the Army National Guard of the
District of Columbia, as follows:
(1) $2,500,000 shall be made available for urban terrorist
attack response training.
(2) $1,500,000 shall be made available for the procurement
of communications equipment.
Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, in that compact of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty, the foundation of all global nuclear arms
control, 184 nations have voluntarily rejected nuclear weapons. These
include 40 states, such as Japan, Germany, Sweden, and Singapore, that
have the technical infrastructure to build nuclear arsenals if they
chose to do so.
In addition, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, South Africa, Argentina,
Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, and others have turned away from nuclear
weapons because of the NPT and our leadership.
America led the way to a safer world by example. By adhering to these
carefully crafted agreements, we were able to discourage the spread of
dangerous nuclear weapons that would threaten our security.
However, the Bush administration has abandoned that course. Not only
has this White House expressed disdain for decades of nuclear arms
control, but it now threatens to launch a new nuclear arms race. As we
are discouraging North Korea and Iran from producing nuclear arms--and
as we are trying to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of
terrorists--the Bush administration recklessly proposes for the United
States to produce a new breed of nuclear weapon. President Bush and
Secretary Rumsfeld want to develop a new tactical nuclear weapon that
can burrow deep into the earth and destroy bunkers and weapon caches.
The new weapon they propose has the chilling title of robust nuclear
earth penetrator. They hold the dangerous and misguided belief that our
Nation's interests are served by developing what they consider a more
easily usable nuclear bomb--more easily usable nuclear bomb. That is
just what we need more of today.
Most Americans believe that is wrong. Therefore, the amendment that
Senator Feinstein and I offer today will halt this dangerous new policy
and redirect the $4 million in funds from the robust nuclear earth
penetrator research program to the National Guard for the more urgent
task of preventing another terrorist attack on our Nation's capital.
This action is especially warranted in light of the bombings in the
London subway. Instead of developing new nukes, we should address the
real-world challenges of terrorism that we face right here, right now.
In the end, the administration would like us to buy something we
don't need, that endangers us by its mere existence, and that makes our
important diplomatic goals much more difficult to achieve.
Our challenge in addressing nuclear nonproliferation issues is not
that there are too few nuclear weapons in the world, but that there are
too many; not that they are too difficult to use but too easy.
North Korea has recently acquired nuclear weapons and does not
hesitate to rattle them. Iran is widely thought to be moving forward on
the development of nuclear weapons capability. The increased
availability of nuclear technology to other nations is an ominous
development, especially when it is difficult to accept at face value
their statements that the technology is intended only for peaceful
What moral authority do we have to ask other nations to give up their
desire for nuclear weapons of their own when we are developing a new
generation of such weapons of our own? How can we tell other nations
not to sell their nuclear technology to others when we are exporting
our own technology?
For the past 2 years, Congress has raised major doubts about the
bunker-buster program and significantly cut back on its funding. But
the administration still presses forward for their development. For
fiscal year 2004, they requested $15 million for it, and Congress
reluctantly provided half that amount. For 2005, they requested another
$27 million and submitted a 5-year request for nearly $500 million, and
Congress denied their request.
This year, nothing has changed. The fiscal year 2006 budget request
from the President includes $4 million for the Department of Energy to
study the bunker buster, and $4.5 million for the Department of Defense
for the same purpose. Thankfully, our colleagues in the House were
wiser and eliminated the funds.
The administration obviously is still committed to this reckless
approach. Secretary Rumsfeld made his position clear in January, when
he wrote to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham:
I think we should request funds in 06 and 07 to complete
the study . . . You can count on my support for your efforts
to revitalize the nuclear weapons infrastructure and to
complete the RNEP study.
The fiscal year 2006 budget requests funds only to complete the
feasibility study for these nuclear weapons, but we already know what
the next step is. In the budget sent to us last year, the
administration stated in plain language that they intend to develop it.
Ambassador Linton Brooks, the head of the National Nuclear Security
Administration, claims the future budget projection was merely a
placeholder ``in the event the President decides to proceed with the
development and Congress approves.'' But their fiscal year 2005 budget
clearly shows the administration's unmistakable intention to develop
and ultimately produce this weapon.
They would like us to believe this is a clean, surgical nuclear
weapon. They say it will burrow into underground targets, destroy them
with no adverse consequence for the environment. But science says such
claims are false.
A National Academy of Sciences April 2005 study confirms exactly what
most of us thought: that these nuclear weapons, like other nuclear
bombs, result in catastrophic nuclear fallout. They can poison tens of
millions of people and create radioactive lands for many years to come.
The study goes on to say:
Current experience and empirical predictions indicate that
the earth-penetrator weapons cannot penetrate to depths
required for total containment of the effects of a nuclear
explosion. To be fully contained, a 300 kiloton weapon would
have to be detonated at the bottom of a carefully stemmed
emplacement hole about 800 meters deep. Because the practical
penetrating depth of an earth penetrating weapon is only a
few meters--a small fraction of the depth for the full
containment--there will be blast, thermal, initial nuclear
radiation, and fallout effects--
From the use of the weapon.
Even if we were willing to accept the catastrophic damage a nuclear
explosion would cause, the bunker buster would still not be able to
destroy all the buried bunkers the intelligence community has
This chart, based on the data from the National Academy of Sciences,
depicts the simulated maximum effect of a 1-megaton earth-penetrating
weapon. This massively destructive weapon cannot reach more than 400
meters. All an adversary has to do is bury its bunker below that depth.
Bunker busters also require pinpoint accuracy to hit deeply buried
bunkers. But such accuracy requires precise intelligence about the
location of the target. As the study emphasized, an attack by a nuclear
weapon can be effective in destroying weapons or weapons materials,
including nuclear materials and chemical or biological agents, but only
if it is detonated in the actual chamber where the weapons or materials
are located. Even more disturbing, if the bomb is only slightly off
target, the detonation may cause the spread of deadly chemical and
germs, in addition to the radioactive fallout.
If it were clear that this weapon were needed to protect our troops,
then Congress would probably support it. But that is not the case. At
the House Armed Services Committee hearing in March, program chief
Linton Brooks once again was asked if there was a military requirement
for the bunker buster, and he categorically said:
No, there is not.
This chart shows how important it is that the bunker buster be
precise, in terms of targeting, or otherwise it is not going to destroy
the target, and the dangers of chemical and nuclear material
proliferation are dramatic.
Our military has no need for a nuclear bunker buster. Existing
conventional weapons have the ability to neutralize this threat. These
charts from the National Academy of Sciences show the types of deeply
buried, hardened bunkers the nuclear bunker buster is intended to
destroy. All bunkers must have air intakes, energy sources, and
entrances. If we can destroy them by conventional means, we have
accomplished our purpose.
The administration's effort to build a new class of nuclear weapon is
only further evidence of their reckless nuclear policy.
We have studied this issue long enough. It is ridiculous for the
administration to try to keep this program going, and it could be
suicidal for the Nation and for our troops. While the administration
studies a weapon that will never work and may never be used, it has
taken its eye off the true danger: terrorists with weapons of mass
destruction here at home in our subways and our train stations.
Protecting our Nation should be the administration's No. 1 priority
and, sadly, they have not learned that lesson from 9/11. The alarm bell
off on September 11, 2001, is still ringing loudly. It rang in London
earlier this month and again yesterday. It rang in Madrid last year.
And it has been ringing in Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, Kenya, and
elsewhere around the world in the nearly 4 years since the tragedy of
In our Nation's Capital, the alarm bell continues to sound, but the
administration has been inexcusably slow in heeding its warning.
Our amendment will better protect our Nation's Capital from a
terrorist attack. It provides urgently needed funds to the Washington,
DC, National Guard to make up for the shortfalls they face in equipment
U.S. officials plainly state that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups
are determined to strike the United States again. And we all know that
our Nation's Capital is a prime target.
On July 10, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that
``the desire and the capability'' are there for another terrorist
attack in America.
The former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, ADM James Loy, told
the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 16:
We believe that attacking the homeland remains at the top
of al-Qaida's operational priority list . . . We believe that
their intent remains strong for attempting another major
The probability of an attack is assessed to be high. . . .
FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Intelligence Committee on
The threat posed by international terrorism, and in
particular from al-Qaida and related groups, continues to be
the gravest we face . . .
Despite these serious and terrifying threats, the DC National Guard,
which provides an indispensable role in responding to terrorist
attacks, has long received inadequate funding.
In a terrorist attack, the DC National Guard will be mobilized to
assist in evacuation efforts, provide security at the attack site, and
assist in mass casualty care. Mayor Williams and the city council
realize the vulnerability to such attacks and the potentially
catastrophic consequences if terrorists attack a train carrying
According to a RAND analysis on terrorism and railroad security, 40
percent of freight being carried from city to city across the country,
including half of the Nation's hazardous material, is moved by rail. In
2003 alone, 11,000 railroad cars containing hazardous material passed
through Washington, DC.
We believe the administration's position in supporting the
development of a new nuclear weapon system is misguided. It is not
based on sound science. And there is a recognition that they do not
have their priorities straight. We have learned the lesson of this past
week, that what we have to do is expand our attention in terms of the
homeland security issue. That has to be our focus, and we learned that
again this morning in London.
Why the administration insists that they think our national security
is going to be enhanced and expanded by building a new system makes no
sense at all.
A final point. There are those who will say this is just a study; we
ought to be able to study; we ought to be able to study what progress
can be developed in terms of the shape of our warheads and the building
materials that are necessary to make it more effective; we live in a
dangerous world. All of which is true, we ought to be able to have a
study, but that is not what this is about.
As I have mentioned, the opposition, by and large, will say this is
just a study. Then we will have to come back to Congress and get the
See what the intention of this administration is. ``Department of
Energy, 2005 Congressional Budget Request, National Nuclear Security
Administration, Office of the Administrator, Weapons Activities.'' Open
this to page 63. There it is.
They talk about what is going to be the request over the period of
these next 5 years, and it is $484 million. That is not a study. That
is the development of a weapons system. Those resources could be more
effectively used providing security at home, working through homeland
security, than developing a new weapons system which will make it more
complicated and more difficult for the United States to be the leader
in the world, which we have been under Republican and Democratic
Presidents since 1962, in reducing the number of countries that have
dangerous nuclear weapons. We should stay the course. That has been a
wise judgment and decision by Republican and Democratic Presidents. We
should not be about the business of developing new nuclear weapons,
which is going to upset that whole movement and make this country less
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sessions). The Senator from Virginia.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I would like to pick up on my
distinguished colleague's last point with regard to the projected
budget cycle as it relates to this program. In fairness, the
distinguished Senator from Massachusetts should point out that while
that document outlines a proposal for a program, Congress carefully has
enacted the checks and balances such that every step of the way that
program has to be reviewed by the Congress, authorized, and
appropriated. Those are the types of checks and balances that should be
accorded a program of this significance.
I point out, and I read from the conference report on the National
Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2004, the requirement for
specific authorization of Congress for commencement of engineering
development phase and subsequent phase of the robust nuclear earth
penetrator, section 3117 of the law, the Senate amendment contained in
provision 3135 that would require the Secretary of Energy to obtain
specific authorization from Congress to commence development
engineering phase of the nuclear weapons development process or any
subsequent phase of a robust nuclear earth penetrator weapon.
So I assure my colleagues, I assure the American public, Congress is
carefully monitoring each step of this proposed program.
My good friend from Massachusetts pointed out about the military
requirements. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in appearing
before Congress, established the military requirement. Senators on the
other side of this debate have argued there is no military requirement,
as did my good friend and colleague from Massachusetts. Congress should
not be funding, he has argued. This is a case of getting so involved in
technology that we lose sight of the purpose behind the words.
I think it is extremely important that the record of this debate
reflect the following: In an appearance before the House Armed Services
Committee in February of this calendar year, the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, General Myers, addressed the following question:
Is there a military requirement for RNEP?
General Myers answered the question as follows:
Our combatant commander that is charged by this nation to
worry about countering the kind of targets, deeply buried
targets, certainly thinks there's a need for this study. And
General Cartwright has said such. I think that. I think the
Joint Chiefs think that. And so, the study is just that. It's
not a commitment to go forward with a system; it's just to
see if it's feasible.
It is just to see whether the technology of the United States can
take an existing warhead. There was some inference that we are
increasing the stockpile. It is very important to recognize we are
simply performing tests and evaluation on existing warheads to
determine whether they can be reconfigured to achieve the mission of
penetrating the earth to certain depths, depending on the consistency
of the soil and the above earth, and render less effective, if not
destroy, a potential situation beneath the earth, which definitely
challenges the security of this Nation and the world. It is as simple
So this whole debate is about whether a modest sum of money can be
continued to be applied to a program to determine a feasibility study.
Depending on the outcome, the Congress comes back in and then
establishes whether the facts justify, as well as the threat situation,
as well as the military needs, the next step of a program that would
take some several years to evolve and produce a weapon.
General Myers continued:
So we can argue over the definition of a ``military
requirement'' and when a ``military requirement'' is
established. We can
argue over when in the study of a concept--which is what we
are talking about here--when should the requirement be
We can argue over definitions or we can listen to the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Commander of Strategic
Command, who advise the Congress that it is in the interest
of the United States to complete the feasibility study.
Somewhat regrettably, over the past 24 hours we have had a lot of
back and forth about time consumed on this, that and one of the other
things. I tend to be very indulging in the fact that the Senate is an
unusual body and there is the right to discuss whatever a Senator
wishes. But just 3 weeks ago we had this exact amendment before this
body, except for one change. Senator Feinstein had put the funds which
would be resulting from a cancellation towards the public debt, a
laudable purpose. It has nothing to do with the military requirements,
nothing to do with anything about the weapon. Senator Kennedy made one
small change: Let us take it from the public debt and give it to the DC
Well, I can understand how the DC National Guard is brought into a
clear focus in its responsibilities given the worldwide events of
recent times. I am not unmindful of those situations. But if there is a
need for funding for the D.C. National Guard, let it be brought forth
independently. It should not be a predicate or a basis for making a
major decision as to whether to go forward on this important research
program and study.
So I say to my colleagues, if there is a problem with the D.C.
National Guard, bring it to the attention of the managers. We will be
on this bill for a few days. We have time. We will take a look at it.
I am mindful of what occurred here last night and what occurred here
again this morning about how we are just grinding our wheels and not
being productive. This same identical amendment was rejected by the
Senate 3 weeks ago in a vote.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Kennedy amendment
dealing with the robust nuclear earth penetrator, or RNEP. This issue
has been discussed and debated at length many times. In fact, my
impression was that we had come at least legislatively to a conclusion.
The conclusion was that this was not a weapons system that would
materially aid our ability to advance national security purposes of the
In the fiscal year 2003 budget request, the Department of Energy
sought $15 million to fund the first year of what was to be a 3-year,
$45 million study to determine the feasibility of using one of two
existing large nuclear weapons as a robust nuclear earth penetrator.
They couched it in terms of a study. There is some discussion about
requirements and studies. My impression is that a requirement is a
formal decision made by the Department of Defense through elaborate
procedures. With respect to the particular nuclear penetrator to attack
deeply buried targets, I do not believe there is a formal requirement.
There is a general requirement to hold at risk hard, deeply buried
targets, but there are many different variations that could be applied
to that, and I do not believe the Department of Defense has yet come to
a conclusion, a requirement, that this mission can only be undertaken
by a robust nuclear penetrator.
Nevertheless, early on, several years ago the Department of Energy's
budget called for studies. Congress authorized and appropriated the $15
million for the first phase of this study by the Department of Energy,
but DOE was not to begin this work until it submitted a report setting
forth requirements for an RNEP and the target types that RNEP was
designed to hold at risk. DOE proposed their response in April of 2003,
and the funds were released to begin again this study. Once again, DOE
insisted that this was just a study. There was no decision to begin the
process of development and production that would lead to a weapon.
The following fiscal year 2004, DOE again sought $15 million for the
RNEP, but now Congress had become, I think rightfully, a little
skeptical of the technology, of the efficacy of this proposed weapon,
to do what it was intended to do, and as a result, only $7.5 million
was appropriated. DOE took the reduced funding and said: Still, this is
just a study. We just want to look at this concept. We study lots of
concepts. We certainly cannot inhibit the intellectual inquiry when it
comes to an issue of so much importance to our national security.
Now, in the 2005 budget request, after 2 years of various requests,
the true nature of the RNEP proposal is becoming much clearer. It does
not appear today to be just a study. DOE sought $27.5 million for RNEP
in the 2005 budget request. In addition, DOE included the RNEP in its
5-year budget report demonstrating that the real plan was to continue
with the RNEP project through the next 5 years through the development
stage and just up to the point at which production would begin.
Now it is no longer just a study. In fact, DOE is talking about
almost $500 million over the next several years to get ready to build
an RNEP. The cost of the feasibility study has also increased
dramatically from the initial $45 million--$15 million a year for 3
years--to now $145 million. If the study is increasing from $45 million
to $145 million, if that same progression is applied to development,
then right now we are talking about almost a billion dollars to get to
the point of development and production for this RNEP.
Finally, though, I think Congress had its fill with the study that
turned out to be a stalking horse for a production program, and in the
fiscal year 2005 budget cycle denied funding. I applaud particularly
our colleagues in the other body who were very much involved in this
decision on a bipartisan basis and decided that this program was not
worth the investment; that it was not a study; that if it was a true
study it could have been concluded and the results could have been
provided to decisionmakers for a more thoughtful review of this aspect
of national security.
The administration just did not get the message. So in 2006, this
budget request, DOE requested $4 million to start the RNEP feasibility
study again, and $14 million will be needed in fiscal year 2007 to
finish the study.
It should be apparent right now, this is not about a study. This is
about developing a weapons system to hold hard and deeply buried
targets at risk. The National Academy of Sciences conducted their own
study to look at the feasibility of doing this and the usefulness of
this type of weapons system, at the request of the Armed Services
Committee. Their study sheds a great deal of light on the practical
implications of this weapons system.
DOE says the RNEP project is to look at the feasibility of using a
bomb with a small nuclear yield to target hard and deeply buried
targets with minimal collateral damage on the surface and minimal
fallout. That would be a very important development, if it were
feasible. But the Academy points out in their study, and makes it
clear, that to really hold hard and deeply buried targets at risk the
RNEP would have to be very large and would not be contained. This is
about physics, I think, more than it is about wishful thinking. The
physics of the problem suggests if you really want to destroy that
target you can't use a small nuclear charge. You would have to use a
rather considerable one.
Therefore, the DOE is considering modifying an existing large-yield
nuclear weapon, the B-83, to be a nuclear penetrator. The B-83 nuclear
bomb has a 1-megaton yield. That is explosive power equivalent to 1
million tons of TNT, hardly a small, discrete weapon. The full megaton
yield of the B-83 would be needed to hold at risk a target buried 900
feet below the surface--because of engineering progress, you
effectively can burrow that far down and put facilities or intelligence
centers or other critical military installations at that depth. But not
only would the fallout not be contained after the detonation of this
large a weapon, the resulting radioactive debris that the B-83 would
put in the atmosphere would make the fallout worse. You would be
sending a charge down into the earth, exploding the earth, blowing it
up into the atmosphere and spreading the fallout. There would be
substantial casualties if it were used, and the fallout would spread
for hundreds of miles.
The National Academy of Sciences study makes it clear that in a
populated area, millions of people would be killed and injured.
Let me give sort of a rough comparison of the effects of the B-83
has yields ranging up to 1 megaton; that is 1 million tons of TNT. The
bomb we dropped on Hiroshima was 14 kilotons. It resulted in the death
of 140,000 people. The Nagasaki bomb was 21 kilotons; 73,000 people
died. The yield of the B-83 bomb is 71 times larger than that used at
Hiroshima and 47 times larger than Nagasaki. That would cause
incredible damage and casualties.
In a practical sense, if you are striking a critical installation,
most likely that installation is close enough to either an urban area
or close enough to other key terrain that a military commander would
have to think twice about dropping a nuclear bomb on such a target. The
reality is we could not operate in that area for years, because of
fallout, because of damage. If your goal were to ultimately destroy and
occupy an opposing foe, why would you essentially create a situation
where you could not even operate in the area?
The other thing about this whole approach to the RNEP is it fails to
recognize that we have precision conventional weapons that may not be
able to reach down 900 feet, but certainly these weapons can be used to
deal devastating blows to the communication networks that serve these
facilities and to the entrances. Eventually there has to be someplace
where you go into these tunnels. Those facilities, if they can be
identified, can be shut off by conventional munitions. The goal is to
neutralize the target, and that can be done, I think, more readily by
conventional weapons, particularly conventional precision weapons. So
the need for this system on a practical basis is not at all compelling
to me, and I do not believe it is compelling to the more thoughtful
people in the military, those who are thinking about these types of
There is another factor, too. Again, the presumption is that we are
going to have a nuclear device that we are going to use to take out a
deeply buried target, which could be in a circumstance where we would
be contemplating the first use of a nuclear weapon against one of these
targets. We have to be very sure that we have the kind of intelligence
that will support such extraordinary use of military power. If we
reflect back on Operation Iraqi Freedom, we thought there were nuclear
weapons--some people did. We thought there were chemical weapons and
thought there were biological weapons. Secretary Powell was before the
United Nations talking about these mobile biological vans.
The reality is our intelligence was very poor; certainly not
sufficient, in my view, to justify the use of a nuclear weapon like
this. So there is a further complication about ever using one of these
weapons; and that is, would we have the intelligence to support,
particularly, the first use of a nuclear weapon to take out a target
We do not need to spend $1 billion to develop to the point of
production an RNEP. I think our colleagues in the House, on a
bipartisan basis, figured this out last year. We should be equally
astute and adroit. We have conventional precision weapons that can deal
lethal blows to these types of installations. I think we should not
contemplate using nuclear weapons, such weapons as the B-83, which
would yield vast areas of a particular country literally uninhabitable
for months if not years. Also, by the way--which we found from our
adversaries, particularly from our adversaries in Iraq--they are fairly
astute about trying to counteract our weapons with their tactics. If
you were someone who was afraid that the United States might have such
a weapon like an RNEP and use it against you, I think there would be a
strong temptation to put that deeply buried target underneath a city,
underneath a historic or religious site, so that our choices would be
further complicated by the fact that we would be delivering a nuclear
device in an area where there could be significant population or
significant reasons to avoid the detonation of a nuclear bomb.
I think this funding is not appropriate. I join Senator Kennedy in
urging that we move to drop it. I urge my colleagues to vote for the
Kennedy amendment, and I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Warner). The Senator from Alabama.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank the Senator for his comments. We
would disagree on this, but he is a skilled person in the defense of
our country, and I respect his comments.
Three weeks ago, this Senate voted 53 to 43 on this amendment. I am
glad we are having this debate. Some have said there is not enough time
to have a debate on these issues, to bring up and highlight points that
the other side may want to raise. But we just voted on it 3 weeks ago.
We voted on this twice last year. This amendment to strike this
language was defeated; the language was kept in the bill.
Overwhelmingly, the Senate has maintained its view that a study of this
robust nuclear earth penetrator is valid and needed and the Defense
Department and the Energy Department have certified to that and we
ought to go forward with it. But it is perfectly legitimate that we
talk about it.
I would just say this for emphasis, to follow up on Chairman Warner's
comments: The way this language is placed in this legislation, it
mandates explicitly that the Department of Energy or Department of
Defense cannot go forward to commence development engineering without
the specific approval of Congress.
This robust nuclear earth penetrator issue began being discussed by
the military in 1985, and when the need was recognized, it was
supported by the Clinton administration Defense and Energy Departments.
Secretary O'Leary specifically supported this. There were no
limitations of the kind I just mentioned in the language that came
forward during the Clinton administration to decide to conduct this
study. But now we are putting that in there to allay the concerns that
any might have, that somehow authorizing a study would result in
development and deployment of a weapons system. We know that cannot
happen without Congress's approval, but this really clamps it down to
say there would have to be an affirmative legislative act by Congress
before the Energy Department could go forward with developing any such
weapon as this.
I think that ought to allay the concerns. I will suggest that is why
there has been so much support for it on a bipartisan basis.
A couple of years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote Chairman
Warner in support of the RNEP. He asked us to fund a feasibility and
cost study of it, and noted that:
I do not believe that these legislative steps will
complicate our ongoing efforts with North Korea, inasmuch as
the work was funded and authorized in last year's Defense
bill. I believe that North Korea has already factored RNEP
into its calculations. It is important for you to work on
these issues and please do not hesitate to call on me. . . .
Secretary Powell supported it and said it basically furthered our
foreign policy. So, again, this would be a multiyear feasibility study,
and we are talking about $4 million being spent on it. In the scheme of
our huge budget, I would say that is not excessive.
Suggestions have been made that somehow this indicates that we are
indifferent to nuclear weapons, the powers that they contain, the
danger that they represent, and that somehow this administration is not
sensitive to the need to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons in the
world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let me mention a few things about what this Nation is doing with
regard to its nuclear arsenal. We have already done more than any other
nation in the world to reduce our nuclear arsenal. We are committed to
huge reductions in our nuclear weapons. In the last 15 years, the
number of U.S. deployed strategic warheads has declined from 10,000 to
less than 6,000. Under the treaty we signed, the Moscow Treaty, we will
reduce our strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by
2012--from over 10,000. That is a huge reduction. In fact, we have
already dismantled more than 13,000 nuclear weapons since 1988 and
eliminated nearly 90 percent of U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
(Mr. Allard assumed the Chair.)
We have not produced high enriched uranium for weapons since 1964,
nor plutonium for weapons since 1988. In fact, we are the only nuclear
power in the world that has no capability at this moment to produce
nuclear weapons. We are simply relying on our old stockpile, and that
is a matter that a number of people are concerned about, but it is
As Senator Allard, now I see is the Presiding Officer, who last year
chaired the strategic subcommittee in the Armed Services Committee that
deals with these issues, and I now chair that strategic subcommittee--
has gone on to bigger and better things--but it is an important
subcommittee and it deals with the strategic defense of America. We are
moving to incredible reductions in our nuclear weapons, but we are
going to keep something like 2,000. How does it threaten the world in
peace and make us a warmonger, if we can design and make a few of those
weapons capable of being effective against hardened targets?
Let's be realistic. People say, ``This is a new weapon. This is a new
weapon,'' even when we get to the bottom, 2,000 or more nuclear
weapons. What is wrong if we have figured out a way to use a targeted
nuclear weapon to deal with a hardened site? It makes a lot of sense.
It certainly does not indicate we are in a warmongering mode.
I have a number of other things I would say on this subject. I see
the Senator from California is here. I am pleased to yield the floor. I
assume the Senator from California is talking on Armed Services issues?
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Yes.
Mr. SESSIONS. I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sessions). The Senator from California is
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Chair. I also thank the distinguished
Senator from Alabama.
I wish to speak on the bill. There is probably no one in the Senate I
have greater respect for than the chairman of the Committee on Armed
Services. He certainly does know his material. He certainly has put in
the years. He certainly has done the work.
I very profoundly disagree with what he has said with respect to the
robust nuclear earth penetrator. We have heard this is only a study,
that it is minor in scope, that we have debated this before. It is
certainly true, we have debated this before. We debated it before
because we feel strongly about this issue. We have debated it before
because the Congress eliminated the money last year. We have debated it
before because we have a strong passion and belief that this is the
wrong way for our Nation to go. The fact that we have debated this
issue before--Senator Kennedy, Senator Reed, Senator Levin, myself--
does not in any way, shape, or form downgrade or demean our arguments.
Let me discuss this program which is only ``a study.'' Let me discuss
for a moment the way this program started out.
It started with appropriations for the study of a robust nuclear
earth penetrator with a 5-year budget projection of $486 million. That
is how it started.
It also coincided with a program called ``advanced concepts
initiatives'' which is not in this authorization but which last year
envisioned the development of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons of
under 5 kilotons, or battlefield nuclear weapons. That is about a third
the force that was used at Hiroshima, a 15-kiloton weapon. That is not,
as I say, in this bill.
It started out with a plan to build a Modern Pit Facility which could
produce up to 450 new plutonium pits--the pit being the trigger that
detonates a nuclear weapon. If you take a good look, you know you do
not need up to 450 plutonium pits for replenishment of the existing
nuclear arsenal. You may need 40 to 60. So if you put forward up to 450
plutonium pits, to me it is an indicator that there is a broader
Part of this is also an increase of the time to test readiness from 3
years to 18 months. What that says is: Beware, something is going on.
We want to be able to resume testing and we do not want to resume
testing within the normal 3-year delay, we want to move that up to 18
months. So, something is cooking.
The fact is, no one should doubt this authorization enables the
reopening of the nuclear door to the creation of a new generation of
nuclear weapons, in this case, a robust nuclear earth penetrator of 1
megaton. This is a major effort.
It is true, we fenced it, as the Senator from Alabama pointed out.
Before it goes beyond the engineering stage, it must come back to this
Senate for approval. But that does not signify that there is not a new
generation of nuclear weapons being studied, researched, advanced, and
authorized in this bill, specifically the $4 million for the robust
nuclear earth penetrator.
Our intention is being signaled to the rest of the world. The
Department has been clever in not revealing its hand. No longer does it
provide the 5-year cost of this study as it did last year. No longer
does it mention this effort in its statement of administration policy.
The statement of administration policies on the House Defense
Authorization and House Energy and Water Appropriations bills do not
mention a robust nuclear earth penetrator. Rather, the attempt was to
cloak the study in some kind of obfuscation, to divide it between two
budgets--Energy and Defense--half, $4 million here, the other $4.5
million in the other budget, with the hope that if one fails, the other
will get through.
But nonetheless, this is not minor in scope. The Modern Pit Facility
which could produce up to 450 new plutonium pits is not even being
discussed. There is supposed to be a study that will come back and
indicate how many pits are necessary to replenish the present nuclear
arsenal. That is not before the Senate. That is in this bill. There is
no study to indicate we need 450 pits today to refresh the existing
arsenal, particularly when that arsenal is being diminished in size.
The intention is clear. Obviously, the way you begin a new nuclear
weapon program is with a study, research, and engineering. So it is
true we are trying to catch it at the beginning. That is not a bad
thing. That is a very good thing.
The money, as was stated accurately, would go to the DC National
Guard to enable it to prepare for possible terrorist attacks in the
Nation's Capital. Many think this is a much more realistic use of this
money than a robust nuclear earth penetrator, especially when the laws
of physics say it is impossible to drive a missile deep enough in the
Earth to prevent the spewing of hundreds of millions of cubic yards of
radioactive waste and cause the death of hundreds of thousands, if not
millions of people.
It is true, we had this debate 3 weeks ago on the Energy and Water
appropriations bill. That was the other half of this request. We were
not successful with that vote. We said we would be back to debate this
issue. And we will be back again and again and again until we are able
to defeat this effort. It is morally wrong and I believe it jeopardizes
the national security of our country.
The House has had the good sense to decisively eliminate funding for
the robust nuclear earth penetrator, first under the leadership of
Representative David Hobson, the chairman of the Energy and Water
Appropriations Subcommittee. That bill eliminated the $4 million for
the Department of Energy portion of the robust nuclear earth
penetrator. Second, the House fiscal year 2006 Defense appropriations
bill limits research for a bunker buster to a conventional program.
Finally, during its mark of the 2006 Defense authorization bill--that
is the companion to the bill we are talking about this morning--the
House Armed Services Committee eliminated all of the Department of
Energy funding for the robust nuclear earth penetrator and transferred
the $4 million to the Air Force budget for work on a conventional
nonnuclear version. So there is a growing body of thought in three
specific efforts successfully concluded by the House of Representatives
that says we should not proceed with this program.
Let me recap: The House Energy and Water appropriations bill
eliminates $4 million. The House 2006 Defense appropriations bill
limits research to a conventional program. And finally, the House Armed
Services Committee eliminated all of the Department of Energy funding
for the nuclear earth penetrator and transferred it to work on a
conventional nonnuclear version.
It will be a very hot conference committee on these items. But the
House has taken the action in three ways rather completely.
We are not out on a limb. This is not some whim of a small faction of
Members of the Senate. We represent a majority of the Members of the
House of Representatives. I believe we represent a majority of thinking
of the American people. Polls have been done which
clearly show a bulk of the American people are, in fact, not in support
of commencing this research, of doing this study.
Let me give a fact sheet of a 2004 poll brought to my attention by
the Union of Concerned Scientists. It found most Americans do not
support the development of new nuclear weapons by the United States. A
substantial majority of Americans would oppose funding for the nuclear
bunker buster. Sixty-five percent of Americans say there is no need for
the United States to develop new types of nuclear weapons. They know
what the Senator from Rhode Island pointed out, that there are
conventional bunker busters that should be developed. They know the key
to this is good intelligence as to vent holes, ingress, egress areas,
intelligence which can lead us to ferret out a nuclear bunker buster.
Sixty-three percent found convincing the argument that the United
States would be setting a bad example by starting to develop new types
of nuclear weapons, and a large majority opposes using nuclear weapons
for anything other than a deterrent to prevent other countries from
using nuclear weapons. Eighty-one percent oppose the Bush
administration's revelation that they would countenance a first use of
nuclear weapons. Eighty-four percent oppose the United States using
threats of nuclear retaliation to attempt a deterrent attack on the
United States with chemical or biological weapons. And 57 percent
support the United States reaffirming a commitment to not use nuclear
weapons against countries that do not have nuclear weapons as a way of
encouraging those countries not to acquire or build nuclear weapons.
Americans have a clear preference for a much smaller nuclear arsenal.
Based on this poll, a substantial majority of Americans opposes the
study into the nuclear bunker buster. These findings also show
substantial distaste for nuclear weapons in general, with a clear
preference for a small nuclear arsenal designed only as a deterrent to
prevent other countries from using nuclear weapons.
I ask unanimous consent this fact sheet from the Union of Concerned
Scientists be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
Support Amendments to the Energy & Water Appropriations Bill To Prevent
New Nuclear Weapons
The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) is a proposed
new nuclear weapon intended to burrow a few meters into rock
or concrete before exploding, thus generating a powerful
underground shock wave. Its intended targets are deeply
buried command bunkers or underground storage sites
containing chemical or biological agents.
According to several recent scientific studies, RNEP would
have limited effectiveness at destroying underground targets
and would have substantial drawbacks. Specifically. . .
RNEP would produce tremendous radioactive fallout
RNEP could kill millions of people
RNEP would not be effective at destroying chemical or
RNEP would not be effective at destroying deep or widely
The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator
The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP): RNEP is a
nuclear weapon that would burrow a few meters into the ground
before exploding and thus generate a powerful underground
shock wave. Its hypothetical targets are deeply buried
command bunkers or underground storage sites containing
chemical or biological agents.
The RNEP design: Weapons designers at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory intend to use an existing high-yield
nuclear warhead--the 1.2-megaton B83 nuclear bomb--in a
longer, stronger and heavier bomb casing. The B83 is the
largest nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, and nearly 100
times more powerful than the nuclear bomb used on Hiroshima.
Technicai realities: According to several recent scientific
studies, RNEP would not be effective at destroying many
underground targets, and its use could result in the death of
millions of people.
RNEP would produce tremendous radioactive fallout: A
nuclear earth penetrator cannot penetrate deep enough to
contain the nuclear fallout. Even the strongest casing will
crush itself by the time it penetrates 10-30 feet into rock
or concrete. For comparison, even a one-kiloton nuclear
warhead (less than 1/10th as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb)
must be buried at least 200-300 feet to contain its
radioactive fallout. The high yield RNEP will produce
tremendous fallout that will drift for more than a thousand
miles downwind. As, Linton Brooks, the head of the National
Nuclear Security Administration told Congress in April, the
laws of physics will [never allow a bomb to penetrate] far
enough to trap all fallout. This is a nuclear weapon that is
going to be hugely destructive over a large area.''
RNEP could kill millions of people: A simulation of RNEP
used against the Esfahan nuclear facility in Iran, using the
software developed for the Pentagon, showed that 3 million
people would be killed by radiation within 2 weeks of the
explosion, and 35 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and
India would be exposed to increased levels of cancer-causing
RNEP would not be effective at destroying chemical or
biological agents: Unless the weapon detonates nearly in the
same room with the agents, it will not destroy them. Because
the United States is unlikely to know the precise location,
size and geometry of underground bunkers, a nuclear attack on
a storage bunker containing chemical or biological agents
would more likely spread those agents into the environment,
along with the radioactive fallout.
RNEP would not be effective against the deepest or widely
separated bunkers. The seismic shock produced by the RNEP
could only destroy bunkers to a depth of about a thousand
feet. Modern bunkers can be deeper than that, with a widely
separated complex of connected rooms and tunnels.
There are more effective conventional alternatives to RNEP:
Current precision-guided conventional weapons can be used to
cut off a bunker's communications, power, and air,
effectively keeping the enemy weapons underground and
unusable until U.S. forces secure them. Sealing chemical or
biological agents underground is far more sensible than
trying to blow them up.
The RNEP budget: RNEP is not just a feasibility study:
DOE's 2005 budget included a five-year projection--totaling
$484.7 million--to produce a completed warhead design and
begin production engineering by 2009. The FY06 budget request
includes $4 million for RNEP and $4.5 million to modify the
B-2 bomber to carry RNEP. Last year, David Hobson, Republican
chair of the House Appropriations Energy and Water
Development Subcommittee, zeroed out FY05 funding for the
program, stating, ``we cannot advocate for nuclear
nonproliferation around the globe, while pursuing more usable
nuclear weapons options here at home.''
Americans Oppose New Nuclear Weapons
A 2004 poll found that most Americans do not support the
development of new nuclear weapons by the United States and
strongly oppose the idea of the United States ever using a
nuclear weapon first. As Congress debates funding for the
Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), these results are
particularly relevant. Findings from the poll, which was
conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes
A substantial majority of Americans would oppose funding
for the RNEP, or ``bunker buster.''
65% of Americans say there is no need for the United States
to develop new types of nuclear weapons.
63% found convincing the argument that the United States
would be setting a bad example by starting to develop new
types of nuclear weapons.
A large majority opposes using nuclear weapons for anything
other than a deterrent to prevent other countries from using
81% oppose the United States ever using nuclear weapons
84% oppose the United States using threats of nuclear
retaliation to attempt to deter an attack on the United
States with chemical or biological weapons.
57% percent support the United States reaffirming a
commitment to not use nuclear weapons against countries that
do not have nuclear weapons, as a way of encouraging those
countries not to acquire or build nuclear weapons.
Americans have a clear preference for a much smaller U.S.
100--The median answer for the number of nuclear weapons
Americans believe are needed to provide deterrence.
6,000--The approximate number of U.S. nuclear weapons, with
roughly 2,000 of these maintained on high alert status, ready
to be launched in a matter of minutes.
Based on this poll, a substantial majority of Americans
would oppose research into the RNEP, a new nuclear ``bunker
buster'' supported by the Bush administration. These findings
also show the U.S. public's distaste for nuclear weapons in
general, with a clear preference for a small nuclear arsenal
designed only as a deterrent to prevent other countries from
using nuclear weapons.
These poll results are from ``Public Believes Many
Countries Still Secretly Pursuing WMD,'' a media release
published by Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)
and Knowledge Networks. The poll was conducted with a
nationwide sample of 1,311 respondents from March 16-22,
2004. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8%-4.5%,
depending on whether the question was administered to all or
part of the sample. The release can be found at: http://
www.pipa.org/ OnlineReports/WMD/ WMDpress__04__ 15__04.pdf
and the full poll at: http://www.pipa.org/ OnlineReports/WMD/
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Let me point out, House Armed Services Committee
member Sylvester Raiz stated that the
House committee took the ``N'' or nuclear out of the robust nuclear
earth penetrator program.
Remember, last year, in this strong statement I have just told you
about--in the deletion of funding of the $27.5 million for the earth
penetrator and the $9 million for advanced concepts that at the time
included a study for the development of the low-yield nuclear weapons--
Republicans and Democrats, authorizers and appropriators alike, joined
together to send a clear signal to the administration that the House
and Senate would not support moving forward with the development of a
new generation of nuclear weapons. If you consider this, along with the
facts I have just revealed, based on a polling of the American people,
you have to wonder why the administration comes back with a new request
In April of this year, a group of experts of the National Academies
of Sciences confirmed what we have long argued--that according to the
laws of physics, it is simply not possible for a missile casing on a
nuclear warhead to survive a thrust into the earth deep enough to take
out a hard and deeply buried military target without spewing millions
of tons of radiation into the atmosphere.
That is where we are--funding a study that the law of physics says
will not work. It is folly to me. And the repercussions are enormous.
The National Academies of Sciences study, commissioned by Congress to
study the anticipated health and environmental effects of the nuclear
earth penetrator, found the following: that current experience and
empirical predictions indicate that earth-penetrator weapons cannot
penetrate to depths required for total containment of the effects of a
nuclear explosion. It also found that in order to destroy hard and
deeply buried targets at 200 meters, or 656 feet, you would need a 300-
kiloton weapon. And in order to destroy a hard and deeply buried target
at 300 meters--that is 984 feet--you would need a 1-megaton weapon.
The point is, the deeper the bunker, the larger the nuclear blast
must be, and the greater the amount of nuclear fallout will be.
The number of casualties, they find, from an earth-penetrator weapon
detonated at a few meters' depth, which is all that can be achieved for
all practical purposes, is equal to that of a surface burst of the same
nuclear weapon. Do you know what we are contemplating here, what that
surface burst would be? It would be the largest spewing of
radioactivity in the history of the world. Enormous. If it were used in
North Korea, it would spread to South Korea and Japan. It is
For attacks near or in densely populated areas using nuclear earth-
penetrator weapons on hard and deeply buried targets, the number of
casualties would range from thousands to more than a million, depending
primarily on weapon yield.
So once again, the bottom line is that a bunker buster cannot
penetrate into the earth deep enough to avoid massive casualties, and
there would be the spewing of millions of cubic feet of radioactive
materials into the atmosphere. This would result in the deaths of up to
a million people or more if used in densely populated areas.
So why are we doing this? What kind of Machiavellian thinking is
behind this reopening of the nuclear door?
Ambassador Linton Brooks of the National Security Administration
agrees with these findings. Earlier, in a congressional hearing,
Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher asked him how deep he thought a bunker
buster could go. Here is his answer from the transcript of the House
hearing. I quote:
. . . a couple of tens of meters maybe. I mean certainly--I
really must apologize for my lack of precision if we in the
administration have suggested that it was possible to have a
bomb that penetrated far enough to trap all fallout. I don't
believe that--I don't believe the laws of physics will ever
let that be true.
And remember, we are talking about a 1-megaton bomb, 71 times the
size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima--71 times bigger than the 15-
kiloton bomb. The devastation from using such a weapon will be
The National Academies of Sciences study is the strongest evidence to
date that we should not move forward with this study and that we should
put a stop to it once and for all. Again, the Senate should listen to
the experts and follow the House's lead.
So what is the main argument from opponents of this amendment, such
as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld? Their argument is: This is
just a study. Nothing is going to happen. Nobody is going to get the
idea: Oh, my goodness, the United States is moving in this direction;
we better move. North Korea: They are coming after us; we better get
there first. India, worried about Pakistan: Let's begin to develop it.
Pakistan, worried about India: Let's do the same thing.
I do not believe for a second this is just a study. This is the
beginning of a major effort to develop a new generation of nuclear
weapons, and nobody should think it is anything else but that.
This year, the request is $8.5 million. In fiscal year 2007, the
request will increase to $17.5 million, including $14 million for the
Department of Energy and $3.5 million for the Pentagon. And while the
administration is silent this year on how much it plans to spend on the
program in future years, we should not forget that last year's budget
request called for spending $486 million on the robust nuclear earth
penetrator over 5 years. So that part of the plan was revealed. This 5-
year figure was omitted this year, and that is deceiving, I believe.
But even if you accept the argument that this is just a study, that
does not justify moving forward with this program.
First, a study on the development of new nuclear weapons will still
greatly undermine our nuclear nonproliferation efforts by telling the
rest of the world that when it comes to nuclear weapons, do as we say
and not as we do. That is hypocrisy, pure and simple. How does that
make us safer from the prospect of nuclear terror? Answer: It does not.
In a letter to committee members of the Senate Appropriations
Committee, the Reverend John H. Ricard, bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
and chairman of the Committee on International Policy of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated:
Nations that see the U.S. expanding and diversifying our
nuclear arsenal are encouraged to seek or maintain nuclear
deterrents of their own and ignore nonproliferation
I could not agree more.
How will a study of new nuclear weapons help compel North Korea to
abandon its nuclear program? It will not. It will do exactly the
opposite. How will a study of new nuclear weapons help convince the
Iranians to respond and give up their own nuclear weapons? Answer: It
will not. Just as calling these nations part of the ``axis of evil''
has done nothing but instill in them the desire to develop their own
nuclear weapons programs. That, in fact, has been exactly the case.
In both cases, a study to develop new nuclear weapons, especially
when we already have a robust nuclear arsenal, only makes those weapons
more important to those who do not yet have them, such as Iran, or who
refuse to give them up, such as North Korea. And the proliferation of
nuclear weapons only increases the chances of them falling into the
hands of terrorists who will not be deterred by a nuclear bunker
Secondly, a study will not change the conclusions of the National
Academies of Sciences report: It is not possible to develop a nuclear
bunker buster that can burrow deep enough into the earth to contain
massive amounts of radioactivity fallout. The inevitable result will be
the deaths of up to a million people.
So why do we do it? Physics says it cannot be done, and somebody in
the Pentagon who does not know word one about physics says it can be.
Who do I trust? I do not trust the Pentagon, I do trust the Academies
of Sciences, on this point. This study will not change that simple
fact. And as Ivan Oelrich of the Federation of American Scientists
Any nation that can dig under a hundred meters of hard rock
can dig under a kilometer of hard rock.
Our adversaries will only have to build a bunker deeper than 400
meters to avoid the effects of a 1-megaton bomb that is 71 times bigger
than Hiroshima. It makes no sense.
Finally, a study will not change the fact that we need to improve our
intelligence capabilities in relation to underground targets. Why
aren't we putting that money into intelligence on
underground targets, where the vent shafts are, where the aromas come
up, where ingress, egress, and access is, to pinpoint locations? What
use is a nuclear bunker buster if we cannot locate and identify an
underground target which, ladies and gentlemen, is today the case?
What would have been the consequences if we had used a nuclear bunker
buster in Iraq to take out bunkers filled with chemical and biological
weapons--that did not exist? The fact is, we can improve our
intelligence capabilities and locate and identify targets. We can use
conventional weapons with specialized delivery systems to seal off
their vulnerable points, such as air ducts and entrances for personnel
We can also look at conventional bunker busters. Last month, I was
briefed by Northrop Grumman on a program they are working on with
Boeing to develop a conventional bunker buster--the Massive Ordnance
Penetrator--which is designed to go deeper than any nuclear bunker
buster and take out 25 percent of the underground and deeply buried
targets. This is a 30,000-pound weapon, 20 feet in length, with 6,000
pounds of high explosives. It will be delivered in a B-2 or B-52
bomber. It can burrow 60 meters in the ground through 5,000 PSI--pounds
per square inch--of reinforced concrete. It will burrow 8 meters into
the ground through 10,000 PSI reinforced concrete.
We have already spent $6 million on this program, and design and
ground testing are scheduled to be completed next year. Why are we
doing this nuclear bunker buster that cannot be done according to the
law of physics? We should focus on practical programs such as the
Northrop Grumman-Boeing program that will put these underground targets
at risk without reopening the nuclear door.
Let me look once again at the policies underlying this request.
The 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, which is a white paper put out by
the administration--singularly overlooked by this body but read widely
by the rest of the world--places nuclear weapons as part of the
strategic triad, therefore blurring the distinction between the
conventional and nuclear use. Why do this? One reason: It makes them
easier to use. It also discussed, for the first time, seven countries
that could be targets of U.S. nuclear weapons: Russia, China, Iraq,
Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria.
I did not write this. This is in the Nuclear Posture Review. Other
nations have seen this. This is foolish.
Secondly, National Security Directive-17, which came a few months
later, indicates that the United States will engage in a first use of
nuclear weapons--a historic statement in itself. We have never said we
would not engage in a first use. We have never said we would engage in
a first use. And here we say we would engage in a first use to respond
to a chemical or biological attack.
We could have done that in Iraq. What would have happened had we done
this? Would a nuclear bunker buster have been used in Iraq? I wonder.
Fortunately, we will never know.
My point is, these policies encourage other nations to develop
similar weapons, thereby putting American lives at risk and our
national security interests at risk. This isn't the example we should
set for the rest of the world. Indeed, I believe the United States can
take several actions to make better use of our resources and
demonstrate our commitment to keeping the world's most dangerous
weapons out of the world's most dangerous hands.
First, we should work to strengthen the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
Senator Hagel and I have introduced a sense of the Senate amendment to
this bill that calls on parties to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty to
insist on strict compliance with the nonproliferation obligations of
the treaty and to undertake effective enforcement actions against
states that are in violation of their obligations; to agree to
establish more effective controls on sensitive technologies that can be
used to produce materials for nuclear weapons; to accelerate programs
to safeguard and eliminate nuclear weapons usable material to the
highest standards to prevent access by terrorists or other states; to
agree that no state may withdraw from the treaty and escape
responsibility for prior violations of the treaty or retain access to
controlled materials and equipment acquired for peaceful purposes; and
to accelerate implementation of the NPT-related disarmament obligations
and commitments that would, in particular, reduce the world's
stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-grade material.
I urge my colleagues and the managers of this bill to support our
Second, we should expand and accelerate Nunn-Lugar threat reduction
programs and provide the necessary resources to improve security and
take the rest of the Soviet era nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons arsenals and infrastructure out of circulation.
Third, we should strengthen and expand the ability of the Department
of Energy's Global Threat Reduction Initiative to secure and remove
nuclear weapons-usable materials from vulnerable sites around the
Last year, Senator Domenici and I sponsored an amendment to the
fiscal year 2005 National Defense Authorization Act that authorized the
Secretary of Energy to lead an accelerated, comprehensive, worldwide
effort to secure, remove, and eliminate the threat by these materials.
Finally, as I noted previously, we should improve our intelligence
capabilities to locate and identify underground targets. There is a lot
of improvement needed.
In August, we will commemorate the 60th anniversaries of the two uses
of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Hiroshima, 140,000
people died. In Nagasaki, 100,000 people lost their lives. Two bombs,
240,000 people dead. The 1-megaton bomb of the robust nuclear earth
penetrator study is 71 times bigger than the bomb at Hiroshima. That is
what we are looking at. For shame.
What message do we send to the survivors of those attacks and to the
friends and families of the victims by moving forward with a study to
develop a nuclear bunker buster of 1 megaton? Let us acknowledge these
anniversaries and pay tribute to the victims by putting a stop to this
program once and for all. Let us work together on commonsense programs
that will make our country safer without reopening the nuclear door.
I urge my colleagues to follow the House lead, support this amendment
and kill this program.
I yield the floor.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Colorado.
Mr. LEVIN. Will the Senator from Colorado yield for a unanimous
Mr. ALLARD. Yes.
Mr. LEVIN. I have talked to the chairman about this. I ask unanimous
consent, with the concurrence of the chairman, after Senator Allard has
completed, that the Chair then recognize Senator Salazar, and following
Senator Salazar, that then Senator Dorgan be recognized. It is a little
bit out of order because we have been going back and forth, but in
terms of time, I think it may be a fair apportionment.
Mr. WARNER. Reserving the right to object, I would like to amend it
to enable the distinguished Senator from Alabama, whose subcommittee
has jurisdiction over at least one of the amendments of Senator Allard,
be permitted to use such time as he desires in the colloquy between the
Mr. LEVIN. I would ask Senator Sessions if he could give us an idea
as to about how long he would be so Senator Dorgan could plan his time.
Mr. SESSIONS. It would be no more than 5 minutes--less than that,
Mr. LEVIN. Could we then amend the unanimous consent request to
include Senator Sessions immediately following Senator Salazar, then it
would go to Senator Dorgan.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so
The Senator from Colorado.
Mr. ALLARD. I thank the Chair.
Madam President, I rise in opposition to the amendment to strike the
$4 million appropriation for the robust nuclear earth penetrator
commonly known as RNEP. There are some comments made in the debate
today to which I would like to add my perspective because they were
We have been debating this amendment for the past 3 years. And we
have been passing this provision in the Senate, defeating any
amendments to take it out of legislation. In all the testimony I have
had over the past 3 years as chairman of the Strategic Subcommittee,
which my distinguished colleague from Alabama now chairs, never once
has anybody, in testifying before that committee, said that there will
not be any nuclear fallout. Not once have they indicated that they felt
this was going to lead us into an arms race.
Here is what we have done. This is what they have talked about,
taking some of the nuclear warheads that we now have in our nuclear
arsenal and redesigning those in a way in which they might be more
effective, if we happen to have a deep bunker that is posing a threat
to Americans, whether American soldiers or American citizens.
We need to have a study. That is what this provision is all about.
What we are talking about is reducing the amount of collateral damage.
That means reducing the amount of, perhaps, nuclear fallout or perhaps
reducing the blast range because you take all that energy and you drive
it down into the ground instead of driving it in a horizontal
direction, which obviously means for collateral damage. They are
talking about focusing the study on the B-83 warhead which is part of
our arsenal today. That is all we are talking about, a study. We are
going to be looking at the current arsenal makeup of weapons that we
have to modify them to reduce collateral damage. I think that is a
commendable goal. I think it warrants the support of the Members of the
This bill includes funding of $4 million to continue the Air Force-
led feasibility study. This is a study on the robust nuclear earth
penetrator. This is not a new issue for Congress to consider. In both
the defense authorization and the Energy and Water appropriations
bills, amendments have been offered to cut all funding for the robust
nuclear earth penetrator. These amendments have been defeated on
The purpose of the RNEP feasibility study is to determine if an
existing nuclear weapon can be modified to penetrate into hard rock in
order to destroy a deeply buried target that could be hiding weapons of
mass destruction or command and control assets. The Department of
Energy has modified nuclear weapons in the past to modernize their
safety and security and reliability aspects. We have also modified
existing nuclear weapons to meet our new military requirements. Under
the Clinton administration, we modified the B-61 so it could penetrate
frozen soils. The RNEP feasibility study is narrowly focused to
determine whether the B-83 warhead can be modified to penetrate hard
rock or reinforced underground facilities.
Funding research on options, both nuclear and conventional, for
attacking such targets is a responsible step for our country to take.
As many as 70 nations are developing or have built hardened and deeply
buried targets to protect command and communications and weapons of
mass destruction production and storage assets. Of that number, a
number of nations have facilities that are sufficiently hard and deep
enough that we cannot destroy most of them with our conventional
weapons. Some of them are so sophisticated that they are beyond the
current U.S. nuclear weapons capability.
I believe it is prudent and imperative that we fund this study. I
emphasize again, this is a study on the potential capabilities to
address this growing category of threat.
Should the Department of Energy determine, through this study, that
the robust nuclear earth penetrator can meet the requirements to hold a
hard and deeply buried target at risk, the Department still could not
proceed to full-scale weapon development, production or deployment
without an authorization and appropriation from Congress. Let me repeat
that. The Department of Energy cannot go ahead, beyond this study,
without the express authorization or appropriation from Congress.
Frankly, we should allow our weapons experts to determine if the
robust nuclear earth penetrator could destroy hardened and deeply
buried targets. That is the purpose of the study. Then Congress could
have the information it would need to make a responsible decision as to
whether development of such a program is appropriate and necessary to
maintain our Nation's security.
Again, I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment before us.