NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (House of Representatives - June 20, 1997)

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Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time, and I rise in opposition to the Luther amendment and in support of the committee's position on this.

One of the problems here is that we have a missile on these older Tridents. The Pacific Tridents were built first. And the older missile , the C-4 missile , has a lifetime up to about 2004. Then, if we do not build the D-5 and replace the C-4's with the D-5's, we are going to have to go out and spend billions of dollars to fix up the C-4 missile .

In fact, I have been told that that course is more expensive than buying the newer, more capable missiles . So why would we not want to retrofit? The other problem is, if we have two missiles , then we have to have two infrastructures for the missiles , the D-5's. And if we can go to an all D-5 force, than we can have one missile , one set of repair parts, and it is actually, in terms of ownership, less expensive.

I would agree with my friend from California [Mr. Hunter] that until we see what happens in the START talks, we would, in my judgment, be premature to go even from 18 to 14 in terms of the number of submarines that we have. And the D-5 program is in place. We should buy these missiles now while the line is open. We need to keep this open until we see whether, in fact, we are going to get an arms control agreement.

To cut it off now would be premature and we would have a situation where the submarines in the Atlantic have D-5's and none of the submarines in the Pacific would. The D-5 is a more capable missile , and we need to have that capability, in my judgment, in both oceans.

So I understand the intent here to try to save some money. We all want to save money. But there is a lot more to this, and it goes right to the security of the country. The D-5 and the Trident submarine are the most survivable part of our triad. I think until we get these arms control agreements in place we should stay with this program, support the administration, who strongly is committed to keeping the D-5 program going.