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

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Mr. RAMSTAD. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of the Ramstad amendment to terminate further production of the Trident D-5 submarine launched ballistic missile . As we continue our efforts here to balance the budget and reduce the Federal debt, each and every Government program, including defense, must be scrutinized for potential savings. The further production of the Trident D-5 missile is one such program.

We already have over 350 Trident D-5's in service. At a cost of over $50 million each, we simply cannot afford to continue increasing the size of this missile force, nor do we need to, as our missile capability is more than adequate. By ending production of this missile , we will save taxpayers $5.7 billion over the next 10 years, without sacrificing our national security.

We must all strongly support the need for a strong national defense. But, at the same time, we cannot continue to fund programs that excessively spend scarce resources.

[TIME: 1200]

Mr. Chairman, let me read from this letter from Taxpayers for Common Sense:

As the United States moves to a balanced budget, it is unacceptable for taxpayers to finance an outdated missile program originally designed to counter Cold War threats. With 350 D-5 missiles already in service, the U.S. Navy is well-equipped, making further D-5 purchases unnecessary. Only a select few nations possess SLBM capabilities. The United States already leads the world in this area, with 4 other nations, Russia, China, France and Great Britain, all trailing in the distance. To the extent that the SLBM remains a viable strategic weapon in the redefined global arena, the United States possesses an adequate deterrent capability.

Let us save the taxpayer $5.7 billion. Please vote for this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I include for the Record the letter from Jill Lancelot from Taxpayers for Common Sense.