Mr. SPENCE. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2786) to authorize additional appropriations for the Department of Defense for ballistic missile defenses and other measures to counter the emerging threat posed to the United States and its allies in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region by the development and deployment of ballistic missiles by Iran, as amended.
The Clerk read as follows:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Development of medium-range ballistic missiles by potential adversaries, such as Iran, has proceeded much more rapidly than previously anticipated by the United States Government.
(2) Existence of such missiles in potentially hostile nations constitutes a serious threat to United States forces, allies, and friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region and cannot be adequately countered by currently deployed ballistic missile defense systems.
(3) It is a matter of high national interest to quickly reduce the vulnerability of United States forces, allies, and friends to these threats.
(4) Meaningful and cost effective steps to reduce these vulnerabilities are available and should be pursued expeditiously.
SEC. 3. ACCELERATION OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PROGRAMS TO COUNTER ENHANCED BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT.
Funds are hereby authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 1998 for Defense-wide research, development, test, and evaluation in the amount of $147,000,000, to be available as follows:
(1) Joint composite tracking network: $35,000,000 to be available for the Joint Composite Tracking Network program.
(2) Patriot remote launch capability: $15,000,000 to be available to accelerate development
of the remote launch capability for the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defense system.
(3) PAC-3 and navy area defense tests: $40,000,000 to be available to test the capabilities of the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defense system, and to test the capabilities of the Navy Area Defense System, against missiles with the range of the Iranian ballistic missiles under development.
(4) Early warning enhancement: $6,000,000 to be available for improved integration of the various elements of the SHIELD system.
(5) PAC-3 production rate enhancements: $41,000,000 to be available for production rate enhancements for the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defense system.
(6) Israeli arrow missile defense system: $10,000,000 to be available to improve interoperability of the Israeli Arrow tactical ballistic missile defense system with United States theater missile defense systems.
SEC. 4. IDENTIFICATION OF OTHER POSSIBLE ACTIONS.
(a) Identification: The Secretary of Defense shall identify actions in addition to those authorized by section 3 that could be taken by the Department of Defense to counter the threats posed to the United States and its national security interests by the development or acquisition of medium-range ballistic missiles by Iran and other nations.
(b) Specific Actions To Be Taken: The Secretary specifically shall explore--
(1) additional cooperative measures between the Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Israel to further enhance Israel's ability to defend itself against the threat posed by ballistic missiles deployed by Iran and other nations; and
(2) actions within the existing Navy Theater Wide Missile Defense System program that could provide additional capabilities useful to addressing the threat posed by medium-range ballistic missiles within one to two years.
(c) Intergovernmental Coordination: The Secretary shall undertake appropriate intergovernmental and interagency coordination that would be necessary to the conduct of any of the actions identified pursuant to subsection (a).
SEC. 5. REPORT TO CONGRESS.
Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress a report providing--
(1) a description of the Secretary's plans for use of funds appropriated pursuant to the authorizations of appropriations in this Act; and
(2) a description of possible additional actions identified by the Secretary pursuant to section 4(a) and the steps taken or planned (as of the time of the report) to carry out section 4(c).
SEC. 6. OFFSETTING REDUCTIONS IN AUTHORIZATIONS.
The total amount authorized in section 201 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (Public Law 105-85) to be appropriated for fiscal year 1998 for research, development, test, and evaluation for the Department of Defense is hereby reduced by $147,000,000, of which--
(1) $126,000,000 is to be derived from savings from the use of advisory and assistance services by the Department of Defense in accordance with section 8041 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1998 (Public Law 105-56; 111 Stat. 1230); and
(2) $21,000,000 is to be derived from savings from the use by the Department of Defense of defense federally funded research and development centers in accordance with section 8035 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1998 (Public Law 105-56; 111 Stat. 1227).
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence).
(Mr. SPENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SPENCE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on H.R. 2786.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from South Carolina?
There was no objection.
Mr. SPENCE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, H.R. 2786, the Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998, is intended to address the accelerated threat posed by recent theater ballistic missile development around the world. North Korea has deployed the No Dong-1 missile. Iran's development of the Shahab-3 missile has proceeded rapidly and could be flight tested within the next year and will have sufficient range to strike Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The speed of these developments was unanticipated by the intelligence community and they warrant an immediate response. Our currently deployed missile defense systems were designed against older and slower threats and have only limited capabilities against this new generation of more lethal missiles. The steps taken in this bill will provide additional defensive capabilities for our troops and their dependents more quickly than is currently being planned.
The measures in this bill meet three important criteria. First, all are executable in the current fiscal year. It is therefore important for us to provide the funding and the authority to proceed in a timely manner. Second, all measures in this bill are consistent with planned missile defense systems and architectures. Third, this legislation is entirely consistent with current international agreements.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), who has spearheaded this effort with both patience and persistence, has been quite, quite frankly, ahead of both the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense when it comes to the seriousness of this threat and the need for a rapid response.
Likewise, the efforts of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) as cosponsors have strengthened this legislation and helped make it a strong bipartisan response to a serious threat.
The bill was approved unanimous by the Committee on National Security on a vote of 45 to 0. I commend all three of the bills' sponsors for their diligence. The Department of Defense believes that the bill's measures are important and constructive steps in any effort designed to address this rapidly evolving threat.
Madam Speaker, I once again commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) for their leadership and their effort. I express my strong support for this measure and urge my colleagues' support as well.
Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) be allowed to control the remainder of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from South Carolina?
There was no objection.
Mr. SKELTON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, we are here today to approve H.R. 2786, the Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998 under the suspension of the rules of this House.
This bill addresses the earlier than expected development of theater or tactical ballistic threats to our men and women in uniform around the world, threats that I believe are real and, given the limitations of currently deployed theater missile defense systems, demand a priority response.
H.R. 2786 is a bill that responds to the recent threat developments quickly, crisply and affordably. Moreover, it was approved unanimously by the committee.
In terms of process, I cannot be more pleased. H.R. 2786 is the result of an open, deliberative and nonpartisan effort by our committee. I want to thank the gentleman from South Carolina (Chairman Spence) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), chairman of the Subcommittee on Research and Development, for their openness and willingness to work on this issue.
In addition, I believe we owe a debt of gratitude to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt), whose vision brought us this bill today.
I also want to recognize the hard work of their staffs and the committee staff in translating that vision into legislation that we can all vote for today. In the strongest possible terms, Madam Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to vote in favor of this bill.
Madam Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett), the distinguished ranking member of the Subcommittee on Research and Development, and ask that he be allowed to control the time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Missouri?
There was no objection.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 4 minutes.
(Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to thank the distinguished chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence), and the ranking member, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), and the ranking member of my subcommittee, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt), for their tireless efforts in putting forth this compromise legislation today.
Madam Speaker, the largest loss of life that we have had in our military troops from one single incident in this decade was 7 years ago when 28 of our young soldiers were killed by a low complexity Scud missile entering into a barracks in Dhahran. We vowed as a Nation not to let that happen again, and we have been aggressively pursuing various theater missile defense systems to protect our troops and our allies from shorter range missiles that could not hit the United States.
Unfortunately, our schedule for deploying those theater missile defense systems was not able to meet the threats as they are in fact emerging. We saw several years ago North Korea begin deploying a No Dung missile that has a range of in the range of about 1,000 kilometers, and this past summer we saw, with the help of both Russia and China, Iran get the capability to deploy two different types of missiles that will have a range between 600 and 1,200 kilometers.
Looking at the chart, Madam Speaker, we can see that this missile that Iran will be able to deploy within the period of 12 to 24 months has the capacity to hit our allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area, as well as our troops stationed in the theater around Iran.
This is unacceptable to us, Madam Speaker, and so back in the fall of last year we got together and put together a bipartisan effort to provide short-term enhancements to improve our capability to defeat the missiles that Iran may in fact deploy, and that we know North Korea is already deploying.
These enhancements are basically contained in this bill. They involve providing additional footprints to existing systems with enhanced radar and providing interoperability between a number of different systems which gives us a better capability to more quickly identify a target and take that target out. So by putting forth the $147 million dollars in this legislation, we are going to allow our missile defense programs that are currently in place to come together in a unique way, to give us enhanced interoperability, to give us a longer footprint in terms of taking out systems and missiles that may in fact threaten our troops and our allies, and to also begin to cooperate with other nations.
In fact, in this legislation, we include money for interoperability with Israel, so that Israel, as it develops its Arrow program, will in fact be able to have that system interoperate with our PAC-3 program and eventually with our Navy and other Army programs.
So what we are talking about today, Madam Speaker, is a new opportunity to protect our troops in the shortest possible time using existing systems by enhancing them, not with new dollars, but with dollars that are already available within the budget agreement.
Madam Speaker, the other body has in fact passed in its supplemental bill a $151 million allocation that in fact is designed to fund almost all of our priorities in this legislation. I have received a commitment from the gentleman from Louisiana (Chairman Livingston). In fact, we will do a colloquy on the floor in the supplemental that he will work in the conference to make sure that funding is made available to fund the authorization that we provide today in this legislation.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I want to add one other dimension to this legislation. We are dedicating this legislation today to the memory of those 28 young soldiers, many of them from Pennsylvania, who were killed by that Scud missile attack 7 years ago. We do not want their names to be left unnoticed in terms of protecting our other troops, and so I will include for the record the names and classifications and titles and cities of each of those 28 brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 7 years ago, to that Scud missile.
This legislation, Madam Speaker, in honor of those 28 brave Americans, will allow us to ensure that no other Americans will lose their lives in a similar situation.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2786, the Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998. I want to thank our committee chairman and ranking member, and also our subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), for the fine work they have done in bringing this bill to this point.
The Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act is a quick, direct and bipartisan response to the earlier than expected development of theater ballistic missile threats to our troops by Iran and North Korea. It would authorize $147 million to increase the defended footprints of our current theater missile ballistic defense system by enhancing early warning, increasing connectivity among systems and providing for an increased deployment rate for the Patriot PAC-3 TMD system.
Supported by the Department of Defense, the bill is fully consistent with current and planned United States TMD programs and can be carried out by the Pentagon almost immediately. Further, it does not require future funding that DOD is not in a position to request, and it is within the scope of existing international agreements.
Because it responds to actual threat developments that would put our deployed troops at risk, I believe it is our duty to pass this bill today. Therefore, and in the strongest possible terms, I urge my colleagues to support our men and women in uniform and vote for H.R. 2786, the Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston), the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, a Member who has been a tireless advocate for missile defense for this country, and we welcome his participation today.
(Mr. LIVINGSTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2786, the Theater Missile Improvement Act, because it is a good bill. It is a good initiative.
Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to thank my friend for his time, but also his dedication to our Nation's defense and to this particular subject of missile defense. This issue has gone too far unattended.
Many of us in Congress have been convinced for a very long time that we need to protect against the possible threat of incoming missiles and that we need to protect our troops and our cities but the fact is, while most American people think we can defend against such missiles, in truth we cannot defend against the first missile.
We do not have the first defense system deployed.
So while I might disagree in some of the assessments of priorities in this bill, I rise in support of it for two critical reasons: North Korea and Iran.
North Korea has already deployed the No Dong-1 missile, which has a range of 1,000 kilometers, a sufficient range to threaten Japan; and it is developing the Taepo Dong-1, expected to have a range in excess of 1,500 kilometers, which would have the capacity to threaten Alaska and Hawaii.
According to our own director of Central Intelligence, Iran is very close to deploying the medium range Shahab-3 Missile. This missile will have the capability of striking areas in the Middle East such as Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Secondly, I think it is absolutely imperative that we begin to actually deploy systems; not just study them, or research them forever, as this administration continues to propose, but to deploy them. We need systems in place to defend against incoming missiles.
I believe this act will further our ability to do exactly that. I urge passage of H.R. 2786.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt).
(Mr. SPRATT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SPRATT. Madam Speaker, the bill before us is carefully crafted. It was worked out in a completely bipartisan spirit by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett), and myself and, truth be told, by our staff, in close consultation with the ballistic missile defense office, BMDO.
Over a period of weeks, we went through an exacting process to winnow down the increases to BMDO programs that can be used to deal with this emerging intermediate-range missile threat. Our process identified those programs with the most potential in the short term to enhance missile defense capability which can be executed this year, fiscal year 1998.
Wherever possible, we tried to speed up program improvements that had already been planned or programmed by BMDO and link up or improve interoperability among existing systems. As a result, we have a bill which is focused on the emerging threat, consistent with the progress that the ballistic missile defense organization is making, and affordable.
Each item in this bill has been scrubbed by the Defense Secretary, Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, and stamped with his approval as a sensible use of the funds. The authorizations are fully offset within the Department of Defense, and we have sought to work with the Committee on Appropriations to find outlay offsets, in order to appropriate these dollars this year.
In addition to increasing our BMDO capabilities in the short term, this bill will enhance the long-term performance of our systems as well. The Joint Composite Tracking Network, funded by this bill at $35 million, will network the sensing, tracking, command and control capabilities of PAC-3, THAAD, Navy Area Defense system and, eventually, the Israel Arrow and the Navy's Upper Tier systems, so missiles can be detected as soon as possible after launch and defenses can be cued up as soon as possible. The total flight time for these missiles is measured in seconds, and every second we gain in locating them is a gain towards taking them out.
This network is probably the single greatest step we can take in the short term to enhance our existing capabilities. It is also the logical next step to a layered defense or a family of systems architecture, which BMDO is working on.
This bill will lower the operational risks of the PAC-3 and Navy Area Defense Systems also by funding more testing. The bill allocates $20 million each for testing of these systems against longer or intermediate range threat. Although this testing is primarily designed to probe and stretch the limits of these systems, we will gain more knowledge and we hope more confidence in their general performance by more testing. And this goes to a recommendation pointedly made by General Larry Welsh in a recently completed review of our theater ballistic missile systems.
This bill also contains $41 million for production enhancements to the PAC-3 system, and that will allow for increased production of PAC-3 missiles and a faster deployment of this system, which has some potential for dealing with this threat into the field.
That is why I say this bill is a measured response to emerging threats. It is a sensible piece of legislation. I urge every Member of the House to support it.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Bartlett).
(Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland. Madam Speaker, I have sat in hearing after hearing where our intelligence community has told us that it would take rogue nations using indigenous capabilities 10 to 15 years to develop missile technologies that would threaten us or our allies. I never quite understood this. If I needed a moped, I am not sure that I would build a factory to build a moped. I think that I would go buy one from people who build them, which is precisely what Iran has done.
A few months ago, we were informed by our intelligence community that Iran has now acquired technologies from Russia which will permit them, years and years ahead of any projected schedule, to launch missiles with 600 and 1,200 kilometer ranges that threaten our allies.
This bill is a very measured response to this. It is not forging new frontiers. What we are doing in this bill is accelerating programs which are already in existence, where additional funds could move them forward so that we could meet the emerging threats.
I want to compliment those on both sides of the aisle that worked to craft this bill. My only regret is that it could not have come to us several years ago, because we needed it then. We need it far worse now. Please support this very good legislation.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Harman).
Ms. HARMAN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.
Madam Speaker, this bill is a very good example of bipartisanship producing good policy. I am proud to be an original cosponsor.
I commend my friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), for his leadership and his bipartisanship. Like him, I believe the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them is the key national security threat in the post-Cold War world.
In particular, many of us have been concerned about the transfer of ballistic missile capabilities from Russia to Iran. This is profoundly destabilizing to the region, and it presents a direct threat to U.S. forces in the region and to U.S. allies. To properly stem this threat, we need a two-pronged approach, prevention and defense.
Last fall, Senator Kyl and I introduced a concurrent resolution which passed both Chambers overwhelmingly, urging the President to impose sanctions on the Russian entities that have been providing technical assistance and technology to Iran's programs.
The Harman-Kyl resolution addressed the preventive aspect of a nonproliferation strategy. Sanctions make it unprofitable for anyone to transfer sensitive weapons technology to Iran, but stopping the flow is only part of the answer. We also need to defend against the capability that has already slipped through.
This bill is an important step in that process. It accelerates the development of important capability that can improve the region's missile defense in the short term. Assembled in cooperation with the Defense Department, these measures are designed to put in place the best defense possible by the time Iran's medium-range missile capability is fully realized.
Let me underscore just one measure that is in this bill and was mentioned by its sponsor, that is funding for interoperability of Israel's cost-share Arrow system, our best bet short term to protect our only democratic ally in the region.
Madam Speaker, I strongly support this bill and urge our colleagues, all of them, on a bipartisan basis, to support it, too.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman), the distinguished chairman of the Committee on International Relations.
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GILMAN. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2786, the Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998; and I commend the gentleman from South Carolina (Chairman Spence), the author of this measure, and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) for their extensive work on this important bill.
One of our Nation's most important national security and nonproliferation objectives is to reduce the vulnerability of our own forces, allies and friends in the Middle East from the threat of ballistic missiles by Iran and other potential adversaries.
As my colleagues well know, most critical in the short term is the threat posed by Iran's acquisition of ballistic missiles with a range of up to 1,300 kilometers or more. I fully support providing additional resources for those programs which can counter that kind of threat, which is the primary purpose of this bill.
I want to focus our colleagues' attention on the language contained in section 4 of the bill, which directs the Secretary of Defense to explore additional cooperative measures between our Defense Department and the Ministry of Defense in Israel to further enhance Israel's ability to defend itself against the threat posed by ballistic missiles deployed by Iran and other nations.
Just as important, perhaps even more important, as increasing funding for programs to counter the threat posed by Iran's missile programs is the necessity to halt assistance to the Iranian program in the first place. It is obvious that Russia has already provided Iran with critical know-how and technological support which has resulted in the Iranians achieving a significant leap in their missile programs.
An incremental approach to this issue relies on friendly persuasion. It is not achieving any demonstrable results in our negotiations with the Russians. Dialogue cannot substitute for more forceful and immediate action, including the imposition of sanctions on those entities engaging in missile cooperation with Iran. That is why we urge the Senate to take action on H.R. 2709, the Iran missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997, which was passed by the House last November.
As I have stated on a number of occasions, it is hard to believe that Russia's assistance to Iran does not violate Russia's international obligations as an adherent to the Missile Technology Control Regime. It is inconceivable that such transfers do not trigger U.S. missile sanctions laws.
In the 1980s, the world sat by while Saddam Hussein built up his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that we have not yet fully identified and destroyed; and our Nation cannot afford to do the same with Iran, as it uses its petrodollars to purchase weapons systems that will threaten its neighbors and endanger our forces throughout the Persian Gulf region.
I urge my colleagues to support this important measure.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Guam, Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.
Madam Speaker, I enthusiastically support the bill, H.R. 2896, as offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett), and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt). The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) deserves our gratitude for his persistence in moving this legislation, which is cosponsored by no less than 111 members.
The Theater Missile Defense Improvement Act of 1998 is one of the most important and timely pieces of legislation to be presented before this body.
As a member of the Committee on National Security, I have become keenly aware of the many threats posed by adversarial missile defense development and deployments and illicit technology transfers around the world. We only know too well the potential for destruction these weapons hold.
In the hands of our friends and allies, these weapons are valuable tools that safeguard democracy. In the hands of our adversaries, where the potential exists to arm them with chemical and biological warheads, the results are potentially catastrophic.
Madam Speaker, in a world rocked with uncertainties, we must remove the cloak of fear utilized by our adversaries. This important legislation will ensure in no small manner that the United States will have the technology and capability to defend our troops, no matter where they are, and citizens of every State and territory in the land. The real danger posed by rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, and Iran compel us to prepare to defend our vital assets.
I support this bill because it is the best way to assure our friends and allies that we will not be placed in a tactically compromising position. I support H.R. 2786 because it is non-scenario, non-geographic specific. It cuts to the core of the issue, to produce for the defense of the United States a highly capable, highly robust TMD system that could be deployed anywhere our enemies pose a ballistic missile threat.
Finally, Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of Guam, I support this bill for the safety and defense of our fellow U.S. citizens, who have been specifically targeted by North Korean military as they develop the Taepo Dong-1 and 2.
I congratulate this bipartisan effort and especially the work of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett).
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pappas), one of our young rising stars in this Congress.
(Mr. PAPPAS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PAPPAS. Madam Speaker, I believe this country owes a great deal of gratitude to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) for his leadership on this issue. This Congress is faced with a situation of whether to stick our heads in the proverbial sand or open our eyes to see the threats that we have to our national security. This bill moves us from the hand-wringing stage into the stage of action.
This bill will leverage existing systems to advance missile defense for our troops. Part of the ability to leverage existing technologies is to capitalize on what has worked elsewhere. For example, Israel has an ongoing missile defense system that has demonstrated favorable results. In this age of limited defense dollars, the Pentagon cannot afford to, quote-unquote, `reinvent the wheel' or be a slave to bureaucracy to develop technology and implement systems that will protect our troops now.
Recently, 36 members of the Committee on National Security signed a letter to the President circulated by myself and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Harman) urging him to work with Israel and leverage existing technology to develop Arrow, THEL, and BPI. Many share my concern about a seeming lack of commitment by this administration to deal with missile defense and the very real risks our troops, interests, and allies face in the Middle East, Korea and throughout the world.
Madam Speaker, this bill is a first step and I am hopeful that this Congress will seek to protect our troops. Failure to do so would be to shirk our duty to uphold the Constitution and to provide for the common defense. I urge passage of this bill.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Reyes).
Mr. REYES. Madam Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak in support of this important bill which will provide our troops better protection from ballistic missile threats. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, and I am pleased that this issue is finally getting the attention of the full House of Representatives.
Fort Bliss, which is located in my district, trains all the soldiers who provide air and missile defense for our military. Also, and perhaps most importantly for the purposes of this bill, most of the Patriot batteries are located at Fort Bliss.
As such, the increased funds for PAC-3 technologies will directly affect our soldiers. The Fort Bliss air defenders will be using these technologies to better defend our military and our allies. Our soldiers at Fort Bliss are pleased that we are working to provide the resources necessary to move PAC-3 into the field as effectively and as quickly as possible.
The bill includes $15 million to accelerate completion of the PAC-3 remote launch capability. This technology will allow the Patriot soldiers to place their missiles and launchers further out in front of the radar and the battery, which in turn expands the battle space. This will allow each Patriot unit to defend a larger area.
Second, the bill provides $41 million to allow for an increased rate of production for PAC-3. This will move PAC-3 missiles out into the field more rapidly so that every Patriot unit will have the PAC-3 capability.
At the beginning of the Gulf War conflict, our Patriot soldiers had only three PAC-2 missiles, missiles that were capable of defending against other ballistic missiles. Not only were there few PAC-2 missiles, but PAC-2 could only achieve missile kill against the incoming ballistic missile and not kill the actual warhead. As a result, some diverted incoming missiles caused collateral damage in civilian areas.
PAC-3 will have hit-to-kill capability, eliminating the fear of hitting other areas and destroying offensive missiles and their warheads which could include weapons of mass destruction. The funds we provide today will equip our Patriot units more quickly with this technology.
Third, the bill provides $40 million for tests of PAC-3 and Navy Area. Our air defenders will feel more comfortable knowing that these technologies have been sufficiently tested with live fire tests against longer range missiles.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence), the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) for their bipartisan work to get this bill to the House floor today. I strongly urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation in a bipartisan manner.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Fowler), one of the leading advocates for a strong defense in our country.
Mrs. FOWLER. Madam Speaker, I rise to commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), my good friend, and the other authors of this bill for their hard work in putting together a measure that will help address critical threats that will soon be facing our service personnel in the Persian Gulf.
The Iran Missile Protection Act would authorize the shifting of $147 million in Defense Department funds to proceed with the most promising technologies available for enhancing theater missile defense capabilities. This step is necessary because recent intelligence indicates that Iran, thanks to Russian technology transfers, is much closer to developing a medium-range ballistic missile capable of threatening U.S. forces and regional allies that was previously believed to be the case.
This bill would pursue technologies that are executable in fiscal year 1998 and provide the most immediate return on investment. It received strong support in the House Committee on National Security and merits the approval of the House. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2786.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
Madam Speaker, first of all, let me again thank the leadership of our committee. The gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) are outstanding leaders working in a true bipartisan manner.
Let me also thank Ron Dellums, who was our ranking member up until a few short weeks ago. He, too, lent his support from the time we introduced the original legislation until the time it appears on the floor, and I appreciate his role in that process as well. I also thank the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Pickett) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) for their tireless effort on the other side.
Madam Speaker, let me also thank the Speaker of the House, who agreed to move this legislation through, and our colleagues in the other body for their commitment to move this legislation off the desk and get it passed in the Senate as well, and to the appropriators for their commitment to fund these priorities.
Madam Speaker, when we look at what is really going to happen in terms of this legislation, I think this chart perhaps sums it up best. We cannot get into actual distances and capabilities because that is classified information.
But if we look at the Patriot system, which all of America knows was the workhorse in Desert Storm, and its capability for knocking down Scuds, the capability of the Patriot system against the kind of threat that Iran will have 1 year from now means the Patriot could not handle this at all. Patriot has no capability against a 1,000 kilometer DBM threat. None whatsoever. If we just had the original Patriot system, we could do nothing. We would be shooting missiles in the air with no real capability of knocking those offensive missiles down.
By enhancing the Patriot system as we have done to improve it to become the PAC-2, this green area shows the approximate area that this missile would be effective, in these two concentric circles. From a distance standpoint, that is the approximate distance that PAC-2 upgrade would give us.
When we implement the provisions of this legislation, we provide for the enhanced radar, the interoperability, the use of existing systems interconnected, the blue area is the result that we get. So my colleagues can see that we are much better able to protect our troops and protect our allies. We have a much greater distance where we can take out that offensive missile while it is still over the country that is shooting at us, and if there is any hostile material in the warhead of that missile, it will rain down on their own citizens and not on our troops or allies.
Madam Speaker, this legislation is critically important. It will give us a short-term capability in fiscal year 1998 to give enhanced protection for our troops and for our allies around the world. I thank my colleagues for their support.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. PICKETT. Madam Speaker, I have no further requests for time. I urge passage of the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Emerson). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2786, as amended.
The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
The title of the bill was amended so as to read:
`A bill to authorize additional appropriations for the Department of Defense for ballistic missile defenses and other measures to counter the emerging threat posed to the United States and its allies by the accelerated development and deployment of ballistic missiles by nations hostile to United States interests.'.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.