Senator Pete V. Domenici
OCTOBER 12, 2000
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today voted with the Senate to give final congressional approval to the FY2001 Defense Authorization Bill FY2001 Defense Authorization Bill, which contains provisions supported by Domenici to boost the Airborne Laser program, Directed Energy research and testing, and other national security work in New Mexico.
CONGRESS COMPLETES DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL
WITH SUPPORT FOR AIRBORNE LASER, DIRECTED ENERGY IN N.M.
Domenici Says Good Bill Marred with DOE-Lab Polygraph Provisions
The Senate Thursday night gave final approval (90-3) to the bill, clearing it for the president’s signature. The bill authorizes funding levels and policy for the Department of Defense, including national security work conducted by the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons laboratories (Sandia and Los Alamos).
“This bill builds on my repeated statements on our need to stop the ebbing tide and end the lengthy decline in defense budgets. We must not tire in our efforts to maintain a strong, ready and professional military. That entails quality of life issues for our armed forces, as well as developing and leveraging new technologies to the maximum extent," Domenici said.
While approving of the bill overall, Domenici was pointedly critical of provisions in the bill authorizing an expansion of polygraph testing polygraph testing within the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons labs. The bill adds new requirements that will entail polygraphs for an estimated 5,000 additional persons working in our nuclear complex.
“I am dismayed that the conferees took it upon themselves to adopt additional provisions on polygraphs. I find it astounding, especially in light of the findings in the Baker-Hamilton Report, that the conferees included these provisions," Domenici said.
The Sept. 25 Baker-Hamilton report, compiled at the request of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, stated unequivocally that “(t)he current negative climate is incompatible with the performance of good science. A perfect security system at a national laboratory is of no use if the laboratory can no longer generate the cutting-edge technology that needs to be protected..."
“The Baker-Hamilton Report clearly indicated that we should avoid further ‘Made in Washington’ rules that frustrate scientific pursuits and only serve to further demoralize laboratory personnel. I believe these provisions will only make a bad situation worse," Domenici said. “Security will be a moot point if our national laboratories fail to achieve scientific advances worth protecting."
On the positive side, the bill follows through on an effort promoted by Domenici, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and Congresswoman Heather Wilson to better coordinate and manage the nation’s defense laser programs, much of which is developed and tested in New Mexico.
“For New Mexico, this bill builds on the progress being made in our national defense laser programs, like THEL and Airborne laser. They will offer offensive and defensive military means far beyond our current capabilities. These programs deserve our full support. I’m very pleased the bill will prod the Defense Department to coordinate our efforts in lasers and other directed energy technologies," he said.
The final bill maintains a Domenici-authored amendment that requires the Secretary of Defense to implement the High Energy Laser Master Plan High Energy Laser Master Plan and authorizes up to $30 million for these technologies. This amendment also requires the Defense Secretary to select a site for the Joint Technology Office (JTO), which will perform a critical role in achieving better coordination and execution of the nation’s defense laser programs.
The bill also underscores the vital role of the High Energy Laser Test Facility (HELSTF) at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and the importance of Defense Department’s close coordination with other federal agencies, academia and industry in creating a stable foundation for further progress in these technologies.
“The conferees did not accept my original proposal that included all directed energy technologies in this defense-wide effort. Instead, the bill now requires the Pentagon to take a hard look at integrating other directed energy technologies into the current High Energy Laser programs. I accept this as a logical next step in the effort to streamline and better coordinate research programs." Domenici said. “This still keeps us on a direct path for making Albuquerque and WSMR the center of a coordinated national directed energy program."
The bill authorizes $85 million to restore most of the program funding cut by the Air Force for the Airborne Laser (ABL) program Airborne Laser (ABL) program. To avoid such radical budget reductions in the future, the bill also allows the Air Force to retain funding control for ABL; however, it must have the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization’s (BMDO) approval before making any changes to any aspect of the program, including its budget.
“The Air Force should stop playing games with the ABL program budget. The ABL is the only missile defense system currently contemplated that would strike and kill missiles in their boost phase," Domenici said.
The ABL program is managed by the Air Force Special Programs Office at Kirtland. ABL is currently the nation’s most promising and revolutionary ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. It has met or is exceeding all technical requirements, while remaining on budget and on schedule. If the committee had followed President Clinton’s lead, the Air Force projected a two-year delay in the lethality demonstrations and almost $1 billion in added cost.
The final bill also includes a Domenici amendment authorizing $30 million for U.S. non-proliferation programs within the Russian nuclear complex, or the so-called Nuclear Nuclear Cities Initiative Cities Initiative (NCI). But release of future funding is conditioned on a Russian commitment toward rapid progress in downsizing its nuclear weapons complex with the ability of the United States to track progress against verifiable milestones. Both Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories in New Mexico are heavily involved in the NCI program.
The bill also includes a Domenici-cosponsored amendment authorizing a three-year pilot project encouraging the development of “clusters" of high-tech businesses around the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The pilot program gives the Department of Energy flexible contracting authority to work on joint projects with businesses, including local businesses, and universities.
The FY2001 Defense Authorization Bill includes the following authorized levels, which are subject to actual funding in the FY 2001 Defense Appropriations Bill.
Military Personnel Pay Raise Military Personnel Pay Raise: The bill sets a 3.7 percent pay increase for military personnel in FY2001.
Military Construction and Family Housing Military Construction and Family Housing: $8.8 billion, an increase of $788 million over the Clinton administration’s request.
Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) at WSMR Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) at WSMR: $15 million for FY2001. Earlier thisyear, Domenici gained $5.7 million in FY00 emergency funding for continued testing of this weapon system this year. Since the passage of the emergency supplemental funding bill earlier this year, THEL has shown that lasers can provide effective, speed of light defenses against Katyusha rockets.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams: $15.7 million for five additional teams and continuing support for a total of 32 Civil Support Teams by the end of fiscal year 2001. These teams are comprised of full-time National Guard personnel trained and equipped to deploy and assess suspected nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological events in support of local first responders. One such team is currently being trained and fielded in New Mexico.
DOE Atomic Energy Defense activities DOE Atomic Energy Defense activities: $13 billion for the Department of Energy Atomic Defense Activities. A total of $6.4 billion of this funding is for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Programs Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Programs: More than $1.0 billion is authorized for the nonproliferation and threat reduction programs of the departments of Defense and Energy. The final bill also includes several initiatives to obtain greater commitment and necessary access from Russia, such as the DOE nuclear cities initiative.
Defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Programs Defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Programs: $38.9 billion is authorized, $1.1 billion over the President’s budget. This funding will focus on the revolutionary technologies to address emerging threats.
Army Warfighter Information Network Army Warfighter Information Network: $174 million authorized, $60 million above Clinton’s budget request, for mobile command and control shelters. Laguna Industries, the largest employer for Laguna Pueblo, manufactures these shelters. Domenici requested this funding increase in February.
Counter-Terrorism Technical Support program Counter-Terrorism Technical Support program: An additional $3 million is authorized for the Counter-Terrorism Technical Support program, supporting the cutting-edge research in blast mitigation materials and structures at New Mexico Tech. Overall, this program is authorized at $44.1 million for 2001.
DOE Nonproliferation Research DOE Nonproliferation Research: $253 million is authorized for Department of Energy nonproliferation research, a $20 million increase over the president’s budget request. Domenici requested such an increase in February.
Advanced Spacecraft Technology, Kirtland AFB Advanced Spacecraft Technology, Kirtland AFB: $163 million, a $60.6 million increase above the president’s budget request, for advanced spacecraft programs at Kirtland AFB, including: $6.5 million for the Scorpius Low-Cost Launch program; $6.5 million for the Military Space Plane, and $2.6 million for the Solar Orbital Transfer Vehicle Space Experiment.
Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center (AFOTEC): $28.2 million is authorized for the AFOTEC’s independent operational tests to evaluate weapon systems operational effectiveness and suitability, including new aircraft. This funding supports research and testing, ongoing operations and maintenance, and the military personnel payroll.
High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF) High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF): The Armed Services Committee adhered to Clinton’s budget request, authorizing $14.5 million for HELSTF ($19.7 million less than FY2000 funding), $3 million for continued upgrades at HELSTF, and $10 million for the solid state laser program at WSMR ($19 million less than FY2000). The committee did authorize a $15 million increase for the Theater High Energy Laser (THEL) at HELSTF. Domenici has sought authorization for funding increases in each of these programs.
Army Test Ranges and Facilities Army Test Ranges and Facilities: $114.7 million authorized for this activity for upgrades and instrumentation for testing centers. WSMR would share in the use of this funding.
Science and Technology Science and Technology: $4.56 billion for defense Science and Technology research. Counter-Drug Activities Counter-Drug Activities: $1.1 billion for counter-drug activities within the Defense Department and $25 million for National Guard counter drug operations.
Department of Energy (DOE) Atomic Energy Defense Activities Department of Energy (DOE) Atomic Energy Defense Activities: $13 billion for Atomic Energy Defense activities of the Department of Energy (DOE), a $697.0 million increase over fiscal year 2000 funding levels. The levels authorized amount reflects a net reduction of $120 million to the president’s request. Reductions were taken principally from the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program and defense environmental management privatization.
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA): $6.4 billion for NNSA activities, in the following programs:
$4.8 billion for weapons activities weapons activities, which is a $78.9 million increase over the budget request, and an increase of $332.2 million over fiscal year 2000 levels;
$877.5 million for defense nuclear nonproliferation activities defense nuclear nonproliferation activities, which is $28.5 million below the budget request, and an increase of $28.2 million above fiscal year 2000 levels; and
$695.0 million for naval reactors activities naval reactors activities, which is a $17.4 million increase over the budget request, and an increase of $19.9 million over fiscal year 2000 levels.
NNSA Counterintelligence NNSA Counterintelligence: $45.2 million to enhance counterintelligence at NNSA nuclear weapons laboratories.
Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management: $5.9 billion for defense environmental restoration and waste management (including defense facilities closure projects and defense environmental management privatization), which is $132.4 million below the budget request, and an increase of $356 million over fiscal year 2000 levels.
Other Defense Activities Other Defense Activities: $518.8 million for other defense activities, which is $36.3 million below the budget request, and equal to fiscal year 2000 funding levels.
Tritium Production Tritium Production: An additional $25 million provided to continue progress on restoring tritium production;
Pit Production Pit Production: $15 million added to begin conceptual design on a new pit production capability.
Environmental Management Technology Development Environmental Management Technology Development: $50.0 million added to the environmental management technology development activities.