House Panel Approves Spending Extra $60 Million on Antimissile System

Technicians prepare a Ground Based Interceptor to be placed into a missile field at the Missile Defense Complex in Fort Greely, Alaska, in February 2012. Legislation approved by a House committee on Thursday would boost funding for the country's homeland missile defense program.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
See more stories about...
Rachel Oswald
May 8, 2014, 10:56 a.m.

A key House pan­el on Thursday ap­proved a bill that would in­crease fund­ing by at least $60 mil­lion for a home­land mis­sile de­fense sys­tem.

The cham­ber’s Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in a un­an­im­ous vote just after mid­night ap­proved an­nu­al de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion le­gis­la­tion that in­cluded a num­ber of mis­sile de­fense-re­lated meas­ures, such as $20 mil­lion in fund­ing to be­gin con­struct­ing a third do­mest­ic in­ter­cept­or site. The bill also in­cludes an ex­tra $40 mil­lion for the Ground-Based Mid­course De­fense sys­tem.

The De­fense De­part­ment did not seek fund­ing in its fisc­al 2015 budget re­quest for con­struc­tion of a third in­ter­cept­or site. The Pentagon is cur­rently study­ing pos­sible loc­a­tions for the site on the East Coast. The de­part­ment has not yet de­cided if it will move for­ward with build­ing the fa­cil­ity, which is a favored de­fense pro­ject for Re­pub­lic­ans who are con­cerned about a pos­sible mis­sile at­tack by Ir­an.

The two ex­ist­ing in­ter­cept­or sites in the coun­try are loc­ated in Alaska and Cali­for­nia and are part of the Ground-Based Mid­course De­fense sys­tem, which is un­der heavy scru­tiny due to a string of ex­pens­ive in­ter­cept test fail­ures. The Pentagon had re­ques­ted just over $1 bil­lion for the pro­gram for the com­ing fisc­al year. However, the Re­pub­lic­an-led HASC pan­el chose to boost that fig­ure by $40 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the draft bill text.

The le­gis­la­tion also in­cludes lan­guage that would hasten the de­ploy­ment of U.S. mis­sile de­fenses in Po­land. An amend­ment in­tro­duced by U.S. Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mike Turn­er (R-Ohio) and ap­proved by the com­mit­tee would re­quire the Pentagon to ac­tiv­ate no later than the end of 2016 an Ae­gis Ashore sys­tem in the East­ern European coun­try. Po­land has already agreed to host an Ae­gis in­ter­cept­or fa­cil­ity as part of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “Phased Ad­apt­ive Ap­proach” for European mis­sile de­fense, but that site is cur­rently not planned to go on­line be­fore the 2018-to-2020 time­frame.

Re­pub­lic­ans in the Sen­ate have in­tro­duced their own bill that would re­quire the ad­min­is­tra­tion to study op­tions for speed­ing up ac­tiv­a­tion of the Pol­ish mis­sile in­ter­cept­or site by the end of 2016.

But 2016 is not soon enough for Turn­er for achiev­ing an op­er­a­tion­al an­ti­mis­sile ca­pa­city in Po­land. In ad­di­tion to ac­cel­er­at­ing the timetable for stand­ing up the planned Ae­gis site, his amend­ment would re­quire the U.S. mil­it­ary by the end of this year to field a “short-range air and mis­sile de­fense cap­ab­il­ity or ter­min­al mis­sile de­fense cap­ab­il­ity, or both, and the per­son­nel re­quired to op­er­ate and main­tain such [a] sys­tem” in the NATO-al­lied na­tion.

The House floor is an­ti­cip­ated to take up the de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill dur­ing the week of May 19, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Arms Con­trol and Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, which tracks con­gres­sion­al ac­tions re­lated to nuc­le­ar weapons and mis­sile de­fense. The Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee plans to be­gin writ­ing its own ver­sion of the bill on May 20.

What We're Following See More »
WILL APPEAR TOGETHER TOMORROW
As Expected, Clinton Goes with Kaine
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
SO MUCH FOR THE RATINGS BUMP
Convention Ratings Same as 2012
1 days ago
THE LATEST
8,000 DOCUMENTS
Wikileaks Releases Trove of DNC Docs
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents purportedly taken from the Democratic National Committee Friday, just days before the start of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The documents included briefings on off-the-record fundraisers and candid photographs."

Source:
YES, WE KAINE?
Clinton Announcing VP Pick Today
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton "is widely expected to announce her choice" of vice president "in an email to supporters while on a campaign swing in Florida on Friday afternoon." The consensus: it'll be Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, although Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also said to be in the running.

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
1 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
×