Last week, the House Armed Services Committee approved the 2010 Defense Authorization bill. As Travis mentioned in the Center blog, a number of proposed amendments to the 2010 Defense Authorization bill have been submitted to Congress – and unfortunately some of them show a dangerous lack of priorities when it comes to our national security.
In the next few days, some very important amendments affecting missile defense and non-proliferation issues will likely be coming to a vote. Missile defense proponents are launching amendments to reverse Pentagon-requested cuts in missile defense programs.
Yes, that’s right. The Pentagon has asked for less funding for several missile defense programs that it finds wasteful and unworkable, but some Members of Congress are trying to waste taxpayer money on them anyway. Agreeing with the Pentagon’s request to end funding for these wasteful programs that prohibit funds from going to national security and other programs that we do need, are the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of the Missile Defense Agency.
One of these missile defense amendments would add $80 million to missile defense spending by taking funds from international materials protection and cooperation, the global threat reduction initiative, and North Korean anti-nuclear program initiatives. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative is a significant non-proliferation program in the Department of Energy, which tracks down and secures loose nuclear material around the globe. Given that everyone from Barack Obama to George W. Bush in recent years has acknowledged that terrorists obtaining loose nuclear materials would be the greatest threat to our national security, it seems like these might be programs that should receive an increase, not a decrease in funding.
This is why we just sent out an e-alert about these amendments.
Special thanks to Intern Extraordinaire, Andrew St. Denis!