The Insider

By Jason Sherman
July 21, 2010 at 9:07 PM

The House Appropriations Committee has trimmed by $7 billion, or 1.3 percent, the amount the Obama administration requested for the Pentagon in fiscal year 2011, from $530 billion to $523 billion.

This sum -- known in budget parlance as a 302(b) allocation -- is also a $15.7 billion increase, or 3.1 percent hike, above the Pentagon's FY-10 enacted base budget of $508.1 billion, according to a committee statement.

White House's request for the State Department and foreign operations accounts take a $2.6 billion hit -- from $56.6 billion to $53.9 billion, or 4.7 percent reduction. This sum would also mark a $5.2 billion hike, or 10.7 percent increase, over the $48.7 billion amount in in the FY-10 budget.

A committee statement accompanying the figures states:

The subcommittee allocations recognize the economic realities facing the country, while allowing for modest but important investments in key priorities.

The 302(b) allocations conform to the Budget Enforcement Resolution that the House adopted on July 1, 2010, which calls for a $14.5 billion reduction to the President’s discretionary request, as adjusted for programs proposed as mandatory but which must be funded as discretionary because the Administration has not submitted the necessary legislation.

By John Liang
July 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Yesterday's Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the nomination of Lt. Gen. James Clapper to become the next director of national intelligence includes a whole bunch of potential talking points for supporters and opponents of the intelligence community. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, who maintains the Secrecy News blog, in today's post noted Clapper's announcement that the Military Intelligence Program's budget would soon be disclosed for the first time:

The size of the annual budget for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP), which has been classified up to now, will be publicly disclosed, said Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr., the nominee to be the next Director of National Intelligence. He said that he had personally advocated and won approval for release of the budget figure. . . .

Since 2007, the DNI has declassified and disclosed the size of the National Intelligence Program (NIP) at the end of each fiscal year, in response to a legislative requirement. But despite its name, the NIP is not literally the whole "national intelligence program." Rather, it is one of the two budget constructs, along with the MIP, that make up the total U.S. intelligence budget.

Thus, when former DNI Dennis Blair said last September that the total intelligence budget was around $75 billion, he was referring to the sum of the NIP (which was $49.8 billion at that time) plus the MIP.

"I thought, frankly, we were being a bit disingenuous by only releasing or revealing the National Intelligence Program, which is only part of the story," said Gen. Clapper. "And so Secretary Gates has agreed that we could also publicize that (i.e., the MIP budget). I think the American people are entitled to know the totality of the investment we make each year in intelligence."

Aftergood also notes Clapper's willingness to reform the intelligence budget's structure:

Open government advocates believe that intelligence budget disclosure is good public policy and may even be required by the Constitution's statement and account clause. But what makes it potentially interesting to policymakers is that it would permit the intelligence budget to be directly appropriated, rather than being secretly funneled through the Pentagon budget as it is now.

"I would support and I've also been working [on] actually taking the National Intelligence Program out of the DoD budget," said DNI-nominee Gen. James R. Clapper at his confirmation hearing yesterday, "since the original reason for having it embedded in the Department's budget was for classification purposes. Well, if it's going to be publicly revealed, that purpose goes away."

Removing classified NIP funding from the DoD budget would be appealing to the Pentagon since it would make the DoD's total budget appear smaller. "It serves the added advantage of reducing the topline of the DoD budget, which is quite large, as you know, and that's a large amount of money that the Department really has no real jurisdiction over," Gen. Clapper said.

However, the intelligence community wouldn't be the "primary obstacle to such a change," according to Aftergood:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has just weakened an amendment to require annual disclosure of the NIP budget request at the start of the budget process -- which is a prerequisite to an open intelligence budget appropriation -- by making disclosure subject to a presidential waiver.

The original amendment, offered by Senators Feingold, Bond and Wyden, "was intended to make possible a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to improve congressional oversight by passing a separate intelligence appropriations bill," explained Senator Feingold. But the effort to implement that recommendation "would be seriously complicated by the year-to-year uncertainty of a presidential waiver," he said in the revised markup (pdf) of the FY2010 intelligence authorization act, released yesterday (at p. 76).

Senate Select Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-MO) said at the hearing yesterday that there has been "far too many DNI confirmation hearings" in the past few years, adding:

I believe this high turnover rate is a symptom of the inadequate authorities invested in the DNI. If we are unable to address those legislative shortcomings in the remaining time in this Congress, then I hope this is something you and the next ranking Republican will be begin to address next year in the new Congress.

By John Liang
July 20, 2010 at 11:21 PM

Don't expect the Senate to complete ratification of the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty anytime soon, according to Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

The senator, who spoke today at an Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-sponsored symposium on Capitol Hill, didn't exude much optimism that the treaty could be ratified before the end of this year.

"There are so many things that we have not yet had permission to read," Kyl said, including the State Department's record of the negotiations between U.S. and Russian officials that concluded earlier this year. There are "still hundreds of questions that have not been answered from the administration. . . . Both the Armed Services Committee and the (Select) Intelligence Committee have more hearings and more work to do, even if the Foreign Relations Committee is ready to wind her up," he continued, adding:

And of course there's the resolution for ratification -- we have not even begun to consider the things that need to go into that. What thoughtful people need to do is to say, 'Slow down, you will have a better chance of getting the treaty through if you try to do it the right way. If you try to run roughshod over those who have legitimate questions to ask, you try and jam it through and you don't take into account the things that we’ve raised here, then you are less likely to get it ratified than you are if you do it right,' even, I would suggest, if we get into the next Congress.

Republicans do not have a reflexive position no or yes on this, most of us have kept our powder dry, and so I'm hoping the administration will view this as a legitimate opportunity for bipartisanship which they keep calling for. Now, will it happen in September? Well it's not gonna happen this month, it's not likely to happen in September either, because there are only about three weeks of legislative time, and that's gonna be the last opportunity for Democrats to do whatever they have to do prior to the election for their election campaign purposes -- a tax bill, or something of that nature, for example.

And so that leaves the lame-duck session. Now, that offers some opportunities, obviously, but you're gonna have the omnibus appropriations bill, which will consume a lot of time in the lame-duck session, that's only about a two-and-a-half-week period between the election and Christmas that you can really take advantage of, unless you wanna work all the way through Thanksgiving. And there will be other things that they have saved up, some political things that they'd want to do then. Will this be the time for the START Treaty? Well, that's not the best time, to be sure, but I would say this: If they have gotten this 302(b) allocation issue straightened out, and if the omnibus appropriations bill clearly has all the money in it for 2011, and if the budget for the next year clearly has all the budget in it for 2012, and if the (nuclear weapons) modernization program has been spruced up, and if our questions have been answered, and we've had the opportunity to write and think about carefully the full resolution of ratification that all of us want to have, then there's a theoretical possibility that the treaty could be considered at that time, but if they don't, then I don't think it could. Or should, let's put it that way.

By John Liang
July 20, 2010 at 6:27 PM

While Defense Secretary Robert Gates said as much last month, the Pentagon today sent out the official statement announcing the president's nomination of Marine Corps Gen. James Amos to become the service's next commandant.

As Inside the Navy reported in June:

The alleged selection of Gen. James Amos as the next commandant of the Marine Corps surprised many and has been called an unorthodox pick by some news outlets, but analysts are hesitant to draw conclusions based on Amos' background as an aviator or the fact that Gen. James Mattis and Lt. Gen. Joe Dunford -- the picks that inside sources had been favoring -- were not selected. . . .

Amos would be the first aviator to become commandant, which may seem to make him a counterintuitive pick based on Gates' previous statements that the Defense Department needs to focus more on the wars it is currently fighting, both of which have been primarily ground wars.

"I have a hard time with the idea that we should make too much of this sort of thing," said Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution. "I remember when Jim Jones was the first Marine to ever run NATO and a lot of people saw that as a big step . . . people said that signifies a big shift and that's a big historic change, and frankly I think we got too caught up in that kind of rhetoric."

By Dan Dupont
July 20, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his South Korean counterpart today announced new military exercises aimed at North Korea.

The American Forces Press Service has details on a statement issued by both:

The first in a series is a combined maritime and air readiness exercise named Invincible Spirit. About 8,000 U.S. and ROK military personnel will participate. The exercise is in response to the unprovoked attack on and sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan off the west coast of the peninsula. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the North Korean torpedo attack on the vessel.

“This is the first in a series of ROK-U.S. combined naval exercises that will occur in both the East and West Seas,” the two defense ministers said in their joint statement. To Americans, the East Sea is the Yellow Sea and the West Sea is the Sea of Japan.

“These defensive, combined exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behavior must stop, and that we are committed to together enhancing our combined defensive capabilities,” the statement continued.

Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, put the exercises in context for reporters traveling with Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Willard said the exercise will begin at the conclusion of the Two-plus-Two meetings between the U.S. and Korean ministers of defense and foreign affairs.

Willard called the attack on the Cheonan “heinous.”

The exercise does include the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and ROK Navy ships. Aircraft will come from the U.S. Seventh Air Force, the George Washington’s Air Wing, the ROK air force and ROK anti-submarine aircraft. The exercise will include F-22 Raptor aircraft training for the first time in the theater, he said.

“In all, over a hundred aircraft will fly in the event,” Willard said. “The exercise will include a variety of training opportunities – flight operations from the carrier, there will be an air defense exercise, strike exercises and opportunities for passing exercises.”

“Anti-submarine warfare is also included in the exercise with both ROK and U.S. Navy ships and P-3 aircraft participating,” he said.

At the end of the exercise, there will be a counter special forces exercise. “These occur with some frequency in both the East and West Seas, conducted by the ROK and U.S. Navy,” Willard said.

Invincible Spirit is a large-scale exercise, the admiral stressed. “This is intended to send a signal to North Korea with regard to what has occurred post-Cheonan, and it is intended to signal to the region the resolve of this alliance and our commitment to one another and the scope and scale of our ability to operate together,” he said.

By John Liang
July 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) this afternoon added his voice to the growing chorus calling for passage of the fiscal year 2010 emergency supplemental spending bill. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

I know you understand the importance of national security and I know you are working hard to provide the Armed Forces with all the resources necessary to carry out their missions. I am writing to respectfully request that you schedule a vote at the earliest possible opportunity on a Fiscal Year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations bill containing at least $37 billion for overseas contingency operations of the Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense urgently needs supplemental funding in order to avoid inefficient and costly budget work-arounds in the immediate future. In order to ensure that a supplemental appropriations bill can be forwarded to the President's desk for his signature as quickly as possible, I urge that the bill be constructed so that it can obtain broad bi-partisan support in the United States Senate. The long-standing tradition of bi-partisan support of the Armed Forces in times of war should continue to be our guide in this most critical of times for national security, and particularly in this critical hour for our ongoing operations in Afghanistan.

I recognize that the Senate has already passed just such a bill, H.R. 4899, with a Senate amendment which the House has returned to the Senate with a further amendment. I believe that Congress must conclude its work on this measure as soon as possible. I appreciate your hard work on this legislation which continues your years of dedicated support to the Armed Forces. A critical hour is upon us and I know you will continue to act in the nation's best interest.

As Inside the Pentagon reported last week:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is "disappointed" that Congress did not pass the bill before July 4, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. The services "will now have to begin cash-flowing operating costs for war activities using their base budgets," Morrell said. "But because of where we are in the fiscal calendar, this option won't last very long. So absent more drastic action, we project that certain Army and Marine Corps accounts will run dry in August." Lawmakers must pass the bill before their next break in August, he argued.

By Jason Sherman
July 19, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Stephen Daggett, a defense budget and policy expert at the Congressional Research Service, has published an analysis of major U.S. war costs -- from the American Revolution to current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and adjusted the tallies for inflation, allowing for a side-by-side comparison of the costs of each campaign.

The tab for the two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $1.1 trillion so far. World War II, by comparison, cost $4.1 trillion once adjusted for inflation, according to the report.

Steven Aftergood, who first reported the CRS analysis on the Secrecy News blog, notes:

This makes the "war on terrorism" the most costly of any military engagement in U.S. history in absolute terms or, if correcting for inflation, the second most expensive U.S. military action after World War II.

Daggett in his eight-page report underscores the difficulty of making accurate comparisons of war costs across the centuries.

Comparisons of war costs over a 230-year period, however, are inherently problematic. One problem is how to separate costs of military operations from costs of forces in peacetime.

Another challenge is also the actual numbers in the ledgers:

Figures are problematic, as well, because of difficulties in comparing prices from one vastly different era to another. Inflation is one issue -- a dollar in the past would buy more than a dollar today. Perhaps a more significant problem is that wars appear vastly more expensive over time as the sophistication and cost of technology advances, both for military and for civilian purposes. The estimates presented in this report, therefore, should be treated, not as truly comparable figures on a continuum, but as snapshots of vastly different periods of U.S. history.

Even with these caveats, the figures are very interesting.

The American Revolution was a relative bargain at $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2011constant dollars, according to the report.

At today's rates, the Civil War ran the Union $59 billion and the Confederacy $20 billion.

By Marcus Weisgerber
July 19, 2010 at 7:02 PM

The Farnborough Air Show in England is off and running with a number of contracts and teaming agreements announced today.

First up, Hawker Beechcraft has selected CAE USA as the ground-based training systems provider for the AT-6 attack plane. Under the agreement, CAE will support Beechcraft’s “global pursuit campaigns of the AT-6 aircraft.” Those pursuits include the Air Force’s Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance program and Afghan Light Air Support contract.

“CAE USA will lead the design and development of a comprehensive ground-based training system, including aircrew and maintenance technician training solutions for the AT-6 platform,” a Hawker Beechcraft release states. “CAE’s responsibilities will include training system design and analysis, design and manufacture of synthetic training equipment, courseware development, classroom and simulator instruction, and training support services.”

CAE will also develop “embedded aircraft simulation solutions for the AT-6 and other T-6 aircraft variants,” according to the statement.

In addition, Hawker Beechcraft announced it has transitioned its maintenance of the Iraqi air force’s Peace Dragon King Air 350ER intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft maintenance into a fulltime contract logistics support role.

A total of 13 Hawker employees will provide maintenance and logistical support for the aircraft.

In other show news, Raytheon announced it has formed a team with Rockwell Collins and Honeywell to compete for the second increment of the Joint Precision Approach Landing System (JPALS) program. The system is replacing current instrument landing and precision approach radar landing systems.

"The Raytheon-Rockwell-Honeywell team has the expertise needed to implement JPALS Increment 2," Andy Zogg, Raytheon Network Centric Systems vice president of Command and Control Systems, said in a July 18 statement.

By John Liang
July 19, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Thirty-two universities are slated to get about $227 million in research grants over the next five years, the Pentagon announced today:

Awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between the academic institutions and DoD research offices that will make the awards: the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

The awards are the result of the fiscal (year) 2010 competition that ARO, ONR, and AFOSR conducted under the DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate both research progress and transition of research results to application. Most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments. Based on the proposals selected in the fiscal 2010 competition, a total of 67 academic institutions are expected to participate in the 32 research efforts.

The MURI program complements other DoD basic research programs that support traditional, single-investigator university research by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards.  The awards announced today are for a five year period subject to availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. Consequently, MURI awards can provide greater sustained support than single-investigator awards for the education and training of students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering fields critical to DoD, as well as for associated infrastructure such as research instrumentation.

The MURI program is highly competitive. ARO, ONR, and AFOSR solicited proposals in 30 topics important to DOD and received a total of 411 white papers, which were followed by 152 proposals. The awards announced today were selected based on merit review by panels of experts.

By Jason Sherman
July 19, 2010 at 3:48 PM

That is the date tentatively set for the Marine Corps' change of command, according to Pentagon sources. The date -- which, of course, coincides with the ninth anniversary of terrorist attacks that triggered two wars -- is predicated on Senate confirmation of Gen. James Amos to replace Gen. James Conway to be the service's next commandant. No date for Amos' confirmation hearing is yet set but Pentagon sources are hopeful a hearing will be set later this month.

As for the change-of-command ceremony, one congressional official involved in defense matters questioned why such an event -- which, he said involves “a celebration” -- should take place on that date.

The hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 airplane that slammed into the Pentagon between corridor 4 and corridor 5 that day killed 64 passengers as well as 125 people inside the building.

By Jason Sherman
July 16, 2010 at 6:01 PM

The Canadian government today announced a $8.5 billion plan to replace its entire fleet of CF-18s with Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, a step that will secure 65 new F-35s for the Canadian military and $11.3 billion worth of steady work for Canadian aerospace companies.

Canada is one of eight partner nations that has invested in the stealthy aircraft  $168 million, to date) and its Minister of National Defense, Peter MacKay, explained the decision to acquire it in a statement today.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the best aircraft we can provide our men and women in uniform to face and defeat the challenges of the 21st century. This multi-role stealth fighter will help the Canadian forces defend the sovereignty of Canadian airspace, remain a strong and reliable partner in the defense of North America, and provide Canada with an effective and modern capability for international operations.

Jacques Gourde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue, said:

Canadian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program will bring high-value jobs and other economic benefits to our country. This government is delivering on our plan to strengthen Canada’s defence industry, leverage Canada’s competitive advantage and work with industry to help position Canadian companies for success in the global marketplace.

A fact sheet issued today by the Canadian defense ministry explains further:

Now that Canada has committed to purchasing the F-35, Canadian industrial opportunities could exceed CAD$12 billion [$11.3 billion] for the production of the aircraft. Sustainment and follow-on opportunities for Canadian industry are emerging and will be available over the 40-year life of the program. For instance, in accordance with the industrial participation agreements, all 19 Canadian companies manufacturing items for the F-35 will also repair and overhaul those components for the entire global fleet.

By Jason Sherman
July 15, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Ashton Carter, the Pentagon's acquisition executive, will lead a Defense Department delegation to the Farborough Air Show just outside London next week.

Traveling with him, according to a DOD spokeswoman, will be Brett Lambert, the Pentagon's industrial policy chief; David Ahern, who oversees acquisition efforts for the U.S. military's entire weapons system portfolio; and Alfred Volkman, head of international cooperation in AT&L.

By Dan Dupont
July 15, 2010 at 7:36 PM

The National Defense University and the Institute for National Strategic Studies is sponsoring an event next month that's centered on the premise, as stated in the symposium's title, that "economic security is national security."

It's slated for August 24 and 25 at Ft. McNair in Washington.

From the event description:

National Security includes the strength of our nation’s infrastructure, the foundation upon which the continuous growth of our society depends. This includes its strong societal and moral codes, the rule of law, stable government and political institutions and leadership. Also included are our nation’s schools and educational programs to ensure a knowledgeable citizenry and life-long learning including science, engineering, R&D and technological leadership but most of all a strong economy -- all the things Americans take for granted. Understanding the complex systems nature of National Security and why the economy is a part of the equation is the impetus for this symposium.

And the confirmed speakers:

  • The Honorable David M. Walker, President and CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
  • Professor Leon Fuerth, Research Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Ms. Carmen Medina, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Dr. Claude Canizares, Associate Provost & VP for Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Larry Johnson, Director, Center for Transportation Technology R&D, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Dr. Sheila R. Ronis, Director, MBA/Management Programs, Walsh College
By Christopher J. Castelli
July 15, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Curious which acquisition programs will face Defense Acquisition Executive Summary (DAES) reviews in July and in the months to come? Check out today's Inside the Pentagon, which reports on the agenda for next week's DAES meeting and explains how major programs in three groups are reviewed on a rotating basis:

Group A is reviewed in January, April, July and September. Group B, which includes the Marine Corps' heavily scrutinized Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program, comes up for review in February, May, August and November. And Group C, which includes the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, is reviewed in March, June, September and December.

Then -- for a complete roster of all the programs slated for DAES reviews in July and the coming months -- read the May 12, 2010, "for official use only" DAES memo penned by Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's No. 2 acquisition official. The attachment is chock full of details.

By John Liang
July 15, 2010 at 3:35 PM

With Congress back in session after the July 4th break and with only a few weeks left before the longer August recess, supporters and detractors of ratifying the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty are ratcheting up the debate.

In a letter sent yesterday to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN), former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) are calling for New START's ratification:

The two of us also want to make clear our support for New START and express our hope that the committee can now move expeditiously with their report and a vote recommending New START for consideration by the full Senate. We recognize the importance of the Senate giving full consideration to the related hearings held by the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

We strongly endorse the goals of this Treaty -- to achieve a near-term reduction of nuclear weapons with mutually agreed verification procedures. We believe the threat of nuclear terrorism remains urgent, fueled by the spread of nuclear weapons, materials and technology around the world. While this is a global issue, there are two countries -- the United States and Russia -- whose cooperation is absolutely essential in order to successfully deal with current nuclear threats. With New START, our odds of establishing a more cooperative relationship with Russia improve -- recognizing this will be a process of engagement broader than any one treaty.

Not everyone is so supportive, however. Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, a former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency, wrote an op-ed in today's Washington Times seeking to rein in such irrational exuberance:

To date, Senate ratification hearings on the New START nuclear weapons treaty with Russia have been "love-ins." A parade of witnesses - mostly Obama administration members, elder statesmen committed to "a world without nuclear weapons," and veteran arms controllers - have painted the treaty as another modest, responsible reduction in numbers of weapons, a new nonproliferation initiative and an important element for "resetting" our relations with Russia.

This one-sided approach to a key national decision is not serving the country well. Ratification of New START would be a major mistake, immensely damaging to national security. Some of the reasons have been touched upon in testimony but not emphasized or seriously discussed. For example:

The treaty is unbalanced. It reduces U.S. nuclear weapons while allowing Russia unlimited increases in new tactical nuclear weapons, multiple independent re-entry vehicles, nuclear cruise missiles and nuclear bombs.

The treaty reduces U.S. strategic delivery vehicles (SDVs) below the minimum recommended by the Defense Department last year while allowing Russia to increase its SDVs.

The treaty is unverifiable. It does not even include the on-site inspections, telemetry access and missile-production monitoring of START-I, which it replaces.

The treaty gives Russia virtual veto power over future improvements in U.S. missile defense - America's vital first line of defense in tomorrow's world.

The treaty seriously undermines our promising Prompt Global Strike program (with conventional warheads) by requiring that each missile be counted as a nuclear SDV.

Our nuclear weapons modernization program - which is required by law to be considered with treaty ratification - is totally inadequate. It omits modernization of the nuclear weapons themselves; it omits testing of nuclear weapons to prove their viability; it omits construction of a pit (trigger) production facility of adequate capacity to rapidly replace our overaged stockpile; and it omits replacement of SDVs for two legs of our strategic triad. . . .

In sum, the Senate owes it to America to expand the New START ratification debate so that it fully addresses the true issue at stake - should America rely on strength or weakness as it faces the dangerous and unknown future? Hopefully, these hearings will stimulate the national debate the issue deserves.

And Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) isn't a fan of the treaty either, saying at a National Defense University Foundation breakfast this morning that "the great concern here that I have is the administration's arrogance to competency ratio is catastrophically out of balance."