Magazine article National Defense

Defense Readiness Receives $4.1B Plus-Up

Magazine article National Defense

Defense Readiness Receives $4.1B Plus-Up

Article excerpt

Budget Resolution Update

An amendment offered by Senators John Warner, R-Va., and Sen. Ted Stevens, RAlaska, to the Senate fiscal year 2001 budget resolution amendment provided for $4.1 billion in additional budget authority for national defense. The amendment placed budget firewalls around the defense account so that budgetary raids to fund other programs would be prohibited.

The amendment also exempted defense from the 60-vote requirement to waive a point of order against changes to the defense budget. Rather, a simple majority now is required, which makes it easier to increase the defense budget.

This amendment placed the Senate and the House on a parallel course of action to add $4 billion for defense readiness, defense modernization, military health care and quality of life initiatives. The final fiscal year 2001 budget resolution passed, and the total funding allotted For defense was $309.2 billion, $2.9 billion higher than the president's request.

Ballistic Missile Defense

The most dangerous security threat facing the United States is said to come from longrange, nuclear-armed missiles that could reach American soil. A report released in September 1999, by the National Intelligence Council concluded: "We project that, during the next 15 years, the United States most likely will face ICBM [Intercontinental Ballistic Missile] threats from Russia, China, and North Korea, probably from Iran, and possibly from Iraq."

Because of the real possibility of ballistic missile attacks, Congress and the administration have been working intently on the possibilities of deploying the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense program.

At a recent Senate defense appropriations subcommittee hearing, Ballistic Missile Defense Office Director Lt. Gen. Ronald T Kadish, USAF, provided details about the much-anticipated Deployment Readiness Review that his office is expected to complete in June. The late release of the report comes after a failed missile flight test in January that delayed the Pentagon's ability to assess whether the system is technologically ready. The review is provided to assist the president in making a deploy/not deploy decision.

Kadish stated at the hearing that the missile defense project is a prudent military construction program, and in order to complete the system by 2005 (the original target date), construction must begin in 2001. President Clinton has stated that he will decide late this summer whether to start construction, but has already requested $85 million in 2001 Military Construction spending. The Pentagon estimates that the project will cost $12.7 billion over the next six years.

The United States faces strong opposition from abroad in launching such a program. The most troublesome unresolved issue is the question as to whether starting to build the system would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) with the Soviet Union. The ABM treaty prohibits either country from deploying anti-missile defense, and Russia is averse to any changes to the ABM treaty.

Cyber Security

Electronic commerce and web communication are increasingly being considered part of the nation's critical infrastructure, and Congress has taken initial steps in recent weeks to increase online security. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., and Rep. James Moran, DVa., introduced H.R. 4246, the Cyber Security Information Act, to encourage the secure disclosure and protected exchange of information between businesses and/or government agencies about cyber security problems and solutions. …

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