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tv   Hearing on Nuclear Readiness Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine  CSPAN  May 6, 2022 4:44am-6:16am EDT

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the subcommittee will come to order. there will be a lot of back and forth. there's supposedly ten minute votes but i would advise the witnesses if someone says you have ten minutes to live you should say i wanted to be during a ten minute senate vote. let me think the witnesses for agreeing thank you all for your service. the purpose of the hearing is to examine the processes and procedures of how the nuclear weapons council coordinates for nuclear weapons with the department of energy's national
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nuclear security administration and their budgets. we have the principles of the nuclear weapons council except for the undersecretary of defense for policy. this hearing is a historic one tracing its roots to actions that occurred 76 years ago reflective of tensions that exist between the manufacturing utilization of nuclear weapons. the nuclear weapons council was called the military liaison committee established. at the time it consisted in the entire stockpile. senator vandenburg referred to this as an attempt. i would note you worked with
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president truman to form nato and the marshall plan and quoted as saying the partisan politics should stop the water's edge. the portrait hangs in the reception room to the senate chamber. section 2c authorized the committee to be staffed with representatives of the department and the navy and directed the civilian commissioners of the energy commission to advise and consult with the committee on all atomic energy matters which the committee deems to relate to the military applications the manufacturer or utilization of atomic weapons. the provision then goes on to state that if the commitment at any time, if the committee at any time concludes the action proposed where the failure to act on such matters is adverse to the responsibility in the war or navy the committee proposed
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action to the secretaries of the war or navy and if the secretary concurs, they may refer such action to the president's decision to be final. amazingly referred to still occurs today. the military liaison committee was renamed the nuclear weapons council after the 1986 blue ribbon task force. i'm hopeful today we can examine the relationship and how requirements and budgets are coordinated and we keep in mind that the debate that occurred in 1946 really revolves around civil military control of nuclear weapons. it's an important tension but one we must respect with the
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constitution. russia is making reckless statements and the nmsa is executing its workloads as we rebuild the aging triad. now more than ever to closely coordinate in a unified way the requirements and budgets so the nuclear deterrent continues to be as the secretary described it the backbone of every national security action we undertake today. let me think today's witnesses for agreeing to appear and after a brief opening statement, we will have rounds of five-minute questions to the witnesses. senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chair man. i will keep my statement short so we can save time for questions. first of all, welcome to all the witnesses. we appreciate the effort to this took to underline your schedule and to appear before us today.
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i'm sorry the secretary couldn't be with us but we are glad to have you year. thank you. i also want to thank the staff for their efforts to bring the hearing together. we have before us today the most senior panel that i can recall ever appearing before the subcommittee and we look forward to your testimony about the nuclear weapons council to work to ensure the deterrent remains safe, secure and credible as the geopolitical landscape becomes less stable and nuclear threats increase. i remain concerned that we are not doing enough and we continue to accept a greater risk and the policies, plans and programs. the nuclear threats should remind all of us of the importance of nuclear deterrence and the risk of the deterrence failure.
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this is the department of defense's most important mission and we must ensure it has the capabilities and resources necessary to succeed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> members of the subcommittee it's my pleasure to be here today with my colleagues. the role between dod for the design, development, testing and production of u.s. nuclear weapons and delivery systems it also serves as a critical role for anticipating future needs and managing priorities and risks. the biggest challenge faced today is conducting the modernization programs while simultaneously revitalizing our
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infrastructure. fully committed to executing programs as efficiently and quickly as possible while managing the risks however the risks will persist until we complete the enterprise recapitalization efforts. progress is being made for the operational schedule and the w93 in partnership with the dod. i am proud of how well they are working with the navy air force and nuclear weapons council during this demanding time. the 2022 nuclear posture review laid out some initiatives that impact the nmsa. we are committed to implementing the resilience and technology
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innovation to promote nonproliferation and nuclear risk and enhance counterterrorism. the support thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> chair man read, chairman king, ranking member fisher, distinguished members it is a pleasure to be here today as the operational commander responsible for the nation's nuclear forces and being able to testify to the council colleagues. given the ongoing war against ukraine i will have to limit my responses in this unclassified forum. let me begin with this observation. we are facing a crisis deterrence dynamics right now
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that we have only seen a few times in the nation's history. when we testified in march concerning the deterrence dynamics that we face today. they haven't faced a crisis like russia's invasion of ukraine in over 30 years. president putin simultaneously invaded the nation while using nuclear threats to stir u.s. and nato intervention. the prc is watching the war in ukraine closely and will use nuclear coercion in the future. to reunify by 2027 if not sooner. strat, has been preparing for this class of threat for years developing the concepts and putting them into action yet my ability to maintain strategic deterrence is limited. i said it in my fiscal year 2023
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memo the war in ukraine and for strategic breakout demonstrates we have a deterrence in the gap against the threat to help close the gap with the capability that does not require should be re-examined in my opinion in the near future along with others to address this. we left and further programmatic delays budget shortfalls are policy decisions to lower the operational requirements to meet infrastructure capacity will result in operational consequences. however the nuclear weapons council is well positioned to assess the challenges. i applaud my secretary to confront the three party
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deterrence dynamic. however i ask us not to forget that the foundation of the nation's integrated deterrent is the safe, secure and effective nuclear enterprise without this foundation it simply doesn't work. i look forward to your questions. >> thanks to my colleagues here this is the backbone of everything we have, every operational plan the department of defense has as was pointed out by others and for over 60 years the bed rock of that has been the triad and we needed to be with us for many decades to come and as the admiral said it's as long as we can so in
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addition to having the programs the administrator talked about it's the triad at the same time as you all know and the icbm replacement so we are doing a lot right now because we have to in many ways because we've way have waited. if there ever was a need for a nuclear weapons it would be today. as you know they play a critical role in the deterrence mission and have all the purpose the chairman mentioned in the remarks. it's designed to facilitate the priorities to make sure we are going across the seams and understanding between the different pieces so this is as much as anything else for this
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to happen and i welcome the transparency and the commitment as well as the administer has given us. we had in my first session i can tell you we are all on the same page. so as was mentioned we know with the guidance is to do and we have to get on and execute so that's the challenge and this goes back to the capabilities and workforce that has the systems that are being modernized and recapitalized. the workforce we are doing is a workforce that wasn't there when the predecessor systems were built so this is a big challenge for us and i look forward to engaging with of the committee d the nuclear weapons council. >> thank you for your chairmanship of the council.
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i want to state for the record of the hearing was planned in january before the invasion of ukraine and i don't want anybody to interpret the hearing as somehow rattling on behalf of the united states. this is a hearing the subcommittee felt was important but it's not related to the events in ukraine in any specific way. i think it's important to make that point.
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>> ranking member fisher and subcommittee members thank you for inviting us to provide testimony on the activities to sustain the nuclear deterrent. i am honored and proud to be seated beside my other council members and to represent all of the incredible military civilian laboratories contractor personnel that carry out the work of ensuring the nations sustain a safe and secure reliable and effective nuclear deterrent. the office of undersecretary defense and engineering is responsible for the department of defense science and technology strategy including the department of nuclear weapon
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modernization act. we share the responsibility of ensuring an enduring scientific and technological advantage for the nation's nuclear enter parts. together we are tasked with creating innovative ways and it achieves strategic deterrence during the period of rapidly evolving threats. a month ago i testified before the senate armed services committee on emerging threats and capabilities on how i am working to accelerate innovation for the war fighter. this mission has never been more important than it is today and as much to the nuclear force as it does to the conventional force to be taken by
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technological surprises we must have the technological resilience to anticipated the rapid response to the emerging threats. we have a solemn responsibility to ensure that we place the systems and platforms for the timely and cost-effective manner. my job is to make sure we have the innovation to the nation has to offer. for the advanced manufacturing methods in the industrial base and ensuring the integrity of the supply chains increasing focus on the modeling and simulation for the prototyping and demonstration abilities. i've also set for the department the critical technology areas vital to maintaining the
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technological advantage some of which specifically applies to the nuclear enterprise. subject areas surrounding microelectronics and advanced materials, quantum science, advanced computing and software and integrated network systems. the department of defense is committed to investing and maintaining a highly skilled workforce. this is the means by which we ensure the long-term viability of the nation's nuclear deterrent. these are the ways the office is contributing to the nuclear weapons council activity and we work towards implementing the nuclear policy objectives including supporting the modernization of the nuclear triad. thank you for the invitation to testify before the committee. i look forward to your questions. >> assistant secretary.
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chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher, members of the committee i'm honored to testify today with my colleagues on the council. i'm proud to represent the policy. i'm responsible for the nuclear weapons policy so i thought today it would be appropriate to use my time to discuss the 2022 nuclear posture review. the department completed its review earlier this year in close consultation with the interagency outside experts, allies and partners. representing a comprehensive balanced approach to the nuclear strategy policy posture maintaining a safe, secure and effective deterrent for the strong extended deterrence remains the top priority for the department. the top priority is further reinforced by russia's invasion of and nuclear ukraine and by
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the rapid modernization. committed to that priority in the budget request includes $34.4 billion for the nuclear enterprise. this includes fully supporting the modernization of the triad and modernizing the security infrastructure and investments in the commandant communications architecture. of the 34.4 billion nearly 7 billion is in the fy 22 request. includes funding for the bomber. at the same time after considering all viewpoints, they concluded that should be canceled. at the npr underscored the commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons and establishing the leadership and arms control. we will continue to emphasize the strategic stability and arms
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races to facilitate the reduction in arms-control arrangements. the forces remain the bedrock. it's my honor to work with the council and the congress and the committee on this issue. thank you and i look forward to the questions. >> the final witness vice chair of the joint chiefs of staff. chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher and distinguished members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to testify today with my colleagues. for 78 years since the end of world war ii, democratic democraticinstitutions in the rd order prevented since the advent of the nuclear age the nuclear deterrent served the vital
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purpose in the u.s. national security strategy and continues to be an essential part of the strategy to preserve peace and stability by deterring aggression against the united states, our allies and our partners. however today we face a complex global threat environment characterized by sophisticated and militarily capable competitors who intend to fundamentally change the rules-based order and this of course is recently by the unprovoked and unnecessary war on aggression by russia. since the manhattan project the partnership between the national laboratories production facilities and respective departments has provided us with the cornerstone of our security, the nuclear deterrent in these relationships are evolving and growing stronger as we transition from maintaining legacy systems to producing modern capabilities. this is why the 2022 national
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defense strategy and posture review reinforces the commitment to modernize the triad. as the subcommittee conducts its crucial oversight on this important topic there are three areas i recommend that require focused leadership. first everything we do should start with the threat and it is moving fast. the joint force requires capability to give us the ability to detour and respond at the time and place of our choosing. next, we must accelerate how we develop, experiment in field the capabilities particularly how we manage the process. moving at the speed of relevance isn't nice to have, it is a must have but many of the processes and products are products of the industrial age and they are
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highly interdependent and disrupt the ability to deliver and i appreciate the support of the committee to that end. in closing i think the subcommittee for its leadership and commitment the deterrence mission and all of our service members i look forward to your questions. >> thanks to all of the witnesses the most general question how is it working? we've had problems in the past. there's been controversy in the last several years. do you feel the process between nmsa and the department of defense worked as it should?
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>> thanks for the question. it's my understanding and i've done a lot of talks with my colleagues quite thorough and robust and my colleague is here with me and the honorable rosenblum was very thorough and went through several months and seemed to end up in a place where the people felt comfortable we had looked at things with a good degree and concluded the adequacy of what we were trying to do but also agreed as today it appears to be possible.
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we don't have time to go into silos now. it's a triad of modernization modernizing all three legs and the weapon system but also the facilities themselves. there are some facilities that date back to the project's so it's a massive undertaking. we are talking about deterrence and the budget defined as the cruise missile.
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talking about a class of deterrence challenge since 2015. nuclear posture review very thorough review i think as you have seen this is an excellent strategy but it's incumbent upon us to learn lessons as we go along as threat changes and what we are learning in the crisis in ukraine so not all of the triad is available all the time. the question becomes as we go forward with changes could build and what posture do we need to have to better deter the threats we face. and i do submit that is a question we need to be looking
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at and what we are learning from the crisis the deterrence and insurance gaps the nonballistic system that is available without the generation would be very valuable. >> we don't have that today, is that correct? >> a different question on deterrence. one of the things that keeps me up at night is nonstate actors getting a hold of the nuclear weapons. i know part of your list of things to do the problem with terrorists having a nuclear weapon is they don't work with them, they don't care about dying and don't have a capital city to be worried about. i commend to all of you and perhaps i can submit this question for the record. i would like some thinking about how we detour and think about the risk of proliferation of
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nuclear weapons to a terrorist to nonstate actors for the theory of deterrence doesn't really apply. quick question and you may want to talk about this later. it doesn't look like we are going to make it. is there a plan to accelerate that process and get a better handle on costs? >> the production facility to allow us combined with the los alamos we are moving as fast as we can on the production facility. that's the phase we are in. that design is occurring at about 75% of the time that a non-nuclear design of the same
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magnitude would take place so i feel like that's accelerated. when the design is complete we will begin and when construction is complete we will begin trying to make so we have multiple steps and we will try to accelerate each of those steps. in fact we are hoping to begin with long lead items to prepare for the construction phase. >> senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral, i would like to ask my first question of you and then repeat what chairman king asked. you reported to us last year in your prepared statement you said without this capability, they might see an advantage of lower
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levels for the limited nuclear views. is that still your view? >> senator, it is. do you believe we have a deterrence and assurance cap, is that correct? >> i do and what i would add is one of the takeaways i think from ukraine there are certain scenarios that would judge to be highly improbable that have now materialized in front of us and that requires us to go back and reassess some of the decisions we've made in the past. >> do you believe the npr that came out recently from the administration, does that provide the department to have conversations on not just the threats that are out there but
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to defend the homeland. >> they have a good strategy i think as we implement what we have to do is take that strategy and then as the threats change, and i refer to china we don't know where china is going to wind up in capability and capacity. we are learning probabilities are different based on what we see in ukraine. the next step is to implement the process and ask ourselves what posture and capability and capacity do we need to implement that strategy. >> do you feel confident that you and other members of the department in the military will be able to express those views in a very thoughtful manner and at the confidence in the administration and the possibilities of looking at
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change? your predecessor testified many times he was quoted in one of his appearances before the subcommittee he said my job as a military officer is to look at the threat and understand the threat and propose capabilities to this body to deliver to the military so we can respond to any threat that exists. have the threats changed? >> yes ma'am. >> would it be your best military advice to at least continue research and development on the capability that we have? >> i am aligned with of the chair man on this. it's all about providing the president options and in this respect i'm in favor of
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continuing to assess and evaluate. >> in section 1641 is the fy 22 22defense authorization bill, there was a requirement that the department to submit the analysis alternative conducted for the sea launched cruise missile. when will that be submitted? >> my understanding is within a matter of days. the nuclear posture review can you provide us with a written breakdown of the cost estimate in the future please? >> to the extent it's available. >> may be this is for you. over the next eight years, china
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is expected to quadruple its stockpile and already exceeds our own is expected to grow further. while continuing the replacement, this capitalizes the first the size and configured along the lines of the 2010 new start treaty. is this administration's view that all the developments we've seen for example china's crash nuclear buildup, russia's violation of imf treaty that they don't have any real impact on the u.s. nuclear posture and the modernization plan as sufficient? >> certainly the advanced modernization is concerning end
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of the intent to include nuclear weapons throughout the forces that almost every level is a concern. i would point out the problem we are about to face or are facing even now is new and is going to require serious consideration. i don't think there's a single person in the administration that doesn't realize that. it requires introspection and review and the second thing is not everyone values nuclear weapons the same level. everyone has their own approach. it's even weaker than certainly they imagined and that explains further the overreliance on nuclear weapons don't need to match them one-for-one or yield for yield. >> the 2010 plan didn't really consider china. the buildup was after that. how would you respond to that?
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>> i would say you are correct the acceleration was may be thought of but not a threat to us right now. we are postured to detour both but all of these require a reevaluation of the threat and posture. one thing to note of course over the modernization coming just from these things 34 is in the largest number, there are larger numbers coming. we had capacity issues as well so we take all of these into account as we look at the problem. >> and the reality of the budget is a small percentage that goes through the nuclear weapons isn't that true? >> i believe it is 4.5% the
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nuclear piece overall. the weapons piece is smaller. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. i had the opportunity to speak with the minister and i'm trying to understand the two messages. one was to the committee on april 12th indicating the 250 million to $500 million then on april 202nd the council wrote additional funding would not be required or enabled to me to the production requirements. at least in my mind a
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discrepancy so with me begin with the secretary and administer on that. >> thank you for the question. it stands by the assessment provided and that i signed on april 202nd as well as no additional money. the council has been tracking since the fall this potential idea and concept of additional long lead items possibilities that might help but will be an assistance in leaning forward we've been aware of this at some time it wasn't high fidelity when we reviewed it so we didn't consider it at the time and since then i would also defer to my colleague it involved the
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250 million and the building facility appears we have enough fidelity here that it looks like it might be sensible to do however we need to review it and we are going to take a look at this proposal and make our comments on it and make it available to you and the committee. .. >> .
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>> i concur but if i could verify, the nuclear weapons counsel letter made a comment that no additional amount of money would get in 2030 that is a statement that i agree with. the request for additional money the letter that i signed out was associated with trying to buy down the risk and accelerate processes to get to construction completed faster spent this is still post 2030 but have confidence we would have to stop or stall because it'll have equipment when we
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are doing the construction project and making sure they could get in the building. >> i would appreciate further advice and comment going forward. and the issue that may not be appropriate for open session but we see that the 2030 target is not achievable and it goes back and we have to think about what effect it has on the ability to nuclear weapons and i'm sure you are doing that and in the classified session we can pursue that.
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the proposal for the cruise missile and words that analysis the effect of the requirements of the strategic ballistic missiles and did that factor in to the recommendation? >> since my time as the vice chairman i have not seen that study that doesn't mean it did not happen but i like to go back to determine if it did this was validated as a valid requirement and how it may affect. >> those that are available for the navy and not necessarily the come up.
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>> and with one exception the end of defense for secretary you are filling in today. >> it is my responsibility with a close working relationship from the standpoint in my mind. >> was he in the pentagon today working? does anybody know? was in the washington national capital region?
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>> i don't know. >> you are the chair of the canceled you know where one of your councilmembers is? >> that right now. not today's period part of a continued pattern now the subcommittee protecting at all cost from appearing in public before this committee and i believe that's a pattern you should stop. admiral richard. i want to make sure i understand your testimony that you need your low yield of that visible generation is put that in plain english low yield ballistic capability so like a cruise missile without visible generation that sounds like something that is not on an airplane it sounds like nuclear capabilities. >> it would fit the requirements.
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>> is that your best military advice with the cruise missile? >> so you agree with that testimony? >> . >> it is her admiral richard's testimony is a your best military advice we continue with the cruise missile with lunch capabilities as well quick. >> . >> and as it is rapidly growing if we keep the plans exactly the same with a strap, commander have a force that is capable of deterring russia and china? >> that's why asked you we
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have the absolute minimum. and we cannot do with the same level of risk we are doing today if we don't ask the question. >> churchill said in the iron curtain speech and with a trial a strength to exceed your adversary. and then to that recommendation you don't encourage trials of strength? >> i do but it's not necessary to match opponent weapon to happen we have a good strategy you have tell sufficient capability as a threat changes in that is the question triad is the minimum. >> how many missiles does russia have quick. >> .
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>> what about china? >> it has significant road mobile missiles what about rail mobile missiles quick. >> we don't have any. >> not at all so yet another capacity we have refrained from developing over the years for justifiable reasons but we cannot simply decide to disarm unilaterally at all these different domains. >> with the battlefield weapons. but i am pleased to see once again to monitor the triad have succeeded. but the failure the modernization and that that can occur from any delays.
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any thoughts on the risk and how to avoid it? >> three strap, commanders in a row have said we have no margin we have no operational margin left. we use that what is left is the inherent ability to hedge between and with the geopolitical risk. it is not for convenience i recommend we maintain that hedge for the purpose it was designed for and we start asking the question what will it take to get the recapitalization done on time because i have very little ability to mitigate delays.
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>> thank you for being here today and all your work and service to our country. we appreciate it. but the nevada national security site. and with that explosive nuclear testing between 1945 and 199228 underground tests being conducted. and those that shook the ground the whole ground would shake all around las vegas and
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the first saturday of the month. i am more the strongly opposed to nuclear testing in the state. and with our facility and those have subclinical experiments. i know we have spoken about this for the record but in for that foreseeable need for the united states to resume explosive nuclear testing to produce nuclear yield. >> and that program is designed around to make sure
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that we don't have the test. >> and then if you want those advancements and other stewardship programs that we have to return to the days of explosive nuclear weapons testing. >> the complex with the nevada test site i will follow your lead. is the tunnel complex with some critical test and we are investing significantly and upgrading the infrastructure as well as new experimental capabilities in the enhanced capabilities and with that and
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then to use weapon and materials to study the implosion that will allow us to have even better models. >> that nuclear weapons counsel with the stockpile and to provide the need to resume underground nuclear testing to preserve that credibility so i will ask you what is the position of the council on renewed explosive testing for the record? >> and those that are required
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by law to assess the safety and reliability and performance and to specifically address if we need testing at this time in today the statements have been clear testing is not needed. >> and then to agree with the assessment. >> i would just that quickly about the fy 21 to include the provision to ensure the nuclear weapons counsel has an opportunity to review the budget early enough is adequately supports the doj requirements requiring the secretary of energy with your proposed budget prior to submitting to omb so doesn't
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have any impacts on the budget to recapitalize a test site infrastructure? >> i do not believe so. i've only done the process once. the nuclear weapons counsel assess the dod budget was adequate. >> maybe we can talk off line. senator rounds is next. >> first of all thank you to all of you for your service into our country and it is
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special that the entire counsel be to answer very special opportunity for us admiral richard that the missile-defense symposium with the conventional forces was breathtaking. he went on to caution make no mistake china strategic breakout is cause for action. and that we need to understand what we're up against. i would like you to share with us in simple english that third grade level as the west strap, commander what it is we're up against so the american people clearly understand how greatest threat truly is and to assure that we continue to pace the growing
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threat with her own capabilities can you also speak to how imperative it is that we do the threat to capability on a more continuing basis? >> trying to characterize the speed when i first testified two years ago the great debate as if china were double the stockpile by the end of the decade that's already happened more than the commander. and the biggest and most visible zero through 360 a cbm silos. significant growth and this occurred over just a few years china now has a true air leg with the air launched ballistic missile they are
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with the submarines from the south china sea and more coming they have a true nuclear command and control system building a warning system they aspire to launch under attack capability and raise the readiness and have a substantial number of theater systems many of which are nuclear which have no role in it through no first use policy they are changing command and control even before we get to the novel weapon systems and the one that has the unlimited range coming down and the hypersonic no nation in history has ever demonstrated that capability and the rest of the details are in my written posture statement but
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that's why i described this as easily the biggest expansion in china's history and rivals the biggest expansion of any nation in history including us in the soviet union from the early sixties. >> for the record they are continuing to produce nuclear weapons to fill the expected weapon systems added ongoing and rapid rate out of we can talk about how quick it is but it is a very significant rate. >> yes what i have directed my staff to do and it is classified whatever tell you china will do divided by two you're probably closer to what happens. >> this is the lead-in to the question i would have for you with regarding our ability to produce plutonium and earlier you mentioned we will not make
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the goal by 2030 which is the statutory requirement is. if we are not going to and recognizing of our competitors are doing which is china alone it would seem to me if we will not even make this number then what is plan b? we are actively working this and what can we do to have a safe and secure and effective stockpile and what we can do in terms of making that. we will look at that carefully there may be options that we are in the middle of that study i just want to remind
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you that we are concerned about aging that went to put all the weapons and new weapons in the 30 years they will be in the stockpile they may have aging problems. but we don't know for sure because that's a science problem and we are studying that. >> so what you have suggested and i am at a time that one of the options for plan b is to rejuvenate or continue to use existing of what we have an inventory? >> yes we reuse it. >> i'm out of time thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. it is no secret our nuclear modernization program is unsustainable and dangerous. i want to see significant less
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emphasis on the national defense strategy with the biden administration made the right call to cancel the cruise muscle a year low yield nuclear weapon duplicates capabilities we already have an undermines the navy conventional mission even after eliminating this missile the nuclear modernization program is still expensive it would cost one.$7 trillion. and i suspect we will find out that estimate once again is far too low. we have been hearing a tremendous amount today from our republican colleagues who somehow think we are still spending too little on nuclear weapons and the process of producing them.
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and with strategic command consulted able to fully participate in the review process quick. >> . >> inside the department of defense, yes and ukraine in the crisis we're in happened within the nuclear posture review. >> and we have to make tough calls especially to make sure nuclear weapon spending does not cannibalize our capabilities the navy said that pursuing this would be cost prohibitive that is the description from the navy our nuclear weapons modernization plans to produce the radioactive raw material we
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need i would remained concerned about the cost and the risk of the production program which is already far behind schedule and over budget. administrator ruby we have told this committee that throwing where money at this problem will not get us to the original goal of 80 pips per year by 2030. the nuclear weapon counsel has also concluded additional funding simply will not get us there. so despite the fact more money will not solve the fundamental flaws that you're the wish list on top of the 21.four request includes an additional $500 million for additional
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production? correct? >> it is. >> administrator ruby when you are before this committee last week you cannot even tell us how much that production program would cost. so why should taxpayers be throwing an extra $500 million on top of a program you don't have a cost estimate for? >> senator warren, we are in the process of doing the design to have a credible estimate. the design will be complete early 24. but we do now based on other construction projects we're doing, that some items that will be needed in the production facility like nuclear qualified piping and glove boxes are taking a very long time to buy.
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the request for additional monies has to do with procuring some of the long lead items that we will need so when the design is complete we can do construction at the fastest possible pace. >> but it was your opening line. you said yourself just now you don't have a credible estimate and you're hoping to have one at some point in the future. i have really unhappy to have to tell taxpayers you get half a billion dollars that you do not have a credible estimate on what you will need. because the credible estimate may guide whether or not we decide to do this program and how we do it. so to say let's throwing to have extra half-billion just in case is troubling i realize i'm out of time. doctor i will submit some questions for the record on
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where you see the most problematic risk for the department in this week ago back-and-forth with that when we are not on the clock but talking about trillions of dollars in the american people truly want to spend what it takes to keep a safe but when you can't answer basic questions about these programs it does not inspire much confidence that this is the number we should be supporting. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> we will have a short second round for those of us who are wishing to follow up. secretary give me an assessment of where the program is are we on budget are on schedule? this is a big new project and
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we don't want surprises so how do you feel where that project stands right now? >> i will start with a caveat i'm doing a deep dive the last time i did any type of a deep dive as a citizen of every impression i will give you. >> when you finish that process and hope you will inform the committee. >> i will but it is somewhat early into engineering manufacturing development getting to first flight and i would say of the three legs and where they are they are the earliest along with significant risk the risk areas are infrastructure and all the rest and i intend to look into it and i will give you that assessment i will do a deep dive on all three of the legs. >> i appreciate having that as soon as you have it
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available. >> i would like to submit for the record a chart that has been prepared by staff that tracks the financial history of the nuclear enterprise the total triad expenses for 17 percent of the defense budget and in 1884 was 10 percent before the modernization program a few years ago it was two.7 percent and when you add the recapitalization of the triad in the nuclear facilities including the submarines of the the 21 you get about six.4 percent of the defense budget. it's important to keep this into perspective that this is the bedrock basis of the strategy to defend the country then we are still way below what it is 50 years ago our 40
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years ago and a relatively modest percentage of the overall defense budget and that taxpayers are asked to pay to be sure it is used well and effectively. but the recapitalization is skewing this discussion i referred to it as the pagan the budget python a very large expenditure work in a have to cover because we put it off and only have to do all three legs of the triad at once so that is an important perspective to have on the record of the hearing. is a little puzzling to me
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that china expresses no interest whatsoever of nonproliferation even discussing it racing toward a very significant and expensive nuclear enterprise. why is that? why can't we engage them in sound mutual discussions to assist both countries? of course if we get through what is going on now with engagement russia and cutting the expenses what led to the agreement 20 years ago. >> your inclination on this is the same as mine some first is the primary responsibility of the state department to engage in those dialogues the nsa brings to the discussions are technical collaboration which worked in the past and
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potentially could work with the chinese and we certainly offer we are willing to engage on good technical dialogue and discussion to help strategic stability. >> for the record period you gave your thoughts with the deterrence of the nonstate actor? that is the proliferation question if deterrence doesn't work we have to fall back on keeping the material out of their hands in the first place i like your thoughts for the record. >> i want to thank all of you once again for being here for this extremely important
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hearing we are having. administrator the nuclear weapons counsel noted significant concern of the long-term funding profile in the letter to the committee and while the budget projects continued growth for next year after that it would level off and then decline. that exactly was warned against would that be necessary to meet the modernization requirements? >> thank you for that question. we will be looking again of what we know now what the requirements are and the infrastructure needs so we will be doing that in great detail. >> does the nuclear weapons
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counsel and then continue to believe that low or no growth is a cell - - a solid foundation. >> the nuclear weapons counsel did a deep dive review and that's a letter i sent over on the 22nd. i believe as the 24 budget is still doing will comment if we have concerns just as the law provides. thank you very much. >> understand senator reed discussed the production and the request for additional funding but administrator your unfunded priorities which are then referenced the letter
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indicates that the request contains $500 million shortfall for pit production i appreciate you making the committee aware of this and this would help to minimize any delay in it achieving the target of 80 pits per year but i like to ask the views on this to the members of the nuclear weapons counsel agree the funds are necessary and it is critical to achieve full production is close to 2030 as possible? >> yes as a formality may have not formally reviewed that and we will in the next couple of weeks and provide the assessment as i counsel. our personal view from the little i have seen and
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discussed with the administrator it appears for the items that has been identified to seem very sensible and as we find other things that are sensible to do we need to investigate and not make it a static process that asking for these ideas all the time so i defer to my colleagues for their views. >> madame secretary? >> first hearing about this yesterday at the nuclear weapons counsel leading. >> we first heard about the detail yesterday at the nuclear weapons counsel and certainly what administrator
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ruby talked about those long lead items you do need to buy see don't stop the construction's we are eager to take a look at the details. >> i, the same comments that we are eagerly looking forward. we like to look at i think nsa has good fidelity but we would like to get back to you. >> do you agree with the goal of what was presented? were do you agree you have to minimize the delay? getting crown the same page to
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get as close to 80 per year is close to 2030 as possible if we can find a way to do it the argument as i understand it some of these procurement items will keep the line going to keep the line going. >> we keep moving forward and don't shorten the big delay. >> and don't add additional delay by not procuring and that is concern to the procurement committee. >> that's clear 80 pits per year and as soon as possible after that we are looking forward to feeling the directors proposals and helping the nuclear weapons counsel decide if this is the right way forward but the military requirement is absolutely clear. >> i would just add strike called supports this or any other measure that nsa can
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execute to minimize the delay and reduce the operational risk i will have to carry because we cannot meet the requirements. >> i would assume that operational risk needs to be discussed and classified. >> as part of the nuclear weapons counsel deliberation. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman i thinks on —- i think my colleague senator warren asked but we didn't get a good response. admiral i would begin with you. since you have been in the services, and ablative ever served in the time we do not have a very strong and well-defined nuclear deterrence. can you imagine a world today where the united states did not have a clearly recognize nuclear deterrent capability to help to keep peace in the
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rest of the world? >> i cannot and it's worth a second to explain why i say that. nuclear deterrence is foundation note to integrated deterrence because no other capability to date or a combination gets anywhere close to the destructive potential of nuclear. if you don't set the foundation of the deterrent if you cannot detour the vertical escalation and everything else is useless the reverse is also true but if you set the strong foundation and using every other power is to your benefit because it enables you to resolve conflict at the lowest possible level of violence that there is a theoretical reason why we have to have a strong nuclear deterrent.
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>> i think sometimes we live with and always assume we are free simply because we're strong and economically powerful and the rest of the world doesn't have the desire to dominate us that somehow that means we don't need a nuclear deterrent that we carry today and because we have not had a threat to the homeland tran11 and that was on the nuclear threat, i think there is a misunderstanding that somehow there is no need for this nuclear deterrent anymore. i think the message you are sharing that says the reason we have been able to maintain our freedom is we have a clearly recognizable nuclear deterrent but that also means generation after generation we have to improve and keep up with competition.
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our adversaries have become better and better at first of all trying to defeat our nuclear capabilities and to defend not only against the nuclear but conventional capabilities as well. would it be fair to say that if you simply said one nuclear bomb or the soul for long range weapon dropped the enemies would fear us? clearly that were not be the case you have enough weapons and to be modernize enough we can get around her make them think we have the capability of getting around then to deter them and that capability is changing on a daily basis. is that fair? >> senator yes that is. >> the number is interesting
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but the effect that it generates and it gives the president many options across the broad range of contingencies their strong analysis behind the number and that's what we need to have that credible deterrent. >> and you need to lay that out in more explainable terms to the public and the committee so what do you mean when you said the trident? you have multiple options available for the president of the united states to keep peace. what do you mean? >> what you want to do is offer the president any number of ways in which he can create an effective changed the opponents decision calculus to get them to refrain or to seek negotiation through continued hostility of ballistic versus non- ballistic t1 invisible or
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not visible or to come over a long period of time or prompt? it is very situational specific my recommendation for example is not the effort to relitigate the nuclear posture review it's based on the conditions we find ourselves today when i look what i'm able to offer to the president and ask myself what would do a better job? lower the risk of more confidence in deterrent capability? that is a specific example and why you want a lot of options. >> admiral grady do think it would have invaded if it was a nuclear capability if they had a nuclear capability? >> they would have many second thoughts about that as an option if they are facing a
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nuclear armed adversary. >> i want to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to the country for your approach to these difficult issues for the work they put it on behalf of the public and we recognize what you are contributing to the defense of this country. the irony is the reason we had them as we never want to use them and the best way to ensure that we don't use them is to have them and those who would commit aggression understand this is something that has to be part of their decision-making calculus we have to be prepared ourselves and our allies and the work you are doing is contributing to that end thank you again
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for your testimony and for appearing before the committee do have a closing statement? thank you and this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]ary bee
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homeland security and governmental affairs committee. you are watching live coverage on c-span.


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