tv Hearing on Nuclear Readiness Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine CSPAN May 9, 2022 10:11pm-11:43pm EDT
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[background noises] subcommittee will come to order. we are involved in a series of votes today so there will be a lot of back and forth. there is supposedly ten minute votes i would advise the witnesses if saint t peter ever says to you you have ten minutes to live you should say i would like to be at during a ten minute senate vote that will give you a lot more time. let me think the witnesses for agreeing to appear today before our strategic forces subcommittee. thank you all for your service. the purpose of today's hearing is to examine the processes and procedures of how the nuclear weapons council coordinates department of defense defense requirement for nuclear weapons with the department of energy
national nuclear security administration in their budget. we have as witnesses 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 and reflective of tensions that exist between manufacturer utilization of nuclear weapons. they nuclear weapons council's once was called the military liaison committee was established in 1946 atomic energy act after the manhattan project was disestablished. the committee was in a rote result of its an amendment to the 1946 act by senator vanderburg of michigan who, after much heated debate on the civilian versus military control of nuclear weapons, at the time consisted of nine such weapons by the way in our entire stockpile. senator vanderburgan referred to this debate as a teapot i would note center vanderburg work with senator truman toru form nato ad
the marshall plan and is quoted as stating partisan politics should stop the water's edge. senator vanderburg's portrait hangs in the reception room over senate chamber for its section 2c of the 1946 act authorized the military liaison committee to be staffed with representatives of the war department and the navy. it directed the civilian commissioners of the atomic energys commission to advise and consult with the committee on all atomic energy matters which the committee deems to relate to the military applications that manufacturer utilization of atomic weapons. the provision then goes on to state if the commitment at any time -- make up the committee at any time includes any action proposed action or failure to act of the commission on such matters is adverse to the responsibility of the departments of war or navy, the committee may refer such action proposed action to the
secretaries of the war or navy. if the secretary concurs they may refer to such action to the president whose decision shall be final. amazingly that debate with senator vanderburg referred to as a tempest to. the teapot still occurs today. the military liaison committee is renamed the nuclear weapons council of the 1986 blue ribbon task force on nuclear weapons management found the department of defense department of energy should be coordinating more tightly on nuclear weapons programs and budgets. i am hopeful today we can examine the relationship between the department of defense and the nsa and how requirements and budgets are coordinated and we keep in mind the debate that occurred in 1946 really revolves around the civil military control of new nuclear weapons. it is an important healthy tension but one that we must respect as fundamental to our laws and constitution.
we have just finished another nuclear posture review. russia's making reckless statements about use their executing its highest workload since the 1980s as we rebuild our aging triad. now, more than ever we need the department of defense and to closely coordinate any unified way the requirements and budgets that our nuclear deterrent continues to be secretary described the backbone of every national security action we undertake today. again, let me think today's witnesses for you all agreeing to appear. after brief opening statement will have rounds of five-minute questions questions to the witnesses. senator fischer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. il will keep my statement short so we can save time for more questions. first of all, welcome to older witnesses. we appreciate the effort to align your schedules and appear before us today i'm sorry secretary could not be with us
but we are glad to have you here, thank you. i also want to thank the staff, john absent in particular for their effort to bring this hearing together. we have before us today the most senior panel that i can recall ever appearing before thepp subcommittee. we look forward to your testimony and about the nuclear weapons council to ensure our deterrent remain safe, secure, effective incredible as the geopolitical landscape becomes less stable and nuclear threatse increase. i remain concerned that we are not doing enough. and that we continue to accept c greater risk and our policies, plans and programs. russia's increase in the overt nuclear threat should remind all of us of the importance of nuclear deterrence and the risk of deterrent failure. this is a department of defense
most important mission i have to make sure it has the capabilities and resources necessary to succeed, thank you, mr. chairman. >> view would begin? >> chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher and members of the subcommittee. it is my pleasure to be here today with my colleagues from a nuclear weapons council. the nuclear weapons council serves an indispensable coordination role and an essay dod for design, develop, test and production of u.s. nuclear weapons and delivery systems. it also serves critical role for anticipating future needs and managing priorities and risks. the biggest challenge nsa faces today is conducting modernization programs while
simultaneously revising our infrastructure. and nsa is fully committed to executing programs as efficiently and quickly as possible about managing risks however the risk will persist and how we complete the enterprise capitalization efforts. steady progress is being made all 370 the b-6 112 are on track to meet dod operational schedule. also developing the modernized w80 -- door perry w87 -- one nw 93 in partnership with dod i am proud of how well an nsa is working with the navy, air force, during this demanding time. the 2022 nuclear posture review laid out some clear initiatives that impact the nnsa. implementing science and technology innovation. we are also diligent working to recruit, develop and retain our
workforce but lastly i be remiss if i did not mention nnsa equally strong commitment to our responsibility to nonproliferation, reduce nuclear risk and enhance counterterrorism and counter proliferation efforts. we appreciate your sustained bipartisan support, thank you i look forward to your questions. chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher distinguish committee members it is a pleasure to be here again is the operational commander responsible for nuclear weapons on being able to testify the seven nuclear weapons council colleagues. given russia's ongoing war against ukraine i will often limit my responses on this unclassified form. number begin with this threat that we are facing crisis deterrent observations right now
we've only seen few times in our nations history. when i testify just committee march express return with dynamics we face today. the nation and our allies have not faced a crisis like russia's invasion of ukraine in over 30 years. president putin y simultaneously invade a sovereign nation while using thinly veiled nuclear threats to deter u.s. and nato intervention. the brc is watching i warned ukraine closely will likely's nuclear coercion to their advantage in the future. their intent is to achieve military capability reunify taiwan by 2027 if not sooner. strat comp has been preparing for this class of threat for years. developing theoretical deterrence concepts putting them back into action but yet my ability to maintain strategic is limited stated in my fiscal year 2023 unfunded parties memo the
war in ukraine and china's nuclear trajectory there strategic breakout demonstrates we have a deterrent and insurance gap against the threat of limited nuclear employment. to help close this gap, pursuing eight non- ballistic capability that does not require visible generation should bee re-examind in the near future among other measures to address this. weapons program delays have driven us past the point where it's possible to fully mitigate risks we assess the damage to our deterrent for the programmatic delays, budget shortfalls or policy decisions to lower operational requirements to meet infrastructure capacity will result in operational consequences. however the nuclear weapons council i believe is well-positioned to assess and meet these challenges. i applied my secretary, secretary allison deterrence initiative to confront the three
current dynamic ask us not to forget the foundation of the integrated deterrence is a safe, secure and effective nuclear enterprise. without this foundation integrated simply does not work i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> thank you chairman also ranking member fisher thanks to my colleagues in the nuclear weapons council for this really important subject was renouncing tear the history in the this committee thank you, senator. nuclear deterrence has the top priority and is the backbone of everything we have the backbone of every operational plan the department of defense has as pointed out by others. for over 60 years the bedrock for that has been the triad and it needs to be with us for many decades to f come. as the admiral just said we push the modernization of those platforms and those capabilities as long as we can.
in addition to have the five programs that they administer just talked about the five programs of the stockpile being modernized we are modernizing or recapitalizing three legs of the triad at the a same time as you all know columbia beach 21 bomber and gbs the replacement.g we are doing a lot right now. we've waited to do this as a country. if there ever was a need for a nuclear weapons council i think it would be today they play critical in equal role in the deterrence mission that is a joint forum to facilitate priorities is to make sure goins across the seams and understand the interdependencies, which are many between the different pieces.
we welcome the transparency colleagues in the department of energy have given us. the session i chaired it yesterday and toby are all on the same page. the npr is out way out now know guidance is to do with to get on and execute. that's our child allowed the backdrop is reconstituting t capabilities and a workforce. the work for if you're using to do it is largely a workforce that was not there when what we have today is built. this is really a big challenge for us and i look forward to engaging with this committee and the nuclear weapons council so a thank you. >> thank you for your chairmanship of the council.
i just want the state for the record this hearing was planned in january before the invasion of ukraine. i don't want anyone to interpret this hearing as somehow nuclear saber traveling on behalf of the united states for this is a hearing the subcommittee felt was important but it is not related to the events in ukraine at any specific way. i think it's important to make that point. >> sorry. chairman can you hear me? thank you. chairman, ranking member fisher,. >> a little closer.
ranking member fisher, and subcommitteeom members, thank yu for inviting us to provide testimony for the senate armed services committee on that nuclear weapons council activities to sustain and modernized the u.s. nuclear deterrent. i amm honored and proud too be seated beside my other disc english council members and to represent all the incredible military civilian and contractor personnel. that carry out the work of ensuring our nation sustains late safe, secure, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent. the office undersecretary t depends worse researching engineering as responsible for the department of defense national science and technology strategy and collate the department nuclear weapon modernization activity.
shares a responsibility of ensuring scientific and technological advances of the nation's nuclear enterprise with national nuclear security administration. together our task to create innovative ways to ensure the modernization of the nuclear triad has strategic deterrence during a period of rapidly evolving threats. a month ago i testify before the senate armed services committeet subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities on how i'm working to accelerate innovation. this mission has never been more important than it is today and applies as much to nuclear forces as it does to our conventional forces. strategic competitors of the nights is a rapidly developing their nuclear arsenal and new and novel ways with the clear intent of increasing the
reliance on these weapons and the security strategies. the united states must not allow ourselves to be taken by technological surprise and we must have the technological resilience to anticipate and rapidly respond to emerging threats. we have a solemn responsibility to ensure the place nuclear delivery systems and platforms in both a timely and cost-effective manner. my job is to make sure we bring the best technological, innovation toin the nation has o offer. this includes emerging technology and advanced manufacturing methods making wise investments and defense industrial base, ensuring integrity of our supply chain and increasing focus on exquisite modeling stimulation the prototyping and demonstration capability. we have also set for the department 14 critical technology areas vital to
maintaining our technological advances some which specifically applies the nuclear enterprise such as areas surrounding microelectronics, advanced materials, science, advanced computing and software integrated network system. the department of defense is also committed to investing and retaining highly skilled nuclear science and technology workforce. this is the enduring means by which we ensure the long-term viability of our nation's nuclear deterrent for these are current ways my office is contributing to nuclear weapons council activities i will work toward implementing nuclear policyar objectives includingde supporting the modernization of theou nuclear triad. thank you for the invitation to testify before this committee. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. john plumb assistant secretary of defense for space policy.
>> thank you, senator king. chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher, members of the subcommittee i'm also honored to testify today with my colleagues and proud to. represent policy in most meetings but my role as a separate secretary of defense, i'm response over nuclear weapons policy so i thought today would be appropriate to use my brief time to discuss the 2022 nuclear review. the permit complete its nuclear posture review earlier this i yr close consultation with the inner agency outside experts allies and partners. the npr represents a conference of balanced approach to u.s. nuclear strategy, policy posture forces as admiral richard says maintaining a safe, secure nuclear deterrent is a strong and credible deterrence commitment remains top priority for the department. this top priority is for further reinforced by russia's invasion of an nuclear rhetoric regarding
ukraine and by china's rapid nuclear modernization and expansion. committed to that prior to the president's fy 23 budget request includes $34.4 billion for nuclear enterprise this includes fully supporting modernization of the triad, modernizing our nuclear security infrastructure and investments enter nc three nuclear command control and communication. that 34.4 billion is nearly 7 billion more than the fy 22 is requires funding for the between on bombing and for the air leg gvsu for the ground link in the columbia svn for life extension for the seat leg. the same time and effort after considering all viewpoints the npr concluded should be canceled and should be retired. the npr underscores u.s. commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in reestablishing our leadership and arms control. we will continue to emphasize strategic stability, seek to
avoid costly arms races and facilitate risk reduction in arms control arrangements were possible.em our nuclear forces remain the bedrock of our deterrence architecture they are foundational to every defense priority establish the national defense strategy. and they remain indispensable to our national security is my honor to work at the nuclear weapons council and the congress in this committee on these issues. thank you i look forward to your questions. >> thank you sir. final witness, admiral's christopher grady joint chiefs of staff, admiral grady progress chairman reed, chairman king, ranking member fisher's and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today with my colleagues. for 78 years, the end of world war ii democratic institutions and the rules -based order have prevented great power war. since the advent of the nuclear age are nuclear detergent has served a vital purpose and u.s. national security strategy and
continues to be an essential part of our 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 increasingly sophisticated and militarily capable strategic competitors who intend to fundamentally change the rules -based order. on this of course is recently evidenced by an unprovoked and unnecessary war of aggression bs russia. since the manhattan project the partnership between the national laboratories, production facilities in our respective departments has provided us with a cornerstone of our security, they nuclear deterrent these relationships are evolving and growing stronger as we transition from maintaining legacy systems, to producing modern capabilities. this is why the 2022 national defense strategy nuclear posture
review reinforces ouros commitmt to modernize the triad. as the subcommittee conducts its crucial oversight on this important topic there are three areas i recommend require focus leadership. first, everything we do should s the threat and the threat is moving fast. the joint force requires capabilities to give us the ability to deter and respond at the time and place of our choosing. next, we must accelerate how we buy, develop, experiment and field of modern capabilities particularly howow we manage process. moving at the speed of relevance is not a nice to have it is a must-have. many of our processes and m our products are products of the industrial age. we also require timely and
predictable funding to achieve modernization and our activities are highly interdependent and funding gaps disrupt our ability to deliver appreciate the support of the committee to that end. in closing ihi think the subcommittee for its leadership and commitment to the nuclear deterrence mission and all of our service members and other forager questions thank you. thank you admiral thanks to older witnesses. build two five-minute rounds as per the committee's custom. let me begin, mr. laplante you are the sure the most general question is, how is it working? we have had problems in the past there have been as you know some controversy over the last several years do you feel the budget process this year between nnsa and the department of defense worked as it should? is it vigorous but smooth?
>> thanks for the question mr. chairman. it's my understanding of that a lot of talking and last few weeks and listen to my colleagues include on this group that is quite thorough and robust the work of nwc and reviewing the budget it was chaired by my colleague who is actually here behind me the honorable rosenblum. it was very thorough and complete and what their several months of it. and seem to end up at a place where people felt pretty comfortable we have looked at things with a good degree of fidelity and of course concluded the adequacy of what we're trying to do. agreed the nnsa as of today appears to be possible. it appears and he and i mention my opening remarks or chard my first meeting yesterday because they from that meeting, we are
all on the same page i would say. we are also struck by the enormity of what we have to do. again, we do not have time to bicker. we do not have time to go into silos we just don't have the time. and everything is so independent. >> it's really a triad of modernization. the triad, the delivery were modernizing all three legs we are modernizing the weapon system there also modernizing the facilities themselves at nnsa. i've been to los alamo's i think there is facilities that date back to the manhattan project it is a massive p undertaking. no you testified on this in your testimony we are talking about deterrence. the budget d defense the sea launched cruise missile. my question is do we have a deterrent capability below the level of a massive response?
and if not isn't that a gap in our deterrent capacity? >> we do have a deterrent capability you are talking about a class of deterrence a challenge it's been working on since 2015, how do you deter limited employment? nuclear posture review very thorough review issue of all seen this is an excellent strategy that has resulted it is incumbent upon us to learn lessons as we go long as the threat changes the chinese break out of what we are learning in real time in the crisis incur outside ukraine. not all of your triad is available all the time day today we have a dyad. so the question becomes as we go forward what capability and posture do we need to have to better deter the threats we face? i do submit that is a question we need to be looking at them based on what we are learning
from the ukraine crisis the deterrence and insurance camps important not to leave that out a non- ballistic low yield non- treaty accountable system that is available without visible generation will be very valuable. >> we do not have that today is that correct? >> that is correct for different question of deterrence one thing to keeps me up at night as nonstate actors getting a hole of a nuclear weapon. i know part of your list of things to do is nonproliferation. the problem with terrorists having a nuclear weapon is deterrence doesn't work with them.th they don't care too much aboutnd dying and they do not have a capitol city to be worried about. i justi commend it to all of yu perhaps i can submit this question for the record, particular you admiral richard i would like some thinking about how we a deter, how do we deal with the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons to a
terrorist to nonstate actors for the theory of deterrence does not really apply. final quick question may want to talk about this later, savannah river does not look like were going to make it as a plan to accelerate that process and get a better handle on cost? >> savannah river production facility c would make 50 per yer to allow us as a country with combined with the boss almost 30 pips per year to make 80. we are moving as fast as we can on the savannah river pit production facility design that is the phase we arero in. that design is occurring at about 75% of the time a nonnuclear design of that same magnitude would take place.
i feel like that is accelerated. when the design is complete we will begin construction when construction is complete we will begin trying to make pits at right we have multiple steps. i will try to accelerate each of those steps in fact we are hoping to begin to do pre-buys of long lead items to prepare for the construction phase now. >> thank you. >> senator fischer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral richard i like to ask my first question of you it is a repeat of what chairman kang asked. you reported to us last year in your prepared statement you said without this capability adversaries may proceed an advantage at lower levels of conflict that may encourage
limited nuclear use. is that still your view? >> senator it is. >> and you believe we have a a deterrence and gap? >> ideally what i would add is, one of the takeaways i think from ukraine there are certain scenarios that were judged to be highly improbable that have not materialized in front of us in real life. i think t that requires us to go back and reassess some of the decisions we made in the past. >> do you believe the npr that just came out recently from the administration, does that provide the department to have conversations not just the threats that are out there but also on the needs that this
country must have to defend the homeland? >> i think it does the mpr spruce in my opinion a very good strategy. think as we implement the mpr but we have to do is take that strategy and then as threats change i refer to china strategic we do not know where china is going to wind up in capability and capacity. we aren't learning probabilities are different based on what we are seeing in ukraine. the next step is to actually implement that process and ask ourselves what posture, what capacity do we need to execute that strategy? >> do you feel confident you and other members of the department of military will be able to express those views and a very thoughtful manner and with confidence in the administration and the possibilities? >> senator i'm certainly asking for that for.
>> thank you very much admiral grady, your predecessor testified in the support many times. he was quoted in one of his appearances before this subcommittee he said my job as a military officer is to look at the threat, understand the pothreats and proposed capabilities did this about eight to deliver to the military so that we can respond to any threat that exists. it is all about the threats. have the threats changed sir? >> yes, ma'am. >> would it be your best military advice to at least continue research and development on the capability we have? >> i am aligned with the chairman on this and have been consistent with my testimony found it with his and that it is all about providing the present with options against a broad series of contingencies in this respect i am in favor of continuing to assess and
evaluate this going forward big. >> thank you sir. doctor plumb, welcome. in section 1641 of the fy 22 defense authorization bill there is a requirement the department submit the analysis ofrt alternative conducted for the christmas show when will that be submitted? >> thank you for the question my understanding is within a matter of a days but i think they're putting together the coverf letter and the rest to send that aoa over here. >> the nuclear posture review estimates the total cost for the program. can you provide us with a written breakdown of that cost estimate the future please? >> thank you, to the stent it is available i've not been briefed on the aoa to the extent it's impossible absolutely. >> doctor plumb, maybe this is for you. over the next eight years china is expected to quadruple its stockpile and russia's arsenal
which already exceeds our own it's also expected to grow further. while this npr recommends continuation of our aging delivery system this essentially recapitalized as a force at sized and configured on the lines of the 2010 new start treaty for structure. is this administration's view all the development to be seen for example the crush, nuclear buildup, russia's violation of the infs treaty, that they don't have any real impact on the p u. posture and modernization plan initially conceived up in 2010 is sufficient? >> thank you, senator. china is a breakout if you will but it their advanced icbms and their nuclear posture overall is clearly concerning as you well
know russia intent to include nuclear weapons throughout its forces almost at every level is also of concern i would point out two things three body problem we are about to face ear or facing now is new it's going to require serious consideration. i don't think there's a single person in the administration on any side of this issue that doesn'tnk realize that i think s a problem that required continued introspection and review. the second rtr thing is not evee values nuclear weapons at the same level each country has its own approach i think we have seen russia's conventional forces even weaker than they imagined than we imagined that explains their overreliance on nuclear weapons i don't think we need to match the one-for-one or yield for yield to be able to deter each adversary. >> the 2010 plan though, that didn't really consider china. china spilledil up with after tt how would you respond to that?
>> again i would say you are correct, finest acceleration here is thought of but maybe not as abu direct threat to us right now. i think we are postured to deter both but all of these things require continued evaluation of the threat and of posture. one thing to note of course this counts as being placed to address this is we have a huge modernization coming just for these things in the triad that we need 34.4 billion is not the largest number there are larger numbers coming. we have capacity issues as well we take all of these realities into account as we look at this problem but. >> the reality of the defense department budget is there is a very small percentage that goes to work nuclear weapons, isn't that true? i believe it's 4.5% nuclear
piece overall pride the weapons piece obviously smaller. >> thank you. quick thank you, senator fisher. senator reid? >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i had the opportunity to speak and i am trying to understand two messages we've got. one ribeiro asked the committee april 12 indicating the funded priority of tuna 50 million -- $500 million for production of this event at0 riverside. then on april 22 the nuclear weapons council wrote the committee that additional funding would not be required indeed that wars funding alone will not enable to meet pitd production requirements. at least in my mind that appears to be a discrepancy between what nsa is saying in the nuclear counsel is saying let me begin with secretary and ask the
administrator to comment. >> thank you center for the question i understand the question. the nuclear weapons council stands by the assessment that was provided that is signed on april 22 of the adequacy of the budget as well as the no money additional money will get the pits to 80 per year. and i would say this the nuclear weapons council has been tracking since the fall this potential idea and concepts of additional what say early long lead items, possibilities that might help bring the pit production by 2030 but will be assistance in going forward. we have been aware for this for sometime it's not really a high degree of fidelity will be reviewed it we did not consider it at the time. since then particular for the pardon i would refer to my colleague in a moment, that involved tuna 58,000,003 items
the glove boxes the building facility as well as a training it appears we have enough fidelity here that looks like it might be sensible to do. however we need to review the plan right now is the weapons council the next few weeks going to take a look at this proposal will make our comments on it and make it available to you into this committee. i would just say this we really want to applaud leading forward. our biases going to be lean forward. if there are good ideas that will continue to come up out of our colleagues it and nsa we need to make sure we look at them if they are solid many to implement them. this is going to be a continuous process. that is my answer. >> thank you mr. administrator. your letter preceded the commission's let it you are a member commission do you concur with that or do you offer additional advice?
>> i concur. but senator if you would let me try to clarify, so the nuclear weapons council letter made a comment that no additional amount of money it will get hits per year a in 2030. that is a statement i completely agree with. the request for additional money the letter i signed out was associated with trying to buy down risks and accelerate processes to get construction completed faster and to get to pit production faster not to get to 2030 this would still be posted 2030 but it would allow us to have more confidence that we would not have to stop or stall because we did not have equipment when we were doing thi construction project on to make sure the people are ready to
make pits when they can get in the building. >> i would appreciate further advice and comment as you study this issue goingng forward. and an issue which might not be. appropriate for an open session is that we see we both the 2030 the target is not achievable as it goes back we have to think about what effect it has on her nuclear deterrence our ability to actually arm nuclear weapons. and i am sure you are doing that and classified session we can pursue that question, thank you. i have a brief bit of time but the vice chairman, admiral the proposal for the submarine launched cruise missile would
actually involve the attack submarines in my correct? >> that is correct sir. >> part of the analysis the effect on the operational requirements of attack submarine vis-à-vis the strategic missile submarine said that factor into the recommendation on the review? >> since my time is the vice chairman i have not studied that issue nor have i seen that say that's not to say it did not happen. i would like to go back and determine whether that did happen. this was a validated through thl j rock is a valid requirement. i was to the con off and it would affect her. >> really quick my time is running him over do you have a quick comment? >> admiral grady's assessment was very accurate. i will offer there are a wide range available for the employment on a nuclear powered submarine. not necessarily what we use for the old. >> thank you very much limit
recognize center cotton place on behalf of senator king for. >> thank you all their appearance or dave's good to see the entire nuclear weapons council here with one exception the undersecretary of defense for policy mr. plumb you're filling in for him today gina why he couldn't be here? >> senator, i do not have a specific i will say on his behalf i tend nuclear weapons council meeting it is my responsibility as space policy nuclear weapons policy. we've got a close working relationship from a panel standpoint at least in my mind. >> i'm glad to do that and i'm sure you do. was he in the pentagon today working? does anybody know? admiral brady do you know if he is in the pentagon working today because her. >> i do not know for. >> within the washington national capitol region as you know that mr. plumb? >> or i do not break asked for the chair of the council do you know are one of your council
members is in this hearing? >> no i don't not today thank you. >> want to point out the seams you part of a continued b pattern onf behalf of the chairman of committee and now subcommittee protecting at all costs from appearing in public before this committee per think it's a pattern that should stop. admiral richard, i know you have already touched briefly on this i was gonna just want to make sure i understand your testimony. you said under unfunded priorities list that you need quote a low yield non- implicit capability to deter and respond without visible generation. let's put that in plain english but low yield non- implicit capability that sounds a lot like a cruise missile. without visible generation that sounds m like something that is not on an airplane. so to me that sounds like a seat launched cruise missile with nuclear capabilities is that nuright? >> that senator ac launched cruise missile would fit those requirements. >> is it your best military advice that we continueeq
developing this nuclear capable seat launched cruise missile? et cetera yesterday. >> do you agree in that regard chairman millie and walters testimony? >> yes, y sir. >> okay. admiral grady, you just heard admiral richards testimony comp is your best military advice that we continue with the seat launched with nuclear could build these as? senator it is very. >> k.admiral richard given that russia's arsenal already exceeds hours in china's arsenal is rapidly growing, if we keep our plans exactly the same as they are today, will the straps calm commander who comes after you in eight years, 2030, have a force that is capable of deterring both russia and china? >> that is the number one questions we need to ask ourselves is this moves forward for. >> that is why i asked you for. >> we have is the absolute
minimum it depends on the trajectory of where this goes. we will not be able to do it with the same level of risk we are curing today if we do not ask that question. >> churchill said in his iron curtain speech you a should not engage in temp tension to the trial of strength bite merely exceeding your adversary by a small amount and military power do you agree with churchill recommendation that you don't encourage trials of strength? >> i do, but i would also point out, it is not necessary toes match your opponent weapon to weapon. we have a good strategy you have to have sufficient capability to execute that strategy as the threat changes that is the question the triad is the minimum we are going to ask that question in the future to execute the strategy. >> how many road mobile and rail mobile missiles does russia have? >> center i need to give you that answer in the classified form. >> let me ask you this to deborah road mobile and
missiles? >> they have them yes. >> what about china? works china has a significant number of missiles for. >> how many road mobile and a rail mobile disease lysates have? >> we don't have any progress you have any at all that so the capacity we have refrained from developing ther capacity we have over the years for justifiable reasons i understand. : have come in and said we have
no margin. we don't have any operational margin left. we used that operational margin to delay the recapitalization as long as we have. what is left is its inherent ability to hedge. that capability is there for operational, technical and gegeopolitical risks. it wasn't placed in the triad for programmatic convenience. i recommend we continue that for the purpose it was designed for andt we start asking the questin what's it going to take to get this recapitalization done on time because there is little ability operationally to mitigate the delays. >> thank you all for your important work on the nuclear weapons council. >> senator, you are recognized and if the senator doesn't
appear at the conclusion of your comments, could you recognize on behalf of the chair? >> thank you, chairman, thank you all for being here today and for all your work in a service e to the country. i'm going to talk about the nevada test site. it's a lot easier the end the national security site. it's a little easier to say that. it was ground zero for the majority of the nuclear testing between 1945 and 92 with 100 atmospheric tests and 828 underground tests conducted at the site. the testing that shook the ground the whole ground would shake all around las vegas on the first saturdays of the
month. i am strongly opposed to the resumption of explosive nuclear testing in the state. in underground laboratory where scientists conduct critical experiments to verify the reliability and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile. i know we've spoken about this for the record. in your professional opinion do you agree there isn't a current or foreseeable need to resume nuclear testing that produces nuclear yield? >> i do and i would go further to say the entire stockpile stewardship program is designed around the principle that we will understand weapons.
i'm going to build a little bit more in the discussion about you running advancements. how will the upgrades to the complex improve the stockpile stewardship program so that we never have to return to those days of explosive nuclear weapon testing? >> thank you, senator, for the question. the complex at the nevada test site is the complex where we do critical tests to study the science and we are investing significantly in upgrading the infrastructure in that complex as well as new experimental capabilities in the enhanced capabilities for the critical experiment project. with that, when we are able to do those experiments, we will use weapon relevant geometries
and materials to study the implosion that will allow us to have even better models and assess the stockpiles so we don't have to test. >> i'm going to ask one more question on this to you. if the nuclear weapons council is required to report regularly to the president's regarding the safety and reliability of the u.s. stockpile and to provide an annual recommendation on the need to resume the explosive testing like we are talking about to preserve the credibility of the nuclear deterrent. so i'm going to ask you what is the position of the council on the renewed explosive testing for the record? >> yes you rightly stated, the three lab directors are required
to assess and to specifically address whether we need testing at this time. of the statements have been clear the testing is not needed. >> at the testing at this time is not needed. >> i appreciate that and i'm going to ask quickly about the included provision to ensure thi nuclear weapons council had ann opportunity to review the test site early enough to determine whether the budget adequately supports the requirements and requires the secretary of energy to submit proposed budgets to the council prior to submitting it to omb. so, add administrator last question. if you could answer quickly.
has this had any impacts on the budget to modernize and recapitalize the test site infrastructure? >> i do not believe so. i've only done the process once and the nuclear weapons council assessed the budget for the test site is adequate. >> maybe we can talk off-line a little bit more about that. thank you very much. >> senator king, no, senator rounds thank you, mr. chairman. admiral richard, first of all let me say thank you to the service for the country and i think it is very special that the entire council be here today. if this is a very special
opportunity for us. admiral richard in august of 21 the space and missile defense symposium described china's explosive growth and modernization of the forces as breathtaking. you went on to caution no mistake the strategic breakout is because for action and we need to understand what we are up against. i would like to have you share with us or describe in plain and simple english as we can get to what it is we are up against so the american people clearly understand how grave the threat truly is to continue to pace at this with our own capabilities for ourselves and our allies.
could you also speak to how imperative it is that we do the threats to capability need reviews of the more continuing basis. >> let me start by trying to characterize the speed this way. when i testify to two years ago the debate is whether china was going to double its stockpile by the end of the decade. that's already happened while i've been the commander of u.s. strategic command. the details that you would like to have, the biggest and most visible one is the expansion from zero to at least 360 solid fuel cell silos and significant growth that's occurred over the course of just a few years. china now has a nuclear capable bomber and air launched ncballistic missile capable of continuous patrols the
submarines protected in the south china sea and more are coming. if they have a true nuclear command and control system. they are building a warning system. if they aspire to launch under attack capability. they raised the readiness of the forces and have a substantial number of theater systems many of which are nuclear that havebs no role in the minimum deterrent no first use policy. they are changing the command and control and this is before we get into the novel weapon systems, thent most public one f the bombardment that has an unlimited range that comes down any hypersonic grief performance. no nation in history has ever demonstrated that capability. the rest of the details organ my written posture statement, but that's why i describe this as the biggest expansion in history
and rivals the biggest expansion of any nation in history including us in the early 60s. >> for the record, they are continuing to produce nuclear weapons to fill these expected weapon systems at an ongoing and rapid rate and i don't know if we can talk about how quick it is, but it is at a very significant rate, correct? >> the bottom line what i've directed my stuff to do, and you are right to the details are classified whatever they tell you about what china is going to do divided by two and you will probably be closer to what happens. >> thank you, admiral. administrator, this is the lead into the question that i would have for you regarding the ability to produce plutonium pits. earlier you mentioned we are not going to make them for the goal
by 2030 which is what the statutory requirement is. if we are not going to come and recognizing just in terms of what all the competitors are doing but what china alone is doing, what seems to me if we are not even going to make this number, what is plan b? >> thank you for the question. the first thing we are going to do and we are working this in the council right now is what can we do to have a safe, secure, reliable and effective stockpile in light of what we think we can practically do in terms of making pits. we will look at that carefully. there may be options but we are in the middle of that study. i just want to remind you that
we are concerned about the aging and we don't want to put them in new weapons if we thinkal in the 30 years the weapons will be in the stockpile they may have aging problems, but we don't know for sure that they will have aging problems because that's a science problem that's very difficult. >> i am out of time, but i would say one of the options is that we either rejuvenate or continue to use existing that we already have in inventory. >> mr. chair man, i'm out of time, so thank you. >> thank you, senator warren. >> it's the secret i think the modernization program is unsustainable and dangerous. i don't want to see less
emphasis in the national defense strategy but the biden administration made the right call in canceling the cruise missile. the low yield nuclear launch from the shift duplicates the capabilities we already have and undermines the conventional mission. our nuclear modernization program is still incredibly expensive. $1.7 trillion and i suspect we are going to find out that estimateat once again is far too low.
we've discussed this before but with strategic command fully consulted and able to participate in the nuclear posture review process. >> you were part of this whole review. and i know we have to make tough calls especially to make sure nuclear weapons spending doesn't cannibalize the conventional capability. the navy said that it would be quote on quote cost prohibited. the nuclear weapons modernization plans include constructing new plutonium pits that produced the radioactive raw material we need for nuclear weapons and remain concerned
about the cost and the risk in the production program which is already far behind schedule and far over budget. so, administrator, both admiral richard and the deputies have told the committee throwing more money at the problem isn't going to get us to the original goal of 80 per year by 2030. the nuclear weapon counsel has also concluded that additional funding simply will not get us there. so, administrator, despite theey fact more money won't solve the fundamental flaws of the problem, your unfunded priorities list, the wish list that you submit on top of your $21.4 billion budget request includes an additional 500 million more for production. isil that correct?
>> it is. >> so, administrator when you were before the committee last week, you couldn't even tell us how much the production program would cost. so why should taxpayers be throwing an extra $500 million on top of the program that you don't even have a cost estimate for? >> we are inn the process of doing the design so we can have a credible estimate. that design will be complete in early 24. we do know, however, based on other projects that we are currently doing that some items that will be needed in the production facility like nuclear qualified piping and glove boxes are taking a long time to buy so
it has to do with procuring some of the long lead items so when the design is complete we can do production at the fastest possible pace. you are hoping to have a credible estimate at some point in the future. i've got to say i am unhappy to tell taxpayers you get half a billion. an extra half billion right now just in case is troubling. i realize i am out of time. i'm going to submit questions for the record on what you see the most programmatic risk for
the department. we can just go back and forth over that when we are not on the clock. we are talking about spending trillions of dollars and the american people truly want to spend what it takes to keep us safe. but when you can't answer basic questions about the programs, it doesn't inspire much confidence that this is the number we should be supporting. we are going to have a short a second round of are those of us that are wishing to follow up. giving an assessment of where the program is on budget or on schedule, this is a big new project. how do you feel about where that
project stands right now? >> i will start with a caveat. at the last time i did a deep dive i would say as a citizen and was about two years. every impression i'm going to give you is what i said -- >> when you finish the process i hope you will inform the committee. i would say of the three legs and where they are the earliest along in significant risk one of the risk areas are the infrastructure and i will give you thatlo assessment. i appreciate that as soon as you have it available. >> i would like to submit for
the record a chart that has been prepared by staff that tracks the financial history of the enterprise in 1962 the triad was 17% of the defense budget. 1984 was 10%. before the modernization program that started a few years ago it was 2.7% of the defense budget and when you add the recapitalization of the triad that includes the be 21 you get to about 6.4%. so it's important to keep the figures and perspective in terms of if this is the bedrock basis of the strategy to defend the country we are still way below what it was 50 years ago, way below what it was 40 years ago
and a relatively modest percentage of the overall defense budget. that doesn't mean it's still not a lot of money and i understand the question the taxpayers are being asked in the responsibility to make sure it's used well but the recapitalization is sort of skewing the discussion.t i refer to it as the budget python. it's a largeag expenditure we he to cover over a few years because we put off that expenditure for a number of years and we are having to do all three in the triad at once. so i think that's an important perspective to have on the record of the hearing. a final question i think if others have an answer it's a little puzzling to me china is expressing no interest whatsoever in the nonproliferation even discussing
it they are just racing towards a very significant and i suspect for them expensive nuclear enterprise. why is that? rpwhy can't we engage them in se sort of mutual discussions that would assist both countries and of course once we get through what's going on now, reengaged with russia on these issues. the primary responsibility of the state department to engage in the dialogue brings to those discussions the potential for technical collaboration which worked in the past with russian scientists and potentially could
work with the chinese for the record could you give your thoughts. it may be if the deterrence doesn't work i would like your thoughts on that for the record. >> thank you. senator fisher. >> i just want to thank you once again for being here today for this extremely important hearing that we are having. last year the nuclear weapons council noted significant
concerns about the long-term funding profile in a letter that to the committee while the budget projects for next year would decline which is what the nuclear weapons council warns against. do you believe this level of funding is sufficient or will increase beyond what is protected be necessary to meet the modernization requirements? >> thank you for that equestrian. we will be looking in light of what we know now what of the requirements are and what the infrastructure needs are. just starting the fy 24 budget bill we will be doing that in greater detail. >> are they concerned about the
out here budget for the mms a and continuing to believe low or no growth will not provide a sound foundation for the plant capabilities and capacities needed to meet the current and future requirements? >> thanks for the question. the nuclear weapons council did a deep dive review of the 23 budget. we will comment on whether we have concerns just as we should. senator reid discussed the production and request for additionalue funding but administrator, your unfunded priorities which have been referenced here, the letter
indicates the request contains $500 million shortfall funding for the production. i appreciate you making the committee aware of this and your testimony that these additional resources would help minimize any delay in achieving the target. i would like to ask the rest of the panel do the members of the nuclear weapons council agree the funds are necessary and believe it is critical to achieve full production as close to 2030 as possible? let's start withh you. >> as a formality the chair of the council we have not formally reviewed that and we will provide to you our assessment as a counsel.
it seemed very sensible and as we find other things that are sensible to do, i think we need to investigate them and not make it a static process. we should be asking for these ideas all the time. >> madam secretary, did you have a comment on this? >> we first heard about this out yesterday's council meeting. >> a little bit closer to the microphone. we are a long way away.
and as i understand some of these items is going to keep the line going so we want to keep it going. >> inwe keep moving forward as soon as possible after that looking forward to reviewing the directors proposals and helping the council decide whether this is the right way forward but it's absolutely clear. >> strata, supports this or any measure that minimizes the delay and operational risk i'm going to have to carry because we
can't h meet the requirement. >> i would assume in the operational risks need to be discussed and classified. >> this will be discussed as a part of the deliberations. >> thank youle mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think my colleague asked a question but i'm not sure that we had the opportunity for a good response. i'd like to go into this a little bit and i will begin with you, sir. since you've been in the services, i don't believe you've served at a time that we do not have a very strong nuclear deterrent. can you imagine a world today where the united states did not have a clearly recognized nuclear deterrent capability that helps to keep peace in the rest of theel world?
>> i think it is worth a second to explain why i say that. it is foundational to integrated the deterrence because no other capability to date or combination of capabilities gets anywhere close to the destruction of nuclear so if you don't set the foundation of your integrated deterrent. if you can't determine the vertical, everything else is useless to you. if you said that a strong foundation, using every military and u other power is very much o the benefit that enables you to resolve conflict at the lowest possible level of violence but there is a theoretical reason why we have to have a strong nuclear deterrent. >> we've always assumed because
we are strong and economically powerful and the rest of the world doesn't have the desire to dominate us and somehow that means we don't need the nuclear deterrent that we carry today because we do not have a threat to the homeland since 9/11 and that wasn't a nuclear threat. i think there's a misunderstanding for this nuclear deterrent anymore. i think the message that you are sharing is one that says the reason we've been able to maintain our freedom is because we've had a clearly recognizable nuclear deterrent that means generation after generation we have to improve it and keep up with our competition. once again i would defer to you but you are welcome to respond to this as well.
our adversaries have become better and better at trying to defeat some of our nuclear capabilities and defend not only against of the nuclear but some of the conventional capabilities as well. would it be fair to say if you simply said onewo nuclear bomb r one drop from a b-52 bomber, our enemies would fear us. clearly it wouldn't be the case and we would have to have enough weapons and modernized enough tn where we can get around or atn least make them think we have the capabilities of getting around them. the capability is changing on a daily basis, is that fair? >> yes it is.
it's the effect the number generates that gives the many options across a broad range of contingencies that drives the number. others strong and analysis that's what we need to have with that credible deterrent you've been talking about. >> i think you need to lay that> out in a little bit more explainable term to the american public and the committee. for any number of ways which he might be able to create and affect that will change the decision calculus and get them tosi refrain or otherwise seek negotiation with continued hostility so ballistic versus
nonballistic, do you want it prompt or to come in a long period of time. each of those is very situational. my recommendation for example is not an effort to litigate the poster review. it's based on the conditions we find ourselves in today. when i look at what i am able to offer the president and ask myself what would do a better job to lower the risk and give more confidence in the deterrent capability, that's where thek recommendation comesre from wita specific example. >> do you think russia would have invaded ukraine if it was a nuclear capability? if they had a nuclear capability? >> i think they would have had many second thoughts about that as an option if they were facing a nuclear armed adversary. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
>> i want to thank you each and every one of you for your dedication and approach to these difficult issues for the work that you've put in on behalf ofh the public and quiet and arms hung ways and i want you to know we recognize what you're contributing to the defense of this country. the ironyhi of nuclear weapons e never want to use them and to have those that commit aggression understand this has to be part of thein decision-making calculus. evil exists in the world and we have to be prepared to defend ourselves and our allies. the work that you're doing is contributing to that end so i want to thank you for the
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