Obama Inks Defense Spending Legislation
Jan. 3, 2013
By Diane Barnes
Global Security Newswire
-- President Obama on Wednesday signed off on a 14-year deadline for
completing a controversial nuclear arms laboratory and storage site,
despite a previous push by his administration to postpone the project at
the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
-- a planned component of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research
Replacement Project -- is required to become fully operational by the
end of 2026 under the newly inked fiscal 2013 defense authorization law.
The legislation permits up to $70 million in new funds for the
building's construction in the budget year that runs through Sept. 30,
and it makes available $120 million in money previously appropriated for
The bill establishes a $3.7 billion spending cap
for the structure, which is intended to assume the responsibilities of a
decades-old plutonium facility at Los Alamos. The text would require
the Energy Department to give lawmakers a "detailed justification" for
any projected CMRR spending in excess of the threshold.
took issue with several elements of the legislation, but said "the need
to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to
The bill contains "deeply problematic" restrictions on
implementing a bilateral strategic arms control treaty with Russia, the
president wrote in a statement. The section in question requires
various presidential certifications to Congress focusing on funding,
management and modernization of strategic delivery systems. Republicans
have criticized the administration for failing to follow through on
nuclear funding pledges made during the push for Senate ratification of
Obama, though, noted that language to "adequately
amend" the New START pact provisions is contained in separate
legislation to address the budgetary "fiscal cliff," The president also
signed the latter bill into law on Wednesday.
authorization law establishes ceilings of $527.5 billion for base
Defense Department spending, $88.5 billion for overseas operations and
$17.4 billion for defense-related nuclear programs overseen by the
Energy Department. It bars further appropriations for the Medium
Extended Air Defense System, despite an administration request for
continued funding of the multinational antimissile program through
The text calls for a special congressional panel to
examine options for altering the management of U.S. nuclear weapons
operations, which are now overseen by the Energy Department's
semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration. A number of GOP
lawmakers previously pushed to limit DOE involvement in the nuclear
arms complex, arguing the restrictions could relieve schedule and budget
overruns experienced by NNSA projects.
A group of House
Republicans failed to win approval under the legislation to fund
construction of an East Coast ballistic missile defense interceptor
installations. Still, the text mandates a Pentagon review of at least
three possible new sites, including no fewer than two locations in the
eastern United States. Long-range interceptors are currently deployed in
California and Alaska.
The measure establishes Iran's energy,
port, shipping and shipbuilding industries as “entities of proliferation
concern,” paving the way for possible new sanctions targeting those
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