Kaptur Hosts Hearing on Trump Budget Request for National Nuclear Security Administration

March 4, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, held a Subcommittee hearing on the Trump Administration’s FY 2021 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA):

 

Rep. Kaptur Opening Statement As Prepared For Delivery

 

The Subcommittee will come to order.

 

Administrator Gordon-Hagerty, I want to thank you and your team for being here today. We continue our budget hearings with the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2021 request for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

 

The NNSA and its workforce are responsible for the consequential mission of ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nation’s nuclear deterrent. This includes nonproliferation activities and powering the Navy’s nuclear ships and submarines. I cannot overstate the enormity of this mission. I know that each of you here today feel that weighty responsibly.

 

I want to take a moment recognize two important milestones. Twenty years ago, Congress created the NNSA. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program, which gives us confidence in our nuclear deterrent without underground testing, and allows for a reduced stockpile size.

 

I want to be clear – maintaining a safe, credible, and reliable nuclear deterrent is a national priority.  But we must do so in a cost-effective, responsible manner. This budget request does neither.

 

I have serious concerns about this request. At this very hearing last year, I warned that the increases proposed then were not sustainable year over year.  And yet, the Administration has doubled-down on its unrealistic request, proposing to grow the 12 percent increase in fiscal 2020 to 25 percent in 2021. Yes, I said that correctly, a 25 percent increase!

 

To put it plainly, this budget is not realistic or executable. It is based upon overly optimistic assumptions. In fact, I am becoming more convinced that Congress could write a blank check and NNSA still would not be able to deliver on its budget and schedule commitments.

 

In analyzing the budget justification documents – which were shared with us only hours before the Secretary testified last week – it is clear NNSA is trying to do far too much, too quickly. Past precedent tells us that when we try to go too fast and don’t do the upfront planning, NNSA makes costly mistakes. The fact of the matter is that nuclear deterrence is too important to get wrong. We don’t have an unlimited defense budget, and as such, the answer cannot be limitless funding—making budgets require making strategic choices.

 

Turning to nonproliferation, deterrence and diplomacy are complementary. The Department’s nuclear nonproliferation programs have been a cornerstone of our efforts to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands, both internationally and at home. Yet this budget request proposes cuts to the Global Material Security program that is so vital to those efforts. In addition to rectifying this, I also believe we need to take a fresh look at emerging threats as nuclear technologies evolve and as nations try to acquire them. 

 

The NNSA makes up a sizable portion of this Subcommittee’s bill. As such, we have a solemn obligation to the taxpayers to ensure that limited federal resources are provided as part of a balanced, coherent strategy.

 

Again, thank you for your service to our nation and for being here today.

 

WITNESSES:

 

The Honorable Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty
Administrator

National Nuclear Security Administration

 

The Honorable Charles P. Verdon
Deputy Administrator, Defense Programs

National Nuclear Security Administration

 

Admiral James “Frank” Caldwell
Deputy Administrator, Naval Reactors

National Nuclear Security Administration

 

The Honorable Brent K. Park
Deputy Administrator, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation

National Nuclear Security Administration

 

WATCH LIVE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J4VRNZhzV8&feature=emb_title

 

BACKGROUND:

 

The Trump Administration has proposed $19.77 billion for NNSA, $3.07 billion (18%) above FY 2020.

 

The NNSA includes four appropriations accounts:

  • Weapons Activities;
  • Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation;
  • Naval Reactors; and
  • Federal Salaries and Expenses.

 

Weapons Activities Appropriation (WA)

Requested at $15.6 billion, $3.14 billion (25%) above FY 2020. The Weapons Activities (WA) account funds the maintenance, science, infrastructure, and operations necessary to maintain and modernize the stockpile. The account currently funds four ongoing weapons modernization programs (the B61-12, W88 Alteration, W80-4, and W87-1) and the request includes funding to begin work on a new weapons program called the W93. The NNSA has requested a new budget structure for the Weapons Activities account for FY 2021.

 

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN)

The request for DNN is $2.03 billion, $133 million (6%) below FY 2020. This account funds activities to prevent, counter, and respond to nuclear security threats.

 

Naval Reactors (NR)

The request for NR is $1.68 billion, $35 million (2.2%) above FY 2020. NR is responsible for the safe operation of nuclear propulsion units aboard 80 U.S. warships. This includes research and develop for reactor cores and technical support to the Navy’s fleet of nuclear-powered vessels.

 

Federal Salaries and Expenses (FSE)

The request for FSE is $454 million, $19.3 million (4.4%) above FY 2020. The FSE account funds federal employee salaries and benefits, building and occupancy, travel, and support service contractors for much of NNSA.

 

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kaptur.house.gov