Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I submit a report of the committee of conference on H.R. 2038 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The report will be stated.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendment of the Senate to the bill (H.R. 2038) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1992 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Intelligence Community Staff, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for after purposes, having met, after full and free conference, have agreed to recommend and do recommend to their respective Houses this report, signed by a majority of the conferees.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of the conference report.
(The conference report is printed in the House proceedings of the Record of November 18, 1991.)
Mr. BOREN. Mr. President, as my colleagues know, the annual intelligence authorization bill authorizes appropriations for all intelligence activities of the U.S. Government. These include not only the authorization for CIA, but also the authorization for Department of Defense intelligence components, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the Department of State, the Intelligence Division of the FBI, and various intelligence components in other Departments and agencies.
In addition to allocating resources, this bill also serves as the vehicle for legislative improvements of a policy nature. In this respect, this year's bill is especially significant.
Mr. President, it gives me great pleasure to note that the conference committee has reported out a bill which authorizes the creation of a national security education trust fund, funded at a level of $150 million, the interest from which will be used on a continuing basis to fund undergraduate scholarships for American students to study abroad for at least a semester and grants to institutions of higher learning, in the areas of international studies, area studies, and foreign languages and graduate fellowships in these same fields.
The National Security Education Act is the largest new higher education initiative of this kind since the adoption of the National Defense Education Act in 1958. It will provide $35 million next year for the three functions I just mentioned. It will more than triple the present Federal funding for American undergraduate study abroad, increase by 40 percent funds for graduate fellowships, area studies, and foreign languages and will be the first program solely devoted to providing curriculum grants to colleges and universities for these areas of study.
To my mind, this is a long-term investment in our future, an investment to improve our understanding of the rest of the world and foster cooperation with it for generations to come. This is important not simply to prepare knowledgeable people for Government service--although that is a clear objective of this bill--but rather to make us a stronger country, one with greater appreciation and tolerance
for other governments and societies, one better able to cope with the economic and political challenges which lie ahead, whether as Government servants or as participants in the private sector.
To achieve this, the bill provides funds not only to improve the quality of U.S. educational services, but also to provide the opportunity for thousands of U.S. students, who would not otherwise have it, to study abroad, to learn what other societies and cultures are like, to learn foreign languages, to establish personal ties that might later manifest themselves in a thousand different ways.
The world is a different place today. Not only are old political structures crumbling, and new ones taking their place, communications are drawing the world more closely together. There is a greater awareness of developments around the world than ever before. Economically, we find ourselves competing with the rest of the world both at home and abroad to maintain our level of prosperity.
Yet, paradoxically, it is also a time of drawing inward, of reducing our military presence around the world, of cutting costs, of reducing spending, of looking toward domestic problems. Far too few of our educational institutions promote international studies or even the study of foreign languages, far too few of our students study abroad and even those who do, typically study in European countries with a Western orientation.
It is my hope that this legislation ultimately will provide at least part of the wherewithal that this country needs to create the international outlook we must have if we are to keep this country at peace and prosperous. It is no panacea, to be sure, but it is a positive step, which I think will ultimately contribute far more to our Nation's security than a new bomber or a new battleship.
I want to thank my colleagues on the conference committee, both the House and Senate, for supporting this proposal. I am confident they will never regret it. This is something that I think we will look back upon as one of the really good things that Congress had the foresight and wisdom to press for, at a time in our history which could not be more apropos.
I also want to mention two other provisions in this conference bill, Mr. President, which I think are worthy of particular note.
The first is the sense-of-the-Congress provision that the intelligence budget total should be publicly disclosed. The Senate had passed a provision in its bill which would have mandated the disclosure of the intelligence budget totals. In the face of a firm threat from the White House that the President would veto the bill if this provision were included in the bill, the conferees decided to opt instead for a sense-of-the-Congress provision that would not be legally binding upon the President. This provides that it is the sense of Congress that in 1993, the intelligence budget totals should be disclosed publicly in an appropriate manner.
We purposely put the date at `1993' to give the intelligence committees an opportunity to work with the President and the new Director of Central Intelligence, Mr. Gates, to ascertain how this disclosure might best be accomplished without endangering the national security.
At his confirmation hearings, Mr. Gates, in fact, endorsed such disclosure in concept, though he warned of the risks of holding to the bottom-line figure once disclosed. But, he viewed such disclosure as a symbol of a new openness, marking both a change in the world and a change in the intelligence community. The committee viewed it this way as well, and is optimistic that the President and his staff will themselves come to see this action as a way of breaking with the past, of keeping faith with the future. We intend to pursue this matter, Mr. President, in the months ahead.
Finally, Mr. President, I want to comment on the resolution of the CIA consolidation of facilities issue.
This bill provides, among other things, that CIA must comply with certain procedures and make certain certifications before it may proceed with the consolidation of its facilities. In my view, these conditions and limitations are wise and appropriate. Both Intelligence Committees have for some time supported the need for CIA to consolidate its facilities in the Greater Washington area. In the long run, it will save the U.S. Government a considerable amount of money, as well as providing better security and communications for CIA. But it must be done in a careful, objective way, assessing all the alternatives, and assessing the costs both in monetary terms and in terms of the effects on employees. I think the conference report we have before us achieves this goal, and puts this project on the right path. I am indebted to those in both houses who have worked diligently to achieve this result.
With that, let me urge my colleagues to support the adoption of this conference report. It is a sensible and fair bill, which represents a great deal of work on the part of the two Intelligence Committees.
Mr. GLENN. Mr. President, while on balance I support this conference agreement on the fiscal year 1992 intelligence authorization bill, there are several aspects of this legislation which I find troubling.
Of greatest concern to me are the reductions in the intelligence budget contained in this legislation. I remain unconvinced of the rationale for these reductions. Our concerns with the intelligence community's priorities should not be addressed by deep budget cuts, but rather by restructuring existing resources. I am convinced that during this time of unprecedented change and uncertainty in the international system, the need for a strong and reliable intelligence capability is particularly compelling.
The positive changes taking place in the Soviet Union today are offset by the destabilizing effects of extensive economic, political, ethnic, and religious turmoil. While history has recorded the decline of empires before, never has the world witnessed the disintegration of an empire that was armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction. This fact alone means that the Soviet Union--or what remains of it--must remain a high priority for United States intelligence.
In addition, there are a host of other national security threats that demand a greater concentration of intelligence capabilities and resources--the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug smuggling, terrorism, environmental change, low-intensity conflict in the Third World, and the illicit export of high-technology items.
With the end of the cold war and the strong likelihood that our defense spending will be declining sharply over the next several years, we must be mindful of the lessons of history. Defense spending has always experienced cycles of expansion and contraction. Periods of lower tensions result in reduced defense budgets. Such times seem to eventually give way to periods of greater tension which, in turn, lead toward greater defense spending. When the day comes that the United States must rebuild our national defense to confront a threat that is now difficult to foresee, we must do it from the stongest and most reliable intelligence base possible. Indeed, accurate and timely intelligence is America's greatest force-multiplier.
I am convinced that significant reductions in our intelligence capabilities, especially during this period of international instability, are unwise and could ultimately be damaging to U.S. national security.
Mr. President, becasuse of my concern with the diminishing intelligence budget, it is essential to be more responsible than ever before with the allocation of intelligence resources. This is why I am strongly opposed to the provision in this conference report which would establish a trust fund to support language and foreign area studies at the undergraduate and graduate level. While this is perhaps a commendable objective, such a program does not belong in the intelligence budget.
I believe that it is highly inappropriate to utilize increasingly scarce intelligence resources to fund educational programs at a time when we are terminating important intelligence systems and programs.
Implicit in this initiative is the goal of infusing the intelligence community with individuals with greater foreign language proficiency and foreign area expertise. Assuming that this is a valid requirement, surely there must be more straightforward and less expensive ways of achieving this objective, such as retraining existing intelligence personnel or more actively recruiting the many U.S. citizens who already have needed language skills and foreign area expertise.
The greatest resource in U.S. intelligence are the thousands of men and women who toil with little public recognition of and appreciation for their unique contribution of American national security. Over the course of their intelligence careers, these individuals have developed unique and invaluable skills and experience which cannot be taught at an institution of higher learning. In the next several years, many of these individuals will be discharged from their jobs in the intelligence community because of growing budgetary constraints. It is more than a little ironic that we should be spending significant resources to subsidize the recruitment of a new generation of intelligence personnel when we will be laying off more seasoned intelligence professionals.
Mr. President, I believe that this is inappropriate. I am deepley concerned that the conference's authorization of this program could mark the beginning of a disturbing trend--cannibalizing the shrinking intelligence budget to fund programs that are at best marginally relevant to the greater needs of the U.S. intelligence community.
Finally, I am deeply disappointed that the conference did not fully authorize the administration's requested level of funding for a major new program which would make a unique and highly significant contribution to our current reconnaissance capabilities. Particularly when the requirements for such a capability are so compelling, failure to see this program through to deployment would be as shortsighted and irresponsible as the termination of the SR-71, which left our Nation without a survivable strategic airborne reconnaissance platform.
While the price tag for this program is significant, I am firmly convinced that the expense is justified, especially in light of lessons learned from Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Surely when American lives and interests are on the line--as they recently were in the Persian Gulf--the United States cannot afford not to have the best possible intelligence capability at its disposal.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the conference report.
The conference report was agreed to.
Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the conference report was agreed to.
Mr. GARN. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.