Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Feingold], for himself, Mr. Simon, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Bumpers, Mr. Sasser, and Mr. Wellstone, proposes an amendment numbered 1841.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
On page 22, between lines 9 and 10, insert the following:
SEC. 122. CVN-76 AIRCRAFT CARRIER PROGRAM.
No contract (including a contract for advance procurement of long lead items) may be entered into for procurement of a CVN-76 aircraft carrier on or after the date of the enactment of this Act and before October 1, 1999. Any such contract (other than a contract for procurement of long lead items) that has been entered into before the date of the enactment of this Act shall be terminated.
Mr. FEINGOLD. I thank the Chair. I thank the chairman of the committee for his courtesy in working with me to arrive at a time to bring up this amendment.
I offer this amendment on behalf of myself, Senators Sasser, Simon, Bumpers, Harkin, and Wellstone. I rise again today to oppose the procurement of the Navy's CVN-76 nuclear aircraft carrier. Our amendment prohibits the expenditure of additional funds on the CVN-76 aircraft carrier until after fiscal year 1999 and, by implication, what this amendment does is assumes that our carrier force will be reduced from its current level of 12 to 11 carriers.
This amendment will reduce spending in this bill in this coming year by a total of $3.6 billion. This amendment alone will reduce this authorization bill by $3.6 billion.
Mr. President, the CVN-76 is the largest single military procurement reported out by the Armed Services Committee this year. Obviously, the question with this amendment is, Should we do this? Should we go forward with it? I think it is time we face some hard facts. We simply do not have the resources to continue large program procurements indefinitely without having, out on this Senate floor, a serious and open debate on their value in the post-cold-war world.
The often cited statistics that our defense expenditures have fallen consistently since the 1980's are true, but they tell only half of the story. That is because, Mr. President, we won the cold war. We are in a new era. It is an era that is, of course, dangerous in its own right, but it is in many ways profoundly less dangerous than was the cold war era.
We should be able to expect defense expenditures to decline accordingly while the Pentagon adapts to the new threats of the post-cold-war era.
As my colleague from Iowa, Senator Harkin, has pointed out, this bill proposes to spend more on defense than all other major military powers combined and four times the amount of all potential adversaries combined, including Russia and China.
Now, I do not think we need to tell anyone in this body that $3.6 billion is real money even for the Federal Government, particularly as we face threatening Federal deficits. We, in Congress, should be held responsible for allocating that money wisely to combat any threats to our national security. And, of course, our national security does include protection from external military threats.
Mr. President, it also includes threats to our economic health and well-being. It also includes, in my mind--
Mr. NUNN. Will the Senator from Wisconsin yield for a brief question?
Mr. FEINGOLD. I will yield.
Mr. NUNN. What I would like to propose is 45 minutes on each side on this amendment. I understand that has been generally acceptable to the Senator from Wisconsin.
Mr. FEINGOLD. That is acceptable.
Mr. NUNN. And I understand it is acceptable to the minority--90 minutes equally divided.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that there be 90 minutes equally divided for debate on Senator Feingold's amendment with the time equally divided and controlled in the usual form, with no amendment in order thereto or to any language which may be stricken; that when the time is used or yielded back, the Senate, without intervening action, vote on or in relation to the amendment of the Senator from Wisconsin.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Do I hear objection?
Mr. LOTT. Reserving the right to object, Mr. President, and I do not intend to do so, I would like an opportunity to review the unanimous consent request.
Mr. President, in the absence of the ranking member, who is attending a hearing that the Armed Services Committee is having at this time on Bosnia, it is my understanding that this is an acceptable unanimous-consent request, and I will not object.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. NUNN. I thank the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
Mr. FEINGOLD. I thank the Chair and the ranking member for working out the time agreement.
Let me just return to my initial point. That is, of course, that national security includes external threats, but it also includes our own economic well-being in this country. And for me and for all the Members of this body, it has to include things like the ability to walk safely in the streets of Milwaukee, WI, without the fear of murder or assault.
Mr. President, $3.6 billion could cover so many causes which also need funding. It could be used to increase the DOD's readiness account, which many feel is underfunded; for less than $1 billion we could cover our arrearages at the United Nations; for $45 million a year, it is estimated we could provide the disability payments to those veterans who are afflicted with Persian Gulf war syndrome, an issue that I know the Armed Services Committee is addressing. For just $413 million, Mr. President, of this $3.6 billion, we could endow the Byrne Grant Memorial Fund to send State and local law enforcement agencies to assist in antidrug operations and for prevention programs such as D.A.R.E., a drug awareness program for youth; $3.6 billion could fund the Ryan White AIDS fund, research on Alzheimer's, combating cryptosporidium, which is a parasite that has invaded our water supplies in our State of Wisconsin and Milwaukee. And yet that amount is still only one-fiftieth of the amount we are wasting on paying the interest on the Federal debt this year.
Mr. President, we must carefully consider whether all of these causes are less of a priority than building a 12th carrier in the post-cold-war era.
This is the central question today. If we believe that a strong defense is essential for our country, and I do; if we believe that the Navy is an essential element in that defense, and I do; if we believe that this country deserves a strong shipbuilding industry, and I do; then when is the best time to build the next nuclear super carrier--not whether we will build one, but what is the best time? Some say it must be built in fiscal year 1995, claiming that delays in its construction will weaken the national defense and threaten the shipbuilding industry. But I do not agree with that.
Of course, there are some of my colleagues who oppose other excesses in this bill who may still want to support the CVN-76. After all, they can say that the President of the United States made it very clear in the State of the Union that he supported no more defense cuts, and he got a standing ovation. I did not join in that ovation, but certainly there were many who agreed.
Mr. President, I came to this body last year with a strong personal conviction that is really very simple. If the Government does not need to spend money on some project, then it should not spend the money. We cannot afford it, with a $4.5 trillion debt, that was $4.59190805316 trillion as of last Friday, as we find out in the Chamber; every day we are in session we get the new report.
Consequently, Mr. President, I do not believe that there can ever be a magic number, a dollar total etched in stone that shields any department or agency budget from the careful scrutiny of Congress. That is why I opposed firewalls in the budget debate and why I, frankly, believe that President Clinton was wrong to say `no more defense cuts' in his State of the Union Address.
In that same vein, I am reminded of the views expressed by my colleague from Nebraska, Senator Exon, during our debate on defense firewalls in the budget resolution. He claimed that they would undercut the role of the authorizers and appropriators in this body. I would extend that Exon argument to conclude that this doctrine of no more defense cuts will undercut the entire congressional role in budgeting. It will impair our constitutional efforts to provide for a defense befitting our available resources, as well as all threats, foreign and domestic.
So, Mr. President, today many say that we must build that CVN-76 and that we have to do it in fiscal year 1995. But I am not convinced that the case has been made strongly enough to warrant a huge $3.6 billion expenditure next year, in order to sustain a 12-carrier force, when it is very arguable that there are other more pressing demands on our very thin budget.
Does this make me or the proponents of this proposal any less committed to national security? Certainly not. Nobody opposes the strongest defense America can afford. Nobody opposes strengthening our forces to gird against any kind of attack, and nobody supports exposing our troops to unnecessary threats or leaving them anything less than being fully prepared for any kind of conflict. Rather, these kinds of debates ask and should turn on how to define national security. How do we balance all the demand and priorities our Nation faces each year, and how do we best reach what are really our similar goals?
Mr. President, the key to this is that less than a year ago, the then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin released the results of a comprehensive review of post-cold-war military requirements to ensure the security of the Nation.
That so-called Bottom-Up Review assumed that the United States might be faced with the requirement to fight two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts or MRC's. And the assumption was that they would be fought without the help of our allies, although we had to have the help of our allies on many occasions. This whole report and analysis is based on the notion of the two MRC's without the help of allies.
To quote from page 51 of that report.
* * * the analysis confirmed that a force of 10 carriers would be adequate to fight two nearly simultaneous MRC's. That assessment was based on many factors, from potential sortie generation capability and arrival periods on station to the interdependence of carrier-based aviation and its criticality if land-based air elements are delayed in arriving in the theater.
The Bottom-Up Review also states that, according to a different rationale, 12 carriers are needed--not 10 but 12--to maintain a peacetime presence in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific. Even the Armed Services Committee this year criticized the Navy for dragging its feet on a mandated study of alternatives for providing this peacetime presence since we do not have information, although it should have been provided to the committee.
But for the moment, let us focus on the number of 12 carriers as the Pentagon's requirement for peacetime operations.
Repeating again, the Bottom-Up Review itself said that 10 was sufficient for two simultaneous MRC's without allies.
Mr. President, the Navy will begin fiscal year 1995 with a force of 12 carriers: 5 conventionally powered and 7 powered with nuclear reactors. The Navy plans to retire two of its conventional carriers before the year 2000. Two nuclear carriers, the Stennis and the
United States, are currently under construction, and will both be in operation by 2000. Now, to replace the Kitty Hawk, which will be retired by 2003,the Navy wants to begin building an additional nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class carrier, called CVN-76, next year. My amendment will terminate plans to procure the CVN-76 next year, and would, in effect, delay procurement of the next carrier until fiscal year 2000, when the Navy plans to procure still another nuclear carrier.
The authors of the Bottom-Up Review considered options which closely parallel the provisions of my amendment. They recognized that delaying CVN-76 procurement until fiscal year 2000 would produce significant savings in the near term. Yet they rejected postponing procurement of the CVN-76 because of the excessive costs of building carriers frequently enough after fiscal year 2000 to sustain a 12-carrier force. They appropriately called these excessive costs a procurement `bow wave.' I agree, if we keep 12 carriers, that this bow wave could be excessive; it is also unnecessary. Under the provisions of my amendment, I would expect that the carrier force would drop from 12 to 11
in the year 2003 when the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk is retired.
Mr. President, my amendment would provide a carrier-force level equal to the 12 requested by the Pentagon for peacetime through the remainder of this century and 11 thereafter while saving $3.6 billion in fiscal year 1995. This amendment is a very moderate proposal which respects the Pentagon's own analysis of national security needs. Many outside experts challenge the 12-carrier requirement in today's post-cold-war world; after all, we had 12 carriers for much of the cold war and even through World War II. Alternative analyses from independent authorities like the Defense Budget Project, the Rand Corp., and the Brookings Institution conclude that post-cold-war requirements range between 6 and 10 carriers--not 11 and not 12. The Rand study, for instance, determined that 4 to 5 carriers would be needed for each of the two MRC's for a total of 8 to 10 carriers. The Brookings study considered three alternative scenarios to the Bush-Cheney baseline scenario for which the Cheney Pentagon claimed it needed 12 carriers. One Brookings scenario posited the emergence of a post-Soviet
Russia which, in retrospect, was overly optimistic. Another Brookings scenario posited the existence of a strong post-cold war arms control environment in which advanced weapons technologies would be tightly controlled. Under both of these scenarios, the authors of the study determined that six carriers would be sufficient. The third Brookings scenario assumed the evolution of a reformed Pentagon culture and an enlightened understanding of the role of moral authority, diplomatic skills, and economic assets alongside military assets. It also provided a larger measure of active-duty ground forces and air forces to ensure favorable MRC outcomes and to permit rotation and reinforcement of deployed forces. Under that scenario, the authors determined that nine carriers were needed. Mr. President, my colleagues need not embrace any of these alternative assessments in order to support my amendment because my amendment permits a carrier-force level which exceeds all of these alternatives even after the year 2003. We would go from 12 to 11 carriers.
The question here today is whether a 12th supercarrier after 2003 is worth $3.6 billion in the fiscal year 1995 budget. What exactly do we get for our $3.6 billion investment in a twelfth supercarrier?
I have found the answers to those questions pretty hard to pin down. Let us begin with some hidden additional costs that we will know will happen if we build this 12th supercarrier. We know from the GAO analysis that we will get an additional bill each year after that supercarrier is in operation for about $1 billion; $1 billion per year as the operating costs for a 12th carrier battle group.
The story that many CVN-76 supporters would prefer we ignore in this debate is that along with the procurement of CVN-76 goes substantial operating costs as well as procurement costs not just for the CVN-76 itself but also for the aircraft in its airwing and the ships that have to escort this powerful and very valuable warship. And make no mistake about it, Mr. President, CVN-76 is a very powerful warship which would be coveted by any military commander in the world. By the way, which of the navies of the world have carriers on a par with U.S. supercarriers? Certainly there must be some potential opponent out there that shares our thirst for supercarriers and can threaten us. The answer, Mr. President, is none, no one. No country has that. There is no ship in the history of the world that has the kind of power of the U.S. supercarrier and, even without CVN-76, we will have 11 supercarriers.
CVN-76's power comes from its airwing, the dozens of aircraft which make up the supercarrier's central mission--the projection of airpower. Buying yet another supercarrier will get us more airpower but let us be specific, Mr. President. Spending $3.6 billion on CVN-76 will provide approximately only 60-days per year during which a supercarrier will be operating in the world's critical ocean areas. Sixty additional peacetime days during which naval aircraft would be immediately available in case of the sudden and unexpected outbreak of hostilities. Without the CVN-76, its supporters would like to paint a picture of oceans devoid of Navy ships and an Oval Office photograph of the President powerless to respond to the aggression of dictators around the world.
It is time to replace that imagery of a world without CVN-76 with some facts. By 2003, the Navy will have not only 11 supercarriers but 11 other aircraft carriers as well. These additional 11 carriers are specialized for marine operations and described in Navy literature as multipurpose amphibious assault ships, capable of operating helicopters and aircraft like the Harrier, a light attack aircraft. These additional 11 carriers are not supercarriers; they are much smaller but they are as capable as any foreign aircraft carriers. According to the Center for Naval Analyses, advanced aircraft technologies soon will permit similar smaller carriers to generate as many long-range aircraft sorties as CVN-76 and twice as many shorter range sorties as CVN-76--twice as many sorties.
These important concepts foretell powerful and more economical ways to deploy 21st century naval airpower but they are not in the images that today's CVN-76 supporters paint. Indeed, we would do better to spend at least part of the $3.6 billion in researching and developing more appropriate vehicles for the future than countering today's threats with excess supercarriers.
CVN-76 supporters also seem not to mention--and maybe even ignore--other powerful ships which the Navy has described as suitable to operate jointly or independently as flagships of maritime action groups which would and can provide long-range antisurface and strike capabilities. In 2003, the Navy will have over 20 Aegis cruisers and even more Aegis DDG-51 destroyers. The Navy proudly reminds us that during Desert Storm, Aegis cruisers fired 105 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi land targets, controlled tens of thousands of aircraft sorties, and even detected and tracked Iraqi Scud missiles. Soon, we are told, these cruisers will have a theater ballistic missile defense capability. Yet somehow they are off the books when we consider ships to patrol peacetime waters for several weeks each year in order to fill the relatively minor gap created not to go forward with building the CVN-76 and decide to live with 11 rather than 12 carriers.
So let us not be coaxed into believing that the nuclear supercarrier is the only response to every crisis in today's world. When we look at the danger of reducing our supercarrier force from 12 to 11 in 2003, to say that we must respond to every crisis with a supercarrier is to ignore our entire true record of the post-World War II experience. In 1978, for instance, Barry Blechman and Stephen Kaplan of Brookings found that during the first three decades of the cold war, when effective crisis management was paramount to nuclear deterrence, that the Navy responded to 177 crisis. Of these responses, carriers were involved in only about 60 percent of the crises. A 1991 study by the Center for Naval Analyses revisited the same question but in more detail. They found that between 1946 and 1990 Navy responded to 207 crises in which carriers were involved only 68 percent of the time.
Let us look at the other 32 percent of the cases--the one out of three cases in which a supercarrier was not needed and often was not even the best-suited ship to the mission at hand. During Desert Storm, for instance, there were six supercarriers involved. Yet, the first naval strikes were not aircraft but cruise missiles launched from the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin. Even after the end of the war, the later strikes on Iraq were cruise missile strikes, presumably because the mission did not justify risking the lives of American pilots. Another example was the daring rescue of United States and Soviet diplomats from Somalia in January 1991, coincidentally during the build up for Desert Storm. The marines were inserted by specialized helicopters from the U.S.S. Trenton, an amphibious ship, in spite of the fact that the region was bristling with supercarrier activity. Once again, the supercarrier was not the right ship for the mission. An amphibious ship was simply better suited to this operation than a mammoth supercarrier.
Mr. President, the military utility of replacing the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk with CVN-76 is not worth $3.6 billion. But there is another image which CVN-76 supporters paint as well and it has to do with preserving shipbuilding industry. I recently received a strong and thoughtful letter from a consortium of nine Wisconsin companies who are vendors to the shipyard which builds our supercarriers, the Newport News Division of Tenneco. The Wisconsin consortium expressed what they called their profound disappointment on learning that I was opposed to the CVN-76 this year. I appreciate their views on this matter and understand the special sensitivity that changes from Washington can further threaten Wisconsin shipbuilders and suppliers.
Since 1981, Wisconsin shipbuilding has not been a growth industry. In spite of the navy buildup we have seen severe impacts on many suppliers, and the demise of one of our three shipyards, Bay Shipbuilding in Door County. Door County alone has experienced some of the highest unemployment rates in Wisconsin because of the loss of Bay Shipbuilding. Furthermore, one of the two remaining Wisconsin shipyards is also in Door County, where projected labor force decline accounts for 5 percent of that county's entire work force. So I am not insensitive to the shipbuilding industrial base argument.
However, Mr. President, I would like to use the words from this letter to set the dire image portrayed by CVN-76 proponents.
Any delay in funding would lead to the deterioration of the nuclear-shipbuilding industrial base. The labor force required for the construction of the carrier is both highly specialized and highly skilled. If funding for the carrier is delayed, this quality, specialized labor force will be dispersed, making it difficult if not impossible to reconstitute for future, high-technology shipbuilding programs.
Mr. President, let us assume for the moment how the assessments in the letter about the specific impacts on Wisconsin business are substantially accurate. I must say, however, that to conclude that the production of CVN-76 this year will alleviate these pressures misses perhaps the most important problem we face. The fact is that America's shipbuilding industry is gravely ill. So ill, in fact, that remedies like building another supercarrier are likely to be insufficient and, based upon past experience, might even do more harm than good to the industry.
The American shipbuilding industry has struggled since the end of world War II. By the late 1970's, the industry was so uncompetitive in the world market that it received Government price subsidies approaching 50 percent of the U.S. ship construction sold overseas. President Reagan stopped those subsidies in 1981 but offered his naval buildup as an alternative market. That was an attractive temporary fix for the 1980's but did little to help the American industry adapt to the world market. Meanwhile Germany, Japan, and Korea have set the pace in international shipbuilding. Now the cold war is over. The Navy shipbuilding boom market of the 1980's is now a bear market. Did that Navy business make America's shipbuilding industry more competitive? Apparently not.
Today this industry is in such bad shape that, even with CVN-76 construction, the Pentagon recently forecasted that several shipyards may be on the verge of failing over the next 5 years. In other words, without strong actions by the private as well as public sections, the industry's only option will be to restructure and contract in response to reduced Navy business. Under those conditions, building CVN-76 in fiscal year 1995 is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need, instead, to have a concerted effort that rationally and aggressively intervenes with a wide range of remedies. Unfortunately the Pentagon is giving us more confusion that coherence; more smoke than light.
For instance, the Navy says that a delay in CVN-76 procurement would risk the loss of specialized shipyard skills along with critical vendors. Yet the GAO recently testified before the House Armed Services Committee that:
DOD and the Navy have not provided information needed to judge the overall to judge the overall cost/benefit implications of moving to nuclear shipyard consolidation. DOD has not identified which critical vendors and which skills would be lost, the cost of reconstituting those vendors and skills, or alternative ways of preserving them. Without these industrial base assessments it is difficult to determine the optimum approach to achieve the Navy's force and modernization objectives in the most cost effective manner.
We do not know what the impact of not building the CVN-76 would be on critical vendors. There is not even a consensus within the Department of the Navy as to how you define critical vendors.
The Bottom-Up Review claimed that the loss of specialized shipyard skills could be reconstituted. Last fall, they speculated that a delay to the year 2000 would cost $2.1 billion to recoup. Last spring, a Navy shipbuilding expert privately admitted to my staff, though that the number was more like $1.5 billion. Last month, TENNECO lobbyists claimed the cost was $400 to $500 million for a 1-year dalay--yet this week some proponents of the CVN-76 are talking about an estimate of $300 million to delay CVN-76 to the year 2000--assuming that the force remains locked at 12. Suffice it to say, Mr. President, that the Pentagon is still searching for a serious assessment of the industrial base impact of delaying the procurement of CVN-76. Meanwhile, by simply pushing for the procurement of CVN-76 this year, the Navy shirks the gravity of the underlying industrial situation and prescribes a remedy which is too expensive and may not actually help.
There are, however, many options which are cheaper and more promising than doling out a $3.6 billion jobs bill to Newport News. There is even cause for some cautious optimism about these options. To begin with, Mr. President, this is a defense conversion problem that is more promising than many we face in other American industries.
There is a booming international commercial market of between 13,600 and 17,800 ship orders in the 10-year period ending in 2001. Last year, President Clinton seized the moment by inaugurating the first comprehensive national plan for strengthening America's shipyards. His program seeks to end foreign subsidies, eliminate unnecessary domestic regulations, provide loan guarantees for overseas orders, assist in international marketing, and improve shipyard competitiveness through a program called Maritech. Newport News is an aggressive participant in this program. They were recently awarded a substantial contract to transform their operation into a world-class commercial shipbuilder by 1996. This is a very promising step and the overseas markets have taken notice. The Greek shipping firm, Eletson, has announced intentions to buy up to four Double Eagle tankers contingent upon successful modernization at Newport News. There is also talk at Newport News of some promising leads on other international military orders.
The Eletson-Newport News deal is very promising but not enough. Commercial business alone or along with CVN-76 will not redeem the situation. The nuclear shipbuilding industry probably will not survive without restructuring in order to adapt to the reduced Navy demand for nuclear ships. The Pentagon's own analysis in the Bottom-Up Review concluded that a consolidation into one facility at Newport News would save about $1.8 billion through the end of the decade and would permit the delay of CVN-76 construction. So if we need to restructure to survive and restructuring permits us to do without CVN-76, then why are we being asked to build CVN-76 in fiscal year 1995. The most obvious step, instead, is to immediately consolidate nuclear shipbuilding operations which
currently take place in two separate and each underutilized shipyards. Yet the Bottom-Up Review and the Armed Services Committee avoid recommending that option. Consequently we will probably be asked this week to vote on Seawolf construction at one shipyard and then to vote on CVN-76 construction at the other shipyard as if the two issues were not part of the same underlying problem. Let me restate this critical point. Consolidation alone could solve the nuclear shipbuilding problem according to the Bottom-Up Review at substantial savings in the billions yet we are asked instead to buy CVN-76 in fiscal year 1995 and a third Seawolf in fiscal year 1996 in order to preserve our nuclear shipbuilding industrial base.
Furthermore, even without consolidation, there are other options which will at least mitigate the impact of delays to CVN-76 construction. To begin with, Mr. President, let me remind my colleagues that there are more than two shipyards involved in the critical Navy shipbuilding industrial base. The Pentagon counts a total of 16 facilities: 12 private shipyards which do construction and repairs and 4 public Navy yards which do repairs. The Pentagon lists a total of 97 new construction orders currently on the books. Newport News is unquestionably the largest and most diversified shipyard in America. Again, I would remind my colleagues that the authors of the Bottom-Up Review believe that Newport News could survive, even if the CVN-76 were delayed, if all future carrier and submarine construction were consolidated there. But even if that were not the case, then let the other Navy orders for construction and overhauls be optimally allocated according to our total national security needs including the welfare of our shipbuilding industry and its supplier base. We need a thorough and rational review of these industrial base questions rather than simply continuing to build ships that we do not need at prices that we cannot afford.
In conclusion, Mr. President, we do not need a 12th supercarrier. We do not need to buy CVN-76 next year. The shipbuilding industry is so gravely ill that another carrier may not be enough to save it without the consolidation of nuclear shipyards--a move which would make CVN-76 unnecessary for industry survival.
I have outlined three sources of relief to offset the impact of not building CVN-76, Mr. President. Let me summarize them in order to help clarify a very complex problem. First, we need to step out of the way of the private sector and do what we can to foster the prompt consolidation of the nuclear shipbuilding industry. The BUR claims this alone would mitigate the impact of a CVN-76 delay.
Second, we need to set up a BRAC-style process for the reallocation of Navy work among private and public yards nationwide in a manner that best serves America's economic security--the foundation of our national security. Finally, we need to continue strong support for defense conversion projects like Maritech, including the ongoing work at Newport News to become a class-commercial shipyard by 1996 in order to compete in today's booming international commercial market. Otherwise, to quote one shipbuilding executive, `We are just prolonging the misery.'
This is a hard fact of the end of any war--even a cold one. I was recently in Angola, a country locked in 17 years of a vicious civil war. While there I visited a prosthetics factory for amputee victims of landmines. The factory is a wartime industry. When the war is over, the demand for prosthetics will hopefully decrease, and the workload in the factory will go down. The factory may even close, and some technicians will lose their jobs. Would we suggest a subsidy for the prosthetics factory in postwar Angola to
keep the technicians employed? No. Similarly, the military-industrial-scientific complex in this country must right-size itself when its mission no longer fits our needs.
When all is said and done, however, I do not believe that we can delay CVN-76 procurement for 5 years or consolidate the nuclear industry without significant nationwide economic impacts. Some of those impacts may even be a shifting of individual companies and workers from one sector of the industry to another. These could be significant disruptions which could affect Wisconsin among other States. I have often said that in our search for cuts in unnecessary Government Programs, no State should be immune. But in order to be true to that commitment, the people of Wisconsin as well as the rest of America know that some dislocations are part of a concerted plan to improve our economy as well as our national security. We must not settle for doling out Navy public works projects. We need to make a commitment to actually turn the industry around. That is exactly the goal stated by President Clinton--to provide a healthy shipbuilding industry in order to provide for our military and economic welfare. I am committed to that goal and opposed to building the CVN-76.
Mr. President, I have more time, but I would like to use it later, after I listen to my colleagues speak. Let me simply say at this point that this is a modest proposal. It is not the 6 that some have suggested, it is not 6 supercarriers and not 7, it is not 9, and not even 10. It is just one less, and an opportunity in next year's budget to save $3.6 billion.
I yield the floor.
Mr. ROBB addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Dorgan). The Senator from Virginia [Mr. Robb] is recognized.
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I yield myself such time as I may use.
Mr. President, I applaud the Senator from Wisconsin for his commitment to fiscal responsibility. I share that concern and have worked with him on a number of projects to accomplish that particular end. I do not question his motives in this particular case, but I believe that in this particular instance, attempting to save money in this particular way would be a little bit like eating our seed corn.
Mr. President, the Senator from Wisconsin has nonetheless raised a question on the floor that is important regarding when--if you accept the literal reading of the amendment, sometime after 1999--to build the next nuclear aircraft carrier--the CVN-76. This is obviously not an idle question or one of small import.
As the Senator from Wisconsin has indicated, it is a significant item in the President's budget request for fiscal year 1995, no question about it. Construction of the carrier has been requested, delayed, restored, debated, authorized, appropriated, both with and without authorization, and discussed in such strategic and financial detail that even a keen observer might be confused as to where we stand.
Where we stand is as the sole remaining superpower in the world.
Where we stand is as a Nation dependent on sea power to protect American interests abroad and to reliably project military force where and when it is needed.
Where we stand is at a point of decision, not solely on one ship but on the future of America's ability to ever build another nuclear aircraft carrier.
Let one point be clear, Mr. President: To delay CVN-76 to the year 2000 or beyond is to kill not only this carrier, but to cripple America's ability to ever build another one. I will not stand here and try to tell the Senate that CVN-76 is inexpensive. This is a big ticket item. But proper defense in this day and age is never inexpensive--although, I add that I would rather pay in dollars to maintain our strength and to deter a war than to pay in lives because that deterrence failed.
The facts are these: It will never be less expensive to build another carrier. America's interests and the threats to them are not shrinking, they are growing. A smaller Navy will require more capable ships, not less capable ships. They are going to have to be able to maintain the same levels of power projection that are needed to address those particular threats if we simply maintain the status quo. The endurance and flexibility of carriers has been proven time and again to be the most efficient and reliable way to meet those requirements.
I contend, Mr. President, that few in this body are more conscientious of the value of the Federal dollar than I am. The question, before we spend any dollar, should be: What do we get for this? What is its value?
Building CVN-76 on schedule yields sensible answers to those questions. First, America would get the finest ship possible, built with the best technology in the world and ready to meet any challenge. Challenges to America's interests did not evaporate with the end of the cold war. A look at the globe will show that instability and conflict are scattered as widely today as they ever have been.
In a sense, our challenge today is even greater than 10 years ago when then Navy Secretary John Lehman laid down the maritime strategy for offensive operations against the Soviet Union--the strategy, I might add, which called for a Navy nearly twice the size envisioned in the Bottom-Up Review. Then we knew where the challenges lay; today, they could be literally anywhere.
The world has not shrunk, so the patrol areas for aircraft carriers are every bit as large as they were 10 years ago or 50 years ago.
To assert that the end of the cold war means the carrier force can be safely cut ignores that reality.
Second, completion of CVN-76 on schedule would allow the Navy to maintain its carrier fleet at strength, avoiding the crises of overworked crews and very high operational tempo, which already affect the readiness of our deployed forces.
A number of Navy captains and admirals have told the Armed Services Committee that current extended deployments are destroying morale and clobbering retention of skilled sailors and naval aviators.
The lengthy maintenance required by older carriers are a real driver in that OPTEMPO.
I urge my colleagues to remember that we are here today because the Bottom-Up Review found a need--not a desire, not a wish, but a military need--for 12 aircraft carriers.
The Navy and the administration are not looking for places to spend money willy-nilly.
The President requested this ship because the Navy needs it to maintain America's presence and deter aggression; if need be, to fight a war; and to train our sailors and naval aviators.
Consider, Mr. President, where that 12-carrier fleet is.
At any given time, one carrier is off the coast of Florida for training. That leaves 11. One carrier is in the Service Life Extension Program, being rebuilt so that the taxpayers can get an extra decade of service out of an existing hull. That is 10. Two carriers are in nuclear refueling or major overhaul. That leaves eight. Four are enroute to or from their patrol areas, or in their homeport building up for the next deployment and giving the crews some brief rotation ashore. That, in effect, at any given time, leaves four carriers to cover the world.
If we start cutting the number in the fleet, what capability do we lose? Should we stop training? Obviously, we cannot do that. Should we cancel rotations home and just keep the men and women of the fleet at sea 12 months a year? That obviously would not fly either. Should we cancel maintenance and just run the carriers into the ground? In some instances we are getting pretty close to doing that already.
In short, Mr. President, there is good reason to keep the fleet at 12. Building CVN-76 on schedule does that.
Third, completing CVN-76 on schedule keeps America's only facility capable of building these aircraft carriers open and operating efficiently. Whatever alternative opponents may have in mind can scarcely keep that vital, highly skilled work force anywhere near intact.
In a recent letter to Senators, the Senator from Wisconsin suggested `combining' nuclear submarine and surface ship construction in one yard might be the best way to preserve that unique work force.
I have to confess that that idea is not without appeal because Virginia is home to the only shipyard capable of doing just that.
But the same Bottom-Up Review the Senator cites so approvingly rejected this particular notion outright.
Fourth, about half of the funding for the ship has already been appropriated; indeed, some construction has begun.
I might suggest that to interrupt construction so that we can wait a few years, to pay more inflation-depleted dollars to rejuvenate the capability to build the ship and then to build the ship is simply not a fiscally responsible course.
Our Nation abides between two great oceans, which have given our Nation protection from so many of the conflicts which affected other areas of the globe. But those same oceans insulate America from many of those places where American people and American national interests can be found.
That is why, Mr. President, since the earliest days of our Republic, our Nation has maintained her maritime strength. And that is why, in these times of global upheaval and instability, we should not let that strength lapse.
Delaying the completion of the CVN-76 to the next century would not only represent a lapse of strength, it would be a sign to the world that the United States is prepared to stand aside and let other nations determine the course of world events.
It is my hope that those who might be tempted to strike the carrier authorization would look hard at four key issues: Military utility; operational tempo; maintenance of an industrial base recognized as vital by the Bottom-Up Review; and the financial consequences to the Government of such a delay.
I know that if these factors are viewed objectively, completing CVN-76 on schedule makes sense from every angle.
With that, Mr. President, I suggest that the option that is presented by my friend, the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin, while appealing in terms of the dollars which appear to be saved in the near term, is not cost effective and puts our ability to respond to the challenges that we face around the world today at risk and a risk that I do not think that we ought to take under the circumstances.
With that, Mr. President, I yield to my distinguished senior Senator and colleague from Virginia whatever time as he may take to address this same question.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia [Mr. Warner] is recognized.
Mr. WARNER. Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, I thank my distinguished colleague from Virginia. We worked on this since the very first day he joined the Armed Services Committee.
I would like to reminisce a moment. In 1969 I was privileged to go to the Department of Defense as an Under Secretary of the Navy, and a great son of Wisconsin was the Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird.
Few men or women in my lifetime have had a greater impact on my career and my thinking than Secretary Melvin Laird. He had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, indeed, with distinction and bore the wounds of that war. He understood the full meaning of seapower.
I recall so well sitting with him one day with John Stennis. I was sort of in the background. Senator Jackson had come into the room. Secretary Laird was here visiting in the Congress. He had been a Member of the House of Representatives for many years, and he had been the ranking member of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations in the House.
They were talking about carriers. The story was along the lines that every President, when awakened in the middle of the night and has to reach for that telephone instinctively says, `Where are the carriers?' Where is that island of the United States from which we can project immediate response in the cause of freedom? Where are those carriers?
Let me point out some testimony that was given to the Senate Committee on Intelligence earlier this week, Mr. President.
This first chart represents global instability. I want to make certain my friend from Wisconsin can see this. There are charts used by the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, General Clapper, who testified this week to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He indicated in the clearest of terms the conflicts that were of security interest to our country and those of our allies in 1989. Using the following criteria, these marks on this world chart were established. The first were political instability with violence, significant political instability with violence but without sustained combat not regarded as a threat. Second were civil war insurgencies, sustained combat levels ranging from small guerrilla operations to major combat. The latter were in the yellowish categories. The ones with the tinge of red were in the secondary category.
The point is there were roughly 30 conflicts in 1989 in which this Nation in varying levels had an interest.
Then to my astonishment the second chart was raised showing 1994.
These charts were not prepared for this debate on the aircraft carrier. These charts were prepared for a briefing to the Senate of the United States regarding the worldwide situation. The same criteria that I enumerated for 1989 were used for 1994. And it shows that today there has been roughly a doubling. This accounts for roughly 60 instances worldwide of some type of disturbance ranging from major combat to sustained internal civil war.
So often we refer as a baseline to the cold war, which was in the late eighties and reflected by 1989 or shortly before, and how the world has changed.
But it has changed, Mr. President, in that the threats are no longer centralized in terms of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact. The threats now are fragmented. They are worldwide, but in many respects they are just as dangerous, if not more so, to the security of our country and that of our allies.
I did not realize, as closely as I try to follow this situation, the quantum increase in that brief period of but 5 years.
I say to my friend from Wisconsin, given the declining defense budgets, given in some respects the declining budgets in the field of intelligence, what is the justification that we could use in terms of a threat analysis--and indeed it is not that a budget analysis should ever determine the magnitude and the sizing of the Armed Forces of the United States; it is the threat to the security of this country and that of our allies.
I ask most respectfully of my colleague from Wisconsin, do you have any analysis that indicates that the worldwide threat is different than the charts--and I can put them back up if you so desire--than that brought forth by the Defense Intelligence Agency, an agency totally independent of sea power, carriers, or industrial base, an agency within the overall umbrella of our central intelligence network which has the task, the sole purpose of which is keeping the President, the Congress, and other policymakers fully advised as to the threat poised against our country and that of our allies?
I ask the question of my colleague.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, in response to the question of the Senator from Virginia, I first grant his premise.
Mr. WARNER. I cannot hear the Senator.
Mr. FEINGOLD. I certainly grant, Mr. President, the notion that the world is a dangerous place; that the actual number of locations where there may be a conflict or crisis may be more than it was in 1989.
I rely, as I am sure the Senator from Virginia does, at least in part, on the Bottom-Up Review itself, which was obviously aware of the world situation in recommending and saying that we could handle the international situation, including two major regional conflicts, with 10 aircraft carriers in wartime and it suggested 12 in peacetime.
I do not dispute the assumption that there are serious problems out there. But we are suggesting there are other ways to achieve that.
Mr. WARNER. The problem is growing in number and not diminishing. Do you accept that?
Mr. FEINGOLD. The number of problems, yes, but I am not ready to concede that we are in a situation yet where it is more dangerous than the cold war. But I do not think I would care to debate whether or not it is more dangerous or less.
The question is, what is the best way, technologically and militarily, to deal with the threat that we face? My response is that, according to the Bottom-Up Review, they prefer and recommend 12 for peacetime but only 10 for wartime. And I believe that we could get the capacity of the additional carrier through the alternative means that I have suggested.
And, of course, I also would like to point out, in response, that we do not even have complete coverage of all the major oceans, even with the 12. That is not even contemplated. I have not even heard my colleague propose that. There is a gap even under the current proposal. Currently, there are 4 months in each of the two major oceans when we have no carrier coverage, even with the 12 carriers.
So I do not dispute your claim that the world is a troubled place, but I do not see what that has to do with whether we need 12 or 11 aircraft carriers when there are alternatives.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, if I may, I respectfully disagree with my distinguished colleague's analysis for the basis of cutting in his amendment such cuts as he directs. It is an unusual amendment in its language, but we will not bother to address that at this time.
I would just like to add a few concluding remarks, Mr. President. I am prepared to yield the floor if there are other colleagues who seek recognition at any time, because I intend to remain here until this debate is completed.
But the issue of aircraft carriers is vital because it gets to the very heart of our military power and how we use that power as a nation.
The amendment before us seeks to reduce the size of our Navy in a substantial way. No one disputes that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier represents an awesome military capability. Its power and its mobility make it an effective instrument, both as a diplomatic tool and as a military tool.
No one disputes that the Navy's carrier construction program has been run efficiently over the past decade or more. There are not charges of cost overruns in this program. In fact, it is a model of efficiency.
The challenge to the carrier is the age old question of how much is enough? Senator Feingold says we do not need it. The President of the United States, however, says, we do need it. And each of his principle advisers state we do need it. And now before us is a bill crafted very carefully by the Senate Armed Services Committee which likewise states unequivocally we do need it.
The question before the Senate is, should we vote here to kill the carrier and challenge the fundamental defense strategy and defense structure of the United States? That is the question.
I would argue such a fundamental shift is not called for and should not be undertaken, and there is nothing that has been presented--with all due respect to my colleague from Wisconsin --which would justify such a reversal of policy.
However, that is what this amendment seeks to do. In one quick flash, the junior Senator from Wisconsin is seeking to alter a fundamental part of our overall national security.
The Senator seeks to do this against the recommendations, as I said, of the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the committee of jurisdiction in the Senate.
Mr. President, for every academic study that can be quoted arguing for a smaller carrier force, there are other studies of at least equal merit, if not greater, that argue for a robust carrier force of at least 15 aircraft carriers.
I do not intend to engage in a duel with those who oppose the aircraft carriers, throwing quotes back and forth from academic studies. I do, however, want to point out that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy have engaged in rigorous analyses on the carriers almost continuously since the 1970's. They have studies on all aspects of carrier operational questions, industrial base questions, and they are all available should anyone desire to take the time to study them.
You could fill a small library with all the studies which support a defense strategy which relies on naval power and a larger carrier force. These are not all studies from cold war periods. They are studies which had as their purpose determining the best strategy for the so-called `new world' order.
One of these studies was done recently by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis from Cambridge, MA. Dr. Davis, the author of the study, is a respected analyst on defense issues. The title of the study is Aircraft Carriers and the Role of Naval Power in the 21st Century.
In the Executive summary, I find this quote.
The cost to the Nation of reducing the number of carriers below 12 will, in the long run, far outweigh any near term defense saving that some think can be derived.
The National Academy of Sciences completed a study in 1991 entitled `Carrier 21, Future Aircraft Carrier Technology,' which analyzes the relevance of carriers in the future. The National Research Council completed a study in 1988 entitled `Implications of Advancing Technology for Naval Operations in the 21st Century,' and that study concluded, `In the near future, carriers will be called upon continuously to fulfill this important national role and mission.'
The mission referred to was ` * * * to exercise military power in instances when the President has needed such an instrument.'
Mr. President, the opposition to carriers doesn't quote from these and other credible studies. They rely on the analysis of others who don't support robust naval power for the United States.
In the interest of balance I believe Senators ought to be aware that there is a great deal of analysis which supports the important role of carriers and the need for 12 or more carriers.
Dr. Davis' study is worth reading for every Senator interested in this issue and therefore I ask unanimous consent that a short five page executive summary of just one of those studies be interested in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
(See exhibit 1.)
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, the Feingold amendment seeks to alter U.S. defense strategy and reject the recommendation of the President and the Senate Armed Services Committee. I urge its defeat.
Mr. President, I see our colleague here, a distinguished carrier pilot himself in a former career. I hope he will at this time seek recognition and add to this debate.
The defining events of the 1990s--the end of the Cold War, the war in the Gulf, and the dismantling of the Soviet empire--have had a profound effect upon U.S. security planning. Reflected in the Defense Department's `Bottom-Up Review,' the Clinton administration is undertaking a major reassessment of defense force structure and logistical support networks designed to meet the challenges of the post-Cold War world, while taking into account public sentiment for greater defense economies now that the Soviet threat has dissipated.
But the breakup of the Soviet Union does not mean that U.S. interests are free from risks. There have emerged new risks in the global security environment--risks that may require the employment of U.S. forces. As the one nation that remains uniquely capable of projecting substantial power beyond its shores--and, hence, having at least some impact on the shape of the post-Cold War world--the United States may find it necessary to deploy its forces to regions where vital U.S. interests may not be at stake, but in which broader humanitarian and democratic values are being challenged. Indeed, the deployment of U.S. contingents to such widely varied crisis settings as Somalia, Northern Iraq, Liberia, and recently Macedonia, has already demonstrated the importance of maintaining flexible forces able to respond to a variety of requirements. As peacekeeping and peace-making operations assume a greater priority in U.S. foreign policy planning, and missions of humanitarian relief and disaster assistance--both at home (as in the case of clean-up operations after Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki) and overseas as well--become the norm rather than the exception in the employment of U.S. forces, civilian and military planners will be compelled to find imaginative solutions to the problem of developing a range of force packages for use in multiple contingencies.
Inevitably, the challenges of security in the 1990s will place greater emphasis on `jointness,' both among the U.S. Services and in connection with allied and coalition planning. Because the aircraft carrier platform is large enough to integrate a mix of Marine, Army and Air Force assets with its own considerable striking power, it will be central to U.S. joint planning in the future--both for peacetime forward presence missions and wartime operations. By virtue of its geography, the United States is a maritime nation whose welfare and global role depends on unimpeded access to the world's sea lines of communication (SLOCs). Even though they may be relatively little direct threat to U.S. navigation on the open seas (now that the Soviet Union has been dismantled), the potential for conflict in key regional theaters is very real--conflicts that could escalate into open warfare either involving the engagement of U.S. forces, or posing a threat to U.S. (and allied) commercial and strategic interests, or both. With the proliferation of weapons technologies and the growing lethality of the forces of potential regional adversaries, the capability of the aircraft carrier battle group will provide to a joint commander or theater CINC an important enabling force to facilitate crisis response, sustained military operations, conflict escalation, and war termination.
In future theater contingencies--the primary planning focus of the new strategic guidance that is emerging from the Pentagon--there is likely to be a premium placed on those U.S. and allied forces that can: deploy to a theater of operations in a timely fashion; prevent minefields from being laid in the sea approaches to the area; protect sea-lift assets en route and at the point of arrival and departure; deliver firepower against an array of targets whose interdiction
would give the adversary's leadership pause to reflect on the utility of proceeding further with its warfare objectives; and, offer a range of flexible options, in terms of strike planning, escalation control, and war termination.
Against any range of theater scenarios, the aircraft carrier and its associated systems' assets (including its battle-group combatants, but also its deployment of long-range precision-guided missiles and new generation sensor-fuzed munitions) contribute an unparalleled capability to meet any of these objectives, while providing a tangible demonstration of U.S. capability and will--thereby offering U.S. policymakers a unique crisis management and deterrent tool.
Pressured by defense budget cuts, which would be even more severe in the out years, the number of aircraft carrier platforms in the active inventory of the Navy is likely to be a subject of contentious debate. As a capability that could aptly be described as a moveable piece of `sovereign America,' the aircraft carrier can steam to a crisis location without raising tensions in countries that are not involved. Operationally, it would also not be encumbered by the political debate that often accompanies requests for the overflight of national territory, or that is inherent in requests for access to local basing facilities. The aircraft carrier platform, moreover, can bring to the scene of a crisis tangible evidence of U.S. resolve, and provide the basis for coordinating joint and combined operations if a given situation warrants the use of military force.
For all these reasons, it would be foolhardy for the United States to reduce its carrier force to a level that could not provide for a flexible forward presence policy. In view of the political-psychological mindset that forms a central aspect of national security decision-making, it may be more difficult to commit (and mobilize) U.S.-based forces for regional crisis deployment missions than it would be to put carrier-based assets already near or on in the area in question on alert status. Planning a force structure to fight in two major regional contingencies `nearly simultaneously' (to use Secretary Aspin's recent formulation) requires a prudent planner to retain the Navy's preferred minimum
number of twelve carriers in the force structure. Reducing the number of carriers in the U.S. fleet to ten would result in significant deployment gaps, increased time at sea for sailors, and an inability to react to crises with the flexibility that is necessary to ensure a timely and effective response. Even with a twelve-carrier force, key regions--notably the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and the Western Pacific--could only be covered about eighty percent of the time.
In its search to make prudent decisions about force structure (while recognizing the need to achieve some, reasonable defense economies), the Clinton administration needs to appreciate the risks associated with a decision to reduce the number of carrier platforms below twelve. The costs to the nation of doing so will in the long run far outweigh any near-term defense savings that some think can be so derived. By themselves, the intangibles associated with the deployment of a credible forward presence posture centered around twelve carrier battle groups by far exceed (in value) the hoped-for defense economies of cutting the carrier program--and this includes the costs of building a new carrier, CVN-76, to bring to nine the number of Nimitz-class carriers.
CVN-76 construction carries profound and far-reaching implications for the ability of the United States to sustain a nuclear shipbuilding industry. Construction of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier entails special skills and a comprehensive base of second- and third-tier suppliers--all of whom are not common to the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine. A decision not to fund the new carrier, or to push off its funding until after fiscal year 1995, will likely result in the disappearance of critical job skills that are crucial to the nuclear carrier shipbuilding industry. If new carrier construction were delayed, or stretched-out--an alternative that is apparently being considered--the result is likely to be a far more expensive program, due to the need to accommodate the loss of key suppliers and to recreate and qualify skilled teams to do the work. Overhaul and refueling work on existing carriers simply would not provide enough work for major component
suppliers in the industry to justify their staying in business. Thus, any decision delaying or canceling the construction of CVN-76 will have major implications for both the domestic economy and the defense industrial skill base. Moreover, such a step would affect adversely our ability to reconstitute and mobilize forces if confronted with a major global contingency or the need to fight in two theaters simultaneously.
One option that might be pursued is an incremental funding strategy for CVN-76. Under such an arrangement, the critical vendor base could be sustained through the authorization of funding on three or four `ship sets' of highly specialized equipment for the carrier (e.g., nuclear cores, special reactor pumps, and hydraulic plants). Such funding, in the form of another year of advanced procurement funding for CVN-76, would be a second-best means of preserving the vendor base; yet it would maintain the option to build the tenth nuclear carrier, and would moreover be consistent with the administration's domestic and global priorities.
Viewed in this context, the carrier emerges as central to sustaining and adequate forward presence capability, and assuring a flexible maritime instrument for responding to the variety of potential local conflict and crisis situations--ranging from humanitarian assistance to peacekeeping, conflict management, and war termination, Clearly, the preferred option would be maintaining twelve carriers in the Navy's force structure--with earlier rather than later investment in CVN-76 production and development. At the very least, it is necessary to secure and sustain a degree of incremental funding sufficient to maintain the vendor base critical to future U.S. carrier construction. If CVN-76 is not funded, the United States may be forfeiting its future ability to build aircraft carriers in a cost-effective and timely manner. The operation implications of failing to move ahead with CVN-76 will undermine the Navy's ability to maintain adequate global presence, and could well hamper any President's ability to respond to unfolding crises swiftly and in an appropriate manner.
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, may I inquire as to how much time is left on the side of the proponents of CVN-76?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will advise the Senator that the time controlled by the Senator from Wisconsin is 25 minutes remaining; the time controlled by the Senator from Virginia is 19.5 minutes.
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of our time to give the Senator from Wisconsin an opportunity to respond, and then I am going to ask the Senator from Arizona, who has more than a little expertise in this particular area, to discuss the question.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Feingold].
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I yield myself a bit of the remaining time to respond again to the questions posed about the world situation; whether that post-cold-war situation justifies maintaining a 12 supercarrier force.
I do not think it is accurate to suggest that simply because there are more locations of conflict, that necessarily means that the supercarriers are the right response. It ignores the comments that I had the chance to make earlier about alternatives. Before I mention those, let us just remember, though, that even in many conflicts in the past, carriers were not always used. As we mentioned, the report from the Center for Naval Analyses, `The Use of Naval Forces in the Post-Cold-War Era,' pointed out that from 1986 to 1990, in 32 percent of the cases of crises just of the kind the Senator from Virginia was pointing out on the map, we did not even use a carrier.
So the assumption that the carrier always has to be there whenever there is a problem--take, for example, Rwanda--it is not clear that is the way we are going to respond to the situation in Rwanda, even though you can tote it up as a number, another place in the world where there are problems.
The issue here is not whether the world is a troubled place. It sure is. The issue is whether the supercarrier is the best way to handle situations, understanding that we have not even used the carriers in all situations in the past.
I am curious to know what response my colleagues would have to the alternatives that have been suggested. Remember, what I am suggesting here, Mr. President, contrary to the statement of the Senator from Virginia, is not to get rid of all super carriers--certainly not to get rid of all carriers, certainly not to get rid of all supercarriers. This side is not opposed to supercarriers. We are suggesting eliminating 1 of 12. And that lost capacity of 60 days in each of two oceans can, according to credible sources, be made up for by the year 2003 with alternates--11 amphibious carriers and dozens of Aegis cruisers and destroyers.
It is my intention by this amendment to save us money, but also to achieve that capacity by other less expensive means that would in effect come from having the 12th carrier. That is my response to the chart. The world is a terribly difficult place, but that does not necessarily mean that 12 as opposed to 11 carriers is the right, most efficient, or most effective response to the problem.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I might make one response before I yield to the Senator from Arizona. I understand the proposition that has been stated by the Senator from Wisconsin. But if we use this criteria--whether or not we actually use the specific weaponry or capability at any given context--I guess the ultimate would be we have not used nuclear weapons since the end of World War II. But having them has a very significant deterrent effect, and certainly maintains the peace in a way that I think all would agree accrues to our long-term benefit without actually using them.
With that, Mr. President, I have actually been on board, at one time or another, just about all of the carriers, certainly the ones that are in commission today, and many of those that have been retired. But the only Member of this body who has flown combat missions off of those aircraft carriers is the Senator from Arizona, to whom I yield 5 minutes at this time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona [Mr. McCain] is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I have a question for my friend from Wisconsin, and I ask it: Has he ever been on board an aircraft carrier?
Mr. FEINGOLD. No, I have not.
Mr. McCAIN. Let me suggest to the Senator from Wisconsin that, at minimum, before he recommends a fundamental change in the structure of our military establishment as envisioned by the Bottom-Up Review--which really was the best minds that we have available, including Gen. Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Les Aspin, former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense, and the best minds we could get together--came up with the belief with which, frankly, I do not totally agree--but that the United States would have to maintain an 11-plus-1 carrier force.
In all due respect to the Senator from Wisconsin, I suggest at least he go out and visit an aircraft carrier and find out what they do from those people. Perhaps it might be useful, before recommending such a fundamental change in this Nation's defense strategy, that he go out to an aircraft carrier, that he meet with the men and women who are on board--and there are men and women now--find out what their mission is, find out from the people what they are expected to do and can do in a contingency. And I would strongly suggest he might find out they do not believe, and he would not believe after he was there, that Aegis cruisers can take the place of an aircraft carrier.
An Aegis cruiser is a very valuable piece of military equipment. It is excellent for air defense. It really is superb. But its ability to project power over hostile shores is almost zero.
I do not know where the Senator from Wisconsin is getting his information, but to suggest that Aegis cruisers and amphibious vessels somehow replace the fundamental capacity--and the reason why we spend so much money for these aircraft carriers is their ability not only to project power, but to project sizable power into very hostile environments, which is the unique aspect about the aircraft carrier.
I know the argument has already been made the American empire is shrinking. We are withdrawing from Europe. Every day, we see more bases being closed. We even reduced our forces in Korea. Everywhere the empire is shrinking back, which leaves us with less and less ability to project this Nation's power in crises which we see pop up all over the world. There are 40 conflicts taking place in the world today as we speak.
Does the United States have to be involved in them? Rwanda? No, I do not think so. But I think the United States, as the last remaining superpower, had better have the capability to do so.
The amendment of the Senator from Wisconsin is going to lose. Let me recommend to the Senator, before he proposes another amendment next year on the same issue or perhaps on the appropriations bill, that he go out on an aircraft carrier. That might be a nice beginning. And that he go and visit the people that have been involved in this. Ask them what is the best for them--they are an all-volunteer force--the best way to carry out the protection of this Nation's vital national security interests. Then come back, maybe, and talk to people like Gen. Colin Powell--who is an army officer, I might inform my friend from Wisconsin--and others who have the experience, who have the knowledge, who have spent their very lives--and I am not speaking of this Senator, but others--in defense of this country. They will tell the Senator that 11-plus-1 is the bare minimum of what we need for aircraft carriers.
I believe my time is nearly expired, but I oppose this amendment. I think it is wrong. I think there are a whole lot of areas the Senator from Wisconsin and I would agree on that need to be cut back, that are not vital in the post-cold-war era. I ask him to get a briefing on the Bottom-Up Review that I mentioned earlier in my remarks. And I ask him to consider carefully that the alternatives he and others are suggesting clearly are not compatible with this Nation's vital national security interests and our strategic requirements.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator from Arizona has expired.
The Chair recognizes the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Feingold].
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Arizona for his comments, but I must say to the Senator from Arizona, I did not feel it was essential that I travel to Bosnia before I voted on the arms embargo. It would be nice if I had. I wish I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the California desert wilderness before we voted to protect that. But I think that is a bit of an unrealistic expectation.
We, as Senators, have a few things to do, and if we cannot rely on documents produced by our Government, such as the Bottom-Up Review--that is exactly the source of much of the information I am using here, and things like a GAO report on Navy carrier battle groups;
it is this report that suggested that there are alternatives, that there are amphibious ships that can assist us in these situations.
I think this is important because we try to have an argument here and we say, Can we get away with 11 rather than 12? What does the other side say? That the Senator from Wisconsin is proposing eliminating all aircraft carriers; that he is saying that the alternatives are the same; that they can do the same thing as any aircraft carrier.
No statement we made has suggested that. It remains the case, though, that in many instances, supercarriers are not needed and are not used. The question is that difference between the 11 and 12 carriers and whether there are alternatives, as suggested by this GAO report, that can make up for that difference and save us some money.
So it is very easy to exaggerate what this amendment is all about. It is not the elimination of the carrier. It is not the six. It is not the seven. It is not the 9 or the 10 or the other proposals that have been made by some. It is suggesting, very consistent with the Bottom-Up Review itself, that we have the 11, which is more than is needed, for two simultaneous war situations, and it is one less than the 12 suggested by the Bottom-Up Review. But we have outlined some of the alternative ways that that difference can be made up with less cost to our country. I thank the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I yield 4 minutes to my distinguished senior colleague from Virginia.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Senator Warner is recognized for 4 minutes.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, what the amendment does do is to create a giant scrap heap of rusting steel in which the American taxpayers have invested close to a billion dollars. That is not an insignificant action in consequence. It will put roughly 120,000 people, not just in the Commonwealth of Virginia but spread over 42 States throughout the country. It will put them out of work, all in the name of--I am not sure what.
It seems to me that that person who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States should have a voice in this. I was privileged when I was aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt on March 12, 1993, when our President saw fit to visit a carrier. He said the following. I quote the President of the United States, President Clinton:
They are operating on station in strategic locations around the world protecting our interests and promoting stability, ready to meet the call. They have been doing this for most of the 20th century. When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it is no accident that the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: `Where is the nearest carrier?'
This means building the next new Nimitz class carrier in the mid-1990's as planned. But it also means retiring the older, less capable carriers. The breakup of the Soviet Union and the dramatically reduced possibility of this type of conflict allows some reduction in carriers, although they still play a vital role in meeting regional threats. With few carriers, we will have to be more flexible on the deployment schedule and operating tempo in order to ensure that sailors are not required to endure longer tours of sea duty than now expected.
That was in an interview with Defense Week, July 13, 1992.
One of my most vivid recollections of the war in Vietnam was in the fall of 1972, when as the Secretary, I was privileged to go out and visit our fleet. At that time, some of the carriers operating off station had been there for 7 months--7 months, Mr. President. It tested the mental endurance and the physical skill of those brave sailors, and particularly the airmen.
We were coming to a point where we were going to go beyond the physical endurance of those sailors to operate. The rotation base, the ability to replace those carriers had been shrunk.
This carrier comes to sea roughly in 2003, and this decision is trying to project ahead what is going to face the United States of America in that time period.
The Bottom-Up Review carefully went over that under the direction of the President of the United States and with the subsequent approval of the President of the United States. The Bottom-Up Review said 11 carriers plus 1 training carrier.
So the analysis has been made, the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces has made his decision, and I say, with all due respect to my colleague from Wisconsin, we have not heard a case to overturn the decision of the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Armed Services Committee of this body.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I yield myself 1 minute. I just might observe, in response to the remark made a few minutes ago by the Senator from Wisconsin, I understand and agree with his suggestion that we cannot always have participated actively or visited the sites or the activities that we are forming some judgment about. But in this particular case, and the way this body normally operates, we do yield to the committees of original jurisdiction a certain amount of responsibility to try to ferret out the most important questions and, in this particular case, this is not only the No. 1 priority for the Navy, it is not only done on the basis of the need through the Bottom-Up Review for the 11-plus-1 that has already been suggested, it is not only a matter of preserving the industrial base, it is not only a matter of saving taxpayer money, but with all of the disagreements that we have in the Senate Armed Services Committee, this provoked no disagreement whatever.
There was no dissent on this matter, even though there was considerable dissent with some of the things we will be discussing later on today, within the committee of original jurisdiction where extra time and staff expertise on a bipartisan basis was devoted to trying to make certain that this was appropriate as recommended by the President, by the Defense Department, by the Joint Chiefs and by the Navy.
Mr. WARNER. Will the Senator yield 1 minute to me?
Mr. ROBB. I yield 1 minute to the senior Senator from Virginia.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, in my statement, I referred to the impact of what this amendment would do. I want to emphasize that 42 States have subcontracts, and there are roughly 120,000 jobs that will be impacted directly by this amendment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time? The Senator from Wisconsin.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, how much time is remaining?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin has 19 1/2 minutes remaining; the Senator from Virginia has 7 minutes remaining.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I yield myself such time as I need at this point.
The senior Senator from Virginia asked why are we doing this? In the name of what? One answer is in the name of $3.6 billion. That is a pretty good answer to my constituents back home, at least as an opener, as an ante. That is money.
I have had the experience in only a year and a half of meetings with the Navy on a number of occasions--they were excellent meetings; the competence and ability of the people I had the meetings with was really very impressive--I had trouble ferreting out what is the top priority.
I had a very impressive group from the Navy in my office who told me the Trident II missile was the top priority when that was being discussed and questioned. That was the one they really cared about. That was No. 1.
I said, `Why can't we get rid of Project ELF in Wisconsin; nobody wants it there; it doesn't seem to have much to do with national security anymore?' They said, `No, we need that, too.'
I understand their job is to protect this country. Now we are told that this additional carrier, 12 rather than 11, is the top priority. It is just a little difficult for me as a Member of this body. I might add to what the junior Senator from Virginia said, he may be on the committee but I still have to vote on it, I still have to discuss it. This is my opportunity to raise some questions and have a vote.
The Senator is right; he is going to win this vote. He does not look very worried. I understand there is even a pool in my office as to whether I will get 10, 15 or 20 votes. But I still think we have to talk about it.
The reason is that this is a very large expenditure, that every Senator should be involved in looking at it.
This item alone, if we cut this $3.6 billion, would bring this bill before us under the level of fiscal year 1994. Right now it is ahead. I think it is $2.4 billion over the 1994 level.
And I also know that sometimes you cannot get something done in the first attempt. I have already watched, over the years before I came here and since I have been here, the very difficult efforts to question the superconducting super collider, which have succeeded, the effort to question whether or not we need the whole space station program, which did not succeed last year but may well succeed now. And I know that this one is tougher because if we do not stop it now, basically next year a lot of it will be spent and it will be very hard to stop this program.
But perhaps this process will lead to what I think is an achievement of a much greater scrutiny of these programs. There needs to be more of this discussion out in the Chamber. So I would very respectfully disagree with the junior Senator from Virginia; that the ultimate place to ask these questions after we review the hard work of the committee is out in the Chamber and to discuss them.
I just want to remind my colleagues what kind of dollars we are talking about--$3.6 billion in 1995 alone. And the senior Senator from Virginia is correct; we have already spent almost $1 billion on this program. But when the argument then is we should keep going and spend the other $3.6 billion, I do not need to say that that is good money after bad.
There is more money involved here, though. Once this is up and operating, once we have the 12 supercarriers in the year 2003, the operating costs are $1 billion a year. So we have already put together those billions each year--the $3.6 billion next year--and it does not even take into account the very significant associated costs of the air wing and the protective ships that have to go with such an important piece of machinery as a supercarrier.
Mr. President, this is about something very real. In fact, I would even suggest to the Senators on the other side of this amendment that there are other military programs that could perhaps benefit from cutting this. I would prefer the money be used to reduce the deficit entirely. But perhaps there are chemical/biological defense programs, counter proliferation, base cleanup, chemical weapons destruction, other things that are underfunded in the military could obtain some of these funds that are going to be devoted to having 12 rather than 11 supercarriers.
In fact, in a meeting we had on this subject with some people who have analyzed this, the point was made there had been a cut in some recent development for antimine technology, minesweepers. We may be cutting spending on the very items that can protect the 11 carriers. Is it better to have 12 carriers that are vulnerable to mine attack or is it better to have 11 that are invulnerable?
Those are the real choices here, not between the Defense Department and the rest of the issues but within the defense concept. Spending this much money now on this particular supercarrier means, as the chairman of the committee indicated earlier on another amendment, that there will simply be less money available for other critical items for research and development that may ultimately have far more to do with national security than one supercarrier could ever have.
So, Mr. President, I recognize the partisan risks as well as the other risks of proposing an amendment like this, but I at this moment would like to appeal to my colleagues on the other side, some of whom I have worked with very closely, to try to find ways on a bipartisan basis to cut spending. We saw that happen in the Exon-Grassley amendment. I thought it was one of the best hours in the Senate, when we were able, on a bipartisan basis, to vote to say we can do better, we can cut $26 billion out of the budget.
I think we can do the same thing that the senior Senator from New Hampshire was trying to do on the Treasury bill. I voted to recommit the Treasury bill with that Senator from the other party. One of the reasons was that it was $1 billion over last year. That is not reason enough, but it is an important reason. Another was that it appeared to me we were restoring positions that we had just cut last year. And there were also items on that appropriations bill that were off budget. So I supported Senator Smith on that item because he made an impassioned plea that we cannot just talk about across-the-board spending cuts, that we cannot just project a time in the future or say that all of the cuts have to come from entitlements or it will not mean anything. The real hard work is getting out here and having members of both parties vote, drop those party lines and say this one does not make sense; it is in the national interest to save the $3.6 billion and use it for other priorities.
Mr. President, I wish to reiterate this is not an attack on the idea of having supercarriers. Obviously, they are very important to our country. I do not even want to sign on to those analyses based on that assumption that may not come true
that talk about six or seven. Our proposal does not even bring the number of supercarriers by the year 2003 down to 10, the level that the Bottom-Up Review itself says is sufficient for two virtually simultaneous major regional conflicts where we do not even have allies. I am not even trying to do that. We are just trying to see if we can go from 12 to 11.
I would like to take this opportunity to read the rest of what President Clinton said on the Roosevelt. He did make the statement that the senior Senator from Virginia pointed out. I might add before reading the rest of his comments, President Clinton during the campaign proposed we have only 10 supercarriers. Some of my friends here in this body are always criticizing him for breaking his promises. He is not doing that here, but I am doing better than he did in the campaign. I am only saying 11. But what did he say? He did say that, `when word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it is no accident that the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: Where is the nearest carrier?' I do not dispute that that is what the President said. But in the same speech he also said this:
A changed security environment demands not less security but a change in our security arrangements * * *. You have changed your crew and your equipment to reflect the new challenges of the post-cold-war era * * *. That enables you to operate perhaps with fewer ships and personnel but with greater efficiency and effectiveness. This isn't downsizing for its own sake; it's right-sizing for security's sake. The changes on board the Theodore Roosevelt preview the changes I believe we must pursue throughout the military.
So said the President--not downsizing for its own sake, not downsizing because the carriers are not important, but right-sizing in combination with other technologies, other military capability to still achieve the peacetime capacity that the Bottom-Up Review has recommended.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished Senator from Maine.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine [Mr. Cohen] is recognized for 2 minutes.
Mr. COHEN. Mr. President, first let me state that I have no parochial interest whatsoever in this particular ship. I do not know the 30 or 40 States that my colleague from Virginia has mentioned. I have no such interest in this particular aircraft carrier, but I do have an interest in the security it provides for this Nation.
I was interested to hear the Senator from Wisconsin say that candidate Clinton campaigned on the basis of having 10 carriers. I might point out that candidate Jimmy Carter campaigned on the basis of pulling 5,000 troops out of South Korea. And only when he became President and found that would have destabilized the region did he respond to the Senator from Georgia [Mr. Nunn], Senator Hart, Senator Glenn, myself, and others who urged him not to take that action which would have been precipitous and dangerous at that time, too.
President Clinton campaigned on no MFN for China. He found out after his year and a half in the White House that it was important to have MFN for China.
So we should not hark back to what candidates campaigned on and try to hold us to that particular standard. The fact of the matter is that a candidate who then becomes a President finds that more information makes them wiser in their deliberations.
I have heard it said in the past that `ideals without technique is a menace,' and `technique without ideals is a menace.' The same might be said about power: `Power without diplomacy is a menace or can be a menace.' But diplomacy without power is the equivalent of capitulation in most examples. We have to have both power and diplomacy. And the aircraft carrier is the single most important component of providing us with both power and diplomacy.
We debated the issue of the C-17 yesterday at length, talking about the kind of airfields that we may be called upon to fly into in a hostile environment. These are our floating airfields. These are our fields that we have to fly off from and back to in a time of crisis. And if we have to err, we ought to err on the side of caution for the 12-carrier battle groups rather than the 11 that is being suggested by our colleague from Wisconsin.
So I urge the defeat of the amendment being offered.
I thank the Senator for yielding.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I yield such time as remains to the senior Senator from South Carolina.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina is recognized.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, how much time remains?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Four minutes.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 1 more minute.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I rise to oppose Senator Feingold's amendment to delay procurement of CVN-76 until fiscal year 2000.
The Senator asserts that our Nation does not really need CVN-76. My observation is that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, every military secretary, former Secretary of Defense Aspin, and Secretary of Defense Perry, believe our Nation does need CVN-76. Further, the Congress has already expressed support for CVN-76 by approving $832 million in fiscal year 1993, and appropriating, subject to authorization, another $1.2 billion in fiscal year 1994 for this carrier.
Senator Feingold asserts that the Bottom-Up Review confirmed that a force of 10 carriers would be adequate to fight two major regional conflicts, and that we can drop from 12 carriers to 11 or even 10 without weakening our defenses.
I would observe that the Bottom-Up Review rejected a force of 10 carriers and recommended 12 because they serve not just as instruments of war but as instruments of deterrence and diplomacy as well.
For the past 50 years, carriers have been used to preserve the peace. They have been called on more than 140 times since World War II to meet crises and protect our Nation's interests. As our overseas bases are reduced, the need for their mobility and power will become greater, not less. Witness the intense use in Bosnia and Somalia during the past year, not as relics of the cold war but as naval linchpins of its turbulent aftermath.
Senator Feingold argues that the risk to our nuclear and shipbuilding industrial bases of delaying CVN-76 until fiscal year 2000 is acceptable. I do not agree. The Bottom-Up Review and other Navy assessments estimated that at least $2.1 billion and some 7 years would be required to restore the nuclear shipbuilding base if we let it lapse. Even a year's delay would cost $400 million or $500 million.
Additionally, many thousands of jobs could be adversely affected. The possible damage to the Nation's economy is more than I care to risk when I know that a strong need for CVN-76 exists right now.
Senator Feingold's proposed legislation can harm our Nation's defense, will damage the nuclear shipbuilding industrial base, will risk the possibility of losing the ability to build nuclear aircraft carriers, and will weaken our Nation's ability to carry out its primary mission.
I urge my colleagues in the Senate to vote against it.
I yield the floor, Mr. President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, the Senator from Virginia reserves whatever time is remaining. I am prepared to yield back time depending upon the actions of the Senator from Wisconsin.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin has 9 1/2 minutes.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, at the very end of the debate on this amendment, there have been very candid major arguments that the world is a very dangerous place--which I concede-- that it is best to serve on the Armed Services Committee to debate this amendment, to even debate this issue, and that it probably is a little better if you tour a carrier.
But what I have not heard specifically are responses to the arguments that I have tried to make in support of the amendment, and virtually no recognition by the other side of just what $3.6 billion means to this country; what it means to kids in this country who have AIDS; what it means to cities that have their water virtually poisoned because we do not have the funds to clean up that water supply; what it means to families that have members who have Alzheimer's disease and cannot afford long-term care.
These are situations that need help and that could really use some of that $3.6 billion. But I do not leave it at that. I have also not heard a serious response to the question of: Is there not within the military itself a better use for some of these funds than to stay at 12 rather than having 11 carriers?
I repeatedly mentioned during the debate the fact that credible sources, including the GAO and others, have talked about real alternatives, Aegis cruisers, and others, that can provide the same kind of assistance that a carrier can in some situations.
I concede to the Senators from Virginia, not in all situations, but that in many situations it is possible that a lighter, different type of carrier or different type of ship could help provide the help that is needed without having to have the 12 carriers.
So we have not heard a single specific response other than saying the world is dangerous, and you have to have 12, you cannot have 11. It makes you wonder how we are going to survive without 15. Presumably there is no upper limit to how many carriers are needed to be absolutely secure.
Finally, Mr. President, I really do not see how I can stand here on the Senate floor and rely entirely on the committee when we do not talk seriously about what $3.6 billion means in lost research and development in future military capability. The world has changed. The cold war is over and military technology and the dangers in the world have changed. The senior Senator from Virginia made that point very well. Many believe that it has changed so much that the carriers themselves may not be as relevant to crises situations as they have been in the past. I have not reached that conclusion. But there are those who say that.
What we need to do here in the U.S. Senate is to start talking about what $3.6 billion means in terms of national security, including economic national security and the other issues which I have mentioned.
Just take that $3.6 billion and ask yourself: Are we really going to save more lives in a military situation by spending it on an additional carrier, or should we be doing a whole number of other things for readiness that this country may desperately need as we try to deal with those multiplying situations that the senior Senator from Virginia has identified, many of which I will argue may not be needed and conducive to a supercarrier at all?
Mr. President, $3.6 billion in one bill, in 1 year, will not even bring down the level of carriers from 12 to 11 until the year 2003. This is not an attack on the military. It is a strong suggestion that we can find another way to provide the same level of national security with less money and in a way that is more appropriate for the new era that we have entered since the end of the cold war.
I yield the floor.
Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I join in opposition to this amendment and express my support of the $2.4 billion funding authorization for the CVN-76. This funding was recommended by the Senate, approved by the House Armed Services Committee and the full House, as well as the Senate Armed Services Committee. It should also have the approval of the full Senate.
The pending amendment is about our ability to project force, not just today but into the next century. Approval of the pending amendment would severely impede our ability to project force and pursue our interests around the world.
American troops are leaving forward bases around the world and returning to the United States. We are giving up air and naval facilities around the world, further limiting our options in terms of projecting force. All of this is happening at a time when regional conflicts and threats to U.S. interests are multiplying at a staggering rate. One just has to read this morning's newspaper to see that we need to maintain the capability to get U.S. airpower to hotspots all over the globe.
Just looking at the past few months, we now have ships enforcing the embargo off Haiti, we have a carrier on call to respond to developments on the Korean Peninsula, we have had carriers operating in support of the no-fly zones in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraq. And that is while we are in a peacetime situation. The carriers are the most-used tool of a President seeking to send a message to a foreign leader or to respond quickly to a foreign crisis.
The importance of our carrier force is well-illustrated by looking at our experience in the gulf war. In that conflict, we had the good fortune of deploying our forces to a country with some of the best airfield facilities in the world, with the result that we were able to deploy a large amount of our land-based air forces. Despite that fact, we still sent six carriers to the gulf and all were heavily involved in the conflict.
The Bottom-Up Review found that a 12-carrier-force is the smallest that this country can deploy. If we are to deploy a force that size, then we must buy CVN-76. Personally, I have been one who has expressed some concern about many of the recommendations for force levels in the BUR. I think that in many places it recommends force cuts that go too far. With regard to carriers, I am not convinced they have made realistic assumptions about how many carriers would be needed to respond to a major regional contingency. I believe that is an important point even though the recommendation for 12 carriers is based on peacetime needs to maintain U.S. presence around the world because we cannot afford to make a mistake in terms of equipping our forces for the two MRC contingency. It certainly would be a mistake for the Senate to go beyond the BUR cuts, especially with regard to a system as critical as the carrier fleet.
It is also important to consider the impact of this amendment on the men and women who operate the ships in the carrier battle group. There is no question that our obligations around the world are not getting smaller. In fact, we are likely to see more conflicts in the coming years. That means we will have to continue to keep the carriers deployed. If we fail to replace aging carriers and allow the fleet to shrink, the result will be that the length of deployments will grow. We tried that in the seventies. It was bad for morale and it resulted in large numbers of qualified sailors leaving the Navy.
Our aircraft carriers and the aircraft they carry are a central part of our overall military force. They are and will continue to be the first to fight in any conflict. And they remain one of our most powerful tools for diplomacy and avoiding conflict. The point is--we use them a lot. That means we must invest in recapitalization of the force--we must regularly buy new ships and new aircraft.
When it comes into service in the year 2003, CVN-76 will replace the Kitty Hawk, which will have served for 43 years. I would say we got our money's worth out of Kitty Hawk and that it's time to replace her.
I would like to turn for a moment to one of the arguments that has been made by the principal sponsor of this amendment--that no one else in the world has a supercarrier like that of the U.S. Navy, and that, by implication, we don't need another one. To that, my response is that I agree with the first part of his statement--I want our sailors and naval aviators to have the most capable systems in the world. I want them to have the best ship, the best airplane, and overwhelming power. I don't want them ever to have to be in a fair fight. I want them to have a bigger force, better weapons, and better training so that they have a better chance of winning and returning home safely.
Mr. President, it is clear to me that we need CVN-76. It takes 7 years to build a nuclear aircraft carrier. If we are to be able to deploy this ship when it is needed in the next century, we must get started now. For that reason and the other reasons stated above, I urge Senators to oppose the amendment before us and fund the new carrier.
Mr. ROBB addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia [Mr. Robb] is recognized.
Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, let me just conclude by saying that I understand the appeal for an alternative means of spending. For almost any matter that we consider, there are attractive alternatives. But, in this case, the Department of Defense, the Navy, the President of the United States, and the Armed Services Committee considered a number of alternatives, considered options, and decided that this was the most important way that this particular money could be spent at this particular time.
I recognize that this is an appeal for those who want to get their fiscal responsibility quotient up, as I frequently do in other areas, to vote against the authorization of the carrier. But in this particular case we will be responding to the needs of our Commander in Chief, the services, and the committee of original jurisdiction.
With that, all time having been yielded back, I move to table the amendment offered by the Senator from Wisconsin and ask for the yeas and nays.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
There is a sufficient second.
The yeas and nays are ordered, and the clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. FORD. I announce that the Senator from Nebraska [Mr. Exon] is necessarily absent.
I also announce that the Senator from Connecticut [Mr. Dodd] is absent because of illness in the family.
Mr. SIMPSON. I announce that the Senator from New Mexico [Mr. Domenici] and the Senator from Wyoming [Mr. Wallop] are necessarily absent.
I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from Wyoming [Mr. Wallop] would vote `yea.'
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 72, nays 24, as follows:
So the motion to table the amendment (No. 1841) was agreed to.
Mr. JOHNSTON. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the motion was agreed to.
Mr. ROBB. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.