NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1999 (Senate - May 14, 1998)

AMENDMENT NO. 2399

(PURPOSE: TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT FOR CLASSIFIED PROGRAMS BY $275,000,000, AND TO OFFSET THE INCREASE BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT FOR AIR FORCE PROCUREMENT FOR THE ADVANCE MEDIUM AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE SYSTEM PROGRAM BY $21,058,000, AND BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT FOR DEFENSE-WIDE RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION FOR ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE THEATER HIGH AREA DEFENSE PROGRAM BY $253,942,000)

Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Thurmond], for himself and Mr. Levin, proposes an amendment numbered 2399.

Mr. THURMOND. 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:

In section 103(2), strike out `$2,375,803,000' and insert in lieu thereof `$2,354,745,000'.

In section 201(3), strike out `$13,398,993,000' and insert in lieu thereof `$13,673,993,000'.

In section 201(4), strike out `$9,837,764,000' and insert in lieu thereof `$9,583,822,000'.

Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I rise to offer an amendment on behalf of the Armed Services Committee.

This amendment implements an agreement between the Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee. Pursuant to this agreement, the Armed Services Committee has agreed to reduce by $275 million funds in the pending bill for nonintelligence programs and to increase by $275 million funds for the next Foreign Intelligence Program, which is also part of this bill.

The Armed Services Committee has considered the range and options for implementing this agreement, all of which involve making difficult choices to cut defense programs. After considerable deliberation, the committee has decided to reduce funding for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense Program by $250 million and the Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile System by $21 million. These funds are now assigned to these two programs.

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the DoD authorization bill, as reported, includes a cut of some $550 million in classified intelligence programs. I serve on both the Armed Services and the Intelligence Committees. I am very aware of the tough choices that members of both committees have to make in discharging our respective responsibilities. However, I must say that the magnitude of this cut to intelligence programs disturbed me, as it did other members of the Committee.

Based on these concerns, the Committee agreed during the markup of the Defense Authorization Bill to try to come to some compromise with the Intelligence Committee that would reduce the magnitude of this reduction. This amendment restores $275 million of the original reduction made by the Committee. I am glad that we have worked together to achieve this outcome.

The bulk of the funds to increase the level of intelligence programs in this amendment comes from one particular program, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD program. The THAAD program is designed to meet a theater missile defense requirement. I have supported theater missile defense programs like THAAD because we have a clear requirement for theater missile defense systems.

The THAAD program has had a number of testing failures, and two days ago, there was another unfortunate test failure in the program. Mr. President, this failure led the Committee to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to adjust the fiscal year 1999 funding for the THAAD system. While we do not know the full implications of this test failure, it is clear that it would now be premature for the THAAD program to move from the demonstration/validation phase of the program to engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) next year as proposed in the fiscal year 1999 budget. The Committee amendment to the bill implementing the agreement with the Intelligence Committee eliminates EMD funding for THAAD in fiscal year 1999, since it is unrealistic to expect THAAD to enter EMD during that period.

I must point out that the Committee is proposing that the Senate make this adjustment without prejudice to the THAAD program. I believe that the Committee will need to follow this program as we proceed to conference with the House on this bill. If it turns out that we need to adjust this position to one that is better for the underlying THAAD program, I will work with Chairman Thurmond to do just that.

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Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I rise to address the committee amendment offered by the Senator from South Carolina and the Senator from Michigan. This amendment implements agreements made between the Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee. Pursuant to this agreement, the Armed Services Committee has agreed to reduce by $275 million funds in the pending bill for non-intelligence programs, and to increase by $275 million funds for the National Foreign Intelligence Program, which is also part of this bill.

The Armed Services Committee has considered a range of options for implementing this agreement, all of which involve making difficult choices to cut defense programs. After consideration deliberation, the committee has decided to reduce funding for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program by $254 million and the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile system by $21 million. The $21 million in AMRAAM is now excess to program requirements as a result of contract negotiations between the Air Force and the contractor. The funding issue related to THAAD is more complex.

We have all heard the news of Tuesday's THAAD test failure. This was the fifth time in a row that THAAD has filed to intercept a target. Although we don't have the details, we know that there was an electrical failure in the booster which caused the missile to self-destruct early in flight. Whatever impact this may have on the long-term prospects for THAAD, judging by what we now know it appears that the THAAD program will not be able to enter engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) during fiscal year 1999.

In its markup of the Defense Authorization Bill, the committee expressed concern that THAAD might not be able to spend all of its EMD budget during fiscal year 1999 even if the recent flight test was a success. Therefore, the markup included a reduction of $70 million in THAAD EMD. This left $254 million in the THAAD EMD budget, $498 million in the THAAD Demonstration and Validation (Dem/Val) budget, for a total of $752 in fiscal year 1999 for THAAD.

With the recent test failure, however, it will be virtually impossible for THAAD to enter EMD during fiscal year 1999, which means that the remaining $254 million of THAAD EMD money cannot be spent.

I am very disappointed by the results of the THAAD test, but I continue to believe that this program is important and must be permitted to proceed. Therefore I believe that the Senate should support the full budget request of $497 million for THAAD demonstration and validation. Nonetheless, due to the circumstances that the THAAD program is now in, I believe the best course of action to take now is to disapprove funding for THAAD to enter EMD during FY99. I would remind the Senate that this would leave almost $500 million in the THAAD program overall.

I would like to emphasize that I fully support the THAAD program and I would not have supported this reduction if I felt it would in any way hinder current progress on the program. The THAAD program is a critical upper-tier theater missile defense program that has encountered a setback, but I have full confidence these programs can be corrected and the program can move forward to its next test.

Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, this amendment has been agreed to on both sides of the aisle. I now ask for a vote on this amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Enz1). Is there further debate on the amendment?

Mr. CLELAND. Mr. President, our side supports the amendment. We think it is a good compromise. We think the staff and the committee did an excellent job of putting this together. It was a difficult choice. But we support the amendment.

I urge its adoption.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate on the amendment? If not, the question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from South Carolina.

The amendment (No. 2399) was agreed to.

Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was agreed to.

Mr. CLELAND. I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.