The Senate Armed Services Committee recently completed its markup of the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that authorizes spending for our nation’s military. Senator Dan Sullivan spoke on this Senate’s markup at MDAA’s 2015 Alaska Defender of the Year event this past Saturday, where he announced that the Senate’s version of the bill would provide $400 million for U.S. missile defense capability above the President’s request, and includes funding for the U.S. homeland missile defense system based in Alaska and much needed additional sensor capabilities. Sen. Sullivan followed up his remarks with a press release yesterday:
“[The bill] funds $400 million above the Department of Defense’s $8.1 billion budget request for missile defense programs. This funding includes $1.28 billion for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Much of the warfighting capabilities for GMD are located at Fort Greely, Alaska. [The bill] Includes $233.6 million for Missile Defense Sensors and $137.6 million for the Long Range Discriminating Radar (LRDR) which will be located in one of two locations in Alaska, Clear or Sheyma.”
The official release on May 14 by Sen. John McCain states that the markup:
- Requires the Director of the Missile Defense Agency to deploy by the end of 2020 a long-range discrimination radar or other appropriate tracking and discrimination sensor capabilities in a location optimized to support the defense of the homeland against emerging long-range ballistic missile threats from Iran.
- Requires the Director of the Missile Defense Agency to ensure to the maximum extent practicable that all ground-based interceptors are armed with the Redesigned Kill Vehicle before September 30, 2022.
- Requires the Director of the Missile Defense Agency to develop and flight test by 2020, and deploy when technically practicable, a multiple-object kill vehicle for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System. The bill requires that management of the program report directly to the Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency.
- Directs the Secretary of Defense to prioritize technology investments to support efforts by the Missile Defense Agency to develop and field an airborne boost phase defense system by fiscal year 2025.
- Requires the Director of the Missile Defense Agency to develop a plan for expediting the deployment time for the continental United States interceptor site by at least two years, in the event that the President decides to proceed with such deployment.
- Expresses the sense of the Congress that the Secretary of Defense should ensure that arrangements are in place, including support from other members of NATO, to provide anti-air defense for NATO missile defense sites.
- Extends the existing prohibition on sharing certain missile defense information with Russia through fiscal year 2017.
- Authorizes $23.0 million in RDT&E for interceptor technology, including an increase of $10.0 million for development of the Divert Attitude Control Technology in support of the Multiple-Object Kill Vehicle program.
- Authorizes $286.7 million in RDT&E for improved homeland defense interceptors, including a $20.0 million increase for development of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle.
- Authorizes $66.8 million in RDT&E for Common Kill Vehicle technology, including an increase of $20.0 million for development of the Multiple-Object Kill Vehicle program.
- Authorizes $165.0 million for co-production with the Government of Israel of the David’s Sling Weapon System and the Arrow 3 Upper Tier Interceptor program, and requires bilateral coproduction agreements for these programs.
- Authorizes not more than $41.4 million for the Government of Israel to procure the Iron Dome short range rocket defense system, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement between the U.S. and Israel on Iron Dome system procurement signed on March 5, 2014.
- Authorizes $268.8 million in RDT&E for U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, including an increase of $166.0 million for continued development of the Arrow-3 upper tier interceptor missile and the David’s Sling short range ballistic missile defense system.
- Authorizes $50.3 million in RDT&E for directed energy research, including a $20.0 million increase to develop a prototype fiber combining laser suitable for flight testing on an unmanned aerial vehicle as soon as possible.
This Senate markup will now move to be voted on by the full Senate Armed Services Committee. Once passed by the committee and subsequently passed by the full Senate, it will move to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House version of the bill, where they will agree on the language of the provisions. A similar process will happen in the Appropriations committees of the House and Senate who approve or disapprove of the dollar request of the total. Both the authorization and appropriations bills will then go forward to the President for final approval.