Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Iran in the FY2008 Senate Defense Authorization Bill

Well, after a bit of a hiatus and what seems like an eternity away, I'm back and in the thick of things, so to speak.

This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee released it's version of S. 1547, the FY 2008 Defense Authorization bill. We expect a floor vote on the bill in the next couple of weeks. Below are the Iran relevant portions.

On page 32 of the bill, the bill conveys that Iran's missile threat as a justification for missile defense in Europe: "(A) The threat to Europe of ballistic missiles (including short-range, medium-range, intermediate-range, and long-range ballistic missiles) from Iran and from other nations (except Russia), including the likelihood and timing of such threats."

More importantly, on page 327 of S. 1547, reads:

"SEC. 1216. PRESIDENTIAL REPORT ON POLICY OBJECTIVES AND UNITED STATES STRATEGY REGARDING IRAN. Not more than 75 percent of the amount authorized to be appropriated by this Act and available for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy may be obligated or expended for that purpose until the President submits to Congress the report required by section 1213(b) of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109–364; 120 Stat. 2422)."

Last year, I blogged about Sec. 1213(b) of the FY 2007 Defense Authorization Act here. Senator Reid is credited with asking for the President to submit to Congress a report on the administration’s objectives on US policy on Iran and the strategy for achieving those objectives. You can find the full FY 2008 Defense Authorization Report here.

There are additional references to the Iranian missile threat as the rationale for US missile defenses on European soil in the full report, including on pages 141-142 (163-164 if you go by page numbers in the Adobe Acrobat pdf). There is also a mention of the potential threat of Iranian missiles on page 261 (pg. 283 in Acrobat) as means for justifying Theater High Altitude Area Defense.

The report also references the difficulty of solving the Iran and North Korea nuclear issues if Congress gives a green light to new US nuclear weapons programs, such the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Page 626 of the full report (pg. 648 in Adobe Acrobat pdf) reads: “Historically, the United States has sought to prevent the development of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear weapons states by being the world leader for nonproliferation. Many critics and skeptics of the RRW, including former Senator Sam Nunn, are deeply concerned that if Congress gives a green light to this program, such an action will be ‘misunderstood by our allies, exploited by our adversaries, complicate our work to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons . . . and make resolution of the Iran and North Korea challenges all the more difficult.’”

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