Monday, May 19, 2008

Iran in the HASC Committee Report on FY'09 Defense Authorization Bill

The House Armed Services Committee Report 110–652 on the Fiscal year 2009 Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5658) is now available online. Below are the Iran-relevant excerpts.

Ballistic missile defense discrimination radar in Israel (Page 257)

The committee notes that the State of Israel faces a real and growing threat from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from states such as the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The committee believes that the deployment of a U.S. Army-Navy/Transportable–2 (AN/TPY–2) missile defense discrimination radar to Israel would greatly increase the capabilities of both Israel and U.S. forces deployed in support of Israel to defend against ballistic missile threats. Therefore, the committee urges the Department of Defense to begin discussions with Israel about the possibility of deploying an AN/TPY–2 radar on its territory at the earliest feasible date.

European Ground-based Midcourse Defense component (Page 258-259)

The budget request contained $2.1 billion in PE 63882C for the Ground-based, Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, of which $317.0 million is for the proposed GMD interceptor site in the Republic of Poland and associated equipment. In January 2007, the Administration announced negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic about the possibility of deploying long-range missile defense interceptors and radars in their respective territories to defend against a potential long-range missile threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. While the Administration reached a tentative agreement in April 2008 with the Czech Republic, it has not concluded negotiations with Poland. The committee remains concerned about the potential effectiveness of the two-stage GMD interceptor to perform its mission in the European theater. The committee notes that the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) has observed that the employment of the proposed two-stage interceptor in European defensive operations is not well understood, and has recommended additional testing of the two-stage interceptor, including against multiple, threat representative targets…

The committee notes that the proposed long-range interceptors in Poland would not be able to protect the southern portions of Europe against existing Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The committee is concerned that it may be premature to move forward at the pace recommended by the administration given the fact that the long-range missile threat from Iran has yet to emerge and neither the United States nor our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies have sufficient regional missile defense capabilities to meet current short-and medium-range Iranian ballistic missile threats.

Oversight of Department of Defense Policies on Iran (Page 445)

The committee remains seriously concerned about certain activities undertaken by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and believes that many of Iran’s policies and actions threaten the internal security of its neighbors and the collective stability of the Middle East region. The committee notes that it has held briefings and hearings throughout the last year on a range of security issues involving Iran, including:
(1) Coalition measures to stop Iranian support for insurgents and militias in the Republic of Iraq;
(2) Efforts under the Gulf Security Dialogue to help build stability and security in the Middle East region;
(3) The activities of Iranian Navy’s patrol craft in close proximity to U.S. military ships in the Strait of Hormuz;
(4) Iranian conventional military capabilities: and
(5) Iranian nuclear intentions and capabilities as assessed in the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate.
The committee appreciates the information that has been provided by the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and other federal agencies on Iran. The committee encourages the Department of Defense and other agencies to remain actively engaged with the committee on security matters involving Iran, and to keep the committee fully informed on these matters.

Section 1224—Sense of Congress and Congressional Briefings on Readiness of the Armed Forces and Report on Nuclear Weapons Capabilities of Iran (Page 457)

This section expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should return the armed forces to a state of full readiness so that they are fully prepared to execute the National Military Strategy. It would require the Secretary of Defense to provide semiannual briefings to the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services on matters pertaining to the preparation for the full range of contingencies that could occur in the Middle East region. The provision would also require the Secretary to submit a detailed annual report addressing the current and future nuclear weapons capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and provide a notification to Congress when Iran has produced enough enriched uranium or plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (Page 569)

The budget request contained $23.8 million for Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) from within Nonproliferation and International Security.

The committee has been conducting vigorous oversight on the GIPP program and the program’s funding of Russian institutes, which are involved with separate work on nuclear projects in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The committee appreciates the information provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration
(NNSA) on the GIPP program to date and recognizes the important nonproliferation objectives of the program.

The committee encourages NNSA to continue strengthening the management and implementation of the GIPP program as necessary to ensure that the program achieves its intended nonproliferation objectives and in no way undermines U.S. national security interests. The committee expects that NNSA will continue to
keep it fully informed of significant developments involving the program.

The committee also directs the Secretary of Energy to submit to the congressional defense committees, within 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, a report on the funding for GIPP projects. The report should include:
(1) the amount of authorized and appropriated funds to be obligated or expended for each GIPP project for fiscal year 2009; and
(2) the purposes for which these amounts will be obligated or expended.

The committee recommends $18.8 million, reflecting a transfer of $5.0 million to high-priority activities within International Nuclear Materials Protection and Cooperation.

Page 645
"In addition, we commend the insertion of a provision that would require the Secretary of Defense to provide an annual report on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. We observe that Iran continues to enrich uranium—a pacing item for a nuclear weapons capability—and expand its enrichment capability, but we do not have insight into these activities. Our national and international security depends upon a transparent understanding of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities and intentions."

Page 646
"Rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea are expanding their arsenals of ballistic missiles and proliferating both missile and nuclear technology. Our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies recognize this threat and in April 2008 provided unanimous endorsement of the ‘substantial contribution to the protection of Allies from long-range ballistic missiles to be provided by the planned deployment of European-based United States missile defence assets.’ This initiative would also protect the American people and our forward-deployed forces, and complement other U.S. and NATO missile defense systems.

"The Administration and our NATO allies have committed to our collective security, the Congress has demanded it, and yet this legislation significantly reduces funds for the European missile defense initiative. We believe this sends a terrible signal to our allies and emboldens Iran. This is a crucial time for the U.S. to continue its leadership; in addition to NATO, we have key allies such as Israel and Japan who are relying on U.S. commitments to missile defense."

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