An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) off the coast of California on March 26, 2008.
The Trump administration is poised to have congressional authorization to get started on constructing a controversial new submarine-launched low-yield, nuclear weapon.
The Senate and House came together Monday with a $716 billion defense authorization report that authorizes $65 million to develop the weapon, aimed at deterring Russia, according to the bicameral compromise conference report.
The dependence on the weapon, likely to be a submarine-launched Trident II D5 using a W76-2 warhead, is a component in the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.
The report for your sweeping 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to come to a vote inside the House immediately as well as the Senate in the future. The annual must-pass bill covers military hardware, personnel as well as a wide swath of hot-button national security issues.
In a victory for opponents of the new weapon, Congress would retain a requirement for an act of Congress to build up or modify nuclear warheads to come, per the Senate version in the NDAA.
That language bars the secretary of energy from starting the engineering and development phase, or any subsequent phase, of your low-yield nuclear weapon unless specifically authorized by Congress. House negotiators backed off their chamber’s language, which would have nullified the necessity, enshrined in the 2004 NDAA.
It’s the most recent move in a mostly partisan battle that saw the Senate Appropriations Committee approve a Pentagon spending bill with language to order more study prior to the weapon can be developed. The fate of the larger bill was unclear at the time of Tuesday.
Congressional Republicans as well as the Pentagon are advocating for your systems to deter Russia from using its own arsenal of low-yield nuclear weapons. Still, many Democrats and nonproliferation advocates notice as reducing the threshold for the nuclear war.
More broadly, the compromise conference report incorporates a feeling of Congress that expresses support for your administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, and meets the president’s budget with $142.2 million for your National Nuclear Security Administration’s nuclear weapons activities and defense nuclear nonproliferation program, according to a House Republican summary.
The bill would can also increase authorized funding to accelerate two key Air Force nuclear modernization programs: the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and the Long Range Standoff cruise missile.