[Congressional Record Volume 156, Number 153 (Monday, November 29, 2010)]
[Pages S8209-S8211]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      TELEVISING THE SUPREME COURT

  Mr. SPECTER. One other point briefly--I see a colleague awaiting an 
opportunity to speak--and that is my hope we will address, before the 
end of the year, the issue of televising the proceedings of the Supreme 
Court of the United States. This is an issue I have worked on, on the 
Judiciary Committee, for a couple decades now. It has been reported a 
number of times out of committee. It is currently on the Senate agenda.

  The Supreme Court of the United States decides all of the cutting 
edge questions. There ought to be transparency. When the case of Bush 
v. Gore was argued, then-Senator Biden and I wrote to the Chief Justice 
urging that the proceedings be televised. We got a response back in the 
negative, but on that day there was a simultaneous audio released. I 
noticed 2 weeks ago that on C-SPAN there was a Supreme Court argument 
which was a couple weeks old with an audio, and they had a picture of 
the Justice who was speaking and a picture of the lawyer arguing the 
case--sort of like movies before talking; sort of like silent movies. 
There was an audio.
  It is high time the public's business be open. Newspaper reporters 
can walk into the Supreme Court, make notes, upheld by the Supreme 
Court of the United States. Visitors are limited to some 3 minutes. The 
chambers can only hold about 250 people. It is time the Court was 
televised. I hope the Senate will act. I have discussed the issue with 
the leadership in the House and there are positive responses on the 

[[Page S8210]]

                               Exhibit 1

     From: Sen. Jon Kyl, Sen. Bob Corker
     To: Republican Members
     Date: November 24, 2010
     Re: Progress in Defining Nuclear Modernization Requirements
       We appreciate your willingness to consider New START in the 
     context of modernization of our nuclear complex and the 
     weapons it supports.
       In advance of having an opportunity to discuss the issue 
     more fully next week in Washington, we want to summarize the 
     status of our discussions with the administration.


       Throughout the Obama administration's pursuit of a New 
     START treaty, we have been clear, as has Secretary Gates, 
     that we could not support reductions in U.S. nuclear forces 
     unless there is adequate attention to modernizing those 
     forces and the infrastructure that supports them. The 
     Administration's recent update of the 1251 plan, originally 
     submitted in May in accordance with Section 1251 of the 
     FY2010 NDAA, is an acknowledgment that more resources we 
     needed to accomplish the objectives set forth in the Nuclear 
     Posture Review for the modernization of the U.S. nuclear 
     deterrent. This memo discusses our concerns with the original 
     1251 plan, changes made and our assessment of those changes 
     and remaining issues.

      Background--the Decline of the Nuclear Weapon Stockpile and 

       Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. nuclear weapons 
     infrastructure (including laboratories, production facilities 
     and supporting capabilities) has been allowed to deteriorate. 
     The weapons have remained safe, secant and reliable, but they 
     and their caretakers have been in a state of limbo--only when 
     critical problems have arisen has action been taken. The 
     production facilities are Cold War relics, safety and 
     security costs have grown exponentially, and critical skills 
     have been jeopardized through layoffs, hiring freezes, and 
     the retirement of skilled scientists and technicians who 
     earlier were able to fully exercise the full set of nuclear 
     weapons-related skills. In FY2010, the Ohama administration 
     invested only $6.4 billion in the National Nuclear Security 
     Administration Weapons Activities funding line, a 20 percent 
     loss in purchasing power from FY2005 alone. It is no longer 
     possible to continue deferring maintenance of either the 
     facilities or the weapons. As a result, the 2010 Nuclear 
     Posture Review set forth a broad range of modernization and 
     sustainment requirements that would be impossible without 
     additional budget support.
       A detailed explanation of these concepts is located in the 
     appendix to this memo; but to help understand the current 
     situation, imagine an automotive expert working in a garage 
     built in 1942. The roof leaks and his tools are becoming 
     outdated. Moreover, he has responsibility for a fleet of 
     eight racing Ferraris, which have been sitting in storage for 
     about 30 years. The last time any engine was turned on was 
     1992, but this ``steward'' is responsible for assuring that, 
     at any given moment, each of the eight finely-tuned cars will 
     respond to the key turn. To do this, he is allowed to assess 
     components of the cars for aging--leaks, cracks, rust, etc. 
     (though he isn't able to look at the components often enough 
     and in sufficient detail because of his maintenance budget).
       Even on a shoe-string budget, he is beginning to see signs 
     of age throughout the fleet, and realizes that each and every 
     car will require a complete overhaul (a ``life extension'' 
     program). To be successful, he needs a new garage, updated 
     tools, and skilled assistants (because truthfully, the expert 
     will be retiring long before the overhauls are complete, 
     assuming his pension fund is still solvent). He will have to 
     replace some of the parts (especially the electronics--some 
     of his fleet of Ferraris still have vacuum tubes), because 
     they just aren't available anymore; but some parts will have 
     to be reused, or manufactured to be as close to the original 
     as possible. Some of the original parts contained materials 
     that are now illegal for safety or environmental reasons. To 
     add to the problem, the owner is asking for air bags, anti-
     lock brakes and anti-theft technology. Each overhaul will 
     take about a decade, from planning through execution and 
     without a new garage, he will be unable to finish the 
     overhauls on time. And at the end of the day, the mechanic is 
     fairly certain that he will not be allowed to turn the 
     ignition to check his work.
       This is the state of our nuclear deterrent today, except, 
     we're dealing not with cars, but with the most sophisticated 
     and dangerous weapons ever devised by man.

Section 1251 Plan and FY2011 Budget--A Response to the Nuclear Posture 

       The initial section 1251 report showed a ten-year budget 
     plan for Weapons Activities totaling $80 billion. But most of 
     that $80 billion is not directed at modernization activities 
     called for in the NPR--it is mostly consumed in ``keeping the 
     lights on'' at the laboratories and plants, including safety, 
     security, facility upkeep (which is difficult on very old 
     facilities that would have been replaced long ago in the 
     private sector), and routine warhead maintenance.
       Only about $10 billion of that ten year number was for new 
     weapons activity, about half of it coming from DOD and half 
     from ``savings'' assumed from low inflation projections. We 
     doubt such savings can be realized and the DOD funding is not 
     enough to cover everything that needs to be done. It provides 
     for a small increase to stockpile surveillance for warhead 
     evaluation, funding for the W76 life extension program and 
     the B61 and W78 life extension studies, and partial funding 
     for badly-needed design, engineering and a modest investment 
     for construction of new plutonium and uranium processing 
     facilities--the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement 
     (CMRR) nuclear facility and the Uranium Processing Facility 
     (UPF). These new facilities will replace Manhattan Project-
     era buildings that are a substantial maintenance burden and 
     are becoming increasingly challenging to maintain in a safe 
     and operable condition.
       Recognizing that more money was needed up front, the 
     administration's FY2011 budget request of $7.0 billion for 
     Weapons Activities improved the FY2010 budget by $624 
     million. The $624 million was included as a budget 
     ``anomaly'' in the two month C.R. we passed before the 
     October recess, but will have to be maintained in the 
     longer-term C.R. or Omnibus we will pass in December.
       The initial 1251 plan left a lot of questions about how all 
     the work articulated in the NPR would be funded. Numerous 
     experts expressed concerns about obvious shortfalls in 
     funding and about restrictions placed on designers that will 
     constrain their ability to work through stockpile issues. The 
     funding levels for CMRR and UPF were of significant concern, 
     as was the funding for Life Extension Programs--especially to 
     incorporate improved safety, security and reliability in 
     these warheads. And of great concern to the directors of the 
     national weapons laboratories, much of the promised budget 
     increase for modernization was not pledged until FY 16, by 
     which point the Administration's commitment (if it is still 
     in office) may have waned. As a result, we requested an 
     update to the 1251 plan that would answer the questions we 
     raised and that would show a stronger commitment to 

                           Undated 1251 Plan

       Atter reviewing our questions, and with further review of 
     the requirements imposed by the NPR, the Administration 
     agreed that updated budgets were required. Thus, on November 
     17, 2010, an updated 1251 report was provided to the Senate, 
     including an early FY12 budget projection with White House 
     approval. The 1251 update, and the briefing provided as part 
     of the update, satisfied many, but not all, of the initial 
     questions we had earlier expressed.
       The 1251 plan update increases the FY2012 budget request by 
     an additional $600 million, increases the FY2012 five-year 
     plan by $4.1 billion, and adds to the total FY11 ten-year 
     plan between $5.4 and $62 billion. We are told that the new 
     increases will not be taken from the DOD budget line. This 
     update brings the ten-year plan (from FY11) to between $85.4 
     and $86.2 billion. Again, approximately $70 billion of the 
     original pledge of $80 billion was needed just to maintain 
     current operations of the nuclear weapons complex, without 
     covering the expense of the needed modernization of the 
     stockpile or infrastructure. This update also includes 
     revised cost estimates for CMRR and UPF; those estimates now 
     range from $3.7 to $5.8 billion for CMRR and $4.2 to $6.5 
     billion for UPF.
       The new $4.1 billion for the five years of the FY2012 FYNSP 
     is divided as follows:
       $340 million for design and engineering and modest 
     construction activity for CMRR and UPF (see below for more 
       $1.7 billion (approximately) for other facility 
     construction and maintenance requirements, including the High 
     Explosive Pressing Facility at Pantex and test facilities at 
     Sandia National Laboratories;
       $1.0 billion (approximately) for stockpile work, with added 
     funding for life extension programs, stockpile surveillance 
     and other design and research activities, though some of this 
     funding ($255 million for the W76) is only needed because one 
     life extension program will take longer due to the capacity 
     bottleneck in the complex;
       $1.1 billion for contractor pension obligations spread 
     through Weapons Activities accounts (which, while needed, 
     does not support modernization).

                           Remaining Concerns

       Despite this new increase, there remain a few substantial 
     concerns about the adequacy of the proposed budget. For one, 
     the Administration is attempting to address the enormous 
     increases in the cost estimates for CMRR and UPF by delaying 
     the full operation of those facilities by one to two years. 
     This would stretch the final completion of CMRR to 2023 and 
     UPF to 2024, although the Administration states that some 
     operational capability would be established (as required) in 
     2020. If extended, hundreds of millions of dollars would be 
     needed annually to maintain Manhattan Project-era facilities 
     at LANL & Y-12. Additional funding could be applied to 
     accelerate the construction of these facilities to ensure on 
     schedule completion and prevent wasted investments in 
     maintaining an securing facilities that are being replaed 
       Furthermore, the Administration is ignoring the benefits of 
     ensuring funding commitments for these facilities early in 
     the budget process. Responsible advance funding mechanisms 
     exist, such as a FY12 request for three-year rolling funding 
     (recommended by some NNSA budget specialists), or 
     alternatively, an Administration commitment to seek advanced 
     funding in FY13 following the completion of the 90 percent 
     design cost estimate. Further Administration effort to 
     advance funding is the best path to successful completion of 
     these facilities.

[[Page S8211]]

       Given the need to live with our currently aging stockpile 
     until an adequate production capability is established (after 
     2020), accurate assessment of the state of the current 
     stockpile is paramount. The 1251 plan update shows a doubling 
     of surveillance funding from FY09 to FY11--which is 
     commendable--but is our understanding that the NNSA is 
     reviewing an updated surveillance plan that could lead to 
     greater budget requirements. NNSA should affirm that this 
     review has been completed and the budget request will reflect 
     updated requirements.
       Finally, the 1251 update made clear that NNSA will not 
     restore a production capability adequate to maintain our 
     current stockpile levels (declassified as 5,113 weapons 
     total), and instead allow up to 1,500 warheads to be retired 
     or held with no maintenance unless funding increases are 
     sought and obtained. Failing to maintain hedge weapons will 
     increase the risk that the U.S. cannot respond to a problem 
     in our aging stockpile. The Administration should not engage 
     in further cuts to our deployed or non-deployed stockpile 
     without first determining if such cuts are in our national 
     security interest and then obtaining corresponding reductions 
     in other nations' nuclear weapons stockpiles, such as 
     Russia's large stockpile of weapons not limited by New START 
     (e.g., its tactical nuclear weapons).

            Modernization of U.S. strategic delivery systems

       The 1251 update deals not only with our nuclear weapons, 
     but the delivery systems that are part of our TRIAD. The 
     update indicates somewhat clearer intent by the 
     Administration to pursue a follow-on heavy bomber (though not 
     specifically nuclear) and air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), 
     though development costs beyond FY 2015 are yet to be 
     determined. While the update notes that estimated costs for a 
     follow-on bomber for FY 2011 through FY 2015 are $1.7 
     billion, there are still no costs or funding commitments 
     beyond FY 2015. It is the same for the ALCM: $800 million 
     programmed over the FYDP, but no cost estimates are included 
     beyond FY 2015. We should have a better idea of these 
     estimated costs over the full ten years of the 1251 plan, and 
     know whether the Administration intends to make this new 
     heavy bomber and ALCM nuclear capable.
       Decision-making for an ICBM follow-on is unlikely before FY 
     2015, at the completion of an ongoing analysis of 
     alternatives. The update notes: ``While a decision on an ICBM 
     follow-on is not needed for several years, preparatory 
     analysis is needed and is in fact now underway. This work 
     will consider a range of deployment options, with the 
     objective of defining a cost-effective approach for an ICBM 
     follow-on that supports continued reductions in U.S. nuclear 
     weapons while promoting stable deterrence.'' (emphasis added) 
     We think it important to understand what the Administration 
     intends when it suggests that a decision regarding a follow-
     on ICBM must be guided, in part, by whether it ``supports 
     continued reductions'' in U.S. nuclear weapons--especially 
     since we seriously doubt it's in our interests to pursue 
     reductions beyond the New START treaty. One logical inference 
     from this criterion is that a follow-on ICBM is no longer 
     needed because the U.S. is moving to drastically lower 
     numbers of nuclear weapons. We continue to press for a letter 
     from the DOD confirming its commitment to follow-on nuclear-
     capable delivery systems.


       Until these issues are resolved, it will be difficult to 
     adequately assess the updated 1251 plan, despite the welcome 
     increases in proposed spending. And as has always been clear, 
     assurances from the appropriate authorizers and appropriators 
     must be obtained to ensure that the enacted budget refledcts 
     the President's request.


       Briefly, some of the stockpile programs most affected by 
     the lack of Administration support for modernization include:
       Replacing Manhattan Project-era Facilities: Since the 
     closure of the Rocky Flat Plant in 1989, the U.S. has had 
     only a limited capability to produce the core component of 
     our stockpile weapons: the plutonium pit. To establish a pit 
     production capability, a 60-year-old research laboratory must 
     be replaced by the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research 
     Replacement (CMRR) nuclear facility at Los Alamos. Likewise, 
     producing uranium components at the 70-year-old facility at 
     Y-12 in Oak Ridge is an increasing risk that requires 
     construction of a new Uranium Processing Facility (UPF). 
     Completion of these new facilities will be essential in 
     meeting life extension program requirements starting in 2020.
       Production Capacity: As Secretary Gates stated, 
     ``Currently, the United States is the only declared nuclear 
     power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has 
     the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead.'' The United 
     States requires a nuclear weapon production capability with 
     sufficient capacity to satisfy the life extension requirement 
     of our aging weapons, as well as to provide a ``hedge'' 
     against future technical or political problems. Currently, we 
     are limited to producing a handful of plutonium pits a year 
     for one weapon, but are unprepared to produce most of the 
     remaining pieces of that weapon. Modernization of the NNSA 
     laboratories and plants is required to correct this issue, 
     with the stated goal of establishing a ``capability-based'' 
     production capacity. Without this capacity, there can be no 
     stockpile reductions. In fact, General Chilton argues the 
     stockpile might have to be increased: ``I would say because 
     of the lack of a production capacity there's a fear that you 
     might need to increase your deployed numbers because of the 
     changing and uncertain strategic environment in the future.''
       Life Extension Programs: Under current policy, the 
     laboratories and plants are constrained to extending the life 
     of existing warheads to keep them in the stockpile for much 
     longer than originally expected. Thus, as the weapons age and 
     concerns are observed, the laboratories and plants determine 
     how best to repair the weapons. Aging components are 
     replaced, remanufactured or inspected for reuse in the 
     stockpile. In performing life extension for the W87 and the 
     ongoing W76, our experts have discovered that it is very 
     difficult to reconstitute processes and capabilities that 
     have been allowed to atrophy. Currently, the W76 warhead is 
     in LEP production, the B61 LEP study is underway and the NPR 
     called for an FY2011 start to a W78/W88 LEP study that 
     will research if the two warheads can be life-extended 
       Surveillance: The average age of our current nuclear 
     weapons is approaching 30 years. To ensure that each warhead 
     remains reliable, each year approximately 11 warheads per 
     type should be returned from the military for dismantlement 
     and evaluation. Components are inspected and tested to ensure 
     reliable operation. This program aids in the annual 
     assessment of the stockpile performed by the laboratories and 
     is the lead mechanism for identifying potential stockpile 
     issues. Due to inadequate funding, surveillance requirements 
     have not been met for many years, raising concerns about 
     confidence in the stockpile.
       Deferring Maintenance, Creating Chokepoints: In addition to 
     the CMRR and UPF construction projects to replace aging 
     facilities, a significant number of buildings in our 
     laboratories and plants have been accumulating a backlog of 
     maintenance. This deferred maintenance creates a substantial 
     number of facilities that could (and occasionally do) become 
     a choke point in the progress of a life extension program. 
     Maintenance can only be deferred for so long, until, 
     eventually, something breaks; and when it does break, it is 
     usually much more expensive to replace than routine 
     maintenance would have cost. Reducing deferred maintenance is 
     a demonstration that we are moving from a nuclear weapons 
     complex in decline, to a revitalized and robust capability.
       Critical Skills: Perhaps the most significant attribute of 
     a strong deterrent is the scientific and technical capability 
     that is present in our laboratories and military complex. 
     Maintaining those skills, especially as most nuclear-test 
     experienced weapon designers are past retirement age, is a 
     growing challenge within the NNSA laboratories and plants.
       Hedging: Without a robust production capability, the U.S. 
     maintains a large non-deployed stockpile as a technical hedge 
     against stockpile concerns and a political hedge that allows 
     rapid upload should another nation become increasingly 
     adversarial. With the technical hedge, if one weapon type 
     were discovered to have an urgent issue requiring 
     replacement, alternate components in the force structure 
     theoretically could be used to compensate for that loss of 
     capability. For example, W78 warheads on Minuteman III might 
     be replaced by W87 warheads maintained in storage, and vice-
       Delivery Systems: Nuclear weapon delivery systems require 
     replacement within the next thirty years. These systems 
       The B-52H bomber, first deployed in 1961 and scheduled to 
     be sustained through 2035;
       The B-2 penetrating bomber, deployed in 1993 is currently 
     being updated for long-term sustainment;
       The Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), deployed in 1981 
     and scheduled to be sustained through 2030;
       The Minuteman III ICBM, deployed in 1970, undergoing life 
     extension and scheduled for replacement by 2030;
       And the ballistic missile submarines and missiles. Ohio-
     class SSBNs were first deployed in 1981 and commence 
     retirement in 2027. The Trident II Submarine Launched 
     Ballistic Missile (SLBM), deployed in 1990, will be sustained 
     through at least 2042, following a life extension.

  Mr. SPECTER. I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Nebraska.