Top military and Defense Department leaders speak before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a review of the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, May 12, 2021. Those witnessing are: Navy Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Jr., director for Navy Strategic Systems Programs; Air Force Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command; Andrew Walter, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear matters; and Leonor Tomero, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy.
And they were all at attention and I told a joke and nobody moved. So I turned to the Adjutant General and said please give him an order that allows them to laugh. Yeah. Mhm. That could have been here. Thank you, madam. Senator. Okay. Uh Yeah This is a hearing of the department of a defense budget posture for nuclear forces. In review of the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2022 and future years defense program. First I want to thank our witnesses for appearing at today’s hearing. The Department of Defense’s efforts to maintain a safe, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent are at the basis of all of our defense strategies. Let me also thank ranking member Fisher for her work with me on the Strategic Forces subcommittee. Two weeks ago, Senator Fisher and I visited mine at Air Force base and the U. S. Strategic Command. Together we saw the two land legs of our strategic triad, the minuteman three And the B 52 heavy bomber. We both went down in the silo one of the minuteman three silos and I have to say as an easterner, I’ve never seen a place so flat in my life. Your dog could run away in mine in North Dakota would take three days before you lose sight of it. Uh, both of these arms of our triad are increasingly showing signs of age. We saw that ourselves for a nuclear deterrent mission that constitute what former Secretary Ash carter refers to as the bedrock of every mission of the Department of Defense. A strategic command. We received an in depth brief on the planning and use of nuclear weapons and the development of those weapons by our piers near peers as the department continues the task of modernizing the triad. I hope in today’s hearing, we can help the subcommittee to understand the key risks Given that this effort will spend multiple administrations and self serve well into the 2070s. I note that we often focus on cost, which is clearly important, but perhaps the bigger policy issues to consider or whether the triad we are modernizing today will continue to effectively deter our adversaries as their capabilities, characteristics and intentions involved evolve in the future. These non monetary risks pose existential threats to our nation and should serve as our North Star. To ensure we continue the bipartisan approach we have maintained on this singularly important topic. Let me conclude by Thanking General Ray for his 36 years of service to our nation. I understand you will release command, relinquish command, the Air Force Global Strike Command and retire this summer. We should have best in your future endeavors. After center fissures. Opening statement. Each witness will have five minutes and then we will alternate with on our members For question rounds of five minutes each. Sandra Fisher. Thank you Chairman King and welcome to all of our witnesses today. I appreciate you being here with us. This is a budget request hearing. And so I want to associate myself with the concern expressed by many in Congress that we are in the second week of May more than halfway through the fiscal year and we still do not have a budget proposal from the administration. This limits our ability to conduct oversight and increases the likelihood of a continuing resolution. None of us would like to see that happen. That’s especially concerning because many of the programs that will be discussing here today are replacing capabilities that will begin aging out over the next decade and are expected to be delivered just in time as we’ve been hearing for many years. There’s no margin for further delay. I hope the department is thinking ahead and preparing to request anomalies for these programs so that the fragile modernization schedule is not disrupted by a cr. Thank you. Mr Chairman. Yeah. Yeah. I hope that we can have the budget as soon as possible so that these hearings can do their job. We have with us. Miss Leonore tomorrow. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear missile defense policy. Mr Andrew walter. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters, General timothy Ray Commander, Air Force, Global Strike Command and Vice Admiral johnny Wolf. Director Navy Strategic Systems programs. Mr Murray. You’re going to lead off. Thank you. Thank you. Chairman Chairman King, ranking member Fisher and distinguished members. Sure, Shaman King ranking member Fisher and distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify Today may request permission to submit my written statement for the record and provide brief opening remarks without objection. Let me begin with the threat the United States faces a complex global security environment where strategic competitors are expanding and modernizing their nuclear capabilities to achieve strategic advantage. China, Russia, Iran and north Korea have all demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests. China is rapidly becoming more capable and assertive and its nuclear modernization is concerning. China’s comprehensive modernization of its conventional and nuclear capabilities are adding new dual capable systems that threaten the United States and its allies and partners. Moreover, we are confronted with multifaceted deterrence challenges across domains which add increased escalation risks. All making deterrence more challenging. The department is being a set of strategic reviews that will include us nuclear posture and policy. This process will be informed by our security and fiscal environment. It will align and be closely integrated with the U. S. National Defense Strategy. The department began the NFS review on May three and plans to deliver it to Congress by January of 2022, as reflected in a recent speech 10 days ago at Indo pak. Um and in a recent Washington post op ed, Secretary Austin’s priority has been to focus on integrated deterrence to address threats and opportunities to strengthen deterrence across conventional cyber space, hybrid and nuclear domains. We are contributing to that work with regard to deterrence policy. As secretary, Austin also stated nuclear deterrence is the department’s highest priority mission. Our nuclear forces remain essential to ensure that no adversary believes it can ever employ nuclear weapons for any reason under any circumstances against the United States or our allies and partners without risking devastating consequences. We plan to begin a specific review of our nuclear posture and policy soon and will proceed with its analysis this summer and fall in the coming months in line with the interim national security strategic guidance and the goal of reducing the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons. We will also explore what steps can be taken to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy. While continuing to ensure our strategic deterrent remains safe, secure and effective and that are extended deterrence commitments. Our allies remain strong. Our upcoming strategic reviews will play a critical role in this effort. We must sustain and modernize the nuclear triad to maintain credible deterrence in the face of 21st century threats. The president’s FY 2022 discretionary request supports the ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable. Our reviews will assess the U. S. Nuclear modernization programs to ensure that they deliver on time and are aligned with policy. Importantly the reviews will include a renewed focus on strategic stability including risk reduction and arms control. President Biden has already demonstrated his commitment to reestablishing U. S. Credibility and leadership on arms control by extending the New Start treaty for five years which provides stability, predictability and transparency and maintains its verification measures. We must look to build on this foundation. We are harnessing our greatest strategic advantage our network of allies and partners both globally and regionally. We will engage and consult with our allies to ensure robust extended deterrence, incredible assurances. Extended deterrence remains a critical element of our regional and strategic stability. Mr. Chairman let me conclude by thanking the subcommittee for its previous support for nuclear deterrence and the opportunity to testify And I look forward to your questions. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah sure. Chairman King ranking member fisher members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to join my colleagues to testify before you today regarding matters related to the U. S. Nuclear enterprise. With the understanding that the administration is embarking on the review of nuclear policies and posture that Secretary Austin discussed during his confirmation hearing and my colleague just mentioned. I’ll provide a few framing comments on the strategic environment and current program of record from my perspective in my responsibilities for certain programmatic and technical matters in the department. While the US nuclear deterrent is and will remain safe, secure, effective and credible. The strategic threat environment in which it must do so has worsened considerably over the past decade. China in particular is pursuing and fielding major quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear capabilities that significantly change the strategic threat they pose to the United States and our allies and partners for its part, Russia is completing its long standing plan to modernize its legacy nuclear forces and is aggressively pursuing new advanced nuclear capabilities. Both china and Russia are also actively pursuing advancements in ballistic missile defense and air defense systems. At the same time the systems and infrastructure that comprise the United States nuclear deterrent were largely built during the Cold War and are increasingly difficult to sustain. As Secretary Austin has said quote. Although effective today U. S. Nuclear deterrent systems remain dependent on aging systems that have been extent extended far beyond their original service lives. And the tipping point where we must simultaneously overhaul these forces is now here, close quote. These combined developments are resulting in long lasting challenges that require the United States to focus and maintain long term attention and resources on ensuring we have a modern, incredible nuclear deterrent. And to be clear this focus must be on the entire U. S. Nuclear deterrent. This includes not just the nuclear weapons and their delivery systems but also the nuclear command control and communications system, the supporting infrastructure across both the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense and the people in both departments who are the true backbone of the nations. To turn as we do this, we must be mindful that our current timelines for nuclear modernization programs Are 10-20 years from concept to capability and the capabilities produced will be in the field For 3 4 even five decades. While both departments continue to seek opportunities to shorten delivery timeframes and find efficiencies, We know that programmatic decisions made today have repercussions that last for decades. This is why the nuclear enterprise always seeks to anticipate future threat environments and more importantly, to create flexibility and resiliency across the nuclear deterrent. The four largest acquisition efforts in the department offense’s current nuclear modernization program, The Columbia class submarine, the B 21 bomber, The ground-based strategic deterrent and the long range standoff cruise missile were all started 5-10 years ago. We are beginning to see these programs come to fruition and all are currently on track. But the successful execution of these programs and complementary programs in the National Nuclear Security Administration requires enduring commitment over long time lines. As President Obama’s 2010 nuclear posture review stated, quote, an effective strategy must be sustained over time with support from a long succession of US administrations and Congress is close quote, this sustained national commitment will ensure that no adversary ever believes it can carry out a strategic attack on the United States or allies for any reason under any circumstances without risking devastating consequences. This committee is central is a central stakeholder in that commitment. I thank you for the committee’s longstanding and continued bipartisan support. As you mentioned, Mr Chairman for our nuclear deterrent mission and for the men and women both in and out of uniform across the nuclear enterprise on behalf of the national security professionals as they continue to work to ensure the US nuclear deterrent continues to keep the peace for generations to come. Thank you. Look forward to your questions. Thank you. Mr walter. General Ray. Good afternoon. Sharma King, ranking member of Fisher. Distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to represent the men and women of Air Force School to Strike Command. After nearly three years as the Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and as the Joint Force air component commander which is the operational air Commander to U. S. Strategic Command. I’ve had a front row seat in the opening stages of the long term strategic competition unfolding around us during this time just become abundantly clear. We must bring about significant transition and how we do our job, how we lead, how we think, how we operate and especially how we develop our combat capabilities, both legacy and future systems. As we transition from two decades of counterterrorism operations to the long term strategic competition we face potential adversaries with increasingly more capable and abundant military technologies match with their own determined regional and global ambitions. Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force’s strategic error have a central role in delivering what the nation needs a safe secure reliable, effective affordable long range precision strike force both nuclear and conventional. The only force of its kind. This forces not only for the american people but for our allies. Part of presenting the long range precision strike force needed is fostering the right climate and culture for the best of America’s sons and daughters. Airmen are the linchpin of the force our nation needs most. And as we modernize, we must also prioritize the development of the right leaders with the ability to lead any airmen from any walk of life. To build the unity and the trust our units need to prevail in any challenge. While our adversaries focus on the division of the american public, we must labor to instill in all of our teammates the dignity, respect diversity, inclusion are critical to the path of unity and trust. Without it, we miss out on the tremendous talent every corner of our country, the innovation and the boldness. We need american public’s trust in the nuclear forces. As safe, secure, reliable is a non negotiable requirement and must remain a bedrock of how we operate. What must change, however, is the manner in which we train, prepares to stay and modernize. Air force nuclear arsenal must evolve beyond a collection of aging programs. It must be grounded in relevant operational concepts, modern capability development techniques. This results in affordable acquisition programs and improve sustainment practices and dynamic training. Underwritten by robust and survivable nuclear command and control transitions are difficult. We have a unique opportunity to partner with Congress, the combatant commanders, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, to advance affordable and innovative solutions supporting the long range precision strike mission. The effort we undertake will ensure intercontinental ballistic missile and bomber forces already and adaptable for the challenges of the 21st century. Lastly, I want to thank you for your continued support. I cannot articulate enough how critical the on time funding is to restore in readiness, predictable, reliable and flexible budgets. But the right authorities to drive the competition are critical to our future success. Chairman King and distinguished of committee members. I want to thank you for your dedication to our great nation, to your very thoughtful approach to these very difficult challenges and certainly for the opportunity to to appear before the committee. I look forward to your questions. Thank you general. When I got home from the trip, my wife said, well, most impressed you. Was it the missiles or the bombers? I said no, it was the people. Young men and women that we met in minor were exceptional people. And when I say young, I mean early 20s, uh, with enormous responsibility. But I hope you will take that back. Sen Fisher. I assure you agree it was that was the highlight of the trip I think for me, so please convey that to the what do you how do you? I know we have airmen. Who how about all those females? Are they still airmen? What’s the Yes, they’re all right. I just wanted to be sure. And uh just as tough as the rest of them, I got that impression. Thank you. Uh Admiral Wolf, please thank you. Chairman King ranking member Fisher and distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the Department of the Navy’s budget priorities for nuclear forces. I would like to thank this subcommittee for its continued support of the Navy’s nuclear current mission. And I respectfully request my written statement be submitted for the record without objection. As you heard from Admiral Richard last month. Nuclear deterrence underwrites every US military operation and capability on the globe and serves as the backdrop for both our national defense and the defense of our allies. The nation’s nuclear triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and ballistic missile submarines serves as the bedrock of our ability to deter major power conflict assure our allies and partners achieve US objectives should deterrence fell and hedge against an uncertain future. The Navy has provided unwavering and singular mission focused support to the sea based leg of the triad for over six decades. We must maintain today’s deterrent while modernizing for the future. This falls into four concurrent lines of effort for the Navy. First, we must maintain the current D5 Elie missile inventory and provide the necessary operational support to sustain Ohio class submarines through their service lives. This is being accomplished through an update to all of our subsystems. All of our life extension efforts remain on track and our current program will support the deployment of all existing warheads. We must also recapitalize our strategic weapons facilities to continue to support and sustain SSB N operations that enable our continuous at sea presence. Second, we must continue to work with our partners at P. E. O. Colombia too, sure that the transition between Ohio class and Columbia class submarine stays on schedule for SSP this requires a seamless transition of the current defied Ellie weapons system and missile inventory onto the new Columbia class. During this time of transition, we will ensure that the Navy’s portion of the nuclear triad remains credible by introducing the W 93 Mark seven to rebalance the stockpile of W 76 W 80 eights and meet stratcom requirements. Third, it is imperative that we start to work on a future missile and corresponding weapons system. Now, this next generation of the current defi vela missile, a missile in service since 1989 and boasting a remarkable history of 182 successful flight test is called the five Ellie. Too defi vela two will yield multiple benefits and missile performance. To include extending its service life defi vela two is required to completely outlawed the Columbia class ss bienes and ensure that trident remains credible in the face of a dynamic threat environment. A defi vela two missile must be developed, tested and produced with the lead time sufficient to deploy on Columbia class hole number nine. No later than F. White 39. It will then be back fitted for the first eight holes of the class. Lastly one of the greatest advantage is the United States has its its alliances and partnerships as the U. S. Project officer for the player sales agreement. I will continue to support the U. K. Sovereign deterrent for today’s vanguard class submarines and their successor, the dreadnought class. For decades, U. S. Policy has recognized that the independent british nuclear deterrent adds to global security 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement and the 1962 Polaris sales agreement. The United States has provided assistance and material consistent with international law to the UK deterrent program. Without this assistance, the cost and schedule risk to maintain the UK’s independent deterrent would rise significantly, thus creating additional challenges for the UK and sustaining its nuclear contribution to NATO alongside the U. S. None of these four lines of effort are possible without investment in our people, our infrastructure and our industrial base, military, civilian government and contractor. The men and women of SSP are working hard to deliver a safe, secure and effective strategic weapons system today that will serve us well into the latter half of the century, They remain my number one priority. In order to ensure continued program success, nuclear modernization will take time to complete so, work towards these ends must start now and it cannot be delayed. It is only through your continued support that the department’s top modernization priorities can be achieved. As the 14th director, it is my highest honor to represent the men and women of SSP, comprising approximately 1700 sailors, 1000 marines, 300 coast Guardsmen, over 1300 civilians and over 2000 contractor personnel. It is my most critical goal to ensure that they are poised to execute the mission with the same level of success, Passion and Rigor, both today and tomorrow as they have since our program inception in 1955. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the men and women who make deterrence of major power conflict, their life’s work. I look forward to your questions. Thank you. Admiral will now proceed to five minutes question rounds, uh, and let me begin Mr tumor. You, you caused a disturbance in the force by an interview with the Japanese newspaper where you referred to the modernization programs as costly. But I note that you went on to say quote nuclear deterrence continues to remain the number one priority for the Department of Defense. Do you want to expand on that? Because as you know, it would raise some, a few are um, senator. Thank you. Um, and chairman, this is thank you for the question and the opportunity to clarify um, that interview, uh, the interview with a Japanese newspaper was heavily editorialized. Um, my comments uh, and remarks during the interview were about the upcoming reviews, the importance of extended deterrence. Um, and the issues that would be looked at as part of these reviews, including um looking broadly at nuclear modernization, at our declaratory policy. Um and again that and the intent was to assure our allies and particularly Japan and this instance um that we would consult with them and that extended deterrence remains strong. Um I am happy to provide the transcript of the interview um that more accurately reflects what my remarks were. And during the interview I did not uh talk about reductions or expressed concern about cost. It was As an answer to a question about the $1.2 trillion dollar nuclear modernization. My answer was some of these programs are very expensive as a statement of fact, not as a concern I think will be helpful to supply the transcript. None of us are familiar with the phenomenon of giving an interview and not having it come out exactly as we, we’ve never heard of that before. I’d be happy to uh and again to reiterate nuclear modernization of the triad will be one of our top priorities. Thank you. Now there is a statement in your in your prepared remarks that caught my attention and I just wanted you to clarify it. It’s in the middle of page five. It says we will begin to explore those steps that can be taken to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy while continuing to ensure our strategic deterrent remains safe. Those steps that can be taken to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. Can you amplify on that a bit? Yes, sir. So that is was a direction uh coming out of the national security strategic guidance, the interim guidance um that the United States would reduce the role of nuclear weapons. Um And so uh we will be looking at options to do that and and present options um to be considered um uh and decided as appropriate. Um And it’s really in the context of the strategic guidance saying that we had to look at reducing the existential threat of nuclear weapons. I appreciate that will the budget that we’re about to receive show any substantial change in the priorities in terms of modernization. Um Sir, I can uh tell you the I can what I can quote at this point um is the discretionary budget that came over from OMG. The guidance um that was submitted to the appropriations committee uh saying that there would be support for nuclear modernization um uh and sustaining our nuclear forces. Um uh At this point I can’t go into the details understand the f 22 budget will cover and I understand um uh the delay uh is causing some frustration and really happy to come back uh and brief in more detail and meet with you and your staff. We’ll follow up uh General Ray. Uh I only have a minute left so we may want to come back to this. But The question is, how much longer can we life extend the minuteman 3? And your view on the practicality of that approach as opposed to developing the ground based strategic deterrent? Sure. Thank you for the question. We’re out of time. There are several key components that needed to be. I’m not out of time. You mean we’re out of time? I’ve got 30 27 seconds. I’ll talk as long as you want me. But there were several decisions that would close out the gaps that we needed for the minuteman three extension 2015 2016 decisions needed to be made to start programs who are propulsion system, rocket engines or missile guided sets and for boosters. Um that’s now 678 years beyond. Because we made the decision to go with G BSD through the J rock and through the analysis of alternatives and the milestone decision authorities making that decision. At the OsD level, we did not go backwards. So you actually are out of time. You will buy a gap a significant gap in the CBM capability if you were to go backwards now and I can come back to that sir. Thank you. I think we’re almost certainly will. Senator Fisher. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman General Very I’d like to follow up a little bit where Senator King was headed in talking about the analysis that that we’re looking at on the pursuit of the G BSD as a replacement. The Air Force compared costs With the minuteman in the GBSD in 2019 and again, more recently, what is the current estimated cost difference between pursuing G BSD and trying to life extend the Minuteman Ma’am? Thank you for the question. The bottom line up front is, it’s a $38 billion dollar difference with G BSD being the least expensive and more effective option in every category that we analyzed it on. So we were given six criteria. Classified criteria, no version of the minuteman three ever in that discussion satisfactorily met those an affordable fashion G VSD did and the cost of the Minuteman three Life extension continues to go up. It was five billion difference back in 16 20 billion different. We still end up with something that we doesn’t doesn’t do the job for us in the future. Exactly. So GSD is going in the right direction, doing everything we wanted to do more affordable, meets all my criteria that I need. The Minuteman three becomes increasingly more difficult to sustain. I can provide more details about what that means. Are there, are there costs? Will get a program costs that you just spoke about? Are there additional costs that aren’t included there, ma’am? I think that when we give the numbers, I believe it does include the email of the Minuteman three, which is one of those costs that we need to uh, one of the big drivers of the difference in cost between the G BSD and the Minuteman are the sustainment costs, is that correct? Yes, ma’am. I was just at the depot last week at Hill talking to the team simply on the propulsion system and not the rest. We have about 330 parts that we don’t have a source for that. We’re trying to get in And we’re going to get probably about 40-50 will never get a bid from industry to go fill those parts. I thought it was really helpful for myself and Senator King where we saw the level of effort that’s required to maintain the facility. When you do maintenance, you need to deploy a security team around them because the warhead is potentially exposed. Is that correct? Yes, ma’am. Can you explain how with the G BSD? That would be different and what it will mean for sustainment costs? This man, because the minuteman three was built as a single system. Every time you need to work it on anything below the warhead, you have to unstaffed it. Which means you expose the warhead with the G BSD the way it’s being constructed. We expect two thirds reduction in the number of times we expose the weapon and two thirds reduction in the number of convoys. Moreover, we think that 95 of the work that we would do would require less than six hours with only a handful of people compared to most of the jobs are 10 12 14 and do require of your security footprint. And that definitely will reduce risk because there’s less exposure of the warhead for one thing, right? Emphatically and you reduce the number of times um that people are there. So the demands on your personnel, um that they’re accessing the missiles. That correct? Yes, ma’am, we’ll be able to reduce the number of people that we have to commit to this mission. I was just at a Commerce Committee market today on a bill looking looking at threats from china from a research viewpoint basically as the global strike Commander. Um when you look at the acceleration that the chinese are doing with their nuclear program with their modernization and their growth, what does that mean to you in your position? So Ma’am, we’re in the air component commander hat to U. S. Strategic command. It means I have a much more difficult job balancing all the requirements. It absolutely underscores the need to have a modernized triad. So the G. P. S. D. Has got to be how I answer a growing number of threats. You heard some of my teammates or talk about growing capabilities with ballistic missile defense. Certainly that trend is going to continue as I bring on cruise missiles. It has to be able to survive. It has. So it’s a fundamentally different set of problems that I need to operate in and there’s no margin that remains in any of the current systems that will let me carry a couple decades out. Do you believe the beauty of all the systems that we are fielding is that they are built to be in this game for a long period of time. We have a modular design, open mission systems digital engineered. So yeah, in in recent discussions, we’ve been able to explain to a lot of those who are very sad in the acquisition world how we will absolutely change the game to keep these systems modernized and relevant. There’s no margin remaining in the Minuteman three or uh in the current systems that we have. Thank you. Thank you. General thank you. Mr. Chairman uh Senator Warren via Webex last month D. O. D. Announced that it is moving forward with the development of the next generation interceptor, a new weapons system which is going to be added to the current generation of ground based interceptors. The cost assessment and program evaluation office estimates that the United States will spend a total Of $18 billion 31 interceptors. That’s almost half a billion dollars for one. Just one of these missiles. And that price goes up when you consider that 10 of the 31 missiles will only be test units. The Northern Command has already warned this committee that North Korea could overwhelm our missile defense system within the next few years. So it’s not at all clear to me that spending billions of dollars on additional interceptors is the right cult miss tomorrow. given north comments concerns, do you believe that spending $18 billion dollars on Just 21 interceptors that may be overwhelmed in a few years is a responsible way to spend taxpayer dollars. Senator Warren, thank you for the question. Um The administration recently awarded two contracts for these interceptors. Um and it’s for the development phase of the interceptors. So there are several critical decision junctures um that will happen along the way that will inform um um the way forward. Um I appreciate that but that’s not the question on that. I’m just asking quick enough to be spending that kind of money for 21 interceptors that were already being warned will be overwhelmed. Um The the intent Senator is to provide uh an effective limited missile defense capability against threats from rogue states. Um And so and so the intent is to improve the capabilities. Question asking is whether we think this is effective. Look I understand that your job here is to make the case for these weapons, but it’s also unclear. N. G. I will represent any significant upgrade to our system of defense against intercontinental ballistic missile threats, Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said. And I want to quote in here, this is a staggering expenditure for such a modest capability. End quote. Now I understand that $18 billion d. o. d. s. budget. But that is more than what the government spends fighting the opioid crisis that killed nearly 100,000 people last year. I am also worried that the price tag could go up just like we’ve seen with previous missile defense programs. So let me ask, is it possible that the price tag for Engy could further increase as diode moves along in its development Senator. We will closely track this. I guess there’s always a possibly that that costs might increase. What we are planning to do is provide the incentives, especially starting with two awards, which is unusual for the missile defense agency to have competition and including um um have incentives on having the most efficient system uh that that we’re able to have providing value uh and uh and providing incentives on cost. We we have that competition and we’ll be able to make that determination uh In the FY 24 time frame. Well, you started this by saying costs might go up because that is exactly what has happened in the past. The redesigned kill vehicle program was meant to upgrade our existing missile defenses before it was cancelled in 2019. After more than a decade of development. The program’s cost more than tripled through the development phase. But the government accountability office found that D. O. D. Repeatedly ignored warnings of major issues with the project. So let me just ask this kind of a simple yes or no. Would you agree that more transparent, more uh methodical, more rigorous acquisition practices could drive the cost of these interceptors and other projects down rather than keeping them absurdly expensive. Uh Senator. We certainly support the incentives and have an approach that we believe will drive competition uh and and um will maximize the opportunities to deliver an effective system that delivers on time and on the cost. Well I’ll just point out that the G. A. O. Has repeatedly warned about the continued use of high risk acquisition practices that use short development timelines to justify spending outrageous amounts of money. Look I think spending nearly half a billion dollars on a single missile is that is barely an upgrade on the existing system is absurd. This is just another example of irresponsible and out of control defense spending that waste taxpayer dollars. We should be prioritizing smart investments in capabilities that actually advance our national security and not spending billions of dollars on what are at best marginal improvements. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time. Thank you. Senator. Uh Now Senator Cotton. Thank you. Mr Chairman. General Rate you testified in response to Senator Fishers question that china is significantly accelerating its nuclear modernization. Is that correct? Yes, sir. Uh does china just tell us the pace at which is accelerating that modernization? Does it throw open its research labs and its uh military basis to let us know how it’s accelerating? So they do not. Okay, so we get that from intelligence assessments affirmative. Do you think it’s more likely in retrospect when you look back in five or 10 years that those intelligence assessments, we’ll have um overestimated the pace at which china is expanding and the volume of weapons they’re producing or that there that we underestimated and china is actually moving faster and getting more weapons systems in place than we currently believe. Uh Sarah cotton, sir. Thank you for that question. I believe that I can only talk about the last probably three or four years and I will tell you We underestimated the pays and that’s pretty that’s been the common pattern of such assessments in the nuclear age. Going back 75 years, correct that we usually undershoot the mark of what our adversaries are trying to do, sir. That that can be true going that far back, I know that with a good arms control agreement that is verifiable enforceable. You have access or ability to see where the Russians are going is much more understandable. We have no such agreement with the chinese. All right, thank you. Generally miss tomorrow. So we’ve heard from General Ray that the People’s Liberation Army is undertaking this massive nuclear build up. Do you believe that that is the result of any U. S. Missile defense deployments? Uh Senator. I think there are several drivers for china’s nuclear modernization and be happy to come talk to you about in a classified setting. So you believe that china may be responding to U. S. Missile defense deployments. Um Again I think it’s important to understand the drivers for china’s nuclear modernization program. We want to make sure that we’ve got effective nuclear deterrence against china. Um and that we clearly communicate that that um we have deterrent capabilities against china. Uh Part of that is understanding what drives their modernization programs. Um and and again happy to come talk about it in a classified setting. Mr Mayor. I’ve been on this committee and the Intelligence Committee now for eight years, I’ve never seen a single product that suggests that china is responding to U. S. Missile defense deployments. So could you or the joint staff please provide me by document number sometime in the next two weeks. Any product that suggests that may be the case, sir? We will definitely provide you products that show thank you in a classified setting, understand um Mr Moreau should the United States adopted no first use policy. So thank you for that question. Um The declaratory policy will be looked at as part of these reviews. It will be um uh We will do it in consultation with the rest of the department with the military uh with the agency with the inter agency. Um We will plan to start consultation with allies more broadly on extended deterrence. Um And so we will look at the pros and cons of our current policy um potentially of alternatives. Um But at the end of the age this is the prerogative of the president. Um Somebody I’m glad that we’re going to consult a lot of people. Um So you’re open, you believe that it’s at least open possibility. We should adopt a no first use policy. Yeah. I’m asking for your view your key member of of what’s gonna be a nuclear posture review. Do you believe we should adopt a no first use policy? Thank you for your question. My role is to inform give informed options uh and inform a decision. Um And it is not about my personal view. Again this is going to be looked at across the department. Um And across the inter agency. I’m not asking your personal view in the sense of like you’re tastes about the matter. I’m asking your your considered policy judgment haven’t worked on these issues or I think a couple decades now. Do you think the United States should adopt in the first use policy at this point? Senator I um it is before we’ve even begun specific reviews. Um uh we’re not gonna foreclose options. Uh we’re going to look at what our current declaratory policy is, evaluate risks um and benefits. Uh and um and I would be happy to come discuss uh considerations and of course decisions made once the review is concluded, what about its sole purpose policy? Um again that there relates to declaratory policy and what changes might or might not be made. My time has expired. Thank you. I say I’m not troubled by the direction of this nuclear posture review. Thank you. Senator Cotton. Senator Manchin on Webex. Oh thank you. Mr Chairman. Um This would be to Mr walter miss. Tomorrow. Recently my office met with North Grumman’s Chief information officer. Discussed the measures that are being put into place to develop a secure nuclear command control and communications and N. C. Three system with the modernization of the ground based strategic it turned as we’re all beginning to realize just how vulnerable we are from the cyber domain. I’m concerned with the cybersecurity the entirety of our current and eventually modernised nuclear enterprise. So my question would be what goals have the department set internally with our private industry partners to ensure that the N. C. Three systems remain as secure as possible? Uh Senator agreed that that N. C. Three and having robust and C. Three underpins most of our nuclear deterrent. I would respectfully defer that question to my colleague drew walter. Since it’s an acquisition uh question. Thank you. Well let me let me I’ll have a second part. Maybe you can answer one part of this and says I’m sure the department has been considering instituting a zero trust concept for a nuclear network. Can you discuss what that will actually look like for the cybersecurity professionals that are monitoring these systems and what resources will be available for them to verify every single user? I’m sorry senator. The department takes the cybersecurity of the nuclear deterrent force Extraordinarily seriously. Um Our legacy forces remain and are secure often based on just how old they are and and not connected to external systems as we look towards the modern systems such as the ground based strategic deterrent and other systems. Cyber security is a paramount priority and requirement within within the system and providing the G. B. S. D. Program office and north of bremen sufficient resources to ensure that it remains so throughout its life of 30 40 years potentially I’d like to to astronaut rate to chime in on the specifics for the system. Yes sir, thank you for the question and the opportunity to comment. Uh Sure. What we have done is the air component, global strike to Strategic Command. And as the team that builds this as we have documented what we believe at a very high level of classification, what the road map should be. Cyber security is one of the critical pieces when we designed the G. BSD. When we look at that, cyber operators are part of this conversation and I can tell you watching the software development approach that we’re taking is the leading edge capability. I’ve seen firsthand the kubernetes containerized software approach. We’ve had the red team multiple times try to break in into the developmental software and they cannot. and so sir we see this as essential issue and it will be part of how we deal with encryption, how we deal with AI and and all those things going forward over. Thank you general uh to both of you. Again in the past, the subcommittee has heard about needed improvements in our satellite system such as the advanced extremely high frequency satellites in orbit production. These efforts are related to and often tied directly to the missile Defense Agency. And now the Space Development Agency is our nuclear defense and employment are tied together. Some have been critical. This moves it could be interpreted as a duplication of effort and reductive to the need of interoperability within our forces. So given that you come from the different services and both require access to our satellite network. Do you feel there is a united effort between the missile Defense Agency and the Space Space Development Agency to ensure the seamless access is being maintained across the G. O. D. Enterprise, both of you all. Either one who wants to start on that one can say, sir, thank you for the question between the Missile Defense Agency and the Space Development Agency. There there are often regular conversations regarding the requirements needed in the satellite constellation I would have to take for the record the specifics for what those consultations are and how we’re ensuring there is no duplication of effort but that is a priority across the acquisition system to ensure that we’re acquiring the right capabilities without duplicating in different programmes. Silence mm General. So at this time the the team’s application of HF is not directly impacted by that particular relationship. So I’m grateful to say that we have what we need in terms of this for the here and the now. So it’s working, sir, From where I’m sitting at this time. Yes sir. It is. That’s good to hear. Thank you both. You know about my time. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senator uh Senator Brown’s thank you. Mr. Chairman. Um First let me begin by just saying thank you to all of you for your service to our country and your continued dedication. I’m just curious general, let me just begin with you. I I think I understood you correctly but I want to confirm this with regard to the G. BSD and the the cost comparison between moving forward with the G. BSD vs they service life extension on the minuteman three. There would actually be a cost savings by moving forward with the GBSD as opposed to the minimum three. Is that correct? Yes sir. It is. And how much did you say that was? sure? The current figure here in 2021 is uh $38 billion. That’s $38 billion billion, estimated at this time in $2021. And through the life of 2075. And I believe it’s fair to offer that parameter. Reagan, Thank you. Uh And well Wolf, there’s been a discussion about whether or not we need all three portions of the triad to continue on. There’s been a debate out there. Some people say you only need two out of the three. Uh I would beg to disagree with that, but I think it would be fair to hear from you and from General Ray At least a concurrence as to how these three pieces fit together and what it means to adversaries who look at us recognizing if you had two versus three because you share it just briefly the reason why we need three in the triad. Yes, sir. Thanks for the question, senator. So I would tell you, I absolutely agree. All three legs of the triad are critical to to the deterrent mission that that this nation needs. Um, and I’ll let general we talk about to the value of the intercontinental intercontinental ballistic missiles and the bombers. But from a from a submarine perspective, right, where assured Second strike, I would tell you that one of if one of the other two legs went away, that makes the Navy’s mission even more critical. It makes it puts more demand on the submarine force. It puts more strain. I would also tell you that as we and General Ray and I were talking about this before this hearing, um because we’re trying to do this very smartly, we leverage what we’re doing in this very small critical industrial base. When we talk about critical electronics that are radiation hardened, we talk about niche capabilities that just aren’t required anywhere else. When when that goes away with one leg, I would submit to you. Not only does it increase our risk with the industrial base, it’s going to cause our costs to go up. And I I would I would say that stratcom would have a much, much more difficult mission as well to make sure that the deterrence from the adversaries eyes remain strong. This is all about deterrence, isn’t it? Yes, sir, it is absolutely all about deterrence. It’s not about what, what we think, it’s about what our adversary thinks and what they think is acceptable. Thank you, General Ray and sir, I agree with my colleague about the interrelated benefits. Um the survivable dimension, the flexible responsive piece, certainly the flexible visible piece of the bomber and of course responsive dimension of the ICBM. Um it does present a great deal of challenges for it would be adversaries. But as I as the air component commander, two strategic commanders, we think through these scenarios and these options, having a range of options that let us give the national leadership, the tailored approach. This problem, the fewer resources you have, the more challenging. It becomes definitely about deterrence though. Absolutely, sir, it’s about a competitive dimension in this very strategic environment. The it’s not a secret. The challenges that we have are not just one country right now. They are Basically two major European competitors and 3rd and 4th that are rogue. Fair to say that china and Russia are both considered to be in your peer competitors. That we basically have to have deterrence in place for today. So I think there was, there was a lot of thinking about the chinese a few years ago that they would have a minimalist deterrent approach, basically a counter value approach. Everything I’ve seen from their warhead production, from the diversity of the delivery systems and how they’re deploying things. They are no longer playing that game. They’re playing a counter value or a counterforce game to hold our resources at risk and their accelerated pace is very disturbing. If we stop from one, is there a possibility that as you war game this to be able to show appropriate deterrence, you have to be in a position to respond to one or two adversaries uh, at or about the same time. Fair enough to say a quick just yes or no. My accurate in that it is. And because I have, I C B M S two offers options. I can be more tailored in my approach to provide the very limited number of bombers to the theaters that need my help. Mr Chairman, I’m out of time but I have to follow up with one question. If I could please uh, Mr morrow, you have a role to play in determining treaty determinations and the negotiations in the future. Would it be fair to say that as we look at deterrence here, it is critical That we recognize the need to look at deterrence with the possibility of defending against not one but two adversaries at the same time in order to provide appropriate deterrence. Yes, we were looking um, that is the first piece of what the review will begin to look at is the threats and of course, um as I mentioned, we’re very, we’re very concerned about the chinese increasing threat from china and the novel systems and non critical systems from Russia. And so those will underpin the reviews and so that that would be included. And you’re recognizing that as you discuss treaties and the need for the full deterrence that both of these two officers have shared today and you’re in agreement with them. Absolutely, thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman Center Rosen via webex. Uh well thank you. Chairman King ranking member fisher for holding this very important hearing to our witnesses for your work and service and for being with us today. I’d really like to just focus in on nuclear testing, waste disposal, our nuclear stockpile of some of those issues. So Miss Tomorrow. As you know, in 1993 Congress created the stockpile stewardship program. It’s a science based program to ensure the mission critical readiness and reliability of our nation’s nuclear stockpile Congress task And essay with ensuring and I quote, that nuclear that the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure and reliable without the use without the use of underground nuclear weapons testing. End, quote, the sub critical and physics experiments conducted at the Nevada national security site, the only facility in the nation where sub critical experiments can be executed combined with advances in nuclear modeling, reduce the need for explosive testing while ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the United States nuclear stockpile. Last year after it was suggested by the prior administration that uh they were considering resuming explosive nuclear testing. Senator Cortez masto and I introduced legislation requiring congressional approval before any future explosive nuclear tests could take place. Uh, nevadans, let me tell you, do not want to return to a time when explosive nuclear testing with the health and safety of our residents in jeopardy and the states around us. And so miss tomorrow as you well know from working with former Nevada. Senator Harry Reid former Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. And from working on the House Armed Services Committee when I served on it, Nevada also does not want to become the nation’s nuclear dumping ground for nuclear waste including defense nuclear waste. So Mr marrow. Could you discuss the potential consequences of resuming explosive nuclear testing at the site? And could you include um if you might potential environmental impacts? And of course the potential strategic implications leaks. Thank you senator. Uh It is uh the objective of this administration to uh support the continued moratorium for nuclear testing as a policy a position uh and and my understanding is we uh have the nuclear lab directors look at the need um for testing and look look at um what would be required to sustain a reliable, effective and safe uh nuclear stockpile every year. Um But for the details on on whether we would have to resume nuclear testing for technical reasons, I would defer that to my colleague Drew walter. Thank you, ma’am. Uh I think the stockpile stewardship program you mentioned is one of the great success stories of the last 30 years in the nuclear enterprise. The stockpile stewardship program has invested in in the workforce at esa the scientists and engineers and technicians as well as the key capabilities needed to certify the stockpile safety and reliability. In the absence of nuclear explosive testing during the Cold War, nuclear explosive testing was used to do that. We have invested in the means to do that without explosive testing and the lab directors continue to certify that that currently nuclear explosive testing is not needed. Um I think the for Nevada one of the key capabilities the National Nuclear Security Administration is investing in today is the enhanced capabilities for sub critical experiments in you wanna. And this is a critical capability where the lab directors and N. S. A. Will use to gather the data they need from sub critical experiments to continue to sort of certify the stockpile and ensure the designs we use in the future remain safe and reliable. So I think E. C. S. C. Uh in the in the Nevada test site in the Nevada national security site is just incredibly important to maintaining that unbroken record since the 19 nineties of not doing a nuclear explosive testing. Thank you appreciate that. I’d like to quickly just ask my my final question here miss tomorrow. Do you share the concerns of the former secretary of the Air Force that transporting tons of nuclear waste including defense nuclear waste around or through Nevada test site through probably over 300 congressional districts across this nation. Um, through the Nevada test site through the training range, which is the crown jewel of the Air Force to Yucca Mountain would be detrimental to our strategic testing, training and military readiness. And I can just take a yes or no answer or quick answer my time as a please uh senator, I understand the concerns but this, this I’d be happy to get you a question. Um, an answer for the record as it goes beyond the lanes of my policy jobs are thank you. I appreciate that. Cancer. Thank you. Senator Rosen Centre Cramer, thank you. Mr. Chairman. I might just say uh, every time I go to mind, I’m impressed with those same young men and women and they do get younger every time. One of the things that impresses me the most is that even the southerners never complain about the weather in my name and that tastes incredible discipline. Anyway, um, I want to dig in a little more to the deterrence policy questions issue that that the chairman brought up in terms of clarifying your statement and and I know that you are quoting the interim strategic policy um in that a couple of places relating to what I think is a goal to reduce or it seems to be a goal to reduce our nuclear deterrence. And I want to ask you Mr marrow, I mean, how much risk are we willing to accept to to reduce our nuclear deterrence? Word reduces? Used a couple of times. Let me clarify, we the having a strong nuclear deterrence is one of our highest priorities. Um, and so uh we will continue to maintain um strong and reliable nuclear deterrence which which has been the cornerstone of our national security. I just get concerned when the word reduces used several times in in your testimony, it seems to conflict, so I hope we can get it clarified on the right side of things. Um Mhm. I guess you would you would then testify that you don’t think the deterrent is too great right now for the global threats we face again, I think we need to maintain strong nuclear deterrence and that as we have for decades. Okay, let me let me back up a little bit. Maybe General Ray, you can answer this. Um If we if we were to say go from 400 to 300 for example, I C. B. M. S. This is an example that gets talked about um would would we need to shore up some other conventional system or how would we how would we fill a gap if there was a reduction of of some type sir? Thank you for the question when when I think about how I would answer how much is enough I think is one of those questions. I remind myself of the series of policy questions that underwrite everything. The first one is of course are you a counter value or a counterforce construct? And I think because of our capabilities or precision the number of threats and hold us at risk that we would prioritize those as the thing to deal with. And obviously the enemy systems begin to shape that. The 2nd I Ask is no first use launch under warning, watch under attack and how we go down that path and where we are I think is it is fitting for work, what we’re dealing with its policy changes, then there’s ramifications and then what we do with new start is that really answer all of our problems in the strategic environment? Or is it a pragmatic take that we’ve put a very sensible fence around the things that we can control and continue to work. We’ve done, we should celebrate as a nation that when we put arms control alongside very credible modernization but a credible deterrent on the table, we’ve removed thousands of weapons and we become a better plan for that. So I just walked through those policy questions and then the next one of course is extended deterrence which has a very clear counterproliferation dimension. Um I just I would turn and go what’s your policy and then let’s to throw them up against and how I line those up. I think there’s the discipline that we all have to keep in light of what we’re dealing with and particularly with the chinese growth. Um You know, if I had to to deal with the threats, I’m sure Admiral Richard would ask for me to think through the sources. The idea of putting bombers back on alert. It’s something that we practice but we don’t sustain because we’ve been fortunate enough to live in an environment up to now to where we can afford to not have them on alert but have them in a ready status. Um, and it takes me a certain number of classified hours you go back. So I don’t have the bomber crews. I don’t have the tanker crews. I don’t have the bombers. They go and meet all the tibetan commands. This, there’s no allied bomber force, this is it. And so how we would address that from the air components side, you would have to make sure that strategic man had those other resources to meet the targeting guys well thanks for all that. And that’s a great explanation because I do worry as I look at what seems to be some direction at least and mr. Merrill without I understand that you you don’t wanna take things off the table in the middle of a discussion and I can appreciate that but there are certain things that have been studied pretty well you know to the to its limit and one of them being the viability of minimum three and the and the G. B. S. D. And um you know I think It was Senator cotton that went through the starting with 14 or maybe it was you generally served with 14 and all the way through all the administrations going back to that the most on a decision must be decision all those things that review that. And and I just wonder if there is there any reason to believe that any additional reviews would do anything to overturn the mountain of evidence supports? The conclusion that’s already been drawn. Uh Sir, let me just start by saying that there’s very strong support for modernization of the triad as secretary Austin testified before Congress as deputy secretary hicks testified. Um And so uh that will be a high priority for our review is to ensure that we we um continue to modernize um the triad. Of course, we’ll look at uh how the programs are doing what the program risks are to make sure that we have the capabilities we need when we need them. Thank you. Mhm. Thank you. Senator Senator Tuberville. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for all of your service. Uh Alright, thank you. Uh getting ready to retire. Uh you know, I tried that after 40 years of coaching and after about a year and my wife said you either get a job, we’re gonna get a divorce so get ready for that. But uh but thank you uh you know last uh year. So I’ve been watching a hypersonic missiles being developed a lot of parts and products in in Alabama, Mr Walters. How do you think the D. O. D. Programs responding or planning to respond to the development? Hypersonic weapons sir? Hypersonic is a bit out of my lane. Is the director the Audacity for Nuclear matters. I would offer. Vice Admiral Wolf has responsibilities in that area. Yes sir. When you ask the question is that in relationship to our development or what the adversary is developing part of our development? Yes sir. So so in my in my non nuclear hat I am responsible with a prompt strike program which is the hypersonic program with with the army that we’re ready to deploy. I would tell you that we are focused on getting the army’s capability um First um in fy 23 we’ll follow that by by navy capability. I think you’ve heard the cno talk about our first priority is get to the new DDG 1000. Um and I think these weapons um give our combatant commanders a lot of a capability that we don’t have today. So um the department continues to push forward on these programs. As a matter of fact we were just uh we were just over on the other side of the hill this afternoon talking about all of our hypersonic programs. So um the department is committed and moving forward with development of all those weapons. Thank you. General raised the Global Strike command and what does the notable acceleration of chinese nuclear modernization and growth mean to you in that position insert if if I had to pick something that kept me up at night. This is it it’s a breathtaking pace that they’re keeping the diversity. And what I see is after watching the Russians for many years, they’re playing a very chinese game, a very hybrid game, a very appropriate game for where they are, where they want to achieve their goals. You know how they use hypersonic still use systems, their advances in the command and control area and have to be very careful about the classification. But if you’ve not been briefed at, you know at the right level of classification will be glad to help do that. Um, I will go back to a little bit of Emeralds question the Air force is working as well in hyper sonics, the arrow and uh, ultimately the hacking, which is the air breathing cruise missile. We are hoping to have our tests on the off the B 52 here by the end of the month. Thank you. Mr Merrill. The by administration has shared that were possible. They will pursue new arms control agreements. How would this impact reduction agreements with Russia and the start treaty Set in in 2026? Uh Sir Sir, as you know, the start treaty will last for another five years um and provides legally binding constraints, verifiable constraints on Russia’s deployed strategic weapons. Um But we look forward to building on the extension and of course um having follow on arms control that uh further address um the systems that are not covered by new start. Uh and of course uh covering systems beyond when you start beyond new starts expiration. Thank you. Thank you. Mr uh I think we have a vote beginning, but I think we have more time. It’s if it’s a 10 minute vote, that means we have about a half hour. Uh If you’re ever given 10 minutes to live, you should say I would like it to be during a 10 minute vote in the Senate. Uh huh. So, uh quick question. Uh Admiral Wolf. There were real problems with the wells in the in the missile silos for the new Colombia. Has that been corrected? Are we back on track? Did we lose schedule? Yes, sir. So you’re correct. We did have issues with the wells on the missile tubes early on. Um What pio Colombia has done is they’ve got into the red, got into the root cause of that. Um They have it under control. We did lose some schedule margin. Um I would say that we did not lose schedule in the in the overall delivery of the Columbia, the first of class. Um, Pio Colombia continues to monitor that, um, and continues to watch as all of the vendors are producing these missile tubes and making sure that we’re meeting not just what we need for the Columbia class, but also um those same missile tubes were being delivered to the U. K. For the dreadnought class as well. And we are we have revised the schedule and we’re tracking to that schedule. Thank you. Uh, General, right. We’ve been talking all day about deterrence, and deterrence rests upon two things, credibility. And will Uh would it be, would it undermine our deterrent posture to not modernize particularly for the missile systems which are now going on 50, 60 years old? In other words, would would not modern modernizing itself send a signal that would not be good in terms of our ability to deter our adversaries, sir. I think that’s exactly the case. I think our adversaries know exactly what we can and can’t do. And they’re busy preparing counters to those to not respond to that. Or let that be the status quo would be very detrimental to our deterrent. Basically our capability. It just it just seems to me that that would be a signal. We’re not modernizing. Therefore the credibility of the deterrent diminishes. Uh let’s see, Mr walter. We’ve talked about N. C. Three and Senator Manchin mentioned it. I really think instead of talking about the triad, we ought to be talking about the quad because without N. C. Three nothing else works. And if that’s a vulnerability all I’m sure you’ve read all the books about World War Three start with a cyber attack. And uh so that the it’s got to be absolutely bulletproof and I guess cyber proof uh mr walter to reassure me. Yes sir. Uh If I if I could take it a step farther and and uh when when we speak about the nuclear to turn we tend to speak about five key components. As I mentioned in my opening statement, there’s the weapons, there’s the delivery systems and that’s what most people think about. But the nuclear command control system then c. three system underpins all of that and allows the president to exercise the options available. And if we’ve learned anything in the last year it’s that our systems are vulnerable even Defense Department system and and many of our our legacy current systems in the N. C. Three world were also developed and deployed in in the during the Cold War. Uh so they remain safe, secure, they remain effective. But as we, we look to modernize them, the services spend an awful lot of time with osD oversight on ensuring they remain so. In the face of cyber challenges. We We may not even fully understand what cyber challenges we may face in 10 years from now. If I could just add the four other, the two other components to the 55 part nuclear triad. As I said, the infrastructure that underpins all of it, including at the National Nuclear Security Administration and their ability to produce weapons and the industrial base on the Department of Inside and then finally the workforce, the people which you mentioned, we’ve all mentioned thank you. Uh And Werewolf, I’ve heard the argument that we don’t need the missiles because the submarines are invulnerable. They’re stealthy. They can’t be found. My concern is that that may be true today, but it may not be true in 5 to 10 years with the development of technology 10 years ago, we thought our space assets were invulnerable. Now, we know they’re not comment on that, please. Yes, sir. So the navy don’t expect an admiral to say my submarines are vulnerable, but no, sir. So what I would tell you is the navy continuously monitors um through intelligence sources and others, what what capabilities um the adversary may be developing. Um And we stay ahead of that we have within the Submarine force security programs. Um and I’d be happy to uh to talk to you at a more classified level if you’d like about the things that we look at and the things that we monitor. Um And as we look at new submarine development, all of that is taken into account uh and we and we design those systems so that we can stay ahead of that. I I appreciate that. But I it’s a question of where you’re putting all your eggs And there’s still technological vulnerability, 5, 10 years from now. But I appreciate that you’re cognizant of this risk of Senator. Sullivan, Thank you Mr Chairman. Um, thank you to our witnesses. I want to I’m going to get to the questions. Um, I know that Senator Warren was asking some questions about missile defense and I just want to give you and I’m sure you’re familiar with this. But Homeland missile Defense has had a history being partisan by that. I mean, republicans George W. Bush president trump. We’re very supportive of it. Um democrat administration is not so much. We worked hard. This committee worked hard uh to make it bipartisan. I had a bill advancing America’s Missile Defense Act that 2017 had 20 republicans, 10 democratic co sponsors. And it was the big missile defense build up. So I was surprised by Senator Warren’s questioning particularly you Mr Mr tomorrow uh, about hey, maybe it’s not so relevant, Maybe it’s not so needed kind of thought we had moved beyond that, but maybe history’s repeating itself here. I hope not. Secretary Austin has said in his confirmation, the defense of the Homeland and missile defense is essential component. A diodes mission. The relationship between missile defense US nuclear arsenals, complementary and mutually supportive. Deputy Secretary Hicks said defensive Homeland’s top priority in the Homeland missile defense system is essential component to that mission. So Mr Mero. How about is that your belief as well? I know Senator Warren said, well North Korea might be able to overwhelm us. I don’t agree with that. It’s a little bit fatalistic. Um, what’s your view? I think it’s a strong one on the importance of our nation’s homeland missile defense right now. Yes, completely agree. Homeland missile defense is a high priority. You turn your Michael? Yes, I completely agree. Um, and and I can guarantee that homeland missile defense is a high priority limited Homeland missile defense against threats from rogue states that continue to grow, especially from North Korea. And that will be continued to be our top priority. From a policy perspective. Great. You know, we just completed, it’s ready to be turned on here any day. The long range, uh, long range discrimination radar system, which will be the most advanced ground based missile intercept this missile discrimination radar anywhere in the world. That’s in clear air station Alaska as you probably know, and we’ve dramatically built up the missile fields. However, as you know, we have 20 silos that are now empty. That doesn’t make sense. Um how quickly can we get missiles and the kill vehicles on top of those? Into those silos at fort? Really, right now that are empty. I think that should be a priority Of the departments. Is that is that a priority? And how quickly can we do that? And do you agree with me? That doesn’t make any sense. 20 empty silos? Uh I’m aware that were increasing and improving our missile defense capability and adding those 20 silos is part of the improvement. I think silos are dug. Silos are ready. The silos just don’t have missiles. Right. And so we are investing in a new interceptor as as you mentioned, uh and so looking at ways to continue to have a strong homeland missile defense um and ways to improve will be something we look at as part of the missile defense review. But in terms of how fast and the capability I would refer you to the Missile Defense Agency um to provide more details on the acquisition piece. Okay. Mr Chairman, this is a big issue I think for the country we’ve and I believe we’re having we’re having a hearing just on that subject in several weeks on on missile defense. Great. Um Well with that I yield my time. Thank you. But as usual you were effective in stating your case. The vote has started but uh I stole a second round. But if any of my colleagues would like to ask follow up questions, Senator Fisher, I’m going to focus on nuclear. Yeah. Although we do appreciate Senator Sullivan’s passion for missile defense because it is an extremely poor uh important part of our national security. So thank you Senator. Um Mr Merrem, It’s my understanding that your office has asked kate to do an analysis on the Minuteman three life extension, is that correct? Yeah we have not. Oh you have not. No. We have been working with Cape to look at what past studies have been done On extending minuteman three on the cost effectiveness on looking at GBSD. Um But no new studies are on the way. I expect that that will continue to work with Cape throughout the review. So you have you have been in discussions with Cape analysis though on the on the review. Right. Um We have but no new analysis has been tasked. I think it’s as I um uh come up to speed uh in the department in my new role is understanding what past reviews had been done um uh to inform the way forward. Have you coordinated with stratcom at all on that or the um Air Force Global Strike Command or Mr Walters office and getting up speed on it. Um I expect that they have access to the past reviews. Um as my office would have been going forward certainly we will coordinate closely um with the joint staff with Strategic Command um um with the components of Strategic Command, General Ray as well. And so uh I actually was just um accompanied Secretary Austin on his trip to Strategic Command. He was there the day after your visit. Um And so close engagement with Strategic Command will be a priority. Okay. Yeah I would hope you would reach out to them. Especially as you’re preparing for a nuclear posturing. Yes. In fact I stayed behind after the secretary’s trip for two days of uh meetings and briefings um at Strategic Command. And look forward to continuing our close engagement as as you’re working your way into that will you be able to brief our staffs so that we’re kind of up to date on on where your head of a lot of times we get we get the book and uh and that’s it. But it would be really valuable if if we could have information along the way and um not just not just from your office but also with the different agencies that you’re working with on it, the combatant commands. That would be very helpful if you would do that. Yeah I look forward to engaging with you and your staff uh over the summer. Um And also happy to even before we start to uh listen to what your inputs would be and what you would like to see as well. Okay. Thank you. Uh when we’re when we’re talking about treaties and new start and we have the extension with new start, do you think there would ever be a time in dealing with the Russians since that’s who the treaty is with? Not the chinese. Do you think there would ever be a time that the United States would have a proposal for unilateral reductions? I’m not aware of any proposal for unilateral reductions. Okay, thank you. Um, at one point I would like to ask General Ray when we visited with you up in my not and you mentioned it in passing here and I think it’s an such an extremely important point when we talk about the triad and the importance of the triad to our national security. Um, I think we, I think we miss that that connection that in many ways we only have a diet because of the bombers being on alert. How would you answer that? Remember, what I would say is that you have a triad? It is in varying degrees of posture based on the current world threat that we have. That I would say is becoming more dangerous. I have the ability to rapidly bring up my bombers and put them on alert. I will say that more weapons generation facilities I have to do that with allows me to do that late. You want to generate at the last minute, not five minutes too early and not five minutes too late. But I believe it gives a very visible and flexible opportunity that we haven’t had the leverage in the current world environment, but it would become even more difficult in the future. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Senator Fisher. Senator Brown’s thank you. Mr. Chairman. Generally I’d be remiss if I didn’t follow up with that other leg of the triad that Senator Fisher just brought up. And that’s the one in which with regard to our bombers, we have uh, First of all, a fleet of the ones that are not the B1B which are not nuclear capable because of treaty determination to begin with, Check out the way of the B 52, which is 70 years plus hold and the B two which is limited in numbers. The weapons generation facilities are limited in number right now Elsewhere. Therefore, space, which will be the home for the B 21. Uh, we’ll need a weapons generations facility which may very well meaning with return with regarding infrastructure will have to find the resources and know that it’s on target. But very critical part of the discussion. An item which we sometimes just simply are taking for granted lately in which I don’t want to because we talk about those areas where we’re not being successful or not satisfied, but With regard to the development of the B 21, uh this is probably one of the most advanced weapons systems ever developed by mankind. Um, I tell people it is a badass weapon of war and peace, but it is a system which clearly, as I understand it is on time and on target with regard to the budget. would you care to confirm that and basically give us an update on where that B21 is that sir? I was just out of Palmdale last week on thursday and I had a chance to go down the line. It is on time. It is incredibly successful Between the GBSD and the B 21. These feature all the attributes that you would want to have featured in the modern weapons system. Digital engineering, modularity in their design, open mission systems, mature technology. The digital engineering on both of those is giving us an unprecedented degree of capability I believe when we breathe chairman smith a few weeks ago about how we’re going to bring this on with a codified methodology to to rapidly bring on new text when when we had the opportunity meant that we were never going to change the requirements because we had no incentive. So the pledge I have and when I talked to uh MS warden at north of ground and she knows full well I’m not going to change any requirements as the requirements remain stable, remain our costs. We remain on time And I think we have a tremendous ability to rapidly bring on for the B-21 new radios, new weapons, new sensors, all those things that give us velocity but also lets us have a very competitive sustainment game plan. And that applies to both be 21 G. P. S. De. Very good. Thank you. Thank you. Mr Chairman entrepreneur. Mhm. Mhm. How long will it be till we have somebody from Space command in this room? General Ray for nuclear. And sir I’ll be honest I have no answer to that question. I’d have to go back to the chief of staff but they’re force into the cheapest space. You think it’s near future? Just any guess sir? I’m I’m not going to speculate on that. I’ll take your record for the question for the record. Thank you to all of our witnesses. Thank you for your open frank discussion today and for the work that you’re doing for the country. With that this hearing is adjourned.