The following is a summary of legislation related to missile defense proposed by the House Armed Services Committee in the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2015. The committee passed the bill, H.R. 4435, unanimously on May 7.
While this version of the bill passed the committee, it is still subject to amendments and approval by the full House of Representatives, reconciled with the Senate version of the bill in conference committee, and voted on again by the full House and Senate and signed by the President before it becomes law.
It should be noted that even if signed into law, not every provision is legally binding. “Sense of Congress” provisions, for example, only express the opinion of the committee or preferred policy outcomes.
This summary is divided into two sections. The first is the language found in the bill itself, which would become law if passed (with the exceptions mentioned above). The second is the language found in the Committee Report on H.R. 4435. The Committee report is generally used to explain the committee’s rationale for the various provisions in the bill. It is also used for expressing the committee’s opinions on other matters, and to direct agencies to submit additional reports.
Although the committee report is not legally binding, it is a useful tool to better understand the committee members’ priorities and policy positions, and possible future legislation that may come from out the committee. Despite not carrying the force of law, committee reports are generally still adhered to by government agencies.
From the Bill:
- The committee approved an addition $40 million for the Ground-Based Midcourse System above the President’s request
- The committee approved $20 million for the construction of a third Ground Based Interceptor site in the Eastern United States.
- The committee doubled U.S. support of the Israeli Iron Dome system, from $176 million to $351 million.
Prohibiting the Transfer of US BMD Information to Russia
Sec. 1223/4 – These sections would forbid the use of appropriated funds to transfer information regarding U.S. missile defense systems to Russia, specifically information on velocity at burnout of U.S. interceptors.
Report on Russian Violations of INF Treaty
Sec. 1225 – This provision directs the President to provide Congress a report on Russian violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Presidents efforts to compel Russian compliance with the treaty, and an assessment as to whether to U.S. should stay a party to the treaty.
Opportunities for Greater Missile Defense Cooperation in East Asia
Sec. 1235 – The provision instructs the Secretary of Defense to assess areas of greater potential missile defense cooperation between the U.S., the Republic of Korea and Japan. The assessment would include options, costs, limitations, challenges, and potential for counter-rocket and counter-artillery systems.
Providing Eastern Europe with Short Range and Terminal Missile Defense Capability
Sec 1641 – This section establishes a policy whereby the U.S. would provide “available short-range air and missile defense systems and terminal missile defense systems of the United States with operational missiles” that will be “rotationally deployed to central and eastern European allies, pursuant to agreements between the United States and such allies, to strengthen the air and missile defense capabilities of such allies”.
The Committee also compels the Secretary of Defense to ensure the “operational availability of an Aegis Ashore site in Poland, and authorizes the DOD to “relocate the necessary assets of the Aegis weapon system between and within the DDG–51 Class Destroyer program and the Aegis Ashore program to meet mission requirements.
The committee reported it had found that a U.S. Patriot battery rotational deployment to Poland between 2010 and 2012 had not been replaced, and that the deployed batteries had not been equipped with operational missiles.
No Additional Procurement of CE-II Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle Until Successful Test
Sec.1642 – This provision expresses the sense of Congress that the DOD should not procure any additional Capability Enhancement-II EKV’s until after a successful intercept test has been conducted. It grants exceptions for CE-II procurements for “test assets or to maintain a warm line for the industrial base.”
From The Committee Report:
Long Range Discriminating Radar for Homeland Missile Defense
The committee recognized that the LRDR currently being developed to detect ballistic missile launches has other uses outside of missile defense, such as space situational awareness. As such, the committee is directing the MDA and Air Force Space Command to create a plan to share the cost burden of the LRDR, and looks for ways to make the project more efficient. Currently, the LRDR is being funding entirely by the MDA, according the committee report. The report states that while missile defense would be the LRDR’s primary mission, “it is expected that space situational awareness and other applications will likely be the primary operating mode.”
Additional Homeland Missile Defense Interceptor Site
The committee directs the MDA and U.S. Northern Command to provide a report updating the committee on progress towards the construction of an additional Ground Based Interceptor site in the Eastern United States. The report would also include an updated cost estimate.
Redesigned Kill Vehicle for Homeland Missile Defense
In this section, the committee expressed its expectations that the MDA will proceed with the development and deployment of a new, third generation kill vehicle for homeland defense, and recommends the full $99.5 million requested to be put towards initiating the redesign.
Missile Defense Applications for Electro-Magnetic Rail Gun Technology
The Committee “applauded” the work of the Navy’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) to “develop an electro-magnetic rail gun that could be capable of use as a more affordable air and missile defense option.” The HASC also expressed concern about the Missile Defense Agency not playing a bigger role in the development of rail gun technology for missile defenses, and instructed the SCO and MDA to file a report on this technology, and how they plan to improve coordination.
Report on Foreign Ballistic Missile Defense Programs
The Committee would direct the DIA and related agencies to file a report on ballistic missile defense development of foreign countries, including a description of those programs, employment policy, intentions on modernization, and “Indication that a state will abandon its ballistic missile defense program if the U.S. provides that state guarantees of any sort that U.S. ballistic missile defense programs are unrelated to that state’s offensive forces.”
Foreign Military Sales of U.S. Air and Missile Defense Systems and Interoperability With Friendly and Allied States
The Committee expressed concern that the missile defense cooperation and interoperability with friendly and allied nations is being hampered by “unclear” policies regarding the sharing of classified data. It also said that it has observed instances where U.S. tenders to missile defense contracts had been undermined by lack of clear support from the U.S. government.
The committee directs the DOD to evaluate and “recommend steps to improve the structure to make it more nimble, responsive, and to better position U.S. military technology in foreign tenders and competitions” and on areas of potential missile defense cooperation around the world.
Directed Energy for Missile Defense
The committee expressed concern over the MDA budget for research on directed energy for missile defense, and MDA’s focus on only two technologies. The report remarks “MDA has largely abandoned near-term development of its non-sensing directed energy efforts.” MDA and DOD are directed to provide the HASC with a roadmap “covering the development and deployment of missile defense technologies dealing with the destruction of threat ballistic missiles.”
Oversight of United States-Russian Federation Missile Defense Cooperation Discussions
The Committee expresses its expectation to be informed, and have greater oversight of any renewed discussions with Russia concerned U.S. missile defense programs.
University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) for the Missile Defense Agency
The Committee directs the MDA to explore the utility of created university affiliated research centers for the development of missile defense systems, and states MDA “needs to make significant technical advancements to create Ballistic Missile Defense System performance that is more reliable and affordable.” The report would include “a plan for relevant universities to undertake a pilot UARC partnership”
Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system and U.S.-based co- production
The committee’s proposed financial support of the Israeli Iron Dome is roughly double that of the President’s request (from $176 million to $351 million).
The report expresses the committee’s expectation that MDA “will not obligate or expend $175.0 million of that amount, and instead hold it in reserve and disburse it incrementally until receipt and acceptance by the MDA of sufficiently detailed cost and schedule justification from the Government of Israel.” This justification would include:
- A timeline for Iron Dome expenditure of funds above the President’s request
- Copies of signed and ratified contracts, subcontracts, and teaming arrangements between Israeli and U.S. industry for all Iron Dome coproduction efforts
- Delivery to MDA of all technical data packages as accepted by U.S. industry suppliers for coproduction; and
- A common cost model of Iron Dome components, to be jointly developed and agreed upon by MDA and IMDO that includes