Deb Fischer

06/18/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2024 08:43

Fischer Leads on Nuclear Preparedness in Senate NDAA

Defense Package Includes Provisions From Fischer's Restoring American Deterrence Act, Nebraska MILCON Priorities

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the top Republican on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, secured key provisions from her Restoring American Deterrence Act in the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. Last week, she voted to advance the package, in which she secured several Nebraska military construction (MILCON) priorities as well.

Senator Fischer introduced the Restoring American Deterrence Act in April to overhaul American nuclear preparedness and buttress our deterrence against adversaries like China and Russia.

In the NDAA, Senator Fischer secured provisions to:

  • Codify provisions of the Restoring American Deterrence Act
  • Fund military construction projects in Nebraska
  • Continue development of the nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N)

"A dangerous world demands a strong investment in our military, and that's what our defense bill delivers, both for Nebraska and the country as a whole. I fought for several sorely-needed changes that will fortify America's nuclear defenses, which risk falling behind adversaries like China," said Senator Fischer.

"The bill also includes my provisions for essential weapon systems, like the submarine-launched cruise missile. Finally, this year's defense bill authorizes my requests for Offutt Air Force Base, including updates to the Weather Wing and STRATCOM," she continued.

Military Pay Raise

Senator Fischer supported a provision providing military members with a 4.5 percent pay raise.

Military Construction Projects for Nebraska

Senator Fischer secured full authorization for her two Nebraska MILCON requests:

  • Additional $158 million for the planning and design of the Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC) facilities at Offutt Air Force Base
  • Additional $6 million for the planning and design of a Consolidated Training Complex/Professional Development Center at Offutt

Senator Fischer also secured authorization for U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) and the 557th Weather Wing, both based at Offutt. The bill authorizes:

  • $5 million for STRATCOM's NC3 Nuclear Enterprise Center (NEC)'s network sensor demonstration
  • $3 million for the NC3 Rapid Engineering Architecture Collaboration Hub (REACH) program
  • $5 million for Weather Wing research and development projects

Finally, Senator Fischer secured provisions that:

  • Clarify the Offutt-based Weather Wing's authorities to provide weather data to the U.S. Air Force and Army
  • Support the Air Force's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills program, which works closely with the University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Require the Department of Defense to review increasing the number of available aeromedical squadrons within the National Guard

Restoring American Deterrence

Senator Fischer secured provisions from her Restoring American Deterrence Act that:

  • Require the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop strategies responding to possible threats from our adversaries, including an assessment of the nuclear weapons necessary to implement that strategy
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy to promote a skilled nuclear manufacturing and vocational trade workforce
  • Require the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a comprehensive missile defense architecture
  • Require the Secretary of the Air Force to develop a plan to procure and deploy an additional 50 Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missiles above the current plan of 400
  • Clarify the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) primary responsibility to produce nuclear weapons
  • Require the Secretary of Energy to conduct an assessment evaluation two to four locations in the United States best suited to host movable, scalable uranium enrichment facilities
  • Establish an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Programs to advise on nuclear deterrence policies, operations, and programs

SLCM-N

Senator Fischer established a program of record for SLCM-N in the FY24 NDAA requiring the U.S. Navy and NNSA to explore different types of missiles and warheads. In the FY25 NDAA, Senator Fischer secured the following adjustments to the program of record:

  • Additional $70 million for NNSA to research and develop the SLCM-N warhead
  • Additional $252 million for the Navy to research and develop the SLCM-N missile
  • Fencing of 50 percent of the Secretary of the Navy's travel budget until the Secretary certifies to Congress that the Navy has established a program office for SLCM-N and is taking the required steps to comply with the Under Secretary of Defense's SLCM-N decision acquisition memorandum
  • Fencing of 50 percent of the NNSA Administrator's travel budget until NNSA submits a report and spend plan for the development of the SLCM-N warhead

Chain of Command

Senator Fischer supported a provision ensuring that the DOD notifies Congress when the Secretary of Defense is unable to perform the functions of the office. Earlier this year, Senator Fischer spoke out against DOD chain of command problems when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin failed to notify Congress of a medical absence.

The provision requires the Deputy Secretary of Defense to notify Congress 24 hours in advance of any planned transfer of authorities and not later than 24 hours after any unplanned transfer of authorities.

Munitions

Senator Fischer also supported provisions addressing issues within the munitions industrial base, including provisions that:

  • Require the Secretary of the Army to develop a plan providing secondary production sources at existing arsenals, depots, and ammunition plants
  • Create a program to expedite the qualification of alternative sources of known supply chain chokepoints
  • Require the Department to create a roadmap for the solid rocket motor industrial base