Andy GrottoRRW Dinged in Defense Authorization Bill

Late yesterday the House passed the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5658) sans the administration’s request for dedicated RRW funding. It also thwarted a last-ditch effort by Congressional supporters of RRW to restore some of that funding, which the HASC had cut the previous week when it voted the bill out of committee.

Here is what HASC said last week about RRW in its summary of the bill:

The Committee’s priority is to sustain and modernize the Stockpile Stewardship Program. While there is value in continuing the design-cost study of the RRW program, the Committee redirects $10 million requested for RRW by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to other, higher priority SSP activities. The Committee also redirects $23.3 million in RRW funds requested by the Navy.

The full text of H.R. 5658 as enacted is available here. NNSA items begin at Section 3101 (p.684). The Committee Report explains the funding in some detail at p.201.

Good riddance.


  1. David Culp (History)

    The House floor vote yesterday on the RRW amendment was 145-271, with 44 Republicans crossing party lines to oppose the new warhead. The opposition was lead by Reps. Ellen Tauscher (CA), Pete Visclosky (IN), and Rush Holt (NJ). The resounding defeat of the amendment in the House should send a strong signal to proponents of RRW in the Senate and the administration that people in the United States oppose new nuclear weapons.

  2. MarkoB

    Be careful on RRW. The Dems, such as Tauscher, are waiting for a study on the role of US nuclear weapons in US security policy post 9/11. Their opposition to RRW may melt after that report is handed down.

    I actually have a theory about RRW. My understanding is that the weapons labs are partly privatized (Bechtel and so on). I suspect that companies like Bechtel would get more profit from RRW than SSP…i’m not sure about that though. It’s a reasonable assumption but an assumption nonetheless. RRW could partly be more corporate welfare for companies favoured by the White House like Bechtel.

    In other words RRW could partly be what some economists call “military keynesianism”. So, could the D’s oppose RRW because they dislike Bechtel and its links to the R party?

  3. yousaf

    My understanding is that the current arsenal is 97-99% reliable. I believe the weakest link in the entire weapons system is the delivery part (ICBM). So if the reliability of the weapons systems is deemed to be insufficient (I would disagree) then it would make more sense to concentrate on making more reliable missiles.

  4. kg (History)

    1) The Jason report concluded that the current weapons were reliable and would be as far as the eye could see.
    2) There is no longer any need for more than a handful of weapons. Just talking about using one would be more than enough. China has around 6 and they do just fine.
    3) RRW funding is just a way to get the military industrial complex’s nose back in the tent. There target is a $megabillion project for a whole new generation of weapons, new ground up laboratories and a new generation of staff.
    Kill RRW dead once and for all.

  5. FSB

    I recall that the UK and US RRW programs were (are?) closely aligned. Does someone have more recent information on how the US RRW program is linked to the British one?

    What I know is that the UK project is run out of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, and Lockheed-Martin, together with Serco and British Nuclear Fuels operate Aldermaston for the UK government.

    Lockheed-Martin also runs the Y-12 facility at Oak Ridge.

    Connect the dots.