Opening Remarks of Ranking Member Turner

Sep 26, 2019
Opening Statement
Status of the B61-12 Life Extension and W88 Alteration -370 Programs

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, made the following remarks on the Subcommittee's hearing titled “Status of the B61-12 Life Extension and W88 Alteration -370 Programs"

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

"I’d like to thank all the witnesses for being here today, you were here back in March and April. I appreciate you stopping in to give us this update. 

"The B61 and the W88 are both particularly important programs in our nation’s nuclear modernization efforts. 

"The B61 Mod 12 life extension program consolidates or replaces older B-61s that were first produced in 1968.  Mod 12 will have advanced accuracy and produce less fallout compared to previous versions of the weapon.  It is a necessary and prudent life extension and a programmatic delay.  I continue to strongly support this program.

"As former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I know the incredible contributions the B61 currently makes to nuclear deterrence in Europe and I will continue to support it.

"As I read in your submitted statement, the W88 alt 370 is needed to replace the arming fusing and firing subsystems of the warhead as well as refreshing the conventional high explosives in the warhead.  While experiencing similar programmatic delays, again I strongly support this program, recognizing the unique contributions our submarines provide our nuclear deterrent.  I look forward to hearing your testimony on the source of the problem and how to move forward in a responsible manner.

"And then I want to express my disappointment that we are even having this hearing.  We have a longstanding tradition in our committee that we don’t have hearings, public hearings especially, on issues that are being considered in Conference.  These are issues are currently being negotiated in Conference right now that affect these programs. 

"We usually have intake hearings as we are preparing for the NDAA, not as we are negotiating the NDAA.

"But nonetheless the Majority has decided to do this in a very public fashion.  Again, our nuclear weapons and the issues affecting them- as the Chairman said, we will be going into a classified session- could easily have been dealt with solely in the classified session.  

"So, the only reason why we must be in public is for them to have some difficult discussions about support for the nuclear deterrent that we that is part of our nation’s security.  I think this is a disappointment.  It is continued politicization of the process of this committee that we’ve seen throughout this year, and I’m eager to hear the Chairman’s questions that are so needed for him to bring forward in the public that we couldn’t have just had in our discussion that we are going to have afterwards. 

"I yield back. " 

116th Congress