Home » Budget Industry » FY 2019 Defense Authorization Bill Passed by House


FY 2019 Defense Authorization Bill Passed by House

USS Minnesota (SSN-783) under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2012. US Navy Photo

The Navy and Marine Corps policies and priorities for next year passed an important hurdle Thursday when the House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

The bill authorizes spending on various programs intended to counteract what’s considered increasingly aggressive actions taken by both China and Russia.

“This conference report takes a major step toward rebuilding our military, reforming the Pentagon, and better preparing this nation for the national security challenges of today and tomorrow,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas), said in a statement. “The bill takes actions directly related to the aggressive behavior of Russia and China.”

Among the many programs included in the NDAA, the bill authorizes 13 battle force ships for the Navy that include: two Virginia-class submarines, three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, two oilers, and one expeditionary sea base and one towing, salvage and rescue ship.

Looking to the future, the bill requires the Block-V Virginia-class submarine contract, currently being negotiated by the Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat, to include price options that would add two submarines to the Pentagon’s planned purchase of 10 subs. The bill also authorizes $3.2 billion to pay for development and design work of the Columbia-class submarine and authorizes for an additional Ford-class aircraft carrier, allowing the Navy to make a two-carrier buy.

Adding submarines to the NDAA was championed by Rep. Joe Courtney, (D-Conn.), ranking member of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee. Electric Boat is based inside his district.

“Over the last year, my committee has heard the relentless drumbeat of anxiety and concern about the looming shortfall in our attack submarine fleet. Without timely action by Congress, the Trump administration, and the Navy, the fleet will fall to just 42 submarines within the next decade,” Courtney said in a statement. “At that reduced capacity, our military commanders will be left without the undersea capabilities they have made clear that they desperately need. While the president’s budget request this year only planned on building ten submarines in the next contract, Navy officials have made it clear that the capacity exists to build more than that over the next five years.

In terms of policy, the NDAA includes several reforms to the Navy’s surface warfare community, in the wake of last summer’s two deadly collisions involving guided-missile destroyers and commercial shipping vessels at sea. Crew training and limiting the length of time ships can remain forward deployed are among the reforms the NDAA directs the Navy to institute.

The NDAA, named for ailing Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had recently emerged from a conference committee where differences between House and Senate versions of the bill were ironed out. Senate approval is still pending, and if passed, the NDAA needs the President’s signature before the policies and priorities become law.

However, even if fully approved by the President and both chambers of Congress, the Pentagon will still need another bill to pass to fully implement the NDAA’s authorizations. A separate spending bill still needs to be passed, something Thornberry addressed in his statement applauding House approval of the NDAA.

“Much of the advantage that these measures give our military will be lost, however, if Congress fails to follow the NDAA with an appropriations bill that is both adequate and on time,” Thornberry’s statement said. “This is the earliest the House has acted on an NDAA in many years. There is no reason that Congress should not be able to take up and pass the defense spending bill before the end of the fiscal year so that Congress can keep faith with our troops and fully fund the military when we return in September.”

  • NavySubNuke

    While I’m sorry to see the Navy is going to be forced to buy two extra unnecessary little crappy ships that is a small price to pay to get the votes needed to pass this bill.
    The two extra Virginia options are great news, hopefully Congress eventually ponies up the money to pay for them! It would be nice to see Congress add some extra warship funding for the navy rather than just extra LCS money.

    • Duane

      The 2 extra LCS are a feature, not a bug. Keeps both LCS production lines hot until work begins on the first FFGX. Which of course is a huge disappointment to the LCS trolling community. More disappointment to follow when the Navy selects the design.

      • Kypros

        Are you trying to tell us that the FFGx selection process is a sham and the winner was already pre-ordained?

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          Do you really need to ask?

        • Secundius

          The FF(X) Competition is in “2019”, NOT 2018…

          • Kypros

            Precisely. Yet we’ve been told by Duane, more than once, the decision has already been made.

          • Secundius

            It may have!/? But as far as I know, 2019 is scheduled Competition Date. I betting of Variant of “Independence” class…

          • Duane

            You keep repeating that. It is not true. No decision can even be made without competing designs and cost proposals to evaluate and compare.

            But some things in life and business are determinate. If the Navy was OK with a 10 year timeframe to produce the first ship, the outcome of the selection might very well be different. Ditto if the Navy had budgeted $1.2B a ship instead of $800- M.

            But the requirements are the requirements and they aren’t artificial or foo foo requirements – they reflect actual Navy needs.

          • Kypros

            On the one hand you keep saying the decision has been made and on the other hand you say no decision has been made. At this point, I’m willing to suck it up that the taxpayers have paid for 3 dozen of these ships which may or may not provide a return on investment regarding the security of the US. But if the Navy bases yet another class of ships on these, an FFG no less, which will be expected to be used hard, then someone(s) needs to go to prison.

          • Duane

            Are you dense? I NEVER wrote that the decision has been made.

          • Kypros

            What?!?!? LOL! You are CONSTANTLY stating that one or both LCS designs will be used for FFG.

          • Duane

            What I believe, based upon the RFP requirements to be the only likely design choice, is just my opinion.

            VAVSEA will collect the initial design and cost data, and come to their own decision. There is no “fix” … but there is reality.

          • Kypros

            Thanks for clarifying.

        • Duane

          No sham … but the two LCS-based frigates are the only designs that can meet all of the Navy requirements for both cost and schedule. Those requirements are based on real Navy needs. The Congress recognizes that, and made sure that the two hot shipbuilding lines remain hot until the first frigates start building.

          People should note also that NAVSEA declared earlier this year that though the frigate is the long awaited “down-select” to a single design, the Navy is prepared to write two bulk buy ship construction contracts using a single design. Meaning most likely that both hot LCS yards will each get a 10-ship bulk build contract.

          Doing that not only preserves industrial base, but also delivers the desired 20 ships faster and also keeps the two competive yards in competition.

          • Kypros

            But you’re telling us that the Navy has apparently already chosen one or both LCS designs for FFGx far in advance of 2019. If so, the the whole selection process is a sham.

          • Duane

            No, the Navy has not pre selected any design yet. The Navy has not even received a design yet. But the Navy’s needs for low cost and delivery of the first ship by 2025 simply cannot be met by any of the foreign designs or the NSC design. They are all too large and therefore too expensive, and but for NSC have no hot production lines in a US yard, which impacts both cost and schedule.

            NAVSEA knows this, as does Congress. But the needs and requirements are still the needs and requirements, and therefore not a sham or a fix.

          • Kypros

            The fact that HII has had radio silence on this topic might indicate they feel the fix is in.

          • Duane

            Again reality is not a “fix” …. it is just reality.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        Indeed, the fix is in.

        Just pile more onto the aluminium jet boats and call it a day.

        How many of the dozen LCS’s are deploying this year?

        • Secundius

          A “Fourth” Gerald Ford was also Authorized in the “John S. McCain Defense Authorization Bill”. And they haven’t even Worked Out the Bugs of the First one yet…

        • Lazarus

          The lack of LCS deployment this year is about the USN not training enough rotational crews to keep more than one LCS deployed continuously over 18 months. That’s a problem for Navy training and not one of the LCS as a platform. The “aluminum is bad” argument is a false one. British warships in the Falklands, and USS Stark did not have burning/melting aluminum as a problem, but rather burning cableway fires that created toxic smoke. Only the USS Belknap had melting/burning aluminum, but that’s what can happen with thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel (from her collision with USS John F. Kennedy) spills over your superstructure.

          • Duane

            Also, four LCS are busy training new blue and gold crews for new construction ships – much like the role of land based prototypes in training nuke powerplant operators and EOOWs. Plus four more LCS are busy certifying and integrating new gear from the mission modules. And four more recently commissioned LCS are undergoing required post shakedown availabilities.

            The training activity will go on for several more years while new construction ships are going into service. The MM testing and integration work will be completed by the end of FY2020.

            So starting in just a couple of months, the LCS will go back to deploying overseas, as they have been doing since 2013, ramping up from 4 forward deployed in FY2019, to 8 in 2020, and as the rest of the vessels enter the fleet over the next 5 years, they will support the same or better deployment rate as any other ship type.

          • vetww2

            No real mission, no need for a training plan.

      • proudrino

        So why do we still have two different variants of the LCS? Neither fully capable. Both behind schedule, over budget, and without the so-called “plug and play” packages that were a key element in their design. Why squander billions more if the only reason for doing so is to keep shipyard workers employed. In the name of good stewardship, the Navy has other priorities with limited resources than producing unwanted vessels.

        • Secundius

          Originally the “Independence” was meant to Fill Two Roles! One as a Replacement for the “OHP” class and “Avenger” class. The “Freedom” was originally intended as a Light Destroyer for the Israeli Navy. But Squabbling over Price between SecDef Donald Rumsfeld and the Israeli Navy fell through and cancelled. The SecDef Rumsfeld sold the LCS Idea to George W Bush in 2001, who intern sold the idea to the US.Hse.of Rep. in 2003, and the US Hse.of Rep. Funded in 2004…

        • Duane

          Actually there are good reasons for the two variants. Each has its share of pluses and minuses relative to the other, though both variants satisfy all of the class requirements.

          For instance, the Indy variant has longer legs than the Freedom … the Indy has 4,300 nm range with standard fuel, and 5,400 nm with aux fuel loaded (note that is 900 nm longer than the OHP), vs. 3,500 nm for the Freedom. So the Navy naturally decided at the end of 2016 to eventually homeport all the Indy’s in San Diego for Pac Flt ops, and the Freedom variant in Mayport for Atlantic/Persian Gulf ops where long range is not important.

          The Freedom variant is steel hulled, so is stronger for dealing with the generally stormier Atlantic seas.

          I can go on and on here with respect to hull design with respect to operational needs. But as for everything else that makes for a complete warship, such as weapons, sensors, missile defenses, combat information systems, comms, and of course the fully interchangeable mission modules, the Navy is homogeonizing both variants.

          For instance, COMBATTS-21 was developed and derived by LM out of its AEGIS design, and initially installed only on its Freedom variant LCS, going operational only in 2016. But now the Navy has decided, with the recent completion of its OTH missile procurement, to install OTH missiles on ALL LCS, regardless of mission module, so that necessitates installation of COMBATTS-21 on all LCS. COMBATTS-21 also enables installation of the larger (21 cell) SeaRAM launcher because that launcher requires external radar and targeting fire control, while the smaller 11 cell Phalanxe-based SeaRAM was self contained. So it shall be.

          • DaSaint

            The Navy’s rationalization of COMBATSS-21 on both LCS classes corrects the mistake of allowing 2 separate prime-contractor selected CMS. Both are capable of integrating all the weapons you listed, but COMBATSS is a superior system and shares commonality with Aegis modules. Adding OTH missiles didn’t necessitate COMBATSS-21. Remember, the Coronoado doesn’t have that CMS. Better logic prevailing is what is driving the move to a common CMS.

          • Duane

            No mistake at all. Adding lethality has absolutely everything to do with greatly multiplied naval threats over the last decade.

            Your point makes no sense at all. Virtually every bit of gear, whether in a mission module or not, is being adapted equally to both variants, at no additional cost or schedule incurred because its going simultaneously into both variants at the same time. This actually proves the underlying inherent value of modularity … the ability to rapidly integrate radical new capabilities in very short order. No other Navy ship type has done that, ever.

          • DaSaint

            What? Are you replying to me? Because I said NOTHING about modularity.
            My statement was simple: The NAVY mandating COMBATSS-21 for the Indie class was because that’s a better CMS than the proprietary system that General Dynamics installed originally. It has nothing to do with OTH missiles, nothing to do with a particular type of OTH missile, etc.

            I never questioned the value of modularity, I commented on the Combat Management System. COMBATSS-21 is an excellent system, with its roots in the AEGIS programming. Modularity always has had promise, and will always have a major role to play. It’s HOW modularity is best used which will make the difference.

            But I digress…my points related to the CMS being finally rationalized between both classes. Nothing else.

          • Duane

            I didn’t write that you dissed modularity. I wrote that you are incorrect in claiming that having two variants of LCS is a problem to be overcome

            The existence of two variants that can easily be equipped identically, whether in a mission module or not, proves the extreme flexibility built into two very different hull forms, a flexibility no other warship on the planet enjoys

          • DaSaint

            Well, in principle, any of the modules can be used in any vessel able to accommodate them. That’s a good thing. Maybe the next class will utilize the same format so that the investment can be extended. The FFG(X) would therefore benefit from that investment in flexibility.

          • Duane

            Modularity per se is not a requirement of the FFG(X) design. The two LCS builders may or may not include modularity in their respective designs. But I expect both LCS builders to incorporate flexibility into their designs. They both have an added advantage compared to the other builders regarding their hands on experience in developing and integrating most of the GFE equipment and systems that are specified for FFG(X).

          • Graeme Rymill

            After a lot of online searching I can find no evidence that the Navy is rationalizing COMBATSS-21 on both LCS classes. Can you please point me to a source for this? Or is the source Duane?

          • Duane

            LM states that on their webpage. The Navy stated in June for the first time that ALL LCS will deploy the new NSM OTH missiles, which therefore requires that all LCS have both the launchers and a suitable networked NIFCCA-capable fire control and combat data system. That system is COMBATTS-21, which became operational only in 2016. The Navy has further stated its plan to install COMBATTS-21 on all of its combatant ships that don’t already have AEGIS …meaning all LCS, all amphibs, all frigates, etc. That is in furtherance of both the distributed lethality doctrine and NIFCCA implementation throughout the fleet. Just like its older and more powerful AEGIS sibling, COMBATTS-21 is designed to readily integrate fire control sensor data from off-platform nodes. It can easily be retrofitted to any ship.

          • Graeme Rymill

            LM doesn’t provide, on any of its webpages, confirmation that all LCSs will switch to COMBATSS-21.

            ” ALL LCS will deploy the new NSM OTH missiles which therefore requires that all LCS have both the launchers and a suitable networked NIFCCA-capable fire control and combat data system.” As DaSaint pointed out USS Coronado doesn’t have COMBATSS-21 yet it was able to fire the NSM. How do you account for that inconvenient truth? The same applies to the Norwegian Skjold-class corvette which is equipped with the NSM.No COMBATSS-21 on that class of ship either.

            COMBATSS-21 is on All Freedom class LCSs; it will be on the FFG(X) and it is going to be on the Saudi’s Multi-Mission Surface Combatant. There has been no USN announcement that COMBATSS-21 will be installed “on all of its combatant ships that don’t already have AEGIS …meaning all LCS, all amphibs, all frigates, etc” as you claim.

          • Secundius

            Try “”DID” (Defense Industry Daily)…

          • proudrino

            You’ve hit on the key flaw in your uncritical support of the LCS program- Each of them has pros and cons relative to the other varient. Neither varient has a clear operational role vis-a-vis fleet TTPs and proven performance. Both varients have proven to lack legs to to sustainment and maintenance issues. Navy does not need to build more of them unless/until they have proven value to national security.

          • Duane

            No … ALL ship designs entail design choices that reflect inevitable compromises between competing needs and requirements. What is important is that the design choices made represent a reasonable balance.

            There is no such critter as a one size fits all, that fulfills every capability need and requirement without compromise.

            The two variants of LCS fit very nicely the varying needs of two very different environments. They have also proven tremendously flexible in meeting fleet needs that have evolved radically in the 14 years since the program was authorized.

            In 2004 we were still in a post Cold War world, with NO near peer naval rivals Virtually everyone in the immediate post 9.11 era thought the days of high end naval warfare were gone for good, and that our main if not only naval threats were jihadis in go fast druggie speedboats armed with nothing but AK47s and RPGs. The original LCS was configured only to meet that threat.

            Well, a decade later, everything changed, and the US Navy was on top of it. The jihadis in speedboats still exist, but those speedboats now deploy anti ship cruise missiles, as do the rebels on the coast of Yemen. And by 2014 the Russian bear was loose again, raiding Georgia and Ukraine, and threatening the Baltics and Balkans. And the Chinese were doubling the size of PLAN, and attacking fishing fleets in the SCS, and building fake islands on reefs.

            So the Navy added a lot of lethality to LCS, with new OTH ASCMs better than those on all of our DDG51s, and new precision guided rounds on the 57 mm gun that do not yet exist in the 5 in 54 cal guns on our DDGs. And developed a new AEGIS-derived combat information system (“COMBATTS-21”) that will shortly go on all LCS as well as on all other US Navy combatants that don’t already have AEGIS. And developed a new ASW system for LCS that Congressional Research Sevice labels as the most advanced in the surface fleet that has otherwise long allowed ASW capabilities to wither.

            That’s a heckuva lot of added lethal capability in just four short years. That has to be unprecedented in the post WW2 era for any single ship type.

          • vetww2

            You are, undoubtedly, a terriffic defese attorney, but not so hot as a naval architect and Operations analyst (which I am.)

          • Duane

            Sub vet and 36+ years as an advanced degreed engineer and project manager. Design ALWAYS means compromise. Anybody who believes otherwise simply does not understand design. And times change, which causes requirements to change.

        • Lazarus

          The LCS’ can still accept additional equipment as they are configured to accept systems other than those of the modules. The addition of Harpoon to USS Coronado and the recent decision to add the Longbow Hellfire missile (among other improvements) shows that LCS is more than just the modules. Bob Work always said that LCS would evolve depending on what the fleet wanted to do with the platform.

          • PolicyWonk

            Hogwash.

            Every naval ship can still accept additional equipment when required. Harpoon was only added after PEO LCS presented their idea of how LCS should be armed, and endured months of ridicule because there was zero ability and absolutely no plan to reach out and touch someone (because, of course, LCS was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”).

            The addition of “Box of Hellfires” demonstrates the uselessness of LCS when it comes down to defending from swarms of small boats, because those same boxes can be easily added to any other naval ship as a bolt-on. But lets face it, at over $100k each, thats an expensive way to kill off $25k of speedboat (but well worthwhile, to protect a Burke, Zumwalt, Expeditionary-type, transport, fleet oiler, and even a monstrously expensive LCS).

            But LCS is more than a bunch of modules – that is for certain: these glorified yachts/ferries have yet to demonstrate much given the first was commissioned a decade ago and have yet to conduct even a mere presence mission. But until they can demonstrate some kind of ability to transport themselves (reliably) away from the piers they’ve been welded to, they are and will remain hyper expensive pier queens.

          • vetww2

            I beg to differ with Duane. When SECNAV John Lehman tried to take money from ship design research to put armored box launchers on the then to be refurbished BBs, he used the same argument that you have.. I objected strongly, because the launchers could not stand up to a 9-16″gun broadside, After a demo at Tongue of the Ocean on the New Jersey, proved this, he went ahead with his plan, anyway, thereby ending ALL ship R&D. Prez Clinton saved the country billions by cancelling the BB program by one his first executive orders. Ths ship R&D program was never resuscitated, to my best knowledge.

          • Duane

            You can relax, vetww2, there are no 16 inch guns on the LCS to disturb the Hellfire launchers … nor are the big guns to be found on any warship now in service.

          • Duane

            You don’t judge a defensive system by the cost to the enemy of their weapons … you judge it by the cost to you if their weapon succeeds. In dollars, and lives lost. One of those cheapie terror skiffs took one of our multibillion dollar Arleigh Burkes out of action for more than a year, cost the taxpayer several hundred millions to repair, killed 17 of our sailors, and wounded dozens more. Are you suggesting it would not be worth the cost of a Hellfire to avoid that result?

            In WW2 cheapo worn out, obsolete fighters and even Japanese trainer aircraft loaded with a single bomb each killed more surface ship sailors and damaged and sank more of our warships at Okinawa than did all the Japanese warships, including their last remaining super battleship with 18 inch guns.

            Talk about being penny wise and ton foolish!

          • vetww2

            The LCSs are ill-equipped to meet the requirements laid out in the old SEAMOD program. Set them as mine sweepers and layers and reduce our losses.

          • Duane

            The Navy has certified that both LCS variants meet ALL program requirements. That was determined way back in 2010.

          • vetww2

            BULL> WHEN A GROUP OF PROVEN SHIP DESIGNERS OFFERRED THEIR SERVICES, GRATUS, to evaluate the design deficiences of the proposal, they were turned down, flat, by an arrogant SEA05 and SEA00. As the old computer admonition states,”Garbage in, garbage out.”

          • Duane

            I am not talking about a design proposal from a decade and a half ago … I am talking about the finished product, the first two operational hulls of each variant, evaluated by NAVSEA as meeting all of the design and performance requirements, and reported to Congress, which then authorized two block buy 10-ship contracts for each variant, and since extended to the current Congressionally authorized 34 total ships in both variants. They meet all requirements.

        • vetww2

          The same reason that we have one, STUPIDITY.

      • vetww2

        Sorry kiddo, but that’s a poor excuse for wasting money on junk, There are conceptal ship types that we can use, if only thinking was returned to Naval planning.

        • Duane

          Sorry the opposite if junk they are.

      • NavySubNuke

        Certainly they are to the LCS cheerleader central committee but at the end of the day they are nothing but wasteful fraud/pork to the rest of us.
        I know you, Laz, Putin, and Xi are praying every night that we we build a stretched out pier queen rather than a real frigate but some of us actually want to build a navy that can deter conflict and fight and win the Nations wars should deterrence fail.

  • Duane

    The two year funding agreement made last year sped up this year’s NDAA. The appropriations bill getting enacted prior to the end of the fiscal year is equally important to avoiding yet another continuing resolution, which gums up the works.

  • Lazarus

    Another win for LCS!

    • PolicyWonk

      Winners: Potential adversaries of the USA, and the coffers of LockMart and Austal!
      Losers: US National Security, the USN, and US taxpayers.

      • Duane

        And don’t forget the really big losers … the LCS trolling community. Poor dears, they’re all so special.

    • vetww2

      and a loss for the USN and US taxpayers.

    • NavySubNuke

      LCS has always been a “winner” when it comes to money.
      It’s every other area – you know the minor things like deployability, armament, and survivability, where it is a complete and utter failure though.
      No worries though – I realize what a big day this is for you, Putin, Xi, and the rest of the LCS cheerleading central committee.

  • vetww2

    Reading this article convinces me that we no longer have a US Congress, but a self-serving bunch of company shills.

  • disqus_CbFK3MPhJu

    subs, and sm6
    if we have to buy crap lcs (freedom) types, so be it.

  • Bryan

    Does anyone know if the LCS buys here would be the final 32? Or are they going beyond that?

    • vetww2

      It is now the mainstay of the SWIPE propgram. An infinite hole in to which you throw money unfer the guise of “SHIPYARD READINESS”

    • Secundius

      Beyond! In 2014, approximately 20 Flight I SSC’s (Small Surface Combatants) was funded by the US. Hse.of Rep…

      • Bryan

        Sorry that dosn’t answer my question. Last report I heard the plan for LCS was 32. With these three, what number are we at in relation to that 32?

        What hull numbers would these be?

        • Secundius

          Thirty-Two of the Flight “0’s” LCS! Plus ~Twenty Flight “I’s” SSC, purpose built Small Surface Combatant’s…

          • Bryan

            Got. Thank you.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Except Secundius is wrong. In the words of the Tom Jones song, “it’s not unusual!”
            These extra 3 take the final total to 32. Hull numbers will depend on which classes are built and this has yet to be determined.

          • Secundius

            Read the comment again, this time with you’re glasses on. I’m talking about Flight I SSC’s not Flight 0 LCS’s…

          • Graeme Rymill

            I’ve crossed swords with you several times before. I have learnt it is pointless arguing with you. You have fixed ideas which no amount of evidence to the contrary will shake. If Bryan spends 2 minutes on Wikipedia he will see your 20 Flight 1 Small Surface Combatants have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

          • Secundius

            You didn’t try “DID” (Defense Industry Daily) did you…

          • Graeme Rymill

            I am wrong – with these 3 extra LCS in FY2019 the final total of LCS will be 35. My source; the July 3, 2018 Congressional Research Service report “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress”

  • Pete Novick

    In 1991, President George H.W. Bush unilaterally removed all non-strategic nuclear weapons, (NSNWs), as part of the Presidential Nuclear Initiative, (PNI), which included removing and destroying some 2,100 short range ballistic missiles and artillery shells, (from places like Germany and South Korea), removing all tactical nuclear weapons on US Navy surface ships and attack submarines, and de-alerting US bombers.

    1991 saw Congress pass the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act, (aka Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act), arguably one of the most successful foreign policy programs in the known universe.

    Also, recall the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, and was replaced by the Russian Federation.

    Five weeks into 1992, representatives of member states of the European Community signed the Maastricht Treaty.

    Why the United States isn’t leading Russia and China in substantive military de-escalation efforts in both nuclear and conventional forces is a mystery that helps explain the cynical rot that has all but captured the defense and foreign policy elites in this country.

    “Mr. President, we must not allow a mine shaft gap!”

    – General “Buck” Turgidson, (George C. Scott), in Stanley Kubrick’s film, Dr. Strangelove, (1964)