Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1987
have signed into law S. 2638, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 1987. I am both pleased and disappointed with this act. I am pleased that
it supports a defense program that is consistent with the dollar level provided
in the congressional budget resolution for fiscal year 1987. I am disappointed, however, that the funding levels proposed in
the congressional budget resolutions for the past 3 years have decreased
continually and that even those lower levels have not been fully appropriated.
As a result, some of our significant accomplishments over the past few years in
I am particularly pleased with the provisions in the act that:
-- approve 12 MX test missiles and authorize funding to proceed with research and development on survivable basing modes;
-- authorize funds to continue research and development on the small intercontinental ballistic missile recommended by the Scowcroft commission;
-- approve the full amount requested for the advanced technology bomber and the advanced cruise missile;
-- allow actual production of part of our needed modern chemical weapons deterrent capability, 155 mm binary artillery rounds;
-- fully fund the request for air-defense fighter competition;
-- adopt several administrative options that will allow the Department to reduce outlay levels in fiscal year 1987; and
-- approve construction of a Trident submarine
and fund homeporting initiatives for
I am concerned, however, that this legislation includes:
-- a reduction of $1.8 billion, or 34 percent, for the Strategic Defense Initiative program, which is our path to a safer future;
general provisions, including a ban on ASAT testing against objects in space
and denial of BIGEYE bomb production before
-- reductions in procurement quantities to F - 15, F - 16, and F - 18 tactical fighter aircraft programs; and
-- reductions in procurement quantities of such critical programs as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, AMRAAM, and C - 17 Transport.
I am also extremely disappointed that the Congress saw the need to legislate the reorganization of the Special Operations Forces, particularly in mandating the creation of a unified command, which has heretofore been the exclusive prerogative of the President as Commander in Chief.
regard to arms control, this act includes a nonbinding sense of the Congress
provision concerning continued
In addition, there are other features of the act that trouble me. Sections 921(d) and 1207 of the act require the Department of Defense to make efforts to expand participation in the procurement process by small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and to establish a contracting goal for such concerns and for historically black colleges and universities and certain minority institutions. I have signed this act on the understanding that those objectives will be pursued in a race-neutral manner, consistent with constitutional standards. These standards require that any implementation of these provisions be premised on findings of actual discrimination in the granting of defense contracts and be narrowly tailored to remedy such discrimination. Thus, the Secretary's authority under the act must be read with constitutional requirements in mind.
Section 1370 of the act calls for access by the Secretary of Defense to all nonproliferation information that the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Energy has or is entitled to have, with the exception of certain intradepartmental communications. I must consider this section to be advisory, since if it were construed otherwise, it would intrude on my constitutional responsibilities to direct and supervise officers of the executive branch and to control the dissemination of sensitive national security information. The Secretary of Defense has certain statutory responsibilities with respect to nuclear proliferation that would be served by his receipt of appropriate nonproliferation information. The sharing of appropriate information on nuclear nonproliferation will be resolved through the normal interagency process in the executive branch.
Section 1404 of the act establishes the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to award scholarships and fellowships to eligible persons for study in the fields of science and mathematics. I welcome the participation of Members of the House and Senate, who will constitute 4 of the 13 members of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. However, the doctrine of separation of powers necessarily restricts their participation on the Board to ceremonial or advisory functions, rather than matters involving administration, which may only be performed by executive officers. Moreover, under the Incompatibility Clause of the Constitution, any Member of Congress appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees may serve only in a ceremonial or advisory capacity.
Sections 3121 and 3123 of this act purport to authorize congressional committees to waive all or part of report-and-wait periods otherwise required with respect to certain reprogrammings or obligations of funds. As I have noted before, committee waiver provisions such as these do not conform to the requirements for legislative action articulated in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), since they would authorize committees of the Congress, without participation by both Houses of Congress and the President, to allow the Department of Energy to implement proposed reprogrammings or obligations prior to expiration of the otherwise required waiting period. Once again, I strongly urge the Congress to discontinue the inclusion of such devices in legislation, because after Chadha they only introduce confusion and ambiguity into the process by which the Executive's obligations are discharged.
Despite the above concerns, I believe that this legislation as a whole represents a positive step toward strengthening our national defense.
Note: S. 2638, approved November 14, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 661.