Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1989
To the House of Representatives:
I am returning without my approval H.R. 4264, the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1989.
bill's provisions on strategic defense and arms control undercut the very
foundation of our Nation's security and our successful arms reduction efforts
-- to negotiate with the Soviets, we must do so from
strength. On the basis of strength alone, we concluded the historic INF Treaty
to eliminate an entire class of
This bill would drastically curtail our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program, make unilateral concessions on arms control, limit our strategic forces and their modernization, and sacrifice national defense requirements to the demands of parochial interests. It would needlessly concede military advantage to the Soviets, whose military programs are not similarly restricted. The bill would signal a basic change in the future direction of our national defense -- away from strength and proven success and back toward weakness and accommodation. It would reward the Soviets for their words and not their deeds. This I shall not do.
bill would restrict, reorient, and limit funding for our Strategic Defense
Initiative. Together, these restrictions and funding cuts would cripple our
ability to fulfill the promise of effective strategic defense. The bill would
The Congress must fully fund our vital Strategic Defense Initiative program without restricting research into promising technologies.
The bill would return us to the practice of rushing to give away our negotiating leverage without receiving a single thing in return from the Soviets.
Two such actions in this bill:
Trajectory Missile Testing -- The bill would prohibit depressed trajectory
missile testing. Yet, the Congress admits that depressed trajectory testing is
something it cannot define. So, the bill asks the Department of Defense to
define the action, after which the Department will be banned from conducting
such tests unless such tests are undertaken by the
Retirements -- The bill would require the
bill would cut 25 percent of the funds requested to continue modernization of
our strategic forces at the same time we are pursuing strategic arms
reductions. It does not assure our rail-mobile PEACEKEEPER program -- a program
critical to ensuring the continued effectiveness of the land-based leg of the
triad of forces we have relied upon for several decades. The
Part of the success we have experienced in the last several years rests squarely upon the modernization of our strategic forces, which had witnessed a decade of neglect during the 1970's.
Finally, the bill would authorize a number of procurements that are clearly in the special interest of a few. Although the bill is within the overall levels of defense spending outlined in the bipartisan budget agreement, the Congress stayed within the agreement only by reducing vital programs and inserting billions of dollars for items not needed to defend our Nation. In short, the bill trades vitally needed defense muscle for the parochial interests of those in the Congress.
There are a number of desirable provisions in this bill. In fact, the version passed by the Senate was one of the better defense bills in several years. The provisions for the readiness and modernization of our forces needed for a strong conventional deterrent, the authorized personnel levels, the needed pay raise for our men and women in uniform, the support for multi-year procurement, and the responsible involvement of the Department of Defense in our war on drugs are all positive aspects of the bill. Unfortunately, the House version contained many unacceptable provisions, and the conference agreed on a bill more like the House version than the Senate version.
conclusion, I cannot accept H.R. 4264 because it would undercut current
The White House,