Lawmakers: Don’t give Russia ‘laser tag’ training program

 

A group of 18 House Republicans told the Obama administration to drop its plans to provide Russia a “laser tag” combat training system free of charge.

In a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the lawmakers said the 2015 budget request shows that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is providing the force-on-force trainer to Russia for free.

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“Given that the U.S. military uses MILES as a tactical force-on-force trainer, I’m sure you agree that such a request is a mistake,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

The training program, known as the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), uses lasers and dummy ammunition to simulate ground combat, and is comparable to commercial “laser tag” systems.

In a statement, Bridenstine said it was “ ludicrous that U.S. taxpayers are paying to give Russia free military equipment after President Obama announced a suspension in military engagement with Moscow.

The lawmakers also requested a list of all NNSA funding in the 2015 budget request for technology and services that are provided to Russia.

The 2015 Energy Department budget proposal says that the MILES training program is part of the International Material Protection and Cooperation program to work with foreign countries to secure nuclear materials.

The cooperation program includes plans to consolidate nuclear materials into a new high-security zone at a nuclear site in Russia, and to provide new security perimeter around several buildings there.

The budget also includes funds to provide upgraded command-and-control radio systems at two Russian sites.