Panel to force Pentagon review of missile project

The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved a Democratic measure that forces the Pentagon to justify a new cruise missile project.

Rep. John Garamendi's (D-Calif.) amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act requires Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to brief the panel on the Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

The briefing would require the Pentagon to explain “why such a weapon is needed, including any potential redundancies with existing weapons,” according to the amendment.

The nuclear weapons-capable system is intended to replace the Air Force’s existing Air Launched Cruise Missile around 2030.

The Defense Department will also need to detail the cost of the new weapon system and what warheads the missile will carry.

In addition, Garamendi offered, and withdrew, a measure that would have directed the Government Accountability Office to examine the need to maintain all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad: bomber aircraft, nuclear-capable submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The California Democrat also served and withdrew an amendment that would have tasked Pentagon with studying the need for nuclear deterrence in Europe.

Garamendi, though, said he would seek to reintroduce those amendments when the defense bill reaches the full House floor.