Congress considers future of strategic forces

Thursday - 3/3/2011, 9:08am EST

Mike Turner, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Click below to hear the interview

Download mp3

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Congress is debating nearly every function in the federal government. At the top of the list of how the government conducts it's most vital task, protecting the country itself.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Oh.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee, explains priorities for the subcommittee to Federal News Radio.

Turner said nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons infrastructure, missle defense, missiles and space "are areas that, over the last several years have dominated the news as we've seen effects of the threats of North Korea, Iran, and of course China's anti-satellite activity. So this is an area that we have both emerging threats and current threats, and need to ensure that we're investing both in the missile defense area, but also in preserving our nuclear labs and our nuclear infrastructure."

Nuclear Modernization

Turner said the nation needs a new weapons system that is secure and safe and effective. "That doesn't necessarily mean that we have to build new weapons, but it does mean that we have to invest in the weapons that we have, ensuring that they're capable, ensuring that they themselves don't pose a threat."

Missile Defense

Asked about missile defense in general, Turner said "this is a really neat issue because, if you think of how partisan the issue of missile defense has been, it certainly has evolved now to a bipartisan issue. we're no longer talking about whether or not we should have missile defense when we have the threat of North Korea and Iran and their nuclear programs and also their missile programs." The question now, according to Turner, is "what is the mix of missile defense, what is the technology that's going to be deployed and where."

Further Investments

"This (missile defense) is an area that certainly makes our country safer, it is worth the investment and we're seeing great strides, as we usually do, and the innovation that we have is the spirit of American inventiveness."