What: All Issues : War & Peace : On passage of a Republican amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) requiring the Defense secretary only to "establish criteria" for operationally realistic testing the Missile Defense Program, as opposed to conducting "operationally realistic" testing on the missiles prior to deployment. (2004 senate Roll Call 125)
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On passage of a Republican amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) requiring the Defense secretary only to "establish criteria" for operationally realistic testing the Missile Defense Program, as opposed to conducting "operationally realistic" testing on the missiles prior to deployment.
senate Roll Call 125     Jun 17, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Conservatives prevailed in their efforts to tone down an amendment backed by progressives to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) that would have required the Defense Department to conduct, on an independent basis, "operationally realistic" testing of the prototypes developed under the ballistic missile defense program (MDP). The amendment also would make the director of the Operational Test and Evaluation office (house in the Defense Department) responsible for approving and evaluating the tests. The MDP is a Bush White House-backed project wherein ground missiles would be fired to intercept mid-air enemy nuclear warheads en route to the United States. Progressives view the program as a money-pit with little testing accountability that is bolstering defense contractors while draining resources from defending America from what security experts say are more likely small-scale, conventional terrorist attacks. Over the objections of progressives, the Senate voted 55-44 to water down the Reed amendment (subsequently adopted by voice vote) with language drafted by conservatives. The altered amendment now directs the Defense secretary, in consultation with the director of the Operational Test and Evaluation office, merely to "establish criteria" for operationally realistic testing of field prototypes developed under the ballistic missile defense program. The Defense secretary would be responsible for ensuring no later than Oct. 1, 2005, that a test of the ballistic missile defense system is consistent with the criteria established.

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