During the latter half of 2010, President Obama pledged to increase spending on efforts to sustain and modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. Within a year, after Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, these plans began to crumble. The mandated reductions in funding, along with escalating costs and complications with several of the programs, ignited a debate about the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
As part of the Nuclear Crossroads Initiative, the Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) is pleased to host Amy F. Woolf from the Congressional Research Service to discuss how Congress participates in debates about U.S. nuclear weapons policy and in decisions about funding for U.S. nuclear weapons programs. Her talk will explain the difference between the authorization process and appropriations process, and highlight how this difference has affected support and funding for the DOE portion of the nuclear weapons budget over the years. It will also review the sources of information that Members and staff use when discussing nuclear weapons issues and describe how interest groups and advocates outside government have affected the debate. Finally, the talk will describe issues that Congress may address in the future, as it seeks to fund the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise in an era of fiscal restraint.
Amy F. Woolf is a Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy in the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. She provides Congress with information, analysis, and support on issues related to U.S. and Russian nuclear forces and arms control. She has authored many studies and participated in numerous seminars on these issues, addressing such topics as nuclear weapons strategy and doctrine, nuclear force structure, strategic arms control and the U.S-Russian arms control agenda, ballistic missile defense policy, and issues related to nuclear weapons and threat reduction in the former Soviet Union. Ms. Woolf has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops, discussing issues such as Congressional views on arms control and ballistic missile defenses, cooperative threat reduction with Russia, and U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Ms. Woolf received a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.