Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Mr. Billingslea
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Marshall Billingslea, President Trump’s nominee to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Barrasso pressed Billingslea on the Iran arms embargo, future of U.S. missile defense, and Russian nuclear weapons.
Billingslea testified at today’s Senate Committee on Foreign Relations nomination hearing.
On Iran Arms Embargo:
“Under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration agreed to lift a UN arms embargo on Iran after five years.
“UN restrictions on the export and import of conventional weapons to Iran are set to expire on October 18 of this year, coming up in the next couple of months.
“The international community giving Iran the green light to purchase advanced weapons and transfer weapons to terrorists, I believe, threatens the security of not just the United States, but our allies around the world.
“Brian Hook, who is the U.S. Special Representative to Iran, correctly explained that we are risking Iran ‘becoming the arms dealer of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations around the world.’
“The Trump administration is working on a new UN Security Council resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran and do it indefinitely.
“Given Iran’s increasing aggression, what are the risks of failing to extend the UN arms embargo and export ban?
“How do you recommend the United States respond if these international restrictions are lifted?”
On Further Limitations on Missile Defense:
“During the New START treaty debate, there was a lot of discussion about the importance of U.S. missile defense.
“As our country continues to face threats from around the world, I think it’s critical that we don’t restrict our own U.S. missile defense options.
“The United States, I believe, must remain in charge of our missile defense, not Russia, not other countries as we negotiate.
“So I’m asking if you would commit to me that, in any arms control discussions with Russia for which you would be responsible, that the United States will not agree to limit our own ability to defend ourselves?”
On New Russian Strategic Weapons:
“Russia is developing a number of new kinds of strategic nuclear weapons to evade or penetrate our own ballistic missile defenses.
“On March 1, 2018, President Putin announced Russia’s development of new strategic nuclear weapons that he believes will render U.S. missile defenses ‘useless.’
“The weapons include nuclear powered cruise missiles, a nuclear powered underwater drone that could be armed with a nuclear warhead, and a hypersonic missile.
“Under Article V of the New START, parties can raise their concerns about new types of strategic offensive weapons under the Bilateral Consultative Commission.
“Has the administration raised concerns about the new types of weapons under this commission?
“Does the administration believe these new strategic nuclear weapons should be covered under a New START extension?”