Congress Moves To Ban Civilians From Taking Key Role

( — Congressional Republicans moved to prohibit civilians from holding leading positions in the Missile Defense Agency after the Biden administration considered nominating a nonmilitary official to oversee the U.S.’s nuclear defense arsenal, according to Washington Free Beacon. Biden’s initial move sparked a backlash from critics who said that it would be a national security risk.

Four former directors working for the agency protested the decision and wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee advising against it. They said that without one having the experience of a military official it would not have been possible to do their job. The letter continued to say that such a choice should be “highly scrutinized and almost certainly rejected.”

Vice Admiral Jon Hill is expected to retire later this year and the Biden administration privately told lawmakers that no military officials were interested in the position, according to the outlet. Laura DeSimone, the agency’s civilian deputy director, was one of the names being considered. But since the controversy, Biden has nominated Air Force Major General Heath Collins.

Now congressional Republicans are including a measure under the “Qualifications of Director of Missile Defense Agency” section in the National Defense Authorization Act to require that only military officers are eligible for the position.

The proposal comes as the Russian-Ukraine war continues to escalate. Putin recently confirmed that Russia moved some of its tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus and that the transfer will be finalized by the end of the summer, according to BBC. Tactical nuclear weapons are designed to eliminate enemy targets without causing widespread fallout.

Putin called it a strategy of “containment,” and suggested that the display will deter other countries from looking to defeat them or cause them danger. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there is no indication Russia plans to use them.

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