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house Bill H.R. 690

Do the Feds Need to Improve Their Technology for Detecting Nuclear Weapons?

Argument in favor

Nuclear weapons and other bombs with fissile or radiological material pose a significant threat to national security, and federal research into detecting such devices should focus on closing the gaps in the system.

Susie's Opinion
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01/30/2017
The headline for this bill by the Countable team is an irresponsible oversimplification of the topic. The headline "Do the Feds need to improve their technology for detecting nuclear weapons?" Implies that the bill would focus on improving detection technology, which would likely be expensive. However, in reading the bill details, which you can also do here (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/690/text) it becomes clear that the bill is not aiming to improve detection technology by investing more in research, but by putting in place a system of accountability for the office. They would be required to identify where its efforts are falling short, create a plan to address those shortcomings, decide how they will prioritize research topics, and develop a method for measuring the effectiveness/success of each project. This bill will not directly pour money into developing better detection technology. It will hold the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office responsible for maintaining a clear set of goals, defining how they will reach those goals, and a way of measuring how each project is working towards one of those goals. Detection technology would be improved because the office would have a more focused agenda. The bill does not specify where funding would come from likely because it should be inexpensive to execute this plan. No crazy research required here, just define what you're trying to do and we'll hold you accountable for doing it. I say sure, why not.
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Alissa's Opinion
···
01/30/2017
I agree with Susie's Opinion; the title of this entry is misleading. I am TOTALLY against Congress committing any more money towards the development of nuclear technology. My read of the bill is that it adds minimal cost to research that is ALREADY funded and which is supposed to identify gaps in our oversight/detection of unauthorized nuclear activity being done within the homeland. This bill is simply to add a level of accountability that any specific research grant will effectively target the gap it purports to study.
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Oskar 's Opinion
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01/30/2017
We can never be too ready, this is a good way to counteract any foreign attempt at attacking our country
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Argument opposed

The Dept. of Homeland Security is already trying to research ways to improve the system for detecting nuclear devices. Plus this bill only calls for research to focus on gaps in the system without providing funding.

Kasi's Opinion
···
01/30/2017
We're telling people we can't give them affordable, life-saving healthcare because of the cost, but we can spend insane amounts of money on developing technology that we already have and is doing a fine job? I don't think so. Let's focus on what is /really/ going to save lives- access to healthcare.
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Chaquitta's Opinion
···
01/30/2017
It's already being done. How much of our tax dollars are being wasted on trying to reinvent the wheel? There are reckless executive orders coming out of the White House, millions of people about to lose access to healthcare, an unknown number of legal immigrants being held hostage in our airports, and a President who's become a puppet tasked with pushing forward the white supremacist agenda of Bannon & friends. Passing a bill to change words around should be the least of your concern.
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Sha's Opinion
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01/31/2017
Money needs to be sent to more important government functions that everyday Americans are depending on, such as education, infrastructure and healthcare.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 31st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 690?

This bill would require the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to focus its research and development on creating and improving technologies to detect and prevent the entry, transport, assembly, or potential use of a nuclear weapon or other fissile or radiological material in the U.S.

The DNDO’s research and development activities would:

  • Develop and maintain reports that give information on how the Office’s research investments align with gaps in the enhanced global nuclear detection architecture and with research challenges the Office has identified and seeks to address;

  • Explain the rationale for prioritizing and selecting research topics;

  • Develop a systematic approach for evaluating how the outcomes of the Office’s individual research projects collectively contribute to addressing research challenges.

Impact

Public safety; the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; and the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 690

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill wouldn’t significantly impact spending as DHS is already carrying out similar activities.

More Information

In-Depth: In the House Homeland Security Committee’s report, lawmakers explained that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the DNDO’s reports make it unclear what process it uses for planning and selecting research and development projects. The GAO noted that while the DNDO does set high-level goals and identify relevant research challenges, it doesn’t demonstrate that the projects it funds address those challenges.

This legislation was passed by the committee on a voice vote during the 114th Congress.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: National Nuclear Security Administration / Creative Commons)

AKA

Gains in Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Act

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance certain duties of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and for other purposes.

    The headline for this bill by the Countable team is an irresponsible oversimplification of the topic. The headline "Do the Feds need to improve their technology for detecting nuclear weapons?" Implies that the bill would focus on improving detection technology, which would likely be expensive. However, in reading the bill details, which you can also do here (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/690/text) it becomes clear that the bill is not aiming to improve detection technology by investing more in research, but by putting in place a system of accountability for the office. They would be required to identify where its efforts are falling short, create a plan to address those shortcomings, decide how they will prioritize research topics, and develop a method for measuring the effectiveness/success of each project. This bill will not directly pour money into developing better detection technology. It will hold the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office responsible for maintaining a clear set of goals, defining how they will reach those goals, and a way of measuring how each project is working towards one of those goals. Detection technology would be improved because the office would have a more focused agenda. The bill does not specify where funding would come from likely because it should be inexpensive to execute this plan. No crazy research required here, just define what you're trying to do and we'll hold you accountable for doing it. I say sure, why not.
    Like (736)
    Follow
    Share
    We're telling people we can't give them affordable, life-saving healthcare because of the cost, but we can spend insane amounts of money on developing technology that we already have and is doing a fine job? I don't think so. Let's focus on what is /really/ going to save lives- access to healthcare.
    Like (138)
    Follow
    Share
    It's already being done. How much of our tax dollars are being wasted on trying to reinvent the wheel? There are reckless executive orders coming out of the White House, millions of people about to lose access to healthcare, an unknown number of legal immigrants being held hostage in our airports, and a President who's become a puppet tasked with pushing forward the white supremacist agenda of Bannon & friends. Passing a bill to change words around should be the least of your concern.
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree with Susie's Opinion; the title of this entry is misleading. I am TOTALLY against Congress committing any more money towards the development of nuclear technology. My read of the bill is that it adds minimal cost to research that is ALREADY funded and which is supposed to identify gaps in our oversight/detection of unauthorized nuclear activity being done within the homeland. This bill is simply to add a level of accountability that any specific research grant will effectively target the gap it purports to study.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    We can never be too ready, this is a good way to counteract any foreign attempt at attacking our country
    Like (15)
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    If we aren't the most powerful nation in the world what is stopping some nation from destroying us?
    Like (13)
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    Yes, we should strive to be the smartest when it comes to nuclear knowledge. (But don't forget that there are more effective ways we can be tackling counterterrorism. This bill seems irrelevant compared to everything else on the docket.)
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    So who will be in charge of oversight of this program? I am concerned that with new people in high ranking offices -- with the appointment of Bannon for example, that this is a blatant power play by someone to gain power of untold consequences. It would be nice to see more specifically what checks and balances this may or may not offer with the executive branch, as well as other branches in US government. While on the surface this sounds decent-- the fact that nuclear talk are already on the table is very disconcerting...
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    One reason: Doomsday clock was moved half a minute. Now more than ever do we need to make sure nuclear weapons arent what make humans go extinct. Trump is causing problems with countries and we are vulnerable to any nuclear attack rising because of this tension.
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    Money needs to be sent to more important government functions that everyday Americans are depending on, such as education, infrastructure and healthcare.
    Like (6)
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    The ability to detect and prevent the assembly of nuclear weaponry is critical in maintaining the safety and continuation of human life as we know it.
    Like (6)
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    We have people who are going without food and health care. This is another Republican scare tactic to deflect attention from their monstrous agenda.
    Like (6)
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    Focusing our nuclear defense research agenda and increasing accountability of our nuclear R&D program makes sense. This does not necessarily increase spending or augment nuclear proliferation; rather, it seeks to create a roadmap that will assist in keeping this program more accountable
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    With this administration I think the best thing we can do is have a prepared defense system in place. With what looks like very minimal additional cost appropriate checks and balances are ok by me.
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    In order to keep the U.S. safe and the rest of the world safe, we must keep nuclear capabilities out of the hands of unstable people. We must try our best to close nuclear loopholes.
    Like (4)
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    We already have research into this. This would just "close the gap". We need to focus our resources on more important things, like renewable energy sources or something that will benefit sustaining our future.
    Like (4)
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    As much as I despise spending on another nuclear program unrelated to energy, I think that this is a necessary precaution under Donald Trump's presidency. He's a madman and we should be prepared for repercussions for his behavior that will negatively affect hundreds of millions of Americans; especially those who didn't even vote for him.
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    Bring back Star Wars it can work!
    Like (4)
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    Greater accountability is always good. I support this!
    Like (4)
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    Good for safety
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