(Washington, DC) - Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee leaders questioned steps the Department of Defense (DoD) has made to address the national security concerns posed by a Biden Administration proposed emissions rule. These concerns follow the committee’s memo detailing preliminary findings into its ongoing investigation of this controversial proposal. If enacted, the rule would require U.S. contractors to work with foreign entities to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and set emission reduction targets, potentially having major implications for our national security and mission readiness.

In the letter addressed to Dr. William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment for DoD, Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jay Obernolte (R-CA), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Max Miller (R-OH) highlight the failure of DoD, a member of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council), while drafting the rule, to raise national security issues despite knowing the potential implications it poses for the country.

“An investigation by this Committee found that DoD ignored national security concerns raised by industry experts and others about both the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and the setting of science-based reduction targets with a foreign company,” the Members said. “Due to DoD’s failure, Congress was forced to step in and include language in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 postponing enforcement of this proposed rule through the end of 2024, and outright banning enforcement of this provision for nontraditional defense contractors.”

Lucas, Obernolte, and Miller emphasize the serious national security concerns that would come from a finalized rule noting, “the defense industrial base will have to divert time and resources to quantify and disclose the amount of greenhouse gases generated from production in their own facilities as well as their supply chains” and “contractors may be forced to redesign weapons systems to incorporate green technologies that are less combat-effective but satisfy a politically motivated mandate.”

Additionally alarming to the Members, when DoD was recently pressed on these concerns at a briefing, they “failed to explicitly say if national security issues were raised during the drafting of this proposed rule. Instead, DoD made multiple references to the use of waivers to preclude most, if not all, manufacturers from complying with the rule if finalized.” This is highly troubling, as it challenges authorizing the rule at all. “If DoD believes waivers will be used often, and regularly, it only validates the national security concerns raised by experts and poses the question of why the rule was proposed in the first place.”   

Lucas, Obernolte, and Miller request DoD address the committee’s concerns and share their strategy moving forward by no later than March 18, 2024.

Read the full letter to Dr. LaPlante here.