[Congressional Record: January 28, 2008 (Senate)]
[Page S396-S397]


      By Mr. REID:
  S. 2561. A bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a 
theme study to identify sites and resources to commemorate and 
interpret the Cold War; to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, 75 years ago yesterday, the U.S. conducted 
the first nuclear test on American soil--the detonation of a one-
kiloton nuclear device in an area known as Frenchman Flat at the Nevada 
Test Site.
  Conducted in extraordinary secrecy, this first nuclear testing 
program, known as Project Nutmeg, was representative of the efforts of 
countless Americans in the 50 year struggle we know as the Cold War.
  Lasting half a century, the Cold War was the longest sustained 
conflict in U.S. history. The nuclear capabilities of our enemy posed 
literally an existential threat to our Nation. The threat of mass 
destruction left a permanent mark on American life.
  The U.S. prevailed over this grave threat, through the technological 
achievement, patriotism, and sacrifice of the people of the great State 
of Nevada, and of others throughout the Nation.
  It has been 18 years since the Malta Conference that marked the end 
of the Cold War, yet the contributions and sacrifices of generations of 
Americans have largely gone unrecognized.
  The time has come to recognize and honor those Americans who toiled 
in relative obscurity to bring us victory during this most dangerous 
conflict in our Nation's history.
  Today I introduce a bill that requires the Department of the Interior 
to conduct a study to identify sites and resources to commemorate 
heroes of the Cold War, and to interpret the Cold War for future 
  My legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish a 
``Cold War Advisory Committee'' to oversee the inventory of Cold War 
sites and resources; for potential inclusion in the National Park 
System; as national historic landmarks; or other appropriate 
  The Advisory Committee will work closely with State and local 
governments and local historical organizations. The Committee's 
starting point will be a Cold War study completed by the Secretary of 
Defense under the 1991 Defense Appropriations Act. Obvious Cold War 
sites of significance include: intercontinental ballistic missile 
launch sites; flight training centers; communications and command 
centers, such as Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado; nuclear weapons test 
sites, such as the Nevada Test Site; and sites of other strategic and 
tactical significance.

  Perhaps no state in the union played a more sigificant role than 
Nevada in winning the Cold War.
  The Nevada Test Site is a high-technology engineering marvel where 
the U.S. developed, tested, and perfected a nuclear deterrent that 
formed the cornerstone of America's security and leadership among 
nations. Of the 1,149 nuclear detonations conducted by U.S. as part of 
its nuclear testing program, 1,021 were performed at the Nevada Test 
  The Naval Air Station at Fallon, NV, home of the Navy's preeminent 
tactical air warfare training center, was also the site of Cold War-era 
nuclear testing.
  Hawthorne Army Depot, formerly known as the Hawthorne Army Ammunition 
Plant, likewise played an important role throughout the Cold War, 
serving as a staging area for conventional bombs, rockets, and 
ammunition as it had done since World War II.
  Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, home of the first dedicated 
air warfare and later air/ground training facility, provided to Cold 
War aviators and continues to provide advanced air combat training for 
U.S. and Allied forces.
  Generations of Nevadans bore and continue to bear extraordinary costs 
as a result of these critical contributions to the Cold War effort.
  The Advisory Committee established under this legislation will 
develop an interpretive handbook telling the story of the Cold War and 
its heroes.
  I'd like to take a moment to relate a story of one group of Cold War 
  On a snowy evening, November 17, 1955, a U.S. Air Force C-54 cargo 
plane crashed near the summit of Mount Charleston in rural Nevada.
  Kept secret for years, we now know that the four aircrew and ten 
scientists aboard the doomed aircraft were bound for the secret Air 
Force Flight Test Center, where they were developing a top-secret spy 
plane that would become known as the U-2.
  These men who gave their lives that day helped build the plane that 
many critics said could never be built. Owing to the efforts of men 
like these, the critics were proved wrong: the U-2 remains a vital 
component of our reconnaissance forces to this day.
  As a result of the absolute secrecy surrounding their work, the 
families of the men who perished on Mount Charleston only recently 
learned the true circumstances of the crash that

[[Page S397]]

took the lives of their loved ones and the nature of their vital work.
  This legislation will provide $500,000 to identify historic 
landmarks, like the Mount Charleston crash site, to recognize and pay 
tribute to the sacrifices of these men and others.
  I would like to reiterate my thanks for Mr. Steve Ririe of Las Vegas, 
whose tireless efforts brought to light the events surrounding the 
death of these fourteen men on Mount Charleston over fifty years ago, 
and for the efforts of State Senator Raymond Rawson, who shepherded 
through the Nevada legislature a resolution honoring these heroes.
  A grateful Nation owes a debt of supreme gratitude to the silent 
heroes of the Cold War. I urge my colleagues to support this long-
overdue tribute to the contribution and sacrifice of these Americans.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record as follows:

                                S. 2561

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (1) Advisory committee.--The term ``Advisory Committee'' 
     means the Cold War Advisory Committee established under 
     section 3.
       (2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of the Interior.
       (3) Theme study.--The term ``theme study'' means the 
     national historic landmark theme study conducted under 
     section 2(a).


       (a) In General.--The Secretary shall conduct a national 
     historic landmark theme study to identify sites and resources 
     in the United States that are significant to the Cold War.
       (b) Resources.--In conducting the theme study, the 
     Secretary shall consider--
       (1) the inventory of sites and resources associated with 
     the Cold War completed by the Secretary of Defense under 
     section 8120(b)(9) of the Department of Defense 
     Appropriations Act, 1991 (Public Law 101-511; 104 Stat. 
     1906); and
       (2) historical studies and research of Cold War sites and 
     resources, including--
       (A) intercontinental ballistic missiles;
       (B) flight training centers;
       (C) manufacturing facilities;
       (D) communications and command centers (such as Cheyenne 
     Mountain, Colorado);
       (E) defensive radar networks (such as the Distant Early 
     Warning Line);
       (F) nuclear weapons test sites (such as the Nevada test 
     site); and
       (G) strategic and tactical aircraft.
       (c) Contents.--The theme study shall include--
       (1) recommendations for commemorating and interpreting 
     sites and resources identified by the theme study, 
       (A) sites for which studies for potential inclusion in the 
     National Park System should be authorized;
       (B) sites for which new national historic landmarks should 
     be nominated; and
       (C) other appropriate designations;
       (2) recommendations for cooperative agreements with--
       (A) State and local governments;
       (B) local historical organizations; and
       (C) other appropriate entities; and
       (3) an estimate of the amount required to carry out the 
     recommendations under paragraphs (1) and (2).
       (d) Consultation.--In conducting the theme study, the 
     Secretary shall consult with--
       (1) the Secretary of the Air Force;
       (2) State and local officials;
       (3) State historic preservation offices; and
       (4) other interested organizations and individuals.
       (e) Report.--Not later than 3 years after the date on which 
     funds are made available to carry out this Act, the Secretary 
     shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and 
     Natural Resources of the Senate a report that describes the 
     findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the theme 


       (a) Establishment.--As soon as practicable after funds are 
     made available to carry out this Act, the Secretary shall 
     establish an advisory committee, to be known as the ``Cold 
     War Advisory Committee'', to assist the Secretary in carrying 
     out this Act.
       (b) Composition.--The Advisory Committee shall be composed 
     of 9 members, to be appointed by the Secretary, of whom--
       (1) 3 shall have expertise in Cold War history;
       (2) 2 shall have expertise in historic preservation;
       (3) 1 shall have expertise in the history of the United 
     States; and
       (4) 3 shall represent the general public.
       (c) Chairperson.--The Advisory Committee shall select a 
     chairperson from among the members of the Advisory Committee.
       (d) Compensation.--A member of the Advisory Committee shall 
     serve without compensation but may be reimbursed by the 
     Secretary for expenses reasonably incurred in the performance 
     of the duties of the Advisory Committee.
       (e) Meetings.--On at least 3 occasions, the Secretary (or a 
     designee) shall meet and consult with the Advisory Committee 
     on matters relating to the theme study.


       Not later than 4 years after the date on which funds are 
     made available to carry out this Act, the Secretary shall--
       (1) prepare and publish an interpretive handbook on the 
     Cold War; and
       (2) disseminate information in the theme study by other 
     appropriate means.


       There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
     Act $500,000.