Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) will host a press conference unveiling the Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017. The press conference will occur at 10:45am ET in room 2118 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Ranking Member Smith released the following embargoed statement on the bill, policy summary of the bill, and bill text:
“Today, we are witnessing some of the most fundamental threats to our democratic values and to the cohesion of our alliances since the beginning of the post-World War II era. President Putin’s campaign to erode our institutions poses a genuine threat to our system of government and our way of life.
“It is time for us to recognize that this challenge must become one of the central concerns of U.S. national security strategy, and that if we do not stand up to this menace, we stand to lose much of what we have sacrificed to build and preserve during the life of our country. This threat merits a comprehensive response that will deter Russian aggression, strengthen allied and partner defenses, and boost our cohesion while including measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war and avoiding a reckless plunge into a new nuclear arms race.
“President Trump has only exacerbated this problem, belittling our allies and partners, embracing dictatorships, and calling into question our collective security commitments. In this situation, Congress has a responsibility to do its utmost to push back against these dark trends.
“This bill represents a forceful and responsible counter to Russia’s provocations. It is an attempt to lay the foundations for a new security effort to combat the spread of Putinism and increase the resilience of democratic societies.
“It is only one component of such an effort, but it a step we must take. I hope that Congress will include these proposals in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018, and build on them as we seek to preserve democracy and freedom.”
The Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017
Summary: The Russian Federation has pursued a deliberate campaign to undermine democracies around the world and weaken U.S. alliances and partnerships. The United States government has not developed a comprehensive response to this danger, including efforts to enhance military deterrence, respond to aggression, and punish Russian violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, while acting responsibly to reduce the risk of miscalculation and accidental nuclear war. The Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017 would lay the groundwork for such a response.
- Comprehensive Strategy to Counter Russia:
o Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a comprehensive Russia strategy, which would allow for the alignment of U.S. and allied efforts to deter and respond, if necessary, to Russian aggression.
- Reaffirming Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty
- Conventional Weapons in Europe:
o Mandates a plan to boost stocks and pre-positioning of forward-deployed conventional precision-strike munitions in order to increase conventional deterrence against Russia.
- Reducing Risks of Miscalculation and Nuclear War:
o Supports the U.S. interest in strategic stability by requiring parallel planning to reduce the risks of miscalculation and unintended consequences that could precipitate a nuclear war.
- Imposing Sanctions for INF Noncompliance:
o Requires a plan to impose sanctions on Russia to punish its violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
- Forward Presence of Forces in Europe:
o Mandates an assessment of the impacts, logistical requirements, strategic need, and cost of stationing additional permanent forces in Europe.
- Training for Forces in Europe:
o Mandates an assessment of training ranges and facilities in Europe, any capability gaps and requirements for improvements in those facilities, and training requirements for additional permanent or rotational forces in Europe.
- Countering Russian Military Modernization:
o Mandates plans to counter Russia’s military capabilities, including unmanned systems, electronic warfare, and long-range precision strike capabilities, as well as a plan to accelerate programs to improve U.S. military operability in GPS-denied environments.
- Countering Unconventional Warfare:
o Mandates delivery of a whole-of-government strategy to counter Russian unconventional warfare efforts, as required by Section 1097 of the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. No. 114-92).
- Countering Russian Propaganda:
o Strengthens efforts to counter Russia propaganda aimed at undermining U.S. and allied national security by prioritizing funding for the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, recognizing the Russian Information Group established by EUCOM, and encouraging greater leveraging of the U.S. Global Engagement Center.
- Strengthening Cyber Cooperation:
o Strengthens cyber cooperation with NATO partners and regional allies by emphasizing bilateral training, and prioritizing funding and collaboration with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
- Maritime Response:
o Requires an assessment of Naval efforts as a component of the comprehensive Russia strategy, and highlights the need for increased availability of fast-attack submarines as noted in the 2016 Force Structure Assessment (2016).