Cornyn, Colleagues’ Bill to Quickly Replenish U.S. Defense Stockpiles After Providing Aid to Allies Signed Into Law
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statements after their Securing American Acquisitions, Readiness, and Military Stockpiles (ARMS) Act, which gives the Department of Defense (DoD) enhanced procurement authorities to quickly refill American defense stockpiles after the President provides aid to an ally or partner attacked by a foreign adversary, was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act:
“Providing aid to our allies shouldn’t jeopardize our own ability to defend our nation,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will make sure the Defense Department can quickly replenish American defense stockpiles whenever we supply aid to our partners, and I’m glad to see it signed into law.”
“As the United States continues to lead the global military aid response to Ukraine amid Putin’s unprovoked war, it has become increasingly critical that we simultaneously ensure the sustainment of our defensive weapons stockpile while also providing the materials our allies and partners need to defend themselves,” said Sen. Shaheen. “This bipartisan legislation will enhance our ability to both maintain our own defenses while also helping our allies. I’m glad to partner with Senator Cornyn to help addresses the ongoing security challenges facing the United States and our allies.”
“The U.S. has a responsibility to continue to stand by Ukraine and support President Zelenskyy’s efforts to beat back Putin’s vicious attacks on Ukraine’s sovereignty and citizens. While we must continue to supply Ukraine with the arms to defend itself, the U.S. must be able to sustain its own stockpile,” said Sen. Durbin. “I’m pleased to see the bipartisan ARMS Act signed into law as part of the NDAA to ensure that the U.S. can meet its own security needs while supporting our allies.”
“Our nation’s ability to defend itself should never suffer because of bureaucratic policies and red tape,” said Sen. Rubio. “Our bill creates necessary reforms in the defense procurement process to ensure that America and our allies receive the weapons and supplies we need.”
While critical to defending democracy abroad, lethal aid provided to Ukraine demonstrated a need to strengthen U.S. stockpiles and provide defense contractors increased certainty to meet demand. DoD contracting processes include mandatory contract review periods and lengthy competitive open-bid windows that have slowed down efforts to rebuild stores of defense articles. This could be especially damaging in an emergency requiring a rapid response.
This legislation amends the DoD’s emergency acquisition authorities to allow them to use non-competitive procedures to quickly award a contract in order to replenish defense article stocks sent to an ally or partner after an attack by a foreign adversary of the U.S.
While the DoD can use expedited procedures to speed up defense procurement in certain situations, backfilling depleted stockpiles is not one of them. This legislation lays out an exemption to permit the DoD to expedite the acquisitions process and decrease the time it takes to send aid in case of such an attack, subject to the following conditions:
- This authority can only be used when the U.S. is not a party to hostilities;
- The hostile foreign adversary is one as defined by the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 2651a(m)) and includes Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Cuba;
- This authority may also be used for contracting for the movement or delivery of defense articles transferred from the U.S. to an ally or partner;
- And DoD must report to Congress within one week after deciding to use the authority.