Cornyn, Shaheen Lead Bill to Quickly Replenish U.S. Defense Stockpiles After Providing Aid to Allies like Ukraine
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led the introduction of the Securing American Acquisitions, Readiness, and Military Stockpiles Act, which would give 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, including replenishing America’s stockpiles after lethal aid was sent to Ukraine for defense against Russia.
“When providing aid to allies under attack, we must ensure we can quickly replenish our own stockpiles in the process,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation would authorize faster procurement of weapons and combat articles so helping our allies and partners doesn’t diminish our ability to protect ourselves.”
“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 would enhance our ability to both maintain our own defenses while also helping our friends. I’m glad to partner with Sen. Cornyn on this legislation, which specifically addresses the current security challenges facing the United States and our allies.”
The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Angus King (D-ME), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
While critical to defending democracy abroad, lethal aid provided to Ukraine has diminished U.S. stockpiles and left defense contractors with uncertainty on timing and orders for backfill, negatively affecting their ability to quickly ramp up production. 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 legislation would amend 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 defense articles procured via this authority must be like the articles that spent from U.S. stocks;
· 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.