Rep. O’Halleran and 22 Armed Services Democrats Introduce Bill to Boost Unity and Deterrence Against Russian Aggression

June 23, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), and 21 other original co-sponsors introduced the Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017. A summary of the bill is available here and its text can be found here. O’Halleran and Smith made the following statements about the bill:

“There can be no mistake, Russia’s blatant disregard for international agreements and treaties must be countered with strength on the international stage,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “I am proud to support legislation that strengthens our commitment to the collective defense of our allies. We must take action to end to this encroaching aggression and prevent future attempts to weaken our democracy, or the democratic process in countries around the world.”

“I am pleased to work with Congressman O’Halleran on this bill to forcefully and responsibly counter Russian aggression, its violation of arms treaties, and its campaign to erode democratic values worldwide,” said Rep. Smith. “It is time for Congress to lead on this issue, especially given President Trump’s unwillingness take the danger seriously. This bill adopts an intelligent and proactive approach to strengthening allied and partner defenses, increasing deterrence, and boosting our cohesion while requiring measures to reduce the risk of miscalculation and accidental nuclear war.”

The bill’s original co-sponsors are Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA), Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY).

The legislation lays the groundwork for the U.S. government to develop a comprehensive response to efforts by the Russian Federation to undermine democracies around the world and weaken U.S. alliances and partnerships.

  • Comprehensive Strategy to Counter Russia:
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a comprehensive Russia strategy, which would align 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:
    • 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: 
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • Mandates an assessment of the impacts, logistical requirements, strategic need, and cost of stationing additional permanent forces in Europe.
  • Training for Forces in Europe:
    • 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:
    • 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 GPSdenied environments.
  • Countering Unconventional Warfare:
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • 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).