House Passes Defense Policy Bill Beefing Up Russia Defenses

Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, July 26, 2018 | Go to article overview

House Passes Defense Policy Bill Beefing Up Russia Defenses


The House voted Thursday to pass a $716 billion defense policy bill that includes a raft of military initiatives aimed at countering growing threats from Russia.

The Pentagon would see a hike in authorized funding for its NATO operations in Europe and develop a new, smaller nuclear warhead under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The massive bill also provides more arms to Ukraine as it fights Russia-backed rebels and gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis potential waivers to wean friendly countries off Russian dependence.

Now, the NDAA goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass easily next week before heading to President Trump’s desk. The new Russia policies come as the president is seeking to thaw relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is still drawing criticism for a summit in Helsinki where he blamed the U.S. for poor relations.

Congress’ armed services committees sought to counter Russia with the military initiatives in the NDAA after the Pentagon released its new strategy this year naming it as a top adversary.

“It advances implementation of the new national defense strategy so we can be better prepared against threats from peer or near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the House Armed Services chairman. “In fact, there are many, many provisions in this bill … directly related to countering the aggressive actions we have seen from each of those countries.”

The bill hikes spending for military deterrence in Europe to provide Army tanks and armored brigades and a bigger presence in the east where countries fear Russian aggression. …

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