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Sen. Cruz Scores Victories for National Security, Texas in NDAA

Rallies bipartisan support, praise from defense experts for amendments protecting American families

May 12, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued a statement following the passage of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). The bill, which includes 12 of Sen. Cruz’s amendments, will protect the value of Texas military installations, strengthen ties with American allies, and improve the effectiveness of our national defense organizations. 

Sen. Cruz’s amendments address a number of issues critical to Texas, including enhancing border security, preventing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees, retaining Apache helicopters for the National Guard, and preventing federal encroachment on Texas military property, among others.

“Our first priority in Congress is to ensure that men and women in uniform are fully trained and equipped to defend our freedom and keep American families safe,” Sen. Cruz said. “Texas continues to be central to America’s national security, and I am grateful for the support my amendments received from SASC colleagues on both sides of the aisle. 

“This year’s NDAA is a worthy effort in many regards, and I believe meaningful strides have been made to ensure the readiness of our troops. Unfortunately, the NDAA includes a provision that will force the young women in this country to register for Selective Service and be subject to a draft. I cannot in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat. Therefore, I did not support the NDAA in committee. I will continue my efforts to speak out against the effort to force America’s daughters into combat.”

Sen. Cruz sponsored the following amendments to the NDAA that were adopted by the SASC during the markup process this week that were praised by Texans and national security experts across the country:

National Missile Defense Policy - removes a flawed statutory constraint on U.S. missile defense policy that has limited the ability of the Department of Defense to adequately plan for the protection of the homeland and the American people. By allowing defense officials to consider and plan against the full spectrum of ballistic missile threats, Washington can more completely fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. 

“Contrary to the familiar and time-worn arguments of missile defense opponents, strengthening defensive capabilities contributes to deterrence and protects the American people. We witnessed this reality in 2002 when Russia announced a major force reduction on the same day the U.S. withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Rather than fomenting an arms race, missile defense has demonstrably underpinned stability whenever America has concertedly invested in the capability. This shift in policy by the Senate Armed Services Committee is another such investment, freeing planners from an unnecessary restriction on defense planning.” - Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, Ph.D.

“Continuing to limit U.S. missile defense capabilities intentionally as a matter of policy reflects out-of-date Cold War thinking that some nuclear missile threats to America are laudable, and must not be subject to U.S. defenses. We are in a new era in which numerous countries are acquiring unprecedented missile capabilities; the old thinking no longer makes sense, if it ever did. The capacity of U.S. defenses should be determined by the character of emerging threats, U.S. security requirements, and technical opportunities—not policies from another age.” – Dr. Keith B. Payne, Professor, Missouri State University

Taiwan Military Capability - cosponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), underpins America’s long-standing partnership and strategic cooperation with Taiwan by calling for regular arms sales, supporting Taiwan’s development of capabilities to counter China’s military modernization, and expressing support for bilateral training exercises.

“Taiwan recently held free elections to choose a new president. The democracy the Taiwanese has created is a unique and remarkable achievement in Chinese history. Beijing doesn’t like the choice the people of Taiwan, and is already ratcheting up the pressure. As a friend of the people of Taiwan, the U.S. needs to communicate clearly, in words and actions, that their democratic institutions should be respected, and their differences with the mainland must be resolved peacefully.”- Patrick Chovanec, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Russia Military Power Report - requires the Department of Defense to assess Russia’s multifaceted operations in Ukraine and its destabilizing nuclear posture in an annual report to Congress. Russia’s application of hybrid warfare in Ukraine and its simultaneous pursuit of nuclear capabilities that either circumvent or violate existing treaties require considerable assessment regarding the utility and enforcement of such agreements.

“At a time when the Obama administration and most members of Congress seem to have forgotten about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing threats posed by Vladimir Putin, Sen. Cruz is fighting to direct our national security policy toward meeting these many challenges.” - Daniel Vajdich, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Prohibition on Cuba Participation in Joint Exercises - blocks funding to invite or enable the participation of Cuba in joint or multilateral exercises or security-related conferences until Congress receives written assurance from the Secretary of Defense that the Cuban military has ceased conducting human rights abuses, ceased the persecution of dissidents and faith based organizations, and Cuba has rescinded demands for the return of Guantanamo Bay. 

“The Obama administration’s insistence that Fidel and Raul Castro are now friends to America in no way makes it so. There is nothing to be gained -- and much to be lost -- by partnering with the regime that once hosted nuclear-armed missiles pointed at America and has spent five decades undermining U.S. interests around the world. This amendment is a common-sense solution from Congress that will curb the dangerous recklessness of the administration’s outreach to the Castro dictatorship.” - José R. Cárdenas, Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States

Rescind China’s RIMPAC Invitation – directs the Secretary of Defense to reconsider and justify the invitation extended to China to participate in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise. Given China’s aggressive militarization of the South China Sea, excessive claims to regional territories, and past espionage of the 2014 RIMPAC, China’s participation in this year’s RIMPAC should be examined more closely and considered in the context of an increasingly belligerent relationship.

“Given China’s growing aggressiveness, and its adversarial stance towards the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, it’s only rational that the U.S. should review China’s invitation to RIMPAC and whether that and other military-to-military contacts between our two countries are really serving the purpose for which they were intended.” - Patrick Chovanec, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Renewable Energy Hazard Assessments - requires that every renewable energy project which will be reviewed by the DOD Site Clearinghouse include an assessment of the project’s potential for electromagnetic interference and whether any other adverse effects to military operations or flight safety exist. These determinations will extend to any potentially affected military installation, military-owned or military-operated air traffic control radar site, navigation aids and military training routes and ranges. Under no circumstances should the “clean energy” agenda take precedence over the safety of our Armed Forces or their ability to conduct their missions.

“Less than two weeks ago our local delegation discussed this priority concern in Washington, D.C. with Sen. Cruz’s office. The city of Corpus Christi appreciates Sen. Cruz’s quick response, amending the NDAA as a necessary first step toward appropriate mitigation for the safety of flight training for our pilots in their mission of national security.” – Mayor Nelda Martinez, City of Corpus Christi

Apache Attack Reconnaissance Battalions in the National Guard - Sens. Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) cosponsored Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) amendment that supports the recommendations of the National Commission on the Future of the Army. Specifically, that the U.S. Army shall retain four Attack Reconnaissance Battalions in the National Guard as part of the Aviation Restructuring Initiative and allocate resources accordingly.

“Representing Fort Hood, and as a former Combat Aviation Brigade commander, my experience has shown that the importance of the National Guard and the strategic depth it provides to the defense of America cannot be overstated. Attack aviation is an integral part of this depth and keeping Attack Reconnaissance Battalions in the National Guard is not only the right balance in the Army but for our nation’s defense.” - COL(ret.) Hugh D. Shine 

Iran Cyber Capabilities Report - cosponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), expands the Department of Defense’s Annual Report on the Military Power of Iran to include assessments of 1) Iran’s cyber capabilities, including Iran’s ability to mask its cyber operations through the use of proxies, irregular forces, the IRGC, or other actors, and 2) any assistance to or from, or cooperation by Iran with other countries and non-state actors to increase cyber capabilities. 

Ukraine Security Assistance - enhances the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to include the provision of equipment and technical assistance to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, as well as training for Ukrainian military leadership. Border security of Ukraine’s sovereign territory is vital to its future stability and partnerships with senior leaders will continue to enhance existing reform efforts to improve Ukraine governance.

Guantanamo Bay Transfer Prohibition - prevents the transfer of any detainee at Guantanamo Bay to a foreign country which has been issued a State Department travel warning. Given the sizeable number of detainees confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist activities, it is only reasonable to ensure that any future detainee transfers are not negotiated with countries that are already having internal problems large enough to warrant their inclusion on this list.

Material Handling Equipment – directs the Secretary of the Army to provide an assessment of all material handling equipment, including current readiness rates and divest plans of obsolete equipment, as well as a plan for future requirements. The success of combat operations rests on the ability of our expeditionary logistics teams to keep material flowing to the front lines; the Army has invested considerably in this capability but failed to thus far provide a comprehensive sustainment strategy for continue success in the future.

Night Vision Technology for Southern Border – Sen. Cruz cosponsored Sen. Heinrich’s (D-N.M.) amendment that accelerates the transfer of any excess DOD night optical devices and thermal viewers to Customs and Border Patrol to enhance border security. This initiative is an excellent step to provide much needed support to the men and women striving to secure our borders. 

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