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Sen. Cruz: 2017 NDAA Provides for the Readiness of Our Military

Bill includes Cruz amendments critical to national security and Texas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued a statement following today’s final vote on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Sen. Cruz sponsored 12 amendments that were successfully adopted into the bill. 

“The most important constitutionally mandated responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense,” Sen. Cruz said. “In order to best ensure the future of our nation, we must make sure America is secure and our men and women in uniform are fully prepared to defend our freedom. This bill includes many commendable provisions that make sure our military is strong, our homeland is secure, and our interests abroad are protected. The funding and many of the reforms in this bill will benefit America’s warriors. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, in introducing and adopting 12 amendments covering a wide range of policy issues from strengthening our ability to protect ourselves through missile defense to improving our ability to stand with allies. These amendments will also assist in addressing the growing threats from nations like Russia and China, prohibiting joint military exercises with Cuba, and preventing the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo to nations that are on the State Department’s watch list. 

“Unfortunately, this legislation also forces programs on the American people that are not necessary to protect our lives and safety. It is being used as a vehicle to further agendas that have nothing to do with actually defending America. Despite the many laudable objectives in this bill, I could not in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat. Additionally, I could not vote for this legislation because I made a promise when I was elected to office that I would not vote for an NDAA that continued to allow the President to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens by indefinitely detaining them without due process.” 

Sen. Cruz sponsored the following amendments to the NDAA that were adopted by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) during the markup process:  

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.  

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. 

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. 

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.  

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. 

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.

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.

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.