Cornyn, Shaheen, Rubio, Durbin Lead Bill to Quickly Replenish U.S. Defense Stockpiles After Providing Aid to Allies like Ukraine
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Securing American Acquisitions, Readiness, and Military Stockpiles (ARMS) 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:
“We have a responsibility to support our allies and partners who are attacked by a foreign adversary, but we must also be able to protect ourselves,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This bill would ensure the Department of Defense can provide aid to our allies and replenish our own defense stockpiles simultaneously, and I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this critical legislation.”
“The United States has led the global military aid response to Putin’s unprovoked, barbaric war in Ukraine. As we continue to provide the materials and arms our partners need to defend their freedom, it is critical that we simultaneously ensure the sustainment of our own weapons stockpile,” said Sen. Shaheen. “This bipartisan legislation would enhance our ability to maintain and replenish U.S. defense stocks while ensuring our partners have the support they need. I’m glad to join Sen. Cornyn and lead this legislation, which will address the critical security challenges facing the United States and our partners and allies now and in the future.”
“Our nation’s ability to defend itself should never suffer because of bureaucratic policies or red tape,” said Sen. Rubio. “Our bill creates necessary reforms in the defense procurement process to ensure that America, and our allies, receive the weapons and supplies we need.”
“The U.S. has a responsibility to stand by Ukraine and support President Zelensky’s efforts to beat back Putin’s vicious attacks on Ukraine’s sovereignty and citizens. While we must continue to supply Ukraine with the arms to defend itself, the U.S. must be able to sustain its own stockpile,” said Sen. Durbin. “I’m signing onto the bipartisan ARMS Act to ensure that the U.S. can meet its own security needs while supporting our allies.”
While critical to defending democracy abroad, lethal aid provided to Ukraine demonstrated a need to strengthen U.S. stockpiles and provide defense contractors increased certainty to meet demand. 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 could be especially damaging in an emergency requiring a rapid response.
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 the DoD must report to Congress within one week after deciding to use the authority.