Applauding Resources for International Partners, Larsen Vows to Defend Alliances “No Matter What Comes Out of This Next Administration”

Dec 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), released the following statement after the House voted on Friday 354–34 to provide $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative and $350 million to train and equip Ukrainian security forces as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017:

“NATO is not a protection racket – it is the most successful alliance in military history – and the incoming administration would do well to learn from this vote,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “The resources included in this legislation reaffirm the United States’ commitment to working with international partners who share our values – including our NATO allies – a commitment I will continue to defend no matter what comes out of this next Administration.”

The $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative will increase military presence in Europe, expand training exercises with NATO allies and partners, and improve the U.S.’ ability to respond in Europe. Budgeted programs include presence of an Army Armored Brigade Combat Team, Baltic Air Policing, and building partner capacity through increased military-to-military engagement.

The NDAA also includes $350 million for security assistance to Ukraine – which faces increased aggression from Russia and Russia-backed separatists. This assistance includes equipment, intelligence support, and training programs, with half of the funding reserved until Ukraine undertakes defense institutional reforms.

Earlier this year, Larsen forcefully defended the United States’ commitment to NATO after then-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump questioned the United States’ existing agreements with and commitment to defending its NATO allies.

A full summary of the NDAA is available here.

The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.