Armed Forces News

The $740.5 billion 2021 defense authorization bill that cleared the Senate focuses heavily upon continuation of the National Defense Strategy, which was established two years ago by former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Key provisions include:

* A 2.2-billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative, aimed specifically at China. It would enhance the U.S. deterrence and defense posture, increase readiness and capability, and deepen cooperation with allies and partners in the region.

* Other steps to counter potential Chinese threats. This would include limits on employees working for companies and funding for universities that work on projects that would benefit China, and more disclosures of funding. Lawmakers also want to know more about the Chinese and Russian defense budgets and companies, and curtail exports of defense-related goods. They also want to compel the World Bank to graduate China from its assistance programs.

* Limits on military-to-military cooperation with Russia, assistance to Ukraine, and sanctions against Turkey for its acquisition of Russian missile-defense systems. It also calls for assessments of possible expansion of U.S. military presence in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea theaters, and steps to counter Russian social-media meddling and money laundering.

* Enhancements to relationships with partner nations, to include maintaining at least 28,500 U.S. personnel in South Korea “unless certain qualifications and requirements are met.”

Giving special operations forces the authority to support partners who engage in “irregular warfare.”
Providing continued support to Israel, Taiwan, the Baltic states, India, Vietnam and Japan. Giving the Treasury Department additional tools to pursue money-laundering schemes that would fund terrorist operations.