A top armed services Democrat proposed legislation Tuesday requiring the Pentagon to put together a strategy to counter Russia’s military capabilities.
Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith’s bill would require the Department of Defense to develop and implement a plan to address Russian modernization and new capabilities like precision strike weapons, electronic warfare and drones, The Hill reports.
“Today, we are witnessing some of the most fundamental threats to our democratic values and to the cohesion of our alliances since the beginning of the post-World War II era,” Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “Putin’s campaign to erode our institutions poses a genuine threat to our system of government and our way of life.”
Smith believes that the Russia threat has gotten worse since President Donald Trump’s election.
“President Trump has only exacerbated this problem, belittling our allies and partners, embracing dictatorships and calling into question our collective security commitments. In this situation, Congress has a responsibility to do its utmost to push back against these dark trends,” Smith said.
“It is time for us to recognize that … that if we do not stand up to this menace, we stand to lose much of what we have sacrificed to build and preserve during the life of our country,” Smith said.
Developing a comprehensive strategy is important to “deter Russian aggression, strengthen allied and partner defenses, and boost our cohesion while including measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war and avoiding a reckless plunge into a new nuclear arms race,” Smith said.
The bill would order the Pentagon to produce several reports on U.S. and allied military strength in Europe,
Trump’s Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee Monday that Russia is a competitor that the U.S. will have to confront.
“At this time … I do not see any indication that Putin would want a positive relationship with us,” Mattis said. “That’s not to say we can’t get there as we look for common ground. But at this point, he has chosen to be a strategic competitor with us and we’ll have to deal with that as we see it,” he said.
The bill “is an attempt to lay the foundations for a new security effort to combat the spread of Putinism and increase the resilience of democratic societies,” Smith said.
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