Cornyn, Shaheen, Rubio, Durbin Bill to Quickly Replenish U.S. Defense Stockpiles After Providing Aid to Allies like Ukraine Passes Senate
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statements after their 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, passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act:
“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’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for supporting 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.”
“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 equip Ukraine with the arms to defend itself, the U.S. must sustain its own stockpile,” said Sen. Durbin. “I’m grateful that my colleagues understand the magnitude of this issue and that the ARMS Act has earned bipartisan support through its passage in the NDAA.”
The legislation is also cosponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
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 DoD must report to Congress within one week after deciding to use the authority.