American Security Can’t Wait For Democrats’ NDAA Delays

Senate Democrats Still Haven’t Brought The Annual National Defense Authorization Act To The Senate Floor While ISIS And Al Qaeda Gather Strength, China Threatens Taiwan And Works To Undermine American Military Capabilities, Iran Accelerates Its Nuclear Program, North Korea Advances Its Missile Capabilities, And Russia Threatens Ukraine And Europe

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act represents the Senate’s most consequential opportunity to help steer the course of defense and security policy. It’s our chance to lay out our priorities for keeping America safe. For the past 60 years, without exception, Senate majorities have done the job and passed this crucial bill on a bipartisan vote. But this year, our Democratic majority is sleepwalking toward yet another preventable problem. The process began with earnest deliberation among our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee. Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe presided over extensive discussions. They adopted 143 bipartisan amendments. And the Committee reported out a final bill by a margin of 23-3. Our colleagues began a process that should be end with broad support for clear, bipartisan priorities — like equipping us to keep up with China’s military modernization and combat a new generation of terrorist threats. But the Democratic Leader has left the NDAA trapped in limbo while Democrats toy with another reckless taxing and spending spree. Neglecting the NDAA denies our Armed Forces the certainty they need, and it denies the Senate a debate about the most consequential national security issues.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 11/02/2021)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “This is especially misguided in light of the Biden Administration’s erratic, rudderless approach to foreign policy. Just last week, Administration officials acknowledged that hundreds more Americans than they initially claimed remain trapped in Afghanistan… That terrorists in the country are just months away from being capable of conducting attacks on U.S. soil… And that no basing agreements to allow for “over-the-horizon” operations had yet been reached. Emboldened terrorists are already stepping up violence against Americans and our allies in the Middle East. The Administration is failing to deter Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. The Russian threat has grown since Biden took office — though you wouldn’t know it by how quiet Senate Democrats have been on the subject. Putin is committed to modernizing his military to threaten U.S. and NATO forces, weaponizing his country’s energy resources to pressure Europe, and escalating Russia’s military pressure on Ukraine. Of course, the American military, American industries, and our allies and partners are also facing a Communist China that’s hell-bent on dominating trade and repressing dissent. This is not a regional threat, but a global one. China’s comprehensive military modernization is stunning in its scope. The PRC is building weapons and capabilities to target U.S. forces at greater and greater range. We ignore this growing threat at our peril. So there is never a good time for Congress to abdicate its role in guiding and overseeing national security policy. But the Biden Administration’s muddled mess of a foreign policy makes this an especially terrible time for the Senate Democratic majority to neglect these issues.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 11/02/2021)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member: “America is less safe than we were before because of President Biden’s decisions…. America is now more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. We all understand that, and the whole world understands that. We have no plan to meet that threat. We also have to think about what this means for our biggest challenge, and that is, of course, our challengers of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran. They are all celebrating now. China is engaged in a historic nuclear buildup--one that we have never seen anything like before. Russia just conducted its largest military exercise in four decades. They are watching this debacle and thinking how weak America looks. Now, if President Biden can’t get counterterrorism right, how can his administration put together a strategy to confront China and Russia? Unfortunately, this strategic failure of our Afghanistan exit is encouraging our adversaries to test us--the exact opposite of deterrence. That is what I am worried about now…. That is why I continue to push for adequate defense funding, to make sure that we prioritize nuclear modernization, and to pass this year’s NDAA as soon as we can get it to the floor…. The NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, is one that we have passed for 61 consecutive years…. I don’t like the idea that the Democrats are putting this off as if there is no threat out there.” (Sen. Inhofe, Congressional Record, S.6935, 10/06/2021)

“Senate Republicans will press their Democratic counterparts this week on passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy law that’s been renewed every year since 1961. Led by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Senate Republicans will press Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the issue during a Tuesday press conference.” (Punchbowl News AM, 11/01/2021)

“If the Senate doesn’t take up the NDAA this week -- and there’s no sign at this point it’s going to -- this will be the third latest the chamber has ever begun consideration of the measure. The Senate Armed Service Committee passed its version of the NDAA in July, but Schumer hasn’t brought it to the floor yet. The House has already voted out its version of NDAA.” (Punchbowl News AM, 11/01/2021)


Following The Biden Administration’s Disastrous And Precipitous Withdrawal From Afghanistan, Pentagon Officials Now Admit That ISIS In Afghanistan Could Have The Capability To Strike U.S. Targets In As Little As 6 Months And ‘They Have The Intention To Do So’

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Dr. Kahl, is there more or less risk of terror attacks against Americans and American interests because of the precipitous withdrawal of American military capability from the region?”
COLIN KAHL, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy: “The intelligence community assesses that the overall risk to the homeland across the world is at its lowest point since 9/11. We’ve already discussed the possibility that ISIS-K and al-Qaida could reconstitute, and we have to be vigilant against that in Afghanistan.”
SEN. ERNST: “That does not sound like a low risk when you have just told us that the possibility, the possibility of attack from ISIS-K to our homeland could be six to 12 months from now.”
KAHL:The intelligence community assesses they could build that capability. We need to be vigilant in disrupting that.”
(U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 10/26/2021)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Kahl, did I hear you say that al-Qaida and ISIS-K are developing that capability to attack the US within two years?”
COLIN KAHL:I said it was that the current intelligence community’s assessment is that ISIS-K could potentially develop a capability within six to 12 months, and then al-Qaida could potentially develop that capability within one to two years.”
HIRONO: “How do we determine whether they have the intention or the will to attack once they have the capability to do so?”
KAHL: “Well, I think we are actually fairly certain that they have the intention to do so, and I think the committee had the opportunity to hear from the intelligence community in a classified setting not too long ago, and we can follow up in the closed session. But we have considerable evidence that they have the intent.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 10/26/2021)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Two months from his disastrous withdrawal, President Biden wants Americans to forget about Afghanistan and the Americans left behind. Too bad Islamic terrorists haven’t lost interest in the U.S. Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, spun the bleak situation as well as he could [October 26th] during Senate testimony. But there’s no denying that it won’t be long before al Qaeda and Islamic State are using their havens in Afghanistan to threaten the West…. There are some 2,000 ISIS militants based largely out of eastern Afghanistan, according to the United Nations sanctions monitors. They frequently clash with the Taliban, which has tens of thousands of fighters. But this month a Taliban spokesman ruled out cooperating with the U.S. to control ISIS, as the Biden Administration had hoped…. The reality is that without nearby basing, America’s options are limited. Washington is left at Pakistan’s mercy for overflight rights to be able to police these terror groups, as if Islamabad’s intelligence services won’t warn their friends in Afghanistan of incoming strikes…. The U.S. press corps may have lost interest in Afghanistan, but the risk to American lives is real now and will grow as the country again becomes a jihadist sanctuary.” (Editorial, “The Afghan Terror Threat,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/29/2021)


U.S. Military Superiority Against China Is Slipping, With Many Chinese Officials, Including Xi Jinping, Believing ‘That American Power Has Faltered’

“China now acts with increasing confidence, in part because many officials, including [Xi Jinping], hold the view that American power has faltered.” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)

A Recent Pentagon Report Assessed ‘Chinese Capabilities Have Already Surpassed The American Military In Some Areas’

“The Pentagon’s annual assessments of China’s military have since 2000 chronicled its evolution from a large but ineffective force into a potential rival. Its latest report said Chinese capabilities have already surpassed the American military in some areas, including shipbuilding, conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defense systems. All three would be essential in any conflict over Taiwan. ‘I worry that they are accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States,’ Admiral Philip S. Davidson, the retiring commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March. ‘Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before then, and I think the threat is manifest during this decade; in fact, in the next six years.’” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)

“China’s leaders began the long, politically fraught process of overhauling the People’s Liberation Army after watching the United States put its military power on display in the Persian Gulf war against Iraq in 1990. Six years later, they understood just how far behind their military had fallen when the United States dispatched two aircraft carriers near Taiwan in response to China firing missiles into the seas near the island. After the American show of force, China backed down. Robert L. Thomas, a former vice admiral who commanded the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet in Japan, recalled a meeting with a Chinese admiral in 2015. The admiral told him that the 1996 confrontation still stung nearly two decades later…. Since then, China’s leaders have poured money into the People’s Liberation Army. In a decade, military spending grew by 76 percent, reaching $252 billion in 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute…. Mr. Xi has also reorganized the military, raising the status of naval and air forces and pushing commanders to master joint warfare. In an exercise last year, the military conducted a drill that simulated sealing off the Taiwan Strait from outside forces. What was unthinkable in 1996 could now be within reach.” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)

VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF GEN. JOHN HYTEN: “Calling China a pacing threat is a useful term because the pace at which China is moving is stunning… The pace they’re moving and the trajectory they’re on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don’t do something to change it. It will happen. So I think we have to do something.” (Senior US General Warns China’s Military Progress Is ‘Stunning’ As US Is Hampered By ‘Brutal’ Bureaucracy, CNN, 10/29/2021)

China Recently Tested A Hypersonic Missile ‘Designed To Evade American Nuclear Defenses,’ Which The Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Fears Could Be ‘A Sputnik Moment’

“China’s testing of a hypersonic missile designed to evade American nuclear defenses was ‘very close’ to a ‘Sputnik moment’ for the United States, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday in the first official confirmation of how Beijing’s demonstration of its weapon capabilities had taken American officials by surprise. The tests, which could revive fears of a Cold War-like arms race, come as Beijing is spending heavily to modernize its military and may be seeking to expand its nuclear arsenal. Two separate tests, reported earlier by The Financial Times, took place this summer, conducted in a fashion that Chinese officials knew would be highly visible to American satellites.” (“China’s Weapon Tests Close to a ‘Sputnik Moment,’ U.S. General Says,” The New York Times, 10/27/2021)

  • “What apparently made the Chinese tests unsettling, military experts said in recent interviews, was that — in a first — it combined two well-known military technologies that previously had been developed separately, starting a half-century ago. The first of the two technologies was a weapon that circled the globe before speeding toward its target, an approach the Soviet Union had pioneered in 1960s. Known as the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, or FOBS, the Soviet concept was to send a nuclear warhead into a partial orbit of the Earth before it plunged back through the atmosphere toward a target. The system was seen as ideal for surprise attacks because the weapon could fly on any course, even over the South Pole, and in theory could evade radars and detection…. Separately, the Soviets and others worked to develop hypersonic weapons, which by definition could fly at more than five times the speed of sound, sometimes to deliver conventional weapons, not nuclear warheads. The United States began investigating that technology more than a half century ago, and a RAND Corporation report in 2017 said more than two dozen nations, including China, were experimenting with hypersonic flight. The appeal was clear: With the United States deploying more missile defenses in the Pacific, largely aimed at containing North Korea, Chinese strategists wanted to demonstrate that they could easily evade the antimissile technologies that the United States had spent roughly $400 billion over the decades to develop. Starting in 2014, Beijing conducted a series of hypersonic flight tests, and it has since deployed with its armed forces a medium-range missile known as the DF-17. The missile, topped with a hypersonic glide vehicle, has become a fixture in Beijing’s military parades and images of it are widely available.” (“China’s Weapon Tests Close to a ‘Sputnik Moment,’ U.S. General Says,” The New York Times, 10/27/2021)

“The hypersonic and nuclear weapons China are building, [Gen. John] Hyten said, are only partially to do with Taiwan. Rather, they’re ‘meant for the United States of America.’ ‘We have to assume that, and we have to plan for that, and we have to be ready for that, and that’s the position they’re putting us in with the weapons they’re building.’” (Senior US General Warns China’s Military Progress Is ‘Stunning’ As US Is Hampered By ‘Brutal’ Bureaucracy, CNN, 10/29/2021)

The Debacle In Afghanistan Encouraged Beijing To Stage ‘Military Exercises Explicitly Designed To Show Off Its Prowess’ And ‘Simulate An Invasion Across The Taiwan Strait’

“Two days after the fall of Kabul in August, as the Biden administration scrambled to evacuate thousands stranded by the American withdrawal, China staged military exercises explicitly designed to show off its prowess. Chinese warships fired missiles into the sea south of Taiwan, while amphibious landing vehicles swept ashore a beach in China. It was one of the largest exercises ever to simulate an invasion across the Taiwan Strait. In previous drills, the People’s Liberation Army maintained a gauze of deniability about its imagined adversary, but this time it left no doubt.” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)

In The Wake Of Over 150 Chinese Military Aircraft Incursions Into Taiwan’s Air Defense Zone Last Month, Taiwanese Officials Warn The Situation Is ‘The Most Serious’ In Over 40 Years

“Tensions between Taipei and Beijing are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan’s defense minister says, citing a recent increase in incursions by Chinese military aircraft into the island’s air defense identification zone. Although no shots have been fired, Taiwan says that nearly 150 aircraft belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force entered the zone in a four-day period beginning [October 1st], as part of what Taiwan calls a strategy of harassment. Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng called the situation ‘the most serious’ in the more than 40 years since he joined the military.” (“Taiwan Says Tensions With China Are At Their Worst In 4 Decades,” NPR, 10/06/2021)

  • “The 25 Chinese fighter jets, bombers and other warplanes flew in menacing formations off the southern end of Taiwan, a show of military might on China’s National Day, Oct. 1. The incursions, dozens upon dozens, continued into the night and the days that followed and surged to the highest numbers ever on [October 4th], when 56 warplanes tested Taiwan’s beleaguered air defenses. Taiwan’s jets scrambled to keep up, while the United States warned China that its ‘provocative military activity’ undermined ‘regional peace and stability.’… As such confrontations intensify, the balance of power around Taiwan is fundamentally shifting, pushing a decades-long impasse over its future into a dangerous new phase.” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)

“Citing a new internal report, Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, warned on Wednesday that China could have the military capacity to blockade the Taiwan Strait as early as 2025. Chiu said such a capability would pose a ‘grave challenge’ to the self-governed island. The report said that about 380 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense zone last year and that more than 600 such incursions have taken place so far this year. It also noted that Beijing now has two aircraft carriers and is increasing production of submarines and destroyers while building up its amphibious assault capabilities.” (“Taiwan Says Tensions With China Are At Their Worst In 4 Decades,” NPR, 10/06/2021)

  • “An internal assessment of the Chinese military by Taiwan’s defense ministry, reviewed by The New York Times, also documented the increasing challenge. China’s military, for example, has developed the capability to cripple communications around the island, the assessment found. That could hamper the arrival of American reinforcements. ‘This really is the grimmest time I’ve seen in my more than 40 years working in the military,’ Taiwan’s minister of defense, Chiu Kuo-cheng, told lawmakers [recently]. China already had the means to invade Taiwan, though still at a high price, he said. ‘By 2025, the cost and attrition will be squeezed lowest, and so then it could be said to have “full capability”.’” (“‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, 10/09/2021)


Iran ‘Is Moving Forward Aggressively With Its [Nuclear] Program’

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: “Iran, unfortunately, is moving forward aggressively with its program. The time it would take for it to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon is getting shorter and shorter. The other thing that’s getting shorter is the runway we have, where, if we do get back into compliance with the agreement, and Iran gets back into compliance, we actually recapture all of the benefits of the agreement. Iran is learning enough, doing enough, so that that’s starting to be a problem.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 10/31/2021)


North Korea Continues Provocative Tests Of Multiple Kinds Of Missiles, From Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles To ‘A Newly Developed Hypersonic Missile’

“North Korea test-fired a new, smaller ballistic missile from a submarine, state media confirmed on [October 20th], a move that analysts said could be aimed at more quickly fielding an operational missile submarine. The statement from state media came a day after South Korea’s military reported that it believed North Korea had fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast, the latest in a string of North Korean missile tests.” (“N.Korea Confirms Submarine Launch Of New Ballistic Missile,” Reuters, 10/20/2021)

“North Korea test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile this week, state news media KCNA reported on [September 29], joining a race headed by major military powers to deploy the advanced weapons system. North Korea fired the missile off its east coast towards the sea on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said …” (“N.Korea Joins Race For New Hypersonic Missile With Latest Test,” Reuters, 9/29/2021)

“The missiles fired by North Korea on Wednesday were a test of a new ‘railway-borne missile system’ designed as a potential counter-strike to any forces that threaten the country, state news agency KCNA reported on [September 16]. The missiles flew 800 km (497 miles) before striking a target in the sea off North Korea’s east coast, KCNA said. On Wednesday, South Korean and Japanese authorities said they had detected the launch of two ballistic missiles from North Korea, just days after it tested a cruise missile that analysts said could have nuclear capabilities.” (“N.Korea Says It Tested New Railway-Borne Missile System To Strike ‘Threatening Forces’,” Reuters, 9/16/2021)

“North Korea carried out successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media said on [September 13], seen by analysts as possibly the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability. The missiles are ‘a strategic weapon of great significance’ and flew 1,500 km (930 miles) before hitting their targets and falling into the country’s territorial waters during the tests on Saturday and Sunday, KCNA said.” (“N.Korea Tests First ‘Strategic’ Cruise Missile With Possible Nuclear Capability,” Reuters, 9/13/2021)


Russia Has Renewed A Buildup Of Forces Along The Ukrainian Border And Continues To Dangle Restricted Energy Supplies As A Threat Against Europe

‘Russia Is Once Again Massing Troops And Military Equipment On The Border With Ukraine’

“A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank… The renewed movements of Russian forces in the area come as the Kremlin embraces a harder line on Ukraine. Russian officials from President Vladimir Putin on down have escalated their rhetoric in recent months, attacking Kyiv’s Western ties and even questioning its sovereignty. Putin has warned that any expansion of NATO military infrastructure on Ukrainian territory represents a ‘red line’ for Moscow.” (“Russian Troop Movements Near Ukraine Border Prompt Concern In U.S., Europe”, The Washington Post, 10/31/2021)

“New commercial satellite photos taken on Monday confirm recent reports that Russia is once again massing troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine after a major buildup this spring. The new images taken by Maxar Technologies and shared with POLITICO show a buildup of armored units, tanks and self-propelled artillery along with ground troops massing near the Russian town of Yelnya close to the border of Belarus. The units, which began moving in late September from other areas of Russia where they are normally based, including the elite 1st Guards Tank Army. Meanwhile, a new analysis by Jane’s on Monday reveals that equipment from Russia’s 4th Tank Division has been moved to areas around Bryansk and Kursk close to Ukraine’s northern border. The units are equipped with T-80U main battle tanks and self-propelled artillery. Elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army have also been spotted in the area…. The deployment ‘marks a clear deviation from the 1st Guards Tank Army’s standard training pattern,’ which normally takes place around Moscow, Jane’s said.” (“Satellite Images Show New Russian Military Buildup Near Ukraine,” Politico, 11/01/2021)

‘The Kremlin Has A Track Record Of Using Gas Politically’

“U.S. President Joe Biden’s global energy security adviser said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting close to using natural gas as a political tool if Russia is holding back fuel exports to Europe as it suffers an energy crunch. ‘I think we are getting close to that line if Russia indeed has the gas to supply and it chooses not to, and it will only do so if Europe accedes to other demands that are completely unrelated,’ Amos Hochstein, Biden’s adviser, told reporters, when asked if Putin was using gas as a weapon.” (“Russia Close To Using Natural Gas As Weapon In Europe’s Gas Crunch - Biden Energy Adviser,” Reuters, 10/25/2021)

“Natural gas, already in short supply in Europe this fall, began moving away from Germany on Saturday and back toward the east in an unusual reversal in a major Russian pipeline, Russian media reported…. [T]he reversal is playing out against a backdrop of a politically charged explosion in gas prices in Europe and accusations that the Kremlin is restricting gas supplies for political purposes. One such purpose is to prod the E.U. into approving a new pipeline, Nordstream 2, that would bring gas from Russia directly to Germany, bypassing Eastern Europe…. Analysts say Russia has for weeks now been slow to supply fuel to make up for shortfalls, often by limiting deliveries to its own storage facilities.” (“A Russian Pipeline Changes Direction, and Energy Politics Come to the Fore,” The New York Times, 10/30/2021)



Related Issues: Iran, America's Military, Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, ISIL, NDAA, National Security, Russia, North Korea, China