[HASC] – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) made the following statement about President Obama’s admission that the Russian government is cheating on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty:
“It took two years for President Obama to admit what was obvious to every other senior U.S. policymaker long ago – that the Russians are cheating on a critical arms control treaty. Instead of holding Russia accountable, the President closed his eyes, made excuses and, through his inaction, encouraged Putin to drag us into a second cold war. With the world sliding further in chaos, we must ask the obvious question. What other truths is the President not facing?”
As The New York Times reported Wednesday:
“The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday. It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia..”
The House Armed Services Committee, under the leadership of Chairman McKeon and Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), has been working to hold Russia accountable for its material violation on the INF treaty for nearly two years. As recently as July 17, 2014, the Strategic Forces Subcommittee held a hearing on this very topic: Russian Violation of the INF Treaty: After detection – what?
FACT: Congress has been pushing the President to act on Russia’s violation of the INF treaty since October 2012
Chairman McKeon, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) followed up on these concerns in a letter to President Obama in February 2014. A group of bipartisan, bicameral National Secuirty leaders in Congress introduced a resolution in March of 2014 to hold Russia accountable for its violation of the INF treaty.
FACT: President Obama threatened to veto the FY13 NDAA in December 2012, when Congress attempted to force the President to certify that Russia was complying with its arms control obligations.
As reported in The Hill in January of 2013, the White House threatened to veto the FY13 NDAA over the wording of arms control provisions that would have forced the Administration to make this determination sooner. The issue was resolved through an amendment to the fiscal cliff bill.
FACT: Secretary of State John Kerry has known about this violation since he was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
As reported by The Daily Beast in November of 2013 : “If we’re going to have treaties with people, we’ve got to adhere to them,” Kerry said, according to two U.S. officials who read the classified transcript of the hearing. “We’re not going to pass another treaty in the U.S. Senate if our colleagues are sitting up here knowing somebody is cheating.”
FACT: President Obama’s own Department of Defense has said there must be consequences when violations are detected
The Department’s Nuclear Posture Review from April of 2010 stated: “it is not enough to detect non-compliance; violators must know that they will face consequences when they are caught.”
FACT: Top military commanders have said the violations can’t go unanswered
General Phillip Breedlove, the Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, stated on April 2, 2014: “A weapon capability that violates the INF, that is introduced into the greater European land mass is absolutely a tool that will have to be dealt with. . .I would not judge how the alliance will choose to react, but I would say they will have to consider what to do about it. . .It can’t go unanswered.”
FACT: By contrast, the FY15 NDAA (H.R. 4435) includes multiple consequences for Russia’s destabilizing conduct including:
– SEC. 1225. REPORT ON NON-COMPLIANCE BY THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION OF ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE INF TREATY.
– SEC. 1644. PLAN TO COUNTER CERTAIN GROUND-LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILES AND CRUISE MISSILES.
– SEC. 1641. THEATER AIR AND MISSILE DEFENSE OF ALLIES OF THE UNITED STATES.