U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) lauded House passage of their amendment to require the first comprehensive assessment of Russian threats to the safety of U.S. troops.
The amendment to the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 passed the House floor by voice vote. It requires the Department of Defense to submit a report to Congress detailing threats from Russian forces, associates and proxies against U.S. Armed Forces and personnel in all theaters where they are engaged.
The amendment also requires reporting on actions the Administration is taking across the U.S. government to both ensure the safety of U.S. personnel, and to make clear with partners and adversaries that threats to U.S. troops are not acceptable. The amendment brings this information to the American public, as well, by requiring both a classified and unclassified version of the report.
The amendment comes a month after reports that Russian intelligence operatives paid bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan. Slotkin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, authored the amendment to ensure Congress has a comprehensive accounting of the danger to U.S. troops from Russian involvement in places like Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. Sen. Harris is leading the amendment in the Senate, and introduced it as an amendment to the Senate NDAA.
“As the wife and stepmother of soldiers and as someone who served alongside our military, I find the mere possibility that Russian operatives offered bounties for the blood of our troops chilling,” Slotkin said. “But more importantly, I believe it’s critical that the public be aware of the myriad ways the Russians are constantly attempting to undercut, thwart, and counter us abroad and at home. This is not new, but it’s critical context for the President’s cozying up to the Russians. This amendment, passed in today’s House NDAA, would require the first, comprehensive assessment of Russian threats to U.S. forces around the world. It requires an unclassified version of the report, so that those findings are transparent to the American public.”
“In passing this amendment today, the House sent a bipartisan message that we need a full accounting of the threats Russia poses,” Slotkin said. “I hope the Senate can follow up with the same. This is particularly important as the President continues to engage regularly with Putin and seeks to move the relationship closer.”
“Trump’s apparent inaction on the Russian military reportedly offering bounties to kill U.S. troops is beyond troubling,” said Harris. “One of our highest national security priorities as a country is to protect our armed forces. I applaud the House for passing this important amendment that will allow Congress to receive relevant materials on any Russian threats to service members, and I am proud to introduce this amendment in the Senate — Congress needs to know the truth.”