Members of the House and Senate revealed a defense authorization plan Monday with new steps to enhance the U.S. military in the face of global threats, including China.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains several new provisions on U.S. military cooperation, NATO obligations and a Russian interference strategy, along with several provisions against China.
The NDAA establishes a $716 billion defense budget for fiscal year 2019, according to Stars and Stripes.
The House approved the NDAA this week, and it now heads to the Senate for a vote, and ultimately will land on President Donald Trump’s desk before the bill is official.
The US House of Representatives has approved the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allocating $716 billion to the US military. Here are some of the massive bill’s more interesting provisions. https://t.co/Nd4bwdUmns
— RT (@RT_com) July 26, 2018
A summary of the bill refers to China as “a strategic competitor that seek to shape the world toward their authoritarian model through destabilizing activities that threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
Several provisions are designed to increase military capabilities and strategies in the region, to both respond to China’s increasing military capabilities, as well as to deter further aggression from them.
One provision calls for a five-year plan for an “Indo-Pacific Stability Initiative [that] bolsters DOD’s efforts to plan for and provide the necessary forces and military infrastructure, and logistics capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.”
A provision also “directs a whole-of-government strategy on China to address the Chinese Communist Party’s use of political influence, economic tools, cyber activities, global infrastructure and development projects, and military activities against the United States and allies and partners.”
Other provisions prohibit China from participating in RIMPAC naval exercises unless granted a national security waiver, and requires a “public report on the military and coercive activities of China in the South China Sea.”
A provision also allocated $235 million for air base systems deployable to the U.S. Pacific Command region, and also expands Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) authority for five additional years to “increase maritime security and maritime domain awareness in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.”
In response to Russia and China’s progress in developing “global strike hypersonic weapons,” $150 million is allocated to “accelerate U.S. efforts to field a conventional prompt strike capability before FY22.”
USA – Russia, China – – Lawmakers say NDAA provisions combat Russian, Chinese threats – Stripes – https://t.co/Y2i8qv9Yio
— Mario Zambeli 🇺🇸 (@MarioZambeli) July 24, 2018
Among the provisions is also a prohibition on any U.S. government agency, or any company working with U.S. agencies, from using Huawei or ZTE technologies. The companies have been connected to the intelligence agency of the Chinese Communist Party, and are accused of using their devices to spy on U.S. military bases.
“For years, China has been using America’s open economy against us. It has been leveraging our investments and stealing sensitive technology and information to overcome our military advantage,” the bill’s summary said.
The bill will include “key reforms to our export controls that will better protect emerging technology and intellectual property from Beijing and other potential adversaries.”
Benjamin Friedman, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities, said the provisions aren’t “doing much of anything” because defense policies are already in place against China.
“The toughening here is theatrical mostly. We ought to be less confrontational, not more in both cases, and ask more of our allies,” he said.