Thornberry Indo-Pacific Deterrence Bill Making Waves

Apr 22, 2020
Defense Drumbeat
Wall Street Journal Weighs In On Thornberry Effort

WASHINGTON, DC - After being released last week, Rep. Mac Thornberry’s bill to create an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative focused on building partnerships and alliances to curb China’s global aspirations is making news:
 WSJ EDITORIAL BOARD: Here Comes the Asia Defense Buildup:
"Washington strategists have been talking about a “pivot to Asia” for the better part of a decade, but it may take the coronavirus to make it a reality. Last week Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, introduced $6 billion for a new initiative to deter Chinese expansion...Expect parts of Sen. Cotton and Rep. Thornberry’s legislation to be included in next year’s National Defense Authorization Act, if a stand-alone bill doesn’t pass sooner...People’s Liberation Army sees a window of opportunity amid the nationalist sentiment stirred up by President Xi Jinping. Against this backdrop it’s more important than ever for the U.S. to signal that it considers the independence of Pacific states a vital interest and isn’t retreating."  Wall Street Journal 4/22/20
 FDD's Brad Bowman & John Hardie: Aligning America’s ends and means in the Indo-Pacific:
"The U.S. combatant command responsible for the Indo-Pacific region warned in a report last month that it lacks the resources and capabilities necessary to implement the National Defense Strategy...Last Thursday, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, released draft legislation that would require the secretary of defense to establish and resource an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative, or IPDI...Like the European Deterrence IPDI would bring sustained focus on less glamorous but equally vital capabilities, especially infrastructure and logistics. An IPDI would also facilitate effective congressional oversight and demonstrate tangible American commitment that helps deter aggression. That’s essential to the successful implementation of the 2018 NDS...As Rep. Thornberry has said: 'It is time to put our money where our mouth is.'...Our war fighters in the Indo-Pacific have sounded the alarm and requested the resources they need to do their job. Leaders in Congress and the Pentagon should answer the call by establishing and funding an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative this year." Defense News 4/22/20
Pentagon Getting a Push to Shift Resources to Asia: “A push to shift U.S. military resources to Asia to counter Chinese influence is drawing new support in Congress, where a leading lawmaker wants to compel the Pentagon to invest at least $6 billion per year in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command… ‘If it’s really going to be the priority theater, we need to put our money where our mouth is on that,’ Rep. Mac Thornberry (R., Texas), the sponsor of the new legislation, said. The legislation, ...would designate the funding for the region and the military command that oversees it.” Wall Street Journal 4/16/20

Congress Seeks to Confront China With $6 Billion in New Defense Spending: “Though the Trump and Obama administrations have emphasized a military focus on the Pacific, this fund would be the first of its kind for the region—and it comes amid deepening tensions between the rival superpowers over the spread of the novel coronavirus, beyond festering disputes on Taiwan, trade, cybertheft, and geopolitical influence… ‘Every chairman of the Joint Chiefs says our greatest advantage is our partnerships, and we do nurture them,’ Thornberry said. ‘We have exercises and so forth, but taking the template that has worked so well in Europe, putting some money toward enhancing [Pacific] infrastructure, those partnerships, and those exercises, I think that’s a step up, and we need to do that.’”  Foreign Policy 4/16/20

Thornberry To Congress: Indo-Pacific Theater Needs $6B: “Creating an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative with a $6.09 billion investment in fiscal year 2021 would boost air and missile defense, fund rotational forces and prepositioned stocks, build and modernize joint training ranges across the region, and ramp up information and influence operations… Thornberry’s plan includes approximately $1 billion to boost missile defense, intel and information operations, $1.5 billion for prepositioning and logistics, $2.1 on infrastructure with $10 million for strategic construction planning and design; $350 million for programs to strengthen capacity and engagement with allies and partners; and $1 billion for training and exercises.”  Breaking Defense 4/16/20

Thornberry wants $6 billion this year to launch counter-China fund: “’The Indo-Pacific has been called our highest priority theater and I believe that is true. It is time to put our money where our mouth is," Thornberry told Defense News. "This effort consolidates and funds the policies, infrastructure, and platforms needed to reassure our allies and partners while we deter China. It also serves as a benchmark against which we can judge our efforts in the region. We may not be able to get this all done this year, but it is vital that we make a start.”  Defense News 4/16/20

116th Congress