Durbin, Grassley Bipartisan Amendment In Support Of Baltic States Included In NDAA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), co-chairs of the Senate Baltic Caucus, today announced that their bipartisan amendment expressing support for coordinated action to ensure the security of our Baltic allies – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“Eastern Europe and the transatlantic alliance are at critical moments in their history.  We must support our allies who face the brunt of Russian cyberattacks, propaganda, and military intimidation,” Durbin said.  “The Baltic States have friends in Congress and around the world, and together we will continue to stand with them.”

“I’ve been a longtime advocate for our allies in the Baltic States. I appreciate the example of independence and democracy they set for the rest of the world and look forward to continuing to partner with them in our shared values,” Grassley said.

Along with Durbin and Grassley, the amendment is also cosponsored by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Full text of the amendment is available here and below:

Purpose: To express the Sense of Congress on support for coordinated action to ensure the security of Baltic allies.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)   the continued security of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is critical to achieving United States national security interests and defense objectives against the acute and formidable threat posed by Russia;

(2)   the United States and the Baltic states are leaders in the mission of defending independence and democracy from aggression and in promoting stability and security within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with non-NATO partners, and with other international organizations such as the European Union;

(3)   the Baltic states are model NATO allies in terms of burden sharing and capital investment in materiel critical to United States and allied security, investment of over 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense expenditure, allocating over 20 percent of their defense budgets on capital modernization, matching security assistance from the United States, frequently deploying their forces around the world in support of allied and United States objectives, and sharing diplomatic, technical, military, and analytical expertise on defense and security matters;

(4)   the United States should continue to strengthen bilateral and multilateral defense by, with, and through allied nations, particularly those that possess expertise and dexterity but do not enjoy the benefits of national economies of scale;

(5)   the United States should pursue a dedicated initiative focused on defense and security assistance, coordination, and planning designed to ensure the continued security of the Baltic states and on deterring current and future challenges to the national sovereignty of United States allies and partners in the Baltic region; and

(6)   such an initiative should include an innovative and comprehensive conflict deterrence strategy for the Baltic region encompassing the unique geography of the Baltic states, modern and diffuse threats to their land, sea, and air spaces, and necessary improvements to their defense posture, including command-and-control infrastructure, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, communications equipment and networks, and special forces.