Thank you, for that introduction. Let me begin by thanking the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) for hosting me today. The State Department, and in particular the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has long valued AIA’s work representing the defense industry in the national security policy arena. It’s an honor to be here today and a pleasure to share the stage with Mr. Hursch.
My Bureau, Political-Military Affairs, PM, helps drive global security policy, integrates diplomacy and defense, and builds strong security cooperation partnerships. PM is the Department’s primary link to the Department of Defense, which helps to ensure our military objectives are properly nested under our broader foreign policy goals and foster strategic relationships with our allies and partners.
That means, of course, that my portfolio is global, but there is no getting around the fact that the top priorities right now – for this Administration, for my Bureau, and for me, are driven by the war in Ukraine. So I’ll return to the global picture, but let me start by addressing that conflict, and where we are heading with our assistance.
You are all, of course, aware of the vast assistance that the United States, joined by our allies and partners, with Britain very much in a leading role, have provided to Ukraine in the past months. To do so, we have adapted our peacetime procedures and mechanisms to meet the most pressing needs of our Ukrainian partners.
The result is that since Russia launched its premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine February 24, we have provided more than $7.32 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. In addition, we have approved over $450M in direct commercial sale exports and re-exports since January of this year – and that number goes into the billions if you count approvals issued for brokering, or facilitation of defense sales.
Be it the rapid processing of Third-Party Transfers, the unprecedented use of 15 (and counting) Presidential Drawdowns, or the collaborative global effort to provide Ukraine with the highest priority military equipment, I am proud of our team’s hard work and creative thinking, and proud that we are one of nearly 40 allies and partners who have joined with us to provide heavy weapons, munitions, and other vital security assistance to Ukraine. This is an effort of unprecedented scope and scale, carried out with unprecedented speed, in the face of unprecedented urgency.
But to simply meet the present need will be insufficient if we fail to anticipate the future demand. This war has created a tectonic shift, and the entire world is looking at what defense and security systems it will need moving forward, and as countries reassess their own security needs, This spring, Congress appropriated an additional $4 billion in Foreign Military Financing – more than a 50% increase in the annual military assistance budget my Bureau manages – to address the situation in Ukraine, and I would like to preview for you how we intend to use this vital funding:
Our vision for this funding balances four priorities:
First and foremost, providing direct support for Ukraine in the form of both near-term and emerging military requirements, to include longer-term sustainment and maintenance requirements for systems that have been already been provided.
Second, incentivizing and unlocking potential further contributions from our partners and allies by backfilling critical capabilities they are pledging, or are considering pledging.
Third, continuing America’s enduring commitment to European security by backfilling ally and partner capabilities where generous contributions to Ukraine have already created capability gaps.
Fourth, helping to ensure that Russia’s attack on Ukraine results in strategic failure for Russia by disrupting its defense trade relationships through assistance to offramp willing Russian defense trade partners from that relationship.
And, in support of these objectives, fifth, operationalizing the FMF loan authority Congress has recently provided for NATO, thereby demonstrating that U.S. defense trade can be supported by the flexible financing opportunities that so many of our competitors offer, and whose absence so many of our partners bewail.
This represents perhaps the most ambitious security assistance agenda in a generation, but it does not, and cannot, end with European or transatlantic security. As we work to address Russia’s challenge to the rules-based order in this theater, we must become ever more attuned to the threat posed to that same order, by the PRC, starting in the Far East. The PRC is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system – all the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work. As we turn to the pacing threat the PRC and its model of autocracy poses to the rules-based order, we can look to security cooperation and security assistance as a key element of our response.
For decades, we have worked to strengthen our security cooperation with key allies such as Japan and South Korea while creating new partnerships with countries like Vietnam, all while working hand-in-glove with Taiwan to strengthen the island’s defense and deterrence – and this Administration intends to deepen and expand that cooperation in the months and years ahead.
In September we saw the AUKUS defense partnership announcement, which builds on the Biden Administration’s commitment to revitalize alliances around the world and deepen our engagement in the Indo-Pacific. We will continue to work with longstanding multilateral organizations in addition to other U.S. allies and partners in Europe and around the world, and just last month I joined counterparts in Paris to initiate the US-France Defense Trade Strategic Dialogue, which will work on a bilateral basis to strengthen our defense trade by reviewing and addressing topics such as defense market access, the challenges of transnational acquisitions, and the requirements of export controls But these global challenges, from Ukraine to Taiwan, from the Transatlantic to the Indo-Pacific, are not ones we as a government can resolve alone. You, our partners in industry, have a pivotal role in our success – and your own.
It is not enough to arm Ukraine if it means leaving our own warehouses empty. It is not enough to promise backfills to Europe if they cannot be delivered for years. It is not enough to support Taiwan’s asymmetric defense strategy if we cannot expedite asymmetric defense systems.
It is vital, therefore, that we – government and industry – work together to shorten delivery times for critical military systems and equipment. Current production cycles are based on a deliberate peacetime procurement cycle, where production timelines often range into many years. However, we are no longer in a peacetime procurement scenario, and the current Ukraine crisis has highlighted the significant issues we face with long production timelines in crises such as the one we’re in. Even before the war in Ukraine started, long production timelines were one of the top concerns we consistently heard from our partners.
Frankly, the long lead times are affecting our competitiveness as a defense partner and preventing us from providing much-needed support to some of our closest partners when they need it. With increased demand and rising defense budgets, the demand for U.S. defense equipment will only continue to grow.
The U.S. government is looking closely at what we can do to improve production timelines, but we cannot do this on our own. Industry must step up to play a key role in these efforts. We will be looking to industry for your ideas and creative solutions on how to improve the speed of production in order to meet these critical needs.
The U.S. Government, for our part, will continue to engage diplomatically to address impediments to bilateral defense trade relations with potential recipient countries that may preclude prudent arms transfers from proceeding, limit U.S. government and U.S. defense contractors’ market access, or prevent U.S. entities from competing on a level playing field.
And that’s because, as this moment in history makes clear, strengthening America’s allies and partners through a responsible approach to security cooperation, arms transfers, and defense trade makes us all stronger and safer. And that is why, day in and day out, we are committed to a foreign policy vision of leading with diplomacy, elevating human rights, renewing alliances, and delivering for the American people by supporting and advocating for U.S. industry.
Thank you all for your time. I look forward to continuing our important work with you, and to continuing the conversation.