ASSISTANT SECRETARY LEWIS: Thank you, Marcos Perestrello, for that kind introduction.  It’s a real pleasure to be with you all today.

Nearly 75 years ago, at the beginning of the Cold War, the free and democratic world was at a turning point.  With the threat of Soviet aggression looming over Europe, our nations came together and created NATO, to fortify our collective defense, deter aggression, and preserve peace.

Today, the winds of history are changing once again.  With Russia’s brutal aggression and full-scale war against Ukraine, among other destabilizing actions, we are not merely seeing a test of the post-Cold War era – we are experiencing the end of it.  We face not only the renewal of strategic competition, but also extraordinary challenges that transcend countries and borders, from climate change and violent extremism to democratic backsliding.

No nation can tackle these challenges alone – we need to face them together.  And we have.

Over the past year, I have been in Ukraine, The Netherlands, Poland, and beyond.  Together, the State Department has been integrating diplomacy and defense to renew and reimagine our alliances and partnerships, harness our common strength, and rise to the challenges of our time.

Today, I’d like to speak to you more about how the State Department is managing a tectonic change in security assistance to help build stronger alliances and partnerships for this new era.

I’ll start with the tremendous work we are doing together in Ukraine and Eastern Europe; pivot to what we are doing to build on this progress, both at home and globally; and then end on how we need to work together to secure these wins.

Ukraine

Since we are here at the NATO Parliamentary Forum, I’d like to start with the incredible work we are doing to strengthen our security cooperation with Ukraine and our Transatlantic Allies and partners.

We recognize, as you do, that Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine is not only a threat to European security, but it is also a deliberate and well-coordinated attack upon the very ideas that govern our world – sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.

While Russia’s war of aggression may be unprecedented in Europe in the 21st century, if Putin succeeds, it may very well not be the last.

We cannot let this happen.

Since February 2022, Allies and partners around the world have come together to condemn Russia’s brutal full-scale invasion and help the people of Ukraine defend themselves from this aggression.

Over the past nearly two years, we have managed a tectonic increase in the size, scale, scope, and speed of U.S. and Allied security assistance to support Ukraine.  This is helping the people of Ukraine defend themselves today and deter aggression tomorrow.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, the United States has provided over $44 billion in military assistance.  We also recognize and salute our Allies, who have provided more than $35 billion in security assistance, and over $43 billion in economic and humanitarian support.  The three biggest European donors to Ukraine—Germany, the United Kingdom, and Poland—have all committed more than the United States as a percentage of GDP, and so have many other European countries, including Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden.

This transformation in security assistance is perhaps best represented through our use of Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA.  Under this authority, we transfer DoD inventory directly to the Ukrainian military, often in a matter of days or hours.

Historically, PDA was a very rarely used mechanism, but it has allowed us to meet the scale of this challenge, quickly providing significant assistance to Ukraine.  In less than two years, we have processed 44 packages of arms and equipment for Ukraine.  Furthermore, the historical cap for PDA was $100 million.  Last fiscal year, as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Congress increased the cap by almost 15,000 percent up to $14.5 billion.

We are rapidly processing Direct Commercial Sales and Third Party Transfers of U.S.-origin munitions to facilitate arms transfers and donations to Ukraine, including from many countries represented in this room.

We have also provided over $182 million in humanitarian demining to protect civilians in Ukraine from the risk of unexploded ordnance.  Never before has the United States provided so much demining assistance so quickly for an effort so large.

Strengthening the international coalition

We have also taken historic steps to strengthen the international coalition backing Ukraine to further reinforce our collective defense and deterrence.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion, Congress increased appropriations for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) available to European partners and allies by over 1,365 percent.  This funding was intended to help Ukraine and countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine, primarily along NATO’s Eastern Flank.  This surge in security assistance has enabled critical donations to Ukraine while also assisting countries as they divest from Soviet-legacy and Russian systems.

In addition to supporting Ukraine, we’ve provided $2.6 billion in FMF to regional Allies and partners.  This funding is a direct investment in the future of European security, and it has been instrumental in helping Allies and partners modernize their militaries and invest in interoperability.

By launching the largest security assistance effort in a generation, our message is clear: the United States stands with its friends, we stand with democracy, and our commitment to the UN Charter and international law will not waver.

Indo-Pacific

NATO partners in the Indo-Pacific are also standing with us and providing critical leadership because they recognize that prosperity, security, and stability in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific are inherently interconnected.

As the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida said when I was in Singapore, Ukraine today may be Asia tomorrow.

That’s why we are moving across the board to strengthen our diplomacy, our deterrence, and our defense.

While Russia is an immediate threat, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) stands as our shared long-term challenge.  In the past few years, the PRC has become increasingly repressive at home and coercive abroad:  pressuring its neighbors, attempting to take control of critical supply chains, and seeking to use inconsistencies in our collective control of our most important defense technologies and technical knowledge to its advantage.

We are facing hybrid threats, not just in the cyber and information domains, but also when it comes to protecting the knowledge and innovation of our defense industry and our technical knowledge.  Taken together, these behaviors threaten to undermine global stability and security.  Innovation is one of the great strengths of our Alliance, and we must protect our most critical defense technologies to ensure we retain this advantage.

Intense competition requires intense diplomacy, and as President Biden said in San Francisco, the United States and the PRC need to responsibly manage the bilateral relationship.  The world is expecting us to do so, and the United States is committed to doing so.

We will compete with confidence, cooperate wherever our interests align, such as on climate change and countering the synthetic narcotics global epidemic, and maintain open lines of communication to ensure tensions do not veer into conflict.

Just as we are in Europe, the United States is strengthening our friendships in the Indo-Pacific to shore up deterrence, open the door to diplomacy, and bolster our shared security and prosperity.

And we are making great progress in this region as well.

We are building capacity for Allies and partners to better defend their maritime boundaries and strengthen their maritime domain awareness.

We are implementing AUKUS, our security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom, to help advance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

We are confronting the legacies of the Vietnam War throughout Southeast Asia, working with Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to clear unexploded ordnance, bring closure to families of soldiers missing in action, and demonstrate what we can do together.

And we are strengthening our cooperation with Taiwan to bolster deterrence and maintain peace and stability across the Strait.  This is an important issue, not just for the United States, but for the whole world, and we all have an interest in preserving peace and prosperity in this critical region.

As NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg recently said, NATO is a regional alliance, but the challenges we face are global.  We must continue to speak out against aggression, stand up for democracy, and step up to build a safer, more secure, and more prosperous world.

National Security Supplemental

We have come a long way, but our work is not yet done.  The Administration recently put forward our national security supplemental which will build on this progress, providing an additional $16.3 billion for the Department of State to support Ukraine and countries impacted by this war.

The Road Ahead

Now that I’ve told you more about what the United States and the State Department are doing to meet this moment, let me turn toward what we need to do in the years ahead.

As the G7 Joint Declaration stated earlier this year, our commitment to a free, democratic, and sovereign Ukraine is unwavering.  We are here for the long-haul, helping Ukraine can build a sustainable force capable of defending itself now and deterring aggression in the future.

While the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its Allies, we need your leadership, your grit, and your courage to seize this moment.

The same leadership and generosity that encouraged Poland to give Ukraine a third of its military weapons.

The same grit that compelled the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark to commit to providing nearly five dozen F-16s.

The same courage that led Estonia to donate the equivalent of half of its annual defense budget to Ukraine.

We are in a race against time.  Russia will rearm and try again. We recognize that capacity is limited, but now is the time for all of us to dig deep. Now is the moment to invest in our own sources of strength, deepen our security cooperation, and build up Ukraine so it can defend itself, develop its long-term capabilities, and deter future aggression.

While we face many challenges, we also have opportunities to build a better, safer, and more prosperous future.  This includes reimagining how our countries procure and build defense articles to keep our people safe.  We have a great opportunity to further our security cooperation and deliver for democracy, but we need to get this right.

Transitioning Off Russian Equipment (TORE)

First, we need to reimagine how our countries procure defense articles and services.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, countries around the world that employ Russian systems have witnessed poor performance and reliability of Russian-origin equipment on the battlefield, while their own militaries suffer from a lack of parts and maintenance because Russia is unable to provide them.

They recognize that Russia will no longer be a reliable defense partner, having been choked off by sanctions.  Countries that employ Russian equipment now feel at risk, and they want to diversify their weapons to enhance their security.  They also have recognized that Soviet-legacy governance structures are less effective and reliable than democracy-based security sector governance practices.

The United States is providing security assistance to partners such as Ecuador and Zambia to help them transition off Russian equipment, but there’s more we can and must do.

This shift also creates opportunities for our Allies.

We have, quite literally, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition countries off Russian-origin equipment, improve NATO interoperability, promote transparency and accountability in security sectors, and strengthen our defense industrial capacity.  But we need your help to transition off Russian equipment and encourage traditional Russian partners to do the same.  In doing so, we will also magnify Russia’s strategic defeat in Ukraine by reducing its enduring influence through arms transfers, one of its leading sources of export revenue.

Reinvigorating the arsenal of democracy

As you all know, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also led to an unprecedented increase in demand for U.S. defense articles.  We are committed to meeting these rising defense requirements, but this won’t happen overnight.

We are doing all we can to ramp up industrial capacity and reduce long lead times.  While the Department of State approves 95% of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases within 48 hours, we are seeking improved efficiencies with our review and approval of the remaining 5% of cases.  Our answer is “FMS 2023”, which will ensure our FMS system is built for this era of strategic competition.

The U.S. government is also working closely with the defense industry to expand production capacity.

Finally, we need to reexamine past assumptions that, while they may have made sense in the 20th century, may no longer apply in the 21st.

We need our NATO Allies to step up and help us meet this unprecedented rise in demand for defense articles.

We need NATO Allies to invest more, not only in your defense budgets, but also in your own defense industrial capacity, as well as considering greater co-development and co-production with U.S. industry.

To ensure Putin’s war is a strategic failure for Russia, we must implement Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, proactively ensuring that Allies “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”

Conclusion

Russia’s unprovoked war may be the largest challenge facing NATO in decades, but it has also given us renewed urgency and clarity of purpose.  Now more than ever, we need to harness this energy and momentum.  Let us not forget what is at stake.

While we have come a long way, we have further to go:

To ensure Ukraine has what it needs, today and tomorrow, to be a bulwark against aggression.

To continue modernizing defense and deterrence in Europe.

To rethink our approach to defense acquisitions and production.

And to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law that makes us all safer.

Just our nations did 75 years ago, we must adapt to this turning point in history.  That is our challenge.  That is our purpose.  And that is what we can and must do.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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