US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin urges Senate to pass National Security Bill “immediately”

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US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin urged the Senate to pass the national security bill immediately to invest in America’s national security, which will further bolster its deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. He applauded the Senate’s passage of the vital national-security supplemental, which will advance the US’s core security interests and its bedrock values as the country continues to stand firm with its allies and partners around the world.

Moreover, he emphasised that the bipartisan legislation will also provide military aid to Ukraine to defend itself from Russia’s attacks, adding that it will also aid Israel against Hamas terror attacks. “This critical piece of bipartisan legislation will provide urgently needed military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Putin’s flagrant aggression; it will deliver additional security assistance to Israel after the October 7th Hamas terrorist assault, along with humanitarian aid for innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza; and it will bolster our deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

“The world is watching, and lives are on the line. I urge the House to pass this bipartisan bill immediately to invest in America’s national security,” Austin said. Highlighting the ongoing attacks in the Red Sea, he said that the bill would also provide additional resources for the US Central Command to support its forces in defending itself from Iranian backed militias. “The national-security bill will also provide additional resources for U.S. Central Command to support our forces facing attacks from Iranian-backed militias and protecting international commerce in the Red Sea from the Houthis’ reckless and unlawful attacks,” he added.

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Further, the bill will also strengthen the US’s domestic industries and provide resources to create more good American jobs across the country, including USD 20 billion to buy new capabilities and gear to restock US military inventories, USD 13.8 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and USD 3.3 billion to strengthen the US submarine industrial base. Austin further said, “As was the case for previous supplementals, the bulk of the supplemental would flow through our defence industrial base, supporting American jobs in dozens of states across our country and creating greater prosperity at home and greater security around the world.”

Emphasising that the most urgently felt need for this supplement is in Ukraine, he said that the top Ukrainian defence officials have already warned us that their units no longer have the stores of ammunition that they need to hold off Putin’s invading forces. He further called upon Congress to pass a full-year appropriation. “Failure to fund the Defence Department in line with the annual defence bill would have serious consequences for America’s security, economy, global standing, and democracy,” he stated.

Further reiterating the US role, Austin said, “Only one country can provide the leadership that this moment demands–and that’s the United States of America. The dangers of our time will only grow worse without strong and steady American leadership. If we do not deter other would-be aggressors, we will only invite more aggression, bloodshed, and chaos.” So the cost of American leadership remains far lower than the cost of American abdication and retreat, he added.