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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BRIDENSTINE. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to support the Turner amendment.

The President, as everybody remembers, told then-Russian President Medvedev that we would have more flexibility to cut a secret deal--of course, he didn't use the word ``secret,'' but I think we all understand that's what it was--on missile defense after the 2012 elections.

We also know that the National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, conveyed a letter from the President to Russian President Putin that reportedly proposed a missile defense agreement that would avoid congressional review and consent. Given this administration's lack of transparency, I have no confidence in the President's abilities to negotiate on missile defense or on nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman, missile defenses protect our Nation. They protect our deployed forces and our allies from attack. Our nuclear deterrent is a stabilizing force that promotes restraint and assures our allies of security.

Given our economic and military superiority currently, we have military dominance when compared to Russia. I personally don't trust this President to negotiate it away. And I think it's important that we, as Members of Congress, should have oversight here.

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Mr. BRIDENSTINE. I would just like to make a couple of points.

Number one, these troops are not for NATO. These troops are for the European Command. These troops are for the United States of America. I'm a Navy pilot myself. I've been a part of units that deploy, that rotate. What I can say is that, when units rotate, the training that we get with our allies is less robust and is just not as good as if you have a permanent presence where you can integrate with our NATO allies. It's true that we are integrated with our NATO allies, but it is also true that these troops are for European Command.

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Mr. BRIDENSTINE. Madam Chair, I rise in support of my amendments, No. 116 and No. 158, in the en bloc package.

My first amendment requires the Department of Defense to annually assess military and security developments involving the Russian Federation.

To be quite frank, the Obama administration's so-called ``reset policy'' with Russia is in shambles. Moscow has been intransigent on Iran, continues to supply Syria with weapons, occupies Georgia, has repeatedly threatened our NATO allies with nuclear strikes, and continually seeks to undermine the political independence of former Soviet satellite states.

Vladimir Putin announced plans to spend about $750 billion to modernize the Russian military. The Putin build-up envisions modernized and robust nuclear, space and cyber forces. By the way, Madam Chairman, not too long ago Putin called the Soviet Union's collapse ``the greatest geopolitical catastrophe for the century.''

Russian military modernization concerns us and our allies and our friends, particularly those in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. It is imperative that Congress understand the implications of Russia's military buildup for our bilateral relationship and regional stability.

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Mr. BRIDENSTINE. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to thank my friend from Kansas (Mr. Huelskamp) for offering amendment No. 236. He is a champion for religious freedom.

As a Navy pilot with Iraq and Afghanistan combat tours, I am concerned that senior Air Force officials have taken advice from an anti-Christian zealot when drafting guidance on culture and standards.

The president of the badly misnamed Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mr. Mikey Weinstein, has described Christians as human monsters and monstrously savage, responsible for racism, bigotry, and prejudice. He even called the presence of committed Christians in the military a national security threat comparable to al Qaeda.

Mr. Chairman, we're not asking to approve the military's calendar appointments, but given this situation, Congress needs to know when the military meets with anti-Christian fanatics on issues regarding religious liberty.

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