Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3), Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, introduced the NATO Enhancement Act of 2012. Companion legislation to Sen. Dick Lugar's bill (S.2177), it would add to previous bills where Congress has expressed support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) eastward expansion and designated former communist countries as eligible for U.S. assistance to become NATO members. In addition, the proposed legislation reaffirms NATO's role as a nuclear alliance and calls on the Administration to seek further allied contributions to a NATO territorial missile defense capability.
"These nations have a mutual goal of freedom from tyranny and the right to a collective defense. I call on the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to recognize that countries such as Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Georgia should be afforded NATO membership," said Turner.
With respect to aspiring NATO countries, the bill designates aspiring NATO member states Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) and Montenegro as eligible to receive U.S. assistance under the 1994 NATO Participation Act; reauthorizes the Republic of Georgia and Macedonia as eligible for such assistance; adds to the types of programs that should be supported and encouraged under the NATO Participation Act, including the sale of defense articles and services; and broadens the types of U.S. assistance that could fund these programs, including funds that were either not in existence or not designated in the original 1994 legislation.
"NATO not only serves to protect our collective nations but our homeland as well. A key component of this is a robust missile defense system and the continued role of U.S. forward-deployed nuclear weapons in the defense of NATO. These are policies which have kept us and our NATO allies safe from attack," added Turner.
The bill calls for negotiations with the Russian Federation aimed at reducing their deployed and non-deployed, nonstrategic nuclear force. It also identifies Russia's advantage in nonstrategic nuclear weapons as a threat to the U.S. and its allies and a growing asymmetry in Europe.
Finally, the legislation would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on the following issues within 90 days of the law's enactment: U.S. assistance for NATO membership provided to Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro; U.S. efforts to resolve the Macedonia name dispute; additional steps to be taken by the aforementioned countries to meet NATO membership qualifications; steps being taken by the United States to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia; and an account of allied contributions to NATO's territorial missile defense mission.
The NATO Enhancement Act of 2012 does not authorize any additional, new U.S. assistance programs and does not authorize amounts of aid beyond what has already been appropriated.