Statement from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry on Putin’s nuclear weapons announcement

“An aggressor will always push forward and do more until he meets resistance.  For too long, Presidents of both parties have let all sorts of persistent Russian aggression go unanswered, whether violations of multiple treaties, election meddling, planting fake news stories, or invading sovereign countries.

“It took six years for the Obama administration to even admit that Russia was serious about developing new nuclear weapons or violating the INF treaty despite the urging of this Committee and others. Even with that admission, no action was taken despite the recommendations from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dempsey. That inaction has led to the situation we find ourselves in today.

“It is foolish to try and pick and choose what aggression we will stand against and which we will let go unanswered.  It is not enough to advocate for a more robust cyber response to Russia’s attempts to meddle in our elections but waiver on our response to their renewed nuclear or territorial ambitions. Likewise, we can’t simply build up our missile defenses and nuclear deterrent but leave significant cyber intrusions unanswered.   We have to be willing to do it all.

“By renewing strategies to confront Russia in the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, agreeing to help arm Ukraine and restoring America’s military strength, the Trump administration is taking important steps to turn that trend around, but much more needs to be done.”

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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