Floor Statements

Washington, D.C. ­– The following statement by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was submitted for the record today at a hearing on the posture of U.S. European Command:

“The United States faces a new strategic reality in Europe. The first step in addressing it is to recognize the scope, scale, and seriousness of the challenges Russia presents to our national security and to the international order. Then we need a coherent strategy and policy to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression against the United States and our allies. We must be prepared to face the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

“The administration’s new National Defense Strategy recognizes this new strategic reality and provides a framework for prioritizing the most complex and dynamic global threat environment since the end of World War II. It identifies long-term interstate competition with countries like Russia as the primary challenge we face and offers a roadmap for adjusting to this new era of great power competition.

“As we decide how to move forward in this new reality, it is important to remember how we got here. Russia’s recent investment in military modernization is designed to erode the U.S. military advantage. Its buildup of troops along its western border is designed to intimidate our allies. And its interference in democracies near and far is designed to undermine our confidence in our own institutions.

“Ultimately, each of these efforts is part of Mr. Putin’s plan to shift the international order toward authoritarianism and lay the groundwork for future aggression. We cannot let this stand. If we continue to allow Russian provocation—from its invasion of Ukraine to its development anti-access/area denial capabilities in Kaliningrad to its violation of the INF Treaty to its interference in elections—to go unanswered, we are teaching Mr. Putin a very dangerous lesson.

“We have finally begun to impose costs on this provocation and work to deter future aggression. Efforts such as congressional support for the European Deterrence Initiative and the administration’s decision to provide defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine are significant steps toward developing the right approach to dealing with Russian revanchism and assuring our European allies and partners. I hope this hearing will include a conversation about what kinds of new policies, resources, and authorities would help EUCOM further the recent progress we have made.

“Underlying each of these issues is another important reality: no U.S. policy or strategy in Europe can succeed without a strong NATO alliance. As we adjust to the renewed era of great partner competition and begin to implement the new National Defense Strategy, we must do so in close coordination with our European allies and partners. We should never forget that America is safer and more secure because we work with and through our allies, who are willing to step up and share the burden of collective security.”