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Office of Senator Tom Cotton

Cotton, Johnson, Rubio, Poe, and Rogers Introduce Intermediate-Range Forces Treaty Preservation Act

February 16, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) today introduced the Intermediate-Range Forces Treaty (INF) Preservation Act, legislation that would allow the United States to take steps to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty and begin developing similar missile systems. Congressmen Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

"If Russia is going to test and deploy intermediate range cruise missiles, then logic dictates that we respond. Pleading with the Russian regime to uphold its treaty obligations won't bring it into compliance, but strengthening our nuclear forces in Europe very well might. We're offering this legislation so we can finally put clear, firm boundaries on Russia's unchecked aggression," said Cotton.

"Russia has a troubling track record of violating treaties," said Johnson. "The United States must begin to deal with the Russian regime firmly and from a position of strength, and this bill aims to do just that."

"Russia's mounting violations of the INF Treaty, including testing and now brazenly deploying ground-launched cruise missiles with intermediate range, pose grave threats to the United States and our European allies. This legislation makes clear that Russia will face real consequences if it continues its dangerous and destabilizing behavior," said Rubio.

"Just this week reports emerged of a secret Russian deployment of a nuclear capable cruise missile that violates the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. But this was neither the first such Russian violation nor should anyone expect it to be the last. While we have been limiting our own missile development in accordance with the treaty, the Russians have spent years violating the treaty with little impunity. This bill changes that. It brings real consequences for Russia's violation and prepares the United States to develop intermediate range missiles should Russia not come back into compliance with the treaty. No longer will the U.S. sit by and be played by Putin," said Poe.

"The Obama Administration's failure to confront Russian aggression in practically every sphere has only emboldened Vladimir Putin. His belligerence has brought us to the point that one of the seminal achievements of the nuclear age, President Reagan's Treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF,) has been left in shreds across Moscow," said Rogers. "This legislation will give President Trump the tools he needs to show our friends and adversaries alike that 'peace through strength' is back."

Background: On Tuesday reports surfaced indicating that Russia secretly deployed a new cruise missile in violation of the INF treaty. This legislation states that the Russian violation has crossed the material breach threshold allowing the United States to take steps to bring Russia back into compliance, and begin developing similar missile systems. The steps to bring Russia back into compliance included in the legislation are:

- Funding counter-force, active-defense, and countervailing-strike activities identified in the Section 1243(d) report of FY16 NDAA;
- Establishment of a program of record for a dual-capable road-mobile ground launched missile system with INF Ranges;
- Aggressively seeking additional missile defense assets;
- Facilitating transfer of INF range systems to allied countries
- Limiting funds for New START extension or OST activities until Russia returns to compliance; and
- A policy review on determination of RS-26 as countable under New START.

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