WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-sponsored the Securing American Acquisitions, Readiness, and Military Stockpiles Act (Securing American ARMS Act), which would give the Department of Defense (DoD) enhanced procurement authorities to quickly refill American defense stockpiles after the President provides aid to an ally or partner attacked by a foreign adversary, including replenishing America’s stockpiles after lethal aid was sent to Ukraine for defense against Russia.
“It is crucial that the United States support our allies as we have done with Ukraine, and it is equally important that we refill our own defense stockpiles,”said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to support this commonsense legislation to ensure our nation is protected and ready to defend itself if necessary.”
While critical to defending democracy abroad, lethal aid provided to Ukraine has diminished U.S. stockpiles and left defense contractors with uncertainty on timing and orders for backfill, negatively affecting their ability to quickly ramp up production. DoD contracting processes include mandatory contract review periods and lengthy competitive open-bid windows that have slowed down efforts to rebuild stores of defense articles.
This legislation would amend the DoD’s emergency acquisition authorities to allow them to use non-competitive procedures to quickly award a contract in order to replenish defense article stocks sent to an ally or partner after an attack by a foreign adversary of the U.S.
While the DoD can use expedited procedures to speed up defense procurement in certain situations, backfilling depleted stockpiles is not one of them. This legislation lays out an exemption to permit the DoD to expedite the acquisitions process and decrease the time it takes to send aid in case of such an attack, subject to the following conditions:
- This authority can only be used when the U.S. is not a party to hostilities;
- The defense articles procured via this authority must be like the articles that spent from U.S. stocks;
- This authority may also be used for contracting for the movement or delivery of defense articles transferred from the U.S. to an ally or partner;
- And DoD must report to Congress within one week after deciding to use the authority.