46-0! Huizenga Legislation to Strengthen Our Security Partnership with UK & Australia While Deterring China Passes Committee
Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation introduced by Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI). The AUKUS Submarine Transfer Authorization Act would authorize the sale of up to two Virginia Class Submarines to Australia pursuant to the AUKUS trilateral partnership. Additionally, the legislation puts the entire transfer process under Congressional oversight and requires Presidential level certification that ensures we protect our own national security commitments and undersea operational requirements before the transfer occurs.
The Huizenga-led legislation passed committee 46-0 with every Republican and Democrat voting in support of the measure. Prior to the vote, Congressman Huizenga spoke on the importance of the AUKUS Submarine Transfer Authorization Act. Video of his remarks as well as text highlights are available below.
Congressman Bill Huizenga:
The AUKUS Submarine Transfer Authorization Act begins the conversation to fully realize the potential benefits of the AUKUS trilateral security partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Deterrence, capabilities, and readiness are critical for future success in the Indo-Pacific Region. This bill is an important step to get us there.
This bipartisan solution provides the clearest signal to the Australians that this is not just another empty promise by someone or an Administration of any sort trying to just score political points on the international stage. By authorizing the sale of the first two Virginia Class conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines, we are tackling the China issue head-on. As China expands as a maritime power, the focus should be on deterrence in what they call the South China Sea.
This bill serves as an opportunity for $3 billion of investment from the Australians into the submarine industrial base. In an industry hampered by supply chain shortages and workforce disruptions, this investment will help ease the production and maintenance backlog that plagues our submarine forces, thus jumpstarting the future of our maritime fleet and putting us on a track to hit our fleet goals. As we increase our shipbuilding capabilities over time, we must remind our allies and partners that America has and will continue to deliver on its promises in the face of communist China. The AUKUS partnership brings about a new level of maritime interoperability to a region plagued by the growing malign of Chinese influence.
According to the Wall Street Journal reporting, “Beijing has become the dominant force in the South China Sea and has gradually changed both the geography and the balance of power.” We all have seen the lengths the Chinese have gone to turn up the heat without breaking the threshold of conflict. Just last year, a Chinese spy balloon traversed the entire continental United States. Also, there have been reports of listening buoys seen by Canadian Forces in the Arctic. The South China Sea is no different. The United States must not lose its focus on the reality of the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Regime.
Future cooperation and deterrence of Chinese incursion in the Indo-Pacific region hinges on the effort to bolster our regional allies and deliver on both pillars of the AUKUS partnership.
In September 2021, leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS." AUKUS is intended to strengthen the ability of each government to support security and defense interests, building on longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties. It will promote deeper information sharing and technology sharing; and foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. The first initiative under AUKUS is a commitment to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
The Virginia Class Submarines are the newest submarines in the U.S. Fleet. These fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or response to regional crises.