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Statement of Administration Policy: S.J. Res. 36 - Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Proposed Transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Italian Republic of Certain Defense Articles and Services

June 20, 2019

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(Senate)
(Sen. Menendez, D-NJ, and seven cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes passage of S.J. Res. 36, a joint resolution disapproving the issuance of a manufacturing license, technical assistance license, or export license with respect to a number of proposed agreements or transfers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Italian Republic. This joint resolution relates to the licensing for manufacturing in Saudi Arabia of the following: Guidance Electronics Detector Assemblies, Computer Control Groups, Airfoil Groups, Aircraft Umbilical Interconnect Systems, Fuzes, and other components to support the production of Paveway II, Enhanced Paveway II, and Paveway IV munitions. The joint resolution also affects the transfer of up to 64,603 additional kits and full-up rounds of Paveway II, Enhanced Paveway II, and Paveway IV.

The transfer of Paveway precision-guided capability to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia directly supports the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic stability in the Middle East. Apart from negatively affecting our bilateral relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the joint resolution would hamper our ability to sustain and shape critical security cooperation activities and would significantly hinder the interoperability between our nations.

Additionally, the joint resolution would impact our partner's ability to deter and defend against Iranian military aggression. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia serves as a bulwark against Iran and its proxies' malign activities in the region. Its civilians and the thousands of United States citizens residing in Saudi Arabia continue to be threatened by attacks from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, and suffered an attack earlier this month that injured 26 civilians. S.J. Res. 36 would send a message that the United States is abandoning its partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing.

The United States has taken a number of actions to help the Saudi military mitigate the risk of civilian casualties in Yemen, including training and advising the Saudi military to help them improve their targeting processes to minimize civilian casualties. Combined with this assistance, the provision of precision guided munitions would further help the Saudis mitigate the risk of civilian casualties.

In addition to the joint resolution's adverse effects on our Middle East partner, it would also negatively affect our NATO Allies and the transatlantic defense industry. Actions such as these could, without further examination, have unintended consequences for defense procurement and interoperability with our partners, and could create an opportunity for exploitation by our adversaries.

If the President were presented with S.J. Res. 36, his advisors would recommend he veto it.

Donald J. Trump, Statement of Administration Policy: S.J. Res. 36 - Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Proposed Transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Italian Republic of Certain Defense Articles and Services Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/335306

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