In its new Defense Authorization Act, the United States Congress requests the country’s executive agencies to provide “robust security sector assistance” for Georgia, including defensive lethal assistance, as well as to strengthen the defense capabilities and readiness of the country, and improve its interoperability with NATO forces.
The Defense Authorization Act for 2019, named for Arizona Senator John McCain, was passed by the House and the Senate in May and June, respectively, and signed by President Donald Trump on August 13. The Act is an annual budgetary legislation that sets defense policies and establishes their funding levels, as well as the agencies responsible for these policies.
The document lists the Russian Federation among potential military adversaries and points out the U.S. authorities will pursue “an integrated approach to strengthening the defense of allies and partners in Europe” in the face of the Russian aggression.
Along with providing bilateral security assistance to Georgia, the Congress also requests the U.S. agencies to “explore increasing the frequency, scale, and scope of NATO and other multilateral exercises in the Black Sea with the participation of Ukraine and Georgia.”
The budget act also affirms “support for the Open Door policy of NATO, including the eventual membership of Georgia in NATO.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry issued on August 14 a statement on the Defense Authorization Act, saying Georgia’s presence in the document “highlights the importance of Georgia-related issues in the political agenda of the United States.”
The National Defense Authorization Act comes less than six months after the adoption of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2018, annual budgetary legislation that defines spending by various U.S. federal agencies, which designated USD 105.3 million for assisting Georgia and banned aid to governments recognizing Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.