Today, President Trump signed the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act” in a ceremony at Fort Drum in New York. The bill for this year represents a shift away from the intense focus on the War on Terror to more broadly deal with major geopolitical threats from nations like China and, well, Russia as it turns out.
The bill, named in honor of decorated war hero and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), authorizes how monies will be allocated, rather than an actual allocation thereof, and it’s important for many reasons, not least being how it determines defense footing.
In the case of Russia, that footing is now decidedly aggressive, as Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin explains in the clip below.
Anchor Shepard Smith brought Griffin in just a few minutes after the end of the president’s remarks to offer analysis. The clip is about three minutes long, and in it, Griffin outlines the major bullet (ha!) points of the bill.
Griffin says to Smith, “According to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the increased funding sends a strong message to Russia and China, confounding Trump critics who say that he is not doing enough to stop Russian aggression, Shep.”
Smith follows up saying, “Jennifer, if you could, tell us how it does push back against Russia.”
That’s when Griffin delivers a succinct seventy seconds that will probably come as a surprise to you, no matter what cable news channel you’ve been watching in the run-up to today’s signing.
“Well, all of that equipment is being procured not to fight terrorists, as have been fought—most of the wars in the last seventeen years have been focusing on counter-terrorism—but to get back to great power competition with an eye towards Russian and China in particular,” she said. “Here are some examples inside the bill.”
She then lists a host of items relating specifically to that objective. Transcript:
It requires the president to designate a National Security Council employee to coordinate the interagency fight against malign foreign influence operations, including election interference. That is a direct response to Russian interference in the last election. It includes $6.3 billion to reassure U.S. partners and allies and increase the U.S. military presence in Europe. It bars military-to-military cooperation with Russia — even if the president were to order the U.S. military to cooperate with the Russian military in Syria, it bars that. And, most importantly, it ties the hands of the president in recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, something that many in Congress feared that the president would do. There are literally dozens of provisions that target Russian aggression specifically. It is spelled out in a way that I have not seen before.
That’s pretty specifically targeted to Russia. You almost wonder if the president actually read it before signing it.
The entire clip is worth watching, as Griffin goes through a very effective and, again, succinct explanation of the bill. Watch above, via Fox News.
Good job signing this. Good job, Trump. Would have been better to actually mention John McCain or even say the actual name of the act, but at least you put the ink on the paper. That’s enough for today.