Rep. Scott DesJarlais Withdraws ‘No First Use’ Amendment from National Defense Authorization Act
September 2, 2021
(WASHINGTON, DC) –Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) delivered the following remarks upon withdrawing his amendment, Log 844, from the National Defense Authorization Act during last night’s House Armed Services Committee.
“One of the unfortunate impacts of the recent events in Afghanistan is that many of our allies are questioning U.S. resolve over the past month we have seen broad condemnation of President Biden’s withdrawal from our various allies. We’ve seen President Biden censured in the British House of Commons, in Germany—the head of Chancellor Merkle’s conservative party and likely her successor called the U.S. withdrawal the biggest debacle that NATO has ever seen. Latvia’s Defense Minister said the U.S. withdrawal caused chaos and showed the west weaker globally.
This is not the purpose of my amendment. However, there is another Biden proposal which could build unprecedented damage to our allies that are already showing concern and that is adopting a ‘sole purpose’ or ‘no first use’ nuclear declaratory policy.
There isn’t a single ally that supports this shift in U.S. nuclear declaratory policy. And we’ve heard from the British, French, Germans, Poles, Japanese, and South Koreans that adopting such a policy would be devastating to U.S. alliances and erode our extended deterrent.
I have questioned personally multiple commanders in this committee over the past year on this issue and I can’t recall a single person who supported no first use and that would include General Milley on June 23, 2021, who said, “My personal best military advice is to maintain all options to the president of the united states at all times so I would not recommend making a declaration of no first use.” Also, Admiral Richards quoted, “I see a no first use policy as degrading the nation’s deterrence. It will remove a level of ambiguity that has deterrence value.”
My amendment would put in place a 90-day notification window and require the president to certify he has consulted with our allies before making any changes to U.S. declaratory policy.
Unfortunately, due to a conflict with the majority in the House Foreign Affairs committee, my amendment is prevented from an up or down vote in this committee which I’m disappointed because I feel that it has a very good chance of passing so maybe we’ll see it again in another location. We don’t want to further erode our relationships with our allies. And with that Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my amendment.”
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House Armed Services Committee and will now head to the House floor. Congressman DesJarlais plans to re-introduce this amendment on the House floor before the bill’s final passage.
Video of Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ remarks on Log 844 withdrawal can be found here.