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Shaheen leads bipartisan plan for military stockpile

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is leading a bipartisan effort on legislation to guarantee the U.S. has sufficient military stockpiles even as it supports Ukraine and other allies overseas.

The Promoting Readiness for Overseas Contingencies and Unexpected Responses to Exigencies (PROCURE) Act would establish a Critical Munitions Acquisition Fund (CMAF) to allow the secretary of defense to better manage industry production lines.

This new authority would help the Pentagon anticipate industry’s supply chain needs and improve the agency’s purchasing power that should drive down costs for the government, she said.

“As [Russian President Vladimir] Putin continues his unprovoked war in Ukraine, and China increases its coercive measures towards Taiwan, ensuring that the U.S. can capably support our democratic allies while maintaining our own military stockpiles in a crisis is essential,” Shaheen said.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., is a lead sponsor of the bill with Shaheen.

“While Putin’s illegal invasion resulted in a swift and robust response from the United States and our NATO allies to arm the Ukrainian military, it exposed the fact that we have major inadequacies with our current munition stocks,” Tillis said in a statement. “Our bipartisan PROCURE Act is essential to improving America’s capacity to quickly arm our allies in potential future conflicts without drawing from our own munitions stock, which will greatly enhance our national security and military readiness.”

Other cosponsors include Sens. John Cornyn, R-Tex., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Tim Kaine, D-Va. and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Shaheen said they will be filing this bill in the coming days as an amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

“The PROCURE Act would ensure the U.S. is prepared to help our allies and partners in times of crisis without undermining our own military readiness. It would provide a more effective way to organize our allies’ procurement of the munitions required to defend against the threats they face,” Shaheen added.

Shaheen and Tillis serve on the Armed Services Committee and have led Senate action in support of Ukraine in response to Russian belligerence.

Last May, President Biden signed a military land lease program for Ukraine that Shaheen and Cornyn had pursued.

Shaheen has been to Ukraine twice over the past 15 months. A month before the Russian invasion started last February, Shaheen and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio led a delegation that met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and key members of his administration.

Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers who visited Eastern Europe that included a stop in Ukraine in June 2021.