Issue: Defense and National Security

Walorski Supports Defense Spending Legislation

Legislation includes Walorski’s language to prevent transfer of detainees from Guantánamo bay detention facility

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, earlier today voted in support of the annual bipartisan legislative agreement between the House and Senate to authorize defense spending. H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, fulfills Congress’s constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense, including a number of key reforms for military operations across the nation, and enables Indiana to continue to play a critical role in national security.

“Providing our men and women with critical resources to defend the U.S. against our enemies and keep Americans safe is one of the greatest responsibilities I have in Congress,” Walorski said. “Given the growth of the Islamic State and the rapid recruitment of fighters around the globe, I’m grateful my language prohibiting detainees at Guantánamo from being transferred to the United States and to countries that sponsor terrorism was included. I encourage President Obama to sign this into law to ensure that our brave men and women serving in uniform are provided with the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Americans both at home and abroad.”

H.R. 401, the Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, companion legislation to a Senate bill introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to suspend the transfer of high and medium risk detainees and prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen, as well as increase transparency regarding the remaining Guantánamo detainees.

Last February, Walorski participated in a CODEL to Guantánamo, to better understand the facility and speak with our troops on the base.

In July, Walorski wrote to conferees on this legislation to urges conferees to prohibit the transfer of inmates from Guantánamo.

H.R. 1735 passed the House by a vote of 270-156 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Supports Freezing Sanctions Relief to Iran

Legislation prohibits administration from releasing money until terror victims paid

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for an effort she cosponsored to prohibit sanctions relief for Iran unless it first pays the court-ordered damages it owes to terror victims

H.R. 3457, the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, prohibits the president from waiving sanctions pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until Iran pays the judgments it owes. The President must certify to Congress that the Government of Iran has paid all its judgments.

“Iran should not have access to sanctions relief from the U.S. until they compensate families who lost loved ones from their heinous terrorist acts,” Walorski said. “With over $40 billion in outstanding judgements to the victims, it’s time for Iran to settle their debt with those who have suffered for far too long.”

H.R. 3457 passed by a vote of 251-173 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) as amended gives U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to bring suit in U.S. courts and collect damages from those states.

Iran has accumulated a debt of $43.5 billion in unpaid damages through more than 80 FSIA cases over the last 15 years, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Among the victims of Iranian terrorism who have been awarded judgments in U.S. courts are victims of the 9/11 attacks, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1983 attack on the Beirut Marine barracks, and numerous other bus bombings, suicide attacks, assassinations and hostage takings. All these attacks were linked in court to Iranian support or financing.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Questions DoD Officials on Russian Airstrikes in Syria

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski earlier today in a House Armed Services Committee hearing questioned senior Department of Defense (DOD) officials on reports that earlier this morning, Russia has conducted its first airstrike against ISIS in Syria.

“I am wondering with the events that occurred today with an overaggressive Russia, how in the world do we move forward with talking about peer competitors and sharing intel information and trusting anything with Putin in Russia,” Walorski asked. “It seems that Putin is using a phenomenal moment of opportunity to go and be another major push in Syria and the alarm I think, not only for lawmakers today, but for I think the citizens of our country that we are vowing to protect is that he has now established himself now in Syria, in the Middle East…Today we are watching a live bombing and from your perspective and the administration’s position they expected that. I and the American people were not expecting that.”

Watch the full clip here

The House Armed Services Committee hearing, “Implementing the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy” included witnesses the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert O. Work, Commander of the US Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers, and Acting Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, Mr. Terry Halvorsen.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Leads House Armed Service Committee Letter to Secretary Carter Over Security Concerns in the Middle East

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), along with her colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter requesting a briefing on actions taken by the Department of Defense to enhance U.S. force posture and security measures in the Middle East.

We write with serious questions concerning the Department of Defense’s readiness and posture in the Middle East following the Obama Administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran,” the letter read.

The letter to Carter, authored by Walorski, highlights multiple troubling actions taken by the Iranian government and Iranian military since the Obama Administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) earlier this year. Specifically, the letter mentions four instances where Iran’s actions have increased concerns and raised questions on their intention.

“The US must have the necessary assets in place to monitor Iranian activities, harden our cyber systems at home and abroad, and have our force postured to respond immediately,” the letter continued. “This requires diligence in evaluating our forward basing options while maintaining an appropriate force mixture in the region coupled with adequate force protection measures. Further, we must not permit Iran to gain influence in neighboring countries or have an increased freedom to maneuver. In light of these developments and in accordance with our Congressional oversight responsibility, the undersigned request a classified briefing on the actions taken by the Department of Defense to better position itself to respond to a more assertive and aggressive Iranian regime.”

To letter in its entirety is below.

Secretary Carter:

As members of the House Armed Services Committee, we write with serious questions concerning the Department of Defense’s readiness and posture in the Middle East following the Obama Administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

As you are well aware, in the brief period since the agreement was reached in Vienna, the Iranian government and military have taken a number of actions that further our concerns regarding Iran’s untrustworthy behavior.

On July 24th, just ten days after the agreement was reached in Vienna, Major General Qassem Suleimani, Commander of the Iranian Quds Force, travelled to Moscow, in direct violation of a United Nations travel ban, for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

On August 18th, a few weeks after General Suleimani’s trip to Moscow, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced a deal to purchase four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. The purchase is another concerning indication of aggressive behavior as Iran seeks to increase their anti-access/area denial capabilities and offers tremendous insight into their deceitful intentions.

On September 9th, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continued making inflammatory statements, referring to the United States as the ‘Great Satan’ and directly threatening the security of Israel by stating “[Israel] will not see the next 25 years, and with the grace of God, nothing called the Zionist regime will exist in the region.”

Finally, just this week, intelligence agencies testified that they believe an Iran slowed in developing a nuclear capability over the next 10 to 15 years is likely to pour more resources into cyber weapons. In addition to this investment, they are anticipating continued Iranian investment in hardening military facilities.

These actions, especially in light of the sanctions relief under the JCPOA that will provide a significant surge of cash into Iran, mean the US must have the necessary assets in place to monitor Iranian activities, harden our cyber systems at home and abroad, and have our force postured to respond immediately.

This requires diligence in evaluating our forward basing options while maintaining an appropriate force mixture in the region coupled with adequate force protection measures. Further, we must not permit Iran to gain influence in neighboring countries or have an increased freedom to maneuver.

In light of these developments and in accordance with our Congressional oversight responsibility, the undersigned request a classified briefing on the actions taken by the Department of Defense to better position itself to respond to a more assertive and aggressive Iranian regime.

Your prompt attention to this request is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Rep. Jackie Walorski Rep. Bradley Byrne

Rep. Steve Russell Rep. Chris Gibson

Rep. Doug Lamborn Rep. Ryan Zinke

Rep. Richard Nugent

Walorski Returns from National Security Discussions in Czech Republic

Mishawaka, Ind. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) yesterday returned from a weeklong, bipartisan trip to the Czech Republic. While there, Walorski met with Czech Parliamentarians and participated in panel discussions regarding current defense collaboration and cyber security and privacy between the U.S., European Union (EU) and the Czech Republic.

Relations between the Czech Republic and the United States were officially established in 1993 following the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent breakup of Communist-aligned Czechoslovakia. Since transitioning into a democracy in 1989, joining NATO in 1999, and the EU several years later, the Czech Republic has gradually become a close economic partner and formal military ally of the United States.

In addition, the Czech Republic is a major importer of energy, such as crude oil and LNG and currently has a dependence on Russia for energy supply. Tensions in the region have jeopardized that supply, and the United States has an opportunity to expand its energy export market there.

“No one understands the threat posed by Russia better than the men and women who live in the Czech Republic,” Walorski said. “Here, the threat of Russian aggression is a visible reality. This visit reaffirmed my commitment to collaborate with the Czech Republic to mitigate regional concerns and push back against Russian encroachment.”

During her panel on current defense cooperation between the U.S. and Czech Republic, Walorski spoke with the Deputy Minister of the Czech Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek and Czech Ambassador to the United States Petr Gandalovič . During their discussion, Walorski mentioned the recent confirmation hearings of the next Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Senate Armed Services Committee, where each nominee called Russia the U.S.’s greatest threat.

“The U.S. is deeply committed to the strength and security of both NATO and the EU,” Walorski added. “It is only when we work with our NATO and EU partners that we can be successful in combating threats from other counties and I look forward to strengthening our continued partnership.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Urges Conferees to Prohibit the Transfer of Inmates from Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today issued a letter to conferees of the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, requesting they maintain the House’s passed provisions prohibiting the use of funds to transfer or release any individual detained at the United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“The recent prison escapes by violent criminals in both New York and Mexico have demonstrated that no prison facility is completely secure,” wrote Walorski. “Given the growth of the Islamic State and the rapid recruitment of fighters around the globe, including within the United States, Congress must do everything in our power to keep these terrorists confined and not in a position to threaten the lives of others.”

According to the most recent report released from the Director of National Intelligence in consultation with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Director of the Defense Agency, nearly thirty percent of former detainees are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist activities. The Senate’s provision, contained in section 1032 of the Senate bill, would provide a pathway for the administration to close the facility in Guantanamo Bay and even begin the process of transferring detainees to prisons within the United States.

The letter was addressed to Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Representative Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Representative Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Text of letter is included below.

July 20, 2015

The Honorable John McCain The Honorable Jack Reed

Chairman Ranking Member

Senate Armed Services Committee Senate Armed Services Committee

228 Russell Senate Building 228 Russell Senate Building

Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mac Thornberry The Honorable Adam Smith

Chairman Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee House Armed Services Committee

United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Conferees of the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act:

As you finalize conference action on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, I write to ask that you maintain the House’s provisions as they relate to the prohibition on the use of funds to transfer or release any individual detained at the United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Senate’s provision, contained in Section 1032 of the Senate bill, would provide a pathway for the administration to close the facility in Guantanamo Bay and even begin the process of transferring detainees to prisons within the United States. The recent prison escapes by violent criminals in both New York and Mexico have demonstrated that no prison facility is completely secure and our constituents do not want to run the risk of these terrorists escaping into their neighborhoods.

According to the most recent report released from the Director of National Intelligence in consultation with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, nearly thirty percent of former detainees are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist activities. As demonstrated by this high recidivism rate, these terrorists can and will strike again if provided with the opportunity. As a result, I remain convinced the best measure for keeping Americans safe is keeping the United States Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay open.

Given the growth of the Islamic State and the rapid recruitment of fighters around the globe, including within the United States, Congress must do everything in our power to keep these terrorists confined and not in a position to threaten the lives of others. Last year’s release of the Taliban Five was a significant reminder to Congress of the risks involved in detainee transfer decisions and the importance of continuing effective Congressional oversight of any transfers away from this facility.

I appreciate your efforts in reaching an agreement on the many provisions contained in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act but I want to ensure tangible threats to our National Security are given the attention and focus they require.

Sincerely,

Jackie Walorski

Member of Congress

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Meets with New Adjutant General of Indiana

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) met today with Indiana’s new Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, who was appointed as the Adjutant General of Indiana on May 30, 2015, by Governor Michael Pence following the retirement of Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger.

As the Adjutant General, Carr’s primary focus is to lead the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve and state employees, totaling more than 14,000 personnel.

“I was glad for the opportunity to meet with Maj. Gen. Carr today,” Walorski said. “With his tremendous record of service to our nation and I am convinced that he is the right leader to guide our Hoosier National Guard force through a period of sustained conflict. When Hoosiers answer the nation’s call to serve, they expect and deserve to be the best equipped and the best-led force in the world. I am counting on him to make that happen and I look forward to continuing our work together.”

A bio of Maj. Gen. Carr can be found here and photos from today’s meeting can be found here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after the Obama administration announced a final agreement in nuclear negotiations with Iran:

“I find it very disturbing that the administration has signed an agreement with the leading state sponsor of terrorism that now has created a pathway for Iran to create a nuclear bomb. Further, this agreement endangers the lives of Americans by providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief for Iran to continue killing Americans. The lack of adequate safeguards and controls in this plan allows Iran to choose ‘if’ and ‘when’ they agree to verification is deeply troubling. Especially when we start by lifting sanctions without any verification. Also, let’s not forget that by lifting the weapons embargo with Russia, Iran will assuredly increase their stockpile of missiles, ICBM’s purchased from Russia, able to strike the homeland and other more advanced weapons that will lead to an arms race in the Middle East. Once again, the president is bypassing the American people by threatening a veto of any legislation that would curb this agreement. This administration continues to reject the will of the American people.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Meets with Senior Air Force Officer Regarding Grissom Air Force Base

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today met with a senior U.S. Air Force officer regarding the possible selection of Grissom Air Reserve to base the KC-46A air tanker.

The 434th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) at Grissom is currently one of four finalists under consideration by the U.S. Air Force to be the first Air Force Reserve unit to fly the new KC-46A tanker aircraft.

The meeting with Maj. Gen. Maryanne Miller, deputy to the chief of the Air Force Reserve took place on the heels of Walorski’s meeting last month with Deborah L. James, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, regarding Grissom.

“I want to thank Maj. Gen. Miller for meeting to hear about the many notable achievements that will make Grissom the best option for the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve,” Walorski said. “In addition, I had the opportunity to extend the same invitation that I made last month to Secretary James to visit Grissom. I’m encouraged by the ongoing discussions and look forward to their visit to Indiana so they can see firsthand all that Grissom has to offer.”

A bio of Maj. Gen. Miller can be found here and photos from today’s meeting can be found here.

Walorski Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement Deadline

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued the following statement after the expiration of the June 30 nuclear agreement deadline with Iran:

“Today, the administration failed to finalize a nuclear agreement with Iran and extended the deadline by another week. The United States has already made significant concessions in these negotiations and I am concerned that extending these talks will only increase the inevitability of Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

“As talks now extend into July, I am again calling for aggressive Congressional oversight to protect Americans from the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, I supported a measure, which is now law, to establish a period of 30 days for Congress to review any comprehensive agreement entered into by this administration with the government of Iran. Congress has no greater responsibility than to ensure Americans around the globe are safe from lawless regimes gaining access to nuclear weapons. With the seemingly endless instability in the Middle East, the last thing we need is for a country in the region to be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.

“In light of these developments, I call on my colleagues in the House and the Senate to reject any deal entered into by this administration that permits Iran to continue their illegal imprisonment of American citizens, prematurely lifts Iranian sanctions, and provides Iran with the resources necessary to develop nuclear weapons.”

Get News & Updates