Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen Offers Two Foreign Affairs Related Amendments to the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act

Jun 14, 2013

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included two Ros-Lehtinen amendments on Egypt and SOUTHCOM. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

"I am extremely pleased to hear that my two foreign affairs amendments for this year's NDAA bill have passed. These are two sensible amendments that would strengthen the bill and further protects our national security.

Last week’s verdict against American NGOs is indicative of the Muslim Brotherhood led-government crackdown on human rights, civil society, religious freedom and the rule of law. This amendment enhances the reporting requirements so that we can get a broader understanding of the pitfalls of dealing with the Morsi regime. We should not finance a regime that could use our own money to harm their own people, harm our allies like the democratic Jewish State of Israel, or our national security interests.

While much of our foreign policy is focused on the Middle East and North Africa, it is vital that we not turn a blind eye to what is going on in our very own region. We have neglected to direct the appropriate amount of attention and resources to combat transnational criminal organizations in the Western Hemisphere who deal in drug trafficking, human trafficking, narco-terrorism and have even developed close ties with the Iranian regime. My amendment will authorize the Defense Department to deploy assets, personnel and resources to the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, in coordination with SOUTHCOM, to combat this increasing menace in our region.”

Note: The first amendment in the en bloc enhances DoD and State Department reporting requirements already in the base texts. It expands the requirements to include a report on the comprehensive plan for United States military assistance and cooperation with Egypt which would include a description of the strategic objectives of the United States regarding the provision of U.S. security assistance to the Government of Egypt, a description of vetting and end-use monitoring systems in place by both Egypt and the U.S. for defense articles and training provided by the U.S. – including human rights vetting – and additional requirements. It also requires a GAO report requesting recommendations regarding the DoD and State report and requesting additional actions with respect to the provision of United States security assistance to Egypt.

The second amendment in the en bloc authorizes the Secretary of Defense to deploy assets, personnel and resources to the Joint Interagency Task Force South, in coordination with SOUTHCOM, to combat transnational criminal organization, drug trafficking, bulk shipments of narcotics or currency, narco-terrorism, human trafficking and the Iranian presence in SOUTHCOM’s AOR, recognizing the threats emanating from the Western Hemisphere in these areas, and the insufficient assets the United States has in place to combat these threats.