House of Representatives Speaks: End Pentagon Contracts with Russian Arms Dealer

May 22, 2014

A bipartisan amendment, led by Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kay Granger (R-TX), that strengthens the ban on Defense Department (DOD) contracts with Rosoboronexport, was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress today. DeLauro and Granger have led congressional opposition to DOD’s relationship with Rosoboronexport, the Russian state arms dealer. Last year’s NDAA included an amendment by DeLauro and Granger that banned U.S. defense contracts with Rosoboronexport. That amendment was adopted by an overwhelming 423-0 vote.

“Russia has been fueling the war in Syria through Rosoboronexport, illegally annexed Crimea and continues to destabilize Ukraine,” DeLauro said. “Yet, the Pentagon has awarded Rosoboronexport more than $1 billion in contracts for Russian helicopters for the Afghan military. This continued even after the Inspector General for Afghanistan said the Afghan forces cannot operate or maintain the aircraft. We must stop supporting Russian jobs and the Russian interest and start acting in America’s interest and on behalf of America’s workers.”

“The United States Government should not be entering into contracts with Russia’s state-arms dealer when Russia is intentionally arming the Syrian regime and actively working to destabilize the sovereign country of Ukraine,” said Granger. “Russian’s actions have consequences, and the Defense Department should not spend a penny of American tax dollars to benefit Russia’s Rosoboronexport.”

The amendment, which can be viewed here, would prevent the Pentagon from contracting with Rosoboronexport for helicopter purchases, operations and maintenance, and other weapons. If the Secretary of Defense waives the ban, the Pentagon’s Inspector General would be required to investigate why.

DeLauro and Granger were denied the chance to offer a second amendment, which would have sanctioned Rosoboronexport and canceled the Pentagon’s current contract with the company. There are still 18 helicopters to be delivered to the Afghan military under that contract. DeLauro, Granger, and dozens of other representatives have urged Secretaries Hagel, Kerry and Lew to cancel that contract.