NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Jim Risch (R-ID), member and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced the Truncating Onerous Regulations for Partners and Enhancing Deterrence Operations (TORPEDO) Act, legislation to enable cooperation with the United Kingdom and Australia on advanced defense and other controlled technologies and hold the Administration to account on implementation of the AUKUS agreement.
“While the AUKUS deal could be game-changing in the Indo-Pacific, the Biden Administration is not yet doing what will be required to implement this critical agreement fast enough to get ahead of Communist China’s grave and rapidly growing military threats to peace and security in the region,” said Senator Hagerty. “I’m pleased to work with Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Risch to introduce the TORPEDO Act, a bold and timely bill to cut through red tape and fundamentally reform U.S. regulations so we can fast track trilateral efforts by the United States, Australia, and Britain to fully implement the AUKUS goals related to submarines and advanced capabilities.”
“There’s no doubt AUKUS is an ambitious agreement,” said Senator Risch. “In order to effectively counter the threats posed by China, the United States must deepen the trilateral Australia-UK-U.S. partnership and build capability that benefits our shared security objectives. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s implementation of AUKUS is not only failing to move at the speed of relevance given the China threat, but it is also evident both pillars of the agreement face major, structural challenges. The TORPEDO Act aims to speed up the implementation process by reforming the U.S. regulatory system so we can cooperate in a timely and efficient manner on the capabilities we and our partners need. This is not the totality of all that is needed, but this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to advancing this effort with my colleagues in the coming weeks.”
The TORPEDO Act:
- Creates a State Department “AUKUS Senior Advisor,” similar to an existing Department of Defense role, to drive policy and coordination forward within State and the interagency.
- Authorizes State to use existing funds to hire additional personnel to review defense export license requests.
- Expedites the process by which certain U.S. defense, dual-use, and other controlled items and technology may be exported and reexported to the United Kingdom and Australia.
- Creates a fast-track Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process for defense articles destined for the United Kingdom and Australia. Maintains congressional notification FMS requirements for certain articles.
- Reduces barriers to information sharing among AUKUS partners.
- Adds Australia and the United Kingdom, both National Technology and Industrial Base members, as domestic sources for the purposes of the Defense Production Act.
- Requires reports on AUKUS strategy and impacts on U.S. readiness, details on implementation of both AUKUS pillars, and recommended changes to the export control regimes of each partner.
- Includes a State Dept. proposal to train private-sector personnel in support of Pillar One.
Full text of the legislation can be found here.