The amendment was offered to address concerns with the declaratory policy included in the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that eliminates options to defend against a catastrophic nuclear, biological, chemical, or conventional attack against the United States. Congressman Turner argued such a policy puts America at risk by taking U.S. options off the table in the minds of our adversaries. Turner also argued that the administration’s position reverses decades of U.S. policy that has served as an effective deterrent against rogue nations.
“My amendment is aimed directly at attackers, aggressors and adversaries of this country,” Turner argued during an intense committee debate. “I do not think the American people expect that we are going to restrict our response to attackers, aggressors, or adversaries regardless of the weapons or means they use against us. The American people expect that we would respond with any means necessary.”
Several members of the committee agreed with Congressman Turner’s argument saying that a long standing policy of “calculated ambiguity” has served as an important means of preventing attacks against the United States since the end of World War II.
The Turner amendment passed as part of the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the National Defense Authorization bill and will be considered next by the full House of Representatives. Congressman Turner is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and Ranking member of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.