The bill on US-Greek defense cooperation, which had been submitted in June by the Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Robert Menendez, is advancing in the US Senate. The bill entitled “US-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership 2021” has now been included as an amendment to the US defense budget package (NDAA). This development may pave the way for its rapid vote, as if the budget package passes as it is, it will mean that the Menendez bill will automatically become state law along with the budget.
The defense bill had already taken important steps, as it had been tabled and approved by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has been tabled in the House of Representatives. Nevertheless, Robert Menendez’s goal was to be able to include it in the defense budget package, as otherwise, a much more time-consuming legislative process would have to be followed. The systematic efforts of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), which recently launched an information campaign for members of Congress on this issue, also contributed to this effort.
Now the defense budget package is expected to be voted by the plenary of the Senate after Thanksgiving week. This will be followed by the predetermined negotiation between the Parliament and the Senate, where through this process the versions of the two bodies will be united in a single final text, which will eventually become a law of the US state.
What the US-Greece Defense Cooperation Bill Provides
The bill aspires to build on the momentum created by the East Med Act and provides specific initiatives to upgrade defense cooperation but also to support the modernization of the Greek Armed Forces. Among other things, support is expressed for the 3 + 1 scheme and its extension to other areas of cooperation is requested.
It is worth noting that according to the bill, the US Congress considers that it is in the US interest to help Greece get rid of its existing dependence on Russian equipment.
Therefore, Greece is expected to join the European Recapitalization Incentive Program. In this light, the bill provides for annual military assistance of 25 million dollars to our country for the period between 2022 and 2026. In addition, the bill calls for the approval of the sale of F-35 fighter jets in Greece and provides for the provision of loans in Greece which will be related to armaments programs.