The White House released this fact sheet on how the Biden-Harris Administration is strengthening cybersecurity – particularly important with the rise of cyberwarfare mounted by Russia, China, North Korea and others.
The Biden-Harris Administration has brought a relentless focus to improving the United States’ cyber defenses, building a comprehensive approach to “lock our digital doors” and take aggressive action to strengthen and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity, including:
Improving the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure. Much of our Nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. The Administration has worked closely with key sectors – including transportation, banking, water, and healthcare – to help stakeholders understand cyber threats to critical systems and adopt minimum cybersecurity standards. This includes the introduction of multiple performance-based directives by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to increase cybersecurity resilience for the pipeline and rail sectors, as well as a measure on cyber requirements for the aviation sector. Through the President’s National Security Memorandum 8 on Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems, we are issuing cybersecurity performance goals that will provide a baseline to drive investment toward the most important security outcomes. We will continue to work with critical infrastructure owners and operators, sector by sector, to accelerate rapid cybersecurity and resilience improvements and proactive measures.
Ensuring new infrastructure is smart and secure. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an investment to modernize and strengthen our Nation’s infrastructure. The Administration is ensuring that these projects, such as expanding the Nation’s network of electric-vehicle charging stations, are built to endure, meeting modern standards of safety and security, which includes cyber protections. Investments in digital security through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will also bring high-speed internet to underserved parts of the country, bridging the digital divide as well. Also the BIL, the Administration launched a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments across the country. The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will provide $1 billion in funding to SLT partners over four years, with $185 million available for fiscal year 2022, to support SLT efforts to address cyber risk to their information systems and critical infrastructure.
Strengthening the Federal Government’s cybersecurity requirements, and raising the bar through the purchasing power of government. Through the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, issued in May 2021, President Biden raised the bar for all Federal Government systems by requiring impactful cybersecurity steps, such as multifactor authentication. The Administration also issued a strategy for Federal zero trust architecture implementation, as well as budget guidance to ensure that Federal agencies align resources to our cybersecurity goals. We are also harnessing the purchasing power of the Federal Government to improve the cybersecurity of products for the first time, by requiring security features in all software purchased by the Federal Government, which improves security for all Americans.
Countering ransomware attacks to protect Americans online. In 2021, the Administration established the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative (CRI), bringing together partners from around the globe to address the scourge of ransomware. The White House will host international partners October 31-November 1 to accelerate and broaden this joint work. This group has raised collective resilience, engaged the private sector, and disrupted criminal actors and their infrastructure. The United States has made it harder for criminals to move illicit money, sanction a series of cryptocurrency mixers used regularly by ransomware actors to collect and “clean” their illicit earnings. A number of cyber criminals have also been successfully extradited to the United States to face justice for these crimes.
Working with allies and partners to deliver a more secure cyberspace. In addition to launching the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, the Administration has established cyber dialogues with a breadth of allies and partners to build collective cybersecurity, formulate coordinated response, and develop cyber deterrence. We are taking this work to our most vital alliances – for example, establishing a new virtual rapid response mechanism at NATO to ensure Allies can effectively and efficiently offer each other support in response to cyber incidents.
Imposing costs on and strengthening our security against malicious actors. The Biden-Harris Administration has not hesitated to respond forcefully to malicious cyber actors when their actions threaten American or our partner’s interests. In April of 2021, we sanctioned Russian cyber actors affiliated with the Russian intelligence services in response to the SolarWinds attack. We worked with allies and partners to attribute a destructive hack of the Viasat system at the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Implementing internationally accepted cyber norms. The Administration is committed to ensuring internationally negotiated norms are implemented to establish cyber “rules of the road.” More recently, we worked with international partners to call out Iran’s counter-normative attack on Albanian government systems and impose costs on Tehran for this act.
Developing a new label to help Americans know their devices are secure. This month, we will bring together companies, associations and government partners to discuss the development of a label for Internet of Things (IoT) devices so that Americans can easily recognize which devices meet the highest cybersecurity standards to protect against hacking and other cyber vulnerabilities. By developing and rolling out a common label for products that meet by U.S. Government standards and are tested by vetted and approved entities, we will help American consumers easily identify secure tech to bring into their homes. We are starting with some of the most common, and often most at-risk, technologies — routers and home cameras — to deliver the most impact, most quickly.
Building the Nation’s cyber workforce and strengthening cyber education. The White House hosted a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit, bringing together leaders from government and from across the cyber community. At the Summit, the Administration announced a 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint to help provide skills-based pathways into cyber jobs. With momentum from the Summit, the Administration continues to work with partners throughout society on building our Nation’s cyber workforce, improving skills-based pathways to good-paying cyber jobs, educating Americans so that they have the skills to thrive in our increasingly digital society, and improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the cyber field.
Protecting the future – from online commerce to national secrets —by developing quantum-resistant encryption. We all rely on encryption to help protect our data from compromise or theft by malicious actors. Advancements in quantum computing threaten that encryption, so this summer the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced four new encryption algorithms that will become part of NIST’s post-quantum cryptographic standard, expected to be finalized in about two years. These algorithms are the first group of encryption tools that are designed to withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day, such as online banking and email software.
Developing our technological edge through the National Quantum Initiative and issuance of National Security Memorandum-10 (NSM-10) on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems. This initiative has more than doubled the United States Government’s research and development (R&D) investment in quantum technology, creating new research centers and workforce development programs across the country. NSM-10 prioritizes U.S. leadership in quantum technologies by advancing R&D efforts, forging critical partnerships, expanding the workforce, and investing in critical infrastructure; will move the Nation to quantum-resistant cryptography; and protects our investments, companies, and intellectual property as this technology develops so that the United States and our allies can benefit from this new field’s advances without being harmed by those who would use it against us.
The White House released this fact sheet outlining the Biden-Harris Administration National Security Strategy:
President Biden’s National Security Strategy outlines how the United States will advance our vital interests and pursue a free, open, prosperous, and secure world. We will leverage all elements of our national power to out-compete our strategic competitors; tackle shared challenges; and shape the rules of the road.
The Strategy is rooted in our national interests: to protect the security of the American people, to expand economic opportunity, and to realize and defend the democratic values at the heart of the American way of life. In pursuit of these objectives, we will:
Invest in the underlying sources and tools of American power and influence;
Build the strongest possible coalition of nations to enhance our collective influence to shape the global strategic environment and to solve shared challenges; and
Modernize and strengthen our military so it is equipped for the era of strategic competition.
COOPERATION IN THE AGE OF COMPETITION In the early years of this decisive decade, the terms of geopolitical competition will be set while the window of opportunity to deal with shared challenges will narrow. We cannot compete successfully to shape the international order unless we have an affirmative plan to tackle shared challenges, and we cannot do that unless we recognize how heightened competition affects cooperation and act accordingly.
Strategic Competition.The most pressing strategic challenge we face as we pursue a free, open, prosperous, and secure world are from powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy.
We will effectively compete with the People’s Republic of China, which is the only competitor with both the intent and, increasingly, the capability to reshape the international order, while constraining a dangerous Russia.
Strategic competition is global, but we will avoid the temptation to view the world solely through a competitive lens, and engage countries on their own terms.
Shared Challenges. While this competition is underway, people all over the world are struggling to cope with the effects of shared challenges that cross borders—whether it is climate change, food insecurity, communicable diseases, or inflation. These shared challenges are not marginal issues that are secondary to geopolitics. They are at the very core of national and international security and must be treated as such.
We are building the strongest and broadest coalition of nations to enhance our collective capacity to solve these challenges and deliver for the American people and those around the world.
To preserve and increase international cooperation in an age of competition, we will pursue a dual-track approach. On one track, we will work with any country, including our competitors, willing to constructively address shared challenges within the rules-based international order and while working to strengthen international institutions. On the other track, we will deepen cooperation with democracies at the core of our coalition, creating a latticework of strong, resilient, and mutually reinforcing relationships that prove democracies can deliver for their people and the world.
INVESTING AT HOME The Biden-Harris Administration has broken down the dividing line between domestic and foreign policy because our strength at home and abroad are inextricably linked. The challenges of our age, from strategic competition to climate change, require us to make investments that sharpen our competitive edge and bolster our resilience.
Our democracy is at the core of who we are and is a continuous work in progress. Our system of government enshrines the rule of law and strives to protect the equality and dignity of all individuals. As we strive to live up to our ideals, to reckon with and remedy our shortcomings, we will inspire others around the world to do the same.
We are complementing the innovative power of the private sector with a modern industrial strategy that makes strategic public investments in our workforce, strategic sectors, and supply chains, especially in critical and emerging technologies.
A powerful U.S. military helps advance and safeguard vital U.S. national interests by backstopping diplomacy, confronting aggression, deterring conflict, projecting strength, and protecting the American people and their economic interests. We are modernizing our military, pursuing advanced technologies, and investing in our defense workforce to best position America to defend our homeland, our allies, partners, and interests overseas, and our values across the globe.
OUR ENDURING LEADERSHIP The United States will continue to lead with strength and purpose, leveraging our national advantages and the power of our alliances and partnerships. We have a tradition of transforming both domestic and foreign challenges into opportunities to spur reform and rejuvenation at home. The idea that we should compete with major autocratic powers to shape the international order enjoys broad support that is bipartisan at home and deepening abroad.
Our alliances and partnerships around the world are our most important strategic asset that we will deepen and modernize for the benefit of our national security.
We place a premium on growing the connective tissue on technology, trade and security between our democratic allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific and Europe because we recognize that they are mutually reinforcing and the fates of the two regions are intertwined.
We are charting new economic arrangements to deepen economic engagements with our partners and shaping the rules of the road to level the playing field and enable American workers and businesses—and those of partners and allies around the world—to thrive.
As we deepen our partnerships around the world, we will look for more democracy, not less, to shape the future. We recognize that while autocracy is at its core brittle, democracy’s inherent capacity to transparently course-correct enables resilience and progress.
AFFIRMATIVE ENGAGEMENT The United States is a global power with global interests; we are stronger in each region because of our engagement in the others. We are pursuing an affirmative agenda to advance peace and security and to promote prosperity in every region.
As an Indo-Pacific power, the United States has a vital interest in realizing a region that is open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. We are ambitious because we know that we and our allies and partners hold a common vision for the region’s future.
With a relationship rooted in shared democratic values, common interests, and historic ties, the transatlantic relationship is a vital platform on which many other elements of our foreign policy are built. To effectively pursue a common global agenda, we are broadening and deepening the transatlantic bond.
The Western Hemisphere directly impacts the United States more than any other region so we will continue to revive and deepen those partnerships to advance economic resilience, democratic stability, and citizen security.
A more integrated Middle East that empowers our allies and partners will advance regional peace and prosperity, while reducing the resource demands the region makes on the United States over the long term.
In Africa, the dynamism, innovation, and demographic growth of the region render it central to addressing complex global problems.
Outlines First Whole-of-Government Strategy to Protect Consumers, Financial Stability, National Security, and Address Climate Risks
Digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, have seen explosive growth in recent years, surpassing a $3 trillion market cap last November and up from $14 billion just five years prior. Surveys suggest that around 16 percent of adult Americans – approximately 40 million people – have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrencies. Over 100 countries are exploring or piloting Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), a digital form of a country’s sovereign currency.
[My personal belief is that Russian oligarchs, looking for places to stash their billions, had something to do with the run-up in value. The administration stated that “the use of cryptocurrency we do not think is a viable workaround to the set of financial sanctions we’ve imposed across the entire Russian economy and, in particular, to its central bank,” but that does not take into account purchases that might have been made before sanctions were imposed, or these new protections. A request for comment was unanswered.]
The White House provided this fact sheet detailing Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to protect consumers, financial stability, national security and address climate risks posted by digital assets:–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The rise in digital assets creates an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier, but also has substantial implications for consumer protection, financial stability, national security, and climate risk. The United States must maintain technological leadership in this rapidly growing space, supporting innovation while mitigating the risks for consumers, businesses, the broader financial system, and the climate. And, it must play a leading role in international engagement and global governance of digital assets consistent with democratic values and U.S. global competitiveness.
That is why President Biden signed an Executive Order outlining the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology. The Order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities: consumer and investor protection; financial stability; illicit finance; U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness; financial inclusion; and responsible innovation.
Specifically, the Executive Order calls for measures to:
Protect U.S. Consumers, Investors, and Businesses by directing the Department of the Treasury and other agency partners to assess and develop policy recommendations to address the implications of the growing digital asset sector and changes in financial markets for consumers, investors, businesses, and equitable economic growth. The Order also encourages regulators to ensure sufficient oversight and safeguard against any systemic financial risks posed by digital assets.
Protect U.S. and Global Financial Stability and Mitigate Systemic Risk by encouraging the Financial Stability Oversight Council to identify and mitigate economy-wide (i.e., systemic) financial risks posed by digital assets and to develop appropriate policy recommendations to address any regulatory gaps.
Mitigate the Illicit Finance and National Security Risks Posed by the Illicit Use of Digital Assets by directing an unprecedented focus of coordinated action across all relevant U.S. Government agencies to mitigate these risks. It also directs agencies to work with our allies and partners to ensure international frameworks, capabilities, and partnerships are aligned and responsive to risks.
Promote U.S. Leadership in Technology and Economic Competitiveness to Reinforce U.S. Leadership in the Global Financial System by directing the Department of Commerce to work across the U.S. Government in establishing a framework to drive U.S. competitiveness and leadership in, and leveraging of digital asset technologies. This framework will serve as a foundation for agencies and integrate this as a priority into their policy, research and development, and operational approaches to digital assets.
Promote Equitable Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Services by affirming the critical need for safe, affordable, and accessible financial services as a U.S. national interest that must inform our approach to digital asset innovation, including disparate impact risk. Such safe access is especially important for communities that have long had insufficient access to financial services. The Secretary of the Treasury, working with all relevant agencies, will produce a report on the future of money and payment systems, to include implications for economic growth, financial growth and inclusion, national security, and the extent to which technological innovation may influence that future.
Support Technological Advances and Ensure Responsible Development and Use of Digital Assets by directing the U.S. Government to take concrete steps to study and support technological advances in the responsible development, design, and implementation of digital asset systems while prioritizing privacy, security, combating illicit exploitation, and reducing negative climate impacts.
Explore a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) by placing urgency on research and development of a potential United States CBDC, should issuance be deemed in the national interest. The Order directs the U.S. Government to assess the technological infrastructure and capacity needs for a potential U.S. CBDC in a manner that protects Americans’ interests. The Order also encourages the Federal Reserve to continue its research, development, and assessment efforts for a U.S. CBDC, including development of a plan for broader U.S. Government action in support of their work. This effort prioritizes U.S. participation in multi-country experimentation, and ensures U.S. leadership internationally to promote CBDC development that is consistent with U.S. priorities and democratic values.
The Administration will continue work across agencies and with Congress to establish policies that guard against risks and guide responsible innovation, with our allies and partners to develop aligned international capabilities that respond to national security risks, and with the private sector to study and support technological advances in digital assets.
Today, in response to Vladimir Putin increasing hostilities against Ukraine, deploying Russian forces into Ukraine and giving a speech in which the Russian President dismissed Ukraine’s right to exist as a free and sovereign nation, President Joe Biden issued a tranche of new sanctions.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community…. He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met. And there is no question that Russia is the aggressor. So we’re clear-eyed about the challenges we’re facing.“
Here is a transcript of his remarks:
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states and he bizarrely asserted that these regions are no longer part of Ukraine and their sovereign territory. To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine.
Last night, Putin authorized Russian forces to deploy into the region — these regions. Today, he asserted that these regions are — actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Ukraine government.
He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view. And if we listen to his speech last night — and many of you did, I know — he’s — he’s setting up a rationale to go much further.
This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma.
I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response, far beyond the steps we and our Allies and partners implemented in 2014. And if Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as — with sanction.
Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community.
Over the last few months, we have coordinated closely with our NATO Allies and partners in Europe and around the world to prepare that response. We’ve said all along and I’ve told Putin to his face more than a month ago that we would act together and the moment Russia moved against Ukraine.
Russia has now undeniably moved against Ukraine by declaring these independent states.
So, today, I’m announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our Allies and partners, and we’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates.
We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: V.E.B. and their military bank.
We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.
Starting tomorrow [today] and continuing in the days ahead, we will also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.
And because of Russia’s actions, we’ve worked with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 will not — as I promised — will not move forward.
As Russia contemplates its next move, we have our next move prepared as well. Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions.
The United States will continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine in the meantime. And we’ll continue to reinforce and reassure our NATO Allies.
Today, in response to Russia’s admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I have authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic Allies — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Let me be clear: These are totally defensive moves on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the United States, together with our Allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO.
We still believe that Russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine. I hope I’m wrong about that — hope we’re wrong about that. But Russia has only escalated its threat against the rest of Ukrainian territory, including major cities and including the capital city of Kyiv.
There are still well over 150,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine. And as I said, Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, including war planes and offensive missile systems.
Russia has moved troops closer to Ukraine’s border with Russia. Russia’s naval vessels are maneuvering in the Black Sea to Ukraine’s south, including amphibious assault ships, missile cruisers, and submarines.
Russia has moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position on their border. You don’t need blood unless you plan on starting a war.
And over the last few days, we’ve seen much of the playbook that Secretary Blinken laid out last week at the United Nations Security Council come to pass: a major increase in military provocations and false-flag events along the line of contact in the Donbas; dramatically staged, conveniently on-camera meeting of Putin’s Security Council to grandstand for the Russian public; and now political provocation of recognizing sovereign Ukrainian territory as so-called independent republics in clear violation, again, of international law.
President Putin has sought authorization from the Russian parliament to use military force outside of Russian territory. And this set the stage for further pretexts and further provocations by Russia to try to justify further military action.
None of us — none of us should be fooled. None of us will be fooled. There is no justification.
Further Russian assault into Ukraine remains a severe threat in the days ahead. And if Russia proceeds, it is Russia, and Russia alone, that bears the responsibility.
As we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump. As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well, here at home. We need to be honest about that.
But as we do this, I’m going to take robust action and make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours.
We are closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption. We’re executing a plan in coordination with major oil-producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies.
This will be — this will blunt gas prices. I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me.
In the last few days, I have been in constant contact with European leaders, including with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Vice President Harris met in person with leaders in Germany over the weekend at the Munich Conference, including President Zelenskyy.
At every step, we have shown that the United States and our Allies and partners are working in unison — which he hasn’t been counting on — Mr. Putin. We’re united in our support of Ukraine. We’re united in our opposition to Russian aggression. And we’re united in our resolve to defend our NATO Alliance. And we’re united in our understanding of the urgency and seriousness of the threat Russia is making to global peace and stability.
Yesterday, the world heard clearly the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewrite of history, going back more than a century, as he waxed eloquently, noting that — well, I’m not going to go into it, but nothing in Putin’s lengthy remarks indicated any interest in pursuing real dialogue on European security in the year 2022.
He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met.
And there is no question that Russia is the aggressor. So we’re clear-eyed about the challenges we’re facing.
Nonetheless, there is still time to avert the worst-case scenario that will bring untold suffering to millions of people if they move as suggested.
The United States and our Allies and partners remain open to diplomacy if it is serious. When all is said and done, we’re going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words.
And whatever Russia does next, we’re ready to respond with unity, clarity, and conviction.
We’ll probably have more to say about this as we — if it moves on. I’m hoping diplomacy is still available.
FACT SHEET: United States Imposes First Tranche of Swift and Severe Costs on Russia
U.S. joined by Allies and partners to hold Putin accountable; Will impose additional costs if Russia goes further with this invasion
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states and today claimed that recognition to include all of the Donbas region. The Russian Parliament also authorized the deployment of additional Russian forces into this Ukrainian territory.
As President Biden and our Allies and partners have made clear, we will impose significant costs on Russia for Russia’s actions. Today, the Administration is implementing the first tranche of sanctions that go far beyond 2014, in coordination with allies and partners in the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Australia. And as President Biden promised, we worked with Germany to ensure the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not move forward.
The President has directed the following measures:
Full blocking sanctions on two significant Russian financial institutions. The Secretary of the Treasury will impose full blocking sanctions on two large state-owned Russian financial institutions that provide key services crucial to financing the Kremlin and the Russian military: Vnesheconombank and Promsvyazbank and their subsidiaries. Collectively, these institutions hold more than $80 billion in assets and finance the Russian defense sector and economic development. These measures will freeze their assets in the United States, prohibit U.S. individuals and businesses from doing any transactions with them, shut them out of the global financial system, and foreclose access to the U.S. dollar.
Expanded sovereign debt prohibitions restricting U.S. individuals and firms from participation in secondary markets for new debt issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. These prohibitions will cut off the Russian government from a key avenue by which it raises capital to fund its priorities and will increase future financing costs. It denies Russia access to key U.S. markets and investors.
Full blocking sanctions on five Russian elites and their family members: Aleksandr Bortnikov (and his son, Denis), Sergei Kiriyenko (and his son, Vladimir), and Promsvyazbank CEO Petr Fradkov. These individuals and their relatives directly benefit from their connections with the Kremlin. Other Russian elites and their family members are on notice that additional actions could be taken against them.
Today,the Secretary of the Treasury will determine that any institution in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy is a target for further sanctions. Over 80% of Russia’s daily foreign exchange transactions globally are in U.S. dollars and roughly half of Russia’s international trade is conducted in dollars. With this action, no Russian financial institution is safe from our measures, including the largest banks.
These actions come in addition to steps being taken by our Allies and partners and represent our first response to Russia’s actions. As President Biden made clear, Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression
The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.
We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, remain gravely concerned about Russia’s threatening military build-up around Ukraine, in illegally annexed Crimea and in Belarus. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified massing of military forces, the largest deployment on the European continent since the end of the Cold War is a challenge to global security and the international order.
We call on Russia to choose the path of diplomacy, to de-escalate tensions, to substantively withdraw military forces from the proximity of Ukraine’s borders and to fully abide by international commitments including on risk reduction and transparency of military activities. As a first step, we expect Russia to implement the announced reduction of its military activities along Ukraine’s borders. We have seen no evidence of this reduction. We will judge Russia by its deeds.
We took note of Russia’s latest announcements that it is willing to engage diplomatically. We underline our commitment vis-à-vis Russia to pursue dialogue on issues of mutual concern, such as European security, risk reduction, transparency, confidence building and arms control. We also reiterate our commitment to find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current crisis, and we urge Russia to take up the offer of dialogue through the US-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue, the NATO-Russia Council, and the OSCE. We commend the Renewed OSCE European Security Dialogue launched by the Polish OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office and express our strong hope that Russia will engage in a constructive way.
Any threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states goes against the fundamental principles that underpin the rules-based international order as well as the European peace and security order enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter and other subsequent OSCE declarations. While we are ready to explore diplomatic solutions to address legitimate security concerns, Russia should be in no doubt that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences, including financial and economic sanctions on a wide array of sectoral and individual targets that would impose severe and unprecedented costs on the Russian economy. We will take coordinated restrictive measures in case of such an event.
We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our support to Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its democracy and institutions, encouraging further progress on reform. We consider it of utmost importance to help preserve the economic and financial stability of Ukraine and the well-being of its people. Building on our assistance since 2014, we are committed to contribute, in close coordination with Ukraine’s authorities to support the strengthening of Ukraine’s resilience.
We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters. We reaffirm the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future and security arrangements. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint in the face of continued provocations and efforts at destabilization.
We underline our strong appreciation and continued support for Germany’s and France’s efforts through the Normandy Process to secure the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which is the only way forward for a lasting political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We acknowledge public statements by President Zelensky underlining Ukraine’s firm commitment to the Minsk Agreements and his readiness to contribute constructively to the process. Ukrainian overtures merit serious consideration by Russian negotiators and by the Government of the Russian Federation. We call on Russia to seize the opportunity which Ukraine’s proposals represent for the diplomatic path.
Russia must de-escalate and fulfil its commitments in implementing the Minsk Agreements. The increase in ceasefire violations along the line of contact in recent days is highly concerning. We condemn the use of heavy weaponry and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, which constitute a clear violation of the Minsk Agreements. We also condemn that the Russian Federation continues to hand out Russian passports to the inhabitants of the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine. This clearly runs counter to the spirit of the Minsk agreements.
We are particularly worried by measures taken by the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” which must be seen as laying the ground for military escalation. We are concerned that staged incidents could be used as a pretext for possible military escalation. Russia must use its influence over the self-proclaimed republics to exercise restraint and de-escalate.
In this context, we firmly express our support for the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission, whose observers play a key role in de-escalation efforts. This mission must be allowed to carry out its full mandate without restrictions to its activities and freedom of movement to the benefit and security of the people in eastern Ukraine.
While “strongly supporting” enactment of a National Defense Authorization Act, the Biden Administration took exception to several aspects including funding platforms that cannot be properly modernized, wanting to merge Trump’s Space Force into the Air National Guard instead of an expensive stand-alone, and wanting funding to close Guantanamo. It also addresses Afghanistan and Israel, among others, and is generally a statement of Biden’s defense policy.
“The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to set an appropriate and responsible level of defense spending to support the security of the Nation. At the same time, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to provide appropriate resources for non-security investments and security investments outside the Department of Defense (DOD).”
Senator Bernie Sanders said he would vote against the $778 billion reauthorization bill as hypocrisy, when too many in Congress say the nation can’t afford universal health care and pre-K, while allocating $37 billion more than Trump’s last budget, even though the war in Afghanistan is over (where is the “peace dividend”?)
“This is a bill that has us spending more money on the military than the next 12 nations combined and more money in real inflation-adjusted dollars than we did during the height of the Cold War or during the wars in Vietnam and Korea,” Sanders declared.
“This is a bill giving an obscene amount of money to an agency – the Department of Defense – with hundreds of billions of dollars of cost overruns and which remains the only federal agency that hasn’t been able to pass an independent audit in decades.
“On top of that, it is likely that Senate leadership will attach a so-called ‘competitiveness bill’ that includes $52 billion in corporate welfare, no strings attached money for a handful of extremely profitable microchip companies” for a combined $1 trillion bill, Sanders stated.
Biden would more or less agree on much of Sanders’ issues:
Here is the Statement of Administration Policy – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY S. 2792 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (Sen. Reed, D-RI, and Sen. Inhofe, R-OK)
The Administration strongly supports enactment of a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for a 61st consecutive year and is grateful for the strong, bipartisan work this year by the Senate Armed Services Committee on behalf of America’s national defense.
The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to set an appropriate and responsible level of defense spending to support the security of the Nation. At the same time, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to provide appropriate resources for non-security investments and security investments outside the Department of Defense (DOD). A strong economy is critical to ensuring that our Nation is positioned for strategic competition, and investments in diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft enhance the effectiveness of national defense spending and promote national security.
The Administration opposes the direction to add funding for platforms and systems that cannot be affordably modernized given the need to eliminate wasteful spending and prioritize survivable, and resilient forces that credibly deter advanced threats. Our national security interests require forces that can fight across the spectrum of conflict.
The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address its concerns, a number of which are outlined below. The Administration also looks forward to reviewing the classified annex to the committee report and working with Congress to address any concerns about classified programs.
Optimizing Program Investments and Modernization. The Administration strongly opposes restoration of funding to systems that limit DOD’s ability to divest or retire lower priority platforms not relevant to tomorrow’s battlefield. The President’s Budget divests or retires vulnerable and costly platforms that no longer meet mission or security needs, and reinvests those savings in transformational, innovative assets that match the dynamic threat landscape and advance the capabilities of the force of the future. The Administration strongly opposes language that would limit decommissioning or inactivation of battle force ships before the end of their expected service life (section 135) and retiring A-10 aircraft (section 143). The Administration also strongly opposes language that would establish minimum inventory requirements of systems such as tactical airlift and fighter aircraft (sections 141 and 142) and would authorize unrequested funding for Expeditionary Fast Transport ships. Such provisions would limit the Department’s flexibility to prioritize resource investment, delay modernization of capabilities, and impede implementation of the emergent National Defense Strategy.
Afghanistan Security Forces Fund. Section 1213 provides authorities no longer needed following the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Therefore, the Administration strongly urges the Senate to adopt the language in the House bill to enable the responsible termination of the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) by authorizing the use of ASFF for costs associated with the termination of support to the ANDSF. The termination will involve, at a minimum, closing out several hundred contracts and, in many cases, negotiating financial settlements with the contractors, developing a full accounting for all ASFF-funded equipment and supplies that are outside Afghanistan, and assessing amounts and the use of appropriations for potential contract settlement costs and the cost of transporting and storing ASFF-funded materiel for purposes of treating it as DOD stocks. More analysis is necessary to develop prudent estimates of these costs and of timelines for completing these actions.
Recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military (IRC). The Administration commends the determined and bipartisan effort reflected by the bill to advance the shared goal of Congress and the Administration to make real and sustainable progress on the prevention of and response to sexual assault and other related crimes, and improve support for survivors.
The Administration supports effective implementation of the IRC’s recommendations focused on accountability, improving prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support and has developed and instituted a phased implementation plan to build the foundation and infrastructure necessary to do so sustainably. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to clarify Sec. 530B, to allow for alignment with the Department of Defense’s ongoing implementation strategy. Additionally, some of the IRC’s recommendations – such as 4.2 b, which relates to services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs – are beyond the authority of the Secretary of Defense to implement unilaterally.
The Administration is committed to executing military justice reform, and welcomes efforts by Congress to enact legislation that supports core aspects of the IRC’s recommendations for accountability, namely: that the decision to prosecute special victim crimes (including, but not limited to: sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence) be made by Special Victim Prosecutors (SVPs) within a fully professionalized judge advocate organization; that SVPs have the requisite litigation experience and specialized training to be able to work with victims of these complex, interpersonal crimes; and that each Military Department establish an Office of the Special Victim Prosecutor (OSVP) that can operate with independence from the command reporting structure and under the direction of the Secretary of the Military Department, without intervening authority. The Administration believes that each Secretary of a Military Department should have discretion to determine the director of the OSVP, who may be a Senior Executive Service civilian, best suited to carry out the mission of the Office as determined by that Secretary.
To ensure effective reform, the Administration recommends the date prescribed by section 552, so that adequate time is provided to issue necessary implementing regulations, identify and hire appropriately qualified personnel, train both new and existing personnel, and then place them in newly created positions.
Additionally, effective reform will require an increase in the resources committed to the system. Accordingly, the Administration objects to section 564, which would require implementation of the military justice reforms using otherwise-authorized personnel and resources. The Administration will work with Congress to determine the appropriate resource level needed to ensure effective implementation of the revised military justice system.
In addition to these recommendations from the IRC, the Administration urges Congress to enable military protective orders (MPOs) to be given full faith and credit, and enact legislation that would provide DOD and the Services sufficient time to assess and implement this change.
Limitation on Modifications to Sexual Assault Reporting Procedures. The Administration strongly objects to section 566, which would prohibit the Secretary of Defense from amending section 4 of enclosure 4 of DOD Instruction 6495.02, relating to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures, “or otherwise prescribe any regulations or guidance relating to the treatment and handling of unrestricted and restricted reports of sexual assault, until 30 days after notifying the congressional defense committees of the proposed amendment or modification.” This provision could delay potential needed updates to DOD’s sexual assault regulations. The administration is committed to working with Congress in a transparent way on these important matters, but must maintain flexibility to amend internal policies when needed.
Air and Space National Guard. The Administration does not oppose section 902, which would rename the Air National Guard as the Air and Space National Guard. This provision would avoid the significant administrative expenses associated with establishing a stand-alone Space National Guard, so DOD can prioritize the development of new space capabilities. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on alternative Space Force concepts that are efficient, effective, and appropriate for space missions.
DOD Contractor Professional Training Material Disclosure Requirements. The Administration strongly opposes section 818, which would require all DOD contractors to post online or, if they lack an online presence, submit in paper to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment all diversity, equal opportunity, equity, inclusion, or tolerance training materials or internal policies related to these subjects. This provision would require the disclosure of intellectual property and proprietary information. Furthermore, the provision would be a barrier to entry, especially for small businesses or companies contracting with the Department for the first time. This provision, therefore, would limit the number of entities willing or able to do business with the Department at a time when access to talent, technology, and innovation is a critical determinant of the U.S.’s ability to compete.
Limitations on Use of Funds in the National Defense Sealift (NDS) Fund. The Administration strongly objects to the removal of funding for used sealift vessels. The Administration also urges support for the necessary relief to recapitalize the sealift fleet with used vessels by removing existing statutory limitations. The Administration strongly encourages Congress to remove the statutory cap on the number of used sealift vessels DOD can procure and to remove the statutory link between the use of NDS funding for the purchase of used vessels and the requirement to procure new construction vessels. This will allow the Administration to recapitalize the sealift fleet, with all used ship conversions taking place in U.S. shipyards, for a fraction of the cost of procuring new vessels.
Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Regular Members. The Administration supports a basic needs allowance. The Administration needs a more comprehensive data analysis to determine the inclusion or exclusion of basic allowance for housing when considering the calculation of a basic needs allowance. Using this analysis, the Administration would like to work with Congress to develop an appropriate calculation for targeting recipients of a basic needs allowance.
Prohibition on Missile Defense Agency Production of Satellites and Ground Systems Associated with Operation of Such Satellites. The Administration strongly objects to section 1510, which would prohibit the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) from authorizing or obligating funding for a program of record for the production of satellites, with an associated limitation of funds. Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) On-Orbit Prototype Demonstration phase began in January 2021 with contracts awarded to two industry teams. This program supports unique missile defense requirements to provide fire-control quality tracking data on hypersonic and ballistic missile threats for engagement by missile defense weapons, and is a critical element of the Missile Defense System kill-chain. Enacting section 1510 would delay delivery of this capability to the warfighter. Also, consistent with congressional direction, the Secretary of Defense has certified the Director of MDA as the responsible agent for developing the HBTSS capability.
Modification of United States-Israel Operations-Technology Cooperation within the United States-Israel Defense Acquisition Advisory Group. While the Administration strongly supports strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Administration strongly opposes section 1271, which would make the United States-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group (OTWG) mandatory. DOD has developed draft Terms of Reference for such a group and is finalizing negotiations with Israel. However, enactment of section 1271 would eliminate the flexibility the Administration needs to ensure that the terms, membership, and focus of the OTWG are in the U.S. interest.
Enhancement of Recusal for Conflicts of Personal Interest Requirements for Department of Defense Officers and Employees. The Administration is committed to preventing conflicts of interest, but is concerned that section 1103 lacks any mechanism for the Secretary of Defense to grant a waiver or authorization to authorize participation when it is in the best interests of the Government. Section 1103 needs to be aligned with existing ethics rules because it introduces new terms, broader standards, and requires the Department to further screen all DOD personnel from participating in “covered matters” involving clients and competitors of an employee’s former employer for four years. Section 1103 would significantly extend the time and resources needed to make decisions and limit DOD’s ability to hire qualified personnel.
Missile Defense Radar in Hawaii. The Administration opposes added funding for the Homeland Defense Radar – Hawaii (HDR-H). The Department had planned to field HDR-H, the Pacific Radar, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), and the Long Range Discrimination Radar by the mid-2020s as a system of systems to improve homeland ballistic missile defense. The Pacific Radar has been delayed indefinitely due to stalled negotiations with the host nation, and the RKV program has been cancelled. Hawaii is currently defended against missile threats to the same extent as the rest of the United States, and DOD is currently investing in other capabilities, such as the Next Generation Interceptor, which will support the long-term defense of Hawaii.
Reprioritization of Military Construction Funding to Unrequested Projects. The Administration opposes section 4601, which would realign military construction funding authorization from priority projects to other projects not included in the President’s Budget. Contrary to the Administration’s fiscally responsible policy to fully fund projects, the bill proposes to fund 14 military construction projects incrementally, effectively creating an unfunded obligation of almost $1 billion to complete these projects.
Alignment of Close Combat Lethality Task Force. The Administration strongly opposes section 905, which would prevent implementation of the Secretary of Defense’s decision to realign the Close Combat Lethality Task Force (CCLTF) to the Secretary of the Army, effective October 1, 2021. Section 905 would prevent the alignment of the CCLTF with the organization best positioned to identify, test, develop, demonstrate, and integrate new close combat capabilities, capacity that is already built into the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence. Importantly, the CCLTF will remain a joint organization, with a Tri-Service board governing the work of the CCLTF.
Prohibition on Support for Offensive Military Operations Against the Houthis in Yemen. The Administration opposes section 1272 because it is unnecessary; the Administration already has ceased support for Saudi-led coalition offensive operations in Yemen. In addition, because DOD does not have the lead for humanitarian aid delivery, the Secretary of Defense is not the appropriate official to provide the requested report.
Prohibition on Reduction of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles of the United States. The Administration objects to section 1543, which would restrict the President and the Department of Defense from reducing the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles below 400. The Administration objects to this restriction while the force structure is under review as part of the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). This language would constrain the President’s ability to propose the nuclear force he determines is necessary.
Significant New Foreign Policy Provisions. The Administration is concerned that the bill includes certain sections—specifically 1011, 1201, 1205, 1207, 1208, 1209, 1211, 1242, and 1275—that would require DOD engagement in, analysis of, or reporting on significant foreign policy issues without including sufficient means for the Secretary of State to provide input and ensure that foreign assistance is carried out in a manner consistent with foreign policy priorities.
Coordination Between United States Cyber Command and Private Sector. The Administration opposes section 1604, as this provision’s relationship to section 1642(b) of the FY 2019 NDAA is unclear. The Secretary of Defense’s authority to “make arrangements with private sector entities, on a voluntary basis” under section 1642(b) is scoped to the four top nation-state threats. In contrast, section 1604 is not similarly scoped, is not tied to existing authorities, is arguably duplicative, lacks appropriate coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and may prohibit internal U.S Government information sharing.
Pilot Program on Public-Private Partnerships with Internet Ecosystem Companies to Detect and Disrupt Adversary Cyber Operations. The Administration opposes section 1605, which would require the Secretary of Defense to initiate a pilot program to use public-private partnerships to facilitate detection and disruption of malicious cyber activity on private sector infrastructure. Many of the authorized activities would be achieved more effectively through existing federal activities, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative and several Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement programs. Establishing a separate pilot program led by DOD would further complicate federal efforts to collaborate with the private sector, including “internet ecosystem companies,” in a unified, coordinated manner.
Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment on Cybersecurity. The Administration urges support for the requested amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act to enhance cybersecurity and resilience requirements for drinking water systems. Recent incidents show that cyber-attacks and malicious cyber activity against drinking water systems can disrupt and endanger our critical water infrastructure’s ability to provide safe and reliable drinking water, and put the health and lives of our citizens at risk.
Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The Administration strongly objects to sections 1031, 1032, and 1033, which would extend the prohibitions on the use of funds to: transfer Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) detainees to the United States (1031); construct or modify facilities in the United States to house transferred GTMO detainees (1032); and transfer GTMO detainees to certain countries (1033). These provisions would interfere with the President’s ability to determine the appropriate disposition of GTMO detainees and to make important foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries.
Constitutional Concerns. Certain provisions of the bill, such as section 1232, raise constitutional concerns. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address this and other constitutional concerns.
All too often, especially in the Trump years, veterans and active military have been used as props and as pawns to achieve personal and political gain. Trump demeaned Senator John McCain’s heroism as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and later called those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, “losers and suckers” and repeatedly questioned the intelligence of those who serveand couldn’t be bothered to visit the graves of Americans who died in World War I in a cemetery while in France.
Well before Joe Biden became President, he and First Lady Jill Biden were activists on behalf of the military, veterans and military families. As Second Lady, Jill Biden teamed with then First Lady Michelle Obama to create Joining Forces – the White House initiative to support veteran and military families, caregivers, and survivors – to solve many of the problems that military families and veterans face.Now, as President, Biden has advanced policies on behalf of active military, veterans and their familiesand the First Lady continues her work with Joining Forces.
I often have problems each Veterans Day and Memorial Day because these events shroud the horrors of war in glory – necessary because otherwise no one would sign up. And I have often warned about the difference between lying the nation into war as George W. Bush did to invade Iraq, and Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon did during Vietnam, using war for political gain, as Reagan did in invading Grenada, being used by callous business interests to make their fortune, like World War I, and a justified war like World War II.
This Veterans Day, November 11, 2021, Biden’s Proclamation is genuine and speaks to this administration’s commitment: “Our Nation has only one truly sacred obligation: to properly prepare and equip our service members when we send them into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they return home.”— Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com
VETERANS DAY, 2021
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
For generations, millions of Americans have answered the call to serve — taking the sacred oath to defend and preserve our Nation’s ideals of liberty and democracy. These patriots represent the best of us. On Veterans Day, we honor their service, dedication, and valor and are forever grateful for their sacrifice.
Our Nation has only one truly sacred obligation: to properly prepare and equip our service members when we send them into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they return home. For our 19 million veterans, that means ensuring that they have access to the support and resources for a future of security, opportunity, and dignity. This is even more important as we continue to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Our obligation to support our Nation’s veterans and their families is personal for me and the entire Biden family, and I remain committed to ensuring that every veteran receives the care and support they have earned. The recently passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create millions of good jobs for veterans and grow opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. My Build Back Better framework also prioritizes improvements to VA health care, ensuring that every veteran — including our often-underserved female and LGBTQ+ veterans — receives competent, world-class health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Last month, the White House Gender Policy Council released the first-ever United States Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality, which included the unique needs and contributions of women service members and veterans. And the Department of Veterans Affairs is also working to get every eligible veteran the information and opportunity they need to register and vote, protecting their voice in the democracy they fought to preserve.
Ensuring veterans have timely access to services and benefits is at the center of my Administration’s commitment to fulfilling our sacred obligation. This includes addressing the adverse health effects of service-related exposures. In August, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will begin processing disability claims for respiratory conditions connected to exposure during military service in Southwest Asia and other areas. My Administration also added three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange, ending the long wait for disability benefits for many Vietnam era veterans. In the coming months, we are committed to taking additional action to address potential adverse health effects associated with military environmental exposures.
So many of our veterans carry the scars from their service — both visible and invisible — and it is our Nation’s responsibility to help them heal. Too many veterans and service members have considered suicide or taken their own lives, and addressing this tragedy is a national responsibility. That is why I have made military and veteran suicide prevention a top priority, and earlier this month, I released a new comprehensive, cross-sector public health strategy to reduce military and veteran suicide. Implementing this approach will unite us around a common mission and accelerate meaningful improvements in suicide prevention programs, helping us live up to our sacred obligation to those who have served in our Nation’s Armed Forces.
Fulfilling our Nation’s promise to our veterans and military families, caregivers, and survivors is not only a moral imperative — it is crucial to our national security and to maintaining the finest military the world has ever known. We are a Nation that keeps our promises. That is why my Administration is dedicated to a whole-of-government approach in responding to the needs of our veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.
Through the First Lady’s work with Joining Forces — the White House initiative to support veteran and military families, caregivers, and survivors — my Administration is addressing employment and entrepreneurship, military and veteran child education, and health and well-being for veteran families. Earlier this year, the First Lady met with military and veteran families to learn how we can better support and prioritize their needs, and in September, Joining Forces and the National Security Council released a report outlining the first round of Administration-wide commitments and proposals that support veteran and military families, caregivers, and survivors. These efforts will honor our sacred obligation to support our veteran families and ensure they receive the resources they need to thrive.
On Veterans Day, we honor our Nation’s veterans, who have given so much to protect our freedoms and the freedom of others around the globe. They represent the highest ideals of our country. While we can never fully repay the debt we owe these heroes, we will honor their service and provide them the care and support they deserve. We also salute and show gratitude for all who ensure our Armed Forces remain strong, united, and unmatched…
I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor, courage, and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States of America and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. And I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities, to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.
This summary of outcomes of President Joe Biden’s historic Leaders on Climate, held April 22-23, 2021, was provided by the White House:
After fulfilling his promise to bring America back into the Paris Agreement, President Biden convened 40 world leaders in a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate this week to rally the world in tackling the climate crisis and meeting the demands of science. The United States and other countries announced ambitious new climate targets ensuring that nations accounting for half of the world’s economy have now committed to the emission reductions needed globally to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5-degrees C within reach. Many leaders underscored the urgency of other major economies strengthening their ambition as well on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November 2021 in Glasgow.
The Summit, which was the largest virtual gathering of world leaders, convened the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (the world’s 17 largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters) and included the leaders of other countries especially vulnerable to climate impacts or charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy. President Biden was joined at the Summit by Vice President Harris, members of the President’s Cabinet, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, as well as senior representatives of other countries and leaders from business and civil society. The full agenda and list of participants is available at https://www.state.gov/leaders-summit-on-climate/.
With the science telling us that the world needs to significantly increase the scale and speed of climate action, President Biden considered it vital to host this Summit within his first 100 days in office to make clear that it is a top U.S. priority to combat the climate crisis at home and abroad.
Vice President Harris opened the Summit by emphasizing the intertwined imperatives of addressing the climate crisis, creating jobs, and protecting the most vulnerable communities. Her remarks set the stage for the launch of the Summit’s five sessions, which were live-streamed [https://www.state.gov/leaders-summit-on-climate/].
President Biden began Session 1 (“Raising Our Climate Ambition”) by framing enhanced climate action as necessary both to address the crisis and to promote economic opportunity, including the creation of good-paying, union jobs. He told Summit participants that the United States will halve its greenhouse gas emissions within this decade, noting that countries that take decisive action now will reap the economic benefits of a clean energy future. To enshrine this commitment, the United States submitted a new “nationally determined contribution” (NDC) under the Paris Agreement setting an economy-wide emissions target of a 50-52% reduction below 2005 levels in 2030. Secretary of State Blinken conveyed a strong sense of urgency in tackling the climate crisis, noting that this is a critical year and a decisive decade to take action. He noted the U.S. resolve to work with other countries to engage in all avenues of cooperation to “save our planet.”
Participants noted the need to work rapidly over the course of this decade to accelerate decarbonization efforts and are taking a range of actions to that end. Announcements during this Session included, among others:
Japan will cut emissions 46-50% below 2013 levels by 2030, with strong efforts toward achieving a 50% reduction, a significant acceleration from its existing 26% reduction goal.
Canada will strengthen its NDC to a 40-45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, a significant increase over its previous target to reduce emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
India reiterated its target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 and announced the launch of the “U.S.-India 2030 Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership” to mobilize finance and speed clean energy innovation and deployment this decade.
Argentina will strengthen its NDC, deploy more renewables, reduce methane emissions, and end illegal deforestation.
The United Kingdom will embed in law a 78% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2035.
The European Union is putting into law a target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and a net zero target by 2050.
The Republic of Korea, which will host the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit in May, will terminate public overseas coal finance and strengthen its NDC this year to be consistent with its 2050 net zero goal.
China indicated that it will join the Kigali Amendment, strengthen the control of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and phase down coal consumption.
Brazil committed to achieve net zero by 2050, end illegal deforestation by 2030, and double funding for deforestation enforcement.
South Africa announced that it intends to strengthen its NDC and shift its intended emissions peak year ten years earlier to 2025.
Russia noted the importance of carbon capture and storage from all sources, as well as atmospheric carbon removals. It also highlighted the importance of methane and called for international collaboration to address this powerful greenhouse gas.
Session 2 (“Investing in Climate Solutions”) addressed the urgent need to scale up climate finance, including both efforts to increase public finance for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries and efforts to catalyze trillions of dollars of private investment to support the transition to net zero emissions no later than 2050. President Biden stressed the importance of developed countries meeting the collective goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year in public and private finance to support developing countries. He also announced that the Administration intends to seek funding to double, by 2024, annual U.S. public climate finance to developing countries, compared to the average level of the second half of the Obama-Biden Administration (FY 2013-2016). This would include tripling public finance for adaptation by 2024. President Biden also called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and announced that his Administration will undertake a series of steps to promote the measurement, disclosure, and mitigation of material climate risks to the financial system.
Treasury Secretary Yellen highlighted the role of multilateral development banks in supporting the transition. She also said that the Treasury Department will use all its tools and expertise to help support climate action. Special Envoy Kerry moderated a discussion among leaders from government, international organizations, and multilateral and private financial institutions. These leaders noted the importance of concessional finance to leverage much larger sums of private capital, as well as to provide finance to technologies, activities, and geographies where private capital is not flowing. They noted the urgent need to increase finance for adaptation and resilience in developing countries. The participants also recognized the need for governments to embrace key policies, including meaningful carbon pricing, enhanced disclosure of climate-related risks, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Several of the private financial institutions expressed their support for coalitions such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero and the Net Zero Banking Alliance. They also referred to recent commitments by U.S. banks to invest $4.16 trillion in climate solutions over the next ten years.
Session 3 elevated four specific topics for more focused consideration by government officials and, in some cases, a broader range of stakeholders.
The discussion on climate action at all levels, hosted by U.S. EPA Administrator Regan and including participation from a wide range of governors, mayors, and indigenous leaders from around the world, illustrated the importance of marshalling a multi-level “all-of-society” approach to climate action. The Session showcased States, cities, and indigenous groups that are committed to an equitable vision for advancing bold climate ambition and building resilience on the ground. Participants discussed the critical importance of building just and inclusive societies and economies as they accelerate efforts to transform their communities in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Participants discussed not only the importance of leadership at all levels of society and government, but also the importance of collaboration between national and subnational governments to catalyze additional ambition.
The discussion on adaptation and resilience, hosted by Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas, focused on innovative ways in which countries from a wide variety of regions are responding to climate change in the areas of water and coastal management, food security, and human impacts. On the theme of coastal and water management, panelists offered up innovative solutions to prepare for water-related climate challenges, such as locally-owned disaster insurance instruments, relocation, and the use of green and blue bonds to finance nature-based solutions. Focusing on food security and climate, participants highlighted the need for better technology to address a changing agricultural landscape as well as the importance of supporting small-scale farmers. On human health and security, the discussion centered on scaling up locally-led solutions to climate vulnerability, emphasizing that economic opportunities are key to keeping communities healthy and stable. The session emphasized that adaptation and mitigation go hand in hand.
The discussion on nature-based solutions, hosted by Interior Secretary Haaland, addressed how achieving net zero by 2050 is not possible without natural climate solutions, such as stopping deforestation and the loss of wetlands and restoring marine and terrestrial ecosystems. She announced U.S. support of a proposal to protect the Southern Ocean through the three marine protected area proposals under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). All participants highlighted their support for protecting and conserving land and marine areas to sequester carbon and build climate resilience, and several made announcements. Seychelles is dedicating a chapter of its enhanced NDC to ocean-based solutions and is committing to protect at least 50% of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and 100% by 2030, with support. Canada, for its part, is committing $4 billion in its new federal budget for land and ocean protection. In addition, Costa Rica underlined its co-leadership of the High-Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and the intention to have 30% of its ocean under protection by 2022; Peru highlighted that more than a fifth of its NDC measures are associated with nature-based solutions; Indonesia discussed its Presidential decree to permanently freeze new license for logging and peatland utilization, as well as its mangrove rehabilitation program; and Gabon noted that its intact and logged forests absorb four times more CO2 annually than its total emissions across all sectors. Representatives of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and of the Kharia Tribe of India highlighted the need to recognize the contributions and traditional knowledge of local and indigenous communities in ecosystem protection.
The discussion on climate security was hosted by Defense Secretary Austin. His remarks were followed by remarks from both Director of National Intelligence Haines and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas-Greenfield, who then moderated a panel discussion. Speakers included NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, defense officials from Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Spain, and the UK, as well as the Philippines’ finance minister. A common theme throughout the discussion was how climate impacts exacerbate security concerns and, as a result, affect military capabilities, heighten geopolitical competition, undermine stability, and provoke regional conflicts. Participants further emphasized that their nations and regions are vulnerable to extreme weather events, including sea level rise, cyclones, typhoons, drought, and increasing temperatures. All of these intensify underlying political, social, and economic conditions, which in turn can lead to food insecurity and water scarcity, violent extremism, and mass population movement, with disproportionate effects on vulnerable populations, especially women. Defense officials noted that their ministries are increasingly called upon to respond to disasters, which taxes their resources, thus elevating the need for enhanced disaster preparedness and response. In looking at their own operations and readiness, they showcased current efforts to decrease their militaries’ emissions, emphasizing how incorporating climate considerations into their operational planning can increase the agility of their forces. Additionally, they described the benefits of collaboration between defense ministries on shared climate risks. Participants highlighted the NATO climate security action plan and called on countries to incorporate climate considerations more broadly into multilateral fora, including UN peacekeeping missions. Perhaps most noteworthy, this was the first-ever U.S. Secretary of Defense convening of Secretaries of Defense focused on climate change.
Session 4 (“Unleashing Climate Innovation”) explored the critical innovations needed to speed net-zero transitions around the world and highlighted the efforts of governments, the private sector, and civil society in bringing new and improved technologies to market. Energy Secretary Granholm and Commerce Secretary Raimondo emphasized the economic rewards from investing in innovation as multi-trillion dollar markets for clean technologies emerge in the coming decades and announced reinvigorated U.S. international leadership on innovation. The discussion underscored the urgent need for innovation: 45% of the emissions reductions needed for a swift net-zero transition must come from technologies that are not commercially available, according to the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, and Bill Gates urged investment to drive down “green premium” prices of most zero-carbon technologies compared with fossil fuel alternatives. Several leading countries — Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Kenya, Norway, and Singapore — described their approaches to investing in mitigation and adaptation technologies. These included clean fuels such as hydrogen, renewables such as offshore wind and geothermal energy, energy storage, clean desalination, carbon capture, advanced mobility, sustainable urban design, and monitoring technologies to verify emissions and stop deforestation. Leaders from the private sector, including from GE Renewables, Vattenfall, and X, as well as from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, focused on training the diverse innovators of the future and investing in technologies for digitalized, electrified, decarbonized, and resilient energy systems. Special Envoy Kerry closed by emphasizing that raising our innovation ambition enables us to raise the world’s climate ambition.
Several speakers made announcements during this Session: Denmark announced a technology mission under Mission Innovation to decarbonize the global shipping sector, in collaboration with the United States, and that it will build the world’s first energy islands to produce clean fuels and supply power to Europe. The United Arab Emirates launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate in partnership with the United States, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, and Uruguay. Bill Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to drive public, private, and philanthropic capital to scale up critical emerging technologies. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced the Institute for Energy, the Built Environment, and Smart Systems to decarbonize urban systems. GE Renewable Energy announced that the GE Foundation is committing up to $100 million to increase the diversity of the next generation of engineers. And X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory, announced a Moonshot for the electric grid.
President Biden began Session 5 (“The Economic Opportunities of Climate Action”)by recognizing the opportunity that ambitious climate action presents to countries around the world to create good, high quality jobs. He noted that countries that prioritize policies that promote renewable energy deployment, electric vehicle manufacturing, methane abatement, and building retrofits, among other actions, would likely reap the rewards of job growth and economic prosperity in the years ahead. The U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Tai, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, and National Climate Advisor McCarthy underscored that the climate agenda could be a race to the top for countries that are pursuing the most ambitious methods to tackle the crisis, noting the American Jobs Plan that President Biden has proposed.
Participants echoed this vision and elaborated their own projects and programs to maximize the economic benefits of their climate actions. Leaders of countries recognized that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for countries to build back better and invest in the industries of the future. Community, tribal, private sector, and labor leaders also weighed in on the opportunities that decarbonization provided. Panelists noted that climate action presents economic opportunities to all parts of society, from energy workers to vehicle manufacturers, from large businesses to small. In particular, there was general alignment among both country representatives and other participants that governments should promote equitable opportunities for workers and that labor unions can play a key role in promoting high quality employment opportunities for people around the world. To that end, Poland announced that they had just concluded negotiations with coal mine labor unions to ensure a just transition of workers as part of their coal-fired power phasedown. In response to the discussion, President Biden closed by emphasizing that climate action might represent the largest economic opportunity of this century and urging leaders to stay focused.
In between the five Sessions, several other speakers provided important perspectives. Youth speaker Xiye Bastida, declaring that climate justice is social justice, underlined that youth need to be a part of decision-making processes and called for a stop to fossil fuel subsidies and extraction. Current and future Conference of Parties Presidents Minister Carolina Schmidt (Chile) and MP Alok Sharma (UK) discussed the urgency of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Minister Schmidt noted that COP25 included, for the first time, a mandate to address the ocean-climate nexus, while MP Sharma noted that we must put the world on a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 through long-term targets and aligned NDCs, as well as immediate action, such as phasing out coal. Pope Francis, who has been a climate leader for many years, underlined the need to “care for nature so that nature may care for us.” Chair Mallory of the White House Council on Environmental Quality highlighted the Biden Administration’s commitment to environmental justice and introduced Peggy Shepard, Co-Chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council; she underlined the need to build back better to lift up the communities struggling with climate impacts and environmental injustice. Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, noted the key role of cities and businesses in tackling the climate crisis.
Alongside the Summit, Special Envoy Kerry hosted two Ministerial Roundtables to provide a broader group of countries an opportunity to contribute to the discussions. He heard from representatives of more than 60 countries from all over the world, reflecting a wide range of regions, geographic features, and national circumstances, and summarized their input for leaders on the second day of the Summit. Many Roundtable participants expressed concern about the inadequacy of global climate action to date and/or shared the unprecedented climate impacts they are experiencing. At the same time, participants enthusiastically reported on the significant, exciting efforts they are undertaking to confront the climate crisis, even while facing the global pandemic. Beyond many commitments to net zero emissions, enhanced NDCs, and innovative adaptation efforts, participants included a carbon-negative country, countries that have successfully decoupled economic growth from carbon emissions, leaders in carbon storage, countries with extensive forest cover, issuers of green bonds, and countries focusing on gender-responsive approaches and the participation of indigenous communities. It was notable that many of those passionately embracing climate solutions contribute far less than 1% of global emissions. The Roundtables contributed to the Summit’s sense of urgency as countries rally around increased ambition on the road to Glasgow.
Roundtable participants represented: Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, North Macedonia, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Republic of Congo, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, The Bahamas, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, and Zambia.
On April 14, speaking from the Treaty Room in the White House, President Joe Biden declared that American troops would be out of Afghanistan, America’s longest war, by September 11, 2021, 20 years after the terror attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda that left 3000 dead New York, Washington DC and Shanksville, PA. here is a highlighted transcript:
Good afternoon. I’m speaking to you today from the Roosevelt — the Treaty Room in the White House. The same spot where, on October of 2001, President George W. Bush informed our nation that the United States military had begun strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. It was just weeks — just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2,977 innocent souls; that turned Lower Manhattan into a disaster area, destroyed parts of the Pentagon, and made hallowed ground of a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and sparked an American promise that we would “never forget.”
We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to root out al Qaeda, to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States planned from Afghanistan. Our objective was clear. The cause was just. Our NATO Allies and partners rallied beside us. And I supported that military action, along with overwhelming majority of the members of Congress.
More than seven years later, in 2008, weeks before we swore the oath of office — President Obama and I were about to swear — President Obama asked me to travel to Afghanistan and report back on the state of the war in Afghanistan. I flew to Afghanistan, to the Kunar Valley — a rugged, mountainous region on the border with Pakistan. What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country, and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government.
I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that. We accomplished that objective.
I said, among — with others, we’d follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be. That’s exactly what we did, and we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President Obama’s commitment into form. And that’s exactly what happened; Osama bin Laden was gone.
That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved.
Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a [caliphate] in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.
With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal, and expecting a different result.
I’m now the fourth United States President to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.
After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the Vice President, as well as with Mr. Ghani and many others around the world, I have concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home.
When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban, that all U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just three months after my inauguration. That’s what we inherited — that commitment.
It is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government, and that means something. So, in keeping with that agreement and with our national interests, the United States will begin our final withdrawal — begin it on May 1 of this year.
We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. We’ll do it — we’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do.
And the Taliban should know that if they attack us as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal.
Our allies and partners have stood beside us shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, and we’re deeply grateful for the contributions they have made to our shared mission and for the sacrifices they have borne.
The plan has long been “in together, out together.” U.S. troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO Allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11th.
But — but we’ll not take our eye off the terrorist threat. We’ll reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent reemergence of terrorists — of the threat to our homeland from over the horizon. We’ll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil. The Afghan government has made that commitment to us as well. And we’ll focus our full attention on the threat we face today.
At my direction, my team is refining our national strategy to monitor and disrupt significant terrorist threats not only in Afghanistan, but anywhere they may arise — and they’re in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision. While he and I have had many disagreements over policies throughout the years, we’re absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who served. I’m immensely grateful for the bravery and backbone that they have shown through nearly two decades of combat deployments. We as a nation are forever indebted to them and to their families.
You all know that less than 1 percent of Americans serve in our armed forces. The remaining 99 percent of them — we owe them. We owe them. They have never backed down from a single mission that we’ve asked of them.
I’ve witnessed their bravery firsthand during my visits to Afghanistan. They’ve never wavered in their resolve. They’ve paid a tremendous price on our behalf. And they have the thanks of a grateful nation.
While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue. We’ll continue to support the government of Afghanistan. We will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defenses and Security Forces.
And along with our partners, we have trained and equipped a standing force of over 300,000 Afghan personnel today and hundreds of thousands over the past two decades. And they’ll continue to fight valiantly, on behalf of the Afghans, at great cost. They’ll support peace talks, as we will support peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, facilitated by the United Nations. And we’ll continue to support the rights of Afghan women and girls by maintaining significant humanitarian and development assistance.
And we’ll ask other countries — other countries in the region — to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey. They all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan.
And over the next few months, we will also determine what a continued U.S. diplomatic presence in Afghanistan will look like, including how we’ll ensure the security of our diplomats.
Look, I know there are many who will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust U.S. military presence to stand as leverage. We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective — not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand.
Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way — U.S. boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.
I also know there are many who will argue that we should stay — stay fighting in Afghanistan because withdrawal would damage America’s credibility and weaken America’s influence in the world. I believe the exact opposite is true.
We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.
Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us. We have to track and disrupt terrorist networks and operations that spread far beyond Afghanistan since 9/11.
We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly assertive China. We have to strengthen our alliances and work with like-minded partners to ensure that the rules of international norms that govern cyber threats and emerging technologies that will shape our future are grounded in our democratic values — values — not those of the autocrats.
We have to defeat this pandemic and strengthen the global health system to prepare for the next one, because there will be another pandemic.
You know, we’ll be much more formidable to our adversaries and competitors over the long term if we fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20.
And finally, the main argument for staying longer is what each of my three predecessors have grappled with: No one wants to say that we should be in Afghanistan forever, but they insist now is not the right moment to leave.
In 2014, NATO issued a declaration affirming that Afghan Security Forces would, from that point on, have full responsibility for their country’s security by the end of that year. That was seven years ago.
So when will it be the right moment to leave? One more year, two more years, ten more years? Ten, twenty, thirty billion dollars more above the trillion we’ve already spent?
“Not now” — that’s how we got here. And in this moment, there’s a significant downside risk to staying beyond May 1st without a clear timetable for departure.
If we instead pursue the approach where America — U.S. exit is tied to conditions on the ground, we have to have clear answers to the following questions: Just what conditions require to — be required to allow us to depart? By what means and how long would it take to achieve them, if they could be achieved at all? And at what additional cost in lives and treasure?
I’m not hearing any good answers to these questions. And if you can’t answer them, in my view, we should not stay. The fact is that, later today, I’m going to visit Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, and that sacred memorial to American sacrifice.
Section 60 is where our recent war dead are buried, including many of the women and men who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s no — there’s no comforting distance in history in Section 60. The grief is raw. It’s a visceral reminder of the living cost of war.
For the past 12 years, ever since I became Vice President, I’ve carried with me a card that reminds me of the exact number of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That exact number, not an approximation or rounded-off number — because every one of those dead are sacred human beings who left behind entire families. An exact accounting of every single solitary one needs to be had.
As of the day — today, there are [2,448] U.S. troops and personnel who have died in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel — our Afghanistan conflicts. 20,722 have been wounded.
I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have a child serving in a warzone. And throughout this process, my North Star has been remembering what it was like when my late son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq — how proud he was to serve his country; how insistent he was to deploy with his unit; and the impact it had on him and all of us at home.
We already have service members doing their duty in Afghanistan today whose parents served in the same war. We have service members who were not yet born when our nation was attacked on 9/11.
War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking. We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq — in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.
Thank you all for listening. May God protect our troops. May God bless all those families who lost someone in this endeavor.
President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order to help create more resilient and secure supply chains for critical and essential goods.
In recent years, American households, workers, and companies have increasingly felt the strain of shortages of essential products—from medicine to food to computer chips. Last year’s shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic were unacceptable. Recent shortages of automotive semiconductor chips have forced slowdowns at car manufacturing plants, highlighting how shortages can hurt U.S. workers.
While we cannot predict what crisis will hit us, we should have the capacity to respond quickly in the face of challenges. The United States must ensure that production shortages, trade disruptions, natural disasters and potential actions by foreign competitors and adversaries never leave the United States vulnerable again. Today’s action delivers on the President’s campaign commitment to direct his Administration to comprehensively address supply chain risks. The task of making our supply chains more secure can also be a source of well paid jobs for communities across our country, including in communities of color, and steps will be taken to ensure that the benefits of this work flow to all Americans.
The Executive Order launches a comprehensive review of U.S. supply chains and directs federal Departments and Agencies to identify ways to secure U.S. supply chains against a wide range of risks and vulnerabilities. Building resilient supply chains will protect the United States from facing shortages of critical products. It will also facilitate needed investments to maintain America’s competitive edge, and strengthen U.S. national security.
Here are President Biden’s remarks before the signing of the executive order:
The Vice President and I had a very productive meeting with a bipartisan group of senators and House members to address an issue of both concern to our economic security, as well as our national security: the resilience and reliability of our critical supply chains.
This is a critical area where Republicans and Democrats agreed it was one of the best meetings — it’s the best meeting I think we’ve had so far, although we’ve only been here about five weeks. But it was like the old days — people actually are on the same page.
Good, bipartisan work has already been done. The leaders of this operation in the House and Senate already have done great work, and I want to thank them for their leadership.
We’re here to build on that. And the bottom line is simple: The American people should never face shortages in the goods and services they rely on, whether that’s their car or their prescription medicines or the food at the local grocery store.
And remember, the shortages in PPE during this pandemic –that meant we didn’t have the masks; we didn’t have gowns or gloves to protect our frontline health workers.
We heard horror stories of doctors and nurses wearing trash bags over their gown — over their dress in order to — so they wouldn’t be in trouble, because they had no gowns. And they were rewashing and reusing their masks over and over again in the OR.
That should never have never happened. And this will never happen again in the United States, period. We shouldn’t have to rely on a foreign country — especially one that doesn’t share our interests or our values — in order to protect and provide our people during a national emergency.
That’s why one of the first executive orders I signed, as some may remember, was to ensure that we’re manufacturing more protective equipment for healthcare workers here at home.
And today, I’m shortly going to be signing another executive order that’ll help address the vulnerabilities in our supply chains across additional critical sectors of our economy so that the American people are prepared to withstand any crisis and rely on ourselves.
This is about making sure the United States can meet every challenge we face in this new era — pandemics, but also in defense, cybersecurity, climate change, and so much more. And the best way to do that is by protecting and sharpening America’s competitive edge by investing here at home. As I’ve said from the beginning, while I was running: We’re going to invest in America. We’re going to invest in American workers. And then we can be in a much better position to even compete beyond what we’re doing now.
Resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains are going to help revitalize our domestic manufacturing capacity and create good-paying jobs, not $15 an hour — which is what we need to do someday. And sooner is better, in my view. But jobs that are at the prevailing wage.
We’re going to spare new — spur new opportunities for small businesses, communities of color, and economically distressed areas. And I will drive new investment in research and innovation and our workforce, investing in training and university partnerships that are going to lead to new technologies and new solutions.
And all this won’t just strengthen our domestic capacity, it will help unleash new markets around the world and grow opportunities for American businesses to export their goods that we’re going to be making.
These are the kinds of commonsense solutions that all Americans can get behind — workers and corporate leaders, Republicans and Democrats. It’s about resilience, identifying possible points of vulnerabilities in our supply chains, and making sure we have the backup alternatives or workarounds in place.
Remember that old proverb: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.” And it goes on and on until the kingdom was lost, all for the want of a horseshoe nail. Even small failures at one point in the supply chain can cause outside impacts further up the chain.
Recently, we’ve seen how a shortage of computer chips — computer chips like the one I have here — you can hardly see it I imagine; it’s called a “semiconductor” — has caused delays in production of automobiles that has resulted in reduced hours for American workers. A 21st century horseshoe nail.
This semiconductor is smaller than a postage stamp, but it has more than 8 billion transistors — 8 billion transistors, 10,000 times thinner than a single human hair in this one chip. These chips are a wonder of innovation and design that powers so much of our country, enables so much of our modern lives to go on — not just our cars, but our smartphones, televisions, radios, medical diagnostic equipment, and so much more.
We need to make sure these supply chains are secure and reliable. I’m directing senior officials in my administration to work with industrial leaders to identify solutions to this semiconductor shortfall and work very hard with the House and Senate. They’ve authorized the bill, but they need (inaudible) $37 billion, short term, to make sure we have this capacity. We’ll push for that as well. But we all recognize that the particular problem won’t be solved immediately.
In the meantime, we’re reaching out to our allies, semiconductor companies, and others in the supply chain to ramp up production to help us resolve the bottlenecks we face now. We need help to stop — we need to stop playing catch up after the supply-chain crisis hit. We need to prevent the supply chain crisis from hitting in the first place.
And in some cases, building resilience will mean increasing our production of certain types of elements here at home. In others, it’ll mean working more closely with our trusted friends and partners, nations that share our values, so that our supply chains can’t be used against us as leverage.
It will mean identifying and building surge capacity that can quickly be turned into and ramped up production in times of emergency. And it will mean investing in research and development, like we did in the ’60s, to ensure long-term competi- — competitiveness in our manufacturing base in the decades ahead.
The order I’m about to sign does two things. First, it orders a 100-day review of four vital products: semiconductors — one; key minerals and materials, like rare earths, that are used to make everything from harder steel to airplanes; three, pharmaceuticals and their ingredients; four, advanced batteries, like the ones used in electric vehicles.
There’s strong bipartisan support for fast reviews of these four areas because they’re essential to protecting and strengthening American competitiveness.
Second, this order initiates a long-term review of the industry basis of six sectors of our overall economy over the next year. These reviews will identify policy recommendations to fortify our supply chains at every step, and critically, to start implementing those recommendations right away. We’re not going to wait for a review to be completed before we start closing the existing gaps.
And as we implement this work, my administration will draw on a full range of American talent — including labor and industry leaders, policy experts, scientists, farmers, engineers — to get their input.
I’m grateful for the members of Congress who came to see me — Republican leaders, as well as Democrats. They’re leading the way. We’re going to stay in close contact with members of both sides of the aisle and keep advancing our shared goals.
Everyone has a role to play to strengthen our supply chains in our — and our country. This is the United States of America. We are better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century than any country in the world. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing we’ve ever failed to achieve if we work together. And that’s what we decided to do today, and that’s what we’re going to do: work together.
So I thank you all. I’m very optimistic about the meeting we had today with our congressional colleagues. And now I’m going to walk over and sign that executive order.
First, the order directs an immediate 100-day review across federal agencies to address vulnerabilities in the supply chains of four key products.
Pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical agreements (APIs). APIs are the part of a pharmaceutical product that contains the active drug. In recent decades, more than 70 percent of API production facilitators supplying the U.S. have moved offshore. This work will complement the ongoing work to secure supply chains needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critical minerals, including rare earths. Critical minerals are an essential part of defense, high-tech, and other products. From rare earths in our electric motors and generators to the carbon fiber used for airplanes—the United States needs to ensure we are not dependent upon foreign sources or single points of failure in times of national emergency.
Semiconductors and Advanced Packaging. The United States is the birthplace of this technology, and has always been a leader in semiconductor development. However, over the years we have underinvested in production—hurting our innovative edge—while other countries have learned from our example and increased their investments in the industry.
Large capacity batteries, such as those used in electric vehicles: As we take action to tackle the climate crisis, we know that will lead to large demand for new energy technologies like electric vehicle batteries. By identifying supply chain risks, we can meet the President’s commitment to accelerate U.S. leadership of clean energy technologies. For example, while the U.S. is a net exporter of electric vehicles, we are not a leader in the supply chain associated with electric battery production. The U.S. could better leverage our sizeable lithium reserves and manufacturing know-how to expand domestic battery production.
The 100-day review will identify near term steps the administration can take, including with Congress, to address vulnerabilities in the supply chains for these critical goods.
Second, the order calls for a more in-depth one-year review of a broader set of U.S. supply chains. The one-year review will include:
A focus on six key sectors: the defense industrial base; the public health and biological preparedness industrial base; the information and communications technology (ICT) industrial base; the energy sector industrial base; the transportation industrial base; and supply chains for agricultural commodities and food production.
A set of risks for agencies to consider in their assessment of supply chain vulnerabilities: Agencies and Departments are directed to review a variety of risks to supply chains and industrial bases. For example, these reviews must identify critical goods and materials within supply chains, the manufacturing or other capabilities needed to produce those materials, as well as a variety of vulnerabilities created by failure to develop domestic capabilities. Agencies and Departments are also directed to identify locations of key manufacturing and production assets, the availability of substitutes or alternative sources for critical goods, the state of workforce skills and identified gaps for all sectors, and the role of transportation systems in supporting supply chains and industrial bases.
Recommendations on actions that should be taken to improve resiliency: Agencies are directed to make specific policy recommendations to address risks, as well as proposals for new research and development activities.
A sustained commitment to supply chain resiliency: The government will commit to a regular, ongoing process of reviewing supply chain resilience, including a quadrennial review process.
Consultation with external stakeholders: The government cannot secure supply chains on its own. It requires partnership and consultation with the American people. The E.O. directs the Administration to consult widely with outside stakeholders, such as those in industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, communities, labor unions, and State, local, territorial, and Tribal governments.
The E.O. will build on bipartisan Congressional action and leadership on this issue, and the Administration will remain in close touch with Congress to solicit recommendations during the review. President Biden has also directed his Administration to work with U.S. partners and allies to ensure that they too have strong and resilient supply chains.
President Biden has directed his Administration to ensure that the task of building resilient supply chains draws on the talent and work ethic of communities across America, including communities of color and cities and towns that have for too long suffered from job losses and industrial decline. As the Administration implements the Executive Order, it will identify opportunities to implement policies to secure supply chains that grow the American economy, increase wages, benefit small businesses and historically disadvantaged communities, strengthen pandemic and biopreparedness, support the fight against global climate change, and maintain America’s technological leadership in key sectors.