April 19, 2024 | Policy Insights

Funding Package Invests in U.S. Security

April 19, 2024 Policy Insights

Funding Package Invests in U.S. Security

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on elements of the national security supplemental funding package, FDD Action hosted a panel with three experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) to break down how this package will secure U.S. interests and support America’s allies and partners.

FDD Action endorses the supplemental funding package put forward by Speaker Mike Johnson. We urge members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to support it. America’s adversaries are watching. The authoritarian axis of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, and the Chinese Communist Party are challenging U.S. interests like never before.

It is imperative that both chambers of the Congress act with urgency to provide critical support to Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine. These nations are on the front lines of a generation-defining fight for freedom and prosperity, and their success is inextricably linked to our own national security.

As FDD’s leading national security experts explained in yesterday’s briefing, this legislation paves the way for targeted national security investments with strong oversight. These investments in our allies and partners will enhance their capabilities, deter America’s adversaries, and contain the spread of even costlier conflicts in the future.

Below are key takeaways from their discussion along with a full recording of the conversation.

Breaking Down the House National Security Package


Burden-sharing with Europe. “We just saw the Europeans announced a $54 billion economic support package, and when you put all the numbers together, Europe has given more to Ukraine than the United States has. So if that’s not burden-sharing, I don’t know what is. And of course that’s appropriate, right? Ukraine is in Europe. I’ve been an advocate for doing what is necessary to help Ukraine, because it’s in our interest to do it regardless of what the Europeans do. But the facts are that Europe is increasingly stepping forward, and I think that’s point number one.” – Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

Strong on aid oversight and accountability. “My assessment of the bill is that it’s quite strong on accountability when it comes to Ukraine. My understanding is it contains another $23 million to support what the inspectors general are already doing when it comes to oversight on USAID on the ground in both Poland, as I understand it, and Ukraine, following up on some of the previous things we’ve seen in the National Defense Authorization Act. So I think this is a real area where the Speaker and the House of Representatives deserves some credit for highlighting the importance of making sure that our assistance has the effect that it’s intended to have and goes where it should go. There’s not large-scale evidence of diversion, but you can never be too sure, and we want to make sure that it has the max effect possible. So I think the Ukraine bill is quite strong in reinforcing existing oversight mechanisms to make sure that our hard-earned dollars have the national security impact we want them to have.” – Bradley Bowman

U.S. military assistance to Ukraine is a wise and sustainable investment. “The US has committed about $44 billion in security assistance before these packages to Ukraine… Let’s be clear, that’s less than 3% last time we checked a few months ago. That’s 2.7% of what we spent on the Pentagon over the same time period. And so what are we getting for that investment? We’ve helped enable the Ukrainians to destroy thousands of Russian tanks and armored vehicles. More than 220 Russian fighters and helicopters, at least more than 21 naval vessels are sitting on the floor of the Black Sea all without putting a single service member in harm’s way.” – Bradley Bowman

Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) is the fastest way to get urgently needed ground and air munitions to Ukrainians. “Ukraine’s having to conserve its 155 in order to have it for later fights… They’re very short on 155. This PDA is the fastest way to get that stuff there. It’s the only fast way. If you were to do it through the Ukrainian Security Initiative, it would be there in 12 to 18 to 24 months. This is about getting it there in 12 to 18 to 24 days. And to do that, we need that presidential drawdown authority… Speaker Johnson’s plan is a good healthy presidential drawdown authority request. I think he hit the mark just right in the split between PDA and the Ukraine Security Initiative, which is much more about procurement.” – RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation

This assistance invests in local U.S. manufacturing and companies to reinvigorate America’s domestic industrial base, key to our long-term security. “This is a plan to defend our country and its interests, but a major benefit of the plan is massive investments in the districts and states of the members you work for. And let’s be very, very clear about that. So if you’re a defense hawk, hard power guy or gal, you should love this. If you are let’s help employ Americans and let’s help the middle class and you like the middle-class foreign policy, this is for you too.” – Bradley Bowman


Establishes deterrence to prevent a larger conflict. “If deterrence fails in the Indo-Pacific, if deterrence fails in Taiwan, then this will be an even greater disaster for Americans and the likelihood of seeing Americans fighting and dying in the Taiwan Strait is great. So the point here is that deterrence has failed in two other regions… The PRC in its own words has said that it’s willing to do what’s necessary to end freedom in Taiwan. And so we have an opportunity here in the next few years to take steps to prevent a war. ” – Bradley Bowman

Meets the requirements of the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act from the 2023 NDAA. “The money that’s in here is actually money that was previously authorized almost 18 months ago. It’s the $2 billion worth of foreign military financing, $1.9 billion worth of Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), and the money for the summary industrial basin and PACOM unfunded requirements. What the PDA does directly… is it allows us to get weapons to Taiwan that are very specific to the crisis they face with China.” – RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery

Puts $542 million towards INDOPACOM’s unfunded request to get at some of the most nagging problems in the region. “It funds more money for the joint training team in Taiwan. That’s an important aspect of our ability to fight alongside them. We haven’t trained with the Taiwan’s for 41 years. It was so long ago, my dad was in the last training exercise. He’s been retired for 35 years. So my take on this is that we really need to put in that joint training team. It also puts money into exercises, almost over $100 million. And that’s important for working with Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, some of the other key partners, Singapore, even a little bit for India in there in that exercise. And there’s money for the very specific efforts to make Guam more defensible through joint task force Micronesia and the actual defense of Guam from air threats.” – RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery


Addresses Israel’s need for upgraded missile defense capacity. “So Israel needs a lot more air missile defense capacity to prevent skyscrapers from falling in Tel Aviv in a major war with Hezbollah because they’re going to defend their strategic sites first. So here’s an opportunity for the U.S. Congress to dramatically increase the Israeli and American defense industrial bases, producing air missile defense systems for the purposes of getting more Tamir interceptors, more Iron Dome capacity, additional investments in other air missile defense systems so that when that war with Hezbollah comes, when that war with Iran comes, that Israel is in a better place and fewer Israelis are being killed… But my assessment for a long time now, I’ve been trying to sound the alarm, Iron Dome’s amazing. But that is not going to be enough in a major war with Hezbollah. The enemy knows it. People in Congress, who can do something about it, need to know it as well, and these bills provide a means to act now to urgently increase Israel’s air missile defense capacity – our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East.” – Bradley Bowman

Necessity of passing the full package to counter America’s adversaries. “It’s not like the world is hermetically sealed. When you focus on one region, the threats and the others that are less being countered or less time and political attention and resources are being put to, those tend to grow and those tend to escalate because our adversaries are watching and learning based on what we do in one theater and implementing an offset in another. And Iran is really the perfect example.” – Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

Importance of the funding to U.S. forces in the region. “So there’s about $2.5 billion in there for CENTCOM and the services. So this pays for operations that have been going on. I mean, obviously we’ve put a few Air Force squadrons into the Middle East, judging by their high-quality performance, thinning the herd of inbound Iranian drones. I mean, they shot down at least 50% of them. So that’s one expenditure. Another expenditure, probably a higher one, is the Navy’s munitions. Secretary Del Toro, the other day, implied that it was approaching a billion dollars, and that’s SM-3s most recently during the big attack, but also Standard Missile-2s, Standard Missile-6s, Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles, a few other systems in defending the waterways in the Red Sea from the Houthi cruise ballistic missiles and drone attacks. So we need to replenish that money so that these assets could go. We no longer run OCO, overseas contingency operations funds, to replenish these ongoing combat operations. So this supplemental is the way. Before OCO existed 15 years ago, this is how we did replenishment of combat operations, which was infrequent before then, and therefore you’d get something like this supplemental.” – RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery

Enshrines oversight and conditions on Gaza humanitarian aid funding. “First, I want to say that this bill maintains a prohibition on any funding to UNRWA, which is another big win. Obviously, the concerns that we have with UNRWA are longstanding, and a prohibition through March 2025 was in the FY24 appropriations bill, and this bill continues to withhold that funding. So that’s a win there. Second, there’s a number of oversight measures in this bill to ensure that humanitarian aid is going to where it needs to go. And I’d especially point to a requirement that spending plans be provided to Congress before funds are obligated, which presents a significant opportunity for committees to scrutinize those requests and those proposed expenditures before they happen. And then, of course, all funding restrictions that apply to USAID and other humanitarian agencies apply here as well, right? So that’s counterterrorism vetting standards under things like Mission Order 21 and other oversight measures aimed at preventing aid diversion. And then of course, there’s the inspectors general process that will be another layer of oversight.” – Nick Stewart, Senior Director of Government Relations, FDD Action


Inclusion of the bipartisan Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. “The University of Rutgers did an outstanding study that prior to TikTok removing all transparency… they were able to look and see that on simple things like Uyghur genocide or Taiwan independence or Hong Kong independence, it was 20 to 30 to 40 to even 60 to 1, more likely to be exposed to that on Instagram as it was on TikTok. Clearly, TikTok was censoring and inhibiting the transmission of views, and you could take some crazy ones like Free Kashmir. It was 240 million to 1. That’s where they were pushing something on TikTok. My point on this is, you cannot have a foreign government driving content in your country. That’s an influence operation. That’s inappropriate… I think the House putting that in there a second time to pressure the Senate to take action and not lean back and scratch their chin like Jack Candy and have a deep thought. It’s time to move forward on this bill, so I appreciate Speaker Johnson putting it in the fourth package.” – RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery

Contact FDD Action

As always, if you have questions or want to speak with an FDD Action expert, please email us at [email protected].