U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced a resolution expressing support for the United States’ actions that will strengthen the military interoperability and resiliency of Finland’s and Sweden’s militaries, prior to their anticipated accession to the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.
“Finland and Sweden will bring their own unique capabilities and industries to NATO that will strengthen the alliance, expand its geostrategic position, and bolster its deterrence posture,” said Thune. “Purposeful engagement at this time would not only deepen our interoperability, but demonstrate reassurance before Finland and Sweden formally join the treaty. It would also help signal to other NATO members to quickly complete their respective membership approvals.”
“The United States Senate rightly voted by an overwhelming majority to welcome Finland and Sweden into NATO,” said Inhofe. “While we wait for other members of NATO to do the same, the United States and fellow allies should intensify coordination with these partners to underscore our commitment from the get-go and make it clear to Russia that we will not be deterred by their meddlesome threats in the meantime. Our resolution calls on the President to strengthen the defense cooperation that is at the root of these nations’ historic decision to join NATO.”
The resolution was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Thune and Inhofe’s resolution specifically addresses the interim period before all NATO members have completed their respective ratification protocols, while Finland and Sweden will not yet have the full collective security protections of the alliance. It also supports a spectrum of actions to enhance bi-, tri-, and multilateral interoperability of Finland and Sweden to ensure both nations can fully contribute as NATO members on day one of their membership. Such actions, including exercises and training, bomber task forces, and freedom of navigation operations in the Baltic Sea, would also serve as de facto near-term security assurances from Russian aggression while highlighting the capabilities Finland and Sweden will bring to NATO.
Many of the actions enumerated in the resolution already take place. However, the resolution seeks greater emphasis and intent from the administration to set U.S. posture for the next phase of the broader accession effort, as well as maintain U.S. leadership in support of these historic additions to the alliance. It also would assist in countering disinformation that targets a number of NATO member nations that could potentially delay their timely consideration of Finland’s and Sweden’s bids for NATO membership.