DesJarlais Withdraws Nuclear “No First Use” Amendment From National Defense Authorization Act

Photo: Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) speaks during the House Armed Services Committee meeting on September 1st, 2021.

Photo Credit: Office of Congressman Scott DesJarlais

Published September 7, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

During the House Armed Services Committee meeting on September 1st, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) withdrew his ‘No First Use’ amendment (Log 844) from the National Defense Authorization Act due to a conflict with the majority in the House Foreign Affairs committee preventing it from receiving an up or down vote from the House Armed Services Committee.

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Upon the withdrawal of the amendment, DesJarlais delivered the following remarks:

“One of the unfortunate impacts of the recent events in Afghanistan is that many of our allies

are questioning U.S. resolve over the past month we have seen broad condemnation of

President Biden’s withdrawal from our various allies. We’ve seen President Biden censured in

the British House of Commons, in Germany—the head of Chancellor Merkle’s conservative

party and likely her successor called the U.S. withdrawal the biggest debacle that NATO has

ever seen. Latvia’s Defense Minister said the U.S. withdrawal caused chaos and showed the

west weaker globally.

This is not the purpose of my amendment. However, there is another Biden proposal which

could build unprecedented damage to our allies that are already showing concern and that is

adopting a ‘sole purpose’ or ‘no first use’ nuclear declaratory policy.

There isn’t a single ally that supports this shift in U.S. nuclear declaratory policy. And we’ve

heard from the British, French, Germans, Poles, Japanese, and South Koreans that adopting

such a policy would be devastating to U.S. alliances and erode our extended deterrent.

I have questioned personally multiple commanders in this committee over the past year on this

issue and I can’t recall a single person who supported no first use and that would include

General Milley on June 23, 2021, who said, “My personal best military advice is to maintain

all options to the president of the united states at all times so I would not recommend making a

declaration of no first use.” Also, Admiral Richards quoted, “I see a no first use policy as

degrading the nation’s deterrence. It will remove a level of ambiguity that has deterrence


My amendment would put in place a 90-day notification window and require the president to

certify he has consulted with our allies before making any changes to U.S. declaratory policy.

Unfortunately, due to a conflict with the majority in the House Foreign Affairs committee, my

amendment is prevented from an up or down vote in this committee which I’m disappointed

because I feel that it has a very good chance of passing so maybe we’ll see it again in another

location. We don’t want to further erode our relationships with our allies. And with that Mr.

Chairman, I withdraw my amendment.”

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House Armed Services Committee and will now head to the House floor.

Congressman DesJarlais plans to re-introduce this amendment on the House floor before the bill’s final passage.

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