BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement after the administration announced it would modernize drone export rules in relation to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an agreement between the United States and 34 other nations that aims to restrict the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction:
“I strongly support the MTCR, which remains critical to achieving the nonproliferation objectives of the United States and the international community. However, agreements must adapt to new technologies and new strategic environments. For too long, the restraint of the international community with regard to exports of large unmanned aircraft has created an opportunity for the Chinese military to advance its defense technology and industrial base, and to build new defense relationships around the world, including with traditional U.S. partners.
“I commend the administration for its robust, years-long diplomatic effort to modernize the MTCR to account for China’s actions. It has become clear, however, that one MTCR member state will inevitably block any consensus within the regime on necessary changes. Therefore the United States has no choice but to make the policy changes that the administration has outlined today.
“This policy change only represents a partial and temporary solution, however. The permanent fix for this issue must be to treat unmanned aircraft the same as other aircraft for the purposes of export. This week I introduced the STRATEGIC Act, which advocates for this fix.
“I encourage MTCR members to continue to work to overcome obstructionism within the regime to ensure that it remains relevant and effective for future challenges.”