Waltz Proposes National Security Councils for Indo-Pacific Nations

Waltz Proposes National Security Councils for Indo-Pacific Nations

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
December 18, 2023

U.S. Congressman Mike Waltz (FL-6) introduced bicameral legislation to establish national security councils for each of the Compacts of Free Association (COF) Indo-Pacific nations.

The national security councils would surveil and counter malign foreign influence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and other hostile states. 

COF states include the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, but Congressman Waltz’s bill would also include the Federated States of Micronesia.

Together, they cover a maritime area larger than the continental US, govern over 1,000 islands and atolls, and have a combined population of approximately 200,000.

US Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Senate version of the bill. 

According to Senator Ernst’s team, China recently strengthened its official partnership with the Solomon Islands, a close neighbor of the COF nations. Additionally, China has increased its incursions into Palau’s waters. 

Waltz’s and Ernest’s proposal is a response to the absence of an organized, US-led effort to confront the expansion of Chinese operations in the region. 

I am proud to introduce legislation in the House to encourage cooperation between our nations to address and deter the growing threat of China to the Indo-Pacific,” said Waltz. 

According to a Congressional Research Service report, Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have been facing rising pressure to enter economic and security pacts with China. 

“The strategic location of these islands is integral to our national security, but the lack of direct security channels between our nations creates risk,” said Ernst. If passed, Ernst alleged the national security councils would “strengthen cooperation and help counter and expose Chinese coercion.”

US presence in the Indo-Pacific first began in Guan after the Spanish American War in 1898. After World War Two, the US administered a United Nations Trust Territory of a handful of PICs. 

Today, the US has military bases in Guam, the Marshall Islands, and is developing a high-frequency radar system in Palau.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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