Congressman Panetta Introduces the Open Skies Treaty Stability Act

November 18, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the bipartisan Open Skies Treaty Stability Act.

The legislation prevents the President from unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the treaty. Specifically, prior to any withdrawal, it would require the administration certify to Congress that exiting the treaty is in the best interests of U.S. national security, and develop a comprehensive strategy to mitigate against reduced military capability.

The Open Skies Treaty provides the 34 state signatories the ability to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories. Late last year, the United States demonstrated that Open Skies Treaty mechanisms reaffirm American commitments to allied partner nations. Following Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea, the United States and its allies conducted an extraordinary observation mission over Ukraine intended to demonstrate an assurance to Ukrainian security.

"A withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty would run counter to U.S. national security interests," said Congressman Panetta. "The United States utilizes Open Skies to constrain Russian aggression and ensure productive partnerships between the member nations. A decision to withdraw would threaten European stability and, thus, our own security.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02), Congressman Alcee Hastings (FL-02), and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)

"The Open Skies Treaty provides the United States and our allies access to Russian airfields and airspace on short notice. In discussions with the Pentagon I know the Defense Department values our continued participation in this treaty and I have yet to hear a compelling reason to end our participation. This legislation requires the administration to present a clear case to Congress before terminating the treaty," said Congressman Bacon, a retired Air Force Brigadier General and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

"As the Kremlin’s actions continue to put European stability and security into question, a treaty like Open Skies becomes more, not less, valuable. I strongly believe that the Open Skies Treaty continues to make a crucial contribution to our national interest and that we should remain in the treaty at this time," said Congressman Hastings.