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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Defense amendment addresses foreign propaganda

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An amendment to the fiscal year 2019 Defense Appropriations bill would transfer $40 million to the U.S. Department of State for the Global Engagement Center (GEC) to expose and counter foreign influence and propaganda.

The $40 million was allotted for fiscal year 2018 and has yet to be transferred.

The amendment was introduced by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rob Portman (R-OH) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The senators previously introduced the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which became law in December 2016. The act established the GEC and authorized the State Department to request from the Department of Defense $60 million annually for two years.

The GEC’s mission is to help counter foreign propaganda and disinformation in the United States and its allies.

“Countering Russia will take close coordination with all of our allies, but there are precise actions that Congress can take right now to strengthen our defenses,” Murphy said. “Fighting propaganda will help small democracies resist Russia’s interference and stand on their own two feet.”

Transferring the funds is long overdue, Portman said.

Russia continues to advance its disinformation efforts, Portman said, so the United States needs to ramp up its counter effort programs.