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Chabot, Bera Introduce Gray Zone Defense Assessment Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ami Bera (D-CA), Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, introduced the Gray Zone Defense Assessment Act. This legislation will drive reform within the U.S. government to enable more effective and better coordinated whole-of-government responses to gray zone aggression.

“For years, the United States hasn’t effectively responded to adversary gray zone campaigns, allowing our enemies to achieve major political and security objectives without fear of reprisal,” said Representative Steve Chabot, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation. “From the annexation of Crimea to island building in the South China Sea, to Beijing’s provocations against Taiwan this summer, we haven’t provided and adequate response. The Gray Zone Defense Assessment Act will help fix several causes of these failures, particularly excessive compartmentalization among government agencies. I would like to thank Chairman Bera, who has been an invaluable partner in developing this legislation.”

“From Vladimir Putin’s propaganda campaigns trying to justify his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, to the People’s Republic of China’s economic coercion and maritime harassment of Indo-Pacific countries, our adversaries continue to use gray zone tactics to advance their objectives at the expense of international norms,” said Representative Ami Bera, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation. “We must strengthen our ability to better respond to such tactics designed to operate in the murky space between peace and conflict, and I’m proud to join Ranking Member Chabot in introducing this legislation to do just that.

The Gray Zone Defense Assessment Act would:

  • Require the President to evaluate the U.S. government’s current processes, approaches, and capabilities for deterring gray zone aggression.

  • Require the State Department to assess its capabilities to counter adversary gray zone aggression and identify countries most at risk for gray zone coercion.


Read the bill here

Read a section-by-section summary here


On July 28, 2022, the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation held a hearing titled Countering Gray Zone Coercion in the Indo-Pacific, the first hearing held by the Foreign Affairs Committee that included the term “gray zone” in its title. Hearing materials and video are available here.