WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to express deep concern over the ongoing Department of Defense (DoD) procurement of helicopters from Rosoboronexport, the Russian Federation’s official arms export firm providing weapons to Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

“While DoD’s relationship with this firm is troubling on many levels, the prospect that American taxpayers have been made into unwitting victims of Russian corruption demands special scrutiny.

“We are concerned by DoD’s apparent failure to consider the strategic implications of sourcing mission-critical military equipment from a potentially hostile power such as Russia. DoD’s preference for Russian helicopters will also make it highly difficult to achieve robust interoperability between the U.S. and Afghan helicopter fleets, which is in the long-term interests of both nations. These problems are self-inflicted, and this policy is extremely shortsighted.

“For these reasons, we ask that DoD cancel all current contracts with Rosoboronexport, as it has previously confirmed it has the right to do at any time, and fully sever its business relationship with this firm.”