The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) announced May 28 their plan to establish a new initiative meant to help the Pentagon better prioritize the Indo-Pacific region in its budgeting and planning processes.

SASC Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) will introduce the Pacific Deterrence Initiative in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the two lawmakers wrote in a Thursday article for War on the Rocks. “The Pacific Deterrence Initiative will enhance budgetary transparency and oversight, and focus resources on key military capabilities to deter China,” the leader said. “The initiative will also reassure U.S. allies and partners, and send a strong signal to the Chinese Communist Party that the American people are committed to defending U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

The new proposal would be similar to the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), which was created in 2014 to curb rising threats from Russia. Since then, the Pentagon has issued yearly budget justification books specifically for programs and capabilities related to ensuring European deterrence, which have allowed Congress “to track these efforts over time, assess their progress, and make adjustments when necessary,” Reed and Inhofe wrote.

“The Pacific Deterrence Initiative would serve the same purpose, allowing Congress and the Pentagon to view the defense budget through a regional warfighting lens while increasing the visibility of options to advance U.S. priorities in the Indo-Pacific,” they continued.

Armed services committee members in both chambers and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill have urged the Defense Department to ensure it is focusing attention on the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with peer competitor China. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) expressed support for an EDI-like effort for the Indo-Pacific region in an April media roundtable, while HASC Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that would earmark $6 billion in the FY ’21 budget for Indo-Pacific priorities.

Inhofe and Reed said in the op-ed that the Pacific Deterrence Initiative would focus resources on “key capability gaps” in the region, noting that the current budget process has been “heavily tilted” toward modernization and readiness efforts. The lawmakers cited investments in theater missile defense, expeditionary airfield and port infrastructure, and fuel and munitions storage will be among the priority areas for the new initiative.

Specifically highlighting the threat from China, the SASC leaders also mentioned new land-based, long-range strike capabilities and more resilient logistics chains as other areas of focus. “A well-distributed posture will complicate Chinese targeting of U.S. forces and infrastructure, they wrote. “The Pacific Deterrence Initiative will focus resources on these efforts and others with the aim of injecting uncertainty and risk into Beijing’s calculus, leaving just one conclusion: ‘Not today. You, militarily, cannot win it, so don’t even try it.’”

The lawmakers also hope the new effort will help the U.S. government shift from focusing on specific platforms and technologies toward “the specific missions its warfighters may be called upon to perform.”