Military Modernization Essential to National Security
Washington, DC, July 12, 2017
In America, we are the land of the free because of the brave. Yet for too long, inadequate defense spending has failed our military, impeding their ability to deter, defend and preserve our way of life. After eight long years of shortsighted defense spending policies, I'm glad that President Trump and Congress are working to reinvigorate support of our men and women in uniform.
In America, we are the land of the free because of the brave. Yet for too long, inadequate defense spending has failed our military, impeding their ability to deter, defend and preserve our way of life.
After eight long years of shortsighted defense spending policies, I’m glad that President Trump and Congress are working to reinvigorate support of our men and women in uniform.
While our enemies continue to rapidly develop advanced technology to thwart our ability to project power, our troops remain outgunned, outranged and undermanned. Without investments in modernization and long-term innovation efforts, we cannot expect to continue to masterfully dominate in the growing complexities of 21st-century combat and global affairs.
Sadly, the Obama administration’s response to this changing landscape was to slash the defense budget by nearly one quarter over the last half decade, all while our troops have remained in steady combat. No branch has felt the hit as hard as our Army, where the impacts of reduced resources are many.
As a representative of Fort Hood and co-chair of the House Army Caucus, it is my top priority to ensure our Army receives what they need to maintain its position as the world’s ultimate fighting force.
We can no longer stand to cut defense resources. It is time to build.
Congress is turning the tide. The House Armed Services Committee, led by fellow Texan Mac Thornberry, recently released the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which takes significant strides in returning our military back onto a trajectory for present and future readiness.
This bill authorizes a large troop increase and funding for defense at $695.9 billion, including a $28.5 billion increase for essential readiness recovery above the president’s robust budget request. The defense act also cares for our soldiers and their families, funding a 2.4 percent pay increase for our troops and safeguarding health care benefits. With this bill, we’re taking steps in the right direction.
While the strength of our Army comes from our soldiers, not high-tech equipment, we cannot risk sending soldiers into harm’s way without the resources they need to keep us safe.
Earlier this year I introduced a resolution encouraging the Army to expedite efforts to procure and field the next generation of ground combat vehicles. I’m proud to see this language has made it into the defense act. The longer we wait to modernize, the longer our soldiers cannot provide adequate deterrence. We must rebuild from the readiness crisis.
While important steps have been taken in this year’s defense act to recover from the damage inflicted by the previous administration, readiness will require steady, predictable funding over time, and we must continue to advocate for our soldiers. We must continue to fight for those who so selflessly fight for us.
To Central Texans, these men and women are more than just soldiers, they are our family, friends and neighbors. Texans look out for one other, and we must continue to look out for the needs of our troops both at Fort Hood and around the world. The men and women of our military serve our country at the highest standard of commitment, honor, and integrity. It is high time they received the same in return.
Rep. John Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored military installation in the free world. He serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, co-chairman of the Congressional Army Caucus, is on the Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.