National Defense and Security

After nearly six years of President Obama’s foreign policy, “The world is,” in the words of the President’s own Secretary of Defense, “exploding all over.”   

America’s retreat from the world stage has produced the greatest level of instability in decades.  “To put it mildly, the world is a mess,” is former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s blunt assessment.

Indeed it is.  The list of trouble spots is long and growing and much of the turmoil is related to a lack of American presidential leadership. 

  • In Iraq, ISIL now controls an area the size of Belgium, is on the border with Jordan and Israel, and is continuing its genocidal attacks on Christians, Kurds, Mandaeans, and others who refuse to bow down to barbarism and forced religious conversion. It remains to be seen whether the approach announced by the President on September 10, 2014 will result in the destruction of this brutal terrorist organization.
  • Ukraine has already lost the Crimea to Russian-backed “separatists,” and Russia continues to threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, as well as other nations, including the Baltics.
  • Libya has descended into such chaos that the United States was forced to evacuate our embassy in Tripoli. Will we soon see the same thing in Baghdad or Kabul?
  • In Syria, the only “red line” that remains is the long trail of blood left by the brutal Assad regime. Despite his killing of hundreds of thousands of his own citizens, Assad apparently is no longer the Administration’s “target!”
  • Iran’s determined effort to acquire nuclear weapons continues unabated.
  • In Gaza, Hamas terrorists, temporarily weakened by Israel’s successful efforts to reduce its ability to kill Israeli citizens, are undoubtedly already regrouping to pursue their stated goal of the destruction of Israel.
  • In Nigeria, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram continues its brutal campaign of kidnapping and terror, proving that it takes more than a few of our military aircraft and a hashtag to defeat terrorists.
  • North Korea’s maniacal dictator is still pursuing his goal of developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to targets thousands of miles away.
  • And China, the Pacific’s increasingly emboldened bully, is expanding its sphere of influence both in the “blue water” by expanding its Navy and by restricting large amounts of airspace. These actions threaten the stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

As chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I am committed to making sure that more resources are spent to fund the Department of Defense and our intelligence agencies.

We must not delude ourselves by believing that we can maintain a solid defense that is driven by budget choices, not strategic ones.  As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “talking about DoD cuts without talking about threats to America is simply math and not strategy.”

Rather, we must decide what do we want our military to do, and only then evaluate savings within the Department of Defense.

I also support reform of our military acquisition processes. Getting new tools into the hands of our warfighters takes too long and costs too much.

We need to undertake a comprehensive re-evaluation of our national security priorities in light of the new irregular challenges and major threats that are proliferating all over the world. The notion that the National Security Council that advises the President does not work 24 hours a day, given the world’s crises, is disturbing!

I have urged the Administration and Congress to make sure we make more defense investments today to ensure that we will be prepared to defend our interests against ALL threats in the years to come.

Above all, we must never forget that the U.S. military is the modern era’s greatest champion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is time we focus our fiscal restraint on the real drivers of the debt, instead of the protector of our prosperity.