The Ripon Forum

Volume 52, No. 5

November 2018

How We Rebuilt America’s Military

By on October 23, 2018

by KAY GRANGER

When Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen asked me to serve as the Chairwoman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee two years ago, I knew I had one major challenge facing me: how to devote the resources we need to rebuild our military.

I wanted to not just reverse the destructive sequester cuts of the Obama era, but ensure that we equipped our armed forces with the resources they needed to address a devastating readiness crisis. I didn’t just want to just make up for previous cuts; I wanted to transform our military and make it better than ever. Thanks to leadership on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue over the last two years, we’ve moved from aging equipment and undertrained troops to a historic defense buildup.

How did we do it? Early last year, I worked with Secretary of Defense James Mattis to develop a plan to fully fund our military. Secretary Mattis told me that the money is important, but giving it to us on time so we have time to plan and to build is really the most important thing. Thanks to his leadership, we in Congress were able to deliver a historic increase in defense spending while at the same time funding the military on time for the first time in 10 years.

For the Pentagon, stability and predictability are critical. Yet for years, our military has been subject to stopgap funding and a string of continuing resolutions. Not anymore. This budget uncertainty exacerbated a staggering readiness crisis.

For years, our military has been subject to stopgap funding and a string of continuing resolutions. Not anymore.

Last year, Secretary Mattis said that making the Pentagon operate under continuing resolutions is “about as unwise as could be.” He added: “It just creates unpredictability. It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new and revealing threats. We know our enemies are not standing still.” General Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this year, “That lack of predictability and that lack of stability in the budget has not allowed us to most efficiently plan and use the resources available to us.”  They are both right.  And the way we’ve been funding defense on a piecemeal basis is wrong.

The two-year, bipartisan budget agreement that was approved earlier this year has enabled us to finally deliver what we’ve long promised: making sure our women and men in the military have the training and the equipment they need.

What did the Appropriations “minibus” funding bill that President Trump signed last month do for our national security?

First, it included an additional $17 billion to continue to rebuild our military and ensure our warfighters are ready for any threat. This is on top of a history-making Defense Appropriations bill for FY18, signed into law this summer, which funded the largest single increase in defense spending in fifteen years.

The two-year, bipartisan budget agreement that was approved earlier this year has enabled us to deliver what we’ve long promised: making sure our women and men in the military have the training and the equipment they need.

Second, it included significant efforts to help rebuild our armed forces and support our service members, including:

  • Fully funding a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest in nine years
  • Funding the procurement of new equipment, including 13 Navy ships, 93 F-35 aircraft, 18 C-130J aircraft, 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 13 V-22 aircraft, and the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks.
  • Providing for an increase of 16,400 in our total troop end strength.
  • Funding research and development into new defense systems and technologies, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, nuclear force modernization, and the Ohio-class submarine replacement.
  • Caring for service members and military forces with funding above the president’s request for cancer research, traumatic brain injury research, and sexual assault prevention.

After years of devastating cuts, we’re now rebuilding our military like we never have before.  We know that our freedom depends upon the might of our military, and we know that if we fund our military, no enemy on Earth can match the strength, courage, and skill of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Now that this bill is law, Secretary Mattis is getting what he needs to build a more agile, lethal 21st-century fighting force.  We are finally giving our military the support it needs and we are giving our country the national security it deserves.

Kay Granger is a Republican congresswoman from Fort Worth, representing the 12th District of Texas. Elected in 1996, she currently serves as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. She is seeking the full House Appropriations Committee chairmanship for the 116th Congress.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.

Top