Senator David Perdue Urges Colleagues to Provide for the Common Defense

“We absolutely must maintain a military force so strong that no enemy in its right mind would challenge us, and those who dare, have no hope in defeating us.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Budget Committees, today called on his colleagues to move forward with funding our military and send the National Defense Authorization Act to President Obama’s desk for a signature.

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“I rise today to speak in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I strongly urge my colleagues in this body to vote for the NDAA, and to send it to the President’s desk for signature and let’s move to funding our military.

The threats to our nation have perhaps never been greater or more complex in my entire life. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am given daily briefs on what I believe is an emerging global security crisis.

This administration just completed a nuclear deal with Iran that stokes the fears of our friends and allies in the region and releases tens of billions in sanctions relief to a regime that is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. We’ve had to bolster our support to allies in the region in the attempt to mitigate the impact of further Iranian spending to support Assad in Syria, Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah, Hammas, and terrorism worldwide.

We’ve seen the astonishing rise of ISIS, as they’ve taken advantage of the power vacuum we left behind by prematurely withdrawing our troops from Iraq. I’d hate to see history repeat itself in Afghanistan, which is actually being discussed as we speak today.

Meanwhile, traditional rivals are aggressively posturing on two other fronts. China is antagonizing our allies in the Pacific Rim, and Russia is testing the resolve of the NATO alliance, blatantly grabbing sovereign territory in Ukraine, Crimea, and injecting troops, and war material into Syria.

At the same time as we see an increase in symmetric and asymmetric threats, we are headed in a direction where we are about to have the smallest Army since World War II, smallest Navy since World War I, and smallest Air Force ever. Meanwhile, the Chinese alone are rapidly expanding their investment in their military and their forces in the Asia-Pacific region, and are set to double their defense budget by 2020.

As a matter of fact, I was recently at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters, where I was briefed on the developments of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific in comparison directly with those of China. This is very alarming.

In 1999, the U.S. military had a dominant and protective position in the Asia-Pacific region totally capable of protecting our interests. Today, however, China has reached military parity in the region. What’s really troubling are the projections for 2020, in which China’s relative combat power and presence in the region will be significantly be more dominant than that of the United States.

This is why we need to ensure we continue funding our military at the appropriate levels. We need to ensure that our brave servicemen and women have the tools, training, and technology they need to meet the current threats we face on a daily basis, but also to tackle what’s coming in the future.

This year’s NDAA reinforces the mission against ISIS and Operation Inherent Resolve. It provides assistance and sustainment to the military and national security forces of Ukraine—including the authority for lethal aid to Ukraine for defensive purposes. And, this NDAA fills critical gaps in readiness, ensuring that our servicemen and women meet their training requirements and have mission-capable equipment.

The convergence of our fiscal debt crisis and our global security crisis is indeed a sobering reality and they must be solved simultaneously. In order to have a strong foreign policy though, we have to have a strong military, and to have a strong military, we have to strong economy. We have to solve our debt crisis at the same time though to continue to dominate militarily.

As former Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen once said, ‘the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.’ That fact still rings true today.

Having recently visited our troops and military leaders in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, I can tell you the best, the very best of America, is in uniform around the world in our military, putting their lives in jeopardy every day to protect our freedoms here at home.

Our military is made up of some of the finest, smartest, and bravest people I have ever met. They’re true American heroes committed to defending our freedom. They deserve our unwavering support.

One of the six reasons why 13 colonies came together in the beginning of our country to form this nation, as enshrined in our Constitution, was to ‘provide for the common defense.’

As George Washington said, ‘to be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.’ Indeed, as we’ve learned over and over, maintaining a strong national defense can actually deter aggression.

We absolutely must maintain a military force so strong that no enemy in its right mind would challenge us, and those who dare, have no hope of defeating us.”