Issue Position: National Defense and Homeland Security
President Clinton stretched our armed forces disturbingly thin. He recommended large reductions in defense spending in his budgets, morale and readiness suffered, and we had planes on the ground due to lack of spare parts, and soldiers struggling to survive due to inadequate pay.
President Bush and the Republican Congress took steps in the right direction by supporting a dramatic increase in defense spending as well as instituting an overall review of the Department of Defense.
This Congress supported funding to continue the U.S. military's transition to the 21st century, including efforts to procure weapons and combat vehicles, increase shipbuilding and conversion, and procure additional aircraft. We have increased base pay for military personnel and eased the burden placed on military personnel and their families. We achieved all this in an effort to ensure that the U.S. military is able to retain highly-trained personnel.
The attacks inside our own borders on September 11, 2001, also taught us that our nation - and our military - must also continue to promote freedom around the world. America changed following the terrorist attacks, but I believe that our nation began to fully understand its place in history and its obligation as the most powerful nation on the face of the earth - to promote and defend the freedom to live and worship as one chooses.
There remain dangerous people out there who despise open societies and freedom so much that they work to force others to conform to their way of thinking. The message our nation must send is that - throughout history - our belief in freedom is stronger than any fear and our determination and passion to defend democracy now is as strong as ever.
As Subcommittee Chairman on the House Homeland Security Committee last Congress, I worked to ensure that our nation remains focused on accomplishing its mission to ensure the safety of the American people. My commitment to you is that I will continue to fight for our national security. As America strikes back at her enemies abroad, I will fight for the tools that our military needs both today and tomorrow.
The goal of our defense efforts is to ensure that the U.S. military remains the most efficient and most effective fighting force in the world. I strongly support our nation's service men and women fighting for freedom and the civilized world across the globe, and I will continue to provide them with the tools they need to defend freedom and ensure that our homeland remains safe.