MCCAIN FLOOR STATEMENT ON DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL
I rise today to strongly support S. 1050, the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Authorization Bill. This legislation funds $400.5 billion for defense programs, which is 3.2% increase or $17.9 billion above the amount appropriated by Congress last year. The defense authorization bill would authorize appropriations to purchase new weapons systems and funds research and development for new weapons systems, funds operations and maintenance for the services, provides pay and quality of life improvements for service members and funds military construction projects at military bases.
A number of provisions in this bill go a long way to ensure our servicemembers get the benefits they deserve. I am pleased the Senate included a provision which I offered as an amendment that was adopted by the committee that would eliminate the remaining so-called "pay comparability gap" between military pay and civilian pay. This amendment would tie subsequent military pay raises after 2006 with increases in the Employment Cost Index (ECI). As a former Ranking Member and long-time member on the Personnel Subcommittee when Senator John Glenn was the Chairman, my experience with capping military raises below ECI during the last three decades shows that such caps inevitably lead to significant retention problems among second-term and career servicemembers.
Those retention problems cost our Nation more in the long run in terms of lost military experience, decreased readiness, and increased training costs. Since military pay was last comparable with private sector pay in 1982, military pay raises have lagged a cumulative 6.4 percent behind private sector wage growth - although recent efforts by Congress have reduced the gap significantly from its peak of 13.5 percent in 1999. Our efforts in 1999 increased pay raises, reformed the pay tables, took 12,000 servicemembers off of food stamps, and established a military Thrift Savings Plan
A key principal of the all volunteer force (AVF) is that military pay raises must match private sector pay growth (as measured by ECI). The Senate's action in this area will send a strong message of support to our servicemembers and women and their families that will continue to promote high morale, better quality-of-life, and ultimately a more ready military force.
For the past 12 years, I have offered legislation on concurrent receipt. This matter is of great significance to many of our country's military retirees, because it would reverse existing, unfair regulations that strip retirement pay from military retirees who are also disabled, and costs them any realistic opportunity for post-service earnings. Last year, I was pleased that the committee, for the first time, included an authorization to begin to address a longstanding inequity in the compensation of military retirees' pay over previous attempts in the past.
I am disappointed that Senator Harry Reid was unable to offer his amendment on concurrent receipt, because the amendment was not ruled relevant under an unanimous consent agreement that was passed by the leadership of the Senate. We must do more to restore retirement pay for those military retirees who are disabled. I have stated this before, and I am compelled to reiterate now - retirement pay and disability pay are distinct types of pay. Retirement pay is for service rendered through 20 years of military service. Disability pay is for physical or mental pain or suffering that occurs during and as a result of military service. In this case, members with decades of military service receive the same compensation as similarly disabled members who served only a few years; this practice fails to recognize their extended, more demanding careers of service to our country. This is patently unfair, and I will continue to work diligently with the Committee to correct this inequity for all career military servicemembers who are disabled.
We have a military force that continues to rely more on the Reserve Components - men and women in the National Guard and Reserves - to go to war and to perform other critical military tasks abroad and at home. Many combat, combat support and other support missions are being carried on the backs of our active and Reserve Component forces--soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
National Guard and Reserve servicemembers are performing many vital tasks: direct involvement in military operations to liberate Iraq in the air, on the ground, and on the sea; guarding nuclear power plants, our borders, and our airports in the United States; providing support to the War on Terrorism through guarding, interrogating, and extending medical services to Al Qaeda detainees; rebuilding schools in hurricane-stricken Honduras and fighting fires in our western states; overseeing civil affairs in Bosnia; and augmenting aircraft carriers short on active duty sailors with critical skilled enlisted ratings during at-sea exercises, as well as during periods of deployment.
I believe that the civilian and uniformed leadership of our Armed Forces and the Congress must recognize this involvement, and, at a minimum, provide equal benefits for reserve component servicemembers when they put on the uniform and perform their weekend drills or other critical training evolutions. Reservists, on duty, who resemble their active duty counterparts during training evolutions and are deployed at times around the world, should be treated equally when the administration and Congress provide for quality of life benefits.
I am pleased at the inclusion of language authorizing a Selective Re-enlistment Bonus (SRB) for National Guard and Reserve service members when they are mobilized under a Presidential Select Reserve Call-up and they re-enlist during that period. National Guardsmen and Reservists are prohibited from receiving SRB payments until after they get off active duty or mobilization status, sometimes one or two years later.
The Senate has also authorized Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) benefits to survivors of National Guard and Reserve service members who die while performing inactive duty training or weekend drills. This legislation provides equity with active duty servicemembers and is consistent with Defense Department regulations when National Guardsmen and Reservists are mobilized under a Presidential Select Reserve Call-up.
Since January, there have been 13 Reserve Component deaths during weekend military training while their units were preparing for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom where families of National Guard and Reservists did not receive the Survivor Benefit payments.
The Senate has also authorized Commanders' pay for National Guardsmen and Reservists, similar to the pay that active duty commanding officers and commanders receive.
Additionally, the Senate Authorization bill removes and arbitrary cap on commissary privileges for drilling reservists and National Guardsmen, making the benefit similar to the benefit similar to the benefit of authorized for active duty servicemembers.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) continue to be of interest to me. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have been watershed events for military utilization of UAVs. Increased use in the future as new war fighting capabilities come on line is key to our militaries strategy for future conflicts. During the 1999 Yugoslav air campaign only three UAV systems were used. There are nine UAV systems currently deployed and in extensive use in Iraq. The Army's Shadow, Hunter, and Pointer; the Marine Corps' Pioneer and Dragon Eye; the Air Force's Global Hawk, Predator and the Force Protection Surveillance System; and, the Navy's Silver Fox.
The Silver Fox is a small, inexpensive UAV with tremendous application, particularly in downed pilot search and air rescue, border patrol operations, tactical support for ground troops and SOF, submarine detection, marine mammal detection efforts and other critical reconnaissance missions. 90 Silver Fox systems were deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom with great success. Additional resources should be afforded to the unmanned aerial vehicle programs. Low cost, innovative systems, like the Silver Fox, deserve considerable support by the committee and I strongly support this effort. I am extremely please the Senate included a UAV pilot program to study the potential uses of UAVs on our borders.
Mr. President, as part of its consideration of this bill, the Senate approved an amendment I sponsored with Senators Sessions, Lindsey Graham, and Bayh creating a reporting requirement that should shed light on how to improve decision-making within NATO. As a lifelong Atlanticist, my interest is in keeping NATO relevant and effective as it adapts its mission to the new threats we face today. Doing so will require a hard look at what works well within NATO, and what we can do to streamline decision-making processes to improve the effectiveness of the Alliance.
Our amendment would build on a reporting requirement related to NATO that is in the underlying bill. Our intention is to make NATO work better by taking a close look at how some of its decision-making structures have recently evolved, for expressly political reasons, in ways that I believe have weakened NATO, but which we, NATO's full members, can rectify in order to ensure that our Alliance remains strong.
Our amendment would require the Secretaries of Defense and State to assess whether certain new NATO military initiatives are within the jurisdiction of NATO's Defense Planning Committee, which has historically overseen NATO's core defense and security missions. The report would relate how NATO defense, military, security, and nuclear decisions traditionally made in the DPC came to be made in other bodies within NATO. It would discuss the extent of France's contributions to each of NATO's component committees, and specifically the degree of French involvement in specific military and security issues within the competence of the DPC, on which the French do not sit. The report would examine how NATO could make greater use of the DPC, by assuming its traditional role of managing NATO's core defense mission, and how to otherwise streamline NATO decisionmaking to make NATO more effective. NATO is actively engaged in discussions on how to reform and improve NATO decisionmaking, and I strongly believe our amendment will play a useful role in animating that discussion.
In February, Turkey requested assistance from the Alliance to improve its defenses in the event of war with Iraq. Given Turkey's status as a key member of NATO and the Alliance's only front-line state with Iraq, Turkey's routine request for defensive reinforcements under the terms of the NATO charter should not have been controversial in any way. Regrettably, France denied Turkey's request, and the Alliance spent three weeks in crisis trying to overcome French objections. France's position was initially supported by Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium, but these nations ultimately sided with the every other member of the Alliance, leaving the French isolated but refusing to relinquish their effective veto over a fundamental Alliance commitment to the defense of a member state. Ultimately, Turkey's Article Four request for defensive assistance was approved by the Defense Planning Committee (DPC), a component committee of NATO which does not include France. But the singular French obstructionism over the course of nearly a month caused the gravest crisis NATO has known in a generation and raised real questions about whether NATO was going the way of the U.N. Security Council or, more ominously, the League of Nations.
In the wake of this debacle, Atlanticists in Europe and the United States have pondered ways to reform and improve decision-making within NATO. In the interests of avoiding another such near-calamity within NATO that threatens the Alliance itself, Secretaries Wolfowitz and Feith have testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the DPC could be used more frequently for decision-making within NATO, thereby circumventing the French veto.
Since the mid-1990s, NATO's North Atlantic Council has been the primary venue within the Alliance for decisions to be taken on Alliance operations. But for most of NATO's existence, the NAC was not preeminent. The Defense Planning Committee was created in 1963 and was co-equal to the NAC. The DPC was charged with NATO's core defense and security business, including questions relating to Article Five, the mutual defense clause that is at the heart of NATO's charter. In 1966, when France withdrew from NATO's integrated military structure, the DPC assumed responsibility for the Alliance's core defense business. This allowed the Alliance to continue to function effectively without France's military involvement, and to avoid a French veto over matters related to NATO's core defense mission, in which France did not then and does not now participate.
The Defense Planning Committee was surprisingly active from its creation in 1963 until 1995. It became less prominent following the end of the Cold War because the use of NATO forces appeared less likely in Article Five scenarios and more probable in non-Article Five scenarios. The role of the DPC diminished when the North Atlantic Council rose to pre-eminence in the 1990s with NATO peacekeeping scenarios, in the aftermath of the dismal failure of UNPROFOR in Bosnia. In the 1990s, looking for new roles, the NAC endorsed NATO peacekeeping missions in the Balkans.
The process of relying on the North Atlantic Council was also rooted in the (futile) effort to woo France back into full membership in NATO. Starting with a 1992 decision to support peacekeeping operations and the desire to involve France in Balkans operations, defense issues during the 1990s came to be addressed in the North Atlantic Council. The inclusion of France in NATO Defense Ministerials began in 1993 at Travemunde and has continued. Although they have not rejoined NATO's integrated military structure, and are therefore not full contributing members of the Alliance, the French have very effectively shifted NATO decision-making into the North Atlantic Council and other bodies in which they have a voice and a vote. Although France does not participate, or participates only selectively, in command structure, infrastructure budget, and defense planning, it has successfully transferred these issues to NATO committees on which it has a seat. France does not participate in 60 percent of NATO budget areas, but participates in 100 percent of the development of resource policy and contribution ceilings.
The upcoming issues for the June NATO Defense Ministerial are of a military and security nature. They include the Capabilities Initiative, the Command Structure Review, and the NATO Response Force. These are military and security issues within the core competence of the DPC. Our amendment is therefore not backward-looking, but would anticipate possible reforms to improve NATO's effectiveness in light of issues currently on the Alliance's agenda.
France unilaterally withdrew from NATO's military structure in 1966 - at the height of the Cold War. France has since chosen to remain outside NATO's military structure. If France wants to return to NATO's military structure, NATO should discuss it, debate it on the merits and make a decision - among the 18 full members of NATO.
What we need now is a better understanding of why NATO came to rely on the NAC, and what can be done to make NATO more effective. We need to understand what we can do to limit France's ability to manipulate NATO, and oppose American foreign policy goals. The report required by our amendment should shed light on how to make our Alliance work as it should, in defense of the supreme national interests of the democracies it protects and nurtures.
I continue to be very concerned about the potential impact on bilateral trade relations with our allies of the domestic source (i.e., "Buy America") restrictions enacted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996. I am extremely concerned that an amendment was proposed that would impose "Buy America" restrictions on the Department of Defense. From a philosophical point of view, I oppose these types of protectionist policies. I believe free trade is an important element in improving relations among all nations and essential to economic growth. Moreover, from a practical standpoint, the added "Buy America" restrictions could seriously impair our ability to compete freely in the international markets and could also result in loss of existing business from long-standing trading partners. Although, I fully understand the need to maintain certain critical industrial base capabilities, I find no reason to support a "Buy America" requirement for a product, like marine pumps, that is produced by no fewer than 25 U.S. companies or a bullet-proof vest made from fabric by a US manufacturer which is inferior and more expensive than a bullet-proof vest made in the U.S. from a fabric produced overseas.
There are many examples of the trade imbalance that I can point to. I would like to review one example for you. The Dutch government, between 1991 and 1994, purchased $508 million in defense equipment from U.S. manufacturers, including air-refueling planes, Chinook helicopters, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter equipment, missiles, combat radios and various training equipment. During that same period, the United States purchased only $40 million of defense equipment from the Dutch. Recently, the Defense Ministers of the United Kingdom and Sweden pointed to similar situations in their countries. In every meeting regarding this subject, I am told how difficult it is to buy American defense products because of our protectionist policies and the strong "Buy European" sentiment overseas. Our protectionist practices will hurt us nationally and internationally.
Some legislative enactments over the past several years have had the effect of establishing a monopoly for a domestic supplier in certain product lines. This not only adds to the pressure for our allies to "Buy European," but it also raises the costs of procurement for DOD and cuts off access to potential state-of-the-art technologies. DOD should have the ability to make purchases from a second source in an allied country covered by a defense cooperation MOU or Declaration of Principles agreement when only one domestic source exists. This would ensure both price and product competition.
Defense exports improve interoperability with friendly forces with which we are increasingly likely to operate in coalition warfare or peacekeeping missions. They increase our influence over recipient country actions, and in a worse case scenario, allow the U.S. to terminate support for equipment. Exports also lower the unit costs of systems to the U.S. military, and in recent years have kept mature lines open while the U.S. has developed new systems that will go into production around the turn of the century.
Finally, these exports provide the same economic benefits to the U.S. as all other exports-higher- paying jobs, improved balance of trade, and increased tax revenue. "Buy America" restrictions on procurement will hurt funding for readiness, personnel and equipment modernization. These are really issues of acquisition policy, not appropriations matters. During debate on this legislation, I offered a second degree amendment with the intention of striking the protectionist amendment proposed by one of my colleagues. I thank my colleagues who successfully supported my amendment that worked to protect not only our allies but the American taxpayer and most importantly our servicemen and women who depend on the Department of Defense to train them and Congress to equip them with the best equipment irrelevant of its country of origin. Why is it that our special forces servicemembers routinely procure equipment without "Buy America" requirements?
Mr. President, in all my years on the committee, I have never seen anything like the proposed leasing scheme of the KC-767 aerial tankers. In my efforts and those of others on the Senate Armed Service Committee, to get information on this proposed deal with Boeing, there has been obfuscation. There has been delay. There is withholding of information from me and this committee. Senior Air Force officials have even mislead the committee, according to the DoD Inspector General. It is incumbent upon all of us to provide the men and women of the Armed Forces with the most capabilities in return for our expenditures.
In several hearings this year, we have heard the Air Force Secretary and the Air Force Secretary of Acquisition testify that they have not completed an Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) on aerial tankers. The KC-767 aerial tanker effort requires the Secretary of Defense to do an AOA. Authorized funding should come from Air Force aviation programs which would have originally funded AOA if the program was appropriately planned and programmed like other DoD programs. Moreover, the AOA is required by Air Mobility Command (AMC) & DoD documents, TRS-05 and KC-135 ESLS. I am pleased the Senate is requiring the Secretary of Defense to undertake an AOA on aerial tankers.
In the Air Force's FY04's budget request the Air Force proposed eliminating 68 KC-135E aerial tankers. The Tanker Requirement Study (TRS-05) was conducted by the Air Mobility Command and the Secretary of Defense Program, Analysis, and Evaluation Division (OSD PA&E). TRS-05 identified the need for approximately 500 to 600 operational KC-135 equivalents to meet air refueling requirements. Nor other program has received so much attention by the Air Force Secretary. Yet, in direct contrast to his own Air Force studies, he seems relentless in exaggerating aerial tanker shortfalls in order to win approval of his KC-767 leasing scam. I am pleased the committee has included language reducing the number allowed to be retired to 12 but I still feel the Air Force should be prohibited from retiring the requested number of tankers until the AOA is completed and we have determined the best way to replace these national assets. It is foolhardy to begin retiring planes without a plan to replace them.
I am pleased the Senate included a provision that will save millions down the road. The Senate directs the Air Force to provide adequate funding for aviation depots for the purpose of correcting corrosion for the KC-135 aerial refueling fleet. The Armed Service Committee has heard testimony that every $1 spent in preventive maintenance saves $7 in repair or replacement costs. This action to add funding to KC-135 aviation depot level facilities would meet a top objective in the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's FY04 Unfunded Priority List.
Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom demonstrated to the world what we saw just 12 years ago. We went to war as the most combat-ready force in the world. The value of that readiness is clear. We won a massive victory in a few weeks, and we did so with very limited loss of American and allied lives. We were able to end aggression with minimum overall loss of life, and we were even able to greatly reduce the civilian casualties of Afghani and Iraqi citizens.
In order to understand the issues involved, it is necessary to recognize just how difficult it is to achieve the kind of readiness we had during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Readiness is not solely a matter of funding operations and maintenance at the proper level. It is not only a matter of funding adequate numbers of high quality personnel, or of funding superior weapons and munitions, strategic mobility and propositioning, high operating tempos, realistic levels of training at every level of combat, or of logistics and support capabilities.
Readiness, in fact, is all of these things and more. A force begins to go hollow the moment it loses its overall mix of combat capabilities in any one critical area. Our technology edge in Afghanistan and Iraq would have been meaningless if we did not have men and women trained to use it. Having the best weapons system platforms in the world would not have given us our victory if we had not had the right command and control facilities, maintenance capabilities, and munitions.
The military forces that we sent to participate in Operation Desert Storm, Kosovo and Serbia, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, trained for their missions on military ranges here in the United States. Perhaps the premier training range in the continental United States is the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona. This nearly 3 million acre range comprises portions of the Sonoran desert and the Cabeza Prieta wilderness.
It is estimated that the military spends approximately $77 million a year on conservation efforts on the Barry M. Goldwater Range. There are nearly 80 employees dedicated to continued protection of the Goldwater Range, including archeologists, biologists, ornithologists and other natural resources experts. In my view, the Air Force and the Marine Corps are very good stewards of this critical habitat.
Efforts are ongoing among environmental agencies, the Department of Defense, and the various land management agencies to further clarify and define the use and management of the Goldwater Range land and the airspace above it. While I applaud these efforts, I must affirmatively state my strong support for preserving the military use of this land and associated airspace. Every service has approached me to convey their deep concern that the military maintain its ability to train in this one-of-a-kind training range.
The Barry M. Goldwater Range is one of the last open-space ranges available to our Armed Forces for realistic, integrated, joint training exercises. I am glad the Senate has included language to help ensure that this training "jewel" remains available to our military for training purposes.
I am very concerned with the trend in the services to curtail live fire opportunities in training. As weapon systems become more expensive and are manufactured in fewer quantities, we are creating a military force that often fires a weapon for the first time in combat. In the Navy, aviators used to fire one radar-guided and one heat-seeking annually. This was reduced to one missile each during a single tour of duty, and has now been further reduced to a single missile each during an entire career.
Luke Air Force Base (AFB) is home to the 56th Fighter Wing and 228 F-16, single engine, high performance aircraft. Luke AFB, similar to the situation at Nellis AFB, that the committee has previously addressed, has significant urban development encroachment issues that impact training at the base. Armed aircraft are no longer permitted to take off to the north of Luke AFB and over the past several years, there have been 16 serious aircraft accidents due to catastrophic engine failure. It is critical that land use along the southern departure corridor (SDC) remain compatible with armed aircraft weapons training, to preserve access to the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR), to prevent land use or encroachments that are incompatible with activities at Luke AFB in the SDC and to increase the margin of safety associated with the Live Ordnance Departure Area (LODA) southwest of Luke AFB.
The FY 2003 National Defense Authorization Act provided $13.0 million to the Air Force for land acquisition at Luke AFB intended to prevent encroachment from residential development and to ensure safe operation for flight departures and munitions storage.
The Air Force identified an immediate requirement to purchase 234 acres around the munitions storage and is in the process of executing this purchase to correct the most serious safety deficiencies. Furthermore, other parcels have been identified to be purchased to protect surrounding communities from impeding upon explosive blast distance arcs and the danger of single-seat F-16 Falcon jets with live ordnance that overfly land areas in the Southern Departure Corridor headed to the BMGR.
A land compatibility use study is currently ongoing to identify potential additional real estate to be purchased in the Southern Departure corridor of the airfield overflown by F-16's headed to the BMGR. I am pleased the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support included in the Chairman's mark, $14.3 million as a modification to the FY 2003 authorization to facilitate the quick acquisition of additional parcels around the munitions area and in the Southern Departure corridor once they are identified. The Air Force has identified significant encroachment problems hindering safe flight operations at Luke AFB and will be able to protect accident potential zones from residential development through additional land acquisitions. The Senate Armed Services Committee expects the Air Force to send the Committee the results of the land compatibility use study by June 1st, as promised by the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. The project is a modification to a current requirement previously considered by this committee, authorized, appropriated, and now being executed by the Air Force.
For too long, we have asked our Armed Forces to do more with less. Now it is time to provide them with the funding they need, and to ensure that it is spent more wisely. The American people must also be assured that their tax dollars are being spent to provide for their defense - for the national interests, not for special interests.
More must be done to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative work and military installations. More effort must be made to turn over nonmilitary functions to civilian contractors, to reduce the continuing bloat of headquarters staffs, and to decentralize the Pentagon's labyrinth of bureaucratic fiefdoms.
The base realignment and closure (BRAC) legislation that Congress authorized in 2000 will make available from $4 to $7 billion per year by eliminating excess defense infrastructure. There is another $2 billion per year we can put to better purposes by privatizing or consolidating support and maintenance functions, and an additional $5.5 billion per year by eliminating "Buy America" restrictions that discourage U.S. competition and raise costs.
Similar attention is required to wean our political system of its highly-developed taste for pork. I identified $5.2 billion in items that the Appropriations Committee, not the Defense Department, added to the budget last year. We should not tolerate the sacrifice of limited defense resources to special interests masquerading as improvements to our defense. These total savings in the Defense Department amount to almost $20 billion per year-$20 billion that must be reallocated within the defense budget to higher priority military personnel and modernization requirements.
While I am pleased that amount of member adds in this year's legislation has been reduced to around $1 billion, I am still troubled by the amount of unrequested spending on this legislation. Year after year, funding for the same unrequested, unnecessary projects are included in this legislation. For example, the 21st Century truck has received $17.5 million dollars in this legislation. I wonder how many veterans Concurrent Receipt benefits would be funded by the total amount we have sunk into the development of the 21st Century truck over the years? In the wisdom of the Senate, we have provided $35 million more than the President requested to buy the JPATS Texan. That is a lot of money for an aircraft the Navy does need or even want. We have provided $10 million for the High Temperature Superconducting Alternating Current HRSAC Synchronous Motor. We have provided $60 million for Advanced Extra High Frequency Spare Parts. Also on the member adds list is $50 million for the Los Alamos National Lab.
The FY 2004 defense authorization bill adds $60 million for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). This project is one of the largest additions in the bill. This is in addition to the $609.3 million that was included in the President's defense budget request.
With this funding the Air Force will provide a $669.3 million boost to defense companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin to keep both companies in the rocket-launch business, easing the impact of a steep falloff in commercial orders for such services in the commercial-satellite market, where orders have all but dried up.
I am opposed to the "assured access to space program" as it is currently designed. I believe the Committee should hold hearings to review whether to drop one company. I do not believe that two companies are providing adequate competition in this critical program. I believe that a proper accounting of the EELV program will result in a report that more rocket launches and additional weather, communications, reconnaissance, eavesdropping and global position satellites would be launched if the Department of Defense would simply choose a single source for military rocket launches.
I could continue in this vein, but it is sufficient to say that the military needs more money and should spend it more wisely to address the serious problems caused by a decade of declining defense budgets. I have included a copy of the Fiscal Year 2004 Member Add List for the record.
I will continue to fight for additional support of increases to the Department of Defense budget. I also will continue to examine with a keen eye all congressional marks that take money away from needed military programs and instead buy political support through favoritism in awarding contracts. In addition, I will persist in placing the men and women who fight for our flag and country at the top of my priority list where they belong; we owe them our gratitude, respect, and unwavering support. They keep us free.