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Conference Report on H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FORBES. Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the chairman, the ranking member and staff of the Armed Services Committee for the great job that they have done in bringing this bill to the floor.

This bill takes several steps to ensure our military readiness, including the restoration of funding to retain at least three Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers that the Navy proposed to retire well before the end of their expected service life. The conference also added an additional 32 tactical airlift aircraft that are essential to meeting the Army's direct support airlift missions. These additional force structure changes are essential to ensuring our military meets mission requirements.

The bill also refuses to authorize another round of BRAC, which I believe was founded on a flawed premise that assumes the administration's proposal for a reduced force structure is correct. I categorically refuse to accept a diminished Department of Defense and believe that additional force structure is necessary to support our combatant commanders.

While I support this bill, I'd be remiss if I did not express my concern associated with continued discussions on further reductions to the Department of Defense budget. While I believe the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, needs to seek additional efficiencies, I reject the notion that additional cuts to Federal Government should be levied on the backs of our servicemen and -women who provide so much. We hold a special trust with these men and women, and we should oppose any proposal that seeks to diminish the promises provided to our valiant servicemembers.

Mr. Speaker, I hope and encourage our Members to support this bill.


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