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House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military

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Unread 05.11.19, 03:32 AM
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House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military

On 05.10.19 07:35 AM posted by Frederico Bartels

Houseappropriators have now released their budget toplines for every government agency, and their number for the Department ofDefense shows they acknowledge the defense budget needs an increase.

Butthat increase still isnít enough, as it falls short of the presidentís budgetrequest and of what the military needs to continue its rebuild.

Thenumbers released by Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, shows $622 billion forthe base defense discretionary budget. That would be a 2.3% increase over the2019 enacted budget.

Itís a good initial step that highlights a bipartisan understanding on the need to properly fund our national defense and make sure that our military has the necessary tools to engage in the great power competition outlined by the National Defense Strategy.

Itis directionally correct, but Congress and the nation need to be moreambitious.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, have expressed multiple times that the Department of Defense requires between 3% and 5% real growth in the coming years in order to keep pace with the current threats facing our nation.

Meanwhile,the presidentís budget request asks Congress foran increase of 4.8%. The presidentís budget couldstill improve, but his defense budget top line is more in line with thechallenges that our military faces.

Asthe Heritage Foundationís 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength shows, the militaryhas seen improvement in its readiness, capacity, and capabilities because ofthe extra resources dedicated to it over the past two budget cycles.

Nonetheless,these gains need to be consolidated over time with continuous investments andimprovement. The current emphasis on readiness recovery is especially fragile,because weíre dealing with human beings that need constant practice to keeptheir skills updated and sharp.

Furthermore,many of the investments in new platforms will take years to come to fruition.

Forinstance, an aircraft carrier contracted in January 2019 has a delivery date of March 2028. Or takethe controversial F-15X. The AirForce wants to purchase eight of them in 2020, and the first two have a delivery date of June 2022. Eventhe Army is aiming to reach its readiness goals by 2022 and thenfocus on actualizing its modernization efforts.

Theseefforts will take time and persistent attention.

Themilitary will not be fully ready in a couple of years and then everyone can goto Florida to relax on the beach. It requires a long-term vision andperspective.

Oneonly needs to look at China, our pacing military threat, to get a betterunderstanding of the time horizon of the challenge. The goal of the ChineseCommunist Party is to have a modern military force capable of operating jointlyin every domain of warfare by 2049. Talk about a long game.

Ifthe United States wants to be able to counter Chinese ambitions, it needs tomake sure weíre doing today what will help make us ready in the future.

Thatstarts with recognizing the need to properly fund our militaryóand to do it.

The post House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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