House Armed Services Committee Chairman (HASC) Mac Thornberry wrote an opinion piece for foxnews.com, “Here’s how we will make America’s military great again.” Rep. Thornberry emphasizes that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees must continue to make defense reform a top priority, by investing more in the Department of Defense. He specified three ways to do this:
- Congress should immediately pass FY17 funding for national defense.
- President Trump should request supplemental funding for national security in his first 100 days.
- Congress and the president must pass FY18 funding at a level that adequately supports the military.
He outlined some of the funding needed “to fulfill President Trump’s promises to increase the number of troops in the military and begin building a 350 ship Navy”:
- $15 billion to start rebuilding an active Army of 490,000 soldiers.
- $14 billion to begin repairing ships, restoring naval presence around the world, and recovering current readiness shortfalls.
- $11 billion to replace worn out equipment and begin making up for military training missed over the last four years.
- $4 billion to restore dilapidated facilities.
The total cost to fund all gaps is $640 billion next year.
The day after this opinion piece was published, Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman John McCain said that a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) may be considered in the near future. He called “…Congress’ handling of the issue ‘cowardice’ and a threat to military readiness.” He said that SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed is also “seriously considering” BRAC. Members of Congress are known for traditionally being against BRACs when there is a threat of closure in their districts or states. On Thursday, HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith said he would reintroduce a bill from June 2016 that would allow the Pentagon to close military bases.
Sources: foxnews.com, militarytimes.com, thehill.com