The United States is blessed with the best-trained, equipped, and strongest fighting force in the world. I hold in the highest esteem the men and women who voluntarily serve in our Armed Forces. They exemplify dedication, perseverance, hard work, and love of country, and to them our nation owes the deepest debt of gratitude.
The United States currently spends over $700 billion a year on defense. While robust funding is critical to preserving our nation’s military strength and recruiting, training, and caring for our service members, I also firmly believe in the need to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse, and to cancel defense programs that do not work or are not needed. Also important to proper funding utilization is ensuring a solid strategy for the current war while establishing a long term plan for the uncertainty of future wars. Given growing instability in many regions across the globe and economic challenges here at home, the United States must carefully balance its military might with diplomacy in a manner that reflects our nation’s highest principles and advances our interests. Congress must assist the Department of Defense in its effort to find efficiencies in military mission consolidations and continue to perform effective oversight of the defense industry to ensure that programs and projects are delivered on time and on budget.
Passing a New Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)
The War Powers Act of 1973 forbids the President from committing America’s armed forces for periods of more than 60 days unless Congress declares war or grants Congressional authorization in the form of an AUMF. Unfortunately, since 2001, the United States has been guided by a broadly written AUMF that has frozen Congress out of conversations related to military engagements across the globe. If this President, or any President in the future, determines that the United States has no other option but to engage America’s military, we must ensure that the decision is debated publically and with full transparency. For too long Congress has not had the opportunity to weigh in on decisions to commit American troops overseas. This cannot continue.