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National Security Desk / May 27, 2016

It Might Be Time for Congress to Boost Defense Spending

“Our national security needs are tremendous and growing.”

To help counter the growing insecurity around the world, Sen. John McCain is attempting to attach an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will add $17 billion in defense spending. The money would go toward increasing the number of troops in the ranks, boosting their pay and getting new equipment like aircraft. The bill would be an increase in overall spending, as the proposed Pentagon spending bump would not be offset by cuts elsewhere in the government’s budget.

“Our national security needs are tremendous and growing, but when it comes to readiness and safety, we are compromising our forces with arbitrary defense cuts, ” Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Daily Signal. “We are into the bone now, not cutting the fat, so the McCain amendment will ask for $17 billion in spending to deal with the problems we have in keeping our force ready to fight. This will be an emergency spending appropriation, and I think it truly is an emergency.”

It’s a fact that the U.S. military is in need of dire upgrades across multiple fronts. The Department of Defense uses a 50-year-old computer system to coordinate the operational function of its nuclear forces. Meanwhile, the threat of a nuclear attack is increasing. With the military in decline, we’ve asked if the U.S. military can still “provide for the common defense.”

If things stay the same, the problem will only get worse. According to standards set by Congress, the U.S. Air Force must maintain a minimum of 1,900 fighter jets. Despite China and Russia increasing the number of planes in their arsenals, the Air Force admits it will have fewer than 1,900 fighter jets by 2022. As the Air Force retires its aging planes, it’s committed to buying the much more expensive F-35 — a plane with many problems. Upgrades require spending, and upgrades to the U.S. military are needed. Or maybe Congress and the Pentagon can find a budget solution that both saves money and boosts this nation’s ability to defend itself.

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