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Our military leaders and national defense experts agree: the world is an increasingly dangerous place. We face threats at home and abroad not only from terror groups, but from state actors like Russia, North Korea, and Iran. My objective is to ensure we bring the full capabilities of our armed forces to bear in meeting the reality of the threats facing the United States and to project power around the globe to deter our adversaries.
Highlights from This Congress
- Provided the largest pay raise for our military in nearly a decade.
- Met Defense Secretary Mattis’ request to end the defense sequester and begin restoring readiness by fully funding our military.
- Authorized the Navy to buy another Ford-class aircraft carrier, which will further call on the strong industrial base we have in Virginia and save money for taxpayers.
- Authored legislation, now signed into law, that aids community colleges and technical institutions in helping the federal government recruit, train, and develop America’s maritime workforce. It is critical to our both our national security and economy to secure the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs.
- The President signed my bill, the SHIPS Act, into law. This legislation makes is it the policy of the United States to achieve the Navy’s requirement of 355 ships.
- The most recent National Defense Authorization Act includes a number of Virginia-specific priorities and provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we've asked them to do.
I believe it is our primary constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. The first element necessary to ensuring our nation's security is a defense budget adequate to meet the threats we face. Second, to address our military readiness crisis it is absolutely critical to provide both predictable and reliable funding.
The sequester-indiscriminate cuts to defense spending and harmful stop-gap spending bills (continuing resolutions) have done grave damage to our military readiness and greatly reduced training and funding for equipment and maintenance. During the last decade, our Armed Forces have been operating continuing resolutions for over 1000 days. In the past year, we have had 80 military casualties during peacetime training and operations. This is, in part, a direct result of the lack of resources available for training, maintenance, modernization, and other essential readiness programs. We must reverse that damage by provide adequate, reliable funding.
I support a base defense budget that at the very minimum matches 4 percent of gross domestic product. We owe our active duty, reserve, and National Guard service men and women no less than our full support for their sacrifice on behalf of our country.
Seapower and Projection Forces
I am honored to serve as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. Given the global security environment, this new assignment comes at a critical time.
As Seapower and Projection Forces Chairman I have the opportunity to serve both our Nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia as I oversee the Navy’s plans to rebuild its fleet to 355 ships. I also look forward to supporting the development of our Columbia Class Submarines and B-21 Long Range Strike- Bombers.
I am committed to ensuring that our military remains the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.
I, along with Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), serve as a Co-Chairman of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.
We began the Caucus with three main objectives:
* to build a venue for Members to discuss shipbuilding issues that impact their districts,
* to work together to support increased shipbuilding efforts for the United States Navy that will enhance our national security, and
* to improve awareness regarding shipbuilding matters across Capitol Hill.
Our Caucus provides a forum for Members of Congress, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard officers, and industry leaders to exchange views on the current and future states of domestic shipbuilding.
This Congress I authored legislation, now signed into law, that aids community colleges and technical institutions in helping the federal government recruit, train, and develop America’s maritime workforce. It is critical to our both our national security and economy to secure the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs.
The safety and security of Virginians is my greatest concern and top priority. We must never forget that there are individuals, groups, and indeed, entire countries that seek to do harm to our citizens and destroy our way of life. In every corner of the globe events are unfolding that will have a profound impact on the security of our nation and our allies. So we must be ever vigilant in protecting our homeland to ensure all of our citizens can live in peace and security.
I believe America, and the world, will be a safer place if the United States takes a leadership role in addressing these global challenges. Diplomacy will always be the best and preferred method for resolving difficult international issues. But if diplomacy fails, and when American interests are at stake, we must be prepared to act.