Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) made the following statement regarding the release of the report Providing for the Common Defense: The Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission. Senator Kyl was appointed to serve as a member of the bipartisan Commission by the late Senator John McCain. Senator Kyl participated fully in the deliberations of the Commission prior to filling Senator McCain’s Senate seat in September 2018.
“The bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission report is a sobering analysis of the state of our national defense. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the United States is at risk of losing a future war against peer or near-peer competitors, mainly due to budget instability and insufficient funding provided by Congress. At the same time, our potential adversaries like Russia and China face no similar fiscal constraints.
“This budget instability caused by sequestration, funding through continuing resolutions, and unpredictable and insufficient overall funding levels has taken a significant toll on U.S. military readiness and personnel. Today, the United States faces key munition shortages, and urgently requires modernization of both nuclear and conventional forces. Sadly, numerous service members’ lives have been lost to preventable Navy collisions and aircraft crashes. Many modernization programs and infrastructure investments were cut, leaving us less prepared to fight future wars.
“Russia and China do not share these self-imposed fiscal restrictions and have aggressively modernized their forces, including nuclear weapon arsenals. They routinely take actions to threaten, coerce, and intimidate us and our allies. After years of studying the United States military, they have identified our vulnerabilities and have found ways to exploit them.
“The Commission’s analysis clearly shows that the Department of Defense will not be able to successfully compete with Russia and China and execute the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy unless Congress takes action to increase funding to our military in a consistent and reliable manner. Defense officials have testified that the implementation of an even less robust Obama National Security Strategy will require an annual three to five percent real growth in the Department of Defense’s budget. The modest increases in the first two years of President Trump’s administration have arrested the decline, but mark only the beginning of the long process to rebuild our military.
“Congress has the responsibility to ensure the proper funding our military needs to protect the homeland, forward-deployed troops, and allies against attacks. I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure the report receives the consideration it merits and to address the dangerous impact that sequestration, funding through continuing resolutions, and unpredictable and insufficient overall funding levels are having on our nation’s security.”
Read the executive summary and full report here.