Our government’s first duty is to safeguard the security of our nation—and with that comes Congress' responsibility to give our men and women in uniform what they need to do that job.

That is why Congress will soon take action on a critical funding bill that delivers the biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years.

Our military has been the envy of the world, and it remains a deadly force. But between the evolving threats of the 21st century and the defense budget shortfalls under the last administration, our military infrastructure is in need of an upgrade—and our service members are the first ones to feel that gap in readiness.

Secretary Mattis has made it a top priority to urge Congress to deliver additional resources to equip our service members. Last month, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, he advocated for a stable budget process and additional resources for our military:

If we are to sustain our military’s primacy, we need budget predictability. I know many want to avoid additional spending, but Congress must take action now to ensure our military lethality is sufficient to defend our way of life, preserve the prosperity our country enjoys, and pass on the freedoms we enjoy to the next generation.”

Soon Congress will indeed take action. Here’s how this funding bill will directly address our readiness gaps, according to the House Armed Services Committee:

  • Less than half of the Navy's aircraft can fly due to maintenance and spare parts issues. The funding bill delivers $47.4 billion to get our planes and pilots back in the air, including resources to repair or upgrade old aircraft, replace aircraft too old or broken to repair, and recruit and train more airmen and mechanics.
  • Readiness shortfalls have contributed to fatal accidents aboard ships, and some ships and submarines remain unable to sail due to a lack of critical maintenance. The funding bill delivers $37.3 billion to get our ships and sailors back to sea, including resources to repair the ships we have, add new ships to the fleet, and recruit and train our sailors.
  • Over the past eight years, we have reduced the size of the Army, Guard, and Reserve by as much as 120,000 soldiers and eliminated 15 brigade combat teams. The funding bill delivers $22.1 billion to get our troops ready to deploy, including resources to repair Army equipment, recruit additional soldiers, and replace or upgrade current equipment.

All told, the bill provides $144.3 billion to procure, replace, and upgrade critical weapons and equipment, including the resources for 14 Navy ships, more than 230 aircraft, more than 145 fighting vehicles, and more than 130 helicopters. 

And this bill fully funds a 2.4 percent military pay raise, the largest in eight years.

For more, here’s a complete breakdown from the House Appropriations Committee.

Let’s get this funding bill passed for our men and women in uniform. Our national security is at stake.