So, what are you doing in 2018? After enacting the most sweeping, pro-growth overhaul of our tax code in a generation, that’s a question we’ve been getting a lot.
We have important work to get done this year on behalf of the American people. But nothing is more important than rebuilding our military so that it can confront the evolving threats we face in the 21st century.
The reality is that our military readiness is in desperate need of repair. In fact, when Defense Secretary James Mattis returned to the Pentagon, he remarked that he was “shocked” by the state of readiness.
Army: Funding for modernizing the Army has been cut in half over the past eight years, leaving it “outranged, outgunned, and outdated,” according to General Daniel Allyn, former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. During this time, the size of the army has been reduced by 90,000 soldiers and 15 brigade combat teams.
Navy: Insufficient training time, lack of resources, and overworked sailors putting in 100-hour work weeks has left the Navy “treading water” to keep up with operational demands, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. These shortfalls have contributed to a number of fatal accidents aboard U.S. vessels, and is one reason why less than half of the Navy’s aircraft are capable of flying.
Marines: Over the past decade, the number of fatal accidents or those resulting in the loss of aircraft for the Marine Corps has more than double, from 2.15 to 4.47 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, as of July 2017. As General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, explains, “The instability of our current fiscal environment, compounded by our current shortfalls in our Operation and Maintenance (O&M) accounts, impact our ability to maintain a ‘ready bench.’” As a result, roughly 80 percent of Marine aviation units lack the minimum number of ready basic aircraft.
Air Force: “We are stretching the force to the limit, and we need to start turning the corner on readiness,” says Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The Air Force today is at its smallest size in history, down from 8,600 aircraft and 134 squadrons in 1991 to just 5,500 aircraft and 55 squadrons today. Only half of Air Force combat forces are sufficiently ready for battle, and the average age of aircraft is now 27 years old. These shortages leave the Air Force with serious readiness challenges as we seek to confront serious threats around the world.
The House, Senate, and White House are unified in our commitment to ensure our troops have the tools they need to protect the homeland. That is why, as we laid out earlier this week, "It is important that we achieve a two-year agreement that funds our troops and provides for our national security." Click here to learn more.