One of our top priorities in 2018 is to rebuild our military so that it can confront the threats we face in the 21st century. And we cannot rebuild our military without closing the readiness gap, which is leaving our troops underequipped and underprepared on the battlefield.
When talking about Pentagon funding, it’s often easy to lose sight of the human toll our readiness crisis is taking. But just look at what happened this past summer:
On June 17, 2017, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Filipino container ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors and injuring seven more.
The following month, July 10, 2017, a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 broke up in midair, killing all 16 people on board.
And the month after that, August 21, 2017, the USS John McCain collided with a Liberian oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, killing ten sailors and injuring five more.
Our readiness shortfalls were factors in all of these accidents, which means they may have been preventable. As House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) explained in a recent Washington Post op-ed, "This summer, the nation mourned the 42 service members who died in accidents related to readiness challenges across our military. The deaths of 17 sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald, along with separate accidents claiming the lives of 19 Marines and six soldiers, grabbed the nation’s attention. But words of sorrow do not sufficiently honor their deaths, let alone prevent further incidents. It is essential to reverse the consequences of Washington’s funding paralysis and do what is right by those who raise their hands to serve."
He's right. This, quite frankly, is shameful. We need to do better for our brave men and women in uniform, which is why we are working to ensure our troops have the training and tools necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively.
To learn more, read this piece about why we need to rebuild our military, and tune into Speaker Ryan’s remarks on military readiness at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) next Thursday