AIA Urges Congress to Rebuild Military Readiness

Last night’s congressional testimony from Secretary of Defense Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford lays out a clear requirement for higher defense spending.

Arlington, Va. — Last night in a rare evening hearing, House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) provided America’s two senior national security leaders with a prime-time platform from which to convey their deep concerns about the readiness and capability of the forces they lead. They ably defended the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) defense budget request of $603 billion as the start of a period of sustained, robust spending. However, AIA believes that the readiness challenges and threat environment Secretary Mattis and General Dunford described clearly demonstrate that DOD requires greater funding in FY18.

“Our troops must have robust, balanced and stable defense spending: robust enough to fund our strategic requirements, balanced between current operations and future modernization, and stable across multi-year appropriations,” said AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher. “The Budget Control Act has not made a dent in America’s deficit, but it has inflicted harm to our armed forces. It is imperative that we give our troops modern equipment and training readiness before they go in harm’s way.”

After hearing from senior military officers about under-strength squadrons, over-deployed ships, and extended combat rotations for troops, both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees have carefully analyzed our nation’s immediate defense needs and determined $640 billion is required in FY18. AIA supports this higher number – as do the military services, who last week provided ‘unfunded requirements’ for FY18 amounting to an additional $33 billion.

“The FY18 defense budget sets the stage for the rest of President Trump’s term in office,” Melcher said. “If we are to begin to address the impacts of years of neglect to our military readiness, $640 billion for defense in FY18 is the place to start.”