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McKeon Editorial: Plan To Defend America

By Buck McKeon, Member of Congress

Next week, the House Armed Services Committee will meet to mark up the defense authorization bill.  Republicans on the committee will use this as an opportunity to introduce our plan to defend America.

Our plan is built on the foundation of a few simple truths which have spanned the time of our great nation’s history—from the rolling hillsides of Valley Forge to the beaches of Normandy and the sands of Iraq.

These truths were woven into our national psyche by Marines storming Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima and airmen airlifting humanitarian aid to any number of countries hit by tragedy around the globe—and remain close to the beating hearts of our countrymen currently fighting in Afghanistan.

Today, by reaffirming these simple truths—we are upholding the power of American values and the sense that our country is different.

First, we will stop apologizing for America and our success.  Our military has been, is, and will continue to be a force for good in the world.  We will support our allies and hold our adversaries accountable for their actions.

Second, we will keep terrorists off our soil.  Republicans will not import terrorists into the United States, will not send Guantanamo detainees to countries where they can easily rejoin the fight against our troops, will not read terrorists their Miranda rights, and we will not allow the ACLU and liberal interest groups to identify terrorists as foreign soldiers with equal rights to American troops.

Third, we won’t disarm America.  We will defend America from a position of strength—not weakness.  Republicans believe America must keep all options on the table to protect our homeland from attack.  Not only do we have to hedge against countries with significant military resources, such as Russia and China—but we also have to defend against rogue states with nuclear ambitions, such as Iran and North Korea.

Fourth, we will work to create and maintain the best-trained, best-equipped Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps in the world.  Republicans firmly believe that our military commanders and troops will prevail in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, it’s our responsibility to ensure their risks are minimized and that they have the tools and time they need to succeed in their missions.

Fifth, we will support our military personnel and their families.  Republicans are committed to providing our brave military personnel the support they have earned and deserve.

Finally, we will invest in tomorrow’s national security.  America's ability to keep the peace today is closely linked to our ability to keep pace with tomorrow.  Our competitors are outpacing us in key defense areas.  China's trajectories for surface combatants, submarines, and fighter airplanes are all up.  Ours are trending down over the long term.  For the first time in our nation's history, the budget is driving our defense strategy—as opposed to our defense needs driving our defense strategy.  Republicans will stop runaway domestic spending so America has the resources it needs to invest in our nation's defense—so we can win the wars of today and properly plan for the conflicts of tomorrow.

In closing, I want you to try to imagine a world without a strong America or a strong American military.  Who would fill that void?  China?  Russia?  Iran? Venezuela?  Our plan to defend America doesn’t comprehend such a scenario.  It only envisions a sturdy America that continues to be a ‘shining city on a hill’ for our citizens and the world community.

Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, a Republican, represents the 25th District of California in the U.S. Congress. He is the leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, a senior Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, and a member of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group