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Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Congressman Adrian Smith

Because of social distancing measures we have undertaken, the world may seem like it is at a standstill. However, the forces aligned against America never rest. Thankfully neither does our military. In order to ensure America’s Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force are able to meet their missions, every year, Congress enacts legislation to authorize our military funding and establish priorities for the Department of Defense. This year – pandemic or not – was no different. On July 21, the House of Representatives passed the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395), commonly known as the NDAA, with broad bipartisan support.

I supported this bill because, especially during difficult times, we need our nation’s military to be at its best. We live in a world where many nations and other actors stand against our values of political freedom, economic opportunity, religious freedom, and property rights – an aggressive China, a dangerous Iran, and the ever present face of terrorism are just a few of them. To counter these threats posed by our most dangerous enemies, H.R. 6395 commits the United States to deterrence through nuclear modernization. Since World War II, the cornerstone of our defense policy has been nuclear deterrence. This deterrence is less effective as our nuclear capabilities age. Modernizing our nuclear arsenal is essential to ensuring our military remains the sole superpower, and thus will never have to resort to using these weapons.

In addition to nuclear deterrence, America’s defense relies on recognizing emerging threats. China’s concerning conduct during the pandemic has shown they are not to be trusted. China’s aggressive expansion in the pacific region, along with continued espionage against America’s citizens, industries, and military reveal the depth of the threat. The Chinese government has also been spending massive amounts of money researching artificial intelligence (AI) with the goal of overtaking the United States in that area. For this reason, H.R. 6395 moves to establish the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative to develop key relationships in the region into a united front against this aggression.

While ensuring our troops are adequately provisioned and trained is important, there is much more to ensuring readiness than building airplanes and ships and provisioning supplies. Behind the men and women in our military, are the military families who sacrifice as well. Because we cannot – and must not – forget them, H.R. 6395 includes a significant pay increase for our troops, along with the legislative text of the Military Family Readiness Act. This legislation would confirm our commitment to military families by ensuring needed medical care and child care is available to families at the bases where they are stationed.

The world is a better place with the United States at full strength. It is up to us to maintain this balance. The brave men and women who put on the uniform deserve our full support, and I am glad this NDAA bill will be able to make their lives a little easier. To the service members of the Third District – we support you!