Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) joined this morning’s House Republican Leadership press conference to discuss House Republicans’ continued work rebuilding our military and restoring our readiness as we tackle 21st Century challenges. After serving seven years in the United States Marine Corps, Rep. Gallagher now sits on the House Armed Services Committee and shared his perspective on the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
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“First, I would like to express my agreement with what the Conference Chair just said. In the 21st Century, in order to protect America, we cannot separate our military power from our economic power. They are inextricably linked, and that’s why I’m so proud of this product.
“Not only does [the NDAA] represent an increase for more ships; for training and recruiting for sailors, soldiers, airmen, and Marines; for addressing our readiness crisis, which has claimed more of our men and women in peacetime accidents than in wartime; but it also represents a more comprehensive approach that is geared towards winning that long-term great power competition with China and Russia that both the national security strategy and the national defense strategy make clear will define the 21st Century.
“So, whether it’s increasing maritime cooperation with the Indo-Pacific, whether it’s prohibiting the U.S. government from using risky technologies…or ensuring that [Department of Defense] research dollars don’t go to universities and teams that have been compromised by foreign talent recruitment programs, or taking a look at comprehensive Chinese development efforts like their belt and road initiative, or our shortfalls — critical languages, like Mandarin, like Korean, like Russian.
“This bill is a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach because the military can’t do it on its own. No single branch of government, no single agency, can do it on its own. I encourage my colleagues to pass it.
“In order for our diplomacy to succeed, it needs to be backed by the credible threat of military force. There was a great Wisconsite, George Kennan, who said ‘You have no idea how much it contributes to the general politeness and pleasantness of diplomacy when you have a little quiet armed force in the background’. In order to have that quiet and strong armed force, we need a strong economy, and this bill is a significant improvement and a huge step towards turning around the cuts to our defense that we’ve seen in the last seven years in particular.”