The GOP on defense

By John Liang / July 18, 2016 at 7:07 PM

The Republican Party kicked off its presidential convention on Monday, releasing its political platform in the process. Here's an excerpt from the defense-related portion:

No major part of the Department of Defense has ever passed an audit. Republican leaders in Congress have called for a full financial audit of the Pentagon to ensure that every dollar spent is truly benefitting our national security. Every taxpayer must be prepared to pass an audit, and we urge Congress to demand the same level of accountability from the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. . . .

Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world. We face a dangerous world, and we believe in a resurgent America.

In all of our country's history, there is no parallel to what President Obama and his former Secretary of State have done to weaken our nation. Our aging naval capabilities  are inadequate for their job. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines have only two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day to day operational demands. The Army is at its lowest troop levels since before World War II. Our U.S. Ambassador and American personnel were left without adequate security or backup halfway across the world in Benghazi. In summary, we have returned to the hollow force days of Jimmy Carter. . . .

In the face of these threats, the first order of business for a Republican president and Congress will be to restore our nation's military might. Republicans continue to support American military superiority which has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our vital national security interests. We must rebuild troop numbers and readiness and confirm their mission: Protecting the nation, not nation building. The United States should meet the Reagan model of "peace through strength" by a force that is capable of meeting any and all threats to our vital national security. We will no longer tolerate a President whose rules of engagement put our own troops in harm's way or commanders who tell their soldiers that their first duty is to fight climate change.

A Republican administration will begin at once to undo the damage of the last eight years. We must move from a budget-based strategy to one that puts the security of our nation first. This means that our Republican  president's strategic vision will include the development of a balanced force to meet the diverse threats facing our nation. Special Operations Forces are simply not intended to deal with the full spectrum of threats. We need a Reagan-era force that can fight and win two-and-one-half wars ranging  from counterterrorism to deterring major power aggressors. We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security. We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms, end the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, and rebuild relationships with our allies, who understand that as long as the U.S. nuclear arsenal is their shield, they do not need to engage in nuclear proliferation. . . .

We owe it to the American people and to those who fight our wars that we remain the strongest military on earth and be prepared to defeat any adversary under any circumstances on any  battlefield, including land, air, sea, or cyber. Successive years of cuts to our defense budget have put an undue strain on our men and women in uniform. This is especially harmful at a time when we are asking our military to do more in an increasingly dangerous world. The U.S. defense budget has suffered a 25 percent cut in real dollars in the five years since sequestration. We support lifting the budget cap for defense and reject the efforts of Democrats to hold the military's budget hostage for their domestic agenda. Congress and the Administration should work together to approve military spending at the level necessary to defend our country. We must not be encumbered by decades-old, legacy procurement processes. America's incredible talent and ingenuity must be unleashed by modernizing the military procurement  system and embracing competition among traditional and non-traditional suppliers. Competitive acquisition and maintenance of weapon systems, including the sustainment and support of such systems, will benefit the U.S. economy, U.S. taxpayers, and most important, the American warfighter. Increased competition will enable new Department of Defense suppliers, particularly small businesses, to participate in the defense sector. That will promote new demand for skilled-labor jobs, while making the Department's procurement more cost-efficient. The increased agility and effectiveness will ensure that our troops are equipped with the right resources more quickly than our current procurement systems allow.

Read the full document.