There’s bad news and there’s good news. The bad news is that right now, the United States military—which has been the dominant force in the world for centuries—faces a serious readiness crisis. Almost a decade under the Obama administration, during which the military was simply not a top priority, left major gaps in the readiness of our Armed Forces.
The nation’s military must be unrivaled in the 21st century. There are examples of this necessity in all of the branches, from the Army to the Navy, and the Air Force to the Marine Corps—something Speaker Ryan outlined in his January speech at the Center for International and Strategic Studies. Funding for modernizing the Army was cut in half during the Obama years. Navy sailors are overworked, putting in 100-hour work weeks. Less than half of their aircraft are ready to fly. Roughly 80 percent of Marine Corps aviation units lack the minimum number of ready basic aircraft, and the Air Force is now at its smallest size in our nation’s history.
These readiness gaps are dangerous for our service members. In 2017, we lost 80 lives due to training accidents. That’s nearly four times as many killed in combat. This is unacceptable.
It’s not as if the threats to the United States and our allies have diminished. The sophistication, complexity, and intensity of the threats we face have only increased. From rogue states like North Korea and Iran, to terrorists in the Middle East and in Europe, the world is more dangerous than ever. We need a stronger military that is capable of stopping our enemies in a 21st century world.
The good news is that we have the chance to do that with forthcoming appropriations legislation for FY2018. This is critical legislation that will finally rebuild the military, give our men and women in uniform the resources they need, and set the United States on a path toward a safer, stronger America. Stay tuned.