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GOP: Modern Warfare Is Changing

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding defense spending.

McConnell was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

“Last week, the Armed Services Committee voted to recommend a $25 billion-dollar increase to topline defense spending.

In overwhelming, bipartisan fashion, our colleagues rejected a fourth straight budget request from the Biden Administration that failed to keep pace with its inflation, much less with the threat of China.

If this major investment is actually appropriated, it will be an overdue step toward equipping America’s armed forces to meet an increasingly dangerous world.

But shortly after the Committee’s action, senior Senate Democrats shattered any expectation that they were ready to start taking the requirements of the national defense seriously.

They began with myths about the past.

The Democratic Leader suggested in a statement that, ‘Democrats have led the way in ensuring our military is the best trained and best equipped fighting force in the world.’

Really? Guess again. Every year, Republicans have led efforts to secure defense spending beyond President Biden’s meager requests.

When the Administration initially wanted the Pentagon to pay for increasing operational costs in Europe out of hide, without backfill, it took Republicans demanding additional appropriations to buy new weapons to replace the older ones we were providing to Ukraine.

For his part, our colleague from New York blocked an amendment to the infrastructure bill in 2021 that would have made an historic investment in the defense industrial base and this was actually before Russia’s escalation.

And then Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to block a similar one during budget reconciliation.

All around the world, America’s adversaries are offering clear and alarming reminders of how rapidly modern warfare is changing.

The battlefields of Ukraine have become a laboratory for fast-evolving concepts like unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare, and air defenses.

Iran’s war on Israel, America, and international shipping highlights the growing importance of long-range weapons and air and missile defense.

And China’s military modernization, from its strategic rocket force to its navy, underscores the stakes of neglecting our own defense in bold, red ink.

These threats offer us essential lessons about the deficiencies of our own capabilities. That is, if we choose to act on them.

America is literally years behind in building the sort of production capacity we need to sustain effective deterrence or win decisively if war comes.

The Administration deserves credit for taking production of 155mm artillery shells seriously. But they haven’t directed the same urgency to critical air and missile defense interceptors or long-range weapons.

Republicans fought to include hundreds of millions of dollars for these priorities in the supplemental. But it’s long past time to put critical requirements like these in our base budget.

If the Administration doesn’t prioritize this procurement in its budgeting and contracting, we shouldn’t be surprised when producers hesitate to invest in new production lines or new workers.

We have to take the requirements of our national defense more seriously. What on earth should the rest of the world conclude if we don’t?

Next month, dozens of America’s allies will arrive here in Washington for a summit of the most successful military alliance in history. In the face of growing threats, they’ll have much to celebrate:

The addition of two new allies in Finland and Sweden. Greater coordination with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, several of whom will be in attendance. And the more than 20 NATO member states who now meet or exceed the alliance’s 2% spending target.

It’s encouraging that so many of America’s friends have taken long overdue steps toward stronger defense in response to Russian aggression. But America cannot afford to be reactive.

The threats to our interests are too great to wait for our adversaries to strike.

What example will we set?

I know the one I’d like to set. I know the message Ranking Member Wicker and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee would like to send to the world.

But it’ll take a great deal more seriousness from leading Senate Democrats for the promise of American strength and leadership to carry any weight. And they could start by bringing the NDAA to the floor without delay.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.