WASHINGTON-- During his swing through Europe this week, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that the House Armed Services Committee’s FY17 NDAA “proposes to put money behind things that are not our highest priorities and that we didn’t ask for.” Let’s separate the facts from the fiction in the Secretary’s misleading statements about what the NDAA includes.
Which of these congressional actions (which the President did not fund) should not be among our "highest priorities?"
ENOUGH TROOPS: Halts and begins to reverse the drawdown of military end strength.
INCREASED PAY: Fully funds the 2.1% pay raise for troops required in the law.
ADEQUATE FACILITIES: Helps plug the shortfalls the Service Chiefs identified to restore, modernize, and sustain critical facilities -- everything from crumbling barracks and military hospitals to runways and condemned hangars -- nearly a 20% increase over the President's request, but unfortunately still not the full amount the chiefs require.
PREVENTING DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN: Maintains support for 9,800 troops in Afghanistan.
EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS: Makes vital investments in maintenance by including an increase of $597 million for the Navy and Marine Corps, $312 million for the Army, and $430 million more for the Air Force to ensure next-to-deploy units are mission capable.
ENOUGH MUNITIONS TO FIGHT ISIS: Provides $592 million to backfill critical munitions inventories, including those being depleted in Iraq and Syria.
The NDAA does all this, while preserving the next President’s options for national security AND addressing those things Secretary Carter does think are important, such as:
DETERRING RUSSIA: Fully funding the President’s request for more troops and equipment in Europe to deter Russia, as well as additional funds to assist Ukraine.
DEFEATING ISIS: Fully funds the President’s request to train and equip Syrian fighters and assist Iraqis in re-taking Mosul. The NDAA also adds funds to make sure that Kurdish and Sunni allies are able to stay in the fight.