Sep 26, 2018
Opening Statement

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, regarding the hearing titled: "The Impact of National Defense on the Economy, Diplomacy, and International Order." For testimony and to watch the hearing click here. 

"Throughout the year, this Committee has examined a number of aspects of American national defense. Today, we step back and consider part of the “why.” Why should the U.S. insist on having the strongest military in the world? What is the connection between a strong military and other instruments of national power and influence? How does a strong military benefit the daily life of the average American?

As we rightfully work through the details of military threats and capabilities, those are the kinds of questions we do not often ask, much less answer. Posing such questions does not diminish the central purpose of the military to protect the physical safety of Americans and defend our freedom against those who would threaten it. But there are other benefits that flow from military strength to the American people and the quality of their lives.

Today on the Floor, we have the opportunity to do something that we have not done in nearly a decade, which is to adequately fund our military on time. But one year’s budget does not repair the readiness problems that developed over years, and it does not adequately respond to adversaries threatening our superiority in several areas. We need a sustained policy, one we stick with even as political currents wax and wane. Such a policy requires looking at these deeper questions of why military strength is important.

For more than 70 years, the dominant view in both political parties has supported American military superiority. Many of the underlying reasons, which were learned at a high cost, have come to be taken for granted and are even being challenged at both ends of the political spectrum. Perhaps we need to be reminded of what is at stake.

I welcome our distinguished witnesses, both of whom can provide valuable perspectives on these issues. I also want to thank Chairman Goodlatte and the Judiciary Committee for loaning us the use of this room while ours is having some work done to it, but the loan expires at noon. We will get to as many Members as possible in the meantime."

115th Congress