Maintaining a good military force is basic to any nation’s security. That means the people of that force need adequate funding for necessities like training and readiness. It’s ironic that a Republican Congress, who promote themselves as pro-military, has cut defense funding over the last several years for things like “just keeping the lights on”. Furthermore, our defense department is hindered by the inability of Congress to pass a real budget. These continuing resolutions cast doubt over any kind of funding and inhibit the long-term planning of our defense staff who are trying to adapt and plan for 21st century challenges. Stable funding is critical for planning and preparedness. It’s no different than any other department in the government. Congressman John Carter’s partners in Congress have sidelined their constitutional responsibilities on this issue. That has made us less safe and less secure.
Less than 30% of our navy's required maintenance is being funded. Our Air Force faces staffing shortages just to provide basic day-to-day maintenance on existing aircraft. The average age of our combat aircraft is almost 30 years old. A full 80% of the Marine Air Corp lack funding for basic training and operational needs. Less than a third of brigades have enough soldiers and functional equipment ready for deployment. For the Army, training has almost come to a screeching halt.
Basic maintenance on equipment, buildings, ships, planes, and many other military hardware continues to lag. These are just the very basic needs for our military forces. The lack of proficiency and safety training has led to more needless accidents. Like many of you, I’ve had firsthand accounts on this issue from my children, family members, and friends who serve. It doesn’t take another 1000 page, 6-month report to know what’s going on.
While Carter focuses on photo opportunities at Fort Hood, these training and maintenance delays make us less prepared for 21st century threats. Future Congressman Clark will not play politics or turn his back on our soldiers and their families at Fort Hood and abroad. That’s a solid commitment you can count on from your next representative from District 31.