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  • Guest Blogger: Defending America Means Preparing for Current and Future Threats

    Rep. Buck McKeon

    During his successful presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan introduced the American electorate and the broader international community to a new doctrine that would contribute greatly to defeating the Soviet Union.  His idea of achieving “peace through strength” still resonates in today’s world and President Obama should welcome it as cornerstone of his Administration’s strategy to protect America.

    Recent decisions by the President and several high-ranking officials within his Administration suggest the Commander-in-Chief is intent on following a different approach.  As Congress crafts the defense authorization bill in the coming weeks, Republicans on the Armed Services Committee will look to alter the Administration’s path and put forth a set of priorities to defend America.

    First, Republicans are committed to providing our troops the time and resources they need to win in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We supported the President’s decision to increase our troop commitment in Afghanistan.  However, many of us questioned whether the increase of 30,000 warfighters was actually a cap, which could squeeze out key enablers.  Our members will seek to make certain that any real or perceived troop cap does not mean key life-saving assets, such as medical evacuation, force protection, and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) capabilities, are withheld from our brave troops.

    Military families are under enormous stress.  We will continue to ensure our troops and their families continue to receive the support they have earned.  Additionally, Armed Services Committee Republicans will ensure military families continue to have access to high quality health care at an affordable price.

    While winning the current conflicts must remain our top priority, we feel that winning those should not preclude us from posturing our military appropriately so America can effectively deter future adversaries.  Decisions made by the Administration in near- and long-term investments could jeopardize our ability to deter future aggressors.

    Armed Services Committee Republicans will work to reshape the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which was designed to forecast future threats and shape the Pentagon’s investment decisions to meet those challenges.  This year’s QDR provided the force structure of 2009 instead of a force structure for 2029, as required by the statute.

    Additionally, we will look to press the Administration to design plans to deal with Iran’s nuclear and military ambitions.  In an effort to appease some in the international community, the President scrapped plans for a robust missile defense system in Europe that would have protected the United States homeland and our European allies from an Iranian missile threat.  Republicans will hold the Administration accountable for designing and deploying its own missile defense plan for Europe, as well as continue developing long-range interceptors as a hedge against overly optimistic threat assessments and design schedules.

    Finally, Republicans will make it clear that we do not support importing terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay into the United States—neither for confinement nor trial.  Too many former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield and are actively trying to harm Americans.  We will hold President Obama accountable and demand he finally develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures for the detention and prosecution of terrorists captured in the ongoing war on terror.

    By embracing President Reagan’s “peace through strength” mantle, Armed Services Committee Republicans will offer stronger alternatives to defend America against current and future threats.  The price to our collective security could be too high if we wait to act.

    This blog is part of Heritage’s Protect America Month, a series of products and events showcasing why we must commit to protecting America in an increasingly dangerous world.

    U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) serves as the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.  McKeon represents California’s Twenty-Fifth Congressional District, which includes Fort Irwin, Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, and the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Guest Blogger: Defending America Means Preparing for Current and Future Threats

    1. Dan Clamage, Pittsbu says:

      More accurately, "Peace Through Superior Firepower."

      The best way to thwart Iran's military aims is to make them all-too painfully aware that there are literally thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at their country. So long as they are passive, we will remain passive.

      We must however address Iran's proxy system. Back when we fought proxy wars with the USSR and China, we could not ultimately defeat them because while we and their proxies bled, the masters remained unscathed. We could not engage the masters directly because of MADD.

      But this situation doesn't exist with Iran. They are not an equivalent threat. Therefore, whenever their proxies engage us, we must promptly engage the masters, not just the proxies. This represents a new policy and approach to dealing with Iran. The sooner Iran feels the pain brought about by their use of proxies, the sooner they will stand down.

      Limited economic sanctions have had no serious impact on Iran's policies. It's time to ratchet up the sort of real pain we can inflict on them.

    2. J.P., Virginia says:

      "In an effort to appease some in the international community, the President scrapped plans for a robust missile defense system in Europe that would have protected the United States homeland and our European allies from an Iranian missile threat."

      Late last month, Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski stated "If the mullahs have a target list we believe we are quite low on it … We were willing to give the U.S. a chunk of our territory for this [BMD] facility, but we weren't particularly looking forward to paying the price with worse relations with Russia." http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/2

      Bear in mind I am quoting a staunch Atlanticist, a doyen of the Polish right and a former fellow at AEI. Sikorski is hardly an "appeaser." Thankfully, he grasps a sense of reality that the military hawks in Washington seem often to lack.

    3. Deanie and Francis D says:

      President Reagan was right when he said the way to preserve peace and freedom was "peace through strength" and "trust but verify." Instead we have an administration who goes around the world apologizing for his country. He even let the Mexican president express his disapproval of the AZ law! He should have defended the right of the people in AZ to live free of fear and threats from murderous thugs who come across the border illegally. Consequently, we, as Americans, must stand against the policies of this administration. It's a regime that seems to care more about the rights of criminals and terrorists, than those of it's own citizens!

      Furthermore, this administration continues to strip away our freedoms by taking over banks, car companies, etc, We must unite against their socialist policies, for the sake of the country we love.

    4. Dan, Colorado says:

      If you want peace prepare for war.

      I do not know of another way to be victorious, if one is not prepared and ready to defend itself.

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