Get the Facts: Our National Defense

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution lays out the Enumerated Powers of Congress and by extension, most of the federal government.  It begins, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence…”

The Constitution was written in 1787, following the Revolutionary War, when America was burdened with war debt and defending our fledgling nation was top of mind.   It is therefore obvious why they listed raising revenue to pay off the war debt and defend the new nation first – those were the top priorities of the federal government, and they still should be.

In addition to enumerating the “common Defence” in the first sentence, the founders referred to some aspect of national defense an additional seven times in Section 8.

– To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;gg

– To Declare War…

– To raise and support Armies…

– To provide and maintain a Navy;

– To make Rules for the Government and Regulatgion of the land and naval Forces;

– To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of Union, suppress Insurrections and repeal Invasions;

– To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia…

Having taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, I consider national defense THE top priority of the federal government.  Unfortunately, the federal government has expanded way beyond the constraints of the enumerated powers. In doing so, we exploded our national debt and created enormous pressure on defense spending.  Over the last six decades, we have seen a steady decline in how much we spend on defense relative to the size of our economy:

Defense spending as a % of GDP:

1960 – 1969       8.4% of GDP

1970 – 1979       5.7% of GDP

1980 – 1989       5.6% of GDP

1990 – 1999       3.8% of GDP

2000 – 2009       3.7% of GDP

2010 – 2019       3.7% of GDP

           2020       3.5% of GDP

           2021       3.4% of GDP

I distinctly remember my conversation in the White House with President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, where he was showing me and other Republican Senators some alarming military readiness measurements in an attempt to convince us to increase taxes in order to pay for increased spending, including defense spending.  In spite of attempts to improve military readiness during the Trump administration, including maintaining our nuclear deterrent, I fear we are continuing to lose ground.

The embarrassing and dangerous surrender in Afghanistan emboldened our adversaries as they also witnessed how almost every policy of the Biden administration is weakening America – open borders, forty-year high inflation, record gasoline prices, and rising crime.  President Reagan believed a nation achieves peace through strength.  Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and increasing threats from China, Iran, and North Korea, confirms that Ronald Reagan was correct. 

In addition, a shifting focus on the part of the Biden administration and its top military appointees away from readiness and toward leftist ideas of equity and “wokeness” weakens our defense.  Enforcement of vaccine mandates in the armed forces – pointless because the vaccines do not prevent infection and spread – will also take a destructive toll.  

We must reverse America’s decline.  You cannot have a strong national defense with a divided nation and a weak economy, yet that is exactly the result of Biden administration policies and Democrat governance.  We need to reduce deficit spending and get inflation under control.  That will require prioritizing spending and reducing the size of the federal government and its negative influence over our economy and lives. 

That is not the direction or path that Democrats have put us on, which is why they need to be swept from power in November.  Helping me win re-election in November is crucial to holding Democrats accountable.  To date, Democrats and their allies have spent over $70 million on false attack ads to defeat me.  I will need significant help to effectively counter their lies and distortions.  Any financial support you are willing to offer will be greatly appreciated.