We live in an increasingly dangerous world. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I get daily updates on what I believe is an emerging global security crisis.
We have witnessed the brutal rise of ISIS, which is still taking advantage of power vacuums in the Middle East and North Africa. The threat of a nuclear Iran is further disrupting the region, while the Iranian regime is funding terrorism and the Assad regime in Syria.
Meanwhile, traditional powers are aggressively posturing on two other fronts. China is antagonizing our allies on the Pacific Rim, and Russia is testing the resolve of our NATO alliance.
With multiple threats to global security from adversaries who only respect displays of strength, our country, the leader of the free world, is headed in a direction where we will have the smallest Army since World War II.
Now, President Obama and the Department of Defense have announced plans to cut 40,000 troops. What kind of message does this send to the world?
I have received a lot of calls from Georgians who are baffled and outraged by this news. I share their concerns. We should be strengthening our national security efforts and bolstering our military readiness. Instead, President Obama’s policies are confusing our allies and emboldening our enemies.
The reduction of forces announcement raises another critical issue.
In the past six years, the federal government spent $21.5 trillion, but $8 trillion of that was borrowed. That means roughly 37 cents of every dollar the government spent was borrowed, including what we spent on our military. We cannot continue this irresponsible trend.
Working on the Senate Budget Committee, I am fighting every day to rein in spending, while keeping Americans safe. We are working to set smarter budget priorities and find ways to get rid of waste and inefficiencies before cutting our military back even more.
The convergence of a domestic fiscal crisis and a global security crisis is a sobering reality, and they must be solved simultaneously but not by pitting one against the other. In order to have a strong foreign policy, we need a strong military supported by a strong and vibrant economy.
Having recently visited our troops in the Middle East and in meeting with our military leaders at Fort Stewart a few weeks ago, I can tell you we have the very best of America putting their lives on the line to protect our families and communities from our enemies.
Georgia’s numerous military communities are made up of some of the finest, smartest, and bravest people I have ever met. They are true American heroes committed to defending our freedoms. They deserve our unequivocal support.
One of the primary responsibilities bestowed upon us by the Constitution, is to provide for the defense of our nation. We must maintain a military force so strong that no enemy in its right mind would challenge us, and those who dare, have no hope in defeating us.
As Gen. George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” Indeed, maintaining a strong national defense can deter aggression.
I urge President Obama to reconsider these proposed troop cuts, set responsible budget priorities, and finally put in place a coherent military strategy before putting any more of our men and women in harm’s way.
David Perdue is the junior Senator from Georgia. He is a Republican and was elected to office in 2014.