The Second District of South Carolina has a rich military tradition with bases in and around the Midlands and Aiken-Barnwell communities. These include Fort Jackson in Columbia which is directly located inside the District; and Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter and Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA, both of which lie just outside the District with many of its personnel living in the Second District. We are proud of our troops and the support they enjoy within South Carolina, and are eternally thankful for their selfless devotion to protecting the American people.
As the father of four sons currently serving in the military and a 31-year veteran of the South Carolina Army National Guard and Reserves, I have always been an enthusiastic and ardent supporter of our brave men and women in uniform. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work on the national security challenges our nation faces.
After our country was attacked on September 11, 2001, we woke up in a new era of conflict where our service members are now working throughout the world to prevent additional acts of terrorism against the American people and our country's interests. U.S. troops risk their lives daily, in Afghanistan and beyond, as they face terrorists abroad so that we do not have to face them on the streets of America.
Due to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Department of Defense is expected to suffer an automatic across-the-board $500 billion budget cut over 10 years, also known as Sequestration. These cuts will not be used to reduce our growing national deficit, but instead will be shifted from defense to other departments and agencies. Not only will these cuts threaten our national security, military strength, and defense capabilities, it will also destroy approximately one million jobs across our country while sending a message to enemies we lack resolve to resist their attacks.
From day one, I have made my opposition to Sequestration very clear. We MUST replace the impending cuts to our defense by cutting other unnecessary, government over-reaching programs that are not in place to protect our national security. I believe it is Congress' Constitutional responsibility to ensure our troops receive the best resources available to keep them safe at home and abroad. We must ensure that there is no interruption or restriction of funding for American troops in combat zones.
The United States military has successfully remained the most superior power in the world by practicing President Ronald Reagan’s national security approach of providing peace through strength. It is no accident America has not been attacked in more than a decade. No matter the legislation before me, I will always fight to make sure our military has the equipment and funding they need to do the job we have asked of them, which is to keep the American people safe from foreign threats.
More on National Security
Last week, I had the pleasure of hearing General David Petraeus, U.S. Army Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan. Ever the dedicated professional, the General not only outlined the current state of affairs on the war front but also updated Members as to the progressions and potential setbacks currently facing allied forces in Afghanistan.
The Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee today launched the first in a series of hearings to analyze the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 for military health programs with the Department of Defense. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), the chairman of the subcommittee, released the following opening statement for today’s hearing on Defense Health Program cost efficiencies and the Military Health System: