Representative Joe Wilson

Representing the 2nd District of South Carolina

Wilson Editorial: Securing Our Nation

Feb 3, 2015

As terrorist groups of radical Islam gain influence with increasingly innovative and frequent attacks, it is clear the United States faces a complex and threatening environment at home and abroad. The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, continued rocket attacks from Hamas against Israel, Boko Haram mass murders in central Africa, terrorist attacks in Paris, the destabilization of Libya and Yemen, and North Korea’s cyber attack on Sony all demonstrate the urgent need to effectively combat the threats endangering American citizens.

The volatility in the Middle East and North Africa exemplifies our growing national security challenges, both on the ground and through cyber threats. The defense sequester funding shifts originally proposed by the President are hollowing out our military, while the President’s efforts to remove our military from the region to fit an arbitrary, political deadline severely constrain our military’s ability to degrade terrorist groups. Our enemies that we have faced for decades have not ceased operations. With the President limiting the number of U.S. forces in Iraq to 3,100, we simply do not have a sufficient number of troops in place to counter the widespread effects of the Islamic State, which is gaining power, recruiting followers, and promising mass murder of Americans.

Also, agents reportedly tied to the Islamic State hacked the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the region. Although this cyber attack only targeted CENTCOM’s social media accounts and not the military networks, the incident is alarming because cyber vulnerabilities allowed our terrorist enemies to score a victory in an area our country is becoming more dependent upon every day.

I am actively working to combat these global threats with efforts to strengthen our national defense – a goal that should be a primary focus for this Administration. In serving on the House Armed Services Committee, and now chairing the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I recognize the importance of supporting our military with the resources it needs and deserves, as national defense is the leading function of our government.

My top priorities for the subcommittee include strengthening counter terrorist programs, counter proliferation programs, and partner-nation capacity programs within the U.S. Special Operations Command; bolstering the defense science and technology programs with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; advancing the information technology programs of the Department of Defense; and, improving the tools and capabilities of U.S. Cyber Command to increase our cybersecurity. At a time when dozens of terrorist organizations wish to harm us, we must ensure the military has the tools and training to provide prompt, agile, and flexible response that can be tailored to the situation. We must never forget September 11th and the Global War on Terrorism.

Over this Congress, I will work to move forward bipartisan legislation that will serve to bolster our national security, make us better prepared to respond to global threats, and most importantly, ensure the safety of American families.

Published 1/30/15

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