US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Support Our Troops

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateSupport Our Troops
By Senator Mike Rounds

As the United States continues to face grave threats at home and abroad, it is as important as ever to make sure our armed forces have our full support. Between the rise of ISIS and Hezbollah and the alliance between Russia and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the U.S. military must be prepared to address multiple threats throughout the world. I was pleased that the Senate, with strong bipartisan support, recently passed the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, commonly referred to as the NDAA. The NDAA will help our military to adequately address these growing threats.

The NDAA is an important reauthorization measure that contains policies to support our wounded warriors, our troops and their families. It sets priorities for national defense and provides our military with the tools needed to combat our enemies around the globe. Also included in this year’s NDAA are provisions to make certain our military maintains its technological edge. And we achieved all this while trimming the Pentagon’s budget and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy so we can focus defense dollars on our troops.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, providing our military and veterans with the tools they need and services they’ve been promised are top priorities of mine. I am pleased that four provisions I offered to the NDAA were included in the final package. These include amendments to help develop the Air Force’s new long-range strike bomber, improve the Pentagon workforce that develops new weapons and help states and local units of government if they are targets of cyber-attacks. The NDAA also included my provision to streamline Tricare services for members of our armed forces, military retirees and their families.

The defense of our country should not be a partisan issue, but unfortunately President Obama has threatened to veto the NDAA when it arrives on his desk for reasons completely unrelated to national defense. Because the President wants to spend more money on agencies such as the IRS and EPA, agencies known to waste our tax dollars, the NDAA – which has passed annually with strong bipartisan support for more than 50 consecutive years – is in jeopardy.  The brave men and women in uniform put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms and keep us safe deserve better. Their mission shouldn’t be held hostage by political theater.

Throughout all the policy discussions and funding debates on Capitol Hill, we must remember and prioritize the men and women who volunteer to take on the great responsibility of defending our homeland. These service members are our family members, our friends and our neighbors. They bravely sacrifice everything so we can continue to go about our lives safely and freely. Adequate support from the federal government is the least we can do to repay them for their service. The NDAA does just that.