ICYMI: Inhofe Praises Passage of FY’16 NDAA on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wednesday evening spoke on the Senate floor about the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016. 

Senate Floor
Click here to watch the floor speech.

As prepared for delivery:

Our nation is in the midst of over two decades of wars and is being challenged on all fronts - from national states to terrorist organizations and extremists to cyber and lone wolf attacks.

Our military is directly engaged in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the demands this country is placing on them continues to increase.

Today, we voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, for the 54th consecutive year.

I consider the NDAA to be the most important bill Congress considers each year.

It’s Congress’s constitutional duty to provide for the nation’s defense and exercise oversight over the President and his administration. 

The NDAA contains vital provisions that take care of our military men and women and their families – pay and benefits, bonuses, new starts for weapons programs and military construction, acquisition reforms, and additional protections for victims of sexual assault…to name just a few.

We have thousands of men and women serving in harm’s way right now, with families back home, who depend on this bill. 

They should be focusing on accomplishing their missions instead of wondering if this bill that authorizes spending priorities critical to our national security and supports the resource requirements of the Department of Defense.

While this bill does not contain every provision the Senate, House or the President would have liked, the final language is overall good policy for our national defense and provides authorizations in a timely manner.

This vital piece of legislation sets the course for our national security and provides for our nation’s nearly 2.1 million all volunteer force and their families for fiscal year 2016.

This defense funding is needed by our nation’s military to meet readiness needs at a time when the United States faces numerous conventional, cyber, and terror threats both at home and abroad.

At a time that each Service Chief, Secretary and Combatant Commander has testified that no service will be able to meet the wartime requirements under sequestration.

At a time that Secretary Carter says, “readiness remains at troubling levels across the force,” and “that even with the FY16 budget, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps won’t reach their readiness goals until 2020 and the Air Force until 2023.”

At a time that Former Sec. Hagel says, “American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space can no longer be taken for granted.”

At a time when ADM Winnefeld says, “there could be for the first time in my career instances where we may be asked to respond to a crisis and we will have to say that we cannot.”

At a time that GEN Dempsey says we are putting our military on a path where, “the force is so degraded and so unready” that it would be “immoral to use it.”

A time that GEN Dempsey labels “unlike any in his lifetime,”

Passage of this legislation is absolutely necessary.

Vetoing this bill would send a terrible signal to the men and women in uniform that their well-being is no longer a priority and it will show that we are unable to live up to our most fundamental responsibility: ensuring the national defense.

Vetoing this bill also sends a message to the world that the United States is not interested in national defense, maintaining stability, and supporting its security commitments.

In the past six years, roughly $1 trillion in defense cuts have been put into motion under the leadership of President Obama, yet in the past few years our nation has increased its contingency operations around the globe.

This coupled with the need to reset military equipment worn down by over two decades of combat operations, required an increase in OCO funds in order to ensure our men and women in uniform have the training and resources needed to effectively execute current and future operations.

We are already in the next fiscal year and we have a President threatening to veto an authorization bill with 12 appropriations bills passed through their committees and waiting for Senate consideration. 

By signing this bill and funding our national security, the President has an opportunity to signal to our allies and those who would oppose us that the United States is not disengaging from the world and is ready to lead.