John Cornyn: Military ‘Not Ready’ to Combat Threats

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 28: Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate voted to override President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), September 28, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C. — The United States military “is not ready” to combat the “diverse threats” of today and the future, including those posed by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL); state sponsor of terrorism Iran; and the Tehran and the Moscow-backed Syrian regime, declared the Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.

“In many ways, I do believe the United States is at a crossroads when it comes to meeting the diverse threats that we face today while simultaneously preparing for the ever-evolving future threats headed our way tomorrow,” proclaimed Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), while speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

“To address these threats, to maintain the peace and fight if we must, we have to maintain a capable, ready, and modern military. And the truth is we are not ready,” he later added.

During a discussion titled, “Ready or Not: A Strategy for an Effective Military,” Cornyn implored the U.S. Congress to start funding military modernization efforts and do away with sequestration, a provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that imposes automatic cuts to defense spending of $500 billion over a 10-year period starting in March 2013.

“U.S. military readiness and modernization, already under great stress and stretched thin around the world, has suffered under 15 years of continued operations, budgetary restrictions, and deferred investment,” said Cornyn.

“If we want to return to a strong American military after years of stress and inadequate funding, we need to start with an end to Department of Defense sequestration,” he continued.

While campaigning, President Donald Trump called for eliminating sequestration.

Nevertheless, the mandated cuts to military spending are still tormenting lawmakers and military leaders, recently prompting some of them to sound the alarm on the adverse effects the budget reductions are having on military readiness.

“A bipartisan Congress and the Trump Administration must address our budget priorities by looking at and addressing all federal spending, not just the 30 percent or so represented by discretionary spending,” noted Sen. Cornyn.

“The only way we can rein in spending, get a handle on our debt, and ensure our military stays ready for the threats facing it every day is to clearly articulate our country’s needs and how we meet them,” he added.

Cornyn’s comments echoed recent warnings from high-ranking military officials who say current funding levels have placed the readiness required by the Marines, Navy, Army, and Air Force to deter aggression and fight battles at risk.

Top military officials have also warned that the U.S. military can no longer afford to wait to modernize and recapitalizing America’s nuclear capabilities, noting that nearly all components of the United States nuclear triad — submarines, ground-based systems, and bombers — are outdated.

“In the Middle East, even as ISIS forces are pushed back in Iraq, the ideology spreads like a contagion through their so-called cyber-caliphate. Iran, under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is a break-out nuclear threat, and remains the No. 1 state sponsor of international terrorism in the world,” noted the Senate majority whip in highlighting the threats currently facing the United States.

“And in Syria, 400,000 Syrians have died in a bloody civil war, while Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator known to repeatedly use chemical weapons against his own people despite red lines drawn, enjoys Russian and Iranian protection,” he added.