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Roger Williams: Our nation's military needs a defense bill

Dec 4, 2019

Rep. Roger Williams
Fort Hood Herald 
Opinion: Our nation's military needs a defense bill

As we gather together with family and friends during the holiday season, I hope we will all take pause and think of our military servicemembers who will spend their Thanksgiving and Christmas deployed in our nation’s defense.

America’s warriors spend these cherished moments far from home, sacrificing time spent with loved-ones to guarantee the safety of every American family celebrating at home.

Whether they are conducting combat operations or peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world, our nation’s warriors are ever vigilant and ready. They are a global force for good, and we must always remember the cost of their commitment.

Texas’ 25th District is home to Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world and the headquarters for the III Armored Corps.

Since 2003, the installation has deployed hundreds of thousands of troops for combat and humanitarian missions across the globe.

Our “Phantom Warriors,” as they are so heroically known, have participated in every major combat operation since 9/11. And while our warriors across the military commit themselves to our security, the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. has failed to respond in kind.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes the annual budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense.

For nearly six decades, Congress has passed the NDAA in a bipartisan fashion, a representation that despite all of the disagreement on Capitol Hill, lawmakers can and will work together to provide for our military.

Sadly, this year’s partisan House NDAA threatens an annual display of bipartisanship honoring our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

In Washington, we must acknowledge that policy disagreements are a healthy exercise of our democratic process.

Accepting a stalemate and placing unnecessary barriers to a solution are unproductive and should never be an option.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution instructs the Legislative Branch to “provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” which is the number one responsibility of the federal government. That is a charge that we must be willing to keep.

I would like to acknowledge a recent event that serves as a stark reminder to us all of the dangers our servicemembers face every day.

This November, the Fort Hood community lost two outstanding Army Aviators in Afghanistan; Chief Warrant Officers 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr. and David C. Knadle.

These men are valiant representatives of putting service above self. In their honor, we must provide the resources and funding necessary for their comrades to continue their storied legacy.

Let us properly fund our military, provide our warfighters with the resources they need to fight and win, and ensure that the Department of Defense is the most modern, ready and lethal organization that the world has ever seen.

It is our responsibility to deliver results for those who defend our freedom and liberty each and every day.

I stand ready to get to work and I call on my colleagues to cut the politics and do the same.

Congressman Roger Williams, a Republican from Austin, represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas, which includes Fort Hood and is home to the III Armored Corps.

Click here to view the op-ed online.