It is my belief that the current administration has needlessly and dangerously cut the defense budget well below an acceptable level. After more than a decade of decline in defense spending by the Pentagon, including the smallest percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) since prior to World War II, I believe it is time to reverse this dangerous trend. If we do not invest adequate funding now in order to maintain our national security, we may pay dearly in the future both in terms of dollars and lives.
Meanwhile, overseas commitments of our military forces have continued to increase including deployments to Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. Many of these forces lack adequate pay, proper training, and the modern equipment necessary to perform these increasingly dangerous and complicated overseas missions. We must adequately fund the Department of Defense if we are going to ask our young men and women in uniform to risk their lives on our behalf.
While I strongly support adequate funding for the Department of Defense, I also remain committed to a balanced budget and providing the American taxpayer with the most cost effective national security possible. This is why I have been a leading member of various groups looking to cut waste, fraud, and abuse within the federal government, including the Department of Defense. As a member of the "Porkbusters" task force, I helped identify over half a billion dollars in wasteful spending in the defense budget.
As a past member of the Balanced Budget Task Force, I identified numerous, non-defense programs within the defense budget that could be terminated or reduced, including environmental programs and aid to the former Soviet Union. The House National Security Committee last year recently accepted many of my recommendations and cut over $2 billion in non-defense spending in the FY 1996 Defense Authorization Bill. With or without additional funds for the Pentagon budget, we must ensure that precious defense dollars go to combat-related defense programs.
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