Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces spoke today on the House floor in favor of the conference report on the defense spending bill for fiscal year 2018. Chairman Turner, one of the conferees, delivered the following remarks:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018.
I strongly support this Bill and I want to personally thank our Chairman Mac Thornberry’s for his work in trying to get a higher top line for defense.
This bill comes in higher than the President’s budget request, but it is in line with the both the appropriations and budget document that came out of the House.
This bill authorizes $634.2 billion in the base budget, a much needed increase over the original budget request, and fully supports many of the unfunded requirements identified by the Department that totaled more than $30 billion dollars. The $634.2 billion authorization is essential. Anything less dramatically handicaps our ability to restore military readiness over nearly a decade of neglect.
This increased base budget funding for Fiscal Year 2018 begins the long process to rebuild our military’s full-spectrum of readiness from years of deferred modernization brought on by the failed assumptions from the previous Administration’s Budget Control Act and sequestration.
Within the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, this bill authorizes over $12 billion in additional funds to address unfunded modernization requirements and critical capability gaps.
If we do not begin with this budget to set favorable conditions to start to reverse the high-risk defense posture we currently have, we will significantly jeopardize our military’s advantage that we’ve taken for granted in past conflicts and steady-state operations.
As such, the bill recognizes the importance of land forces in current and future operations, and authorizes over $2 billion to accelerate armored brigade combat team modernization, to include additional Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
The bill authorizes strike-fighter capability and capacity shortfalls, and authorizes over $3 billion in additional funding to procure new 5th generation aircraft and modernize our 4th generation fleet. These projects address unfunded requirements for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
The bill also continues to address the needs of the National Guard and Reserve components by authorizing an additional $250 million for their equipment modernization.
This bill prevents the Air Force from reducing critical I-S-R capabilities.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”