During a hearing today on the Department of Defense fiscal year 2020 budget request, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said that Congress must carefully consider national defense investments and priorities within the context of America’s fiscal challenges.
“There is no greater duty than defending our nation from the threats it faces around the world,” Enzi said. “However, we must also acknowledge that one of the gravest threats to our country is the growing fiscal imbalance. If left unaddressed, it could have long-term implications on our ability to provide adequately for our national defense. Getting a handle on our fiscal situation means that all aspects of the federal budget must be carefully scrutinized, including defense spending.”
Enzi noted the Senate Budget Committee recently reported out its fiscal year 2020 budget resolution, which would reduce deficits by more than half a trillion dollars over five years and adhere to the Budget Control Act spending caps for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. He said the resolution includes provisions to accommodate a fiscally responsible cap agreement and additional defense resources up to the $750 billion spending total requested by the president. Enzi also commented on the need for a clean financial audit from the Pentagon, which would help improve business operations and financial management.
“Congress has a duty to our brave service men and women, as well as hardworking taxpayers, to ensure that the hundreds of billions of dollars appropriated annually to provide for our nation’s defense is well spent,” Enzi said.
During the hearing, Enzi asked David Norquist, Under Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense, about the importance of modernizing America’s nuclear triad and especially the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that are housed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.
“It is absolutely essential,” Norquist said. “The fact that we have three different ways of delivering nuclear weapons greatly complicates an adversary’s planning. The ICBMs are the most responsive and have the most robust capabilities. We’re replacing the aging Minuteman III ICBMs that were fielded in the 1970s. To rely on a deterrent, you can’t allow it to age to the point where they are questionable. You need to replace it and we have a program to do that.”