Newspaper article Roll Call

The New Security Matrix -- Military Readiness Must Be Key Congressional Priority

Newspaper article Roll Call

The New Security Matrix -- Military Readiness Must Be Key Congressional Priority

Article excerpt

As we mourn with those in France who died at the hands of murderous Islamic extremists, as we remember that such brutal terrorism is rampant all over the globe, we are mindful that here at home responsible military readiness is one of the best vanguards for our collective national security.

As we look to the new Congress, great challenges will demand inspired leadership. Past rancor over the sequester, conflicting agendas and partisan gridlock have shaken confidence in our political institutions. Most Americans, particularly the men and women serving in our armed forces, want lawmakers to work together and seek solutions to support America's interests, not partisan interests. They understand the trajectory of recent defense policy debate and across-the-board cuts to defense spending risks a dangerous path.

But such challenges present opportunity. Next week, the president will offer his State of the Union message, and no doubt he will push for quick action on his pick to become the nation's next defense secretary, Ashton Carter.

As former deputy defense secretary, Carter has made clear his disdain for sequestration and the absurd challenges it creates for managing defense priorities. In another previous post, as the nation's top weapons buyer, Carter knows it's important to invest wisely on defense systems and to streamline the acquisition processes, which have become so cumbersome that it takes far too long to deliver new technology in this dynamic age. But better acquisition governance won't be enough.

In a recent paper titled ,"Military Readiness in the Age of Complexity and Uncertainty," retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George Flynn noted, "We must constantly remind decision makers that it is the training of our force, people and units - and not superior equipment - that has allowed us to deal with unexpected security challenges."

Flynn should know. In his last job in uniform, he headed the joint staff directorate that is responsible for readiness throughout the defense department. …

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