U.S. Must Learn From Ukraine Crisis and Invest in Real, Robust Defense Growth

‘The Biden Administration’s defense budget request was woefully insufficient… Our colleagues on the Committee must help Congress deliver an NDAA that provides for real, robust growth above inflation so that we can modernize our forces, ensure adequate inventories of critical weapons and munitions, and keep America safe.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine and National Defense:

“The latest news from Ukraine confirms that our friends need more robust weaponry, and fast.

“‘Outgunned Ukraine Needs More Weapons Fast as Russia Advances, Officials Say.’

“‘Ukraine Pleads For Weapons, Saying Russia Has Much More Artillery.’

“The people of Ukraine have inspired the world with their resilience. But resisting Russian aggression takes reliable supplies of lethal force.

“As the Biden Administration continues to provide shipments and prod our allies, they must adopt the kind of strong and proactive posture that has eluded them at earlier points in this conflict.

“As early as November, I was urging sanctions for deterrence and pushing for NDAA provisions to send enhanced lethal aid.

“Throughout December and January, I urged the President to bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank with more U.S. forces and get more weapons to Ukrainian forces before Russia attacked.

“In February, I called on President Biden to anticipate Russian manipulation of energy markets and back off his own holy war against domestic American production.

“But for months, the Biden Administration seemed more focused on deterring itself than deterring Putin.

“Too much hesitation. Too much hemming and hawing. Too little preventative action in advance.

“The United States cannot make the same mistakes again with prolonged dithering over whether to provide longer-range or more powerful weapons.

“It’s time to get Ukraine what it needs to finish this fight, including artillery and long-range rockets, and strongly and firmly push our European allies to do the same.

“The wealthiest European countries need to move fast to do their part. No more hesitation. No more excuses.

“This war has carried terrible human costs for the Ukrainian people. We cannot bring back the thousands who have been lost, but with strong assistance, we can help Ukraine limit future losses, reduce the risk of greater conflict, and create a deterring precedent for other would-be aggressors like China.

“There is another area where the Ukraine crisis has showcased the need to take decisive action quickly while there is still time. That is with respect to our own defense industrial base and our supplies of critical arms.

“Equipping Ukraine has seriously depleted our stockpiles of Javelin and Stinger missiles. According to the Secretary of the Army, the U.S. military has, ‘taken some risk to our own readiness’.

“This sounds like exactly the sort of situation that prompted the creation of the Defense Production Act. But thus far, we’ve heard far more from Washington Democrats about using the DPA to fast-track green energy boondoggles than to expand production capacity for critical weapons and munitions. 

“Our allies and partners are interested in buying American military technology.  This should be a win-win: allies spending their own money to strengthen themselves… by buying American… and making our militaries more interoperable in the process.

“But too often our partners are hamstrung by American constraints on this process, like the heel-dragging bureaucracy that runs our military sales, and lagging production schedules.

“We must adequately stockpile weapons and munitions for our own military, and have sufficient supplies and production capacity to arm our friends — before it’s too late.

“Building up our own stores and upgrading our allies’ is best way we can avoid nightmare scenarios down the road where America could be forced into a terrible choice between committing U.S. troops to a conflict or doing nothing. The remedy is to help our allies upgrade their military capabilities in advance.

“Of course, this takes money. All the serious preparations and military modernization that it will take to compete with Russia and China require resources.

“Tomorrow, the Armed Services Committee will mark up a National Defense Authorization Act. This is a key opportunity to show that both parties are serious about the real growth in defense spending that it will take to keep us on the cutting edge.

“The Biden Administration’s defense budget request was woefully insufficient. The President proposed a real-dollar cut for defense spending after President Biden’s own inflation!

“Our colleagues on the Committee must help Congress deliver an NDAA that provides for real, robust growth above inflation so that we can modernize our forces, ensure adequate inventories of critical weapons and munitions, and keep America safe.”


Related Issues: National Security, China, NDAA, Homeland Security, America's Military, Russia