Tuberville: We’re ‘in a new space race, and it’s a race we must win’
U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Monday delivered a speech on the floor of the United States Senate detailing how President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposal for the Department of Defense would harm national security and hinder the military’s efforts to confront existing and future threats.
Alabama’s junior senator also outlined how Biden’s proposal would negatively affect jobs, families and communities in the Yellowhammer State.
In addition, Tuberville noted that national security issues now stem beyond Earth into space — which is another area critical to Alabama.
“We’re also in a new space race, and it’s a race we must win,” Tuberville said. “The Chinese want to weaponize this new frontier of war, and we’re falling way behind.”
“I heard about the growing gap between us and the Chinese when I visited the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal a few weeks ago in Huntsville,” he continued. “These folks shared with me how desperately we need to modernize our spaced-based systems that contribute to our missile defense.”
Tuberville advised, “The U.S. Army is the largest consumer of space products, and our military relies on Materiel Command to provide the resources to train our soldiers for research, development of new equipment, and defend our nation. They should not have to beg the President of the United States for the money to invest in the capabilities that we need.”
His remarks came the same day that Alabama rocket builder United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully powered another national security mission into space for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). This was ULA’s 31st launch with the NRO, which is a joint Department of Defense-Intelligence Community organization tasked with operating the nation’s intelligence satellites used for national security.
Tuberville’s full speech can be read and watched below:
Our job as elected officials is to make sure those who have stepped up to defend our country have the resources they need to do their job. The President’s recent budget proposal for the Department of Defense does not – I repeat, it does not – give our men and women in uniform the tools to do their job.
It’s clear that President Biden thinks we don’t need further investment in our military if it’s clear he thinks it’s OK to ask our men and women to do more with less, and that’s impossible.
The world has changed a lot in 50 years. When President Biden first came to Washington in 1972 two, there were two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Back then, we spent 6.5% percent of our federal budget on national defense, 6.5. Today, we spend less than 3.5.
Secretary Austin has said that China remains the top quote ‘pacing threat’ for our military.
Simply keeping pace with China is not enough. We’ve got to outpace all our adversaries. But doing that requires smart, substantial, and strategic investments in our military — much more investment than the President and many people here in Congress publicly propose.
President Biden says he wants his administration to ‘trust the experts’ on things like COVID, but this defense budget shows he doesn’t apply that same principle to the Pentagon.
Here’s what Admiral Charles Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command who is over our nuclear capabilities, said in last week’s hearing to the Senate Armed Services Committee: ‘I have what I need to deter today. … But I need it modernized. There’s no remaining margin.’
His warning is clear. We must modernize our greatest deterrent and keep peace among our adversaries with our nuclear arsenal.
The free world, meaning the United States, works and sleeps under a nuclear umbrella that hasn’t been updated to the digital age.
We’re also in a new space race, and it’s a race we must win.
The Chinese want to weaponize this new frontier of war, and we’re falling way behind.
I heard about the growing gap between us and the Chinese when I visited the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal a few weeks ago in Huntsville. These folks shared with me how desperately we need to modernize our spaced-based systems that contribute to our missile defense.
The U.S. Army is the largest consumer of space products, and our military relies on Materiel Command to provide the resources to train our soldiers for research, development of new equipment, and defend our nation. They should not have to beg the President of the United States for the money to invest in the capabilities that we need.
We also need to invest in the safety of our servicemen and women, especially in aviation. Currently the average age of an airplane in our military is older than the pilots flying it.
Alabama is the home to Ft. Rucker, where every Army helicopter pilot comes to get their training. When I visited the folks at Ft. Rucker, they told me about the very real need for increased flight training hours for our pilots, which requires more investment and prioritization in the defense budget.
Alabama stands ready to continue to build our military so we can maintain our status as a preeminent fighting force in the world. We’ve got hundreds of contractors and more than 200,000 employed in the defense sector across the state. These top-notch men and women support our world-class military installations, from the shipbuilders in Mobile, to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, and many places in between.
Telling our forces to fight a war with outdated tools is like giving a football team some leather helmets and decades-old, poorly-fitting pads and expecting them to compete against modern equipment. But that’s exactly what President Biden’s defense budget is asking our military to do.
Frankly, it’s a huge disappointment coming from our commander in chief. We cannot let our men and women down.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with my colleagues on the National Defense Authorization Act and budget that will enable our military to do the job better today and prepare for all the challenges tomorrow.
I’m willing to keep fighting for the United States by investing in the men and women who keep us safe. I urge my colleagues and President Biden to do the same.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn