Our military has deployed to more locations around the world at a far greater rate than was ever the case during the Cold War. After almost two decades of fighting multiple contingencies worldwide with a force structure that is 40 percent smaller and equipment that is decades old, our military readiness is declining.
Our troops on the front lines are being forced to use equipment well past its service life. We have terminated more than 50 modernization programs in the past two years and drastically scaled back and slowed down the production of ships, ground vehicles and aircraft, increasing overall costs. Our equipment reset costs after years of fighting will be in the billions.
All of this is coming at a time when the Obama administration has cut the defense budget by $487 billion and will potentially cut another $500 billion because of the sequester, devastating our military readiness and national security. Despite decreasing military funds, the administration continues to force the military to spend more on an expensive alternative energy agenda, including the purchase of biofuels for operational use and the construction of commercial biofuel refineries.
While I fully support the development and use of all alternative fuels, the priority for our defense spending must be maintaining readiness.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ primary focus must be on the readiness of our Navy — not taking funds needed for operations and maintenance or defense modernization to prop up the unproven biofuel industry.