Op-Ed

Kudos to McConnell for securing more military funding

A U.S. Marine raised the American flag on an amphibious assault vehicle during the ongoing Cobra Gold U.S.-Thailand joint military exercise on Feb. 17.
A U.S. Marine raised the American flag on an amphibious assault vehicle during the ongoing Cobra Gold U.S.-Thailand joint military exercise on Feb. 17. Associated Press

At the same time the Obama administration sought to grow our federal government, it also downsized our military and failed to provide our men and women in uniform with the resources necessary to keep us safe.

For those of us blessed to live near Fort Campbell, we are well aware of our military’s infrastructure and investment needs. However, by failing to adequately provide resources for our military, the previous administration’s constant military downsizing put our national security at risk at a time when America’s enemies were growing ever more dangerous.

I won’t mince words — our military was nearing a serious crisis.

The recent budget agreement secured by Sen. Mitch McConnell unwinds harmful sequestration and increases defense spending by $165 billion over the next two years.

It was a critical step toward rebuilding our nation’s armed forces, and President Donald Trump signed this bill to provide the necessary funding to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Defense Secretary James Mattis recently said that this agreement “will ensure our military can defend our way of life, preserve the promise of prosperity, and pass on the freedoms you and I enjoy to the next generation.”

As a longtime supporter of those in uniform and especially of the Fort Campbell community, I recognize that our military requires adequate funding to fulfill its functions.

Home to a number of important units, including the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell is a critical installation that allows our military to respond quickly and forcefully to threats around the globe.

Our troops stationed here — who have been on a near-constant cycle of deployment — can use these new resources to help them carry out their important missions. Our nation faces too many threats from around the globe to not provide our service members with the very best support we can give.

For Kentucky’s military community, McConnell’s work represents an important step toward repairing years of damage. In each of his visits to this area, McConnell has reaffirmed his commitment to ending the defense sequester. He has also been a longstanding advocate who has helped secure resources for important infrastructure projects at Fort Campbell, and his assistance recently helped ensure the repaving of its world-class airfield, which is vital to the post’s operations.

Now, instead of diminishing resources and harmful drawdowns, our military will once again have the funding it needs.

In a bitterly divided Congress, our men and women in uniform were in desperate need of real leadership. Too many politicians talk about supporting our troops without actually delivering for them. McConnell proved that he could overcome the partisan bickering and get things done for the more than 50,000 military personnel in Kentucky.

As a veteran, I am proud to have him representing me in Washington and fighting to give our heroes the funding they need to protect our country. Our incredible men and women in uniform defend our freedoms every single day, and they need our support.

Terry Hamby, of Cadiz, is a Vietnam veteran. He serves as chair of the World War I Centennial Commission.

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