US_Navy_111029-N-NY820-096_U.S._Rep._Howard-800

One of the things that disturbed me most about the cuts to our Defense Budget, that were brought about by sequestration, was the effect on the readiness of our force.

This was testified to me by some of our top military leaders in hearings before Congress this month.

Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley said years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, reduced budgets, and troop cuts have had a cumulative effect on their service…and the Army’s readiness is not at a level that is appropriate for what the American people expect to defend them.

General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Our ability to meet other regional requirements for major contingency plans, we would be able to do that, but we would probably not be able to do it within the timeframe that the current plans call for us to arrive to participate in that conflict.”

Additionally, Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah James said, “…yes, if you go into a high-end conflict with a great power and you’re not sufficiently ready, history teaches me, you lose more lives and it’s a prolonged conflict. And it’s very worrisome.”

This is the tip of the iceberg. Every military leader I’ve spoken with has these same concerns. We’re in the middle of a Presidential election and the remaining candidates are not even addressing this very important issue. The national security of our country is the main responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief. We need to demand answers from the candidates as to how they will carry out and discharge that responsibility.