Thank you Madam Chair, and I really appreciate you organizing this, so that the women in our conference can speak about something that is vitally important to our communities. I’ll tell you, everywhere I go in my district my constituents are concerned about the security of our nation, and making sure that our men and women in uniform have everything they need in order to defend America.
Having served 26 years in uniform myself, I'm representing a district eighty-five thousand veterans and two military bases. Right now we have over 750 of them deployed overseas, in the fight against ISIS, and also to work with our allies to deter Russias aggression. Now people are deeply concerned about what appears to be a failed, and not just appears to be, a failed defense strategy and foreign policy out of this administration. I can tell you, as I look around the world, and I've been doing national security for thirty years, we are in a more dangerous world that I have ever seen in my lifetime. And again, I've got the experience have six combat deployments and a couple master's degrees.
And taking a look at this, I mean we don't have enough time in an hour to go around the world with the threats that are emanating. The one that's obviously taking up the news today, is the bad deal related to Iran, and their march toward a nuclear capability. Now I'm going to read the whole thing tonight, and tomorrow, and make sure that we see all the details, but it seems like on its surface the goal post moved. And the deal that has been negotiated is one where myopically, this administration wanted to get a deal really at all costs.
That cost is quite high, to our national security, to the security of our friends, and our allies, with significant destabilization the Middle East. Well we have Iran, which is the greatest state-sponsored terror, you know continuing to destabilize and fight proxy wars in the region, continuing to threaten American. They have blood on their hands American soldiers. In Iraq and Lebanon and other places, are continuing to threaten Israel and destabilizing the region and propping up a non-state actors and their proxy wars. And none of that is changing, and now we basically are legitimizing that, and not addressing any of these other issues while potentially lifting the arms embargo.
This is a potentially very reckless a direction that we're going in, and I can tell you my constituents have been talking to me, even today, about the concerns and just the myopic a focus of this administration on this particular bad deal. But if we take a larger view of the Middle East, there appears to be an absolute incoherent strategy in the larger Middle East. I mean while we have a (inaudible) the general responsible for the (inaudible) force, responsible for all these activities, these terrorist activities that I mentioned, actually commanding the ground forces in Iraq. While we are providing the air power and pretending that we're not operating in the same space, offer the same objective. Then we see what Iran is doing to continue to destabilize both in Yemen and their support to Hamas and Hezbollah. And all this is just absolutely incoherent. If you were to try and ask somebody, “what are we trying to do in the Middle East?” relative to Iran, which is the hegemon in the room, as a state-sponsored terror I don't think anybody could really answer that. I don't think this President can answer this. So there is deep concern about this lack of coherency when it comes to the fight against ISIS.
We're doing anemic attacks from the air, and having been a fighter pilot myself and been involved in a targeting process, from being a flight lead in an A-10, all the way up to run the counterterrorism operations in Africa, I'm very familiar with the targeting process. And we are in a situation where ISIS is continuing to gain momentum to recruit foreign fighters, over 20,000 have been recruited, and it looks like they're taking us on in their winning. Because we are putting the bar so high on what targets that we can actually strike, legitimate targets they're having pilots flight away from, and let continue to thrive and murder massive numbers of civilians in Iraq and Syria. Gaining a foothold, gaining territory, and in using in social media gaining a new recruits, because it looks like they're winning. We have an absolute incoherent military strategy, in the fight against ISIS, not using our power in the way that it should be used, with all they can bring to the fight, in order to achieve our national security objectives.
We had the Secretary Defense the chairman Joint Chiefs in front of us on the House Armed Services Committee a couple weeks ago, where they said related to this strategy, hope is not a strategy, but it looks like that's exactly what we’re relying on. We're hoping that the Iraqis have an inclusive government, which they've shown time and time again, that they're failing to do. Meanwhile Iraq has their national security interests, certainly in the region, we have our own interest in making sure that ISIS does not gain a strong foothold. With resources and a desire to recruit, train, and inspire individuals, to attack Americans and take away our way of life. This strategy has been failed coming out this administration.
Russia just another example, the squadron that I commanded, is soon coming back from a deployment to Russia. A-10’s, over in the region to help assure and train our allies, against the continued aggression that we're seeing from Russia. Against our incoming potential chairman of the joint chiefs declared last week in a hearing that he believes Russia is a threat that we are potentially dealing with. Yet, the weakness from this administration, in standing up and leading to defend our national security interests, and reassure allies, is allowing Putin to fill that vacuum. Who's next they're wondering? You know the Baltics another allies that are in the region. After basically they're able to invade Ukraine, whose next? And what's at stake with our NATO partners?
Now this is just another example. You know what China is doing in the south and east China Seas, is just one more example of us not leading, and not being able to assure our allies, showing weakness, and our friends are wondering can they count on us anymore? Our enemies are no longer afraid of us. This is the dangerous world that we are now in. Some of these factors were going to be happening anyway, but American leadership can make or break situations and we can change the course of international events if we're leading or we are not leading.
This administration says that they're leading from behind, look in the military, we call that following. There's no such thing as leading from behind. We need to make sure we have a strong national security strategy, that we have a capable military, a sequestration is, the impact it is having on our military, I have friends in in the military that I know that are still serving, and trying to serve, and they are rearranging deck chairs right now. Trying to deal with the lack the resources, and the diminishing capabilities, and training, and readiness. That is not a strategy based budget that is a budget based strategy.
I have been very strong speaking against sequestration. I think we need to work together in order to make sure we can give the men and women in the military everything they need to defend America. The last point I’ll make, and there are many to make, but we don't have enough time, is that we passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the last 54 years. This is an important piece of legislation that gives the troops the authorization, the pay raises, everything that they need. Combating sexual assault, all the different things that we have authorized in the NDAA, this president is threatening to veto it.
I really hope that those around America who are listening to this, will rise up, and call their members of Congress, call their Senators, call the White House, and tell them, you don't play politics with our men and women in uniform. This is about national security and national defense, you need a sign that bill. We're working through conference right now, to hopefully get it done, before we go into recess. This is an important piece of legislation, and we should not be playing political games with a national security.
So thank you, madam chairman for organizing this opportunity to come down and speak on behalf our constituents, on behalf of those that are serving in my district, serving right now oversees, the men and women in uniform. We owe it to them to make sure that we have a strong national security, and to make sure we have strong military. We give them everything we need, and that we provide leadership in the world, and we got to continue to provide oversight to the failed foreign policy defense policy this administration. I look forward to continuing these discussions, thank you, I yield back.
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