Hello, I’m Senator Deb Fischer and I have the honor of representing the great state of Nebraska in the United States Senate.
For generations, our military has answered the call to protect our freedom at home and our interests around the world.
These service members are men and women of uncommon courage.
From the shores of Normandy to the fields of Korea and beyond, America’s sons and daughters have never wavered in the defense of liberty – both as a fighting force and a force for good.
Because of their sacrifice, the 20th century was "the American century."
But our work is far from done. Every generation faces evil.
And every generation has been called upon to step forward and protect our way of life.
Our nation faces many challenges, and I believe the federal government has no higher priority than protecting the American people in an increasingly dangerous world.
With this responsibility in mind, the Senate will soon consider its annual bill to authorize funding and set policy for our military, known as the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA.
I’m honored to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and I was proud to contribute to this bipartisan legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved by our committee earlier this month.
This bill takes a common-sense approach: it cuts spending from programs that have been delayed or failed to perform, and redirects that revenue to meet the critical needs of our warfighters.
In all, this year’s NDAA finds $10 billion in savings, which it uses to increase the capability and training of our men and women in uniform.
It also invests in the future of our national defense, setting aside $400 million for the development of new technologies that will ensure our troops maintain their superiority on the battlefield.
We are also addressing issues like the growing bureaucracy at the Pentagon.
Our military is getting smaller, but combat units shouldn’t bear these cuts alone.
This bill targets real reductions for headquarter and management staff as well.
It would also take steps for real reforms to our acquisition system – the way our military purchases weapons and equipment – to prevent wasteful spending.
It’s no secret we live in a very dangerous world.
As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I am deeply concerned by growing instability, particularly in the Middle East where violence continues to consume Iraq and Syria.
From Iran’s nuclear ambitions to China’s aggressive territorial expansion, Russia’s belligerence as a regional bully, and the growing threat of the Islamic State, we have no shortage of challenges.
This underscores the importance of providing for our military.
A strong and capable defense deters our adversaries.
President Reagan said it best with his principle of peace through strength.
It remains as true today as it was thirty-five years ago.
But as we all know, sometimes this deterrence is not enough, and Americans are called to act.
Providing the men and women of our military with the training and resources they need increases their ability to complete their assigned mission and safely return home.
Unfortunately, too many of our service members pay the ultimate sacrifice.
From natural disasters to war-torn nations, the United States has rapidly deployed to help those facing danger.
This past month, one of our own Nebraskans gave his life while searching for victims of the massive earthquake in Nepal.
Captain Dustin Lukasiewicz of Wilcox, Nebraska was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot who flew the helicopter that disappeared during the disaster relief mission following the Nepal earthquake.
By forging into danger to rescue strangers in a distant land, Captain Lukasiewicz and his fellow Marines represented the ideals of our nation, personifying our mission as a force for good in the world.
There are countless stories like this from Americans across our country.
Brave men and women who serve our nation every day, all over the world.
Our men and women in uniform inspire me.
Because of their courage and sacrifice, I believe in a brighter future for our children and our grandchildren.
There can be another American century.
With the right leadership and the proper resources, the U.S. military will continue to lead the way.
May God bless our troops, their families, and our great nation.
Thank you for listening.