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Washington, DC – Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018:

"Each year, I examine every aspect of the NDAA to ensure it supports the critical missions taking place at our bases in New Mexico and provides the vital protections our service members need when fighting for our freedom. Equal in importance, the NDAA has the responsibility to support and assist military families. The legislation we passed toady not only accomplishes these goals, but also takes needed steps to reform and modernize the way our military operates so it can be ready to take on the threats of tomorrow.

Over the last decade, our nation's military has not been given the support it needs. Troop levels dwindled to vulnerable levels, equipment deteriorated, and training resources became more scarce. This is unacceptable and it is Congress's responsibility to do everything possible to correct it. Whether or not we agree, we are fighting a generational war. From military installments to combat resources, modernization must occur military wide. More time and funds should go towards research, development, evaluation, and training so that service members can have the confidence in the critical missions they're deployed to carry out. This also will prioritize installations like White Sands Missile Range, which tests next-generation missile defense systems that are required to stand up as a fighting force for democracy. We cannot send our troops into battle with decades-old equipment; our service members deserve better. This bill will modernize the current weapons systems for next generation fighting.

This year's NDAA additionally prioritizes transparency and efficiency within the military. For the first time, the Department of Defense (DOD) will be audit ready, ensuring the funds intended to protect and aid our troops is actually being spent in the best interest of national security. It isn't enough to just provide the budget, we must hold our military leaders to a higher standard.

A major example of past failures within the DOD budget this is the adoption and procurement of the K-46. Rather than thoroughly testing and evaluating the aircraft prior to purchase, the model was developed and paid for without ensuring it was operational. The F-35 incurred similar delays and deficiencies in development. In total these two projects alone produced over a billion in excess cost due to mismanagement. With appropriate reforms to these processes, our military's spending will go further – ultimately aiding the troops and their families.

Congress has the responsibility of honoring the commitment to our service members. This year's NDAA is a reflection of our steadfast commitment to combat the enemy while improving our forces for future threats. I stand by my promise to service members in New Mexico and across America that I will only support efforts that provide troops with the resources they need to return home to their loved ones. This bill today is a step forward towards tackling the readiness crisis of our military, and I'll continue supporting efforts that improve our nation's defense."

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