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From Defense One: House Speaker: Budget Fights Have ‘Pushed Our Military Past the Breaking Point’

Paul Ryan brought defense hawks’ concerns about readiness and funding to the spotlight as Congress struggles to avert a government shutdown.

“Rebuilding the military” is the “highest priority today,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday, bringing national security to the fore as a government shutdown loomed.

“We have simply pushed our military past the breaking point,” said Ryan, R-Wisc., in a brief talk on defense policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies event today. “Instead of upgrading our hardware, we have let our equipment age. Instead of equipping our troops for tomorrow’s fight, we have let them become woefully underequipped.”

“Right now, our men and women in uniform, today, are under enormous strain, some of which, frankly, is of our own making, he added. “This is why rebuilding the military is one of the highest priorities of our unified government.”

Like Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and other defense hawks before him, Ryan linked the lack of consistent funding and ensuing readiness woes to training accidents and the deaths of sailors in collisions at sea last year.

“The cost of these readiness deficiencies are really dire, and this is literally costing us lives,” Ryan said. “In total, we lost 80 lives due to training accidents in 2017 alone. That is four times as many were killed in combat.…We need to do better.”

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