Capitol Report: Peace Through Strength
“We must maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” These are the words Ronald Reagan spoke more than 30 years ago and a philosophy I still believe wholeheartedly today. Yet, with proposed cuts to our national defense, including potential cuts at Fort Leonard Wood, it seems some have forgotten the necessity of a strong military. Fortunately, folks from all around Missouri gathered at Fort Leonard Wood this week to oppose cuts and highlight both the major impact the base has on our area and the strategic role it plays in America’s national defense.
I share a commitment to Fort Leonard Wood and have been vocal in my unwavering support of the base and strong opposition to operational and personnel cuts. Last summer, I sent a preemptive letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army General Raymond Odierno highlighting the unique value of Fort Leonard Wood and opposing cuts to the base as a part of the Army’s Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA). This world-class military installation not only benefits America’s national defense, but is also very beneficial to the area, the state, and the Midwest. The economic output of Fort Leonard Wood is estimated at $2.1 billion and there are 36,400 direct and indirect jobs in Missouri thanks to the base.
Despite global threats facing the United States, military spending has continuously been cut over the last few years, and the president’s proposed personnel cuts would decrease America’s Army to pre-World War II levels making it the smallest force in 75 years. We cannot let this happen.
Fort Leonard Wood stands out among Army bases with well-established resources like the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence; the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School; the Engineer School; and the Military Police School. These programs are critical in developing our military leaders. One in five soldiers enters Army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood and between 25 and 30 percent of all women in the Army begin their career here. With its central location and world-class training facilities, we cannot jeopardize military preparedness, strength, and skill by making cuts to this crucial Army base. I will continue fighting to protect the strength of our military as we face threats around the world and to protect Fort Leonard Wood here at home.