WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Wittman (VA-01) announced he has responded to a letter sent to President Biden from the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus urging drastic cuts to the Defense budget by inviting every member of the caucus to attend a classified briefing on the existential threats faced by the United States in the twenty-first century.
Announcing his letter, Congressman Wittman stated: “While we live in a budget-constrained environment, we also live in an increasingly dangerous world. We are facing threats at home and abroad from state actors like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran and we must ensure we have a strategy and the resources to deal with those threats. Now is the exact wrong time to be calling for blanket cuts to national security funding. Instead, Congress must work to streamline functions and make sure we are maximizing our dollars spent. Simply put, there is no shortage of global powers who wish to see the United States, our partners, and allies falter and fail. Ultimately, national defense is not just about protecting the homeland — it is about preventing conflicts from escalating, eliminating future threats, and deterring those who have malicious intent toward the American people,” Wittman wrote in his letter. “Not only am I concerned with the calls to cut funding for national security, but also with the clear lack of a plan to deal with the existential threats posed by Great Powers Competition should your cuts be enacted. Unless we plan to concede the twenty-first century to malign autocracies such as China and Russia, I find this to be untenable. These growing threats will not go away just because you wish to ignore them.”
Wittman’s letter further reads, “Your recent letter to President Biden, along with the previous attempt to cut support for our armed services, leads me to believe it may be beneficial for members of your caucus to receive a classified brief on the enormity of the threats we face in this era of Great Powers Competition. I, myself, have received these briefings, and I can assure you they are staggering. It is my hope that once you understand the threat, you will reconsider your stance. I stand ready to help facilitate these classified briefs should you wish to learn more.”
On March 16th, the Defense Reduction Caucus, led by Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), and Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-4) sent a letter to President Biden suggesting we cut more than 10 percent of the Defense budget. As Vice Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Wittman believes cuts to our national defense would not only endanger America’s warfighters, but cede global control to China and leave the United States vulnerable to Russia, North Korea and Iran. Furthermore, he stands strong in his conviction that we need a military that not only projects power around the globe but is fully prepared to take on the challenges we ask of them in order to keep our nation secure and that cuts to our defense would endanger innocent American lives and make our country more vulnerable.China continues its unprecedented aggressive actions, such as pushing into contested territory in India, attempting to subdue Hong Kong, and continuing to antagonize partner nations in the South China Sea.
China now has the capability to directly threaten our homeland from a ballistic missile submarine. What’s more, China has the largest navy in the world—having more than tripled in size in only two decades. By the end of 2020, the Chinese fleet consisted of 360 ships and within four years they are expected to operate as many as 400 ships and submarines—compared to our current 296 ship count. To make matters worse, China is planning to grow its nuclear weapons arsenal in a big way—likely at least doubling its nuclear warhead stockpile over the coming years.On top of the Chinese threat, Russia advances its malign global state-building agenda through overt means while simultaneously using paramilitary mercenaries such as the Wagner Group to do the Kremlin’s more insidious bidding, Iran continues to terrorize the Middle East, and North Korea remains a global nuclear threat. Simply put, now is not the time to compromise our national security.
Following is the letter.