Thornberry committed to defense, domestic-security reforms

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered a speech late last week at a Ripon Society breakfast discussion regarding the recent fight over the defense authorization bill, as well as his committee’s agenda for ensuring U.S. security.

Thornberry noted that the National Defense Authorization Act was passed with broad political support and called out President Obama for vetoing the first version of the bill.

“For 53 straight years, Congresses of both parties have passed and presidents from both parties have signed into law defense authorization bills,” Thornberry said. “It has been beyond partisan politics. This year, for the first time … the president vetoed it – not because of anything that’s in the bill, but to try to force Congress to increase spending in other areas. The Washington Post said it was historic, but not in a good way. He seems to have made his point, but at the expense of our troops because it put them in the political crosshairs – a place that they’d never been before.”

Thornberry also said he is committed to defense-acquisition and domestic-security reforms.

“Defense reform is a very high priority to me, and I think for most people on the committee,” Thornberry said. “That includes acquisition reform – how we buy stuff. We want to get more value for the taxpayers, but more importantly in my mind, we have to field technology faster if we’re going to keep up with the changing threats. That also includes personnel reform. In this year’s bill, we have a new retirement system for the military. A lot of people thought that could not happen, by the way.”