Vitter, McCain, Coats, Cassidy

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Vitter: (12:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Exactly that same sort of rationale that is in the bill with regard to limitations of what the Air Force can do, exactly that rationale also applies to the Army and brigade combat teams. In addition, the same sort of thing is already in this underlying bill with regard to the Navy. There is specific language blocking certain further reductions of aircraft carriers. Again, a major element of force structure. Again, Congress saying no, don't go below this number. That is not justified. That will weaken our overall capability and that will weaken force structure. Again, on the Navy side, this bill, the chairman, the committee have done exactly the same thing. My amendment would simply do something very, very similar and equally as important and justified on the army side with regard to brigade combat teams. So, because of the significance of brigade combat teams to Army readiness and operations, because of the enormous cuts that have already been made in those numbers in the last seven years from 48 to 33, I urge all of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to support this commonsense amendment."

 

Senator McCain: (12:39 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "$200 million for directed cyber vulnerabilities of every major D.O.D. weapons system. An independent panel in D.O.D. war games. On and on. It's Department of Defense related. The whole purpose of the defense authorization bill is to defend the nation, to leave cybersecurity out of that, yes, there are some provisions in the underlying bill, but this hones and refines the requirements that we are in badly need of and gives the president tools - the president of the United States and the secretary of defense the tools to try to limit the damage which is occurring as we speak. I want to repeat. I believe my colleague from Indiana, who is a member of that committee, I believe I would ask him, is it four million Americans recently were compromised by cyberattack."

 

Senator Coats: (12:47 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This legislation gives us the opportunity to have a cooperative effort and some of those who resisted the use of this because they think it was potentially a breach of privacy now understand that the breaches are occurring from outside into the United States for those who are enemies of the state, those who are criminal groups, those who are terrorist groups, and while we may have the capacity to deal with this, without this legislative authority, we are not allowed to use it. So what an irony, what an irony that some of those who are saying well, we can't trust the government on this to help us, this is part of - this is a defense. It's like saying we can't trust the Department of Defense, you can't trust the Army or the Navy to protect us from attack because it's government run. Well, now they're saying there are some operations in government here that are part of our defenses that can't be used until we have the authority. And the irony is, is that people's privacies are being breached by all these attempts, and we're denying the opportunity to put the tools in place to stop that from happening."

 

Senator Cassidy: (1:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The amendment says the secretary shall give priority under this paragraph to be carried out as funding or appropriations becomes available, first. Secondly, nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede the Army's manning of brigade combat teams at designated levels and it requires congressional defense committee to have a report on the current manning of each brigade combat team of the Army. It also ensures the Army National Guard brigade combat teams are maintained at 26, and this accounts for the deactivation of two air National Guard brigade combat teams previously agreed to. You may ask, why do we need 32 brigade combat teams. At the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, we had 48 brigade combat teams, and things, if you've noticed, in the Middle East are getting worse, not better."