The safety of Americans from terrorism and other threats must be our number one national security priority. Our nation needs effective responses to emerging threats, and as a Member of Congress, I am working hard to ensure that our nation remains vigilant against all threats facing our communities at home and our men and women in uniform serving abroad.
Keeping our nation safe starts by providing all military personnel and their families with the quality care and financial support they deserve, regardless of whether they are on active duty, inactive duty, or retired. We will not find solutions to our country’s fiscal challenges by chipping away at the benefits promised to these brave men and women. Significantly reducing the hard-earned benefits of our servicemembers and retirees today will only hurt military retention and readiness in the long run.
Ensuring our nation is equipped to combat international threats also means providing adequate resources to critical national security programs. However, in these tough economic times, all agencies need to be examining their budgets for savings — including the Department of Defense. As Congress continues to tackle challenging fiscal decisions, I will fight to increase efficiencies and reduce waste in defense spending to ensure funding for our national security never comes at the expense of funding for domestic programs that millions of middle-class families rely on.
In addition to supporting our military, I strongly believe American foreign policy must address the challenges of global health, poverty, and international development. Aiding the world's most vulnerable populations is not only our moral obligation, but also a vital investment in addressing and preventing future crises abroad from threatening our own security and prosperity. America currently spends less than 1 percent of its federal budget on foreign aid, but these relatively modest investments we make in promoting health education, providing humanitarian assistance, and partnering with less developed countries advance our national security interests abroad.
In addition, the growing number of cyberattacks shows the need to prioritize combating the increasing threats emanating from cyberspace. The long-term security of our nation — including the safety of our power grid, U.S. businesses, and communities across the country — depends on ensuring we have the tools and preparation to counter 21st century threats. In doing so, Congress must balance our nation’s security needs with protections for individual civil liberties that are a foundation of our country.