Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2015

Paul Ryan: Rebuild Military, Stay in Afghanistan Longer, Develop Lasers

Ryan walks by reporters outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on May 7.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan walks by reporters outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on May 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Prospective GOP presidential candidate Rep. Paul D. Ryan offered up his vision Wednesday for the military and diplomacy, contrasting himself with President Barack Obama and perhaps some potential primary challengers. And in offering up that vision, he proposed some specific ideas for what the Defense Department ought to be doing.

The Wisconsin congressman’s overarching points were that Obama has been indecisive on the world stage, and that the United States needed to “renew our three sources of strength — our allies, our military, and our economy,” he said at the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference. “Our credibility is at risk, and so with it our security,” he said.

And he positioned himself somewhere between the hawkish wing of his party and the more cautious foreign policy stance represented by fellow possible 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul, declaring himself, in the words of Jack Kemp, a “heavily armored dove” who doesn’t think “we should be quick to use” our military while simultaneously arguing “we cannot withdraw from the world.”

Ryan’s speech criticized Obama for deciding to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2016, saying it sent a message to our enemies there to “wait us out.” The troops should come home as soon as possible but only after Afghanistan is secured, he said.

And he said Obama’s budget has further weakened the military.

“Every year he cuts so deeply, and so unevenly, that he’s hurting both our current and our future capabilities,” Ryan said. “Today, if a major threat arose, only a handful of Army brigades would be ready for combat, ready to deploy.”

In addition to upping spending on troop numbers, Ryan said the military needed to develop new capabilities like directed-energy weapons — such as lasers and sonic weaponry — and advanced missile defense. The United States should use everything from drone strikes to economic sanctions to go after terrorist groups that threaten the United States and the countries that host them, he said.

The Navy could be better used in Asia to comfort allies, he said.

“If we refuel the U.S.S. George Washington, we can keep 11 aircraft carriers in the fleet. And that way, we will have about three carriers — including the carrier stationed near Japan — forward-deployed at all times,” Ryan said. House Defense appropriators would provide $789 million for that nuclear-reactor refueling in fiscal 2015, which the Obama budget proposed deferring for the year.

At the same time, the Defense Department needs to fix its acquisition process, he said.

Government isn’t the most efficient thing in the world, and the Defense Department is no exception,” Ryan said. “Our equipment is the best out there. But we’re spending too much money and waiting too long to get it. Over the past few years, we’ve canceled nearly every major Army procurement program. We’ve scrapped big parts of the Navy’s modernization plans. And we’ve scaled back procurement of air superiority fighters. We’re just starting to revamp the procurement process, and we can’t let up.”

Ryan said he voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 that put in place budget caps and a mandatory across-the-board cuts because he hoped it would force leaders to come to an agreement on overhauling entitlement spending. When that didn’t happen, he said, he negotiated a budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to ease the impact on the Department of Defense.

“We can’t afford a strong military without a strong economy,” he said. “If we just borrow more or raise taxes, we’d strengthen one asset by damaging another.”

Comments (54)

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  1. Layla

    June 11, 2014
    12:35 p.m.

    Mr. Ryan, the chief proponent of amnesty and immigration reform. What’s your plan for the hundreds of thousands currently heading this way from South and Central America, Mr. Ryan?

    I notice you have no opponent. Was that a deal to protect your seat?

    Paul Ryan, you may as well change parties because in the GOP, you are a dead man walking because of your willingness to screw American families.

  2. Jack Everett

    June 11, 2014
    12:48 p.m.

    Just like Lying Ryan to support more corporate war profiteering. Ryan need to be the next one to go behind Cantor.

  3. pitch1934

    June 11, 2014
    12:54 p.m.

    Mr. Paul Ryan, one of the most physically fit in congress, should volunteer for combat duty if that is his position. It is very easy to send others to die while you run for congress and work out in the gym.

    • Layla

      June 11, 2014
      2:42 p.m.

      Standing ovation for you!

      • pitch1934

        June 11, 2014
        8:46 p.m.

        TY Layla. I have been around since the early 30’s. WWII was a patriotic war. Every thing since has been political or business.

      • Layla

        June 12, 2014
        6:50 p.m.

        Military wife of 27 years here, Navy. Thank you for your service, Pitch.

      • Raj

        June 23, 2014
        1:21 a.m.

        May be you are husband and wife both using nick names on web..:)

    • truthbeatold

      June 18, 2014
      7:55 p.m.

      By that logic, only military veterans could serve as President.

      • pitch1934

        June 18, 2014
        8:44 p.m.

        No, but by that logic a whole hell of a lot of these chicken hawks would keep their mouths shut. My service was a long time ago, from 1995-57. I don’t advocate unneeded wars. However, when it is necessary to defend this country everyone must play a part.

      • truthbeatold

        June 18, 2014
        9:14 p.m.

        Every President sends troops into harms way. Name one that hasn’t. According to you, by doing so, he must be willing to also put himself into harms way by volunteering for combat duty—making him a current or former member of the military.

      • pitch1934

        June 19, 2014
        4:03 p.m.

        You are deliberately misreading my words. In WWII we were attacked. We struck back. In 2001 we were attacked. We struck back. Who attacked us from Iraq? We attacked a dictator, that we had previously supported, for no good reason. The lives lost in Iraq were wasted in every way. We were lied to by our leaders.

  4. Jesse4

    June 11, 2014
    3:54 p.m.

    Stay in Afghanistan until it’s “secured”?
    And is there anyone who thinks that will happen in this century? The next?

    • Jack Everett

      June 11, 2014
      4:50 p.m.

      They are worried about their war profits dropping off. Ryan should be the next wing nut lying scum to go.

    • Layla

      June 12, 2014
      6:49 p.m.

      Certainly not with this president. I don’t imagine we have an ally left anywhere in the world at the moment.

    • Jack Everett

      June 12, 2014
      7:20 p.m.

  5. John Kenner

    June 12, 2014
    12:12 a.m.

    In related YouTube video, we find a fairly typical example of the Al Nusra Front “allies” that Hussein Obama has chosen to support in Syria: http://youtu.be/U3EwHqvEAXM?t=8m11s

    • Lisa Legs

      June 13, 2014
      9:44 p.m.

      Or whats left of Syria, exactly who’s side are u on? Iran? or the
      Sunni Jihadists?

  6. Layla

    June 12, 2014
    7:03 p.m.

    The poor people in Afghanistan are watching the fall of Iraq and know that will be their fate shortly. Do we have any allies left at all in the middle east under this President and Clinton’s State Dept? Doubtful.

    Time to send Congress to the front and give them VA healthcare. The deserve nothing less.

    • Jack Everett

      June 13, 2014
      11:12 a.m.

      Hell of a job Bush did. BUSH: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!”

  7. Yonatan YONATAN

    June 12, 2014
    7:08 p.m.

    YES MR. RYAN, KEEP SPENDING BILLIONS OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS INFOREIGN AID, WHILE OUR OWN PEOPLE SUFFER ECONOMICALLY. WHY DON’T YOU GO TO AFGANISTAN AND VOLUNTER YOURSELF? THERES’ THREE MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WHO HAVE BEEN WITHOUT AN UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THESE FAMILIES ARE TRULY BROKE, AND BECOMING FINANCIALLY RUINED WITH EACH PASSING DAY. BOTH THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS HAVE UTTERLY FAILED THESE FAMLIES, AND HAVE TURNED THEIR BACKS ON THEM ALREADY, AND JUST WALKED AWAY FROM THE ISSUE. MEANWHILE MORE AND MORE ARE FACING EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE WAITING FOR THE HELP WHICH DOESN’T COME. HELP AND ASSISTACNE HAS COME FOR THE UKRAINE HOWEVER. CONGRESS PASSED A FOREIGN AID BILL WORTH BILLIONS OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS FOR THAT COUNTRY. I GUESS IT’S ONLY THE POOR AND STRUGGLING HERE THAT THEY REFUSE TO HELP

    • truthbeatold

      June 18, 2014
      7:58 p.m.

      Yonatan,
      I take it then you’re adamantly against amnesty or legalization of any kind, correct?

  8. Chaz22

    June 13, 2014
    4:28 a.m.

    At least he’s been thinking about those things–that’s more than the other key Republicans are doing.
    About Immigration reform: he’s for it if it goes his way, and his way , he insists, is NOT amnesty. As a matter of fact he made that clear again just today; saying to a reporter when asked about it : “all I can say is I am against amnesty ” .
    Too bad so many citizens define him by that awful campaign of 2012 . That’s because he is not a good campaigner , and also the media , which is liberal,intentionally ruined his image to the public. There was a lot of distortion on everything from photos to quotes to his ideas. I must say this because , before anyone judges him they should realize the man of that campaign fiasco and the man on the job are two different people. The man on the job is very respected and liked and one of the only few true reformers in the party .
    I will defend him because I think he is very unfairly screwed by the media and leftist operation .

    • Layla

      June 13, 2014
      8:57 a.m.

      Ryan’s idea of Immigration “reform”: Legalize them, not amnesty. This would allow them to work immediately at lower wages, exempt from Obamacare.

      Whom do you think will get the jobs? Certainly not US citizens. This is about BIG PROFITS to the Chamber.

      Within about 6 months, Americans would say, “No benefits? This is not right and they would be granted full amnesty, including the right to vote.

      How stupid are Americans, really? We have nearly 100 million Americans already out of work and they want more. NO THANKS!

      Paul Ryan is in the pocket of the US Chamber, just like every other Member of Congress, both sides.

      • Chaz22

        June 13, 2014
        2:09 p.m.

        ” How stupid are Americans really? ”
        That’s easy : stupid enough to vote for Barack Obama .

      • Layla

        June 16, 2014
        7:18 a.m.

        Not stupid enough to allow Congress to remain in office without curbing his power, Chaz.

        Not that stupid.

  9. Yonatan YONATAN

    June 17, 2014
    11:55 a.m.

    WE SEND OUR TROOPS TO IRAQ, BUT DON’T TREAT OUR VETERANS WELL WHEN THEY RETURN. WE SEND BILLIONS OF FOREIGN AID TO THE UKRAINE, AND OTHER COUNTRIES, BUT THE SENATE WON’T PASS THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL FOR THE THREE MILLION OF UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THESE FAMILIES HAVE FALLEN INTO FINANCIAL RUIN, MANY ARE WITHOUT HOMES. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE INTENTIONALLY DELAYED AND POSTPONED THE VOTE UNTIL THE BILL WOULD BECOME DIFFICULT TO PASS. THESE ARE OUR SO CALLED “PUBLIC SERVANTS” IN ACTION THESE DAYS. THEY ALL NEED TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR FAILING TO SERVE THE PEOPLE. .

  10. YONATAN C

    June 19, 2014
    11:43 p.m.

    THERE ARE STILL THREE MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN WITHOUT AN UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION SINCE LAST DECEMBER. THIS WAS DIRECTLY CAUSED BY THE REPUBLICAN SENATE’S REFUSAL TO PASS THE EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT BILL. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE UTTERLY FAILED THESE UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES, AND DESTINED THEM TO FINANCIAL RUIN AND POVERTY. MANY OF WHOM MAY NEVER RECOVER FROM. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SHOWN A TOTAL LACK OF COMPASSION AND COMMON DECENCY TOWARDS OUR OWN PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY ARE SHAMEFUL, AND NEED TO BE VOTED FROM OFFICE.

  11. Jack Everett

    June 20, 2014
    6:55 a.m.

    Ryan when will your death star be ready for action?

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