Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., stressed the importance of Congress working with the executive branch on defense issues while speaking today to industry professionals and National Guard leadership at the 22nd annual NGAUS Industry Day in Washington, D.C.
Speaking at the National Guard Memorial, the association’s headquarters, the congressman said the two branches of government must cooperate to ensure the military is ready to take on a nation like China or Russia.
Banks is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and previously deployed to Afghanistan as a supply corps officer in the Navy Reserve.
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, the NGAUS chairman, praised that experience while introducing the congressman.
“It’s good for our country when our elected officials have worn the uniform and deployed,” he said.
Banks made reference to more recent events during his speech, including the unlawful seizure of Ukrainian merchant vessels by the Russian navy and unjustified maritime claims by China in the South China Sea.
“The risk of military confrontation will increase as Russia and China enhance their military capabilities, including space and cyberspace domains,” he said.
But as new threats present themselves in Europe and Asia, Banks said, “we must refocus on the long and oft-forgotten” war in Afghanistan, noting the deaths of four U.S. service members from a roadside bomb on Nov. 27.
Banks applauded President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James. N. Mattis for their interagency work and support for a lasting peace.
In Congress, Banks said both the House and Senate are working to rebuild military infrastructure after the 2011 Budget Control Act significantly reduced defense spending. He said industries of all sizes contribute to the Department of Defense’s effort to produce a lethal and ready active and reserve force.
“Behind every F-15, Humvee or aircraft carrier, small businesses support the Department of Defense and increase the U.S. military’s precision and efficacy,” he said.