Will the United States Do the Right Thing on Defense Spending? Russia, Iran, and China Wait to Find Out 

The eyes of Russia, Iran, and China are focused on Washington, D.C., right now. In each country’s capital, leaders are watching to see if our democratic system can overcome difficulties in the government’s essential functions, including providing adequate funding for our military.

President Joe Biden signed the annual defense bill into law in December, authorizing over $840 billion for the Department of Defense to support our military families and troops and defend our nation. The legislation passed Congress with substantial bipartisan support. However, Congress hasn’t yet passed the funding the DOD needs to implement the law.

Resultingly, almost halfway through the fiscal year, the military is operating under a fourth extension of stopgap funding measures, which are only half-measures. The military’s restrictions rob us of crucial time to stay in front of a world that is changing rapidly — time that Iran, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China use to coerce their neighbors, modernize their militaries, and try to outpace us. No funding can buy that time back.

Failing to fund the DOD per the annual defense bill would have severe consequences for the country’s economy, security, democracy, and global standing.

China’s leaders would welcome shipyards in the U.S. delaying their delivery of new high-tech submarines and American industry not creating as many long-range munitions as our military needs. 

They would be relieved to see us underinvest in electronic and cyber warfare capabilities and underinvest in resilient space architectures.

As the CCP struggles to rid its military of corruption and make it as proficient and professional as the U.S.’s all-volunteer force, they would love to see our troops demoralized by our government not fully funding the maintenance, training, infrastructure, housing, barracks, and pay that our service members require.

Compounding these difficulties, the U.S. risks strategic default over the support for Ukraine by not rapidly passing emergency national security supplemental funding.

Without the funding, it won’t be a question of if Russian President Vladimir Putin — backed by Iran and North Korea — will be free to rewrite European borders without being held accountable. That is certain.

The risks are crystal clear. If Putin isn’t stopped, his appetite for domination won’t be satisfied. He’ll decide which NATO country will be next. In the Pacific, China will take note of America’s inaction when China’s pressure campaign against Taiwan continues unchallenged.

Also irrational is the failure to invest in American companies, jobs, and production power by replenishing American supplies that would or have been provided to help Taiwan, Israel, or Ukraine.

The investments are central to the president’s supplemental request, almost 60%, which will boost the industrial base of U.S. defense.

Our military members require them to defeat and deter threats they face today and for the foreseeable future, from the Middle East and the Red Sea to strategic competition with China.

Our competitors want the U.S. to be divided. However, our fellow Americans want elected representatives to be bipartisan and boldly support our troops, ideals, and allies. The private sector wishes to advance our international standing in free enterprise and innovation and continue to make investments in U.S. jobs.

Statist economies and authoritarian repression stifle prosperity and innovation, just like they stifle freedom. As Americans, we know democracy is the better option. We understand it can deliver the best results. 

The clock is ticking, but Congress still has time to act. 

The whole world is watching.