Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called on Congress Tuesday to expend the political capital necessary to increase military spending before addressing other top Republican priorities. In an Armed Services Committee hearing on future military budgets, McCain said President Donald Trump has “inherited a world on fire” and a United States military that is “underfunded, undersized, and unready” to face the threats it confronts. The world order that the US has supported for the past 70 years, he said, “is not self-sustaining” and requires strong US military support to defend it. “Too many have forgotten that hard power matters,” McCain said, arguing that sequestration spending caps have crippled US military readiness. He said that military leaders have testified before Congress that the US military is unprepared to meet the challenges of the day. “We have to invest in modern capabilities,” McCain said, and “we have to regain capacity for our military.” He admitted that turning the situation around “will not be cheap,” but urged Congress to consider his $640 billion defense budget outlined in a white paper released last week.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.