McCain Will Push to Increase Defense Spending

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will offer an amendment to the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to increase military spending above the current caps, he said Thursday. McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his amendment will “reverse short-sighted cuts to modernization, restore military readiness, and give our service members the support they need and deserve,” he said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. McCain noted that the Air Force is short 700 pilots and 4,000 maintainers, saying “it is so bad that airmen are stealing parts” from the boneyard in Arizona “just to get their planes back into combat.” McCain said he is not sure whether his amendment will pass, but stressed that the Senate “must have this debate, and senators must choose a side.” The defense budget proposed by the Pentagon, which adheres to the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, is $17 billion less than what the DOD planned for last year, McCain said. “As threats grow, and the operational demands on our military increase, defense spending in constant dollars is decreasing. How does that make any sense?” he asked.