SEPTEMBER 06, 2020 09:00 AM

Growing up in Warner Robins, I saw firsthand the incredible role that Georgia plays in America’s national defense. I remember seeing B-52s and KC-135s taking off from Robins Air Force Base to protect our country during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

To this day, Georgia is the backbone of our military’s readiness. Georgia bases are at the forefront of our military’s boldest innovations and have proactively adapted their missions to fit our future defense needs.

Fort Benning is home to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, developing critical strategies to ensure every mission is successful.

Robins Air Force Base will be home of the new Advanced Battle Management System, a state-of-the-art command and control system that will provide critical capability to the Joint Force.

Kings Bay is one of just two ballistic missile submarine bases in the country, a critical piece of our nuclear triad. It will also be the first base in the country to receive the new state-of-the-art Columbia-class submarine.

These are the kinds of world-class innovations that will help us continue standing up to Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other complex threats around the world.

Georgia’s nine military installations are not only important to our national defense strategy, but they also support quality jobs and economic opportunity across our state, contributing $20 billion to our economy every year. For example, my hometown of Warner Robins is booming right now, thanks in large part to the growth of Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, the largest single-site industrial complex in the state of Georgia.

As Robins took on new work assignments, the Middle Georgia community stepped up and found innovative ways to support Robins’ growth. To grow the workforce, Robins hired and onboarded 1,200 new employees in under 12 months. They launched public-private partnerships to ensure a steady pipeline of qualified technicians into the future.

Working with President Trump, we’ve taken action to rebuild our military after years of disinvestment. The last two Democratic administrations cut military spending by 25%. Clinton did it, Biden and Obama did it. America withdrew from the world stage, and the rest of the world took notice.

Today, we’re reengaging with our allies, modernizing our forces, and developing new technologies. With nine military installations and dozens of defense contractors and suppliers in our state, Georgia has directly benefited from this reinvestment.

If you believe in a strong America, if you want to counter threats from our adversaries, then we have to continue rebuilding our military. We cannot go back to the days when readiness was decimated and our military communities were put under intense strain. The world is simply too dangerous to allow that to happen again.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’m committed to ensuring that our women and men in uniform and their families always have the support they need. If we continue to invest in our state’s military capabilities, then Georgia will always be America’s first, best line of defense.