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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio calls for '21 Century' military

5

November

In a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday, Marco Rubio called for a more robust military and asserted he has “the record of judgment, the breadth of experience, and the quality of leadership” to lead the world’s most powerful nation.

“We cannot survive the global perils of the 21st century with a military built for the 20th,” Rubio said. “Yet that is exactly what bad policymaking and a badly strained defense budget are forcing us to attempt. The last seven years should be all the evidence we need that it isn’t working. The world has become more dangerous while America has become less prepared. The threats to our security have widened while our president’s vision has narrowed.

Rubio outlined an extensive plan to "restore military strength" but did not say how much it would cost.

Restore Military Strength

    Work to return to Secretary Gates’ fiscal year 2012 budget baseline over the course of his first term and begin to undo the damage caused by $1 trillion in indiscriminate defense cuts.
    Plug critical operations and maintenance shortfalls, restore military readiness through accelerated training and exercises, and make targeted investments in urgent modernization priorities.
    Build a “full spectrum” force able to maintain security simultaneously in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Recapitalize the Navy

    Immediately begin to increase the size of the Navy to a minimum of 323 ships by 2024.
    Work with our allies in Asia to forward deploy a second aircraft carrier in the Pacific while increasing the carrier force from 10 to 12.
    Restore continuous, credible naval combat power to the Mediterranean Sea. 
    Build the new Ohio-class Replacement (ORP) ballistic submarine to ensure a credible and survivable 21st century strategic deterrent.
    Build at least two attack submarines every year to preserve America's undersea dominance amid intensifying naval competition.
    Fully integrate the F-35B and push ahead with development of a new amphibious-assault vehicle.
    Build an amphibious fleet of 38 ships (from today's 30) to meet the Marine Corps wartime lift requirement.
    Reverse reductions to the operating status of 11 of our 22 current cruisers.
    Replenish depleted inventories of critical munitions while accelerating development and procurement of new advanced strike and anti-ship missiles.
    Fully fund Navy-Marine Corps maintenance and modernization accounts.

Modernize the Air Force

    Invest in better Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities at the theater and strategic levels.
    Prioritize returning Air Force readiness to pre-Obama levels.
    Accelerate F-35A procurement.
    Develop and field the Long Range Strike Bomber capable of both conventional and nuclear missions to replace our current aging fleet of B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers.
    Reposture the tactical Air Force for increased presence in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia.
    Ensure that the KC-46 tanker program stays on track to replace the aging KC-135 fleet.
    Ensure development of the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon.

Strengthen the Ground Forces

    Reverse the current cuts and maintain the Marine Corps and the Army at their pre-9/11 end-strengths of 182,000 and 490,000 respectively.
    Strengthen international partnerships to reduce the need to deploy ground troops.
    Work to return a corps headquarters to Europe and station additional BCTs in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression.
    Reexamine the Army’s mobility and prepositioning to respond to crises in the Pacific.
    Continue to invest in Army Special Operations capabilities to remain at the cutting edge of the continuing war on terrorism.
    Maintain the Army's proficiency across the full spectrum of war in order to combat state actors, defeat non-state threats, and shape the security environment to America's advantage.
    Revamp the Army’s acquisition system and specifically look at options to modernize its aging vehicle and helicopter fleets.

Reform Military Personnel and Benefits

    Reform the military benefit structure and military career paths and specializations to attract and retain high quality personnel to the military, while preserving a sustainable balance between training and procurement needs.
    Continue recent efforts to reform military retirement, education, and healthcare on the basis of the recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
    Ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs is accountable and that our veterans have access to the best treatment possible when they return from the battlefield.

Transform the Pentagon Bureaucracy

    Optimize the Pentagon workforce by shrinking the Pentagon bureaucracy and achieving the correct balance between uniformed personnel, civilians, and contractors.
    Facilitate a more-technologically agile and adaptable workforce that can leverage technological evolution.

    Develop fellowship programs in the private sector for defense department personnel to renew skills to comport with industry standards.

Overhaul the Acquisition Process

    Streamline the acquisition process to prevent costly mistakes, hold private contractors accountable, and field top of the line technology to future warfighters.
    Remove barriers and strengthen exemptions for commercial acquisitions allowing the Pentagon to leverage cutting edge commercial technology, such as data analytics, cloud computing, 3-D printing, and robotics.

Modernize Missile Defense for the 21st Century

    Expand missile defense by speeding up deployment of interceptors in Europe, deploying a third site in the United States, and ensuring that advanced programs are adequately funded.
    Work interoperably with allies on missile defense – we should encourage the spread of missile defense technology as a solution to the spread of ballistic and cruise missiles.
    Increase the Missile Defense Agency’s Research & Development budget and create a rapid-fielding office to focus on fielding directed energy weapons, railguns, UAV-enabled defenses, and other means to defeat a threat missile across its entire flight trajectory.

Modernize and Protect Strategic Assets

    Ensure continued freedom of access to space in the face of a potential adversary’s development of anti-satellite missiles.
    Modernize the nuclear arsenal and stop the Obama administration’s proposed cuts to the nuclear arsenal.
    Pursue arms control only when it is in America’s interest and when prospective negotiating partners comply with their commitments to us.

Innovation for the 21st Century

    Ensure U.S. military technological superiority by prioritizing key areas of defense technology that will counter those adversaries and competitors seeking to undermine our military predominance.
    Improve anti-submarine capabilities; procure advanced air warfare capabilities; sustain our advantage in precision strike from land, air, and sea; and invest in electronic warfare capabilities.
    Expand the use of rapid acquisition processes for key innovative technologies.

Posture the Force for the Cyber Era

    Improve cyber defense capabilities by hardening DoD systems and examining the sourcing of our weapons components.
    Outline a declaratory policy so our adversaries understand the consequences of attacking our computer systems.
    Improve offensive cyber capabilities and ensure that Cyber Command cyber mission forces have the tools and authorities to perform the cyber offensive mission.
    Better integrate cyber threats and cyber aspects of modern warfare in training, doctrine, and exercises across the combatant commands.
    Ensure that the cyber threat is appropriately prioritized by all services; study whether cyber should be its own service rather than a mission of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2015 11:49am]

    

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