Dan Sullivan: National security bill strengthens our country’s withered defense base

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By U.S. SEN. DAN SULLIVAN

This weekend, I traveled home to give my annual address to the Legislature on key issues we’re facing in D.C. that impact our great state. I talked about how the Biden administration continues the attack on Alaska’s economy and access to our lands, with 56 executive orders and actions levied against our state. I’m fighting this war on our state every day.

I also talked about the weakness shown by this administration on national security. Each year since taking office, President Biden’s proposes military budget cuts that shrink the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. In next year’s budget, President Biden will bring the United States below 3% of GDP on military spending, which has only happened a handful of times in the past 80 years. Our military has also never faced such a serious recruiting crisis in its history, and yet, many Biden administration Department of Defense officials focus on woke and social issues that have nothing to do with military readiness and lethality.

This administration’s unserious approach to national security has wide-ranging consequences, including America’s withered defense industrial base—our ability to produce weapons and defend our nation. This vital capacity is a shadow of its former self. This weakness and atrophied defense base couldn’t come at a worse time. We are in the midst of one of the most dangerous times since World War II—a new era of authoritarian aggression. Dictators in China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are on the march, threatening their democratic neighbors, and increasingly working together across the globe to undermine America’s national security and that of our allies. Just this week, we saw reports that the North Korean dictator has shipped 3 million artillery shells to the Putin regime to help him in his brutal invasion of Ukraine.

In recognition of the threats our country faces, I voted earlier this month to advance national security legislation that, first and foremost, strengthens our country’s industrial base. We cannot wait until the bullets start flying to start building up our industrial base. We have to be proactive.

I’ll give you one example: America’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet is one of our greatest asymmetric advantages over China. One of the things that keeps the dictator Xi Jinping up at night is America’s submarine capacity. Yet, 37% of our attack submarine fleet—about 18 subs—is currently in maintenance, or idle and awaiting maintenance. They’re just sitting there because we don’t have the industrial capacity to maintain our submarine base. 

The Senate national security supplemental bill provides $3 billion to build up our submarine capacity. Once this is enacted, it will unlock another $3 billion paid for by our ally, Australia. That is over $6 billion invested in our industrial base for submarines.

But that’s not all. This bill also provides billions of dollars to produce 155-millimeter artillery shells, counter-UAS systems, Patriots, GMLRS, Javelins, Harpoons, Tomahawks, HARMs, TOW missiles—all built by Americans for America’s defense. 

Sixty percent of this bill—over $50 billion—goes directly to manufacturing lines and our own industrial capacity manned by hard-working Americans who are producing weapons and ammunition stocks for the U.S. military and, yes, for our allies—Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine—to purchase, all of whom are facing existential threats.

The United States has never been forced into a war because we were too prepared or too strong. On the other hand, when we’ve been unprepared, there have severe consequences, including the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of American service members. We would be wise to learn from these difficult lessons in our country’s history, and act to prepare for a conflict before one breaks out.

But our national security goes beyond just weapons manufacturing. We also need to address the catastrophe that has engulfed our southern border as a result of the Biden administration’s willful open border policies. I hammer this issue every chance I get, including in my speech to the Legislature last week. It is an unprecedented disaster.

Fentanyl is pouring in and making its way up to our state over four thousand miles away. President Biden is on track to hit over 10 million illegals entering our country during his tenure. Alaskans and Americans are dying because of President Biden’s dereliction of duty.

My colleague, Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, worked on a bill to address border security. However, because he was negotiating against a Democratic Senate Majority and a Democratic White House, the bill just did not go far enough, and I opposed it. How can you trust the same administration that, from day one, deliberately opened the southern border to suddenly enforce new immigration laws? Make no mistake: President Biden could act on our wide-open border at any time. He chooses not to.

I am convinced it will take a new president to seriously address the border crisis, which is one of many crucial reasons why I endorsed Donald Trump.

President Trump, working with a Republican Senate, demonstrated during his term that a great country like the United States is fully capable of doing two very important things at once: securing our border and reinvigorating our defense industrial base. The world was a safer place when America was strong and equipped.

The national security supplemental bill is now being reworked in the House. I believe this bill could be better. I had an amendment in the Senate version to remove direct budget support for Ukraine, which I strongly believe should be the responsibility of our European allies.

Unfortunately, it never got a vote in the Senate. I have encouraged House Republicans to improve the bill with these kinds of provisions, and advance this overdue investment in our own military industrial base.

Alaskans have a unique appreciation of the importance of investing in our military and national security. Our state is on the frontline of defense for the entire country. More than any other state in the Union, Alaska has a critical role to play during these dangerous times. Our lethal military assets are a huge source of American power. These assets must be ready to defend our country and our allies.

Authoritarian dictators in Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow are watching us. Deterrence is not divisible. You can’t show weakness in one part of the world, and strength in another, without jeopardizing America’s security and that of our allies. President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan demonstrated this fact.

The world—and the American people—are not safer when our president shows weakness or when America retreats from its leadership role in the world. 

Throughout my time in the Senate, I have been guided by President Ronald Reagan’s time-tested principle, “peace through strength.” I believe that nothing would do more to chill the tyrannical aims of Putin and Xi than for Republicans and Democrats to come together on a robust, serious investment in our capacity to produce weapons—everything from nuclear-powered submarines to 155mm howitzer rounds—defend our country, and help our allies.

Now is the time act.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, has represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate since he was first elected in 2014. He sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He recently retired from the Marine Corps Reserve after 30 years of service.

28 COMMENTS

  1. So you can give more to Ukraine….Who do you think you’re fooling? This entire article is insulting to every Alaskan, every American. You gave weapons and funding away as you follow a idiotic philosophy of war. All while our border is wide open, illegals murder American citizens and drugs kill our children. You Dan are whats wrong with this country and its my hope we vote in a way that shows the American people Alaska has a sound mind and integrity. A complete do over with the failing Alaskan delegation. Thats the right right answer to you and this ridiculous article.

  2. Swampy, you are missing or ignoring the point.

    The last bill was killed because it did little to actually start securing the border. Without a secure border everything else becomes pointless.
    It favored Ukraine more than us.

    When it collapsed you and yours turned around and voted money to Ukraine without a cent towards the border and our issues.

    Part of the reason we are where we are is because Biden and Congress (including you) have been more obsessed with sending arms to Ukraine than making sure we can spare them. While making maternity flight suits, letting men in uniform wear dresses, and worrying about “white rage”.

    And don’t think we’ve forgotten your support for Haaland.

    In short, Senator, your credibility is low here. Before asking a nation straining under Biden’s “leadership” to pony up money we can’t spare, you gotta make a better case.

    Well listen, if you can.

    Frankly I’m skeptical you can.

  3. Simply put both Sullivan and Murkowski are life long bureaucrats with no real experience in the private sector.

    There conditioned response is founded on this. It teally is time for Alaska to elect private sector experienced individuals.

  4. Blah,blah,blah.
    Can’t you find it in your heart to give some more of our money to Ukraine? Why are you talking about trying to defend America? Don’t you know it’s America last now? Oh yeah, nevermind we’ve seen your actions (or lack thereof) for the past few years, you’re fully aware.

  5. How about we audit the Pentagon and fire half of all colonels and generals. Then we take 50% off the top of their budget.

    Then we can talk. I think we will have their full attention then.

    The military as currently constituted has become a security threat to Americans. The American people need to take back control. Sullivan is part of this corruption. He needs to go too.

  6. Senator,
    All of the money sent to Ukraine could have been spent on updating our military. Americans are tired of almost singularly funding foreign wars. Our inflation is terrible and spending only makes it worse.
    The number one concern for Americans is the southern border. Our hope is the House holds firm on not spending for Ukraine or Israel until we take care of the crisis on the southern border,

  7. Stop it Dan! Just stop it!
    Stop the invasion at our own border then we will talk about the security of other nations.

  8. Come on now. I’m all for a robust defense but really?

    According to the US Senate Armed Services Committee, The 62nd annual NDAA supports a total of $857.9 billion in fiscal year 2023 funding for national defense. Within this top line, the legislation authorizes $816.7 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and $30.3 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy (DOE).

    That is hardly ‘withered’

  9. I want to be fair. How is giving money to the Ukraine help with the border and National Security?

  10. Dan(!) … Here’s a nugget of info, offered to you for free, where your focus should be, on expanding AK907 Strength & Security, providing economic prosperity for America – Americans and Alaska – Alaskans :

    Oil & Gas …
    – Build-Out ANWR
    – Build-Out Willow
    – Westward Expansion including Teshekpuk Lake
    – Pt Thomson NGL Expansion
    – North Slope LNG (new development)
    – North Slope Hydrogen (new development)
    – Develop AK907 North Slope Energy Hub

    Mining …
    – Ambler Mining Area
    – Donlin Gold Mine (new development)
    – Pebble Gold Mine (new development)
    – Livengood Gold Mining Area
    – Fort Knox & North Star (expansion)
    – Pogo Gold Mine
    – Red Dog (expansion)
    – Usibelli Coal Mine
    – New Development of Coal in Northern AK & Susitina
    – Chickaloon (new development … uranium, coal, critical minerals)
    – South East

    Roads …
    – New Build: Ambler Mining District & Industrial Access Road
    – New Build: Donlin Gold Mine & Utility Corridor from Cook Inlet
    – New Build: West Susitna Access Corridor Road
    – New Build: North Slope East-West Resourcce Development & Industrial Complex
    – ReBuild all AK Highway Systems & Bridges

    Rail Roads …
    – New Build: North Slope
    – New Build: AK-Canada Interconnect

    Airports …
    – Upgrade all Runways
    – Upgrade all Maintenance Equipment // Maintenance Equipment Shops & Facilities
    – Install Real Time Weather // Navigation Stations
    – Renovate and upgrade ‘all’ FAA Facilities & Sites

    Utilities …
    – Susitna Dam
    – Buildout GeoThermal sites
    – Start Up Healy Clean Coal Power Plant
    – Pursue Small Scale “Modularized” Nuclear Power Plants
    – Electrical Inter.Connect Rural Communities
    – Fiber Optic Buildout & Interconnect throughout all of Alaska

    Ports (expansion//refurbishment) …
    – Nome
    – Dutch Harbor
    – Whittier
    – Valdez
    – Anchorage
    – Kenai
    – Pt McKenzie
    – South East (Ketchikan, Sitka, Wrangle, Petersburg, Juneau, Haines)

    Timber:
    – Open backup Tongass National Forrest
    – Open backup Timber Mills throughout the Southeast

    US Military Bases …
    – Reinstate Navy Base @ Adak
    – Establish a new Space Force Base
    – Establish a new North Slope Base @ Prudhoe Bay (Over-The-Pole … Watch, Listen & Track Activities w/ Nuclear Missiles and Quick Reactionary ‘Super-Sonic’ Air Forces)
    – Continue Build-Out // Expanding Ft. Greely Missile Field
    – USCG Ice Breaker Fleet based in Adak, Nome & Prudhoe Bay
    – USCG Auxiliary Base in Adak, St. Paul and/or St. George
    – USCG Build-Out // Expand @ Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Homer, Whittier, Valdez, and Juneau
    – Expand USCG Facilities @ Sitka
    – Expand existing facilities and command @ JBER, Ft. Wainwright, Eilson AFB, Ft. Greely, Clear AFB, Shemya AFB

    • This just in Rob. The country is bankrupt. We have no money and adding to debt and inflation will only be a burden passed on to our kids. We have quite enough military. Even in Alaska.

      • JOE … A lot of that list above just needs for the Guv’ment to eliminate the unnecessary regulations, allowing access and expedite permits for development. Basically, the Federal Guv’ment needs to get the hell outta the way!

  11. Sullivan is a war monger without a grasp of economics. China needs the US to buy all the shit they make. They aren’t going to war with their biggest customer. Xi knows that would kill their economy.

    Russia was on its way to being an EU free market ally, supplying EU energy needs. And that would have further eroded the need for NATO. But NATO and Sully’s military industrial complex CEO pals started the Ukraine war to ensure trillon$ of tax payer debt for the military pork trough.

    Any defense bill warmonger Sullivan is for is soaked in corruption and waste. Best thing is for Sullivan to stand down and, hopefully, let Trump clean up the defense mess.

    • You raised good points, Russia had requested to join NATO but was turned down. They were selling cheap, clean and reliable natural gas to Germany until the pipeline was blown up by our military in Danish waters. So much for ecological and climate change concerns. Our “intelligence” services never did figure out who did it. Russia of course! We are to believe instead of simply closing the supply at the first pump station at home the Russians skillfully inserted their special forces in the shallow territorial waters deep in NATO territory and destroyed billions of dollars of their own infrastructure. Reliable energy was an issue hindering Germany’s “green” national suicide plan of de industrialization. We are going to miss those excellent Mauser bolt actions and state of the art engineering. As far as dictators on the rise, the biggest threats to our family is the dictatorship here at home. It is painfully obvious with Biden installed that the executive office holds no power. Abrams tanks are burning (at least one trophy will soon be displayed in Moscow) on the Ukraine steppes, Patriot systems are systematically located and destroyed with ease, and we are unable to design and produce even a primitive version of a hypersonic missile. The Russians have mass produced hypersonic missiles and the S-500 system can take down any we might produce someday. And Sullivan wants to sink trillions more into the hands of our failed military industrial complex. We can’t even stop the Houthis from closing shipping on the Red Sea. We are unable to mass produce 155 mm shells, it would take years of American plus all our vassal European states industry to gear up to produce 10% of current Russian production. After 20 odd years and trillions of dollars paying to mass murder Afghan tribesmen, our military was unable to abandon the money laundering scam in a dignified fashion. Sullivan calling the thug genocidal vassal regime we installed in Ukraine as our ally is insulting. The big guy Biden gets 10% of the blood money sent there to launder, his stooge Sullivan begs to get some crumbs.

  12. Sullivan voted to spend down our military resources on the war in Ukraine, that the US started in 2014. I say Dan needs to strap on a helmet and head over to the front line. Why is it we cannot find good representation in Alaska?

    • Duane, the NYT has of late published stories about the war in the Ukraine. The picture isn’t pretty. Apparently our billion$ have been squandered. The Geniuses at US State ( Vicky Nuland) and CIA along with the inept leadership of NATO with the Kleptocracy of Ukraine have somehow figured out how to lose against Putin despite being fully funded.
      Turns out vast sums of your dollars have not gone to the front but are surely held in securities, probably Swiss.
      Danny boy, unwittingly seems to think that Ameticans want to continue this idiocy.
      Neo-Cons and Democrats love these wars…

  13. The proposed budget for the DoD for FY24 is $842 billion. I’d hate to see what Sullivan believes a “non-withered” budget should look like.

  14. Dan the Man is trying to do damage control now with the help of our local MSM’s and GOP. Don’t be fooled folks. He knows he’s hated by sensible people but has to try to continue the BS. Keep telling this cuck how much you despise his suck up to Mitch politics. Wake up Dan! Mitch is on his way out and so are you.

  15. Ah yes, Deepstate Dan, our Senator from Ohio, who has never met a war (or just the thought of war) he didn’t like. His sponsors in the military industrial complex are getting their dollars’ worth. It would seem that somehow in spending more than the next EIGHT countries on national “defense” the industrial complex should be plenty healthy. Perhaps the Senator missed math class but the country is bankrupt and yet he encourages billions in needless spending for conflicts that we have manufactured. Alaska has produced some pathetic politicians but Sullivan wrapping himself in the flag while sending our military to fight in areas we have zero interest in while increasing spending to his defense buddy cronies is the worst.

  16. Since we’re talking military, how about giving Austin the BOOT for going AWOL. That would stand some Brass at attention.

  17. Sullivan has some kahunas to keep playing in this field when so many know the truth about him prostrating himself at the feet of the globalists. I keep waiting to hear or read about his resignation. Come on Sullivan, all the other traitors are dropping out of politics or switching – looking forward to reading your resignation statement soon!

  18. Wake up Dan! You need to get back to America and Alaska FIRST! Swappin kisses with the Dem from Illinois to save Taiwan, falling in formation like a good Military Industrial Complex Soldier for Ukraine, yet most people in Alaska are paying 3-5 times the national average for electricity, food costs are out of control, the southern boarder is even impacting Alaska (ask FBX and ANC PD). What have you done for Alaskan infrastructure, what have you done for the little people here?? NOTHING, because we aren’t the right pedigree. Get your head out of your wazoo and pay attention to the folks that matter. Alaskans, and Americans. Nobody is falling for your smoke and mirror show.

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