Since taking the helm of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee at the beginning of the 113th Congress, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) has made his chief priority clear — reversing the armed forces’ readiness crisis.
Wittman believes that strategy must drive the budget for defense, and not the other way around. He has said that the nation should not attempt to solve its fiscal issues on the backs of its all-volunteer force.
His panel’s portion of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill helps to mitigate some of the cancellations in training, equipment maintenance and other operations DOD has been forced to implement due to sequestration. Perhaps the most significant language in the measure would prohibit the department from planning for or carrying out a new base closure round. The legislation also focuses on the need to address encroachment to ensure the military has full use of its installations and training ranges.
Shipbuilding and Naval Station Norfolk also are significant priorities for Wittman, whose district includes parts of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
The four-term congressman focuses on issues affecting military families as well. In April, he introduced the Military Spouses Job Continuity Act to help military spouses more easily re-enter the workforce by providing a tax credit to offset the cost of renewing or reapplying for a professional license after moving to a new state. The legislation is designed to benefit spouses in fields such as education and health care.
For his important leadership role protecting America’s national security and supporting the communities that are home to its military installations, ADC is awarding Wittman one of its inaugural Congressional Leadership awards. Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next week during the Defense Communities National Summit.