“North Carolinians are justifiably proud of their record of service to our nation. Whenever America is called to action, chances are North Carolina’s men and women in uniform lead the way. North Carolina is the home to America’s Global Response Force. The most decorated unit in the Armed Forces — the 82nd Airborne Division, America’s Guard of Honor — stands watch at Fort Bragg. North Carolina is home to forty five percent of the entire Marine Corps while 11,000 North Carolinians man the National Guard. North Carolina’s 130th Aviation Regiment was the first of the Guard units to engage the enemy in Afghanistan.
“By 2020, one in nine North Carolinians will be a veteran. We have been the tip of the spear, and under Donald Trump’s plan to rebuild our military we will see an even greater investment in our citizens, communities, and installations. In an increasingly dangerous world, Donald Trump has demonstrated the vision our country and North Carolina need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.” – U.S. Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
MEMO: Donald J. Trump’s Comprehensive Defense Proposal Will Benefit North Carolina
FROM: Alexander Gray, Senior Military Advisor
TO: Interested Parties
Over a ten year period, the Obama-Clinton Administration has initiated cuts to America’s national defense totaling about $780 billion. Not only has this recklessness, particularly defense sequestration, resulted in the most serious readiness crisis in over a generation, it has also contributed to historic lows in our force structure. The Army is the smallest it has been since before World War II; the Navy is the smallest since World War I; and the Air Force is the smallest, and with the oldest aircraft, in its history. The Marine Corps, stretched thin by fifteen years of constant ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, requires urgent recapitalization and reequipping to meet new challenges.
Nowhere is our depleted force structure and degraded readiness more apparent than in North Carolina, home to some of the country’s most critical installations for multiple military services. Home to some 750,000 veterans, the Tar Heel State has a proud tradition of service to our nation and appreciates firsthand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make and have made, as well as the problems our services’ struggle with today.
Donald Trump has proposed the most comprehensive program to rebuild our depleted military since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. His plan, endorsed recently by 35 of the country’s most respected and experienced defense and military experts, begins by immediately working with Congress on a bipartisan basis to lift the sequestration on our defense budget. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has been silent on the crisis facing the U.S. military – these steep defense cuts were initiated while she was Secretary of State — Mr. Trump has laid out specific goals for expanding each military service to meet today’s threats.
Under a Trump Administration, the U.S. Army will expand to 540,000 active personnel, which the Army’s Chief of Staff says is the bare minimum needed to execute current missions. Our Marine Corps, now at 27 battalions, will grow to 36. Given growing challenges to American air superiority, our Air Force will grow to 1,200 modern fighter aircraft. And our Navy will build toward 350 ships, as recommended by the bipartisan National Defense Panel.
NorthCarolina will be at the forefront of every stage of this historic rebuilding effort. Fort Bragg, home of the Army’s Special Operations Command and the historic XVIII Airborne Corps, including the 82nd Airborne Division, will expand its role as a hub for projecting U.S. power into Europe and the Middle East. As the Army expands from roughly 490,000 troops today to an active end strength of 540,000 under Mr. Trump’s plan, additional Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) will be stood up at key locations like Fort Bragg. As has been shown so often during the last fifteen years, our Army’s Special Operations forces are indispensable in modern warfare against asymmetric threats like ISIS and other Islamist militants. Mr. Trump will expand our investment in these units so we never lose the wealth of hard-won experience these soldiers have acquired since 9/11.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is another example of how NorthCarolina provides crucial assets across the whole spectrum of critical U.S. missions. Air Combat Command’s 4th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 916th Air Refueling Wing provide essential, East Coast-based capabilities to respond to worldwide threats. As Iran acquires advanced anti-aircraft missiles, Mr. Trump’s plan to procure advanced, modern fighters for our Air Force in the quantity we need will directly impact units like the 4th Fighter Wing. His commitment to comprehensively restoring Air Force readiness means refueling and maintenance units will get everything they need to execute their missions.
As the Marine Corps’ main East Coast base, Camp Lejeune will see significant force structure increases as the Marine Corps expands to Mr. Trump’s goal of 36 battalions. Given the Corps’ multiple key missions, this expansion is necessary to recapitalize from the Obama-era cuts and fifteen years of high-tempo deployments and combat. Camp Lejeune will remain one of the Marines’ principal hubs and a locus of Mr. Trump’s rebuilding of the Marine Corps.
Mr. Trump’s defense plans represent a truly national effort, involving every state and communities across the country. He will harness NorthCarolina know-how, NorthCarolina materials, and North Carolina hands to rebuild our military and provide for the national security of the United States. In this truly historic effort, NorthCarolina will have a major role reflecting its unique history at the center of American national defense.