Senator Wicker Unveils Major Defense Investment Plan – Senator Roger Wicker

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the highest-ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, released a significant defense investment plan to rebuild the U.S. military and defense industrial base for a generation.

The emerging Axis of Aggressors is undermining U.S. interests across the globe and our current defense investment does not meet the moment. Our defense industrial base is underfunded and unprepared for the wars of today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future. 

In recent years, Senator Wicker has advanced major legislative efforts to enhance our military preparedness. He has also issued warnings to highlight the crisis in American defense planning and offered solutions for what we should do next. This blueprint released today builds on these recommendations by laying out how the United States could further invest in a national defense renewal that puts us on a wartime footing immediately.

Senator Wicker’s analysis concludes that to meet the current and emerging global threats, the annual defense budget needs to grow to five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over time. This proposal, Senator Wicker notes in the report, is both consistent with historical defense spending during periods of great power rivalry, as well as crucial to maintaining a technical edge over adversaries in multiple theaters. It is also in response to recent expert findings that the Chinese Communist Party spends more than the United States on defense.

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Titled “21st Century Peace Through Strength: A Generational Investment in the U.S. Military”, Senator Wicker’s report provides exact recommendations about where the Department of Defense, the executive branch, and Congress need to work together to accelerate the development of new capabilities and build up existing ones. These recommendations encompass a wide array of platforms, domains, and strategic concepts across more than 20 focus areas.

Read the executive summary of “21st Century Peace Through Strength” here.

In 2023, Senator Wicker took to the U.S. Senate floor and spoke in committee hearings repeatedly to discuss the worsening state of deterrence for our Navy, nuclear forces, in the Indo-Pacific, in Africa and in Europe. In recent years, Senator Wicker has published a series of national op-eds outlining challenges with submarine production, force planning, growing cooperation between adversaries, and strategic force development. Common among all of these efforts was one central theme: The defense industrial base is not where it needs to be.

Listed below are some of the key recommendations of the report in each major area. Read the report in full here.

Rebuilding the Arsenal of Democracy

  • Eliminate munitions purchases below maximum production rate unless munitions are above Total Munitions Requirement levels
  • Pursue alternative munitions production lines to increase short-term capacity
  • Create requirements for Foreign Military Sales/Presidential Drawdown Authority stockpile reserves
  • Fortify the munitions supplier base with special attention to energetics and component manufacturers

Proliferating Integrated Air and Missile Defense

  • Field Guam Defense System as soon as possible
  • Reverse decision to cancel SM-3 Block IB interceptor
  • Surge capacity in existing U.S. production lines while exploring optionality in other systems like NASAMS, FrankenSAM, and others
  • Revise and refit lower-altitude air defense to counter UAS across the services

Raising the Alarm on Contested Logistics

  • Establish biennial contested logistics exercises for TRANSCOM
  • Vastly expand prepositioning program in Pacific theater, including multiple regional contingency stockpiles
  • Drastically expand purchases of Navy, Army, and contracted sealift
  • Create crash-program for reloading vertical launch at sea
  • Fund new experimentation in innovative tactical-level logistics capabilities

Defense Production Act

  • Execute on $5.2 billion backlog of DPA projects, including a comprehensive munitions program and additional work on microelectronics, castings and forgings, and biomanufacturing
  • Reform DPA to focus on defense industrial base, update/improve authorities, and expand workforce

INDOPACOM & USFK Hardening

  • Use Secretary of Defense bishop’s fund technique to prioritize posture-related initiatives in the Western Pacific
  • Modernize INDOPACOM command-and-control and improve interoperability with key allies and partners

Surging Support for Taiwan and the Philippines, Work with South Korea & Japan

  • Accelerate military modernization, including the procurement and employment of asymmetric capabilities for Taiwan and the Philippines
  • Consider new nuclear-sharing agreements in the Indo-Pacific and re-deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula 

Strengthening U.S. Capability in Europe

  • Permanently base an Armored Brigade Combat Team in Poland
  • Increase rotational deployments for U.S. forces in Eastern Europe

Empower CENTCOM Partners

  • Loosen constraints on partner nations in the Gulf for Foreign Military Sales to boost their military capabilities
  • Field true counter-drone network at U.S. operating locations; integrate allies and partners into U.S. command-and-control network

New Vectors of Competition in AFRICOM & SOUTHCOM

  • Aggressively pursue U.S. private capital partnerships to blunt Chinese and Russian influence in the respective regions
  • Maintain vital security assistance and training programs with partner countries

Reviving Homeland Defense

  • Complete modernization of Cold War-era air defense radar network and build counter-UAS defenses at key U.S. defense sites
  • Budget for border deployments and expand Joint Task Force North (JTF-N) 

Restoring U.S. Navy Supremacy, Fleet Readiness

  • Get industrial base on a footing to deliver a 355-ship fleet
  • Strengthen shipyard capacity to get submarine industrial base to three attack submarines per year
  • Create large-scale industrial base program for surface combatant industrial base
  • Establish preliminary design for guided missile patrol coastal craft; lock in multi-year procurement for amphibious warships
  • Accelerate unmanned underwater vessels and unmanned surface vessels procurement

Correcting the U.S. Air Force ‘Death Spiral’

  • Reverse retirement of F-15E and F-22 fighters; purchase at least 340 more fighter aircraft in next 5 years
  • Accelerate B-21 bomber and E-2D Hawkeye production
  • Expand requirements for the Collaborative Combat Aircraft program

Accelerate U.S. Army Transformation

  • Adopt lessons from war in Ukraine and field new air defense and counter-UAS units
  • Accelerate frontline capability development for the Western Pacific with long-range munitions and command-and-control upgrades
  • Lighten traditional maneuver forces for variety of contingencies

Finalize U.S. Marine Corps Force Design 2030 Success

  • Accelerate competition of Force Design 2030
  • Encourage major USMC investments in sophisticated contested logistics

Counter Chinese “Strategic Breakout” in Space with U.S. Space Force

  • Accelerate fielding of layered, networked satellite architecture across capability areas
  • Harden ground stations and underlying infrastructure
  • Procure at scale classified programs in development

Modernize Cyber Command & Special Operations Command

  • Improve hiring authorities, enhance S&T budget for CYBERCOM
  • Reverse manpower and budget cuts to Special Operations Forces and energize modernization of SOF capabilities for great power competition

Comprehensive Support for Nuclear Modernization, Air & Missile Defense

  • Declare the revitalization of nuclear forces as a “national priority” to marshal whole-of-government support for modernizing and adapting U.S. nuclear forces to meet rapidly growing strategic threats
  • Restart comprehensive domestic uranium enrichment to enable AUKUS and nuclear force sustainment

Modernize Defense Infrastructure

  • Prioritize real growth in military construction and maintenance portfolio to secure upgrades for hangars, ports, barracks, and working spaces
  • Widely adopt 5G at defense installations for data processing efficiency

Establish Fundamental Defense Workforce and Innovation Reforms

  • Improve the DoD civilian workforce by emphasizing rapid hiring, competitive compensation, individual performance, and accountability
  • Shift innovation and acquisition infrastructure to time-based approach
  • Create dedicated financial strategies to support mid-sized defense innovators

 

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