One of the greatest honors I have had is to have worn the uniform of our country as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and Iowa Army National Guard.
As a veteran, and in my role as a United States Senator and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee—I remain committed to ensuring our men and women in uniform are provided with the tools to defend our nation and preserve our values. My mission is to ensure we keep faith with those at the tip of the spear of our defense policies—the young men and women of our all-volunteer military. This means ensuring our servicemembers have the best equipment and training available to fight and win, establish missions with clear and achievable objectives, and ensure we have senior leaders who hold their subordinate leaders accountable in maintaining the honor and values of the uniform they wear.
I also believe we must work with our willing partners around the globe to enhance our national security, and the security of our allies, such as Israel. In order to counter transnational terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), deter Russian and Iranian aggression, and check a rising China, it is vital we build partner capacity, and have our partners share the burden of improving global stability in an era where we face such great challenges.
During the 114th Congress, a few highlights of my work to meet these objectives include:
- Provided the President with the legal authority, if the President finds the Government of Iraq is not increasing its political inclusiveness, to directly arm the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, in coordination with the Iraqi government, to fight ISIS.
- Legislative language stressing the need to improve military intelligence support around the world to protect our servicemembers, their families, and our diplomatic facilities.
- Improved the Clay Hunt SAV Act pilot program by requiring outreach of the VA’s community-based veteran peer support network to our wounded, ill, and injured service members, as well as all service members within 180 days of leaving service. This provision will ensure the VA will be proactive, instead of reactive, with its outreach to those who have sacrificed for our nation on this important mental health pilot program.
- Required a joint report to the Senate Armed Services Committee from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy, a plan to jointly modernize Army and Marine Corps small arms weapons during a 15-year period.
- Provided new or current leases on Army Ammunition Plants, under the Army’s ARMS initiative, the option of extending a 25-year lease for an additional 25-year period. This provision will attract and retain greater investment, reduce facility sustainment cost, and provide a boost to some local communities - including the Des Moines County Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.
- A provision which extends the National Guard State Partnership Program for five years.
Click the links below to read more about my efforts to help secure and defend our great nation.