This morning at The Heritage Foundation, Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, sat down with Heritage’s David Addington, Michael Franc, and Stuart Butler to discuss his budget proposal The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise and President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget. The importance of maintaining a strong national defense while confronting the nation’s spending crisis played a prominent part in Ryan’s remarks.

In surveying the state of the U.S. military today and potential threats on the horizon, Ryan said that the President’s defense budget is inadequate. He said that strategic considerations should drive defense budget numbers, not the other way around. Unfortunately, the President’s defense budget, and the defense guidance that preceded it, were both budget-driven exercises.

Ryan expressed concern over end-strength troop reductions, saying that the U.S. has a tendency to draw down its forces after every conflict, leaving the United States ill prepared and ultimately placing our people at risk. Moreover, after 10 years of war and major wear and tear on military equipment, the U.S. military is in dire shape and needs to be “reset.”

Without the necessary reinvestment, Ryan said, the U.S. will not have the technological superiority and capability to compete against any potential adversary. “And other countries are catching up,” he said. “China is putting a lot of investment into their military.” Ryan’s message was simple: It’s time to repair the military, not cut another peace dividend.

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