My fellow Americans,
I’m joining you today from the deck of what will be our Nation’s newest aircraft carrier, the soon-to-be commissioned Gerald R. Ford, and as you can see, I’m wearing a jacket and a hat that they just gave me. Not really used to it, but it feels awfully good – I’m very proud of it actually.
Our carriers are the centerpiece of American military might, projecting power and our totally unparalleled strength at sea.
This beautiful new warship represents the future of naval aviation, and she will serve as a cornerstone of our national defense for decades and decades to come.
A famous aviator once wrote that, to build a truly great ship, we shouldn’t begin by gathering wood, cutting boards, or distributing work, but instead by awakening within the people a “desire for the vast and endless sea.” So true.
In the same way, we must continue to renew the American spirit in order to rebuild our country, and rebuild it we will.
On Tuesday, before a Joint Session [of] Congress, I laid out a vision – I hope you all watched – for how to accomplish that national rebuilding.
My vision includes the elimination of the defense sequester, which has imposed steep cuts on our military.
We must give our sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen the tools, equipment, resources and training they need to get the job done, and get it done right – especially in these very dangerous times.
The active duty Army has been reduced by more than 85,000 men since 2009, and we have over 18,000 fewer active duty marines.
The Air Force, it’s the smallest it has been since 1947, and their planes are, on average, nearly thirty years old, if you can believe that.
Our Navy’s fleet is the smallest it has been since World War I, and that’s a long time ago.
Frontline Navy and Marine strike fighter aircraft are more likely to be down for maintenance than to be in the sky.
We cannot afford to continue down this path. My budget will give America’s armed forces the resources they need to achieve full and total military preparedness to meet any and all global challenges – and meet them, we will.
Investing in the military means investing in peace – because the best way to prevent war, as George Washington said, is to be prepared for it.
Most importantly, an investment in the military is an investment in the incredible men and women who serve our country in uniform. They are the best of us. They are the greatest force for peace and justice the world has ever known – and we will support them every single step of the way.
These are truly exciting times. Amazing opportunities are unfolding before us – to strengthen our military, to reboot our economy, and to bring back our jobs. If we all work together, and put our country first, then anything is possible. Let us seize this moment and make the most of this incredible opportunity for national renewal.
May God bless the men and women of our military, and may God bless the United States of America, the country we love.