Military Times| April 24, 2017
American leadership against the forces of evil is once again on display. President Trump’s decision to both strike Assad’s regime following the use of chemical weapons and target an ISIS network in Afghanistan with significant military might recognizes that in a world of growing threats, we need strong assets. That requires substantive support and investment in military readiness.
Both of these successful missions, carried out by military professionals, trace back to a military installation nestled in the heart of the Mojave Desert that produces vital resources to defend of our nation. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is representative of the type of work needed to keep our country safe.
Research and development of technology and weaponry used in the air, at sea and on the battlefield do not often carry the public profile that can typically drive policy decisions. However, this work is crucial to a strong and effective national defense.
On April 6, 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles were launched from U.S. ships in the Mediterranean Sea to successfully carry out an airstrike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime following an April 4 chemical attack on civilians. The Tomahawk was developed on the China Lake base in 1983 and has played a crucial role in military achievements since the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Evolution of the technology has continued on the base, and developers have created four styles used for precision and flexible targeting. China Lake is not only home to research, development, testing and evaluation of the Tomahawk, but also 13 other missiles and free-fall weapons such as the Hellfire, Sidewinder and Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missiles.
China Lake is also a critical source of testing for weapons used in the fight against ISIS fighters. Most notably, the Massive Ordnance Air Bomb, or MOAB, used to target ISIS-Khorasan in northeastern Afghanistan on April 13 was tested at the site in 2003. The MOAB and Tomahawk airstrike are demonstrations of China Lake’s incredible contributions to America’s defense.
None of this would be possible without continued support and funding for the vital programs at China Lake and throughout the country. It is my priority as China Lake’s congressional representative and House Majority Leader to provide the resources to sustain operations moving forward.
That is why the House, through the work of Chairman Mac Thornberry and the House Armed Services Committee, passed a bill to fund our military earlier this year. The House and Senate are looking to pass into law a larger package that would include this increased support for our military.
Our world is becoming increasingly unsafe with volatile leaders jockeying for leverage and intimidation. One of the time-tested counters to acts of aggression is American military strength and readiness. It is our duty in Congress to provide the resources to secure peace and freedom.
I am confident of the path ahead, and will work to keep the mission and secure our global leadership.