Tom Cotton Calls for More Defense Spending, Modernization

Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton / AP

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said in an interview with Real Clear Defense that the United States needs to ramp up its defense spending and maintain and modernize its military force.

Real Clear Defense reporter Harry Kazianis asked Cotton about an interview Cotton gave to the Washington Free Beacon regarding defense spending.

Cotton said defense spending levels need to increase from the current $611 billion. He told Real Clear Defense he wants Congress to "enable the Department of Defense to engage in a true threat- and strategy-based budgeting process so we can have a real assessment of what our military needs."

Cotton, who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, gave several examples of investments the U.S. military could make to remain functional.

"Our Navy and our Air Force both have very strong modernization needs," Cotton said. The Air Force has an aging bomber fleet that needs to be replaced. The F-35 joint strike fighters also face problems.

The Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet is also aging and in need of replacement.

Cotton also urged investment in unmanned aerial vehicles as well as cyber and space capabilities.

Special Operations forces, which are key in low-level insurgency fights the military has faced in recent years, need more investment across the services, Cotton said.