The brave men and women serving this country deserve not only our gratitude, but also strong benefits including a living wage and health care for themselves and their families. This support should include providing the best equipment, much of which is manufactured in Connecticut. At the same time, the decision of whether to go to war is the most solemn decision a Member of Congress makes, and our troops deserve thoughtful consideration of when, where and how to deploy our military to meet our security challenges.
Supporting Connecticut’s Defense Industrial Base
From early 19th century production of firearms to today’s manufacturing of helicopters, jet engines, submarines, and more, Connecticut has always played a central role in providing our troops with the equipment they need. Defense manufacturing today is a critical source of high skilled jobs in Connecticut’s Third District.
Rosa has always supported defense programs that maintain jobs in Connecticut, including the Black Hawk, Marine One Presidential, Combat Rescue and CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter programs, as well as the procurement of engines for the C-17, F-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and other aircraft. Rosa as been an advocate for the Joint Strike Fighter primary engine, with testing and assembly of that engine taking place in Middletown, and played a lead role in terminating the alternate engine program.
Rosa is also a leader in ensuring that our military is procuring American-made equipment. She fought for re-bids of contracts for both the Marine One and Air Force Aerial Refueling Tanker originally awarded to European companies. The final Tanker contract was awarded to a U.S. company which will create jobs in Connecticut and the Marine One is now scheduled to be re-bid.
Rosa is also fighting to end the Defense Department’s no-bid purchases of helicopters for the Afghan Security Forces from the Russian state arms dealer Rosoboronexport. That firm is providing weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allowing the regime to commit atrocities against innocent men, women and children. Rosa successfully led an amendment to the 2013 Defense Authorization bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from entering into such contracts and requiring any such future contract to be competitively bid.
Ending the War in Afghanistan
Our combat troops, including service members from Connecticut, have now been in Afghanistan for over ten years. Over two thousand brave American men and women have perished in what has become the longest war in our history. Their sacrifice, hard work, and dedication have resulted in the weakening of Al Qaeda, and Osama Bin Laden has been brought to justice. Rosa believes it is time to bring our military involvement in Afghanistan to an end.
President Obama and NATO leaders announced an end to combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013, and a transition of military control to the Afghans in 2014. Rosa believes we should expedite our troops’ return and speed up the transition to having Afghans in charge of Afghanistan. She supports legislation requiring a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan by ending combat operations while providing for a safe and orderly withdrawal from the country.
Rosa believes we can protect the American people with a smaller military footprint in Afghanistan. Rather than spending $130 billion a year rebuilding Afghanistan, our long-term position and security in the world will be most enhanced if we focus on investing in jobs and rebuilding the American economy.