Ready or Not: A Strategy for an Effective U.S. Military | Wilson Center
6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Ready or Not: A Strategy for an Effective U.S. Military

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

The United States Military: Thoughts From Sen. John Cornyn on a Strategy for the 21st Century 

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who serves as Majority Whip, the second-highest ranking position in the Senate Republican Conference, spoke today at the Wilson Center about a strategy for strengthening the US military in a way that keeps pace with evolving threats. He discussed the topic with Center President and Director Jane Harman, a former Member of Congress, and an audience that included members of the Wilson Center’s Board of Directors. The full webcast is available for viewing.

Key Quotes

John Cornyn

“What is unique today is the range and complexity of the problems we face, as well as the scale of the problems we face.”

“Never before has our country been at war for such an extended period of time and never before have we had to do this with an all-volunteer military force stressed by repeated deployments.”

“I believe the United States is at a crossroads when it comes to meeting the diverse threats that we face today, while simultaneously preparing for the ever-evolving future threats headed our way tomorrow.”

“Even if ISIS forces are pushed back in Iraq, the ideology spreads like a contagion through their so-called ‘cyber-caliphate,’ and continues to permeate the West and attract the vulnerable and disillusioned.”

“To address these threats, to maintain the peace, and fight if we must, we have to maintain a capable, ready, and modern military, and the truth is, we’re not ready. And while I believe America will always rise to the challenges, once roused from our national complacency, it makes a dangerous world even more dangerous.”

“U.S. military readiness and modernization, already under great stress and stretched thin around the world, has suffered under 15 years of continued operations, budgetary restrictions, and deferred investment that’s led to real consequences to our military.” 

“At a time when growing national security threats require more investment in technology, we’re tying the hands of our military and hoping for the best.” 

“I hope we capitalize around this moment and rally around a bipartisan commitment to a strong, modern military that’s non-negotiable and to lay the foundation for a military that will continue to keep our nation safe for generations. I’m committed to working with anybody who is willing to do that and who shares these goals.” 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in North Korea…but I’m hopeful, and I would daresay, Congress will be insistent on being involved in that process…I agree with the general proposition that it’s really important to get Congress, and through Congress, the American people, behind our military when we are putting them in harm’s way." 

“Both readiness and modernization have been encumbered by the lack of coherent national security strategy, as well as blanket restrictions placed onto discretionary defense spending. Too often modernization is pushed to the side by myopic views of how to deal with our financial challenges, which place a greater risk on…our collective security. You better believe our enemies, not hamstrung by red tape and regulations, take full advantage of our reluctance to deal with this on a bipartisan basis.”

Jane Harman

“An effective strategy includes both soft and hard power, [with] soft power projected by diplomacy and development, which are the activities of our State Department.  But strategy, in my view,  also should involve Congress.”

“When you think about the risks of offensive cyber, we really have to think in different ways about what capabilities we are going to use.”


04-26-2017 Ready or Not: A Strategy for an Effective U.S. Military