Ensuring our national defense is one of my most important responsibilities. I am dedicated to assuring that our armed services have all that they need to protect our citizens and preserve our liberties.
As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, I am deeply involved in the oversight of our military and providing adequate funding of our armed forces. This is critical not just for our country, but for our Hawai‘i which is the center of our defense efforts in the vast Indo-Pacific. Through my Appropriations Committee and otherwise, I am focused on supporting Hawaii’s military installations, ensuring our servicemembers have all the training and equipment they need to fulfill their missions, and assuring a good quality of life for them and their families.
Supporting Hawaii’s Military Installations
Military installations in Hawai‘i play a crucial role in keeping the U.S. safe and protecting our national interests worldwide, especially given the shift in our national security strategies and resources to the Indo-Pacific. The First Congressional District of Hawai‘i alone includes many major military facilities, including Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Fort Shafter, Camp H.M. Smith, Tripler Medical Center Army Base and Fort DeRussy. It is also the home of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Pacific Air Forces and Special Operations Command Pacific. These military facilities and commands directly employ approximately 30,000 active duty personnel, civilians and contractors. Statewide, the direct and indirect impacts of military expenditures generate nearly $15 billion in Hawaii’s economy, creating more than 100,000 jobs for those who live in our islands.
Maintaining a Capable Military
For our military to remain the best in the world, it must have up-to-date equipment and state-of-the-art technology. I am committed to making the investments needed to defend our nation against evolving threats and prepare for future challenges. This especially includes programs and organizations that are closely linked to our Hawai‘i, such as the Hawai‘i National Guard and the research programs conducted by high-tech businesses and universities in Hawai‘i.
Caring for Military Personnel and Their Families
We must ensure that our Armed Forces remain the finest in the world, which begins with investing in our servicemembers and supporting their families. I have supported pay increases for our troops and improving their benefits.
In addition, I am committed to ensuring that when we deploy our troops, they know we will care for their spouses and children. Through my appropriations subcommittee assignment, I have conducted oversight over the Department of Defense’s management of military housing and other activities throughout Hawai’i, our country and overseas. I have also advocated for and was able to secure $1.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2021 to fund the construction, operation and maintenance of family housing projects. The additional funds above the initial budget request helped address long-standing issues affecting our servicemembers’ quality of life.