My district is home to two military installations that are vital to our national defense: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, which is one of our nation’s leading tactical command centers, and Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, which provides our service members with some of the best intelligence operations training in the world.
Tucson is also the proud home of the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, just outside the lines of my district, where many F-16 pilots from around the world are trained. These bases and the work of the many service members, civilian personnel and Southern Arizona’s strong defense industry are imperative to our national security and our local economy.
It is my honor to represent these installations and the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for our freedom and safety. As someone who was raised in a military family and lived on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as a child, I am proud to work on behalf of Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the 162nd Fighter Wing, the men and women who serve there and their families. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will work to ensure that they have the tools they need to get the job done effectively and safely.
Sequestration is a process of automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions passed under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Sequestration was tied to the enforcement of new statutory limits on discretionary spending and achievement of a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction goal. Sequestration has the potential to indiscriminately cut $492 billion from the base defense budget through FY 2021 across all programs and activities. You can see footage of Congressman Barber talking about sequestration on the House floor here and here.
In addition to defense programs, a wide range of domestic programs including infrastructure, education, health care and public safety will see drastic cuts have already been cut. Congressman Barber was not serving in Congress when the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. Sequestration represents a failure of leadership in Congress and is the wrong approach to getting our fiscal house in order.
Congressman Barber is committed to working with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a balanced and thoughtful way to address our nation’s budget and reverse the harmful across-the-board cuts.
House Armed Services Committee
As your representative and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Barber is committed to working with colleagues in Congress to make sure our military and our men and women who serve have the tools and resources they need to uphold their mission of protecting our national security.
Congressman Barber serves on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. This subcommittee conducts oversight of ammunition programs, Army and Air Force acquisition programs, all Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs, and Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve. This subcommittee authorizes procurement along with research and development programs to ensure that America’s soldiers and airmen are fully equipped to carry out their mission and keep our nation safe.
He is also a member of the Readiness Subcommittee. It oversees military readiness, training, military construction, installations and family housing issues, plus the BRAC process. It also oversees civilian personnel, energy security, and environmental issues that affect the Defense Department. The Readiness Subcommittee makes sure that our troops are properly trained and their equipment is properly maintained so they can succeed in their missions, and that they have the facilities and services they deserve when they return home.
National Defense Authorization Act
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Ron Barber advocated for Southern Arizona’s priorities and our men and women in uniform in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Congressman Barber then joined a strong bipartisan majority of the House to pass this legislation to authorize Department of Defense programs and funding that strengthens sexual assault protections for service members, supports security efforts along the Southwest border, provides a pay raise for members of the military and includes robust funding for the Southern Arizona aerospace and defense industries.
NDAA ensures critical services for members of the armed services and their families, provides for the continuation of important national security programs, and ensures our military’s strength and readiness. This legislation will guarantee that our nation’s defense remains strong and that the men and women who serve our nation are rightfully compensated. It also includes funding for defense contracts and programs that provide essential high-tech equipment for our warfighters and benefit Southern Arizona's defense industry.
Preventing Military Sexual Assault
Congressman Barber has fought to protect survivors of military sexual assault. He is a prime sponsor of the Sexual Assault Training and Prevention Act. According to a recent Pentagon report, there were an estimated 26,000 victims of sexual violence in the military during fiscal year 2012 – a 37 percent increase from the previous year.
Last year, nearly 1 out of every 16 active duty women reported having been the victim of sexual assault. This is a deplorable situation that Congressman Barber will not tolerate. By fully protecting those who report such assaults, predators can more quickly be identified and prosecuted, encouraging more victims to come forward. Congressman Barber spoke out against military sexual assault on the floor of the House of Representatives--watch his speech here.
Congressman Barber is also a sponsor of H.R. 1864, which the House passed by a vote of 423-to-0. This legislation provides whistleblower protection to service members who report sexual assault. It also requires an Inspector General investigation into allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken against victims who have reported alleged instances of rape, sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct in the military. The Department of Defense found many victims do not come forward due to fear or anticipated retaliation that may affect their careers. Extending whistleblower protections would address this issue and provide much-needed protections for military sexual assault victims, establishing safeguards to encourage reporting and eliminate future incidents.