A strong national defense is critical to the security of the United States and is our federal government’s primary Constitutional responsibility. I am committed to supporting our military personnel and believe our troops must have the resources needed to perform their vital missions of defending our country, our interests and our allies from threats abroad. Effective American diplomacy should also be used when possible to resolve disputes and cooperate on global challenges. Additionally, the promotion of human rights around the world should be a cornerstone of American foreign policy. The U.S. is more secure when human rights are respected and individuals are allowed to live in freedom.
At home, the government must remain vigilant in guarding against terrorist attacks, including the potential of bioterrorism. I worked to bring the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Once constructed, NBAF will conduct the critical animal disease research needed to secure America's food supply and protect citizens and animals from the threat of foreign animal disease. This world class research facility will benefit Kansans for years to come - protecting our agriculture industries, growing our economy and providing an opportunity for our best and brightest young people to stay and work in Kansas.
As the Department of Defense continues to face the reality of increasing budget reductions, I am also working to support and advocate for our service members and military installations in Kansas and their supportive communities. The soldiers and families of the 1st Infantry Division or the Big Red One on Fort Riley have endured repeated deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, various countries in Africa and other locations around the world to protect our nation and safeguard our freedoms. As recently as September 2014, soldiers from the Big Red One demonstrate their supreme value and vigor with yet another deployment to Iraq in battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Similarly, the airmen of McConnell Air Force Base and Forbes Field execute countless air refueling missions around the globe in defense of American interests. The airmen and families in the United States Air Force and the Kansas National Guard continue to contribute to important air missions that are vital to our national security now and many years down the road. With McConnell Air Force Base as the first home for the new KC-46A air refueling tanker, there is no doubt that Kansas will continue to be the supertanker epicenter for American military air power. It is also critical to protect Fort Leavenworth's mission of providing professional military education to our service members. As the “Intellectual Center of the Army,” Fort Leavenworth has a unique role in educating our future military leaders and bears distinctive qualities that are unmatched by any other military education provider in the country. I’m particularly proud of the national presence our Kansas National Guard has developed in service to our country and our state. Department of Defense national training exercises are taking place at the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range and those training opportunities should be expanded. Specialized missions in cyber defense and in intelligence analysis have made the Kansas National Guard valuable and necessary to fulfilling various duties that protect our nation. I am a strong advocate for service members, Active Duty or in the Reserve, who call Kansas home and contribute to our national defense.