McCain on the issues
Questions answered for the record by the McCain campaign during the primaries earlier this year:
What is your opinion of the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy
John McCain routinely talks to our active duty and retired military and they all say that the present policy is working; Accordingly, he supports the current policy.
Do you agree with plans to expand the Army and Marine Corps, and to shrink the Navy and Air Force?
Senator McCain has been a staunch advocate for the expansion of the Army for years. He believes it senseless that it is nearly impossible for the active -duty Army to deploy without activating reserve units.
He has also supported the expansion of the Marine Corps. One of the many failures of (former Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld's Pentagon was that they had too few ground forces and miscalculated what a war in Iraq would entail and the strain it would put on our all-volunteer force, particularly on the National Guard and reserve.
Are plans to increase the Army and Marines realistic in light of the existing strain on recruiting and retention?
Senator McCain believes the planned expansion is realistic. The young men and women serving today are the finest to serve this country. They joined at a time when the war in Iraq wasn't going particularly well. They joined when this country is engaged in bloody conflicts on two fronts and a global fight against terrorism.
The FY08 National Defense Authorization Act has authorized end strengths for the Army and Marine Corps of 525,400 and 189,000 respectively, which is an increase of 13,000 for the Army and 9,000 for the Marine Corps. Recruiting and retention is never easy but he believes most Americans understand that we are in a fight not only for our way of life but our very survival and believe brave men and women will continue to answer the call and we will defeat our enemies.
The Army has increased the number of recruits for whom they’ve allowed moral waivers. What is your position on this?
John McCain understands that moral waivers are not new to the military. On occasion, they are necessary to give a wayward kid and opportunity to prove themselves--a second chance to do something meaningful with their life. Recruiting standards remain high and the men and women serving today are among the best to serve this nation.
How would you improve the quality of life for families of military deployed overseas? What about those families living overseas?
John McCain believes the best thing we can do for our military families is to provide them with the necessary medical and incentive benefits that encourages recruitment and retention. We need to invest training and encouraging new skills to fight the wars of the future. We do that by spending defense funds wisely and investing them in our brave men and women and the equipment and training they need to accomplish their mission and not in bloated pet projects of lawmakers.
How do you feel about the military’s use of private contractors and proposals to limit the work they can do overseas?
The fact is we need contractors, primarily because we are already overextended as a military. We have overstretched our active duty military and out reservists. Contractors have become essential to us achieving our security goals. However, Senator McCain supports DoD's decision to exercise greater oversight of these contractors.
Would you support allowing military facilities overseas to perform abortions for military women and military dependents?
John McCain opposes the practice and he has voted at least 11 times in the U.S. Senate to ban abortions from being performed in U.S. military medical facilities.
What more needs to be done to ensure troops receive the health care they need following deployments?
John McCain supports the Wounded Warrior Act, which was introduced (in 2007). This provision will provide more comprehensive treatment for returning soldiers. He has also reformed the disabilities designation system in order to better handle a variety of health issues including traumatic brain injury, mental health and prosthetics.
Senator McCain understands that more work remains, but he believe the Wounded Warrior Act goes a long way in addressing the most critical issues for our returning wounded.
Are peace-keeping, humanitarian efforts, and environmental cleanups valid military missions? What would be your criteria?
Senator McCain believes the military can be very effective in all of these areas. We need only look at the Balkans and the magnificent job our military did in helping with the relief efforts after the tsunami. The military can be great emissaries of peace and stability, but he believes we can never lose sight of the military's primary job which is to defend this great nation.
The military must be large enough, agile enough and skilled enough not only to fight the enemy today but to deter the enemy in the future.