“Show me the data,” Congressman Mac Thornberry said to an audience of more than one hundred Chamber members at the Pearl Stable. The latest in the Chamber’s, Military City USA series saw Congressman Thornberry and Congressman Will Hurd discuss important issues like base closures, defense spending cuts and terrorism.
Congressman Thornberry was replying to a question from Bob Rivard, founder of San Antonio’s The Rivard Report, who asked him whether there was any proof that domestic military base closures actually save the federal government money.
“I’ve never read anything that convincingly shows that domestic base closures save the pentagon money,” Rivard confessed. “When you look at how difficult base redevelopment is for a community, it seems to me that there is a pretty strong argument out there to say ‘You’re better off relocating funds in your budget than you are closing down.”
Congressman Thornberry seemed to agree with Rivard that base closures may not be an appropriate place to cut back on federal spending. He added that he’s asked the government to prove that military cuts are necessary.
“Show me the data that supports the idea that we have excess infrastructure and then we’ll go from there,” Thornberry proclaimed. “So far, they haven’t.”
A big point of discussion for the panel was cybersecurity. Congressman Will Hurd was proud to say that he is seeing more and more people in Washington take notice of San Antonio’s growing Cyber Security community, the largest outside of Washington D.C.
“I was on the west coast recently and in all of my meetings people would say, did you know San Antonio has more cyber security professionals than anywhere outside Washington,” Hurd said.
Congressman Hurd believes that cyber security is an issue all political parties agree is important and transcends party lines.
Closing with a Q&A session with the audience, Congressman Thornberry took a stance on spending cuts in the military.
“It’s a little complicated,” the Congressman began. “I think there is a bipartisan belief that we cut too much on the military. It needs to be turned around.”
Thornberry added that he believes the most significant cost of decreased defense spending is the lives of service members, arguing that less money going toward training for service members can lead to disastrous results.
“I don’t think that’s the right thing to do for the military,” Mac said. “They should be supported fully. We should not ask them to go to Europe, the South China Sea, Iraq, Syria, South Korea or anywhere else without having all of the training, all of the support and all of the preparation they need.”