CAPITOL REPORT

Over the last 8 years, the United States has lost credibility with its allies, failed to deter her enemies and seen the security of American families suffer in an increasingly dangerous world. More often than not the cause were actions or inactions taken by the Obama administration through their inability to stand with our friends or take a stand against regimes that want to inflict harm against the United States. As we close the chapter on the failure of President Obama’s last 8 years and ready for new leadership, there are already positive signs about the direction President Elect Trump will take our National Security.

His choice for CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, a Congressman and colleague of mine from Kansas has received strong bipartisan support because of his extensive defense background with real firsthand experience and knowledge of the issues and threats we are facing. Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point and even patrolled the Berlin Wall during his service. In Congress Pompeo serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Select Benghazi Committee; charged with uncovering the truth behind the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

President-elect Trump has also named Lt. General Michael Flynn to be his National Security Advisor and 4-Star General James Mattis to be the Secretary of Defense. These gentlemen have had distinguished military careers and been recognized for their intellect, strategic thinking, and experience with combat operations. Their knowledge and expertise will help guide the President-elect and our country as we prepare and plan to keep our citizens and soldiers safe both home and abroad, while always putting America first.

While Mr. Trump has recruited some of the best and brightest military minds to his administration he is also nominating very skilled diplomats, like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations. Haley will be responsible for working with our next Secretary of State to articulate American positions to our friends, to take strong lines against our enemies and will make providing for the security of American families a priority once again.

In addition to these strong appointments by the new Trump Administration, Congress passed legislation this week to improve our national security programs. The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, provides support for national security programs that are critical to protect our country at a time when we face the most significant threat level since 9/11. The legislation allows the National Counterterrorism Center to better track and report on the emergence and movements of any terrorist network and also increases scrutiny of activities of countries like Russia. Cyber warfare and secret cyber intelligence-gathering operations by the Russians pose a major threat to America, a danger that President Obama and his administration have failed to highlight.

With strong leaders like Mike Pompeo, Michael Flynn, James Mattis and Nikki Haley who are dedicated to America’s success, I am confident the United States will return to its place as world leader and become a safer place. I look forward to working with all of them to take strong stances against countries like North Korea and Iran and wipe groups like ISIS from the face of the earth. The last 8 years have taught us that trying to lead from behind is simply not leading at all and only allows others to chart a course we are destined to follow, fortunately it looks like we are on our way to putting America first once again.

Jason Smith represents Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Contact him at 573-335-0101 or visit https://jasonsmith.house.gov

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