Providing for the common defense is more than just a promise to our nation and military. It is a responsibility Congress has been entrusted with by the U.S. Constitution.

Our military represents the nation’s strength around the globe. To continue as the world power and force of good that we are known for, we must do more than simply provide for the common defense: we must provide those who defend our Constitution with the tools they require to succeed.

Our last president left our military in disrepair. After more than five years of steady cuts to the defense budget while our armed forces stayed in steady combat, our military has operated on the bare minimum for far too long.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) aims to bring back the strong dominance of our military. If we are going to send our troops around the world to wage our wars and fight our battles, we must give them the resources they need to be victorious and return home safely to their loved ones.

The NDAA will repair and reform our nation’s military. By increasing funding for aviation readiness, naval presence, ground forces, facilities maintenance, and missile defense, we can be proactive instead of reactive and ready to face threats to our nation.

This bill also grows the number of active duty members for three of the four services, increasing the Army by 10,000, the Navy by 4,000, and the Air Force by 4,100.

Most importantly, NDAA for FY18 funds a well-deserved 2.4% pay raise for the troops. We owe our freedom and our safety to our men and women in uniform, and this bill ensures that service members and their families are getting the benefits they deserve.

Also included in the NDAA for FY18 is language that will take my bill, the DOD Workforce Flexibility Act, and apply it through Fiscal Year 2021. The DOD Workforce Flexibility Act gives entities with a large civilian workforce, like the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, flexibility when hiring new employees and allows temporary employees to apply for permanent positions without having to return to square one during the application process.

In recent years, our military has indisputably been crippled by a lack of resources. It is our priority to ensure that our planes can fly, our ships can sail, and our troops can deploy.

We must honor our responsibility to provide the men and women in uniform the resources they need to be successful and the benefits they deserve for securing our freedoms and safeguarding our well-being.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through, and at 3109 Azalea Park Drive, Muskogee, OK, 74401, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701