Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader from Bakersfield, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"This week, I was pleased to hear Secretary of Defense Ash Carter describe the work being carried out Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake as of “critical importance” to our county’s national security. On Tuesday, the secretary took a tour of the facility and briefed the media.
"It was encouraging to hear the Department of Defense is intensely focused on research and development, and innovation within all of its entities. “China Lake is in the sweet spot of DOD’s strategic transition, and with heavy emphasis on research and development, some of its high-end, innovative capabilities are reflected in his budget request,” Carter said. “R&D spending is consistent with our determination to remain innovative.”
"I agree with the Secretary that the research, development, testing and evaluation that is conducted within our community at China Lake and Edwards cannot be replicated anywhere in the world. Both provide vital resources to support our brave men and women in uniform who fight to defend our freedom. This is why I will continue to ensure everyone in Washington understands that these installations are strategic national assets.
"Meanwhile in Washington we’ve also taken steps to ensure defense innovation.
"Last week, I introduced a bill that will stop our military’s reliance on Russian-made rocket engines. Our bill aims to repeal a provision of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that essentially allows the unlimited purchase and use of engines manufactured by a Russian company with close ties to the Putin regime for national security launches.
"I took this step because I believe securing access to space is a national security priority and it is strategically foolish to ask American taxpayers to subsidize Russia’s military industrial base. American taxpayer dollars should not be wasted on Putin, who has destabilized Ukraine, continues to harbor and support the Assad regime, and is supplying weapons to Iran. This ban will also provide an opportunity for the aerospace industries within California to help build the engines necessary to carry out national security launches.
"Overall, the past two weeks have reaffirmed the commitment our country must make to policies that enable and promote defense innovation so that our future will be even brighter than our past.