More defense spending is needed

Even so, Congress must make sure the money is used wisely

America’s armed forces are the very best funded in the world. Given the responsibilities the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard must handle, that is appropriate.

But years of neglect under former President Barack Obama have left the military in a rebuilding mode. A $700 billion defense appropriations bill signed into law by President Donald Trump should help.

Pentagon planners already have big ideas for the money. New ships, new planes, new missile defense systems and other big-ticket items are in the pipeline.

Congress should monitor the military modernization campaign to prevent two things from happening:

– Waste. The Pentagon is notorious for pouring money into weapons development, seemingly with no accountability for defense contractors.

– Just as important, the needs of individual soldiers, sailors, air crews and Marines must be met. Remember when the first Gulf War began, and many troops lacked personal body armor and vehicles armored against land mines?

That cannot be allowed to happen again.

The armed forces need money for modernization. But it needs to be spent effectively — and not all on flashy new technology that is of little use to the men and women serving us.