Defense and Military

Senator Johnson firmly believes that the top priority of the federal government is the defense of America and the American people.  That’s why Senator Johnson has supported the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act every year since he was sworn in as a United States senator in 2011. 

The men and women who serve in our armed forces are the finest among us. It’s only because of their continued sacrifices that we are able to enjoy America’s many freedoms. Our gratitude is only the beginning of what we owe them.

Protecting Our Military on Bases

The brave men and women of our nation’s military shouldn't be left vulnerable when it comes to defending themselves and their fellow service members. That is why after the tragic slaying of four Marines and one sailor in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July 2015, Senator Johnson introduced the Armed Forces Self-Defense Act, S. 1821. This bill would allow military personnel to carry their firearms on military installations. 

This language was later included as a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016. This provision became law on Nov. 25, 2015 and required the secretary of defense to set up a process by the end of 2015 to let service members carry a firearm on a military installation.

Honoring U.S. Service Members

Since being sent by Wisconsin to the Senate, Senator Johnson has introduced and cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation to highlight the patriotism and dedication of our heroic service men and women.  

Among these pieces of legislation are:

  • S. Res. 296, a resolution honoring Wisconsin native Maj. Lisa Jaster for becoming the first female Army reservist to graduate from Army Ranger School.
  • S. 1258, a bill to authorize and request the president to award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Wisconsin native 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for acts of valor during the Civil War (this later passed as a provision of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act).
  • Bills honoring Wisconsin native Lt. Col. James "Maggie" Megellas for his heroic acts during World War II:
    • Senator Johnson introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to award the Medal of Honor to Megellas for acts of valor Jan. 28, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.
    • S. 1826, which passed the Senate on Aug. 5, 2015, designates the U.S. Postal Service facility in Fond du Lac as the Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas Post Office. 
  • S. 1500, a bill Senator Johnson cosponsored in 2013, which directs the military to award the Purple Heart to service members who were killed or wounded in the attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

Wisconsin’s Robust Defense Industry

In addition to Wisconsin’s many fine service men and women, Senator Johnson is proud that the state has a robust defense industry — one that he would like to see thriving for many years to come. Wisconsin is a leader in defense innovation that keeps our service men and women safer while providing them with greater capabilities. 

Senator Johnson has been a longtime supporter of the fast and agile littoral combat ship and its more formidable successor, the Constellation-class frigate.  Both ships are produced in Wisconsin. Senator Johnson believes that a strong Navy is critical to America's security and applauds the numerouse Wisconsin defense suppliers that manufacture key components for the United States' fleet. 

Senator Johnson also recognized the important role Wisconsin plays in keeping American armed forces safe and capable on land.  In August 2015, Senator Johnson was pleased to be able to congratulate Oshkosh Defense on winning the contract to produce the Humvee’s replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. He salutes Wisconsin's defense industrial base for its continued contributions big and small to the many tactical vehicle programs that are critical for the Army and the Marine Corps.

Auditing Defense Spending

As we evaluate how to slow the growth in government and debt, all areas of the budget — including defense — must be scrutinized. Funding for defense should be determined by the threats we face, not by politics.  To this end, Senator Johnson has been a leader on efforts to hold the Pentagon accountable on its audit obligations.  A clear picture of how dollars are spent and where duplication occurs would enable Congress to prioritize critical defense missions, save billions of dollars and strengthen our military.