Government’s responsibility to provide for the common defense is written explicitly in the preamble of our constitution. It identifies protecting our homeland as the most important responsibility of the federal government. When I was 22 years old, I had the honor of directly participating in this role as an undercover officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

While collecting intelligence in the back alleys in places like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, I experienced first-hand the true nature of the threats that our country faces. I saw the commitment and determination of the men and women in the military, diplomatic corps, intelligence agencies and law enforcement who put themselves in harm’s way every single day to keep us safe. I also witnessed the direct impact of ill-conceived policies that made us less safe.

In the 17 months that I have been in Congress, I’ve witnessed the Obama administration’s “lead from behind” foreign policy contribute to more global insecurity and instability than it has mitigated. The unfortunate reality is that many of the challenges we face today are the direct result of years of failed policies that have decreased American leadership around the world. Fortunately, those policies are reversible. There is a better way.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently released our plan to restore America’s international position to its former level of prominence. Our vision is predicated on these tenets: protecting the homeland, defeating terrorists, tackling new threats, and defending freedom. These pillars served as the foundation of successful U.S. foreign policy throughout the 20th century, and they will do so again in the coming decades.

Keeping Americans safe inside the homeland is our absolute number one priority. It is the cause that motivated me to serve my country in the CIA, and is shared by all men and women who serve this nation abroad. As a member of Congress, I now have the ability to protect the homeland in a different way: by supporting legislation that authorizes necessary changes to the way our security sector operates.


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