National Defense

Mark believes one of the core functions of our federal government lies in providing for our nation’s defense, as outlined by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. He believes that only the Congress can declare war and that we should get away from military actions directed by the White House without the authorization of Congress, as his belief has always been that body bags from foreign lands do not return to Washington – but Congressional districts across this country.


He also believes that Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was right in his assessment that the greatest threat to our Nation’s security lies in our Nation’s debt and deficits. Indeed, economic supremacy has always been the key to military supremacy. Paul Kennedy talks about it in his book, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers,” and it’s a phenomenon that’s been noted by military historians across time. Accordingly, it makes it that much more important for the sovereignty and security of our country that we do something about spending in Washington.


So Mark is committed to maintaining a strong national defense, both in economic and military terms. He believes in maintaining promises to those who have served. He believes that sustaining a military leadership and technological edge is vital as one views military budgets – and that to do so we have to constantly retool for today’s threats. Subsequently he believes we should look for efficiencies in defense as in every other program of government –as well as to look at the cost of police actions around the world. He believes America cannot afford to subsidize other countries unwillingness to adequately fund their own defense budgets as was recently demonstrated in France’s recent inability to fly even their own troops to Northern Africa. Here, it’s telling that France spends 2.3 percent of their GDP on their military, yet count on American help while America spends double that number. For those nations that do, like Israel that spends 6.5 percent, we must continue to work as strong strategic partners.


Finally, Mark believes the installations here in the Lowcountry are playing a unique and critical mission in today’s military, whether that is with the lift provided by the 315th or 437th in Charleston or with the Marines, Navy and Army operational and training capacities across the district. In fact, Mark fought hard to highlight our state’s unique military missions as governor, establishing a BRAC task force that took our case directly to Washington. While many states lost jobs during the 2004 base closures, South Carolina as a state netted more than 700 new military jobs – which highlights the extraordinary effort and role of so many men and women in uniform in this state.