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Defense & Foreign Affairs

Helping Rhode Island Contribute to Our National Defense

As a graduate of West Point and a former infantry officer, Senator Reed appreciates the risks our Armed Forces face every day.  Through his work on the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, he works tirelessly to ensure that America’s fighting men and women have the equipment they need and the benefits they deserve.

Senator Reed firmly believes that the deployment of our men and women in uniform is a decision not to be taken lightly, and that military force represents only one tool in our nation’s international affairs arsenal.  That is why he voted against the Iraq War.  He also believes that the United States should be engaged in diplomacy to support our allies and build stronger relationships with emerging nations.  He has focused on arms control and non-proliferation efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, and continues to support expanding our international development programs, which greatly contribute to global security and stability.

Reed has also secured billions of dollars in federal funding to modernize our military and bolster Rhode Island’s defense industry to create more high-paying jobs and expand opportunities for local businesses.  Rhode Island’s 16,000 defense workers make a valuable contribution to our national security and generate more than $1.75 billion in local economic activity each year.  Reed has worked hard to maintain and expand the U.S. Navy’s presence in Rhode Island by bringing additional commands, institutions, and projects to Naval Station Newport and Quonset Point.


  • As the top Democrat on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, Reed secured over $17 billion in 2014 for the continued construction of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarines.  These critical components of our national defense assure that Rhode Island will play a vital role in national security and advanced manufacturing for years to come.
  • A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member of the panel’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, Reed led the effort to include $5.32 billion for the Viginia-Class submarine program in the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, including an additional $85 million above the request for advanced procurement for the four ships planned in 2018 and 2019. 
  • Reed authored a law to improve access to needed mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families. 
  • Serving on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Reed works to ensure Rhode Island has state-of-the-art facilities and technology, such as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center’s new Electromagnetic Sensor Facility, the renovation and modernization of the Naval War College’s Hewitt Hall, and a full-motion flight simulator for the Rhode Island Air National Guard’s 143rd Airlift Wing.
  • Reed worked to ensure that the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission preserved jobs in Rhode Island by keeping Naval Station Newport and Quonset State Airport Air Guard Station operational.
  • Reed supported a series of new laws to ensure that the Defense Department promptly and appropriately deals with sexual assault in the military.
  • Reed wrote the law to create the Office of Service Member Affairs in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and continues to urge the Department of Defense to strengthen the Military Lending Act to further protect service members and their families against abusive financial practices.
  • Reed helped ratify the New START Treaty that reduces the number of strategic nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia and contributes to countering nuclear proliferation throughout the world.
  • Reed recognizes the important role foreign aid plays in fostering global stability, and has worked to strengthen partnerships between local businesses and national agencies like USAID and USDA to better provide this assistance.  Reed brought the head of USAID on a tour of Providence’s Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, a non-profit food manufacturer that produces ready-to-use food products to treat severe hunger and malnutrition around the globe. 

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