The most important responsibility of the federal government is to defend the United States and protect the American people. Senator Toomey is therefore committed to ensuring that our armed forces, the intelligence community and homeland security agencies have the resources and tools they need to fulfill their missions.
Senator Toomey supports our strategic missile defense program to protect our country from the threat of a missile attack. He believes we must support our democratic allies around the world and be firm when it comes to dealing with rogue nations such as Iran, making sure we prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. He has co-sponsored legislation aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring such weapons.
Terrorist attacks are the greatest threat posed to America, and we must remain committed to fighting against those who use terror as a weapon. We cannot afford to stand by while networks of terrorists assemble, plan and act against free and open societies, and we should not hesitate to take action in defense of our freedom and our national security.
Senator Toomey believes we must be proactive and decisive in taking advantage of opportunities to acquire vital intelligence from our terrorist enemies, and we must be vigilant in protecting our intelligence secrets from those who seek to destroy us. In line with that principle, Senator Toomey strongly supports trying enemy combatants, such as Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in military tribunals rather than civilian courts.
With so many global challenges, Senator Toomey believes we must also make sure that American military action is guided first and foremost by the country's national interest. We must balance our commitment to expanding freedom and human rights around the world with our immediate national security interests and the needs of our armed forces. The United States cannot be engaged in every conflict around the globe, and we must be cautious in how and where we choose to allocate our national security resources.
As a strong supporter of the reserve component of our armed forces, Senator Toomey is a member of the U.S. Senate National Guard and Reserve Caucuses. He believes that in this time of great national security and fiscal challenges, we must ensure a strong Army and Air National Guard as well as Army and Air Force Reserve. Our reserves provide a combat proven, cost effective force that can rapidly and effectively augment our regular armed forces abroad as well as respond to natural and manmade disasters at home. Senator Toomey co-sponsored the National Guard Empowerment Act (S. 1025). This legislation, enacted in 2011, made the chief of the National Guard Bureau a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to help ensure the National Guard gets the resources it needs to fulfill its expanded role in our national defense since 9/11.
During these challenging fiscal times, Senator Toomey understands the Pentagon and our nation's defense spending warrant careful scrutiny. He supports sensible defense spending cuts that would not diminish our military capabilities and he will continue working with his Senate colleagues on saving taxpayer dollars without compromising our national security.
Finally, our national security must also include a comprehensive program to address the needs of our nation's service members and veterans and ensure their continued well-being. Among other things, Senator Toomey has supported legislation to protect the pay of service members and to boost funding at the Department of Veterans Affairs so our veterans have improved access to medical care.