As President Obama begins his first day as our nations 44th Commander in Chief he faces some of the most extraordinary national security challenges in the history of our country.  The President has indicated previously that he would responsibly end the war in Iraq so that we can renew our military strength, dedicate more resources to the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

I believe that President Obama understands that in order to withdraw combat operations from Iraq, we must do so in a prudent manner that fosters a sustained peace and stability in Iraq. The President has indicated, that on day one of his Administration, his Secretary of Defense and military commanders will have a new mission in Iraq, ending the war. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month which would remove all of them in 16 months. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government.

As the President meets with his defense and national security advisors they will also have the awesome and solemn responsibility of continuing to send our bravest, most courageous and noble men and women who are serving in our armed forces into Afghanistan to continue fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

As President Obama stated early on in his campaign, “Our country's greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. When we do send our men and women into harm's way, we must also clearly define the mission, prescribe concrete political and military objectives, seek out the advice of our military commanders, evaluate the intelligence, plan accordingly, and ensure that our troops have the resources, support, and equipment they need to protect themselves and fulfill their mission.”

This Congress has a profound obligation to ensure that we provide not only the best technological resources available to help win the fight, but to also maximize the safety of our galliant warriors and ensure that the come home safe.  Our global defense and national security challenges may be significant, but I believe that President Obama, the 111th Congress, the citizens of the United States and the men and women serving in our armed forces can meet any challenge we currently face and may face in the future.