The 2020s have begun, and this decade has the potential for solid progress. Communities should be able to grow and develop alongside businesses small and large. New inventions will undoubtedly alter people’s daily lives, and events across the world will create opportunities and challenges for our nation and our allies.
America is entering this new decade on a solid foundation with a surging economy, a stronger military, and constantly improving technology. Our Constitution is now the oldest governing document for a major country, underpinning the rule of law here at home. And, with nearly 200 new conservative federal judges confirmed to the bench in the last three years, my colleagues in the Senate and I are working to guarantee that the United States’ constitutional system will endure.
Technology, Rural Broadband, Defense, and the Next Giant Leaps
A new year is a time for resolutions. As a policymaker, I remain focused on building on this American progress and resolved to make this another great era for our country.
An immediate area for growth is 5G – the fifth generation of wireless technology. When 4G came out in the 2010s, it unleashed whole new industries. For example, it allowed phones, tablets, and laptops to access the internet and enabled wireless video streaming and new applications. Thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of jobs were created. 5G has enormous potential today, with the promise to bring more than $500 billion in economic growth and 3 million new jobs.
Winning the race to 5G is one of my top priorities as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. At the same time, as the United States takes this next step in wireless connectivity, our country should continue the work to connect every home and business to the internet. That starts with expanding rural broadband, which will require a concentrated national effort. I am leading that fight in the Senate by advocating for renewed funding and investments to close the digital divide between rural and urban America.
The United States also needs to maintain our military edge over potential rivals like China and Russia. The Trump Administration showed the way forward with its National Defense Strategy in 2018. Congress recently approved the National Defense Authorization Act, advancing the administration’s efforts. That law makes it clear that we are pushing for updated equipment, more investments in personnel, and new programs – including building up a 355-ship fleet for our Navy.
In addition, the 2020s will see strategic competition in space, and our country is set to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. This will be followed by manned missions to Mars. The first space race of the 1960s gave us technologies that later enabled GPS, CT scans, and smart phones. This next effort could be just as revolutionary.
A Remarkable Turnaround
Giants leaps like the ones I have described did not seem possible at the start of the last decade, when some thought the worst of times were here to stay. Unemployment was up in 2010, the stock market and wages were down, and recession and uncertainty made many Americans pessimistic.
Today there is every reason for optimism. America is entering the 2020s with so many exciting possibilities accompanied by pro-growth policies which have unleashed the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of our people. The United States is well positioned to ensure that the best of times are still to come.