Ask the average American about the strength of our nation’s defense, and the answer may surprise you.

According to a poll earlier this year, Americans are now more likely to believe the U.S. national defense is “not strong enough.” Intuitively, many Americans support the government in spending what is necessary for a strong defense — and that includes missile defense.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

This week, The Hill came out with another poll. In what should be a strong signal to the 112th Congress, most Americans do not want policymakers to cut defense to pay down the deficit. The midterm election poll found “six in ten Republicans and 53 percent of independents said they would not accept cuts to defense and homeland security spending.”

Providing a strong national defense is the priority responsibility of the federal government and our nation’s elected leaders. Providing for the common defense is the only mandatory function of the federal government.

Keeping America safe is not a Republican, Independent, or Democrat issue; it’s an American issue.

Just this summer, a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission chaired by former Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley agreed. Their report outlines the urgent investment needs in defense to maintain our national strength and military superiority, and the stark consequences of inaction. Even in today’s tightening fiscal environment, the panel highlights the fact that defense is actually under-funded. Specifically, the Commission found that the Pentagon can “achieve cost savings on acquisition and overhead [reforms], but substantial additional resources will be required to modernize the force.”

It’s the government’s foremost job to keep America safe. Most Americans agree. The only question is whether Washington is listening.

Cross-posted at Red State.