As Congress let another opportunity to prove America’s doubters wrong slip through its fingers, lawmakers at least saw fit to pass legislation to make sure that our armed forces will still be paid. Amid a government shutdown that puts hundreds of thousands of federal workers out of work, that must be cold comfort when seen from a chilly outpost in Afghanistan or a carrier deck in the Persian Gulf. After a decade of war during which the all-volunteer force has been ground down deployment-by-deployment, it was the moral, and political, thing to do – all in the name of national security. But it also reflects a huge gap in Congress’ understanding of what makes up American national security in the 21st Century. If lawmakers truly comprehended the source of U.S. power, they never would have allowed the shutdown to take place.