U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), participated in a nomination hearing to consider three Department of Defense nominees this morning. The three nominees included Mr. Anthony M. Kurta to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel And Readiness, Mr. James E. McPherson to be General Counsel of the Department of the Army and Mr. Gregory E. Maggs to be a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Inhofe: “…I’m really concerned about readiness. I chair that committee…We are now experiencing the same hollow force problems that we did in the 70s. What is your assessment right now in terms of the BCA cuts and what we’re faced with today?”
Kurta replied: “Well, Senator, absolutely. We have to lift sequestration as currently structured. It is having a calamitous effect on our readiness, as you note. Not only do I think—as the service chiefs and those in uniform have come over here and said—that we have trouble meeting our wartime requirements, I think we are asking a lot of our current Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen… just meeting the day-to-day requirements...”
Inhofe: “I was encouraged to see you that you’ve had a lot of experience in Africa during your career in the Navy…would you, in your experience—particularly since you were in Djibouti also—address the personnel, the resource problem, in AFRICOM?”
Kurta replied: “Well, Senator, as you note, it’s a large continent, a large expanse and the mission for the United States is only growing. If confirmed, I do pledge to work with the P&R to look at those personnel requirements and make sure we are meeting them.”
Sen. Inhofe also questioned Mr. James E. McPherson about the importance of civilian personnel, like those at Tinker Air Force Base and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant to the military.