U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned witnesses this morning at a SASC hearing to receive testimony on United States European Command and United States Transportation Command.
Witnesses included General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, USA Commander, United States European Command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander Europe and General Stephen R. Lyons, USA Commander, United States Transportation Command.
Inhofe: General Scaparrotti, we keep hearing from sources that maybe we have some redundancy in our nuclear program. We've been guilty for a long period of time in not addressing a nuclear modernization. We're now faced with a situation, we have both Russia and China with a, what we could call, a triad system. I think that people with your background need to respond as to why a triad system is not redundant and is necessary.
Scaparrotti: Well sir first of all, our strategic nuclear forces is critical to our deterrence and our security and a triad as a part of that force is important as well. The triad gives each one of those legs of the component specific qualities that are somewhat different and we need those different qualities just for a safe guard within the components itself but also to make it complex for our adversaries to determine or believe they have the opportunity to strike and gain dominance. And I think with a traid, I'm certain that they can't. I would note that they also have a triad as well.
Inhofe: Yes, and it needs to be repeated because the suggestions keep coming on. In Ukraine, Russia is now in their sixth year at war there. We've talked about it and we've actually had language in our defense authorization bills to send lethal help to Ukraine and to my knowledge there has only been one case where we actually were using lethal assistance. That was the Javelin. Can you tell us why we have not been able to successfully do that since the authorization is there.
Scaparrotti: Senator, I think as recommendations for Ukraine, particularity on the lethal side, work its way, it has to go through the policy deliberations that provide authority to deploy those kinds of weapons systems and as you stated, we got the authority with Javelin. The Ukrainians in my view have trained very well for the use of that. They have been responsible in the security and deployment of it and we watch that closely so they've handled that well. There are other systems — snipper systems, ammunition and perhaps looking at the Kerch Strait, perhaps consideration for naval systems as well here in the future as we move forward.
Inhofe: Well we have the authorization bill coming up is this something you think we might need some more language on?
Scaparrotti: Well as you will see I’ll have recommendations for that and I would like consideration of those recommendations.
Inhofe: I appreciate that. General Lyons, I know there's a problem in trying to get all the service materials transported out where they are needed and recently there has been some suggestion that maybe some of that should be contracted out. We've gone through some problems with the housing program recently on contracting out. Do you have any comments to make about that as being one of the solutions to the problem that we face getting this material out?
Lyons: Chairman, if you're referring to the Joint Department Enterprise we're inexplicably linked to industry at multiple levels. If we're referring specifically about the household good program, I think that's what you're referring to sir?
Inhofe: That's what I’m referring to and that's where the suggestion has come out.
Lyons: Yes Sir, and what I would say on that is that's 100 percent commercial industry, it's not an effort to privatize whatsoever but it is an effort to restructure our relationship with industry in a way that delivers higher quality capacity and holds carriers and the government accountable .
Inhofe: Good. Senator Reed.