U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave opening remarks this morning at a SASC hearing to receive testimony on the posture of the Department of the Army.
Witnesses included Dr. Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army, and General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army.
As prepared for delivery:
The Committee meets today to receive testimony on the posture of the U.S. Army and its fiscal year 2020 budget request.
We welcome Dr. Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army, and General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army. Thank you both for your distinguished service.
The National Defense Strategy directs our nation’s military to prepare for the return of great power competition. This means we must be prepared to deter and, if necessary, decisively defeat potential near-peer adversaries like China and Russia.
In order for the Army to achieve that goal, our Army must be manned, trained, and equipped appropriately.
The Army has made significant progress in rebuilding readiness across the force, but there is still much work to be done. A high state of readiness is crucial for our nation to demonstrate peace through strength.
With their alarming speed of modernization of both conventional and nuclear forces, China and Russia now present a credible threat to America and our allies in their regions and an increasing threat around the world. In fact, in some areas they have surpassed us.
It’s past time for action. You have testified that the Army is outranged and outgunned as currently organized and equipped. The future of our Army’s readiness and relevance requires modernization now.
Any successful modernization strategy must focus on results. Rapid prototyping and realistic experimentation will be vital to getting modern, reliable, and lethal weapons into the hands of our Soldiers—and doing so on time and within allotted budgets. We cannot allow the past acquisition failures to be repeated.
The Army undertook a detailed and exhaustive look at every single program to ensure that each supports the National Defense Strategy. You have made hard decisions on programs that did not meet the NDS in order to reallocate funding for modernization efforts that will help the Army regain the qualitative and quantitative advantage.
These choices will require an open and transparent dialogue with Congress along the way. We look forward to working with you to make our shared modernization vision a reality as the Army reinvents itself to become a 21st century fighting force prepared for the more lethal and dynamic battlefields of the future.