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 United States European Command and United States Transportation Command.
As prepared for delivery:
The Senate Armed Services Committee meets today to continue receiving the posture statements from our combatant commands. Testifying today, we have:
- General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander, United States European Command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander Europe and;
- General Stephen R. Lyons, Commander, United States Transportation Command.
Gentlemen, thank you for your distinguished service to our country.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s top priority is to ensure the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy.
That means we need urgent change at a significant scale to address the challenge of strategic competition with Russia and China.
Vladimir Putin has demonstrated both the capability and intent to use force to achieve his objectives—most notably in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria. Putin won’t hesitate to use other tools in his arsenal as well, whether its cyber-attacks, election meddling, or assassinations with chemical weapons..
Perceived weakness will only provoke further aggression from Putin.
That’s why efforts such as full support for the European Deterrence Initiative and providing defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine are so important.
Likewise, we need a defense budget that is of sufficient size, and invests in the key capabilities we need in Europe -- areas like long-range fires, cruise missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, and the supporting infrastructure.
I was in Munich two weeks ago, and it is clear we cannot be successful in strategic competition with Russia without a strong and unified NATO alliance. America is safer and stronger because of our NATO allies.
General Scaparrotti, I look forward to your thoughts on these issues.
General Lyons, you have had a long history with TRANSCOM serving as its Deputy Commander for two years before assuming your current role. I look forward to hear your assessment of how the services are responsive to the shortfalls in both the airlift and sealift communities, including what infrastructure shortfalls might hinder your ability to achieve your mission.