ICYMI: SASC Chairman Inhofe Remarks at SASC Hearing about China and Russia

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 strategic competition with China and Russia.

Witnesses included Mr. Elbridge Colby, Director of the Defense Program Center for a New American Security and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development; Mr. Ely Ratner, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies of the Center for a New American Security and Former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President; and Mr. Damon M. Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council.

As prepared for delivery:

Good morning. The Committee meets today to receive testimony on strategic competition with China and Russia. I’d like to welcome our witnesses:

Elbridge Colby, Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is also former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, a position in which he played a leading role in the development of the National Defense Strategy;

Ely Ratner, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies of the Center for a New American Security and Former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President and Damon M. Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s top priority is to ensure the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy.

That is why we are here today to address what the NDS clearly identified as “the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security” – “the reemergence of long-term strategic competition” with China and Russia.

We need to make the American people aware of the scale and scope of the challenges we face in this new era of strategic competition.

The American people seem to believe we have the best of everything when it comes to military equipment. They don’t realize China and Russia have passed us in key areas such as hypersonics and artificial intelligence. This is just one part of a bigger problem.

Our military advantage and deterrent edge is eroding. Our adversaries sense weakness. They are testing our resolve. And if we do not act urgently, they may soon conclude that they can achieve their goals through force. We can’t take peace for granted.

Preventing war is the hard work of deterrence—building a military that convinces our adversaries that they cannot win. We achieved peace through strength during the Cold War. We must do the same again, because the stakes are so high.

Our adversaries want to make the world safe for authoritarianism. That’s a world that would be less safe, less prosperous, and less free for our children and grandchildren. That is what this competition is about. And it’s why we must prevail. 

I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.  Senator Reed.