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April 30, 2019

ICYMI: SASC Chairman Inhofe Remarks at SASC Nomination Hearing for Chief of Naval Operations and Marine Corps Commandant

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave opening remarks this morning at a SASC nomination hearing.

Nominees included Admiral William F. Moran, USN, to be Chief of Naval Operations, and Lieutenant General David H. Berger, USMC, to be Commandant of the Marine Corps.

As Prepared for Delivery:

Good morning. The Committee meets today to consider the nominations of Admiral William F. Moran, USN for reappointment to the grade of admiral and to be Chief of Naval Operations; and Lieutenant General David H. Berger, USMC for appointment to the grade of general and to be Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Thank you for being here today.  We also extend a welcome your family and friends here today.  At the beginning of your testimony we invite you to introduce those who are joining you. 

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 Department of the Navy to achieve that goal, our Navy and Marine Corps must be manned, trained, and equipped appropriately.

With their alarming speed of modernization of both conventional and nuclear forces, China and Russia now present a formidable threat to America and our allies. 

Our next CNO and Commandant will be relied upon to modernize our naval forces while at the same time rebuilding readiness. We did not get into this situation overnight and there is no easy way out.

I urge you both to take the long view. Technical risks must be better understood before procuring new systems. Without better acquisition performance, our challenges will get worse, not better. We will fall behind or further behind our competitors.

Admiral Moran, I am concerned that nine of 11 Advanced Weapons Elevators on the USS Gerald R. Ford still do not work; lead ship lessons do not appear to have been learned; too many ships are late getting out of maintenance; and ships are deploying undermanned. I hope we can discuss these topics.

General Berger, the Marine Corps participated in the counterinsurgency fight over the last 17 years, and has done extremely well. However, I am concerned about the toll that it has taken on the readiness of the Marine Corps’ equipment and training to deter and, if necessary, win against near peer threats like China and Russia. 

Thank you again to our nominees for their willingness to continue serving this great nation.

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