October 19, 2017
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 Special Operations Command and United States Cyber Command. A list of the witnesses and live stream can be found here.
As prepared for delivery:
Good morning. The committee meets today to receive testimony on the posture of U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Cyber Command. I’d like to welcome our witnesses:
The Honorable Owen West, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; General Tony Thomas, Commander of U.S. SOCOM; General Paul Nakasone, Commander of U.S. CYBERCOM/Director of the National Security Agency, and Chief of the Central Security Service.
General Thomas, this is likely your last hearing before the committee. I want to thank you and your family for more than 38 years of dedicated service to the Nation.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s top priority is to support the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy (NDS). Central to the NDS is a growing focus on competition with China and Russia while maintaining pressure on rogue regimes and global terrorist organizations.
Our special operations forces have proven remarkably effective in combating ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups over the last 17 years. However, these groups remain resilient and continue to pose a real threat to the U.S. and our allies. At the same time, military advancements by China and Russia pose new and increasingly complex challenges to our national security.
I look to our witnesses to describe how they intend to balance these competing requirements and ensure that our special operations forces are trained, equipped, and ready to support the priorities outlined in the NDS.
Another critical component of implementing the NDS is developing robust capabilities to counter growing threats in cyberspace. The Department of Defense (DOD) is making important progress, including the elevation of Cyber Command to a full combatant command and the Cyber Mission Forces achieving full operational capability.
Additionally, DOD released a new Cyber Strategy last year that provides a roadmap for how we will operate in the cyber domain. I look to our witness to describe what investments will be needed to meet the objectives described in the Cyber Strategy as well as address any gaps in our cyber capabilities.