WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today released the following statement in response to the announcement from the Obama Administration that 3,000 troops will be deployed to Africa to help fight the Ebola virus outbreak:
"The Ebola crisis plaguing west Africa is dire and only getting worse. The United States can and should play a role in supporting the response and stopping the spread of this deadly disease. The longer it goes on unabated, the higher the chance it finds its way back to the United States. The President’s request to send 3,000 of our troops shows the vital leadership role our military plays not just in war, but also in knowing how to safely and quickly mobilize resources to aid an international crisis and assist those who are vulnerable and in need. Any troops deployed to support this effort must be given the protection necessary to prevent infection.
“As the President looks to put our men and women in uniform on the front lines of another crisis, I have serious questions about the President’s expectations of our all-volunteer force at a time when his budget cuts have severely degraded their readiness and capabilities to historically low levels. At the same time our military is being called to assist Africa with its health crisis, it is also being called to support the pivot to Asia, bolster our European partners against growing Russian aggression, conduct strikes against ISIL, and also successfully transition the mission in Afghanistan, where nearly 30,000 brave men and women still serve today.
“I want our military to be capable of leading and aiding others with our expertise, but the President can’t have it both ways by relying on our military to do it all while on the other hand slashing its budget. While the president has dangled the carrot of reversing some of the defense cuts he has put into motion, it is always tied to an increase in non-defense spending and higher taxes. If the President is serious about using our military for all of these important international missions, while also ensuring our servicemembers are well equipped with the proper training and resources, then it’s time the president comes to the table for a no-strings attached discussion on ending defense sequestration."