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October 28, 2021

Inhofe Urges Department of Defense Nominees to Focus on Regaining America's Military Advantage

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today delivered opening remarks at a hearing to consider the nominations of: Carrie Ricci to be General Counsel for the Department of the Army; John Sherman to be Department of Defense Chief Information Officer; and Ashish Vazirani to be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

 

Thanks to our witnesses for being here. I enjoyed the opportunity to personally meet them. We are very fortunate to have this group here with us this morning.

As this committee has heard again and again from the military and the civilian officials, every threat we face continues to worsen, our situations, since the last National Defense Strategy came out in 2018 — and that's the book that we continue to keep here and try to use this as our pattern, as we have in the past.

I certainly hope that the next National Defense Strategy will acknowledge the success of this in the past, and give us the right direction for the future.

If we want to have any hope of keeping pace, we've got to achieve real growth in defense spending. I'm very, just worried that the inflation next year will not only cut our troops’ pay, but will also significantly delay the base of our modernization efforts.

We've seen the shocking pace of Chinese military modernization from missiles to ships, and now nuclear expansion and hypersonic strike weapons. We've been hearing about this for a long time. Now we've seen it, it's happening, it's a reality.

Some of the most difficult challenges are the less obvious ones but just as important. In particular, the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence told us quote, China — and this is a quote —“China possesses the might, talent and ambition to surpass the United States as the world's leader in AI in the next decade, if current trends do not change.”

That's a shocker. That’s something that we're not used to in this country, a recognition that we are not number one in everything.

You know, when we talk to people go back to our districts and talk to people on the ground, the real people that are paying for all this fun we're having up here, they're the ones that realize, that are starting to realize, the problems that we're having now that are really unprecedented.

So I'm very much concerned about it, concerned about what's going to happen with our troops and the things that they're looking at now in terms of their futures.

We need strong, capable civilian leadership in the department. So I thank you all again for your willingness to serve. Thank you. Chairman Reed.


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