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April 13, 2021

SASC Ranking Member Inhofe: Combatant Commands Must Have What They Need for Strategic Competition with China, Russia

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today delivered opening remarks at a SASC hearing on United States European Command and United States Transportation Command. 

As Prepared For Delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Tod D. Wolters and General Stephen R. Lyons, thank you both for your distinguished service to our country.

As stated many times before, this committee’s top priority is to ensure the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy, which focuses on China and Russia as primary threats to our national security.

That means we must ensure that our combatant commands have what they need to address the challenge of strategic competition. This is especially true of our two combatant commands here today. 

I want to highlight that Russia’s recent activities regarding Ukraine are very concerning. At the same time, Russian and Chinese threats are converging in Europe with an ever more aggressive China seeking influence and threatening security through economic coercion.

These growing threats: 1) highlight the value of the 2018 NDS, 2) illustrate why we should not be reducing defense spending, and 3) demonstrate the critical need for more advanced capabilities like the F-35 to deter Russia.

TRANSCOM is focused on full-spectrum mobility operations to meet requirements needed to combat both Russia and China as well as supporting other global engagements — from training to force projection to forward-deployed forces.

I am encouraged to hear this administration voice strong support for NATO, but rhetoric without resources is a hollow strategy that invites rather than deters aggression.

General Wolters, I look forward to hearing about your priorities for the European Deterrence Initiative and where else we need to bolster our defenses to address the threats you see growing every day.

General Lyons, I would like to know the status of our refueling capability and how TRANSCOM and the Air Force are working together to ensure requirements are met.

Additionally, I would like to know what you are doing to ensure the Global Household Goods Contract acquisition process is in compliance with federal procurement laws after two protests were upheld by GAO.

Finally, whether this morning or in our classified session, I would like to hear from both of you on how a contested environment impacts mobility operations.

General Lyons, as this is your final posture hearing before your retirement this fall, I would also like to congratulate you on your 38-year career and thank you and your family for your service. Thank you both again for testifying today. Senator Reed.


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