Hearings

Mar 16 2011

Developments in Afghanistan

McKeon Opening Statement for Afghanistan Hearing

Chairman

Washington, D.C.—America’s senior military commander in Afghanistan and the Secretary of Defense’s top policy deputy today appeared before the House Armed Services Committee to provide Members with an update on the progress being made to defeat the Taliban; protect the Afghan population and train, equip, deploy and mentor Afghan National Security Forces.  U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following opening statement for the hearing:

“During a visit last week with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates observed, ‘The closer you get to this fight, the better it looks.’  Having just returned from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan a few weeks ago, I couldn't agree more. 

“Our delegation met with senior military commanders and diplomats, talked to airmen at Bagram Air Base, Marines in Helmand Province, and soldiers in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement that harbored al-Qaeda in the years prior to 9/11.  We spent time with Afghan leaders who are trying to build a better tomorrow for their people and excited children who are able to attend school for the first time in their young lives.

“It was clear to our delegation that our forces have made significant gains in the past year and have reversed the Taliban’s tactical momentum.  Our forces—working alongside their Afghan partners—have cleared former enemy strongholds, swept up significant weapons caches that are vital for the insurgency, and given more Afghans the confidence to defy the Taliban.  We have made considerable progress in growing and professionalizing Afghanistan’s army and police so these forces are more capable and reliable partners to our own troops.

“As significant as our troops’ achievements in the field are, they can easily be undone by poor decisions made here in Washington.  Although the influx of additional troops and a better resourced counterinsurgency strategy have led to operational gains, our witnesses today have the opportunity to lay out how this progress can be consolidated into a lasting strategic victory for the United States and its Afghan allies. 

“In particular, the committee must understand what resources are required to reinforce the positive trends of 2010 so we can allow the Afghan government to assume the lead in governance and security. As Secretary Gates also said during his trip, ‘There is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right.’  Among the key questions to be addressed are:

  • “What conditions would be sufficient to permit the redeployment of some U.S. forces beginning in July 2011? Thus far the exact terms of those conditions remain ambiguous.  Unfortunately, what we hear informally from commanders on the ground is that “the calendar” is the only condition they’ve been given.

 

  • “Can any tactical and operational gains be permanently consolidated so long as the Taliban’s leadership enjoy safe havens in Pakistan? 

 

“Fortunately, our two witnesses—Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, General David Petraeus—are eminently qualified to address these issues.    

“Our nation has asked military families to shoulder a tremendous burden.  Just as we owe it to our nation’s warriors and their loved ones to remain committed to the fight by properly resourcing the fight, we also owe it to them to get the war’s strategy right.  For nothing would do more to honor their sacrifices than to achieve a strategic victory that makes all Americans more secure.”


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Mar 16 2011

Developments in Afghanistan

McKeon Opening Statement for Afghanistan Hearing

Chairman

Washington, D.C.—America’s senior military commander in Afghanistan and the Secretary of Defense’s top policy deputy today appeared before the House Armed Services Committee to provide Members with an update on the progress being made to defeat the Taliban; protect the Afghan population and train, equip, deploy and mentor Afghan National Security Forces.  U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following opening statement for the hearing:

“During a visit last week with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates observed, ‘The closer you get to this fight, the better it looks.’  Having just returned from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan a few weeks ago, I couldn't agree more. 

“Our delegation met with senior military commanders and diplomats, talked to airmen at Bagram Air Base, Marines in Helmand Province, and soldiers in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement that harbored al-Qaeda in the years prior to 9/11.  We spent time with Afghan leaders who are trying to build a better tomorrow for their people and excited children who are able to attend school for the first time in their young lives.

“It was clear to our delegation that our forces have made significant gains in the past year and have reversed the Taliban’s tactical momentum.  Our forces—working alongside their Afghan partners—have cleared former enemy strongholds, swept up significant weapons caches that are vital for the insurgency, and given more Afghans the confidence to defy the Taliban.  We have made considerable progress in growing and professionalizing Afghanistan’s army and police so these forces are more capable and reliable partners to our own troops.

“As significant as our troops’ achievements in the field are, they can easily be undone by poor decisions made here in Washington.  Although the influx of additional troops and a better resourced counterinsurgency strategy have led to operational gains, our witnesses today have the opportunity to lay out how this progress can be consolidated into a lasting strategic victory for the United States and its Afghan allies. 

“In particular, the committee must understand what resources are required to reinforce the positive trends of 2010 so we can allow the Afghan government to assume the lead in governance and security. As Secretary Gates also said during his trip, ‘There is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right.’  Among the key questions to be addressed are:

  • “What conditions would be sufficient to permit the redeployment of some U.S. forces beginning in July 2011? Thus far the exact terms of those conditions remain ambiguous.  Unfortunately, what we hear informally from commanders on the ground is that “the calendar” is the only condition they’ve been given.

 

  • “Can any tactical and operational gains be permanently consolidated so long as the Taliban’s leadership enjoy safe havens in Pakistan? 

 

“Fortunately, our two witnesses—Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, General David Petraeus—are eminently qualified to address these issues.    

“Our nation has asked military families to shoulder a tremendous burden.  Just as we owe it to our nation’s warriors and their loved ones to remain committed to the fight by properly resourcing the fight, we also owe it to them to get the war’s strategy right.  For nothing would do more to honor their sacrifices than to achieve a strategic victory that makes all Americans more secure.”


Past

Date Title
3/31/11 Improving the Readiness of U.S. Forces through Military Jointness
3/31/11 FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Missile Defense
3/31/11 Operation Odyssey Dawn and US Military Operations in Libya
3/30/11 FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Budget Requests from SOUTHCOM, NORTHCOM, and EUCOM
3/17/11 Law of War Detention and the President’s Executive Order Establishing Periodic Review Boards for Guantanamo Detainees
3/17/11 Military Personnel Overview
3/17/11 Soldier and Marine Equipment for Dismounted Operations
3/16/11 2012 Budget Request from U.S. Cyber Command
3/16/11 Amphibious Operations
3/16/11 Current record
3/16/11 Military Health System Overview and Defense Health Program Cost Efficiencies: A Beneficiary Perspective
3/15/11 FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for National Security Space Activities
3/15/11 Long-Term Readiness Challenges in the Pacific
3/15/11 Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force Tactical Aviation Programs
3/15/11 Military Health System Overview and Defense Health Program Cost Efficiencies
3/11/11 Counterproliferation Strategy for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Chemical Biological Defense Program
3/10/11 Global Challenges to Readiness
3/9/11 Navy Shipbuilding Acquisition Programs and Budget Requirements
3/9/11 Army Modernization
3/3/11 2012 Budget Request for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command
3/3/11 Are We Ready? An Independent Look at the Required Readiness Posture of U.S. Forces
3/2/11 The Status of United States Strategic Forces
3/2/11 2012 Budget Request for the Army
3/1/11 Equipping the Warfighter in Afghanistan
3/1/11 2012 Budget Request for DOD Science and Technology
3/1/11 2012 Budget Request for the Navy