WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's hearing titled “United States Navy and United States Air Force Depot Policy Issues and Infrastructure Concerns.” For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.
"I want to welcome you to this morning's hearing, and I would like to thank our panel of witnesses for being here today to discuss the defense organic industrial base and the significant role it has in maintaining and restoring readiness back to our armed services. This hearing will specifically focus on the current state of 'United States Navy and United States Air Force Depot Policy Issues and Infrastructure Concerns.'
Our Shipyards, Fleet Readiness Centers, and Air Logistics Complexes are critical to this country's ability to project power and to properly train and equip our warfighters. The sustainment industrial base provides the backbone for the military to respond to a variety of contingencies, surge capacity, and provide unique solutions to requirements.
Our readiness recovery is fragile and it is important to understand exactly what is in jeopardy. During this hearing, I would like you to help us answer this basic question:
In terms of risk, what does it mean to our national security, particularly our sustainment industrial base to have ships moored to the pier or sitting in dry dock for extended periods of time, or have aircraft waiting for depot maintenance?
The depots saw diminished workloads when major combat operations ended in Iraq and Afghanistan. This decreased workload coupled with unpredictable budgets and continuing resolutions forced the services to divest a portion of the technically skilled workforce, and limit re-investment into depot facilities. We know these variables have significant effects on people, depot rates, and long-term organic industrial base viability. We are particularly interested in your infrastructure concerns and proposed solutions. Other common issues I am aware of across military depots relate to carryover, infrastructure strategic planning, and civilian hiring. We want to hear what the issues are from your perspective and how they are impacting your mission.
It is our responsibility as members of this subcommittee to understand the readiness challenges of our armed services and how the resources and authorities provided impact capabilities this nation needs.
I am pleased to recognize our witnesses today. I thank them for taking the time to be with us. We have:
Vice Admiral Thomas Moore
Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command
Vice Admiral Dean Peters
Commander, Naval Air Systems Command
Lieutenant General Lee Levy
Commander, Air Force Sustainment Center
U.S. Air Force"