Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988
Washington D.C. –Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), ranking Republican on the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, today released the following floor statement for debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
“H.R. 1585 reflects an objective of balancing the health and capability of the current force with the needs of future capability. Once again, this bill places force protection issues at the top of the priority list for Congress. By including $4.1 billion for Army and Marine Corps Mine Resistance Ambush Protected vehicles, we will ensure our forces in Iraq have the needed state-of-the-art equipment to defend against improvised explosive devices. Additionally, we take a step toward meeting our airlift needs by providing $2.4 billion for an additional ten C-17’s.
“As proud as I am of this legislation, I also recognize that this bill is not a perfect bill. H.R. 1585 reflects a funding reduction of $867 million to the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, a decrement that amounts to more than the cuts in the last three years combined. Modernization ensures the readiness of our future force and is a strategic necessity. As the central component of Army modernization, FCS is the first comprehensive modernization effort since World War II. It fills capability gaps that cannot be fulfilled by solely upgrading current systems. FCS represents approximately 3% of the Army’s base budget for Fiscal Year 2008.
“I agree that the Army needs a higher top-line, but the Army’s funding crisis cannot be solved by making such large reductions to the FCS program. The Army must be allowed to invest in technologies and equipment that enable our most important asset—the soldier—to remain more effective than our adversaries, who are quickly adapting their methods, tactics, and tools of warfare.”