Sep 20, 2023
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Chairman of the Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation Subcommittee, delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on industry perspectives on defense innovation and deterrence.
Rep. Gallagher’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

The subcommittee will come to order. Last week the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, stated: “Today the intelligence couldn't be clearer…China is preparing for a war and specifically for a war with the United States.”

If we took this warning seriously, and thereby got serious about preventing World War III, we would shift the Pentagon away from a posture optimized for peacetime efficiency onto a wartime footing. This is very hard to do in a free society such as ours. Once aroused, American democracy can mobilize and beat totalitarian enemies who start strong but then stumble. But “ the abiding weakness of free peoples is that their governments can not or will not make them prepare or sacrifice before they are aroused.” Thus, even as the horrors of war ravage Europe, we have not mobilized to prevent war in the Pacific, we have not moved to maximum production rates of long-range precision fires, and in one week $11 billion dollars of previously appropriated defense dollars will evaporate if Congress does not act.

We have hundreds of Pentagon innovation projects that sound great but seem not to solve the problem. I know this because every year I attend the Reagan Forum and I hear different Secretaries of Defense deliver the exact same speech about the Valley of Death. And then I attend the exact same innovation dinners with the exact same people inveighing against the primes and the Pentagon’s broken acquisition culture. To quote Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day: “I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it's always February 2nd, and there's nothing I can do about it.”

Today we are lucky to have three defense leaders to help us make sense of this and get out of Groundhog Day. They represent three companies at three different stages of defense development. Jim Taiclet is CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Brian Schimpf is the CEO of Anduril Industries, and Richard Jenkins is the CEO of Saildrone. Thank you all for being here. Not everyone was so eager to join us. 

Gentlemen, all I ask for today is your candor. Tell us in simple and direct language that ordinary Americans could understand, meaning no acronyms, what we need to do to defibrillate a sclerotic defense industrial base and thereby prevent world war 3. We can’t keep wasting time.

And before I turn it over to the ranking member, I’d like to invite Deputy Secretary Hicks to headline our next CITI hearing on how her newly-announced Replicator initiative can turbocharge innovation and enhance deterrence. I want Replicator to work, and though we are just a humble subcommittee, I would submit this is the best forum to have a serious sober conversation about how to make it work. With that Mr. Khanna is recognized.