Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988
Washington D.C. –Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following opening statement from the House Armed Services Committee’s hearing focused on the implications the President’s new strategy for Iraq would have on total force readiness:
“As all of us know, the President outlined a new strategy for Iraq on January 10th. This strategy offers an increased use of Iraqi military forces and an innovative use of American forces to stabilize and secure Baghdad. I have long supported further involvement of Iraqi battalions throughout the country, to include their use in ‘hot-spot’ areas. This element of the strategy is a strong step in validating Iraqi military capabilities and ensuring that the Iraqis are ready and willing to take control of their own security. This Iraqi mobilization helps us on the way to an effective handover of such responsibility.
“Until that day comes, coalition forces must secure and hold Baghdad alongside our Iraqi partners. The U.S. must have an adequate force structure in place to do so. This means an increased commitment of American troops into the Central Command Theater—in general—and into Iraq—in particular.
“Our troops have served magnificently in this war on terrorism. They continue to honor this nation with extraordinary service and sacrifice. As we increase the number of U.S. troops in the Central Command area of responsibility, it is our responsibility to make sure they continue to be well-prepared and well-equipped for the tasks they have all so bravely volunteered to take on.
“General Schoomaker and General Conway, welcome and thank you for your service and dedication. I look forward to your testimony on the implications of this surge on the readiness of your troops. I also want to offer a warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you to our witnesses on the second panel—First Sergeant Allison, Mrs. Zimmerman and Mrs. Shuster. I really look forward to hearing your perspectives on the impact of this surge on our troops and their families. Mrs. Zimmerman and Mrs. Shuster, I am certain that you have both made extraordinary sacrifices in supporting this nation and, while testifying before congress was probably not on the list of things you signed up for when you married your husbands, we really appreciate you being here today.”