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 posture hearing on the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request for the U.S. Army:
“Mr. Secretary, General Schoomaker, thank you for being here. We are very fortunate to have each of you serving our country, and we are very fortunate to have you here today. General Schoomaker, we understand this will be your last appearance at a posture hearing before the committee in your current role. We appreciate all that you have done to help America’s soldiers and their families during your tenure as Chief of Staff for the Army, especially since they had to track you down in your pickup truck out in Wyoming. America is grateful that you answered the call General Schoomaker.
“The fundamental issues that this Congress and this Committee must address are whether or not the proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget request establishes the proper policy framework; sufficient funding to meet current and future national security challenges; and supports the needs of the brave men and women defending the nation around the world. In my judgment, our Army continues to be the most motivated and most magnificent Army in the history of the United States.
“I applaud the Administration’s decision to increase the size of the Army by adding six Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs). As the members of this committee know, the House Armed Services Committee has taken the lead for the past four years in expanding the size of the Army by 30,000 to its present strength of 512,000. In 2006 we conducted a Committee Defense Review (CDR) and recommended an increase of eight Army brigades. Even though the final CDR ultimately was not endorsed by Democratic members of the Committee, I am optimistic that they will join us and support the recommendations we made and that the Administration is now making for a larger Army.
“One area that particularly concerns me is whether or not the National Guard and Reserve are getting what they need to properly reset. As you know, the Army testified in front of this committee in June of last year about resetting the force. We were told about the magnitude of the Army's reset challenge and the strategy for resourcing this critical requirement. We learned that the Army’s requirement for reset in Fiscal Year 2007 was $17.1 billion and that the requirement beyond Fiscal Year 2007 would be $12 billion to $13 billion per year through the period of the conflict and for a minimum of two to three years beyond.
“And it was this committee, as a result of the Army’s testimony, that took the lead and made sure that the Army received every penny that it asked for. And let there be no doubt that this committee will take the lead again to ensure that the Army gets the necessary funding it needs to reset the current force. But in order to do so we must know what is required. So I look forward to hearing more about the current status of the Army’s reset and whether or not the Guard needs additional funding.
“Again, I want to thank all of you for your service to our country. Thank you for being here and I look forward to your testimony.”