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 Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request:
“Today, this committee begins its annual review of the President’s proposal on how best to provide for the common defense of our nation in the year to come. As in years past, it is likely that this budget cycle will present a number of important policy and budgetary decisions that will receive considerable debate and attention over the next few months.
“In the midst of the political debates now raging, there is one overriding fact that we must not forget: we are a nation at war. American men and women serve us now on battlefronts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and various other places around the globe. Our forces deserve nothing less than the best possible support we can give them.
“The President’s budget request for the Department of Defense appears to strike an appropriate balance between the immediate costs associated with the war on terrorism and our long-term military modernization goals. The budget request provides a 3% across the board pay raise for our military and substantial increases in quality of life programs for the warfighters and their families.
“I am pleased to see that the President’s submission includes the base fiscal year 2008 request, the fiscal year 2007 supplemental, as well as the projections for supporting combat operations in fiscal year 2008. The Administration, in following the guidelines that we set forth in our National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, has presented a budget that allows this committee a more complete view of defense spending in the near-term and the opportunity to ensure that equipment reset and readiness – which are so essential to the long-term health of our forces – have been given a primary focus and proper funding.
“Last year, we released the Committee Defense Review. This was the culmination of more than one year of intense work by the members of this committee during which we analyzed our national defense needs based upon the real threats we face instead of backing into a solution narrowly viewed through budgetary constraints. I am pleased to note the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense budget request includes funding to begin the force structure increase in the Army by 65,000 and Marine Corps by 27,000, a total nearly identical to the recommended end strength increases recommended in our Committee Defense Review. These increases in Army and Marine Corps permanent end strength will improve the Nation’s security, ensure a ready and available warfighting force and will reduce the frequency of deployments, providing more time at home for soldiers and greater stability for families.
“Last week the House passed a Continuing Resolution which cut $3.1 billion from Base Realignment and Closure accounts. These funds were fully authorized by this committee last year by a vote of 60-1 and were intended for the implementation of the global re-basing of military units back to the United States, to build facilities to house these returning units and to realign domestic bases. Further, these global re-basing movements were synchronized with unit rotations to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. If this committee is truly concerned about a ready and available military force and the quality of life for our military families then we must restore the entire $3.1 billion to the BRAC accounts.
“Finally, in this time of political brinkmanship, we cannot afford to allow tradeoffs or compromises to intervene in our commitment to provide the brave men and women who fight for our security with all the material and moral support we can muster.
“Secretary Gates and General Pace, I look forward to hearing how this budget request addresses the full range of military capabilities required to provide this support and allow our fine military forces to achieve their missions.”