Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988
Washington D.C. –In the absence of Ranking Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) of the Readiness Subcommittee today released the following opening statement from the Readiness Subcommittee mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
“Mr. Chairman. I’d like to start by thanking you and your staff for all of your efforts in putting together what I believe is a very good mark. This mark has been done in a collaborative bipartisan manner and, while I continue to have significant concerns about the readiness of our military, this mark puts us on the right path.
“There are some particularly strong parts to this mark that I would like to highlight:
- “This mark recommends $250 million to address training shortfalls throughout the services. Numerous hearings and briefings held by this subcommittee have clearly shown that limited operations and maintenance budgets have impacted the ability of our commanders to train and prepare their units for operational deployment. This funding is directly aimed at mitigating those shortfalls.
- “This mark further addresses key readiness drivers by recommending $165 million above the President’s budget request for depot maintenance. Properly funding depot maintenance ensures that the equipment our troops need to engage in combat operations, as well as to train and prepare for deployment.
- “The Chairman’s mark also recommends restoration of funding for, and prohibits deactivation of, the 36th Rescue Flight at Fairchild AFB, Washington. The 36th Rescue Flight provides valuable combat search and rescue support for our military personnel at the USAF Survival School, and is also part of the National Response Plan that provides critical search and rescue support for the people of Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.
- “I would also like to bring your attention to a provision in the mark of which I am particularly supportive. While Title 10 requires that the Secretary of Defense provide quarterly readiness reports to Congress, the current law only applies to active units and those National Guard units that are in an active status. This provision would require the report be broadened to include information on the readiness of the National Guard, both in the federal mission and in the civil support role. The horrible devastation in Kansas reminds us once again, that we have a responsibility to ensure the National Guard is not only prepared for combat operations but is also properly trained and equipped to come to the aid of our own citizens in a time of crisis.
“I want to thank the Chairman for his leadership in ensuring our men and women fighting for this nation are providing the funding they need to be ready to do what is being asked of them. I would urge my colleagues to support this mark.”