OPENING REMARKS OF CHAIRMAN TURNER
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's hearing titled "The Effect of Sequestration and Continuing Resolutions on Army Modernization and Readiness." For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.
"The Subcommittee meets today to continue the ongoing process of informing our members and the public about the current readiness crisis that all of our military services find themselves in. This hearing will address how sequestration and continuing resolutions have impacted the Army’s ability to modernize the current and future force to be “ready and capable” against current and emerging threats. We held a similar hearing last week with the Marine Corps.
I’d like to welcome our witnesses:
Lieutenant General John M. Murray, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 [Gee-eight]
Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 [Gee-three]
Thank you each for your dedicated service to our Nation.
We look forward to hearing your professional assessment on the current status of Army modernization.
As you know, Readiness includes many things such as end-strength, training, and modernization. In many hearings, the full committee and this subcommittee have heard testimony regarding the serious challenges faced by our military services with respect to overall military readiness.
We’ve repeatedly heard how the military services, as a result of budget constraints, have had to defer modernization in order to maintain near-term readiness. We’ve heard about the many complex and evolving threats this country now faces, and how we continue to lose our technological advantage and combat overmatch against strategic adversaries.
Just last month, General Allyn, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, reiterated many of these concerns, and noted that as currently postured, the Army is outranged, outgunned, and outdated. Right now the Army is near the bottom of a historically severe budget drawdown in terms of modernization.
For example, Army modernization funding declined 74 percent from 2008 thru 2015 as a result of the drawdown from two wars and the imposition of the Budget Control Act caps. And as a result, tradeoffs and significant funding reductions were made to critical Army modernization programs.
So the purpose of this hearing today is to conduct a more comprehensive review of the State of Army Modernization, and understand what the Army will require to rebuild itself and win decisively.
We need to better understand how and why the Army is outranged, outgunned, and outdated, so we can begin the process of fixing this problem.
As such the witnesses have been asked to address and identify:
1) the near and long-term impacts that continuing resolutions and sequestration are having on the Army’s ability to modernize and ready its forces;
2) the processes the Army is utilizing to prioritize modernization requirements to address immediate and near-term capability gaps in a budget constrained environment;
3) where the Army should be focusing its modernization strategies across the future years defense program to address the anticipated security environment; and,
4) the potential resources that would be required to support these strategies.
To be clear about resources—as I said last week during a similar hearing with the Marine Corps—the top line is the issue and we must repeal sequestration.
I support the President’s commitment to rebuilding the military.
For example, just last year the military services identified almost $22 billion in unfunded requirements. The Army’s FY17 Supplemental request appears to require an additional $4.2 billion just for modernization requirements alone to begin restoring needed capacity and capability.
The Administration has now submitted a base budget request of $603 billion for defense in fiscal year 2018, only a 3 percent increase above President Obama’s projected budget request for fiscal year 2018 from last year. I have concerns that a base budget request of $603 billion does not start the process of rebuilding our military.
While we cannot repair all of the damage done from sequestration in a single year, we can and should do more than this level of funding would provide.
I look forward to working with the Administration in order to increase the fiscal year 2018 budget to get as close as possible to the $640 billion number referenced in Chairman Thornberry’s Views and Estimate letter to the Budget Committee."