WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's markup. To view the mark and to watch the markup live click here.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness mark-up for H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
I’d like to begin by thanking the Ranking Member, Ms. Madeleine Bordallo, for her tireless effort and participation in this process, and I’d like to extend that gratitude to all of the Members here today.
I sincerely appreciate the wonderful participation from all members of this subcommittee, both minority and majority. We had great turnout at our multiple hearings and classified briefings and keen interest in the readiness issues facing our service members. Thank you!
Also, our staffs worked diligently to make this mark happen. Thanks to all of you as well.
Over the past several months we have heard testimony from each of our service branches about the critical necessity to address our military’s readiness shortfalls. Here today, we have the responsibility to reduce the risk for our war fighters by making sure that they are well-trained and supported, and that the equipment they use is properly maintained and combat-ready.
I believe that this mark accomplishes that task.
The product of bipartisan negotiations, the mark before you incorporates legislative provisions and direct report language that, I believe, make significant progress in resolving our most critical readiness concerns. Specifically, this mark provides for increased military construction over 2017 levels, gives the Department of Defense more responsive facility construction, repair, and real estate authorities, and extends and expands several of DoD’s civilian hiring authorities so that critical manpower capability gaps, especially in our defense industrial base, can be filled quickly. Further, it directs several assessments of the military departments’ plans to rebuild readiness, enhance exercises, modernize training requirements, and address shortfalls in our public shipyards.
I’d like to note, however, that these measures will not entirely resolve our readiness challenges. Because of successive rounds of budget cuts and sequestration, these are issues that will need to remain in our focus for years.
Again, I’d like to salute my colleagues on the subcommittee as, together, we take the necessary steps to train and equip our military men and women so that they can confidently and safely perform their missions and protect the homeland."