WASHINGTON, DC - 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 hearing titled “Air Force Readiness Posture.” For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.
"Good afternoon. Ladies and gentlemen, I call the hearing to order.
Thank you all for being here today. This hearing is the first in a series of Readiness hearings on the services’ budget request and readiness posture. Today, I look forward to hearing how the Air Force’s budget request enables a readiness recovery plan, where we continue to take risks, and how this request supports our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day.
Over the course of the past two years, this subcommittee has met with Air Force leadership to understand the depth of the readiness challenges facing the Air Force. We expect that this budget attacks the most critical challenges; namely those issues most essential to halting the readiness decline and rebuilding and restore the Air Force. Our Air Force remains the most powerful in the world; however, it will take years to rebuild and restore. The purpose of this hearing is to clarify the Air Force’s choices for its budget requests, to address funding priorities and mitigation strategies and to gather more detail on the current and future impacts of these decisions on operations, maintenance, training, and modernization. Most importantly, does the Air Force have the resources it requires in order to rebuild and restore readiness? Can it support the large sustainment bills looming in the future?
I fully believe the primary responsibility of the national government is to provide for the national security of its citizens – and that is especially true of our airmen who freely risk their lives to serve this nation; therefore, it is our responsibility as members of this subcommittee to understand the readiness situation and how the budget request assisting the Department of the Air Force in correcting any deficiencies and restoring and rebuilding the capabilities this nation needs.
I welcome all of our members and the distinguished panel of senior Air Force leaders present today. This afternoon we have with us: Lieutenant General Mark Nowland, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant General Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard, and Major General Derek P. Rydholm, Deputy to the Chief of Air Force Reserve.
Thank you all for testifying today and we look forward to your thoughts and insights on these important issues."