OPENING REMARKS: Thornberry on Future of Warfare

Jan 30, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at the Full Committee's hearing entitled, "Readying the U.S. Military for Future Warfare" For testimony and other information and to watch the hearing click here

"The Committee meets today to hear perspectives on the future nature of warfare.

No one can predict the future with certainty.  We will inevitably face surprises.  But we have to try to peer into the fog, looking for trends that point us toward where warfare is headed.  History tells us that even great powers can be overwhelmed by change that they do not recognize and to which they do not adapt.  Neither our adversaries nor relentless change will wait for us to catch up. 

Responding to these future indicators does not mean that we can necessarily walk away from more traditional capabilities.  The challenge of our times - and the challenge of our budgets - is that we must be prepared for the full range of threats -- from a strong, credible nuclear deterrent to non-kinetic influence operations -- in the constantly evolving art and science of warfare.

Despite the controversy, there is a lot of truth in former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's comment that 'You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.' The military that the United States has depends on the decisions made by Congress as part of our constitutional responsibility to 'raise and support,' 'provide and maintain' our military forces.  Secretary Mattis has testified that the American advantage in every domain of warfare is eroding.  That is the reality with which we must prepare for whatever the future brings. 

We welcome three well-qualified witnesses to help us peer into the future so we can better meet our duties under the Constitution to our troops and to the nation."