Opening Statement of Congressman John M. McHugh

Feb 14, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman John McHugh (R-NY), ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, today released the following statement for the subcommittee’s hearing on military recruiting and retention:

“The fiscal year 2008 budget request is notable because it recommends significant – and I might add well-justified – growth in the Army and the Marine Corps.  Such increases have heretofore been a multi-year, bi-partisan objective of both this subcommittee and the full Armed Services committee.  I would expect that this committee will remain solidly committed to increasing not only the size of the Army and Marine Corps, but also in the growth of force structure and capabilities that is inherent in the end strength growth.

“What’s different about the fiscal year 2008 request, however, is that budget now presents this committee and Congress with a discreet, measurable and significantly larger funding request to support that growth.  We certainly will look closely at the funding request, and as indicated in the memorandum prepared by staff for this hearing, raise questions about the adequacy and sufficiency of the request.   For example, given what we know about the fiscal year 2008 request, I have concerns that the budget is not adequate to support the significant recruiting and retention efforts required by the Army and Marine Corps in both fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

“I have a larger concern, however, that the debate over U.S. strategy in Iraq will undercut the resolve of this House to support the force structure and end strength growth contained in the budget.  I hope that will not be the case, but as you may hear today, Congressional action already taken to strip several billion in fiscal year 2007 BRAC funding has created significant consternation among the military services.  

“The question remains whether Congress will make the services whole by restoring that funding.  If the House, and ultimately Congress, does not restore that funding and requires the services to fund some or all of those fiscal year 2007 BRAC requirements from the budget request before us, then this body, in effect, will undercut the ability of the Army and Marine Corps to achieve the growth that has been the long-standing objective of this committee.  We must be united in not letting such a goal be thwarted.

“That said, Mr. Chairman, I will reserve the remainder of my comment and questions until after the opening statements of our witnesses.  I look forward to their testimony.”