Apr 27, 2022
Press Release
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Lead Republican of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on the Department of Air Force’s FY23 Budget Request.
Lead Republican Rogers’ remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to our witnesses for being here today and for your service to our nation.
I remain extremely concerned with President Biden’s defense budget. 
The budget request does not keep pace with the threats we’re facing from China or Russia.
And it does not keep pace with the historic levels of inflation we’re currently experiencing. 
Inflation is eating into the buying power of the department and impacting the livelihoods of our servicemembers and their families.
And it’s not going down anytime soon. 
We’re going to be dealing with this problem well into FY23. 
But the budget request doesn’t account for it.  General Milley testified to that fact last month.
That means nearly every dollar of increase in this budget will be eaten by inflation.
Very little if anything will be left over to modernize and grow capability.
That forces our service chiefs to make unnecessary choices about which requirements to fund and which to defer.
The $5.2 billion in unfunded priorities submitted by General Brown and General Raymond are a testament to that fact.
Priorities such as F-35’s, hypersonic weapons, missile warning and tracking, and critical weapons and facilities sustainment all went underfunded in this budget.
These are exactly the priorities we should be funding.
The budget continues the Air Force’s strategy to divest capabilities that aren’t survivable in a fight against China, and use the savings to invest in advanced technologies capable of prevailing in that conflict. 
While I support that approach, we should ask tough questions about how much risk we’re absorbing and for how long.
Many of the divestments in this year’s budget would undermine the service’s ability to continue to meet critical requirements until the next decade.
That’s because replacements are still early in the development process, while delivery timelines continue to move to the right.
 To make matters worse, the budget cuts the buy for many of the capabilities we need to bridge that gap.
It means the administration is gambling that China, Russia, or some other adversary won’t force us into conflict before 2030. 
Given the atrocities we’re witnessing in Ukraine, that’s a very dangerous bet.
Divest to invest is important, but it can’t leave our combatant commanders trying to fill near term requirements with an empty toolbox.
Finally, I am glad to see the increased investments proposed for the Space Force.
We must continue to push towards a distributed architecture in space in a smart way that provides capabilities to the warfighter now, while accelerating future systems.
I also want to highlight the General Raymond’s request to make it easier to move Guardians between active and reserve status. 
This is exactly the type of innovative approach to warfighting we envisioned when we created the Space Force. 
I know there are several issues to work through on this proposal, but I look forward to seeing it happen. 
With that, I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and look forward to hearing from our witnesses.