Mar 23, 2023
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on the United States’ military posture and the national security challenges in the Greater Middle East and Africa.
Chairman Rogers’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
Today we continue our posture hearings with AFRICOM and CENTCOM.
I want to thank our witnesses for being here and for their service to our nation.
Earlier this month we heard from the Commanders of NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM about the growing presence of the Chinese Communist Party in North and South America.
The situation in AFRICOM and CENTCOM is even more concerning.
Most countries in Africa and the Middle East are now members of the CCP’s Belt and Road initiative.
The CCP built their first overseas military base in Djibouti, at a strategic point on the Horn of Africa.
This base can accommodate the CCP’s aircraft carriers and sits only 6 miles from our own outpost.
Now, they’re actively looking to the Atlantic coast of Africa for new military basing opportunities.
Across the Middle East, the CCP is building ports, providing Huawei telecommunications, conducting joint military exercises, and delivering military equipment.
But what worries me most is Xi’s growing friendship with the Ayatollah.
In the last few years, the CCP signed valuable trade deals with Iran, bought Iranian oil in defiance of international sanctions, and joined Russia in conducting joint drills with the Iranian navy.  
Last week, they played peacemaker between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
These actions provide a lifeline to Iran at a very dangerous time.
The Ayatollah continues to fund and equip terrorists targeting American troops. 
He’s providing Putin with advanced weapons to prosecute the brutal invasion of Ukraine.
And his regime is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. 
We absolutely cannot allow that to happen. 
Finally, both General Langley and General Kurilla continue to face tremendous challenges snuffing out hardened terrorists in their A.O.Rs.
In Africa, lack of adequate resourcing has led to a worsening security situation, especially in the west where terrorist havens are expanding. 
In CENTCOM, President Biden’s decision to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan has undermined our national security.
It has left a security vacuum the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS are filling.
The assessment is that some of these terrorists could conduct attacks against the U.S. in as little as six months. 
I remain very concerned that we’re no longer positioned to detect an imminent attack and stop it. 
That’s because the President’s so-called “Over the Horizon” counter terrorism strategy is a farce. 
Without persistent ISR, reliable partners on the ground, and nearby facilities to launch assets, our ability to strike these terrorists is severely limited.
I look forward to this afternoon’s classified discussion on what capabilities we’ve lost and how we can help restore them.
We cannot allow for blind spots.   
Especially in these two A.O.Rs