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 U.S. military posture and national security challenges in Europe.
Chairman Rogers’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
I want to thank our witnesses for being here and for their service to our nation.
It’s been over a year since Putin launched his illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine.
The cost of war has been staggering.
Tens of thousands dead, including over 8,000 innocent civilians.
Over 13 million Ukrainians driven from their homes.
Nearly 72,000 alleged Russian war crimes, including indiscriminate killings, torture, kidnappings, and sexual assaults.
Tens of billions in civilian infrastructure destroyed, including half of Ukraine’s energy supply.
But despite the relentless and appalling attacks against them, the Ukrainian people have held strong.
Through innovation and grit, they’ve driven Putin’s war machine back, reclaiming much of the territory lost in the early days if the invasion.
The American taxpayer has been a key enabler of that success.
We’ve appropriated over $100 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and our NATO allies.
This unprecedented level of support requires an unprecedented level of oversight.
As we move toward markup of the NDAA, this committee will ensure that oversight is in place and is robust.
This war has lasted longer than many of us thought it would.
But that’s because many of us thought the Ukrainians were no match for Putin’s forces.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’m hopeful the coming counter offensive will provide a final stinging defeat for Putin.
But that will require the President to stop being so reluctant to provide Ukraine the capabilities it needs to be successful.
His hesitation over being too escalatory has only prolonged the war and driven up costs in terms of dollars and lives.
Continued reluctance and indecision only empowers Putin.
And it sends all the wrong signals to Xi and the Chinese Communist Party.
Xi is watching how America responds to this conflict very closely.
If America loses its resolve in Ukraine, it sends a clear message that we won’t be there to defend Taiwan.
That is not the message we should be sending the CCP.
Finally, the war in Ukraine has opened Europe’s eyes to the threats they face.
Some countries like Poland, Romania, Finland, and the Balts are stepping up to meet the threat.
Others are not.
The awakening in Germany that so many thought was coming, has yet to materialize.
And in France, the denial runs even deeper.
France has not met the minimum levels of NATO spending and it ranks at the very bottom of countries providing military assistance to Ukraine.
And President Macron’s recent bended-knee performance before Xi Jinping was shameful.
Old Europe needs to learn the lessons of Nord Stream 2 and not become dependent on adversaries.
Especially those that commit genocide and look to remake global borders through force.
I believe the time has come to move U.S. forces in Europe further East. into the countries that are investing more heavily in their own security.
Poland, Romania, and the Balts truly understand the threat from Putin.
Unlike others, they’ve invested in their own defense and are real partners in our collective security.
It’s also where our troops will be the most useful and have the largest impact on deterrence.
I look forward to our discussion today and to hearing from our witnesses about how best to adjust our security posture in Europe.
With that I yield to the Ranking Member.