Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988
Washington D.C. –In the absence of Ranking Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) of the Readiness Subcommittee today released the following opening statement from the Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the adequacy of the fiscal year 2008 budget request to meet readiness requirements:
“As we all know, the readiness of our troops is critical to our national security and success in the war on terror. The Department of Defense (DoD) continues to face budgetary pressures against the backdrop of the ongoing war on terror, a continued high operations tempo, and a need to recapitalize much of its aging equipment.
“The fiscal year 2008 budget reflects these challenges, and requires the services to continue to do more with less. The total request of $235.3 billion for operations and maintenance (O&M) is up only 1.1% from the fiscal year 2007 request. According to estimates provided to this subcommittee, this increase is only half of what is needed to cover inflation, rising energy costs, and provides no room for program growth. In effect, the services’ O&M budgets are $2.7 billion short if you simply take inflation into account.
“The readiness challenges facing the DoD are significant. Years of under-funded procurement accounts are manifesting in aging fleets of aircraft, ships, and vehicles. This aging equipment is costly to maintain, offers reduced reliability, and requires increased man-power to keep it serviceable.
“Yet the high mission-capable rates and mission-effectiveness ratings are a direct result of the hard-working, dedicated, men and women serving this nation. In my home state of Alabama, we see this dedication in the talented workforce at critical installations like the Anniston Army Depot. Their motivation is to provide our military personnel the best maintained, most reliable equipment they can. On behalf of all of those public servants, I thank them for everything they do to help keep our troops equipped and ready.
“Of course, we all know that the services are tackling this challenge in different ways. From the Air Force’s Smart Ops 21 to the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan, our military personnel are looking for ways to do things smarter, cheaper, and better. I look forward to hearing from each of our witnesses today on the readiness challenges, and hope to hear more about the tools they need to get the job done for our nation.”