In both AFRICOM and CENTCOM, we have made progress in combatting terrorists, but they are not completely gone.
Adding to the problem, many groups have spread out, making them more difficult to locate.
General Townsend, as we discussed last week, maintaining pressure on these terrorist networks, remains vitally important.
But spending in AFRICOM comprises only 0.3% of our defense budget.
Spreading those resources even further is the increased presence of Russia and China on the continent.
Russia is entering into a disturbing number of arms sales and strategic agreements with African nations.
China is using its Belt and Road Initiative to extract African natural resources.
The Chinese Communist Party is also building its first overseas military base on the strategically import Horn of Africa.
Alarmingly, it’s only a few miles away from our own base.
Given the increased role China and Russia are playing in Africa, and its geostrategic importance, it is imperative we continue to make investments there.
I look forward to hearing from General Townsend about how we can maximize diplomatic and military efforts to eliminate terrorist footholds and counter Russia and China’s global ambitions in Africa.
In CENTCOM, General McKenzie is facing tremendous challenges from hardened terrorists and nations bent on our destruction.
President Biden’s decision to unconditionally withdraw all forces by September 11, 2021 will only complicate matters.
I am very concerned the Taliban will overrun the democratically elected government soon after we withdraw.
When that happens, what assurance do we have that Afghanistan will not become another breeding ground for terrorists.
I’ve yet to hear how the President intends to conduct counter terrorism operations without any U.S. troops in the region.
There had better be a plan for that and I expect the administration to explain it to us as soon as possible.
I am also very concerned with the ongoing the destabilizing actions of Iran.
The Ayatollah continues to fund and equip terrorist targeting American troops.
His cronies are prolonging a civil war and a humanitarian crisis in Syria.
And his regime is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. We absolutely cannot allow that to happen.
And I am not convinced that reentering JCPOA will stop them.
I look forward to hearing more about the Administration’s plan for ending the Ayatollah’s quest for a nuclear weapon and how they intend to deal with the rest of the regime’s destabilizing actions.
Finally, I want to express my deep frustration with the defense budget proposed by President Biden.
Cutting defense spending below the rate of inflation will mean combatant commanders like General Townsend and General McKenzie will not have the resources and capabilities, they need to do their jobs.
I look forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats on this committee to pass a defense budget that adequately supports our servicemen and women.