Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement at today’s hearing on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget requests from EUCOM, SOUTHCOM , and NORTHCOM:
“I would like to join Chairman McKeon in welcoming Admiral Winnefeld, General Fraser, and Admiral Stavridis. We appreciate your time and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the budget requests for your respective commands.
“In no specific order, I would like to engage in a discussion about the challenges all of the commands here today face and what Congress can do to support your efforts.
“First, let me address U.S. European Command. The U.S. European Command remains an essential part of U.S. and international security. Admiral Stavridis, I realize much of your attention has been focused on addressing the situation in Libya. While our Committee will hear in more detail about operations in Libya tomorrow, I’d like to hear more specifically today about the European Command’s key contribution to this effort, what you expect in the weeks and months ahead, and about EUCOM’s partnership with NATO in this context.
“I am also interested in your assessment of EUCOM’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan, and how it might evolve in the next few years as the President prepares to withdraw troops.
“Looking beyond US military operations in Afghanistan and Libya, the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran remain among the gravest threats to US and international security. In this context, the initial phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe (EPAA) begins this year. I’d like your thoughts on what the planned implementation of the EPAA means in terms of requirements and necessary resources for EUCOM.
“Last, I’d like to hear your insights regarding two key countries, Russia and Turkey. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, EUCOM plays a critical role in preserving stability in Europe and strengthening cooperation with Russia. EUCOM is also uniquely placed to help identify what role Turkey plays in terms of regional and international security challenges, and to help manage the US-Turkey relationship. I look forward to discussing this.
“Next, I look forward to hearing from General Fraser regarding your important issues at SOUTHCOM. We had a good meeting earlier this month and I want to hear more about your thoughts on the non-traditional threats in the region, the rising violence and instability in Central America, our military to military cooperation in the area, and your counter narcotics duties.
“I am particularly concerned about the instability in the region around Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and your thoughts on how to apply the lessons we have learned in Colombia and Mexico to these countries. Please let us know the resources you require regarding all these issues. I am going to Guantanamo Bay soon and appreciate the efforts we are making to continue the safe, humane, and transparent treatment of the detainees. Resolving the future status of the Guantanamo detainees remains a priority for me.
“Last but not least, is NORTHCOM. I look forward to hearing about progress on countering threats on our Southern border, and how we are working with Mexico to address these threats. We focus a lot of our attention on the Southern border but I’d also like to hear your views on some of challenges on our Northern land borders.
“I’d also like to hear your thoughts about what global warming and increased access to the Arctic mean for national security, how NORTHCOM, in partnership with EUCOM, is addressing this challenge and whether you have the resources you need.
“Again, thank you all for your time and I look forward to hearing your testimony. “