Washington D.C. (Link) – In absence, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith provided the following statement for today’s PACOM posture hearing:

“The Indo-Asia-Pacific region is vital to our national interests, and it includes many essential allies and partners. Our government has consistently relied on the U.S. military to support a variety of diplomatic, economic, and developmental priorities and objectives in the region, and that will not change. The United States will continue to be a leader and to promote growth and prosperity through its committed presence in the region.”

“As the Administration’s rebalancing efforts gain momentum, the United States should contribute to collective security; help to peaceably address concerns and mitigate disputes; promote shared interests and objectives; and facilitate productive multi-lateral exchanges. We should: work to cultivate a stable and mutually beneficial relationship with China; continue to contain and marginalize the dangerous and unpredictable North Korean regime; strengthen our security relationship with India; encourage regional democratization efforts; and reinforce enduring ties with our allies in the region.”

“Maintaining a significant U.S. military capability advantage is clearly a top national security priority, and it is entirely appropriate that we assess the capabilities of other countries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and the challenges that those capabilities may pose. However, our efforts to guard against any concerning capabilities should not presuppose malice. Nor, should they presume that conflict is inevitable. Rather, they should be geared toward ensuring good faith preservation of the international order.”   

“The most significant thing that Congress can do to help bolster the U.S. military’s technological edge and to help advance strategic objectives in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region is eliminate sequestration. Sequestration wreaked havoc on the federal budget in fiscal year 2013, and it threatens to do so again in fiscal year 2016 and beyond.  This year’s House budget resolution attempts to partially compensate for the expected impact of sequestration by adding $38 billion in funding for overseas contingency operations. However, a short-term overseas contingency allocation may not provide enough fiscal security to support the long-term technological research and development efforts and the programmatic investments that the military needs to maintain its advantages.” 

“Shielding the defense budget from sequestration, while leaving the remainder of the federal government exposed to its ravages, would also undermine regional priorities.  As Secretary Carter has emphasized, national security involves much more than defense. In fact, the rebalance itself is based on a whole-of-government approach. Eliminating sequestration across the board would greatly enhance our ability to engage in the region.”

“As our involvement in the vitally important Indo-Asia-Pacific region continues to develop, I will work to help optimize efforts for imparting a positive and lasting effect.”