WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ander Crenshaw, a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today (2/26) issued the following statement after the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee oversight hearing entitled Department of Defense – Fiscal Challenges.
Subcommittee members heard testimony from General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff, United States Army; Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; General James F. Amos, Commandant, United States Marine Corps; General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force; and General Frank J. Grass, Chief of National Guard Bureau at the Capitol Hill hearing in Room 2359 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
"The top leaders of all our military services unanimously declared this morning in the Defense Subcommittee what I have been stating for months: Sequestration would have disastrous near and long-term impact on military readiness and national security. Moreover, I couldn't agree more on the critical need we also heard for a full-year defense appropriations bill. I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight for this alternative over a full-year continuing resolution for the Department of Defense," said Crenshaw.
During the hearing, Crenshaw highlighted the importance of performing required maintenance on all the Navy’s ships on a predictable schedule and questioned the witnesses on how decisions are made and where and when our military will be deployed during times of limited assets.
Responding to the maintenance concern, Admiral Greenert said, “The problem is, as you said, if you don’t do maintenance, what happens then. Well, it’s a debilitating effect, and you laid it out really clearly. It starts to hollow you out, that’s the beginning of it. And, you’ve got to pay this back. So sooner or later, you’ve seen examples …. you get down and say ‘Wow, look at that tank.’ We should have done that maintenance year ago for $2 million and now we’re doing a $25 million tank replacement or re-plating.
“So, it’s a – it’s a debate at the level in the department, and the Harry S. Truman decision was an outcome of a similar debate as to where we go. We will reduce presence in the Central Command by one carrier right now and a couple of destroyers.
“We will reduce the Southern Command to the point we won’t have any ship there at the end of this year. That’s tons of drugs that we interdicted last year that I guess we won’t be a part of this year. Africa Command, we won’t have two amphibs and a couple of frigate down there. Well, that’s terrorism and pirates, as you mentioned before.
“Similar story in the European Command. Again, the Western Pacific – in a fortunate manner – we have a number of ships there, but we still aren’t supplementing them … ”