Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on the FY22 budget request for the Department of the Air Force.
Ranking Member Rogers’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to our witnesses for being here today and for your service to our nation.
I remain gravely concerned about the President Biden’s defense budget.
The defense topline constitutes a cut of over 4 billion in real dollars.
With this budget, it appears risk is being driven by the topline and not the topline being driven by risk.
That means our warfighters are being deprived of the resources they need to deter, and if necessary, win a war against China and our other adversaries.
Even with an overall increase, the Department of the Air Force is still forced to make unnecessary sacrifices due to an inadequate topline.
The Air Force is slashing its procurement budget by more than 12 percent and divesting over 200 aircraft.
They tell us this will produce over $4.5 billion in so called savings. Savings the Air Force says it needs so it can invest in modernization.
Except that’s not what’s actually happening. Only half of that $4.5 billion is being invested in the research and development of modernized systems.
I’m not sure where the rest is going, but I don’t see it in the defense budget.
I guess it’s being spent on school bus electrification, or some other nondefense priority of this President.
These cuts and divestments greatly increase near-term risk by exacerbating gaps in our capabilities.
To put it bluntly, we’re gambling that China or some other adversary won’t force us into conflict before 2030.
That makes many of us uneasy.
Making matters worse is the lack of a Future Years Defense Program.
Without it, Congress and the American people have no way of knowing whether these risks are being properly balanced.
I strongly encourage our witnesses to produce the FYDP as soon as possible.
Acting Secretary Roth, I continue to be disappointed with the slow implementation of acquisition changes for the Space Force.
Not only have you failed to get us the required reports, but the space acquisition position required by law remains unfilled.
I remain very focused on these issues and expect to hear today how you plan to make up this lost time.
This budget request does have a silver lining though.
The bipartisan agreement to invest in, and modernize all three legs of our nuclear deterrent, seems to have held with this budget.
Key programs, such the B-21 bomber, the Long Range Stand-off (LRSO) Weapon, and the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) are fully funded.
I also understand that GBSD will now be $38 billion cheaper than extending the aging Minuteman III.
This is good news. These programs began under President Obama and were continued by President Trump.
The bipartisan support from both Democrat and Republican presidents for these programs speaks volumes.
I look forward to working with Chairman Smith, Chairman Reed, and Ranking Member Inhofe to ensure that continues.
With that, I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and look forward to hearing from our witnesses.
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