A Clear And Present Danger

SEN. MCCAIN: ‘The Lack Of Stable, Sufficient, And Predictable Funding Has Had A Devastating Impact On Our Armed Forces’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Our nation faces myriad threats from around the globe, and it is the Senate’s responsibility to provide the service chiefs with the resources to train and equip our warfighters—and provide them with the resources they need to keep us safe. The diverse challenges posed by Iran, China, Russia, North Korea, ISIL, al-Qaeda, and its affiliates span the spectrum of war fighting, and our force must be trained and prepared to operate on sea, air, land and in cyberspace. … In our ongoing discussions surrounding government funding, we must continue to prioritize our nation’s men and women in uniform. It is illogical for this Senate to repeatedly vote to pass National Defense Authorization Acts at one level of authority and not meet that commitment with the necessary Appropriations Act. And this funding cannot be held hostage to the Obama-era demand that increases in defense funding be matched by equal increases in non-defense spending. Congress ignored that demand earlier this year, and we must do it again now.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/14/2017)

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ), Armed Services Committee Chairman: “To give our men and women in uniform a budget that will allow them to rise to meet the challenges of the 21st century, Congress must change the Budget Control Act, and the only way to do that is with a bipartisan budget agreement…. The next four years cannot be like the last four years. We must find a way to provide the military with the resources they need and deserve to perform the missions that we have assigned them. We must provide them with timely authorization and appropriations bills. We must provide them something they haven’t had for years—certainty—so they can properly plan and efficiently use taxpayer dollars to defend the nation.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 5/04/2017)

GEN. DUNFORD, Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff: ‘The U.S. Military’s Competitive Advantage Against Potential Adversaries Is Eroding’

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): “For nearly a decade, the lack of stable, sufficient, and predictable funding has had a devastating impact on our Armed Forces. More of our troops are now being killed and wounded in training and routine operations than in combat against our enemies…. We need real, predictable growth in order to rebuild our military—as the President has repeatedly called for, our military leaders have consistently asked for, and an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of both sides of Congress has voted to authorize—and we need that growth both this year and next year.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 12/05/2017)

JAMES MATTIS, Secretary of Defense: “I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect. Four years later, I returned to the Department and I have been shocked by what I’ve seen with our readiness to fight. For all the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration. We have only sustained our ability to meet America’s commitments abroad because our troops have stoically shouldered a much greater burden.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)

  • SEC. MATTIS: “Each of these four forces – 16 years of war, the worsening security environment, contested operations in multiple domains, and the rapid pace of technological change – require stable budgets and increased funding to provide for the protection of our citizens and for the survival of our freedoms. Because as expensive as it is for the American people to fund the military, it is far less costly in lives and treasure than a conventional war that we are unable to deter because we are seen as weak.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “The U.S. military’s competitive advantage against potential adversaries is eroding. Over the last decade, sustained operational commitments, budgetary instability, and advances by our adversaries have threatened our ability to project power and we have lost our advantage in key warfighting areas…. [W]ithout sustained, sufficient, and predictable funding, I assess that within 5 years we will lose our ability to project power; the basis of how we defend the homeland, advance U.S. interests, and meet our alliance commitments.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)

ARMY: ‘An Army Potentially Outgunned, Outranged, And Outdated On A Future Battlefield’

CSIS: “[F]rom FY 2008 through the FY 2018 request, the Army’s budget has been cut relatively more than the other Services, falling by 43 percent in real terms … [F]rom FY 2010 through the FY 2018 request, the size of the total force has fallen by approximately 11 percent (or 16 percent for active duty forces) … In FY 2015, the Army’s active duty end strength reached the lowest level since the end of World War II.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)

ROBERT SPEER, Acting Secretary of the Army and GEN. MARK MILLEY, Army Chief of Staff: “For the past five years, the Army has been working to build and sustain a ready force. However, this has been a significant challenge due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, Continuing Resolutions, and unforeseen changes in the strategic environment that include an assertive Russia, an increasingly threatening North Korea, and ISIS controlling territory across Iraq and Syria.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)

  • SEC. SPEER and GEN. MILLEY: “… the negative impacts of the Budget Control Act of 2011 have been significant. … Continuing Resolutions and constrained funding under the Budget Control Act of 2011 forced us to pay short-term bills at the expense of long-term investments.  A consequence of underfunding modernization for over a decade is an Army potentially outgunned, outranged, and outdated on a future battlefield with near-peer competitors…. In short, the Army’s lack of investment in modernization is eroding our competitive advantage in ground combat operations. “ (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)
  • SEC. SPEER and GEN. MILLEY: “Over the last eight years, the Army reduced end strength by over 100,000 Soldiers. This reduction included removing 17 brigade combat teams from the Army. To meet the end strength reduction targets, the Army reduced forward stationed forces in Europe and Korea, replacing them with rotational forces from the United States. The impact of this reliance on rotational forces is a deployment tempo that rivals the surge periods in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)

NAVY & MARINE CORPS: ‘A Decline In The Material Condition Of Our Ships And Aircraft And Training Of Our Sailors And Marines’

SEAN STACKLEY, Acting Secretary of the Navy: “Since passage of the Budget Control Act, in particular, our increased operational tempo has been met with a decreasing budget, when measured in constant dollars. The net impact of this increased operational tempo under the pressures of a reduced budget has been a decline in the material condition of our ships and aircraft and training of our Sailors and Marines.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)

  • SEC. STACKLEY: “Budget constraints, budget uncertainty, and Continuing Resolutions have exacerbated these issues that stretch from the flight line to the gun line to our depots. Each of these factors has placed added strain on our ships, aircraft, tactical vehicles, and the Sailors and Marines who deploy with them.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)

CSIS: “… the current size of the Navy’s fleet is relatively small by historical standards. From its peak in FY 1987 to the trough in FY 2015, the Navy’s ship count fell by more than half.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)

  • CSIS: “The Navy’s readiness has come into question over the past year, with several deadly accidents in the 7th fleet…. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that readiness shortfalls are the result of a high operational tempo for naval forces, which limits availability for training and maintenance…. a larger fleet would help bring supply and demand back into balance …” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)

SEC. STACKLEY: “The Naval Force is confronting new challenges in the 21st Century. The United States is facing a return to great power competition, as Russia and China demonstrate both the advanced capabilities and the desire to act as global powers in their own discrete self-interest. The Russian Navy is operating at a pace and in areas not seen since the mid-1990s. The Chinese Navy is continuing to extend its reach around the world…. Our adversaries are pursuing advanced weapon systems at a level and pace of development not seen since the mid-1980s and both near-peer nations and non-state actors pose credible threats to our security.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)

GEN. ROBERT NELLER, Commandant U.S. Marine Corps.: “Collectively, fiscal inconsistency, spending cuts, and accumulating wear and tear after years of combat operations have depleted our readiness and delayed planned recapitalization and modernization efforts. Though our forward deployed forces are ‘full up’ and ready for whatever comes their way, our ‘bench’ has become shallow…” (U.S. Senate, Armed Services Committee, Hearing, 6/15/2017)

  • GEN. NELLER: “Fiscal reductions and budget instability has been the norm for the past eight years and has consequently eroded our readiness. ... More reliable funding and support of the annual budget request must be there if we are to improve our readiness and our ability to respond to crises.” (U.S. Senate, Armed Services Committee, Hearing, 6/15/2017)
  • LT. GEN. ROBERT WALSH, BRIG. GEN. JOSEPH SHRADER, and JOHN GARNER: “The Marine Corps is the Nation’s expeditionary force-in-readiness…. Today we are at an inflection point. Our priority of effort over the 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has been meeting the immediate requirements of combat operations. During this period, we risked modernization to ensure the combat readiness of deploying Marines. While our focus was elsewhere, our potential enemies modernized, reducing the technological advantages American forces once took for granted.  In many theaters we can no longer assume superiority in any domain; sea, air, land, space or the electromagnetic spectrum.  In short, the Marine Corps is not organized, trained, or equipped to meet the demands of the future operating environment.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Seapower Hearing, 6/06/2017)

AIR FORCE: ‘Sequestration Puts At Risk Our Ability To Successfully Accomplish What Our Nation Asks Of Us’

HEATHER WILSON, Secretary of the Air Force and GEN. DAVID GOLDFEIN, Air Force Chief of Staff: “Any objective evaluation of today’s U.S. Air Force reaches stark conclusions. First, the Air Force is too small for the missions demanded of it and it is unlikely that the need for air and space power will diminish significantly in the coming decade. Second, adversaries are modernizing and innovating faster than we are, putting at risk America’s technological advantage in air and space.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017)

  • SEC. WILSON and GEN. GOLDFEIN: “We must have stable, predictable budgets that include strategy-driven funding.  We also add our voice to the chorus of concern that budget instability is itself a significant problem. Continuing resolutions, or worse, sequestration, puts at risk our ability to successfully accomplish what our nation asks of us.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017)

CSIS: “… the total aircraft inventory of the Air Force declined by 44 percent from its peak in FY 1986 to FY 2016. This reduction was largely driven by a decrease in the number of fighter/attack aircraft and bombers, which fell by 55 percent and 54 percent, respectively, over the same period.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)

  • SEC. WILSON and GEN. GOLDFEIN: “Currently, the Air Force includes 660,000 active, guard, reserve and civilian Airmen, compared to 946,000 just 26 years ago when we fought in Operation Desert Storm -- a 30% reduction. The Air Force also reduced its aircraft inventory over this same period from 8,600 to 5,500 aircraft.  We have 55 combat-coded fighter squadrons across the active duty, guard, and reserve, compared to 134 squadrons during Desert Storm.  Before 1991, the Air Force bought approximately 510 aircraft per year. In the past 20 years, we have averaged only 96 per year.  Today, the average age of our aircraft is over 27 years. And, unlike during the Cold War, Air Force aircraft have been flying in combat for 26 straight years.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017) 


Related Issues: Appropriations, National Security, America's Military, Economy