Shelby: Cutting Defense Spending Will Jeopardize National Security – Senator Richard Shelby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its subcommittee on defense, today delivered opening remarks during a full committee hearing to review the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Department of Defense budget request.  During the hearing, Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the committee.

“The National Defense Strategy provides a road map for what the Department of Defense needs – at a minimum – to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia.  Anything less jeopardizes readiness, the recapitalization of capital assets, and necessary investments in new and emerging technologies,” stated Senator Shelby.

“This year, the budget proposal signals to the world that this administration is not committed to investing in readiness, training, state of the art equipment, and technological overmatch.  With military investments in China and Russia continuing to outpace U.S. investments, I find it hard to believe that the requirements outlined by General Dunford just four years ago are no longer instructive,” Senator Shelby continued.

Senator Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, are as follows:

“I want to welcome Secretary Austin and General Milley. Thank you for being here today.

“The world is a complex and dangerous place and I know that you both understand the magnitude of the challenges we face from our near peer adversaries who seek to undermine the United States’ position as a world leader and dominant military power.

“China and Russia are formidable adversaries and China, as you have acknowledged Secretary Austin, is proving to be a true pacing threat.

“China seeks hegemony – militarily, technologically, economically, and geopolitically – and is making unprecedented investments to see that to fruition.

“Meanwhile, Russia is nearing the end of a massive military modernization program that saw its defense spending increase 30 percent in real dollars over the last 10 years.

“The National Defense Strategy provides a road map for what the Department of Defense needs – at a minimum – to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia.

“Anything less jeopardizes readiness, the recapitalization of capital assets, and necessary investments in new and emerging technologies.

“Yet, the budget we are discussing today does just that – proposing what is effectively a cut to defense spending for FY22.

“That is not a plan I can get behind and it’s not a plan that sends the right message to our adversaries or to our men and women in uniform who are asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“In years past, we have made the investments necessary to ensure that we have the best trained, best prepared, best equipped fighting force in the world.

“But this year, the budget proposal signals to the world that this administration is not committed to investing in readiness, training, state of the art equipment, and technological overmatch.

“With military investments in China and Russia continuing to outpace U.S. investments, I find it hard to believe that the requirements outlined by General Dunford just four years ago are no longer instructive.

“If anything, I believe it has likely increased.

“Competition with China requires whole of government investments. 

“We saw the Senate make those investments on the non-defense side last week and we must ensure investments in our military are just as robust.

“I look forward to hearing from each of you today about the budget proposal and, in particular, about how you plan to keep pace and to counter the threats from Russia and China while simultaneously cutting investments in defense, thank you.”

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