Opening Remarks of Ranking Member Lamborn

May 9, 2019
Opening Statement
Budget Request For Military Readiness

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's hearing titled “Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request For Military Readiness.”

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

"It’s appropriate that the Readiness Subcommittee’s final budget review hearing before markup is on the important topic of military readiness. In short, are the operational units of the military services prepared to execute their combat missions when asked? Put another way, are the Armed Forces of the United States prepared to fulfill their constitutional duty to 'provide for the common defense'? 

"Although a simple question, building effective military units is an extraordinarily complex task requiring time, skilled personnel, resources, and maneuver area. I’m glad that senior military leaders are here to provide us their candid assessment of the state of their respective services.

'I welcome our witnesses, the four military service vice chiefs, and note that General McConville has been nominated to be the Army’s Chief of Staff and Admiral Moran has been nominated to be Chief of Naval Operations. I wish you both speedy confirmation in the other body. 

"We all recognize that readiness suffered during several years of underfunding following the 2011 enactment of the Budget Control Act and incessant use of the Armed Forces for a multitude of missions. Two years ago, the situation began to improve, starting with an infusion of funds in the spring of 2017, followed by healthy appropriations for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. All of us would like to understand how this steady funding has improved readiness with specific examples. What remains to be done? And what would be the consequences if we fail to support the level of funding requested in this year’s request? 

"We recognize the readiness is built piece by piece until a commander is convinced his unit has the people, equipment, and training repetitions necessary to perform the mission assigned. Naturally, our discussion today will concentrate on various parts of that equation…do we have enough pilots, sufficient parts, enough ammunition, and so on. It’s important to understand in some detail how the money provided has been expended and how it contributes to readiness. 

"As we have those discussions, I ask our witnesses and colleagues to keep the big picture in mind. What overall funding level must we maintain to ensure our troops are trained and ready when called upon? What do we as a Congress need to do to 'provide for the common defense'?

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman." 

116th Congress