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, ahead of the subcommittee's markup for HR 2500, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.”
"Thank you Mr. Chairman.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this morning we meet to markup HR 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. As we transition to an era of great power competition, we owe it to the men and women of our armed forces to ensure they have the training, equipment, and support necessary to maintain overmatch against our adversaries.
"We all recognize the negative readiness impacts imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. The persistent employment of our forces for almost 18 years has also taken a toll. The services have made significant headway to recover lost readiness since we began increasing funding in 2017. Unfortunately, all of that progress will evaporate if we waiver now. The $750 billion top line requested by the President would go a long way toward ensuring that the Department of Defense does not have to mortgage today’s readiness to pay for tomorrow’s modernization.
"That said, I would like to commend Chairman Garamendi for working in a bipartisan way to complete the Subcommittee mark. We have done some great work in areas that are important to our service members, their families, and the communities neighboring our military installations. This mark would:
- Direct the Department of Defense to report on steps being taken to improve availability and accountability of F35 parts.
- Direct the Secretary of Defense to require product support managers to develop strategies to meet material readiness objectives for major weapon systems.
- Fund all of the military construction projects submitted by the Service Chiefs in their unfunded requirements lists.
- Prohibit the use of use of non-disclosure agreements in connection with on-base privatized military family housing and direct the military services to have a tenants’ bill of rights for residents.
- Improve the resilience of military installations without imposing unreasonable bureaucratic requirements.
- Direct the United States Transportation Command to prepare a business case for the proposed award of a Global Household Goods Contract and require the establishment of an advisory council to ensure the voices of all stakeholders, including service members and their families, are heard. Given the scope of that contract, Mr. Chairman, it may be prudent to the have the Government Accountability Office review the business case analysis.
Finally, the mark directs the Department of Defense to ban all use of fluorinated firefighting foams by 2029, and prohibits uncontrolled release of these foams except during emergencies.
"It is nearly impossible to dispute that we have a crisis on our Southwest Border. As of the end of April in this fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol had detained over 460 thousand people at the border, compared a total of 398 thousand in all of fiscal year 2018. They apprehended almost 99 thousand in April alone. The Department of Homeland Security is clearly overwhelmed, and I support the short term use of our military to stabilize the situation.
"In the longer term, support mechanisms through contracts or other means must be put in place so that we do not degrade military readiness.
"Although some of the President’s actions regarding wall funding are new and have raised some concerns in Congress, the use of troops to support the Border Patrol is not new. President Bush deployed National Guard troops to the border in 2006-2008 under Operation Jump Start. President Obama did the same thing in 2010 under Operation Phalanx.
"We in Congress have to do our part to address the crisis, support our brave men and women in law enforcement, and remove the legal loopholes that prohibit deportation of undocumented immigrants back to Central American countries and encourage abuse of our asylum laws.
"I recommend adoption of our mark. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the remainder of my time."