Opening Remarks of Ranking Member Lamborn

Feb 5, 2020
Opening Statement
Navy and Marine Corps 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, ahead of a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces titled, "Update on Navy and Marine Corps Readiness in the Pacific in the Aftermath of Recent Mishaps:"

"Thank you, Chairman Courtney. I would like to thank you and Ranking Member Wittman for your continued collaboration with Chairman Garamendi and I on these critical issues.

"Many factors contribute to military readiness, but it seems to me that it really comes down to the basics. Have we given our men and women in uniform the right training and equipment for the jobs we ask the do, and is that equipment properly maintained? With all the technical advancements in modern warfare, we still have focus on blocking and tackling.

"Last week as we embarked on the U.S.S. Eisenhower, I was struck by the discipline required by our sailors and aviators to safely conduct carrier operations. The deck is very dangerous place with moving aircraft and heavy equipment everywhere, and the ship is powered by a nuclear power plant. There is a good reason we have such high standards.

"That brings me to the purpose of this hearing and the thing that concerns me the most. When we are moving so fast that we lose focus on the fundamentals, it has real world consequences that are born by our service members and their families. The common threads in the challenges confronting our surface fleet and aviation forces are culture and focus on short-term operational outputs.

"It is concerning to me that the 2017 surface warfare mishaps in the Western Pacific were at the very tip of the spear for our Navy. The Marine Corps F/A-18D Squadron that experienced the December 2018 mishap was scheduled to participate in a large military exercise that was cancelled right before the mishap. It is unclear to me that the unit was prepared for an operation of that scale. 

"As we proceed today, I would ask our witnesses to highlight where their services are focused on changing culture and thoughts they have on how to effectively measure that progress.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back."

116th Congress