WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's markup of H.R. 2500 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
"Thank you, Jim.
"I want to start by thanking the Chairman for his leadership, and all of the members of the subcommittee for their attendance and participation in the hearings and briefings conducted this year in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. We have explored some important issues and done so in a collaborative and bipartisan manner.
"So, for that, thank you to each of our members.
"I would also like to say that I appreciate the transparency the minority has had on the process thus far, continuing the long-standing bipartisan tradition of our committee and this subcommittee in particular.
"I’d like to highlight three broad themes that I am supportive and appreciative of within this mark:
"First, I am pleased that the subcommittee mark is active in all areas of our jurisdiction, to include the addition of Intelligence-oversight within the subcommittee, as was done previously in the 113th Congress. I am also supportive that the mark continues our focus on emerging technologies, including manufacturing technologies that are fundamental to our advancements, and scaling of hypersonic weapons and directed energy. I am pleased that we have included an emphasis on basic research and the important contributions that Universities and Department of Defense laboratories provide to our collective national security. I have also supported the emphasis on providing capabilities for our Special Operations Forces, including recommendations for additional funds in support of the Preservation of the Force and Families program. And I am also appreciative of the fact that this subcommittee is again initiating important oversight reviews to be conducted by the Government Accountability Office (or GAO) in critical areas such as Electronic Warfare, Special Operations Forces, and cybersecurity, all of which are included in the subcommittee mark.
"As a second broad theme, this mark continues the tradition of robust and bipartisan Congressional oversight of current and sensitive military operations and activities – including cyber, counterterrorism, and Intelligence operations. As I have said many times before, continued oversight of sensitive and ongoing military operations is a central role for this subcommittee. Many of the Congressional oversight frameworks that this mark amends were put in place several years ago by then-Chairman Thornberry, as well as myself and Chairman Langevin, in a bi-partisan manner. So, I am pleased that we are advancing and modifying these frameworks to further enhance our strong committee oversight of the Department of Defense.
"And third, I am pleased that this subcommittee mark provides a solid foundation for many of the cross-cutting issues we will discuss at the full committee mark-up next week, including:
- 5th Generation Information and Communications Technologies, or 5G;
- Security as a function of Counterintelligence,
- and many other important areas.
"Equally as important, at next week’s full committee mark-up we will discuss the overall, top-line funding levels that this year’s NDAA will provide for the Department of Defense. Our committee has heard from former Secretary Mattis, Acting Secretary Shanahan, and Senior Commanders including Chairman Dunford, that 3 to 5% real growth in the Department of Defense budget is essential to maintain readiness recovery and our competitive edge over peer adversaries such as Russia and China. While our IETC mark before us today does not include specific tables and funding, I nonetheless think that this mark sets the right trajectory to support a strong defense top-line to ensure military superiority for our men and women in uniform.
"And finally, let me also take a moment to thank the dedicated Professional Staff Members of our subcommittee, and in particular, Peter Villano, Jason Schmid, and Eric Snelgrove from our minority team, as well as Lindsay Kavanaugh and the entire majority team.
"Thank you again, Chairman Langevin, and thank you to each of my colleagues on the subcommittee for their hard work this year.
"With that, I yield back."