Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, delivered the following opening statement at the full committee markup for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The Subcommittee's mark is available here.
Rep. Gallagher’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I thank the Chairwoman and my fellow subcommittee members for showing their professionalism and dedication to bipartisanship through the unanimous adoption of the Military Personnel Subcommittee Mark on June 8th. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Chairwoman Speier… for her at least 10 years of dedicated service to the Military Personnel Subcommittee.
I am pleased the subcommittee mark builds upon many of the important reforms this Committee has dedicated itself to in previous NDAAs. The mark includes vital provisions that support our war fighters, military families, and retirees and gives them the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned.
Specifically, this year's proposal continues to build the Space Force with an increase in end-strength. However, the decreases in end-strength for the Active Components of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force are concerning given the threats of an aggressive China and revanchist Russia. We will continue to monitor these end strength reductions closely… to ensure we do not stretch the Joint Force too thin.
This proposal also includes an extension of special pay and bonuses for service members in high demand fields… and supports a military basic pay raise by 4.6%. It also requires the Department of Defense to study the basic pay tables and basic allowance for housing… in an effort to modernize and incentivize service member compensation… and facilitate the recruitment and retention of the most talented military in the world.
Another important area of focus is on suicide prevention. We must do everything we can to get after this issue and look at this holistically…
The proposed mark also addresses Professional Military Education (PME). It includes a military-civilian consortium to research and make recommendations on PME. This consortium would address challenges in an era of great power competition, new technologies, emerging threats, supply chains, adversarial governments as well as disruptive change.
Finally, the proposed mark would continue to build on critical reforms in previous NDAAs and requires assessments of headquarters staffing to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff... It also requires a report on the return-on-investment DoD receives from the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation’s program assessment capabilities and how those are measured. Additionally, it prohibits DoD and the Services from removing military medical end strength until a full assessment of medical wartime requirements and emerging threats is completed.
In conclusion, I want to thank Chairwoman Speier and my colleagues on the subcommittee for their considerable work on this mark. I also want to thank our staff on the minority Glen Diehl and Forrest McConnell… and on the majority Ilka Regino, Dave Giachetti, Hannah Kaufman and Sidney Faix who worked in a bipartisan manner to support all of the Members of the Military Personnel Subcommittee. Also, defense staff of Chas Morrison, Tony Smith and our Defense Fellow Tom Lacey, I yield back.