May 13, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on Marine Corps modernization programs for FY23.
Rep. Hartzler’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would also like to first thank our witnesses for being with us today and for your dedicated service to this country.  
Three years ago, Commandant Berger introduced Force Design 2030, a plan to radically and aggressively redesign and modernize the Marine Corps into a lighter, more lethal fighting force better equipped and more capable to deter and defeat current and future peer adversary threats.
One of the most commendable aspects of the Marine Corps’ plan was that the Marine Corps proposed paying for and resourcing the majority of this change from within.
The Marine Corps has continued to deliver on their promise to transition from older platforms to newer, more capable systems in a stable, affordable, and achievable way.  The majority of Marine Corps programs have remained on time, on track, and on budget. And this has not been lost on Congress.
I look forward to a robust conversation with our witnesses about the current status of the Marine Corps’ 2030 Force Design development and implementation, and the critical defense programs necessary to yield the Marines with the capabilities and capacity for success. 
Thus far, Congress, and specifically this Committee has demonstrated our support for this program and the strategy that the Commandant has placed in front of us.
I commend the Marine Corps leadership for their dedication and hard work to continuously reassess modernization investment priorities and reallocate already limited resources to fund the development and procurement of essential defense requirements and capabilities necessary to build a more lethal defense force.
As we discuss the future modernization of Marine Corps ground and rotary programs, I expect the witnesses to identify what risks the Marine Corps is accepting in the short-term in order to keep planned modernization programs affordable and on course to meet the mid- to long-term defense requirements of creating a more lethal, resilient, and agile force able to compete, deter, and win against future threats from both peer-competitors and rogue actors.
I’m also interested in the Marine Corps’ assessment of how a flat topline, and the resulting imposition of cuts and decreases to lower priority programs and investment accounts affect the health and stability of your modernization strategy as well as the industrial base that supports it.
Lastly, the FY23 defense budget request did not factor in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the on-going response by the US and our allies to provide vehicles, munitions, missiles, and other military equipment to Ukrainian forces in support of their fight against Russia.
Today, I hope that our witnesses can inform us on how these missile and equipment transfers have affected US stockpiles, and whether you are getting what you need through the various supplemental appropriations to fund these operations, replace vehicle and equipment transfers, and replenish depleted munition stockpiles.
If there are additional funding or authorizations we can provide in the FY23 NDAA and budget to get after replenishing some of these replenishments now and avoid the need to continue funding supplemental through FY23 to restore your depleted capabilities, we need to being having this critical discussion now.
I thank the Chairman for organizing this important and timely hearing.
I yield back.