Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley expressing concerns about the need for a Department of Defense strategy to meet short range air defense (SHORAD) replenishment requirements for stocks of Stinger systems and accelerate the development of a rapidly fieldable follow-on system for U.S. forces, contributing allies, and partners.
In the letter the Chairman and Ranking Member wrote, “Events in Europe have demonstrated the importance of such a capability and the need for the Army and Marine Corps to develop a plan to invigorate the industrial base, buy-down strategic risk in our current capability, and accelerate the development of a follow-on SHORAD system that can be rapidly fielded.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary Austin and General Milley:
In the recently passed Omnibus appropriations act for Fiscal Year 2022, Congress included several billion dollars in additional assistance for military aid to Ukraine via Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) and other sources. Our expectation is that some of these funds will be used to provide Stinger short range air defense (SHORAD) missiles and launch units to Ukrainian forces. The committee notes, however, the apparent absence of a Department of Defense plan to meet SHORAD replenishment requirements for not only our U.S. stocks of Stinger systems, but those of other contributing allies and partners. We believe this is a matter of the highest urgency. Events in Europe have demonstrated the importance of such a capability and the need for the Army and Marine Corps to develop a plan to invigorate the industrial base, buy-down strategic risk in our current capability, and accelerate the development of a follow-on SHORAD system that can be rapidly fielded.
Therefore, the committee strongly urges that the Department prioritize acceleration of a SHORAD modernization or replacement that will deliver a low-cost, exportable evolution of a system, within 36 months. The committee urges focus on the most rapid possible development, testing, and fielding of a more capable SHORAD system and would favorably consider an appropriate reprogramming request to get this started.
We thank you for your prompt reply to these important matters of national security and look forward to continuing to engage with you on this topic as we take up and consider a National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023.