WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at a committee hearing on “National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activity in North and South America.”
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Defense of the homeland and our security efforts in the Western hemisphere are becoming increasingly more complex as China, Russia, and other adversaries expand their reach and improve their capabilities to strike us.
NORTHCOM is charged with defending our homeland against these threats.
Operating our missile defense systems, countering increased Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic, and supporting civilian response to emergencies are just a few of NORTHCOM’s many mission priorities.
Supporting these missions should continue to be a priority for this Committee.
In recent years, China and Russia have established an extensive military and economic presence in South and Central America.
Their presence destabilizes the region and threatens our national security.
SOUTHCOM is responsible for countering these threats.
SOUTHCOM relies on security cooperation programs, humanitarian and disaster response assistance, and counternarcotic capability building to promote security and counteract the influence of China and Russia.
It’s important for the Committee to continue our bipartisan support for these programs.
I have no doubt the men and women at NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM can successfully carry out their critical missions.
But they can do so only if we provide them the resources and support they need.
That’s why I was greatly disappointed with President Biden’s budget request.
The $715 billion requested for DoD constitutes a cut of nearly $5 billion in terms of real dollars.
It also completely disregards the recommendation of the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission.
To counter the growing threat from China, Deputy Secretary Hicks and the rest of the Commissioners urged Congress to grow the defense budget each year by three to five percent above inflation.
This budget doesn’t even keep pace with inflation.
My biggest concern is that this request fails to ensure our military can deter the growing threat from China and Russia.
General VanHerck and Admiral Faller are dealing with these threats every day.
I look forward to their best military advice on the impact to their operations from a budget that fails to keep pace with inflation.
I thank the witnesses for their service and being here today.