McKeon: Secretary Gates Will Have to Convince Armed Services Committee Members that Cuts Will Strengthen National Security
Washington, D.C.–U.S. House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) today called on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to provide Armed Services Committee Members with detailed information to justify the Secretary’s proposed cuts to many Department of Defense programs, commands and authorities. McKeon’s statement follows:
“As elected officials, Members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars are not wasted on inefficient, wasteful or redundant programs. We support efforts to identify and curb such programs. Yet, as Members of the House Armed Services Committee, we are also tasked with the unique responsibility of providing for America’s national defense and meeting the needs of our military services.
“I look forward to receiving more information from the Department of Defense so we fully understand the rationale behind each decision and potential impact of every cut. For example, who within the Department of Defense will be responsible for ensuring our commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq have the correct number and mix of military forces to complete their missions if the Department eliminates the Joint Forces Command?
“At the end of the day, Secretary Gates and his team will have to convince members of this committee that these efforts will not weaken our nation’s defense.
“Finally, how are we to be convinced that these savings will be reinvested into America’s defense requirements and not harvested by Congressional Democrats for new domestic spending and entitlement programs? This is already happening. In the House this week, Congressional Democrats—with the full support of the White House—are taking critical defense funding to pay for another state bailout. What’s to stop them from taking this money too?
“A recently-released report from a bipartisan panel of senior defense experts concluded that our military services will need more and consistent investment in order to meet the national security needs of the next twenty years.”