04/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2021 10:00
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 Europe.'
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
European Command and our NATO allies are facing an increasingly belligerent Russia and growing Chinese influence operations.
Russia continues to modernize, investing in hypersonics, strategic capabilities, and information warfare.
Russia is also rebuilding its arctic presence to control emerging areas for resource exploitation and commerce.
And they are turning to new tactics to achieve their goals - employing aggression below the level of armed conflict.
These new capabilities and tactics are designed to deter the United States and our allies from defending democracies on Russia's periphery.
From the Black Sea to the Baltics, President Putin abhors the notion of former Soviet territories charting their own course as free and democratic nations.
I believe the committee should continue its strong support for the European Deterrence Initiative, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and other programs to build our capacity in Europe and empower our partners.
Where we can, it also makes sense to equip our allies and partners with lethal weapons systems and domain awareness capabilities.
Investments in critical facilities, prepositioned munitions stockpiles, and rotational forces keep our deterrent capabilities credible.
Every capability we can build in a partner nation strengthens their ability chart a course away from Russian intimidation.
We should be more concerned about raising the baseline of our partner's capabilities in eastern Europe than about Vladimir Putin's ego.
The flat truth is that he and his cronies won't be happy until they reclaim a portion of the Soviet Union's territorial glory.
No amount of handwringing here in Washington will appease them.
We owe our allies and partners nothing less than our full and forceful support.
That being said, we should also be as candid with our allies as we are with our enemies.
Projects like the Nord Stream II pipeline and NATO member purchases of Russian military hardware amount to huge economic, political, and propaganda victories for Putin.
Our allies shouldn't be in the business of strengthening our adversaries.
We should use a whole of government approach to address these issues before they become diplomatic pressure points.
I look forward to hearing for our witnesses about how we can use diplomatic and military efforts to counter China's global ambitions in Europe.
European nations are coming around to the threat of Chinese malign investment, hacking, and influence operations in their own back yard.
We can use this opportunity to blunt China's advance, promote secure supply chains, and counter Chinese propaganda.
European Command covers many of our most robust and long standing international alliances.
It's also responsible to assist in the defense of Israel, our steadfast ally.
To overcome the modern threat posed by Russia and China, and to ensure the protection of Israel, we need to provide the resources necessary to strengthen these alliances.
Unfortunately, the defense budget proposed by President Biden will not do that.
It cuts defense spending below the rate of inflation.
If enacted, it will mean combatant commanders like General Wolters will not have the resources and capabilities they need to do their jobs.
I look forward to working with the majority to pass a defense budget that supports modernization and ensures a credible deterrence.