WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, discussed the reality of today’s budgetary constraints with military leaders and the need for the Department of Defense to make hard decisions and prioritize its real needs. Rep. Sanchez questioned the rationale of pursuing nuclear modernization during a time when force readiness seems to be the priority amongst all the Services. Rep. Sanchez delivered the opening statement for yesterday’s full committee hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for the Military Departments.”
Below is Congresswoman Sanchez’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:
“I would like to thank all the witnesses for being before this committee today.
“Today, we live in a world where the security environment is constantly changing—and we have the responsibility of keeping up with these changes. The threats we face today are worldwide and its capabilities are vast.
“I understand the challenges that all the Services face today as all of you are pulled in so many different directions in order to defend and protect our country—thank you for your service and sacrifice.
“With the rise of ISIL and extremism, it has become apparent that we must use all elements of power to address the growing threats of today.
“I completely agree with what Secretary Murphy and General Milley state in their written statement in terms of the different elements of power, ‘Each element is necessary in combination with the others; however, each alone is insufficient to win a war or maintain a peace.’
“In the past couple years it has become evident that military might alone is just not enough to address the evolving threats of today.
“The United States must make the necessary investments in diplomacy, economic stability and collective security in order to effectively address today’s threats.
It is time for us to further engage our partners so that we can prevent terrorist attacks like the one in Ivory Coast.
“The United States cannot combat ISIL and terrorism alone—we must be able to rely on our regional allies militarily and financially—as we continue this fight against terrorism.
“As we all know, we have a budget problem and we cannot fix this problem without addressing the defense budget.
“It is time for not just the Services but also Congress to start making some hard decisions—it is time to prioritize what is and what is not a critical need—and start developing a DoD budget that can be sustainable.
“Before I conclude, I would just like to commend the Department and the Services for all their efforts in opening up all military occupations and positions to women.
“As Services go forward in integrating women into these positions I believe leadership will be key and I hope to hear from all of you the steps each Service is taking in order to ensure successful integration.
“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I would just like to recognize all the service women who have and are currently serving today. I believe the full integration of women into the military will not only open opportunities for service women but will further enhance the readiness of our military.”