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February 2015
Within days of President Obama releasing his fiscal 2016 defense budget this month, Pakistan tested a nuclear-capable Ra’ad short-range missile, Russia announced plans to test a new RS-26 intercontinental ballistic missile, Iran launched a satellite into space and North Korea...
WASHINGTON - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) released the following schedule featuring (4) hearings the week of February 23-27, 2015. Witnesses are listed in alphabetical order, consistent with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee Repository.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015
"How is DOD responding to Emerging Security Challenges in Europe?"
Full Committee
(10:00 AM - 2118 RHOB - Open)
Washington, D.C.

Witnesses:
General Philip Breedlove, USAF
Commander, Supreme Allied Command Europe and U.S. European Combatant Command

Ms. Christine Wormuth
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Department of the Navy Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request for Seapower and Projection Forces
Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
(2:00 PM, 2212 Rayburn, Open)

Witnesses:
The Honorable Sean J. Stackley
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition)

Vice Admiral Joseph P. Mulloy
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Integration of Capabilities and Resources

Lieutenant General Kenneth Glueck, Jr. USMC
Deputy Commandant for Combat Development, and Integration; and
Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command

Information Technology Investments and Programs: Supporting Current Operations and Planning for the Future Threat Environment
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
(3:30 PM - 2118 Rayburn - Open)

Witnesses:
The Honorable Terry Halvorsen
Acting Department of Defense Chief Information Officer

Lieutenant General Robert S. Ferrell, United States Army
Chief Information Officer / G-6

Lt Gen William J. Bender, United States Air Force
Chief, Information Dominance & Chief Information Officer

Dr. John Zangardi
Acting Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Information Operations and Space

Brigadier General Kevin J. Nally, United States Marine Corps
Director, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4)/Chief Information Officer of the Marine Corps



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request for Strategic Forces
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
(2:00 PM – 2118 Rayburn – OPEN)

Witnesses:
Admiral Cecil D. Haney
Commander
United States Strategic Command

Mr. Brian P. McKeon
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Department of Defense


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"RIP Air-Sea Battle?"
National Interest
Rep. J. Randy Forbes

"The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, as they say, and Air-Sea Battle came as badly needed intervention at a critical point. It is hard to believe today that less than a decade ago, these issues did not appear on most defense policy makers’ radar as major planning considerations. But at the birth of Air-Sea Battle, “China” truly was what two U.S. Naval War College professors called “the Voldemort of U.S. military planning”—he who must not be named—and both the Air Force and Navy were focused on irregular warfare, as well as supporting the ongoing conflicts in Southwest Asia. ...

"DoD can call these strategies and concepts whatever it desires, but words do matter, and the Pentagon should not underestimate the importance of speaking in plain terms to the broader public and civilian policy makers. ...

"Samuel Huntington argued decades ago that unless each Service articulated a “well defined strategic concept, the public and the political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service, uncertain as to the necessity of its existence and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service upon the resources of society.” Joint initiatives are in even greater need of a clear, compelling story about what resources they require and why, since they often compete with individual services’ own priorities. Air-Sea Battle told such a story in a way that helped civilian policy makers understand and provide what the Air Force and Navy needed to address the evolving A2/AD challenge...."
January 2015

Jan 29 2015

Washington Post: Defense Reform is about spending, but also about national security

First hearing examines threats to America’s technological edge

In its first hearing of the new Congress, the House Armed Services Committee examined defense reform and discussed some of the ways that smarter spending can ensure agility and technological superiority when it comes to our military capabilities.

Wednesday’s hearing followed a classified briefing on challenges to U.S. technological superiority from our adversaries and our eroding technology advantage, as well as an informal discussion earlier in the week with the chief acquisition executives for each of the military services.

Chairman Thornberry said, "Our military doctrine has long depended on technological superiority. But it is clear that potential adversaries are hitting us at the seams of our high-tech edge. The consequences of a relatively weaker America will affect every American. If we cannot keep up, we will not have the military capability we need when we need it and the danger to our military personnel will be increased.”

Below you can find a Washington Post article that summarizes some of the hearing’s most poignant moments.

Washington Post: Acquisition reform used to be just about saving money. Now it’s also about national security.
By Christian Davenport
January 28, 2015
EXCERPTS BELOW

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said threats to the country’s long-held military superiority is another reason the Defense Department needs to get better at buying weapons and services, particularly when technology is involved.

While the United States had been at war for more than a decade, potential adversaries have been catching up by investing in their own systems, in some cases surpassing U.S. capabilities, he said.

Kendall said he was “alarmed” at intelligence reports showing the rate at which the Chinese and the Russians are modernizing their military, saying it “is a serious problem for the country.”

“Even if war with the U.S. is unlikely or unintended, it is quite obvious to me that the foreign investments I see in military modernization have the objective of enabling the countries concerned to deter and defeat a regional intervention by the U.S. military,” he said.

Kendall’s comments came during the first formal hearing of the committee with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) as chairman. Thornberry has made improving the way the Pentagon buys things a priority. Too often he said, “we are challenged by our own system, which is too slow, too cumbersome, too wasteful, and too frustrating for those in it and all of those who depend on it.”


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Jan 20 2015

Congress has a unique and irreplaceable role in defending America

Chairman Thornberry Lays Out Agenda at AEI

Washington -- Ahead of the State of the Union address, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) laid out his agenda for the Committee in the 114th Congress at the American Enterprise Institute. Additionally, the Chairman sat down with Senator Jim Talent to discuss the proper role of Congress in national security policy-making, the need for a strong US military, and the importance of a reformed defense process that quickly and agilely meets the needs of America’s troops.

Watch the video of the speech here.


Key Excerpts:
… "The first, and I believe foremost, job of the federal government is to defend the country
and our people. And Congress has a unique and irreplaceable role in carrying out that duty.” … 

“In Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, at least six specific duties were placed upon the
House and Senate. Through those authorities, Congress determines the size, shape, and
soul of the military. The President, then, determines how to use it.” …

“As long as I am privileged to hold this job, defense reform will be a priority – not for its
own sake, but for the sake of ensuring our military is as prepared as possible for the wide
array of threats we face today and for the unknown security challenges which confront us
tomorrow.” 

Read Chairman Thornberry’s remarks here.


The U.S. fight against jihadism has lost its momentum
The Washington Post
Editorial Board
January 15, 2015
Key Excerpts Below 

"PRESIDENT OBAMA’S neglect of the anti-terrorism march in Paris seemed reflective of a broader loss of momentum by his administration in combating Islamic jihadism. Five months after the president launched military operations against the Islamic State, fighting in Iraq and Syria appears stalemated. The training of Iraqi army units for a hoped-for counteroffensive is proceeding slowly and, according to a report by The Post’s Loveday Morris, looks under-resourced......

".... elsewhere, the Obama administration appears to be passively standing by as jihadists expand their territory, recruitment and training. In Libya, the job of stemming an incipient civil war has been left to a feckless U.N. mediator, even though the Islamic State is known to be operating at least one training camp with hundreds of recruits. In Nigeria, where a new offensive by the Boko Haram movement has overrun much of one northeastern state, a U.S. military training program was recently canceled by the government following a dispute over arms sales.

......

"In a speech last May, Mr. Obama identified terrorism as the greatest threat to the country and noted the decentralization of al-Qaeda to multiple theaters. Ruling out U.S. military involvement, he said his strategy would be to forge “a network of partnerships” with local forces and governments “from South Asia to the Sahel.” While the idea was mostly sound, the execution has been weak. There is, as a practical matter, no U.S. partnership in Libya, Nigeria or Syria. In other places, such as Iraq and Yemen, it is underpowered.

.......

"The attacks in Paris should motivate Mr. Obama to reinvigorate a war against al-Qaeda that appears to be dangerously stalled.

WASHINGTON - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry spoke with Wolf Blitzer recently about the cyber attack on CENTCOM as well as the follow up to the terror attacks in France"We face a flexible and adaptable enemy that is looking for weak spots and they are looking to instill fear into our military, into our society in general, including using cyber attacks. We must be prepared and we must take decisive action to stop them," Chairman Thornberry said. 

Watch both video segments below: Chairman Thornberry on cyber attack (Video 1) and terror attacks in France (Video 2). 

HASC Chairman Pens Letter to the Editor on Paris Attacks

Effective Action Against Extremists
The Washington Post
By Chairman Thornberry
January 12, 2015
Full text below                                    

"Last spring, first lady Michelle Obama held a sign that said “#BringBackOurGirls,” a response to the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria by an al-Qaeda cousin called Boko Haram. The girls are still missing. In December, members of the Pakistani Taliban murdered 132 schoolchildren and 10 staff members in Peshawar.

"Last week in Paris, gunmen attacked a newspaper that had published cartoons parodying religious figures, including Muhammad; 12 people were killed. The people of Paris responded with a rally where they held up signs.

"Signs and Twitter hashtags don’t stop terrorists. Strong, effective intelligence-gathering, law enforcement and military action must be used or barbaric attacks will continue. There are real questions today about whether the fight against violent Islamist extremists is being won or lost. It is clear that they continue to adapt their tactics and have no restrictions on what they are willing to do and whom they are willing to kill.

"The question before nations worldwide is whether we will show the agility and determination to counter them."

Mac Thornberry

The writer, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee