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Wittman Opening Statement at Hearing on Posture and Readiness of Mobility Enterprise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on the posture and readiness of the mobility enterprise.
Rep. Wittman’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 

I want to thank Chairman Courtney for yielding and especially thank Chairman Garamendi and Ranking Member Waltz for participating in another joint hearing this month to discuss our mobility forces. 
The people of Ukraine have been fighting valiantly against Vladimir Putin’s Russian invasion. Ukrainian forces have particularly targeted an overextended Russian logistics line causing Russian forces across multiple axes to grind to a halt. If there is anything in this war that we can use as a lesson learned is the value of our logistics forces and their need to pace with the combat forces.  
Unfortunately, as I review our nation’s mobility forces, I see many areas that will cause dangerous parallels with the Russian logistics failures. For example, the Air Force has proposed to reduce our tanker force structure by 24 aircraft over the next two years;  Navy continues to underinvest in the surge sealift forces, particularly harming the Army and the Marines; Navy and Marine Corps are programmed to pull the plug on the last of the Maritime Prepositioned Forces; and, while there has been much stated about the need to invest in our intratheater connectors, Army continues to reduce watercraft while Navy and Marine Corps’ efforts to support light amphibious warship and next generation logistics ship continue to slip to the right. And, just to add some additional logistic woe, the Red Hill debacle highlights the inadequacies of our malpositioned fuels stores throughout INDOPACOM. In my estimation our mobility and logistics forces are in a clear decline.  
To be frank, the administration talks about our pacing challenger China, and the acute threat of Russia, but their budget requests continue to have more bark than bite. Or, they don’t understand the basics of warfare that require strong logistics to sustain our combat forces forward. We must deliver a comprehensive strategy to address our acute shortcomings.  
I would propose a strategy that expands our tanker security program; that ensures our intratheater connector strategy is coupled with a prepositioned force appropriate for the Pacific distances our forces will be required to traverse; that has adequate surge sealift forces; and, that has adequate bulk fuel stores positioned at the correct locations BEFORE we pull the plug on Red Hill.
Fortunately, we have the correct witnesses to help us better hone our logistics strategy as we prepare for our fiscal year 2023 markup. I look forward to reviewing this varied list of issues during our discussions today.

In closing, I am reminded of our foremost military tactician, Sun Tzu, who indicated “The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.” I remain convinced that we should reject the disorder offered by our current logistics vision and, working with my Democratic colleagues, correct the more egregious elements of this failing budget request.
Again, I appreciate Chairman Courtney, Chairman Garamendi, and Ranking Member Waltz’s support for having this important hearing and I yield back the balance of my time.