“In the last month, increasingly concerning reports regarding China’s military buildup have surfaced. These include news of China’s development of the DF-21D, a second missile system that is capable of taking out our aircraft carriers, rumors of Chinese plans for double-digit expansion of its defense spending, and reports that China is moving closer to having an operational carrier at some point this year. In 2009, shortly after the Pentagon announced it would discontinue the F-22 program, Secretary Gates predicted that China would not have a stealth fighter by 2020. Yet, this week photos have surfaced of a Chinese stealth fighter participating in high speed taxi tests, a precursor to initial test flights, that according to some, rivals the F-22 and is decisively superior to the F-35.
“How disturbing is it, then, that within the very same week, our own Administration under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Gates has announced the continued dismantling of the greatest military the world has ever known. If Secretary Gates’ plans and predictions with these defense cuts are as accurate as his Chinese stealth fighter forecasts, Americans ought to be concerned for our national security.
“Even more appalling, though, is the fact that the Administration is not being honest with the threat we face with China or where our defense dollars are going. Last August when Secretary Gates announced his plans to cut $100 billion of the defense budget, he said, ‘Unlike budget cutting efforts of the past, the services will be able to keep the savings they generate to reinvest in higher-priority warfighting and modernization programs.’ At best, this was naivety; at worst, dishonesty.”
Congressman Forbes is Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
Congress Wittman Statement on Secretary Gates’ Proposed Cuts to Defense Spending
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released the following statement in reaction to today’s briefing by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the department’s fiscal year 2012 budget request. Secretary Gates outlined the department’s $553 billion fiscal year 2012 budget proposal and revealed steps that the department will take to reduce spending by $150 billion over the next five years. In addition to the $100 billion efficiencies initiative the Secretary launched last year, today’s announcement reflects an additional $78 billion in cuts from the Five Year Defense Plan submitted in 2010. “There is no question that efficiencies and savings should and can be found across the federal government and that tough decisions have to be made,” Wittman said. “It is critical that any savings achieved through the efficiencies initiative be reinvested in force structure and modernization and not returned to the General Treasury to be used to fund non-Defense programs. As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I will carefully weigh the proposed cuts and budget request to ensure that our nation’s strategic needs and critical missions are not compromised. I will demand that Secretary Gates work cooperatively and transparently with Congress as budget decisions of such magnitude are made.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He was elected to his second full term in November 2010 and serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee.