WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, chairwoman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement at this morning’s hearing on the Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2018 budget request:

“Since becoming chair of the Defense Subcommittee, I have said the defense bill would be based on the needs of the military and the best military advice from our leaders in uniform. Unfortunately, after extensive conversations with our military leaders, I am concerned that the FY18 defense budget request is not enough to address the shortfalls and damage caused by years of underfunding. The budget caps have exacerbated the problem and must be repealed.

“For many years, military leadership has said they would get the mission done no matter the level of funding they received. This is no longer possible and it is our job to make sure our military has what it needs to face the many threats to our nation.

“All federal dollars are not the same. During a time when we face threats from Russia, China, North Korea, ISIS, and other terrorist groups, we must prioritize our defense funding first. Our adversaries are rapidly advancing their tactics and their capabilities.

“The FY18 appropriations bill must ensure our capabilities remain more advanced and more lethal than our adversaries. The last thing we want to give our enemies is a “fair” fight.

“Gen. Dunford, in 2012, your predecessor Gen. Dempsey testified that we were living in the most dangerous era in his lifetime. That was true when he made the statement and the world is so much more dangerous today.

“Unfortunately, I am concerned that the FY18 budget request does not go far enough. Our senior military leaders tell us this is the minimum level needed to stop the deterioration of our military readiness. as you have said, Sec. Mattis, it will take years of increased funding to get us to where we need to be, and this budget request should be viewed as the first step for what is truly needed to rebuild our national defense.

“This FY18 budget process is especially complicated and we have a big job in front of us, and little time to complete it. The world is not standing still and the threats of today and tomorrow are not waiting on our budget cycle.

“It is my hope that we can find a bipartisan common ground to give our military the robust support that our service chiefs and combatant commanders tell us they desperately need. This is where our witnesses come in, to help us clarify what we need to do.”

For more information about Chairman Granger and her commitment as chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, please visit: https://kaygranger.house.gov/.