3/05/2019 — 

Thank you, Chairman Inhofe, and I join you in welcoming our witnesses this morning.  General Scaparrotti is returning to testify before this committee for the third time on the U.S. military posture and programs in Europe.  He is dual-hatted as Commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, or SACEUR.  General Lyons, I want to welcome you to your first posture hearing before this committee.  Let me thank you both for your many decades of military service, and please extend our appreciation to the dedicated men and women serving under your commands. 

Over the last several years, the security challenges in the U.S. European Command area have grown increasingly complex.  Russia has re-emerged as an aggressive opponent of the rules-based international order, which Russia views as counter to its strategic interest in re-claiming Great Power status.  The National Defense Strategy, issued last year, highlights the need to counter a revanchist Russia with a credible military deterrent that demonstrates that any military aggression against the sovereignty and integrity of NATO members, or the threat of such aggression, will not succeed.  General Scaparrotti, I am interested in your assessment of the progress of our force posture in Europe in meeting NDS requirements.    

In addition to its military modernization and aggressive military posturing, Russia is conducting a campaign of hybrid warfare, below the level of military conflict, using all tools of national power to advance its strategic interests.  Our democracy was attacked in 2016, and we have been persistently under attack ever since, including during last year’s mid-term elections.  I would be interested in hearing from General Scaparrotti whether EUCOM is getting the cyber resources and personnel it needs, and whether we are investing in the right non-military tools of national power to counter this hybrid warfare.  

An additional challenge is the unprecedented strain on alliance cohesion within NATO.  Former Secretary of Defense Mattis stressed that the United States’ strength is “inextricably linked” to our systems of alliances and partnerships.  Yet, a recent report from the Harvard Belfer Center by Ambassador Doug Lute and Ambassador Nicholas Burns describes a crisis within NATO, which they attribute in large measure to the absence of strong U.S. presidential leadership.  The Senate, and Congress as a whole, have repeatedly gone on record to re-affirm our strong commitment to NATO and the transatlantic relationship as a core element of U.S. national security.  There should be no doubt among our allies—or our adversaries—regarding our resolve to meet our NATO commitments to collective defense.  

Turning to TRANSCOM, the men and women of TRANSCOM perform duties that sustain the whole Department of Defense effort in protecting our nation’s security.  With the competitive edge in its ability to deploy and sustain America’s armed forces, TRANSCOM provides DOD with unique capabilities that we have come to expect and, perhaps too frequently, take for granted.  TRANSCOM forces are busy supporting all of the combatant commanders every day, and without them, the United States would be at a significant disadvantage almost everywhere in the world. 

The Ready Reserve Force, or RRF, is a group of cargo ships held in readiness by the Maritime Administration, but it is aging and will need to be modernized over the next decade.  Two years ago, the Committee authorized the Department to start a program to recapitalize the Ready Reserve Force by authorizing DOD to purchase up to two foreign-built vessels, while the Navy designed a family of auxiliary vessels for a number of uses, including recapitalizing the Ready Reserve Force.  Then last year, Congress authorized the Department to buy five more foreign-built vessels as soon as the Department put forward a funded plan to build new ships for the RRF in U.S. shipyards.  General Lyons, I am interested in a status and next steps for RRF recapitalization in FY2020. 

The Defense Department also needs to ensure that the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF program, which provides as much as 40 percent of wartime airlift needs, remains viable after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will be able to provide needed surge capacity in the future. General Lyons, I am interested in your views on the state of this fleet and if anything needs to be done to ensure their readiness.  

Our global transportation capability, owned or managed by TRANSCOM, has been one of our asymmetric advantages for many years now.  However, we cannot assume that potential adversaries will allow us free rein in this area in the future.  Last year, General McDew told the Committee that TRANSCOM had been conducting analyses to assess requirements for an environment where our mobility forces would be challenge and his assessment was that additional investment in lift would be needed.  However, when we received the report of that analysis in the Mobility Requirements Study earlier this year, the study’s conclusions differed from General McDew’s assessment. General Lyons, perhaps you could give us an update on why there was a change. 

Finally, TRANSCOM also faces a unique set of cyber threats because of the command’s extensive work extensively with private-sector entities in the transportation and shipping industries.  General Lyons, I would like to get an update from you on progress in the cyber security efforts you have made since last year.   

I again want to thank the witnesses for appearing before the Committee today and I look forward to their testimony.