Thank you, Senator Inhofe.  I want to join you in welcoming our witnesses, General Hyten and General O’Shaughnessy.  We thank you, your families, and the many men and women who serve under you, for your commitment to our nation.

General Hyten, first and foremost, we’d like to hear from you about the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with nothing to replace it.  I understand that Russia was in noncompliance and that China also poses a threat, but I believe a better path would have been to continue to pressure Russia back into compliance and seek modifications to the treaty, if necessary.  Treaties are a major component of our security strategy – we build and modernize nuclear weapons, but we also have treaties, which prescribe numbers and use.  Withdrawing from this treaty puts the extension of New START in 2021 on very shaky ground.  I am interested in your views on this matter.

The second issue I am concerned about is Russia’s successful launch of their long-range hypersonic weapon, which I understand will be nuclear capable.  China also has a multitude of similar systems, although not long range like those of Russia.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the capabilities of our near-peer competition, and what we need to do to counter these capabilities. 

The third issue I would like you to address is the Administration’s space force proposal.  I understand the importance of space and the need for additional focus and resources for that effort.  I am also supportive of creating a full unified command for space.  However, I remain dubious of the need to create an entire new bureaucracy of a separate service and all that entails.  I think it is inevitable that such a creation will distract, rather than provide focus, to the critical mission of space.  I know you have studied this issue closely and I am interested in your views on the pros and cons of this proposal. 

Finally, General Hyten, you are also responsible for synchronizing global missile defense plans and operations.  I would like to hear your thoughts about the recently-released Missile Defense Review and the Department’s plans for our current missile defense systems and how to address future threats.

General O’Shaughnessy, your mission is to protect the homeland, to deter and defeat attacks on the United States, and to support civil authorities in mitigating the effects of attacks and natural disasters.  We saw this demonstrated in DOD’s support to the states and territories affected by hurricanes and wildfires this past year, and we thank you for that.  You are also dual-hatted as the Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which brings unique responsibilities and partnering opportunities with Canada to deter and defend against advancing threats to our nations.

You are also responsible for the operation of our homeland ballistic missile defense system.  We look forward to hearing about your priorities for further improvements to the ground-based missile defense system in the context of the Missile Defense Review.  This is particularly important in light of the threat from North Korea, and potentially Iran.

Lastly, at a time when the National Defense Strategy and our intelligence community’s annual worldwide threat assessment are stressing the absolute necessity of using scarce resources to meet the challenge of near-peer adversaries, like Russia and China, the Administration is committing significant DOD resources and attention to what the President has taken to calling a “national emergency” at our southern border.  In fact, nowhere in these two documents are “migrant caravans” or drug traffickers crossing our southern border mentioned as threats to our national security. 

Russia, China, cyber security, and a host of other items are in those documents, but nowhere is there a finding that calls for 4000 active duty troops to be deployed to the southern border.  For comparison’s sake, we have approximately 5000 troops deployed in Iraq.  I have yet to hear from a witness before this committee who hasn’t stressed the real threats we face and the need to restore readiness and provide modern facilities for our troops and their families – instead, DOD is planning to reallocate funding that has been authorized and appropriated for installation commanders’ top priorities in support of a wall that has no connection to a military threat and does not support military effectiveness.

I will also add that it is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection – not DOD – to patrol and enforce our borders.  If this Administration is serious about dealing with the drug epidemic in our nation, then it should also properly fund the these and other associated federal agencies.

General Hyten and General O’Shaughnessy, thank you again for your service.