April 18, 2013

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned top U.S. military leaders on the readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces today as she chaired her first hearing as the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support. The witnesses testifying at the hearing included General John Campbell, Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army; Admiral Mark Ferguson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations; General John Paxton, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps; and General Larry O. Spencer, Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force.

“The Readiness Subcommittee meets today at a pivotal moment to discuss the current readiness of our military,” Shaheen said. “We have a responsibility to provide our men and women in uniform with the resources and training they need to complete their mission, and I am glad to be joined by leaders of our Armed Forces to discuss how we can better meet that objective.

“As we look at the challenges facing our servicemen and women, an area that needs particular action is in replacing the automatic budget cuts under sequestration,” Shaheen said. “If these cuts remain in place, they will significantly impact the Services’ ability to conduct training, maintenance, and to sustain their readiness,” Shaheen added. “Sequestration is not a solution to our nation’s fiscal problems, and it is not responsible with respect to our national security.”

Shaheen has consistently called for bipartisan compromise on a long-term deficit deal to replace sequestration, a call she repeated during a visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard last month. She has called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to maximize flexibility to mitigate the sequester’s impact on workers, and voted last month for a responsible Senate Budget Resolution that would replace sequestration while reining in the country’s debt and deficit.

This afternoon’s hearing was the first for the Readiness Subcommittee since Shaheen was named Chair and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was named Ranking Member. Shaheen and Ayotte have worked closely together to advocate for New Hampshire’s military facilities and defense suppliers, with a particularly strong commitment to ensuring the future strength of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Yesterday, they sent a letter urging Secretary Hagel to provide flexibility to the service branches in an effort to avoid furloughing civilian employees. Shaheen and Ayotte have also worked extensively to underscore the strategic value of Pease Air National Guard Base as the Air Force considers where to base the next generation KC-46A tanker. 

The Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee oversees military readiness including training, logistics, and maintenance; military construction; contracting and acquisition policy; business and financial management; base realignment and closure; defense industrial and technology base policies; and industrial operations, including depots, shipyards, arsenals, and ammunition plants

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