Chair McCollum Statement at National Guard and Reserve Hearing

2022-05-24 13:12

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the subcommittee's hearing on the National Guard and Reserve. 

This morning the Committee will receive testimony on the posture of the National Guard and Reserve Components and the fiscal year 2023 budget. This will be a two-panel hearing – panel one recognizes the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.  Panel two will recognize the Reserve Component Chiefs from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force Reserves.  I encourage all members to stay for both panels. 

With five witnesses across two panels testifying I will be brief in my opening remarks. This Subcommittee provides funding for National Guard and Reserve personnel costs, operations and maintenance costs, and equipment funding, including the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account – an appropriation which is not included in the President’s Budget Request.  Funding is also provided for activities such as counter-drug operations, Humvee modernization, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and more.

I am particularly interested to hear how that funding supports your missions and what capability gaps exist today. I would also like to receive your input on the current pace of operations.

Our National Guard forces are called upon to support a variety of missions, including humanitarian missions, acts of civil unrest, support to the Southwest border, and overseas operations – to include partnering with and training Ukrainian forces.  

Each member of this Committee is so appreciative of your tireless efforts.  I am interested to hear about how these seemingly endless calls to duty are affecting our troops’ morale, readiness, and retention efforts.

It is also vitally important that you are providing a high level of quality care for our soldiers. Incidents of sexual assault, harassment, and extremism are all too common amongst the ranks.  Your leadership in addressing these disturbing acts has never been more important.  I’d like to know exactly what you are doing to reverse the trends.  

With that, I want to recognize the distinguished ranking member, Mr. Calvert, for his opening comments.

117th Congress