Chair McCollum Statement at United States Central Command Hearing (CLOSED)

2022-03-16 10:49

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the United States Central Command (CLOSED):

We welcome back our witness, General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command. 

General, while this is not your first time before the Subcommittee, we understand that it will be your last as you plan to retire next month. 

The Subcommittee thanks you for your four decades of service to our country and congratulates you on a well-deserved retirement.

We look forward to your testimony today. 

The purpose of today’s hearing is to discuss the challenges in the CENTCOM area of responsibility ahead of the fiscal year 2023 budget request. 

Much has changed since our last CENTCOM hearing nearly a year ago and I’d like to briefly cover some of the developments.

For the first time in two decades, we are no longer at war in Afghanistan.

We thank our service members for their selfless contributions while serving in Afghanistan for twenty years.

But we also know that the United States and the international community have much more work ahead of us as we try to mitigate the humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Afghanistan.

In Syria, we saw the largest ISIS attack in years with the attempted Hasakah prison break. 

China’s investments in the Middle East have grown dramatically, and we’ve seen press reports of a possible Chinese base being constructed in the U.A.E.

Russia’s recent deployment of troops to Kazakhstan, and their invasion of Ukraine have brought into focus Russia’s aspirations in the region.   

Iranian malign influence has continued, though I want to note that we’ve also seen progress from the Biden Administration on a possible nuclear deal.

Israel strengthened its military ties with Arab countries, joining the U.S.-led, International Maritime Exercise for the first time.

Qatar was designated as a major non-NATO ally, which formalizes our strong security partnership, as they continue to be an important energy partner for our allies.

Unfortunately, the war in Yemen and the dire humanitarian situation continues to cause suffering for civilian populations.   

We look forward to hearing how CENTCOM is postured and resourced to address these and other challenges, and to support the 50,000 U.S. personnel serving in your area of responsibility.

With that, I want to thank everyone for participating in today’s hearing and recognize our distinguished ranking member, Mr. Calvert for his opening remarks.

117th Congress