Chair McCollum Statement at United States Indo-Pacific Command Closed Hearing

2022-05-17 14:11

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the subcommittee's closed hearing on the United States Indo-Pacific Command. 

Admiral Aquilino and General LaCamera, thank you for appearing before us today. 

We appreciate your service to the nation and your support of the men and women serving under your commands.  

The threat of China looms large today. 

President Biden’s proposed budget continues to define China as the “top challenge” and seeks to leverage the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to outcompete China. 

The recently updated National Defense Strategy warns against China’s increasing growth as a near-peer competitor and cites its ambitions to upset global norms. 

And despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has threatened the balance of the international order, Secretary Austin continues to point towards China as our “pacing threat.”

In this critical moment, it is with great interest that we look forward to hearing from you today. 

The Department has proposed $6.1 billion in spending for fiscal year 2023 as part of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

Today we expect to hear more about how your budget needs fit within the broader goal of deterring China. 

Congress will be a partner in ensuring you have the capabilities you need, and we look forward to a transparent and open dialogue as we examine the budget request.

While China is our primary competitor in the region, North Korea continues to be our most immediate threat to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. 

In light of their most recent ballistic missile tests, we are interested to hear from you both on how the US and our allies are countering the nuclear and conventional threats posed by North Korea today.  

Finally, I would like to emphasize the importance of taking a whole of government approach in the Indo-Pacific. 

The challenges faced today in the Indo-Pacific cannot be met only with a military solution and we cannot buy our way solely with defense spending to stability and security. 

I commend the work the Biden administration has done to regain lost confidence with our allies.

We must continue to show that we are committed to maintaining peace in the region so that our allies will in turn be steadfast in their partnership with us.

117th Congress