Chair McCollum Statement at the United States Special Operations Command Hearing

2022-04-07 10:04

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

This morning the Subcommittee will receive testimony on the posture and budget request for U.S. Special Operations Command.

Our witnesses today are:

  • The Honorable Christopher Maier (pronounced “Mayer”), Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations
    and Low-Intensity Conflict; and
  • General Richard Clarke, Commanding General,
    U.S. Special Operations Command.

I would like to remind members any material placed in front of you marked classified should be left at your chair at the conclusion of the hearing. This is Secretary Maier’s first appearance before the Defense Subcommittee.  We welcome you to the Subcommittee and look forward to future engagements.

General Clarke, I understand you are due to retire later this year, and this will likely be your last hearing before the Subcommittee. Let me say congratulations and thank you for your service to the nation.  SOCOM and the Army have been extremely well served by you and the Subcommittee very much appreciates your partnership with Congress over the past three years. It’s more than a cliché to say that the Department and SOCOM are at an inflection point. 

After 20 years of direct-action missions largely countering violent extremist organizations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s ongoing military modernization highlights
how the joint force, and special operations forces, will need to operate in non-traditional and highly contested environments. Russia’s use of information warfare to set the stage for their invasion should be a wakeup call to the Department and the interagency of the importance of gray zone activities. 

Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and SOCOM are uniquely positioned to lead and help set the terms of any future engagement.  You both must also ensure that requirements for future programs match the challenges special operations forces will face on the battlefield. Equally important is the need to care for your operators and oversee a culture that is professional and accountable. 

We look forward hearing from you both how SOCOM and the special forces community is building and shaping the force of the future that upholds your ideals and reflects the diversity of the rest of the armed forces.

117th Congress