Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), serving his third term as member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement regarding today's Department of Defense posture hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen:
"I commend Secretary Gates for his courageous efforts to find savings in defense spending, which has skyrocketed to levels 36% higher (adjusted for inflation) than during the Vietnam era and is obviously unsustainable. Reining in defense spending while winning two wars and modernizing the force is no small task, but it is a critical task if we are serious about fiscal restraint.
The significant reduction in funds requested for war-fighting abroad in 2012 signals the Administration's effective execution of the drawdown in Iraq. Timely victory and withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of the unacceptably slow timeline outlined by military leaders would secure Secretary Gates' place as one of the greatest Defense Secretaries in the history of the country. But unless the Administration can expedite the timeline for drawdown in Afghanistan, the Pentagon and the White House may find it difficult to maintain Congressional support for war funding."