House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement at the Air Force posture hearing today:
"Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. I want to also thank the witnesses, Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz for appearing here today and for their dedicated service to our country.
"Earlier this year, the President released the findings of a strategic review, which clearly articulated the global threat environment, and presented a broad strategy to address those threats moving forward. This strategic review appropriately places a renewed focus on the critically important Asia-Pacific region, which will likely result in an enhanced role for the Air Force in our national defense.
"Over the last ten years, the Air Force has contributed greatly to the recently-concluded war in Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The contributions of Air Force personnel who have provided air support, transport, reconnaissance, and other key functions have been invaluable. Going forward, under the new strategic guidance, the Air Force will continue to carry out those missions, although the relative balance between and the geographic area of focus may change. The budget put forth two weeks ago will enable the Air Force to continue to be the greatest air power in the world.
"I have consistently said that we can rationally evaluate our national security strategy, our defense expenditures, and the current set of missions we ask the military to undertake and come up with a strategy that enhances national security by spending taxpayer dollars more wisely and effectively. I believe this budget supports that goal as well.
"Overall, the defense budget is also fully consistent with the funding levels set by the Budget Control Act passed by Congress. Although I did not support this act, many members of the House Armed Services Committee did, Congress passed it, and the Department of Defense has submitted a budget that complies with the congressionally-mandated funding levels.
"Over the last few years, with the strong support of the Air Force, our military has put together a significant string of foreign policy successes, including the death of bin Laden, Anwar Al-Awlaki, the elimination of much of al Qaeda's leadership, the end of the war in Iraq, and supporting the uprising in Libya. The budget lays out a strategy that will enable the United States to build on those successes and confront the threats of today as well as in the future."
"I want to thank the witnesses again and I look forward to hearing their testimony."