During today's Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) proposed budget for the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the committee, expressed concerns to U.S. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, USA Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III, USN Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., USMC Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, and U.S. Gen. Phillip M. Breedlove, USAF Vice Chief of Staff, regarding the risks of a limited defense budget that drastically reduces troop forces and delays the modernization of weapon systems.
"President Obama's proposed FY13 budget disables our military's ability to adequately protect our nation and allies," said Inhofe. "Severe budget reductions to the DOD dictated by the President's proposed budget unnecessarily increases risks. As our nation faces an ever dangerous world and threats from countries like Iran and North Korea, our ability to fight simultaneous wars will be gone. Now is not the time to reduce our ground forces and prevent modernization on important weapon systems like the C-130, the F-35, nuclear weapons, and our ballistic submarines. The American people believe our men and women in combat have the very best equipment, but that simply is not the case. President Obama continues to gut our national defense while pursuing his unrealistic dream of a nuclear free world."
Following Defense Secretary Panetta's announcement last week that the DOD would spend billions of American taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, Inhofe also asked all four witnesses if global warming poses a greater threat to the United States as the threats currently posed by terrorists and countries like North Korea, Iran, and Syria. All four witnesses refused to respond.
Inhofe said, "As the former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I found Secretary Panetta's announcement unbelievable. As I said before, Secretary Panetta has a real war to win, and he should not be wasting time perpetrating President Obama's global warming fantasies or his ongoing war on affordable energy. At a time when the defense budget is being significantly reduced and the Pentagon is forced to make every dollar stretch even further, it is ludicrous for the DOD to spend billions of dollars on green energy projects. Instead, they should be using those funds on people, training and equipment. The silence from today's panel on this issue speaks volumes.
This was not the first time that Inhofe has raised the issue of alternative energy costs and the green agenda with the DOD. In the March 2010 confirmation hearing for Sharon E. Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, Inhofe also raised similar concerns.
During her testimony at that time Burke said, "All fueling options need to be on the table and given due consideration: DOD has to be able to procure whatever fuels the military needs to conduct its operations, in a way that is as reliable as possible while minimizing opportunity costs."
Though her position on the issue of Global Warming differs from Inhofe's, when she was asked to what degree mission effectiveness could reasonably be sacrificed due to what she considers "the security risks of added greenhouse gases'', Burke said, "Mission effectiveness should never be sacrificed.... DOD needs to do everything possible to ensure mission success in current deployments and also engage in the strategy development, planning, and procurement that will prepare the military and the Nation for future mission success." Also adding, "DOD's energy decisions should always support the welfare and mission success of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines."
Inhofe cautions, "Unfortunately, what Ms. Burke testified to does not seem to be what is actually happening inside the DOD. How else can you justify these extremely high green fuel costs at a time when our military is being forced to endure so many cuts?"