During today's Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) nomination hearing, senior committee member U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) questioned U.S. Air Force General Mark Welsh III for Chief of Staff of the Air Force; U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General John F. Kelley for Commander of United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM); and U.S.Army Lieutenant General Frank J. Grass for Chief of National Guard Bureau. Inhofe expressed concerns to the nominees regarding the President's aggressive push to "green" the military while cutting important defense programs like the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) due to limited resources.
"Of the three Senate committees to mark up the FY'13 defense bills thus far, all three have expressed opposition to terminating the C-130 AMP," Inhofe later said. "Last year Gen. Schwartz said this program provides military the capabilities "equal or greater than' alternative programs and at less cost. Without thorough investigation, the President's budget cancels it in favor of a C-130 AMP Lite program."
Inhofe brought this to Gen. Welsh's attention and asked he submit for the record an opinion and evaluation of the C-130 AMP program.
Inhofe also requested all three nominees to submit in writing their views and evaluations on the military's use of limited resources for developing alternative energy.
Questioning pending nominees, Inhofe said: "I've been deeply disturbed, as have other members of this committee, on the use of the military for other agendas such as the "green' agenda Do you think spending $424 a gallon, as the Navy did, for 20,000 gallons [of bio-fuel] is in the best interest of our nation's defense? In the Air Force, $59 a gallon for 11,000 gallons -- all of this could have been done for $3 a gallon."
"It is a disgrace the President is willing to put our military at risk with aging equipment by cutting the C-130 program so he can push his progressive EPA agenda through the wrong department," Inhofe later said. "Even the Air Force's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy has stated "We're not in the fuel production business.' While the Navy's "JollyGreen Fleet' is using one bag of bio-fuel at a time, I argue that our limited resources of tax payers money is being wasted one tank at a time."
Inhofe also questioned the nominees on the re-engining of the JSTARS aircraft, International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), and the State Partnership Program (SPP).