U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement after the conclusion of the committee's hearing on the President's FY2014 defense budget proposal. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testified before the committee.
"One of the federal responsibilities expressly spelled out in our Constitution is that of national defense. As the Defense Department performs its constitutional duty, we must be careful to ensure we are effectively funding their mission by prioritizing funding to our men and women on the ground and finding ways to streamline military operations to reduce costs.
"Today we heard from our top military officials regarding their plans to defend our country in the years to come. Both Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey testified that they are committed to reducing the numbers of generals and flag officers, which have significantly increased in recent years, while still protecting our country and running an effective military. I was pleased to hear General Dempsey say that "if we're going to reduce the force, we're going to start at the top,' and as I perform the role of congressional oversight, I will ensure they remain true to their words," said Rokita.
Rokita's questions today focused specifically on the increase in size of military leadership in recent years. Both Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey confirmed that reducing the size of joint staff and overall military command is a priority.