Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for calling this important hearing.
"I welcome our witnesses, all familiar faces, save for one, from our most recent hearing on military family housing programs. Though that hearing was less than a month ago, we would be glad to hear of any progress that the witnesses would like to share.
"Today, we focus on all installation matters. While the broader installation portfolio hasn't achieved the notoriety of the housing program, it does not appear we fare too much better. Still, I am encouraged that all services have increased funding for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization in this year's budget request. However, after years of underfunding FSRM accounts, we are faced with a considerable backlog of critical FSRM work, with almost a third of DOD facilities in poor or failing condition. I hope that the military services will be able to sustain higher funding in the out years.
"We also recognize that the Marine Corps and Air Force in particular are struggling to recover from the damage caused by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The Chairman and I toured Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point last month, and saw first-hand the extent of the damage. We understand that neither service has programmed funding to address these challenges and we are doing everything possible to provide the necessary disaster recovery funds.
"We also recognize the Department is addressing contamination to ground water caused by firefighting foam containing perflourinated compounds. All of us want safe drinking water, of course. At the same time, we also expect that fire fighters will be able to extinguish fires quickly. I encourage the Department to prioritize research into effective firefighting chemicals that are free from contaminants and encourage you to continue working closely with affected military communities to assure safe drinking water.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman."