Hearing of the House Armed Services Committee - Opening Statement of Rep. Thornberry, Hearing on U.S. Defense Posture Changes in the European Theater


Date: Sept. 30, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Defense

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement at the Committee's FY21 hearing titled "U.S. Defense Posture Changes in the European Theater":

"Thank you Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate having this hearing on this topic. I agree that it is important, and in addition that there are provisions in the current conference with the Senate on this year's NDAA which touch on these issues.

"And there are a lot of questions, as you point out. I fully agree that many of these questions arise from the way that this announcement was made and has subsequently been rolled out. I realize that the witnesses today are not going to be able to answer all of our questions about "when, "or "how much,' but hopefully they can help clarify for us and the American people "wha,t' and especially "why?'

"Some of these moves seem to make sense on their face. For example, moving EUCOM to be closer to NATO headquarters, or having a greater presence in the Balkans. But there needs to be an overall strategic plan that is coordinated with allies, rather than have a bunch of rationalizations after the fact.

"I fully agree that NATO is the most successful alliance in history. Can it be improved- absolutely. But we can't lose sight of what has been accomplished and what it means today for American national security.

"And so, however logical some of these individual moves may be, there is still the broader question of doing this in this way has some effects on the strength and unity of the NATO Alliance; and what is that?

"And so I hope our witnesses can shed a little light on the consultations and on how this all fits together in the bigger picture. Because it does seem to me, however much or less sense individual moves may to make, the main thing is the strength of NATO. Especially when dealing with an aggressive Russia.

"That's the main thing. We need to have that in mind as we go through these details as well."