Gallagher Opening Statement At Hearing On Professional Military Education and the National Defense Strategy


Date: May 18, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on professional military education and the National Defense Strategy.

Rep. Gallagher's remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Chairwoman Speier, I appreciate your interest and support on this issue. I also want to thank our two panels of witnesses for being with us today. I will start today with a quote from Thucydides or Sir Francis Butler depends on what you reference. As a fellow scholar attribution is important. Anyway, "A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools."

The stakes with Professional Military Education and its intersection with the National Defense Strategy is of critical importance to the defense of our nation. The threats to the United States include an expansionist China, imperialistic Russia, radical extremism, cyber attacks and of course the COVID-19 pandemic. But the list goes on… The bottom line is we have to ensure our readiness through an unyielding commitment to out-thinking our opponents… whether they are state actors or other emerging threats…We have to get this right.

This past December we had a subcommittee briefing and I started with a statement from the 2018, National Defense Strategy, "PME has stagnated, focused more on the accomplishment of mandatory credit at the expense of lethality and ingenuity." I also mentioned the need to harness the power of war gaming.

In today's hearing I would like to understand what has changed in our approach to Professional Miliary Education to ensure we have the military leaders to fight and win in any conflict… but also those that are continuously looking for that next threat, that next capability, that next warfighting domain and assuring we have the ends, ways and means… with which we will attain overmatch.

The challenge here is whether we have the institutions and organizational wherewithal within our military to do this…. or does the current system of PME need a fresh look and transformational change. We need to hear the thoughts of both panels on this… And we also need to know what your constraints are and how we can get after this and support you in the right way.

In my mind PME should be something that inspires intellectual curiosity and the critical thinking of our service members… the result of a meritocratic culture that assures the best and the brightest are afforded the opportunity to lead… and hone their craft as thinkers and warriors.

Thank you and I yield back.