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Speeches & Testimony


Speeches & Testimony

Hawai'i and Indo-Pacific Defense Priorities

Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Rodgers and Members of the Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you our national security challenged and opportunities in my backyard of the Indo-Pacific. 

Pacific Deterrence Initiative

Overall, the current and previous administrations have affirmed the reemergence of strategic competition with other great powers as the central challenge to our national security. No country poses as significant a long-term threat to us as China. The NDAA must continue to address our strategic challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Key to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific is the Pacific Deterrence Initiative – or PDI. It provides the foundation for establishing a forward-deployed, properly equipped and postured force to deter aggression and assure our allies and partners.

The PDI is less than seven-tenths of 1% of the Department of Defense’s total spending, but its important cannot be understated. We must deter and deny our adversaries’ ability to engage in acts of aggression or coercion against our partners and allies. We need investments in Guam, our Pacific Island partners, training ranges throughout the Indo-Pacific and a new generation of weapons to overcome the tyranny of distance. I urge you to fully support the PDI.

Hawai‘i is of particular importance to this strategy as our major forward position in the Indo-Pacific. It is the home of USINDOPACOM, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Army Pacific, Marine Corps Forces Pacific and Special Operations Command Pacific. We also host several key operating forces and military installations. Critical to the protection and readiness of these commands and forces stationed in Hawai‘i are three important projects - Homeland Defense Radar Hawai‘i, the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility and the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan.

Homeland Defense Radar Hawai‘i

Given the prominence of Hawaii’s military and strategtic value, Hawai’I has become far more of a target to those who wish to do us harm. The need for a fixed, persistent and comprehensive missile defense cannot be understated. This requirement hasn’t gone away and won’t. The Homeland Defense Radar Hawai‘i – or HDR-H - is the solution. It is regarded by the Missile Defense Agency and USINDOPACOM as vital and appropriate. I urge you to strongly support continued funding for HDR-H. 
The Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility
The current lynchpin of the military supply chain in the Indo-Pacific is the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility. It is unlike any other in the world, with 20 underground tanks that can store up to 250 million gallons of fuel. In 2014, approximately 27,000 gallons of fuel leaked from one of the tanks. This spill occurred right above the main aquifer for the City of Honolulu providing water to hundreds of thousands of residents, servicemembers and visitors to Hawai‘i. The Navy has agreed to develop “double-wall equivalency” secondary containment or remove all the fuel from Red Hill. As this process unfolds, Red Hill must receive the oversight and funding needed for its upkeep and operations to protect Hawaii’s water supply.
Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan

Finally, Hawai‘i is home to one of our most iconic and invaluable naval public shipyards - the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. After over 100 years of faithful service, it is time to recapitalize this and our three other public shipyards. I ask that you prioritize resources for the Navy’s $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan – both the construction projects and the program management. The massive undertaking also requires continuous oversight by this Committee to ensure that it remains on schedule to ensure our ships are ready to fight.

I look forward to working with the Committee and its members and staff on achieving our national security goals in Hawai‘i and the Indo-Pacific region. Thank you for allowing me to testify before you today, and I ask that you consider my remarks as you craft the FY22 NDAA.