Opening Statement (As Prepared)

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I want to thank the Chairman for convening this hearing and the witnesses for their time and willingness to appear before the subcommittee.

Before we start, I do want to take this opportunity to highlight that all of you are relatively new to your positions.  Welcome and congratulations, it is a testament to your organizations that even as leaders transition on to other roles, the people that make up our Defense Intelligence Enterprise continue to do great work to protect our country.

Last year, we opened this same hearing by saying “the current global security environment is dynamic.” Not only has that not changed, it has become even more dynamic given the horrific attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7th, the ensuing conflict and humanitarian crisis, and the malign actors that seek to exploit and expand that conflict across the entire region.

Russia continues its illegal and unjust war in Ukraine which has resulted in enormous damage to Ukraine, our interests, and the people of Russia. Putin remains defiant as he builds new partnerships with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Iran, and North Korea to provide him the ability to continue this conflict. Identifying the nature of these relationships is of great importance as we determine how best to compete in a dangerous world.

The Communist Chinese Party (CCP) presents a considerable challenge.  Its willingness to act aggressively in contravention of international norms, coupled with its extensive efforts to modernize and to consolidate its control over the People’s Liberation Army, is cause for concern as coercive actions orchestrated by the CCP undermine both regional and global stability.  The National Defense Strategy (NDS) provides the framework to “outcompete our strategic competitors” and “to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the pacing challenge for the Department.”

Iran continues its malign behavior as it leverages its proxies in the Middle East in an attempt to expand the conflict between Israel and Hamas as a way to assert its own regional hegemony.  These proxies include the Houthis that target international shipping in the Red Sea, Lebanese Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, and Iranian aligned militia groups in Iraq/Syria.

North Korea continues to threaten the international community as it expands, diversifies, and improves its nuclear ballistic missile and non-nuclear capabilities.  The Defense Intelligence Enterprise is a key component of the whole-of-government approach to containing this threat.

Lastly, violent extremist organizations continue to look for opportunities to export their brand of terror globally.  We need look no further than the attacks in Iran and Russia attributed to ISIS-K to be reminded that the threat remains relevant.  I applaud the intelligence community’s efforts to provide warnings about both attacks under our duty to warn policy.

Given that the global environment remains dynamic now more than ever, this committee remains committed to ensuring your organizations have the resources and authorities required to carry out the duty that our country asks of you.

Recognizing that we are in an era of great power competition (GPC) how is the Defense Intelligence Enterprise postured to address competition?

To effectively deal with these challenges the Defense Intelligence Enterprise must remain agile, be collaborative across the enterprise, quickly provide releasable and actionable intelligence throughout the department, and collaborate with allies and partners.

I look forward to hearing from the witnesses on these and others issues today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.