“Aside of sequestration, we recognize this budget comes at a time of
enduring fiscal challenges.
“The budget protects personnel by including a modest pay raise, increasing
housing and subsistence allowances, and requesting $8.5 billion in family
related programs. The budget also proposes increased enrollment fees and
co-payments in the Defense Health Program. We look forward to working in
partnership with you on how to strike a balance between supporting personnel
while, at the same time, controlling costs in this segment of the budget.
“We also note that the procurement and research and development accounts are
reduced, and bear much of the burden of meeting fiscal constraints in this
request. These reductions are necessary, but we wonder what affect they will
have on long-term DoD requirements. As investments in equipment and research
decline we are also concerned about the affect this will have on the defense
“We continue to face threats overseas as well.
“After 12 years of conflict in Afghanistan, we are about to transfer control
of security operations to the Afghans and assume a supporting role as US
military presence declines. We are interested in your views on whether the
Afghans are rising to this challenge, and what military objectives US troops
can achieve in the coming years. We are also interested in your assessment
of the post-2014 force and the objectives for our troops in that setting.
“We also face significant challenges in the Asia Pacific region including
the threat posed by North Korea. We recognize the budget places a high
priority on programs to address this threat and that you are now positioning
forces for this purpose. We look forward to your views on how to best
respond to the challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.”