WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a congressional hearing today, House Armed Services Committee (HASC) member Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., discussed saving taxpayer money at the Department of Defense and improving the military’s ability to quickly address threats. Army, Navy and Air Force acquisitions experts testified that adopting some commercial practices could achieve those goals.
Responding to questions from Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04), an Air Force witness suggested adopting regular repair schedules, as commercial airlines do, rather than reacting to equipment breakdowns. Another from the Navy suggested that 3D-printing technology could significantly shorten equipment replacement and repair times.
Rep. DesJarlais has voted to audit Pentagon finances and for measures permitting the Defense Department to purchase items on the open market, as well as to help small, innovative companies compete with large contractors. More measures to reduce bureaucratic overlap and paperwork have become law in recent National Defense Authorizations. As a new HASC member, the Congressman helped to oversee the latest, which increased defense funding.
“My constituents know the federal government’s first responsibility is national security. Years of budget cuts have depleted the military, and I voted to restore funding. However, every dollar wasted harms our ability to supply soldiers in a timely manner with the newest hardware, from pistols to submarines,” said Rep. DesJarlais. He represents the Aerospace and Defense Technology Corridor spanning Middle Tennessee.
This week, he also led a bipartisan group of Tennessee House members in an effort to bring a National Guard Aeromedical Evacuation unit to the 164th Wing in Memphis. “With three nursing schools to recruit from in the Memphis area, a waiting list currently in the Memphis clinic for nurses and medical technicians, and C-17 aircraft already on site, the 164th Airlift Wing is uniquely situated for this role,” they wrote to the Pentagon.
“Additionally, we are proud to note that Tennessee maintains one of the largest National Guard organizations in the country, with a combined Army/Air presence of roughly 13,500 guardsmen. Furthermore, our State continues to maintain one of the Nation’s top recruiting percentages, consistently recruiting to 103% end-strength over the past five years.”
Representatives David Kustoff, Steve Cohen, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, John Duncan, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe, M.D., signed the letter, describing taxpayer savings, in addition to Tennesseans’ preparedness for the task. View their letter here.