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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.'s Opening Statement, U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, DoD Budget Hearing

Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Public Affairs

Opening Statement
General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., USAF 
21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
Department of Defense Budget Hearing 
U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services 
9 April 2024


Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Wicker, and distinguished members of the committee. I am honored to join Secretary Austin and the Honorable Mike McCord to appear before you today. On behalf of the Joint Force, Department of Defense civilians, and our families, I want to thank Congress for your steadfast support and the opportunity to testify on the Fiscal Year 2025 Defense Budget Request which reflects our shared commitment to our national security.

The global security environment is increasingly complex. The 2022 National Defense Strategy identifies five key challenges:

  •   the People’s Republic of China, our pacing challenge, continues its risky behavior around the globe;
  •   a newly aggressive Russia, with its unprovoked war against Ukraine;
  •   a destabilizing North Korea and Iran which threaten regional security;
  •   and Violent Extremist Organizations, which leverage instability to advance their cause.

    These challenges are interconnected, which demands a strategic approach addressing the immediate threats while also preparing for future contingencies.

    Days after becoming the Chairman, I laid out three expectations in my Message to the Joint Force: honing our warfighting skill has primacy in all we do, modernizing and aggressively leading with new concepts and approaches, and trust is the foundation of our profession.

    Our military exists to fight and win our Nation’s wars. We train every day to ensure we are so good at what we do that we deter any adversary from engaging the U.S. in conflict. This budget requests $147 billion to sustain readiness and ensure the Department can counter near-term threats. We are also focused on better integrating our Allies and partners in our planning and operations by investing in critical programs and capability, expanding security cooperation, exercises, training, and interoperability. Our investments in readiness ensure the Joint Force can respond when the Nation calls.

    While we remain focused on our readiness for today, it is critical to modernize and lead with new concepts to prepare for tomorrow. The Department continues to invest in capability and capacity to outpace our competitors while transforming from costly legacy platforms that are no longer relevant to the threat. This budget strategically invests 167.5 billion in procurement, underscoring our commitment to equip the Joint Force with unparalleled combat capabilities across every domain. This budget also invests 143.2 billion in research, development, test, and evaluation of future capabilities that will retain our strategic edge. Finally, this budget invests significantly into nuclear modernization, digital innovation, multi-year procurement of critical munitions, and a strengthened Defense Industrial Base. With rapidly evolving threats and technologies, accelerating our modernization is crucial.

    Lastly, trust is the foundation of our profession. The Joint Force must build upon and uphold trust in each other, trust with our families, trust of our elected leaders, and trust of our Nation. Enhancing the Quality of Service and Quality of Life for our personnel is not just a moral obligation but a strategic imperative. This budget includes investments in Quality of Service efforts such as advanced training, educational benefits, and career development while also investing in Quality of Life projects like housing, medical clinics, and childcare facilities, as well as funding spouse employment initiatives, enhanced mental health resources, and robust programs to combat sexual assault. We must create an environment where all can reach their full potential.

    Trust that our Joint Force stands ready. Ready to defend our national interests, ready to deter aggression, and ready, if necessary, to fight and win our Nation’s wars. I thank you for your support and collaboration in our shared commitment to face the security challenges of today and prepare for tomorrow. We are living in consequential times and there is no time to waste.

    Thank you and I look forward to your questions.


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