U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) made a presentation and engaged in discussion at the meeting of the NVTC Board of Directors on Tuesday, May 9, at LMI in Tysons Corner. Congressman Wittman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Wittman has oversight over Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force programs and authorizes those Services’ procurement and R&D programs. He is also Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.
Congressman Wittman discussed efforts to rebuild the military and shared plans for increased naval investments in shipbuilding and fleet modernization. He emphasized the central role technology will play in the defense modernization process and highlighted the importance of being able to operationalize the latest technologies more agilely. The ability to adapt off-the-shelf civilian technologies for the military also will be critical in defense modernization, according to Congressman Wittman. Congressman Wittman noted that the administration requested a supplemental $30 billion in short-term defense funding for the rest of the fiscal year, but was only was appropriated $15 billion, a serious shortfall. Also, Congressman Wittman stressed the need for additional R&D investments.
Congressman Wittman highlighted what he believes are the strategic challenges facing this modernization effort. First, he argued that the acquisition and implementation process moves too slowly and that the military needs to be more agile to get innovations from concept to delivery more quickly. He believes Congress must tackle acquisition reform so that decisions can be made closer to the command level. Congressman Wittman also stated that we need to do more with our dollars and resources.
Following his remarks, Congressman Wittman answered questions from Board members and shared his thoughts on the federal budget, infrastructure spending, R&D funding and cybersecurity.