Leading Defense Subcommittee Hearing with Top Navy Brass, Tester Calls for Resources to Counter Adversaries Including China, Iran, and Russia

Chairman called for supplemental funding to counter China, Iran, and Russia and dinged corporations responsible for shipbuilding delays

As a part of his continued efforts to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to keep Montana and our country safe, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today chaired a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing with Navy and Marine Corps leadership to review the President’s FY2025 budget request.

During the hearing, Chairman Tester spoke about the importance of providing supplemental funding to counter America’s adversaries like China, Iran, and Russia – particularly in light of Iran’s aerial attack on our democratic ally Israel: “Our nation continues to face real threats from China and Russia and Iran and terrorist groups. As we saw just this past weekend when Iran brazenly attacked Israel with hundreds of missiles, the world does not follow any congressional calendar. The Senate-passed national security supplemental includes $2.4 billion for the operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations – that includes funds to replace interceptors fired in defense of our ships and of our allies in the region… It is long past time to get these funds signed into law.”

Chairman Tester also emphasized during his remarks that China is the number one threat currently facing American freedom and security: “The number one threat to our freedom, the pacing threat, remains to be China. As I’ve said before, China doesn’t operate on continuing resolutions, so notwithstanding political headwinds and budget constraints, I will continue to work with my friends Susan Collins and Chairman Murray to end this disastrous trend of [short-term continuing resolutions] and put some certainty back into our budget cycle.”

During his questioning, Chairman Tester was critical of delays in Naval shipbuilding and pressed Navy leadership on how to hold shipbuilders and corporations accountable: “Delays like this should constitute a full-blown emergency for the Navy and the shipbuilding industry. I know there are no quick fixes, but I have yet to see what either party is prepared to do about it – and to be specific, who is being held accountable… I think your review has shown we have a major problem that puts our national security at risk. So the question is, how do we hold these folks accountable? What do we need to do to make sure these folks understand that profitability in the shipbuilding industry isn’t your number one responsibility, it is to get these ships, submarines, and equipment out on time, on budget, the way we need them to keep this country safe?”

Witnesses who testified at Chairman Tester’s hearing included Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti, and Commandant of the Marine Corps General Eric M. Smith. 

As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester is responsible for crafting the annual Defense Appropriations bill which will provide funding for the Department of Defense (DOD) and related activities in FY25. Last month, Tester successfully passed his annual Defense Appropriations bill into law which will fund the DOD and related activities in FY24. Tester’s FY24 bill prepares our military against our adversaries and ensures America retains its competitive edge over China while using made-in-Montana cutting-edge solutions and next-generation research.