Durbin Questions Secretary Of The Army And Chief Of Staff Of The Army At Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today questioned Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing about the Army’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget request.  Durbin began his questioning asking about the importance of keeping our military nonpartisan.

“There’s always been an effort to keep a bright line between our military and partisan political activity…is this a problem and if so, what are you doing about it?” Durbin asked.

Wormuth answered by stating she believes it is absolutely essential to keep politics out of the military. 

Durbin then asked about the organic industrial base, specifically the role of Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

“I want to make a plug about the Rock Island Arsenal and the Depots and Arsenals across the United States that have risen to the challenge time and again. I hope you’ll make them part of your thinking about future demands for developing high quality materials and equipment,” Durbin said.

Wormuth confirmed they are factoring the Army’s Arsenals into their organic industrial base plan and she plans to visit the Rock Island Arsenal in the future.

Durbin, Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, asked about Ukraine in light of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war. He stated that although early reports predicted Kyiv would fall quickly, it is still in Ukrainian hands.

“What lessons have you learned as a professional observing this in terms of the efforts by the Ukrainians and the Russian capacity to fight a war?” Durbin asked.  

General McConville credited Ukraine’s success in part to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s leadership and the will of the Ukrainian people to stay and fight.

Durbin concluded by asking about the United States’ capacity to provide Ukraine with the tools they need.

“Are we being pushed to a limit we have to reconsider in aspects of our own defense and how much is allocated?” Durbin asked.

Wormuth confirmed that when providing aid to Ukraine, the Army factors in the U.S.’s needs and continued assistance to Ukraine remains within our limits.  

President Biden authorized another $150 million in military assistance for Ukraine for artillery rounds and radar systems on Friday and requested a $33 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine. During a speech on the Senate floor last week, Durbin urged Congress to pass this supplemental aid package for Ukraine. The additional aid will give the people of Ukraine the weapons to repel Russia’s war as well as bolster our allies and partners in the region such as the Baltics, Poland, and Moldova.

Video of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here for TV Stations.