Sec. Carter to Chairman Frelinghuysen on Transfer of Guantanamo Bay: "...No Such Plans"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee began its examination of the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request and the posture of the United States military and intelligence community, the Secretary of Defense assured Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) that the naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will remain in U.S. hands.  With the President’s announced visit to Cuba, there has been substantial speculation that he might announce the transfer of the base to the Castro brothers. 

Frelinghuysen asked Secretary Ash Carter "Can you assure us there's no plan for any change of our operations and historic role there?" Carter responded that "I know of no such plans."

Frelinghuysen also questioned the size and structure of the President’s proposed defense budget.   “The security environment used by the Department to justify a shrinking Army and Marine Corps, a smaller Navy, an older Air Force, does not exist! In fact, we face more serious threats from more sources than at any time since World War Two.”

“Russia occupies Crimea and continues to menace Ukraine, its neighbors and our NATO partners. China is building whole islands in the South China Sea and militarizing them, yet this Administration suggests cutting an already-inadequate shipbuilding budget. Syria, is a living “hell on earth” and devolving even further by the day, with Russian and Iranian sponsorship – and we seem to be “deconflicting” our operations with these adversaries! ISIS has a major franchise in Libya, its base of operations in North Africa – 160 miles of Mediterrean coastline. Terrorism is like a cancer across the world, and this budget does not do enough to halt its spread.” 

Frelinghuysen asserted “this budget mortgages future military capabilities to pay for today’s urgent requirements.” 

“Our adversaries measure our strength based on our military capability AND our national will.  Currently, our adversaries and our allies question both. Members of our Committee hear this repeatedly from foreign leaders as we travel abroad or meet them here at home as they watch our foes continually test us without consequence.”