Cochran greets Defense Secretary Mattis at Appropriation hearing on military readiness.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today chaired a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to review military readiness – the equipment, training and support needed to achieve set goals – and the budget outlook for the Department of Defense.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., testified on the urgency for Congress to provide stable funding to meet immediate national security challenges around the world.

“I appreciate Secretary Mattis and General Dunford explaining to us the funding they need to protect our national security interests,” Cochran said. “Continued delays on FY2017 defense appropriations will compound the need for more resources to increase military readiness and strengthen the Department of Defense.”

The Defense Department is currently funded through a continuing resolution that expires April 28.

The House of Representatives has passed a FY2017 Defense Appropriations agreement providing $561.1 billion in base funding and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The bill is pending in the Senate.

“Only an FY2017 appropriations bill can permit us to spend the American taxpayers’ money judiciously and start us on the long road back to military readiness to ensure we can fight effectively. The last six years of sequester’s effects, budget cuts, and repeated continuing resolutions have damaged our readiness to a degree that will take time to recover,” Mattis testified.

President Trump has also requested a $30.0 billion in additional appropriations to increase FY2017 funding for the Defense Department.