WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned four-star General Paul Selva during a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing for his reappointment to U.S. Air Force General and Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senator Heinrich asked General Selva about Russia’s hostile actions toward the United States and its allies in Europe. “I think the pattern of behavior from Russia is painfully obvious. They will do what it takes to achieve their objectives with very little limitations. Whether it is interfering in U.S. elections, interfering with European elections, formulating an assassination plot like in Montenegro, Russia is treating the West right now like it’s the Wild, Wild West, with no norms, no laws, no consequences,” said Heinrich.
In response to Senator Heinrich’s questions about whether there should be consequences for Russian behavior, General Selva said, “Senator, I believe there should be consequences. The Russians have adopted a philosophy of operating below what they believe is the West’s threshold to respond… We need to understand what that strategy means and how to counter it, and impose the kinds of consequences that are necessary to prevent them from being successful or to deter them from the activity in the first place.”
In the hearing, Senator Heinrich also urged General Selva to take a close look at Directed Energy Weapon Systems since General Selva is the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and has a unique role in the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, which identifies capability gaps for the military and generates requirements for new weapon systems to fill those capability gaps. Senator Heinrich received a commitment from General Selva to meet with the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and directed energy technology experts to discuss the next generation weapon systems further.
Senator Heinrich has led efforts to transition directed energy weapon systems, developed in New Mexico by industry, national labs, and research facilities, to programs of record that help the United States and our allies maintain military superiority. He secured a provision in the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to launch a significant directed energy program at the Pentagon that will bolster Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range, and jobs in New Mexico.
Testimony and the archived webcast of today's hearing will be available here.