McSally Questions CENTCOM Commander on Role of A-10s in Fight Against Taliban, Expresses Concern Over Iran’s Military Build-Up on Israel’s Northern Border
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Representative Martha McSally today questioned General Joseph Votel, Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. military’s strategic posture in the Middle East and South Asia. Her questioning highlighted the integral role of A-10s in combating the Taliban, specifically its generation of revenue. The Air Force recently announced that funding to jumpstart A-10 wing production was included in their FY19 budget request, thanks to the Congresswoman’s request. During the hearing, she also questioned the General on the buildup of aggression between Israel and Iran along Israel’s northern border.
CENTCOM is “Very, Very Proud” A-10’s “Doing Great” in Fight Against Taliban
Twelve A-10s arrived in Kandahar on January 19, the first time they’ve been deployed to Afghanistan in over 3 years. Rep. McSally inquired about their impact on the Resolute Support Mission.
“The A-10 warthog was back in Afghanistan kicking butt in January. Can you comment on the types of missions that they are doing and I know it’s a little specific, but as part of the shift in strategy it seems like we are now going after more of the sources of revenue? Perhaps overall in attacking the poppy industry and the drug making facilities and how is the A-10 doing over there?” asked Congresswoman McSally.
“The A-10s are doing great. They were in action within 24 hours of being on the ground here and I’ve had an opportunity to visit the squadron and meet the squadron commander, we are very very proud of what they are doing and they are doing the things we would expect the A-10s to do,” General Votel responded. “Part of our concept and why we are pushing advisor teams down to a lower level is so that we can bring capabilities like the A-10 to bear very effectively in support of the Afghan national defense forces. You are correct, one of the things that have been successful and we have tried to carry over from our Defeat ISIS campaign is going in after the revenue generation, and in this case, the narco-trafficking that is fueling the Taliban. This is a key focus for Gen. Nicolson on our forces at this point.”
Click HERE or below to watch the full exchange.
Iranian Aggression Against Israel in Syria
Iran is establishing a military presence on Syria’s side of the Golan which, until very recently, was partially held by rebel forces seeking the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The situation reached new heights in February when Iran shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet from inside the Syrian border in response to Israel’s strike on an armed Iranian drone intercepted in its airspace. Israel has shown that it will react militarily if hostile foreign forces continue to amass on its border.
During the hearing, Congresswoman McSally said, “I’m really concerned about the build-up on Israel’s northern border, so southern Syria, of Iranian-backed militias and forces, Quds Forces commanding that, and the increased aggression we are seeing from there as the Assad regime seems to be shoring up controlling that area and the potential for escalation of a crisis with Israel. Can you share if you are seeing an increase in military capability with the escalation over the last few weeks and any concerns you have about that escalating into a full-blown crisis with Israel?”
Click HERE or below to watch his answer.