WASHINGTON, DC 20510-6025

January 6, 2003

The Honorable Paul Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Wasbington, D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On December 10, 2002, while the Congress was in adjournment, you wrote to the Committee regarding your decision to eliminate funding for the fifth and sixth Stryker Combat brigades in the upcoming budget and future years defense plan. Now that we are back in Washington and have had sufficient time to review this matter we wanted to respond to your letter.

We strongly disagree with this decision. We find the action to be in direct violation of section 8121 of the FY 2003 Defense Appropriations Act as signed into law by President Bush on October 23, 2002, which directs the Army and the Department of Defense to fund six combat brigades in the coming years.

We do not believe it makes any sense to eliminate funding for the last two brigades in order to improve the capabilities of the first three. Sufficient resources exist within the overall Defense budget to fund capability improvements to the Stryker brigades if the Department of Defense believes that is necessary without using the funds programmed for the fifth and sixth brigade.

While your letter notes that you intend to consult the Congress on options for the Stryker brigades over the coming months, by eliminating the funding for the last two brigades you have already made your decision. As such, we find your offer to consult with the Congress to be hollow.

Mr. Secretary, your action on the Stryker brigades is yet another disregard of the Congress, and existing law, by the senior leadership of the Defense Department.

In this post 9-11 world, the Congress and Executive Branch need to be able to work together in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. We find your repeated actions, from the initial recommendations on the Unified Command Plan, to the cancellation of the Crusader Progam, and now this action on the Stryker brigades, demonstrate an unwillingness by the Defense Department leadership to work with congress in a partnership.

We urge you not to proceed with this plan.