Congresswoman Elaine Luria Exposes Gap Between Administration’s Goals and Actual Commitment of Forces

May 2, 2019
Press Release
Navy Admiral: “You Absolutely Can’t Win a Football Game Without Players on the Field”

WASHINGTON – In a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, Congresswoman Elaine Luria highlighted gaps between the administration’s goal of keeping drugs away from the Southern border and how many Navy ships are being assigned to do the job.

Questioning Adm. Craig S. Faller, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, which covers Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, Congresswoman Luria asked what percentage of his 2019 request for naval forces was met. Adm. Faller said “we received no Navy ships” initially.

A 20-year Navy veteran who retired at the rank of Commander, Congresswoman Luria quickly referenced Adm. Faller’s statement that only 6 percent of known drug shipments into America are interdicted. Adm. Faller said “not … adequate enough forces” are available to complete the job of keeping drugs away from the border.

“You absolutely can’t win a football game without players on the field,” Adm. Faller said at the hearing.

“The administration’s calls to secure our border ring hollow when it doesn’t provide our military with the resources it needs to complete the mission,” Congresswoman Luria said after the hearing. “It’s odd when national emergencies are declared when the administration is not using the full range of our military capabilities to stop the flow of illegal drugs by both land and sea.”

Congresswoman Luria also pressed Adm. Faller on a Sunday front-page New York Times story on Guantanamo Bay that quoted Rear Adm. John C. Ring as being critical of long-term plans for the prison. Adm. Faller relieved Rear Adm. Ring of his duties as commander of the prison the same day the story ran in print.

In response to questioning by Rep. Luria, Adm. Faller said Rear Adm. Ring’s dismissal was “in no way related to any media reporting.”

Video of the exchange can be seen here.