Rep. Calvert Statement in Response to Defense Secretary Austin’s Comments about U.S. “Capability” in Afghanistan

August 19, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) issued the following statement in response to the comments by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that “We don't have the capability to go out and collect up large numbers of people” in Afghanistan:

“Congress approved spending $714 billion in taxpayer funding for our national security efforts this year. As the Ranking Republican on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I’m stunned by Secretary Austin’s statement that we don’t have the ‘capability’ to provide safe passage for American citizens in a country under siege — not by a military superpower — but by terrorist guerrilla fighters. 

Secretary Austin should immediately clarify to Congress as well as the American people whether or not we truly lack this capability, or if we simply lack the political will to use the necessary means to provide safe passage for American citizens in danger. 

If the leadership at the Pentagon and White House can’t use the significant national security resources Congress has provided to execute the safe evacuation of Americans in this scenario, then it is time to look for new leadership.”