Joint Chiefs of StaffWhat would have been a boring meeting on Capitol Hill instead turned into a battle between the Army’s top general and a California congressman Thursday.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, and Army Secretary John McHugh took a barrage of criticism from Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) about a computer intelligence system known as DCGS.
“We’ve talked in the past … about this Distributed Common Ground System, it’s the Army’s intelligence gathering software product that is out there,” Hunter said. ” … you still have units that are requesting the … product that are not getting it.”
Hunter continued, criticising the system and advocating “off-the-shelf products” already existent in the private sector. But what really miffed the Army leaders was what he did next: he got up to leave.
“May we respond? I think I heard a question,” McHugh asked the committee chair. “Well, I don’t want to respond if the gentleman’s going to leave. Would you care to hear a brief response?”
But Odierno had enough.
“First off, I object to this,” Odierno said. “I’m tired of somebody telling me I don’t care about our soldiers, and we don’t respond. Everybody on my staff cares about it, and they do all they can to help,” before going on to criticise Hunter’s use of an “anecdotal incident.”
“You have a very powerful personality but that doesn’t refute the facts that you have gaps in the capability,” Hunter said before he was cut off by Odierno.
The exchange continued, with the pair sparring over not being allowed to respond, with Odierno telling Hunter, “you weren’t going to let us say anything.”
“Well, you — you’re right, but I have that prerogative when I’m sitting up here,” Hunter said.
“Well, I have a prerogative too,” Odierno said, “and that’s to answer a question or an accusation when it’s made.”
Watch the full exchange below courtesy of defence News (Hunter gets up to leave around 2:55):
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