Tuberville Presses Top Defense Officials on Pressing Threats in the Indo-Pacific Region

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) questioned INDOPACOM Commander Admiral John Aquilino and U.S. Forces Korea Commander, General Paul LaCamera, about America’s military posture in the Indo-Pacific region.

Senator Tuberville’s questions come as the Senate Armed Services Committee begins drafting the FY2025 National Defense Authorization Act. 

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s remarks can be found below and his full remarks can be found on YouTube or Rumble.


TUBERVILLE: “Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, both of you. Admiral, thanks for your service. You came here about the same time I did three years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Goes by quick. 

This is for both of you. After President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un, we announced that we were suspending large exercise like FOAL EAGLE. Given North Korea’s escalation, is it time to go back to that or we’re going to continue to do the smaller ones? General?”

LaCAMERA: “Thanks, Senator.

I would say we are doing large exercises. Just finished FREEDOM SHIELD, added live virtual and constructive training to it, and then given the training – we talked about the strategic assets that visit a peninsula.  Those are all training events for me, and incorporating and making sure that we know how to properly employ them if we need to.”

TUBERVILLE: “Admiral?”

AQUILINO: Yes. Senator as applied to the DPRK.

Again, we support General LaCamera to ensure that he’s got all the assets needed to do a full-scale, full-blown exercise set. Across the rest of the theater, we’ve increased the scope and scale of all of our exercises with our allies and partners.

For example, KEEN EDGE—was a bilateral U.S. Japan exercise in the past. We just executed that full-blown event as a tri-lateral event with the Australians. And we’ve done that across all of the critical exercises. BALIKATAN with the Philippines, COBRA GOLD with Thailand, TALISMAN SABRE with Australia. So, scope and scale has increased everywhere.”


TUBERVILLE: “Thank you, Admiral.

On your way out the door, we need a tanker in the Indo-Pacific KC-46. I always ask about this.

[Are] you confident in the 46? The availability and the durability?”

AQUILINO: “Yes, Senator.

I’m confident it’s the right tanker to fill our holes, but I am concerned about the magnitude and our ability to deliver enough tankers in this theater in time of crisis.”

TUBERVILLE: “Yeah. Thank you. I think we all agree on that.

You know, China conducts these circlings around Taiwan quite often.

Is there going to be a giveaway to—one of these days when one of them is not an exercise, it’s an actual attack? I mean, will we be able to distinguish that and how will we be able to do that?”

AQUILINO: “Well, Senator, we watched the behavior and actions of the PRC each and every day. We do have some concerns on what it would look like and how it would look like. But again, we watch it every day.

I’d like to—if you want a different conversation, we’d have to do in a classified level.”


TUBERVILLE: “Alright. Well, are you concerned about nickel for our submarines? I know that in our state, we make submarines and it’s very hard to find. And it’s going to be a problem as we go along…are you familiar with that?”

AQUILINO: “So critical minerals across the United States is an issue that that I am watching. It is not in my job jar. What is required for me, is for that war fighting capability to be ready available, sustainable, and be able to execute when needed. If there’s critical minerals or supply chain issues, that certainly concerns me.”

TUBERVILLE: “Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.