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Chairman Gimenez in Opening Statement: “The CCP Seeks to Impose Their Totalitarian Vision on the High Seas”

June 4, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing to examine ways the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) can combat growing maritime threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 


Watch Chairman Gimenez’s full opening statement here.

As prepared for delivery:

Today our Subcommittee will examine the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) use of “grey zone” tactics in the maritime domain and ways in which the U.S. Government, and particularly the Department of Homeland Security, must adapt to counter this threat. 

The Department of Homeland Security was stood up in the aftermath of 9-11 to be a cross-cutting, information sharing agency to safeguard the Homeland from terrorism. 

Now more than 20 years later, the threat landscape has significantly evolved, and so too must the Department. 

Today, we are facing a complex adversary who actively employs the resources of the world’s second largest economy to reshape the world order and undermine U.S. interests and security.   

The CCP seeks to impose their totalitarian vision on the high seas that disregards international law and undermines national sovereignty.

Their efforts to implement this vision in the maritime domain often goes unchallenged. 

The CCP has made unlawful claims to expand China’s territorial waters, leveraging “grey zone” tactics such as sending Chinese maritime militias, fishing vessels, and coast guard ships into contested waters to bully and coerce other nations. 

No country is more familiar with this tactic than the Philippines where resupply missions to the Second Thomas Shoal are met with water cannons and ramming from CCP coast guard ships. 

Earlier this year, several American and international journalists witnessed the CCP’s hostile tactics up close during an incident at sea that resulted in the injuries to Philippine coast guard personnel and damage to Philippine vessels

The CCP has exploited the U.S. and other nation’s Exclusive Economic Zones or EEZs through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing that is threatening local economies and populations who depend on the fish as a food source. 

The CCP’s distance water fishing fleet pillages fish stocks around the world – including in U.S. territories like American Samoa. 

The maritime domain is complex, and the U.S. possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world. 

The U.S. EEZ contains and facilitates enormous wealth, from offshore energy reserves such as oil and natural gas to mineral deposits and fish stocks.

The Department of Homeland Security must reposition itself to combat this threat and allocate resources to the components best positioned to protect U.S. sovereignty. 

Throughout the 118th Congress, this Subcommittee has examined a multitude of DHS mission sets and operational capabilities. 

Last month, we examined the Department’s and the Coast Guard’s efforts to procure new cutters and how some of their key programs have fallen dangerously behind. 

In February, we examined port security, specifically the threat posed by Chinese-manufactured cranes—a vulnerability the Coast Guard is working to mitigate. 

Additionally, our committee has examined threats in the Arctic and in the Indo-Pacific. 

Each of these hearings feature a common thread: the CCP is waging a “grey zone” conflict against the U.S. maritime domain. 

The CCP poses the most significant challenge to the United States, our way of life and the freedoms that we enjoy. 

We must work together in Congress to protect the Homeland and ensure that the agencies we oversee are prepared and equipped to defeat the many threats we face.   

I am grateful that we are joined by a distinguished panel of witnesses who are prepared to provide critical insights to this Subcommittee.  

Mr. Sadler, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Sharman thank you for appearing before us this afternoon on this important topic. 

I look forward to your testimony.