October 29, 2019
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned nominees Lisa Hershman to be Chief Management Officer (CMO) of the Department of Defense (DOD); Mr. Dana Deasy to be Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Department of Defense; and Robert Sander to be General Counsel of the Department of the Navy this morning at a SASC nomination hearing.
Inhofe: I appreciate the fact that all three of you, in the documents you initially supplied to this committee, were very complimentary of this document here, the National Defense Strategy Commission Report, something we’ve complimented for quite a period of time. It’s equal Democrats and Republicans putting it together. It has the recommendations—we’ve been adhering to these recommendations since this report came out.
Ms. Hershman, in the NDS, it outlines three lines of effort to generate decisive and sustained U.S. military advantage. One of the three is often underappreciated and is reforming the Department for greater performance and affordability. What is the CMO’s role and contribution to the NDS?
Hershman: Senator, under Title X 132a in particular, it outlines the role of the CMO, and part of my many duties include driving the business operations of the department. That’s look for efficiency, effectiveness, undoing duplication, finding reform, driving reform, also making good use of shared services, having direction, authority and control over what’s called the Fourth Estate, which is 28 Defense agencies and field activities, plus the Joint Staff plus OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]. And so part of my role in support of the Deputy Secretary as well as the Secretary, as a principal advisor to them, is to find areas where we can seek efficiencies and effectiveness and not hamper our lethality and readiness, and to that end, I support much of Line of Effort three as well as Line of Effort one of the NDS.
Inhofe: Good, because that’s not talked about as much as some of the other areas.
Mr. Deasy, in the years I’ve been on this committee, I don’t remember anyone having the rounded experience and background that you’ve had. And not just the obvious thing, which is the CIO of JPMorgan Chase, but also with BP, General Motors, Tyco, Siemens, so you’ve done it all. And I just have to ask the question, you’ve been exposed now to this job. What is it about it that you are willing to continue on with all this background that you bring to the table?
Deasy: You know, this started about three years ago when I had a chance while at JPMorgan to host all the agency CIOs and Department of Defense CIOs, and I remember that day, Senator, when I went home and spoke to my wife, I said, “You know, the missions that they described to me, the challenges they face just are enormous.” I remember saying to her at the time, I said, “I wish someday there was a chance that I could help in some capacity, so I got the call that asked to come and serve, you know, as I pointed out in my opening remarks, Carla was very quick to point out, “This was your opportunity.” I have to tell you since arriving there’s not a day that goes by when I walk the hallways of the Pentagon, and you see the young men and the women, and you really do feel a sense of accountability on your shoulders that you have to deliver, you have to deal with the concerns and the challenges they face. I feel very honored to have this, I’m very committed to doing this, and I’d rather be no other place than here right now, Senator.
Inhofe: That’s the kind of answer you hope for—that people out there in the real world are wanting to pay back a little bit. We appreciate it very much.
Mr. Sander, I’d say the same thing of your background. The things you’ve referred to, the first steps you would take, but you didn’t outline what those steps would be. What would be the first thing you’re anxious to get involved in?
Sander: Senator, the first thing that I’m going to do is build relationships within the Navy. There will be relationship building between the Navy, the Secretary of the Navy, the assistant secretaries, and also the senior leadership in the Navy and the Marine Corps. They have a lot of issues right now dealing—legal issues as you outlined in your opening statement as well as Senator Reed did—and I need to get a better look on how we can best address those for the future of the department of the Navy. Our sailors and the taxpayers deserve nothing less.
Inhofe: I appreciate that very much. In fact, all three of you have recognized that we’ve slipped a little bit. When I talked about hypersonics and how we were ahead at one time and right now we’ve fallen behind, when you talk to the American people, they assume we have the best of everything. The three of you know that we don’t right now, but we will with your service.