U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), gave opening remarks this morning at a SASC nomination hearing to consider the nomination of Lieutenant General Austin S. Miller to be General and Commander of the Resolute Support Mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Commander of the United States Forces-Afghanistan.
As prepared for delivery:
The Committee meets today to review the nomination for the next Commander of both U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support Mission.
We welcome Lieutenant General Austin “Scott” Miller, Commander of Joint Special Operations Command.
In order to exercise its legislative and oversight responsibilities, it is important that this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress are able to receive testimony, briefings, and other communications of information. Please answer the following questions with a yes or no:
- Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?
- Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the Administration in power?
- Have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
- Will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications, including questions for the record in hearings?
- Will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to Congressional requests?
- Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony or briefings?
- Do you agree, if confirmed, to appear and testify upon request before this Committee?
- Do you agree to provide documents, including copies of electronic forms of communication, in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted Committee, or to consult with the Committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents?
General Miller, we are grateful for your decades of service to our country and your leadership of our men and women in uniform.
You have been nominated to lead the forces fighting our nation’s longest war, and we look forward to hearing your views.
Since 2001, U.S. forces have battled terrorist groups to secure our nation from attack and ensure Afghanistan is never again a terrorist safe haven.
In that time, we have decimated al-Qaeda and driven the Taliban from power, providing the opportunity for a freely-elected Afghan government to take root and grow.
And yet, major challenges remain, as the Taliban insurgency spreads violence and chaos around the country and new groups, like ISIS-K, are terrorizing the Afghan people.
The administration’s South Asia strategy reemphasized America’s commitment to Afghanistan and reversed the previous administration’s policy of announcing a timeline for withdrawal.
I was just in Afghanistan visiting our troops and General Nicholson last month. After speaking with him, it is clear that we have made progress under the new approach.
Still, we need to remain clear-eyed about Pakistan’s continued support for the Taliban insurgency.
General Miller, you are uniquely qualified to lead the renewed effort in Afghanistan, with your service in special operations units and your most recent assignment as the commander of Joint Special Operations Command.
This Committee looks forward to hearing how you would address the remaining challenges that you face today.