U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave opening remarks this morning at a SASC nomination hearing for Mr. David Norquist, to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.
As Prepared for Delivery:
Good morning. The Committee meets today to consider the nomination of: David Norquist to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Thank you for being here today. We also welcome your family and friends and invite you to introduce your guests during your opening statement.
First off, I want to take the opportunity to commend the President for reaching a bipartisan budget agreement. Without one, all of the work we do on this committee and the emphasis we’ve put on implementing the NDS, would be for nothing.
Senator Reed and I, along with the members of this committee, believe that we need confirmed leaders to guide the Department of Defense through this time of challenge and opportunity.
The Senate just confirmed the Defense Secretary yesterday, Secretary Esper. But there are still 18 vacant civilian positions that require action.
Mr. Norquist, you have been nominated to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense, where you will be a key player for many critical decisions at DOD, from management issues to key policy questions
From your track record at the department so far, I believe you are up to this huge task.
For the past several years, the department has gone through several major institutional changes in an effort to reform how DOD does business. This includes elevating the Chief Management Officer and Chief Information Officer, acquisition reform including the splitting of AT&L, and one you personally know very well, auditing the DOD.
These changes are meant to make the department do its job better.
But these reforms are far from being fully implemented. If you are confirmed, it will be your job to implement these reforms so they meet Congressional intent – making the Department more efficient and effective.
At the same time, you will be a key player in critical policy decisions. Your predecessor focused, rightly so, on NDS implementation, and I suspect you will too.
Today, we find ourselves in a new and different moment for America’s security. The American people can no longer take our military superiority for granted. China and Russia have passed us in key areas, and are catching up in others.
Hard work remains. We need urgent change at significant scale. And that requires hard choices about threat priorities, critical defense investments, and how the department itself is going to operate.
This requires a strong Deputy Secretary of Defense who understands the gravity of the situation.
Therefore, it is with a sense of urgency that this committee approaches our duty today.