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October 29, 2019

ICYMI: SASC Chairman Inhofe Remarks at Nomination Hearing for Pentagon Chief Information Officer and Chief Management Officer, Navy General Counsel

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 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. 

As prepared for delivery:

Good morning. The Committee meets today to consider the nomination of: Ms. Lisa Hershman to be the Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense; Mr. Dana Deasy to be DOD Chief Information Officer; and Mr. Robert Sander to be General Counsel of the Navy.

Thank you for being here today. We also extend a welcome to your family and friends. At the beginning of your testimony, we invite you to introduce those who are joining you. 

Ms. Hershman, I know that you have been performing the duties of the CMO for almost a year.

Mr. Deasy, you were first appointed to the position of CIO in May 2018. Section 909 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2018 changed the law to make the CIO position one that required Senate confirmation, effective in 2019. Although the law made it clear that the current incumbent—you, in this case—could continue to serve without confirmation, in June of this year, the President chose to nominate you.

All that to say, you, Ms. Hershman and you, Mr. Deasy, have extensive experience in the specific positions for which you have been nominated.  

Mr. Sander, you have served as the Army’s Principal Deputy General Counsel since July of last year, and I am grateful that you are willing to bring your expertise as a lawyer, counselor and advisor to bear as the Chief Legal Officer of the Navy. 

The Department of the Navy has been without a confirmed General Counsel since President Trump took office and it is critical that we get someone in there — nearly three years is way too long to go without having a leader in a senior position.

The National Defense Strategy makes clear that strategic competition with China and Russia—not terrorism—is now our primary national security concern.

China and Russia have passed us in key areas and are catching up in others. We can no longer take America’s military superiority for granted. 

This Committee has spent most of it time and effort this past year ensuring that DOD has the authorities and the resources it needs to implement the 2018 NDS. 

As senior leaders in the Department of Defense, and in the Department of the Navy, each of you will play a key role in:  (1) building a more lethal force; (2) strengthening our alliances and building new partners; and in particular (3) reforming the Department of Defense for greater performance and affordability.  

You come before the Committee at a critical time. We now have a two-year budget agreement and must pass both the National Defense Authorization Act and the Defense Appropriations bill to ensure timely funding to the Defense Department. 

We look forward to hearing your views on the implementation of the National Defense Strategy as it applies to the organizations you have been nominated to lead.

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