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June 04, 2019

ICYMI: SASC Chairman Inhofe Remarks at SASC Nomination Hearing for NRO and USSPACECOM

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 Dr. Christopher Scolese, to be Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and General John W. “Jay” Raymond, USAF, to be Commander, United States Space Command (USSPACECOM). 

As Submitted for the Record:

Good morning. The Committee meets today to consider the nominations of: General John W. “Jay” Raymond, USAF for reappointment to the grade of General and to be the Commander, United States Space Command; and Dr. Christopher Scolese, as the Director, National Reconnaissance Office.

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

The National Defense Strategy directs our nation’s military to prepare for the return of great power competition. This means we must be prepared to deter and, if necessary, decisively defeat potential near-peer adversaries like China and Russia, who now present a formidable threat to America and our allies. 

In order for the Department of the Defense to achieve that goal, the U.S. Space Command must have forces to present that are trained and equipped appropriately.

The Commander of USSPACECOM will need to plan and execute global space operations as directed.

As this is a newly established Unified Combatant Command with an expansive area of operations, your interaction with the intelligence community, including the National Reconnaissance Office, will be vital in rebuilding and establishing space warfighting readiness. I urge you both to embrace collaboration.

We are at serious risk of falling behind in our great power competition, but you both can help to prevent that. 

The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 requires the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office be appointed by the President, by and with advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing for Dr. Scolese on the first of May and referred the nomination to the Armed Services Committee for today’s session.

Dr. Scolese, your duties and span of control at the NRO will be far-reaching. I was initially concerned with your public statements regarding the establishment of the United States Space Force and the possibility of integration and synchronization with the NRO.

I expect the reason for making such a bold statement comes from not being aware of the full details of the proposed organization, and I look forward to your continued support of the proposal as more details are revealed in the coming weeks.

General Raymond, as you prepare to establish USSPACECOM if confirmed, I would like to know if you believe you have the resources and personnel available to plan, execute and assess space operations in coordination with or in support of other combatant commands, the Services, DOD agencies, allies and partners, and other entities as directed.

Thank you again to our nominees for their willingness to continue serving this great nation.

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