Inhofe Opening Statement at SASC NSA/Cyber Command and TRANSCOM Nomination Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today delivered the following opening statement at the SASC hearing to consider nominations of General Paul J. Selva, for reappointment to the grade of General and to be Commander of United States Transportation Command; and Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers to be Admiral and Director of the National Security Agency, to be Chief of Central Security Services, and to be Commander of the United States Cyber Command.

As prepared for delivery:

I join the chairman in welcoming Vice Admiral Mike Rogers, who has been nominated to be the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, and General Paul Selva, who has been nominated to be the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command. I thank you both for your many years of dedicated service.

 

Both of you have very large shoes to fill and I look forward to hearing how each of you intends to lead your commands through one of the most trying periods our military has experienced.

Two weeks ago, I expressed to General Alexander my support for the progress underway at Cyber Command to normalize cyber planning and capabilities along with the development and training of nearly 6,000 Cyber Warriors. The speed with which the cyber threat has grown dictates our need to remain ahead of our adversaries. The urgency for building these capabilities cannot be overstated.

Despite these critical strides, I am concerned by the lack of progress by the Administration in developing a policy for deterring the growing number of adversaries in cyberspace. This lack of a cyber deterrence policy and the failure to establish meaningful norms that punish bad behavior, have left us more vulnerable and at greater risk of continued cyber aggression. Two well publicized events involving Iran, one involving an enduring campaign of cyberattacks on U.S. banks and the financial sector, and another involving the exploitation of a critical Navy network are deeply concerning.

The Administration’s failure to acknowledge or establish penalties for these actions, emboldens countries like North Korea, Russia, and China. These failures place American infrastructure, such as the power grid or Wall Street, at greater risk.

Until our adversaries understand there will be serious consequences for cyberattacks against the United States, these attacks will continue. The time is now for the President to develop a meaningful cyber deterrence policy.

General Selva, TRANSCOM provides the lifeline for every other Combatant Command, enabling them to execute a wide array of missions from combat operations to humanitarian relief, from training exercises to supporting our coalition partners.  TRANSCOM’s mission has become even more important as the size of our military has shrunk, overseas bases and deployed forces have declined, and the world has become less stable.

I am interested in your assessment of the readiness of TRANSCOM and its components and the infrastructure that supports TRANSCOM’s missions, the readiness and viability of the commercial sector used to support TRANSCOM.  Additionally, I’m interested in your assessment of TRANSCOM’s ability to meet CENTCOM and ISAF requirements as well as the impact of cyberattacks on both classified and unclassified commercial networks that TRANSCOM relies on to accomplish its mission.

It is fitting that the nominees for U.S. Cyber Command and U.S. Transportation Command are appearing before the Committee together. TRANSCOM’S cybersecurity issues were discussed during our hearing last year where General Fraser testified that the number of cyberattacks against the Command had doubled from 45,000 in 2011 to nearly 100,000 in 2012. The Committee has been investigating these incidents and it appears that there are a number of factors that should be addressed to ensure that TRANSCOM has the information necessary from its many contractors to defend its networks and protect mission critical data. I look forward to hearing from our nominees how they intend to work together to ensure that these issues are corrected.     

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