July 25, 2013
To consider the nominations of
Honorable Stephen W. Preston
to be General Counsel of the Department of Defense
Honorable Jon T. Rymer
to be Inspector General of the Department of Defense
Ms. Susan J. Rabern
to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller
Mr. Dennis V. McGinn
to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment
As prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our witnesses today and thank them for their willingness to serve our country.
Mr. Preston, you’ve been nominated to serve as General Counsel of the Department of Defense. The General Counsel serves as the chief legal officer in the Department. Therefore, I believe it is absolutely necessary to understand what your role was and what actions you took as General Counsel of the CIA after the attack on our facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. In addition, if confirmed you will provide a vital role in determining the future of Guantanamo Bay. Therefore, gaining a better understanding of your thoughts on this matter will be important to the Committee’s consideration of your nomination. Finally, the General Counsel plays a significant role in the conduct of Defense Department activities around the world—including ongoing counterterrorism operations. As the threat from global terrorism continues to evolve, it’s important that we have a strong legal foundation that provides our military with the tools necessary to keep our nation safe.
Mr. Rymer, you have been nominated to serve as the Inspector General of the Department of Defense. If confirmed, you will step into an organization that has not had a Senate confirmed Inspector General since December 2011. There is much work to be done, especially in oversight of activities that will lead to financial audit readiness of the Department of Defense, in providing intelligence oversight and, in an area of particular importance to this Committee, conducting senior official investigations. The Department urgently needs an Inspector General who can lead this important role to promote accountability and integrity.
Vice Admiral McGinn, after a distinguished 35 year career in the Navy, you have been nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment. I note that since 2011, you have been the President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, which is no surprise given the green political agenda of this Administration. And you are no stranger to the limelight, having testified before Congress on the perils to National Security of human activity and climate change. As you know, we completely disagree on these issues, but thankfully, implementing a national policy for climate change will not be one of your core responsibilities if confirmed.
Instead, you will be tasked with helping the Navy navigate a complex range of installation and environmental issues as well as its fiscally irresponsible pursuit of the Great Green Fleet. Additionally, I look forward to hearing your views on the relocation of Marines in the Pacific Theater, the need to expand Marine Corps ranges, the protection of sea ranges, and most importantly the devastating impact of sequestration on the Navy’s ability to maintain shore facilities, depots, and shipyards.
And Ms. Rabern, you have been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller. The Navy, like all of our military services, is suffering greatly as a result of drastic budget cuts and prolonged fiscal uncertainty. Additionally, the inability of the Department and the Military Services to achieve full financial audit readiness is concerning to many of us in Congress.
Again, thanks to our nominees for appearing before us today. I look forward to their testimony.