U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at a hearing on Department of Defense nominations.
Remarks as prepared for delivery.
“Let me begin by acknowledging that this is the first Armed Services Committee hearing since the passing of our friend and former chairman, Senator McCain. I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say he will be sorely missed.
“The Committee meets today to review the nominations of General Robert Abrams to be Commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Vice Admiral Craig Faller to be Commander, United States Southern Command.
“Of course, we know today would not be possible without the support and sacrifice of your families. As is our tradition we hope you will take the opportunity to introduce your family joining you today.
“In order to exercise its legislative and oversight responsibilities, it is important that this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress are able to receive testimony, briefings, and other communications of information.
- Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?
- Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the Administration in power?
- Have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
- Will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications, including questions for the record in hearings?
- Will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to Congressional requests?
- Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony or briefings?
- Do you agree, if confirmed, to appear and testify upon request before this Committee?
- Do you agree to provide documents, including copies of electronic forms of communication, in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted Committee, or to consult with the Committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents?
“We thank you for both your decades of distinguished service and your willingness to step forward and lead once again.
“Admiral Faller, you have been nominated to lead our forces in Southern Command at a time of increasing regional concerns, with instability on the rise and Venezuela potentially on the brink of collapse. The National Defense Strategy identifies protecting the homeland and sustaining American advantages in the Western Hemisphere as key priorities. You will be on the frontlines of that work. Combatting illicit networks smuggling drugs, people, weapons, and money will be even more difficult in a theater that lacks sufficient resourcing.
“General Abrams, you have been nominated to lead our forces in Korea at a time of critical importance to our national security when it comes to North Korea. I support President Trump’s efforts to solve this problem diplomatically. All Americans should hope that we can find peaceful solutions on the Korean Peninsula and never have to face the prospect of war with North Korea. Any such solution will require close cooperation with our ally, South Korea. And we must be cautious and deliberate so that we ensure our alliance is maintained and strengthened.”