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September 23, 2021

SASC Ranking Member Inhofe Opening Remarks at Van Ovost Nomination Hearing

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today delivered opening remarks at a nomination hearing for General Jacqueline Van Ovost to be Commander, United States Transportation Command. 

As Prepared For Delivery: 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

General Van Ovost, thank you for your decades of service, and for your continued willingness, as well as your family’s, to serve your country. 

If we have learned anything in the last eight weeks, it is that we cannot shoot from the hip when it comes to military operations and geopolitical affairs.  

I am of course referring to this administration’s botched evacuation of American citizens and allies in the waning hours of the Afghanistan withdrawal, and paving the way for the Taliban takeover. 

While this hearing is not about your current role, it is about what you will bring to the TRANSCOM, which oversaw a vital portion of the Afghanistan evacuation. 

As the current Commander of Air Mobility Command, you had firsthand knowledge of how evacuations were unfolding. You oversaw more than 250 military aircraft supporting a highly complex airlift.  

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the success of the military portion of the operation, and what the limiting factors were for the withdrawal, since thousands were left stranded to face Taliban retribution. 

Additionally, TRANSCOM has had issues meeting the requirements supporting the National Defense Strategy due to the services making budgetary decisions without coordinating with the COCOMs.   

For instance, in last year’s budget, Congress had to reverse divestments of dozens of air refueling tankers because the Air Force made cuts that would directly hinder TRANSCOM’s ability to refuel aircraft.   

I am curious what you think is the right path for combatant commands’ input in the budgeting process. 

Finally, I would like to get your thoughts on the ongoing transition to the new Global Household Goods Contract. 

Needless to say, the transition has been troubled with a number of issues now requiring a second competition after GAO upheld several protests. With the anticipated October award date, I want to know, if confirmed, if you plan on moving forward with the transition. 

Thank you again for your willingness to serve. Senator Reed. 


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