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SEN. LEVIN: Well, good morning, everybody. This is a very, very exciting morning for many of us, for families and friends. We've got a huge agenda ahead of us, so we're going to have to push on.
Instead of the nominees sitting at that table, I would suggest if you can find room on the side you do that and let our introducers all sit at that table because we're going to start off with them as soon as I make a brief opening statement. I wonder if the senators who are going to be making introductions -- you can just sit right at the green table there right now and then we'll call on you in order.
We're going to change things around a little bit here, save some time. Senator Baucus, if -- you can just sit anywhere there, too.
Today the committee considers a number of nominations for the Department of Defense in the first panel. We're going to hear from the following nominees: Honorable Raymond Mabus to be secretary of the Navy; Robert Work to be undersecretary of the Navy; Elizabeth King to be assistant secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs; Donald Remy to be general counsel for the Department of the Army.
In the second panel, we're going to hear from the following nominees: Michael Nacht to be assistant secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs; Wallace Gregson to be assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; Jo-Ellen Darcy to be assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works; and Dr. Ines Triay -- I hope I'm pronouncing that name correctly -- to be assistant secretary of Energy for Environmental Management.
Now, I'm going to cut short my comments about each of the nominees until we come to their panel, because we want to give the senators who are with us to make introductions an opportunity to proceed because of the schedules that they have. And then I'll also avoid repeating a lot of what we expect they'll be saying.
Let me call on Senator McCain for his opening comments.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): As I always follow your lead, Mr. Chairman, I'll do the same. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator McCain, as always --
SEN. MCCAIN: And I welcome the nominees.
SEN. LEVIN: -- for your great --
SEN. MCCAIN: And I know our colleagues will make their remarks very brief also. (Laughter.)
SEN. LEVIN: Well, I think we may leave each other at that point. I'm not sure. (Laughter.)
SEN. LEVIN: Okay. Now, we're going to call on our introducers, our colleagues, who are going to be making the introductions first. And we're going to call first on Senator Baucus.
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Abraham Lincoln once said character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of, but the tree is the real thing.
Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, fellow senators, as you prepared for this hearing, you likely learned about the fine reputation of Jo-Ellen Darcy. Having known or worked with Jo-Ellen for the last 16 years, I can assure you that Jo-Ellen has an unprecedented knowledge of the Army Corps of Engineers and has the highest character. She has earned her reputation. Jo-Ellen is the real thing.
She joined the staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee in 1993, when I became chairman. She worked on the committee for more than a decade, responsible for, amongst other things, legislation relating to the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act. Perhaps her most important contribution in this area was her work on the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996, which is, to my mind, a model environmental law, because it makes the law work more efficiently for cities and towns, and at the same time it improves the protection of public health.
Most relevant to the position to which she has been nominated, Jo-Ellen was also the principal staffer responsible for legislation relating to the Water Resources Development Act, otherwise known as WRDA, and she became one of the nation's foremost authorities on that law.
During her tenure, she helped pass some of the Corps's most sweeping initiatives, from restoring the Everglades to better protecting New Orleans in the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and requiring independent peer review of Corps projects.
Jo-Ellen's work has restored ecosystems, improved public safety, repaired our water infrastructure, and made the Corps more transparent and more accountable. And if confirmed, I'm sure she will continue to improve the work of the Army Corps of Engineers.
In 2006, I was able to persuade Jo-Ellen to join the staff of the Senate Finance Committee, where she was instrumental in developing a series of tax initiatives for environmental protection, including those that were enacted as part of the farm bill. She has a record of great accomplishment, which is reflected in important environmental laws and environmental restoration projects all across the country.
She knows the Civil Works Program of the Army Corps as well as anyone. She knows the law, she knows the Congress and, in particular, the Senate and its committees. And she's uniformly respected for an effective, pragmatic and bipartisan approach to her work.
On a personal note, I'd like to add that Jo-Ellen has achieved all of these accomplishments not only because of brains and hard work, but also because of her values. Her father, Dick Darcy, was a detective on the Fitchburg, Massachusetts police force. He and his wife Jean raised Jo-Ellen to have strong values, especially fairness and open-mindedness, qualities that will serve her will. And I'm sure that although he has passed away, Dick Darcy would be proud of his daughter today. And I know that Jo-Ellen's mom, who was not able to travel here today, and her sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews, many of whom I've met, could not be more pleased and proud about this nomination.
So Mr. Chairman, like you, I believe that there are few higher callings than public service. Jo-Ellen Darcy is the epitome of someone who has devoted her professional career to service. I could not be more proud that the president has nominated her to serve as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works. Jo-Ellen is the real thing. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Senator Baucus. We appreciate you and all of our colleagues coming here today for these very special moments and introductions.
SEN. THAD COCHRAN (R-MS): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here before the committee.
I am here to introduce to the committee the Honorable Ray Mabus, who has been nominated by the president to serve as secretary of the Navy. This distinguished nominee has had a career of public service in our state that's quite impressive. After graduating summa cum laude from Ole Miss in 1969 and completing a Woodrow Wilson fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in 1970, he served two years as a Naval surface warfare officer onboard the U.S.S. Little Rock.
After completing his active-duty naval service, he attended Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. He served as a law clerk to Judge J.P. Coleman on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he also worked as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee here in Washington.
He returned to Mississippi to work in Governor William Winter's office, and was elected Mississippi state auditor in 1983, where he served with distinction. Four years later, he was elected governor of our state, and he led a period of record economic development; streamlined state government; improved Mississippi's public schools.
Ambassador Mabus was appointed by President Clinton to be United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1994. He served there for two years before returning to the private sector. He served on several corporate boards of international businesses. He's a member of the Rand Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations.
I know that Ambassador Mabus will bring to this job the same high level of energy and skill that he has -- that has been the hallmark of his career throughout the many responsibilities of public service that he has held. His academic credentials, his record of distinguished service to the state of Mississippi and to our country, has been exemplary. His integrity and judgment will also serve him well. And he will certainly prove to be, in my opinion, an excellent choice to be secretary of the United States Navy.
I commend President Obama for nominating him, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Cochran. I think we'll complete the introductions for Governor Mabus and call on Senator Wicker now.
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and my fellow colleagues on the committee. It is an honor for me to be here today. Senator Cochran and I represent the Magnolia State of Mississippi. If you could sit a little closer to me, in honor of Governor Mabus, I'm wearing my magnolia tie this morning.
And we're joined by two colleagues from the House of Representatives, Chairman Bennie Thompson of the 2nd District of Mississippi, and Representative Travis Childers of the 1st District of Mississippi.
So it's a proud moment for people in the magnolia state -- Republican, Democrat and independent. And as Senator Cochran's presence and introduction testifies, we are continuing today in the strong tradition of bipartisanship of this Congress when it comes to matters of national defense.
Let me simply reiterate that in nominating Governor Mabus and Ambassador Mabus, President Obama has chosen well. Senator Cochran mentioned the stellar academic record of Governor Mabus as a top graduate from the University of Mississippi, a master's at Johns Hopkins and a law degree from Harvard. Clearly, a great quantity of gray matter will be housed in the Navy Department in the person of Ray Mabus.
His service as a naval -- surface warfare, I think, will serve him well in this capacity. As Thad mentioned, he's twice been elected to statewide office, as auditor of public accounts and as governor of Mississippi, when I had the opportunity to serve with Governor Mabus as a freshman Republican state senator from Lee County.
I think it's fair to say that when Ray Mabus and Roger Wicker were sitting around the governor's office perhaps sharing differing views on various approaches to revenue challenges that we were having during that time, neither of us expected to be in this room at this particular moment in 2009 with this introduction. Nevertheless, I'm delighted to be here and to join Senator Cochran in this introduction.
I think Governor Mabus's experience as ambassador of (sic) Saudi Arabia will also stand him in good stead, as will his experience in the private sector as CEO of Foamex, a polyurethane company, where he helped move the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Governor Mabus is joined today by his lovely family, and I'm sure, Mr. Chairman, you will want him to make that introduction. But indeed, they are a credit to Governor Mabus, Ambassador Mabus.
I expect Ray to run a tight ship for the taxpayers. And I think the president has chosen well on behalf of national security and on behalf of the best interests of America's sailors and Marines.
And I thank you very much, and I'm delighted to join my senior colleague in this introduction.
SEN. LEVIN: Well, thank you both for a wonderful introduction. And thanks to your colleagues from the House for joining us here today as well.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, Senator McCain and fellow senators, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm here for two reasons this morning, and I'll be brief. One is to reluctantly support my friend, Ray Mabus, for secretary of the Navy only under the condition that he be fair to the state of Louisiana in ship-building with our neighbor Mississippi. But I am convinced that he will. And I have observed him for many years and he'll be an outstanding leader.
Secondly, Mr. Chairman, to joyfully introduce to you Mr. Donald Michael Remy, who is being nominated for general counsel for the Department of the Army. Although Mr. Remy was born close here to Washington, D.C., his roots go very deep in Louisiana.
And he is here with his parents, who I would like the committee to welcome, Master Sergeant Donald E. Remy and his wife, Mrs. Anne (sp) Remy, who come from Harvey, Louisiana. His father dedicated many of his years to the Army, retiring finally from Fort Polk. Anne (sp) is the bedrock that's kept this family Army strong these many years and, I'm confident, had a great influence in preparing her son for the position that he is being nominated by President Obama this morning.
Of course, Don's wife, Monitre (ph), and his two sons Alex (sp) and Jason (sp) -- would you welcome the family this morning? Thank you.
As I said, he was born in Fort Lee, Virginia, but his roots run deep, graduating from Leesville High School but cum laude graduate from Howard University Law School. He received his undergraduate from Louisiana State University.
Throughout his career, Mr. Remy has served in numerous capacities both in government and private sector. Early on, as an Army officer assigned to the Pentagon, he advised senior Army officials on numerous legal and policy issues related to major weapon acquisition systems. He's also served in the Department of Justice as senior counsel for policy and as deputy assistant attorney general for torts and federal program branches of the Civil Division.
Moving into the private sector, where he has extensive experience, he served as attorney for a major U.S. company. He currently is a partner in a major and very prestigious Washington, D.C., law firm of Latham & Watkins.
Mr. Remy has demonstrated tremendous commitment to this field over many years. He's no stranger here on Capitol Hill, having published, lectured and testified before Congress on numerous occasions.
I've appreciated the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to work over the years with Don Remy. Our paths have crossed particularly as he led efforts to help our continued efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Confirming him will bring credit to this committee, as well as to the Department of Defense and our nation, so I urge you to confirm him as expeditiously as possible for general counsel of the Department of the Army.
Thank you very much, and I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Senator Landrieu. And thank you all for coming.
SEN. WICKER: Mr. Chairman?
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Wicker?
SEN. WICKER: I've noticed that since the hearing began we've been joined by a third colleague from the House, Chairman Gene Taylor of Mississippi, the chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee of our counterpart at the other end of the building. So we're delighted to have three members of the House here in support of Governor Mabus.
SEN. LANDRIEU: Now I'm really feeling nervous, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. (Laughter.)
SEN. LEVIN: Yeah. Another old friend. We welcome them all.
And now Senator Reed has an introduction.
SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'm privileged and extraordinarily proud to introduce Elizabeth L. King, the president's nominee to be assistant secretary of Defense for legislative affairs.
Liz and I have been colleagues for 13 years, as she has been a colleague to this committee. She has extraordinary grasp of the legislative issues and the legislative process, but she is also outstanding in terms of her intelligence, her integrity, her judgment and her commitment to the men and women who serve in the military forces.
And that commitment is not just rhetorical. I doubt -- there are very few civilian appointees to the Department of Defense that can claim they have traveled 11 times to Iraq to visit forces in the field, 7 times to Afghanistan, 4 times to Pakistan, to Colombia, to Bosnia when we had troops committed there, to East Timor when we had a Marine expeditionary corps there. She has seen what soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen do, how difficult it is. And she will represent them extremely well on Capitol Hill.
She has great experience not only here in the Senate but in the process of the 1995 BRAC: She was a chief assistant to the chairperson. She served in the House with Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts.
She is, again, an extraordinary individual, and she is a product of a strong, devout family -- Chicago. Leo (sp) and Rita (sp) King are not with us today, but their legacy lives on in a woman committed to public service. Her sister Celeste (sp) and Liz are raising their nephew, Brendan (sp), who is not here today because he's getting ready for the SATs. And Brendan's mother, Bernadette (sp), passed away too soon, but with two strong Irish women behind him, he is going to be a great success, I'm sure.
It is difficult to part company with someone you've worked with as a colleague for 13 years, but I do so knowing that she can serve even more widely and more adroitly than -- in the Armed Service -- in her new position, and I am proud to introduce her to this committee.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Reed. Now, Senator Webb will be introducing General Gregson, but he's on the second panel. We expect Senator Webb will be able to get here for that second panel.
And we'll now ask our -- let me -- let me just make one introduction, because there was no one here to introduce Mr. Work, I don't believe. So let me just briefly say that Mr. Work served a career in the Marine Corps, retiring after 27 years of service. He then has served in the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, where he has focused on defense strategy and transformation and also maritime affairs.
Our other nominees on the first panel have all been introduced. And so I will not repeat what has been said about them. I will put my statement regarding them however in the record.
So let us first -- let me see. I guess the order of battle here is first to call on Governor Mabus.
MR. MABUS: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, members of the committee, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to appear before you.
I want to thank Senator Cochran and Senator Wicker for their very kind introductions. I've worked with both for more than two decades. And I appreciate it very much. And I also thank the members of the Mississippi congressional delegation.
Gene Taylor, Bennie Thompson, Travis Childers. And Congressman Gregg Harper had a conflict today and could not be here. But thank you so much for being here today, in support of my nomination.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, Governor, let me interrupt you. I failed to say something which is perhaps the most important, which is how indebted we are to all of your families, whether they're here or whether they're not able to be here, for their great support of you.
It makes a huge difference in your lives, as you all know, because you've been in public service. And just each of you feel free, to make those introductions, as you proceed.
MR. MABUS: Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. And that gives me a great segue into introducing my family.
My wife Lynne, who is a nurse and whose father was an Air Force doctor when she was born. Our daughters: Elisabeth, who is a freshman at Harvard, our daughter Annie, who is a junior at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Mississippi, and our daughter Kate, who is a 2nd- grader, also at St. Andrew's.
And I want to echo what the chairman said about how important families are, particularly in just being there when people are in public service. I also want to express my deep appreciation to President Obama, for nominating me to this position, and Secretary Gates, for everything that he has done.
The Navy and the Marine Corps play critical roles in our nation's service, fighting America's wars, projecting power where needed, protecting the sea lanes, delivering disaster relief, cooperating with other countries, in efforts to multiply force, trying and preventing conflicts from arising or from turning into things which are larger, more dangerous and harder to control, providing training and other assistance, to nations around the globe, and doing many of these things in a sea-based, minimum-footprint way.
The job of the secretary has, as you know, many facets. They range from making sure that the Navy and Marine Corps recruit, train and retain exceptional forces, to ensuring that those forces have enough of the right equipment, to do their job, to caring for them and their families daily and especially in times of crisis, to working with Congress and the other services and the larger Department of Defense.
These are important times for the Marine Corps and the Navy. Thousands of brave Marines and sailors are engaged, in Iraq and Afghanistan, while courageous thousands more carry out hazardous duties around the globe.
These incredible, wonderful young Americans all volunteered to serve and are defending and representing the United States and all of us.
The Navy Department faces complex challenges, One of the most important is gaining control of an acquisition process which, far too often, overpromises and underprices; breaks, sometimes spectacularly, budgets and schedules; ups requirements while lowering quantities; and resists accountability.
If confirmed, this will be one of my areas of concentration, and again, if confirmed, I look forward to working with the members of this committee to make sure we don't shortchange our sailors, Marines and taxpayers because of an out-of-control process.
My family history and my life's experiences will, if you confirm me, be crucial in doing this exacting job. My father served as a naval officer during World War II. His brother, my uncle, was a West Point graduate who was at the academy during World War I and served again during World War II. My mother's youngest brother, another uncle of mine, flew in both the North African and European theaters during World War II.
When it came my time to serve, I became a surface warfare officer in the Navy. And the time I spent in the Navy as a young man was one of the most profound experiences of my life, and it helped me so much in the other things that I have undertaken.
The people of Mississippi have honored me beyond measure by electing me both governor and, before that, state auditor. As auditor, it was my job to make sure public money was being spent correctly, and in it I learned about hard decisions involving finance.
From my period as governor, I know that one person cannot do everything and that cooperation and collaboration, especially with the legislative branch, is crucial if anything is to be accomplished.
Later, when I served as United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia, I saw firsthand what our military and all of us face in that critical and exceedingly complex part of the Earth. And from my prime -- time in the private sector I bring lessons of efficiency and competition.
As a youngster growing in Ackerman, Mississippi, I could not have imagined how rich and varied my life was to be so far. I, like so many people in this room, have lived my own part of the dream that is quintessentially American. If you confirm me, I look forward to working with you, the president, Secretary Gates, many others to make sure that the country which allows such dreams is well-protected by our Navy and Marine Corps.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Governor.
Next we'll call on Robert Work, nominated to be undersecretary of the Navy.
MR. WORK: Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, distinguished members of the committee, I'm truly honored to be before you today as President Obama's nominee as the undersecretary of the Navy. Serving in this post would be a great privilege, and I am grateful to both the president and Secretary Gates for choosing me for this position.
I'd also particularly like to thank my family for being here today and supporting me, and would like to introduce them to the panel and yourself, sir.
First is the love of my life, my bride of 31 years, Cassandra. She's a former Army nurse, and mother of my beautiful daughter Kendall, who is a -- finishing her first year at Randolph-Macon College here in Virginia. And I am forced to tell you that she's a proud new sister in Delta Zeta sorority.
I'm also joined by my brother Skip, a former Marine and now a director for contracting and an author. Unfortunately, neither my dad nor mom could be here today. My father fought as a Marine in three different wars; retired after over 30 years of active duty; but he was a Marine until the day he died. My mom was a Navy nurse, served in World War II. I, myself, was a Marine for 27 years, and my brother Skip a Marine for another 20.
So my birth family has contributed about 84 years of active service to the nation and the Department of the Navy; my wife another six in the Department of the Army; and my wife and daughter another 34 years, supporting me while I was on active duty. So as you might imagine, then, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I'm both humbled and excited about the prospect of returning to service, and especially at having the opportunity of being in a department that I so respect and love.
If we are confirmed, I look forward to helping Governor Mabus lead the finest Navy and Marine Corps in the world and working closely with members of the committee and your respective staffs in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the undersecretary of the Navy.
Being called upon to serve our country at any time is a great honor, but being asked to serve in time of war is an especially high one, and one that comes with important responsibilities. If confirmed, I give you my word I will do everything possible to ensure that our brave sailors and Marines have what they need to prevail in combat, and that they go into harm's way knowing that their families will receive the support that they deserve. I will also work hard with the secretary of the Navy to ensure that our nearly 11,000 wounded warriors receive the best care possible, and that the families of our fallen are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
I'm also mindful that because of what looks like to be an especially challenging fiscal and budgetary environment, the incoming secretary and undersecretary will be forced to make hard decisions about the future Navy and Marine Corps. If confirmed, I believe that my lifelong experience -- first as an active-duty dependent; then a military officer; a husband and family of a -- father of a military family; and a leader, strategist and analyst -- well prepares me to contribute to these decisions. However, I pledge not to enter this important job with any preconceived notions or positions. I'll listen to the best available civilian and military advice and, when asked, give an honest, pragmatic advice and counsel to the secretary of the Navy, the secretary of Defense and president.
If confirmed as the undersecretary, I'll also work hard as the department's chief management officer to tee-up well-thought-out positions and recommendations to the secretary on the full range of Department of Navy activities, lead and manage the department's senior executive service and explore ways to improve departmental business practices across the board.
In closing, I want to again thank President Obama for nominating me to this position, and Secretary Gates for supporting my nomination.
I'm honored and truly humbled to be before you today. And if the Senate chooses to confirm me in this position, I hope to justify your trust fully. I look forward to working closely with all of you and maintaining our great Navy and Marine Corps.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to the questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank --
SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE (R-OK): Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
SEN. LEVIN: Yes.
SEN. INHOFE: Just a brief comment. I'm ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee. It's -- my attendance is required at a meeting coming up.
But I want to say and get on the record that I am in full support of all the nominees today on both panels. I've worked with Ms. King back in -- when she was with Marty Meehan, on different causes. And certainly, with Jo-Ellen Darcy, I agree with everything that Senator Baucus said.
I want to make this one comment, though. Ms. Darcy will probably -- I know there are some requests to have a confirmation hearing in EPW, and I think that if I can just go ahead and submit the questions as it would pertain to that committee, maybe that can be avoided. We'll try to do that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe.
And now, Liz King, an old friend of the -- this committee and a great -- it's wonderful to see you here in any capacity, but a little bit strange to see you on the other side of this dais.
MS. KING: Indeed.
SEN. LEVIN: Welcome.
MS. KING: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Levin, Senator McCain, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear here today. I would like to begin by recognizing and thanking my sister Celeste (sp) and my nephew Brendan (sp). While they could not be here today, I know they are with me in spirit, and their love, understanding and camaraderie mean the world to me. I would also like to thank a small army of friends, many of whom are here today. They have given me their love, support and loyalty for many years, and it has made all the difference.
Finally, I would like to thank Senator Reed, not only for his introduction but for the privilege of working for him for the past 13 years. He has been a wonderful boss, mentor and friend. Opportunities to work for someone like him do not come along often in one's life, and I will always treasure the experience.
It has been an honor to work on Capitol Hill for the past 14 years. If I am confirmed, I may be switching offices, but I look forward to continuing to work with the members of the Senate and House and their staffs to solve problems, implement legislation and provide needed information in a timely fashion. I hope to foster a strong partnership between Congress and the Defense Department so that together we can reach the common goal of meeting the needs of the men and women in uniform who tirelessly serve our nation.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Ms. King.
Now, Mr. -- is it "Raymy" or "Reemy"?
MR. REMY: It's "Rhemy," Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: "Rhemy." We'll get it right the third time.
MR. REMY: (Laughs.) Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Levin, Senator McCain and distinguished members of the committee, it truly is an honor and a privilege to appear before you today as the nominee for general counsel of the Army. I am grateful to President Obama for his confidence in me and, if confirmed, for giving me the opportunity to return to my roots at the Pentagon and serve alongside the men and women, civilian and uniformed, who protect and defend our country.
Mr. Chairman, I'm especially thankful to you and to Senator McCain and the committee and your staffs for holding this hearing so promptly. I also want to thank Senator Landrieu for her kind introduction.
If I may, I would like to follow up on the introduction that Senator Landrieu provided of my family. Were it not for the unconditional love and support of my family and my friends and for the grace of God, I would not be before you today.
In the audience today is my partner and head coach in what we refer to as "Team Remy," Monitre (ph), my wife. She has been with me on our journey for 22 years, since our days in ROTC as cadets together.
Seated beside her are two terrific sons: Alex (sp), who is 15, and Jason (sp), who is 11. Members of the committee, these two boys are happy to be here today and enjoy this civics lesson rather than go to school. (Laughter.) Their mother and I could not be more proud of the young men they have become and the future that they have ahead of them.
Indeed, it wasn't until I was a parent myself that I truly appreciated all that my parents did to help me become the man that I am. Last year, Secretary of the Army Geren declared 2009 the year of the noncommissioned officer, and I can think of no better tribute to the NCO than to offer my thanks in this forum to my father, retired Army Master Sergeant Donald Remy, who was awarded the bronze star for his service in Vietnam.
But we all know that beside every great soldier is the soldier's spouse. Just as my father dedicated 25 years of service to this nation, so too did my mother, Anne (sp) Remy. Whether my father was deployed or at home, my mother was steadfast in caring for and raising not just me and my brother Adrian (sp) and sister Renee (sp), who could not be here today, but also many other sons and daughters of our Army community.
While many friends and colleagues are here today, I want to thank, in particular, my sister-in-law Christine Butler (sp) for her presence and always being there for our family. I also want to recognize one of my closest friends, former FCC Chairman the Honorable Michael Powell.
America's Army is pivotal to the strength of our nation. In an ever-changing global dynamic, the Army continues to adapt its aim to achieve and maintain balance for the 21st century. The issues -- particularly the legal issues -- that arise in that context are complex, challenging and, in some instances, unprecedented.
If confirmed, I want to assure the committee that I am committed to working cooperatively with the judge advocate general to provide expert, timely, value-added advice to the Army secretary and the Army staff. I'm committed to assisting the department's efforts to assure that the acquisition process for materiel and services is efficient, effective and compliant with our laws and regulations and I am committed to making certain that the Army's transformation is accomplished consistent with the rule of law and a practical understanding of the issues affecting our all-volunteer force and their families.
Senator Landrieu kindly noted my background and dedication to public service. I have served our nation in uniform as a soldier and as a public servant in both the Department of the Army and the Department of Justice. I am greatly humbled by the opportunity to serve again. And if confirmed, I pledge to work closely with this committee to support and promote the outstanding men and women of the United States Army and their families.
I welcome your questions, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Remy.
And now I'll ask you to answer the following standard questions. You can all answer at once.
Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
Have you assumed any duties or undertaken actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
(Nominees respond in the negative.)
Will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established, for requested communications, including questions for the record and hearings?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
Will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers, in response to congressional requests?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony or briefings?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
Do you agree, if confirmed, to appear and testify upon request before this committee?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
And 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?
(Nominees respond in the affirmative.)
We thank you. Let's try an eight-minute round. See if we can get all of our questions that we need to ask, during that period. We're trying to fit a lot in this morning. If we can do it, it would be great. If we can't get both panels completed, we'll have to figure out what arrangements to do then. But we'll give it a go.
First, Governor Mabus, one initiative, to improve management of our acquisition process, within the department, is Senate Bill 454, which is sponsored by Senator McCain and myself.
This bill would make several changes to current acquisition law, including presuming that programs would be terminated, if they breach the Nunn-McCurdy thresholds, elevating the level of independent cost- estimating and dealing with organizational conflicts of interest.
Governor Mabus, first, and then I'll ask you, Mr. Work, the same question. Are you familiar with our legislation?
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir. Senator, I've read the legislation.
SEN. LEVIN: And can you give us your personal opinion, regarding any of the components of that legislation?
MR. MABUS: Well, it's very obvious that our acquisition process needs reforming, in some fundamental ways that this legislation seeks to address. And if I'm confirmed, I look forward to working with this committee, to make sure that those reforms are implemented, the reforms that Congress mandates are implemented effectively, timely and in a very professional way.
SEN. LEVIN: Mr. Work, do you have any comment?
MR. WORK: Secretary Gates -- I agree with Secretary Gates that I fully agree with the intent of the legislation. I'm especially drawn to the fact of trying to establish cost controls, over out-of-control programs, independent cost-estimation and conflict of interest.
I haven't been able to discuss fully, with the staff, all of the aspects of the legislation and how it might be implemented. But the intent I fully subscribe to.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Mr. Work, if confirmed as undersecretary, you're going to also become the first chief management officer of the Department of the Navy. We established this position in 2007 out of frustration with the inability of the military departments to modernize their business systems and processes. We chose to have the undersecretary serve concurrently as chief management officer, because no official in the Department of the Navy, other than the secretary, sits at a high enough level to cut across stovepipes and implement comprehensive change. Will you make the modernization of the Navy's business systems and processes a top priority?
MR. WORK: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I will. In my interviews with both Secretary Gates and the deputy secretary, they indicated how important this position is and how important that they were going to exercise it. And I look forward to working with the members of the committee to understanding the intent, the legislation and implementing it, if confirmed.
SEN. LEVIN: And will you report back to this committee on a regular basis on any obstacles that you're encountering in that effort?
MR. WORK: Absolutely, sir. Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, chapter 633 of Title 10 establishes the requirement for a board of officers, commonly referred to as the Board of Inspection and Survey, to examine naval vessels. The committee's concerned about recent reports from that board which have found that certain frontline ships of the Navy are unfit for combat operations, and forward-deployed mine countermeasures ships were unable to get under way in 2006. The Navy attacked the material issues to restore those ships to high readiness.
However, subsequent reports of serious degradation to amphibious ships and more recently the determination that two Aegis combatants are, quote, "unfit" for combat operations raises concerns that there are systemic issues associated with the organic-level maintenance and self-assessment that might jeopardize the Navy's ability to meet the objectives under the Navy's concept of operations called the Fleet Response Plan.
Governor and Mr. Work, are you aware of recent reports that Navy readiness of the fleet has got some real problems, such that additional ships have been unable to get under way and have inoperable systems that might threaten crew safety? Are you familiar with those reports?
MR. MABUS: I'm aware of the reports, Senator. I've not had opportunity to study them in any detail.
SEN. LEVIN: And Mr. Work, are you aware of the reports?
MR. WORK: Yes, sir, I am.
SEN. LEVIN: And will you both assure this committee that you're going to look into this matter to ensure that any classification of these reports is handled properly and not just done to shield the Navy from some unflattering press articles?
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir.
MR. WORK: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Ms. King, members of this committee and the staff of this committee -- as you know well, we work well with the DOD officials on a day-to-day basis; we request and receive information that we need to understand the programs and activities of the department, and to meet the committee's oversight responsibilities.
From time to time, the department has decided to impose formal requirements on such exchanges, such as all communications having to go through the Office of Legislative Affairs, all requests for information to be in writing, no official of the DOD could discuss an issue until the secretary has made a decision and so forth. Now, in our experience -- and you've had an experience second to none for anybody who's, I think, ever been in the position to which you've been nominated -- the imposition of that type of formal requirement could unnecessarily undermine the working relationship between this committee and the department that has been so beneficial to both sides. And I'm wondering if you could give us your assessment as to the desirability of informal communication between department officials and the committee, and whether it's necessary and essential at times. And also, then, why impose any formal requirements on such communications?
MS. KING: I'm aware that there have -- recently has been some imposition of formal requirements. And if I am confirmed, I plan on reviewing those procedures and processes, because I believe that open channels of communication and getting everyone what they need in a timely manner, in the most efficient way possible, is the best way to form a partnership between Congress and DOD.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay. And -- thank you -- Mr. Remy, increasing violence along the border with Mexico has brought renewed calls to use our military to assist the Border Patrol and Customs Service. Can you give us your thoughts on that? Any implications, in terms of posse comitatus?
MR. REMY: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, the posse comitatus law deals with the ability of the uniformed personnel in our United States military to help states. I understand that there have been some circumstances where our military has been deployed. And there is a study underway looking at the deployment of our military forces along the border. That's something that I believe would require a significant amount of analysis and thought. And if confirmed, I pledge to do that.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Mr. Remy, during the Iraq War, private security contractors were used to perform a wide variety of security functions requiring the use of deadly force in a hostile environment. And to some extent, this was done out of necessity, because we just didn't have, and don't have yet, sufficient troops to provide needed security. However, the extensive use of private security contractors in Iraq has resulted in a number of problems, including the 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad which resulted in the recent indictment of some employees.
Do you agree that the department needs to take steps to undertake first a comprehensive review of whether and to what extent it is appropriate for contractors to engage in functions that require them to make discretionary decisions about the use of deadly force which is not in the military chain of command by definition?
MR. REMY: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I do believe that such a study is necessary.
SEN. LEVIN: And do you have any -- do you undertake that review and your commitment to do it with any particular thoughts along that line?
MR. REMY: Yes, Mr. Chairman. If confirmed, if I have an opportunity to look into these issues, I'll examine the question of whether or not individuals are doing functions that are inherently governmental functions and to determine whether or not it's appropriate to have contractors conduct interrogations, especially in the circumstance where those interrogations may impact the life or liberty of the individuals that are being interrogated.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And congratulations to the nominees. And we look forward to as rapid confirmation as possible of your nominations.
Ambassador Mabus and Mr. Work, you are aware of the situation concerning cost overruns. This has been particularly true of the United States Navy, whether it be on acquisition of aircraft or a littoral combat ship or other acquisition requirements that have had dramatic and really terrible cost overruns associated with them.
Do you have thoughts on that, particularly in relation to the legislation that Senator Levin and I have introduced? We'll begin with you, Governor.
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir. The acquisition process has to be gotten under control or we're going to unilaterally disarm ourselves, and if we do not begin to match up requirements with resources, make sure that our technology is mature before proceeding, stabilize the requirements for ships and aircraft during the manufacturing process and have fair and adequate contracts going forward. And if confirmed, one of my areas of intense concentration and focus will be on this whole acquisition process, both for new systems and for those already in place.
SEN. MCCAIN: Have you looked at Senator Levins' and my legislation?
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir. I've read it. And as Mr. Work said in his statement, I believe the intent of the legislation is -- absolutely goes to the heart of some of these matters. And we have to make sure that we have good, independent cost estimates that, if systems spin out of control, that there's some teeth to looking at whether to continue them or not.
SEN. MCCAIN: Mr. Work?
MR. WORK: This a problem that has long years in building. I believe that the U.S. Navy, along with other members of the DOD acquisition team, lost what I might refer to, or Admiral Phil Balile (ph) used to refer to as technical authority -- being able to set good requirements, being able to understand when a program is in trouble, and being able to set remedial actions to take care of it. The intent of the legislation, especially on the independent cost estimation, and tracking closely the costs as they grow, and taking action as required, I think are exactly right.
The conflict of interest is the -- interest provisions of the legislation are the part that I'm not -- I'm not fully understanding the intent. And I hopefully will -- if confirmed -- will be able to work with the committee to understand the intent and to keep these cost overruns from occurring.
SEN. MCCAIN: Ms. King, I note that Senator Reed is next, who will probably pose the most difficult questions for you. But, look, we've had a problem from administration to administration, whether it be Republican or Democrat, with candid views from the members of the -- of the administration that work on the other side of the river. This sometimes leads to needless conflict; sometimes it leads to legislation which isn't developed in the closest coordination possible. And I hope you will work to keep the committee informed and help us perform our constitutional duties.
MS. KING: Yes, Senator McCain, I plan to do that.
SEN. MCCAIN: So, you know from sitting on this side that -- some of the problems that we've had, both --
MS. KING: Yes, sir.
SEN. MCCAIN: -- Republican and Democrat. Thank you.
Mr. Remy, I noted in your bio that you said you worked for a well-known company or corporation. That happened to be Fannie Mae, one of the organizations that's responsible for the severe crisis we're in today. I will be submitting questions to you concerning what responsibilities you had there and what decisions were made during that period of time that you worked there, which was a direct -- certainly, the collapse of Fannie Mae was a direct contributor to many of the economic difficulties we have today.
Now, on the subject --
MR. REMY: Senator McCain, I'm happy to answer any questions of yours or the committee's. Thank you.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you.
On the issue of the deployment of the military, I also serve on the Homeland Security Committee. We had a hearing in Phoenix, Arizona, which is now the kidnapping capitol of America, about border violence. And from talking with the mayors, the sheriffs, the governor, the attorney general of my state, it's very clear that there's great danger of that violence spilling over into our state, Texas, New Mexico, California. And all -- now all four governors of border states have requested the deployment of the National Guard to the border, because they feel that -- of the -- for the reasons that I just stated. You have views on this subject, particularly in light of the fact that the National Guard has been deployed in the past, and there doesn't seem to be any large national crisis -- or constitutional crisis associated with it?
MR. REMY: Senator McCain, I understand the concerns that the states are voicing, and I understand the need to have the security forces that are adequate to deal with the issues on those borders.
I believe that, if appropriate, it would -- it would -- I believe -- I'm sorry -- I believe that, if appropriate, it would make sense to further examine that issue if it's something that's put into my space and, if confirmed, if it's something that I'm charged with looking at.
Presently, it's not an issue that I've studied at great length, but it is something that I would be committed to examine.
SEN. MCCAIN: Well, let me even recommend to you that you take a trip down to the border and are briefed personally, by the individuals not only that are tasked to enforce our border but also the residents and the mayors and city councils and others who are grappling with this very serious issue.
I could give you a -- numerous examples of how close this violence has come to spilling over and actually has spilled over into the United States of America. Now, all of it, of course, is exacerbated by this threat of swine flu, which we all know has originated in the country of Mexico as well.
So I would -- you will have significant input into the decisions concerning deployment of Guard or regular forces to the border, and I hope that you will give it a priority of familiarizing yourself with this situation.
MR. REMY: Yes, Senator McCain, I will make it a priority.
SEN. MCCAIN: Finally, Mr. Work, you said in your statement that you had some ideas about new approaches you're considering to curb rising health and personnel costs. What approaches are you considering?
MR. WORK: During the last two weeks, we've received several briefings on both the Safe Harbor program and the Wounded Warrior program and all of the health-care issues that are facing the department. The costs, as you know, Senator McCain, are rising faster -- much faster than the rate of inflation, and it's really causing a problem as far as execution in the Department of the Navy's budget.
The only clear idea that I have right now is to -- if confirmed -- is to work with the secretary and the two service chiefs and the assistant commandant and the VCNO to really take a hard look at how we might be able to handle the problem within the service and then to work with members of the committee and also the Department of Defense to try to get a handle on health-care costs writ large.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank the witnesses.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain.
SEN. REED: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Governor Mabus, you bring an extraordinary range of experience to the task before you. I think the president made a very wise choice. I think particularly, as you point out, your experience as a young officer on the deck of a combatant -- surface combatant is going to be very critical.
As my colleagues have suggested, the shipbuilding program in the Navy needs reform and attention, and there's just two issues that I think you probably don't have firm opinions but I'd like your comments on.
There's always a tradeoff between advanced technology and new hulls, you know, building ships or just improving technology. If you could, comment on that. And also any sense of whether you feel excess capacity, particularly in surface combatant capabilities, building those ships.
MR. MABUS: In terms of the first question, Senator, new technology first has to be looked at, whether it's appropriate; second, whether it's mature enough to be put on a combatants surface or subsurface ship or airplane. And then the issue of stability of requirements, because one you've begun, as you well know, once you've begun construction, making major changes is one of the leading causes of stretching the completion date and raising the cost.
I think you should look at, if new technology has come along, at building ships in blocks, so that the next block of ships can be upgraded, in terms of technology, but not trying to make the ships that are currently under construction be the most perfect ships that you can have.
And forgive me, but I've forgotten the second part of your question.
SEN. REED: Just the issue of excess capacity, in terms of particularly surface combatants, in terms of the capacity to build these ships, the number of yards.
MR. MABUS: Well, I believe, sir, that the number of yards is very small, in terms of just sheer numbers, and that to keep the industrial base and to keep a well-trained workforce, in order to build these ships that we're going to need, both today and in the future, that we don't have any excess capacity but that we do need to work very hard, to make sure that there remains competitive competition, among those shipyards.
SEN. REED: Thank you, Governor. Governor, Ambassador and soon- to-be Secretary, thank you.
MR. MABUS: Thank you, sir.
SEN. REED: Mr. Work, let me ask the same question, but a focus on the Marine Corps, in terms of technology that they need, for this new asymmetric warfare. I know you've done a lot of work, in terms of looking at this issue of how the Navy participates and the Marine Corps participates in this asymmetric warfare.
But is there technology that the Marine Corps might need, that they don't have? And would you focus on that?
MR. WORK: Senator Reed, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command has been, as I understand it, has been working very closely with the department writ large, to determine these new capabilities. I know that they've specifically looked, for example, at unmanned aerial vehicles and populating more of those, throughout the force, ground robotics, advanced body armor for the Marines.
And so I believe that the commandant of the Marine Corps, as we understand it, is very much interested in getting the right gear to the troops at the right time as quickly as possible.
SEN. REED: Thank you.
I just want to note, too, that Congressman Taylor was here -- Gene Taylor from Mississippi, a dear friend who I served with. And he has since departed. But looking at him, I've just discovered how the Senate ages you. He still looks remarkably good.
Mr. Remy, one of the issues that you will face is working with your uniformed colleagues. And you had the privilege of being a young captain, JAG officer, I presume, in the -- in the general counsel. Is that correct?
MR. REMY: Yes. I was in the honors program in the General Counsel's Office, Senator.
SEN. REED: We have found out that the best source of advice, particularly with respect to these issues of compliance with the Geneva Convention, has been from uniformed officers, who raised the cry very early, who consistently were, I think, principled critics of some of the policies. And just -- this is less a question and more a comment. I hope you, as a former uniformed JAG, recognize the real skill and talent and experience of those uniformed officers you'll serve with.
MR. REMY: I absolutely do, Senator Reed.
SEN. REED: Well, thank you very much.
And I was going to -- I'll refrain from asking the question who your favorite boss is, Ms. King. So I would just simply say I neglected to indicate for the record that Liz is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown Law School. So good luck.
And thank you all for your commitment to the country and your service.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Reed.
SENATOR MEL MARTINEZ (R-FL): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
I want to congratulate all the nominees and your families and wish you very -- the very best, as you undertake your service. And thank you for undertaking the service.
I want to begin with Governor Mabus and Mr. Work and ask a question of both of you. Since 1952, there have been aircraft carriers based in two different home ports on the East Coast of the United States. The Tarawa was home ported in Mayport in 1952. And ever since that time, we've had that kind of a dispersal policy.
Admiral Mullen, as CNO, before this committee stated that he was very supportive of strategic dispersal of our carrier force. His predecessor, Admiral Vern Clark, also stated on February of 2005, and I quote, it is his belief that "it would be a serious strategic mistake to have all of those key assets of our Navy tied up in one port." Secretary England, who was secretary of the Navy before he was deputy secretary also stated in this committee that, in his judgment, that dispersion is still a situation. A nuclear carrier should be in Florida to replace the USS John F. Kennedy to get some dispersion.
And even more recently, Secretary Donald Winter, with the concurrence of the current chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, signed the record of decision to upgrade Mayport to being nuclear ready, continuing the Navy's 54-year commitment of East Coast strategic dispersal.
My question to both of you is, would you let us know today what your intentions are with regards to the strategic dispersal of the nation's nuclear aircraft carriers along the East Coast? And would you tell us whether you agree or disagree with the prior three chiefs of Naval Operations on their recommendations that there should be strategic dispersal of the nuclear carrier force?
MR. MABUS: Senator, I understand this issue and its importance. I also understand that this issue has been put into the Quadrennial Defense Review. And if confirmed, I expect to be an active member of that review. And I commit to making this a priority item if confirmed as secretary.
SEN. MARTINEZ: I need an answer to my question, though.
MR. MABUS: Sir, I simply do not have enough information to give you an answer in terms of what the final outcome should be.
SEN. MARTINEZ: You would not disagree with three CNOs that all have indicated in their opinion the importance of strategic dispersal of the nuclear fleet, though, would you not?
MR. MABUS: Again, Senator, I do not have the information as I'm sitting here today to give you an answer on that, except to acknowledge that I do understand that is their position.
SEN. MARTINEZ: Mr. Work?
MR. WORK: Senator, we haven't had an opportunity to talk with the former CNOs, as the governor has said. This is an issue that has been briefed to us at the broadest level. And I look forward, if confirmed, to working with the Department of Defense, secretary of Defense, and looking at this issue again in the 2009 QDR.
SEN. MARTINEZ: There is also an issue of funding that is the stream to -- you know, a decision was made, and that decision, to my knowledge, was final, that there would be strategic dispersal and that Mayport would become a home port. You both are aware of that decision having been made; correct? By the prior secretary of the Navy and right up the chain of command. And as a result of that decision, there was some work that needed to be done. We've had an environmental impact statement. That has all gone through the process. The prior QDR. And as I say, this is a decision that goes back to when Vern Clark, Admiral Clark, was the CNO.
Do you foresee supporting the continuation of the work that is already in the pipeline to -- including dredging and other improvements to Mayport that would make it capable of home-porting a nuclear carrier?
MR. MABUS: Senator, I believe that the two items that you mentioned -- one is the dredging and, second, the pier upgrade and repair in Mayport -- have been recommended by the secretary of Defense to be included in the president's budget for this year. And as the president's nominee and reporting directly to the secretary of Defense, of course I support their recommendations.
SEN. MARTINEZ: Mr. Work?
MR. WORK: Senator, I agree with exactly what Governor Mabus said. As we understand it, the record of decision was made at the Department of the Navy in early January, and the Department of Defense reviewed that decision and Secretary Gates decided to delay -- or to look at the decision as part of the 2009 QDR but continue the work that Governor Mabus said, which would not preclose (sic) any option after the 2009 QDR.
SEN. MARTINEZ: The Navy has a goal and a plan to have a 313-ship fleet. Do you have an opinion or view on that issue and how we should get there?
MR. MABUS: Senator, this is another issue -- that the 313-ship fleet came out of the QDR -- the Quadrennial Defense Review -- of four years ago. It was the best estimate at the time of what the Navy combatant needs would be, going forward. There's another QDR under way right now, and I know that the size of the fleet is one of the critical parts of that QDR. And I will, if confirmed, be a very active participant, and this will be one of the areas that I concentrate on to make sure that the size of the fleet is adequate and matches up with the requirements that we have and will give the Navy in terms of what its mission is, both today and in the future.
SEN. MARTINEZ: Mr. Remy, I'm going to ask a question of you, and I think it's frankly one of candor, and I want to suggest to you that I think it's important to have a good communication with the committee and be clear.
I've looked at your resume, and I find it astonishing that you do not list your employer for a number of years, but -- and I can't even see the number of years, because it also -- your resume does not state when you began and when you ended your employment with what you describe as a major U.S. company.
Now I know by description and also, as Senator McCain said, that it appears to have been Fannie Mae, but you don't disclose that, or the years that you were at Fannie Mae.
MR. REMY: Senator --
SEN. MARTINEZ: Am I correct that it is Fannie Mae that you were employed by before you were at Latham & Watkins?
MR. REMY: Yes, Senator. Yes, Senator.
SEN. MARTINEZ: When did you go to work there, and how long did you work there?
MR. REMY: Senator, I worked at Fannie Mae from the years of 2000 through 2006.
SEN. MARTINEZ: And to my knowledge, there's nothing wrong with having done that, and I think it should be in your resume, clearly stated, for all to see. Although there's been some controversy with the company, I know a lot of honorable people who have worked there, and I don't -- I just don't think it's appropriate not to disclose it clearly.
MR. REMY: Senator Martinez, I have -- I -- you're right; I have nothing to hide. I did disclose my employment at Fannie Mae on a number of forms that I filed with the committee.
I have many different versions of my biography. The version that apparently made it to this committee did not include Fannie Mae as my employer, although it did have the responsibilities that I had undertaken at Fannie Mae at the time. That was a mistake. I take responsibility for that bio coming to the committee.
Indeed my time at Fannie Mae was a time period where I am personally proud of all the work that I did at Fannie Mae. Some shameful things may have happened there, but I have nothing to hide from my responsibilities.
SEN. MARTINEZ: And I don't disagree with that at all, particularly from the time frame you describe and the responsibilities that it appears that you held there. So I wasn't trying to imply anything other than I think it's important to speak with candor to the committee when you're up for nomination. And that's my only point. I appreciate your explanation, wish you all well, and thank you very much.
MR. REMY: Thank you, Senator.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Martinez.
And I concur. I think we all would concur with your point that there's nothing to be ashamed of. In any event, it should be fully disclosed. And apparently it was on a number of your other bios, and it was stated more generically you worked for a major company, I gather, on -- in terms of the bio that came to us, as you indicated. I'm not familiar, offhand, with that bio, but apparently that's what happened. You've acknowledged it, and I think that Senator Martinez's point is a good one and that you agree with it, that --
MR. REMY: Yes, I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: -- and there may be questions for the record on that, as Senator McCain suggested, and if there are, we will try to get them to you quickly, and you can then answer them promptly as well, as to specifically what those duties were.
SEN. DANIEL AKAKA (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to begin by thanking each of you on the first panel for your dedicated public service and your desire to serve our nation in these very important leadership roles.
I also want to add my welcome to your families and your supporters who are here with you this morning.
If confirmed, each of you will face without question enormous challenges in the Department of Defense.
You will be charged with forming comprehensive national security strategy to address today's crises, while planning for complex and uncertain future for our nation. And I would say that with your backgrounds and expertise, I feel each of you are well qualified to handle these challenges that you will face.
I've been a strong advocate of our military readiness and military presence and our military engagements around the world. And we cannot overstate this importance in our work. With the recent activities in -- that we've witnessed from China and Korea, it's obvious that the challenges are many. And I want to pose this question to Governor Mabus, and to tell you at the outset that I feel the men and women of the Pacific Command have maintained a remarkable level of stability, but we must ensure that they're properly manned and equipped to address the public and possible future conflicts that are part of our challenges; and also mention that I feel that Admiral Keating has done a tremendous job. He's helping to maintain the stability with the forces that are there in the Pacific.
And as I mentioned, I am particularly interested in readiness. And the question I ask of you, Governor, is what thoughts -- what thoughts do you have on the overall readiness of the naval fleet in our country, as well, in particular, in the Pacific Command, as it relates to the military personnel and equipment available?
MR. MABUS: Senator, at this point in the process, I do not have enough information to give you a definitive answer on that, except to say that the readiness of the fleet in performing the mission that the country has given it is of highest importance, and that, if confirmed, it will be one of the things that will occupy my time more than any other.
SEN. AKAKA: And Governor, as you know, and I do, that readiness is so important to our military.
MR. MABUS: Absolutely, Senator.
SEN. AKAKA: And in training, in taking care of personnel, and even including the care of families in this, and the importance of readiness.
And I look forward to continuing to work with you, if confirmed, in this area.
Mr. Work, I've been really concerned about the position of chief management officer of Defense and, in this case, of the Navy. The GAO has reported that the Navy has not yet followed DOD's lead in establishing a template, to address business transformation. As Navy CMO, it's critical that you establish performance goals and measures for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Navy.
My question for you is, what is your understanding of the roles and responsibility of the chief management officer?
MR. WORK: Senator, the chief management officer is responsible, to the secretary of the Navy, for the efficient business processes throughout the department.
For the last couple years, the Department of the Navy hasn't had an undersecretary. And as I understand it, the CMO slot was delegated to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller. And the Department of the Navy has set up an Office of Business Transformation, as required by the legislation.
If confirmed, one of my top priorities will be to find out exactly what these offices and people have done and to work very closely with the committee, to understand exactly what the intent of the legislation is and to work with the secretary and the deputy secretary to have a very, very good CMO operation.
SEN. AKAKA: Ms. King, I'm so glad to see you moving into this area, in Defense, and look upon your move as one that will help our cause, both Defense and the Congress, because of your work here and your relationships and your understanding of what needs to be done, to carry out the goals that we have.
And my simple question to you with all of the experience is, what do you intend to do that may be different, in bringing about a relationship of partnership, as well as integrating our working processes, between Congress and the Department of Defense?
MS. KING: Senator Akaka, if I am confirmed, what I would like to do is to make sure that the Congress and the Department of Defense see the relationship as not adversarial but as working together toward a common goal, and to review the processes and the communication to make sure that we're working toward one end instead of against each other.
SEN. AKAKA: I'm asking that because I'm chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee here in the Senate, and what we've done in the last three years has been to try to create what we call a seamless order between Defense and Veterans Affairs. This has been working out well, so that the -- both deputies are talking to each other once a week, and it's amazing what we've been able to do by phone. And I hope this can grow and continue as we move along. My time is --
MS. KING: Let's keep that (novel ?) going.
SEN. AKAKA: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Akaka.
SEN. KAY R. HAGAN (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And to all of the nominees here today, congratulations for being here, and I look forward to hearing more of your testimony, and also to your families that are with you.
One of the questions I have to Governor Mabus and to Mr. Work: Currently, we have -- unmanned aerial vehicles have proven to be a critical resource in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unmanned ground vehicles have also proven to be an important and growing tool to support our military personnel. Although in an earlier stage, the Navy's development of the unmanned underwater vehicles is also important.
What is your perspective to the role of the unmanned systems for the Navy and the Marine Corps? And what do you see as the focus areas for the Navy and the Marine Corps for the development, training and deployment of these vehicles?
MR. MABUS: Senator, as you know, Secretary Gates -- in his recommendations as we move forward was to put a great deal of emphasis on these unmanned vehicles, and in terms of the Navy, my level of knowledge there is simply to say that I understand the importance of these; that I know going forward the Navy has to -- Navy and Marine Corps have to look into unmanned vehicles to perform some critical tasks, and that I'll make sure that the research, the development, the technology is there and is adequately analyzed and, if we move into an acquisition phase, adequately contracted for in a way that is cost efficient; and make sure that our sailors and our Marines get the very best equipment possible; and that, if confirmed, this will be an area that I look forward to working on to make sure that this new cutting- edge technology makes it to the fleet.
MR. WORK: Senator Hagan, I believe we're on the cusp of a revolution in unmanned technologies. The last years of war have really showed how these different systems can help both the Marine Corps and the Navy. The Navy is about to commission a class of ships, the littoral combat ships, which is specifically designed to employ unmanned systems. So I agree with Governor Mabus that this is an extremely high priority for the department, and if confirmed, I look forward to trying to populate more of these systems throughout the Navy and the Marine Corps.
SEN. HAGAN: Thank you. Another question I have, I think the whole country is being -- that the media is so much focusing on the piracy off the cost of Somalia and some of the other areas in the world. And as you know, piracy is certainly increasingly becoming a strategic threat to the U.S. and our partners in the Asian gulf. And I think key to combatting this is the -- this threat -- is to encourage partnership capacity and interoperability with the regional navies in the area.
What is your view of countering piracy, and how will you encourage other navies to contribute to maritime security, such as the CTF-150 and 151?
MR. MABUS: Senator, we're all -- the whole country is so proud of the SEALs, the sailors, the Marines that took part in the operation a couple of weeks ago that ended so successfully. But as you correctly point out, it's going to take a lot more to combat this -- this problem, particularly in that part of the world.
If confirmed, one of my jobs as secretary of the Navy is to ensure that we have the vessels, the people, the equipment to be able to carry out whatever missions are given by the combat commanders against those pirates.
And I think it's particularly important what you brought out about partnering with other countries. And as you know, the Navy now has the Africa Partnership to partner with the navies and the countries along the cost of Africa, both east and west coasts, to encourage interoperability, to do training, to do combined not only exercises but also humanitarian efforts in those countries; because one of the quotes from the national maritime strategy that the CNO, the commandant of the Marines, commandant of the Coast Guard, has released says that while people and equipment can be surged, trust cannot, and that you have to work for a long time to establish that trust and that operating together.
And I think that the Navy, from my information, has made a good start there, but is going to have to do a lot -- is going to have to be very vigilant and work with the navies and the governments in that region to take on this problem.
SEN. HAGAN: Mr. Work?
MR. WORK: Senator, piracy is an issue that's been around for ages, centuries. It's not only a problem on the sea, but it emanates from the land.
So the Navy can do its part where -- in areas where piracy is a big problem, working with other nations. I would note that even the Chinese have -- have dispatched ships to fight this problem. But ultimately it will require a solution both on the land and at sea to deny these pirates the ungoverned spaces that they operate in.
SEN. HAGAN: I have one further question on our wounded warriors. And certainly, I know that's of prime importance and certainly to -- it's important for the families and that -- sustaining the welfare for our sailors and Marines. But can you give me any thoughts on what -- how you emphasize it within your -- the branch, what you need to be doing in a different way or to continue the treatment for our wounded warriors?
MR. MABUS: Senator, there is no higher priority, if confirmed, that I will have than to care for these men and women who have represented us so well and who have paid so dearly in this country's defense. Whether it is in their health care, their mental health care, the assistance to families, the reintegration either into their units or back to their hometowns, the continuing health care, the continuing care for them and their families, we have no higher duty as a country. And if confirmed, I will have no higher priority as secretary of the Navy.
MR. WORK: Senator, I believe both the Navy's Safe Harbor Program and the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment are -- from what we understand, are extremely well run. As Governor Mabus said, if confirmed, I look forward to working with the secretary to making sure that this is a world-class operation, that we take care of our wounded heroes.
I agree with the governor that there is no higher priority in the department, to take care of our sailors and Marines who have given so much.
SEN. HAGAN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Hagan.
SENATOR ROLAND BURRIS (D-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome to our nominees. I continue to be extremely impressed with the very high caliber of individuals President Obama has nominated to run the essential portions within our government, and this panel is no less, Mr. Chairman. Quite an impressive panel.
The president and I agree that we need to -- we need dedicated leadership to run the affairs of our government. The nation is looking for you nominees to play a role in the redirection of our efforts to benefit and protect all of our citizens, especially those who were ignored as a result of the previous policies.
I have office calls scheduled, I think, with several of you, and look forward to these nominees moving quickly as we work on this ambitious agenda that we have so -- all so undertaken. There's an opportunity for us, in partnership with you nominees, to cause a real change in our nation. I look forward to the mutual cooperation for the benefit of this great nation.
And Mr. Chairman, there is a relationship here with each one of these nominees. Mr. Work, I understand that you are a graduate of the University of Illinois and you had some --
MR. WORK: I am, sir. Go Illini.
SEN. BURRIS: Go Illini. Okay. I'm a Saluki, but you're from Illinois. That will help.
And to Ms. King, who has the same name of my chief of staff, and I just wondered whether or not there was some relationship there, but they tell me --
MS. KING: (Inaudible) -- but no.
SEN. BURRIS: -- that you-all are just play cousins. So that's what we call it. But they have the same name. So Brady (sp) has already briefed me in terms of your skills on this Hill and what you will do as the nominee.
Of course, Mr.Remy has a distinguished -- being a Howard Law grad. And what is your class, Brother Remy?
MR. REMY: 1991.
SEN. BURRIS: '91, (a recent class ?). How about the class of '63?
MR. REMY: (Laughs.) Go Bison.
SEN. BURRIS: Go Bison.
And I'll save the best for last. This young man here, who is going to be our secretary of the Navy, was the state auditor of the great state of Mississippi when I was state comptroller, and we worked very closely together in doing the responsibility for our state. But not only that, he advanced to the great position of the governor of the great state of Mississippi.
And we kind of shocked the people in my state capital when I was being honored, Mr. Chairman, as 10 years in public service. We brought in the guest speaker of our banquet the governor of the state of Mississippi, was coming to Springfield, Illinois, to be the guest speaker to honor the state comptroller for 10 years. And of course, that kind of sent a message to a lot of people in my capital that there was something going on. This was in the mid-'80s. And Governor Mabus was very, very supportive.
Not only that, Governor; you may remember when my wife, who hails from Mississippi, from the great delta, part of Itta Bena, where Mississippi Valley State is, and we visited you at the Governor's Mansion. That's the first time in her lifetime she had a chance to go in the Governor's Mansion in the state of Mississippi.
And Ray, you are a tribute to the people of your state. I just noticed how you have the bipartisan support. I didn't think that those two senators would come and support you like that.
But evidently you -- because you made your record in the state of Mississippi, and we're very proud of you. And I know you will do your record as secretary of the Navy. So I am very pleased to be with you.
Just one quick question, Mr. Governor. Are you familiar with the contract that the Navy is putting out to a company called Boeing to deal with this F-18 fighter that's going to replace five of those various Navy planes that are on the ships? And I think the Navy's requested some 39 of them, but they only budgeted for 31. I wondered if you wouldn't look into that, should you be confirmed -- and I know you'll have a vote here -- but look into the fact that, you know, we can make sure that we're getting the adequate supply of those F-18s and those Super Phantoms -- I mean, Super Hornets that the Navy will need. Have you had any chance to look into any of that?
MR. MABUS: Senator, I know that Secretary Gates's recommendation going forward is to -- for -- to acquire 31 of the Super Hornets, nine tactical fighters and the other -- the E and F series and the other planes to be the G series, the Growler series of that plane, and that his recommendation also was to have 24 planes each of the F-18 E and F series in the next two years, 24 and 24. But in specific answer to your question, yes, I will look into that, and -- if I am confirmed.
SEN. BURRIS: And secondly, Governor, the -- I listened to your answer and lost my train of thought. But the -- oh, wow. The -- can't pull it back. But anyway, I will --
SEN. : Perhaps you could just use that -- the record? You could submit that question to --
SEN. BURRIS: Yeah, I will submit that question to the record. Because it had to do with the follow-up on -- oh, I know what it is. It's a single-year contract. The company Boeing is seeking to -- they want a two-year contract on those F-18s, and they're going to, you know, put that line up. The line has to come down. You know, Boeing hired a lot of people across the river -- the plant is in St. Louis, but a lot of Illinoisans work in that Boeing factory, and I wanted you to look at, when you get there, whether or not that could be a two- year contract with you and Secretary Gates rather than the one-year contract.
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir.
SEN. BURRIS: Okay, thank you. That was my point.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Burris.
Senator Begich is next.
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I have very few questions.
But first, Elizabeth, thank you for taking the time and meeting with me. It's, you know -- sounds like a breath of fresh air in the communication that you're going to bring to the Senate. So I appreciate that as a new member here, and looking forward to working with you.
I want to follow up on Senator Hagan's questions, if I could, to Governor Mabus and Mr. Work, in regard to the pirates. And how do you see -- it seems to be a continued, growing problem, not only here but also in the Pacific and the Pacific Rim. How do you see or do you see a more aggressive role by the United States in dealing with the pirates?
MR. MABUS: Senator, I think that you -- that the administration has talked about a much more comprehensive approach toward that and that you cannot simply deal with the pirates at sea; you have to deal with where they come from, with the states on the land.
One of the reasons that there's been more success against piracy in places like the Straits of Malacca is that you have governments and states ashore that are willing to use their law enforcement tools and techniques against pirates when they -- when they come back to their home bases and that you simply don't have that situation in Somalia right now. You've got a state that has no government that can do anything to do that.
And I know that the president, Secretary Clinton have talked about a far more comprehensive strategy in dealing with them and that, if confirmed, I look forward to making sure that the -- that the Navy has the equipment, has the people to carry out whatever missions the president and the combatant commanders give them in terms of whatever strategy we pursue.
SEN. BEGICH: If I can -- an additional follow-up. I guess that -- are we going to be in a situation -- again, you may not be able to fully answer this -- but are we going to be in a situation where we're waiting for the on-land situation to get resolved or at least more conducive to dealing with this because, you know, Somalia has not been the most stable country for many, many years, but yet the piracy has continued to grow and be more aggressive in the last few years.
And I guess I'm a little more direct in how to deal with it. And I think what the SEALs did was the right thing to do in the sense of sending a message.
But how do you see this process moving forward? That's where I guess I'm -- I recognize there's a lot of discussion, but Somalia is not necessarily the place that's going to end up first on -- first out to solve this problem, unless I'm missing something. And I'm new here, but I'm just -- from my outside looking in -- additional comments or --
MR. MABUS: No, sir. At this point in my process -- and I'm very new --
SEN. BEGICH: We have -- we share that.
MR. MABUS: -- I have not been given what exactly our strategy is against these pirates.
And I know it's a matter of intense concern. The things I said about the president and Secretary Clinton, in terms of dealing with it, are things they've said publicly. But I know that it will be something that I will be intently concerned with, should I be confirmed to this job.
SEN. BEGICH: Thank you. And I'm assuming, because one of the pieces of the puzzle will be, if there is more intensity from us and participation, the Navy will have to have the proper equipment, the right kind of ships that can move and be mobile and be able to deal with the issue.
Is that part of the equation?
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
SEN. BEGICH: Mr. Work, do you want to add to that?
MR. WORK: Simply Senator that there's two different ways or two complementary ways to deal with this problem. One is through law enforcement, using the U.S. Coast Guard, following up on Suppression of Unlawful Acts at Sea.
Kenya, for example, is just about ready to prosecute one of the first piracy cases because they're a signatory, as are we. The Coast Guard operates under use-of-force rules. And the Navy would operate under rules of engagement.
So if confirmed, I think it would be very, very critical for the naval commanders to understand the rules of engagement and to be given all of the support they need, to accomplish the mission.
SEN. BEGICH: Very good.
MR. WORK: Last, totally different area. We're going to go north now, because I'm from Alaska. So any comment? I know the Coast Guard has a lot of comment, regarding the Arctic and what the future is and what role they might have there.
Do you from the Navy, either one of you, have any comment, in where you see the long-term role and participation in the future, in regards to Arctic policy and how the Navy may or may not participate up there?
MR. MABUS: In the national maritime strategy that was put out -- by the chief of Naval Operations, the commandant of the Marine Corps and the commandant of the Coast Guard -- one of the major areas that they saw our naval forces participating in is climate change and persistent presence, in places such -- places all around the world, to meet whatever either potential adversaries that we have or natural conditions that may be changing or needs attention and that our naval forces are uniquely positioned to provide a lot of the information, a lot of the presence in those areas.
MR. WORK: So I think, yes, the Arctic is important.
MR. MABUS: A much better answer than I just gave. Yes.
SEN. BEGICH: I understand.
Mr. Work, do you have any additional?
MR. WORK: If the Northwest Passage opens up year-round, it will fundamentally change trade routes and also passage of warships to the North.
The Coast Guard obviously will have a prime role in supporting our interests up there, but if that happens, then the U.S. Navy would obviously find this area a very, very important operational focus.
SEN. BEGICH: Thank you very much. I'll end there, Mr. Chairman, and just say again, I'm -- as Senator Burris said earlier and others have said, as the president has continued to bring folks forward for confirmation, especially to this committee that we have a role in, it's impressive the group of folks, the wide range of experience and the knowledge that you bring to the table.
So I just congratulate you. And I wish your families the best, because you'll need a lot of support going through this process that I hope ends in a positive in the sense of confirmation of all of you -- but also, once you're in service, the service that will be required of you and your family.
So thank you very much for your willingness to serve.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Webb?
SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, just a follow-up on a couple things that Senator Begich just said. I -- I'm of the view -- we're having hearings next week, but I'm of the view that, on this piracy issue, we're making it far too complicated. This has been -- the policies in terms of the violation of international law have been around for a long time, and if you shoot the people who do it and blow up their boats, they won't be back.
I would like to respond just a bit to what Senator Martinez said on this Mayport issue. I know you all are kind of in the barrel on this on your confirmation hearings. But I can remember when I was assistant secretary of Defense and we had strategic home-porting -- big push when John Lehman was secretary of the Navy.
And you know, any logical proposition can be carried to an extreme. That's why you need to measure these things through risk assessment and other ways. And actually, there was a big push at that time, in the name of strategic home-porting, to put home-porting in Alaska. Senator Stevens was a great advocate of that, and there actually was a plan in place at one point.
With respect to the names that Senator Martinez brought forward in terms of people who support the idea of strategic dispersal, I don't think there's anybody who disagrees with the notion that, properly constructed and properly analyzed, there ought to be strategic dispersal. But I'll tell you two former secretaries of the Navy who certainly don't believe that that applies to the situation we're talking about, with moving a carrier from Virginia to Mayport, and that's Senator John Warner and myself.
And if I were a senator from Nebraska, I'd be saying the same thing. And I'm not going to pose this to you directly, Governor Mabus, today, because I am aware that the deputy secretary of Defense has already made a commitment to bring this issue up to the OSD level and to examine it in the next Quadrennial Defense Review.
But for the record, there's never been a nuclear aircraft carrier in Mayport.
You check the data on that. There have been carriers; there's never been a nuclear aircraft carrier in Mayport. And the number of aircraft carriers, from the time that I was secretary of the Navy even -- and I say "even" because, as I was saying to you yesterday, there were 930 ships in the United States Navy when I was commissioned in 1968. But even when I was secretary of the Navy in the 1980s, there were 15 carriers, and it was a different situation than there is today.
We have a commitment from OSD on this. The preliminary work that has been authorized -- or that we have been informed will take place -- the dredging and the improvement of the pier site, I'm not going to oppose that. I believe, in fact, that it alleviates a lot of the concerns about possibly having a second place for our carrier to go, in terms of an emergency.
But I would say very strongly that this issue is going to be debated, and I want it to be debated properly. I want it to be debated on issues of our national strategy and the assets that we have available to solve problems. When the Navy comes in here, as they did last year and said they got $4.6 billion in unfunded priorities -- requirements, not priorities, requirements -- unfunded requirements, and then they turn around and say they want another billion to do this, I think they -- they've gone from the area of need-to-have to the area of nice-to-have. And there's a lot of places you can take a billion dollars and do some good for the United States Navy. And Mr. Work, you are uniquely qualified to address that issue. I'm going to get back to that in a minute.
Before I ask a question of you, Governor Mabus, I'd like to say something to Ms. King. I would hope, in the spirit of, you know, bringing the Department of Defense and this panel into harmony, that you will take a look at this 60-day rule. You know, when we have people come up here and testify, and we ask questions and the response basically is, "Well, we'll get back to you with a written answer," in too many cases -- and frankly, particularly with the Army -- in too many cases, this has been used as a way to sort of roll issues that are kind of hot-button issues now, and kind of get them off the radar screen. And I hope that you will look at that 60-day period as sort of the floor, rather than the regular process, particularly when there are issues that come before us that are time-sensitive.
MS. KING: I will, Senator.
SEN. WEBB: Thank you. Governor, I would like to say, first of all, I think you bring a great set of qualifications to the job, a very unique set of qualifications: having been governor, having been ambassador, having served on active duty and having been a businessman. And I would say to you -- as someone who spent five years in the Pentagon, has been around the military all my life, who loves the military, who also believes the military sometimes needs tough love -- that I hope that once you assume your position here, you will resist the notion to get on an airplane and go say "Hi" around the world -- which is what they're going to ask you to do -- and really get your arms around the need for strong civilian leadership in the Department of the Navy.
And I would like to give you an example here and ask for you to bring us your ideas in terms of management policies that might fix it.
About a year and a half ago, I read in the Wall Street Journal that Blackwater, which now has a new name -- I don't remember what, I think it's Xe -- was building a facility and had a multi -- like tens of million-dollar project in San Diego to build a facility to train active-duty sailors how to tactically deal with a presence on their ship. And the first thing that struck me about that was that why six years, then, after 9/11 were we asking civilian contractors to teach our military people how to perform military functions? It would be like when I was in Quantico, as a Marine, having Blackwater coming and teaching me how to patrol.
So I started asking questions about this. The City of San Diego was opposing this facility. That's how it ended up in the Wall Street Journal. But I started asking questions about how did this project get authorized? Had it ever come before this committee? Was it specifically before the Appropriations Committee? How do these things happen?
And the end result of it was that there was a block of money that had moved forward from the Appropriations Committee, O&M money, from which the Department of the Navy decided that to service the, quote, "needs of the fleet," they would make this contract with Blackwater. In other words, it wasn't an authorized program. It simply emanated, you know, from a locality in the Navy.
And as I asked further questions, it turned out that, from the information that I was given, an SES in the Navy, one level up from the program authorizer, could make this decision up to an amount of $78.5 million without even the approval of the secretary of the Navy. I think, as someone who's got a lot of experience in business and management, you would probably find that as disconcerting as I did.
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir.
SEN. WEBB: Here's what I would ask. I would like to send you this packet and just get you to put a management check on it, if you would, and maybe we can discuss, or maybe I can just get your reaction in terms of management policies for these sorts of things that are happening inside the Department of the Navy.
MR. MABUS: I will be very -- very happy to do that.
SEN. WEBB: Thank you very much.
And Mr. Work, you are a lucky man, because my time just ran out. (Laughter.)
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Nelson.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): Ms. King, you have worked for Senator Reed, and you know the process up here. And I think the words of Senator Webb are well spoken, about making sure that the Department of Defense is getting back to us on -- it -- they haven't in the past.
MS. KING: I understand.
SEN. BILL NELSON: It's another way of rope-a-doping, and we're so busy around here that we're not all the time checking every day to see that the Department of Defense is responding. And so thank you: You're uniquely qualified for this.
Because Mayport has been brought up as an issue here, I am compelled to recall for the record the long history of commentary and testimony that has been made to this committee. This past January, the 14th of January, the Navy issued its record of decision to have a home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier at Mayport. It, by the way, was replacing another aircraft carrier, the John F. Kennedy, a conventional carrier that had been home-ported there. And back in the '80s, there were two aircraft carriers. So the Atlantic fleet has historically been spread at least over two ports.
In the Pacific, we know there are three home ports, of which the six carriers stationed in the Pacific are spread. And in its record of decision just a couple of months ago, the record of decision said, quote, "The most significant strategic advantage offered by the development of an additional East Coast CVN home port is a hedge against a catastrophic event that may impact naval station Norfolk," the only existing CVN home port for the Atlantic fleet CVNs, of which there are five that are home-ported of the now six CVNs, the most recent having just been commissioned, the George H.W. Bush.
Furthermore, the Navy stated in that record of decision, quote, "Neither the Navy nor the nation nor its citizens can wait for a catastrophic event to occur before recognizing the potential impacts of such an event.
This lesson was learned all too well in the aftermaths of the recent catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina. The Navy recognized its responsibility to develop a hedge against such an event," period, end of quote. Thus, according to the Navy, quote -- and I continue to read from the record of decision -- quote, "The decision to create the capacity to home-port a CVN at Naval Station Mayport represents the best military judgment of the Navy's leadership regarding strategic considerations," end of quote.
They determined that, quote, "The cost of developing a CVN home port at Naval Station Mayport is more than offset by the added security for CVN assets and enhanced operational effectiveness provided by the ability to operate out of two home ports," end of quote.
Those are not my words. That's the Navy's words, in their decision to have a home port for a nuclear carrier.
Mr. Chairman, I ask that the Navy's record of decision be entered into this committee record.
SEN. LEVIN: It will be at this point.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Now, needless to say, the secretary of the Navy and the chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Roughead, clearly understood also the lessons of Pearl Harbor, of which Admiral Kimmel, a four-star admiral, the head of the Pacific Fleet, because he allowed those battleships to be all collected up -- and it was just serendipitous that our carriers had left port when the Japanese struck -- Admiral Kimmel was relieved of his command. He was forced to retire, and he was stripped of two of his four stars. His family over the last half-century have tried to have that case reviewed and stars reinstated, and the Navy has refused, in large part because of the lesson that we must always remember.
So the Navy's decision to make Naval Station Mayport a home port to a nuclear aircraft carrier is consistent with senior DOD and Navy leadership, including the following instances that have been well chronicled in this record of this committee.
In the additional views we have cited, for example, the former chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark, told the Armed Services Committee, in February of '05, that in his view, quote, "Overcentralization of the carrier port structure is not a good strategic move. The Navy should have two carrier-capable home ports on each coast," end of quote.
Admiral Clark went on to say, quote, "It is my belief that it would be a serious strategic mistake to have all of those key assets, of our Navy, tied up in one port," end of quote.
In March of '06, deputy secretary of Defense and the former secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, testified to this committee that the Navy needed to disperse its Atlantic Coast carriers, saying, quote, "My judgment is that dispersion is still the situation. A nuclear carrier should be in Florida to replace, to replace, the USS John F. Kennedy, to get some dispersion," end of quote.
Secretary England explained that, quote, "The concern was, there always will be weapons of mass destruction. Even though carriers were at sea, the maintenance facilities, et cetera, are still there. And the crews, so having some dispersion, would be of value to the Department of the Navy," end of quote.
At the same hearing, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, shared his own judgment that we should disperse our carriers.
He illustrated his sense of risk, to the nation's East Coast carriers, when he recalled his own visit to Norfolk, one Christmas, where, quote, "We had five aircraft carriers, all sitting, one next to each other. And that is not something that we should routinely do," end of quote.
And Mr. Chairman, I'd like to enter, into the record, a photograph, as recent as 1997, of five aircraft carriers all docked, side by side, at the Naval Station Norfolk.
And I would also like to enter, into the record, a chart prepared, by the Department of the Navy, of the number of times that two, three, four, five and, when you include across the river, in the dry dock, six aircraft carriers have been located, in the number of days, in that particular calendar year, going back for a couple of decades.
SEN. LEVIN: Without objection.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Then on July 31st of 2007, before this committee, when asked whether he agreed that it is in our national interest to ensure that we maintain two nuclear carrier ports on the East Coast of the United States and in the principle of strategic dispersal, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, stated, quote, "I am, Senator, and I'm on the record more than once for this, very supportive of strategic dispersal of our carriers," end of quote.
And on last December, December the 18th, 2008, Secretary Gates wrote to Senator Webb and to Senator Warner -- two former secretaries of the Navy, as Senator Webb has pointed out, but also the two senators from Virginia -- Secretary Gates wrote to of the Navy's decision -- wrote to those two senators, quote, "based foremost on strategic consideration -- considerations, the CNO recommended and after thorough consideration of the EIS, estimated cost of implementation, and strategic laydown and dispersal, Secretary Winter concluded that home porting a CVN at Naval Station Mayport best supports the Navy's mission and is critical to our naval security interest," end of quotes. That's from a letter from Secretary Gates.
And he continued, quote, "There is significant national security value in establishing an additional East Coast CVN support base," end of quote. And Secretary of Defense Gates wrote, quote, "Having a single CVN home port has not been considered acceptable on the West Coast and should not be considered acceptable on the East Coast," end of quote.
And Mr. Chairman, I ask that that letter be entered in the record.
SEN. LEVIN: Without objection.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Well, then, as Senator Webb has stated, on 10 April 2009, the Department of Defense announced their intent to review the Navy's home porting decision in the Quadrennial Defense Review.
Now, both of you, I think, have stated for the record that you intend to play a major participatory role in the QDR. Is that correct?
MR. : If confirmed, that's correct, Senator.
MR. : (Off mike) -- sir.
SEN. BILL NELSON: What weight would you share with the committee that you would give to the professional military judgments of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the CNO, Admirals Mullen and Roughead?
MR. MABUS: Senator, I think that at this stage of my process and the fact that this decision has been put in the QDR, that I should say that I understand the issue, understand its importance, understand the expressions of the decisions of both -- on both sides of the issue, and that I look forward to delving into the details of this issue, so that a fair and equitable decision can be made coming out of the QDR.
SEN. BILL NELSON: All right. And I understand how you're constrained at this point. I appreciate that. It's a delicate situation. You're a great public servant and you're going to be a great secretary of the Navy.
One other fact has come to my attention. That when you consider what we expect to be the DOD request on the funding for the long-lead items, which is the dredging of the channel -- it's been filling up -- back down to the depth that will accommodate a nuclear aircraft carrier, and it had been dredged to a similar depth when the John F. Kennedy was coming and going up through 2007; as well as what we expect to be the request on the improvements to the pier, which is also a long-lead item, and of which Senator Webb said he is not going to oppose those funding requests, it's come to my attention that the Navy engineers must have military construction funding this year if there is to be no delay in implementing the Navy's decision.
And Secretary Lynn has assured us that the QDR review would not cause a delay to the Navy. And since the QDR would be decided in the coming months, that would seem to be the case. And that's what he's committed to us.
Now, the concern is that there may not be the request in the funding for the design funding, and that's a long-lead item too. So I would ask you, as the new secretary of the Navy, if you would go and speak to your superiors that within that funding there should be the provisions for the design funding so that there is, in fact, what has been committed, no delay, instead of it being pushed off again.
MR. MABUS: Yes, sir, I will investigate that particular issue.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Now, I was not planning on a second round, but I think Senator Webb has got his hand up.
SEN. WEBB: Just briefly, Mr. Chairman.
I -- since my colleague took well over his eight minutes, and in lieu of a second round, I'd just like to reiterate a few points that I made on this before: that it is properly before the Office of the Secretary of Defense to be looked at in terms of strategic viability.
There -- I would like also -- since my friend from Florida has put all these documents into the committee hearing -- we did a 21-page assessment of the Navy's proposal. It was written largely by Gordon Peterson (sp) on my staff, a 30-year naval officer. And I would ask that be submitted -- included in the record as well.
SEN. LEVIN: Without objection.
SEN. WEBB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. NELSON: Mr. Chairman, I would ask in addition -- I already requested that the chart be entered, as well as the two photographs in the record, along with the record of decision and the secretary of Defense's letter to Senator Webb, December the 18th, 2008 -- that identical letter was sent to Senator Warner, the then-senior senator of Virginia -- and also additional views that I had submitted back in the year 2007 to the National Defense Authorization Act for the year 2007.
SEN. : It's contributed. Good. Mr. Chairman, perhaps we could --
SEN. MCCAIN: Mr. Chairman, could I ask the indulgence of my friend? We'll -- I can see we're in a discussion that will probably go on for a long time and will probably be the subject of a markup. I would remind my colleagues we do have other nominees that have been waiting patiently. I hope we could move on here pretty quick.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: I am -- unless there's additional need for questions -- going to excuse this panel.
SEN. REED: (Off mike) -- get Udall.
SEN. LEVIN: No, I checked with Senator Udall. Thank you, Senator Reed, for pointing that out. I did check with Senator Udall, and he indicated he did not need to ask questions to this panel. We appreciate that.
We will now excuse the panel. However, Mr. Remy, following a request here, if you could provide promptly for the record a detailed description of your duties at -- and this is for the record -- at Fannie Mae and whether you were aware of any of the activities which contributed to the mortgage crisis that has emerged, and if you could do that promptly, we'd appreciate it.
MR. REMY: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, without objection, then, we will excuse this panel, with thanks to you and your families.