"Thank you, Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, Gen. Pace and Lynne, ladies and gentlemen. Eighteen months ago, I went to the Pentagon to help Gen. Shelton, and in that time I've learned a lot. I learned about vision and leadership from watching him work. I learned about physical and moral courage from seeing his example. And I also learned about how rewarding it can be coming to work and just from being able to call him my friend.
"I have figuratively and literally enormous shoes to fill and Mary Jo and I are indebted to Hugh and Carolyn Shelton for their leadership. But I knew when I went to the Pentagon that it was a great opportunity to serve. So, today, I am honored by the chance to continue that service. And I am humbled, Mr. President, that you have asked me to do so as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"If confirmed, I very much look forward to remaining part of this terrific defense team, captained by a dedicated, visionary and principled Secretary of Defense. And Secretary Rumsfeld, I thank you for your vote of confidence.
"Like the hardworking Americans here in the heartland of Texas, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to work to building the kind of military that President Bush envisions, one that is poised to meet current obligations and emerging threats. As the President has said, we face tough challenges ahead and a lot of work remains. But with the help of God, my wife Mary Jo, our family and our friends, along with our extended family of the hundreds of thousands of superb soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and coastguardsmen, active and reserve, the task is less daunting.
"I'm absolutely delighted to have Gen. Pete Pace join us as vice chairman. Pete and I have worked together before. And I can tell you from personal experience, that Pete will bring tremendous talent, skill and leadership to the vice chairman's position. Pete and Lynne, we look forward to working closely with you again. And I think you will all agree that we are fortunate to have him.
"It is with that larger family, our uniformed men and women, along with our DoD civilian counterparts, that we will conquer those challenges and I look forward to doing just that. This is going to be great!
"Thank you very much."