Admiral Mullen, thank you for that introduction.
A special welcome to the entire Lynn family – especially Bill’s wife Mary, and his daughter Catherine.
Thank you all for coming. Senator Warner, thank you for being here this afternoon. It is a real honor to say a few words about Bill Lynn – a man who has devoted his professional career, both in and out of government, to our nation’s defense.
The post of deputy secretary has monumental responsibilities: as the chief management officer, it is Bill’s job to run the day-to-day operations of the Department of Defense, an organization with a half-trillion-dollar annual budget and more than three million employees across the globe. As I like to say, the largest organization on the planet.
He comes to this job with many years of relevant experience, and a long list of professional accomplishments. For those of you who don’t know Bill’s background, he has held some of the most critical positions within the Pentagon – special assistant on budget matters for Secretary of Defense Les Aspin; director of PA&E as Mike indicated; and as comptroller, the Department’s top budget man. All told, he’s spent eight years in the building already – that he’s coming back for more shows Bill to be either a man of great dedication and patriotism or a real glutton for punishment.
As much as his time here in the 90s gives him insight into the Department of Defense and its programs – he played key roles in defense-finance reform and the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review – it is his other experiences that make him a unique person to take on the responsibilities of the department’s chief management officer.
Bill has seen defense issues from the perspective of every major stakeholder in Washington – from the inside of the Pentagon and the administration, to the chambers of Capitol Hill, to the halls of industry and from our most respected think tanks and defense universities. This knowledge – this familiarity with who will be impacted by his decisions and in what ways – is what led the president and me to choose him for this position. I know that he possesses a first-class intellect that will yield well-informed decisions.
This is all the more important as we survey the challenges the Department faces: two wars overseas, one winding down, the other entering a new phase; a budget situation that will force the Department to make tough choices; an acquisition process in need of reform; and a bureaucracy that still needs to be streamlined and better organized to fight wars and support our men and women in uniform while they’re deployed and when they return home.
As you know, we’re in the heart of the budget season, and we’re moving ahead quickly on the QDR. I have been extremely impressed by Bill’s depth of knowledge about all issues we face – on management and strategy alike.
On a personal note, I have also been impressed by Bill’s desire to work with other senior officials as a team. I have long believed that, in government, organization charts are far less important than personalities. With the new team here – the deputy secretary, Under Secretary Michele Flournoy, Comptroller Robert Hale, General Counsel Jeh Johnson, and I hope many others very soon – I am confident that together we will be able to make the necessary changes to the Department to win the wars we are in and to keep the nation safe for decades to come.
Bill, thank you for taking on this assignment at a critical time for our nation. I look forward to working with you.