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DOD Policy Nominees Share Insights at Confirmation Hearing

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2014 – Two Defense Department nominees in the policy arena shared their visions of DOD’s future in a Senate Armed Service Committee confirmation hearing yesterday.

Christine E. Wormuth is nominated to be undersecretary of defense for policy, and Brian McKeon is nominated to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

“Senators, we live in a globalized, rapidly changing world at a time when the United States faces a number of challenges,” said Wormuth, who noted she began her civil service career with the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1995. “But there are also opportunities to shape a more peaceful world.”

She said she would work toward that goal with Congress and the executive branch to “advance U.S. national security interests in this environment,” if confirmed.

Wormuth said that if she’s confirmed, she would support Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in “building and sustaining strong defense relationships with countries around the world with the goal of preventing crises wherever possible, and ensuring our military is ready to respond to crises if needed.”

Providing day-to-day leadership and management of DOD’s policy office would be a top priority, “so that it continues to provide excellent support to Secretary Hagel and to the president,” Wormuth told committee members.

“I grew up professionally in OSD policy, and over the years in and out of government I have continued to be very impressed with the quality of our national security workforce,” she said.

McKeon said his 20-plus years of service in the Senate and five years in the executive branch, where he is the executive secretary and chief of staff of the National Security Council, have given him “a strong appreciation” for challenges that confront the nation.

“I am fully aware that not all wisdom resides in the executive branch,” he said. “I recognize that we will not always agree. But we are all motivated by the same commitment to protect the country and our national interests.”

If he’s confirmed, McKeon said, he would help DOD “maintain a regular dialogue” with Congress.

“In my time at the White House, I have worked closely with many OSD Policy employees. … Just as the ranks of the uniformed military are filled with highly dedicated professionals, so too is OSD Policy,” he said.

McKeon said the civilian employee furlough last year and the government shutdown in October were “a difficult period” for DOD employees.

“Our government is only as strong as its people,” he told the committee. “An important priority would be to focus on our human capital.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkAFPS)


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