Rostker Named as Undersecretary for Personnel, Readiness
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2000 Army Undersecretary Bernard D. Rostker is Defense Secretary William S. Cohen's candidate for undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Rostker currently is also special assistant to the deputy defense secretary for Gulf War Illnesses. Prior to becoming the Army's No. 2 civilian in 1998, he served as assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs.
Cohen recommended Rostker to the president to replace Rudy de Leon, whom Cohen nominated on Jan. 10 to succeed Deputy Defense Secretary John J. Hamre. Hamre plans to leave March 31 to become the president and chief executive officer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"I am very pleased that Secretary Cohen had the confidence that I could contribute to his team in that manner," Rostker told the American Forces Information Service in a Jan. 18 interview. "I'm very mindful that this is a recommendation to the president. There are several steps between here and ultimately taking office. One of the most important steps is the confirmation by the Senate."
If confirmed, Rostker said, he plans to continue to head the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses office. "When you take a commitment like this to veterans, to help them, it's not something you turn away just because you've got another job," he said.
He said his office released two final reports Jan. 13 and has an ambitious schedule aimed at finalizing all reports by the end of this year.
Rostker said his commitment to veterans and his nomination as undersecretary for personnel and readiness both involve a sacred trust.
"We ask members of our citizenry to volunteer to take on the arduous, dangerous tasks of defending the country," he said. "We owe them nothing less than the best equipment and the best training. We owe them nothing less than taking care of their families in peace and war, during service and after service. It really is a sacred relationship."