WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Air Force generals testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee during their nomination hearing as the next U.S. Transportation Command commander and new vice chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff July 14.
Both were nominated by President Barack Obama and expressed their gratitude for the nomination, and if selected look forward to working together with Congress, the Defense Department, and other branches of the government and military.
“I look forward to working with (all agencies) to address a wide spectrum of challenges confronting our nation,” said Gen. Paul J. Selva, the nominee for vice chairman to the Joint Chiefs. “We are increasingly at risk in space, across the networks of cyberspace and face competitors who are fielding increasingly sophisticated, conventional and nuclear arsenals.”
During the course of the hearing, the generals testified of threats to the U.S., such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Cybersecurity was not left out of the equation.
“There is always that threat adversarial nations can shut down our nation, and as we go forward, the threat only gets worse,” said Gen. Darren W. McDew, the nominee for USTRANSCOM commander. “Our ability to deal with it must evolve and we have to find ways to do better going forward.”
With discussions of the threats from outside the U.S., Selva testified to the threat on the homefront — sequestration.
“Sequestration presents a direct threat to the morale of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines,” said Selva, the current USTRANSCOM commander. “We deserve the best-maintained and best equipment available to fight the threats that face this nation.”
Sequestration affects readiness, the ability to maintain a force and the ability to sustain the morale of the men and women who have committed to defending the freedom and liberty around the world, Selva continued.
“Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen truly are the heart and soul of our competitive advantage and they are far more effective when the full weight of our country’s power is working in unison,” Selva said. “If confirmed, I look forward to being an advocate for those men and women who wear the uniform of our nation and their civilian counterparts in our department.”
McDew listed readiness as the number one priority for the USTRANSCOM enterprise in his written testimony.
“If confirmed, I will continue the focus on preserving readiness and aligning resources for mission success and to further enhance USTRANSCOMS’s operational resiliency,” McDew stated. “USTRANSCOM has made great strides in improving economies and efficiencies. I will continue this work by managing readiness, cost, and time variables to deliver effective and efficient deployment and distribution solutions commensurate with assigned authorities and available resources.”
As the hearing continued, the generals discussed opening up more dialogue with senior military leaders across the globe on suicide rates and the stigma put on mental health.
“I think the greatest lesson I carry forward into any job is the dedication of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and all of their civilian counterparts, both in and out of government, to get the job done,” Selva said. “They depend on us for sound leadership and for advocacy. What I will (bring) into the position as vice chairman, if confirmed, is that undying obligation to be an advocate for (servicemen and women) who lay their lives on the line for us every day.”