10/29/2019 — 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I join you in welcoming Ms. Hershman, Mr. Deasy, and Mr. Sanders to this morning’s hearing.  I would also like to welcome Ms. Hershman’s husband Brandt, Mr. Deasy’s wife, Karla, as well as Mr. Sander’s family including his wife Ingrid and their son Javier Hurtado. We are pleased you could be with us this morning. 

Ms. Hershman, you are nominated to be the Chief Management Officer, a difficult assignment considering the unique management challenges posed by the Department of Defense.  Prior to joining the Department, you worked on management reform initiatives in the private sector, and for over a year now, you have focused on instituting management reforms in the Pentagon.  I hope you will share your plans with the Committee on how to reform the Department’s management processes, including your vision for finding and retaining people with the modern management expertise and skills, in fields like data science, to work on the huge management challenges in the Department of Defense.

Mr. Deasy, you are nominated to be the Chief Information Officer, a position you have held for nearly a year and a half.  Prior to serving in the Department, Mr. Deasy served as the CIO for JP Morgan Chase where he managed the bank’s investments in information technology and cybersecurity.

The CIO function in Department of Defense has often been criticized as weak and ineffective, which has led to it being marginalized.  I hope that DoD’s success in attracting someone of Mr. Deasy’s stature and capability to serve as the CIO heralds a new trend for the Department. 

Furthermore, I note that the Secretary of Defense has entrusted Mr. Deasy with many critical responsibilities such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, network modernization, data strategy, and cybersecurity.  I look forward to hearing how you will make sure that all military Services are in-sync as they develop and adopt new IT systems and capabilities.

Mr. Sander, you have been nominated to be the Navy General Counsel.  The Navy has not had a Senate confirmed General Counsel since January 2017, and during that time, the Navy has had to deal with numerous high-profile legal issues. 

The Navy continues to struggle with the fallout of the “Fat Leonard” scandal.  In addition, the Navy has several high-profile cases involving the Navy SEAL community, raising questions about the ethics and culture of this elite community of warriors.  Finally, the McCain and Fitzgerald ship collisions have raised questions about Navy readiness for sustained operations and legal questions about the role and responsibilities of senior Navy officials.  These issues will require continuous attention.

Finally, the Secretary of the Navy has directed a comprehensive review of the Navy and Marine Corps military legal communities.  Although this review has not been directed to examine the office of the Navy General Counsel, it may assess the relationships and division of duties between the Navy and Marine Corps JAG offices and the Navy General Counsel.

If confirmed, Mr. Sander will be called upon to provide his advice on these and other complex legal matters.  His experience in the Army General Counsel’s office, and as an Army Reserve judge advocate, should equip him well to take on these challenges.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.