Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I also want to welcome Admiral Moran and Lieutenant General Berger to this confirmation hearing regarding their nominations to be the chiefs of their respective services. 

I want to thank both of you for your many years of exemplary service to our nation, and for your willingness to continue to serve.  I also want to thank your families, who also serve, for their dedication and support, which is so critical to our military’s success.   

Admiral Moran, you have an exemplary record of service and are well qualified to be the Chief of Naval Operations.  As the present Vice Chief of Naval Operations, you have been intricately involved in all aspects of the Navy, from personnel to acquisition.

Lieutenant General Berger, you likewise have an outstanding record of service.  Currently serving as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, you are well versed in shaping the Marine Corps for the future, which would serve you well as Commandant.

Admiral Moran, if confirmed as Chief of Naval Operations, you will be tasked with recruiting and retaining a quality force, and ensuring that force contains the necessary structure and readiness levels to meet our nation’s current challenges, and the posture to respond to tomorrow’s threats.  The Navy is already challenged to procure needed ships on time and on budget, and this challenge will be compounded by the need to recapitalize the ballistic missile submarine fleet that was built in the 1980s.  In addition, if you are confirmed, you will have to face the challenge of implementing programs to improve readiness and professionalism in the Navy’s fleet to avoid preventable accidents like the USS McCain and USS Fitzgerald.  Admiral Moran, I am interested in your vision of the Navy and how you would go about making that vision a reality.

General Berger, if confirmed as Commandant of the Marine Corps, you will be tasked with recruiting and retaining a quality force, and shaping that force for new roles against near peer competitors, while maintaining readiness to meet our nation’s current challenges.  This is a daunting task for a small force in fiscally constrained times, and I am interested in your plans for accomplishing such tasks. 

We live in tumultuous times and many core values are being tested.  I am concerned that such times can have a corrosive effect on our military personnel.  It has never been more important that our Navy and Marine Corp have principled leaders who promote respect throughout the ranks, and adhere to a moral code that can serve as an example to all our sailors and marines.  Admiral Moran and General Berger, we all expect and demand that you will be those leaders. I am confident that you will.

I again thank you for your commitment to your nation.  I look forward to your testimony.