July 30, 2009 - Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee
December 1, 2009
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, distinguished members of the Armed Services Committee. It is a great honor for me as well to be here and to be nominated by President Obama to be the undersecretary of the Army. I am also very grateful for the confidence and support of Secretary Gates.
As Senator Collins and the chairman noted in my resume, I spent a good deal of my life in academia. And in that part of my life, I spent almost all of it studying the Congress. And it's because of that that I am very humbled to come once again before this committee seeking your confirmation. And I thank the chair-man and Senator McCain for their very kind introductions.
It's not only an honor and a privilege to have a professional relationship with my two senators from Maine, but also to call them my friends. I'm very grateful for the support they have given me and the kind and wonderful introduction that Senator Collins gave today.
Her tireless efforts on behalf of the citizens of Maine, and all Americans, have made myself and my family and all of us who are part of that great state very, very proud. I want to thank Senator Collins for her most gracious introduction but, more importantly, for her steadfast support of the men and women in uniform. She's just been a great advocate for ensuring that the needs of our troops are considered and met.
And in knowing her personally, I got to meet her family -- particularly, her dad and her mom. Her mom, Pat, was a former chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Maine -- not while I was there, but prior to my coming onboard -- and she certainly knew the university very well. And her dad was a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and to my knowledge, he was decorated with the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. And I got to meet her dad and spend quite a bit of time with him, and am very honored to have known him. And I'm sure he's extremely proud of his daughter today.
With me today is my wife, Linda, Linda Westphal. We've been married 41 years. She and I have raised a family, raised four children: James, Heather, Amy and Lindsey. Unfortunately, they couldn't be here today because of family commitments and work responsibilities. But these -- three of our four kids are married, and have blessed us with six grandchildren. They know -- my family knows how demanding these jobs can be on the individual and the family; and thus, their support and patience and love have only helped to strengthen our family bond and to give me the opportunity to serve my country through public service.
I also wish to cite the contribution to our nation of my wife's dad, Wilbur McMaster, now deceased. He was a soldier who served in the Pacific during World War II. And for me, he always truly represented that group of men and women that came -- have come to be known as "the greatest generation." Senator Collins' dad would be one of those individuals.
I hope that my mother-in-law Mary is watching this hearing, and her love and support are very important to me, as well.
I'm honored to be here today also alongside a great public servant, Congressman John McHugh, who's deeply committed to the task ahead, should you choose to confirm him. Congressman McHugh is a good friend and, if we are confirmed, I look forward to working with him and supporting his efforts in leading the Army towards a more sustainable future.
If confirmed, I pledge to work closely with you, your staffs, to truly partner with the other services, with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in what I believe ought to be a fervent and urgent effort to sustain the best army in the world and ensure our national security needs are met.
I believe one of the most important responsibilities I will have, if confirmed, will be to support the secretary of the Army in meeting the needs of our soldiers and their families. And Congressman McHugh eloquently expressed that important priority.
I pledge to the president, to the secretary of Defense, to this committee, to the Congress that I will work hard and to the best of my ability to meet that commitment. And I thank all of you for your consideration of my nomination.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.