April 3, 2011 - Testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee regarding nomination as Army Chief of S
April 7, 2011
Thank you, Chairman Levin.
I'd like to stray from -- I do this at my great peril, but I'd like to stray from my prepared remarks just at the beginning here, because I was struck by the I hope intended symbolism of having Senator Reed sit next to me during his introduction, because I've always felt as though this body in particular was -- was a wingman of the Army's.
And Senator Reed has always been a great wingman. That is to say, someone who watches out for you and who helps you see yourself in ways that perhaps you're unable to see. And I'd like to have that relationship with this committee and with the Congress of the United States. Because, Chairman, I think you've -- and so has the ranking member -- mentioned the challenges we've got before us, and articulated them very well.
And we're going to have to work together to -- to settle those.
Thank you, Chairman. And thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee today in support of my nomination as the 37th chief of staff of the United States Army.
Senator Reed, thank you again, and the members of this committee for allowing me to be part of this process.
And thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to the soldiers of the United States Army and their families.
I've known some of you for a decade or more, and I've met some of you only recently in the last few days. I always welcome the chance to discuss our national security challenges with you, and I sincerely admire what the members of this committee and your professional staffs have done to support those who courageously serve and are resilient in the service of their nation.
I'd like to take a moment, as you suggested, Chairman Levin, to introduce my wife, Deanie, to you. I know she appreciates your kind words about her too. We've been married, as you noted, for almost 35 years. She has joined me in commissioning all three of our children as officers in the Army, and she's sent two of them off to war.
One of them, our son, Major Chris Dempsey, is here today.
Deanie and I have built our lives both within and around the Army, and I can report to you that there is no greater champion for soldiers and their families than Deanie. If I am confirmed, the
Army will receive the great gift of her continued service with, I must be honest, the occasional break to care for our three grandchildren and soon to be five grandchildren.
She is my hero, and I love her for many reasons, not least of which is her shared commitment to the United States Army.
I'd also like to congratulate my predecessor, General George Casey, who will soon complete 41 years of distinguished service to our nation.
I've always considered service in the Army to be a privilege. And that privilege is even more apparent when our way of life is challenged, as it has been over these past 10 years.
I sit before you today with confidence that whatever challenges confront us in the future, your Army will respond with the same courage and resolve that has characterized it for the past 235 years.
You have seen, firsthand, the superb performance of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Less visible, but equally important, are the contributions of soldiers currently deployed in over 150 nations around the globe. These men and women are fulfilling tasks assigned to us in the national security strategy to seek to prevent conflict, by representing our nation and its values and by increasing the capabilities of our international military partners.
They are active, Guard and Reserve. We are truly one Army. And we serve America proudly.
Here at home, we partner with local communities, schools and colleges. Each year, 75,000 of America's sons and daughters make the commitment to leave their homes and serve their nation in the uniform of the United States Army. And in return, we make the commitment to develop them as soldiers and as leaders.
As commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, I've met with soldiers serving in the very center and at the very edges of freedom. I've met with their families living both at home and abroad. I've met with our wounded and with their families. They are inspirational.
They understand the challenges we have, that we face as an Army and as a nation. Their expectations of us are as simple as they are profound.
They trust that we will provide the resources necessary for them to succeed in the fights in which we are currently engaged. And they trust that we will have the wisdom and resolve necessary to prepare them for the missions unknown to us today, but which surely await us.
If you confirm me as the Army's 37th chief of staff, you can be sure that I will act to earn their trust every day; I will work to match their drive, their sacrifice and their resolve; I will partner with the Congress of the United States and this committee in particular to ensure we remain worthy of the title America's Army.
Mr. Chairman, I want to assure you and the members of this committee that I understand the gravity of the task at hand. The position to which I have been nominated carries daunting responsibilities. I embrace the challenge.
I want to thank -- I want to thank President Obama, Secretary Gates and Secretary McHugh for their trust and their confidence in nominating me, and I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions.