Notes from McHugh's confirmation hearing for Army Sec
Published: July 30, 2009
No real fireworks are expected today at the confirmation hearing for Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y.; The opening statements from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee praised his service in the House and as ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.
Still, McHugh's lengthy questionnaire delivered to the senators earlier this week show the large task before him when he starts the job (likely after a full Senate vote next week). Here are the highlights:
-- Top challenges: McHugh listsstress on the force and properly equippingsoldiers as his main focus on day one. He lists general goals of improving family support and behavioral health programs as ways to help with the first. Also, "the Army must increase the fidelity of cost estimates, avoid the too-rapid adoption of immature technology, ... control growth requirements, and use incremental builds."
-- Lessons learned: "Eight years of sustained combat operations have taken their toll on soldiers ...Versatile and agile units are fundamentally competent can adapt to any threat ... The Army must constantly strive for advance knowledge of emerging requirements and then promptly engage the acquisition and industrial communities to find solutions as early as possible.
-- Contractors: In principle, McHugh said he's opposed to using private contractors for any security jobs. "However, U.S. forces currently rely on contractors to free manpower for accomplishing missions ... Requiring uniformed forces to meet all requirements for security would divert forces from planning and controlling combat operations.
-- MRAPs: He's a fan. "I would work to determine the long-term strategy for the use and sustainment of the Army's fleet."
-- Future deployments: He called the use of individual ready reserve soldiers "one of the last options" but still sees a large role for the Guard and Reserve in the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We'll have a full recap in the paper later on, and I'll be tracking the hearing all morning over at my twitter site.