Press Release Records
Press Release of Senator King
King Questions Defense Secretary Nominee
Addresses issues vital to Maine and the nation
Thursday, January 31, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine), a member of the Armed Services Committee, today questioned President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel, during Hagel’s testimony before that committee. Senator King asked Senator Hagel about a variety of issues, including management of the Department of Defense, multi-year Navy procurement contracts vital to Bath Iron Works, collaboration on counterterrorism efforts, employment opportunities for transitioning active duty military men and women, and the importance of ensuring America’s cyber security.
Highlights are as follows:
Senator King emphasized the continued uncertainty over the Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bills, which consequently hinders the Navy’s ability to execute shipbuilding contracts and poses significant stability risks in the shipbuilding industrial base – particularly Bath Iron Works: “Particularly of concern to us right now in Maine, and in other parts of the country, is the multi-year procurement program, which is in jeopardy because of the budget situation. Your feelings about a multi-year procurement and maintaining the industrial base, which we just have to do if we are going to maintain our force?”
Senator Hagel responded that the industrial base is “absolutely essential to our future” and that the Navy is “an indispensable part of our security apparatus.” He continued, “I am a strong supporter of advancing our Navy technology and efforts, and I will continue to do that if confirmed.”
Additionally, Senator King, in referencing a group of veterans he met with this past summer, suggested to Senator Hagel that, if confirmed, he consider how the Defense Department can better address the issue of employability and employment for men and women transitioning out of active duty: “Perhaps it would make some sense to have the reciprocal of recruiters – outplacement people to deal with soldiers who are about to leave because there is an information gap, is what the veterans told me, between leaving the military active duty and then going into the veterans administration jurisdiction. There is a gap there and that’s a suggestion I might make. It may be tremendously helpful to provide that kind of information.”
In his answer, Senator Hagel committed to working on that issue with Senator King, stating: “We’ve got to open up all vistas of new thinking and that is one that would deserve some exploration and, if confirmed, I look forward to pursuing the idea with you.”
Senator King also underscored the importance of ensuring America’s cyber security and confronting cyber threats: “I don’t think we can adequately emphasize the importance of the cyber threat. That may well be the war of the future. And my sense is that we are all talking about it, but I’m not sure we have the sense of urgency…People can die and our society could be brought to a standstill without a rocket ever taking off or an airplane penetrating our airspace, and I hope that will be a point of emphasis because, as I say, I think that may be the next war.”
Senator Hagel responded, “I agree with everything you said – that this is a huge issue that continues to loom large over our future and our security, and it will have, if confirmed, a lot of my attention.”
Senator Angus S. King, Jr.
firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 445-9477