01/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/21/2021 14:36
WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) released the following statement:
'After hearing firsthand from Mr. Lloyd Austin in an House Armed Services Committee briefing today, I am pleased to strongly support his nomination to serve as Secretary of Defense and the congressional waiver necessary for him to be confirmed.
'I also spoke with Mr. Austin earlier this month. In that conversation, he committed to ensuring that the Department of Defense's civilian leaders - not uniformed officers or the Joint Staff - will be the most important voice in determining our nation's defense policy. For too long, an overreliance on generals and a hollowing out of the civilian workforce has led the Department to positions and outcomes that are not in line with our national interests. Mr. Austin has committed to ending that slide.
'Mr. Austin and I also discussed the urgent need to rid the Department and military services of extremism and white supremacists, some of whom stormed the Capitol on January 6 and who remain a threat to the nation. Mr. Austin assured me that he will strive to make sure the Department under his leadership reflects the diversity of the nation at large and our best ideals of racial equity under the law.
'And finally, Mr. Austin committed to working closely with Congress and the House Armed Services Committee on legislation and our critical oversight responsibilities in the wake of unprecedented stonewalling by the last administration.
'For these reasons, I strongly support Mr. Austin's nomination and will vote in favor of a waiver for him to serve as Secretary of Defense.'