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tv   Senators on Defense Secretary Waiver  CSPAN  January 12, 2017 8:51pm-9:25pm EST

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do. so i'll continue to oppose this waiver for any nominee who is not a civilian or has not met the waiting period required by law, and i urge all of my colleagues to do the same. i urge them to vote no. >> for from rhode island. >> thank you, mr. preside. i i rye today to discuss a billcu which would provide juan-teen exception from the -- that requires the member of the -- -- we are considering this legislation today because the president-elect's nominee for secretary of defense, general james mattis, has only been retired from the united states marine corps for three years. in considering the unique situation presented by the nomination, this week the armed services committee held two hearings. the first hearing on tuesday at a panel of two excellent outside witnesses who discusses the history of the retirement restriction law and the best
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interests and challenges of legislating an exception to that law. then this morning the committee held a nomination hearing with jan mattis anden anded this views on defense challenges facing our country and the defers department. general mattis as a long and distinguished military careerar and is recognized by his peers as a thoughtful and strategic thinker. however, since the passage in 1947 the statutory requirement die signedded to protect civilian control of the armed forces has only been waived one or time and that was for generay george c. major shall. it's completely port we considered the implications on the future of civilian and military relations. civilian control of the military is in our constitution and dates back to george washington and the revolutionary war. this principle has distinguished our nation from many other countries around the world askac
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has helped ensure our democracy remains in the hands of the people.ct the national security act of 1947, which established the department of defense, including a provision prohibiting any individual within ten years of active duty as a commissioned officer from being appointed as a secretary of defense. however, in 19 50, president harry truman nominated former secretary of state and general george' marshall to serve as the secretary of defense, necessitating congress to pass an exemption. while congress waived the restriction for general marshal, the law chewed a nonbinding serving that stated, and quote, it is hereby expressed as the intend of the congress that the authority is not to be construed as approval by the congress of continuing appointments of military many the office of secretary of defense in the future. it's hereby expressed as n sense of the congress as general
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marshaleds the secretary of defense no aterrible points of military to that office chill be prude.on congress must make a determination if an exception should be made the case of general mattis. during our committee hearing, dr. hix noted the defense secretary position is unique and our system. other than the president acting as commander in chief the secretary of difference is the only civilian operation, the operational chain of command to the armed forces. unlike the president, however, he or she is not an elect official. as i stayed during the consideration of the waiver, we must be veer cautious about any actions, including this legislation, that may inned a verttily pole lite size our -- the democrats and republicans came dawning hisly close to -- e
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with the nominates convinces has officers advocating for the president.t and in light of the fact general mattist will join military officers who hear be schrecks to hire ranking military positions the donald trump administration. we retired generals have often held positions at the highest level of governments as civilians and even elect president. i what concerns me is the total number of retired senior military i.s chops is bin the president-elect to lead organizations critical to our national security and the cumulative effect it may have on our overall security policy. specifically, the may be unintended consequences having so many senior leaders with and military backgrounds craftinginc policy. in the course of our review of general mattis' nomination the
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reason most often cited the support of a waiver is that a retired four star general known for his war fighting skills skid judgment to lead the department of defense with counterbalance the president-elect's lack of defense and foreign policy experience. at tom ricks wrote "the new yorr times" he usually would oppose this but theses not normal likewise, dr. coen testified this week and he argues that if i weren't for his deep concern about the trump administration, he would oppose the waiver for general mattis.. specifically he said his is no question in my mind that mattis would be a stabilizing and moderating force, and over time helping to steer american important and security policy in a sound and sensible direction. if come provides an exception for general matties, we must be mindful of the precedent this w
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setes. the restriction was enacted in law for good reason and general george marshall is the only retired military office to receive this exception. based on general mattis' testimony this morning, as well as decade of service in the united states marine corps and weighing all the other factors i will support a waiver. general mattis testified to the fact of the role of congress does not end with he passti wanting of this legislation. as dr. hix stayed the united states congress, the nation's statutes, the courts, the professionalism of our armed forces and the will of the people are credittal safeguards. any of us who support this bill have a profound duty to ensure that the department of defense and its leaders, both civilian and military, are following and protecting the principles upon which this country is founded.
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let me be very, very clear. i will not support a waiver for any future nominees under the incoming administration or future administrations. i view this as a generational exception, as our bipartisan witnesses recommended. would ask the my colleagues on both sides of the aisle make this same commitment, and i intend to propose establishing the roger ten year ban which wan in place, restoring the threshhold for the service to ten years will send a strong signal this prim of civilian controlling of military ismocrac essential to our government. at this point i ask if the chairman might yield to a colloquy and i do that first by thanking him for the extraordinarily fair, thoughtful, and careful way that he has guided this nomination through the committee, and here
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on the floor, about if the chairman could respond, i want to thank you for the thoughtful and thorough process we have had in consideration of the nomination of general mattis, i think one of the high points was he hearing on civilian military relations with cohen and hix, both witnesses emphasized while they support the waiver it should be a rare generational exception to ensure the integrity of the civilian control of the military which is a bedrock of our democracy. i agree with that assessment and i would ask the the champion i -- chairman if he also agrees. >> i also agree and i want to thank him for his leadership. i want to thank him for setting the tenor and the environment surrounds the armed serviceshich committee, which is resulted in a 24-3 vote today in the armed services committee. ... ery
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bipartisan committee, and it is vital that we do so because of the awesome responsibilities that we hold. but the senator from rhode island has displayed time after time a willingness to work together for the good of the country, and i think this is the latest example, even though he had significant reservations which are value i.d. concerning the transition, a short period of transition from wearing the uniform to holding down the highest civilian position as far as defense of the nation is concerned. and i know he didn't reach this conclusion without a lot of thought, a lot of study, a lot of, as he has displayed, references to history and reasons for the origination of this legislation which requires
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seven years before an individual is eligible to be secretary of defense after leaving the military. so i just wanted to thank the senator from rhode island and look forward to an overwhelming vote. and, mr. president, could i ask the parliamentary situation as it is right now? the presiding officer: the senate is considering s. 84. with ten hours equally divided. mr. mccain: has a time been set, mr. president, for the vote? the presiding officer: there is not yet an order for the vote. mr. reed: i believe i have the floor. mr. mccain: i yield to my friend from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. chairman, i believe you do concur with me with the fact that this is a rare and generational exception. i think that's fair to say. mr. mccain: so is it accurate to say that 2:45 is a time that is being seriously considered?
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mr. reed: we hope so, and i think if we recognize senator merkley for his comments and then i think you have comments, we would be on that schedule. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed five minutes prior to the vote if the time of the vote is set and the senator from rhode island be given five minutes prior to that in and the senator from rhode islanrhodeisland to give him prt the case of the time of the vote being sent. >> is there objection?or. >> without objection. >> i yield the floor. >> i appreciate very much the senator from arizona allowing me five minutes but i would yield e
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about five minutes so at the end of the senator would have five minutes and then i would suggest we recognize senator merkley to conduct a vote until 4:45.o >> a unanimous consent request they be allowed to five minutes >> i ask that kind of thing 2:4o equally divided between the managers of the designees in the following yielding back for the time the bill will be ready third time and passed on 834 following the position of the senate recess subject to the call of the chair for allld members briefings so i would ask how much time would he need. >> less than ten minutes.
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is there objection? without objection. the pr consent request that i be given five minutes. >> without objection. the >> i would yield a ten minutes to the senator on the democratic side. >> we have a long-standing tradition in the country of civilian control of government civilian control of the milita military. r through the act of re-signing the commander-in-chief in the continental army in 1783 is a tradition or moment in time that is preserved where a mural depicts a noble and insightful
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act. the early days were full of they warnings of the standing army and military control in high frm levels and those comments came from thomas jefferson and alexander hamilton and when we came to the point in our history where we realized a continuing military force was necessary, we preserved the importance of civilian control, and we do so for a host of reasons i think it's worth restating. it's important to have a secretary defense who brings a broad worldview that conducts a civilian perspective to the imp position of.
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it's important not to politicize the officer ranks and have them essentially competing to position themselves to hold the position of secretary of defen defense. we didn't want the service is competing against each other to hold this position. this is why the joint chief of staff position is rotated on a specific schedule and if we have the secretary defense come fromn my military service than another branch of the service is going to say next time it should bee t our turn. the marine corps after that andn the navy. that is not the position that we want to end up in, and we also know that across the world countries wrestle with control,
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that is preserving democratic republics in the faces of power of military machinery in the country, military organizationsr we've seen military coups and influence and so it's been the desire for our country to model a republic that is of the people, by the people and for the people, not a nation that becomes controlled by the massive concentration of power in a military. my colleagues, many of whom are very learned in the history of our country have risen to say there is a set of special circumstances that merit an exception and if they know there was an exception once before in our history. to
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that was the appointment of george marshall when it comes to the secretary of defense in the time following world war ii. but think about how many circumstances we face in the world to be put forward to be an exceptional time. it was exceptional when paris used planes to attack the twin towertowers and the world worksm and -- new york city and the additional target target may han the capitol or the white house. that was an exceptional moment and it's an exceptional moment when we are fighting al qaeda and an exceptional moment when we are fighting isis and when russia invades ukraine and takes over crimea. it's an exceptional moment almost continuously in the face of a complex and changing world.
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ma so, i stand on the side of maintaining the principle of civilian control. each time we violate the principle, it is easier next time to say it's been done before, but the conversation will not be weeded it once half a century ago and so we should do it again. it would be we did it twice, once quite recently when we wert not facing a crisis nobody had invaded the u.s. and we had a couple hundred thousand folks fighting for the country and a s world war so the conversation will get more fragile and thato. is not the direction we should go. if eisenhower warned about theit overreach of the military enterprise.
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the military-industrial complex but one piece of the power structure of government that has held back to maintain that principled control, can anyone rise up and say about the thousands of experienced individuals that have both national security experience and civilian experience there isn't one that meets the ten or seven year standard of separation. i am sure there are hundreds that could meet that standard. so, here we are. we could send a message to the president elect send us someone who is qualified and if that person the field is so far out
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of the reach of reason, which is what i've been hearing from my colleagues, terrified that this president will nominate somebody that basically is unhinged, that we have to seize on this moment to take this individual because this body won't have the courage to turn down and reject an individual nominated by this a president elect. it is a sad commentary that we wouldn't have the courage under the advice and consent power to turn down someone we saw under the advice and consent it was hamilton who laid it out.
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we would retain that cover for any nomination in the collective judgment of the body if they dit not meet that standard so let's sustain the principle of the civilian control and reject this change. thank you mr. president. >> in response to the senator p from oregon to ask if there were not many people qualified i am absolutely certain there is. is there anyone as qualified, my answer to the senator from oregon is no. the w i've watched for years and i've seen the reaction to the leadership. i've seen the scholarly approach he's taken to the conflict, andd i hope the senator from oregon boy to have a point to get to q know him and would appreciate
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the unique qualities.ates has these times when the outgoing president of the united states has left the world a state ofeai chaos because of an absolute failure of leadership, which is disgraceful, we now see an outgoing president of the united states with 2009 inherited into the world that was not being torn apart in the middle east and they were not acting as sort of the in the south china sea, that the russians had not c all by many violation of international law. all those things had come about because of this president and so now he comes before and objects to one of the most highly classified individuals and leaders and military history and i would say to the senator from
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oregon, you are wrong and i believe that the overwhelming t majority of this body who would repudiate and cancel out his uninformed remarks, so mr. president, in a few minutes, we will vote on a historic piece of legislation for the second time in seven decades the legislation before us to provide an exception to the law preventing any person from serving as the secretary of defense within seven years of active duty service and as a regular commissioned officer of the armed forces thisra legislation would allow generaln james maddox the president for secretary of defense who retired from the marine corps to serve in that office. earlier today the senate armed services committee received testimony from general
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once again he generated exceptional command of theur issues confronting the united states and the department of defensat the department ofdefeny servicemembers but he's also showed something else he's earned the trust of the next commander in chief and members of congress on both sides of the aisle and so many serving in the armed forces. general mattis is an exceptional public service with exceptional consideration.od that's why directly following the conclusion of today'sttee rp hearing, the senate armed services committee reported thit legislation to the senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 24-3.
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i'm not saying that members are smarter than the senator from oregon, but i am saying that members of the armed services b have scrutinized both sides ofc, the aisle republican and democrat including the ranking s member by an overwhelming vote of 48-23. they share the view of the senator from oregon. that's why directly --med >> the senate armed services committee reported the legislation to the senate with a
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vote of 24-3. i urge this body to follow suitt that said it's important for senators to understand the context of the action heree o today. civilian control has been a bedrock principle of american government since our revolution. a painting hanging in the capitol rotunda not far from the floor celebrates the legacy of george washington who voluntarily re-sign his commission as commander of the continental army to the congresr and this is enshrined in oured constitution which dividesis control of the armed forces among the president and commander-in-chief and congress is coequal branches ofongress government. there are various provisions separating the positions and in the 19th century, for example, congress prohibited in the army officer from accepting his oval office and more recently the
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national security act of 1947 and subsequent revisions for any person to serve as the secretary of defense was only three years later in 1950 congress granted general george marshall and attention to that wall and the senate confirmed him to be secretary of defense. 12 12 of the nation's president served as genitals an in the ard forces and over the years numerous high-ranking officials in the department of defense has had a long careers i career as y service. the basic response abilities of civilian and military leaders are simple enough for civilian leaders to seek the best professional military advice while under no obligation to
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follow. for military leaders to provide candid counsel while recognizing they have the final say or as general mattis once observed,eig being heard and never insist ont being obeyed. but the fact is the relationship between civilian and military leaders is inherently and endlessly complex. it's a relationship who nonetheless share the responsibility for the defense of the nation. the stakes couldn't be higher. that is a mutual understanding that sometimes why personalities often clash.
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they share in common to protectu and defend the constitution. it's about the trust they havean in accordance with our i republican system of government about the candid exchange of views engendered by the trust which is vital to effective decision-making and it is about mutual respect and understanding. at the proper balance in that relationship is difficult to achieve and its history has taught us achieving that balance requires different leaders. that's why we must maintain state cards of leadership at the department of defense and i would support the registrationom today and general mattis toure serve again as the secretary of defense.
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and i want to assure my friend from rhode island, the ranking member of the armed servicesrnsi committee who has had a very serious concerns. i want to assure you that this is a one-time deal and i'm sure the senator had deep concerns about this whole process that we have been through yet i think that he has put the interest of the nation and placed his confidence in general mattis from being so exceptional that the wall that was passed back in 1947 was to be made one single exec exception to. >> i ask unanimous consent -- >> the senate proceeded to the consideration of hr 7 72 and
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further there be 30 minutes divided and upon the use ability read a third time in the passage of hr 72 with no intervening action or debate and finally, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. but time hathe time has expired. >> i believe i have the floor. >> all i'm givin doing is settia vote.
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i reserve the right to object. i was gracious in the request of grant me ten minutes. that was cut short by a filibuster of my colleagues that brought me into the conversation and refused to yield to my question so i ask unanimous consent to have two minutes to close. >> the objection is heard. is there any objection to the request fo? >> i have five requests. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. >> duly noted. under the previous us ordered the clerk will read the title of the bill for a third time.
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the bill to provide for an exception to the limitation against the appointment of the persons as secretary of defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of theus armed forces. >> under the previous order, the question occurs on 834. >> is there a sufficient second?


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