tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 29, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
session will make a parent, i also would title this panel, "sensible transformation solutions." one of the things a lot of us involved with nextgen are guilty of is we often characterize it as a modernization project. but it implies to the public that it is a single activity. almost everyone in this room can give remarks at this point to one ticket for all the benefits of nextgmn, etc. there is a broad range of folks who were joined -- drawn to this including folks from surface transportation and the
investment and venture-capital community. indulge me for a minute to set the sea. la base technology will replace the 1950's-era of radar that we are used to. the infrastructure on the ground and in the aircraft will use satellite position signals, giving much more accurate aircraft location two pilots and controllers. it will be like pulling out of your garage and in that point on, all the lights are green. the backbone of nextgen are the hundreds of automatic dependents surveillance transmitters that are being installed across the country. the transmitters were manufactured by tt and facilitating all the employment represented on our panel today. we're already seeing the benefits of nextgen with transmitters installed in florida and across the country.
in addition, more fuel efficient performance based flight procedures are being commissioned virtually every day around the nation. with these changes, many benefits. the more efficient and environmentally friendly system providing big increase capacity and we will need it because the faa is telling us that we will have 1 billion passengers by 2021. brace up, nick, it will be tough. nextgen will transform our transportation system. we have a challenge -- 793 adsb transmitter is expected to be in place and congratulations on time and on budget -- by 2013. the other half of the architecture, the airborne atc infrastructure is not going to
be required until 2020. that represents a seven-year gap before we start seeing systemwide nextgen benefits. i project that will give us a seven-year itch to get it done. and airline delays, congestion, and their aging system are costing us $40 billion per year. do the math. it is easy to see what is at stake if we don't change course for more timely implementation. in an ideal world, operators would start upgrading the aircraft with adsb and everything in place now. it is not an ideal world. for the civil aviation operators, even during healthy economic periods, the business case of large capital investments depend on future
government procurement fraud with risks. it should be no surprise to anyone that the airlines, the business community, business aviation, general aviation, all of us are looking for ways to mitigate the risks. the question on the table today -- innovative financing mechanisms, how we equipped the civil fleet in a win-win situation for the taxpayers as well as for the government and the airlines? the partnership of sorts that requires scan in the game. that is what we will talk about. before i turn to the panel, let me give you good news. around this town, there is not a lot of good news these days. aia recently conducted a public opinion poll in early march. we don't do a lot of this. it shows that 68% of americans support new technologies to
improve air safety. that is a big percentage. in fact, 65% are in favor of maintaining or increasing faa funding levels. only 19% said they would be in favor of cutting at bay. finally, a majority of americans said they support timely implementation. in these budgetary times, those are good numbers. let's turn to our experts for the challenges ahead. let me tell you one thing about our panelists, to is important to understand they come from very different parts of the aviation and technology world. those have tremendous operating experience. dave melcher, a former 3 starke is now running a big defense
technology company with responsibility to adsb. ross is a commercial pilot who moved on to managing positions and somewhere in between, running all of operations for the faa and now finance. they teamed up on this new venture. dave, let me turn to you for the first question. how do you see the n challenges seeextgen? what will it take to make it work? >> thank you. i am always daunted by being referred to as an expert. in this room of people who have been in this industry for many years, on a relative novice. i learn every day from my great team about things we're doing to support this effort. i have a great deal of respect for all the folks in the room because i know this is a team
effort. that would be the first thing i would say. to make this successful, it will have to continue to be a team effort between us and those we work with, the operators out there in the industry, those that support and reinforce the aviation industry, and certainly the congress and the the administration. that week -- we need to try to bring these varied interest in a way that makes sense. with respect to this program, there are many elements that have to be in place for it to be successful. the ground infrastructure and the things we're working on today for the faa is part of that solution, to put in place those stations that are needed to enable the transfer of information that will occur and make us able to have safer flying. that is not the only piece. there has to be the procedure is that companies that. there has to be the modernization in the aircraft that goes along with that. that will happen over a period of time.
but it's all across the government will experience pressure. -- budgets all across the government will experience pressure. we need to continue to execute well. we know what happens to programs that are not executing on time and on budget. we will collaborate with each other and educate the non- aircraft industry public, the flying public, as well as congress about what we need to do to make this thing successful moving forward. part of that is the solution that goes to the quipping -- the coast to equipping the airlines going forward. >> you have looked at this from the airline standpoint and running things inside the faa. talk to us about how you see this equipping the carriers with the necessary air traffic controllers. >> the problem has been through
a long -- and at around a long time. i remember going through this with the faa with american. it is hard within the operation to justify the capital necessary for the equipment that does not directly touched the customer. business is about the top line and the bottom line. both are aimed at producing value. if you cannot close the business gap, it will never happen. closing the business case is harder to do but it is not impossible to do. we spent the last couple of years looking at this and itt had a lot to do with that. we found a path that can basically help airlines and other operators closed the business case for equipping the airplane. at the same time, will fill the need for investors of any private sector capital to the problem which is necessary.
today, commercial operators, in spite of the fact they shrunk the capacity and improve profitability, still have weak balance sheets. make a large investment in something that will not be around in terms of benefit for maybe five or six years is hard to do. that is just common sense of business that you cannot use capital at a high single or double digit percentage rate and expect anyone to spend that kind of money to get something that will happen five or six years away and there are concerns there. the third piece is the government itself. providing an environment where opportunity to produce value in business exists, there is always technology. one of the things that is more interesting about that is the economic value that next hopgen brings the not automatically come with the technology. the technology is the beginning.
it is what we do with the technology that makes a difference. we could go out and invest in a lot of stuff and put it in airplanes but we -- but if we don't do something differently, it doesn't actually produce all the economic value that we think it will produce. that is why the business case is so important. the business case is about rationalizing the investment of capital and producing something that will produce not economic churn but economic value. we think the public/private partnership model is so important. it brings private sector capital that must have a rationalization for investing in the cockpit. we think that case exists. >> let me ask both of you -- public/private partnerships are something where you can generate enthusiasm especially from those of us in industry. when you look it infrastructure
in this country, what do you say -- what do you see elsewhere that gives you reason to think this could succeed? what are the parallels? >> i think there are a number of very good parallels in terms of loan guarantees for public/private partnerships that have been extended to the aviation industry but also the rail industry, service transportation. there are several examples that are very good. that loan guarantee has been extended in certain examples and the return has been positive or there has been no defaults. i would expect that would be the going in proposition. what we have been working on is not the only idea out there. there are many ideas that people might have to broach this subject. we want to bring forth one option, one alternative to get the dialogue going about how this might be successful in other public/private partnerships. >> i think the examples they
mentioned -- there are programs that already exist, models for maritime surface, rail, that we would suggest you could apply to aviation as well. we think the key to any of these programs is the skin in the game. it is not a free ride for anybody but it is a good ride for everyone. you have to put money in and you have to be able to justify that but if the balance is what you project as your business case, everyone goes in with an expectation that something on the other end will happen very specifically for you. that is what a business case is. the fund we produce is not just about lowering the cost of capital. it is about structuring in such a way that there is an accountability for the return on the end. i don't think we get there without it. i don't think there is anyone that will borrow money at 15% on the hope that something good
will happen on the other end. it has to be something very specific. that is where that comes in. if we apply public/private partnerships that have to do with nextgen, i think there will be huge pressure on new facilities that the faa will meet the bill to make nextgen happen. there is a lot of private sector funds that are burgeoning. it can provide a good return not only for the economy but for those who are investing in it. >> a lot of us who have been following the faa reauthorization closely have been very encouraged by the assertion of metrics for the faa. we see we are heading markers as we move into full-scale implementation of nextgen.
let's talk for a minute about the political climate for this, the situation in terms of the hill, does this require enabling legislation? if so, what would you give us the odds on that? >> you go first on that one. [laughter] >> i think it does. loan guarantees are successfully used to stimulate investment into something. it helps to reduce the cost of capital. that is the beginning. you have to actually produce a program. enabling legislation is to allow aviation the same kind of stimulus he would give rail or surface or maritime. some kind of program that allows the government to jump-start private sector capital and for get and at a rate and bring it
in in a way that produces a scenario where the business case can be closed. in the end, that is what it is all about. if you can get a business case closed, you can make the investment. that investment is key to that kind of stimulus. >> my conversations up on a the hill is safe -- it's a pretty tough environment now. what i have been discussing the faa reauthorization lately, the conversation goes not to what i believe in the broad benefits, bringing down our costs, fuel reduction and savings, it posted actual offset within the faa budget. what can you do to reduce that budget or british in line? what will nextgen do to make this more manageable?
for the taxpayers and the congress? that is a tough question because i asked some folks inside the agency. i would be curious about your experience also as a businessman in trying to rein in within the budget cost as well as how did the u.s. army tackle it in your experience? >> the context in the faa is a tough question and it is relatively new to me. my background is army for 32 years. we go through all these cycles with boom and bust in that organization as well. budgets are always an issue. before i left the army, we were looking for ways to become leaner and more effective and more productive and more efficient in the way we deliver capability to the field. that capability was ready units
going into combat. even in peacetime environment, how you do that better? when i came to an itt, i was gratified to see the same climate with respect for looking for ways to be more efficient and lean and use the supply chain most productive life and make the business as efficient and effective. in almost any initiative that the government would entertain, whether it is a government agency or the congress, you would want to look at how this would make you better. how will it make the organization be able to function in a more competitive way and in a more leeway? that is where i think the offset come from how you might uses to streamline or the elements of costs that make up the total cost of that agency. i think that should be looked at and i make it is appropriate to be looked at as is in any number of other contacts -- contact- contexts.
all discretionary spending inside the government will get a close look. it is not unreasonable to ask that that be examined as part of this effort. >> i will turn to the audience in a minute for questions. let me ask one more. we are a global industry. in thinking about this innovative financing and different ways of financing, the europeans are facing the same problem. it is a question of u.s. leadership. how big are we thinking on this? what do you see? are there any other parallels? where does this all go? >> we have been to your pick couple of times to talk about the program. they face the same issues. in some ways it is harder if you
have 30 providers of service of their. they are struggling with it. they set up a program of demonstrations hoping to show there is benefit and some where someone will invest. i don't think the industry has been successful with demonstrating a way to a business case. certainly, there are places where it makes sense but it does not lead to global equip a job nextgen. in the end, we will need to demonstrate -- you'll have to close a business case but not a business case for nextgen. it has to be for a piece of it and you have to keep closing it. the world is not based on one giant system and someone makes a giant business case and everyone goes forward. every business makes these decisions individually. we need to create a level of accountability and expectation that closes a business case on
that basis. i think this is new. but i had to place one risk on this because we have solved much of the financial risk, at least we think so, there is an institutional and political risk that is just as difficult to overcome. the three of us have been in government and it is not insignificant when you try to make change. i think nextgen has the support of the community at large. when we run around congress talking about, someone does not say they hate it. there's an overall feeling we should go ahead with this thing. it is something that should be done. we have had trouble converting that feeling into something tangible to make the investment. i think we need to build upon that. i think we need to make sure that we are not afraid to be innovative because it is really hard in any institution, even in
the private sector, to step out and do something different because you might fail especially when there is money involved. yet that is what we need to do. we will have to do this. i think we can do it. i think we have found a way to do it but i picked it will be individual companies and people that will make the difference. >> i agree, it gets back to the business case and if you believe the business case. the poll you cited reflects a growing level of sentiment we believe the elements of the business case. i have been encouraged by those who have been early adopters. if, with the right procedures which allow them to begin and they will experience feels that resemble all benefit from the environmental savings, i think that example coupled with
innovative equipment options that allow the government in a constrained time to make a successful to the airline industry, that is what you want. you want these forces to come together in a way that will allow the nation to benefit as you and tom indicated it could. >> questions from the audience? >> for about two years, grants have been talked about as a way equipping for nextgen. talk to us about the federal budgetary difference between loans and grants. >> most of it is about the scoring. if i want to buy $1 billion worth of nextgen equipment, you have to score that $1 billion when you obligate the government.
its course that against the budget and the deficit. if you say you want to do it long guarantee and borrow 90% of that, i only have to put up what we call the credit risk premium which means i only have to book against the deficit depending on the level of risk, something around 10%-15%. instead of $1 billion, you will be incurring one entity million dollars. moreover, you can offset that by requiring the applicant to pay some of the credit risk premium. in the rail rehabilitation program where the applicant puts up all the money, there was no appropriation to effect -- to affect that long caron tate. you can use loan guarantees in a way that does not score negatively against the budget. >> other questions?
>> nothing like her on guys asking you a question [laughter] . >> it will be a hard one. can you talk more about the particulars of the concept that you have been putting together? could we have more specifics? >> specifically, the fund basically uses private sector capital, itt is one of the investors, to augment the amount of money it risks that means to be put into the pot to stimulate a loan guarantee and then borrow that money from the commercial side, the private sector, and buy equipment. that bought the equipment will provide -- be provided to the commercial airlines at a rate as
good or better than they can do on their own. it also involves taking the risk out of the return by deferring the payments on that loan until the benefit is delivered. that is the hard part. how you measure that? it has to be measurable. one of the good parts about theg nexten is it is digital. you can measure everything very we can determine when it is being used and how much it is being used and it only requires the operator to say that i will borrow the money if you say i will get this at this rate where it will produce something that i will actually be able to return to my investors and customers as an operator. that is the key to the whole thing. the interesting thing is, if you talk to every operator, it is different. one operator wants something, another one wants something else.
they all want something different. the only way out of that, the only easy way out is to mandate the whole thing mandating does not actually get to there. it does not provide the guarantee of the return. instead, we put together best equipment best serve mou's which by the operator to pay for things when the service providers can say it will deliver a certain service at a certain facility at a certain time at a certain price. that bind increase the ability to close the business case. i don't think there is anyone in here that would put your life savings up for something that might be delivered in 2018. , especially of the track record of delivery is uncertain. the only way to do is to say
that i will put the money up, but you need to tell me you will deliver this and if you don't deliver it, there has to be accountability for what happens. that is what that is all about. >> alright one more? over here? >> why do need loan guarantees? what are you guarantee? >> alone guarantee reduces the cost of capital. it is not impossible without a loan guarantee, it is just harder. the key is the business case. if you cannot close the business case, nobody quips. i hate to say this outlet sometimes but the reality is if you cannot close the business case, there's probably a good reason why you should not invest. while that is not exactly the
line everyone likes to use, it is the reality of capital. whether we are funding a government agency or running an airline or flying an airplane for your own use, you make a business decision every time you spend something on that organization. there is never enough capital to do everything. in the last two weeks of the fiscal year the government, there is plenty. you compete for those dollars. having a loan guarantee reduces the investment bearer going in and it helps to close the business case. >> it is the cost of capital and making it affordable and having basically the government having and endorsing and backing up that promise. >> i will ask one final question plighting round. we all watched what happened with the first lady's plane.
what would be different under nextgen. i think it was handled appropriately and this happens in the system but would nextgen have changed it? >> yes. >i think the answer is yes because the situational awareness that can be in the cockpit and there is no latency there in terms of understanding where you are in relation to the aircraft. >> thank you very much. we enjoyed talking to you today. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up next, president obama announces his nominees to head the cia and the pentagon.
>> president obama announced changes to his national security team naming leon panetta to be defense secretary and general david petraeus to head up the c.i.a.. from the east room of the white house, this is a half-hour. >> some are injured and some are still missing, and in many places the damage to homes and businesses is nothing short of catastrophic. we can't control everything that
will happen, but we will do everything we can to help you recover. i have spoken to the governors of alabama, mississippi, tennessee, and georgia, and i have let them know we are ready to help them in every possible way. i have declared a state of emergency in alabama so we can make all necessary resources available to that state. we will personally work with state and local officials. i will travel myself to alabama tomorrow to meet with those leading the response efforts as well as the families who are reeling from this disaster. i want to commend all the men and women who have been working an the clock the last few days
to save the lives of friends and neighbors. as we meet these obligations, it says we're mindful of the obligations to all americans. that's why we're here today. for the past two years, my administration has done whatever it takes to meet these responsibilities. we have been relentless against al-qaeda and its affiliates.
with those who seek their universal rights, that includes standing to support the international effort to support the libyan people. here at home, we make the hard decisions to reduce america's debt, we cannot compromise our nation or our interests around the world. leaders with talent who have devoted their lives to keeping our nation strong. we have had importance of staying focused on our mission, maintain our momentum, and keep our nation secure. when i took office, gates had
already served under seven presidents and he carried a cloth that counted down the dates, hours, and minutes until he could return to washington state with his wife becky. i was able to convince him to stay for one more year. i was able to convince him to talk to becky about staying one more year. at some point along the way, bob threw out that cloth. he is now one of the longest serving in american history, and as a grateful nation we can agree that bob has more than earned the right to return to private life, which he has decided to do at the end of june. i will have more to say about secretary gates' exemplary service in the days to come, but every american should know that because he helped wind down the war in iraq we are in a better position to manage the troops in afghanistan and support our
troops. because he challenged conventional thinking, our troops have the life-saving equipment they need, and our military is better prepared for today's wars. because he courageously unnecessary spending, we'll save hundreds of billions that can be invested in the 21st century military that our troops deserve. i'm confident bob gates will be one of the finest in american history, and i am grateful for his public service. another great public servant of our time is leon panetta. leon appreciates the sacrifice of our troops, because he serves in the army himself. because he has sons who served in afghanistan. just as leon earned the trust of the c.i.a. by listening to them and fighting fiercely on their
behalf, i know he will do the same for our armed forces and their families. the patriotism and extraordinary management skills that have defined leon's four decades of service is exactly what we'll need in our next secretary of defense. the former white house chief of staff leon knows how to lead, which is why he is held in such high esteem not only in this country but around the world. as a secretary who has played a decisive role in our efforts against extremism, he understands that even as we work in afghanistan we must remain unwaivering in our fight against al-qaeda. he will ensure that as we make tough budget decisions, we will maintain military superiority and keep our military the best in the world. leon, i know that you have been looking forward to returning home to sylvia in your beautiful home in monterey, so i thank you for taking on yet another
assignment for our country, and i hope you don't have a cloth. i am sure that leon's work will be carried on by one of the finest military officers of our time, general david petraeus. i know this one carries a special sacrifice for him and his wife holly. after leading americans and coalition forces in one of the most challenging missions since 9/11 general petraeus will retire from the army that he loves to become the next c.i.a. director effective early next september pending senate confirmation. as a life-long consumer of intelligence, he knows intelligence must be timely, accurate, and acted upon quickly. he understands that staying a
step ahead of nimble adversaries requires sharing information, including my national director of intelligence. even if he and the c.i.a. confront a range of threats, david's he extraordinary knowledge of the middle east and afghanistan uniquely positions him to lead the agency against al-qaeda. just as general petraeus changed the way our military fights in the 21st century, i have no doubt general petraeus will guide our military professionals as they continue to adapt and innovate in an of-changing world. finally, i announce my military team in this year of transition. i am nominating a superb commander, lieutenant general john albert to follow in isap. as a battle-tested combat
leader, he helped turn the tide. as deputy commander of central command he is deeply respected in the region and he's been involved in planning our strategy in afghanistan. as our troops continue to sacrifice for our security as we tragically saw again yesterday, general allen is the right commander for this fight val mission. as coalition forces transfer forces to afghans, we are redoubling efforts to promote political and economic progress in afghanistan as well. carl eichenberry has helped develop our civilian diplomats. never before have civilians and troops worked together so closely and so successfully. i personally rely on carl's candid advice in this complex mission. after two years in the
challenging post, ambassador eichenberry's time is coming to an end. i want to thank paul and his wife ching for his outstanding service. i am grateful that one of our nation's most respected diplomats has agreed to return to public service as our next ambassador to afghanistan. this is a five-time ambassador. and he is no stranger to tough times. few americans know this region and its challenges better than ambassador ryan crocker. he was our first envoy after the fall of the taliban. he reopened our embassy there. as a former ambassador to pakistan, he recognizes that our strategy on both sides. as ambassador to iraq his work helped reduce violence, promote reconciliation, and shift from a
military surge to a political effort in a long-term effort between our two countries. this is exactly what is needed now in afghanistan where ambassador crocker will work with our new special representative to afghanistan and pakistan, marc roseman. i want to thank he and his wife for greeg agreeing to serve our nation once more. so leon panetta of the defense department, david petraeus at the c.i.a., ambassador crocker and general john allen in afghanistan. these are the leaders that i've chosen to help guide us through the difficult days ahead. i will look to them and my entire national security team for their counsel, continuity, and unity of effort that this moment in history demands. and our people on the front lines, our brave troops, our outstanding intelligence personnel, our dedicated diplomats will look to them for the leadership that this effort
requires. i urge our friends in the senate to confirm these individuals as swiftly as possible so they can assume their duties and help meet the urgent challenges we confront as a nation. we are a nation still at war and joined by leaders along side me today, i will continue to do everything in my power as commander-in-chief to keep our nation strong and the american people safe. with that i would like to invite each of these leaders to say a few words. i'm actually going to start with bob gates. >> thank you, mr. president, for your kind words. i want to thank mr. bush for first asking me to take this position and you, mr. president, for first inviting me to stay on and on and on. i also thank my wife becky for 44 years of extraordinary patience, but essentially the last 4 1/2 years of patience.
every single day i have been secretary, our military has been engaged in two major wars and multiple other missions. it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve and to lead our men and women in uniform and our defense civilians. they are the best america has to offer. i will continue to give my all to them and to the president right through june 30, because obviously there is much less to do. my highest priority from my first day in office has been to do everything i could for our uniformed men and women in harm's way to help them accomplish their mission, to come home safely, and if wounded, to get them the best possible care from battlefield to home front. i've done my best to care for them as though they were my own sons and daughters.
i will miss them deeply. there will be occasions to speak with them over the next two months, but for now congratulate leon panetta, and thank him. leon is, i think, the best possible person to succeed me. and i also congratulate mr. allen and mr. crocker. >> thank you, mr. president. i want to thank you, the vice president, and your entire national security team for the trust and confidence that you have placed in me. i especially want to thank my good friend bob gates, the guy with the big smile next to me. he's a public servant without equal whose tenure as secretary of defense will go down as one
of the most cons consequential -- most consequential and important examples in the history of leadership of the american government. and since he, too, is a former c.i.a. director, i am hopeful that that experience can serve me as well as it served bob as secretary. speaking of the c.i.a., i also want to deeply thank the good men and women of the c.i.a. for all they do without recognition or credit. they safeguard this nation and protect it. they welcome me to their ranks, and it has been the highest honor of my professional career to be able to lead them. i only wish that all americans could see as i have how vital their work is in protecting our
national security. if confirmed, i will be relying heavily, as i always do, on the support of my wonderful family. my wife sylvia, my three sons, chris, carnell, and jim, their wives, and our six grandchildren. in my 40 years of public life they have been tolerant beyond measure and very loving. because of that, i love them all very much. i spent 40 years in public service, and it began when i served in the army as an intelligence officer in the 1960's. i was proud to wear the uniform of our country and my respect for our nation's armed forces has only grown in the decades since.
this is a time of historic change. both at home and abroad. as the sun of immigrants, i was raised to believe that we cannot be free unless we are secure. today we are a nation at war. job one will be to ensure that we remain the strongest military power in the world. to protect the security so important to this country. this is also a time of hard choices. it is about ensuring we are able to prevail in the conflicts in which we are now engaged. but it is also about being able to be strong and disciplined,
and applying our nation's resources for defending america. none of this will be easy, but i am confident, mr. president, that you can be assured that i will give you the nation's commander-in-chief my best and most candid advice about these issues. i will be a faithful advocate for the brave men and women of the department of defense who put their lives on the line every day. to ensure that we achieve that great american dream. of giving our children a better life and a more secure america. thank you.
mr. president, thank you very much. i feel deeply honored to become a member of the central intelligence agency and i feel deeply grateful to continue to contribute to the endeavor to which so many have given so much over the past decade in particular. during that time i have had the privilege of working closely with the quiet professionals of the central intelligence agency. i have seen firsthand their expertise, their commitment to our nation, and their courage in dangerous circumstances. their service to our country is of vital importance. in deed, it is all the more vital as it is all the more unheralded. in short, i have enormous respect for the men and women of the agency and if confirmed i will do my utmost to serve, represent, and lead those great intelligence professionals as well as to work closely with the d.n.i. and other intel community leaders as director panetta has
done so superbly over the past 2 1/2 years. as i return to afghanistan tomorrow i will do so with a sense of guarded optimism about the trajeblingtri of the -- trajectory of the mission and the exceptional military team the president will lead in this effort. i can think of no better individuals suited than mr. allen and mr. crocker. during the flight back to afghanistan i will also reflect on the extraordinary leadership that secretary gates has provided over the past four 1/2 years at the helm of the department of the defense. i believe that all in season form are deeply grateful to him, but none can be more grateful to him than i am. again, mr. president, thank you very much for the opportunity, if confirmed, to continue to
serve our nation. >> mr. president, thank you. i'm deeply honored by this selection. and i'm >> mr. president, thank you. i'm honored by this selection and i'm grateful for the leadership of secretary gates and chairman mullen. sir, i am mindful of the significance of this responsibility, and i am deeply committed to the leadership of the magnificent young men and women of our armed forces and those of the armed forces of this great and historic coalition of nations. i understand well the demands of this in addition. mr. president, if confirmed by the senate, i will dedicate my full measure to the exceptional accomplishment of the tasks and object siffs now set before us. mr. president, thank you for your kindness.
>> mr. president, i am deeply honored to have your confidence for this important mission. the challenges are form dibble -- formidible and the stakes are high. 9/11 came to us. our enemy must never again have that opportunity. i thought i found a permanent home as dean of the bush school at texas a & m as the secretary of defense had done before me, but the bush school is a school of public service, and mr. president, i am very proud to answer this call to serve.
over nine years ago i had the privilege of reopening our embassy in combule after the -- in kabul after the fall of the taliban. if confirmed i look forward to building on the progress that's been achieved in the recent months working with the courageous men and women at our embassy, with our military, with our nato allies, and the united nations, and especially with the people of afghanistan. i also look forward to rejoining my old battle buddy, general david petraeus, however briefly, and i am delighted that i will have the opportunity to carry forward with another good friend and comrade from iraq, general john allen.
>> i would like to acknowledge the extraordinary work of my vice president and national security advisor have done as well. this is going to be an outstanding team. i'm grateful for the service they have already provided and i am scaunt they will do everything they can to ensure america's safety and security not just today but tomorrow. my team will be shuffling their own lives where the c.i.a. in afghanistan has done tremendous work. i am grateful to your service to our nation. let me thank the families once again. all of them make extraordinary sacrifices. michelle can attest to that. and we know that none of us could be successful were it not for your extraordinary support. thank you very much.