James Mattis' Remarks at His Confirmation Hearing

In his prepared remarks, Gen. James Mattis called civilian control of the military "a fundamental tenet of the American military tradition."
6:26 | 01/12/17

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Transcript for James Mattis' Remarks at His Confirmation Hearing
Thank you mr. chairman and ranking member read it's an honor to come before you for this confirmation hearing. As the president elect's nominee for the position of secretary of defense a request by written statement be accepted for the record without objection. I want to thank all of you on the committee for taking time to see me during my courtesy calls and I thank you for your willingness to accommodate this hearing. And consider my nomination. Have testified previously in front of this committee and I've always held at the highest regard. And based on my past years' experience. I do trust this committee and each member of it and if confirmed all of demonstrate that trust. I wish to thank former senator William Cohen personal economy introduced to me this morning and I'm equally great portable long serving former chairman of the committee senators Sam Nunn. For his strong support. It is humbling to be considered for this position. And I think the president elect for placing trust and confidence in me. When this unanticipated. Request came I was enjoying a full life west of the Rockies. I was not involved in the presidential campaign and I would certainly not seeking or envision in a position in any new administration. That said it would be the highest honor if I am confirm the lead those who volunteer. To support and defend the constitution. And to defend our people. All my remarks today recognize. It is only with the advice and consent of the senate. That I can be confirmed. I know the senators of this committee are well aware of the many global security challenges we face. We see each day a world awash in change. Our country is still war in Afghanistan. And our troops are fighting against basis and other terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere. Russia is raging grave concerns on several fronts and try new shredding crushed along the periphery. Increasingly we sea island of stability in our hemisphere. Democracy here in Europe. And in Asia under attack by a non state actors and nation that mistakenly see their security. In the in security of others. Our armed forces in this world must remain the best lead the best equipped and most gleeful in the world. He's demanding times require us to put together a strong national security team here in Washington. If confirmed I will lead the department of defense and be a forthright member of that team. I recognize that level need to be the strongest possible advocate. For military and civilian personnel. And their families. I will Foster an atmosphere of harmony and trust at the department. With our interagency counter part and the congressional committees. As swiftly as the president elect's national security team if confirmed double work make her strategy and military calculus. Are employed to reinforce traditional pools of diplomacy. Ensuring our president and our diplomats. Negotiate from a position of strength. In addition to ensuring collaboration across government. And the adoption of an integrated strategy. We must balls from braced for international alliances and security partnerships. History is clear nations with strong allies thrive and those without them wither. If you confirm me my watchword will be solvency and security and providing for the protection of our people and the survival of our freedoms. My priorities as executive fence will be to strengthen military readiness. Strengthen our alliances. Hampering business reforms to the Department of Defense. Our military is the envy of the world represented America's off some determination. To defend yourself. Working with you I will endeavor to keep our unique all volunteer force second and none. We open the door to all patriots who are eligible or meet the standard. Provide them with the training equipment and leadership the central to their success. And ensure all service members are treated with dignity and respect. I recognized my potential civilly enrolled differs investments from my former roll him in uniform. Civilian control the military is a fundamental Tenet of the American military tradition. Both the commander in chief and the secretary of defense must impose an objective strategic calculus in the national security decision making process. And effectively direct attack and civilian leaders bear these responsibilities. Because he has breed a core of our military. It can do spirit. And it's obedient to civilian leadership. Reduces the inflammation empower the military to oppose a policy. If it is it is ultimately ordered to implement. If the senate consents to have the full congress passes an exception to the seven year requirement. I will provide strong civilian leadership of military plans and decisions and the Department of Defense. I recognized him of the constitution it is the congress. That raises sustained and support for armed forces through annual authorization and appropriations. For many years I've watched Q and action and testified before you I look forward to collaborating closely for the defense of our nation. I am mindful of the extraordinary privilege it is to be nominated for the desperate position. I will hold service members of blame to their families foremost in my thought some work to give the department the best chance for victory if you confirm me. Finally on a personal note I worked at the Pentagon twice in my career. But few people may know I'm not the first person in my family do shall. When in the wartime spring of 1942. My mother was twenty years old and working a military intelligence. She was part of the first wave of government employees to move into this Dillon finished pentagon. She had come to America as an infant and live today on the banks the Columbia River in the Pacific northwest. Little could you imagine her new youth. The more than ninety years atrophy immigrated to this country and 75 years after few perk walk through the door for the war department. What are first time would be sitting here before you today. Thank you. Tactic to court.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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