BREAKING: Senate Clears Two Defense Nominees Key to Our National Security amid Russia Threat, Following Push from Shaheen

March 01, 2022

**This builds on Shaheen’s successful push to break through Republican partisan obstruction holding up key positions within the Department of Defense last month** 

**Shaheen spoke on Senate floor last month urging confirmation of Melissa Dalton**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following statement after the Senate cleared two Biden administration nominees to fill pivotal roles within the Department of Defense (DoD). Melissa Dalton, nominee to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, and Dr. John Plumb, nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, were confirmed by voice vote.

“The United States has led unprecedented global coordination in response to Putin’s deadly siege of Ukraine, which is why now more than ever, we cannot allow our national defense to be hindered or made vulnerable by party politics holding up key nominations at the Pentagon. Even before this crisis began, I was sounding the alarm on the need to confirm qualified leaders at the Department of Defense to keep our nation safe. I’ve been outraged by the partisan obstruction and political grandstanding from a handful of Senate Republicans who’ve jeopardized our national security by blocking these nominees,” said Shaheen. “I’m pleased we broke through some of that gridlock today by confirming Melissa Dalton and Dr. John Plumb. We still have more nominees awaiting confirmation, and I hope we can use this same bipartisan urgency to ensure the Department of Defense has the personnel needed to safeguard our homeland and national security.”

Last month, following Senator Shaheen’s push to end partisan obstruction around the confirmation of Department of Defense nominees, the Senate cleared two key Biden administration nominees. Dr. David Honey was confirmed to serve as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and Dr. Celeste Wallander, who is an expert on Russia, was confirmed to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Both were confirmed by large margins.

Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and our allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. A member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Shaheen recently co-led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine with Ukraine Caucus co-chair Senator Rob Portman to reaffirm U.S. support for Ukraine’s right to defend itself against the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression. Shaheen previously led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.

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