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Following Push from Shaheen, Senate Clears Key Defense Nominees

Last week, Senator Shaheen slammed partisan obstruction from some Republican lawmakers holding up key positions within the Department of Defense.

(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). Dr. David Honey was confirmed to serve as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering by a vote of 94 to 1, and Dr. Celeste Wallander, who is an expert on Russia, was confirmed by a vote of 83 to 13 to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

These nominees were finally approved by the Senate following a push on the Senate floor led by Shaheen last week, where she slammed Republican lawmakers for obstructing these key nominees and compromising U.S. national security and the U.S. response to the crisis in Ukraine amid Putin’s increasing campaign of aggression.

“For too long, partisan obstruction from a handful of Senate Republicans has compromised our national security as we face the most serious military threat from Russia since the end of the Cold War. I shouldn’t have to continuously call out Republican lawmakers for playing politics with our national security, but if that’s what it takes to get these pivotal nominations through to ensure our defense and diplomatic capabilities are firing on all cylinders, that’s what I’ll do,” said Shaheen. “I’m very pleased the Senate confirmed Dr. Wallander and Dr. Honey, who are both eminently qualified and whose expertise are needed as we confront national security threats from Russia as well as from an expansionist China. I look forward to seeing them swiftly sworn in and hard at work in the Pentagon, and I’ll keep working to break the partisan gridlock by a few Senate Republicans that shamefully makes our country less secure.”

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.