Shaheen Secures Assurances From General James Mattis on Support & Importance of NATO, Value of U.S. Strategic Alliances
**Gen. Mattis responds to Shaheen’s question on importance of New Hampshire National Guard readiness**
Video of Sen. Shaheen’s questioning available here
(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, during his confirmation hearing before the committee today. Shaheen questioned Gen. Mattis on his support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the importance of U.S. strategic alliances, highlighting the news today of U.S. troops moving into Poland for continuous deployment. Gen. Mattis replied that NATO “is the most successful military alliance in modern world history” and that it is in the United States’ best interest to “maintain the strongest possible relationship with NATO.” Shaheen pressed Gen. Mattis on President-elect Trump’s many statements with respect to continued support for U.S. allies and whether President-elect Trump recognizes the value of NATO, to which Gen. Mattis responded that “he understands where I stand.”
During their exchange, Shaheen questioned the nominee on the importance of National Guard readiness, highlighting the challenges that the New Hampshire National Guard faces with resources, training rotations, equipment and other aspects of readiness. “We have to keep the National Guard and the reserves of all the armed forces at the top of their game,” Gen. Mattis replied, noting that “as an operational reserve and strategic reserve [the National Guard] will be critical.” Shaheen also highlighted previous comments made by Gen. Mattis regarding the military’s dependence on fossil fuels and pushed Gen. Mattis on whether he will “continue to support the military’s effort to pursue alternative and more efficient sources of energy to reduce our reliance on conventional fuel supplies.” Gen. Mattis replied that they will “take advantage of every advance in terms… extending our energy efforts.”
Later today, the Senate will vote on whether to grant a waiver that would allow Gen. Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. Current rules mandate a seven-years-long "cooling off" period before leading the Defense Department, in the interest of maintaining civilian control of the military. Sen. Shaheen will vote in favor of the waiver.
“I have tremendous respect for the principle of civilian control of our military with the belief that there should only be rare exceptions made, and General Mattis agrees,” said Senator Shaheen. “General Mattis has served our country with distinction. His roles as Commander of United States Central Command and as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander make him uniquely qualified to serve as the Secretary of Defense and would provide needed expertise and stability to the next Administration at a time when our strategic European alliances are threatened. I will vote to support the waiver today and am grateful for his continued desire to serve our country.”