Vice Admiral Thomas J. Barrett, USCG (Ret.), to be Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
Mr. Ronald Spoehel, to be Chief Financial Officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Rear Admiral William G. Sutton, Jr., USN (Ret.), to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce
Mr. Paul R. Brubaker, to be Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Daniel K. InouyeSenatorThe nominees before us today have been called upon to lead in diverse areas of our government. I look forward to the opportunity to hear your views on how your past experiences will assist you in addressing the challenges posed by these positions.Vice Admiral Barrett, we are depending on you to offer steady leadership at the Department of Transportation and to make certain that the safety of our nation’s transportation system remains the top priority at the agency.
At the same time, you must encourage advancements that can enhance our national transportation system and improve the movement of goods and people across the United States.Funding for the nation’s aviation programs will be a particular challenge. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has seen massive cuts to their Facilities and Equipment (F&E) account since fiscal year (FY) 2004. These particular cuts, if not corrected soon, will jeopardize our international leadership in aerospace and damage our ability to address the capacity and congestion crisis in our skies.You must provide direction at the Department of Transportation to make certain that aviation needs are properly funded.Truck and rail safety, and the reauthorization of Amtrak are additional areas that will challenge your leadership skills. Given your proven record of working with the Congress, and more specifically with this Committee, I expect you to meet these and other challenges successfully.Within the Department of Transportation, research and technological advancement are keys to expanding our transportation system so we can meet our society’s growing demands and continue to grow our economy. We will be counting on Mr. Brubaker to make sure the agency evaluates and develops new technologies quickly and effectively so they can be implemented as soon as practicable.Admiral Sutton, it is a pleasure to welcome a former commander of Naval Station Pearl Harbor. You are now called on to be the voice of America’s manufacturers as they face the challenges of globalization.The entire manufacturing sector generated just 12.1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2006, compared with 17.5 percent in 1986. Manufacturing employment dropped from 17.2 million in 1996 to just over 14 million as of last year. You have a great challenge ahead of you.Mr. Spoehel will be called upon, among other things, to improve NASA’s financial management system, and address weaknesses in NASA’s contracting system identified by the Government Accountability Office.Thank you all for your willingness to serve our nation in these important positions. I would like to call upon you to introduce any family members who are with you today.
The Honorable William S. Cohenformer Secretary of Defense
The Honorable Lisa MurkowskiUnited States SenatorAlaska
Witness Panel 1
Vice Admiral Thomas J. Barrett USCG (Ret.)Nominated to be Deputy SecretaryU.S. Department of TransportationSTATEMENT OF ADMIRAL THOMAS BARRETT,NOMINEE FOR THE DEPUTY SECRETARY,DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONJULY 31, 2007Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman, and other distinguished Members of the Committee, I am honored and welcome the opportunity to appear before you today with these other distinguished nominees as you consider my nomination to serve as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation. I am honored to have been nominated by the President for this important responsibility and, if confirmed, I look forward to energetically supporting Secretary Mary Peters and her leadership team at the Department. I commit to you that I will fully dedicate myself to helping ensure the Department meets its vital obligations to the American public, and continuing to work closely with you, the Committee and your staff.Mr.Chairman, as you know, the Department of Transportation plays a vital role for our nation. The Department and its operating modes administer comprehensive, nationwide programs to protect our citizens and communities from risks to life, health, property and the environment inherent in all modes of transportation. Departmental programs help develop, sustain and maintain the air, surface and maritime transportation systems that are a foundation of American personal freedom and commercial mobility. We all know America’s economic vitality, continued economic growth and ability to compete in a global economy depend upon dynamic and reliable transportation systems. Secretary Peters has focused the Department on safety, improving transportation systems performance including reducing congestion, and bringing forward 21st century solutions to transportation challenges. If confirmed, I look forward to advancing these priorities.I believe my experience as the Administrator of the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, as the Chief Operating Officer of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and 35 years of experience in the Coast Guard in a broad range of assignments has provided me the management, leadership and teamwork skills to succeed in the position for which I have been nominated. This experience has given me an excellent perspective on how organizations and their personnel work, how to ensure and maintain focus on mission objectives and achieve the performance that the Administration, the Congress and the public expects. My experience has forged a bedrock commitment to safety, a drive to constantly improve organizational performance, and a commitment to never ignore the circumstances of the people who carry out Department missions from the front lines. I fully appreciate the value of partnering with other federal agencies, states, stakeholders, the public and the Congress to build effective enterprise solutions to transportation challenges. I also understand the need to work closely with the Department’s Chief Budget Officer, the Inspector General, the Office of Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office to ensure the Department’s programs are managed effectively and with efficiency. As Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation since March, I have also had the opportunity to closely observe and develop hands-on experience on the major policy and management issues facing the Department.Mr. Chairman, I reiterate my commitment to you that, if confirmed, I will work each and every day as hard as I possibly can to effectively carry out the duties entrusted to me and to the Department.I thank you and am pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
Mr. Ronald SpoehelNominated to be Chief Financial OfficerNational Aeronautics and Space Administration
The Honorable Paul BrubakerAdministrator, Research and Innovative Technology AdministrationU.S. Department of TransportationSTATEMENT OF MR. PAUL R. BRUBAKER,NOMINEE FOR THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE RESEARCH AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY ADMINISTRATION,DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONJULY 31, 2007Chairman Inouye, Senator Stevens, Distinguished Members of the Committee, it is a privilege to appear before you today. I deeply appreciate your time and consideration.I am grateful for the confidence shown in me by the President and Secretary Peters in nominating me for this position.I would like to publicly thank my wife, Carolyn, and our sons, Jackson and Gavin, for supporting my continued interest in government service.The constant and efficient movement of people and goods across our country, and indeed around the globe, is crucial to sustaining our global economic leadership and ensuring the quality of life for all Americans. Yet the increasing demands placed on our transportation system to meet the needs of our growing population, changing demographics, and logistical demands of commerce are placing unprecedented stress on our system.Overcoming these challenges will increasingly rely on the development and deployment of new technologies and solutions. Because of this, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) plays an increasingly important role coordinating the research and development activities across the Department in order to maximize the benefit of our multi-billion dollar investment in transportation-related technology.I believe my government experience at the GAO, the U.S. Senate and the Department of Defense, as well as my private sector experience in the technology industry will serve me well, should I be confirmed as the next RITA Administrator. Over the past two decades, I have been exposed to the commercialization and application of many transformational innovations and technologies and should I be confirmed, I look forward to working with the Department and stakeholders to introduce new and exciting capabilities.If confirmed, I welcome the opportunity to work with the Committee to advance our transportation interests and to maximize the benefits of transportation-related innovation and technology to improve the quality of life for all Americans.Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and I welcome any questions the Committee may have.
Rear Admiral William G. Sutton USN (Ret.)Nominated to be Assistant Secretary of CommerceU.S. Department of Commerce