Chairman Rockefeller's Remarks on Today's Nominations Hearing

October 15, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Good afternoon. I want to welcome and congratulate our nominees and commend you for accepting your nation’s call to serve.
We will start today with an appointment that is long overdue: Mr. Erroll G. Southers, the president’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Department will need strong and stable leadership in the coming years, and it is my hope, Mr. Southers, that you will be able to provide it. TSA’s success is vital not only to our nation’s transportation system, but also to its economic livelihood. 
Should you be confirmed, I am particularly interested in working with you and your colleagues to complete cargo and surface transportation initiatives, to improve the security of general aviation, and to discover and implement new technologies in commercial aviation security. I look forward to hearing your testimony.  
Our second panel will feature Dr. Pat Gallagher, the president’s nominee to be Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Through its measurement research and calibration services, NIST is essential to keeping our country strong and competitive, particularly in issues important to me such as: energy and climate change, as well as cybersecurity.
You have served the organization well and honorably for many years, and I know it remains in good hands with you at the helm. 
Finally, we welcome Dr. Beth Robinson, the president’s nominee to be Chief Financial Officer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Mr. Paul Martin, nominated to be Inspector General at NASA.
If confirmed, both of you will have your jobs cut out for you. NASA is a major agency with a questionable track record when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
Dr. Robinson, it will be your job to stabilize the agency’s finances, and with your background I am confident you can make that happen.
Meanwhile, the agency has gone without an effective inspector general for too long and as this Committee has shown, there is waste, fraud and abuse at NASA.
I expect you, Mr. Martin, to lead the effort not only in cleaning up the Office of the Inspector General, but also overseeing this multi-billion dollar agency, allocating its resources efficiently, and using them effectively.
Thank you again to our nominees for your testimony today. I look forward to your speedy confirmation.