Opening Statement (As Prepared)

Click here to stream the hearing.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to our witnesses for appearing before us today. As the Chairman alluded to, the Department of Defense is beset by challenges that require an agile Department, able to rapidly integrate emerging and cutting-edge capabilities, with the people, policies, and technologies necessary to make that work. Our witnesses today are uniquely positioned to help explore the challenge of maintaining the Department’s technological, informational, and decision-making edge in an environment of increasingly rapid technological change.

I hope that today’s hearing can explore not just what the Department is doing – but how it can do it better, more flexibly, and with greater agility. You each confront the realities of a Department of Defense equipped with a dizzying diversity of systems, each designed to fulfill specific needs, with different security and architectural assumptions, and with varying levels of tech debt. We now confront the challenge of harmonizing and rationalizing this ecosystem, and bringing the ecosystem up to the speed of modern innovation – all while operating in an era of great power competition, with urgency, and in a fiscally constrained environment. In particular, efforts such as securing the defense industrial base, implementing zero trust architectures, accelerating the cloud transition, and rollout of a robust identity credentialing and access management capability are fundamental to the way the Department will secure its information capabilities, and we look forward to hearing more about those lines of effort.

Two weeks ago, this subcommittee held a very interesting hearing on software acquisition, development, and sustainment. And a month ago, the full committee held a hearing on accelerating the pace of innovation across the Department. Many of the issues discussed in those hearings are germane today, and I hope that those discussions will inform our conversation. I thank the Chairman for his sustained attention to these issues, and he and I are unified in our desire to accelerate the pace of technological adoption in the Department of Defense.

And finally, I’ll echo the Chairman – Dr. Martell, thank you for your willingness to serve as the Department’s first Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer, and best wishes to you in your future endeavors.

Thank you and I yield back.