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Chair Cardin Convenes Nomination Hearing for Kurt Campbell to be Deputy Secretary of State

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a nominations hearing where he delivered opening remarks in support of the confirmation of Kurt Campbell to be Deputy Secretary of State.



More information about the hearing is available here.

A copy of the Chair’s remarks, as delivered, have been provided below.

This Senate Foreign Relations Committee will come to order.

The Deputy Secretary of State is one of the most critical posts in the Department. As we advance United States leadership and address multiple challenges and crises around the world, the State Department’s role is more important than ever. We must elevate our ability to compete with China while establishing strategic lines of coordination. Ukraine remains under assault almost two years after Putin’s illegal invasion, and exactly two months ago, Hamas terrorists launched a brutal attack on Israel. This conflict endangers the security of the entire region, and it has made an already acute humanitarian situation in Gaza much worse.

These and other challenges require strategic, consistent, and creative diplomacy. That is why it is critical that we fill this role as quickly as we can. I believe that for American foreign policy, to serve our national interest, it must be driven by our values – promoting democracy and good governance, fighting corruption, defending human rights. These must be at the core of our agenda as we engage on the global stage.

Mr. Campbell, if confirmed, I hope you will work to make sure these values are front and center. I have enormous respect for the work our diplomats and civil servants do every day. We must make sure the Department has the support and resources it needs to advance U.S. interests and keep crises from expanding. Food insecurity, severe natural disasters, and extreme heat made worse by the climate crisis multiply the threats facing the globe. Humanitarian crises are devastating Haiti, Burma, Syria, Yemen, and Sudan.

In Africa, there have been seven coups in the Sahel and West Africa in the past three years, in addition to coups in Sudan and Gabon. Instability now stretches across the continent from the Red Sea to the Atlantic.

In our hemisphere, illicit fentanyl trafficking and irregular migration affect cities and communities in nearly every state in America. The demise of democratic governance and widespread human rights abuses in Venezuela and Haiti require increased attention. At the same time, the United States must not only respond to global crises, but lead a proactive agenda. Whether it is nurturing our alliances with our NATO and G7 partners, promoting an agenda for economic growth, advancing solutions to climate change, or improving global health.

The Department of State must be operating at full capacity to tackle these challenges. That means keeping morale up while upholding the traditions of providing space for constructive dissent within the Department. It means fully staffing our missions in Africa, and making sure ambassadorial nominees have the relevant regional experience to lead effectively. It means being ambitious and consistent with our resourcing. It means making sure that the Department makes notable progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion — from every bureau to every post. It means getting our diplomats and civil servants the training and skills to address climate, global health, cyber, economic, and other 21st century security challenges.

Mr. Campbell, there is no shortage of challenges awaiting you in this post. So I want to thank you for your willingness to serve and I want to thank your family for supporting you in this challenge. I look forward to hearing your plans for carrying out this role, if confirmed, and helping lead the Department to confront the challenges ahead. With that, I yield to distinguished Ranking Member, Senator Risch.