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Corker Statement on Nomination of John J. Sullivan to be Deputy Secretary of State

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today made the following remarks at a hearing to consider the nomination of John J. Sullivan to serve as deputy secretary of state.

“Thank you for appearing before the committee today, Mr. Sullivan, and for your willingness to serve our country once again.

“The confirmation of a deputy secretary of state is one of the most important appointments this committee will consider. 

“The person who occupies this position will serve as the chief advisor to Secretary Tillerson, as secretary in his absence, and as the principal officer for management of personnel and resources at the State Department.

“Given recent management, budgetary, and information technology challenges, this is no small task.

“Fortunately, the president has nominated someone who has an extensive background in federal service.

“Having served at the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and as deputy secretary of commerce, I believe Mr. Sullivan has the knowledge base necessary to understand the inner workings of a large federal bureaucracy and the capacity to manage multiple priorities at the deputy level.

“Mr. Sullivan also has developed a reputation in the legal field as an authority on trade and national security issues.

“If confirmed, Mr. Sullivan will be re-entering government service at a highly precarious time in world history. From Europe, to the Middle East, to East Asia, we are witnessing a number of major threats to global security and stability.

“These events give rise to a common question: what will America’s role be? We are at a crucial point where we can decide to lead from the front with bold action, or simply observe what happens from the sidelines and hope for the best.

“It is my hope that we will choose to appropriately engage on the hard problems, that we will restore U.S. credibility, and that we will provide strong, pragmatic leadership on the world stage.

“It is also mandatory that the person who fills this position understand not only the importance of this office to the day-to-day operations of the department, but also the responsibility of keeping this committee fully informed of the department’s operations, plans, and policy objectives as we exercise our oversight authority. 

“I have spoken with Mr. Sullivan in private about the need for us to have candid responses to our questions both today and in the future if he is confirmed by the Senate. 

“We are here today to examine Mr. Sullivan’s nomination, and I look forward to hearing from him about this exceptionally important position.

Click here for complete testimony and video footage of the hearing.