MR. MIKE PARKER
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Committee.
It is a great honor and privilege to appear before this Committee as the nominee to be the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. I am very grateful to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of the Army for the trust and confidence that- they-have placed in me. If confirmed, I pledge that I will work as hard as I possibly can to serve the soldiers, civilians, and families that make the United States Army the most powerful and professional army in the world.
The Corps of Engineers has a proud history stretching back to the beginning of the country. Over the years the Corps has evolved to emphasize its major civil works responsibilities of today: conservation and development of the Nation's water resources, which includes flood control, navigation, shore protection, and environmental restoration. All of these tasks are important; all are complex and demanding; and all require significant resources. With competing demands for limited dollars, fulfilling these requirements becomes more and more challenging; however, I am committed that should I be confirmed, environmental considerations will remain a key factor in determining our Civil Works stance for the Nation. The dedicated and able staff of military and civilian employees who make up the Corps of Engineers has risen to every challenge in the past and I'm sure will continue to carry out their responsibilities to the people of this country in these vital areas.
In the last week, you can see the value of the Corps to this nation and the dedication of its people as we recover from the recent tragedies at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. The Corps is heavily involved in determining structural integrity and debris management in both locations and continue to serve as the nation's premier engineers during this time of crisis. Should I be confirmed, I will be proud to work alongside these ultimate professionals.
In the ten years during which I had the honor of representing the Fourth District of Mississippi in the United States House of Representatives, I applied my commitment to finding practical, realistic solutions to problems and issues of importance to my constituents. Having served on various House Committees which deal with a range of issues I can expect to face as the Assistant Secretary, I understand both the Civil Works and military programs aspects of the Corps of Engineers and appreciate the challenges. facing the Corps.
Should I be confirmed, I look forward to serving with the Army and the Corps during this landmark era of change and transformation. I look forward to serving with the Army team of Active, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers who distinguish themselves every day by their dedication and hard work. I am prepared to undertake the important responsibilities of this post and am enthusiastic about the opportunities it presents to me to continue to serve this great country. I am committed to working closely with and consulting with the various stakeholders in the ongoing Corps projects, including the Members of Congress who represent the American people. Mr. Chairman, if confirmed, I look forward to a strong working relationship with you and this Committee. I would be pleased to answer any questions at this time. Thank you.