Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:
I am mindful of the confidence expressed in me by President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld in submitting my name in nomination for this important post.
The Army Corps of Engineers, in its Civil Works function, encompassing navigation, flood control, water resource development, and environmental improvements, has for 200 years contributed greatly to the prosperity and well-being of our nation.
In the course of my visits with many of you over the past few weeks, the issue of the organization of the Corps of Engineers, and whether some of its missions and functions should be privatized or shifted to other agencies of the government has been very prominent.
I think it would be appropriate for me to make clear what my views are on this matter.
In Section 109 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for 2003, Congress has spoken with extraordinary clearness and directness on this question. That section directs that the transfer of Corps of Engineers missions and functions should not be implemented or even studied without further direction by Congress.
I do not have any plans or intentions that are inconsistent with Section 109.
If in the future I have ideas to improve the operations of the Corps of Engineers civil works function, The Secretary of Defense has been clear on the importance of consulting with Congress as an important first step. I promise you full and open communications and consultation.
I deeply appreciate the courtesy of the Committee and if confirmed I look forward to working with the Chairman and all members to address the vital navigation, flood control, water resource, and environmental challenges of the nation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.