Monday, January 04, 2016

The nominee for Army under secretary told a Senate committee that he believes his experiences as an Iraq War veteran and member of Congress will help him in the job.

Patrick Murphy is a former Army captain and staff judge advocate who spent eight years in the service.

He deployed to Bosnia in 2002 and Iraq in 2003, and also served as a constitutional law professor at the U.S. Military Academy.

The 42-year-old served two terms in the U.S. House representing Pennsylvania’s 8th District.

Appearing Dec. 15 before the Senate Armed Services Committee, alongside the nominees for under secretary of the Navy and Air Force, Murphy said that if confirmed for a post that makes him the chief management officer of the Army, he’ll engage in a top-to-bottom review looking for "efficiencies within the organization so we can refocus on those warfighters who are keeping our families safe."

Murphy vowed, "I will make sure that the Army is manned, trained and equipped to accomplish what General Milley recently articulated as his fundamental task, to win in the unforgiving crucible of ground combat.

Adding, And, I’ll make sure that our troops do not have a fair fight, that they have a tactical and technical advantage against our enemies."

Murphy said he is worried about the Army.

Size is one issue, he said. "When I left Congress five years ago, we were 45 brigade combat teams on active duty. We are now down to 31."

Resources are another, he said, noting the tradeoff the Army is making in slowing modernization to pay for readiness. The result is taking on increased risk.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the armed services committee chairman, said Murphy and the other under secretary nominees will need to guide the development of their service’s "business systems and processes during a time of severe fiscal restraint, in one of the most dangerous national security climates that this nation has ever seen."

And, he told them to expect to be busy in the final year of the Obama administration.

Some people in the Pentagon will be resistant to change, and try to wait out the new leaders, McCain said, telling the nominees to "defy" them.

"Next year will be a sprint, not a marathon," McCain said.

"There is much work to be done, and not a minute to be wasted," he said.