WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement on his vote last week to confirm General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense:
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and with New Mexico’s tremendous contributions to national security, I take the responsibility of vetting and confirming our nation’s Secretary of Defense very seriously.
"Marine General James Mattis is a well-respected leader in the military and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his country. Throughout his 44 years of service, he has proven to be a tough leader on and off the battlefield. Whether it was helping lead the initial invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, conducting stability operations throughout the Iraq War, or overseeing military leaders across the Middle East, General Mattis has relentlessly focused on defeating the threats facing the United States and our allies.
“During the confirmation process, I pressed General Mattis on the number of global threats our nation faces—not limited to the Middle East—including Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, and terrorist organizations across several continents. General Mattis has a thorough understanding of these threats and in a hearing earlier this month he was unafraid to state that the principal threat to the United States starts with Russia.
“I also questioned General Mattis about his commitment to investing in our military’s capabilities, not only against ISIL and the threats we face on the battlefield today, but also against those threats on the horizon and particularly how our nation can best deter and prepare for future conflicts with additional investment in research, development, and testing of next generation weapon systems as well as investing in the nuclear triad.
“I weighed General Mattis’s qualifications, policy positions, and answers to my questions during the confirmation process against the need to provide a one-time exception to an important law that preserves civilian control of the military. Ultimately, I believe General Mattis is not only exceptionally qualified for this position, but he also has the ability to serve as a stabilizing force in the new Administration and can help temper some of the more extreme and impulsive reactions that President Trump and his team have demonstrated.”