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Thune: Gates Rooted in Experience, Ready for Challenge

Senator Questions Defense Secretary Nominee During Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

December 5, 2006

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune (R-SD) today issued the following statement regarding his participation in the Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing of Dr. Robert Gates, nominee for U.S. Secretary of Defense:

"Dr. Gates' testimony today was as impressive as it was forthright and honest. He handled a wide range of challenging questions concerning some of the most pressing issues facing America's national defense and role in global military operations with thoughtful, intelligent answers.

"These are challenging times for America, our troops invested in the War on Terror and the freedom-loving people of Iraq. The conflict in Iraq requires fresh perspective from a qualified leader who is willing to innovate and make tough decisions to achieve success. With the right experience behind him and the doggedness he demonstrated today to take on the challenges that lay ahead, Dr. Gates is the man for the job, and I look forward to his swift confirmation in the Senate."

Senator Thune posed several questions to Dr. Gates, asking him his thoughts on current troop levels, the possibility of involving Iraq's neighbors Iran and Syria in the peace process, and how he plans to ensure the objectivity of U.S. intelligence.