Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) gave an opening statement followed by a statement from Senator Lugar (R-IN). Senator Kaufman (D- DE) took over as Chairman for Kerry when he excused himself from the hearing. Sen. Lugar referred to a 61 question pre-hearing document that Tauscher completed. It is available on his website or by following this link: http://lugar.senate.gov/sfrc/pdf/TauscherQFR.pdf. Though not in attendance, Senator Boxer submitted a written statement. Senator Isakson (R-GA) was in attendance and made a personal recommendation of Tauscher. Also in attendance was Senator Cardin (D- MD).
Representative Tauscher was endorsed by two close friends and colleagues: Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and Majority Leader Congressman Hoyer (D-MD).
Topics discussed included:
Sen. Kerry asked if confirmed what role Tauscher intended for the Nuclear Posture Review. Tauscher replied that staffers of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which she chairs, were already heavily involved working on it and that if she were confirmed she would make it a multidepartment effort. Sen. Kerry also asked about the implementation of defense trade with the United Kingdom and if she would be willing to work with them to achieve their goals. Tauscher answered affirmatively. Kerry then brought up the U.S. – India peaceful use of nuclear energy agreement which he and Lugar had supported and she had opposed and then asked her thoughts on the U.A.E. 123 Agreement. Tauscher expressed support for the agreement saying it was a good model for nuclear non-proliferation and important in the region. Finally, Kerry asked for her support and corporation on the CTBT which she confirmed she would offer if she were to be confirmed.
Sen. Lugar inquired if it would be too difficult to deal with the Nuclear Posture Review and renegotiating START simultaneously. Tauscher was confident in the ability to multitask. He then asked for her thoughts on if the United States would seek a new cutoff for the creation of fissile materials, and what the fundamental challenges in doing so would be. She replied that the challenges were both technical and political and that she would seek to work with great transparency. She confirmed that she was aware of the approaching deadline and that any treaty would protect U.S. National Security. Finally Sen. Lugar asked about chemical weapons and the apparent inability of both the United States and Russia to meet deadlines for their destruction. Tauscher acknowledged a problem with acquiring the necessary funding to meet the 2012 deadline but said we should be 90% of the way there. She also made the point that as a world leader it is important that we follow through on our commitments.
Sen. Cardin asked about cooperation that the United States has had with Russia on the issue of Iran. Tauscher suggested that ever since the end of the Cold War the best way to preserve our national security was to engage and cooperate with nations that are world leaders in certain spheres as Russian is in the nuclear arena. She stressed the importance of continued efforts at cooperation with all world leaders. He then inquired about restrictions on satellite launches in China and intellectual property rights. Tauscher replied that technology, especially a lot of dual use technology, has a lifespan and that it is critical to protect items that are essentially to national security. She stated however, that once it is no longer absolutely critical to protect the item it must be removed from the protection list since it is impossible to protect everything. She also spoke to the necessity of protecting American jobs.
Sen. Kaufman asked how Tauscher saw her job as we prepare to remove our forces from Iraq. She highlighted her strong connections with the Pentagon and said that though we have the strongest armed forces in the world they should be used least and last. She said that our ultimate goal is to leave Iraq stable and better then it was. In regard to Afghanistan she said it was a world of counterinsurgency and that we had to be prepared for it. She also emphasized a need to have more civilians in Afghanistan.