Statement by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work on Eric Fanning’s Confirmation as Secretary of the Army

“I welcome the U.S. Senate‘s vote to confirm Eric Fanning as Army Secretary, following Senator Pat Robert’s decision to lift his hold on the nomination. As I told Senator Roberts, his hold was depriving the Army of leadership at a time of war and was the wrong way to express his opposition to the administration’s plan for responsibly closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. I made clear we need to have an active dialogue with Congress, and that the legislative process would give Senator Roberts a more appropriate platform to express his views. The Department of Defense wants a full debate over closing Guantanamo to happen this year, as we agree with the President that closing the detention facility is a national security imperative. I explained to Senator Roberts that we are trying to achieve the goal of closure with the support of Congress and we recognize that there is limited time left to achieve that support, both in terms of lifting Congressional restrictions and winning approval of funds to execute closure. These factors make the urgency of action greater, but also acknowledge that the Senator and his colleagues have a say. Finally, I made clear that we have not taken any location off the table for relocating Guantanamo detainees.”

Release No: NR-176-16
May 17, 2016

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