Co-Founder and Co-Chair, NTI
Statement of Former Senator Sam Nunn on the Nomination of Deborah Rosenblum to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs, United States Senate Armed Services Committee
Chairman Reed, Senator Inhofe, let me raise a point of personal privilege to say how honored I am to appear before this Committee and how many memories it brings back. And I want to say “amen” to your remarks about John Warner. John put the national interest first. He treated every person with respect and with dignity. He had unquestioned integrity. And I think he set an example of civility for all of us. John will be deeply, deeply missed.
Chairman Reed, Senator Inhofe, Members of the Armed Services Committee, I am honored to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
I am honored to present Deborah Rosenblum to the Committee, and I strongly recommend that she be confirmed as our nation’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I believe that our nation is fortunate to have a nominee with the experience, knowledge and boundless energy that Deborah would bring to this important role.
Deborah has served for more than 30 years in a number of critical national security positions. She has experienced and skilled leadership, sound judgment, and a deep understanding of today’s complex threats. She also brings a background and spirit of non-partisanship and a history of working across the aisle.
If confirmed, it is my understanding that Deborah would lead the Defense Department’s efforts in preparing for, deterring, and mitigating current and future weapons of mass destruction threats. Deborah’s previous work at DoD and her experience as Executive Vice President at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) for the last 11 years have uniquely prepared her for this important position.
I currently serve as Co-Chair of the NTI Board of Directors and have had the opportunity to work closely with Deborah over the last decade, particularly during my time as CEO of NTI.
Deborah’s contributions to NTI have been very impactful, with leadership roles in every aspect of our work. She serves on NTI’s executive leadership team and helps oversee the organization’s operations, development, and programs, as well as managing our annual operating budget. She has provided strong oversight to the NTI Biological program, which works to reduce biological risk and enhance global biosecurity.
Deborah also helps manage NTI’s work on security issues related to China and has traveled there regularly to engage in dialogue with government officials and non-governmental organizations. She is well-versed in the important roles that the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) play in our nuclear posture, and if confirmed, she would be an outstanding Staff Director of the Nuclear Weapons Council.
Prior to NTI, Deborah was vice president of The Cohen Group, an international consulting firm led by our colleague and friend, former Senator and former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, for seven years.
Her previous work at the Department of Defense is also notable and impressive. For approximately 12 years, she served in senior positions at DoD in the areas of homeland defense, peacekeeping operations and support, nuclear forces, and counter-proliferation policy.
While at DoD, she represented the United States as a member of the negotiating team with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on bilateral negotiations concerning its nuclear program.
In conclusion, Chairman Reed, Senator Inhofe and members of the Committee – I am confident that Deborah is fully prepared to serve in this critical role. I strongly support her nomination by President Biden. I urge the Committee’s support, and I urge her confirmation by the full Senate.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on nuclear and biological threats.