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Carlos Del Toro Confirmed as 78th US Navy Secretary; Sen. Warner Said “this is a man of enormous, enormous character…he is a proud American, he loves our Navy, he loves this country”

Del Toro was born in Havana, Cuba; ran for VA House of Delegates in 2007; retired from the U.S. Navy as a Commander

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Great news – the Navy Times reports:

The Senate on Saturday confirmed Carlos Del Toro, a retired Navy commander and businessman, as the 78th secretary of the Navy and the second Hispanic American to lead the department.

Del Toro graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 and then served in the Navy for 22 years…

…At his July Senate confirmation hearing, Del Toro said he supports plans to maintain a 355-ship Navy, but that getting to that number will require “additional resources” from Congress in the coming years.

He also cited climate change and China as top threats the force will face in the coming years.

As noted on June 11, when Del Toro was nominated by President Biden, “if confirmed (which he almost certainly will be!), he will follow in the footsteps of another Virginian, Jim Webb, as Secretary of the Navy!” Well…as of last night, by “unanimous consent,” now he *has* been confirmed, so congratulations to Carlos Del Toro on starting this important job!

FYI, in addition to his many other accomplishments, Del Toro ran for Virginia House of Delegates in 2007, against far-right Del. Mark Cole in the deep-“red” 88th district (Stafford County/Spotsylvania County/Fredericksburg/Fauquier County). So, not surprisingly, Del Toro lost that race, but not due to any fault of his own. For more background on Del Toro, see here, from 2007:

Born in Havana, Cuba.  His dad was imprisoned by Fidel Castro, but got released long enough to get a 48-hour visa for the family to leave for the United States.  After landing in Miami with just four suitcases and the clothes on their backs, the Del Toros settled in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City (think “West Side Story”, only meaner and more rat-infested).  Dad worked three jobs, and got the family moved to better digs in Queens, New York, where Carlos graduated from the New York City Public Schools.  Carlos was chosen for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Then, he embarked on a 20+ year career as a Naval Officer, highlighted by combat duty during Operation Desert Storm and his command of the U.S.S. Bulkeley, which was commissioned in New York Harbor after 9/11 (in sight of Ground Zero). During 1998-99, he was selected for a White House fellowship where he worked for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  That was the year the U.S. government yielded its first budget surplus in many years.

Commander Del Toro retired from the U.S. Navy, to be closer to family, and to start a very successful 8-person engineering firm.  He, his wife Betty, and their four sons reside in North Stafford, Virginia.

For video of Carlos Del Toro’s confirmation hearing – including Sen. Mark Warner’s introduction and Sen. Tim Kaine’s comments/questions – before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee back on July 13, see here. As Sen. Warner said at that time, he’s known Del Toro as a “friend of over 30 years” (they got to know each other on the issue of Juvenile Diabetes research) and has “often leaned on Carlos’ experience both in the Navy and the private sector when I’ve faced tough policy questions both as governor and now as Senator”; “Carlos’ story is uniquely American”; Del Toro’s “leadership in the private sector has received numerous awards”; “we need someone who brings Carlos’ depth and breadth of understanding to be Secretary of the Navy at this critical time”; “this is a man of enormous, enormous character…he is a proud American, he loves our Navy, he loves this country…he will be an incredible leader of but also advocate for the  most important asset our Navy has…the men and women who serve”; “I speak with unquestionable conviction that he brings the character, the intellect and the experience to be a great Secretary of the Navy.”

And as Sen. Kaine said at that hearing, “Mr. Del Toro and his family have been close friends of mine for quite a long time, and I echo everything that Mark [Warner] said about the professional qualifications, the patriotism, and most especially the character of this nominee.

Finally, see below for Del Toro’s statement at that hearing:

Mr. Carlos Del Toro
Nominee to be Secretary of the Navy
Senate Armed Services Committee July 13, 2021 

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Inhofe, and Distinguished Members of the Committee.

I am honored to appear before you as President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Navy.  I am grateful for your consideration of my nomination, and I hope this hearing will help earn your trust.

I want to thank Senator Warner for his kind words of introduction.

If I may Mr. Chairman, I would like to quickly recognize and introduce to the Committee my wife of 38 years, Betty, who will undoubtedly serve as a constant reminder to me of the sacrifices of military families. As long as she has my ear – and she always will, I will work tirelessly, if confirmed, to care for our military families. I also want to thank my beloved children, Chris, Marcel, Brice, and John who could not be here today, but who collectively put up with 17 moves over 22 years in the Navy.

Mr. Chairman, I am honored to testify before you and am grateful to President Biden and Secretary Austin for extending me this potential opportunity to again serve our Sailors, Marines, our Navy Civilian Workforce, their families, and our nation. As President Biden said in his Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, “democracy holds the key to freedom, prosperity, peace, and dignity.” I know the value of freedom and democracy because I was born in a country with neither. As a child, my family and I fled an autocratic communist regime and settled in our new home, the United States of America. At age 17, I joined the Navy and served proudly for 26 years. The United States Navy – Marine Corps Team is sacred to our basic freedoms and national security. Should this committee and this Senate vote to confirm me, I will always remember and honor what we are sworn to protect and defend.

As President Biden has previously stated, our nation is at an inflection point and we face challenges as severe as they are unprecedented. China, with its authoritarian system and its determined incursion into the South China Sea and globally, presents a constant naval threat. Russia and other resurgent powers also threaten stability. Our adversaries our even targeting the Arctic theater where we must now also compete despite its harsh operating conditions. We must meet these challenges from a position of demonstrated strength and unity.

China’s rising military expenditures fueled by a growing economy coupled with their global adventurism means that we can no longer take U.S. naval superiority for granted.  Access to contested waters requires more robust capabilities and capacity. This demands new thinking about how we invest our defense dollars. I was pleased to see the President’s budget request recognize this challenge and invest billions of dollars toward improving readiness and for future capabilities.  If confirmed, I look forward to advancing these capabilities to ensure our Navy – Marine Corps team has what it needs to project strength and provide a credible deterrent to China and other adversaries.

The climate crisis also demands U.S. Navy investment precisely because it exacerbates every other challenge our Navy faces, including great power competition. Already, installation resilience is an issue, with vital installations facing threats from rising sea levels.  Building energy and environmental resilience into our installations will make them more combat effective. If confirmed, I look forward to working with our community partners, at home and abroad to address these complicated issues.

As Secretary Austin has repeatedly stated we must build teamwork and always care for those that defend our nation.  We must continue to build a Navy – Marine Corps Team where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We must recruit from the widest possible talent pool. Diversity of experience, thought, and background makes for a more combat effective team. If confirmed, I look forward to working with our leadership to make sure every Sailor, Marine, and Civilian in the Department feels safe, welcome, and included.

Creating such a force also means we must hold accountable those who do not treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are.

There is also the inexcusable issue of military sexual harassment and assault. It must end. I appreciate the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, and if confirmed, I will work closely with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Congress to find impactful solutions.

In closing, I again thank our Sailors, Marines, Civilian Personnel, and their families whose professionalism, commitment, and abilities never cease to amaze me.

I also thank my parents in heaven for summoning the courage to leave Cuba and communism with me in tow as an infant and for having both worked two jobs so that my brother, Robert, and I could live and prosper in freedom.

To President Biden and Secretary Austin, thank you for entrusting me with a sacred duty – to support the men and women who defend our nation’s interests and our citizens.

I look forward to answering your questions and I hope, earning your trust, as well.

Thank You.

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