OPENING STATEMENT OF
TIM S. MCCLAIN
DESIGNEE FOR NOMINATION AS GENERAL COUNSEL
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
HEARING ON PROPOSED NOMINATION
April 4, 2001
Mr. Chairman, Senator Rockefeller and Members of the Committee: Thank you for the invitation to appear before you today. I am humbled and honored by this nomination and the opportunity to testify at this hearing.
I believe that I possess a degree of experience that can, and will, be valuable to veterans if I am blessed with confirmation. Following graduation from high school, I entered the Naval Academy as a plebe with the Class of 1970. A little over twenty-four years later, I retired from active duty and became one of the millions of veterans who have proudly served this country. During my time on active duty I saw action in Vietnam as a Surface Warfare Officer, attended law school and joined the Navy JAG Corps, defended military members at courts-martial, adjudicated claims, advised senior officers on a myriad of legal issues, taught at the Naval Justice School (the Navy's Law School), and for four years presided as a Military Judge at courts-martial.
Upon retirement from active duty I entered the private practice of law, specializing in defending medical professionals in malpractice cases. Several years ago I was employed as a management consultant, directing and supervising consulting projects in major U.S. companies at offices here and abroad.
Most recently I have been a partner in a small private law firm specializing in health care, administrative and military law.
I believe this breadth of experience allows me to bring certain skills to the General Counsel's Office. However, I realize that I have much to learn about the Department, its responsibilities and the issues that concern the veterans we serve. I can assure you that I am fully committed to addressing those issues promptly and responsibly.
As General Counsel my focus will be to act as counselor and advisor-at-law to Secretary Principi, and his new team, as he implements his vision for the future of the Department. I believe I already have a good working relationship with the Secretary. From our discussions I know that many challenges lay ahead in the areas of veterans health care and adjudication of claims for veterans benefits. If I am confirmed, I intend to become fully conversant on these pressing issues and I will take a proactive/pro-veteran role in advising the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Under Secretaries on the current law as it applies to these challenges.
If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with the members and staff of this Committee in addressing the various issues so important to veterans. I also look forward to working with the Veterans Service Organizations. Their comments and concerns have spurred useful debate on many of the most difficult issues. I am certain that through a spirit of cooperation, we can discuss the issues and the proposed solutions in a manner that will ultimately benefit all veterans.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my opening statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions from the Committee.