As secretary, McHugh has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications and financial management.
McHugh also is responsible for the Army's annual and supplemental budget, which this year was more than $200 billion. He leads a work force of more than 1.1 million active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers; 221,000 civilian employees; and 213,000 contracted workers. Also, he provides stewardship over 14 million acres of land.
Over the last eight years, McHugh made 10 official visits to Iraq and four visits to Afghanistan and other deployed locations to visit U.S. forces.
During his July 30 nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, McHugh said that he was excited, humbled and honored at his new opportunity to serve, and that he understands the challenges facing the Army.
"They are strained by the frequency of constant deployments and stress by the pressures levied against their families," he said. "Too often -- far too often -- they return home to only to be disappointed by a network of support systems that, despite high intentions and constant effort, continue to fall short of the level of support they so richly deserve and each and every one of us so deeply desire."
As secretary, McHugh will draw on his years of experience as the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, which oversees the policies and programs for the department and each of the services.
In addition, at the time of his nomination, McHugh was co-chair of the House Army Caucus, a bipartisan group that works to educate fellow House members and their staffs about Army issues and programs, and a 14-year member of the U.S. Military Academy Board of Visitors.
In his concluding statement July 30, McHugh said he was inspired by the wounded warriors he'd met. "I have been so struck how these heroes, facing pain and loss and uncertainty, ask one question: 'What else can I do to serve?'"
He continued, "We can ask no less of ourselves."
Also at the Pentagon ceremony, Joseph Westphal assumed the duties of the 30th under secretary of the Army. Westphal has served in distinguished positions in academia, as well as private and public service, including a brief tour in 2001 as acting secretary of the Army. He served as the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works from 1998 to 2001.
McHugh has served more than 16 years as a member of Congress representing northern and central New York. During his service, he forged strong ties to Fort Drum and earned a reputation as a staunch advocate for soldiers and their families, working tirelessly to ensure they had proper facilities, training and the quality of life necessary to carry out wartime missions while caring for those at home.