The Senate has confirmed Carlos Del Toro as the secretary of the U.S. Navy.
President Joe Biden nominated Del Toro for the position on June 11; the Senate confirmed him by a voice vote on Aug. 7.
During his confirmation hearing, he told senators that he would be “exclusively focused” on the threat posed by China.
“It’s incredibly important to defend Taiwan in every way possible and it takes a holistic view of our national commitment to Taiwan. We should be focused on providing Taiwan with as much self-defensive measures as humanly possible,” Del Toro said on July 13.
“And if confirmed, I would be exclusively focused on the China threat, exclusively focused on moving out maritime strategy forward in order to protect Taiwan and all of our national security interests in the Pacific theater.”
Del Toro served as a naval officer in the senior ranks at the Department of Defense and as commanding officer of the USS Bulkeley. After retiring with the rank of commander, he founded a program management and engineering firm that primarily serves government clients. He was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was a child.
During his opening remarks at the confirmation hearing, Del Toro told senators that he now knows “the value of freedom and democracy because I was born in a country [Cuba] 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,” Del Toro said. “The United States Navy–Marine Corps is sacred to our basic freedoms and to our national security.”
Del Toro cited Biden’s comments to describe the nation’s challenges “as severe as they are unprecedented,” and singled out China and Russia as major threats.
“China, with its autocratic system and its determined incursion into the South China Sea and globally, presents a constant naval threat. Russia and other resurgent powers also threaten our global stability,” Del Toro said.
Ray Mabus, who served as Navy secretary under President Barack Obama, celebrated Del Toro’s confirmation.
“Carlos del Toro confirmed as SecNav. Fair winds and following seas. Best post in government,” Mabus wrote on Twitter.