[Congressional Record: January 22, 2009 (Senate)]
[Page S782-S783]                        

                        TRIBUTE TO MELVIN DUBEE

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, Melvin Dubee, one of the Senate's 
most highly valued staff members and one to whom I am personally 
grateful, will soon conclude two decades of government service in order 
to apply his considerable talents in the private sector. While I do 
not, for a moment, believe that this is the end of Melvin's public 
duties--one day a wise official will certainly summon him back to 
public service--it is fitting to note his accomplishments to date.
  As evident to even casual observers, particularly around key Longhorn 
or Cowboy games, Melvin has roots in Texas, where he received at the 
University of Texas at Arlington a Bachelor of Business Administration 
degree in finance. His path to public service then included a Masters 
degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 
1988 and two years as a Presidential management intern between 1987 and 
  The Presidential Management Intern Program was established by 
President Carter to attract to Federal service, through a national 
competition, outstanding individuals from a variety of disciplines who 
are interested in a career in Federal service. During the internship 
Melvin worked in the Office of the Inspector General in the Department 
of Defense, where he began to build expertise in defense issues that 
carried into his Senate work. During that time he received a 
congressional fellowship, which introduced him to the Senate in the 
office of the Senate's master teacher, my senior Senator, Robert Byrd, 
where Melvin continued to work on defense management issues.
  It doesn't take long for those with whom Melvin works to be impressed 
by his considerable skills and calm demeanor. His audition as a 
Congressional Fellow led to 5 years of service as national security 
assistant to Senator Byrd, between 1989 and 1994. In that capacity, he 
advised Senator Byrd, who was then in the midst of his distinguished 
leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on foreign policy 
and defense issues. This included serving as Senator Byrd's staff 
representative to the Armed Services Committee, during which Melvin 
complemented his growing knowledge of defense issues with his 
impressive legislative process skills concerning hearings, markups, 
floor action, conference committee negotiations, and negotiations with 
other congressional offices and with the Executive Branch.
  In 1994, Melvin began his service on the Senate Intelligence 
Committee. This service continued until now with brief interruptions, 
including a year during President Clinton's administration in the 
Office of National Drug Policy where he advised Director Barry 
McCaffrey on that office's interaction with Congress.
  Melvin has contributed to the committee in a variety of positions.
  As a professional staff member, which is the general entry point for 
our staff, Melvin developed expertise in a number of key intelligence 
community oversight issues, including counter-drug, counterterrorism, 
international organized crime issues, as well as area expertise 
concerning Latin America and Southeast Asia. As a professional staff 
member, he also served as an adviser and liaison to Senator John Kerry 
and then to me, during the early part of my service on the committee in 
  One of Melvin's particular contributions during that time was 
leadership of the committee's investigation of the tragic April 2001 
shoot-down of a U.S. missionary plane in Peru. Our report, entitled 
``Report on a Review of United States Assistance to Peruvian Counter-
Drug Air Interdiction Efforts and the Shootdown of a Civilian Aircraft 
on April 20, 2001,'' S. Prt. 107-64, bears witness to a number of his 
skills. They include an ability to gather and carefully analyze facts, 
write accurately and clearly, help the Committee draw sound conclusions 
and make needed recommendations, and do so in a manner that draws 
bipartisan support. And, I should add, also to do all that 
expeditiously so that the committee was able to report publicly within 
6 months of the incident.
  The skills that Melvin amply demonstrated as a professional staff 
member led to his selection to fill two key staff management positions.
  From mid-2001 through 2002, Melvin served as the committee's budget 
director. Our budget director post is an immensely important 
responsibility. The total national intelligence budget when Melvin was 
budget director is classified. But we have declassified the top line 
for the last 2 fiscal years. The most recent figure, $47.5 billion in 
fiscal year 2008, conveys the importance of the task of reviewing, 
making recommendations about, and monitoring implementation of the 
Nation's intelligence budget. As budget director, Melvin led the 
committee's budget monitors for each of the individual intelligence 
community elements in scouring the President's budget numbers and 
evaluating the broad span of human and technical collection, 
analytical, acquisition, and management issues they involve. The budget 
director arranges for the presentation of these issues at classified 
hearings of the committee, their consideration at committee markups, 
coordination with the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations 
Committees, and negotiation with the House and also with the Executive 
Branch. This work is at the heart of the committee's responsibilities.
  Confidence in Melvin, starting with former Vice Chairman Richard 
Bryan in 2000 and then myself from 2003 through the 110th Congress, 
also led to Melvin's designation as deputy staff director, initially on 
the minority side and then beginning in 2007 as the committee's deputy 
staff director. There are two aspects of that responsibility. One is 
leadership within the staff, helping it to maintain the high level of 
professionalism and effectiveness that has been the hallmark of our 
Intelligence Committee staffs. The other is being a close adviser to 
the chairman or vice chairman, as the case may be, on the full breadth 
of issues relating to the oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.
  In both respects, as a partner with the staff director in managing 
the committee and as a close adviser to me, Melvin performed 
magnificently. On a daily basis, I most often saw Melvin as a trusted 
adviser. In that role, Melvin combines key capabilities and attributes.
  Melvin knows his material. This includes current intelligence and 
historical background. It includes detailed knowledge of the elements 
of the intelligence community, from the CIA, to components of the 
Defense Department, to intelligence elements in the State, Treasury, 
and Energy Departments, as well as the FBI. And it includes knowledge 
of the functioning of the Senate, with respect not only to the 
Intelligence Committee, but also to the committees with which we work, 
and its leadership and floor proceedings.
  Melvin has an admirable ability to express his considerable knowledge 
succinctly and clearly. He has no hesitation in expressing disagreement 
or dissent, respectfully but clearly, particularly when a matter of 
principle is involved, as is often the case when addressing sensitive 
matters. When a decision is made, he has an uncanny ability to find and 
recommend the right words for remarks in committee, on the floor, in 
letters or press releases, or in speeches outside the Senate. And, in 
all of our endeavors, Melvin has been forever guided by a deep 
commitment to the protection of our Nation and our values.
  It would be incomplete, however, to talk only about Melvin at work. A

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glance at his wall of photographs, an opportunity to hear him talk 
about his family, and the chance to meet his wife and two daughters, 
make it clear that Melvin and his wife Kristine Johnson are loving and 
imaginative parents, and that Melvin's priorities have always been 
right on the mark. As may often be the case when someone leaves the 
Senate for the private sector, daughters Katrina and Eliza may find 
that Dad is able to get home a little earlier to join them at dinner.
  With gratitude for his service to the Senate and the Nation, for 
myself and the many others who have benefited from it, I wish Melvin 
the best in the time ahead.