Honoring Mr. Michael Higgins on His Retirement from Congressby Former Representative Howard P. "Buck" McKeon
Posted on 2013-02-25
in the house of representatives
Monday, February 25, 2013
Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and some sadness that
I rise to honor Mr. Michael R. Higgins, a Professional Staff Member of
the Armed Services Committee, on the eve of his retirement.
For over forty years, Mike has dedicated himself to his country and the Armed Forces. He served in the United States Air Force for twenty years and retired as Lieutenant Colonel. For the next 23 years, it was our great fortune that he chose the Armed Services Committee as the home for his incredible talents.
Mike served 7 HASC chairmen and 8 subcommittee chairmen, helping to steer our committee through war and peace. His sage advice guided members out of the Cold War and through the sporadic conflicts of the 1990s, social changes both large and small, and a tough 11 years of war. For any analyst looking to answer the question, ``How did the all- volunteer military survive those war years?,'' I would urge them to examine the contributions of Mike Higgins.
When the Pentagon struggled to attract quality recruits, Mike helped improve military recruiting and retention programs. When issues arose with outdated military pay and retirement policies, Mike modernized those systems. When the strains of combat brought in Wounded Warriors to rehabilitate, Mike helped guarantee attention to their needs.
Mike encountered an historic array of challenges to the Armed Forces. Some were structural, some were strategic, and some were social. But Mike's consummate professionalism, commitment to the military people that he loved, and perseverance in the face of the toughest political and policy debates helped us meet each issue with wisdom and experience. For that, I am grateful and in his debt.
His legacy is unmistakable. Whenever the military and Congress found themselves at odds, whenever there was a shared obstacle to overcome, and whenever a member of our committee -Republican or Democrat-needed advice or counsel, Mike was there.
Mike Higgins is a giant. He shaped the service of every man and woman of the Armed Forces over the last two decades. Every military retiree, their survivors, and each military family benefited from Mike's commitment to them. Mike will cast a long shadow far beyond his retirement.
His humility is matched only by his intellect, his ability to listen and a fearsome ability to see to the heart of an issue. When oversight is your business, sharp eyes are your sword. And no sword was sharper than that of this modest, unassuming Airman, who served his country with the tenacity of a lion, yet would today be surprised that so much is being made of all that he accomplished. Thank you, Mike.