tv [untitled] April 5, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
you, under cutting you, making it harder than this difficult task is. one of the things, mr. chairman, i hope we can do and i talked about it around this table before, is to deal with some of these things that we agree on because the reason, if we could give you an iron clad timetable of 12 or 15 years, there is a whole lot that you can do. we forced you to do things with civilian contractors and not given you money to have oversight. i am hopeful that we will be equal to the challenge in congress. i am not worried about the president. i am not worried about the men and women in uniform. i am not worried about your capacity. i am worried about congress. i would like to zero in on just one area that you have specific expertise in and one of the things i have been trying to do is help the military clean up after itself and congress has fallen down. we haven't given you the resources.
we've had other priorities. we cut the are ground out from underneath you. we are still working. you have given sam far a task, in congress 1 years and still cleaning up off ford ort, and that has real applications in terms of military readiness. if we did a better job of helping the military clean up after itself there would be applications you could use to keep our men and women safe overseas and families safe around the military facilities. i have the military as the largest generator of super fund sites. i have one in portland that is the result of three naval efforts and three wars and decommissioning ships and we're going to bankrupt companies in portland because the department of defense is not participating in cleaning up after itself. i wonder if -- my time is short but i wonder if we can engage you in something where there is a better partnership when you are spending $1.7 million a
minute to help bases all across the country, maybe it wouldn't be so hard to close bases if we didn't stick them with a toxic mess of unexploded ordinance and leave the community and turn our back on them. >> i would be more than happy to engage you in that process having been through it as ford ort. frankly, the only way to ultimately achieve savings when you do backgrounds is be able to have the clean up and do it expeditiously so communities can reuse the property and not be stuck holding property that can't be reused. there are a lot of things i think we can do to improve that process. i would be more than willing to engage with you on that. >> thank you. >> chairman, if i could, because whenever there is a dangling part sip he will i want to make sure i don't let it hang. >> you said you're confident we can do what we need to do at
this budget level and even beyond. i am not signing up yet for the even beyond. >> point taken for the record. dr. price. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the secretary and general as well for joining us today and mr. secretary, i couldn't be more struck by your comment about the entire budget and the need for complete reform looking at the whole budget, not just the third of the pie that's the discretionary side i think so often in this town we sweep things under the rug and right now it is being swept under the rug sadly is addressing the real fiscal challenges and that has all sports of spin offs into the economy and challenges there if we don't stop spending money that we don't have. general dempsey, i want to visit a comment that you made recently regarding the nation of iran, and the statement that i think i
have the quote correct here, that stunned me and many of my constituents, and that is your quote we are of the opinion that iran is a rational actor, unquote. do you stand by that statement and maybe you want to explain a little more? >> i do, sir. i stand by it because the alternative is almost unimaginable. the alternative is that we attribute to them that their actions are so irrational they have no basis of planning. you know, not to sound too academic about it, but the fifth century bc all strategy is some combination of reaction to fear, honor, and interests, and i think all nations act in response to one of those three things, even iran. the key is to understand how they act and not trivialize
their actions by attributing some irrationality. i think that is a dangerous thing to do. it doesn't mean a degree with what they decide by the way but they have some thought process they followed. >> maybe you can help me understand what you think be to the rational of the assassination attempt on i saudi ambassador in our territory. to comment on the rational itie. >> i don't understand but -- >> you have described them as a -- >> i am suggesting that they take actions. they are calculating what i am suggesting is we need to be equally and maybe even more calculating. >> you believe it to be rational on their part? >> no, not by my standards. >> to seek nuclear weapons? >> absolutely not. >> over the last three years the amounts requested by this administration for missile defense for strongest arguably our strongest ally in the world, israel, went from 121 million in
'11 to 106 in '12 to 99 in '13. what justification given what we see out of the nation of iran can you give either general or secretary for that decrease and that trend line? >> well, let me mention with regards to israel, we have significantly increased the amount of funds that we provide to israel. it is now 650 million which more than doubles what was the level in the prior administration of about 320 million. we have provided significant funding for israel's air owe and sling ballistic missile defense programs. we secured funding for iron dome system which is a great defense sim for them against short range rockets, and whatever decisions we have made with regards to israel and their assistance
level has been made in conjunction with them. >> and i understand that sometimes they concurred and sometimes they haven't. i guess i would express a grave concern on the part of folks who watch this and i know you do with keen interest and great concern that the public statements that have been made, general, regarding what we believe israel should or should not do are harmful to the ability for planning to occur for i suspect did i diplomacy to occur that in fact some of the comments that you have made, many believe have empowered iran to a greater degree and so i would just ask you if you believe that if iran gets a nuclear weapon they canning deterred, you believe they can be deterred diplomatically. >> we all said everyone in uniform that there is no group
in america more determined to prevent iran from achieving a nuclear weapon than the joint chiefs of staff. i assure you of that. >> mr. secretary. >> we are committed not just to contain but to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. that's a fundamental commitment that the president and the administration has made, and we have made very clear to iran that they are not to close the straights straights and we think they're unified in trying to isolate iran and make clear to them they have to stop their process of trying to move towards nuclear development, that we have to start the spread of terrorism that they're engaged in, that they have to if they want, if they want to resolve the issues,
join in a diplomatic effort, join the international community to resolve the issues. make no mistake about it, we are maintaining all options on the table to make very clear to iran that they are not to do what we just said. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> ms. cast ter? >> thank you mr. chairman and secretary panetta, thank you very much for being here and all of your years of service. over the past decades the threats to america's national security have evolved from the conventional threats, threats from state actors to unconventional, non-state actors, terrorist networks, terrorist organizations, and america and the department of defense have rightfully adapted and grown a terrific special operations force, special forces, investing there and the
budget has grown there rightfully. the best examples of the value of those investments, take out of osama bin laden, thank you very much, and the alabama when the sharp shooters were able to take out the pirates and really save lives and in doing so and last month the rescue in soe mall aof aid workers so i think the new strategy that you emphasize in the budget rightfully invest continually in special operations. the former soe come commander admiral olson always emphasized quality over quantity, but after years in iraq and afghanistan where special operators around the globe have been assigned to the central command area of responsibility, it is obvious
that special operations and other parts of the world have been thinned out and admiral mcraven, the current soe come commander is asking for greater agility, flexibility, and building forces around the globe back to where they need to be. would you -- you didn't get into it in detail in your testimony. would you go into greater detail on the importance in the strategic shift to special operations around the globe and also, another problem with is he sequestration is i am interested in your interpretation of across the board cuts. you said if that happens you would have to throw out your strategy but how are you interpreting it right now if worst case scenario happens and we know we have to continue to invest in special operations but do you interpret it that across the board cuts means that we will not be able to make those strategic investments where we
need to be making them? >> i will take the easy one and pass it to mys boss. special operating rs tos are really what i describe as one of three capabilities that over the last ten years we have learned the most about. in fact, that's one of the things about our strategy. what we have done is learned the lessons of the last ten years and how we can better integrate existing conventional capabilities with emerging capabilities and the three i will mention are isr, which is phenomenally better in terms of full motion video, high definition, all the things that have happened on your iphone have happened to us in isr if you have an iphone. i hope you do. the second one, of course, is special operating forces. we're going to grow them by 3,000 in this budget. eventually probably 8,000, and that will allow us to get back to not only the high end direct
action activities but also building partner capacity across the globe with new and emerging partners and the last one is cyber. that is the third of those three capabilities, i think, that we have to account for now. we wouldn't have had that ten years ago we wouldn't have had a conversation about cyber. we better be having a conversation about cyber today. mr. secretary. >> yes. the problem as i said with the formula and sequester by taking it across the board, it is going to impact on every area of the defense budget but it will impact on our investments, the investments that we're making will be under cut and we'll find ourselves instead of having the kind of weaponry, the kind of technology that we need, the kind of equipment, the kind of training, the kind of support system that we need, all of that will be under cut by virtue of sequester, so you're not only hitting the main elements of the defense system, our structure and the support system that is are there, you're hitting the investment portion that is to
important to the future. >> and how do you view -- there is a lot of talk about giving special operations greater flexibility even outside the combatant commanders and what is your view how that will evolve? >> first and foremost, ip a big supporter of special operations, particularly in my last job we had a great relationship and worked very closely together. admirable craven is looking at ways to try to see how we can expand their role because we are talking about trying to get them into more of a rotational presence in places around the world, but we're in the process of considering some recommendations. we haven't made any final decisions. i can tell you this. special forces will play a large role in the future. >> thank you. >> mr. ribble. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all three of you for being here today. mr. secretary, you come here
with unique qualifications to be here today. general dempsey, your record is exemplary, and i want to congratulate you on having children that followed you in service. it is quite an honor to be here with all of you. i would like to preface comments based on what you talked about prior with three years of trillion dollar deficits. it is a concern. i appreciate you bringing that up. i just want to read something from another relatively famous general, dwight eisenhower and said another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. as pe peer into society's future we must avoid the impulse only to live for today, pluntderring for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. we cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. we want democracy to survive for
all generations being to, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. a wonderful warning to all of us regarding trillion dollar deficits and you have sat in these chairs, and you know the challenges that we face. back in 1977 you were one of the first people to ever introduce a by annual budget bill. do you still support that concept? >> i always thought that it made sense to try to extend and because we were fighting a budget battle every year and frankly, we would have been better off establishing a two-year process in which we would say it would give us some planning for the future. it would allow us to look not just at the moment but also what we need for the next year and, frankly, it would provide a little more stability, i think, within the congress. in answer to your question is, yeah, i still support a biannual budget. >> i appreciate that. i offered one up for this
congress and hopefully i can finish what you started several decades ago. how would that affect military planning to actually have a two-year budget cycle rather than a single year? >> i think it would give us the opportunity to establish a much more stable approach to funding defense if we knew that we didn't have to fight this battle over funding every year, but have at least a two-year cycle to be able to look at. >> do you feel it would enhance oversight? >> i think it would because my view and the point behind the legislation i introduced was to allow one year to go through the budget process, the appropriations process and one year for better oversight. >> thank you. i am very cognizant of the budget restraints we have. we're all wrestling with this, all of us are, and i know you are as well. i represent northeast wisconsin where the fine ship builders are building our combat vessels, and i am just wondering, kind of wondering how the decision
process was made to for a reduction in lcs. >> well, actually the navy made the recommendations on it because i think they were trying to emphasize other elements in the fleet they thought they would need for the flexibility and agility that we needed. specifically, i can't give you a specific answer on that. >> general? >> no. i think it is it goes back to the chairman's comment about are we giving up on a particular number as the goal for the size of the fleelt, and i think that what the cno is doing is taking a look at future threats, taking a look at a new fiscal environment which we all acknowledge, and determining how best to manage the fleet so it provides as much versatility as possible, and anything we do now has to be multi-role. that's one of the characteristics of the decisions we made in this budget is you will see that the things that had a single role in the past
have been -- we're letting them go so we can have as much multi-role capabilities as possible. >> if i can follow up with one quick question. thank you for thatness a, by the way. can you expand a little bit on what we might be able to do to encourage nations like germany and france and others in europe to i think there is a sense that we're pulling more their weight than they are. could you maybe just address that a little bit? >> yeah. i always start in answer to that question by pointing out that if we go to war tomorrow, the folks we're going to ask to go with us are still our traditional partners, and so we need to stay committed to them as they do to us. the nato budget in the aggregate is quite large. it is about $300 billion in defense in the aggregate. your point, though, is the absolutely correct one which is how can we best harmonize their
capabilities with ours and there are things they need to invest in and we told them, for example, isr, tankers, things that typically that on which they rely on on which they rely on us. they have an initiative called nato smart defense and we're trying to actually articulate what that means so that it produces the outcome you just described. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> can i say a word on biannual budgeting. it never worked before because we never got a biannual appropriation. >> there's the comptroller. >> point tanken. mr. pasquarel. >> secretary pa net athank you for your service and thank you also general dempsey. i'm a bit embarrass ed.
>> all the way from the academy to the 7th army and you have to ask me -- question, mr. chairman, knowing your record, very specifically as to why are you cutting or recommending that we cut the missile defense money for israel from $120 million to $106 million. that message is there. it's only a small part of the budget. when we end a day of pandering, mr. general, on our side of the table here, and then we will really get some action in the middle east. we oar israel is one of our strongest allies. we have committed to that country. we've doubled the money in the last three years as the secretary, as you pointed out. so it's really beyond me. it wastes our time as to who is
more concerned about israel. uncle louis or aunt tilly. we are committed to that country, period. it is important that that democracy continue. so i apologize for what you are asked in terms of what you've given to this nation. now secretary, i want to talk on a very light subject, procurement. the realities of the situation that we live in where we need to provide the resources to our military and keep us secure at all times. in previous years, changes to procurement were notoriously tough to make, even though the administration would not request unneeded weapons systems. like the f-35, alternative engine, members of congress would sneak funding into the bills anyway. this year we actually had an open appropriation process, and i got to salute the other side.
i want to give folks on the other side credit. we were actually allowed to take a vote individually on some of these unneeded weapons systems. like the f-35. this unnecessary programming was kept alive for years. how much money did we waste when you go back in the years when there are attempts to change things? now that it's been eliminated, we're going to save $3 billion. can you talk about the other procurement changes that are included in this budget and how they will save the taxpayers money moving forward? before you answer that question, mr. secretary, if you would, my time will run out. on the matter of traumatic brain injury, we have a long way to go to live up to what this congress and past congress congresses ha attempted to do for our soldiers who have not been responded to when they come off the injury of
traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. i would like you to address that. you can't do it today, but at least address the first question. >> well, let me just briefly on your last comment on traumatic brain injury, this is a -- this is an area of tremendous concern because what we're seeing is that men and women coming back from the battle area, even though they may not display the symptoms of it, when they are back in their communities, it's clear they've had that kind of injury. and also, obviously, for those that have gone through ieds, traumatic brain injury is something we see all the time. and the ability to work with that and ensure that these kids are able to regain their capa e capabili capability. science and medical science is doing some wonderful things. but we need to do much more to ensure that they are protected.
with regards to procurement, this is an area in particular where i think we have to do everything possible to try to achieve savings. you've pointed out some of the decisions that we have made with regards to the prosecute curement area in order to ensure that, frankly, we don't go ahead with a weapons system unless we know it has been tested and that it's fully capable of performing the mission that it's about. the problem in the procurement area is this stuff drags on for too long, frankly, and the long ter dra er it drags on, the more expensive and pie the time it comes out, it's already outdated. we have to stop that process. that means we have to begin by looking at the changes that need to be made up front. make sure we stick to that and then go into production on that sooner rather than later. also, we've got to do more competitive bid with regards to the weapons systems. we've got to require industry
itself to cut costs where it can instead of sometimes going ahead and doing things on their side that build in additional costs in the system. so there's a series of steps that we are taking that are part of our efficiencies to improve procurement reform. >> mr. flores? >> thank you, chairman. secretary panetta and general dempsey, thank you for your service. there are several of us in this congress that have your back when it comes to the sequester. we have your back when it comes to supporting our uniform military men and women. and we also have your back when it comes to not balancing the budget on the backs of our uniformed military because what you do is the number one responsibility for the united states government in this document. one of the quotes that you said, mr. secretary was that this budget and this strategy had no margin for error. so i'd like to ask you this question. what keeps you awake at night with respect to this budget and
this strategy given the -- let me give you the second quote comes from general dempsey. we have an increasingly competitive security environment. so in light of those two quotes, what keeps you guys awake at night? >> i worry all the time about the fact that we are going to wake up and we'll be subject to a crisis or an attack, a cyberattack, for example, that we have no idea where it came from and it virtually has crippled our country. taken down our power grid. taken down our financial systems. and i worry a great deal about that. there's a hell of a lot to worry about in the world we're in. i worry about, you know, what can happen with iran. i worry about north korea. i worry a great deal about what can happen in the middle east as
a result of the turmoil there. syria. yemen. bahrain. other places. egypt. those are concerns. but first and foremost, i guess i worry about the unexpected attack that we're not prepared to deal with. >> general dempsey, do you have anything to add to that? >> keep it short for me. >> i will, sir. i do short. you heard my opening statement. >> i like your style. that's my style. >> well, i worry about the kids. if we don't -- that we put in uniform. if we don't ensure they are the best trained, best equipped and best led. i worry about that. the world needs america to be a stabilizing global power. the world needs america. if we reduce our defense capabilities to the point -- and we maintain our global aspiration, that disconnect will put those kids at risk. >> that brings up -- i'd like to have a chart come up. defense spending as a percentage of total gdp. this is where i want to go.
you, obviously, have -- i mean, you have made some quotes talking about the security environment that we have. you've got a quote about no margin for error. if i can get the chart up, we'll be able to -- this is defense spending as a percent of gdp. the long orange line represents where we have been historically. the lines to the right represent different outcomes. the bottom line is the sequester which, you know, we're going to fight to keep that from happening but we'll have to find alternative areas to cut. the green line is the president's budget which is the second line from the bottom. spending less than 3% of gdp, which is the lowest number in recent history, probably ever in the history of this country, bothers me in light of your all's quotes. i would like to ask you this. i'm not trying to get you crosswise with the president's