tv [untitled] April 11, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
sailors, airmen, marines and department of defense civilians and the families serving in korea. thank you very much, and now i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. dr. lavoy, you commented about the deal breaker. shooting the rocket. what -- what is our deal? and what happens if they violate it and break the deal? >> thank you for that question. we have reached an agreement with the north koreans that will enable us to provide food assistance to north korea and we have been under the very -- it's been very important to us to relink humanitarian assistance and including nutritional assistance and other kinds of activities such as operational remains
recovery operations from politics, and from north korea's provocative behavior. that's been our intent all along. however, when we recently reached this deal, this did prohibit north korean missile launches, and we indicated at the time that a satellite missile launch we would interpret as a missile launch because it would use missile technology. the north koreans have announced they will launch a missile. we are working very closely with allies and other partners in the region to try to discourage north korea from launching this missile as they intended, but we believe that this reflects their lack of desire to follow through on their commitments, their international commitments, and so we have been forced to suspend our activities to provide nutritional assistance to north korea largely because we have now no confidence the
monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the food assistance goes to the starving people and not the regime elite, that these monitoring mechanisms we have no confidence that they would actually abide by the understandings. >> so we have suspended the nutritional -- >> yes, we have, sir. >> general thurman, readiness is one of your top priorities, assess you've stated, the president's new strategic guidance shifts the focus to asia. today we haven't seen an increase in resources to reflect the pivot. we understand that each of our contingency plans is under review to assess the level of resources required, assuming you are engaged in a similar activity, can you tell us how prepared the u.s. forces are to respond to possible aggressive actions by the north korean military, and what are your top three readiness issues for u.s. forces?
>> chairman, first off, i can tell you we are prepared to defend the peninsula and can do that. and we can repel any type of attack that should the north koreans decide to do that. so i'm confident based on what i've seen through the exercises, and the fact of the -- with the capabilities we have, and i would be more than happy to go in a closed session and discuss specific readiness concerns that i have and can go into further detail on that. in response to overall readiness, i would tell you that on the u.s. side, the u.s. army has done a very good job of modernizing us with the forces that we have on the peninsula. we have the very best equipment, top of the line equipment, and we have done the same thing with
the united states air force and the maritime forces. so i'm confident the capability we have there, we can defend the peninsula. >> thank you very much. for the members, immediately following our questioning here and open session we will move into closed session, and it is scheduled for 1:00 -- or 12:00, but if we finish earlier, we'll move into it at that tile. ranking member smith? >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. lavoy, can you elaborate on what the consequences you think will be of the missile launch if north korea goes through with it, and i assume that they will, and they have never been ones to be responsive to any international pressure before, hard to imagine this would be the first time. how do you see that playing out? how will south korea, japan others in the region respond to
that and what should we do as result? >> thank you for that he request ranking member smith. we're very concerned about the possibility of a missile launch that the north korea announced they would indeed conduct and a as you implied, number of countries in the area in a broader area in fact are concerned about this. the north koreans indicate they will launch the missile in a southward direction, and i don't know if we have any confidence on the stability of the missile or where the actual impact will be. a number of countries are potentially affected. this could fall on the debris could fall on their countries, could cause casualties. this affects south korea, of course, but also japan, okinawa, the island of japan, and the intended impact is probably somewhere close to the philippines or maybe indonesia, so this is now an issue that not only concerns the south koreans and, of course, us, the
japanese, but more broadly, everybody in asia-pacific has become concerned about north korea's growing missile capability, especially as they're continuing to develop their nuclear weapons capability. i can't speculate on specifically what measures would be taken if indeed they conduct the test, but i can assure you we're consulting with all of the countries affected about measures to be taken. >> okay. thank you. general thurman, you mentioned the great partnership we have with south korea and the south korean military particularly. can you tell us about the capability of the south korean military? it is my understanding it improved dramatically over the year, and where they're at, and how that might impact the necessity -- the size of our presence, as we partner with them, looking to help them be in the strongest position, but as they grow stronger, perhaps, gives us a little ability to downsize or reduce what
contribution we would make. how do you see that balance ban playing out? >> ranking member smith, first off i do believe the iraq military is a very professional and competent force. they have modernized their ground forces significantly. they've done the same thing with their air forces by adding their f-15k fighters and the kf-16s. so they've done very well with that. they have done the same thing as they work with the maritime forces as they procured three agis cruisers, and so they're going through that process right now. i think they made considerable investments as they continue to look to improve and modernize
their force, and we've seen evidence of that. as far as our forces, we have an agreed number of 228,500 on the peninsula. i would recommend given the current conditions as we move towards operational control eventually to in 2015 to maintain that level of force, but i think it is also prudent to always look at our capabilities and make sure we're capabilities based as we have to offset some of the capabilities that they do not have currently. >> all right. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. forbes? >> thank you. mr. chairman, i want to thank you and the ranking member for having this hearing and for your questions on this and one of the things we know in early 2011 secretary of defense then robert gates said that north korean ballistic missiles could pose a threat to the united states
within five years. what, if anything, does north korea's upcoming launch of the new rocket tell us about the ballistic missile technology advances, and to your knowledge, are we within four years of north korea fielding a functional intercontinental ballistic missile? >> congressman forbes, first off, the continued development and willingness of the north korean regime there to test ballistic missiles, and we've seen that continue for a period of time, is of major concern of ours. it has the potential to destabilize the region and as you point out, left unchecked, if their development continues, poses a serious threat to us, and it's something that i think
we've got to maintain close vigilance on, and obviously, work to try to dissuade them from the continued development of that, and maybe focus on feeding their people is what i would say. i would be more than happy to go into full details of what we're seeing in a closed session on their full development of what we know. >> general, are there any projections on timetables that you could give outside of a classified setting as to what we have heard or seen as far as the projections and when they will be on target for these missiles? >> congressman, i would not want to go into the exact timetables in here, but it is of concern with their continued willingness to test this capability. >> can i ask one other question? this is kind of along with what the ranking member said, when we do know that there is a very
good cooperation between the united states military and the south korean military, and that they do a wonderful job there, but sometimes no good deed goes unpunished, and that is, sometimes the people outside of the military are not always as appreciative in some of the areas that we are. how do you assess the public opinion in south korea outside of the military to military contacts as far as our relationship? is that better? worse? how do you project that? >> congressman, i believe the iraq u.s. alliances is as strong as its of been, and public opinion over there welcomes u.s. presence. we are a stabilizing influence in that region. i think it is very important, there's no doubt, this alliance w forged on a very bloody battlefield, and we learned many lessons.
i think just by having forward presence that is a calming effect and i have talked to many of the leaders in the roc government and the normal roc people, and they welcome our presence there. >> also, last week the south korean president announced that he sought south korea would soon each an agreement with the united states extending the missile range which is currently limited to 300 kilometers. can you tell us what your assessment is about south korea's missile requirements and do you -- is south korea's military leaders view the need for such an agreement as urgent and what's your take on that? >> congressman, i'll defer to dr. lavoy, but they have expressed desires to have a longer range missile. >> doctor, what's your thoughts? >> thank you. i would be happy to add to that. we and the south koreans have had very good discussions about dealing with north korea's
growing missile inventory and the threat that that poses, and we have a process that we have in place. there have been numerous meetings. we've identified a comprehensive array of measures to take to deal with this, this threat, and i think this is an area where we really are in sync with the south koreans, and this process is not concluded, however, and i think we are nearing conclusion of this, and in the closed session we can talk a little bit more about that. >> thank you. mr. chairman, thank you, and i yield back the balance of my time. ms. sanchez. >> thank you. ms. sanchez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. can you outline for us this
whole -- the concern of proliferation of wmd out there in the peninsula? can you talk to us about whether our current policies and programs to effectively counter proliferation, in other words, are there other -- how are the countries feeling around north korea feeling about their ability to have nuclear arms and do you think that that -- are they staying close to whole issue of not proliferating or do you think that they're getting a little about it antsy because maybe they see that things are moving along faster than we had hoped? >> representative sanchez, i think you've put your firth ong a very important issue. the whole region is concerned about north korea's missile and nuclear programs. these are disconcerting to everybody because with extended range of missiles, potentially north korea would have the ability to put nuclear warheads on and that affects not only their neighbor, south korea, but it affects other countries in a
broader -- the broader asia-pacific area. >> and we have been able to hold them off from building anything up, most of those countries saying we were going to contain this or going to be the pushback on all of this, but how are they feeling now? >> it has been a consistent goal of the united states and other countries in the region to discourage north korea from proceed wig its wmd programs. in fact, it is this objective that led us to these talks that we had on the 23rd and 24th of february in bejing to get the north koreans to commit to suspend, put a moratorium on flight tests of long-range missiles. so continuing work on mitchells. missiles. that's why we and the region are so troubled by this possible missile test going forward. the subject of cyber warfare, i
know that north korea is increasing its efforts in that arena and i know that we have a close relationship with south korea and that we share a lot of information with them. what is the process or what -- are we working hand-in-hand? are we doing enough with them to ensure we again contain or counter attack what may be coming out of north korea with respect to cyber warfare? >> congresswoman sanchez, i can in a close forum i will be more than happy to go into the details of that, but first i would tell you that we work hand-in-hand with the roc military on the protection of our networks and particularly looking at interoperability. i have come to realize that cyber is a key war fighting domain and it is important as
our air, maritime and ground operations. so, yes, we have raised the awareness on that, and it is something that we are looking at on a daily basis with iraq military. >> mr. chairman, the other questions i might have would probably be a little bit more sensitive and more for a closed session. so i will end right there. thank you. >> thank you. mr. wilson. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and thank you, general, for being here and secretary. i have a unique perspective. i was honored to be on a delegation with former congressman kurt wellman where we visited pyongyang. so i have seen the contrast between the totalitarian state of the dprk and to see the success of the republic of korea, and it is really inspiring. as we visited seoul, we've had to travel by helicopter, because of the heavy traffic of bring g
bringibringing of brand new suvs filling up the six and eight-lane boulevardses. quite a contrast from pyongyang. it is really a classic example of the success of free market, democracy over totalitarian government. at the same time, it is really led to a concern that i have about the role of china and russia. it would seem like it would be in their interests that there would be a level of security, economic security, military, to have some reforms, and north korea, but what is the role of china and russia and particularly with the transition in government? what have they -- how have their actions been matched? >> i could start and answer that first, congressman.
china, as the chairman indicated, has a great deal of influence on north korea. probably than any other country in the world. we looked to china to use this influence constructively and to pressure an cajole the north koreas to adopt the reforms you mentioned, which are really critical to meet the needs of the people which is really a human tragedy that's occurring in north korea. but also for north korea to abide by the standards of international conduct and not to pose the threats to the broader asia-pacific region that it does. we have not been entirely satisfied with china's activities in this regard, but i can assure you this is an issue that we do discuss with china regularly, and we hope that china will take more constructive approach. we also discuss this with russia, with other countries in the region as well. >> i know that south korea, it
is my understanding, through investments in china, employs 2% of the people of china. that's a lot of people. it would seem like they would see the benefit of having a more normal regime so i appreciate your efforts there. also, i would like to know your assessment, each of you, in regard to the transition from kim jong-il to kim jong-in. we learned that on the new leader recently placed his military on high alert, general, and with the understanding that it was not to prepare for conflict, to prepare for your surrender. could you comment on such bluster? >> congressman wilson, we see quite a bit of rhetoric on a daily basis coming out of north
korea. my sense that the succession has occurred with kim jong-in, the young leader, he has been given one title as supreme commander of the military. i think he is being closely advised by his uncle and some of the other old, elite advisers that are shepherding him along is my sense. it is unclear at this time as i believe of what policies he is going to follow. he has been more active and we have seen him more out, but i can go into specific details in a closed forum on this, but my sense is the policies that they have taken with the military first policy is not going to
change. >> and again i appreciate your efforts so much and to have to face bluster and when in fact indeed north korea could develop itself into a positive entity and final point i want to make, i had the privilege of visiting with troops from the republic of korea in afghanistan for the provincial reconstruction teams and indeed these are professionals, people who reflect well on their country and the values of democracy and freedom. thank you. >> thank you. mr. larson. >> thank you. mr. chairman, gentlemen, back to some of the operational issues in south korea. probably for general thurman, but can you talk a little bit about the tour normalization, the decision to delay or to stop the tour normalization, a little
about the cost estimates that you see, that you foresee and what that might mean in the future for normalization? >> congressman, first off, i was asked to go take a good review of the current policy of tour normalization. we are authorized 4,645 families and that was a cap put on the last national defense authorization act. what i determined when i got over there given the cost of bringing additional families that would be additional requirements and additional costs. i do not think under the current environment that that is feasible, so i am okay with leaving 4,645 families.
when we built camp humphries which is part of the young sung relocation plan, that plan was based on the authorized 4,645 families so i see staying at that right now is what i would tell you. the biggest issue i have is the constant turnover of personnel, primarily army. we're on one-year tours and you can imagine the turn that's ongoing every day. we typically lose about 600 to 700 soldiers a month that are rotating either in or out back to the continental united states. >> just about every month is about 600 go home and 600 coming. >> yes, sir. i have asked the general and the army how we can build readiness at best value, and see what we can do, and i'm very mindful of the cost and i don't want to
create a requirement that is not operationally focused. >> good. on the relocation plan, what do you see as anticipated problems? do you see anymore anticipated delays and implementing the relocation plan and either for young sung or just the land partnership? >> congressman, first off, the land partnership program was a u.s. initiative. that is on track. i am in fact looking at some of those capabilities to make sure that the positioning is right on the peninsula, ie fires brigade, for instance, that i am looking at right now. the second program, the young song relocation, it was a little behind. we've got that back on track. we will have both of those
programs completed by 2016. it is what the estimate is right now. i would be more than happy to provide you the cost breakout and i would like to take that for the record if i could. >> i appreciate that. you say you still anticipate by 2016 anything in the fit that causes you concern about meeting that goal? >> the only thing which is not associated with land partnership program or the yong song relocation there is a requirement in the '13 budget for a battalion headquarters for a chemical battalion that is going to be deployed from the sta states as part of forced posture adjustments to the peninsula. that's an additional requirement. >> so want originally anticipated, so that's added in the '13 and so you have to find some way to accommodate that?
>> that's correct, congressman. >> thank you. that's all i have. yield back. >> mr. turner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. lavoy, it is very timely we're having this hearing. as we look to the news of what's just been coming out of the talks that the president attended, we know that the news also reported on monday, for example, this is cnn story i will be reading from, just hours after the united states warned that north korea would achieve nothing with threats or provocations pyongyang moved a rocket to a launch pad monday. now, north korea's threat of a missile launch can only be an effort to test perhaps ahead of deployment an intercontinental ballistic missile that would have capability of reaching the united states.
secretary gates said as he was leaving one of his concerns was the rising threat of north korea that it could in fact get to the point where it could threaten mainland united states. we also know if it is of course nuclear weapons program that makes the missile program that much more of a concern. also monday news broke of the president having a conversation with an open mic where the president says to medvedev on all of these issues and particularly missile defense, this can be solved but it is important to give me space, this is the president speaking. medvedev says i understand your message about space, meaning space for you, our president, and obama says this is my last election. after my election i have more flexibility, and medvedev says i understand and i will transmit this information to vladimir. the concern that everyone has as with talk to the issue of north korea and the issue of their missile program, their nuclear
weapons program, gates indicating that they're a rising threat to mainland united states, and it raises the question of what is the president's secret deal to limit our missile defense system. i mean, the president is talking to another world leader about once he gets through the election, his last election, unfettered from the electorate, he will be free to have flexibility on the missile defense system, and we're all very, very concerned what the secret deal could be as we face the rising threat of north korea. is this limits on the deployment of our missile defense system, limits on our use of our missile defense system, limits on our operation of our missile defense system? i mean, clearly you can understand how everyone would be concerned as we look to the news of the rise of north korea and the threat that it provides to mainland of our president making any deal, especially a secret deal, that is only to be revealed after the election and that might affect our missile