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tv   [untitled]    May 23, 2012 1:00am-1:30am EDT

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coming days. and two other scheduling announcements for you. tomorrow, secretary panetta, secretary clinton, and chairman dempsey will testify before the senate foreign relations committee on the u.n. convention on the law of the sea. here in the briefing room at 2:00 p.m., general john allen, commander isaf, will be here to brief you on afghanistan. with that, i'll open it up to your questions, comments, concerns, other thoughts. mike. >> i know that contrary panetta did not see president intra daughterry but did he have or any officials have any discussions with any of the pakistanis during the chicago summit to chat about you know what? >> the you know what? that calls for speculation. no, i understand the importance of the ground line of communication issue. the secretary did not have a formal meeting with the president intra dory but they did have a brief exchange on the
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sidelines of meetings in chicago. it was a friendly exchange. and secretary panetta knows the importance of resolving this issue in the near future. >> there weren't any other discussions between general dempsey, didn't see anyone or -- >> i'm not aware of any other discussions between general dempsey and his pakistani counterparts. >> can we stay on that just a second? >> sure. >> what is going on with -- >> sure, we're obviously very interested in reopening the ground lines of communication. they are important supply routes into and out of afghanistan. discussions with our pakistani counterparts continue and we hope to get to resolution very soon. yes. >> "the world journal." >> all right. back to you. >> is the south china sea going to be on the agenda for shangri-la and how will that be addressed? also, do you have any plans or strategies for law of the sea to be passed in the senate?
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>> the secretary is a strong supporter of ratification of the law of the sea convention. and he hopes that the senate ratifies it as soon as possible and accepts the provisions of the convention. with respect to the south china sea, we're aware of concerns over that important area of the pacific. i wouldn't -- i'm sure it will come up while in asia. but i wouldn't want to get out ahead of what may be discussed in singapore. chris -- craig, excuse me. >> going to pakistan for a minute. are the discussions with the pakistanis focused sole solely on reopening the ground lines of communications into afghanistan? is there also discussion about moving stuff out as u.s. troops withdraw over the next couple of years? >> to your question, craig, the ground lines of communication
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are important for both. so that set of discussions involves both the supplies into and out of afghanistan. >> is the out of part a sticking point? or is it the into part that's the holdup? >> i think it's the closure of the ground lines of communication that's the issue. it's not the direction one way or the other of the flow of goods and other materiel. chris? >> with regard to the memo that was reported this morning, the army memo about the bagram burn pit, does the pentagon believe that service members at that air base are potentially in danger from the chemicals or the particulate matter coming out of the burn pit? >> i am aware of this concern and the issues that were raised
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in this memo. we obviously take very seriously the safety of our service members, wherever they may be, including afghanistan. it's my understanding that we do not have specific evidence that ties these kinds of disposal facilities to health issues but we are aware of respiratory ailments that have been identified by service members themselves. we're going to continue to look at this problem. mark? >> on the supply routes, george, is it money? or is it something else? or is it both that is the sticking point? >> well, again, a good question. i wouldn't get into the particulars of private discussions that are occurring right now with the pakistanis. but i would tell you that there is a delta between the two sides on the charges that may be
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assigned to the reopening of the supply routes. and that's something we have to work through. >> so is it primarily a financial matter? >> i think the financial side of the equation is one of the issues. we think we can get past it. look, the goal here is to move beyond this issue. it's one that we want to get beyond. it's one that we have emphasized to the pakistanis that we want to get beyond. and it's critical i think that we move past this. it's in the best interests of both countries. we are in a phase now that we're trying to reset the relationship with pakistan and that's where we want to go. tom? >> i want to return to the law of the sea treaty if i could. >> sure. >> this building has been unwaving in support of the treaty. every secretary, every chairman. i'm wondering why this accelerated effort. have you gotten any indication that degrees has moved?
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i mean, the secretary and the chairman spoke together a couple of weeks ago, the big three speaking tomorrow. why suddenly after years of this being kind of quiet, everybody working so hard? >> well, i think there are a number of reasons for it. first, the united states congress wanted to hold a hearing on this issue. and the secretary and the chairman and other u.s. officials believe that it's very important to share with congress our perspective on the law of the sea convention. it's important to, with the establishment of regular international regimes governing maritime activities by nations, to include militaries around the world. and every time we have the opportunity to signal our support for this convention, we will. >> has congress signaled to you that maybe there's movement there and that you might actually get something through now? >> i grew up in this town, so
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i've long since offered predictions on what congress may or may not do. i don't have any particular signals, tom, about what they may do with respect to this convention. but we hope that it is eventually adopted by the united states. larry. >> the armed services committee yesterday released its report on counterfeit electronic parts that have made their way into the defense procurement line, supply line. most of the criticism seemed pointed at china. but they saved some of it for this department, saying the defense department lacks knowledge of the scope and impact of counterfeit parts on the critical defense systems, and later they said in each of the three cases that the committee investigated in-depth, d.o.d. was unaware counterfeit electronic parts had been installed on certain systems until the committee's investigation. was wondering if you had any reaction to the report in general and to criticism of this department specifically. >> we take seriously the report
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and we take seriously this very important issue. this is something that we've addressed for a number of years, the problem of counterfeit parts enderring the d.o.d. supply chain. i would note that we have stepped up, over time, our aggressive actions to address this problem. and we've stepped it up on many fronts. for example, in march of this year, acting undersecretary kendell issued a memorandum that was designed to take initial steps to stand up an aggressive and comprehensive anti-counterfeiting program to prevent and detect electronic counterfeit parts and other mission critical and critical safety parts. we're unaware to date of any loss of life or catastrophic mission failure that has occurred because of counterfeit parts. that doesn't mean we should stop addressing the issue. we will not stop until we strengthen our efforts to
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identify, prevent, and detect these pieces of equipment from entering our supply chain. i would note too that we've worked closely with the white house and national property coordinator to try to strengthen reporting requirements and contracting clauses for the federal acquisition relation which governs the establishment of contracting guidelines for suppliers of goods and services to the u.s. government. not just to the department of defense. those recommendations are in coordination right now with the office of management and budget. and finally, when counterfeiting problems are identified, we work closely with law enforcement to have those issues investigated. and where appropriate, we debar companies and support the prosecution of the counterfeiters. we work closely with industry to try to attack this problem and will continue to do so. so we are working very hard to
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try to sort this issue out and to take steps that will further strengthen our supply chain and ensure that this kind of problem does not occur in the future. >> george, has the secretary been asked for his input on review that we're told is under way by the white house that could change the way decisions are made to launch strikes from the drones on terrorist targets? >> i'm aware of at least one media report on this issue. i wouldn't comment specifically on any counterterrorism operations. but let me say very clearly that this department retains its prerogatives. we're very comfortable with the process by which the oversight and management of american counterterrorism operations is conducted. and we work closely with our interagency partners and the white house to work within the
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parameters of american law and policy to conduct counterterrorism operations. this is truly a joint effort across our government and d.o.d. is a big part of that effort, obviously. it is a goal of this department and of this government to pursue terrorists wherever they may be. and we are satisfied that we have our authorities in place and that we have the means to effectively do our part to pursue terrorists around the world, again within the confines of american law. >> the vetting process has changed, clearly that's what this report indicates. do you acknowledge that? the white house has changed the vetting process for how you look at, decide which terrorist leaders to take out? >> you would have to talk to the white house about the vetting process for -- and reports on
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that process. i can assure you, though, that this department plays a very important role in the establishment and prosecution of our counterterrorism operations, and we're very comfortable with the process. >> the department's still behind the deal for the sale of the mi-17s, the russian helicopters to the afghan house? >> i think i addressed this with you last week. and there's been no change. we believe that this is a very important capability for the afghan air force. they need this helicopter. it is very important to them. it complements their rotary wing aircraft capabilities. and we have no plans to cancel this procurement. >> the air force recently announced some disciplinary
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actions taken against officials who have been cited in osc report for retaliating against people at dover. is the secretary satisfied with the way the air force has handled this matter? >> thank you, jeff, for the question. the issues that dover port mortuary are issues that the secretary of defense, indeed the entire department, we never want to see them happen again. our fallen heroes deserve the highest honor and respect and we are committed to taking steps to ensure that lapses do not occur in the future. i would note that the osc issued a statement commending the air force for rendering its decisions on disciplinary actions. the air force has undertaken a very thorough and extensive process to review not just the lapses at dover but also the
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disciplinary actions that were levied. and the secretary is satisfied with that process. >> and you believe that the disciplinary actions are appropriate? >> he's satisfied that the air force took appropriate steps to investigate problems at dover port mortuary. he's satisfied that they took a long, hard look at the disciplinary actions, and again, he has faith in the process the air force undertook, absolutely. >> -- whether he thinks the disciplinary actions are appropriate? >> the answer is he has confidence that the air force took the appropriate steps here. yes. >> this morning the senate appropriations committee put the military constructions appropriations bill and they decided to cut the entire construction bill saying the department of defense doesn't have a clear defense strategy. do you have any comments on that? >> that we don't have a clear defense strategy?
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>> on the asia pacific region. >> on the asia pacific region? well, i think we've made it clear for the past several months that this department has a robust asia pacific strategy that is contained in the new u.s. strategic guidance. the secretary, when he was last in asia, previewed much of that strategy. he talked about the united states being a pacific nation and a pacific power. he reiterated that several times in several locations in the region and on the continent. the asia pacific region is vital to u.s. national security interests and will be so in the future and we are absolutely turning toward the asia pacific as a place where our strategic interests are increasingly of importance, our partnerships with partners in the region are critical, and we're going to continue to invest in those
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relationships. so we have a very sound asia pacific approach. so i would take issue with any suggestion that we have not put appropriate emphasis on the asia pacific region as important to the united states military and our future. yes, let's go over here. >> george, thanks. do tomorrow's nuclear talks in baghdad represent a last chance for iran diplomatically? >> i wouldn't characterize whereare in the process, but i do think it's very important that we are talking. the p plus 1 process is critical and is one way of conveying to the iranians that they need to take the appropriate steps not to pursue a nuclear weapons program. we hope that that p 5 plus 1 process yields results and we are going to work with our partners in the international community to try to effect that
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outcome. >> just to follow on that, do you see that talks could continue after baghdad? or is it truly the last in this short series? >> this would really call for speculation, justin. and i would refer you to the state department for comment on the process going forward. we believe it's an important process, and we believe there is a great deal of agreement around the world as to what the outcome of this process should be, and that is that iran should not be able to develop a nuclear weapon. >> george, i wanted to see if you had comment regarding stories about u.s. troops on the ground in yemen coordinating or helping with targeting missions for yemenese against military targets. how does that square with comments no u.s. troops would be on the ground in yemen? and if that's the case, does this targeting sort of support falling to the training and
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advising mission that american trainers are doing in the country? >> we have a very strong military relationship with yemen. that relationship is focused in large part on jointly addressing the counterterrorism threat posed by al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. we know they continue to plot against us. there are u.s. military trainers on the ground in yemen to support the government of yemen's efforts to pursue terrorists in their own country. and we believe that that's a reflection of our shared commitment to thwart aqap and its attempts to attack not just yemen es. but americans and u.s. and partners allies. >> if missions do fall under that training and advising set
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that american trainers are working under over there, is that -- do you see that that is where things are going to stop? is there a possibility that mission could expand beyond just helping out with targeting operations? >> it's a fair question. i would offer that i guess in the realm of the hypothetical. again, our focus is on train, advise, assist. and on deepening our cooperation with yemen. we're committed to that. coming back around. yes. >> when secretary panetta visits south korea next week, the secretary discussing on the north korean nuclear issues? >> i don't have the talking points in front of me but i can assure you any time the secretary of defense goes to the republic of korea, the issue of north korea arises. and the secretary has made it
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clear we have an unwaving commitment to the security of the republic of korea and that -- and he's made it clear very recently in his public comments that north korea should not engage in provocative activities. so will it come up? it comes up every time we go to south korea. >> two questions back on the counterfeiting -- >> i'm sorry. my apologies. will it come up in shangri-la? let's see here. he's meeting with the republic of korea counterparts in singapore. my apologies if i wasn't precise. >> two questions on the counterfeiting issue. one, you said there's no indication that any counterfeit parts contributed to loss of life or catastrophic mission failure. have there been any examples of less than catastrophic mission failure as a result of these parts? the second part is, did this
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since the senate armed services committee investigation found some 90% of these counterfeit parts are coming from china, did this issue arise, did the secretary bring up the issue when he talked with his counterpart a couple of weeks ago, and if not, why not? >> the issue of counterfeit parts as i recall did not come up in discussions with his chinese counterparts. but this is an issue that i haven't attached to any one country. the supply chain can have problems from any number of sources. so -- to your other question, mick, i don't know what you would define as less than catastrophic. but the important thing is that we don't believe there's been demonstrable mission impact based on counterfeit parts entering the supply chain. look, we take it seriously. i'm not sure that i can say for sure that there's never been any impact whatsoever.
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but we're continuing to work the issue. a couple more questions. courtney? >> how are you working the issue to stop it? parts from either being distributed or taken out of the supply chain right now? >> i think i've addressed some of the ways that we've done so already. one is to strengthen the federal acquisition regulations to impose tighter reporting requirements and contracting standards through the federal acquisition regulation. we're looking to work with industry to identify ways of detecting and preventing counterfeit parts from entering the supply chain. so those -- and we've stood up an aggressive program from atnl to look at this issue very closely. >> what i'm talking about are the ones that exist in the system right now. is there any effort to find -- >> sure, we're constantly evaluating the parts that are in the system. to include parts that have
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entered the system already. so yes, this is something we're looking at. i don't have the specifics for you or statistics. but look, this is something that, yes, is part of our review of our existing inventory and we'll continue to work it hard. it's not just about new parts coming in. and a couple more questions. yes. >> -- a matter of the corruption in mexico. now four generals have been implicated in this alleged scandal. based on statements of protected witness, how do you perceive this scandal? i know you don't want to interfere in that but do you see it as maybe an example that they are fighting now corruption within the military? do. >> this is really something for the government of mexico to address. i'm aware of these allegations of corruption. but as recently as the ottawa
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talks with canada and mexico, we have signaled our strong desire to work closely with the mexican military on common security challenges and to promote hemispheric security. and that cooperation we look forward to continuing. >> are you concerned that maybe the drug cartels than infiltrate the military and corrupt even higher officials? >> well, to the extent that drug cartels have an influence on the military or the government anywhere around the world, i mean, that can be a problem. but to answer your question very directly, we will continue to work with the government of mexico, including the mexican military, on issues of common concern. and we're going to wrap it up with mark. >> yes, sir, thanks. speaking -- going back to yemen
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and counterterrorist. >> yes. >> yesterday an alleged exploding vest killed more than 100 yemeni paramilitary forces. >> yes. >> are there any insights that yemen has some crafty bombmakers? any insights from this building that maybe this was a new or special kind of exploding vest? >> well we condemn this kind of violence. obviously resulted in serious loss of life and injury and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. this was a bomb set off in a crowded area. apparently during a rehearsal for military commemorations. and there was enough ordnance attached to the device that it resulted in serious loss of life. i'm not sure that we can draw any conclusions more broadly
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about where terrorists might go in terms of other bomb-making and bomb attacks, in yemen or anywhere else, based on this one event. we just need to stay vigilant and we'll do that with our partners. thank you very much. now a discussion of how the media covers china. from the asia society in new york, this about an hour. >> so the title of this august assembly is, mystery, mayhem and the media, the challenges of covering china. this is one topic that never seems to go away. maybe, april, since you have just won this nice award, why don't you tell us what kinds of changes you've seen in the time that you've spent in china,
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particularly covering china. i mean, in terms of the media's ability to cover that country. >> just a teeny little question. >> a teeny little question. it's -- you know, it's still in some ways as difficult as ever. there's so many -- there's so many challenges. of course the most obvious being legal issues. it's hard to get a visa. you have to get accreditation, you have to submit an application in order to do interviews legally. and i don't have that. a lot of people don't. but there's a -- but beyond that, there's even more -- possibly even more pervasive a challenge is just a sort of
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social opposition to controversial journalism. a lot of -- a lot of -- i would say that because there's no -- not so much freedom of speech, there's -- it's just that critical, skeptical curiosity is not welcome in modern china. >> do you think that's culture as much as political? how do you analyze that? >> i think it's definitely -- i make people nervous. everyone makes people nervous just by asking questions about politics. friends, you know -- especially older generation don't feel comfortable about talking about politics in restaurants. and i think the internet has
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done a lot to increase discourse. >> marcus, you've been around this block a few times and you've really watched the broad sweep, both as a journalist and as an editor. how do you analyze the forces that are improving and maybe the forces that are more retrograde? how do you see the picture is evolving? >> you know, first of all, thank you for organizing this panel and thanks for inviting me, and congratulations, april. your stories were wonderful. you know, i think that's the right way of framing the question. because i think that you can look at china as a snapshot or as a moving picture, as with anything. if you look at china in a snapshot, obviously the things april is describing and observed are real, genuine impediments to doing good


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