tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN March 18, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
conventional capabilities. our strategic nuclear deterrent remains effective but it's aging and requires modernization. therefore, we're prioritizing investments needed for a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. we're also making investments to maintain a competitive advantage in our conventional capabilities, and we must further develop capabilities in the vital and increasingly contested domains of cyber and space. as the joint force acts to mitigate and respond to challenges we do so in the context of a fiscal environment that has hampered our ability to plan and allocate resources most effectively. despite partial relief by congress from sequester level funding, the department has absorbed $800 billion in cuts and faces an additional $100 billion of sequestration-induced risk through fiscal year 21. absorbing significant cuts over the past five years has resulted in our underinvesting in critical capabilities. and unless we reverse sequestration, we'll be unable
to execute the current defense strategy and specific chi unable to address the challenges that secretary carter outlined. the fiscal year 17 budget begins to address the most critical investments required to maintain our competitive advantage. to the extent possible, within the resources provided by the 2015 bipartisan budget act, it addresses the department's five challenges. it does so by balancing three major areas -- investment in high-end capabilities, the capability and capacity to meet current operational demands, and the need to rebuild readiness after an extended period of war. in the years ahead, we'll need adequate funding levels and predictability to fully recover from over a decade of war and delayed modernization. a bow wave of procurement requirements in the future include the submarine replacement, continued cyber and space investments, and a long-range strike bomber. it will also be several years before we fully restore full spectrum readiness across the services and replenish our
stocks of critical precision munitions. in summary, i'm satisfied the fy-17 budget puts us on the right trajectory, but lit take your continued support to ensure that the joint force has the depth, flexibility, readiness, and responsiveness that ensures our men and women never face a fair fight. once again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning and i look forward to your questions. >> secretary mckod? do you have any statement? >> i do not, mr. chairman. >> i thank the witnesses. mr. secretary, i appreciate your comments about the iranian behavior and their subsequent behavior exploiting this humiliation of american service members. what action have you recommended that we take in response to this? >> we're -- everything we're doing in the gulf, chairman, including all of the actions that are funded in this budget, which include tens of thousands of americans in the region, we
want that. our ballistic missile defense is in the region. we want that. >> i see, but all of these things are planned and in the budget. i wonder if you had planned on any specific action that iranians would know is a result of our humiliation of our service members. >> well, i've made it quite clear -- >> you've made it quite clear a that you're outraged and all that. but what specifically are you doing in response to that? >> we're continuing to take all of the actions that we need to -- >> obviously, specific action and response to the iranian outbreak. >> at the time of the incident, we prepared to protect our people. turns out they were released in time. we later had the opportunity to see them being filmed in the way
they were and have made very clear that that's the kind of behavior we wouldn't want to engage in. chairman, you want to add anything? >> is stability in afghanistan and the region and our national interest, particularly in lightweight light of the testimony of general campbell and general nicholson that the situation in afghanistan is deteriorating? >> i'll start there and then ask the chairman to chime in. >> fine. fine. >> well, the situation in afghanistan is very important to us. we have -- the afghans had a tough fight this last fighting season. they're going to have a tough season this time. and it's important that we, not just we, but the rest of our coalitions stay with them, not just this year in 2016 but in 2017 and so forth and we're continually assessing and adjusting how we give support to the afghan security forces. >> but you don't disagree with general nicholson and general campbell, i guess i'll ask general dunford, that the situation is deteriorating in
afghanistan. do you agree with that? >> chairman, i listened to their testimony. >> do you consider the taliban to be a threat? >> i do. >> why do we not have the support to target taliban fighters in support of our afghan partners? >> chairman, right now -- >> threat to our stability and the situation is deteriorating, and yet we still don't give the authority of american forces to -- other than self-defense, to target taliban fighters. >> right now, chairman, our authorities are focused on supporting the afghan forces and their fight against the tlab. >> so even though the situation is deteriorating, even though they continue their attacks, even though we still do not give the u.s. forces the authority to target taliban fighters unless they're directly attacking united states the united states. >> at this time, that's correct,
chairman. >> does that make sense to you? >> chairman, we near the process of reviewing the lessons learned from 2015. we have some recommendations made by general campbell -- >> we're well into 2016 and right now the plan is to cut the force from 9,800 dropped down to 5,500 by the end of this year and here we are in march. >> chairman, where i was going was we have recommendations from general campbell for changes made -- to make in 2016 as a result of lessons learned in 2015. this week we conducted a video teleconference, secretary carter and i, with general nicholson, who's on the ground in afghanistan right now to be get his thoughts, and we're in the process of making recommendations to the president for changes that might be made to make us more effective in supporting afghan forces in 2016 and making them more successful. >> including force levels? >> full range to include capabilities. that's correct, chairman.
>> last year in the 2016 future years defense program where you indicated that you needed an additional $37 billion above the caps in 2016, the then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said we're at the lower ragged edge of manageable risk. now you're saying that it seems to be okay even though the army had to cut 24 uh-60 black hawk helicopters, air force had to cut five f-35s, and 45 over the next four years, the air force -- the navy plans to lay up an additional five cruisers, the marine corps plans to cut 77 joint-like tactical vehicles, and $1.3 billion in military construction, et cetera, et cetera. all of those cuts are being made as opposed to what you asked for last year. so now you're saying -- by the way, we've seen this bow waves move before.
when you cut f-35s, cut the blackhawks, when you cut them, you increase the costs because the original plans are at optimal cost. so now you're satisfied with the level, which is $17 billion less than last year, even though your predecessor said we are on the lower ragged edge of manageable risk with the amount we had last year, which was $17 billion more. it's harold for us to understand, general. >> chairman, to be clear, what i've said is the budget this year is sufficient to execute the strategy. there is associated risk in that and i've provided a classified risk assessment to the secretary. you'll see that. some of the investments that we've made this year are designed to address that risk. my most significant concern, frankly, is the bow wave of modernization that has been deferred that we'll start to see in fiscal 19, 20, 21, and 22. by no means have i said that the resource level for the department as we look out over the next few years is adequate.
what i simply said was that this year's fiscal year 17 budget is sufficient to meet the strategy. >> so it's okay with you to cut 24 blackhawks, five f-5z, 45 over the next four years, many recent corps cuts 77 joint-like tactical vehicles, $1.3 billion in military construction, which last year was told to this chit committee that you needed. >> chairman, that's not what i said. i didn't say it was okay to do those things. what i said was with regard to this budget we have made the best decisions we can within the top line we were given from congress. what i'm comfortable with is that we have made the right priorities. i'm not comfortable we have addressed all the requirements. >> senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony. one of the key issues that the committee's focused on and you're focused on is readiness. and general dunford, readiness is a function of not only resources but time. can you explain or at least i
think the question is within the constraints you face were significant, you have tried to maintain and improve readiness, but that won't happen just with more money. that'll take time. excuse me. >> senator, thank you. that's right. from my perspective, there's three components. there's the money, there's the time, and then there's operational tempo. and the operational tempo has main taped at a very high level, even as the force has drawn down from its peak three or four years ago.tained at a very high, even as the force has drawn down from its peak three or four years ago.ñ>qñ as a result of sequestration and particularly in 2013 we laid off a lot of engineers, a lot of artisans, had a backlog of maintenance. that will take time to recover from that backlog of maintenance. in some cases we deferred modernization issues to equipment and so forth that will have an impact on readiness. then being able to recover from a training perspective requires an operational tempo that's much more sustainable than one we have right now. from my perspective, i think
you've heard from the service chiefs in probably the near term one of the services will be ready in about three or four years, the air force at the outside i think has identified 2024 before it fully recovers. much of that is a function of aircraft maintenance and readiness. >> but in the context of this budget, the resources that you have available, the dollars for readiness, is sufficient, at least, to continue the improvement and readiness that you must achieve. is that your estimate? >> senator, the secretary prioritized the readiness, particularly the readiness of those forces that will deploy. and so we have bought as much readiness as we can in fy-17. many of the issues we have with regard to readiness can't be addressed with additional resources this year. again, they'll take time. >> thank you. mr. secretary or mr. mccord, with respect to procurement, my understanding, but please correct me, is that you've done all you can to maintain
multiyear contracting for systems which essentially keeps us in the ball game, if you will, but if we do not fix the sequestration problem next year, this fragile structure will sort of fall apart. but we are still maintaining the cost-efficient multiyear contracting? >> we are. >> we're not cutting back on those deals? >> no. we are. and this gets to the point the chairman raised about how did we accommodate the difference between what we planned last year and what we got in the bipartisan budget agreement, what i described as a net of $11 billion of our almost $600 billion. how did we accommodate that? as the chairman said -- i was very insistent on this as was the chairman. we protected readiness. the prince pal impact dame in a number of modernization programs to i believe collude aircraft, shipbuilding, a number of minor modernization programs. that's what we did.
it's all out there, and i'm sure you'll be reviewing it. what we didn't do was not fund the service readiness recovery plans where as they try to move back to full spectrum readiness from where they've been after the iraq and afghanistan wars, that's what we need you know, all of the services, is full spectrum. making up some of the maintenance backlog that particularly affects marine corps aviation. we did not change any of our end-strength goals. we did not change military compensation to make this difference. we didn't terminate to your point any major programs, any multiyear contracts. we didn't riff any ployees. we didn't have to do any of that, but we did have to make adjustments, and they're there for you to see. are we happy making those
adjustments? no. but that's what we needed to do to accommodate the bipartisan budget agreement. now, if the bipartisan budget agreement were to fall apart as everyone has said, that is our biggest strategic danger, because that will affect in the future years our ability to recover full spectrum readiness. it will affect all those things we did not have to affect this year, but that's how we adjusted to the bipartisan budget agreement. >> final point, the concurrence or the opinions as expressed by i think everyone here about the need to end sequestration for 2018 is critical, paramount, has to be done? >> that is the greatest strategic risk to the department of defense is their aversion to sequestration and we very much hope we can avoid that. ? thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm not going to ask a question
about gitmo. this is a budget hearing. but it's one that you should both be aware that there are two groups of people at this table up here, one is the hard-liners who feel it's absurd to even think about giving up the resources that we have there, particularly in light of the fact that we have a recidivism rate of 30% or so. others are going to be talking -- asking questions about that, so i'll let them take the time to do that. but that will be one of the considerations you have. you know, it's easy to kind of get -- i'm not saying or hearing glowing reports right now, but we do hear all the time, as you said, secretary carter, we have the best equipped, the best trained, and all that. that sounds good. that's the good side. but there's a bad side too. we're not where we normally should be and have been in the past. we've had probably more hearings in the years that i've been on both the house and the senate armed services committee this year than we've ever had before, and i think that's the right thing to do.
people are going to have to weak up a wake um and know the problems that we have. before this committee, lieutenant general nicholson said the security situation in afghanistan is deteriorating. i think you probably agree with that. last week general austin, before this committee, he's the centcom commander, in response to senator mccain's question, he testified to this committee just last week that it may be time to reconsider the plan to reduce america's military forces in afghanistan. general dunford, is he right? >> senator, thank you. as a matter of fact, we're in the process right now of reviewing -- >> of reconsidering. >> absolutely. it's a constant process, senator, and the secretary and i have spent a fair amount of time on it just this week with general nicholson and we spent some time with general campbell before he left. we near the process of bundling together some recommendations to bring forth to the president. >> hear dates all the time about when something is going to be decided. now, isn't it a better idea to let conditions on the ground
determine what and when -- changes we're going to make? >> senator, i think that's what we did in the fall when the decision was made to keep 9,800 through 2016. >> the two quotes from general austin and general nicholson, have you diskutsdsed with them specifically about the force structure requirements? >> we have, senator. >> okay. have you presented any of the recommendations to the president? >> we have not yet, senator. we're still in the process of liberating that between the secretary and i. we had a video teleconference with general nicholson this week to make sure we get the latest from him. he's had a chance in both his predeployment site survey as well as being op the ground since taking command, he's had a chance to make a personal assessment. it was important we heard from general nicholson before we moved forward. >> okay. let me i believe collude one more thing that i want to get in this committee, because we've had a lot of people testify, the very best that we have, and i have a great deal of respect for all of them and they are very blunt about the problems that we have.
admiral courtney, nortecom commander, he testified to this committee just last week that north korea's recent nuclear test and satellite launch demonstrate that king jong-un, which we know is mentally deranged, his commitment to developing strategic capabilities as well as his disregard for the u.n. security resolutions. we all i think agree with that. admiral o'hare said, testified to this committee that chinese coercion, artificial island construction, militarization in the south china sea threaten the most fundamental aspect of global prosperity, freedom of navigation, and their forces are opening at a higher tempo in more places with greater sophistication than ever before. the two of you agree with that? >> i certainly do, senator. and this is by the way why we need to remain vigilant with respect to north korea and its ballistic misl activities and
other activities i mentioned, fight tonight, and this is why we need the budget that we're asking for and why we've got to avoid sequestration in the future. these are all serious matters. >> all serious matters. i contend we're in the most threatened position we've ever been in as a nation. i look back wisfully at the days of cold war. i mean, right now we have people like -- mentally deranged people might have a capability of wiping out an american city. so that's a serious thing. i would only leave you with a quote that both of you heard last week from congressman friehli friehli friehlinghousen, a quote by winston churchill 70 years ago, and this is the quote -- "from what i have and particularly keeping in mind what putin has been doing in ukraine and other places disregarding the threat that we would pose to him, he said 70 years ago, "from what i have seen of our russian friends and allies during the war, i am convinced there is nothing they admire so much as strength and there's nothing for which they
have less respect for than weakness, especially military weakness." i want you guys to keep that in mind as you're developing this budget. >> will do. >> chairman killebrew. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to talk briefly about cyber. cyber attacks against the homeland are already a menacing threat to u.s. infrastructure, businesses, and defense. in the case of severe domestic attack, d.o.d.'s unified commands will be responsible for coordinating a response in support of the department of homeland security. however, cybercom has reported a projected shortfall in its manning goals for fiscal year 2018, and there are concerns that d.o.d. cyber operators, active and reserve, may not be able to seamlessly operate under the current patchwork of relevant authorities. how would you assess current coordination and interoperability between northcom and others and what could be done legislatively to complement those relationships? and can you describe the level of involvement the national
guard cyber operators might play in the event of a major domestic cyber attack? and do you believe they'red a kwautly trained, equipped, and funded to meet that expectation? finally, do you believe each responsible agency cyber mandate, defense or otherwise, has the authorities it needs to coordinate an effective response domestically? >> thank you, senator. let me take the part about the guard first if i may. i was out in washington state a couple of weeks ago where there's a terrific national guard unit working on exactly what you're talking about, that is defending the nation and also defending our d.o.d. networks upon which we're so again independent from cyber attack. these are people who -- whose day job is to be the cyber defenders for some of our most important i.t. companies and tech companies, so think ear at the highest skill tlaefl the private sector has. and yet they're making their skills available to their country through the national
guard. so this is a tremendous strength among many of the national guard, the ability to bring us, to us a talent that we would otherwise have difficulty attracting and retain. to get to your first part of your question, nevertheless, we do try to attract and retain, and we have some success in that regard, and that's what we're doing as we build out the 133 cyber mission teams for cybercom. cybercom does work not only with our combatant commanders on wartime need, including, by the way, joining the fight against isil and disrupting isil and blacking out isil, but also defending the country. now, we do do that, as you suggest, in connection with homeland security, in connection with law enforcement, all that's perfectly appropriate. there are some legislative acts that have enabled us better in that regard. it's possible that we could do still better in that regard.
with respect to cybercom's own authority,ly tell you that we adjust them continuously and just this week actually i'm talking to admiral rogers about some of thiz authorities and what we can do to expand those authorities. so it's a very actively -- >> could you submit a letter to me or this committee if there's additional authorities you feel you need? >> will do. >> so we can work on that. with regard to military sexual assault, you're aware every year i've been asking for files from the four major bases, and this year i added the four major training bases soic get a snapshot in time, how these cases go, what do they actually look like once they're filed and taken to court. what we find is that more than half of those victims are civilians, which isn't entirely captured by our survey, spouses and civilians, not fully captured. and the second thing i learned was that there's a 50% drop-off rate once someone actually files a complaint, about 50% do not continue with their complaint during the course of the year, which is a huge problem.
and so one of the things that this committee's done is we are going to put in place a defense advisory committee on investigations, prosecution, and defense of sexual assault, and that's supposed to be an independent civilian review board that looks at this designated by the president. it's very important to me that the executive director of this committee is independent so that they can actually give us advice, and i would like your commitment that you'll look at the staffing of that individual, and i'm hoping that you will choose a civilian to be the executive director and one with prosecutorial experience, specifically experience in sexual violence prosecutions, which are among the hardest to end in a conviction. >> first of all, i thank you for your leadership in this issue. it's a really important issue. of course we'll work with the committee on this, and i promise you that as in other matters. and i'll just say very clearly to you how much i appreciate your leadership on this issue because this is unacceptable in
our military, because our military is about hop nor and it's about trust, and sexual assault violates honor and trust, so we can't have any of it. and the more we learn, the more, as you say, there are other dimensions to it -- civilians, retaliation, which is another thing that you have rightly stress ed we need to pay attention to. so this is something that we cannot stop learning about and doing better about. in this respect, i promise to continue to work with you. >> thank you. and general dunford, because i'm out of time, i'm going to submit for the record a specific question about combat integragts that i would love your response on. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you so much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary carter, i'd like you to talk more about the third offset initiative. specifically, what is new about it? is it new money? is it a new way of using that money? as you know, we spend tens of billions of dollars every single
year researching and developing technologies, and that is well in xelsz of our adversaries. and this committee's heard a lot about how our technological edge is eroding. so i'm wondering if that level of investment and specifically the way we've been using it wasn't sustaining our technological advantage, what about the offset initiative is going to ensure that that avoids a similar fate? >> well, thank you, senator. and our efforts are about both new money and new ways of using that money. the new money we are asking for in this budget, notwithstanding the $11 billion that we absorbed, we didn't take that in our rdt&e. we are increasing research and development, test and engineering relative to last year. science and technology, which is a part of that also. but we are doing it in new ways, and i'll give you a couple examples of that, two very
important examples. one is reaching out to the high-tech industry that does not have a tradition of working with the department of defense. when i started out in this business long ago, it was all the major technologically intensive companies in america worked with the defense department. it was part of the legacy of world war ii and the cold war. i'm trying to and we are trying in the third offset so rekindle those relationships with the high-tech industry. we find them willing, patriotic, eager to help serve. we have to do it in a way that's compatible with their business and technology models, and we're doing that. and secondly, we have innovative parts of our department. one i've called attention to is the strategic capabilities office, which is specifically looking at and has already made major progress in highly innovative things like electronic warfare drones.
that's the place where the idea of giving the missile anti-ship capability came from, taking an old system, giving it a brand-new capability, so we're trying to back the innovators in our department as well as connect with the best parts of innovative american society. because next to our people, our technology is what makes us great and we get our technology because we're part of the most innovative country in the world. >> so you would say that the process for developing these technologies, would you say that it has not been working in the past and that's one of the main focuses, then, of the offset is to not only work within the department but also to reach outside the department? and not necessarily looking at specific programs but having a more open, innovative mind on
this then? >> certainly that's what it comes town to. both our traditional programs we need to make them move along faster, make them more agile, do a better job of incorporating technology in them, and reaching out to the innovative part of our society in trying to -- getting them interested in these vitally important national security problems and working with us as has been the tradition in america for decades and decades. >> right. and you know innovation is very risky, so when we're looking at putting more money into the programs, i think all of us realize that losses are going to cur. we're not going to see a success rate with every program that you're trying for. there will be no results in some areas. >> that's correct. if we don't -- >> but we're not in a
risk-tolerant environment. how do you address that? >> well, that's a problem. we want our innovators to take risk. taking risk by definition means sometimes things won't go the way you hoped. when you're exploring a technological frontier, when you're testing a weapon system. and we have to be tolerant of risk provided that risk was taken advisedly in the interests of making a leap ahead in technology. we have to do that. if we're too risk averse, then we're always going to be behind the technological curve and not up with or above the technological curve, and our enemies take risks, no question our potential enemies take those risks. we need to take those risks also. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to all of you for your testimony. general dunford, you were in an interchange with the chair about how you look at pb-17 and
whether it does all you might want it to do. i think you said, quote, our budget is based on the top line that congress gave us. as i look at your written testimony, i'll just read it, "to accommodate a constrained top line p bcs-17 defers near-term modernization, which will only exacerbate a coming wave of strategic recapitalization and other procurement requirements. more broadly, the cumulative effect of top-line reductions of the past several years has limited the flexibility and resiliency of the joint force, and looking ahead the demand for future capabilities and capacity will outpace the resources available, forcing even more difficult decisions to match strategy and resources." the constraint that we're talking about with respect to these top lines is the 2011 sequester bca caps, correct? >> that's correct, senator. particularly, as i recall, fiscal 2013 was particularly devastating to our ability to plan and execute.
>> we had an opportunity the turn off sequester before it went into effect and we those not to turn it off and that has created downstream challenging consequences. so the real issue i think for s us, if we put national security first, has got to be what do we do about that constraint? now, what we've done is two two-year budget deals in a row that have averted some of the sequester cuts and provided some relief from the bca caps, but when we did that, we pushed out the bca caps out two years. it's like an automatic snapback sanction in these budget caps. if congress were to not agree on a budget, and we've got a history of not agreeing on stuff over time, we will snap back to a punishing sanction against our own nation's ability to defend ourselves, and we've now pushed
that out significantly into the future, into the late 2020s. and that's the risk that you're talking about, the risk of falling back into sequester and punishing our national security is the significant concern that we're grappling with. >> senator, that's exactly right. but even if we avert sequester, we've now accumulated bills that will all come due simultaneous. and as i alluded to many-in my opening statement, the modernization and nuclear enterprise will come now at the very same time that will start to recover from stom of the deferred modernization over the last several years. originally at the projected level of funding that the department asked for, i would aceltics that probably in the late teens and early 20s we'll hit this bow wave of modernization that will make it very difficult to balance readiness, structure, and modernization, and that's the balance we try to have. the more out of balance we have become in the last few years the more difficult it will be to
achieve balance in out the years. >> there are some who i think i've heard argue that we don't need to worry about sequester and the bac cams because we can just plus up the oko accounts as we kind of approach the budgetary challenges eesm year. from my way of thinking, that can be some short-term temporary relief, but oco, which should have a particular role in a defense budget obviously, but it's not money that you can really count on. you can't count on it for following years. you could get oco money in a year but you'd still face the sequester coming back, not sure you could count on oco the following year. wouldn't you agree relying on successive annual battles about oco funding is not the same as providing you with the kind of certainty you need to have? >> we need three things -- predictability, the right level of resources, and those resources to be in right areas. we need all three of those, so i
couldn't agree with you more. >> my hope is as we are talking about the nd thashgs year is that we'll really grapple with this sort of snapback sanction that we're imposing on ourselves, which, if we ever fell into it, i mean, again, i hope we're always going to be able to reach agreement, but we've now pushed the sequester and the bca caps out for quite some time, and if somebody decides to hold up the process or we just can't reach ayn greemt for a good-faith reason, we have just built this self-punishment into our mechanism. i home part of what we might try to do in the nda this year is just agree, look, we are not required to continue a sequester that was put in place with budget caps in the summer of 2011, pre-isil, pre-russia into the ukraine, pre-north korea cyberattacks, pre-ebola, pre-zika. we don't have to blaif twenty lech reality in 2016. and if anyone will see this and
the importance of it in congress, it's going to be the armed services committees in both houses. we should be at the forefront of this. and i know the chairman hatz made this an important priority and will continue to do that. thank you very much. >> thank you, and i'm glad senat senator mccain brought this up. the chair has made this a priority. laels you, secretary carter and general dunford, looking back several years ago,et me ask your and general dunford, looking back several years ago, sequester was headed our way but we didn't really think it was a reality, i would ask people in your chair, other people, are you planning for skweser? and their answer was no. we're not planning for it. it was never intended. we assure you, ladies and gentlemen, we'll fix it. and it's unthinkable that we would do this. and of course the unthinkable happened and we had to deal with it. now, we've dealt with it once,
and that was bad enough, but tell us about how going there a second time would be a whole new problem. and also, general dunford, did i -- and i'll let you go first -- did i hear you say if we avoid sequester this time we still don't have enough money to take care of the national defense needs that you have to take care of? is that what you're saying? >> senator, it is. even at a level of funding that avoids sequestration, we have a bow maef of modernization a result of the hast three or four years of the budget and also a result of the nuclear enterprise i alluded to so when you look at deferred modernization, the modernization we would do in norm normal course of events plus a nuclear enterprise all coming due at or about the same time, my assessment is we will be challenged even if we are at
sequestration level of funding. with regard to the other $100 billion, i would simply say, and the senator has listed the things that have all changed since the defense strategic guidance was written in 2012, my assessment is that if we are confronted with -- >> so let's reiterate those, because -- >> well, it's very simple. >> i interrupted your train of thought. talking russia, isil -- >> i'm talking russia, i'm talking isil, i'm talking the behavior of north korea, i'm talking about increased malign influence by iran, and i'm talking about the activity in china, which concerns us in terms of maintaining a competitive advantage. their investment over time and their defense capabilities and some of their bein favor of the pacific also concerns me from a competitive advantage perspective. i would say there have been profound changes in each of the five challenge areas identified by the secretary that should inform future budgets. >> okay. and secretary carter, is there
some room in your shop where we are planning for this disastrous eventuality if we're not able to reach an agreement and if the law of the land, which is sequestration, again, kicks in? >> well, first of all, let me associate myself with everything -- everything chairman dunford said. exactly right. and with respect to your question, senator, sadly, the department did learn what it was like to feel sequester. and i can say what some of the effects are and you'll immediately see why we're so concerned about it kicking back in the future. uncertainty and turbulence cause us to do things inefficiently, managerially, so, like, issuing short-term contracts, turning things on and off, the strategy that the chairman was just referring to an the five major threats we face, those aren't one-year things.
and we can't budget and program one year at a time herky-jerky fashion and meet those. it's unfair to our people for them to have budgetary uncertainty. they look here. they look to washington. and they wonder what's going on and what is their future. i'm concerned about the picture it paints in the world when we do this to ourselves, to our friends and also our potential foes. so we do know what the kwenlss are. we did go through it in recent years. and it has very deleterious effects on how we manage ourselves and how we protect kourss. and the last thing i would like to say is also to associate myself with something the chairman said, particularly with respect to nuclear enterprise. we see bills out there for the -- to keep safe, secure, and reliable nuclear arsenal, just to pick one very big item, which will include the ohio
replacement class submarine, icbm modernization, we go down that road, and other things. and that money is going to have to be provided for us to have that. that's a bedrock capability. so averting sequestration absolutely necessary, but on top of that we're going need the funding that the country needs in future years to defend ourselves and protect our people. >> well, thank you. we rely on us to tell us what you need, and let's speak it out loudly and clearly from both sides of this table and make it clear that what is at stake is nothing less than the national security of americans. thank you, all three. >> thanks, mr. chairman. we often remark in this ch committee to thank our witnesses for their contribution, and we have three individuals this morning who have served our country over many years with
extraordinary and unique d distincti distinction. so i thank you for all of your service to our nation. secretary carter, you noted in your testimony that we do not have the luxury of choosing between strategic challenges that our nation faces and certainly one of those challenges is undersea warfare. as you know, our attack submarine force is projected to fall below the minimal desirable 48 boats by 2025, and it may go as low as 41 by 2029. our submarines are among our most versatile, stealthy, and strong forces available to defend and also to conduct offensive operations.
considering the gap we are approaching in submarine capabilities, wouldn't it be wise to consider building three submarines a year, two virginia class, along with the ohio replacement program? and would you support such a move? >> senator, thanks. first of all, with respect to your general point about the critical importance of undersea dominance, that's an area where our military excels over all others. it's a critical area that we are targeting in this critical budget to keep and extend that advantage. it involves submarine construction. it involves as i mentioned the virginia payload module. some other things like undersea, unmanned undersea vehicles that -- from which i can talk about, some of which i can't, and host of other undersea capabilities. so that's a major thrust of this
budget. with respect to submarine building numbers, we have laid into the budget this year as we planned and we've sustained that, we stuck with that. our two submarines per year through the fidip. your question is will we, as we get to the point of the ohio class replacement in the future, want to add submarine shipbuilding capability and ships per year? yes. that gets back to the point about having the money when we begin the ohio replacement to keep a safe, secure, and reliable deterrent. we can't have that at the expense of our general-purpose navy. that's a point we've all been making. and that's going to require additional funding. >> so if the shipbuilding capacity is there to do it, you would favor going that route of three submarines a year if necessary to meet that gap? >> yes. we're going to need to build the
ohio clas class replacement submarine without shorting the rest of our undersea dominance. >> secretary carter, thank you. earlier in the week i think you met with israeli defense minister and others in the military establishment there. can you commit to us that you will ensure that israel maintains its qualitative military age? and can you update us as to when the negotiations on the memorandum of understanding will be done? >> i obviously have that commitment. that's something that my good friend and colleague israeli defense minister yalone and i discu discussed. and we will do that. with respect to the mou, that's something that the president and the prime minister discussed so it's not something that the two defense ministers decide. however, in our conversations, which are frequent, the minister
and i do discuss what the israelis need now and going forward. and we use that to inform those discussions about -- over the mou and the amount of help that we give to the israelis to defend themselves in what is a very dangerous region. >> finally, i have long been concerned, as many of my colleagues have been, about the iran ballistic missile program. it's continuing testing. i led a letter to president obama with a number of my colleagues calling for immediate enforcement of sanctions against iran and the department of treasury following the letter did, indeed, enforce sanctions against 11 entities and individuals supporting iran's missile program. clearly, more must be done to deter iran from continued
aggressive pursuit of this program. general botell and general austin rit hit ralliterally witt week or so testified to this committee about the need for increased sanctions. do you agree? >> i do. that's not our responsibility at the department, but a responsibility of the department that we very much fulfill, and i know you discussed with them, is our defensive commitments with respect to iranian ballistic missiles, both for our forces in the region and our friends and allies who include israel, but others as well. that's why we have the missile defense and other capabilities in the gulf and why we need to keep them strong. amend i did discuss those also with defense minister yalone including the help we give to the israelis wrmt to iron doan and david sling and arrow, their thee tiers of their own areas of
defense against ballistic missiles. >> thank you very much. >> senator sessions, please. >> thank you very much. i won't way would-be chairman but actual chairman, i suppose, for a second. the man who would be chairman. well, it's a political world we're living in. general dunford, when you have -- when we look at the middle east, we've had a number of witnesses testify here over recent months about it. i have come to the conclusion that there's just going to be a lot of violence for a long time. there won't be one victory that would make us safe. i've talked with our democratic colleagues.
it seems we do need and can maybe agree upon a strategy that could be bipartisan, that could extend beyond elections, that maybe the whole world would be able to support on how we confront on this rising tide of violence and extremism. do you think that's possible? and how close are we to achieving something like that? >> senator, i do think it's possible. we've done a lot of work internally to the department to take a long term view of the middle east and how to deal with the challenges inside the middle east. i couldn't agree more. no more could we develop a budget year to year and expect to be successful can we develop a strategy year to year and make surging changes and expect to be successful. can we get a bipartisan strategy to the middle east what that will carry out what we assess to be a generational conflict? i fully concur with that. >> you aceltics it as a generational conflict, meaning more than 20 years or more? >> senator, i think if you look
at the underlying conditions that have led to violent extremism, i can't imagine addressing those anything less than that period of time. when you look at the economic issues, the social issues, the political issues, the education educational issues, those are all issues. those are all things that would take a long period of time. violent extremism in some form will exist until those conditions across the middle east are addressed. >> secretary carder do you agree with that? >> i do and i would go further than that. first what can't be tolerated in a generational way is isil. and that's why we're so intent on accelerating the defeat of isil. but to the chairman's point and to your point, senator, that isn't going to automatically create a middle east that is free of extremism and it's not going to create a world free of terrorism. because the trends in technology put more and more destructive pow ner the hands of smaller and
smaller groups. so we recognize and it's part of our approach, our future defense, that both nonstate and state actors need to figure in the investment portfolio of the defense of this country going forward. both of those are featured in our long term budget even though we expect and need to defeat ice until the short term. we're making investments to protect ourselves against nonstate actors for the more distant future. and i think we have to. >> well, i tend to agree with that. we need to focus on who needs to be confronted militarily and defeated as soon as possible. and certainly isil is number one on that list. would you agree? >> absolutely. >> at the same time we have allies in the regions, we have
people that would oppose what we oppose and people who support what we oppose. it's a complex region, is it not? and we need as many allies as we can have. some of the fighting needs to be done by other people than us over the decade or generation to come. would you agree with that? >> i completely agree. i'll add to that i was in brussels is few weeks ago, i brought together the department ad ministers. we're willing to lead this and willing to do a lot because we're powerful. but we need other to get in the game. and particularly we need those in the region to play their part. and additionally, we need and we're finding more partners on the ground, because both in syria and iraq, it's not only
necessary to defeat isil but it's necessary to sustain the defeat. and only those in the region can sustain the defeat. we can help them and lead them but they need to do their part. and i emphasize to them that we are going to defeat isil and will remember who played their role and who didn't. >> well, thank you. i guess my time is up. i would just thank my colleagues that have expressed concerns about this overall policy of the united states. i believe we could get there, i believe we can achieve a policy that defends legitimate interests of the united states. in a bipartisan way and it can be sustained no matter who gets elected as president in the years to come. that's important because a great nation can't be flip-flopping around on commitments around the globe. thank you all. >> on behalf of jernl mcchain, senator donley. >> thank you, chairman. thank the witnesses for being
here. secretary carter, we're still losing over 400 service members each year to suicide. we were able to get in the fy 15 ndaa requirement under the jacob sexton act that every service member receive a person-to-person mental health assessment every year. can you provide me an update on the implementation and when the department will roll out the annual mental health examinations? >> thanks, senator and thanks for your interest in this issue, which is an important part of the welfare of our folks. >> i'll get back to you on the specifics of the everyone mentation. the thing i do know and want to say is that this is being reflected in our health care investments. as you know, we spend about $50 billion a year out of the $600 billion or so we're requesting from you on health care.
and over the last few years we have increased greatly the amount directed at mental health. to provide our folks with resilien resilience, which is with the program you're talking about, so they have not as vulnerable and susceptible to the kinds of things that would drive them to such an extreme act. and we're treating people who have reached the point. i'll get walk to you with the specifics but it's very important. >> and continue to remove the stigma from getting help. >> we want people to seek mental health treatment when they need it and we want everyone who is not seeking it to look sympathetically upon that, like getting any other kind of medical treatment. >> thank you. and mr. secretary, i know how busy you are and the challenges we face around the globe. one part of trying to solve those problems are national labs. as you know in indiana we have crane naval warfare center. we talked about you possibly coming to visit, just a morning
or late afternoon or a late evening, or a mid morning 3:00 in the morning visit. so you can get an understanding of the strengths and challenges. when do you think we can make that happen? >> will you come with me? >> yes, even at 3:00 in the morning. >> it's a deal. i love visiting all of our folks. there's nothing better than going out and getting among the people who serve this department. in this case it will be laboratory scientists, but whether they're troops or scientists or folks in industry, they're all part of what makes our military great. we'll have a wonderful time. i promise. >> thank you, sir, i appreciate it. general dunford when you see what has just happened with vladimir putin, how do you judge that? what do you think he's doing? how will that affect things in syria? >> honestly it's too early to tell what he's doing and i think those who have tried to predict vladimir putten's behavior has
been proven wrong. what i would say is this. when putin went into syria he said his expressed purpose was to go down and address isil. isil is not addressed. so what i think it does do is it makes it clear that his original intent was not what he said it was, which was to go after isil. but it was obviously to support the regime. and i think what it also does is for those who question whether the united states is the most reliable partner in the region or not. i would say for the record we're still there. >> right. let me ask you and then the secretary. how do we get to raqqah? and you know, the next question obviously is when and there's no exact date on that. but if you could give us an idea of how we get this done and how we eliminate isis presence on the ground because it creates a danger to us. >> senator, you know, one thing i would say is we're already isolating raqqah right now and made significant progress other the last couple of months in
limiting their freedom to have movement between raqqah and mosul. cut that line of communication between iraq and syria. isolated raqqah to the north with syrian democratic forces who seized an area called sha daddy which cut the lines of communication. we've grown the capability of capacity of the forces we're support in syria quite a bit. had i testified a month ago i would have told you we have 2500 arabs inside the forces. today i can tell you we have 5,000 that are currently planning another operation that will further isolate raqqah. >> not to interrupt you, that number continuing to grow significantly? >> senator, i do. my projection in the future is based on what recently happened. the more success we have we'll have what the secretary subscribed as a snowball effect where people are willing to join us because they see the level of support we're providing and more importantly the level of success that these forces are having.
>> that's exactly right, senator. and what we described in december is transpiring, namely the sdf is growing in size, the arab component of that. they're on the move. they've taken sha daddy and raqqah is a key target because that's what's l calls its capital. we need to take that away from them and make it clear that's not tolerable. we are, in addition to backing those forces, pressuring raqqah in lots of other ways from the air, but other ways as well. i want to raise something while we're on this, which is we have -- which is very important. in order for us to win, we need to constantly revise and adjust and take advantage of opportunities. we're trying to take advantage of an opportunity right now, the
syrian-arab coalition. in that connection, if i may, i need to plead for you help in releasing some of the funds that are allocated to precisely that purpose. it's not just about this committee. but we made a request for those funds and we got four different answers from four different committees. i know that's how the system works but it's really tough to wage a campaign under those circumstances. so if i can plead for, as we try to be agile, if i can plead for agility in providing our funding request. >> it's time urgent right now. >> it is time urgent. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank all of you for being here and for your leadership, service to our country. i wanted to ask, new hampshire is facing a terrible epidemic of
heroin and fentanyl that is coming over the southern border and it's killing people in our states. and recently the senate passed what's called the comprehensive addiction and recovery act to deal with the prevention and treatment side and some support for our first responders. but we know from prior testimony from north comm and southern comm commanders that the networks that are being used to traffic the drugs into our country are are also networks that can be used to traffic anything. so i wanted to ask both you, secretary carter and general dunford, what can we do the get them the resources they need to tamp down on these networks that not only are killing people in our country but also can be used network to traffic other dangerous things into our country, including use by terrorists networks. >> i'll start and then i particularly want the chairman to comment because he was just in the region. fresh insight there.
the basic story as you say, while we do everything back here at home to protect ourselves, we've got to try to intradistrict the chains of supply. and our forces in south comm especially but also north comm are a part of that. one of the reasons why i'm so committed with working with you up here on the gold water nickels revisit effort that the chairman and this committee have spear headed, and i am doing also in the department and want to do with you, is because that is an area where your point which is allocated resources among co-comms is an age l effective optimal way, that's where, from my point of view, i would like to strengthen the role of the joint chiefs of staff and the chairman. because different co-comms see different things in their region. they're deeply expert in their
own regions. but somebody needs to put it all together and give me advice about that. how to synchronize the forces. i look to the chairman and the chief of staff for that. ieds like for them to have more capability and authority to do so. i hope that's part of our effort. with that, let me turn it over to the chairman who just happened to be in the region last week. >> senator, as the secretary said, i spent last week on this issue. i visited southern command wur our joint task force and when down to colombia. on the right side, i was encouraged by the amount of information and intelligence we have, far exceeding what we used to have. if you look at the task force alone, 15 different countries sharing information and intelligence. what i found is what we know far exceeds our ability to act on it. so i saw exactly what you're alluding to, which was a shortfall of the resources
necessary to interconnedictinte. and frankly what i've asked our team to do, given all of the challenges that we have and all of the competition for resources, i'm still not convinced that we can't find innovative way to address the interdiction. and at least if we took action on just the intelligence and the information that's currently available, the joint task force -- and the other thing, senator, we have joint task force bravo, i think you're familiar with them. what we've always said really pretty good understanding of what's going on in the air and the sea, increasingly better today both the interagency and international cooperation. i found our ability to see what's going on over land is much greater than it was. what you alluded to, i do think -- this is a priority for me and the staff last week. to come back and say, okay, we have all of this information and intelligence. i understand the competition for resources. but we have to do something
about this. and i think you know it because you looked at the issue. what i've seen the studies say is about 40% of interdiction is kind of where you need to be. in other words there are other things you have to do from prevention to treatment and so forth to deal with the issue. but if you get the 40% interdiction that's the contribution you can make at the interdiction level. we're probably half of that or below. >> or less. >> and so my priority and i'll come to the secretaries are for recommendations is to get us as close to the 40% as we can. and again, if nothing else, get us to the point that we're acting based on the intelligence information we have now. again not a solution to the problem but encouraged about what we know and now we've got to do something about it. it's not just a d.o.d. issue. the coast guard plays a huge whole in that. >> i appreciate you saying it should be a priority based on your visit. because i remember also general kelly talked to me about length
about this, e had the information, could see the stuff coming over, we needed the additional resource to interdict it. i really appreciate you putting a focus on this. because we have -- we need to do the work on the prevention and treatment. we're focusing on that. but the interdiction would be very significant because it's so cheap on our streets right now and that will help drive up the costs. and we know that these networks are used by terrorists and others, too. it's important for ou homeland security as well. >> if i could, one follow-up. the other thing i came back with is an imperative to keep our partnership building capacities in the region going and funding those adequately as well. clearly, we can't do it all ourselves, we don't want to do it all ourselves. and the investment that we make in the ability of others to support the interdiction effort is also an important part of this. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first i'd like to associate myself with the questions and comments of senator sessions.
i think the idea of developing a long range strategy for dealing with the middle east and violent jihadism is an important project. we can't just ad hoc it all the time and this should be comprehensive, it should involve the muslim world, the arab countries and other countries. so i commend the senator for bringing that up. i'd like to go back to the budget and bull back a bit. we're facing a series of challenges. one is a huge debt now approaching $19 trillion that we're passing on to our children that is utterly irresponsible. the second is the time boehm. we're in the never-never land of low interest rates. it's unusual. if interest rates return to 5%, kind of averaged over many years, just interest on that national debt will be almost equal to the entire discretionary budget today, $950
billion, way more than the entire defense budget. just the increase from 2% to 5%. but almost equal the defense budget. that's money that's got to be paid and that's an impending disaster out there. the third fact is that all of our discussions here today and in the other committees about the nondefense discretionary budget, the total of what we're talking about is a little over 20% of the total federal budget. 50% is mandatory expenditures which is being driven largely by demographics. we're all getting older. and health care expenses. and then another 25% to almost 30% is tax expenditures which are rarely discussed but which now exceed the entire revenues of the discretionary budget, over a trillion dollars a year. we're trying to solve a huge problem looking at only one piece of it. it's as if you had a big problem in your family budget and you said we're going to solve this
whole problem just by focusing on our electric bill. and that's where we are. and if you trend the lines out, we're already at the lowest point in 70 years in defense spending as a percentage of gdp. low es point in 70 years as nondefense discretion and we're struggling within this box that was created in 2011 to try to sold a problem that we can't solve within that, the space of that 21% of the overall federal budget. it seems to me that you're doing a mighty job of working within the constraints. but if we don't go back and revisit the decisions of 2011, particularly in light of the reality of the world that we face today, we're facing a long term catastrophe. you're a student of the long term federal budget. is this an accurate assessment,
mr. secretary? >> it is. i say it again this year, i said it when i presented the budget last year, when i became secretary of defense. that's not something we can solve in defense. but we observe it. >> but we're trying -- we're being forced to try to. that's what bothers me. >> you're exactly right. we're trying to solve an entire problem on the back of discretionary spending. and it's not enough. and it's not sustainable. now all those other parts of the budget have to be in the picture, i understand that. i think that is what is necessary to have everybody come together behind a budget future and one of the things that we're asking for here is stability and relief from those sequestration caps. >> we've gotten to the point around here where two years sounds like stability. we're feeling great with a two-year budget deal.
let me change the subject slightly. we've talked a lot about the bow wave and the modernization. we're talking about submarines, long range strike bombers, missile upgrades. all of those are what i could call capital expenditures in the sense that they're 30, 40-year assets. and yet in this strange world of federal budgets they're treated as current expenditures flp's no way we can handle those expenditures and do other things. shouldn't we be thinking of them in a separate category? i believe there should be a capital budget, we should have a capital budget for long range investments like a 40-year ohio class submarine as opposed to trying to fund them out of current operating expenses. is that something you would consider? >> certainly we try to think that way as we put together budget one year at a time. we prepare budgets five years at a time as you know even though you only consider budgets one year at a time.
we try to have that long term perspective. and i opened my testimony by saying we did in this budget take the long view. that's an important new thrust in this budget, to lock ahead, 10, 20, 30 years from now. in order to do that you have to be confident that reasonable resources will be available then. the specific point about the class replacement and the strategic forces recapitalization, i've already made the point that even with sequestered relief there's going to have to be additional funds for that purpose because it's so large a bill that e can't afford to have it squeeze out all of our submarine construction or other ship building. we have to take the long term perspective. i agree with you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i want to continue along the same vein of questioning here. general dunford, any time your friends in the navy come to testify about their top priorities, we get a stoplight
chart based on different budget scenarios. no matter the budget scenario the sea base nuclear deter rent is always green. most other things might be yellow or red. can you tell us why that is? >> that is the priority of the department to provide a safe nuclear deter raant which is wh that's green. >> do you know what percentage of the department's overall budget is spent on our nuclear deterre deterrent, not just sea base but all legs of the triad? >> i don't know the percentage that we spend on that. >> secretary carter, you look lake you know? >> it's about $20 million a year. it's not an enormous part of our budget but sit a critical part of our budget. >> that's a relatively small 4% or 5%. >> it is.
that doesn't count the things that senator king is talking about, the bills that will come in the future to keep it that way. but just what we're paying in this year for our nuclear deterrent is that much. >> i ask because of the sizable bills coming due, i sometimes hear people say, you know, why do we spend so much money on weapons we never use. and my response would be first, we don't spend that much money on them in the context of the december physicians budget and second we use our nuclear weapons every single day. there is a sea base deterrent fund, created last year i believe, in anticipation of the large expense of the ohio class replacement submarine. obviously we also need to upgrade our bomber. that's why we have the b 21 program. and there are also land-based and infrastructure modernization that is needed.
rather than a sea base fund should we perhaps have a nuclear deterrence fund in. >> i think that may make sense, certainly for whatever we decide to do with respect to the icbm force both regard missiles and their land basing. the b 21 bomber also one could put in that category. we want the b 21 bomber for the nuclear mission and not nuclear mission. it will be capable of both. and like our current bomber force, we'll use it for both. >> why would you have a c base deterrence base alone and not a -- >> i'm agreeing with you. >> i recognize the b 21 like the b 2 and other aircraft has dual capabilities but the foundational capability across the systems is the nuclear deterrent. i'm not sure we should have any of these deterrent funds but if
we decide to treat the nuclear triad in a special way, we should do all three legs of the triad. secretary carter, i want to turn to the south china sea. you said china should not pursue militarization in the south china sea. specific actions will have specific consequences. what specific actions are you referring to? >> the specific actions of china are actions to press territorial claims through mill ter rye zags. that's what the chinese has been doing in the south china sea. they're not the only ones but they're by far and away the largest militarizers of features in that region. and the kinds of actions we're taking are -- and i'll give you some examples. >> i next question is what are the specific consequences. >> we can go through them more in another setting. but just to give you some exam.
s, in addition to our own forced posture in the region, which as you know we've been strengthening as part of the rebalance for several years, we're doing some extra strengthening of that this year. it's detailed in our budget statement, particularly has to do with increasing the lethality of our platforms out there and their technological capability. but in addition one of the other effects that china's behavior is having is it driving many of our partners and allies to want to do more with us. give us more access. we will have that in the philippines. we're doing more with vietnam. much more with japan. australia. india. and so not only are we reacting but the countries in the region are reacting too. and our relationships with them, accordingly, are blossoming. we're doing much much more. >> yes.
obviously our relationships are getting much stronger in northeast and southeast asia because of china's action. but in the end i think some genuine action on our part is going to be necessary otherwise they'll present us with a faye that come plea in the south china sea. thank you. happy st. patrick's day. >> i'm going to defer to senator manchin because he has to leave. i'll give me slot if you will come back to me. after the next turn. i appreciate that. >> senator, thank you so much. and thank you all for your service and thanks for being here. let me sea either to secretary carter, general dunford or whatever, i'm concerned about russia recently announced withdrawal military forces from syria saying that they fulfilled their mission. putin communicating with president obama on the russian military force withdrawal and the next steps required to fully implement a cease fire with the goal of advancing political negotiations on a resolution of the conflict in syria.
then i just have today i see where the syrian kurds plan to declare federal vie john in northern syria territory. and i guess i would ask, do you anticipate a change in the u.s. military force role in syria based on russia's military withdrawal? and also, is russia claiming success? and does it strengthen their swaler their political clout in that area? >> as i said before, russia came in wrong head edly, because they said they were going to fight isil and they didn't. instead they supported assad which prolonged the civil war, fueled the civil war. >> correct. >> so their effect has been the opposite of what they stated and certainly the opposite of what is needed. it hasn't had an effect on our prosecution toery get to what we
doing in syria of our counter-isil campaign. it has had the effect, in my judgment, of prolonging the syrian civil war. now maybe russia can do what it should do, which is use its influence over the assad regime to promote the transition. and that's what geneva is about, to get to the question about the kurds, that's exactly the thing that's being discussed in geneva. but the russian contribution has not been positive. and we're watching its withdrawal to how far that will go. but the russian effect was not what they said it was going to be. and it was, as i've said, wrong headed. >> but i'm saying that still the kurds, the syrian kurds establishing an area or claiming an area is not met with -- it's being met with resistance from assad and his regime, correct?
>> that is correct. >> and you're thinking russia can negotiate that? >> no. i don't know that russia -- we and others in the region, including the turks will have a major role in geneva about deciding the manner of participation of the kurds. so russia will play a role in those talks. but we have an important role to play as well. with respect to the syrian kurds, they've proven to be excellent partners of ours on the ground in fighting isil. we're grateful for that. we intend to continue to do that, recognizing the complexities of their role in the region overall. >> general dunford, your posture -- the statements describe five strategic challenges, russia, china, north korea, iran and the violent extremists of isis. the greatest threat we're facing from that lineup? >> senator, first, i guess i
would say we don't have the luxury of racking and stacking. we have to address each of nem in their own way. what i've said in the past in testimony i guess i would restate today. the one that posing the greatest threat to the yates is russia. because of its capability, nuclear and cyber capability and clearly some of the things we've seen in its leadership's behavior in the last couple of years. >> what do you make of the kidnapping of the young student in north korea? >> you know, i've watched that over the last couple of days and you know, you can't help but feel for both him and the family. but i think it's just a reflection of the absolutely irresponsible leadership of north korea. it exposes the va jet stream -- to nose who may not have appreciated what the regime is, a surprise to me and i think many other people have now seen what north korea is all about. >> why do we have americans
still travel in this area? why would they be in the country? that was a religious group, i believe, was it not? . >> it was a religious group. what i heard this morning is we proebld had some 15,000 people go over to north korea as tourists over the last several years and 13 of them have been apprehended. but this is clearly not something that the department of defense is involved in if and i can assure you we don't have members of the department of defense visiting north korea. >> secretary carter. >> the only thing i want to add, if i could because it's timely in view of north korea's threats about provocations, including missile launches, that we stand alert with our missile defense forces, with our allies, the japanese and the koreans, that's a daily task. all sorts of missile defenses as well as our deterrent forces on the dmz and south korea. i use the phrase "fight
tonight." that's their slogan. nobody wants that to occur but the way to ensure it doesn't occur is to be ready each and every night. they're some of our most highly ready and capable forces. >> thank you. my tame is up. >> thank you, general, for being here today. yesterday i joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to advocate for some incredible women who really do deserve to be honored, the women air force service pilots otherwise known as w.a.s.p.s. it's a travesty that these women had the honor of having their ashes at arlington national cemetery revoked last year during the same year that historically you opened up positions that had been previously closed in combat to women. so i would like to see that
addressed. and the pentagon should do the right thing and hon for these women by restoring their rights to have their ashed innewered at the national cemetery. and it's my understanding that a waiver can be done for these women to do so. so i would encourage you to do that. i'd like to see that action taken. they are a part of america's greatest generation as well. i will submit a question for the record and would love to have forthcoming response from you on this issue. it is something that we are very passionate about in making sure that women are honored as well. so for secretary carter, i do continue to remain concerned about the lack of capacity and capability provided to u come in order for it to perform its mission of defending our nation and allies. especially as we look at russian
aggression. and we've heard a number of members speak on that today. general breed love has come before the committee multiple times stressing the needs to enhance our capacity and capability for ucom to match the threat of russian aggression and transnational terrorism. specifically one area which he raised, this is a top concern of his and i do share it, it's the lack of support for force protection of our service members of d.o.d. civilians and their family members. considering terrorists have displayed the capability to plan, stage and execute attacks in western europe and in recent bombings in turkey, i would just urge you to take immediate action to increase our force protection capabilities in the ucom aor. with that there is a request to quadruple funding for the european reassurance initiative in fiscal year '17. and specifically, secretary and
general dunford, how will you build capacity and capability to enhance our force protection in that area. ? and at ucom fighting functions to better counter russian's aggressions as well as transnational terrorism? >> thank you, senator. first i look forward to answering the question. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> thank you for that. and secondly both the issues that you raised with respect to europe are serious ones that we're adjusting to and i'll say how. with respect to russia and the potential for russian aggression, outright aggression or the kind of little gren mean hybrid ware fair phenomenon that we saw, that's why we're quadrupling the europe than n h initiative. and what it pays for, it pays for the rotational presence of forces in europe, including in border states, states that is
that border russia. it provides for increased prepositioning of heavy equipment there and also in germany and elsewhere. it provides for doing more exercising and so forth with the baltic states, with poland, with ro maybe ya aromania and so for. and for equipment sets there that our troops fall on. so the europe iaan mission, it extremely important. we're adjusting to act fa we haven't had to face in a quarter century that we have a russia that is threatening western europe and we need a new play book that goes with that. i regret to say that but there it is. that's what the european reassurance initiative is all about.
separately, you're right. this is something general breed love and general dunford watch very closely. the protection of our people. that's a paramount concern to us everywhere. force protection. everywhere overseas. but europe also. and so we watch that very carefully and we're making -- taking steps to work with our host countries to increase the protection. we're taking steps ourselves with our own people, procedural and technical steps. we can go into them with you in another setting. but it's extremely important. our people are protecting us. we owe them protection as well. >> the only thing, the exercise, senator, it's not only the capabilities that we bring. of course it's posturing of forces, prepositioned forces. it's the exercises to ensure our allays and part nesers ner part
on a daily basis. so collective we're able to deal with the russian threat. if we hassed the 28 nations of nato, it wouldn't be a fair fight which is what we wouldn't want it to be. >> thank you, gentlemen, very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, on behalf of the chairman, let me recognize senator sheen. >> thank you for your service. i want to follow up on senators' questions about the european reassurance initiative. europe is facing more challenges today than it has at any time since the end of world war ii. and the european assurance initiative is very important in letting them know how committed we are to the peace and security of europe. i was pleased to see that the president's budget increased
funding for the eri. can you talk a little bit more about what the risks are if we don't support official funding for the reassurance initiative and also tell me if you share general breed love's view that i don't think i'm misquoting him, but when he was before this committee he talked about the need to put more of our troops in europe. >> well, the effect of not funding the europe reassurance initiative would be physically that we wouldn't have the funds to put equipment, position equipment there. that's equipment that then forces could fall into in a crisis to reinforce the forces. it's always been our strategy in europe and it would be now, that we would have forces there already. but we would fall in with a much greater force, in fact the full
weight, the full might of the u.s. military behind nato in the event of a crisis. but we need the equipment there and we need our forces to be familiar with the terrain, which is why rotational training is so important. we need them to know how to work with their allies. we need them to be able to do all of the logistics that allow a force to floi quickly. that's the kind of thing that general breed love needs to be able to exercise and prepare for. that's our approach and we need the money in e rerri. that's physically what it was. politically it's also important. the allies want to know that we're there with them and they see what we see in the behavior of russia. and we do and we want to match our behavior to theirs. their concern is growing as well. we're asking them to do more at
the same time we're doing more. >> i had a chance to visit some of the nato exercises last summer and it was very impressive. you could see that the synergy that existed because there were a number of countries coming together to work together and to work out the bugs of any future challenges we might face. let me switch topics here to the issue of energy. i had the opportunity at the readiness hearing this week to talk to the -- to ask all of the vice chiefs of each of the branches about the move towards more energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy within our military. and the perception that some people have that this is being done because people are being forced to do it as opposed to because there's part of our
military imperative to improve our strategic readiness that we have other energy sources that we can count on. so that we're not so dependent on fossil fuels as we have been in the past. can i ask you all if you can speak to that, why you think this is an important strategic move as we look at our national security? >> well, it is important to our overall national security. energy security is. and we play a part in that. but everything we do needs to make sense for defense. as well as play a part in the overall national energy strategy. so things we do to increase the energy efficiency of engines, develop new engines, very important for our air forces but also will have a consequence, a good consequence for the economy
generally. we spend money in order to save money on facilities, making them for energy efficient. we have a large existing base of buildings, installations and so forth. we work on making them for energy efficient. we do that for the very reason that it frees up more money in the future that we can invest in real military capables. everything we do in the energy sphere has to make sense as a military investment. at the same time, these things are beneficial for the nations overall energy strategy. we do try to align them with the department of energy and the overall strategy so that we're not doing something that somebody else is already doing and that we're benefitting from what other people are doing and they're benefitting from what we're doing. but it has to make military sense for us. >> general dunford, could you speak to the readiness benefit of our being able to take advantage of some of these new
technologies? >> from my perspective there's a couple things about this. one is if you save money in base operating expenses, that money is available for something es. read readiness. and then there's also an operational flexibility aspect of this as well. the less reliant you are on fuel, the more flexible you are. that is not only at the level of aircraft and ships and the bigger programs that we talk about. but if you took the load of an individual infantryman in batteries for example. some of the initiatives that we've had to lighten the load. if you look at the weight that our young men and women are carrying right now, it's prohibitive. one of the ways we've been able to do it is by renewable energy sources that reduces the weight that they carry in batteries alone, which is one of the biggest things that an infantryman has to carry. i think from a readiness perspective, you save money with
fue fuel. as the secretary said, it's got to make sense. >> thank you all. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator graham, please. >> thank you. thank you all very much. the freedom caucus i think in the house -- do you want to go? okay. the freedom caucus in the house i think has taken a position that the house budget should go back to sequestration levels for this year. general dunford what would your response to that position be? >> my immediate response, senator, would be we will have to revise the defense strategy if we go back to sequestration. we will not be able to do what we are doing right now. when i say revise the strategy, it's important to emphasize we'll have to revise the ends of our strategy because we with won't be able to protect our
interests in the same way that's articulated right now. >> what effect would that have on our national security? >> it would cause us to put the nation at risk. >> would you say significant risk? zbli would say significant risk. >> it would actually put our freedom at risk? >> it would absolutely affect it. >> i sent you a letter and you've given me a very timely response and i appreciate it wbt some suggested that we intentionally target civilians in the war on terror and we go back to using water boarding or more aggressive terrorism techniques. you've given me a good response i'll share later. what effect if any would this have on the war fighter if we started telling our men and women in uniform to intentionally target civilian, noncombatant es and engage in techniques such as water boarding or more extreme forms of interrogation? >> what i've said before, our
men and women, when they go to war, they go to war with the values of our nation. those kind of activities that you've described, they're inconsistent with the values of our nation. quite frankly it would have an adverse effect. one of on the moral of the force. frankly what you're suggesting are things that aren't legal for them to do any way. >> i don't think i've met a tougher guy than you and i think it would hurt your moral if you were ordered to kill innocents, noncombatants. raqqah, do you see raqqah falling this year, taken away from isil? >> senator we're focused right now on isolating raqqah. i can't put a timeline on when raqqah will fall. we're working with closely with indigenous forces on the ground. >> do you agree with me that the likelihood of raqqah fall
between now and the presidential vote. >> i haven't put a time line on it. >> how maniest soldiers were involved? >> we had 14,000 involved in the immediate areas around fallujah. >> if they hadn't been there would the outcome have been different? if we were not using american military personnel to deal with fallujah. >> at this time there was not an alternative source to the force. >> compare them to the forces in syria. are they more capable in syria than iraq? >> based on the performance in recent operations, they're more capable relative to the threat this exists in syria than what we had in iraq. >> are they more capable of taking raqqah than the iraqis
were in taking fallujah? >> in 2004 and 2015 yes. we have 10 to 15,000 syrian democrat forces of which 5,000 are arabs and there's 20,000 to 30,000 reserve forces. >> is it your testimony that the people we're training inside of syria are capable of taking raqqah back from isil and holding it? >> at this time, senator, no. but we intend on growing or capables over time. and i would qualify that by saying they're going to require some support from the coalition. >> iran. post agreement is iran becoming a better actor in the region or has their behavior gotten worse? >> senator, iran was a malign influence in the region prior to the agreement. iran remains a malign influence. >> do you know mosul will be in the hands of isil by the end of
this year? >> i wouldn't put a timeline on wh enwith e secure mosul. but operations against -- >> taking mosul going to be more difficult than what we have to do in fallujah in 2004 and 2005. >> significantly. >> if you take mosul, does it make it more significantly different? >> senator it really is a correlation of forces issue. right now we've identified 12 brigades of iraqi security forces, additional peshmerga forces. the idea is we'll isolate mosul until the conditions are set for those forces to be successful in securing mosul. >> finally, between 2016 and 2021, the next five hch year window we've talked about what's happened since 2011 to now. generally speaking, our national security threats, do they maintain at this level, go up.
or go down. what can america expect in the next five years in terms of threats and what kind of budget should we have. >> i think based on the trajectory we see today, i don't sea the security challenges decreasing over the next five years for sure. >> agree to that, mr. secretary? >> i do. >> thank you. >> senator nelson. >> mr. secretary, would you give us your advice for that period of time 2018-2022 of being able to put our payloads into space -- and i'm mainly talking about d.o.d. and intel payloads, in addition to nasa payloads and commercial payloads. would you give us your advice on the question of whether or not
we should continue to be able to have access to the rd 180 engine which is the engine in the first stage of the atlas 5 rocket until we develop the new one? >> i can, senator. it is reflected in our budget. and i know that there are different points of view on how to approach this problem. i think everybody agrees we have to have assured access to space. we have to have a way to launch or national security payloads into space, our country's security depends on that. one way to do that, which is reflected in our budget, is to continue to use the atlas booster, including a limited but continues number of rd 180 enjis, notwithstanding the fact that we don't like the fact they're made in russia and we buy them from russia.
that's the approach we recommend because it's less expensive. the alternative which i understand but we don't recommend in this budget because it costs more, would be essentially to use the delta as a replacement, which is more expensive than is required. if we're forced to do that, it ends up giving us a bill of a billion dollars maybe more which is not a bill we would like to pay. it's that simple. we'll get to space. we have to because our security depends upon it. we are recommending to you a less expensive way, but which does however cause us to have to hold our nose insofar as the procurement of the rd 180 engine is concerned. and i recognize there's a difference of opinion there but that's my advice. >> in your opinion and what you've been advised, can they ramp up the production of enough of the delta 4s to get all of
your payloads into space, even though it's going to cost more? >> my understanding is that yes, that alternative is available, technically available. obviously it's much more expensive is the reason for not recommending it. >> and it's more expensive also because the rd 180 has to be used on the atlas 5 for a number of the nasa payloads, including the americans on the new boeing starliner which is the spacecraft that will take us to and from the international space station, along with what we expect the falcon 9 and its spacecraft dragon. but also all of the commercial payloads.
so if you shut down part of that production until we get the new replacement engine and new replacement rocket, because you just can't take a new engine and plug it into the atlas 5, it's going to cost everybody more, including the commercial sector. >> i can't speak for nasa or for them. but you're right. the delta route is more expensive than the atlas route. it is available. and we've made our recommendation. where we'd like to go in the future and where we're headed in the future is a competitive provision of launchers that's really important for both cost and quality reasons, and to have two or more competitors from whom we buy launch services. we don't buy the pieces of the rocket or develop them. they do that and they provide us
launch services. that's an efficient and competitive way. that's the route we're going to. but i realize that there is a difference of opinionant how we get to that destination. we've made our recommendation in our budget submission. >> and fortunately that competition has started because the falcon 9 space x has been a very viable competitor. and in fact that competition has brought the cost of the atlas 5 down. and so there's a good example of competition that in fact is working. let me just conclude by any comment on our aging nuclear triad and the need for the long range strike capability? >> yes, just to reinforce that
the nuclear deterrent of this country is not in the headlines every day, thank goodness. but it's not in the headlines because it's there. it's the bedrock -- it's a red rock capability of our security. we need it for the indefinite future. we intend to have it for the indefinite future and we're going to need to spend the money required to have that. of particular concern i would single out the ohio class replacement submarine, just to take one example, but a big example because the submarines are going to age out. they're effective but old submarines. they'll be replaced by the ohio class replacement. that's a key survival part of our nuclear deter rent, we have to have it. you mentioned the bombers. that's one of the reasons why we're seeking to start and have started the long range strike
bomber or b 21 bomber program. making sure we have a safe, secure and reliable nuclear deterrent for the future is a bedrock responsibility of the department. department. we'll need the funding to do that. we have plans to do that. >> on behalf of the chairman. >> i appreciate you outlining the five strategic threats. i think senator graham's comments or question about how you think those are going to continue is also very important testimony. those threats and how to counter them include the aggression of russia. as you know, mr. secretary, in europe and the arctic. the ability to fight tonight with regard to north korea, as
you mentioned, ability to continually rebalance our asia pacific posture in light of our challenges there with china. in light of those serious threats, you may have seen recently decided to reverse the army's earlier decision made last year to disban the 425 which, as you know, mr. secretary, is the only airborne bct in the entire asia pacific, the strategic reserve that would be very involved in any conflict in korea. arctic that is trying to fight in mountains and extreme cold weather. and i have raise this had issue a number of times in the committee over the last year. recently, several combatant commander commanders mentioned that they were supportive specifically of what swren millidge is trying to
do, given how critical these forces are. mr. secretary, do you support the army's recommendation to more effectively posture its forces to best meet the national security threats that you outlined in your testimony, particularly as it relates to the 425 and what general millie mentioned a couple of weeks ago? >> senator, thank you for your interest in this. i had the opportunity, which i appreciate, to discuss this with you the other day. >> yes, sir. >> thank you for your leadership with respect to the overall rebalance and also for your state's hosting of forces that are so critical to so many scenarios of possible risk to the united states, as you already said. with respect to 425, i looked into that after our conversation. i have spoken to general millie. if he makes that recommendation to me, i want you to know i'm going to approve that. >> thank you. >> and i think that that is an
important part of our forced posture in the pacific. i appreciate you calling my attention to it. >> thank you. i appreciate that as well. let me get back to the rebalance issue you mentioned. a lot of us met in shangrila. we talked at the defense minister's meeting out there, important demonstration of u.s. legislative, executive, bipartisan support for that important strategy. a number of us are planning to go again. doing that again would be important to show strong, across-the-board american resolve. >> thank you. >> with regard to the implementation of the strategy you laid out in your speech last year, which i thought was a very strong speech, we have been a asking -- a number of us have been encouraging the president to implement this policy on a
routine basis. i'm talking about the south china sea now. and our ops there not only on a routine basis but with allies. i would like for you to comment, you and general dunford on the opportunities that what's going on out there presents to the united states from a strategic perspective. and more specifically, as you know, because you go out to the region. many, many countries because of what china is doing in the south china sea, many more countries are interested in working with us and drawing closer to the united states. are there strategic opportunities that we should be looking at with new basing, training with the marines in the asia pacific, clarifying strategic relationships? there's a number of questions of what our strategic obligations
are with regard to, say, a country like the philippines. i know there are some concerns on this committee about the scarborough schole. there are also enormous opportunities. could you and general d. nford talk to those, particularly the idea of new basing arrangements? the idea of new training arrangements? >> you're absolutely right about that. peace and stability has given them all the opportunity to rise, all the asian miracles beginning with japan, south korea, taiwan, southeast asia.
today, india and, yes, china. all of that has occurred in peace and stability which they know we have played a pivotal part n there is a greater demand for partnership with us. you talk about basing. you may faux their court passed a recent milestone that will allow us to do more. general dunford had a key role in this with australia, particularly our marine rotations in australia. vietnam. who would have thought decades ago? vietnam. we're doing more with vietnam. we thank you, because we have the funding that were originated with you and others.
the japanese, as you probably know, have adjusted and amended their practices. they're looking to do more with us, patroling and so forth. india. i'll be in india in a short while, continuing to strengthen our relationship with that. incredibly important country of a billion people. and central geography. we do all this in order to keep it's not against anybody, but part of keeping that intact. we intend to do it. good news, as you say, we are popular there. people want to work with us. let me turn it over to the chairman.
the desire for people to develop there has never been stronger. and our relationship has never been deeper. you talk about opportunities, one thing we haven't necessarily had in the past, multilateral relationships and inoperab inoperableability or multilateralism serving as a deterrent to those who may want to be destabilizing in the region. from those relationships then comes one issue we haven't talked about in great deal, opportunities for training. in the pacific, joint training is required to maintain readiness. we're always looking for opportunities to identify training areas where we can maintain readiness even as we conduct the exercises and engagements with our partners and i think the willingness of our partners to afford us the opportunity to try in their
countries, continue to maintain proficiency, live fire, those kind of things, i think, will only increase in the future. there's a number of places we're in contact, to enhance our opportunities. i would agree with you. i think a view of the common challenges in the pacific has brought us together in a positive way and has created the opportunities you've alluded to. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks to all of you for being here. secretary carter, on december 3rd, a few months ago, you announced that the military branches would be opening all military occupational specialties or mos' to service members regardless of gender. on the basis of various provision provisions and on the basis of
committee hearings and formal briefings, you were certainly aware of congress' interest on being closely consulted on the matter. in your announcement, in subsequent briefings with congress, you failed to discuss the legal and practical implications this decision could have on selective service in america. my concern is that it seems the department may have made a policy decision and left up to congress and the courts to deal with the difficult legal ramifications. so i would like to know what assessments, mr. secretary, has the department of defense made to examine how opening all mos' to female service members will affect the selective service act and what assessments have you made to how requiring american women to register for the draft or, alternatively, ending selective service all together, would affect military i