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tv   Defense and National Security Part 1  CSPAN  February 12, 2018 8:00pm-9:05pm EST

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capable television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> tonight on c-span 3, a look at the security sector and the government's oversight rule. that's followed by a discussion on trade policy and its effect on the economy and later, labor secretary alexander acosta talks about workforce trends and using public/private partnerships to help create jobs. current and former officials from the state department and pentagon were part of a discussion today on defense strategy and national security assistance. the event began with remarks from congressman adam smith of
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washington state who shared his perspective as the top democrat on the house armed services committee, hosted by the center for strategic and international studies. it's just over 2 1/2 hours. security experts and leaders from the ngo and civil society communities were consulted for this project. we want thoonk all of them for their insights and perspectives. the project was made possible by generous support of the open society foundations and open society policy center. today's keynote address will be delivered by representative adam smith who is going to give us perspective from capitol hill. representative smith is washington state's 9th district representative and serves as ranking member on the u.s. house armed services committee. he graduated from fordham
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university with a bachelor degree in political science and jd from the university of washington school of law. during his last year in law school, representative smith ran and won an election for washington's 33rd district, becoming the youngest state senator in the country at the time. representative smith is now the 11th -- in his 11th term in congress. representative smith has previously chaired the subcommittee on air and land forces and the subcommittee on terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities. he has previously served on the house foreign affairs committee and the house permanent select committee on intelligence. after he makes his keynote remarks today i will join him on stage for a little back and forth and we'll open it up to the audience before we move to a break for our first panel. please join me in welcoming representative smith. [ applause ] .
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>> thank you very much. it is a great honor be here and i appreciate working with cics, and they have been enormous help to me, and so it is good to have someone around you to ask questions and learn. it is a little bit unsettling, and this is the first time in a long time that i have been before a group of people that we have a budget deal. and normally that is what dominates my thoughts is that we don't know how much money we will have and the only caveat is that we will have the money for two years. eventually, you do get a debt and a deficit so high that you're put in a very, very bad place. that is going to happen. i can't say when exactly, but when that happens, all aspects of government and the military will not be excluded will have to figure out how do we live with a lot less money than we thought that we were going to have, and that is one of the most important conversations that we should be having, and that the pentagon and the government level is how to make the most of the two-year gift
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that we have been given, and not think that it is simply something to keep happening. it is economically impossible for it to keep happening and distinctly possible to go to other way in a massive way. so we will see how it plays out. as far as security cooperation goes with other countries it is something that i have worked on for a long time and started when i was the chair of the terrorism committee and so i got the travel the world for three years and see where the special operation command was. well, not everywhere, but a lot of the places. as admiral olson used to say, whenever i met with him, he would start out the meeting saying today we woke up in 87 countriors 75, whatever it was. it was a pretty good blueprint for where our military presence was throughout the world. understanding where socom was. and what is the are reason for security systems?
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well putting aside for the moment the really intense conflict zones, that i'll get to in a second. what we are really trying to accomplish, actually socom has a great euphemism for it. preparation for the environment. i liked that, and what they meant is basically that we want to make friends in different parts of the world whether it is south africa or southeast asia so if things go horribly wrong we are better prepared to deal with it, on one hand. on the other hand we hope that our relationships will be able to stop things from going horribly wrong, and that is part of the mission of the state department and the entire foreign policy to maintain stability in as many places as we can. that is the tiniest little bit
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complicated right now, and all of you are knowledgeable and you can look around the globe and certainly, you have afghanistan and somalia that are problems burk a dozen other countries as well in some state of instability combined with the presence of terrorist organizations that threaten the west. so we are trying to figure out how can we in those countries and the countries around them to bring a more security environment and the key to all of this is a whole of government approach. now, what we had and we attempted to reform is the 2014 nda situations is with the result of iraq and afg, everything bursting on us, things emerging, we made it up as we went along. we knew that we had the to spread money around in different places to keep the peace and keep the stability, and that is what this is. you are trying to to make friends and figure out if you are working in the philippine, and what do they immediate in the philippines to cooperate with you. i harken back to a story that a are retired socom officer told
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me living in libya in 1980s and he said that single best thing that he had was a dentist. everybody wanted a dentist and as long as he could provide the dentists, they would tell him everything that he needed to know and they would help him which is an overstatement, but in essence, that is what we're trying to do. and so in some of the other zone, you are operating in an insecure environment, and what complicates that is as you are trying to pass out the money, and the security assistance is not just about training people how the to defend themselves, training other countries. the programs spread across a range of things. you had d.o.d. dollars going to build schools and drill wells and provide health care, and do a whole bunch of other things. and that's all sort of under that umbrella of -- well, i guess you would call it if you were from new jersey walking around money. what you need to sort of, you know, keep the peace in a neighborhood. it got very, very confusing in terms of who was controlling what.
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so we attempted in 2017 to say, we will consolidate all of this money, at least at the d.o.d., under one person at the undersecretary of policy. so that we can keep coordination of that money within d.o.d. but for all of this to work, it has to be about a lot more than d.o.d., because depending on the country, you may need different things. certainly, you're always going to need security to do anything, but you also need the rule of law. so the justice department could potentially be very involved in figuring out how to put in place a basic system of law that people can rely on. health care is enormously important as i mentioned, and special operations command runs what they call the med caps and show up in the village to say we will be here all day with a bunch of doctors to help you out. so, you know, you have that. a and agriculture and i don't
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know anything about agriculture because i grew up in the suburbs, but it is very, very important in a lot of these parts of the world and countries in the world. so how do you bring all of that gap together and have a whole government cooperative approach? i think that getting the d.o.d. money coordinated is important, but what is going to be more important is getting some of the money out of d.o.d. and into the hands of the people who build schools and drill wells and provide health care and set up the rule of law, and to set it up so that there is a cooperative experience within the country. i did a trip through africa in 2009, i believe it was, in which we visited a number of countries to get an idea, how are we doing? we went to morocco, rwanda, and egypt, and so it varied from country, to country how well the government worked and a lot of it is dependent upon the ambassador. because if the model is working correctly, the ambassador is in charge of the country, and that
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is something -- we also went to yemen on that trip. and i talk about my trip to africa and say and we went to yemen. and people say yemen is not in africa. well, yes, but we jumped across the sea and hopped back. but in yemen, the ambassador had a large military presence there, and he wanted to be in charge of it, because it is his country and he wasn't so he did not know how to operate with the rest of the people in there, because you had, you know, bifurcated command structures theoretically in charge of the whole. if this is working properly, the ambassador works with whoever the military leader is, socom is frequently a huge part of this, and then all the other agencies are underneath it. and they all have an idea and a plan for what they're going to provide in kenya, libya or somalia or wherever, and structured, oregoned spending of the money wisely.
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the 2017 plan is the start of the approach, but at the end of the day, we are talking about counterinsurgency in the good sense. counterinsurgency has a bad name because it is synonymous with nation building, but that is not what it needed to be. we can know that showing up in afghanistan or iraq and in a different part of the world that is completely different from america to say, all right, we are here and we will rebuild the country and show you how to run it. not a good idea. counterinsurgency on the lower form is simply smaller bits of help, as i described, to help the country maintain stability. it works best through the millennium challenge corporation to work with governments to say, we will give you the foreign aid, but what's your plan? what are you trying to accomplish in the education and health care and elsewhere? and that has to work from the state department through the
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defense department in my opinion. i will close with that that and take your questions, because that is one of the biggest conflicts out there. d.o.d. has the money at the end of the day. when the state department and all these other people are battling to have influence over a given country, if the department of defense is there in any sort of force, they're the ones with the huge pot and it is 55% of the of the money. discretionary budget. the other 45% is spread out over everybody else. so there is a tendency to have d.o.d. to do a lot of things that they should not be doing. one example was given to me in kenya and at dinner, there was a great argument between a young woman at state department and two navy s.e.a.l.s traveling with me, about the state department and the military running the country, and how security is where it all started. and if the military was not doing it, how would you be able to do that?
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but the the state department woman had a good story about how, you know, this branch of the military of the u.s. went up to drill wells and without talking to the state department they went up to do it, and pretty soon the people actively trying to resist the u.s. or paranoid started to spread rumors that the wells were poisoned so nobody would use them, because you can't trust the u.s. military. if it's u.s. military, they're here to crush you and take over your country. so, that is why you need a more cooperative effort. that's why you need diplomats involved and engaged. so while we are talking about massive increases in the budget and cutting the state department, we're making it more difficult to do this comprehensive approach. this comprehensive approach is vastly preferable than dropping 150,000 u.s. troops into a country and trying to the pacify it. if we can do it for a small amount of cooperation from other countries and agencies, we
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definitely get more bang for our buck, but ultimately, we are more successful in what we are attempting the do, but that fight is going to play. general mattis said it best when he was trying to defend the state department. he said if you are going to cut the state department, you better give me five more divisions because i'm going to need them. regrettably, while he said that, that is what's going to happen. the pentagon is getting a lot more money, and the state department is not. and a lot of the places in government are not either, so basically, as you are talking about the security cooperation, don't forget the whole of government approach. yes, we need to train troops in troubled spots of the world to keep the peace and security. but security is a lot more than just the military. so, i will look forward to the questions and i thank csis for hosting this event.
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>> thank you very much, representative smith. i know that your back is bothering you so if you have to stand and walk, that is totally fine. >> i don't have to do that. it's actually not my back but that's a different story. >> okay. apologies for that, and so, let's get to where you ended up which is this government and whole comprehensive approach, and challenging to say the least right now as you said the state department is going through what's best described as restructures or heavy pruning, siege force approach on them. what do you think sort of is the next stage or the era of the congressional viewpoint of where we go with the comprehensive approach. do you know that if we are going to get to the point where the d.o.d. is well resourced and takes on a lot of these missions is because the money is there,
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what then becomes the next stage of where we go to make sure we have the kind of security that looks more like the whole of government that you hope for? >> well, i -- you know, i am not known for the optimism. i think that is up fair by the way. i am not being pessimistic, but it is what it is, okay. i simply try to assess the situation where it is at, but i will start with something positive which is that i am working with congressman ted yoho and senator coons and inhoff to do a fairly comprehensive development aid that puts more power in the hands of usaid and actually improves that particular leg of the stool, if you believe the defense, development, diplomacy approach to foreign policy. it's actually quite promising. it's ironic, because this is something that was central to my approach prior to 2008.
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and i worked with susan rice and gayle payne at the time to reform the way we do foreign aid. because foreign aid is spread out over 40 agencies and in little boxes and pots of money that you can't -- it is very, very difficult to implement. raj shah, and not the one in the white house, but the usaid guy for a while is as brilliant a human being that i have ever encountered and he did a marvelous job at usaid and gail after him. we never did the reform because the state department would not let go of it, and they wanted to control it, and i always thought that was a mistake. we should have the separate department of development, like they do in great britain. but it's a turf thing. and the state department wanted it. so under the obama administration for eight years we did nothing congress youngally. now raj did what he could within the confines of the law.
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but now we have the possibility of reforming that, and that would be a big step towards getting us at a better place of a whole government approach if the usaid had more power and authority. >> it seems there has always been this debate in washington over whether we should make true structural reform is possible and whether one should make big structural changes or one sort of absent a major crisis, one is forced back into what you have and do you fall on the spectrum by the way it sounds like an example there say view for a chance of i fundamental structural change. >> there is a chance. and, you know, it is always worth working on as legislator, that is what we do, legislate. so i would never say that we
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should walk away from it, and the challenges to getting there are daunting. because of the can current structure and because of the money problem that i alluded to in my opening remarks. is it going to bite us? everybody is short of money, and we are living way crazy beyond our means and so then you tend to get locked into the patterns, and you don't have the freedom to innovate as you should. but there is a possibility to get to a better whole of government approach. >> speaking of spending, we hear in washington how difficult it is, and many of us experience it, to try to explain anything like security cooperation or the preventative defense or whatever the comprehensive approach, whatever the term is, and so to the people who are thinking of where they want the tax dollars going and the value -- trying to explain the value of that when folks are looking at, you know, whether they want the taxes raised or they want the benefits decreased or whatever the issue may be. >> they don't want either one of those things by the way. >> what is the compelling case,
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if any, that you have found works if you will in terms of the talking about your travels, your experiences, and in this sector, and the value that it can provide to americans. is there a way to sell this successfully? >> there is. there is a rather sizeable problem, that i'll get to after i explain how to do it. i have been giving the speech for a long time, and constituents are straightforward on what is happening with this house if we are spending money, and across the world, how is this helping? so there are four ways that it helps. three practical and one that is more idyllic argument. but to begin with the united states of america is still the largest economy in
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world by a comfortable margin and it is funny that china is catching us, and freaking out about china and we had the conversation in the armed services committee that they will be past us. and so i looked up the number -- and i'm rounding a little bit here. but last year we had $19 trillion and the gdp and they had 11.
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argument, and then the health care argument, and basically disease spreads like that. good article about the fact that the cdc and the health and human services were not being run by anybody at the moment is a problem, and maybe part of the reason that we have had more people die from the flu this year than at any point in recent memory, but it is if we have stability in these other countries then, you know, pick your favorite disease, and the bird flu was going to kill us and then it was the swine flu and not the swine flu, but something else. and so this is going to spread, and ebola of course, so making sure that we have stability systems to protect us as well and that stability leads to terrorists groups who want to the kill all of us. so if you can stop the instability, you will stop the likelihood of somebody who is trying to kill you here or while you are traveling abroad. so those are three practical arguments of why the u.s. is in global stability. this is what we're talking about, a pathway to global
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stability. and the last argument, depend ons the audience, whether or not i can try this one out. that america ought to stand for something. that, you know, whatever problems we have here, there has never been a society in the history of the world that has been as wealthy and prosperous as we have been since world war ii. and we were a country built on lofty values and principles. and if we can help spread that across the world and help people, we ought to. if you want to make it a christian argument, it's, you know, basically love thy neighbor and help whoever you can help. it's the good samaritan story basically. you know, you should help and when can you help. we are in a position to help a lot of people. there's a lot of suffering in the world. actually, we've been more successful with this than people
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realize. we are are actively engaged and i forget the number, but the poverty level globally has gone down a heck of a lot. >> yes, know that. >> and somebody in csis knows this, and poverty is cut by a third and it is going down a lot, and we need to be proud of that, and loosely speaking that freedom, democracy and capitalism, they work. they make the world a better place. now, the part that gets in the way of all this is what you said about, you know, well, what do people want to spend their money on? pew research does this fascinating poll. i think they do it every year. i haven't looked lately. because it's depressing. they ask american people, these are the 18 areas that the american government spends money roughly speaking, and in the areas what would you like to see cut, increased or kept the same. the answer to the question of what the american people would like to cut is nothing. literally nothing.
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in fact, most of the categories, social security, medicare, medicaid, defense, transportation, education, health care, it's like -- you add up -- keep it the same and increase it. and, you know, that number has to be less than the decrease it number or they don't want to see anything cut. and it's like two-thirds or 70% want to see it increase order kept the same. even foreign aid, as tangential as it is consistently ekes out a very narrow victory in terms of the number of people who want to spend more money on it or keep it the same as opposed to those who want to cut it. so there is support for that. the problem is that what the american people want, and i'm not fond of pollsters, by the way, unless i'm anyway very close race f they're doing the
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poll, it's shocking how accurate it is. all these polls that get published. if you don't do a poll right, ask the first 300 people who walk out of a burger king somewhere. but if you do it right, statistics, it just blows my brain away. every race i've done -- i hire good pollsters. they are right. just spot on. right on the numbers. but the problem with pollsters is not when they are polling to see who is going to win the election and do you have something to worry about and ahead or behind, but is when they try to figure out, what is the message to work to persuade people to work for you. that is the part i just as soon not pay them for, because basically what they do is to figure out that if you are telling people that you are going to give them something for nothing, they like it. really? i learned that when i was 6 years old. so when it comes to the government, and this is the three basic things. 80% of the people support a
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balanced budget. and, by the way, today. not ten years from now, 15 years from now. no. we have to balance the budget today because fiscal responsibility is good. okay. so what do you want to cut? i've already told you that story. nothing. in fact, we want to increase a bunch of things. all right. well, how high do you want taxes to go? no, no, no, we don't support any tax increases. now, as i jokingly say, you can do a poll so that you can get a majority of the people to support a tax increase if you can convince them that it is not going to impact them directly. now, the problem with that is very quickly the group of people that are impacted by it will spend a lot of the money that they have to convince everybody that it could impact them and then your lead evaporates. so see the estate tax as a great example of that. so the position of the american public right now when they look
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at congress is, we want you to balance the budget, we want you to do it without cutting anything and without raises taxes. by the way, we are going on $22 trillion in debt in the projected deficit this year is over $1 trillion. so can any of you do that? so nobody gave me a magic wand when i got this job, and so we have to make the case for foreign aid and i have to make the case for foreign aid, but you have to have a budget in which it fits and given people's position on revenue, spending and balanced budgets that, is impossible. so, what i am trying to do about this, other than tell funny jokes about it, is to tell people this. it's like, hello! let's talk and have an honest conversation about the numbers here, and talk about do we want a defense budget this large, and is it okay not to balance it right away, but not okay to send
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it over $30 trillion. there's numbers here. let's work on this. there's revenue to raise, not cut. so have an honest conversation. instead what the pollsters tell you, you get the poll back, you're in a close race, ads all the things you want to spend money on, all the taxes you are going to cut and how fiscally responsible you are. and as the ads are run, people start to believe it. that is why i jokingly will said that the state of the union speech should be banned. irony does not come across in print very well. but, you know, well, congressman smith, it is in the constitution. and that is not technically true as george arwill pointed out. i walk out there and say, do we really have that much money? i had no idea. it's just an excuse to stand up there and promise everything. why? because before you gave the speech your pollsters told you this is what people want to
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hear. i could go on, but you get the point. until we solve that problem we'll be up against it in virtually every area of making the federal government function. >> so that probably brings us back to the point you were raising before, that the department of defense has the money, if you will, has some of the money. >> a lot of the money. >> and you wanted to, along with your colleagues in the 2017 national defense authorization act, better a align the resources with the kinds of the authorities that you think appropriate for this sector. as you look ahead now that the legislation has passed the d.o.d. has begun implex, albeit not terribly far in, what are you going to be looking at in the security sector reform for signs of success? signs that d.o.d. is not meeting the intent of the authorizers? >> i mean, basically to make sure -- and this is where the ig
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comes in -- that the money is being spent the way we said it should be spent. and that the money is not drifting over a program that is not being run by the person who we said is supposed to be in charge of the all the money. and there are little programs over here that are being called something different and falling under the heading of security assistance which happens a lot. and one of the funny stories when i was in africa, we went out to visit a village they were making hats. interesting looking hats, but the culture, and selling them. it was a missed program. i -- it was a m.i.s.t. program, and so i forget what it stands for, and so the department of defense is making hats in this area. why? because of the security system and the ecomonics and to the extent that we can rein in, and not a bad idea to help the people there to have something to sell and get markets going forward, but it is just something that we need a better idea that this is part of what
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d.o.d. is doing, and it ought to be better coordinated. so the way we will be able to tell whether this is working or not, is the money really being controlled in this one area where we told them to control it, so basically we can see it, evaluate it, and figure out whether or not this say correct use of those funds. >> and do you think -- are you looking ahead already to new rounds if, you will, much in the alcohol which is secquisition s tend to be in the state of continual reform, an area where you are looking ahead to further the reforms? >> i don't think so. other than, you know, to pass another law that says no, no, we really meant it. i don't think that we need to do that because every six months we pass something new and the pentagon doesn't know what the hell it is, i think we ought to give them a chance to implement
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what we passed. i will compliment both the current d.o.d. and predecessors, ash carter and frank kindle did, i think, as good a job as anybody of really trying to change some of the fundamentals of the acquisition process and i think mattis, shanahan and lorde are doing a fabulous job. as are the secretaries. i'm very impressed with our service secretaries and the fact that these are people who are like, we're not going to keep spending money. let's figure out how to do it better. let's buy more commercial off of the shelf technology and not to be trapped into the programs of record that wind up costing a ton of money and producing nothing. so they are doing it, because at the end of the day, in all of the legislation that we pass in the world, it isn't the most important thing. it is the culture. the culture at the pentagon. does the culture reward behavior that is in line with the reforms
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that we have proposed or doesn't it? if it does, it will happen. if it doesn't, i won't, no matter how many times we pass a law saying that it should. >> what is your sense on afghanistan in particular and how the united states is doing in that whole of government approach to both training up afghan security resource, and also the comprehensive approach to the country? >> well, we're doing a decent job in afghanistan and you can't talk about afghanistan that we are talking about. well, it is the winter olympics and not the summer olympics, but in diving there's a degree of difficulty in the points they give you. and the degree in afghanistan is very high. it's not a particularly well-organized, well-structured society. they have a lot of guns, and they like to fight. that makes it very, very difficult. so we are, i think, making progress in terms of training the afghan forces to protect themselves, but it is never going to be a country that is
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secure in the sense that we would like it to be. there was article, i think in "the new york times" -- i get things online these days and i can't remember who wrote it but we can't get the outcome we want so what are the best of the worst options? they listed six but essentially they were all the same, which was, you know, you'll have a vern central government that basically can hold on and you'll negotiate with a whole bunch of local war lords chieftains and power brokers in different provinces to try to stop the insurgency from taking over to give safe haven to transnational terrorists is the best we can hope for. that is not bad. i mean, it is certainly better than having it descend into libya or somalia or the pre-2001 afghan situation.
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so we're doing the best we can. bless you. we have learned a ton of lessons from the afghanistan experience. they are hard, hard learned lessons from there and iraq, but they're implementing the policies as best they can right now. >> syria? and sticking strictly to the issue of the u.s. support the forces on the ground. >> you don't want to ask me about norway? >> i am happy to ask you about norway. >> i think that things are good. >> even norway has been in the news. >> they have a little cross border dispute, but it is relatively small. >> just in the security sector, and the united states has been providing aid, attempted over time, has struggled with providing aid effectively most people would say, and struggled with it, and particularly with nonstate actors. what's your sense of the degree
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to which we can hope for the united states to be, you know, capable over time to learn how to work effectively in that state? >> it is not a matter of learning, but it is a matter of, it is funny that i mentioned afghanistan and you came up with a place that is even tougher. the reason that syria is tougher i think most of the people know here is assad's not going anywhere. not with russia and iran, you know, backing him to the degree that he is. he is a brutal, unpopular leader. our allies in the area want to kill each other as much as they want to fight against assad. the kurds are great. turkey has a tiny little problem with the kurds. that crosses over. then you've got -- you know, it's a mess in terms of figuring out who our allies are and then coordinating them. at least in afghanistan, we do have a clear set of people who we are working with.
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it's a constantly sort of spinning situation in syria. so, until we can resolve, you know, two broad situations, and syria spills over into iraq, and both of the situations are going to be important. number one, until we get turky and the kurds to get along and -- i don't know. there's so much. there's rivalry. and the kurds are split in like five different factions. they've got their problems there. if i was advising the kurds, i would say take what you've got and, for hevens's saks, leave turk a loan. you're able to carve out an area in iraq and in syria, take it. try to make peace with turkey. but that's going to be a problem, because, you know, there have been -- and i don't agree with the way ergogan is running turkey by any stretch of
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the imagine agency. you can't deny that the kurds have attacked places in turkey. and if you're the leader of turkey, what are you going to do? so we need to resolve that situation, because i want to support the kurds. the kurds are worthy of the support, and i think worthy of an independent state. i think that the countries around them would be wise to say that we will give you an independent state, you know, because if they were to have that, they would have less reason to be battling with the their neighbors. and so not just with turkey, but crucially with iraq are as well, because the baghdad government, i think abadi is doing -- i don't want to say he's doing the best he can because i don't know that. but i think he's doing better than al maliki, because he's do
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ing more, trying to work with the sunnis and the kurds. and once the fighting stopped, they turned on the kurds. so we have to resolve the difference of the kurds and the turks and the turks and baghdad and then we can talk about how our security assistance is going. because you can't really do it in a situation that is that fluid and where you don't have a clear set of allies on the same page. >> gets back to the diplomacy point that you began with. in terms of our own capacities. >> i wouldn't want to be the diplomat in charge of that. but diplomacy has to be central approach and we have to resolve these disputes the only way to do it is diplomatalicadiplomati. >> and one more question and then i turn it over to the audience which is on the leahy vetting, and so you have heard
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both sides of the value it bring, and the tension it brings in limiting the operator's sense of ability to train he or she believes that he needs to be. do you believe we have it about right today and what do you see at the future trajectory of human rights issues with more generally human rights issues with regard to security systems training? >> i do think we have it about right today. and i'm very worried about the future. and yeah, i went through the vetting. it was most problematic really in -- get my directions correct. west aftrica where had you the mali government falling apart. i'm forkting the name of the country, but there was another ally in there that had a coup and, you know, we pulled support. and we were trying to assemble, you know, folks who can work together while not training people to overthrow their own government. it's a tough balance to strike. the people who say we should get
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out of there and not train the people, and i disagree, because it is too dangerous of a neighborhood and too many people who want to harm the united states and our allies. we have to at least find a way to work together. even past a certain point, if we're working with a country who has a human rights record that we can't support, we need to get out. the future i'm really worried about -- because, you know, we've heard a lot about the return of great power rivalaries and mostly on the armed services committee, we talk about that in terms of how much more military equipment we need to build. that is missing the point a little bit. russia and china, russia more than china, but each in their own way are promoting -- i mentioned it earlier that one of the things that we as americans should promote is our values and our, the right values. values being freedom, capitalism, and my name is adam smith and how can i not be in
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favor of capitalism, and i understand the downsides of capitalism as well as the next person but it's better than cutocracy, and so promoting that is what is going to lead to a more stable world. so when you choke off their freedom and political world is when they will rise up in some violent revolt. so spreading it is important. russia has decided that they actually have an ideology now, and it is authoritarianism and it is strong man and i mean man. putin is actively trying to undermine democracy as a way to promote authoritarianism. i think that it started to protect himself in russia because he did not want the people to notice that the economy was in the toilet and that he was not providing for them, and so he set up this
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rivalry against the west. but now i think he believes it. he believes that the opposite of strongman authoritarianism is mob rule. so, you know, certainly we have seen some of the stuff that is going on in noneastern europe and we've seen the efforts to influence elections here. and so then, also, western europe, and he is trying to prop up a dictator in libya, and propped up assad, and there is a concerted effort to undermine human rights. china is not as invested in that, because they don't care. if you are a democracy and you have a good human record, fine, we'll do business with you. and if you don't, fine, we'll do business with you. as they grow economically and i know that i pointed out that they are a few additions below us, but $11 trillion is nothing
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to sneeze at and they are not in the debt that we are in, and they are out there, and they are everywhere. i remember being in the democratic republic of the congo in the hotel bar and a whole group of chinese businessmen there. and in jerusalem, we go there and there are like 75 chinese flags all over the place, and i was like, what the hell is this? but they were in town. they wanted to make a warm welcome for them. they have a lot of money. they are spreading their influence out there. potentially, that's good f we have another partner who is invested in global stability and prosperity, that's a good thing. but if they're invested in a way that undermines human rights, freedom and democracy and capitalism, then we are sowing the seeds of war and discord. so we have the contend with russia and china in that efforts to spread authoritarianism, and we have to do all of that with a president who seems to lack the enthusiasm for the task. let's just put it that way.
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>> okay. we are going to go to the audience questions, and when i call on you, stand and say your name, your aflgs if you have one. and it's a question only, please. just one. wait for the microphone, please. >> thank you very much. my name is mike from pacs advisory. and on thursday i'll be speaking to the ministry advisesers course. and so as a factor in return on investment, you emphasized stabilization, and in almost all of the cases where the u.s. has intervened to end conflict, haiti, kosovo, iran, iraq, our efforts have been obstructed by criminalized power corrupted regime. so the solution to that, as you point out, is a whole government approach. transmission of government,
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voting. so the question, how do we do that? would you support legislation that would mandate for security assistance above whatever threshold that the pentagon an assessment of the corruption risk, develop a whole of government accountability strategy and provide support for advisers who are out in the field on how to deal with corruption issues? >> that's actually a really good idea. i don't want to add more reforms, i just said but that would be a smarter way to do it. it would be the millennium challenge corporation for the pentagon. if you want to go into ethiopia, kenya, philippines or ever, you know, give us a coordinated plan. or we'll fence off some of the money. that's a good idea.
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>> okay. one way in the back here. >> thank you very much. i think you covered everything. i don't think you have left any area to ask any question. but, anyway, my question will be going back to afghanistan, there's a threat from the chinese of sending military in the area and as far as afghanistan is concerned people are still asking when time will come for them to see a light in the end of the dark tunnel and, finally, what do you think presidential running to pakistan if pakistan is still helping the u.s. combating terrorism or they are still going back what they had been doing? >> just so i'm tracking, i couldn't quite hear you. one was china, emptistic stuff. is there any hope for
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afghanistan and is pakistan getting any better? >> yes, sir. peace and stability in the region is concerned. >> yeah. in that region, china is problematic. on the one hand, i have this core of optimism about the idea that if there is another power in the world, as i said, that is invested in stability and prosperity that has a lot of money, that's potentially good. but china continues to insist upon doing it in a -- the word i'm thinking of, i can't really use here. >> extracted? >> unfriendly fashion. stepping on everybody's toes, even when they don't have to. and we have to be a counterpoint to that. i think the increased relationship between the u.s. and india is a very positive thing. i really -- ash carter, this was something he was really focused on. and i think the new administration has picked up on that as well. you know, with south korea, with
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vietnam, with all the countries in that region. you know, we have to be a counterbalance so that china -- china would be so much better off if they wouldn't take a militaristic approach to this. if would work cooperatively with their neighbors. they're the biggest kid on the block. and that ain't changing. they're going to have influence in power. they should try to bring everyone else along with them so they feel good about the experience. but until that time, we are going to have to be a counter -- well, we are going to want a presence in there no matter what. but right now counterbalancing china's baser instincts is important. light at the end of the tunnel in afghanistan, i've sort of answered that, it's not a particularly bright light. but there is the possibility of the kind of stability that i described. i can't imagine a time in my lifetime when they stop fighting in afghanistan. you know, i hope that's -- i hope i'm wrong. i'm wrong a lot. so i hope this is one of those
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times. as far as pakistan is concerned, i don't think things are getting a whole lot better. you know, they have too much extremism between within the bow bowels of their military, their government and military services. they're part of the reason afghanistan is so untable. pakistan continues to play, i believe, this double game with the extremists. on the one hand they're fighting them. on the other hand they use them when they think it's useful to them. and i haven't seen much change. nor do i think it's going to change, the president got in some hot water -- well, this president doesn't get in hot water in that sense, you have to perceive something like that in order to think you're in it. he was very critical of ba pakistan, and there was blowback from pakistan.
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i wish talking strongly -- we're going to cut off some of your money. two problems with that. a, at the end of the day that's not going to change the fundamental of pakistan's need to reform in the way that much of the muslim world needs to reform their governments. but saudi arabia is trying to do, pakistan needs to reform. second, we still work with pakistan on a ton of things, a lot of which i can't talk about here. but we still work with them, we still need them. and if we cut them off and they go looking to china to fill that gap, that's not good. so i think, you know, where pakistan and afghanistan are concerned, i don't have a ton of optimism for things getting better in the short term. >> great. we have probably time for two more questions. i'm going to group them and let you answer them together. we have one right here. >> and this gentleman's had his hand up for a while. >> hi, there, thank you for such an articulate discussion of the
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need for forward engagement. my name is max kelly. i'm a defense consultant. i spent the last seven years -- stabilization. our work came to two succinct conclusions that are relevant to this conversation. the first is that building schools or training forces in and of themselves do not contribute to stability or preventing fragility. they only work when they are serving a truly politically informed politics first strategy. our second conclusion was that no agency or institution in the u.s. government really has that as its mission. no institution, even special forces, don't have, as their core logic, their core training, their core selection process -- >> got it. >> building the internal politics of other countries from the ground up. and all the way up.
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not stopping -- >> that's -- >> so the question is, the ins institutions that were stillborn during the last 15 years to try and actually create that capacity, they were stillborn, they never went anywhere. is there any interest in congress in trying to revive or reinvigorate that capacity. >> hold, if you don't mind, representative, hold on that. i know we're going to run out of time otherwise. let's go the to the second question here -- maybe we'll be lucky and they'll be roughly the same question. >> my question, i will be short, thanks so much, congressman. and your opinion about perspectives to the assistance -- security assistance to contracts, specifically, ukraine, georgia, and different types of challenges, external and internal, all struggle with -- >> i'm sorry, i didn't understand that. >> he's asking about any special considerations or conversation you want to give to the issue of
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security assistance to ukraine. >> yes, thank you very much. >> the answer to your question is, that is my dream. all right, from, you know, a legislative standpoint i would love to revive that process. and i would love to have that organization in charge of it. it's part of what made me fall in love with the special operations command. is they're the closest thing to a group that could do what we're talking about here. it's what they do. and, i mean, that's what -- well, let me amend that question a little bit. most people think of the special operations command as the guys who killed bin lauden, they kick in doors and shoot people and they're good at it. during my time with them i learned that, you know, by and large, they wish people didn't think that was all they did. that what they really fall in love with is the idea of going into a country or a village or a town that's fallen to pieces and help keep it together. and they -- you know, a ton of
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thinkers at all levels, special operations command when i visited the philippines, when i visited in kenya, they're all thinking about all of these questions that we've said in a way that nobody else is, comprehensively. yeah, security is their first instinct. since they're the guys who have to try to keep the peace in very, very tough parts of the world, they are the most qualified in terms of thinking holistically about this. yes, the state department should be in charge, but the state department doesn't have the security focus. it's actually true what my navy seal escorts were saying during that dinner in kenya, that you can do all you want, but if people show up and shoot you, you're dead. we're the ones who can stop that from happening. so personally, now, there was a time back in the days of the
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geowatt, briefly, the special operations command is a supporting command. they're not in charge of anything, they do whatever whoever tells them to do. they were the supported agency in the the global war on terrorism. that sort of slowly went away. so i would love to see that that happen. i would love to see us get back to a place where we had a central organization in charge. now, personally, if i could just sort of move the u.s. government around like, you know, hotels on a monopoly board, i would take socome and usaid, i would make them a hybrid, 12 people from sokom and -- those are the two groups in the best position to do it. the state department would trfrk
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out. i'm soon i'll be getting a nasty phone call soon if there's anyone from the state department here. those are the two groups most on the ground dealing with it. they're diplomats as well as all the other things they do. the problem with the state department being in charge of all this stuff is they have so much to worry about that they don't get down into the weeds on the level that socom and usaid does. those are the two groups, the 12 smartest from each group and say, here you go, here's $50 billion, go save the world. because i think they are in the best position to actually coordinate that. now, again, everyone would say, wait a second, i'm not taking orders from those people. what are you talking about? but if i were god and i could make these things happen, that's what i would do. they would be in the best position to coordinate it. ukraine and georgia sort of bring us to the russia question.
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and i could give a long-winded answer, but i've already explained what russia is doing and why it's so bad. in the case of ukraine in particular, i actually agree with what the trump administration has done. because while russia is a profound threat for all the reasons that we know, the end of the day they're playing a weak hand, the demographics are terrible, their economy is terrible. they're not all together that strong. they'll push, and if nobody pushes back, they'll just keep push. so in the ukraine and georgia, we have to raise the cost of what they're doing, which is why i supported the decision to sending -- start sending -- i forget if it was sending them offensive arms, or just better defensive arms, decided to arm them better to raise the cost of what russia is doing.
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then we've got to wait out putin. and there's fno solving this problem as long as putin is in charge/alive which is pretty much the same thing. he has decided his role in history is to bring down the west, and all that it stands for. like i said, this is somewhat heartfelt. this is not, as far as i can tell, just some, you know, maniacal madman trying to rule the world like some stupid james bond thriller. he honestly believes that if his way doesn't work, mob rule will take over. if you've seen the story about he was in berlin when the wall fell, which is really unfortunate because it had a real negative impact on the way he views democracy, essentially he was surrounded by a mob and they were going to kill everyone inside, but he bluffed his way out of it. that's what he fears. he fears mob rule.
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he thinks the only way to get around is a regime. the west is for the opposite. we're for representative democracies. and he's going to play this game as long as he's around. that's not going to change, whether it's obama or trump or bush, you know, you can look into his soul. he can do a reset, do whatever you want to do. it ain't gonna change. what do we do? we've got to wait him out. now, it's a complicated waiting out game. on the one hand you do want to keep the pressure up so he doesn't go rolling into estonia or anything like that. on the other hand, as someone -- many people have said, including, i think, probably you guys, you know, a strong russia is a problem. a weak russia is a problem. because if russia looks like it's failing, lord knows what putin would do externally in order to try to prop up support. so like i said, we've got to wait him out. i don't know what comes after
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putin, boris yellton was an unfortunate post -- it's a complicated society. i was in russia with john kelly of all people. yeah, should i quote him? i will. we were just walking around, this was in 1998, not long after all this changed, and he just sort of said, i still have a hard time understanding this. we spent 70 some odd years fighting these people as basically the worst people on the planet, and now all of a sudden it's all good and we're supposed to get along, you know, how does that work? and he's right in the sense that russia, some of the basic things we take for granted about a free society, they have no history of it, like ever, all right. before communism it was the czars. they have no history of self-government. when i was over there, they
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don't -- or didn't. i don't know if it's still true. they don't have mortgages. you couldn't borrow money from a bank to buy something. who do you borrow money from? you know, so at some point russia could play a policy rule. i'll close with this thought. i think it's ultimately what could bring us a more peaceful world for my children and their grandchildren. a uni polar america-dominating world is never going to work. post world war ii was sort of an accident. it was a moment in history that's unlikely to be paralleled. we need a multi-polar world. we need a world with a whole lot of big, powerful countries that have a vested interest in peace and stability. to get there we obviously have to be part of it, china has to be part of it, i think india has to be part of it. i also think russia has to be part of it. it's not going to be part of it under putin, which is why i say we have to wait him out. and figure out how to maintain ties there. so eventually we can sort of, i
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don't know, get a reset back to 1994 and go, how can we do this differently this time? so that russia integrates into the world instead of deciding to become its opposite. >> representative adam smith, i do think you managed to cover everything but norway today. impressive array of issues we threw at you. i want to thank you for your service as the ranking member on the armed services committee. if everyone could join me in a round of applause, thank you for your time today. [ applause ] >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm melissa dalton, a senior fellow in the deputy


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