tv Confirmation Hearing For U.S. Central Command CSPAN February 8, 2022 9:30am-11:54am EST
>> presidential recordings, find it on the c-span now mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. this morning, the senate armed services committee is holding a confirmation hearing for michael corilla. he will replace general mckenzie. this is live coverage. >> for promotion to general and to be the next commander of u.s. central command. general, your nomination is well deserved and i thank you for your willingness to lead in this very important position.
we welcome your wife, mary paige, and daughter michele, both of whom are here today. we all welcome sofu who i'm sure is glued to the television set watching her father. we thank them for their continued service. you have led most recently as the commanding general of the 18th airborne corps, an experience that will serve you well in this new role. your career spans nearly 34 years with service across multiple theaters and command at every level of our nation's premiere fighting forces. the country is fortunate to have leaders like yourself serving in uniform. if confirmed, the range of challenges you will need to address is significant. geographic area of responsibility stretches from northeast africa across the middle east to central and south asia and the security challenges are similarly expansive. perhaps most pressing is iran's influence in the region. the united states' latest round of negotiations returned to the
joint comprehensive plan of action has seen progress but iran's nuclear development threatens to derail any agreement. iranian link groups mount attacks in the region, including against bases in iraq and syria with a u.s. military presence. these threats are growing as are drone and missile attacks by iranian-linked houthis against the gulf states. during today's hearing, i would like to know your level of concern over tensions between the united states and iran and how you would advise responding to iranian maligned influence in the region. while the death of al qurayshi, it dealt a blow to the organization, isis remains a threat. last month, isis militants seized a prison facility in syria where thousands of isis detainees are held, leading to a day's long standoff requiring u.s. and coalition air and ground support to the syrian
defense forces -- syrian democratic forces. up to 200 fighters might have escaped. hundreds of people were killed. if you are confirmed, you will be responsible for helping ensure the stf and iraqi government have the capacity and support needed to address the threat from isis and properly detain these prisoners. of particular emphasis for this committee is a reformation of how the defense department responds to civilian casualty incidents. the approach in recent years has not been adequate. the dod inspector general and independent studies have highlighted important areas for change. our military goes to gate lengthths to avoid civilian casualties. we have an obligation to learn from the mistakes and prevent future mistakes.
i hope you will share what steps you would take to ensure they improve openness and transparency. turning to afghanistan, we transitioned to an over the horizon posture. respond using assets outside afghanistan. we achieved the goal of significantly degrading al qaeda and other terrorist groups, but the work is not finished. during testimony to this committee last october, the under secretary of defense assessed isis k and al qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations but neither has the ability to do so. to prevent them from developing this ability, we must bolster our capabilities. share the lessons you learned from your time in afghanistan and how you would ensure we can
conduct optimal over the horizon activities. again, thank you, general, for your willingness to serve. i look forward to your testimony. let me recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general for your willingness to continue your distinguished career. you will take command of a region where terrorist groups threaten u.s. personnel, partners in the hole land. due to the biden administration's disastrous withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan last summer, afghanistan is now back to pre-9/11 conditions. the taliban controls the country. it has already killed more than 100 former afghan officials. soldiers and coalition partners according to the u.n.
those affiliated with al qaeda have government positions. isis-k, which killed 13 u.s. service members on august 26th, is exploiting the vacuum that the biden administration left behind. elsewhere, the iran-backed houthis have launched missile and drone attacks on saudi arabia and the united arab emirates threatened u.s. forces and our partners. isis launched new attacks in syria and iraq last month. last week's successful operation against isis leader shows that the counter-isis mission isn't over. i'm concerned that the things will get even worse if president biden re-enters the failed 2015 iran nuclear deal, which many of us here have urged him not to
do. they received sanctions relief. iran will spend that windfall on terrorist proxies. that means more arms for hezbollah, hamas to attack israel. more training for the houthis to threaten our arab friends and more support for the iraqi militias that target our person e. rejoining the iran nuclear deal won't prevent iran from getting nuclear weapons capabilities. the deal's limitation expires in 2026, which is not that far off. all of these threats in the middle east are getting worse. we also have to prioritize threats from china and russia right now. both of those adversaries are
heavily invested in competition. here is what i hope you address today. what resources do you think you will need to counter these regional threats? what role should our partners play and how can we improve their capabilities? perhaps more -- most important, what can we do to ensure that our longtime regional partners stick with us in the escalating competition with china and russia? general, you have served with great honor. you are very familiar with it. you are the right guy to do. we look forward to winning together. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. general, your remarks. >> good morning. chairman reed, ranking member inhofe, distinguished members of the senate armed services committee, it's an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee to serve as
the next commander of the united states central command. today, as always, i am humbled to serve the soldiers, sailers, airmen, marines, coast guardmen and guardians who defend our nation every day. they are our nation's best. joining me today is my amazing wife of 27 years, mary paige. throughout my career, she has been my best friend, partner and enthusiastic advocate for our service members and their families. she's the daughter of a vietnam veteran and has known from a young age firsthand the challenges and hardships that face our military families. i have two wonderful daughters. my oldest, michele, flew in last might from massachusetts where she's a senior at harvard university, double majoring in government and english. my youngest sophie is a sophomore at tufts studying biology and has a lab at the new england aquarium this afternoon. so she's watching from her dorm. my family has understood that
family readiness is a key component to operational readiness. i'm grateful to the president, secretary of defense, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff for their confidence in me and to general frank mckenzie's lifetime of service to the nation. i thank congress and this committee for its support of our military. this is a critical time. the united states faces a new era of strategic competition with china and russia that is not confined to one geographical region and extends into the area of responsibility. the middle east, central and south asia remain complex and dynamic environments. this is a dangerous theater with its own internal threats to american security. as the united states rightfully prioritizes competition with china, we must remain engaged in the middle east and central and south asia.
we must be clear about the fact that central command area of responsibility is home to america's national interests. the region presents a mixed picture. one hand, there are signs of progress such as normalization of arab states with israel, the defeat of the so-called caliphate, the ending of the gulf rift and the continued support by longtime partners and allies. on the other hand, there's vexing challenges. iran's nuclear program, ballistic missile advancements and its continued maligned influence across the region. it's burdened by civil war and high man tearian crisis. the area is home to nine of the top ten most dangerous violent extremist organizations, including al qaeda and isis, which are both reconstituting. all of these ill trends are accelerated by water skwarsty and food insecurity. china has significantly increased its investment and influence in the region. russia acts aas i spoiler.
if confirmed, i will protect american interests in the region with these challenges in mind. while we are to longer in afghanistan, we must acknowledge and honor the sacrifice of the more than 1 million service members, civilians, partners and allies who answered the call and did their duty during the war. we must never forget the ultimate sacrifice of those who gave their last full measure of devotion on the battlefield. if confirmed, i will work hand if hand with our diplomats to ensure that diplomacy is in the lead while strengthening our relationship with military partners and allies. i will embrace technology, ar fishl intelligence, machine learning and data centric warfare to increase the competitive edge across all domains. if confirmed by this body, i look forward to working with this committee and congress, the senior leader shft of the department of defense and our partners and allies. i will always remain transparent and candid with congress and
this committee. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, very much, general. as is required, there are a series of standard questions which you may respond to appropriately. have you adhered to regulations governing conflict of interest? >> yes. >> you have assumed any duties or taken any action that would presume the outcome of the process in. >> no. >> exercising our legislative and oversight responsibility makes it important that this committee, iths subcommittees and other appropriate committees of congress receive testimony, briefings, reports, rortds and other information from the executive branch on a timely basis. do you agree if confirmed to appear and testify before this committee when requested? >> yes, senator. >> do you agree when asked before this committee to give your personal views, even if your views differ from the administration? >> yes, senator. >> do you agree to provide records, documents and electronic communication in a
timely manner when requested by this committee, its subcommittees or other appropriate committees of congress and to consult with the requester regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such records? >> yes, senator. >> will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established by this in the for the production of reports, records and other information including timely responding to hearing questions for the record? >> yes, senator. >> will you cooperate and provide a witness and briefer in response to congressional request? >> yes. >> will those be protected from repr reprisal? >> yes. >> thank you very much, general. let me commend you for your service to the nation and the service of your family. we spoke before about the continuing crisis in afghanistan and looking forward the steps we have to take. there is, as you recognize, a humanitarian crisis that is becoming more and more severe each moment. there is the threat of al qaeda
and isis-k and other terrorist groups. what do you see as the challenges in afghanistan and surrounding region? can we cope with them over the horizon? >> senator, as you identified, one of the challenges is the threat to the homeland from al qaeda and isis-k. they are reconstituting. the taliban has not renounced al qaeda, isis-k, with the release of the prisoners from the prison are in the process of reconstituting. they don't have capability yet. we have the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan. i believe there are opportunities in the future of ways that we can work with perhaps the world food program and others in the region to help alleviate some of that burden on the humanitarian crisis. >> in our regional response, we
have to consider the position of pakistan. they have been a very complicated partner and sometimes not a partner. do you have any comments on that relationship and what you would like to do to improve it? >> senator, we have not always seen eye to eye with pakistan. i do think we have a shared interest in regional stability and countering violent extremist organizations. one of the most violent is taliban pakistani which threatens pakistan. the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan threatens migrants to push into and refugees to push into pakistan. i think there's potentially some shared interest that we can work with them on counter-veo and the humanitarian crisis. >> thank you. turning to iran, as both myself and the ranking member pointed out, it presents a very, very serious challenge. there are talks underway to try to revive the jcpoa. it's uncertain if that will
happen. they are activities causing concerns. attacks against the united arab emirates. can you give us an idea of how you would approach this problem as you take command in. >> senator, iran is the number one destabling factor in the icing east with their behavior. going through our partners and allies and strengthening those with a front from all the partners and allies is the best way to confront them. the u.s. policy of iran cannot get a nuclear weapon i believe that any enforceable agreement should make sure that they do not get a nuclear weapon. >> thank you. and you also said in the policy questions and in your testimony that we must invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms and programs to increase our ability
to detect, defend and respond to iranian capabilities. you can sketch very quickly what you would attempt to do? >> right now on the 18th airborne corps, when the chief of staff of the army charged the 18th corps to lead and become an ai enabled core, we have taken a four-prong approach. with the culture, data literacy, data governance management and infrastructure, cloud computing. then we take that and we do a quarterly exercise that uses artificial intelligence for target detection from all six services. the last exercise had over 40 aircraft to include the navy participating with a maritime operation center. it culminated in a marine f-35 dropping a live 1,000 bomb on a grid that was one meter off from the surveyed grid. we do these exercises quarterly to improve the capability of the
targeting ability of the corps. i would look to take that if confirmed down and expound upon that. >> would that help us with our issues regarding over the horizon sort of suppression of terrorists in afghanistan? >> senator, it has capabilities for both counterterrorism as well. >> thank you very much, general. i'm very confident that you will be confirmed and confi be confirmed and codent you will lead with distinction. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the past year, iran and its proxies have escalated their regional aggression. hamas launched more than 4,300 rockets at israel during the may 2021 conflict. the houthis have increased their attacks on civilian targets in saudi arabia.
the uae and iran-backed militias in iraq routinely target u.s. personnel property and partners. all of this happens while the biden administration is focusing on this happened while the biden administration is focusing on returning to the iran deal which could provide billions of dollars in sanctions relief for the iranian regime. based on what you observed of iran in the past, would you expect iran to spend at least some of that sanctions relief on its terrorists, proxies and, if so, how would this affect the security of our forces in this region? >> senator, there is a risk with sanctions reloaf that iran would use that money to support terrorism in the region. if it they did, it could increase risk to our forces in the region.
>> i have had visit for had many, many times our friend in irbil many times over the years. the iraqi kurds are among our most reliable partners in the region, and i believe it's important to ensure continued and reliable support to our kurdish friends in coordination with the iraqi government. you agree the continued and reliable support to the kurdish would enhance our partnership and advance our mutual interest in the region? can you share some insight on the value of our partnership with the kurds based on your personal experience. >> i worked with our kurdish partners and found them to be reliable and capable. i worked with them since 2004 on my first tour in iraq and as
recently as the counterisis fight in 2014. i have found them to be an incredibly capable and reliable part they are. partner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. senator shaheen? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i didn't ralz we were still going in seniority order, sit appreciate that and congratulations. >> you have a cheering from the upper deck. >> general, thank you for being here. congratulations to you and your family on your nomination. we very much appreciate your willingness to serve. i understand you're leaving directly from this hearing to be part of the task force overseeing the deployment to reenforce our nato allies because of russia's buildup on the ukrainian border. i wonder what you consider to be
the biggest challenge of that deployment? >> so senator, right now, we are in the process of deploying, and yes, i will be leaving right after the hearing to fly over to be continued part of that deployment. i think the challenge is obviously moving transatlantic with the number of forces we have our mission over there is to assure our nato allies and deter russian aggression against our nato allies. >> and to what extent, do you think, putin is hoping for an incident along the border to give him an excuse to go into ukraine? >> senator, i could not begin to speak for putin's thought, but i do know i'm very concerned about a russian invasion into ukraine. >> thank you. i want to switch to what will be part of your aor as commander. one of the things i'm very concerned about is what's happening in the isis detainee
camps in syria. there's 60,000 families ha that have become a hot bed for radicalization of the family members there. can you talk about what the strategy ought to be to address those detainee camps. i know because you have worked with the sdf that they have stated that they are not able to assume long-term responsibility for those detainees and those camps. so what should we be doing to address that? >> senator, i believe there should be a whole of government approach and an international effort to both assist the sdf on the repatriation of these detainees. it's approximately 10,000 isis detain naes and two dozen detention facilities. that's an isis army in waiting we saw that when they attacked the prison. we also have, as you noted, 60,000 family members, over 80%
are children. and my concern there is the indoctrination that is happening this. there must be a whole of government approach and an international effort to support them on this. >> and this committee actually is part of the defense authorization bill last year passed a requirement to establish a detainee coordinator to help address how we respond in those camps and how we repatriate some of the detainees. are you aware of that position? do you think that would be helpful? >> senator, i do think that would be helpful. >> thank you. hopefully someone is listening your testimony. i want to go to iraq because we have seen a series of bomb and grenade attacks taking place over the last week in baghdad. it's assumed that iranian-backed militias are responsible for
these incidents. how can we better hold iran accountable for these attacks and ensure that our personnel and those iraqis defending their country are protected? >> senator, the key is that we have to expose the iranian-maligned behavior. any time iran's hand behind this is exposed, it is helpful. >> thank you. there was a recent report, a special operations directed strike targeting components of the dam in syria. it's not clear to me how this happened. i haven't seen any reports investigating that, but will you commit to investigate what happened here and reporting the results to congress? >> senator, i will, if confirmed. >> thank you. and finally, we have a law called the women, peace and security act that designed to try to ensure that women are
involved in our operations and particularly in conflict areas. so can you talk a little bit about how you see that law working in your area of responsibility and what we should be doing? and how it could be helpful to what's happening in the central command. >> senator, the women in security act of 2017, if confirmed, that's an area i would love to see employing that law. any time you have women involved in conflict resolution and assisting in the relief of relief, it is a good thing. i think i would have to take a look at how that's being implemented. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you on that and being help nfl any way i can. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. >> general, i think there's widespread agreement that you're the right man for the job. we need to get you back to your
base and get you involved in that deployment. i'm almost tempted to yield back my time so you can get on that. but i'm not quite convinced that i should do that we're spending money for the pentagon that was decided more than a year ago and that's buzz of our failure to have a defense appropriation bill. we're about to do another continuing resolution. people this this town from the administration really to dod to the congress seem to sort of view this as an inconvenience and a lult bit of a lapse. how big of a problem is this? i've got several questions, but is this merely an inconvenience or are they going to take a hit because we can't do our job? >> i can't speak on behalf of
them, but my personal experience. when we have prolonged crs, it affects readiness. it affects our ability to train. it affects our combat training centers, our reporters ring flight hours. it affects modernization. it can disrupt modernization and we have a cobat team in it a year-long window. they will emerge as the most modernized combat team in the army. crs can disrupt that. i don't know the impact if it were to take it out through the year and a second team going in this summer. it can affect quality of life. that's military construction for barracks, motor pools and child development centers. >> well, it seem when is we bring this up and any number of
members bring it up, people nod and agree with you and yet is we're just going to be relaxed next week about going to another resolution. let me ask you about the stands formerly soviet republic. i'm looking at the map here. i see kyrgyzstan and then the massive gographic area of sa sack stand. why are they important to us in the united states? >> they are very important. it's an area we can beat with russia and china.
with the departture from afghanistan, there's some security interest wes share with them and that is in terms that border on afghanistan, particularly uzbekistan. i think we have shared interest on the veos and areas we could potentially partnership with them on the border security to prevent the expansion of the veos from coming into their area. >> but you haven't started this job yet, but you're anticipating that you will. has the leadership of these five stormer soviet republics acted differently after seeing what happened last august in kabul? >> i'm not sure. if confirmed, that's an area i would take a hard look at. >> if russia invades ukraine, how will that, in your judgment, affect how these five former soviet republics view their
neighbor to the north and the united states? >> they would have some concerns with russia invading ukraine as that would expand their former locations. >> thank you. good luck to you. i'm going to yield you a whole 30 seconds to get back is get that deployment going. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general, for your service. you have a lot of experience and your aor. i start the questioning all nominees to any positions in any of the committees i sit on and these are the following two questions i ask all nominees. since you became a legal adult, have you made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature? >> no, senator.
. >> general, i am very concerned along with other members of this committee, concerned about the ongoing issue of the poor treatment of afghan women and girls, especially since our withdrawal and the taliban's return to power recently president biden appointed reena as special envoy. what do you see your role in supporting usaid and other agencies in supporting the rights of afghan women and girls? >> senator, if confirmed, that is an area i would look a at to analyze how we can be part of a whole of government approach.
>> i like the fact that you have used whole of government and i think that's a good idea. i would say the active involvement of the statement department. i would be interested how you would proceed in this area since the fate of afghan women and girls is something that weighs heavily on a number of us. and our challenges in getting rescuing many of them out of the country remains very difficult. you mentioned iran being the destabilizing actor in the middle east. with the whole of government approach and how to when iranian-maligned behavior is exposed, it is helpful. can you describe what you consider an example of iran's
malign behavior, which it would be helpful to expose, and what do you mean by it is helpful to expose such behavior. >> when we see the iran proxy ises and militia groups either firing rockets at our embassy in iraq, they are firing at our troops inside of syria, they support the houthis and providing that technology to them to fire ballistic missiles into the uae and to saudi arabia. when we expose the hand behind that, it causes them to react. >> it causes who to react? how would they react? >> ma'am, they try to hide their behavior and can cause them to not take action for a period of time. that's my experience when i was down there. >> you were asked questions regarding the jcpoa.
president biden joined the allies noting that a return to jcpoa would result in both in sanctions lifting allowing for enhanced regional partnerships and a reduced risk of a nuclear cry that would derail regional diplomacy. what your thoughts to a return to the jcpoa and would rerejoining the agreement be a positive step in containing the ambitions. there's no yes question that our membership enabled us to attract what iran was doing. would a return to a jcpoa greatly enhance efforts to contain iran's nuclear ambitions? >> senator, i'm not aware of the impact details of the ongoing negotiations, but i am supportive of any enforcement agreement that limits tehran's ability to gain nuclear weapons.
>> how do you plan to work with partners and allies to confront the challenges presented by iran? >> senator, if confirmed, i will have to take a hard look at the allies. each one bring different capabilities. there's some opportunities in an sbe gritted defense, particularly with israel under the area of responsibility that they can do some partnerships in terms of increasing the capabilities. >> it would be a major partner in that effort. thank you, mr. chairman. >>. >> welcome, general, to you and your family. thank you for your many years of service to this country. general, this morning, read in "the washington post" about an army review of the afghanistan drawdown. the report highlights the extent to which the biden administration's poor planning forced our service members into
an incredibly dangerous and an incredibly chaotic situation during that evacuation. i know that you are not responsible for this report, but if confirmed, do i have your word if future reports like this are completed that this committee will learn about them from you and not from the morning paper? >> yes, senator. >> thank you. i wouldn't think that members of this committee would have to make a request in order to learn information that should be brought forward to keep us informed to perform our oversight responsibiliies. general, based on your prior experience that you have had in the region, your knowledge of the region, what do you assess to be the most significant challenges to carry out a
counterterrorism strategy in afghanistan? >> senator, it is exteemly difficult, but not impossible. the biggest challenge for afghanistan is that is a landlock country. we reloi on another nation for an error line of communication to enter afghanistan. it's great. we spend approximately two-thirds of the time flying there and getting back versus over the targets, so it is resource intensive to be able to do the finding and the fixing and finishing of those targets that you're going after. we need to reinforms in our intelligence capabilities that was lost during the withdrawal. >> do you anticipate that we will have more success in the future on being able to find those partners on the ground? >> senator, if confirmed, i had need to make an assessment the
of that. >> do you know of any ongoing conversations about basing agreements with neighboring countries that would be helpful to us in being able to do the over the horizon ct? >> i'm not aware of any detailed discussions going on, but i know that there are discussions happening right now that could ease the distances that are required. >> i would hope if you do you would contact us so we can keep up-to-date on the progress or lack thereof in this regard because it is so vital to our commitment that we have and the needs that we have to meet in afghanistan. i hope that you will do that review process. we heard from secretary call in october that isis-k could
generate the capability to attack our homeland by april. that's not too far away from today. if there needs to be a change in strategy, if it needs to be resourced differently, i would hope that you would bring that to our attention as well. >> i will. >> thank you. when you were speaking about partners and allies and our need for partners and allies, especially in dealing with iran and their proxies, are there specific ways that you feel we could help our partners defend themselves with regard to missile and drone attacks? >> senator, i believe that's probably the area with some of the greatest opportunity in tempts of working towards an integrated air and missile defense. the addition of israel to the aor, i think, will help with
that. there are areas in terms of cyber defense. we are collectively stronger together when we work together. so there are areas that each one brings a unique capability in terms of that. >> from your comments, i would imagine you would be a stronged a have indicate for srael with the defensive means they need? >> senator, i am. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. let me recognize senator gillibrand. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. in recent years, beijing has elevated middle east significance by billing commercial ports in pakistan and beginning another project in uae, which was halted by u.s. pressure. with china relying on the persian for its energy supply, do you view china's initiative in the area as a fundamental
priority? >> senator, i do. right now, 18 of 21 countries in have signed strategic agreements for initiatives with china. china has increased their spending 360% in the middle east, so i believe it's of great concern. we have to expose their predatory practices where they treat every country as a client or a customer where we deal in relationships and we are partners and allies. >> so how does countering china in the region balance some of our commitments with regional partners? >> i believe we can do both. >> reports last year emerge that saudi arabia purchased ballistic missiles from china while also manufacturing its own ballistic weapons. are you concerned that china is forging technological relationships with countries to further enhance the ballistic
missile capabilities? also, do you have broader concern that our traditional allies should be shifting towards china as we potentially focus on other regions across the globe? >> senator, i'm very concerned with china's military involvement in terms of the agreements. three of the top purchasers of them are out of the middle east. the technological agreements with huawei, five major middle eastern countries have come into agreements. so i'm very concerned with that. >> and you will give us guidance to the extebt you need additional resources or authoriies to address those concerns? >> senator, i would not hesitate to do that. >> thank you. a recent nda study pointed out numerous shortcomings in the dod's investigation in response to civilian casualties. it concluded a number of recommendations to improve dod's internal and expersonal process contact tactical strikes.
one issue highlighted is the feed for department of defense to better with nongovernmental organizations for civilian casualty incidents. if confirmed, will you continue to prioritize effective response within your command? and do we have your commitment that they will improve and engage with ngos on this issue? >> i do. >> thank you. my last question. as the military shifts focus to great power competition, conflicts in the middle east may lose significant resources. can you discuss how force planning concepts like dynamic force employment, that is the ability to rapidly shift key assets from one theater to the other, will allow the u.s. to divert away to meet the challenges faced by competitors, if necessary? >> senator, that is going to
make an assessment of the impact of those dfes. the challenge with counterterrorism efforts are that they do take time to develop the targets. it's finding the targets and fixing them. dynamic force could come in for a finish, but the effort goes into the findings and the fixing. >> thank you. >> my pleasure and privilege. >> thank you. senator rounds? >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i did enjoy our visit in my office and i can share with you that i do belief you're the right man for the job. i look forward to supporting your nomination. i would like to explore along the lines that senator fischer
began with regard to the over the horizon capabilities. i think this is something that we have to explain in terms of the challenges here. one item we talked about was the number of units necessary to maintain surveillance over a particular area. would you just take a minute or so and dive in deeper with regards to the challenges of over the horizon capabilities? that we face with regard to afghanistan. >> just using an reaper as an example, you have the normal ones and the extended range can go up to 30 hours of endurance. if it's taking ten hours to get to a target and fly back, to be able to keep a single sensor over that target, you have to have two and a half, one taking off every ten hours to be able to be over the target for just one sensor to be able to develop
that target. in afghanistan when we were doing operations, sometimes that would have 12 sensors on a target to be follow individuals, develop the target and also used in civilian miigation because you're watching all the approaches to that target when you're taking a strike. so it can be very resource intensive. >> i think that's the critical part here. when we talk about over the horizon capabilities, it is extremely equipment intensive and it will take a huge amount of resources in order to be successful in the afghan region. your background is one of the developing and moving ahead with regards to technoltechnologies. with regard to the 18th air bourn, would you share a little bit about the challenges that you found in terms of bringing in and using the newest technology including the threats of cybersecurity or cyber attacks what you found you needed to do in order to keep the team up to speed and talk a
little bit about with regard to artificial intelligence the fact that this is not something in the future, but rather something we are faced with right now. >> senator, it's the next revolution in military affairs. i find the biggest challenge can is the data literacy and the education of our current force, particularly with the older generation of us. it's really our younger generation gets a lot of this. the challenge you have is being able to then take this and how do you fight with artificial intelligence. what we have discovered is that the human must be in the loop. an individual human augmented by artificial intelligence is far more effective than artificial intelligence on its own right now. we do these quarterly exercises. every quarter we'll bring in all six services and we go through the process of how can we increase the scale and scope of targeting against a near peer and large scale combat operation. we have found we were able to exponentially increase that capability to sort through hundreds of targets to pick the
right targets to be able to strike moving machine to machine and directly to an aircraft. >> with regard to alr that you're going to be responsible for, you now have israel as a part of this aor. they are an ally. they have significant capabilities. do you see some real opportunities to coordinate with israel with regard to cybersecurity. >> can you talk about iran, the threats that you see. >> iran has a capable offensive capability. we see that playing out in the
region right now. so i think the areas we can also work on is hardening our cyber defense of our partners in the are region. >> they talk about iran having access to ransomware. it's used by criminals. it's one way in which they can hide some of their activities. would you agree that iran is a threat with regard to ransomware at this time? >> i do agree. >> i yield back my 10 seconds. thank you, sir. >> thank you very much. let me recognize senator king. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to compliment senator gillibrand. her questions on china and the growing influence in the region were important and something that we often don't think much about.
general, it's hard to utter the phrase cooperation and taliban in the same sentence. but we have a common enemy. the taliban doesn't like them, we don't like them. they are a danger to us. they are a danger to them. is there an opportunity for developing a kind of come parted relationship f you will, with the taliban with regard to isis. we have been able to use it through pakistan for there's some question on the relationship to the taliban and pakistan. >> senator, if confirmed, that's an area i would have to do a deep study on. but i do think in my personal
opinion there are pragmatic instances where we could come together going isis based on the threat to the homeland. >> i how old hope so. as i say, the old saying is that the enemy is my friend. so there maybe an opportunity there to deal with the threat of isis-k, which is very significant and growing. how do we assist with the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan without assisting the taliban? are there avenues to provide support that we can avail ourselves of that don't shore up the taliban regime? >> senator, i believe the most important thing we need to make sure is transparent and does not fall into the hands of the taliban and is used as a weapon. the opportunity potentially exists with the food prime
minister. they are a transparent organization. to be able to provide funding for are relief. i also think working with pakistan, they have a shared interest in that because of the refugees coming out of afghanistan right now into pakistan. >> there appears in recent years a decline of iran's influence in iraq with some of the militias. how do you assess the situation in iraq? is there an opportunity for us to lee there? or should we have to maintain a presence in order to offset iran's influence? >> senator, we're in iraq right now for the enduring defeat of isis and to maintain our strategic relationship with the government of iraq. i think that the partnership that we have with them on the enduring defeat of isis is very important. the iraqi security forces do have a very capable force, but it is not -- it can still grow
and needs to develop so it's self-sustaining for being able to go after isis. >> as you mentioned earlier, one of our key allies there are the kurds, which have been reliable allies throughout this entire process. >> i have worked with the curds and they are a reliable partner. >> how do you assess the moving of israel in terms of your job and the ability to teal with the middle east as a coherent entity? >> i think there's significant opportunity with the addition of israel. it starts with the abraham accord with the normalization of relationships between israel and arab nations. we have both bahrain and uae and that caused them to start talking. when you're talking, you're lowering the temperature in the room, there's talk of
cooperation as well ask that's only a good thing. >> in your military judgment, we have been discussion discussions whether to reenter and everybody is committed to iran not achieving a nuclear weapon. in the absence of diplomacy or some kind of agreement, what are the military options realistically for eliminating iran's nuclear capability? >> senator, my current job i'm not aware of the current options. my only concern would be that you can never take away the intellectual knowledge that they have on how to increase their nuclear capability and the reaction that they would have on a strike on them. >> senator king, we cannot hear you and your time is expired. so with your permission, let me recognize senator cotton. thank you. >> welcome to the committee.
congratulations on your nomination. another post this you have held over your distinguished career. thank you for your service to our nation. we have had a lot of talk of iran because iran is the worst country in the region. the worst sponsor of state terrorism. they are behind almost every proxy in the region to say nothing of what they are doing to try to obtain nuclear weapons. if it becomes clear iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon, does central command have the resources necessary should the commander-in-chief direct a military strike against iran? >> if confirmed, i would have to look at the mission and the resources required. i would come back to the chairman and the secretary if additional resources were required. >> can you commit you will do that about what resources would be needed to carry on such mission? >> yes, senator. >> okay.
we just spoke about iran getting a nuclear weapon and how we all think eastern should not have a nuclear weapon. that's what president obama said in 2015 in defending the nuclear deal that iran, he would not allow iran to obtain the bomb. president biden has said something similar. that leaves open the possibility that with would allow iran to get right up to the threshold of getting a nuclear weapon. the way a country like japan is today. people worry about japan being one step away because japan is not run by a bunch of crazed. it maybe one thing to say the united states could live with an iran one turn of a screwdriver away from getting a nuclear weapon. can a country like israel live under those circumstances though? what about saudi arabia or the other arab nations in the region? >> senator, my concern would be iran being a nuclear threshold state that it could be very
destabilizing and attempt to work on their defense. if they don't have a capability, they are a nuclear threshold state. it would embolden them that much more. that's your point? >> one incredibly emboldened action over the last couple months is that iran's proxies in yemen are firing ballistic missiles and one way drones into the emirates. some of those are attacking bases where we have american troops. what to you make of this incredibly provocative action coming out of iran's proxies? >> that's an example of malign behavior from the proxies in the region. >> so they have been doing that in saudi arabia.
>> those proxies are firing those missiles and drones all the way sba the emirates. >> senator, my personal opinion is part of that is because of the advances of the brigade in yemen took back areas like the houthis. if confirmed, it would be a deeper study. >> if you had missiles and drones flying into your territory. >> senator, if i'm the commander with forces there, i would use the patriots that we have to shoot them down.
>> it was the threat out of ye78en in, it's going to be one of the most urgent priorities you face. we're talking about coming out of yemen. not other places where they are supplying proxies for missiles or drones. it's a bming insurgencies or we bombed a drug factory. can we do a better job of not yoouzing advanced aircraft and low threat first generation targets? >> senator, as a military person, if that's the only asset available, i would use that asset. >> i like to see better asset
planning. they are directed towards countries like china and the air defenses and fighters themselves. and the directive against isis and al qaeda. one final question. there's also been a lot of talk about over the horizon strike capacity in afghanistan. that would be over the rainbow strike capacity. how could we be strooing striking without intelligence on the ground and when we're completely beholden to pakistan for giving acts is to the air space. >> thank you. senator blumenthal? >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, welcome to the committee and thank you for your service. thanks for talking to me the other day, as we did on the phone in answering my questions.
i look forward to visiting with you in your service. as we discussed, i'm very deeply concerned. in fact, frustrating is and even angry about the slow pace of the evacuation of afghan allies and americans. we have been in this committee hearing mostly on the use of american power or military power, but credible and power around the world depend on keeping our word. we have given our word to the translators and interpreters and guards and drivers and all the afghans who put their lives on the line to protect our troops
and diplomats during the 20 years of our engagement there in combat. and our credibility in the next struggle. two of my sons have served. one was an infantry officer, marine corp. officer in afghanistan. it took him two years to bring over his interpreter. the other was a navy s.e.a.l. i just want to say how grateful i am to the veterans group for their support in the continuing effort to enable those at-risk afghan allies to come to this country. but i have been frustrated by our state department's seeming reluctance to be as engaged a as it should in this effort and a
number of us colleagues have joined senator graham, senator corden in honoring our commitment which would try to enable those at-risk allies to come here. let me ask you, what capacity do you think it has to facilitate the continued evacuation of the afghan allies who remain at risk in that country. the airport as failings but we are americans. can they play a role in facilitating the evacuation of those at-risk allies if asked to do so? >> senator, i believe we have a obligation to hp those at-risk a afghans to come out of afghanistan. if confirmed i commit to lock at what options are available to
assist in that department of state. >> will you commit to come back to the committee with such a plan and a description of options and assets that could be made available? >> senator, i will. >> thank you. >> do you think that there are necessary assets right now to support that kind of plan? >> senator, i would have to look at the current missions assigned, the resources allocated and identify the risks associated against all of those. if that mission is applied, what resources does that place others a at risk or go back to additional resourcing. >> thank you. >> i welcome your commitment to come to us with a plan and description of the assets that could be made available.
>> let me ask you final question. when we're talking a about defending against missiles, and our allies that need those defenses, the iron dome is one very reliable and important means of israel defending against itsed a very adversary's missiles would you agree reflenishment is important to the security of that country and our own? >> senators, you know the u.s. army just got two iron dome batteries that are going through testing. i believe it's had a 90% kill rate in terms of being able to knock down targets. but i do think iron dome should be funded. >> and it should be funded and replinished?
buzz as you have observed, it's a very reliable defensive medical examiner mechanism? >> it is. >> thank you. good luck. >> thank you, senator. senator ernst? >> thank you, mr. chair. general, thank you so much for being here today and for your many, many years of service and to mary paige and to your powers daughters as well. thank you to the love and support you have given. i am coming from a unique perspective here in that, general, i have had the opportunity to know you better than 25 years. closer to 30. and have had annen opportunity to watch your career, and i'm extremely impressed with the path you have chosen and has been chosen for you. i'm very excited about your opportunity to serve as our commander. while you can't assume
confirmation, i absolutely can because i will be supporting. we have talked about a number of issues today, and i'll associate myself with so many of my colleagues in the threats that we are seeing around the globe. china's influence, iran, and then you also have all of the violent extremist organizations on your plate as well. senator blumenthal's point as far as those that we have left behind in afghanistan, that remains heavy on my heart as well. so many of us are working to find opportunities to bring these folks out of afghanistan and safely into whether it's third countries or into the united states. so i look forward to your partnership there. so we have talked there so many of those issues, but beyond being tactically proficient and sound at your craft, which you are, there are other things that
commanders do need to be concerned about and that's the health and welfare of their soldiers. and we all know and understand in the community that humans are more important than hardware. and ewe exhibited that in the 82nd airborne with focusing on mental health and brain health and the checkup from the neck up. if you could talk a little bit about the importance of mental health and well being of your soldiers and what you will do to continue those types of movements. >> senator, thank you. senator, one of the areas that we're trying to look at right now in terms of mental health, we know that any time a soldier changes station, that's a high stress environment. so we do our medical professionals do a screening of full evaluation of everyone coming in right now regardless of unit and we identify those that are either moderate or high risk and able to talk to a
mental health professional that day. sometimes we can miss the transition from someone coming from one installation to another and so we start with there and make sure they have the availability of the mental health professionals. additionally, we have an ongoing effort right now whether you're an e-1 private or lieutenant general, you must talk to a behavioral specialist annually. you never know what someone is going to say behind closed doors. they might talk about challenges and issues. if that saves one life, it's worth it. >> by having every soldier and every officer do that, do you feel that takes away the stigma of having those conversations? >> 100%. when they know that individual has to go in behind there, you never know what someone is going to say. if they know i even have to go there and talk to a behavioral health specialist, that can only
help reduce the stigma. >> i appreciate that and look forward to working with you on those efforts as well. there's so many challenges that exist across the spectrum. over the horizon, i know as we spoke the other day, you'll go into the position. i'm assuming confirmation for you. but going into your position, you'll do an assessment. and i believe that you'll come back to the committee. if you need additional resources, you'll absolutely let us know. is that correct? >> yes, it is. >> we look forward to that discussion. and again, i'm going to yield back the last 30 seconds, but general, i know that you have the fortitude to move quickly and easily into this position, wholly support your confirmation. god bless you. thank you for your service. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. senator warren? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
and general, welcome to you and your family and congratulations on your nomination. i'd like to focus on one of the topics that you and i discussed when we met last week. civilian casualties. i think everyone in this room can agree that u.s. military operations kill far too many civilians. in the past two decades, the united states has killed tens of thousands of innocent people, including hundreds of women and children across a half dozen countries in the middle east and africa. now we'll likely never know the true numbers given the difficulty of accurate reporting and the pentagon's failure to fully reports of civilian harm. this has been the unfortunate reality of miitary operations despite congressional oversight,
de1350i9 watchdog groups raising alarm and despite dlting the harm and the own efforts and attempts at reform designed to improve how it protects civilians. so you have been nominated to lead the united states military operations in an aor that has seen the lions share of these casualties they destroy the lives of those affected, and that alone is reason enough for reforms. but would you also degree that these casualties harm our credibility abroad and fuel the very insurgencies that we're fighting against? >> senator, they do. >> good. you recognize this. do you want to say more about that? >> every civilian casualty is a
tragedy. if confirmed, i would look to see how i can improve upon that process. >> it's clear that we do need reforms. i'm glad that you want to focus on this. fz but instead of tackling this problem head on, the pentagon has repeatedly weakened accountability for civilian casualties. most recently, there was reporting from the "new york times" that detailed a secret of u.s. task force that used loopholes in the law to sidestep safeguards that were designed to protect against civilian casualties. the times also found that dod dismissed many reports at the assessment phase without doing basic due diligence like internet searches or searching in arabic. do you agree that any credible reports of civilian casualties
deserve the pentagon's full attention and thorough investigation? >> i do. i think the secretary of defense's new civilian harm mitigation and response plan of action he's asked to come back in 90 days from 27 january, if confirmed, i would look to participate in that to make the process better. >> good. i'm glad to hear that you're committed to full investigation. we'll see what happens with the reforms. it's clear that additional reforms are needed. itch ideas on that front. i'm sure there are others i'm not alone in this. so let me just see. i know we have a report coming out. general, if confirmed, will you commit to prioritizing reforms that will mitigate civilian casualties resulting from operations and improving accountability and transparency at the pentagon on this issue? >> i will. >> good. i really appreciate it. i want to say thank you it deserves repeating. the system is broken.
we cannot accept the deaths of innocent civilians as just an unavoidable cost of wear fare. it's long past time that dod addresses the harms that u.s. military operations have caused and implement meaningful reforms that de-emphasize lethal force and prioritize civilian lives. i have already asked president biden to incorporate these ideals into his upcoming counterterrorism review. but general, if confirmed, i think you're going to have an opportunity to set the standard for protecting innocent lives. and actually implement some real change here. i look forward to working with you. i hope we can make some improvements in this area. thank you. >> thank you, senator. let me recognize senator tillis please. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
general, thank you for being here. congratulations on your nomination. i intend to support you as well. oi i don't gamble, but i do bet from time to time, i'm certain i'm going to win it. is so i have to agree with senator ernst. you'll have strong support from this committee. i have a couple questions. one is within your current area of responsibility, but do you believe the decision to deploy elements out of fort brag to poland and to germany was a wise decision from a reassurance standpoint? >> the the mission we were given was to reassure nato allies and deter russian aggression against those al lice. so we are deploying elements of the 18th airborne and other elements to poland and germany. >> i don't know if it's been asked before, but within your future area of responsibility, do you have any concerns at all with the continued implementation of the vaccine
mandate and readiness, our troop strength? >> i don't have concerns with that right now. >> i did have a question related to what senator warren said. just more curiosity. do you have access to a body of knowledge that would say in the past year so the united states has been responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in this area of responsibility? >> senator, i'm not aware of the exact number. >> it would seem to me it would be far less than that. and one question i have is at least in some of the reports that i have seen, it appears as though isis in particular finds a way to embed itself in populations where they are putting maybe somen innocent lives in harm's way. but do you agree that tends to be a tactic of theirs and were doing everything we can to be surgical this our approach and recognizing civilians are not something that our militaries in
the business of trying to do? >> senator, in my past experiences, i have seen these isis, al qaeda, taliban to hide among the population. we do our absolute not harm civilians. >> we can always get better, and i do agree with some of senator warren's comments about how do we get better, but i also think we have to recognize that we're talking about people, particularly in afghanistan where we're concerned with their reconstitution, either isis or al qaeda. now in a breeding ground for, i think, potential attacks within that area of responsibility and within the homeland. we heard public reports of six months to a year before we could actually have a threat on u.s. interests either here or abroad. we have to continue to take that fight to them, or they're going to take it to us. would you agree with that? >> the timing i would defer to the intelligence community on the exact time because the conditions continue to change. >> i want to talk a little bit
about iran. are you familiar with the abraham accord's implementation? >> senator, i am. >> do you think that's a footprint that we should expand, and do you have any ideas on other countries that should be in the pipeline? >> senator, i think it is a very good thing. anytime we have countries talking it's lowering the temperature in the room. it also goes to economic growth and creates jobs growth in these countries where you have high unemployment in some of the arab countries. with bahrain that's a very good thing. i would defer to having to understand the reasonings behind other countries, why they are not coming forward right now, but i do think there are opportunities going forward. >> do you generally believe your job is going to be easier or harder if we just pass the cr rather than appropriate authorities? >> senator, we need accurate and predictable funding. >> what do you think you need in addition to what you already
have for our own forces with you our partners in the area of responsibility? >> senator, i can only speak on behalf of 18th airborne corps but it does affect readiness, it can affect modernization and it can affect quality of life. >> one other question just in -- not a question, just to reinforce a point made by senator blumenthal. the one thing that i hope when you move into this role that i'd like to get feedback on is the extent to which centcom can play a role in prioritizing those who want to get out of afghanistan. we succeeded in getting several out but it's only a fraction of 800 cases that in north carolina alone that we're tracking. and i believe that your engagement in the interagency activities to prioritize the most at risk and those who have had long-standing service as partners with the united states when we were in afghanistan, i
think that is a role i hope you'll take seriously and assert because you have insights, you have background. i have a lot of service members who are desperately calling our office and looking to get folks out. i hope i can get your commitment on making sure you play an active role on that. >> yes, senator. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator, thank you for your support for fort bragg. >> thank you very much, senator tillis. now let me recognize by webex senator manchin. senator, you are talking but we cannot hear you. we have a technical complication. no, we cannot hear you, senator.
do you want to recede for a moment and fix it and we'll call on someone else? we still cannot hear you, senator, so let me take the prerogative of asking if we can fix that and let me call on senator sullivan. >> mr. chairman, can i pass for senator cramer? >> absolutely. senator cramer, please. >> anything i can do to help. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general, for your service and your willingness to step into this new role. congratulations. i don't think you'll have any trouble getting the job. we've seen reports of the houthi rebels and there are some north dakota airmen there and the missiles they're firing, of
course, were designed and built in iran. do you think the houthis bought them from iran or did iran donate them to the cause? >> senator, i believe that iran does fund the missiles that go into -- >> so do we consider these attacks on our airmen to be houthi attacks or iranian attacks? and, either way, do they demand a response, do you think? >> senator, iran funds the houthis. the houthis were firing. i cannot say if they definitively were firing at american service members. going forward, i am not aware of the intelligence behind it. >> i want to spend just a minute -- and, by the way, i associate myself with several of my colleagues who have asked you about afghanistan, prioritizing, i appreciate senator tillis' request of a commitment to do everything we can to prioritize appropriately going forward, and
thank you for all of that. so i want to focus just for a minute or two on military sales and to uae. the trump administration, as you know, agreed to sell the uae some f-35s, but in may the biden administration reportedly put the sale on hold due to concerns about the uae's relationship with china. and i know these things are complicated, and, to be up front, i'm more curious than i am committed to a position on this. i really would like your views and your expertise. what are the benefits of selling uaes, some f-35s, in your view, if there are some? and then, of course, the opposite, what are the risks? >> senator, i believe the benefits are that you have a close partner that has -- gets a very capable equipment that serves as an offset to iran. >> so what's the down side, and how can we mitigate any risks? >> the down side is technology transfer that could be leak, can they safeguard the technologies
as the f-35 is an exquisite piece of military hardware. >> so can we mitigate that somehow, that concern? i share the concern, by the way. >> senator, if confirmed, that would be an area i would have to make an assessment on, but the state department and others look at this. >> so maybe just elaborate a little bit and your answers are very concise and good, i appreciate that. do countries like uae and other countries like them, do they have many options for these kind of exquisite weapons systems and particularly if the u.s. refuses to sell them? >> of the f-35, no, but there are other capabilities that i believe they have looked at in the region and from other partners. >> well, i appreciate, again, the efficiency of your answers. as i said, i'm curious. i'm trying to gain my own perspective based on a lot of other people's perspectives, but i have to say on balance i'm
concerned that we're allowing this relationship with the uae and the opportunities it presents to slip away if we don't ask more questions of people like you. and while i don't have a commitment, i certainly lean more toward trying to be the source of their exquisite weapons systems rather than somebody else and hope we can mitigate. with that i'll yield my last minute, mr. chairman. thank you. thank you, general. >> an issue with our colleagues who are trying to participate on webex, so we will recognize senator sullivan, are you ready? >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, congratulations. thanks for your service. i really think it's been exceptional and fully intend to support you.
as you and i discussed my own experience in the centcom aor, i was recalled to active duty at the end of '04 and was there as a staff officer to general abizaid until the middle of '06. so a year and a half. and -- have you had the opportunity to talk to general abizaid or other centcom commanders to get their advice prior to this hearing? >> senator, pending confirmation i plan on talking to several of them. >> good. i would strongly recommend that. general abizaid, in my view, is one of the most strategic thinkers in our military that we've had in a long, long time. one of the things i witnessed during that year and a half, huge concern, was the proliferation of efps, and, you know, we were in iraq on a regular basis. general abizaid was. i was with him during that time and saw this proliferation
starting in basra and into baghdad. can you describe very briefly what those were, what they did? >> senator, an explosively formed penetrator or efp could go through any of our military vehicles we had at the time. i lost several friends and soldiers from them. >> so you lost soldiers under your command to the efps? >> i have lost soldiers to efps, senator. >> so i don't think this is highlighted enough, general, but i'm sorry about that, that that happened to you. in 2007 then iranian ambassador to the u.n. zarif who later became foreign minister was quoted as saying the iranians did not provide any efps to anybody, iraqi shia militias, and the u.s. was lying and fabricating evidence about that. who ended up -- who do we now know supplied iraqi shia militias these efps that killed and wounded thousands of americans? >> senator, they came from iran.
>> so zarif was clearly lying? >> yes, senator. >> general, what do you think the iranians learned during that period? what's the estimate you've heard of how many were killed and wounded, best and brightest, by the way, in our country with regard to these efps that killed our soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors? >> senator, i'm not sure the exact number but i believe the number is somewhere around 400. >> 400 and several thousand wounded, correct? >> yes, senator. >> what do you think the iranians learned during that time as they were killing our troops, zarif was lying to the world, and yet there didn't seem to be any kind of retaliation from the united states? >> senator, i'm not certain what they learned from that. >> do you think it was good there was no retaliation at the time or we didn't make them pay for the deaths of americans. >> senator, i think we were fighting the insurgency at the
time. i can't presume to understand what the iranians were thinking at the time. >> let me -- i'll just give you my sense. i think they thought that they could kill americans with impunity and not pay a price. and to the contrary the price -- they didn't pay but they were actually rewarded with the jcpoa, the secretary of state john kerry negotiated with zarif, one of the many outrages under kerry's tenure to literally negotiate and almost become buddies with him. you saw this other thing kerry and zarif were talking a couple years ago where kerry was providing what looked like classified information. literally the guy with american blood on his hands to get the jcpoa. i talked to president trump about this a number of times. do you think that we were able
to regain deterrence after the united states killed the qods force leader soleimani? >> i do. >> do you agree with that strike? >> senator, i don't think any adversary should be able to kill americans with impunity given the intelligence at the time, i would have taken a strike. >> so if you're confirmed, and i hope you will be confirmed, will you commit to this committee to work hard to keep that deterrence that i think we've actually -- [ no audio ]
killed americans and doing that with impunity, your advice to the president be make sure there's retaliation so they pay a price? >> senator, my job is to weigh options. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'll have some more questions. >> thank you, mr. sullivan. the microphones are not functioning properly, but i think [ inaudible ] >> thank you, mr. chairman. a louder voice so we can make sure we are heard. general, good to see you in person. we are having technical difficulties with the rundown here to be able to ask these questions of you. i thank you for your distinguished record of service of your country. general, in november the department of defense stood up the working group. it was an initiative that i've
certainly been championing for the last few years and i believe it's absolutely vital that the u.s. remain on the cutting edge of defense technology and development and working with capable allies like israel is really paramount to that effort. so my question for you, sir, could you discuss how working in a collaborative faction and centcom allies like israel could help the united states itself stay at the forefront of defense innovation? >> senator, i believe israel has some very unique capabilities and innovation in their country. i do believe each country has unique capabilities to help the united states. >> the last few weeks the united states has announced plans to reroute $67 billion of security assistance for the lebanese armed forces to support members of the military as lebanon
grapples with severe financial crisis. i don't believe the aid package will include livelihood support payments that will go directly to troops to help them weather the extreme economic conditions being faced in their country. can you discuss what the u.s. can do to support lebanon in this time of political turmoil and more broadly why support of the lebanese armed forces is actually important to the u.s. national -- >> -- i do know from past experience our experience to the lebanese armed forces -- an organization that supports all of lebanon and can act as a counterbalance to hezbollah. they are an accountable organization, military aid provided in my experience -- >> okay, thank you. in the past we have seen continued escalation in yemen with houthi militias attacking
the uae and the saudi-led coalition continuing. what efforts -- what efforts have we been making to end this conflict and to bring a close to the world's worst humanitarian disaster -- up to this time have not succeeded. what can the u.s. and our allies do to bring an end to the war entering its eighth year? >> senator, i don't believe there's any military solution for yemen. there should be a negotiated settlement, i believe, in supporting the u.n. and our own special envoy for yemen. >> well, thank you. thank you for your answers. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator scott, please. >> thank you. thank you, chairman. general, thanks for your
service. thanks for being here. what lessons would you draw from policy and strategic decisions leading up to the deadly withdrawal of troops from afghanistan? how would you apply them in centcom? >> i've lobbied to congress to identify any lessons learned strategically the last 20 years. i believe the secretary of defense right now has an after action review ongoing. if confirmed as the centcom commander that is an area i will go and assess those lessons learned and make sure we apply them much like when i was a 2nd lieutenant. we did an action after review to find out what we can do to get better. we must learn from it. [ inaudible ] >> senator, i think areas that would have to be a pragmatic approach. if there was a threat to the homeland from isis-k of which they're a rival, an area there, and i also think on the
humanitarian crisis that's ongoing, look at ways to get humanitarian relief to the people of afghanistan that need it. maybe not necessarily through the taliban but they would have to facilitate it through the world food program, pakistan or others. >> mic, please, sir. >> it should be working. >> it's working now? much better. what is your view of israel's inclusion in centcom and where do you see new opportunities to expand cooperation between israel and our other regional partners? >> senator, i think there are significant opportunities with inclusion into the centcom. it starts with the abraham accords and the normalization of relationships between several of the countries in the aor. i think there are opportunities for others, but those are individual decisions based on that. there's areas of security cooperation between israel and other countries particularly in intergrapted air and missile defense and other security areas. >> thank you.
what do you see -- what do you think china's strategy in the middle east is? how is that completely different than ours? >> senator, china has economic interests and influence they're looking to gain in the centcom region. they have an initiative agreement with 18 of the 21 countries in centcom. they've increased their spending in the middle east by 360% over the last year. i think what we need to do is show their predatory nature of these agreements. they treat every country as if they're a client or a customer. we deal in relationships and we treat them as allies and partners. >> and what would you -- what do you think we ought to be doing to counter that? >> i think we can strengthen those partnerships and allies to show them we are still there for them. >> do you think that takes money? >> i think it takes money. i think it takes engagement. >> thank you. thank you, chairman. >> thank you, senator.
>> thank you very much, senator scott. i will recognize senator kaine, please. >> general kurilla, thank you, and congratulations on your nomination. i look forward to supporting you, just to state some facts at the outset that i don't think have gotten enough attention, and this is by way of thank you to the u.s. military regarding the evacuation of afghans. the united states military in a very difficult environment evacuated about 125,000 afghans, 50,000 or so to third countries mostly in the region, 76,000 to the united states. of the 76,000 afghans who have been evacuated to the united states, most came into virginia dulles airport or the philadelphia airport. i visited families at the dulles expo center near the airport as they were arriving. and then they were transitioned to eight military bases around the country. all of these heavily supported by the dod. three of the bases were in
virginia. as of today 68,000 of the 76,000 afghans have been resettled in communities across the united states with a multigovernment, multiagency effort, dod, dhs now the lead agency, ngos participating in significant ways so the afghans can begin a new chapter of life in the united states. i visited with afghan families in each of the three bases in virginia, quantico, fort lee and fort picket. all of those bases are now returned to their normal military operations and there's no more afghans there. last week the dod indicated the remaining 8,000 afghans would be resettled likely by the middle part of this month. it's been an incredible effort to bring 76,000 afghans here. in my visits with them, they express fear and anxiety and about the fate of loved ones in afghanistan but also deep, deep appreciation to the united states, to the u.s. military, to
the opportunity that they're being afforded here to begin a new life that's a safer life than the one they left. the burden is still on our shoulders, though, to make sure this resettlement of afghans in the united states is successful. most of the afghans in the united states are under a two-year humanitarian parole that expires at the end of two years from their arrival here. mr. chair, it is my hope as we get into the nda discussion much as in the past the committee has grappled with siv issues for afghan who is have worked in tandem with the u.s. military. the committee might explore what we could do with respect to the humanitarian parolees in the united states. we talked about this yesterday, these matters are in the jurisdiction of the judiciary committee, but it has been common for the armed services committee to grapple to support our afghan partners, and i would hope we would explore ways we could be of assistance. but the scale of the effort both on the ground in afghanistan,
tragically leading to the death of 13 troops, the injury of another four or five dozen u.s. troops, and the deaths and injuries of hundreds of afghans. i don't like to say that i can improve upon scripture but a powerful line in scripture is greater love hath no man than this that he would lay down his friends. it's greater love to lay down your life for someone you don't know. 13 troops paved the way for 125,000 people to experience freedom and more security is a powerful thing and we'll never forget their sacrifice. i want to ask you this question, does the united states have military forces in iraq right now purely to assist the iraqi government in the ongoing mission to make sure isis is defeated? >> senator, they do. >> and, in your view, is the government of iraq a strong security partner of the united states in this mission?
>> senator, the iraqi security forces are a very strong partner in this. the government of iraq currently is forming after al sadr gained a plurality of the last vote. >> is the united states at war with iraq? >> no, sir. >> i would renew my request to my colleagues the war authorization, two of them, one passed in 1991 and one in 2002 repealed since they are now a security partner and we're not at war with them. the last thing i will say, general, i would encourage along the line that senators peters asked attention to the situation in lebanon that lebanese armed forces has been a reliable partner for the united states, and that's great. i think most accounts of lebanon suggest that it is close will being on the verge of a collapsing state and that poses such significant danger in the region to israel, to the lebanese population, to other neighbors. the armed forces may be the one institution in that country where we can be a strong partner
but with other aspects of the government in or near collapse attention from centcom to that important historical partner is something i would urge. i appreciate your service and, mr. chair, i yield back. >> thank you very much, senator kaine. do you have a comment? >> i was going to thank the senator for his support for our three bases up in virginia, fort lee and fort story. >> thank you, sir. let me recognize senator blackburn, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and, general, welcome. welcome to you and your family. and thank you for the time that you spent visiting with me last week. i really do appreciate that. and we discussed china and how they're focused on getting customers and clients and the u.s. is focused on allies and relationships in the region. and i'd like for you to expand a little bit on how you're going to push back on china
particularly as we discussed last week with cyber and ai, how you're going to be able to do more with less and what is on your tick list for what you need to counter what beijing and moscow are doing. >> senator, if confirmed, again, i would have to make an assessment of each of the countries in the area and the relationships and the inroads china has made into each one of those countries. and each one, i think, would be individualized based on that. >> okay. >> exposing the predatory nature of their lend something a big part of that. i am concerned with the inroads that huawei has made as they look to do their infrastructure and we know the security concerns associated with that. >> i appreciate that and i appreciate your comments about the 18 of the 21 countries in centcom have done a bri
agreement with china. and talk a little bit about where you see that ending in military fusion and how that affects the task in front of you if confirmed. >> senator, i believe right now for china it is economic in the centcom region, although they do have their largest base outside of china just across the gulf of aden south of yemen and it is at a strategic choke point. that is very concerning. it allows them to do maintenance on some of their vessels while they're overseas. and my concern would be any expansion of that into the centcom aor if confirmed. >> and i've had the opportunity to visit our facilities and our presence in jabuti and it is of concern to me as you see how china is trying to expand in
that region. we've talked a good bit this morning about afghanistan and this committee has put a good bit of attention on that. i want to come back and finish off a couple of questions presented to you. are there any instances where you think we should be sharing intel with the taliban, and if that is done would you commit to informing us even if it's in a classified setting that that has occurred? >> looking at the specific incidents, i think it's a case-by-case basis based on that with the taliban, and i will commit to sharing incidences -- i will share it with the chairman and the oversight committees and the secretary of defense. >> for those of us on this committee we've continued to look at what happened in
afghanistan and for people like me that represent a major military post and so many of our tennesseans are with fort campbell or posted at fort campbell or they have served. and to see how this has -- how it took place, the debacle that it became, has been of tremendous concern. one other thing on that with the taliban takeover there in afghanistan, how do you assess pakistan's role in supporting the taliban in afghanistan? and what is your assessment of how they're working to help get people that we are trying to get out of afghanistan, how they're getting them out? >> senator, first off, thank you for your support for 101st airborne division at fort campbell, one of our 18 airborne units. i am not aware right now of what
pakistan is doing in my current role. i think that is an area we could work with pakistan on. i think they are concerned about the regional stability in the area and the violent extremist organizations inside of afghanistan, the taliban, pakistan, the ttp is a very violent organization that has killed tens of thousands of pakistanis, so they have a vested interest and a security interest with us on that as well as the humanitarian crisis inside afghanistan. >> thank you for your service. thank you for being here with us today to answer the questions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator blackburn. now via webex let me recognize senator manchin, please. >> can you hear me, mr. chairman? >> i can hear you, senator. >> thank you very much. general kurilla, thank you for your service and thank you for your attention and continued
service. we thank you very much. let me just ask you this. isis remains a threat and most of its activity is focused on re-establishing networks, assassinating and intimidating local leaders and security forces extending its influence throughout the eastern syria and iraq. do you assess the february 3 killing of a leader, and how do you plan to capitalize on lack of leadership if it did truly break up their network? >> senator, anytime a leader of any terrorist organization is taken out, it causes the leadership to have to figure out who will take over. it generally temorarily sets them back. then what it does it also exposes that network as they communicate and try to find the next person to replace them.
>> so intelligence is probably at a premium? >> it is, senator. >> i want to tell you, sir, i appreciate the efforts you all have made to protect all civilians. we all know, i think senator tillis and senator warren is concerned and they embed themselves in. so we know your job is difficult. we cannot allow these terrorists to go unchecked or undeterred. the top national security both for which are critical challenges centcom for decade. how do you assess the shift in resources if china and russia right now take the forefront in national security challenges facing the united states? that shift in resources would
affect centcom. >> i will have to look at the missions assigned to centcom and the risks associated with each of those missions and look at ways to mitigate the risk. one of the ways is through partnerships and allies to make up that mitigation and through technology going forward. then i would come back to the chairman and secretary of defense of any additional resources required. >> let me ask if you have any knowledge to china's talking points to partnering with the taliban and afghanistan, and, if so, how are we going to counter that? >> senator, i know the taliban has reached out to china. that was in open source. if confirmed that is an area i will have to make a deep assessment of. >> operations with centcom, in west virginia the national guard already has a strong connection with qatar through our state partnership program. i think it was one of the first in the middle east and may be
the only one, i'm not sure, and multiple units rotated through our wars with both afghanistan and iraq. 50% of the total force of c-130s operated by reserve component units and we have a large contingency in west virginia. can you tell me how you think strategically when employed the national guard is your area of responsibility? >> senator, i have observed as the centcom chief of staff our national guard and reserve provide tremendous capability into the aor and can help offset the active duty force as well. >> in your planning operations and defense and things of that and security you are using national guard and their abilities basically with your own forces? >> senator, we've used the national guard in all my experience in the middle east. >> well, let me say thank you. i appreciate very much. i yield back my time. >> i will recognize senator
hawley, please. >> general, congratulations on your nomination. thank you for being here. let me ask you about disturbing reports in "the washington post" today. the headline is documents reveal u.s. military's frustration with white house diplomats over afghanistan evacuation. "the washington post" has been able to see a 2,000-page army investigative report. this committee has not been able to see that report. it's not, i don't think, been made public. "the post" has it. their reporting begins this way. senior white house and state department officials failed to grasp the taliban's steady advance on afghanistan's capital and resisted efforts by u.s. military leaders to prepare the evacuation of embassy personnel and afghan allies weeks, weeks before kabul's fall placing american troops ordered to carry out the withdrawal in greater danger. according to sworn testimony from multiple commanders involved in the operation, general sullivan goes on to say in his sworn testimony,my opinion the national security
council to the white house was not seriously planning for an evacuation. now this report is disturbing for all kinds of reasons not the least of which it seems to directly contradict testimony this committee has heard from, among others, general milley, who said said there was no way to have planned for or anticipated the fall of kabul, no way to have anticipated that anything like this would happen and with the army report seems to say military commanders repeatedly and for weeks if not months warned the white house and other leadership that something like this was imminently foreseeable, there needed to be action taken and the white house and the state department did nothing. here's my question to you. i understand this morning that now centcom and osd have taken over this room. >> i would defer to the secretary of defense and the joint staff on that. >> so that's a no.
>> if it's in my authority i would do so if confirmed. >> if it's up to you, you would do it? >> senator, i believe it is publicly available. eif confirmed do you plan to provide to this committee in a timely manner information about the withdrawal including intelligence reports, assessments and other material that may be at centcom? >> senator, i will provide to the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs and oversight committees whatever is required. >> the last part is the only part i'm interested in, the oversight committee. you would provide to this committee intelligence reports, assessments, other information that we request on the withdrawal from afghanistan? >> senator, i will come before this committee and testify on those reports. >> that's not quite what i'm asking. i'm asking about you providing information that we directly request that may be held at centcom. would you provide for us information that may be held at centcom regarding withdrawal from afghanistan, intelligence
reports, assessments, et cetera? >> if it's within my authority to release, i would, senator. >> great, thank you. i want to say for the record this committee needs to have open public hearings on this report. we need to have open public hearings on what we've learned and what has happened in afghanistan and no more closed briefings behind closed doors that shut out the american public and the cameras that we see behind us and, frankly, this committee's scarce interest in finding out what has happened in afghanistan, i think, reflects badly on this committee and it's time for members of this committee to get serious about it. let me ask you, general, the secretary of defense has designated china as the pacing threat in the indo-pacific. can i ask you for a yes or no answer, do you agree with that assessment? >> i do, senator. >> great. if the endo pacific is the priority theater then it would follow that other theaters are by definition lower priorities, not unimportant, and that would
include the middle east, i would think. do you agree the middle east would be a lower priority theater as compared to the indo-pacific? >> for the nds that is accurate, senator. >> do you agree with that assessment? >> i do, senator. >> okay, great. the vice chairman of the joint chiefs wrote for the record, admiral grady, wrote for the record dod needs to do less in lower priority theaters so it can focus more of its scarce resources on deterring china in the indo-pacific barring an increase in the defense budget. do you agree with that assessment by the vice chairman? >> senator, i do. >> very good. let me shift to your oar. moving to improve security, you've been asked a little bit about that in earlier parts of today's hearing. it's a great example of the opportunities created by the abraham accords and i know you've testified today you
understand the possibilities there. it's an example i think centcom can support now that israel is part of your aor. if confirmed, here is my question, how would you plan to empower israel and our gulf partners to work together and strengthen deterrence at the regional level against iranian aggression? i see my time has expired. i will let you answer. >> i think i have to make an assessment to find the best method forward. i think it's by going to each individual country and making that assessment. >> thank you, senator hawley. senator duckworth, please. >> thank you. i would like to begin by disagreeing with my colleague from missouri in saying this committee has scant commitment to looking at what afghanistan and afghanistan, in fact, on a bipartisan basis this committee passed the war commission act which will look at the entire 20
years including the evacuation and also provides for equal representation, equal opportunity for the ranking member and the chairman of both the committees on foreign relations and on intelligence to appoint committee members as well as the minority and majority leaders. i don't think it can be any more fair than that. it makes it clear this is going to move forward and there's a commitment overall to look at everything that happened in afghanistan. with that said i would like to say welcome, general. thank you. i want to apologize to you for cutting our call short the other day. you were very generous. it was one of those crazy days. i want to return to our discussion talking about the fact that after decades of focusing our budget and capability on centcom we are shiftily rightly to the indo-pacific region and need to
push back against rivals as senators on both sides of the aisle have pointed out. to grow influence in the middle east as well as iran's ongoing push to develop nuclear capabilities. i was pleased to see partnerships and coalitions emphasized in your written testimony and we must integrate partners into operational planning and reinforce their capabilities as a coalition's capabilities. again, going with your pacing item, so we have to look at what our partners can do. capabilities are more than just military equipment. this is why i truly believe that engagement and exchange programs such as our international military education training imet is so critical to success in the region. what opportunities, general, do you see for partner engagement including imet to retain influence in the region and prevent maligned actors from getting a toe hold in the middle
east? >> senator, i believe imet is one of our more powerful capabilities. when we expose them to our democratic values, they understand us and they understand our society. that is very powerful in helping. they become senior leaders in their countries. it goes beyond military capability t. can include intelligence. the one commodity is our challenge in sharing every country in the centcom aor would like to do intelligence sharing while protecting sources and methods so that is an area as well. >> what reforms would help you make these programs more effective? >> i would make an assessment going into centcom. i can't give you that right now. i would have to come back and provide that to you. >> thank you, thank you. we've talked about the national
guard and the state partnership for peace program. cent command house as unique program between the national guard and the country of israel. it's run at the national guard bureau. the program allows israel to tap into the expertise across the national guard's many missions and capabilities. it provides training opportunities for multiple national guard units including those from illinois. this was reaffirmed last year and now falls under centcom. could you speak how this would pit into central command if you are confirmed? >> i would have to make an assessment of that. >> senator cornyn and i pushed for partnership between the national guard and taiwan. after reviewing my legislation the national guard bureau believes partnership with israel provides the best model with
taiwan. if confirmed, once you've had a chance to review, would you make resources available in centcom either yourself or your staff and planners to help implement a similar program between national guard and taiwan similar to the partner with israel? >> i would have to -- >> if they came to you and said can you tell us how it works with israel, would you be willing to share that information? >> absolutely. >> -- with the folks dealing with the taiwan version? >> absolutely. >> thank you. i look forward to you being confirmed and, again, i apologize for the abruptness of our call, abruptness of this, i look forward to working with you in the future. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you senator duckworth. senator kelly, please. >> general kurilla, congratulations on your none nation. thank you for being here today. you certainly have extensive
experience and have spent time in the centcom aor so i know you understand some of the challenges that await you. i notice your former boss commended your engagement on adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence calling you an early adopt err and emphasizing for central command. as chair of this committee's panel on emerging threats and capabilities leveraging ai and other autonomy technologies is something i'm focused on and we often discuss this in great power competition. i believe these capabilities will be increasingly important in regions like the middle east where we no longer have the sizable military presence and advantage that we've had in recent decades. can you elaborate on how if confirmed you would leverage artificial intelligence to
address current challenges we face in the region? >> senator, thank you for that. i believe artificial intelligence, when it enables a human can exponentially increase the capability of several of the things we do now. particularly where we're focused in the 18th airborne corps is in our targeting capability where we can take large pieces of terrain and rapidly identify hundreds of targets, prior them based on a target list that determines which ones we should strike with the resources that we have, and that then goes back into our firing solutions. that happens in seconds versus what would take hours normally or sometimes even days to be able to develop these targets, and it's doing it in real time at the edge and not tied. we do this quarterly and with
all six services participating and share that with all of them in an attempt to make all of the services better with our artificial intelligence. rising tides raise all boats. >> it would be great if you came to us with ideas what you need next, if you could think about what is ai on the battlefield look like a decade from now and let's make sure we develop the tools so it will be available. i want to move on to a couple other quick topics here. the iraqi f-16 fighter force, they paid us $2 billion for these airplanes, the arizona air national guard, 162nd fighter wing in tucson plays a very critical role in training these iraqi pilots to fly these f-16th. it is uniquely qualified to do this because of the access to ranges and unmatched flying days in southern arizona and the quad
ron has decades of experience training for national pilots. what is your perspective on the training to our combatant commanders? >> senator, anytime we can get a partner to do something that we would do, that is a good thing because it reduces the requirements and resources on us. >> and i am concerned about reports that the f-16 fleet faces the iraqi f-16 fleet faces serious maintenance issues and readiness issues. can you report back to this committee on both the status if confirmed with of the fleet and actions needed to remedy any deficits? >> yes, senator. >> and then, finally, general, as you know israel, which was once the purview of the european command is now part of central
command and you will oversee central command if confirmed. while there are a number of challenges and opportunities facing israel one concrete action we can take is to support our allies ensuring replenishment of the iron dome system which was incredibly successful in the may 2021 conflict but also has been depleted. i'm proud of the role that arizona has played in developing this technology, the technology behind the iron dome system and i believe it's important we work quickly to ensure it can remain operational. to protect israeli civilians. what is the threat to israeli if the iron dome system is not reglennished in a timely manner? >> senator, the iron dome was a very capable system. the army has batteries that are undergoing testing and evaluation. israel does face a significant
threat with hundreds of thousands of missiles both in hezbollah and hamas. i am very supportive of the iron dome. >> let's make sure we work together to ensure we replenish and return iron dome to its full capability. >> senator. >> i've been informed that senator rosen is finishing out her questioning in another committee and will shortly be available via webex. that will give me the opportunity, general, to ask one or two more questions. first, russia has a significant footprint in syria. and russia now is confronting nato in ukraine. going back to syria, how do you project their role there
together with their intentions with respect to ukraine? >> senator, i believe if russia does invade ukraine they would not hesitate to be able to act as a spoiler in syria as well. already we see it as one of the more contested electromagnetic spectrum environments we're currently operating in, so i believe there is a -- they're a competitor of ours. >> so when you assume command of centcom you'll be very sensitive to reactions within syria by the russians that may be a consequence of something happening in ukraine, is that fair? >> absolutely, senator. and, again, i don't believe russia wants to go to war with us, and i know we don't want to go to war with russia, so i would be sensitive to that. >> thank you very much. i believe senator rosen is available so now via webex let me recognize senator rosen. >> well, thank you, mr. chair. thank you, ranking member
inhofe, for holding this hearing. i would like to thank you, general kurilla, for meeting with me last week, for your lifetime of service and willingness to continue serving and leading the men and women of our armed services. as i've noted in previous hearings and as you and i have discussed iranian backed militias are targeting u.s. installations and service members in iraq and syria, iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism continues to threaten the u.s. and allied interests in the middle east and around the world and not only its ballistic missile program but support for hezbollah and the multitude of terrorist proxies. so, general, can you discuss the threat posed to our u.s. troops and our allies and how do you believe the u.s. should respond to their proliferation of attacks and how will you take on this challenge if confirmed and
what's our ability to target them. do you have everything you need? >> senator, i will not be able to make an assessment if we have everything i need unless confirmed to make that assessment. it is a big concern that are operating inside of iraq and then other elements operating inside of syria going after our service members we should -- i will always protect our people and i would take action against them if they took action against us. >> thank you. i want to build on that as we think of israel's transfer to centcom because now that israel is within centcom's area of responsibility it is my sincere hope this transfer will have greater military cooperation between the u.s. and israel through our shared goals as well as cooperation between our arab and israeli partners. general, i want to follow up on
senator king's question, if confirmed how would you leverage the abraham accords to improve defense cooperation in the region and do you have any plans to integrate the joint exercises in arab states who have signed on to the normalization agreements? >> senator, if confirmed i will make an assessment for the best ways to increase the cooperation in the region. i think only good comes out of that when they're talking. it lowers the temperature. israel brings unique capabilities with their military component they believe they can share with their arab partners in the region to increase air and missile defense, a big area based on the threat from iran. i'm a big fan of joint exercises because i believe collectively rising tides raise all boats when you make the elements train together and they get better. >> so you see a benefit and
opportunities to israel's inclusion in centcom? >> 100%, ma'am. >> and you spoke a limb bit about iranian incursion and so what is your current assessment of the ability to respond to iranian nuclear breakout and what are the contingency plans to execute to prevent an iranian nuclear weapons -- any capability? >> senator, if confirmed i would have to make an assessment of the current military capabilities for any military actions along those contingencies. >> thank you. and, of course, lots of terrorism in the region and so we have to think about our future counterterrorism operations in afghanistan, and i would ask questions in previous hearings about our ability to conduct a counterterrorism operation in afghanistan now that we no longer have boots on the ground presence and i would like to ask you a little bit
about this as well. general, if confirmed how do you plan to execute an enduring counterterrorism strategy that will address and counter the influence of violent extremist organizations in afghanistan and the region? >> senator, over the horizon counterterrorism is difficult. it's not impossible. you have to make an assessment of the actual mission and then those resources to apply against it and highlight the risk and look for ways to mitigate that risk through basing additional resources, intelligence assets and technology that can increase the effectiveness of that counter terrorism. >> thank you. i see my time is up. i will submit this for the record. i wanted you to think about the collapse of the afghan government and how it will affect isis, al qaeda, iraq and the arabian peninsula. i will submit for the record. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator rosen.
general, let me thank you and your family for a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service to the army and to the nation. i think you've persuaded all of us, i suspect, that you have the character, the experience and the judgment to lead centcom. i look forward to your confirmation. with that i will adjourn the hearing. >> thank you, chairman.
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