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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 21, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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>> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. >> well, on that day, the library here in washington, d.c., which has the largest collection of shakespeare documents and memorabilia in the world will be hosting an event commemorating his life and his impact on our
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literature, language, politics and history. "book tv" will be covering that event. it begins at noon eastern time. afterwards we'll have a live nationwide call-in with shakespeare scholars so you can join in the conversation as well. henry folger was the president of the standard oil company and a shakespeare buff so he and his wife spent many years and many dollars collecting shakespeare artifacts, documents, memorabilia. it's the world's largest collection of shacks peer-related documents. so join us on saturday, april 23. we'll be live beginning at noon from the folger library for 400 years of shakespeare on "book tv." >> now, agriculture secretary tom vilsack, he sits down with us to talk about the issue of hunger and food insecurity that affects many american families. former iowa governor discusses
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the impact of hunger, child nutrition and the challenges facing rural communities. from the brookings institute, this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning. i'm bob ruben and my sole assignment is to welcome all of you. today's hamilton project discussion of food security. having said that, let me make two comments. number one, the hamilton project began about 10 years ago, and our purposes from the beginning would support policy development around the country and to promote purpose in policy dialogue. and i think those purposes, policy development and most
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particularly seriousness of purpose in policy dialogue, have become ever more important as the policy -- what goes for pie is i dialogue is descended ever more into ideology, into politics and into partisanship. and our commitment is to try to do our little part in keeping alive that seriousness of purpose. secondly from the beginning, our bedrock objectives with respect to economic policy have been growth. broad base benefits and growth and economic security and it's our view they are interdependent and that they can reinforce each other. in that context, food insecurity in this the richest country in the world is not only morally wrong but it is also a serious impediment to economic growth. sufficient nutrition is a requisite for productivity and for productive engagement in
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the work force and therefore for realizing the full productivity potential of our economy. and when food insecurity affects children, which as you'll see in the hamilton project's facts, which we handed out as you came in, is happening far too frequently in this country. we're reducing the prospects for our economy for decades ahead as well as, i said earlier, being involved with a morally outrageous situation for this the richest country in the world. today's discussion is about the startling number of people who are still experiencing food insecurity in america today, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, snap, which is designed, as you well know, to address this issue, and recommended policy changes to make that program more effective. let me recognize diane, the
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director of the hamilton project, on leave from northwestern university to head r project, to direct our project. kristen mcintosh and ryan nunn for the hamilton project for the work they have done in creating the intellectual construct of this meeting and also developing logistics for our meeting. we will begin with diane framing the discussion and also discussing the hamilton fact sheet, which i mentioned before, which i think you'll find both interesting and deeply troubling in terms of the magnitude of the problem this country is experiencing, in terms of food insecurity. and then we'll turn to an exchange between our two distinguished discussants, tom vilsack, the outstanding secretary of agriculture, through both terms of president obama's administration. and the former govern of the
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state of ohio -- of iowa -- rather. ohio is a nice state too. i used to think so. [laughter] anyway. iowa is a nice state too. anyways, governor of the state of iowa. and bob greenstein, founder and president of the center on budget and policy priorities. bob is that unusual person who is both a federal reservent advocate for policies to -- fervant advocate for policies that help the poor and analyst. i first began to know bob during the clinton administration when they said this is man who cares enormously about the poor and understands the pragmatics of our budget and is serious about dealing with both. i thank them for joining us and i greatly look forward to this discussion. diane, the program is yours. diane: thank you. i'd like to also welcome you to program on's project
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for food insecurities and how to alleviate. i want to talk about potential solutions and this comes from 12 facts about food security and snap released today by the hamilton project. in 2014, one in seven households were food insecure. meaning that at some point during the year they had difficulty providing enough food for all of their members due to a lack of resources. 15 million children or one in five children in the united states lived in food insecure households. even more troubling, in 2014, one in 20 households experience very low food insecurity many they suffered one or more periods during the year in which food intake of households were reduced or normal eating patterns were disrupted because of lack of money for food. the rate of food insecurity across children, adults or the elderly, all three spiked during the great recision and they remain elevated today.
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in every state, a higher share of children than adults live in food insecure households. as you can see from this map, in every state, more than one in 10 children lived in a food insecure households. in nine states, the share is one in four children living in a food insecure household. let me tell you more about the characteristics of these food insecure households with children. the vast majority of food insecure households with children are working households. 85% of households with children who reported food insecurity also reported at least one earner in 2014. also, note that these food insecure households are slightly more likely to be headed by a married couple than by a single mother. another fact about food insecure households is that households with a teenager are more likely to suffer food insecurity. what many parents know from their own experience is also true, teenagers eat more and
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they cost more to feed. it's true. spending on food increases when there's a teenager in the house. unfortunately, food assistance benefits do not increase commensurately. snap benefits don't change and in fact, teenagers are less likely to participate in school meals programs. this adds up to significantly higher rates of both food insecurity and very low food security status among households with teenagers. furthermore, the snapshot view, that annual rate of food insecurity that i started with, masks the extent of the problem because many families cycle in and out of food insecurity across consecutive years. when we compare households that are food insecure this year to the share that were food insecure this year or last year, the hamilton project cal uelates 40% more households from food insecure at one point across a two-year period than were food insecure this year. please note that even temporary periods of food insecurity may cause lasting negative impacts on children.
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furthermore, troublingly, the rate of food insecurity is in the higher income distribution than you think. fewer have annual incomes that are more than twice the poverty line. that is more than $48,000 a year for a family of four. this is generally above the reach of social safety net programs like snap, subsidized school meals and the earned income tax credit. another third of food insecure households have incomes between one and two times the poverty line. note here in the light green that very low food security status, when families experience hunger or things related to that, shown in the light green here is much more concentrated among the very poor. fortunately a robust social safety net can help alleviate these problems. in 2012, which is the most recent year available, after adjusting for survey under reporting we found that snap lift 10 million people out of poverty, including nearly five million children. this impact is nearly
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equivalent to the combined -- impact of the eitc and the child tax credit. researchers are just starting to understand the magnitude of the importance of these programs. especially on the long-term well-being of children. in a study published this month in the american economic review my co-authors and i followed the cohorts that were children when snap, then called the food stamp program, was originally introduced as part of the war on poverty. because the program was rolled out on a county by county basis, over a relatively long period of time, we can compare otherwise similar children living in neighboring counties within the same state, and at different ages who differed in their access to the program. then we can trace the impact of access to this program across the children's life span now that they're adults. we find that children who had access to the then food stamp program, today's snap, were 18 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school. in adulthood, those with childhood access were
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healthier, as measured by their likelihood being obese, having diabetes and heart disease and related measures. women in particular saw improvements from the program with an increase in their adult economic outcomes, including employment, earnings and related measures. as a result, we argue that snap should be thought of as an investment in children and not merely charity. there are many things that we can do to improve the reach of our existing food support programs. i look forward to the conversation deep bob greenstein and secretary vilsack that will explore some of these. for example, there are many children who are food insecure and are eligible for school meals, w.i.c. and snap but for some reason are not participating. we also have evidence that increases in benefits can substantially benefit -- impact food security. for example, it's long been known that children's food insecurity and very low food security status spikes when school is not in session. the department of agriculture
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recently fielded a pilot program with an exceptionally strong research design component to test how additional summer feeding benefits would impact food insecurity. the results are important and they are large. a $60 monthly food voucher over the summer reduced food insecurity among children by 20% and very low food security status by 30%. finally, evidence also shows that snap improves the broader financial well-being of households, not only reducing their food insecurity but by shoring up their resources available for food. it reduces the likelihood that a household will fall behind on major expenses like housing or utilities. households are less likely to skip a needed trip to the doctor when they have access to snap. so now that the stage is set, i'm going to invite bob greenstein and secretary vilsack to the stage for their important conversations on policies to alleviate food insecurity. a quick housekeeping note. under your chairs you'll find
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note cards. at the end we'll open it up to questions and answers, but the way we do questions and answers at the hamilton project is we'll have people walking up and down the aisle and you can write your question down on a note card. ledgiblely if you can swing that. and we'll hand them to the moderator and he'll sift through and ask questions. secretary, bob. welcome. bob: good morning, everybody.
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i want to thank hamilton for having a forum on this very important topic, and there are so many interesting aspects of this. mr. secretary, i want to dig right in. i would like to start by asking you a little bit about what you see as the role of the secretary of agriculture with respect to these programs and these issues. et me give a little preface. i remember when i came to washington in the early 1970's, the secretary of agriculture was earl butts. some people in the room obviously remember him. i had the honor of serving in the food and nutrition service in the carter administration. the secretary was bob erlein, a really terrific guy. but during the 40-plus years i have followed this, the pattern has been that the secretary is immersed in agriculture policy and for most secretaries, the food assistance programs are
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often aside, secretaryary or they're tirtiary. bob vergland was different in that regard but you, mr. secretary, for me you have broken the mold. i have never seen a secretary of agriculture for whom food assistance, hunger, food security, insecurity has been a central as it's been for you. could you talk a little bit about how you see within the department, for you as the secretary, the importance of these programs and the issue of food insecurity? secretary vilsack: i think there's a personal reason for this and then there's a policy reason. the personal reason is when you start out life as i did in an orphanage, the one thing you know about yourself is that you are either well-fed or not well-fed and i can tell you i have a picture when i was adopted of a very well-fed child so i know that in the orphanage i was well taken care
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of. i know there are a lot of kids who are struggling and families especially in rural areas. rural poverty among children is higher than you would expect. one out of four rural kids live in an impoverished home and it's the responsibility of the department of agriculture to take care of folks, of children and of folks in rural area. it's a large part of our budget so clearly we want to make sure that it's operating properly and functioned the way it should, and unfortunately in today's world, these programs come under attack. they get mischaracterized. the people who are taking advantage and are benefited from these programs are often demonized and i see it as my responsibility to make sure that the american public understands precisely who it is that's getting these benefits and why. and how it benefits just the families receiving snap but all of you. i think bob ruben alluded to the fact, this is about building a productive economy. hungry kids aren't going to be
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learning as well as they should. they're not going to be well prepared for the competitive economy that they're going to grow up in. the reality is that families that are struggling with food insecurity have to make very difficult choices, and it impacts the future of kids and it impacts the future of this country. so when you combine that aspect with our school lunch program where we're trying to improve the quality and nutritional value of the school lunch program so our kids gets well-fed, not just fed but well-fed, it's an important responsibility for the department of agriculture and for the person that's in charge of that department. so from a personal reason, from a policy reason, from a budget reason it makes sense to pay attention to. in this climate in particular, it does require a series of champions to make sure the american public understands precisely how they benefit and why we have these programs. bob: you've particularly been a champion of improving access to the programs by poor people who
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are eligible for them but have been left out of them. under your tenure as secretary, the percentage of people eligible for snap who actually receive it is at the highest level in the program. 80% now of -- secretary vilsack: 85%. bob: 85%. and in the child nutritional front with eligibility, i think your latest innovation is working with states to use medicaid data to -- as well as snap data to identify children eligible for free or reduced price school meals who aren't getting to. could you talk a little bit about the emphasis you have placed on improving access? secretary vilsack: well, when we first started this process we took a look at how the states were administering the snap program. the reality is this is a partnership between the federal government and state governments. the states have the responsibility to administer the program. some states did a better job than others and we saw some states where the participation rate was in the low 50%, which
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meant that nearly 50% eligible people in a state were not getting the benefits they were entitled to receive. and the consequences for their families were pretty dire. so we started a concerted effort to make sure that people understood at the state level their responsibility to make it easy for people to apply, make it easy for people to understand their benefits. we started to provide information in spanish, multiple languages. and we saw over time with some pressure on some individual governors that we saw a spike from 72% overall participation to 85%. the one place, bob, where we have not yet figured out how to crack the nut is with our senior citizens and the reality is the participation rate there is only 41%. and i think a lot of -- >> you can see the rest of this hearing on our website, we will leave this here and go now to massachusetts senator elizabeth warren. she's delivering the key note
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address at the color of wealth summit. hosted by the global of center policy solutions. senator warren: i'm still waiting, if i'm going to be a superhero, i want that lasso of truth, right? that's the part of really want. maybe that and the invisible airplane. maybe that will make it work. thank you very much. thank you for the wonderful introduction. thank you for this. i'm so delighted to have a chance to be able to talk with you today. i want to talk to you about something that i talk about a lot. i talk a lot about what has happened to america's middle class, and i talk about how america built a great middle class and the very compressed version of this store see is that coming out of the great depression, america invested in our people. we put more money into education so that more kids would have opportunities. we put more money into infrastructure like roads and
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bridges and power so that if someone wanted to start a small business or expand a business, all of the basics were already in place. we put more money into research so that we could build great jobs out of these new inventions. and it worked. from the 1930's to the early 1980's, g.d.p. keeps going up and the key is that wages went up right along with it for most americans and that's kind of the fundamental story about the building of america's middle class. but there is a dark underbelly to this story. median family income was growing for both white families and african-american families, but african-american incomes were only a fraction of white incomes. in the mid 1950's, the median income for african-american families was just a little more than half the median income for
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white families. and the problem went far beyond income alone. just take a look at housing. for most of america, i mean most of america -- everybody not quite at the top or exactly at the bottom -- for most of america, buying a home is the number one way to buy wealth. it is the retirement plan. pay off the home and live on social security. it is the college plan. if you need to borrow against the house. it is emergency savings. it's the inheritance to give the kids and the grandkids so the next generation gets a boost. it is the economic foundation of a secure foot hold in the middle class. and for much of the 20th century, that's how it worked for generation after generation of white americans. but not for black americans.
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entire legal structures were built to prevent african-americans from building economic security through homeownership. segregation, ed land contracts so that coming out of the great depression america built a middle class but systematic discrimination kept most african-american families from being part of it. the civil rights movement of the 1960's was also an economic movement. during the 1960's and the 1970's, there was some progress in closing the racial wealth gap, but then during the reagan ears of the 1980's, that gap exploded. the wealth 2009, gap between black families and white families tripled. think about what that means.
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if things weren't already bad enough by then, the crash of 2008 made them worse. the housing collapse destroyed trillions of dollars in family wealth across this country, but the crash hit african-american families like a punch in the gut. because middle-class black families' wealth was disproportionately concentrated in homeownership, these families were hit harder by the housing collapse, but they also got hit harder because of discriminatory lending practices. and i just want to say that again and underline it. discriminatory lending practices in the 21st century. we're not talking about a long time ago. we're talking about now in this country. recently several big banks and other mortgage lenders paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines admitting that they
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illegally steered black and latino borrowers into more expensive mortgages and white -- than white borrowers who had essentially the same credit. tom perez, who at the time was the assistant attorney general for civil rights, called it the racial surtax and it hurt because during the crash white households lost on average 11% of their wealth. now, make no mistake, losing 11% of your wealth in one crash, it hurts. it hurts bad. but black households lost over 30% of their wealth, and that is catastrophic. in 2013, the median wealth of white households was 13 times that of black households. and it's still happening. last year the national fair
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housing alliance filed a discrimination complaint against real estate agents in mississippi after an investigation showed that those agents consistently steered white buyers away from interracial neighborhoods and black buyers away from affluent ones. another investigation showed similar results in multiple cities across our nation. and in massachusetts, a recent study found that african-americans and latinos were much more likely to be rejected for a mortgage than whites even when they had similar income levels. these discriminatory practices have their intended effect. middle-class african-americans and latinos are much more likely than whites to live in lower income neighborhoods. this means that the children of middle-class african-american and latino parents are more likely to be stuck in underresourced schools and in
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areas with higher crime rates. another way that wealth is stripped out of our communities of color is through predatory practices that target those who already live on the margins of the mainstream financial system. i want you to think about one part of this. many americans use traditional banks and credit unions to cash their checks, to pay their bills, to borrow money. but for millions more, traditional banking is essentially closed off. for some the problem is $100 minimum balance to open a checking account and that's not easy to get an ease -- and easy to maintain. for others, access gets harder because there's simply fewer banks nearby. data show that big banks are closing branches in communities with median incomes below $50,000 at the same time that they are opening branches in communities with median incomes
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above $100,000. without access to mainstream banks, millions of families turn to check cashers, payday lenders, title loan outfits, and the costs can be crushing. the average family that relies on alternative financial ervices spends an average of $2,412 a year, about 10% of their income, just on fees and interest in the financial services system. think about that. just to put that in context, the typical family spends about 10% of its income on food. so these are families who are spending as much on just access to pay your bills and cash your checks and get a small dollar
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loan from time to time as they spend on food. why? because they can't find a way to use the traditional banking services. now, for those that end up with payday loans, the costs can spiral out of control. a single loan can quickly become a cycle of debt after debt after debt, fee after fee after fee. title loans can be just as bad but they add the extra pain of losing the car and losing the way to be able to get to work. the business model for many of these lenders are simply to trap people, ensnare families that cannot build enough of a financial cushion to weather the ups and downs. and that trap makes it sure that they will never be able to build that cushion. so how does this happen? well, it happens in part
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because of deliberate policy choices that are made right here in washington, d.c. , deliver policy choices that favor those with money and power. the choice to leash up the financial cops, right? so the financial institutions are turned loose. the choice to bail out the big banks while families suffered. the choice to spend our tax dollars on subsidies for big oil and tax breaks for the wealthiest americans instead of investing in economic development in our communities and building more opportunities for hardworking families. one consequence of these oices is that 90% of america sees virtually no wage growth. for african-americans who were so far behind in the early part
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of the 20th century who got knocked down again in the 1980's, who got hit so hard by he 2008 crash, that means that african-american families have been hit hard once again. and for their families. it is up to us to take the actions necessary, to reduce unemployment, to end wage stagnation, to close the income gap between white and black families. and i know that at this conference there will be a lot of innovative suggestions, a lot of good ideas that people are going to talk about but i am not going to leave this stage without putting three on the table. three things we can do right now. places where abuses are rampant
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and too few regulators are paying attention. our first step should be to come down hard on predatory practices that allow financial institutions to systematically strip wealth out of communities of color. can i have an amen on that? [applause] senator warren: there we go. one of the ugly consequences of bank deregulation was that there was no cop on the beat when too many financial institutions figured out that they could make great money by tricking families, by trapping families and by defrauding families. now we have a consumer financial protection bureau. whooo! we do. and they have already forced the biggest banks in this country to return -- they've been only up and running, think about this, four years -- to return more than $11 billion directly to people who were
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cheated. they enforce the fair credit laws. they will soon have rules out on payday lending, and they are already working hard to try to clean up some of the worst credit markets. this should matter big time for black families, for latino families, for any families that are repeatedly and ystematically cheated. and it certainly should matter for businesses. a study just released here at the center for global policy solutions found that right now $1.1 a is losing out on million -- 1.1 million minority owned businesses because of past and present discrimination. this includes discrimination against entrepreneurs of color -- btaining the need they
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they need to launch new businesses. the cfpb is a cop that watches payday lenders. that kind of cop is make a huge difference to families and to communities, but i know you're going to be surprised by this. he banks don't like the cop. and they are lobbying washington hard to try to get rid of that cop, to try to rein in that cop, to try to make that cop not get out there and do the job that needs to be done. we need to fight to keep the c.f.b. cops strong and independent. that's my first ask. we got to be able there to fight for the agency that's out there to fight for our families. [applause] financial services, this is the area that i spend a lot of time in. we must reaffirm our commitment to the community reinvestment act. we must reaffirm our commitment to hold banks accountable when
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they don't meet those obligations. look at it this way. we give banks all sorts of special privileges and what we ask for in return is that they will serve communities. the american people are holding up our end of the bargain, but for too long many banks have not been holding up their end d that has got to stop and force the community reinvestment act. yep. that's the second one. and just one more before i get out of here and that is, it is time for the federal government to make real investments in communities of color. dedicate more federal money to affordable housing programs and public transit, invest in education so that every child, every child has a real shot at graduating with the skills they
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need to get a decent job or go on to college. k-12 education should mean that funding in all public schools is fair and equitable and that our teachers and school leaders are supported and well-trained and motivated to help our kids prepare to succeed. no student should get a second-class education because she lives in a low-income neighborhood. so that's it for me on this. [applause] this government works great for the rich and the powerful. it works really well for anyone who can hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers. but it is not working so well for the rest of america. it is time to make the big changes that will build an
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economy that works for working families. not one that is just rigged for the wealthy. we need to make choices that put working people and families first. we need to make choices that aim toward a better future for our children. we need to make choices that reflect our deepest values as americans, and we need to make sure that every step along the way communities of color are at the table when decisions are made. not as tokens so someone can check the diversity box but as equal partners in the decisions that affect the direction of this country. [applause] i'm glad that you are here today. i wish i could stay and be part of every part of this and be in every one of these arguments, but i just want to say, it is
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good that you come together. it is good that we magnify each other's voices because these are hard fights. but it has become clear to me in the time i have been in washington, you don't get what you don't fight for. so it is good to be your partners. we're going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in this fight until we win. we're going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder until all of our children have an equal opportunity to succeed. thank you. thank you very much. good to see you all. thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit] >> this month we showcase our tudent cam winner.
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it's a video documentary competition for middle and high school students. this year's theme is "road to the white house" and students were asked -- what issues do you want presidential candidates to discuss. one of our second prize high school central winners is from jenks, oklahoma. easten dennis, an 11th grader at jenks high school, want presidential candidates to discuss mental illness in his video tiled "before the fall: a eason for prevention in mental health care." >> last year i spent six months making a short film about michael stick who fatally stabbed his mother. i -- he would go to a mental health care facility and not prison. as i worked on this project, i quickly learned there were many other cases like the sticks family. >> this has been the bloody summer of 2015. and although these are the
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instance that get the headlines, it is a tiny fraction of the tragedy that occurs in the area of mental illness that is untreated. >> mental illness is actually much more common than many people realize. >> typically what we say is it affects one out of four people. people that are in treatment or unrecognizable because they look just about anybody else. have out of four people mental illness. it would be you, you -- you with the weird teeth. actually, that whole row isn't right. that's not good. >> so sibs mental illness affects so many people, shouldn't there be an effective system in place to treat it? >> the condition of mental health care actually varies a lot from state to state because individual state governments are the ones that decide things such as funding for mental
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health care in their states. so today i visited the state capitol in oklahoma city to attend a budget hearing for the oklahoma department on mental health and substance abuse services to see what was going on with my state department for mental health care. >> [inaudible] > 60% of oklahoma is struggling with with severe mental illness wasn't getting the help they need. it accounts for 30% of the disability costs our businesses have to come up with every year. these are the biggest public health issues facing our state. >> it's not just oklahoma. most states just don't give much toward taking care of the mentally ill. >> so what are the issues that keep us from having an effective treatment system in place? what do you feel like are the main issues with the way that
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mental illness is treated right now? >> do you have a couple hours? i could go on a list of them. >> oh, i wish i had the answer to that question and then we could fix it. >> at the state budget hearing that i sat in on, commissioner white spoke on what some of these issues actually are. >> the problem that we have is that the door to get into the system is so narrow, that there are 2/3 of oklahomans standing on the outside of the door who need help and only a third of the oklahomans inside the door who need help. >> people contact us and they're not sure where to turn. >> insurance in the past have not paid well for mental health services. so it's more out of pocket expense for most people and it's not cheap. >> for those who get services, the outcomes are really good. the problem is we don't let enough people through the front door to get the help that they need. >> my 18th birthday is in the summer of 2016 which means that i'm going to get to vote in the 2016 general election. and i'm looking for a candidate
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who's going to address this issue. so i did some research and i prepared a presentation of all the different candidates' plans to address mental health. the only time it has even been mentioned by any candidate has been a way to dodge discussions on gun control. >> this isn't guns. this is really about mental illness. >> in many shootings, we have people who have mental disturbances. >> do we need to do a better job in mental health, you bet there is? >> it's nothing like a mass shooting for people to spark an interest in mental health. governor huckabee's state got a grade of d-minus while he was in office. and you can't lecture people on something you got a d-minus in. it's like passing a class on proper english class saying we have to thunk better on how we word stuff. >> so if mental illness is such a big issue, why is it not being addressed effectively? > it's still very stigmatized.
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>> if i walked up to you like this, you'd likely understand that i had a physical impairment and wouldn't think that there's anything wrong with me as a person. but if i walked to you like this and were suffering from a mental illness, you might not understand that i'm still suffering from something that's outside of my control and you could easily misinterpret it as being in a bad mood or having a character flaw. >> i think stigma is a word that is lacking. prestigious and discrimination, now, those are words getting at the truth. >> the other reason that mental illness goes unaddressed is the fact it would lead to more costs to taxpayers. what many people don't realize is that mental illness will wind up costing us money no matter what. unfortunately, if you're currently in a facility receiving treatment for mental illness, the odds are you're probably dressed like this. >> our jails and prisons are a
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main place where you find mentally ill people. >> this is the population people don't care about and as a result there are no resources to care for them. i have 2,500, 2,800 people with mental illness in my jail today. you look at their background, they have been here 50, 60, we have some that's been here 400 times. >> they are the new islands? >> yes. >> let me put it like this, in my home state, the average cost of preventive treatment annually per person is about $2,000. that's the cost of one c-span second prize award plus the fan favorite award. however, the average annual cost of incarcerating somebody is about $19,000. you'd have to win the c-span grand prize four times in a row in order to make that much money. >> it's a shame. the outcomes are terrible. we have to change. >> we're really, really, really
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good of drowning people in a river. we don't seem to be allocating many resources in keeping them from falling in the river in the first place. >> presidential candidates, this is an issue that affects lots of americans and it's one we can't keep ignoring with us having more tragedies and costs to the taxpayers. we need to be allocating more money for mental health resources and educating people on the reality of mental illness. let's do something about this. >> to watch all of the prize winning documentries in this year's student cam competition, isit >> the republican national committee is holding their spring meeting this week. we had live coverage earlier today on c-span. the rules committee of the r.n.c. met and "the hill" reports this afternoon that the rules committee chose to punt on how a presidential nominee is chosen in a contested convention. avoiding a high-profile battle
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to simplify the rules, they rallied behind the president saying no changes should be made before the july convention. the committee adjourned just a an hour after it started without making changes, including one that would make t more difficult for them to -- committee members warned against against provoking the ire of voters by suggesting rules changes just months before republicans meet for their convention in cleveland. you can read the rest of that story at and we will show you the rules committee hearing tonight on c-span beginning at 8:00 eastern. and now a confirmation hearing held by the senate arms service committee. we see there senator john mccain, chair of the committee. the top democrat on the panel is jack reed. nd general lori robinson has
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been nominated to head u.s. northern command and the north american aerospace defense command. this is just over two hours. senator mccain: good morning. the senate armed services committee is meeting for the confirmation of general kurt cisscaparrotti scaparrotti to be supreme allied commander europe. and lori robinson to be command of northern command and command of north american aerospace defense command. we congratulate both of you on your nominations. we thank you for your decades of distinguished service to our nation and for your willingness to serve once again.
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of course, we know today would not be possible without the support and sacrifice of your family and friends. some of whom are with us this morning, as is our tradition, we hope you will take the opportunity to introduce your family joining you today. general scaparrotti, you seek to lead a command very different from the one your predecessor, general breedlove, inherited just three years ago. when vladimir putin inveigheded ukraine and annexed crimea, dismantling a sovereign nation for the first time in seven decades, general breedlove led with clarity and purpose. he pushed uconn and nato to address the strategic reality we face in europe. that will be the urgent and unfinished task left to you, general scaparrotti, if confirmed. over the past two years, vladimir putin has been learning from bloody experience n ukraine and syria that
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military adventurism pays, that diplomacy can be manipulated to serve his strategic ambitions and that the worst refugee crisis since world war ii can be weaponized to divide the west and weaken its resolve. the only deterrence that we seem to be establishing is over ourselves. indeed, two years after russia infaded ukraine and annexed crimea, the administration is still not provided ukrainian forces with legal assistance they need to defend themselves and which the congress' authorized for fear of, quote, provoking russia. this fear of escalation only encourages the kind of aggressive and dangerous behavior we saw last week when russian fighter jets conducted simulated attacks within 30 feet of a u.s. navy destroyer in international waters and performed dangerous maneuvers within 50 feet of a u.s. surveillance aircraft in international airspace.
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the european reassurance initiative is a positive step -- first step to re-establishing deterrence in europe but it's just that, a first step. russia is building an advanced anti-access denial area to the eastern mediterranean. russian submarine activity in the north atlantic and the mediterranean is at the highest level since the cold war. russia's military modernization and expanding operations demand a comprehensive review of u.s. force posture in europe, and the resources necessary to support it. but a strong response to vladimir putin's aggression cannot come from america alone. with a flood of refugees pouring across its borders, nato has to step up. our nato allies not only need to reverse declining defense budgets and honor their pledge to reach the 2% target within a decade, they must also invest in critical military
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capabilities that further alliance interoperability. a strong nato is in america's national security interest. nowhere has that been clearer than in afghanistan. our allies have sacrificed blood and treasure fighting alongside us for 15 years. now the balance of our shared mission and indeed the fate of afghanistan hangs in the balance. the president has announced he intends to reduce u.s. forces in afghanistan from the current level of 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of the year. such reduction will have profound consequences, especially the end of the u.s. trained -- train, advise and assist mission and the highest levels of the afghan military. this is at the same time isil is on the battlefield, al qaeda is resurgent and the taliban is on the offensive. just this week, the taliban conducted a suicide bombing in
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kabul that killed over 60 people and wounded more than 300, most of whom were civilians, including women and children. the president has a decision to make. maintain or increase the current level of u.s. troops given conditions on the ground or continue with a calendar base withdrawal? the right answer is clear, but whatever his decision, the president needs to make it as soon as possible. the uncertainty surrounding america's commitment to afghanistan discourages our allies and encourages our enemies. nato's force generation conference is in june and the nato summit in warsaw is in july. at stake is whether nato forces will remain in western and northern afghanistan or whether those areas will be ceded to the influence of iran or criminal drug rings. have no doubt, nato will follow america's lead on troops in afghanistan. it's up to the president of the united states to show that
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leadership. general robinson, the committee looks forward to hearing your assessment of the threats the u.s. homeland that it is tasked to defend, especially the development of advanced missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads by russia, iran and north korea. we'll be interested to hear your views on the importance of the u.s.-mexico security relationship. heroin, largely produced in mexico, continues to ravage communities across our nation and demands a renewed effort to combat this scourge, both in our streets and at its source. we must reckon with the fundamental truth, that the real driver of drug trafficking is demand for drugs here at home. and while it is clear the mexican government must do more within its borders, our government needs to finally get serious about border security. as former southcomm commander general kelly recently testified about our southern border, and i quote, the border
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is, if not wide open, then certainly open enough to get what the demand requires inside of the country. while border security is ultimately the responsibility of the department of homeland security, i'm deeply concerned about the lack of coordination between d.o.d. and d.h.s. along the border. during a recent visit i made in sierra visa, arizona, i observed the army conducting training missions with the u.a.v. fleet. despite the aircrews flying along the border, the training missions were not being coordinated with the department of homeland security to survail the border for drug trafficking activities. this is unacceptable. not only does military training in areas along the border benefit military readiness by providing realistic training in a real world operationally relevant environment it can provide a vital secondary benefit to d.h.s. counterdrug
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and border security operations by increasing situational awareness. d.o.d. and d.h.s. should be working to ensure training missions for u.a.v. squadrons, ground sensor platoons and other units are fully integrated. general robinson, i look forward to hearing your views on how northcomm can contribute to enhancing international -- interagency cooperation along our borders. senator reed. senator reed: i want to thank both of them for their extraordinary service to the nation and recognize your families that served along with you. i've had the privilege of knowing cindy scaparrotti for a number of years. thank you, cindy. general robinson, your father was a career pilot. and your husband was born in woonsocket, rhode island, so you already got some momentum behind your nomination. thank you. the nominees who before us today has an impressive record. general scaparrotti is
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commander of the united nations command, united states force career. previously served as director of the joint staff commander. international security assistance force. on and on. including command of the 82nd airborne division. general robinson has been commander now of the air component of the u.s. pacific command. she has been vice commander of air comm of that command and a list of other important assignments so thank you. general scaparrotti, if confirmed you'll be command of the european command. you'll be asked to consider a diverse array of challenges in the u.n. security environment, including flows emanating from the conflicts in the middle east, north africa, the ongoing refugee crisis and the potential stabilizing effects and aggressive behavior in russia, which the chairman has very accurately and thoughtfully pointed out. ou will see a shift in europe.
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along with our nato partners, we will be adding investments to deter russian activities. the committee looks forward to your views on these and other complex issues. you'll also continue the important work that ucomm is doing with the ukrainian government to strengthen ukraine's capacity to defend itself. the committee would benefit again from your views in this regard. and general robinson, if confirmed, your job will comprise defending the homeland which ultimately is the most important mission we have. including against such threats as cruise and ballistic missiles. you'll have to support authorities in this mission. not only in terms of potential conflict but also natural disasters which affect the country. and you'll have to maintain close security ties with our neighbors, again, as the chairman pointed out, mexico in particular. and you will also be commander
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of norad. binational command with canada which is a mission to provide aerospace warning, control and maritime warning at a time when the arctic is becoming a rapidly another area of operational activities for the russians and for ourselves and for many others. . mr. mccain: as is the custom of this committee, we need to ask some formal questions for the witnesses and just respond by yes or no if you choose to. in order to exercise its legislative and oversight responsibilities important to this committee and other appropriate committees of the congress are able to receive testimony, briefings and other communications of information. have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest? do you agree when asked to give
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your personal views even if these views differ from the administration in power? have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process? will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications, including questions for the record and hearings? will you corporate in president ghani: witnesses and briefings in response to congressional requests? will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for heir testimony or briefings? do you agree to come to this committee? do you agree to provide documents, including copy of electronic forms of communications in a timely manner when requested or to consult with a committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or can he nible in providing such -- denial in providing such documents? general robinson, we will begin with you. welcome. ms. robinson: thank you, sir.
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good morning. i am honored to meet with you today as the president's nominee to commander of the united states northern command and north american aerospace defense command. i'd like to thank probe for nominating me, as -- president obama for nominating me as well as the secretaries for the trust they've played -- placed in me. it's my privilege to be sitting next to my dear friend and colleague, an incredible leader. it has been an honor to work with him in the pacific these last 18 months. i also wish to thank my good friend for his outstanding leadership in 39 years of dedicated service to our nation. if confirmed, it would be a tremendous honor to build on his efforts in this extremely important position. i'd like to introduce my father , george howard, from jackson, new hampshire, a 30-year air force veteran and rf-4 pilot. i've looked up to him my entire life. mr. mccain: i take it that his
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landings match the number of takeoffs. ms. robinson: sir, he's here. [laughter] also my amazing sister, carol. my full of energy niece and her husband is here. megan works here on the hill. and finally, the love of my life, my husband david. a retired two-star reservist, fighter pilot, thunderbird pilot and a retired airline pilot. i can tell this committee without hesitation that without his constant love and support, i would not be sitting here before you today. today we face a rapidly evolving and growing threat environment, both in the number of those who wish to do us harm and the complexity of tools at their disposal. our country faces many challenging threats from within and abroad, ranging from threats such as homegrown violent extremists, cyberattack, trafficking of drugs and other illicit products by transnational criminal organizations, two, threats posed by nation states such as russia, north korea and
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iran. in my experiences, the pacific air force's commander and the air component for admiral harris, i'm intimately aware of the tenuous situation on the peninsula and throughout the region. and understand the potential threats posed to the security of our homeland. defense of the homeland is a sacred responsibility and the number one mission of the department of defense. if confirmed, i will work passionately to uphold the faith of the american people have placed in these commands and ensure that we remain vigilant and postured to outpace any potential threat. if confirmed i will also continue to develop strong relationships with our homeland partners -- so that we are prepared to provide defense support to federal, state and local authorities as requested when the american people need it the most. and if confirmed i will further strengthen our outstanding friendship with canada, as well as growing our partnerships with mexico and the bahamas. i'm deeply honored and humbled to have been nominated for this position. if confirmed i look forward to working this committee, to address the many challenges we
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face to defend our homeland and to provide defense support to civil authorities. i look forward to providing the committee with mikan did views on issues and challenges and pledge to provide you my best military advise. i seek to establish a trusted relationship with each member of this committee. i'd like to thank the members of had committee and your staff for the unyielding support you provide the men and women in uniform and civilian service who protect our nation. these patriots are motivated by duty, honor and call to service and deserve the very best our nation has to offer. thank you for supporting them and recognizing the invaluable role they play in safeguarding our nation and our way of life. thank you again for the opportunity to be here and for the committee's consideration. i look forward to your questions. mr. mccain: thank you. welcome to your family. general. mr. scaparrotti: distinguished members, i thank you for the opportunity to appear here today and also want to thank
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you for this important -- the support you provided to our service members, our department of defense civilians, and their families who selflessly serve in the defense of our great nation and in the defense of our way of life. i would also like to thank the secretary of defense and the president for their trust and confidence and for nominating me to be the next commander of the united states european command and supreme island commander. in particular, i would like to introduce and thank my wife, cindy, who is here with me today. she's been by my side for 37 years and has been an essential part of my service. cindy has supported me during multiple -- multiple deployments, cared active to -- actively for our service members and families and raised our children, mike and stephanie. like so many other military families, they have given much so that we can serve. i'd also like to extend my sincere thanks to the republic of korea and the united nations command contributing states for their steadfast cooperation and support in confronting a serious global threat in north korea.
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without that, my experience leading and working in this great alliance in the midst of critical security concerns have prepared me for this next command, if confirmed. finally, i would be remiss not to acknowledge the general's leadership as the present commander. his excellent leadership has been critical in meeting the many challenges in nato and europe and posturing force for the future. america's closest allies reside in europe and uphold our shared democratic values. additionally, transatlantic trade with europe constitutes over half the world's g.d.p. if confirmed, i will work diligently to preserve the transatlantic alliance and these vital american and allied interests. this is a pick of toll moment within the european command area of responsibility. as it faces numerous threats and strategic challenges. first, the resurgent russia is contesting power with increasingly aggressive behavior that challenges the international norms, often in violation of international law.
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furthermore, terrorism poses an immediate threat as the world witnessed with recent tragedies in brussle, paris and ankara. third, the significant influx of my grants and refugees has resulted in economic, demographic and humanitarian crises that are testing the social fabric of europe. and finally, israel continues to confront threats from iran and from extremists within and along its borders. a common thread among these threats is the attempt to weaken our nato alliance and partnerships. i'm confident our unity will prevail. if confirmed, i will do all that i can to leverage the full spectrum of military, political and economic capabilities of our alliance to address these critical concerns. if confirmed, i look forward to working closely with this committee, with congress, with our civilian and military leadership and with our european allies to advance our national interests, defend the united states and ensure a free and prosperous europe. if confirmed, i commit to service members and d.o.d. personnel that i will do all
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that i can to ensure their readiness for the mission and to provide the support that they and their families deserve. i look forward to working with this committee and with congress to realize this commitment. i'm honored to appear before this committee with general robinson. we've been serving together in the pacific for some time and she's a great senior leader and friend who has supported me and our forces to maintain the security of the republic of korea. i thank the committee again for the opportunity to appear today and i look forward to your questions. mr. mccain: thank you. general robinson, senator shaheen and ayotte who are here today will talk to you more at length about this issue of the epidemic of manufactured heroin that is an emergency in their ate and in other states, incidents of drug manufactured heroin, drug overdoses is in the view of some an epidemic. and that means that obviously our border is the transit point
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manufactured is heroin from mexico. i was stunned down they were flying u.a.v.'s but not along the border. we're not coordinating with the border patrol. it's insane. so, i hope that you will look at the whole situation of this border situation -- this whole challenge about this manufactured heroin that's coming across our border and killing americans in larger numbers, to the point where i believe the governor of new hampshire said it's an endimic -- epidemic. is that correct? so we've got to do a lot more on the border. and we all understand, we're not seeking military action on the part of our armed services. but we -- there are so many ways that coordination can be implemented that is not being
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done today. i hope -- i'd like for you to second a written statement to the committee on what actions you think need to be taken to try to stem this academic, which is killing so many americans. -- epidemic which is killing so many americans. ms. robinson: i commit to you that i will do that and i'll commit to you very early, if confirmed, that i will go down and look at the border so i understand it and put my eyes on it just as you have on several occasions. i will send you a written statement. mr. mccain: i'd be glad to escort you. ms. robinson: i'd be honored. mr. mccain: thank you for your great work in korea. we've proud of what you've done and we have every confidence in you, in your new assignment. there's a nato force generation conference in june, nato settlement in warsaw in july. shouldn't we make a decision as to what our troops' strength level should be before those two conferences?
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mr. scaparrotti: i believe we should come to terms with that. before we enter those conferences. and if confirmed i'll do my best and do an immediate review and present my best military advice. mr. mccain: in afghanistan today, i refer to my opening statement about this latest attack in kabul, in your assessment, is the security situation getting better or worse? now that we have isis, we have al qaeda and a declaration by the taliban that the fighting season has begun. mr. scaparrotti: sir, from what i've seen from my vantage point, it appears to be getting worse. if confirmed i look forward to the opportunity to go back to afghanistan and talk to general nicholson who is doing a review as well. and provide my advice. mr. mccain: i thank you for that. so, if we go down to 5,500, as is the present plan, will there be no coalition presence in
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certain areas? mr. scaparrotti: i'm not sure about that plan at this point. but i know that at some point in time, that was a part of the plan and i think that the lack of our presence in those critical areas, in the north and in the west, that provide assistance and training to both the army corps headquarters and the afghan national police are very important. mr. mccain: who are the most our military s in testified russia is the greatest threat to america. do you agree? mr. scaparrotti: i do agree. mr. mccain: a "new york times" story this morning, a threat in the north atlantic. are you concerned about sea lines of communications in the atlantic and suez? mr. scaparrotti: i am concerned. mr. mccain: russian fighters made passes inside of 50 feet up. heard my opening statement. what should be our response to
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this gross violation of international law? mr. scaparrotti: i believe that from a military perspective we should sail and fly wherever we're allowed to by international law and we should be strong, clear an consistent in our message in that regard -- and consistent in our message in that regard. mr. mccain: this may sound a little tough, but should we make an announcement to the russians that if they place the lives of our men and women onboard navy ships in danger that we will take appropriate action? mr. scaparrotti: i believe that should be known, yes. mr. mccain: i thank you. a general said in march that less than 10% of u com's intelligence requirements are being met. if russia is our greatest threat, does that make any sense? mr. scaparrotti: sir, the actual allocation of
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intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets is a complex one. compared to looking at what's going on day to day. but i would say that given the threat in russia, it's obviously a very high priority and if confirmed i'll review that and request the appropriate assets. mr. mccain: thank you, general. these are very interesting and challenging times and this view of this member that you are obviously very well qualified but i hope that in your present position you will demand that decisions be made that enable you to carry out your mission, which is not the case in my view today. mr. reed: thank you, mr. chairman. let me begin by seconding the point that the chairman made that the decision with respect to force structure in afghanistan should be made soon. not later.
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simply because there are operational considerations that will stretch over many months once that decision is made. and based on my visit in january, it seems that a stronger force rather than a smaller force would be more appropriate. but that's a view i think you and general nicholson will consider and make a recommendation to the president. the issue of russia is obviously central. the ukraine is an area of proxy conflict between the two. and my position is that we have to succeed there because if we succeed there, it will be the most effective way to dissuade any further, we hope, aggression or designs on other free nations in the area. your assessment of ukraine right now, what we can do, what we should do, what we're not doing? mr. scaparrotti: well, senator, as you know, we've provided
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both training and assistance in a defensive means to ukraine at this point. we supported also our allies in doing the same. if confirmed, it will be, you know, my task to, one, review the situation there. but secondly, i believe that we should continue both assistance and aid in the kinds of assets that they need in order to defend their country, their sovereignty and their territorial integrity. and that we ought to continue building partnership capacity, to help them do that on their own. mr. reed: i think one of the other aspects you're going to confront, there's so many, the chairman touched on many of them, is this evolving hyperwarfare, which is a combination of initial cyber activities from undisclosed or at least difficult to determine sources, together withing remember -- irregular forces, together with obviously conventional weaponry and over horizons certainly, traditional
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military forces. i presume that as you enter your responsibilities you're going to be able to -- or begin to retool, if you will, nato to be not only capable but superior in this warfare? mr. scaparrotti: yes, i will. i think it's an important area. one that we're obviously challenged in today. not only in ukraine but throughout three of the four flanks, basically, within europe and also globally. mr. reed: thank you. general robinson, again, you have many responsibilities. one is you are responsible for the operation on the ground, midcourse defense, national missile defense effort. an admiral was testifying recently very thoughtfully about the need to fly before you buy. to test these vehicles. not simply to put them up and hope they work. so to invest in additional
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capabilities to discern targets and the concentration being at least initially on the west coast. is that something that you would support? ms. robinson: yes, senator, i would support his priorities. mr. reed: thank you very much. the other issue too, and it goes to so much of what you do, is a coordination with other federal agencies. particularly the department of homeland security. one of the issues we all face ill be this trying to unwind sequestration. but the affect i would presume -- effect i would presume on your mission would be very difficult if not only d.o.d. but d.h.s. was not released from the binds of sequestration, is that correct? ms. robinson: sir, obviously i appreciate the committee's bipartisan act in having us be able to have a consistent budget. the effects of sequestration would be, if it came back, especially on the department for readiness and athe board,
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would be concerning. -- and across the board, would be concerning. mr. reed: one other of your responsibilities is the advanced warning and the readiness to protect ourselves from any type of missile. either high altitude or low altitude. can you give us any notion of your sense of norad's activities and what you intend to do to ensure that they can protect us? ms. robinson: sir, as we defend with our canadian partners to the north, i would go and continue to understand, if confirmed, where they are and what technologies and things we're thinking to the future, so that we can ensure both air and maritime warning to defend the homeland. mr. reed: thank you. thank you very much, mr. hairman. >> thanks to both of you for being here as well. i want to thank your families. for joining you. and being supportive.
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and we appreciate your achievements as well. thank you for joining us today. general scaparrotti, i am glad to see an enhanced effort with e.r.i. in the president's budget request. as i do believe russia's one of the greatest existential threats to our nation. but i am concerned that rotating an armored brigade mbat team through europe instead of permanently stationing one there fails to show our optimum level of commitment to our allies and to russia as well. ms. ernst: furthermore, as you know, the national committee on the future of the army has suggested and made the recommendation that we include a forward armored b.c.t. in europe and i would like to know from you if you believe that rotating an armored brigade combat team through europe is the right level of commitment or do you believe that we should have one permanently stationed there? what are your thoughts on that?
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mr. scaparrotti: i understand the services' challenges in light of today's resources, to provide a permanently stationed brigade at this time. but i personally believe a permanently stationed armor brigade in europe would be best. ms. ernst: ok. we have heard some differing opinions on that. but i appreciate that. and also we did speak yesterday, and thank you for coming by the office, i do appreciate it, in our meeting i stated that i am concerned that putin and the assad regime has been weaponizing the migrants coming out of syria. and they're being used to destabilize the european union. and we have heard those comments from general breedlove as well. i admire him. i think he's on to something there. i am concerned that turkey could do more to help stop the flow of refugees to europe. and as you know over the past
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couple of years, it's been pretty easy for terrorists to negotiate, they have lines of communication through turkey, who is a nato partner, and to plan and conduct attacks in europe, as well as in iraq and syria. so, i'd like your take on if you think turkey is doing enough to stem that flow and cut those lines of communication, to refugees and terrorists and to europe, and can turkey do more and if so, what do you believe they should be doing? mr. scaparrotti: senator, turkey, as you stated, is an important ally. a nato member that sits on the southeastern flank really, i think, at the nexus of the challenges you talked about. , have an aggressive russia they've encountered the escalation personally. counterterrorism, the isil threat, syria, and the refugee challenge that you talked about. it's important that they work
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hard to secure their borders, that they take part in the security operations that are going, to reduce the refugee flow. and if confirmed, i will obviously make it one of my priorities to understand their challenges and what we can do to better help them in that regard. ms. ernst: thank you, general. i have been told that if the pentagon named operation atlantic resolve as an actual named operation, it could potentially enhance and make more effective the support capabilities provided ucom. and if you are confirmed, then can you commit to me that you will look into whether or not naming operation atlantic resolve as an actual named operation through the joint staff would allow ucom to more effectively reassure our allies
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and deter russian aggression? in the near and long term? mr. scaparrotti: yes, i can commit to that. ms. ernst: can you also commit to me that if confirm will you provide feedback to us whether or not the national guard state partnership program, another one of my favorite programs, could be expanded to more nations in the ucom a.o. rrment to enhabs -- a.o.r. to enhance our partnership between the u.s. and our european allies? mr. scaparrotti: yes, senator, i'm a great supporter of the national guard program. and i will report back to you on that. ms. ernst: thank you very much. finally, general scaparrotti, do you think russia's use of hybrid tactics is making our life more challenging, especially through nato? mr. scaparrotti: yes. they purposely keep it below the threshold we would consider conflict. ms. ernst: absolutely. thank you.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to both of you for your service and congratulations on your nomination and, general robinson, i want to congratulate you this morning too for being named to "time" most 100 influential people in the world. ms. shaheen: and we are very proud of you in new hampshire for your nomination for being named to the list. but mostly because you're a graduate of the university of new hampshire. so congratulations. and general scaparrotti, having had a chance to meet you in afghanistan, i am not at all surprised to see that you have achieved what you have and very much appreciate that you are aking over at ucom at a very challenging time. for europe. general robinson, i want to begin with you. what do you think are the greatest threats that are facing the homeland right now? ms. robinson: as we talk -- as
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general scaparrotti said, russia is the greatest threat facing the homeland. but if you look inside the united states, the concern becomes with homegrown violent extremists. so those would be things that, if confirmed, that i would continue to track closely. ms. shaheen: thank you. senator mccain talked about the challenge from the heroin epidemic that we're facing in new hampshire. i had a chance to visit the southern border last year. and talking to c.b.p. agents about drugs coming across the southern border, they said those drugs are going up interstate 35 to the middle of the country and interstate 95 to new england. can you -- i very much appreciate your agreeing to look at that firsthand and to make a written report to us, but can you talk about some of the things that northcomcan do to address that heroin epidemic?
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ms. robinson: yes, madam chairman -- yes, ma'am. the epidemic is absolutely heart wrenching. i know northcom will support federal agencies to provide capabilities to support the drug problem. if we a look and see can partner and look at that. so those would be a couple of things that early on i would be looking at if confirmed. ms. shaheen: thank you. general scaparrotti, i just want to make sure i understood how you responded to senator ernst. you said that you do believe it would be preferable to permanently station troops in eastern europe. did i understand that correctly? mr. scaparrotti: senator, if confirmed i've got to look at the services situation. i understand, you know, i request, if confirmed i would request a force-like brigade and they -- brigade and they
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determine how that's provided. but if i had the option of that or rotational brigade, i'd prefer a permanently stationed brigade. ms. shaheen: i've had chance to visit with officials from the balance tax and from eastern europe -- balance tacks and from eastern -- baltics and from eastern europe and clearly they're very anxious to see a very strong united states and nato presence on the eastern border. so can you talk a little bit about why you think a permanent brigade would be preferable to what we're currently considering with respect to rotating troops in and out? mr. scaparrotti: i think a permanent brigade, i'm assuming in europe that we have the facilities that we could readily station those, care for families, etc., but a permanent brigade gives you a brigade that establishes relationships with the supporting elements of all forces from the united states, as well as a more permanent relationship and a lasting relationship with all of our allies, that they work
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with day to day. that can be done over time. better than a rotational force can potentially do it. it also develops relationships and operating procedures with all of those allies and with the forces that are in europe. so primarily it's one that gives you a little more substance, a little more strength and relationship building. and obviously a trained brigade with really less turbulence in terms of you can establish their families are with them. ms. shaheen: thanks, i appreciate. that my time is almost over. but as both senators mccain and reed have pointed out, and as you know very well and said in your testimony, this is a very challenging time in europe. they have a number of threats from russia to the migration crisis. can you talk about what else ucom can do to help reassure the europeans and help work
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with them to encourage stability there? mr. scaparrotti: senator, i think that ucom is on the right track. the general has emphasized a very close relationship, collaboration, developing better information and intelligence sharing, close partnerships with our allies, where we assist each other in building capacity, building interoperability. and the exercise of forces in training. finally, he's begun the proper planning that will reflect the change in the environment there that's taken place in the last two years. i think if confirmed i'll continue all of those things. ms. shaheen: thank you. thank you very much. mr. wicker: in an interview this month, secretary general stultenberg, nato secretary general, said that nato has to be ready to deploy forces and to intervene again if needed.
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do you agree with that statement and how likely is it going to be necessary for nato forces to intervene and what is your assertionment of the capability of nato forces to do so? mr. scaparrotti: i think, first of all, that the the purpose of the alliance is to provide a collected defense within europe. and to do that today it has to be able -- it has to be agile in its movement of forces. so i agree that it has to be able to deploy forces throughout europe. both to what is commonly seen today as the threat on the eastern flank with russia, but also where necessary to assist allies in threats in the southern border to include terrorist threats, etc. i think nato is in a position today where we have capability, obviously since the wales
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summit, the purpose has been to develop those capabilities, because we have realized that there has to be change in order to meet the new environment that we see in europe today. mr. wicker: we're not completely ready to meet that new environment as a nato alliance, are we? oscopyoscopy, no, we're not -- mr. scaparrotti: no, we're not. mr. wicker: he also said this with regard to afghanistan. he said, we have been able to prevent that afghanistan becomes a safe haven for international terrorists. do you agree with that? mr. scaparrotti: i believe that conditions ed the in afghanistan, but i also believe we have much work to do to realize our objective of a stable, democratic afghanistan that's no longer a safe haven. mr. wicker: he said, we've been able to build a national unity government. do you agree with that? mr. scaparrotti: there is a national unity government. i believe personally there's
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much work to do there as well. mr. wicker: he said, we've been able to build an afghan national army and security forces of 350,000 soldiers and personnel. mr. scaparrotti: yes. 350,000 have taken part in the establishment of that army and i'm proud of the services and the service that i've had in afghanistan with afghan security forces. mr. wicker: and he said, we've been able -- enabled them to take over the security in afghanistan themselves. to what extent do you agree with that statement and is that another area where there's work to be done? mr. scaparrotti: senator, they are -- aren't responsibility for the -- are responsibility for the security of their nation now. there's much work to do. particularly when it comes to enablers, c-2 and logistics. and we need to -- it's important that we continue that assistance to develop that capability. mr. wicker: your testimony is that these accomplishments have
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in fact taken place. but there are still concerns and still real work to be done to solidify them, is that correct? mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. wicker: and chairman mccain and senator reed have touched on this, in their statements nd questions, do we risk losing these accomplishments by a further drawdown in american troops in afghanistan? mr. scaparrotti: sir, i believe strongly in the conditions that have to be met in order to meet a drawdown. so i believe in conditions being the driver, not time. mr. wicker: so, are you prepared to say whether those conditions have been met? in other words, i'm echoing i think what our chairman and ranking member have said, does so much ny sense, with invested, and so many
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accomplishments, does it make any sense for us to risk that by drawing down troops? mr. scaparrotti: senator, given y experience there, all of the sacrifices that we've made to realize our objectives, i think that we need to keep those objectives in mind and work hard to achieve them. any drawdown should be set on conditions to achieve our end states. mr. wicker: we want to work with you on that and it just seems to me that we risk tossing away hard-fought and hard-won gains. so thank you very much. i look forward to your service. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank both of the witnesses and your families for all your sacrifice. general robinson, i want to recommend you to a book to read in your new job.
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it's called "dreamland." it's about the heroin epidemic that's not only sweeping our country, but in particular this focuses a lot on ohio. mr. donnelly: and my home state of indiana is right next door. i just want to tell you a little story. we have a small county in southern indiana, scott county, and a small town there, austin. 4,200 people. in a town of 4,200 people, you have 190 h.i.v. cases that came from dirty needles that were passed around while using prirpgs drugs. -- prescription drugs. this epidemic has basically hollowed out and destroyed all of these families. and it goes -- it starts with the prescription drugs. and then it goes to the heroin. the black tar heroin that comes across from mexico.
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and this book helps to describe how destructive it is of these owns, and of these families. we have a small -- my hometown, we lost a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old young man, just from one of these parties that they were at. going to be a sophomore at i.u., going to be a freshman at ball state. and it happens in town after town all across new hampshire, all across cape cod. people think of it as a vacation place. cape cod has a heroin epidemic. and it's coming up from mexico. and we desperately need you to be the point person in stopping this effort. ms. robinson: thank you for that advice. i commit to you that i will read "dreamland," independent of being confirmed. mr. donnelly: it's heartbreaking. ms. robinson: yes, sir. it's heart wrenching.
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the epidemic that's happening in new hampshire and my state of residence. i commit to you that i will do everything to understand it and to work with d.h.s. to do just what you've asked. mr. donnelly: we see -- more than auto crashes now, more than car crashes, automobile-related deaths, heroin and prescription drug-related deaths have rocketed past that. so we lose young person after young person. when i go to high school graduates -- graduations and speak to them, i basically spend half my time begging them to keep an eye out for one another. because there's so much black tar heroin coming across from mexico. ms. robinson: i agree with you too. not only the heart wrenching deaths, but as mentioned, what it does to families. yes, sir. mr. donnelly: thank you. general scaparrotti, it was a privilege to be with you in korea and you did such an extraordinary job there.
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the one thing you talked about, the number of 5,500 has been mentioned in afghanistan. the last thing i'd like to see, you know -- i know you would too, all the efforts for so many years, just kind of be thrown away because of a number. as opposed to what conditions require. i know you said it will be conditions-based. we want to make sure you give us your absolutely 100% unvarnished opinion of what actually needs to be done there. as you take a look at it. mr. scaparrotti: i absolutely commit to you that if confirmed i'll do just that. mr. donnelly: thank you very much. as we looked at what just happened with the russians recently, you know, doing a barrel roll over one of our ships there. or over one of our planes there. is there a point where this has happened time after time after
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time, where we tell them in advance, enough? the next time it doesn't end well for you. mr. scaparrotti: senator, i think it's important that we're, as i said, strong, clear and consistent with them. and we should engage in and make clear what's acceptable operations of both of our forces in close proximity. i think once we make that known we have to enforce it. mr. donnelly: general robinson, what is your assessment as you take a look of the ballistic missile threat to our country? posed by north korea and iran and obviously you're going to be significantly involved in providing answers for that and in making sure we're safe. ms. robinson: yes, sir. the north korean threat is real. right now it's medium range. but they're trying very hard to be able to hit the homeland and
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iran continues to evolve its capability and if confirmed that will be a threat that i will continue to monitor very, very closely. mr. donnelly: thank you both very, very much for your service. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank both of you for your distinguished service to the country. and i have to say, general robinson, i echo senator shaheen's comments. we're so very proud of new new hampshire as an u.n.h. grad and obviously as your stated residency of new hampshire. ms. ayotte: i want to thank your family as well and i want to thank certainly the colonel, colonel howard, for his service as well. as a great resident of the state of new hampshire. i wanted to ask you, in the meeting that we had in my office, one of the issues we talked about was your responsibility for the southern border. as a commander of northcom. is this idea of the tunnels. in fact, this morning, as i'm
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looking at the news, we discovered that there are reports that u.s. authorities discovered a half-mile tunnel under the border with mexico into san diego, used to smuggle drugs. and as we think about this heroin and also fent normal issue, which is -- fint nil issue, which a very -- fent nil issue, which a very synthetic drug that's really killing people in new hampshire, i got an amendment in that focuses on cooperation with the israelis because they have the tunnel issue with hamas and hezbollah. and admiral gortny had said that was a very helicopterive, cooperative effort. i would like to ask you, as you go to the southern border, will you look at this tunnel issue too and how we can develop better technologies to ensure we are looking at not only how they're transporting the heroin and phentynol over in traditional ways, but also building these tunnels? ms. robinson: yes, i will do that. i saw the article this morning and it did remind me of the conversation we had about
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israel and the technologies that they had. as we discussed yesterday, when i understood that, it peaked my interest. two things i will go down and look -- two things, i will go down and look, nled the tunnels, see what they look like, understand the technologies we have and the things that israel is teaching us what they've learned. ms. ayotte: terrific. in terms of the phentynol issue, this is a synthetic that's almost 50 times more powerful than heroin and it's being manufactured in mexico. if you look at new hampshire had last year 430 drug deaths. actually 160 of them are attributed to fent normal. in your role in addressing not only the border but in dealing , what i'd like you to focus on is talking to the mexican government and these military to military relationships of how we can have them step up more on this interdiction issue. ms. robinson: yes, ma'am. early on i do want to meet with
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my military count parts, understand what they are and also provide an assessment as i mentioned to the chairman, back to the committee of where i understand there and what we need together more, to support them. ms. ayotte: terrific. thank you. general scaparrotti, want to thank you for your service in afghanistan and i would like to ask you, if confirmed for this important position, one of your roles, not only serving as european commander, will you also serve as the supreme allied commander of europe. and recently we met with the nato secretary general. the committee did. and one of the issues he raised is that he believed that nato countries and nato as a whole should be more involved in the train, advise and assist mission in iraq, to defeat isis. and so do you agree with the secretary general, that we should seek to get nato more involved? the train, advise and assist mission? obviously we all have a part in defeating isis, given the
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threats that this group presents to not only the united states of america, but also europe with the recent attacks there. mr. scaparrotti: senator, if confirmed i'll obviously discuss that with the secretary general. it's a matter of policy within nato. but to give my personal opinion, i think we have very strong and capable allies and the more allies we have assisting us in iraq and other places around the globe, where we have the same challenges, is important. and we should pursue that. ms. ayotte: terrific. thank you. in terms of the russian threat. one of the issues -- there was a recent article i think yesterday that talked about russian attack submarines that i believe the chairman briefly touched on. that are prowling the coast line of scandinavia, scotland and the mediterranean sea in the north atlantic. i wanted to ask but the importance of our attack submarine fleet. in terms of having the capacity with this russian threat, but also obviously we know that the
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chinese are another issue in the south pacific. but yet our requirements for attack submarines, we're not keeping up with pace the what we see the russians doing. how important of an asset is this in terms of combating the russians and what they're doing right now? mr. scaparrotti: i believe that it's critical. we presently have dominance undersea. i don't believe we should pace it. we should maintain that dominance. it's critical to our security. ms. ayotte: great. i want to thank you both for your leadership and distinguished service and especially your families as well. e appreciate it. ms. hirono: thank you very much. i echo the sentiments of the members of this committee and thank you, general scaparrotti and general robinson, for your service to our country and of course that of your families. and of course general robinson, it's good to see you.
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thank you for your years of service in hawaii and leading the pacific air forces and of course we're very proud of you as being one of the 100 most influential people in the world. general robinson in response to a question, you noted that -- robinson, in response at that to a question, you noted that one of the biggest concerns you have is with home group -- homegrown violent extremists. if confirmed, what would be the kind of steps or the steps that would you take to protect our country against homegrown violent extremists? a concern i share with you. ms. robinson: one of the things that's incredibly important in that is sharing of intelligence across all the agencies. so it would be important to understand that intelligence to share and support d.h.s. and federal law enforcement agencies as we watch that. t's a very difficult threat to find and pay attention to. ms. hirono: so, any other steps that you would take --
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ms. robinson: no, ma'am. if confirmed that would be one of the things. it is one of my focus areas, as i look back into the southwest border and the defense of the homeland, that's one of the things that i will start looking. there are other things that northcom can do in support of all the interagency and the whole of government approach. ms. hirono: and i think that when you're dealing in this area, the state and local law enforcement communities, as well as the larger communities, civilian communities, have to be brought in. ms. robinson: yes, ma'am. and supporting them. , ma'am. ms. hirono: i would want to continue working with you on addressing those issues. ms. robinson: yes, ma'am. ms. hirono: general scaparrotti, the capabilities of the european phase adaptive approach or epaa, deepen our missile defense partnerships and assurances with nato. what do you assess are the benefits of the epaa and how does it project strength to our allies?
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and of course our strength to our adversaries? mr. scaparrotti: we have globally, particularly in europe, a serious threat from ballistic missiles. the phase adaptive approach is very supportive of the defense of not only our citizens and bases in europe, but also of our allies and partners in europe. i think it's critical. and i think the an important contribution then to our allies' defense systems and we should work for a layered, interoperable defense of europe. i believe it's the appropriate step to get that done. ms. hirono: thank you. for general robinson, the admiral mentioned in our last northcom hearing that china is in the process of operationalizing its first viable class of ballistic missile submarines. you were asked some questions relating to what russia is doing.
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but china is moving in this direction. you testify -- he testified that if they were successful, they would be china's first sea-based strategic nuclear deterrent. and in previous hearings, the submarine capabilities of our country have been highlighted as one of our country's most valuable assets. what are the implications of a successful employment of this class of ballistic missile submarines by china, and for what you can talk about in this setting, how would this fect our capabilities, especially in the asia-pacific region? ms. robinson: yes, ma'am. china continues to evolve their capabilities and they continue to be able to range further and further. so the more that they can range, then the more it becomes a threat to the homeland. both hawaii, guam and then, if capable, further here to the homeland. ms. hirono: do we need more submarines? ms. robinson: they are our asimilar et rick advantage and
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they're an advantage in the pacific as we speak. ms. hirono: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. graham: thank you. i thank both of you. general scaparrotti, some say in america that we need to get out of nato or limit our participation. what's your response? >> turn your mike on, senator graham. mr. graham: it's on. mr. scaparrotti: i think you asked that some who said that either we need more participation or payment into nato -- mr. graham: we need to get out of nato. that it's obsolete. mr. scaparrotti: i personally believe that nato's critical to our interests and our defense. graham in 30 second, why? -- mr. graham: in 30 seconds, why? mr. scaparrotti: we have very close ties, their our longest allies and we have one of our most important markets that go through there. mr. graham: you agree that
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other countries should contribute more than nato's -- to more of nato's overall budget? mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. graham: do you believe russia is trying to fracture europe? mr. scaparrotti: do i. mr. graham: do you believe that pute would be love nothing more than the united states to withdraw from nato? mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. graham: do you believe that everybody in the baltics, it would be a very dark day for them if america withdrew from nato? mr. scaparrotti: yes, sir. mr. graham: pute be would be -- tin would be the biggest beneficiary of a breakup of nato? mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. graham: do you think the taliban would benefit from the breakup of nato? mr. scaparrotti: yes, sir. mr. graham: all right. if the president goes down to 5,500 u.s. forces in afghanistan, do you believe nato countries will responds in kind by reducing their commitment? mr. scaparrotti: sir, i think given my experience there, they
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most likely follow our lead. mr. graham: have you known of one country to get -- [inaudible] -- when it comes to afghanistan? mr. scaparrotti: no, sir. mr. graham: do you agree with me that any withdrawal in afghanistan should be conditions-based? mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. graham: i just want to say for the record, to the president, you ignored sound military advice when it came to iraq, to keep up the residual force, the rest is history. you turned down the advice of your entire national security team to help the free syrian army when it would have mattered in syria. you drew a red line against sayed a -- assad. you did not follow up when gaddafi was taken down by his people. along with nato's help. please don't repeat these mistakes bies remain -- by reducing our forces in afghanistan, because you'll get the same result, probably worse. that's just my editorial comment. in terms of budgets. if we go back into
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sequestration mode, general, what would it mean to our presence in europe? mr. scaparrotti: it would have an immediate impact on the forces that we have there today. and i believe it would potentially put at risk the forces that we plan to rotate today. to reinforce our posture. and certainly it would impact the readiness of our remaining forces to come to europe if depersons should fail. mr. graham: would it be an encouraging sign to russia that we're less committed to europe? mr. scaparrotti: it would. mr. graham: general robinson, what would sequestration do to your ability to defend the nation's homeland? ms. robinson: it would definitely affect the readiness of the force and our ability to invest in capabilities to defend the homeland. mr. graham: can you give me examples what have we would lose in terms of capabilities? ms. robinson: depending upon where we are with sensor development, or hit to kill development, those would be two capabilities. mr. graham: is the threat to
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homeland declining or increasing? ms. robinson: the threat to the homeland is increasing. mr. graham: is the threat to our partners in europe and to our interests in europe declining or increasing? mr. scaparrotti: increasing, sir. mr. graham: can you think of a worst time for the american congress to cut the military's budget to historic lows? given your time in service? mr. scaparrotti: no, sir. this is the most challenging time i've seen and we need to reinforce our capabilities. mr. graham: do you agree with that? ms. robinson: i do. mr. graham: thank you. thank you both for your service. mr. king: thank you, mr. chairman. mediate oric rise -- a medioric rise. [laughter] i just want to associate myself with the comments of senator graham and the chairman and several others. particularly as you go to this nato meeting, this summer, that's going to be so important
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in europe. it would be a grave mistake in my view to not maintain a level of force in afghanistan that's necessary to support the afghan security forces. and the problem is this decision has to be made reasonably soon because we're not going to go from 9,800 to 5,500 in a couple of days at the end of the year. the process has to start this summer. and i think it would be a mistake, particularly given the taliban served notice in the last few days that they don't view this struggle as over by any matter of means. i hope that as you work with the nato allies, the message will come back from them and to the president that we need to maintain a significant force and a significant -- with the authorities necessary to adequately support our nato allies and the afghan security . rces
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secondly, just want to associate myself with the comments that were made about the border. and the drug epidemic. since this meeting started, six people have died in the united states of drug overdoses. just since we sat down here an hour and five minutes ago. and that is a definite threat to the homeland. and to the extent we don't want to militarize the border, but to the extent we can coordinate better, utilize the resources that will you have, general, in your capabilities, to work with our civilian authorities, that's i think a very, very high priority. general scaparrotti, one of the things that is concerning me about europe is that what we're seeing in ukraine is a new kind of hybrid war. with indigenous people, some russian troops, not necessarily identifications, we're not talking about armies and tanks coming across the border in a
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conventional way. do we -- are we developing a strategy and a doctrine for dealing with what is essentially a new kind of war? because my concern is that what we're seeing is a practice for something similar, for example, in the baltics. mr. scaparrotti: yes, snorks i know from personal experience -- senator, i know from personal experience that ucom, socom as well as the other coms have gathered and we're studying hybrid warfare. it presents a problem because it's actually intended to be below the level that we would normally consider conflict. so it challenges the norms that we have been used to. it challenges the norms and the authorities that our forces have in order to react. so we are working on how best to handle this, the authorities, the doctrine that we need in order to -- and the capabilities in order to deal ith this type of conflict.
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mr. king: let me ask a question of both of you. the chairman of the joint chiefs conveniently -- recently mentioned that he would like to see an update to goldwater nichols to account for the realtime need for the cocoms to be in communication with the president in the case of an emergency. e've been talking a lot about goldwater nichols with that coming up. what's your thoughts about the cocom with the chain of command, what do you see as the potential improvements to the goldwater-nichols organizational structure? general? i guess general applies to both of you. jen cap rot tee. mr. scaparrotti: goldwater nichols has produced the officer i am today a