tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 1, 2011 6:00am-8:59am EDT
of enormous frustration to tom and myself. i cannot figure out. i just cannot figure out. i don't know what president bush and president obama think. they just have not put an effective board in place, and i can't understand why. this is greatly needed because in homeland security an had greatly accelerated the surveillance, all kinds of provisions are written into the law which expands the powers of the fbi and the intelligence agencies. understandably in most cases i think to check on what the american people are doing. i think somebody needs to be out there to keep their eye on these
folks. a very aggressive way because the security people within an agency almost always when the arguments. you need an independent source to really keep your eye on them. so we favored a strong, robust oversight of civil liberties and privacy with the power to issue subpoenas and the power to call people in front of them. keep an eye because i think there has not been enough attention to the question of civil liberties and privacy in general with regard to komen security. >> nothing has frustrated me more. >> almost all our recommendation is a lack of progress on civil liberties. i don't know what problems the administration has with the bill that you passed, but if there is
a problem with it, something wrong with the structure, i think it's intrusiveness something, tell us and maybe you'll change it. but it's just not to appoint members. two years ago and administration having not even nominated enough to make a quorum, it's frustrating and makes no sense and leaves a big hole and what we should be doing. i don't understand it, and frustrated by it. if there's a problem of which there would tell us what it is. >> thank you for the observations. i really agree with you that we need to set that up immediately. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. >> you know what, quickly we can -- senator collins and i were talking, we can address a letter to the white house but john brennan. >> ask what is going on here. i don't think there is any
policy or ideological opposition to the board. i suppose it's always possible that there are elements within the intelligence community the don't like the idea, but i have not heard that either. i don't know. it just could be that it's down at the bottom of somebody's in box. they never quite get to it. okay. we will address a letter right away. >> thank you very much. >> next is senator corporate. >> thank you. we have gathered before they number two of my favorite people a great governor of our neighbor. lee hamilton, vice president of one of my, i'm privileged to
think of him as one of my mentors. still active and vibrant and contributing. about once a month and asked what is wrong in washington. one of the things i always talk about is a lack of trust, sometimes between parties, sometimes executive and legislative branches, sometimes committee chairs and ranking members. this committee is an example of what you can get and when you have a trusting relationship. every month i talk about the trust. u.s. interpositions as leaders of the 9/11 commission and how you provide it an example through that trust to the other members and achievd extraordinary consensus and came to us and enabled us with the to reflect and follow that example. i just wanted to lead off by
saying. we are fortunate to a share the subcommittee. the federal financial management. we focus on the ways that we can -- it lets me poke into every nook and cranny of the third government to see if there are ways we can get better results for less money. in this room yesterday we had among others the department of defense, gao, and we were looking at the gao report the cannot yesterday setting major weapon systems for 2010, $402 billion, up from $42 billion a decade earlier. in this room we had hearings in the last month on something called improper payments to be not fraud, but mistakes and overpayments. and in number for last year, 1,205,000,000,000. not counting department of defense, prescription drug program.
we had hearings on surplus property, thousands of pieces of surplus property we don't use. they are a burden on us, 300 billion plus tax money not being collected. that is the kind of step we focus on in this room. i think with that spirit of trying to change the culture around here the department of the defense legislative or executive branch, to go from a culture of what i call spendthrift to a culture of thrift and to ask, would you join with us today maybe just to think about it and come back, but just that i no there are things we are doing. a whole bunch of hearings on those. domestic discretionary spending programs and defense programs that we can get a better result for less money or a better result for not of a lot more money. with that spirit can you think out loud with us for a minute or two here today about some way we can get a better result in this area of national security,
homeland security, maybe a better result without spending more money or even spending a little bit less. >> next question. >> well, my impression, senator, is in this area of common security and intelligence, i know this is not the intelligence committee. in this area the whole question of cost effectiveness rarely rises. >> that's true. >> we have been set on a course for understandable reasons since 9/11 to create enormous increases in intelligence budgets creating a whole new department, massive new department. everybody has said full speed ahead. i don't have the specific figures, but in intelligence you have had an enormous increase in
the total amount of money spent just over the last few years, for reasons we all understand. so, when you began your comments on cost-effective now is getting better results from less money my response was bravo. i think you need a hard-headed business attitude in this area which has been totally absent for tenures. probably a little exaggeration. , but i think cost effectiveness here would be important. eight these fellows come and who had these agencies and not only hold their feet to the fire with regard to homeland security and stopping terrorist attacks, but make sure that this money is being wisely spent. it makes a lot of sense to me. i think you perform an enormously important service as
you push the whole business of cost effectiveness. >> public or private sector, if you wrap up to the extent and as fast as we felt we had to after 9/11 you are going to problem to fester going to have problems. your going to have to overspend and waste money. i'm sure that has been done spending on non military intelligence, that number is now public. military intelligence spending is not public debt. i assume combined it is around $80 billion. that is a lot of money to be a lot of it wrapped up in a great hurry. at think what you are doing is very important. you need to not only do this well, but efficiently. >> and just calling to ask you to think about this for awhile and maybe respond on the record. one last question if i may. going back to the early 1990's
we have seen a couple of countries come back and forth across our radar screen including somalia and yemen. both countries have been in almost perpetual decline for what seemed like a couple of decades. as a result we seem to have different interest groups proving a clear and present danger to our country. they are somalia and al qaeda from the human. both hired directly and indirectly responsible for december 205th christmas day bombing attempt at fort hood and alabama and minnesota terrorism cells. it is clear that if these two countries implode they will impose a more serious threat to us and the rest of the world. could either of you please describe your thoughts on the threat that these groups opposed to the united states and if our federal and government is doing enough to prevent these two specific terrorist group from going into a more powerful global entity?
>> you are right. obviously it is interesting how this business has evolved. years ago we used to worry about urban areas and powerful countries. now it is the un govern areas of the world, the wild areas, the areas where there does not seem to be any authority. these organizations develop. beyond even yemen and somalia we don't know what is happening now in that area of the world. we don't know what's going to happen if and when quadhafi falls and what that land, how tribal that will become. we don't know what will happen in some of these other areas that may or may not disintegrate -- disintegrate. said this is -- this has got to continue to be our priority with the government collapsing it is going to be worse before it's
better. are we doing enough? we are never doing enough. i know we are concentrating. i know the intelligence communities are working hard to learn what they can learn. we still don't have enough people and boots on the ground. we are depending on other intelligence agencies in that part of the world which now may not be able to give us that information any more. so it is a continuing and a very, very serious problem. we have to be ready to address not only those two areas but other areas that may develop. >> thank you. congressman hamilton. >> well, i think you put your finger on maybe the most difficult problem with regard to protecting ourselves from threats from abroad. you have got governments in these countries that really do not cover in throughout the country. you have all kinds of trouble
ethnic differences. very, very hard problem. i think we have to work as a nation on developing the capabilities that deal with these countries. i must say i'm not quite sure how how would spell out those capabilities. supporting the government is often done to try to insure stability, but we have surely seen the limits of that in recent years. i think we just have to develop the expertise for these countries and figure out on an ad hoc basis with each one of them what kind of capabilities exist within the country to counter the extremist groups. if you have a government that is reasonably stable, reasonably
competent, you have to work with that government for sure. if you do not have then you may have to insert capabilities our cells. you can't generalize too much. the kind of plots we had with fedex and ups packages that were sent into the united states that originated in yemen indicate test the challenges that we confront. you have to have a multi layer approach, obviously, to deal with these, not just in country, but tried to stop it when it's in transport whenever the threat may be. we said in our report about the evolving nature of the threat. this is a mind of the fangs exactly what we meant.
it is a formidable challenge. >> i would suggest, you can't do it at a public cheering, but when you have private hearings with members of the intelligence community, i would ask, have our source of the information's been compromised? how much? where did we find out the information we used to stop plots? we get information from various governments. was it the egyptian government? can we still depend on the? did we get stuff out of even libya? a lot of those people are working with us. probably not on an inability to day. if we are losing those sources of information, what will we do about it? >> thank you. >> the afghanistan experience should tell us not to ignore these countries. as difficult as it may be, if we
had intelligence, in groups that are plotting against the united states in some way or our allies, i think we have to get our brains together and figure out the best way to do it. depending on the strength of the intelligence you may want to use drones, you may want to use special operation forces. your preference would be to have the local government deal with it, but if the local government doesn't deal with the then we have to take a position that it is a threat to our national security and deal with it. >> thank you for those comments. i just want to say again to both of you, thank you so much for being an inspiration to us all. >> thank you. governor, i have a few more. the be the last one here. we talked about the evolving nature of the threat, and i know
that we agree that one of the most significant developments in terms of the terrorist threat has been the home run radicalization and self radicalization. it may have existed in some way before, but not really in an observable or consequential way, and we have seen it over and over again in cases that have existed, including the two that you mentioned, a gunner, in 2009 in which a successful terrorist attacks were carried out both in arkansas and at fort hood. those are both on grounds of radicalization cases. it's not totally clear who he connected with in yemen, but he was radicalized. by coincidence just this morning
i was informed by my staff the last night the most recent addition of a magazine called inspire, the fifth edition which is published by al qaeda on the arabian peninsula appeared. quite remarkable. very slick. printed in english, published in english, aimed at an english-speaking audience, including here in america. i think increasingly and perhaps we should take this as some kind of compliment, if you will, that we have built up our perimeter defenses, you might say. protecting the homeland such that our foreign enemies are now trying to develop within our country people who can carry out terrorist attacks. anyway, we have done a number of hearings and made recommendations about this. it is obviously a complicated
problem because the most difficult, unlike 9/11 which we should have detected and stopped , very often these are people operating as so-called lone wolves. i note that international security prepared this has focused on this problem. i wanted to, first, thank you for that. i know you have described the problem. as you mentioned, the recommendations will come the spring. i just wanted to give you the opportunity to comment on this new element in recent years, very significant threat element, attempts to protect the homeland i don't want you to preempt your recommendations, but anything you would like to say about what more you think the government ought to be doing to stop the problem? >> extraordinarily difficult because, as you say, our defenses based on our
recommendations, many cases on your work have been to stop people like the 9/11 co-conspirators' from coming in from other countries and u.s. arm. those defenses are not adequate when the dangers come from somebody who is an american citizen. they are inspired, a lot of these people, from the internet. one of the missing pieces that we never quite nail down and the 9/11 report was whether or not it was anyone in this country that supported or helped the terrorists in any way. we had a suspicion that this guy we mentioned his report. we have not got the staff for time to dig into it further, but his contacts were suspicious. he is now gone and has become one of the people that is
recruiting overseas. he has a definite connection to even the 9/11 hijackers. we don't believe there is an enormous radicalization taking place. a very small number of people. these people, many of them don't look like a traditional terrorists, american passports, present the greatest danger. we think there ought to be a real effort and a real dedication by our intelligence community's to implement a strategy to deal with it. i'm not sure that is in place as yet. >> senator. >> yes, sir. >> obviously it is a lot better to stop a terrorist attack before it happens and prevent people from being injured. i think we are now in our group
working on a radicalization report which we hope will have some recommendations for you before too many weeks go by. one thing -- two or three things come to mind. one is, this is a good illustration of how important it is to work with state and local officials. in my own experience and my state have seen communities that have out reach to the islamic community and those that don't. community of makes a difference. that committee knows the community better than anybody else. i think it is very important for the federal officials then, and it's not easy because there are so many communities, but they have got to strengthen the state and local contacts in order to
better prevent radicalization. secondly, i think there has to be a peer out reach to the islamic community. i no there is some controversial aspects, but most of the islamic leaders with whom i have had any contact want to help. believe you me, they know their communities pretty well, not perfectly, but pretty well. and so did liaison with those people is very, very important. we have a representative today from the nypd. i have been -- he would not much more about this than i, but i am impressed with the way the nypd has -- i'm not sure the quite -- the right word to use,d
various communities within the new york city region and have reached out to try to understand those communities better. the people that cause you trouble our young men for the most part. they are the key. now, maybe not exclusively, but for the most part. the community bidders have to understand their own young people. i think that the new york pd, the nypd has set an example of contacts that other metropolitan areas to follow. the other thing we talked about earlier is the coordination or effort within the federal government, if you ask the question today, who is in charge
of dealing with homeland radicalization in our government i don't think i could answer that. maybe someone from the government can. it's not very clear to me who it is. there ought to be somebody in charge. >> i agreed to be we have asked that question. the answer we got was the director of the national counter-terrorism center is in charge. that surprised us, frankly. there is an attempt to try to organize this better and a recognition that this is a real problem. we will benefit from your recommendations greatly, and a look forward to them. >> they need operational responsibility. >> that is the problem. interestingly enough, and this now goes back a while, we had a hearing here maybe two years ago now.
it's somewhat dated, but a hearing with some leaders of the muslim american community. we asked, is there any agency of the federal government that has gone out reach to your community which has done the most? to me the surprising answer we got was, yes, the fbi through its state offices had been reaching out quite a lot and had some communication the nypd sets the standard. it has committed -- not inexpensive, labor intensive. they have committed a lot, maybe because they were so struck, traumatized by 9/11 they have committed a lot of resources and excellent communication with the muslim american community. the lapd does a great job, but there are some places and the
country with significant muslim american communities where my impression is that the outreach and communication from local law-enforcement is slim to none. that is a dangerous situation. we look forward to your recommendations. senator calls mentioned something at the beginning. i'll do it quickly because i know we are both concerned about this. to come back to your report, you do a great service by identifying the enemy here and saying, yes, it was al qaeda. more broadly it is an ideology which is violent islamist to extremism. that is what inspired the attacks of 9/11 and has continued to inspire this myriad of attacks large and small since then. at that you made a substantial contribution when you said, ', we are not fighting terrorism,
some generic evil we are fighting an ideology, a corruption of theology. our strategy must match our means to to ms, dismantling the al qaeda network and prevailing in the longer term over the ideology that gives rise to islam and terrorism. it has been so frustrating that the administration continues to resist identifying the ideology preferring instead to say that we are in a conflict with violent extremism. it is by no the extremism, but a particular kind. in our report on the fort hood attack we pointed out that the defense department has even tried at one point to characterize the threat
represented by the fort hood attack as workplace violence. of course it was a lot more than that. you know, i guess i understand what's going on. i think somebody thinks that if we use the term is longest extremism it is offensive to muslims. i think it is quite the opposite. we are talking about, as you said, a very small group within a larger community in america. people who are followers of islam, not islamist extremism. anyway, i invite a response. >> look, we've worked on that one. how to characterize it. debates on the commission and did research. >> right. >> for instance, some people suggested jihadist, some good connotations in the muslim world. we rejected a lot of these
terms. islamist doesn't. as llamas to extremism is what it is. i think words are important and language is important. naming the enemy is important. islamist extremism is as good a time as we have been able to find for actually identify what the problem is into the people are. i think everything from our research shows that the community itself accepts that term. >> i appreciate that answer. i continue to use the term that you use because islamist makes the point that this -- that a political ideology really has exploited their religion. not islam. that me ask the last question. the commission made it, a series of recommendations. successful on almost every one of them.
convincing both and wrestling the bureaucracy to except what you were recommending and also our colleagues. this was very disappointing. center collins and i, very stubborn people. normally we don't yield, bob the reaction has been so overwhelming that we pull back a bit. i think that mary and carry are ready to take up this battle again. it is worth trying to do it. the truth is the oversight and congress is much too diffuse and overlapping. the consequence of that is that we are taking much too much time of the executives, particularly in the department of homeland security. i wanted to ask you if you have
any thoughts about how to go at this. some sense about whether there is a way in which we can prioritize. at think we try to do a lot at the outset. we get totally defeated. this give me your thoughts about whether you think it still is a problem. they have a tactical suggestions about how we might take this up knowing that these too irresistible forces focus on this. >> you know, lee mentioned why congressional oversight is so important. the rest of us can know the information that you know when you are doing your oversight. only you can say how effective it is. if the administration is really
forthcoming in the way it has to be when they talk to you and if you really feel that you get every answer you want and the oversight is effective, that's great. we thought it would be much more effective to be interesting enough every time, now it is the third, director of homeland security. everyone has said what can we do for you? number one, do something about congressional oversight. that's important. between 80 and 90 committees. they all say they are spending as much time testifying when they should be protecting it. preparing congressional testimony takes time. it takes time testifying. they are doing a lot of it to be that is extraordinarily important. giving the intelligence committee some fiscal responsibility. if they are not paying attention they will. also we think very, very
important. it was a top priority. we think it still is. anything that increases your ability to oversee these intelligence agencies and make them perform is a step for protecting the country. the you have any thoughts? >> two points. one going back to your earlier question. how to deal with islamist extremism. your comments are well taken. know your enemy is the first goal of finding anybody. i sometimes think we have a good bit of confusion on hit the enemy is. on the positive side of want to say that in the war of ideas i think we have made some progress. the progress is that al qaeda is having a hard time. they have identified themselves as of violent organization. i think we are making some progress there. it is important progress because
they have not rallied the masses to their support. so that needs to be said, but your basic point is very much on target. the second point on the congress , boy, oh boy. i think things happen in the congress when the leaders don't. my perspective is a little more from the house, obviously, that from the senate. i wonder whether are not the key national security officials in the hs, secretary of intelligence officials and so for have been able to sit down in a congenial environment to discuss this problem with the leaders of both the minority and
the majority party's. it is such an obvious thing and that you weekend and department like vhs when you have all the time that they have to spend that you referred to testifying. so i think we need to focus our attention on the of the bodies. they have to understand that this is a national security problem. they are not dealing with a political problem and domestic consequences. they are dealing with trying to make the national security of the united states, putting it on a firmer basis. when the congress requires, i was told at one time that every single senator sits on some committee dealing with homeland security oversight. i don't know if that is exactly right. if it is, it is an absurdity.
that is not the problem. you are undermining the effectiveness of homeland security. i don't know any way to get at it other than impressing upon the leaders the necessity of doing this for the national security interest of the estate's. the leaders have enormous problems in both bodies, but they tend, if any be so blunt, to look at so many of these problems as an internal political problem that they have to solve in order to maintain their position in the caucus. okay. we are not naive, but this is a different quality problem. we have to get that across. >> that is very helpful, and something for us to work on.
the truth is the leaders have not made an attempt at this with everything else going on, since the legislation was first considered in 2004. the truth is they didn't make much of an attempt then, really hardly any attempt because they're working so hard on getting the rest of the legislation passed. why take on this fight? but it is also true that the people that have the most interest in seeing this kicks which is the leaders of the homeland security department, they always have of the priorities. maybe the immediate budget priority, maybe a legislative priority. make another try at this, and i agree it has to come from the leaders. thank you. when you were talking about both the reaction of the muslim community and also about al
they are very focused on political freedom, economic opportunity and essentially getting their countries into the modern a world, and they view the islamist extremism as regressive. some of them aren't religious but that's quite a different as we were saying before, and in some sense i know this is hopeful, hopeful thinking, optimistic thinking but what is happening now i think is profound repudiation of the ideology of islamist extremism, much more widespread than any of us are capable of, so it is a final statement by me. i don't know if any of you want to comment on that. >> you articulate it much better than i did but i think that is a hugely important development. >> and i think it really cries out to us to do whatever we can
to be supportive. these are very proud movements of ultimately people in tunisia, egypt and hopefully libya will determine their own destiny, but the me the coming need some technical assistance and they may need some economic support. they are looking for investment from u.s.. i think finally you will get a kick out of the one mccain and i were on. we met with a crew of the leaders of the uprising and one of them said to us, senators, we want to ask if you can help us to get one american who we would most like to come and speak to us here and i thought to myself who is this going to be. and the answer, mark zuckerburg. [laughter] welcome because -- because they felt in some sense, first he represented the new world of
telecommunications but that in some sense he had provided or facebook provided them with what we might call the weapons in their peaceful revolution. >> very remarkable. i'm very hopeful. >> i can't think the two of you enough for what you've done in my testimony. it's very helpful, very specifically helpful to focus our review that will go on for the rest of this year. we are going to keep the record of and for 15 days for additional questions and statements. thank you again very much. the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
good afternoon, everybody. the committee this afternoon welcomes secretary of defense robert gates, chairman of the joints chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen to our hearing on the situation in libya. we will give you both a warm welcome and our great thanks for the skills that you are bringing to your jobs and have brought to those jobs. over the past few weeks, president obama has helped to carefully assemble a broad coalition supported by a u.n. resolution. the coalition has established a no-fly zone and embargo and stopped
gadhafi's advancing army and passed the command of the military effort from a u.s.-led task force to the nato, the north atlantic treaty organization. the fast pace at which the administration has moved and the quickness of the deployment of
troops is a testament to the leadership of the department and the skill and flexibility of the men and women of the armed forces. it is a remarkable moment in history when the international community unites and acts to stop a tyrant bent on massacring his people. today, gadhafi and his supporters are more isolated. the military capabilities have been degraded by coalition air strikes that will continue. until gadhafi ends the military attacks on his own people. as president obama has said that while the military mission is focused on saving lives we must also pursue the broader goal of a future of
libya that belongs not the tyrant, be tow the libyan people. they are the ones who should decide gadhafi's fate. just as the egyptian people decided that former egyptian president mubarak's fate. the multilateral nature of the involvement has been and will remain violently important.
as we were told earlier this week, it has made the task less difficult and provide important resources and provided important advice and details and help to, quote, overcome the tiernyranny coalition troops. thanks for the focus of the military effort being the protection of the population and due to the careful consultation with allies and other partners, we have earned support of the people in the region and the region of the a arab world and a region that is not looked fondly upon the u.s. actions and motives and intentions in the past. the president has understood and respected our military leader's concerns about mission creep, and the president has reiterated that while regime change is not part of the military mission,
the political goal is that of gadhafi. to achieve the goal the united states has increased tools of repressing his power, including close associates. we have used a freeze on all of his assets, and it is critical to use the the soft power with the same determination that we have applied to military action. under consideration is the question of whether the coalition or a coalition member or members should supply the opposition forces with lethal and nonlethal aid to enhance their ability to confront pro gadhafi forces. president obama said he is not ruling that out or in. it is important that any such decision be made with the agreement of or at least the understanding and acquiescence
of the coalition partners, because of the military and political importance of maintaining broad international support for the mission. also, we must weigh whether supplies arms would be advance and be consistent with the mission and the u.n. mandate being enforced. president obama has been cautious in weighing the considerations and the encoigs ds of the use of military force and i'm con i if dent thf and i'm con i if dent tident th continue to do surrounding the questions of supplying weapons to opposition forces. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the distinguished witnesses appearing before us again. i know they have had a heavy and difficult schedule, and in previous month or so, so i thank them for appearing before us today. i remain a strong supporter of the president's decision to take military action in libya. it averted what is an imminent
slaughter in benghazi and it has given a chance to achieve the goal of u.s. policy as stated by the president to force gadhafi to leave power. that goal is right and necessary. i agree with the president that we should not employ ground troops to accomplish it. it is for that reason i am concerned about the next phase of it. as the secretary's prepared statement makes clear, following the the transfer of authority to nato, the ud will only be playing a supporting role, namely intelligence, aerial refueling, search and rescue, and other enabling functions, but not precision strike or other offensive operations. that means u.s. military will no longer be flying strike sorties against gadhafi's ground forces. i believe this is a profound
mistake with potentially disastrous consequences. be clear, i'm grateful that we have friends and allies who are making critical contributions to the mission. it is always good to have friends at our side, but for the united states to be withdrawing our unique offensive capabilities at this time sends the exact wrong signal to the coalition partners and the gadhafi regime, especially to those libyan officials whom we are trying tom koppel to break with gadhafi. -- trying to compel to break with gadhafi. i need not remind you that we are trying to achieve policy goals, and not only is our desire to stop gadhafi power, but we are effectively stopping
all of the strike missions altogether without having accomplished the goal. perhaps the gadhafi regime will crack tomorrow. i was encouraged to see that the foreign minister has defected, so maybe this will be over soon. i hope so. but hope is not a strot ategy a it does not degrade armored units. bad weather hampered our ability to use sorties, and they made significa significant progress on the ground. so why are we going to do something that makes it harder or riskier to achieve the american policy. be honest with the american people and ourselves, we are not neutral in this fight. we have intervened in libya. we want gadhafi to leave power. we want the libyan opposition to succeed. at this time, we should be taking every necessary and
appropriate action short of committing ground troops to achieve the goal as quickly as possible, and woe certae certai should not be withdrawings a et ises to make it more difficult to accomplish the objective. we cannot afford that time is on our side against gadhafi and maybe weeks or months or years sanctions plus a no-fly zone will inevitablies for gadhafi from power. that is a dangerous assumption. we made a similar assumption after the first gulf war, and 12 years later, we still had sanctions and no-fly zone and saddam hussein was still in power and brutalizing the iraqi people. a long and bloody stalemate was the outcome in iraq before and it is neither acceptable or sustainable in libya now. if gadhafi remains in power wounded and angry, he is more of
a threat to the world and the libyan people. we cannot say we averted a mass atrocity in ben gaza onghazi to one in misrata. that is not success. the longer this drags on, the greater the risk. the longer the imbalance on the ground may shift to gadhafi or some tragic event may fracture the coalition which may be difficult to hold together over a prolonged period of time. i know that the u.s. military has a heavy load on the back right now and the men and women in the uniform are doing everything that we ask of them with the unique honor and effectiveness. we must not fail in libya and i say this as someone who is familiar with the consequences of a lost conflict. we did not seek this military operation in libya, but we were right to intervene.
we have to deal with the world as it is, and if the demands of the great power are taxing the supply of it, we need a debate about increasing the size and capability of the force and not taking decisions that increase the risk of failing in the mission in a country that is now at the center of the most consequential geopolitical opening since the fall of the berlin wall. the democratic awakening of the broader middle east and african. that is why libya matters and together with the allies we must be doing what is necessary not as little as possible. to ensure that we accomplish the objective. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccain. secretary gates. >> mr. chairman, senator mccain and members of the committee, it is my pleasure to speak about the ongoing operations in libya.
i want to start by providing context of the way we got into this from my perspective. in the space of two months the world has watched an extraordinary story unfold in the middle east. the turbulence experienced by every country in the region presents perils and problems for the united states as stability and progress in this part of the world are a vital national interest. this administration's goals are articulated by president obama in february, opposing violence and standing up for the change of political reform. we recognize that each country in the region faces a set of circumstances and that each country are critical partners in the face of common challenges like al qaeda and iran. in the case of libya, our government, our allies and our partners in the region watched with alarm as the regime of moammar gadhafi responded to
legitimate protests with brutal suppression and campaign against his own people. with gadhafi's challenge of taking benghazi we faced the pros spect pr prospect of casualties in the civilian population. once the arab league called on gadhafi to stop his acts, it was apparent that the time and conditions were right for the military action. the goal of "oppositioperation dawn" was to effectively ground gadhafi's air force and neutralizing the air defenses. during this first phase, the u.s. mail tear p-- u.s. militar
provided the preponderance of the command and control. responsibility for leading this mission now called "operation unified protector" as shifted to an integrated nato command. going forward the u.s. military will provide capabilities that others can not provide in kind and in warfare such as aerial refueling and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance support. accordingly, we will in coming days significantly ramp down the commitment of other military capabilities and resources. the nato h led mission like the predecessor is a limited one. it will put pressure on gadhafi's remaining forces to stop attacks on civilians and reinforce the no-fly zone, and there will be no american boots on the ground in libya. opposing the gadhafi regime as welcomed as that eventuality is,
it will not be a military mission. gadhafi will be removed over time by political and economic measures by his own people. however, this nato-led operation can degrade gadhafi's military capacity to the point where he and those around him will be forced into a different set of choices and behaviors in the future. in closing, as i have said many times before, the security and prosperity of the united states is lenked to the security and the prosperity of the middle east. i believe it is in the interest of america with broad international support to prevent a crisis in eastern libya that could have destabilize the entire region at a delicate time and it continues to be in our national interest to prevent gadhafi from performing other degradations of his own people, and setting back the progress that the people in the middle east have made. mr. chairman, i know that you and your colleagues have many
questions. as always, thank you to the comm committ committee, for all of the support you have provided to the military over the years. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> admiral mullen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and senator mccain and other members of the committee. i am grateful for the opportunity to talk about the coalition forces and the libyan people. let me start with a brief assessment of where we are today and leave you with impressions. as of early this morning, nato assumed the command of the entire mission over libya. there are more than 20 nations contributing to the operation in all manner of ways. some public and some not so public. the contributions range from across the board of active participation and strike operations to financial aid and assistance for the humanitarian efforts. we are joined in the endeavor by several arab countries and despite the challenges of their own have chosen to come to the aid of the libyan people. i hope they do so knowing that the united states and the
international community remain grateful for their experience and leadership, but also knowing that no one military, no one nation can or should take on a mission of this nature alone. this coalition we have forged in record time mind you is not only a coalition of the willing, but the coalition of the able. with each nation bringing to the effort what they can in terms of knowledge and skill to tackle a fast-moving complex humanitarian crisis. 25 warships patrol off of the coast of libya today, including two allied aircraft carriers, the uss chash sshgs sshgss char others. there is an amphibious u.s. crew centered around the uss keer saj.
there are at our licommand size of planes and ships at his haste to strike targets of opportunity on little or no notice and preventing gadhafi from using his own air force to attack his own people. i note that among the coalition aircraft are a dozen from qatar and united arab emirates. indeed, in just the last 24 hours, the united states, nato and coalition aircraft flew some 204 sorties, 110 of which were strike related, hitting fixed and mobil targets in the vicinity of tripoli, misrata and ajdabiya. and we have freedom of movement because we moved quickly in the early hours of the operation to
take over the air defenses. the strategic group struck the 19th tripoli time. by the midafternoon, the no-fly zone was in place. we have continued the strike at gadhafi's military capabilities where and when needed. it is my expectation under nato's leadership that area of focus will not diminish. what will diminish is the u.s. participation and offensive operation as we turn our attention to providing the unique and important capabilities. mr. chairman, i have been involved in allied coordination for decades from balkans to so many. i cannot remember when forces were mobilized so fast. the enemy was not just gadhafi's military, but the clock. as he marched on ben za gau -- i
to attack people, we were in place to act. they were able to do that, because we, and i mean the collective we and not just the united states have invested in close relationships with one another and facilitated by nearby air and naval basing and improved over time through naval exercises and personnel exchanges and actual combat experience and mutual dialogue. nobody is underestimating the scope of the challenge ahead of us. gadhafi has shown possession of his military to continue. he wants benghazi and ajdabiya back. he denies his own people food, water, electricity and shelter. he threatens them on the streets of misrata and zentan and he
will crush as many as he needs to in order to accomplish the task. i assure you that the men and women in uniform will execute the mission now in support of nato with the same professionalism with which they have led that mission until today. thank you, and thank you for your continued support for men and women and their families. >> thank you, both. as i mentioned this morning, secretary gates' sed scheduleke gates' schedule allows him two hours, so if we want to have opportunity to ask him questions, i would appreciate you to limit the questions to five minutes. if votes occur in the senate as planned this morning, we will have to work around the votes, because we cannot recess in this period of time. the first question is for you admiral. can we have your personal view as to whether you support the
military mission in libya as authorized by u.n. council resolution 1973? >> i do. >> and can we have your personal view as to whether or not you would support broadening the military mission to include regime change? >> i don't. >> can you tell us sfwwhy? >> i very much believe that the mission as it is currently stated which is to prevent a humanitarian crisis is, was the right mission at the right time. and in fact, in its execution prevented that as gadhafi's forces marched on benghazi. i think that my own experience with regime change is that can be long and very, very
indeterminant in the outcome. clearly the policy of the president is one of to see gadhafi out and regime change in that regard and that can be accomplished through the limited military mission that we have, and in execution, and then the additional, the the other tools, if you will, that we have to pressure him over time. >> admiral, from a military perspective, you agree that having a broad international coalition and support in place makes a difference? >> oh, i think it has, yes, sir, clearly. >> now, on the question of providing arms to the opposition. admiral, i believe you have aid that you are looking at all options from doing it to not doing it. >> correct. >> and beth of you i believe have pointed out that other countries have the capability to provide arms to the opposition.
admiral mullen i think again said that no decision has been made on this question, so i want to ask a slightly different question to you, secretary gates. what do you see are the pros and cons, politically and militarily, to providing arms to the opposition forces and if they were to be provided, would it be better for the arab nations to provide them? >> well, i think that one of the concerns we have to have is that we don't know much about the opposition, and that we know a handful of the leaders and we have biographic information on and some history, but other than that, we don't know much about what i think is a very disparate disaggregated opposition to gadhafi. we have little insight for
example into those who led the uprisings in the cities in the west, and who they are. and below the level of the top leaders, we don't have much information in the respect of the east as well. another factor i think that there appear to be a substantial number of small weapons available to the opposition. they have broken into magazines and arsenals and taken a good bit of small arms particularly. what they really need is training command and control and some coherent organization. i believe that requires advisers on the ground as would more sophisticated weapons in terms of training them on how to use the weapons. so i think that those are some
of the areas that need to be taken into account, and the other part of providing them more sophisticated weapons may enable them to be more capable, but i don't believe that is the need right now. >> mr. secretary, do we support a real cease-fire coming into exist, and assuming again, it is real. i know there is a lot of doubt about that particularly relative to gadhafi since he has announced five or six cease fires, but do we support a real cease-fire coming into existence? >> well, i think that the president has laid out the requirements for at least stopping the attacks on the ground force, and that is that gadhafi had to withdraw his forces from cities like misrata
and one or two in the west. where the fight was still going on as well as pulling well to the west of ajdabiya. when those things were announced, gadhafi was racing pall mall to the east and clearly had no interest in abating what he was doing. clearly, i would be skeptical of any cease-fire he would agree to. i think that he has demonstrated in the past few weeks that he would take advantage of a cease-fire simply to round up more civilians. >> thank you. senator mccain? >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, we are hearing reports that published reports that the rebels are in virtually full retreat right now. is that correct?
>> they had retreated toage c j ajdabi ajdabiya, and whether they retreated beyond that, i don't know. >> and the situation in misrata as reported by cnn that i just looked at again is of severe hardship and suffering because of the long period of siege that that's the city has been under, and you agree with that i'm sure. so, when the rebels are being beaten badly, misrata is under incredible duress, we choose that opportunity to remove our assistance as far as air support is concerned. will our ac-130s and a-10s continue to conduct operations? >> let me ask the admiral. >> as we continue to transition
over the next few days, senator mccain, they are available to the nato commander. >> they are not flying now though? >> i could not tell you whether they were flying today, no, sir. >> so, is there any other assets that our allies have that have capab similar capability as the a-10s or c-130s? >> no, sir. >> well, as a outcome, one might conclude that the removal of gadhafi will be achieved over time by political and economic measures by his own people and something they did not succeed in for 42 years. >> well, one of the things that is different from the restt of his regime history is that we will continue to attack his military stores and on his logistics, and this is a fact
that is one difference between the no-fly zone in libya, and the no-fly zone in iraq during the 1990s, and that is our ability in the current circumstance to continue to attack the ground forces and continuing to attack and degrade his capabilities with no opportunity for resupply, so his military at a certain point has to face the question of whether they are prepared over time to be destroyed by these air attacks or they decide it is time for him to go. >> so, your words a stalemate in libya is not an acceptable outcome? >> no, i think that from the longer term standpoint, no, it is not. >> and does the withdrawal of strike and u.s. capabilities at this time make a stalemate in
libya more or less likely? >> i am not sure it will have an effect either way, senor to. a l -- senator. a lot of it will depend upon the sor tis th s t sorties that the commission can continue to contribute. i will tell you that we have had the strike aircraft available in a relatively short period of time should it become apparent that the nato capabilities are in inadequate, and another humanitarian disaster such as a race to might occur, so we are sort of in a standby and i invite the admiral to comment, but i believe that our allies have the capability to degrade his capabilities. >> senator mccain, are the
allies, denmark, belgium, france, the uk, canada, and along with us have actually been very, very impressive over the course of the week. and as you know, we have been impeded in the last few days by weather, and it is a question that i have asked constantly of the commander out there as he has watched the various countries perform, andt a least it was his assessment that he had a high level of confidence to continue to execute the mission. >> without the most capable aircraft at the close support are the f-16s which are not designed for that nor are they the most capable. but the fact is that your timing is exquisite. at a time when the gadhafi forces have tragically routed the anti-gadhafi forces, that is when we announced that the united states is abdicating its
leadership role, and removing some of the most valuable assets that could be used to a great extent against the rebels. i'm glad to know that small arms will be effective for them. well, it is very disappointing what you have told us here today, and it is very disappointing that we have a policy that we are not prepared to use means necessary in order to gain that policy in, and i hope that as i said earlier that gadhafi will be deposed from within. i worry what will happen in misrata while we wait to see if our allies need to call in additional help. it's, i guess, one of the lessons of warfare a long time ago i learned is if you go into
the conflict, and secretary gates who quoted general macarthur said that there is no substitute for victory. it seems to me that we are not achieving the policy goals and continuing to relieve the anti-gadhafi forces and in places like misrata. i hope we don't learn a bitter lesson from it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccain and senator lieberman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. mullen. i suspect that you believe that the right thing has been done with respect to going in to the no-fly zone and for humanitarian reasons and to say that this is our way of supportive of the democratic rup
democratic upriding in the arab world so in that way i agree with president obama. i also agree with president obama, it is unacceptable for our involvement to end with gadhafi still in power. with that sense, i agree with you, mr. secretary, a stalemate is not an acceptable resolution of all of this. our application of arab power has been having a significant effect. you have saved the people of benghazi from a humanitarian disaster and we opened the way for the opposition to gadhafi to move forward militarily, but the last few days have been me ask matter of fact, following up on what senator mccain said, do you feel confident, mr. secretary, that nato's assumption of the responsibility for enforcement of the no-fly zone and protection of the civilian population does not represent a
d dimunition of the air capabilities that the united states brought to bear when we were solely with our coalition partners in charge? >> let me take a crack at that and then invite the chairman because he's more knowledgeable about that than i am. i think it remains to be seen. the question is whether they can continue to generate the number of sortis that we've been flying and so on. but let me make one thing clear. what we have -- this transition was part of the package and part of the plan with our allies from day one. everybody understood that the united states would come in heavy and hard at the beginning. >> right. >> we would destroy, with our unique capabilities, the air defense capability and his ability to fly his airplanes. and make possible the sustainment of the humanitarian
mission and the no-fly zone with potentially fewer aircraft and fewer sortis. but the idea all along was, and it was the agreement that was made with our allies, was that we would commit these very significant resources at the beginning, but there would be a transition, and we would recede to a support role as soon as we had reached a point where those air defenses had been suppressed. so, you know, this is not a surprise. the timing with their -- with gadhafi's success, which as the admiral said, has coincided with bad weather that's prevented us from flying is unfortunate. but this has been the strategy and the plan all along, and the allies knew it. >> is it fair -- i want to pick up on something you said. obviously it remains to be seen whether nato brings as much to the enforce am of the no-fly zone, civilian protection as we did whether they are capable of
flying as many sortis, is it fair to conclude that if for some reason they don't, we will reconsider the extent of our involvement with nato in those actions? >> i think we would have to say that the answer to that is yes. >> okay. let me go to the other part of this. i understand the decision that it's not one of our military goals to get gadhafi out of power. it's however our political goal. in my opinion, and we're going to advance that hopefully through diplomatic, economic and political means, but if the opposition to gadhafi on the ground is not showing military capability, it seems to me that it removes one of the incentives for gadhafi to leave power. as i understand what happened in the last few days when nato couldn't fly the no-fly zone and
the anti-gadhafi forces were basically left on their own, they were overwhelmed. it wasn't a fair fight by the gadhafi forces. so my question is, isn't it critically important, even as part of realizing our political goal of getting gadhafi out, that we help -- we or our allies provide either more weapons and/or training discipline command and control soon so that they can put up a fair fight and hopefully such a fair fight that they will advance westward and give gadhafi one more reason to leave power? >> well, i think that providing them the training and help like that is important. one of the concerns and one of the issues is frankly they haven't asked for it. you know, it's not clear what anybody would have to work with
in terms of getting a number of people together even for the training and who's going to be in charge. so part of the challenge that everybody faces in libya, going back to what i said at the very beginning, is the disaggregated, disparate nature of the opposition and the way it's scattered across the country. and there's really no critical mass to work with perhaps outside of benghazi. >> that leaves us -- my time's up, but i'd just say i know you know this -- that leaves us with a real dilemma because we've committed american power. nato's committed, arab allies are committed, and our goal politically is for gadhafi to get out of there. and yet the boots on the ground which are the libyan boots are themselves unable to win this fight. so we have -- it seems to me that we're facing a stalemate or even a gadhafi victory unless we
and our allies figure out how to make the opposition forces to gadhafi at least an equal to gadhafi's forces. >> well, i think that there is an alternative outcome, senator. and i go back to the point i made earlier. and that is we continue, and the alliance will continue, to degrade gadhafi's military capabilities. and it wasn't that long ago that there were uprisings all across libya, and gadhafi's forces were on the defensive. they either turned and joined the oppositionists or they retreated out of some of these cities. and it was only because his military capabilities were -- remained intact that he was able to put down those uprisings. so there's clearly a lot of people across libya that are ready to rise up against this guy. and if we can sufficiently degrade his military capability, it seems to me, that then gives them the opportunity to do that.
>> i appreciate that answer. thank you very much. >> senator wicker. >> thank you. i want to agree with senator lieberman when he suggested in his questions that it is unacceptable in the end for gadhafi to remain in power. it is in nuance to say that our military goal is not the removal of gadhafi but that it is our political goal. words are important, and precision is important, and sometimes nuance is important. but that doesn't take away from the fact that our overriding concern, in my view, should be the removal of this international terrorist, this dictator and savage butcher who
is reviled in his neighborhood like no leader on the face of the globe. and to think that we would be passing up an opportunity to remove him as a threat to united states interest and is a threat to the region is an unacceptable thought. both witnesses have said that their view is that over time, i think both of them used the term "over time," colonel gadhafi will likely be removed. that leaves quite a bit of leeway. gentlemen, i wish you well in somehow participating in an effort that continues to be heavy and hard till we have won this thing on the side of the people who we have weighed in
with. and there's no question that we have weighed in. senator lieberman said what many of us know the last few days have been unsettling. the last two days there have been reversals for the rebels. admiral, to what extent have those reversals at all resulted from the removal of united states close air support in the form of ac-130s and a-10s? >> virtually none. what's happened in the last three days has been weather for everything that's flying. and they can't get on the targets. they can't see the targets specifically. and in this -- in the success that the rebels enjoyed the three or four days before that to push gadhafi's forces to the west, they also -- they essentially got -- they stretched themselves too far.
gadhafi's forces, as they've come back in the last few days, i've watched them stretch themselves to a point where they are concerned about medical, food, fuel, support, you know, logistic support. and we've hit their logistic support pretty significantly since this started. literally right now, just before this hearing, the situation was there still. they are consolidating. gadhafi's forces are consolidating south. and what we think, obviously, will -- they will move towards benghazi when they get consolidated. each time the forces have interacted, if you will, the only success the rebels have enjoyed is when they've had that air power, when they've had that support, and that's really allowed them to move.
without that, they've had brief contact, but basically they've been in retreat over the last couple of days. they, too, have outstretched their supplies in some cases. as it has evolved over the last week. >> admiral, to what extent will you be involved in decision-making that might involve a return to action of our ac-130s and a-10s should the type of close air support that our nato allies are presently prepared to use? >> first, the ac-130s and a-10s are still available and they will be for the next few days. they're available to the commander -- >> it's a mistake to say they've been taken out of the action except for the weather. >> correct. >> that's comforting to know. >> i honestly don't know if they're flying today or not. but they're not -- they're not -- they are still available, if you will, to the commander for the next few days. until this -- until the transition on the complete transition on the civilian
protection mission, we have completely transitioned out of that. >> and after that transition, are you suggesting that our nato allies are unlikely to use this best kind of aircraft for close air support? >> as the secretary indicated, we have made provisions to put in standby united states capability that could be called upon, and that would actually come back up through the u.s. chain to make it available to nato, if the situation were dire enough to do that. >> secretary gates, did the state department spokesman, p.j. crowley, misspeak when he said it's very simple, the u.s. security council resolution passed on libya in that resolution there is an arms embargo that affects libya which means it's a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in libya? >> that was true of resolution 1970. but it is not true of resolution
1973. the embargo and resolution 1973 apply only to gadhafi and the government. >> so it would be perfectly legitimate and acceptable under the resolution, in effect, today for the united states to -- and our allies to supply arms assistance to the libyan opposition? >> yes, sir, that is permitted by the resolution. >> thank you, sir. and gentlemen, thank you for your service. i know you're tired, and i know you're focused on this, and i appreciate it. >> thank you, senator wicker. senator webb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, i have great respect for both of you and for the way you have handled this military situation in this dilemma for the past several weeks. i appreciate all that you've had to do today in your earlier testimony. i'd like to follow up on one
thing that senator wicker just said as an introductory comment, and that is, you know, it seems to me and i think everybody else that we are clearly involved in regime change in this issue and the evolution at the same time of a very unpredictable political scenario. this isn't a military question. you are implementeding a policy decision, but it is definitely a diplomatic reality. we, at the same time, do not know who the opposition is or what they will do if and when, and it's probably when gadhafi leaves. so the situation that we are facing and its implications are much more complex than the way that they are often being characterized over here. and when you have a sustained operation, i think we all have to agree this is something more
than a rebellion. i don't know what we would characterize it. maybe you could help me in a minute. i'm not sure we could call it a civil war. but we are arming one side as a result of these decisions. and for myself, i think we need to start looking very hard into the immediate future. i don't know whether there's going to be a stalemate, you know, secretary gates, i think you answered this question in a way that i would agree. that at some point, this will -- there will probably be an implosion from what we can tell inside libya that will cause a government change. but we're going to have a period where either we're going to have a stalemate or at some point gadhafi is going to fall. and the question for us is how we prepare for that period and what we believe the american policy ought to be because i
think we can probably assume that either way there are going to be reprisals, and there are going to be calls for an international involvement in libya in order to sort these things out. my bottom line here, mr. chairman, is to support what you said. i believe it was yesterday or the day before. that whether or not we are going to invoke the war powers act, i do believe we need to have a process where we have a discussion about the implications of what's going on right now, looking down the road so that we can have some sort of debate and understanding here in the government at large rather than simply having to follow the prerogatives of the administration on this issue. but secretary gates, how would you characterize this rebellion? how should we look at it? is it a civil war?
>> i think it represents a fairly broad-based uprising against an oppressive government. i mean, the number of cities and towns in which there were uprisings and people taking it on themselves to confront the security services and the military i think makes it more of a broad uprising against the government than it does a civil war. civil war would imply that there are -- to me at least -- would suggest that there are two established governments or two established entities that have some kind of structure and that are in conflict for power. the best i can tell from most of these uprisings is that the
principle agenda was getting rid of the government they've got. i think one of the challenges that we're all going to face when gadhafi falls is, as you suggest, what comes later. and i think we shouldn't exaggerate our ability to influence that outcome. the tribes will have a big influence, whether the military splits or the military turns on gadhafi, there are a number of different alternative outcomes here. only one of which is some sort of proto democracy that moves towards rights so i think we have to be realistic about that. >> i couldn't agree with you more. that's what makes the decision-making in this so difficult. the only thing we know that everybody seems to agree with including our side is we think this one individual needs to go. but at the same time, it's going to be an enormous challenge for not, again, to use your terminology and your statement
not only for this country but for our vital interest in the region, it's going to be an enormous challenge to see what follows on that, knowing the history of the region and the traditions of reprisals, whether gadhafi's gone or not and the way that we may be drawn in in the aftermath. so again, mr. chairman, i hope we can have the proper kind of discussion here in the congress on the implications of what we are doing. and at the same time, again, i want to give my utmost respect to both of you for the way that our military and our leadership in the department of defense has carried out their responsibilities as this decision was made. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator webb. senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary gates and admiral mullen. i wanted to ask -- i'm sure both of you are familiar with the secretary powell's doctrine as well as coming off of secretary
weinberger's doctrine in terms of when we should engage in military conflict. and i wanted to know whether those questions that are raised in those doctrines were engaged in before we engaged in this conflict. >> i would tell you, senator, that i think that not only those questions but all of the questions that have been raised in the congress and in the media were discussed and debated at great length and with great intensity as we tried to figure out what to do in this situation. >> secretary gates, just following up on that, one of the questions that would be asked is do we have a clearly attainable objective here? how would you define our clearly obtainable objective? >> well, i think that there are two objectives. there is the military mission which is the no-fly zone and
preventing gadhafi from slaughtering his own people. and there is the political objective of the overthrow of the regime. and i guess i just have to say that my view, looking back over the years, is i would be very hesitant -- in fact, i would oppose the idea of making regime change a military objective. i think if it's to be imposed from outside, i don't see how it can be done without people on the ground. >> what i'm really struggling with is how we meet the objective you just defined of protecting -- preventing a slaughter from gadhafi if we're in a position where the forces, the rebel forces, can't maintain a military position against gadhafi's forces and we're not putting our full might in to
make sure that civilians are protected? i just can't understand how we're going to be able to meet the objective that you've identified without going forward in a more forceful fashion than we are right now. >> well, i would just say that when you say putting the full might of the united states involved, as far as i'm concerned, that's another full-scale war in the middle east. >> let me qualify that, secretary gates. what i'm saying is that we're in a position right now where you said that our goal is to protect civilians, libyan civilians. however, the forces with gadhafi there, i don't see how we can continue to protect civilians, given that he is the threat against his own people that we are seeking to protect them from. so that's why i'm struggling with the political goal versus the military goal and not putting the resources that are necessary. obviously, i don't support putting ground troops in. and with limitations like that, that's what i'm trying to
understand. >> well, it is the question of how much you can accomplish strictly with air power. and i think that -- i think what we have seen is that when the weather cooperates with us, we clearly significantly enabled the rebels with the same kind of military capabilities they have right now to move to the outskirts of sert. so as this moves back and forth, and as the admiral said, their lines get stretched. the limitations on both sides are pretty clear. and i think that we just have to face the reality that we, over time, are taking a significant toll on his military capabilities and his ability to use those forces against his people. >> i just wanted to also, you know, add my support for the comments that senator lieberman
made about what i see right now as an inherent contradiction and our policy of being able to obtain the objectives that we've identified in libya. and thank you very much for answering my questions today. >> thank you, senator ayotte. senator udall. >> thank you, chairman. good afternoon, gentlemen. we've heard that the regime's events have been neutralized. i'd like to use you all to look at the broader picture in that context. can you give a battlefield damage assessment associated with the u.s. and nato's operations? and to what extent have gadhafi's ground forces, armored and unarmored, been degraded? >> his air defenses have been essentially completely taken out. he does have some portable air defense systems that are still out there, although few in number but still with potential.
his command and controls have been significantly degraded. we have -- the ratio right now roughly on the ground is about ten to one with respect to his ground forces, his ground capability. he's got a lot more tanks, a lot more personnel carriers, a lot more artillery, those kinds of systems than the much more lightly armed resistance or opposition forces. so that's the most significant part of what he has left. and that is of great concern. >> admiral was just in front of us as well. and i asked him how the nato forces would interpret the rules of engagement. and now i understand nato has warned rebel forces against attacking civilian targets. i'd like to ask you directly, given that the nato mission is
to protect civilians from harm, if rebel forces were to fire on civilian targets or military targets that place civilians in harm's way, what steps would we take to protect innocent people? would we fire on the rebels? >> i have seen nothing so far over the course of these engagements to negate that the rebels are going to do that. we're very focused on the civilian protection piece of this going in both directions. the main focus is obviously on his regime forces. it's much clearer outside the towns, if you will. senator mccain talks about misrata when you're downtown and they're hiding, gadhafi's forces are hiding in buildings and the like, those shots are not being taken because potential for civilian casualties. so it is, at least from my perspective, the countries who
are engaged in this aspect of the mission, both before nato took over and afterwards, i haven't seen, while there's been a discussion about it, i haven't seen nato or we'd be restrictive in that regard assuming we'd execute the mission in the same way. >> these are delicate questions, i think you would acknowledge. >> they are. >> yes. i share your concerns about worst-case scenarios. i'm remaining optimistic, but i'd like to ask you about options, should the mission last longer than we might expect. are we working to add coalition partners to the mission who could share the load? >> i mean, we've been doing that literally since this first came on the scope, and it continues to work in that direction. so when secretary clinton was in london on tuesday, the swedes came forward with eight aircraft to contribute to the mission. so that work continues to go on.
and it's not just about military capability because there's a whole lot of work going on in terms of financial support, humanitarian assistance and other aspects of this mission as well. >> admiral and secretary gates, i think in secretary gates' well crafted and right-to-the-point statement, you said going forward the u.s. military will provide kamts others cannot provide either in kind or in scale such as electronic warfare, aerial refueling lift, search and rescue and surveillance intelligence and reconnaissance support. then we're going to significantly ramp down our other military kants and resources. does that mean the sortis and ordinance being directed at gadhafi's forces will be provided by our partners in nato? >> yes. >> and we believe that they have the capabilities and the capacity to do that, obviously? >> yes.
and as we indicated previously in the hearing, we will have capabilities on standby should they be needed. >> is it fair to say that in effect the military operation is designed to create space for political options to unfold including, as we all want, gadhafi to leave the scene? >> well, i think this is one of the aspects of this that is always complicated when you're dealing with a coalition and operating under a u.n. security council resolution. the security council resolution provides only for the no-fly zone and the humanitarian mission along with the arms embargo and so on. and so it doesn't talk about degrading his military or regime change or anything like that. so you have individual members of the coalition that are
leaning very far forward in terms of the political objective of getting rid of gadhafi, but you also have others in the coalition that say they don't want any part of that. and so, you know, the military mission is being flown and being operated as the admiral has suggested to fulfill those missions and degrading his military capabilities as seen as the way to try and help protect the civilian population. >> let me just end on this note. secretary gates, i really think you made an important point in your statement again where you said you believe it's in our national interest as part of a coalition with broad international support to prevent a humanitarian crisis in eastern libya that could have destabilized the entire region at a delicate time. i think that's at the heart of what we're doing. thank you for making that clear. >> thank you, senator udall. senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates and admiral mullen, let me join my
colleagues in expressing our great admiration and respect for both of you. we realize that you didn't make the policy decision, you're just given the responsibility of carrying it out. i only wish the president had taken the time to come to congress before he went to the u.n. security council to explain to us what he planned to do, what he wanted to do and to secure that authorization for use of military force. not necessarily -- i'm not going to get into a legal argument with anybody about at this point about whether that was required, but it strikes me that it's incredibly important that the american people understand the reasons the president decided to go forward, the limitations on our ability to affect an outcome so they can, then -- we as their representatives could express a view on this matter. but the president has taken that on himself. and now we are being sort of
left with the explanation after the fact. there's a poll that just came out today that said that 21% of americans believe that the u.s. has a clearly defined mission in libya. 21%. and i bet if you took a poll of congress, the numbers would be similar. b but, of course, nato, who is now being handed off the responsibilities in libya, the role of the united states and nato is essential to nato's success, wouldn't you agree with that, secretary gates, and admiral? i mean, it's not as if by handing things off to nato, it's something other than the united states and coalition partners. for example, in afghanistan where we have a 2-1 american contribution in terms of troops on the ground.
i'm interested if, in fact, nato makes a determination, secretary gates, that a stabilization force is needed on the ground, i understand it's within the power of the united states government to withhold its participation in a stabilization force. but would the united states participate in that, or would we withhold? >> well, first of all, i think that the security council resolution specifically prohi t prohibits a foreign occupying force. so unless the circumstances under which any kind of stabilizing force would go in would, i think, be open to debate. i frankly would tell you based on the debate leading up to the nato agreement to take on this responsibility, that the chances
of getting an authorization under nato auspices to put boots on the ground would be virtually impossible. >> well, i -- i'm worried, in light of your answer, and i sort of expected an answer along those lines, that we may have started something that nato's not going to be in a position to finish. and i wish -- well, let me ask you this. secretary and admiral, do you think what the united states plan is if gadhafi were to go into exile tomorrow? >> well, you mean after the celebration? >> well, i -- i hope it would be a celebration. >> i go back to my answer to senator webb. i think we should not exaggerate our ability to influence the political outcome in libya even
after gadhafi goes. i think that there is the opportunity for other arab states for the international community to try and influence that out. but i think we're kidding ourselves if we don't think there's going to be some kind of a struggle for power. >> that means a civil war? >> no, not necessarily. but, you know, even gadhafi rules by balancing the tribes -- the major tribes and playing them off against one another and so on. he does that through money and some intimidation and so on. so it's a complicated business in terms of his governance. even his governance. and i think it's likely to be more complicated in the future. but, you know, i think we've lost our place a little bit in this in a couple of respects. the urgency of this mission was based on the fact that his forces two weeks ago were racing
for benghazi, a city of 700,000 plus, and the belief that once he got there, he would slaughter a large number of people. and so the reason for the urgency and the speed with which this came together was to have the capability to stop him from getting to benghazi. and that part of the mission was successful. the other concern -- another concern was the millions of foreign workers in libya and there's over 1 million egyptians. and the fact that we had hundreds of thousands of them pleai i fleeing to the borders of tunisia and egypt had the potential to create a destabilizing influence in both of those countries. so getting that stopped was very important. and then we have taken on this effort to try and protect the civilians inside libya. but one of the things that i think we have accomplished is to
reduce his ability to destabilize north africa and egypt and tunisia. and now we will have to work with our allies and with the opposition inside. >> i have no doubt that the situation is dire. and again, i wish the president had had this conversation before the u.n. security council was asked to pass the resolution and come to congress and explain it to us and the american people. the one thing i really i wish that we had and i wish the president would explain to us is what the ultimate goal is other than the intermediate goal that you've just described, stopping the rush to benghazi, what the goalter gadhafi leaves and what the responsibility of the united states as part of a coalition or individually to engage in nation building or other efforts there. it also seems extremely open-ended to me, but now it's started, and it's going to be decided, as you suggest, in part
by things beyond our control. >> well, i would say, you know, it still remains to be dealt with, but i think that the last thing this country needs is another enterprise in nation building. and again, this is an area where one of the reasons we acted was because of the urgency that our allies felt. the british, the french, the italians as they contemplated the prospect of significant migration out of libya to their shores. and they really did consider libya itself to be in their vital interests along with the unprecedented action of the arab league. and so i think that we -- i mean, my view is that the future of libya -- the united states ought not take responsibility for that, frankly. i think that there are other countries both in the region and our allies in europe who can
participate in the effort, particularly with nonlethal aid and to try and help the development of libya. i just don't think we need to take on another one. >> thank you, senator cornyn. senator shaheen. >> thank you, secretary gates, admiral mullen. thank you for being here this afternoon. secretary gates, you indicated that our capabilities will continue to be on standby as we have turned over the strike sortis and the embargo to other of our allies. one concern that i have and i think it's been reflected here by others is that a prolonged presence in libya will fall ultimately on the united states to continue to shoulder the burden of the military effort there.
so do you have confidence that our european and arab allies in this effort will be able to sustain their involvement over a long period of time? >> they certainly have made that commitment. and we will see. >> and -- >> but i would say this. and particularly looking at what they have done in afghanistan from the british to others, they thought they were signing up probably for a peacekeeping mission back in the mid-2000s. and at riga, and they have found themselves in years of combat now. and they have certainly stepped up to the plate there and been able to sustain an effort. >> are we at all concerned that a prolonged conflict with our
european allies, sharing significant share of that burden will affect benghazi >> there has been no indication of that at this point. >> we know that both the uae and cutter are part of this effort. are we talking to other arab countries about their providing assistance? either for military involvement in terms of planes and flights or helping to provide cost coverage or coverage for the costs of the effort? >> we haven't talked about covering the cost but we continue to talk to a lot of arab countries and frankly there are -- there are only a couple
that actually have planes in the fight there are a number who are providing support in terms of overflight and landing rights and a variety of other things that are actually necessary for the success of the mission. >> are there any other of our allies who are not involved in military equipment or part of the military effort to have suggested they might be willing to help with the contributions to the cost? >> no. >> admiral debris this has said there were flickers of potential ties to al qaeda and has bowlen within some of the rebel forces. do we have concerns about that? are we confident that the rebels don't have connections to al qaeda or has below or other terrorist groups we might be
concerned about? >> it has been an area of great focus and we haven't seen anything other than what i would call aspiration of from al qaeda leadership in that regard. i think this is somewhat flatfooted. that doesn't mean we're not on guard for that or that they might not -- adducing fit will try to take advantage but we haven't seen anything to date. >> one thing that gaddafi is doing is in his information operations he is trying to gin up the narrative that the opposition has in fact led by al qaeda so one of the things making this difficult this he broadcasts all the time that al qaeda is involved and doing this or that so we just have to be aware that he is using this in his own propaganda.
>> have we been successful with efforts to jam communications from gaddafi? >> we struggle the little bit early on because we were further out once the eyes went down and the capability and we have been more successful but i wouldn't characterize it as completely successful or 100% in terms of the ability to eliminate broadcast capability. >> thank you. my time is expired. >> senator gramm? -- >> i'm more depressed than ever after listening to the plan we have to move forward and we will and i hope and pray that could of the those leave. let's start with the eddy of the al qaeda taking over. i may be wrong but i'm not
overly worried about that. i just don't believe all these people have risen up against gaddafi because he was not tough enough or he wasn't enough like al qaeda. do any of you believe the libyan people would stand for and al qaeda led regime? >> no evidence to support that. >> it makes no common sense that they would tolerate -- >> the reality is fighters we have faced in afghanistan and some al qaeda members have come from libya particularly eastern libya but that is a different story than the people of libya wanting al qaeda. the real power in libya is in the hands of these tribes. even gaddafi realizes that. i don't understand how it would be possible for these tribes to want to see that authority to al qaeda. >> the truth is there's no real
evidence that the body of the people of libya want to embrace al qaeda. people and our side talk about the cost of this operation and a tomahawk missile and how much costs america could be engaged in taking gaddafi down. if you look at the balance sheet to take him out versus the cost of our country and world if he came back into power, what would be the cost to our country and the middle east as a whole of gaddafi were able to survive? what would that mean to us? >> the assessment from the intelligence folks my own view is if he survives and somehow wiggle out from under the pressure he is under right now, no question in my mind that he will take terrible revenge on the people of libya and anybody
who has dared to oppose him or who even thinks may have opposed him. second, wiki has a long history of supporting terrorist groups and we all remember ham 103 and the risk of ham generating his own revenge to the extent that he possibly can is a very real possibility. >> so the cost to our country and the middle east as a whole is greater if he survives that if we took him out. >> i think it would be an ongoing danger. >> do you agree, admiral mullen? >> i do. one of the actions we have taken is to freeze over a $34 billion -- [talking over each other] >> it is not used for the libyan people for example. that is just an indication of the scope and potential cost in terms of the question you asked
and what the balance would be. >> i have been wrestling about how to approach -- whether i should make a joke about for this. when we push for a no-fly zone we didn't mean our people. the at the that the ac 130s and american air power is grounded unless the place goes to the hilt it is so unnerving i can't express it. please reconsider that. and people who disagree with you about tactics, we do see the need to get rid of this guy. there will probably be a vote soon in congress about whether or not we support this policy. senator levin is working on an authorization to use force and i believe it is inherent in the commander-in-chief's ability under the constitution to do what he did. you are on solid legal ground but you need to come here.
i'm telling both of you as friend that if something doesn't become a little clearer and more forceful and decisive is going to be very difficult to get authorization to approve the plan as it is. could you just comment. would it be helpful if the congress blessed this operation? >> yes. and several have said, secretary clinton have said, we would welcome congressional support. >> what would happen if we rejected the authorization as a congress? if we voted it down because we're not confident that it will work? what signal would that send? >> it would send an extraordinarily negative signal to our allies. it would be encouraging to gaddafi. >> >> it would be a disaster. one last comment.
i won't go over my time. is gaddafi the legitimate leader of the libyan people in your eyes legally? and if he is not, would be unlawful for some nation including ours to drop a bomb on him to end this thing? >> president reagan tried that. >> does that mean we shouldn't try again? i am asking in all seriousness. i don't believe this man is the legitimate leader of the libyan people. a believe he is an international terrorist and unlawful combatant and we are in our bounds to take the fight to him and his cadre of supporters. is that on the table or not? >> i don't think so because it would probably break the coalition. >> who would be mad at us if we drop the bomb on gaddafi and why would they be mad?
>> certainly some of our european allies have a different view. >> who in europe would be upset if gaddafi were killed and missing agent? >> i don't know. >> thank you. senator hagan? >> thank you for your excellent work here. following up a too agree that general could of the needs to be removed from power. he needs to step down. but in light of that i am very concerned about how difficult that is and what else can be done without ground forces? transitioning to nato to be sure
from a political and economic factor that we can help along those lines? >> there are still some additional measures that can be taken in terms of seizing libyan assets. we have taken action against the assets in the united states that the chairman referred to. other assets in europe and elsewhere that probably could be seized in terms of denying him access. >> of those being sought after? >> yes. the question of what kind of assistance to provide to the opposition is clearly the next step in terms of not leave for weapons and so on and all the members of the coalition are thinking about that and this
point as with our government. no decisions have been made. >> speaking of costs. as we transition to nadir of assuming command and control, there continue to the uncertainties regarding the cost of resources, duration and nature of our military conflict and according to the dod controller's office the cost has been about $550 million. < that for the mission and -- munitions and aircraft and it appears it would cost $40 million a month assuming no added munitions costs. we know we have 100,000 service men and women in afghanistan. i just want to be short -- i fully support this but make sure we are not distracted from that mission. can you discuss the resources and support than the u.s. will provide nato for the operation
in libya and how we can be sure supplying those capabilities and resources will not distract from those assets in afghanistan? >> we have moved a squadron of electronic and attack jets from iraq into the mediterranean to support this. we moved one command and control aircraft we don't consider -- that is from my perspective more critical in the mediterranean theater than in afghanistan. that has been the limit of what we have them with respect to any assets into this theater. we don't expect -- i don't see any long-term significant defects particularly in the areas that afghanistan seeks
more resources for intelligence reconnaissance, surveillance and reconnaissance. we add assets, fairly significant assets and a respect the secretary was about to say from reprogramming initiatives that we think are critical where we can make the effort to make those assets available for the fighting season this season in afghanistan. i haven't seen any kind of significant impact on resources in afghanistan or iraq or anything of substance based on what is going on in libya. >> i would like to add one more thing. in response to some of the comments from senator john mccain and others, i acknowledge
that i am preoccupied with avoiding mission creep and avoiding having an open ended very large scale american commitment in this respect. we know about afghanistan. we know about iraq. what haven't realized is we have 19 ships and 18,000 men and women in uniform helping on japanese relief. we are in serious budget trouble. the ongoing significant budget cuts at a time when we are asked to do so much, rings this issue home. i need help from the congress. the department of defense needs help from the congress. if we are going to do these things we need the resources to do them and under this resolution we are cancelling ship deployments because we don't have the money to pay for
them. trying to do all these things and taking on another major commitment that is potentially significant in scope i think is a very great worry for me and one of the reasons why i have been so adamant about keeping the nature of our engagement in this as limited as possible because there are others who can fulfill nearly all of the roll. >> thank you. >> senator collins? >> i wish that senator graham were still here because i see the issue of congressional authorization rather differently. i remember the many weeks we spent being briefed and debating before we went into iraq and i
believe resolutions should have come before any military action. i won't ask either of you to comment on that because that is the president's call and not necessarily yours. i do want to say that i am so aware of the terrible problems that the pentagon operating under its short-term c r he is creating and congress has been completely irresponsible to not make the defense department appropriations bill our highest priority. we are in the midst of three wars now and yet we haven't finished the work from last year or the department of defense is going to end up costing us weigh more than it otherwise would. to make that point i keep
offering a defense appropriations bill as an amendment to all the bills that have been on the floor. that is a different subject but it is related to the issue you raised about avoiding mission creep. are am glad you are so focused on that issue. i am concerned to hear the testimony from the airport chief of staff general schwartz earlier this month when he said that a no-fly zone alone was likely going to be insufficient to turned the momentum in libya and indeed it seems each day we see a turn -- a change in fortune of the rebel forces. that worries me because that looks like we are engaged in an operation even if it is in a supporting role that is going to
drag on without resolution forever. unless gaddafi is somehow removed. the administration has said repeatedly that the removal of gaddafi is not a military objective. it is a political objective. in response to senator graham, a question i was going to ask is are we trying to kill him? are we or our allies trying to kill him? if we are not trying to do that are we trying to arrange for him to go into exile and have a soft landing with no further consequences? or are we going to try to get him out of libya and have him tried by international criminal court which has been mentioned. if that is the consequences he will never meet leave
voluntarily. if getting colonel gaddafi out of libya is an objective, how are we going to accomplish that and tower we going to bring this to closure? i don't see how an ends. >> there are several alternatives. one is a member of his own family kills him or one of his inner circle kills him or the military fractures general schwartz was completely accurate when he said a no-fly zone alone would not be sufficient cause to get him out of power or meet our
goals. as part of the humanitarian mission the degradation of his military forces does add something at a significant and different dimension to the no-fly zone. it is not just the fly zone alone. i would make one observation that nobody in this hearing has mentioned. there have been a lot of concerns expressed about consultation with congress but in its own way congress consulted with the president and this body that unanimously in a resolution called for the imposition of a no-fly zone. >> if you look at that resolution, my time is expired
but it is very limited in what it calls for but that is a round for another day. thank you. >> thank you. we are trying to get the resolution right away. we are calling on you to consider. but in any event we get the actual orientation but it is also true that there was great urgency. there was a catastrophe in the works. a slaughter and we were on recess and the president didn't actually consult with the leadership of the congress. all of that -- those facts needed to be recorded whether you are correct about the resolution or not. [talking over each other] >> senator collins has the facts. she always does. >> this is an important point
because the resolution authorized me to support i would have voted against that. this resolution applies the courage of the people to condemn the violation of human rights, calls on gaddafi to desist. welcome to be unanimous vote of the security council or the regime to abide by it. this is the only part that is even tangentially on this and urges the united nations security council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians from attack including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over libyan territory. i think that is pretty weak language in terms of authorizing
the united states. >> i wasn't claiming for a second that the resolution authorizes any thing but it certainly was a manifestation of the wish and the view of the united states senate on this issue. >> thank you and we will now turn i believe -- senator blue one fall is next. senator blumenthal is next. >> thank you for being here today and giving us the benefit of your thinking on issues i suspect you have been wrestling long and hard with. we have not asked many questions that have woken you in the middle of the night. thank you for sharing your views with us. i want to go to a point that
secretary gates made earlier. can we accomplish any kind of regime change here unless the opposition receives what you have identified as the main defect in there fighting capability which is the absence of training and command and control or to put it a different way doesn't one of the nato partners or one of the arab countries have to be there to provide that kind of capability that they are missing now? >> my view is sort of the high point of the uprisings all across the country. people when they rose up either turned gaddafi's security
services or elements of the military to their side or were able to chase them out of their towns. the only way gaddafi has been able to recapture control of most of the country is until we started flying our air sorties and strike missions he was able to gather the loyal forces of his regime and one by one put those cities down by using military force. that military force has dramatically degraded over a period of time. it seems to me we have the potential for these people to rise again and he will not be able to put them down because he will not have the military capability to do it. the training and cohesion and organization are things that clearly the rebels need, but it is not that they can't win without it. >> would you agree, admiral? >> i do. >> i am struck by the public reports of the retreating
rebels. which make it appear at least that they really need as a precondition of ousting gaddafi the kind of training and internal command and control and indeed of potentially governing in the future some cohesion in that fighting force to maintain some degree of civilian control. and i would suggest a stalemate is in some sense a potential humanitarian crisis if it leads to chaos or even to gaddafi's continued control over part of the country where he is able to massacre his people as he has done for more than 40 years.
is there any consideration to the united states providing the kind of air support that senator mccain suggested through the a c 130s and 10s? >> those are available today and through the next several days and we plant that so they are currently assigned to nato after the second of april. they will be -- there will be u.s. aircraft strike aircraft available to the nato commander in support should he need that. this has been the focus of discussions over many days and nato commander is aware of that. if he needs it he would have to ask for it and it would come back here. the designers to have a package on alert in standby to prevent
any kind of overwhelming effort on the part of -- which would result in further massacre of libyan citizens. have of that available on short notice and that is into the future. >> those assets would be available. >> they would not be participating on a day to day basis. >> would that also be true of resources or assets that might support both training and command and control for the rebels in libya? >> the decision to do that has not been made in terms of support to the rebels. there are many countries who have the capability to do this. as part of the coalition i would
certainly hope countries make that decision then they would do that. we haven't made that decision at this point. >> my time is expired but i would like to say i supported this policy in so far as it has stopped the massacre or humanitarian crisis that occurred in benghazi and prevented the stabilization in other parts of north africa. we are debating here i don't need to tell you the means, not the end. we are united in your efforts and the president's effort to remove gaddafi and these problems are exceedingly difficult for the american people to understand. you are being held to explain. >> thank you very much. senator sessions? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i remember after the failed
attempt in iran to rescue the hostages a british general, expert in the military said the good plan can be followed by bad luck but a plan that depends on good luck is a bad plan. i just don't know what category this operation is in. but there is so much vagary and it. and how it might end, it seems to me an awful lot that we are hoping good luck will occur. in warfare in military activity it doesn't. i want to get one thing very clear. from your conversation with senator lieberman it seemed to me i believe that there was a
lack of critical mass in the rebel forces or maybe that was secretary gates, and the dilemma as expressed by senator lieberman that under those circumstances it was unable to be successful to win without a substantial allied support. what is the most effective support is quite clear, that was the ac 130s that have been utilized. now admiral mullen, as i understand it, the ac 130s have provided close air and ground support, powerful and our personnel firepower that they contain are off the battlefield at this moment. is that right? >> they're still
>> no. [talking over each other] >> they are available to fly today. that will be the case for a couple more days. after that they won't be available. i would also say there was plenty of action, plenty of support much of which was provided by allied aircraft and the a 10s showed up after this. i don't discount the capability that those countries provide as well. >> with regard -- i will ask a military opinion. the rebel forces in a defensive situation. i spread out gaddafi, military
is attacking them. would not the a c 10s provide a powerful balance on the battlefield? >> the a 10s and the ac 130s are powerful weapons. >> is there any reluctance in this coalition that we should not use the ac 130s for a 10s? >> when they are available, low. we are over the next couple days not going to participate in the striking part of this mission which would include the a 10s at ac 130s. >> the military acknowledged court noted the unilateral u.s.
decision to make those assets available to the situation unless we have a specific request from the nato leadership. is that the policy? >> it is. >> do you think that could have a discouraging effect on rebel forces? >> i worked this pretty hard with a previous commander, general ham, in terms of the assessment of the allied capability. he was confident that it could be sustained at the necessary levels to support opposition. [talking over each other] >> more than anything else in the last three days has been whether it has been airplanes. >> let's go beyond the two days it might be available. secretary gates, in your written
statement you say that going forward the u.s. military will provide capabilities that others cannot provide either in kind or in scale, such as electronic warfare, aerial refueling, search and rescue and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance support. i do not see in that support close air support. did you intentionally desire to leave that out? >> yes. >> so the military capability we intend to provide after the next few days would not include the close air support of a 10s and ac 130s? >> that is correct. we would not be participating in a striking missions. >> but the nato mission as secretary gates said in his statement is limited one.
it will maintain pressure on gaddafi's remaining forces to prevent attacks on civilians, enforce the no-fly zones and arms embargoes and provide humanitarian relief. does that include in your view close air support, attacking actual gaddafi forces from the air wherever they are found? >> it does. in countries that are committed to that, those that have been participating in that already outside our capability which we will no longer add to that mission, executing that mission. there will be plenty of strike capabilities available to nato to prosecute that mission. >> plenty but not perhaps the most effective capability.
the powerful a 10 aircraft. >> it will certainly not be participating. >> thank you, my time is past. >> thank you. secretary begich? >> you have been very patient. i don't think anyone disagrees that gaddafi is a bad character with a lot of issues we want to deal with. let me go to some frustration in the initiative i am concerned about which is the monetary cost. in the broader sense of the department of defense but the specific mission how you accommodate this. let me make some points on the dollars and make sure we are on the same page. my understanding is so far, we have expended five hundred sixty million give or take in that
range. it is estimated that the fiscal year we are in that it may be in that $800 million -- am i low? >> costs are -- calculation of the cost as of last month was $550 million. and at the ramp down level of support, the run rate per month is about $40 million. that is our estimate. >> does that involve all military or humanitarian or just the dod component? >> just the dod component. [talking over each other] >> has there been a number on the state department? >> no. one other thing i would like to mention in terms of these costs that need to be covered.
we have 19 ships, 18,000 men and women in uniform that we need to deal with. >> i will focus on libya. i agree with you. as we had to deal with haiti, how are you paying for this? if i am reading what i am reading that it is rearranging the movement of ships or whatever you are shipping from we have to replenish that. we have less inventory later. how are you going to address that? >> we are in that discussion with the white house right now. it is my view that the defense department cannot just keep that cost. there are some ways of looking at the overseas contingency operation funding where we may be able to do something but in the beginning of conversations
with the white house -- >> do you think in this contingency, resources you have that the amount that it may be at the end of this fiscal year can be covered? do you think you will need new resources at some point? the reason i am asking -- >> i don't see the topline of the oco or fy11 budget changed for this. >> that was extra money? >> we have to make in turtle trade offs. >> what are those trade offs? and is that >> i am new to this. we were in iraq and afghanistan.
it is trillions of dollars that heard the budget. we have to understand what everyone wants to talk about. the ac 130s and a 10s coalitions had the capacity maybe not as superior but doing the job we do, that is great but all this cost money. my issue is what is the trade off? understand that gadhafi has to do. there are other bad characters in the world we should be taking out but we are where we are and the issue i have is i am trying to figure this out. if i heard right, our allies, nato, the arab league, pony up some money to offset the cost but that is me. we cannot shoulder these costs with the downward turn on dollars available for everything. i just am trying to figure out
the digital the senate does not -- we do not do very good oversight on budgetary processes until after the fact. we are in the middle of it and i am asking the question. i appreciate what you are saying. i want to make sure it is not so far down the line that you say we need half a billion dollars because i want to mentally prepared and know what we are trading off. it is frustrating to me. i am supportive of your needs. i have always been here sending 30,000 more troops and the first democrat to say you get them if you need them because we are underresource in that operation when i came in. i am frustrated by you because two questions on the monetary resources. that is part of this discussion that we have to have. most of the income is from oil. we won't have any agreement for
repayment if we move this country to a better situation and we will be carrying the load. i heard frustration from you and i am frustrated. i want to make sure we do it right. or go down that route. >> i would just say the defense appropriations bills that are currently under negotiation have a around $4 billion in unrequested adds. that is where we -- >> i will leave it at that. i will support the missions you all these side from a military perspective but i want to make sure the resources -- we are not nickel and dimeing you to death. i have seen it and it is painful to watch. i want to figure out the right
approach. i appreciate it. >> senator manchin? >> the state of west virginia thank you for your service. we have the utmost respect and to follow up a little bit where i am having for problem with the cost is i remember the gulf war. you might want -- both of you or whoever wants to speak to this. there was a big to about we already had commitments for reimbursement before we went in. we were asked to come. giving you my perspective being from west virginia and listening and watching and all the guards commissioning to go over and it was something we felt was a win/win. we were successful and did the mission and they pay their costs and we got out and people didn't feel they were overobligated or overburg. if we could do it then the
personal we were asked to come in and had the support of the arab league with nato, could we not make the same deal this time? where they would offset the cost for us to come in and assist them? i would tie that with all due respect, you said you did not believe this was in our vital interest. i think a lot of worcester junior shares your belief with that but whenever it is wheneve are. >> with respect to the gulf war, i was in the white house when that took place and i can tell you we had no advance commitment from anybody to pay anything.
that was all dealt with later. the reality is the bulk of the repayment came from saudi arabia and kuwait that had the most directly under threat. they don't feel that kind of direct threat today from gadhafi. getting these guys to shoulder very much if any of the financial cost is a remote possibility. >> the gulf states that felt there is a direct threat to them, at that time they made a financial decision to be involved. they don't feel it is a direct threat. you did not think there was a direct threat but the decision was made that we went in anyway. >> the kuwaitis were occupied and the saudis saw this as an immediate threat. >> i would ask both of you has
there been any movement? i keep hearing there might be movement on gadhafi leaving. does he want to leave? any opportunity for him to be exiled? how would we approach that if he was actively entertaining that? is that the war left open for him to leave? >> i think first of all we haven't really discussed this in detail. the president and secretary of state. my personal view would be anything that gets him out of the country and provides a change in the regime should at least be considered. >> as an option. the time element, looks like whatever -- there is no backing out of this until he is gone and
we are hoping the nato troops or whoever the arab states will do their job and make that happen sooner rather than later. >> we are counting on the coalition to sustain the air campaign. >> maybe you can speak to this. what strain is there to the troops? i was in iraq and afghanistan and saw the finest soldiers i ever imagined seeing, is it going to take a toll on us? >> over the short term not that much. time would be the first to say we are stretched pretty thin. secretary gates spoke earlier on the financial side. we are at a point where we don't have the money to fund the navy
deployments because we don't have a bill yet. over the long term, i would grow increasingly concerned that what we are in the process of doing with very specific ideas of the president is this is a limited military involvement. i can see the limits with the capabilities that we have that we can sustain those support capabilities for a significant period of time without substantially adding to the stress on the force. most of the stress on the force is on the ground. this doesn't involve ground forces. at least certainly as this was initiated where we are right now we are ok but it is a concern. >> thank you for your service. thank you for the tough job you have. >> we are going to close the loop on one question, no we are
not. we almost got it closed. that is the question of the strike mission and your decision not to participate over the next few days on the strike missions. you testified that nato has great strike capability. i want to be sure of one thing. from your perspective, admiral mullen, that decision, that policy of ours that we worked out with nato, does that work with your own personal support that we not participate unless we are requested on a standby basis, you have gone through that and unless that stand by request has been approved by the civilian leadership of this country do you support that policy? >> i am comfortable with the guidance i have gone from the president and the mission to be
executed as i described it and as you just described it. >> that is something that has your personal support. thank you. senator mccaskill. >> i just finished presiding and raced over here. what about secretary gates or admiral mullen, what is the government's capability of the rebels? we know their shortcomings in terms of their ability to advance in terms of their military operations. what about governance? do we think the international council in benghazi is able to work in remote areas of the country? >> the answer to the second part of the question is no. the government's capability at this point is limited if not
nonexistent. >> assuming that we are going to be optimistic here and gaddafi -- gadhafi leave tower quickly, have our allies at nato talk about what happens in the interim -- will this -- will we sit back and watch to see what develops? >> secretary clinton carried the burden to negotiate with our allies and coalition partners. whether that was discussed a few days ago i don't know. >> egypt. i know with what we are committed to and i agree with the assessment that has been made by our leadership in regard to libya. i worry that we are taking our eye off the ball in egypt to
some extent and i wondered, both of you, so goes egypt so goes the rest of the region and what are your feelings about the democracy that is trying to be born in egypt? >> i would say quite the contrary. we have not only not taken our eye off the ball but we're paying a lot of attention to egypt. i was fair and secretary clinton was there the week before. admiral mullen and i are in regular contact with our counterparts. i came away from my visit and the decision that have happened in the last few days feeling positive about developments. one of the things we had been concerned about was trying to have elections in june would not give parties other than the old mubarak party and the muslim
brotherhood a chance to organize and prepare. very movement, not a political party. their decision to delay the election until september is a very positive move. i am cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction. it is clear from my conversation with the air marshal that the military wants to shed this responsibility as quickly as they responsibly can. they seem to be making the right decisions in terms of the reforms they put in place, in terms of the elections and so on. >> frequency of contact is one thing we both do. we are also -- not just myself.
general madness is in contact with the leadership there. we are working through the huge challenges we have and that is the way to sustain the military relationship we had over a long period of time which had a significantly positive pay off in the overall crisis in egypt and recognize the value of that and things like exercise and education or those things that go by the wayside and from all indications -- >> one thing i would add on that is just to address one another point you asked about, i think the future of egypt is critical to our interests in the region. it has long been the center of the arab world in many ways so we have very significant
interest in how of things go. >> there can be cynicism about resources we spend in terms of building alliances with other militaries around the world and this is a great example for the american people to take a look at. relationships we developed with the egyptian military over the years has come into play in a time of crisis and been important in terms of our ability to get information and our ability to monitor and make sure we -- what was going on in the long run would be healthy for our national security interests. this is a good time to remind americans that sometimes the resources we expend on training and even in equipping our allies across the world, you never know when it will come in handy and this is an example where it has. >> i agree with you and the
juxtaposition of a country i spent a lot of time on was pakistan where we broke that relationship. it cost us dearly to do that. we are working on renewing it through difficult times and significant challenges. those two examples teach us lessons on both sides of that coin. >> thank you for your leadership. it is trying and both of you are where you are at this moment. thank you. >> we came close to keeping a commitment and did the best we could. ..