tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 9, 2014 8:30am-10:31am EDT
>> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago ask brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> c-span2, providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor reedings and key public policy events. and every weekend, booktv. now for 15 years the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors. c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> both the house and senate are in session today. the house is in at noon eastern for general speeches. at 2:00 they'll consider a series of suspension bills before beginning debate on legislation to authorize spending for 2015 transportation and housing programs. votes on amendments to that legislation could occur later in the evening.
the senate gavels in at 2:00 eastern for general speeches. at 5:30, senators will vote to move forward on district judge nominations for virginia, massachusetts and nevada. you can watch the house life on c-span -- live on c-span, the senate on c-span2. >> deputy national security adviser tony blinken talked about the u.s. and european response to isolate russia after its intervention in ukraine. he talked about the effectiveness of the sanctions and why the annexation of crimea will eventually prove to be what he calls a strategic loser for russia in the long term. he spoke at a conference on europe hosted by the brookings institution. it's about 45 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, i hope you've had a chance to enjoy some lunch. it is, of course, a brookings sandwich lunch, so, you know, there's limits to the enjoyment, but nonetheless, we hope you've
had a good lunch. we're extremely pleased to have tony blinken here to finish off and wrap up our annual conference for us today. tony, unfortunately, doesn't have an immense amount of time with us. he has to leave on the dot at 1:15, so i want to get underway as quickly as possible, and we're extremely privileged to have him here given all the things that are, obviously, happening on the agenda. obviously, while the president and everyone is traveling in europe, he probably has a few things to do manning the office and holding down the fort as everybody likes to say. but we're really delighted in particular that it's tony who has agreed to give our keynote, because he's been a long participant in and supporter of many brookings activities. he's a fellow think tanker from csis back in the day, and he was also along with jim steinberg in some sense present at the creation of the center ten years ago. in fact, our former director has now gone off to work for tony.
i think there's a direct correlation there. clearly, you know, kind of having worked together on the european front, that's been very good preparation for working on other issues. phil gordon went off to be assistant secretary of europe and then as senior director for the middle east. tony's probably keeping him pretty busy. tony, as many of you know, came to washington at the beginning of the clinton administration, he worked in the state department on the national security council staff. he's been a chief foreign policy speech writer for president clinton, and then he worked for senator biden at the senate foreign relations committee. he became the deputy assistant national security adviser to vice president biden when he moved to the white house, and now he has moved to, basically, be the principal deputy national security adviser for president obama. so tony has a very long record of advising people, so i think we should all pay particular attention the some things that he has to say today. and now we're asking tony to go back to his deep transatlantic
roots and tell us about the effect of the ukraine crisis on transatlantic relations, and obviously, there's no one better placed to do so. so, tony, thank you so much. thank you. [applause] >> thank you all very much. and, fiona, thank you so much. it's always great to be at brookings. so many good friends ask colleagues here -- and colleagues here, so many people we'veñr stolen from here includg phil and others. and also an institution and individuals the administration and previous administrations and future administrations rely on on an almost daily basis for ideas, for intellectual capital which we don't have, apparently, a no come inly -- monopoly on. it's always wonderful to be here. it's particularly to be involved with the united states and europe and with can king's college, and i appreciate you all hosting me very much. i thought i'd try and trace where we are with ukraine by
going back and sort of tracing how we got to where we are. and then offer some thoughts on the way forward. and, of course, this is a very active issue or and, in fact, as we gather here today, there is much going on in europe with the president, with his european counterparts w president-elect por schoen coe, with president putin, and this will be very much, as always, in the headlines. i want to start by going back. if we go back to the protests that began at the end of last year, it's fair to say that while the catalyst for the protests and the catalyst for change were president yanukovych basically reversing himself on the association agreement with the european union, something that europe expected, the united states expected, russia expected, but more importantly, the ukrainian people expected. while that was the catalyst, i think what we saw on the maidan
was rooted in something even deeper, and that was a profound sense of dissatisfaction among so many ukrainians from all walks of life. with corruption, with excellent accurates who were stealing the country's resources, with economic stagnation, with a lack of opportunity. and these all came together, and we had this catalyst of the 180 on the association agreement and then a vicious, vicious crackdown that followed. and then we had russia and the actions that it took. and they were almost, i think it can be said, from another era. russia used its greater size and its wealth to try to bully and intimidate a smaller neighbor to use its influence through force. and we all know the series of events that took place; the incursion, the occupation, the annexation of crimea, the buildup of russian forces along the border, the covert and not so covert of armed separatists
seizing buildings, the free flow of militants and material across the border, the tripling of the price of gas to ukraine. all of this fueled by an almost orwellian propaganda machine and based on two very from found ironies. first, the ethnic russians that president putin claimed to be defending enjoy far greater freedoms in ukraine and most of the post-soviet space than do russia's own citizens under president putin. and second, the extreme form of federalism that russia seeks to impose on ukraine is exactly the opposite of the increasingly centralized control that president putin exerts in russia. the stakes for the united states and for the international community writ large, i think, were threefold. the you go back to the very first major foreign policy speech of the obama administration which was actually delivered by vice president biden at the munich security conference in february of 2009, that's the speech that laid out in some detail the idea
of the reset. but the vice president at the time also said there are going to be clear differences between the united states and russia going forward and clear red lines. and maybe the most important is our profound rejection of the validity of the notion of spheres of influence. that we believe profoundly that countries and people have the right to decide their own future and with whom to associate. that principle was challenged by russia's actions in ukraine. so was the principle that in the 21st century redrawing borders by force, undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a democracy was unacceptable, and the precedent that would set not just in europe, but beyond was also something that needed a swift and stern reaction. and then finally, there was something particular about the situation in ukraine that was critically important, and that goes back to the infamous 1994 budapest agreement. as i think most of you in this room know very well, when the
soviet union fell apart, it left many successor states with many nuclear weapons, and bell ruse and cause -- belarus and kaszikstan all agreed to give theirs up, but ukraine wasn't prepared to do that until it had a firm commitment by russia, by the united states, by the united kingdom that its sovereignty and territorial integrity would be guaranteed. and so the four countries signed the budapest agreement that purported to guarantee just that. the idea that this piece of paper could be, in effect, torn up by this move by russia into ukraine profoundly called into question what message this would send to other countries around the world who might be considering giving up nuclear weapons. a terrible message to send, a terrible precedent to set. the united states' response, i think, can be looked at in two
points of time. first, before russia went into crimea; that is, from the moment the ma idan protests were met with a violent reaction, we worked very hard to try to deescalate the crisis, to bring the parties together. the vice president was constantly on the phone with then-president yanukovych. the president was deeply engaged with his european partners as well as with president putin. and the objective was to see if we could forge a diplomatic agreement for a way forward that resolved the crisis peacefully. but once the russians went into crimea, our policy shifted. and the president set three very clear directions that we follow to this day. first, we would isolate russia for the actions it was taking in the ukraine. second, we would support ukraine and build support for ukraine in the international community. and, third, we would reassure our allies and partners. and let me spend a few minutes on each of those.
first, with regard to russia, the goals were simple and straightforward: we needed to impose costs for the actions that russia had taken, we sought to defer -- deter, excuse me, russia from taking further irresponsible actions, and we hoped to shape the decision space that president putin and the russian government would operate in going forward. this involved in the first instance political isolation. and so you all know the litany of things that happened in the immediate weeks following the incursion into crimea. the de facto and then dejury discuss sense from the g8, the efforts in the united nations to isolate russia politically, and we saw that with a very significant vote at the security council with china abstaining and not siding with russia, and then an incredible lopsided vote where russia found itself with about another ten countries, none of whom i think would be partners of first choice for most people in this room. we rejected the referenda that
took place in crimea and then in the east. we downgraded our bilateral relations as did europe. and even with something like the st. petersburg economic conference which has been a showcase for russia and its economy, we persuaded many of our senior ceos not to go. now, this at no time just happen -- this doesn't just happen. it took incredibly hard, sustained, focused work starting with the president to move all of our partners in the same direction. and i know people are themed to say, oh, so they didn't -- are tempted to say, oh, they didn't get to go to a meeting or the g7 issued a tough statement or there was a vote of the u.n. general assembly, it doesn't mean anything. it does. it's significant. it matters because one way that president putin and russia define power is by the geopolitical standing and influence that russia's able to obtain, and undermining russia politically in the international community, isolating it politically diminishes that
power. but then even more significant were the measures we took to isolate russia economically. we started, and the president was determined the adhere to a basic principle that we should do it with our partners, with europe and with other key countries for two reasons. first, the practical impact of being able to impose sanctions with others is much greater. but second, the political impact is reinforced, and it reinforced the sense of isolation when it's not just the united states doing it. so i think as you all know we engaged in a process that resulted in visa bans, asset freezes, restrictions on doing business key figures in russia and in ukraine. we imposed targeted sanctions on 28 russian officials, six members of president putin's inner circle outside of government, 11 ukrainian separatists, we denied export licenses for military technology. and the european union, canada, australia, japan, liechtenstein
imposed similar if not identical measures. just as significant, we developed more severe measures targeted but, at the same time, potentially very effective in the financial, energy and arms sectors. the very knowledge that these measure were out there has, we believe, a deterrent or effect. and, indeed, the fact that countries are agreeing the move forward if necessary on them not only deters, but it creates a climate of uncertainty that actually imposes costs without having to to pull the trigger. so there's been discussion about the impact or lack of impact of these sanctions and these economic measures. to me, the case is not even close. it's very, very clear. first, we have heard in public from russia's finance minister, its deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, even president putin himself acknowledging the impact of sanctions.
very recently, the largest bank in russia and, in effect, a proxy for the larger economy vownsed a steep decline -- announced a steep decline in first quarter profits and in doing so it said, in particular, recent events in ukraine significantly impacted the dynamics of the russian economy. now, across a whole host of measures we can see the dramatic impact that the economic isolation has already had on russia. we saw it initially in the financial markets which are incredibly sensitive to isolation and to the pressure that was exerted, and we saw them at various points in the crisis as we exerted pressure go to extraordinary lows. they would bounce back if something that was perceived to be positive or relaxation occurred. and, of course, in the short term because markets are volatile, they may not be the best measure, but we could clearly see the sensitive -- sensitivity of the markets. also we saw the ruble heading to an all-time low.
it too at various points has bounced back, but what's very significant is during this period the central bank of russia had to spend $37 billion, 8% of its foreign exchange reserves, to defend the ruble. and the result in any event were higher borrowing cost and a decrease in the value of savings of russians. maybe more significant and even more compelling, capital flight. $51 billion in the first quarter of year alone which was more than all of 2013. and going forward the imf, the world bank, private experts now i estimate that for 2014 capital flight from russia is expected to be between $100 and there are 200 billion -- $200 billion be. foreign investors have been pulling back or staying on the fence. they look for stability. they look for countries that keep their commitments. they look for a country that's connected. russia's actions have sent a message to investors that that's not the kind of environment they
want to be informing in. russia's credit rating was cut to just above the junk level. russian companies are not issuing bonds to raise capital. economic contraction is already clear. we've seen it in the first quarter and for 2014 most of the experts are predicting something close to zero growth. this week alone lloyd's of london withdrew a multibillion trade finance deal with the large oil company whose ceo is, of course, saksed. sanctioned. now, some of this was happening before the crisis and before the sanctions as a result of downturn in the russian economy. but virtually every expert and every analyst that we have makes it very clear that everything we did in response to what russia did in ukraine accelerated and deepened this process. so those are the measures of what we have done to carry out the edict to isolate russia for its actions in ukraine. but i think what's even more
important than that when you think forward is i am absolutely convinced that russia's actions in ukraine are a strategic loser for russia going into the future. first, yes, you can say that russia, quote-unquote, won crimea. but in so doing, it is losing and has probably lost ukraine. ukraine is more united in its western orientation than it's ever been, and its sense of national identity is deep or than it's ever been. and then there's crimea itself. it's true that in the short term the actions that russia took in crimea produced a political bounce for president putin. but i think that's going to change in a significant way. russia is spending about $7 billion this year in the direct costs -- budgetary and pension support -- for crimea. over the next several years, most of the experts estimate it will have to spend between $50-$60 billion for critical
infrastructure; rail and vehicle privileges, electricity and water connections to make up for what crimea has lost as a result of russia's actions with ukraine. this puts downward pressure to improve the lives of the russian people, to modernize the economy. in short, the bloom will come off of the crimean rose as people begin to understand that this was not for free, there are real costs involved. second, strategically what president putin has done in ukraine, more than anything else, has reenergized nato to a point i think we haven't seen in years. there's a renewed focus on nato's article v commitment. ironically, the very thing that putin has sought to prevent, which is nato moving closer, in effect, to russia, is exactly what is likely to happen as the allied military presence in the eastern part of nato territory is likely and, indeed, has already grown. and to the extent we are successful in reversing the decline in defense spending
among nato countries, this is probably going to prove to be the single most significant catalyst. third, russia's actions in ukraine have done more than anything else could possibly have done to create the potential for real energy reform in europe. it's the biggest single jolt to europeans to take real steps to decrease their dependence on russia than anything one could imagine. to develop infrastructure and new sources. this has the potential, ironically, to kill the goose that lays russia's one golden egg. and then, fourth, there are the unintended consequences. what message do russia's actions in ukraine in the alleged defense of ethnic rights send to nonethnic russians in chechnya and dagestan? this could open a can of worms that would be profoundly against the interests of moscow. and then finally, and maybe host
interestingly -- most interestingly, i mentioned a moment ago that when you think about how to define power or how president putin sees power, it's probably a combination of two things; russia's geopolitical influence and its economic strength. and, indeed, there was a recent survey taken in russia where the russian people were asked what would be their two top priorities. and the results evenly split, international influence and create conditions for individual prosperity. by russia's actions in ukraine, both of those priorities are in profound jeopardy and, indeed, so is president putin with his people to deliver that influence, to deliver that prosperity. there's a way out. integrate russia's economy with the world, diversify it away from fossil fuels, play by the rules. is and that way out remains on offer, but ultimately, it's up to president putin when he
wants -- whether he wants to pursue it. i have to tell you, my concern is that left with few choices in terms of sustaining his power, there will be a strong incentive on president putin to continue to play the nationalism card. and that means to continue to take the kinds of actions that we've seen in order to produce a jolt of short-term support that then evaporates as people understand the costs which requires another jolt. that's the danger. my hope and, certainly, the hope of the entire administration is that is not the course russia chooses, and i'll come back to that briefly at the end. the second big line of effort that we pursued over these months is support for ukraine. and there was an equal effort that was put into building that international support led by the president in a very systematic way. it began with economic support. we produced a package with our european partners and with the imf and others of $27 billion over two years tied to reform. very critically. including cutting energy
subsidies, improving macrochick management, boosting competitiveness, strengthening the banking sector, increasing energy efficiency and security. this was anchored by a $17 billion imf agreement which was achieved in record time. and then there were another $4 billion from the g7 countries, from the world bank, a $1 billion u.s. loan guarantee to cushion the impact of reforms on low income families. separate and apart from that, we've been pursuing a program of transition assistance to ukraine. u.s. technical support for economic and political reform, capacity building and government ministries, anti-corruption programming, etc. and then most recently we've seen, of course, election support from the united states, from europe, of course from the osce and others. and it's worth commenting that this election was a remarkable achievement considering the duress under which it was conducted. it was the most free and fair elections in ukraine's history as an independent country.
we would often marvel at the irony of some people complaining in moscow about being disenfranchised because they were the very people creating the disenfranchisement. most folks in this room are probably too young to remember this, but there was a wonderful movie when i was growing up called "blazing saddles" by mel brooks -- [laughter] and there's a great scene in that movie where the sheriff is surrounded in a house by the bad guys, and he comes out of the householding himself hostage and saying better let me go, otherwise i'll shoot myself. that was exactly what the, those complaining about disenfranchisement were doing. and then it's interesting to note that russia has complained about the alleged fascists who dominate ukraine. well, if you look at the election results, the two far-right parties each got less than 2%. so much for domination by the far right. besides the economic assistance,
besides the assistance for the elections we've also pursued security sector assistance. $23 million over the past three months in nonlethal assistance to help ukraine's security forces to deal with their immediate needs; to sustain themselves in the field, to defend themselves against the armed separatists and to better monitor the border. we provided meals ready to eat. people laughed about that. well, you can laugh, but then you can look at the photographs of forces eating those meals ready to eat, and they could not have been sustained in the field without them. medical kits, body armor, helmets, night vision going les, communications equipment, vehicles, disposal robots. those were all short-term measure toss address what was host immediately needed in this chi sis. -- crisis. but now with the new government and in cooperation with europe, we plan to engage on comprehensive security sector reform. now, some would have us sell or provide ukraine with all sorts of sophisticated weapons systems
starting yesterday. that's exactly the wrong thing to do. it is vitally important that we begin by assessing the shortcomings in the security sector, understand the necessary reforms, establish actual needs, establish priorities. until ukraine begins to address -- with our help, with europe's help -- systemic shortcomings, mismanagement, institutional incapacities and gross corruption, assistance will not be effective. but there's a real opportunity with a new government that is determined to remedy the shortcomings of the past, and we are determined to seize it with them. finally, reassuring our allies and our partners. the president was determined hearing from many of our allies and partners and listening to the deep concern that they had faced with russia's actions in ukraine to take immediate steps to reassure them, to boller is the article v -- bolster the
article v commitment that lies at the heart of nato. and what he set out to do and what we have done is to produce a virtually continuous air, land and sea presence to the eastern reaches of nato. in the immediate, we sent 12 additional f-16s to poland for training missions, to the baltic policing mission, we retated ships into the black sea. and we deployed four company-sized paratrooper divisions to poland and the baltic countries for training and exercises. this week, as many of you probably heard, the president announced a new commitment to reassurance and to european security with a $1 billion fund, a fund that would allow us to preposition equipment in europe, to expand exercises and training, to increase the number of u.s. personnel continuously rotating through central and eastern europe and to increase assistance to ukraine, moll dove v.a -- moldova and georgia. it's obviously vital that the u.s. not be engaged in these steps alone, and we've
encouraged our nato partners to take part in the continuous deployments and rotations, and we expect over the coming months we'll be able to say that all 28 members of nato participated. and then by the nato summit in september we expect to see steps to reverse the decline in defense spending that, unfortunately, has characterized the alliance in this recent years. ironically, all of this, again, catalyzed by russia's actions. so where do we go from here? first, it's very important that we get a grip on and resolve the situation in eastern ukraine. what we've seen in recent weeks are two things. there has been, on the surface at least, a russian deescalation, pulling back its troops from the border, ratcheting down the rhetoric, making even some positive statements about the ukrainian election. i believe these steps were designed principally to try to take some pressure off of russia and possibly divide europe from the united states or europeans
from each other, to create confusion. because unfortunately, this change in tactics, i don't think it can yet be said indicates a change in heart. russia still seeks to intimidate ukraine into giving russia undue influence by selling chaos in the east through can covert financial and logistical support to separatist fighters and overt support we saw recently through increasing flows of militants and weapons across the border. and this is maybe the most striking development in recent weeks. i think you've all seen it, the numerous videos and media reports of armed militants admitting they came from russia including many chechnyans. multiple attempts every day by convoys and vehicles to cross the border with armed men and weapons. recently, there was the incident at the airport where separatists sought to take over the airplane, the ukrainian military responded, and in that battle some 30 fighters were killed, and they were russian. with russian passports.
the separatists, unfortunately, have become increasingly violent, increasingly heavily armed and actively targeting and killing ukrainian security forces. so you can't have it both ways. you can't on the one hand purport to take steps to deescalate the crisis but at the same time under the surface actually take steps to accelerate it. so it's vitally important that we continue to keep the pressure on russia, excuse me, the change course. and that's exactly what happened this week in europe at the g7 and in the president's meetings with his european counterparts. ..
and provide an opportunity to move forward diplomatically. it has to recognize the results of the election and engage directly with the government of ukraine. it needs to completely withdraw, stop the flow of militants and weapons across the border, exercise influence among armed separatist and put down their arms, leave the buildings, renounce violence, resolve their differences peacefully. and, of course, in terms of what he can't do, no military invasion, no bogus peacekeeping or humanitarian intervention. now, if russia takes these steps it secretly important that ukraine respond in an appropriate manner. the president-elect poroshenko has a plan for what he calls peace unity and reform. it includes things like pursuing financial dialogue, a
cease-fire, decentralization, amnesty for those who put down their weapons and trying separatists into the political process. ukraine should pursue those steps. it should avoid having to pursue marshall law, disproportionate use of force, or for -- full scale counterterrorism operations if russia takes important steps i outlined to meaningfully deescalate. ukraine needs to continue to pursue reforms especially anticorruption because let's not forget what we started with. what's at the root of so much of the turmoil in ukraine is this profound sense of disenfranchisement from the country that is fueled in large part by the gross corruption we've seen over the past decade. it needs to implement the imf reform program that is so critical to near-term success. lets me conclude with a couple words and then we can throw it open for questions or comments. throughout this crisis
diplomatic relations with russia have not ceased. we've remained in contact, the president has spoken to president putin a number of times indeed they spoke today in normandy. we have tried to make clear repeatedly that our adjective is not to weaken russia, it's not to contain russia, it's not too denied russia's relationship with the ukraine. it is to uphold a very basic principle. ukraine's future must be decided by the people of ukraine, not by russia, not by the united states, not by europe, not by anyone other than the ukrainians themselves. as fiona knows better than anyone, president putin tends to see the relationship with us and with the west on the basis of two decades of pent-up grievances. allegedly broken promises regarding nato enlargement, missile defense, the use of force in kosovo and in libya. he seems to believe want to give russia weak and divided, that nato is aimed at russia. from our perspective none of
these things of course are true and none are our objectives, and ironically, the very things that president putin claims to fear are likely to be precipitated by the actions that rush has taken. they risk becoming putin fulfilling prophecies. the president was very clear in brussels in march. as he put and a quote since the end of the cold war, successes administration to work with russia to build ties an international committee. not as a favor to russia but because it was in our national interest. we continue to believe that it's in the world interest for russia and the united states and all of europe to work constructively together. it's hard to imagine most of the major 21st century challenges being effectively addressed absent that kind of cooperation. and already we've clearly demonstrated the possibilities of kwok ration through new start, through wto accession by
russia, through negotiations, the effort to remove chemical weapons from syria, the transit our troops and matériel to and from afghanistan, and counterterrorism cooperation after the boston marathon bombing and in advance of the sochi olympics. so going forward there is a way to get back to a more productive path. if russia will deescalate tensions over ukraine by the steps that i discussed previously, if they work to find a diplomatic way forward that respects and restores ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and recent relationship between russia and ukraine, there is a basis for moving forward. we can continue cooperation where it's in a mutual self interest on campus and, nations -- nuclear security, in space, iran, and we can work together to try to overcome old, outdated suspicions and rebuild trust. that is the path that the united states would prefer to take. the question is, is that the
path that president putin wants to take. and in the coming weeks and months, we will find the answer. thank you very much. [applause] >> as tony is getting mike them up -- the gentleman over here, and i get over to you as well. >> the mine taking just a few questions because no. >> i will let you respond. stick thank you, tony. i feel very comfortable with what you sketched out in terms of the policy approach. i have one question on how we should deal with russia. when i was in ukraine, as you know for the last several weeks,
i heard ukrainian leaders say to me repeatedly that ukraine should not be left alone in facing russia, that they felt too weak to handle future negotiations with russia alone. obviously, the question came up all the time, what about geneva ii? what about the repetition of this international effort? and should that happen, and if so, do you think it could be turned into a process to a company ukraine on their way forward? >> thank you. the gentleman here. identify yourself. >> my name is urban with the russian news agency, and my question is president obama traveled to europe on tuesday, and since then he took part in a
number of very important events there, just to mention a few, president-elect poroshenko and russia. the g7 summit in brussels, and the bilateral meetings that took place today in particular in normandy. so the question is, do you see any changes in the overall situation around ukraine and dealing with russia, taking into account all these events? or are we on the same sort as a week ago? thank you spent i'm going to try to take as many questions as i can and then give you time. here, please. the former georgian ambassador.
>> i have a $1 billion question. when senator biden and yourself initiated the one billions of -- $1 billion, the consequences of the war with russia and just recently also president obama announced $1 billion security fund for europe. so could you add a little more specific what this fund will be dedicated to? thank you. >> thank you. and jeff goldstein and then we will come down here. >> thank you. jeff goldstein from the open society foundation to actually follow up on the ambassadors question, i understand that the administration will request a billion dollars in extra appropriations from congress for this initiative. with the administration also request a new appropriation for nonsecured assistance to ukraine as was done for georgia after the war with russia?
>> thanks. let you pass the microphone to the lady in front of you? >> american correspondent in berlin and author. i would like to ask you just to say a few words about how you assess cooperation in responding to putin's actions with the europeans in general, and with germany in particular. >> somebody else had a hand up. thank you. >> thank you. china follows up on the last question. in terms of cooperation, how concerned are you that you have five months until the weather gets cold and you might -- because you talked about age-old, but arguably we could have the crises in early 2006 and 2009 should have been dropped as well. are you concerned that you are
seeing the offense leading up in five months am and what can you do in five months? thanks. >> i think of plenty of questions to respond in five minutes or less. >> rapid-fire. thanks, first of all. it's great to see you in what you think you for the remarkable service you performed in recent weeks, which made a big difference. and with regard to pursuing the geneva track, we are certainly open to that. we've heard the same thing from the ukrainians, the desire to have as they engage with russia, the support of the united states, of the key european countries, of the european union and they will have that but we have to decide and define what the best mechanism or process might be but we are fully prepared to 20 q. to engage in the process, if that's the best way forward. the gentleman with regard committees in europe and whether there's any change in the situation, my answer is i hope yes, but we have to judge this not on words but on actions. and so i think there've been
some positive statements that have been made. i think there was a statement begin at a moscow today from the government that we have heard the president-elect poroshenko which will be some sign of recognizing the president-elect as the president of ukraine, but the bottom line is this depends on actions are taken, not the words that are spoken so we'll test this in the weeks ahead. our strongest desire and strongest interest is to meaningfully deescalate and find a diplomatic resolution that we believe profoundly, not only can sustain the interest of ukraine, europe and the united states, but also russia. that's what we would like to achieve. ambassador, with regard to the fund for european security, there are a number of things that we would aim to support through this fund, and they are critical. pre-positioning of the equipment and material in europe, support for more exercises and training
missions in europe including in central and eastern europe, and then direct the support to georgia, to moldova and to the ukraine, among other things. we also hope that this can be a catalyst for other countries within nato doing more themselves as we head into the nato summit. it's not we expect everyone miraculously get -- to get to 2% but if we can start to reverse the negative trend, that would be very, very meaningful. so hopefully this fund will help catalyze that as well. and then with regard, jeff, to a question of new appropriation for nonsecured assistance, we are looking close at what the means that we have at our disposal are and whether we need further assistance. i think it's significant that as a result of the leadership that we have exerted together with their european partners, the amount of money that's being made a double to ukraine over the next two years is very significant, $27 billion commitment from the international community starting
with the imf. we will be prepared to look at whether there are gaps that we need to fill on specific types of assistance going forward. i should emphasize though that this assistance is not going to work if it is not met by a clear dedication to reform on the part of the ukrainian government. we have been down this path before with previous ukrainian government where the international community proved itself quite generous, but the assistance did not produce lasting, meaningful results because the reform that was required was lacking. we have a strong feeling that this is an exceptionally critical moment but also a moment of real opportunity. because of everything that's happened, because of the commitments that have been made and, indeed, we see on the maidan and the force that represents a profound desire for change that is putting pressure on the entire political threat in ukraine to deliver. but we will see if that happens. elizabeth, great to see you here today.
with regard to cooperation with europe, in general and germany in particular, i have to say from our vantage point it has been exceptional. one of the things people don't see on a day-to-day basis because it happens behind the scenes is the coordination, communication, collaboration between president obama and his european counterparts. about this crisis he has been on the phone for hours on end, particularly with chancellor merkel, with president hollande, with prime minister cameron, with the eu leadership, with many others. that process of constant dedication, starting with the president but then throughout the administration, throughout the departments and agencies, i think it is produced exemplary cooperation. now, none of this is easy. there are competing interests among european countries and within the european countries. there is the desire for a positive relationship with
russia. there are profound economic interest that are out state, but at least from my vantage point, despite all of that can we've managed to remain remarkably united and that's given even greater power. chancellor merkel has been an extraordinary leader in this effort, and her voice and everything that she has done with russia, with our european colleagues, and with us i think in this situation has been exemplary. and i also think it's fair to say that we would not be in the position, positive position we are in absent her leadership along with that of other colleagues in europe. the question is can this be sustained. a good question of going into the winter, different pressures being exerted, and that's a great question and i can't, right now, my belief is that the answer is yes, but it also requires countries to take significant steps in the coming
months to put themselves in a position to sustain and to also be able to resist competing pressures and influences. you're exactly right, we've had energy jolts before and the jury is out on whether this one will be different. my sense is it will. we had a very, very significant ministry go among the energy ministries in the g7 countries a few weeks ago which they agree to a series of steps that i think can advance the ball, including significantly basic stress tests and all of our economies to gauge the extent of our energy security, efficiency, and independence. and the results of those tests hopefully will be translated into concrete action to meaningfully diversify sources of energy supply routes, connections within europe, connections from the united states to europe and elsewhere. but i would acknowledge the jury is out on that committee when the get-together at the next annual conference i will be able to answer your question.
>> i'll take that as a commitment because of lots of witnesses including c-span. we are very pleased that you joined us today. we don't have a very busy agenda and you have to dash out and hope the construction all the way down back to the old executive office doesn't hold you up. thank you so much for joining us. i like to thank all of our -- [applause] >> the center for strategic and international studies hosted a discussion today on china-russia relations. former australian foreign minister kevin rudd and stapleton roy a former u.s. ambassador to china will talk about both nations increasing tensions with the u.s. as relations between china and russia continue to work. we'll have that live at 1 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> today, the senate homeland security and government affairs committee will hold a hearing on u.s. border security. officials and u.s. customs and
border protection, the u.s. office of special counsel and the national border patrol council, the labor unit that represents border patrol agents will testify. wwe'll have that live at 3:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> alaska cinemark begich held a hearing on thursday examining the training and resources available to firefighters and first responders in communities threatened by wildfires. witnesses included the deputy chief of the u.s. forest service responsible for fire and aviation management. this is one hour. >> thank you all very much for being here. this is actually something we're trying because it is hard to get people -- especially in the west where there's a lot of these issues, especially firefighting issues and especially in alaska's we're just really, it's a pleasure to have folks here. this is the subcommittee on emergency medicine and into government relations and the district of columbia. i apologize.
i have a little cold some kind of suffering through a cold so i appreciate you all being here. i want to thank the witnesses for being here especially on short notice. to lend their expertise to our discussion. we're here today to take a close look at the problems that are serious and concerns to many states for a while now, and that's wildfires. this is a challenge that confronts communities of all sizes, towns and villages, cities, states and the federal government. as a former mayor myself i know firsthand how important it is that personal resources to prevent and fight fires when they occur. the stakes are high. we must ensure that first responders who are out there protecting lives, homes, businesses receive the training and support they need. that's why we are here, to learn from these experts and leaders about the situation on the ground, across the country, from a variety of perspectives. we have to know where we are succeeding and where we need more resources or a new approach.
that i many different levels of governments involved in fighting fires. from locals to various federal agencies, it's important we have comprehension -- comprehensive protection and response no matter where a fire occurs. i know providing the protection has become more and more expensive, especially at the federal level. in the past 12 years federal cause of averaged more than $3 billion a year. that doesn't include the 2 billion spent by state and local committees as well as other private spending. those costs are increasing because while fire activity is going. when you talk about wildfires, most people think a flat, grassy states like montana or states hit by drought like california. but as the weather patterns have been changing with the rest of her climate, more states than ever are being hit by huge wildfires. in the past decade, acres burned out or almost up by 67%. right now in anchorage more than 700 men and women are fighting a
dangerous fire, called the funny river fire but there's nothing to joke about with disbelief. brave firefighters have been fighting to put out this fire since may 19. they have done an amazing job and all of us can are deeply grateful or the effort. as of yesterday the fire was 59% contained. and danger to life and property has been nearly eliminated. it scorched almost 200,000 fires -- acres of our force. it's early in the fire season for something of this magnitude in alaska. my state has had one of the warmest winters on record and no strong winds and low humidity are combined to allow these fires to grow quickly. over the weekend there were reports of 15 new fires in the fairbanks service area from chico hot springs -- likely to forward to the small fires but they only stay that way because of outstanding work of our firefighters.
to make sure we are prepared as we can be, that we have the resources and experienced personnel out there in the field, we have to look at the first responder hiring and retention practices. the skills men and women learn during training to become a firefighter, smokejumpers or hotshot team. members are invisible. we must recognize their importance. not just with the words but in what we and how we treat them. earlier today i was proud to introduce the senate version of the federal firefighter flexibility and fairness act to address a glaring misstep and how we treat the federal firefighters. across the country, municipal firefighters are able to work out changes in the schedule among themselves with supervisor approval. they can trade shows without impacting their pay schedule. alike in to take a sick family members or attend their children's important events. this type of flexible it is important to morale and life balance. i'm glad that states and local firefighters had it. but for some reason federal
firefighters -- firefighters did not. these men and women can only swap shifts within a two-week period, and in a an accounting system that can use as ends up with one firefighter receiving no pay for the shift while the other receives overtime. doesn't make sense. because the system is so nonsensical, some departments don't allow shift swapping at all. i can't blame them. for not wanting to deal with bad at it. but this problem needs to be fixed. treating our firefighters well is the moral thing to do, but it's also fiscally responsible. the bravery and skills aren't by these folks out in the field make it i even more important to retain them as long as possible. attrition reduces the effectiveness of our firefighting teams which is unacceptable. we need to train and maintain the best teams we can. clearly that goes through municipal firefighters as well. i've been a strong supporter of important the resources like
fire and safer grants that go directly to our local fire situation out from palmer, firefighters have don't have an official these grant programs are. that's why i'm fighting, that's why i'm fighting to rollback president obama's proposed cuts to these programs in this year's appropriation bill. as a member of the committee mine committed to restoring the $10 million proposed reduction because every dollar spent will save more than that in local communities. over the last, one last issue i want to bring up, for briefly before introduce our witnesses is a broader issue that impacts many firefighters in alaska. to this advantage, this advantage is the seasonal employees in the federal hiring process the other working with senator tester and looking closely at the bill that he and senator mark udall have introduced the land management workforce with flexible the act senate bill 1120. seasonal workers are so
important to alaska large number of alaskans whole different jobs based on the season. since with such unique climate. many firefighters come from the lower 48 to help us fight fires in the summer. right now it seems to me that the federal hiring practices using giving the seasonal workers who have developed great expertise over many years a fair shot if they want to transition to a full-time job in the same field. i'm glad to hear your thoughts on this issue and a i'm looking forward to continued discussion with senator tester. i'm not sad. i have a cold. let me introduce our witnesses and i will start with mr. jim hubbard is a deputy chief of the u.s. force service which is part of the department of agriculture. jim? >> thank you, mr. chairman. glad to be here. as you've noted, we are into the fire season. alaska is especially. arizona, new mexico are having normal fire activity but it's
easy, and the funny river fire is about unusual. you don't have 200,000 acres burned on the kenai very often and it gets a lot of attention especially with the values at risk and the people in the way. and what i see the looks like is that june will continue to be that kind of a problem for alaska. maybe it will moderate by the time july gets you. i hope so. alaska went a little longer than usual in past seasons. as we move further into the season, we get into july, california, oregon looks particularly bed. nevada is not going to be good. so that's where we expect most of our problems but it will be scattered throughout the west as usual, and will have surprises pop up all across the west, but those three states in particular look problematic.
our forecasts comes we probably will be spending more money on suppression that we have in the budget so we will go through that process again. we are prepared, the interagency forces are at 14,000 firefighters are available to us. currently we have 14 large air tankers, a we could have as many as 22 under exclusive use contract before the season is over, as those in next-generation planes begin to for us. we still have the eight military mass units as surge capacity, and we do have that 72 single engine air tankers under contract, and more than 600 helicopters under contract. so the aviation forces and the ground forces are in place for the season. but the conditions are challenging. the long-term drought, the changing conditions that we face with climate and fuels and with
insect and disease have all caused problems, not to mention the development that has to be protected that is in the way of some of these difficult situations. risk reduction occurs on about 3 million acres per year. that's a substantial amount, and it addresses some of the priorities. it does not cover the territory that needs to be -- the risk that needs to be reduced. it is a combination of what you do on the landscape and what you do in the community and around the community that will save us in the future. some of our limiting factors have to do with the transfers that occur when we don't have the suppression dollars to pay the bills and have to take it out of other accounts in a forest service to do so. then how we budget for
suppression has been an ongoing debate. you mentioned do we have the resources and we have the right approach. perhaps that needs another look. another look such as was proposed by senator wyden and senator crapo in the building introduced that suggest that perhaps the forces service and the federal agencies continue to provide in their budget the initial attack, and the forces and the costs of that initial attack, and we do catch 90% of our fires during the initial attack david. but it's those 2% of the getaway that cost us about 30% of that suppression budget, and those are fires that are perhaps fall into a disaster category and not to be treated, financed differently. if that were to happen then we would hope that the agency could make proposals for using some of that budget constraint to increase the land treatment and
reduce the risk of further. that would be our approach, and we would hope that something like that could at least be considered. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. let me ask -- i will ask a question at the end of but let me ask william dougan, national president of the national federation of federal employees next, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify. our union represent one of 10,000 federal workers including 20,000 in the forest service. for 22 of my 31 years in federal service i thought wildfires serving in many positions. i spent 16 years on the forest in alaska guided to a firefight is a dangerous business. when you're on a target within between you in trouble is your equipment and the brave men and women with you on the fire line. that's what it's important that we arm firefight with the training and resources they need to be safe and complete the mission. the wildfire problem in the u.s.
is growing. six of the worst fire seasons since 1960 have occurred since 2000. we must recognize that this is the new normal and we must change the way we do business to account for it. with respect to training, the usda inspector general issued a report in 2010 that predicted future shortages of qualified firefighters in the forest service. too few were being trained to replace those retiring. that prediction is not coming to fruition and it is a major problem. wildland firefighting agencies have done tremendous work to improve interagency cooperation. the development of a consistent certification and training system administered by the national wildfire coordinating group is an outstanding achievement. our union is proud to be a partner in the wildlife -- definition program which we hope will take consistency and training to the next level. unfortunately, this program has been underutilized in our view. within the forest service training resources are not reaching the field in a timely
way. from one forest we are hearing the primary fire personnel are unable to attend training classes that are only offered out of state, leaving them no option for certain training. at another forest we hear that managers are getting the training budget too late to get employees into classes. congress can improve access to training by exercising oversight to ensure that the action items developed as result of the referenced ig report are properly implemented, and make certain the apprenticeship program is used to it was potential. also congress should make every effort to appropriate funds in a timely manner the resources get to the ground in time to be used. with respect to workforce retention, the attrition rate for wild land firefighters is alarmingly high. something must be done about it. here is something i can be done right now. for a wildland firefighter experts is hard earned on the fire line. however, the firefighter rip out his blog by flawed and dysfunctional federal
regulations. many federal firefighters begin their careers on temporary appointments. many return year after year a quart invaluable training and experience. however, firefighters looking to advance their careers reach a critical barrier. current regulations do not credit their service regardless of how long as qualifying for requiring competitive status. because of this barrier to career advancement many skilled firefighters eventually leave, taking their valuable skills with them. to explain, agencies have the flexibility to fill positions from current employees under merit promotion or from among civilian applicants under the competitive process. over 2 million other federal employees have the status to compete under merit promotion. however, firefighters classified as temporary seasonal workers do not. they cannot compete for jobs filled under dirt promotion procedures. we strongly urge passage of the bipartisan land management workforce flexibility act, s.
1120 which would address this inequity. funding for wildfire suppression is also a problem. with the occurrence and severity of wildfires increasing, the portion of the budget the ghostt of our suppression and preparedness has increased dramatically. extends osha expense of fighting wildfires extensive funds for what our suppression. when this happens, agency transfer funds from other programs into firefighting accounts to cover the shortfall. this so-called fire borrowing resulting cancellations and delays in the agencies on the ground program of work. ironically many of the council projects are those designed to reduce the frequency and severity of catastrophic wildfires. it's robbing peter to pay paul and will cost taxpayers more. we urge congress to pass the wildfire disaster funding act, s. aitken 75 to address this. i will conclude my testimony by quoting one of our members curbing out on fire assignment in alaska.
in alaska we do have a well constructed tactical plan to deal with fires at the wild land fires are on the increase. we fight to put fires out immediately. would address the hazardous fuels but sometimes force are allowed to grow into a dangerous state of overgrowth andy kay causing a hazardous situation. it is time for congress to take action to provide the resources and the flexible necessary to prevent this hazardous situation from occurring in national forests across the country and to protect communities across our nation from wildfire. these reforms cannot wait until next year. they need to be acted on immediately. i think the subcommittee for holding this hearing and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you very much for your testimony. all the written testimony will be included in the record. next we have kevin o'connor, assistant to the general present for the public policy of international association of firefighters. kevin? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i knew today representing
300,000 professional firefighters and paramedics who provide fire rescue and ems services across our great nation. first let me thank you for the introduction of the flexible guide. we greatly appreciate every stalwart support on a provision for the other programs is very much appreciative by our organization. wild land fires are increasing in intensity, duration school. they are a threat from coast-to-coast. from 2003-2012, over 70 million acres were scorched by wildfires. claiming over 300 lives and destroying 34,000 homes and resulting in over $70 billion in insurance claims. as you know, mr. chairman, the raging fires currently threatening your state or a stark reminder of this present danger. before the ring we spoke with tom wescott, our state president of alaska and the estimates the vast majority of his mentorship, municipal firefighters will be engaged in those efforts before the fire is finally brought under control. the scourge of wildfires has become epidemic and will continue to bear our nation to the i -- changing the way which
federal government budgets of wildland firefighting, it makes sense, it should be done but it is only a first step. for decades we have battled on how to deal with wildfires. today with increased develop and in a wildland urban interface we must develop a much more global and holistic strategy to deal with this issue. clearly the federal government must take the lead. we applaud congress for mandating the national choice of wildland fire management strategy. this strategy as such is a national vision for wild land fire management and response. a strategy is an excellent first step, but once again more must be done. in the 1960s and '70s, american cities were blighted by an epidemic of arson. to address this crisis the national commission on fire prevention and control issued a landmark report america burning to over 40 years later the document is frugally sided and
still has value. the federal government should take a civil approach to the wildland fire problem. we proposed this opposite of a blue ribbon commission modeled after a america burning with congressional participation to fully study this issue and make recommendations. although the iaff, they've yet to act. the federal government is the only entity that can ensure the participation of all stakeholders. we hope that i do on their own pollution over the general nudge from congress they will soon act. state and local governments also contend with the devastating wildland fires. on privately held are state owned land, firefighting operations are exclusively handled by state and local assets. it's safe to say the west of ofe mississippi and throughout the southeast, nearly every firefighter will ultimately be called upon to fight a wildfire. disturbingly, but all firefighters are trained to battle these fires. cash-strapped fire departments quickly cannot afford to provide training. we proposed to the federal government established a pilot program to provide wildland fire
training for local firefighters in high-risk areas. furthermore, because firefighting is an inherently governmental function, it should be a default policy the federal government contract with a governmental entity having jurisdiction in impacted area if additional firefighting resources are needed beyond the federal effort. however, if private contractors are required they should be required to meet the same rigorous standards of their governmental counterparts, period. this is an issue of public safety, firefighter safety and operational efficiency. lastly, we need to protect the men and women on the fire line. not quite a year ago, 19 great wild land firefighters from the granite mountain hotshot game and proud members of iaff local 3066 died in the line of duty battling the yarnell hellfire. those tragic deaths should give those applause. wild land firefighters is physically taxing, and mostly
training an incredibly dangerous. the job differs greatly from that of a structural firefighter. wild land firefighters are at once in firefighting for days or even weeks at a time. through government investment and research over many years, much is known about health impacts of fighting fire for structural firefighters and how best to protect them. but we are only beginning to examine these impacts on wildland firefighters. as a leader in firefighter health and safety, the iaff is uniquely positioned to help coordinate research efforts. with our california for three local 2881, san diego state university and much appreciated funding from the department of agriculture, research has already started. san diego, partnering with cdf, study improving protective clothing worn by wildland firefighters but a great start but it is income we study appropriate patterns and other operational metrics to acid and impact on firefighter health and safety.
partial funding from doa has been provided for such efforts and we encourage the federal government to continue this investment until the resource is completed. in close and we must act now and very decisively on multiple fronts to address this complicated issue. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and will gladly answer any questions. >> thank you very much. let me go to mayor navarre, mayor from kenai peninsula borough. i was done about a week or so ago at the funny river fire which as we all know has been a top rudy, i know for firefighting. so we appreciate mayor navarre. thank you for being on the other of trying to use our technology. so we'll allow you to testify and then we'll open up for questions after your testimony. mayor navarre. >> thank you, senator begich -- >> hold tight. spend think he's in the biggest that i appreciate your holding this hearing and for touring the area when he did and asking direct questions about the adequacy of the response and
whether or not resources were unavailable when needed and where needed. in answer to that i think is absolutely. i was exceptionally impressed with the incident command structure in the way that the was coordination between all of the agencies as this fire was developing. we had incredibly high winds, changing wind directions and condition, but the knowledge that the committee met of fuel sources, of the fire behavior, of logistics, all of the things that count when you are really reacting to an ever-changing fire dynamics was truly impressive. the coordination between agencies, i can't say enough about how all of the resources and the resource agencies worked together. one of the things that i should point out is that the refuge of folks were quick to order up a command team, and also have done some firebreaks between urban
and wildland interface that really were critical to the way that the planning and protection of the populated areas and the structures that are, so we were very, very fortunate. so i want to say thanks to you and to the resources that were put towards this, and the result was that we had very few, small structures, some remote cabins that were lost. absence of that, all of the residential areas were protected. the priorities were clear from the outset, that is protection of the firefighters who are employed. also protection of life and property in the urban areas and the developed areas around the peninsula. and then looking at where the infrastructure, important infrastructure is comically simper high-voltage lines that needed to be protected. and i want to also just talk briefly about the importance of the planning process well in
advance of what we know are going to be an increasing number of wildfires. and that is federal resources important to the kenai peninsula in a variety of ways. we have funding over a long period of time to deal with this that allowed us to build a coordinated plan that we could identify where the consensus was and where the consensus was is making sure that we enhanced natural firebreaks, power lines, roads, between urban and rural or wildland areas in the event that at some point we saw a wildland fire that would threaten and -- threatened the developed areas. so we, repaired of time, i think we got as much as about $18 million from the federal government, and we use that to build firebreaks, to do a fire wise program, to renew fuel sources. so i think that is critically important to the other thing that was important and that we
also use federal grant funding for was the geographic information system. with a very good system. we update it regulate. the last time were able to update it with a federal grant doing some aerial flights to gather the data input into our system was actually 2012. so we had pretty up-to-date information on where structures were, including in remote areas. it allowed them to tap into our system and use it to know where they're going to muster the resources, whether fallbacks were. so is an excellent planning tool for them. so i guess that's one of the things that in looking at whether or not resources were adequate in this case, as i said, i was very, very impressed with the level of effort that when you do this fire, the resources that were employed on the fire, the planning that went into it on a nightly basis, and in the planning that was put into place and executed on a daily basis and and sometime an hourly basis.
so i think we did have adequate resources. one of the things i'm thrilled about was your efforts to get the drones at the university of alaska fairbanks, that was something that was employed in this fire, sort of at the end of it, to do some overflights. i think it's something that will be an even more increasingly valuable tool as we move forward. and as you know, senator, the state of alaska has incredible remote wildland areas, and a lot of interface between rural and urban and small pockets of developed areas and population. so it's critical in alaska. i want to again thank you and thank the incident command team, rob ballen, also seem and preplanning that we had to our office of emergency measure and the coordination that are emergency manager did in mustering local resources to help support the effort. i think all of that, you know, this was a good example of how
in part we were lucky but the reality is that there was a lot of planning that went into it, well in advance of when a fire might happen. and it really worked in this case. so i think it's a good example of the right amount of resources, the right amount of expertise that's brought in from a lot of different areas around the country and around the state. so it was impressive. thank you spent thank you very much, mayor. just so folks in the room, these are pictures from that fire. the incredible devastation that occurred and i was down there on monday, as mayor navarre talked about, incredible resources all came to the table at the right time. there was one thing you would mention, mayor, edges would ask you and i made a note here, your borough mapping system, was that funded by the borough are was that a combination of federal or state? how did you upgrade that?
>> you know, it's operated by the kenai peninsula borough and its available publicly, and it's got a lot of tools that the folks who are familiar with gis systems can tap into and use to get all kinds of different vegetation mapping. there's a lot of tools without a visible on it that can be used to identify, as i said, where strategies can be employed to attack a fire like this. you know, the other thing that i should mention is, and you're aware of it, but oftentimes at the federal level this year perspective and size of this fire was huge, but in terms of the state of alaska and even the kenai peninsula, it's only a small portion of orlando mess. >> thank you very much. let me -- landmass. i do know, maybe jim you able to answer the first question i have, when i was down there i took a tour of some of the areas. what i saw was these areas where
they sent out to defend out some of trees, found natural breaks, and you go from the very heavy closed area entities endowed areas and in some cases they wrote or utility corridor. the comments i got was going a raging fire and then when it hit that thing out and it dropped lower to the ground, firefighters could attack it, manage it much quicker and controlled at that point. they were describing to me that that came from guys expected a big number to be honest with you, a big cost for the peace. they said no, the $135,000 out of the wild lands fire fund, that they were able to get a grant for to do that. can you tell the kind of the status, i know that has been under pressure from a years in his financial capacity. that's more printed and disaster. something a little bit about that fund, and is the a administration talking about
looking long-term at that come additional resources? and those that connect at all -- i'm going to put this issue way over here for a second. i know the president put together a proposal, i think a billion dollars in climate change issues and so forth, disaster management, some of the things here is that all connected, two-part question. the impact was unbelievable because then they show up in an area where they were unable to do it and it just went right across the road. unbelievable difference. >> mr. chairman, as you just described the affect of that kind of land treatment on fire behavior, it's exactly right. and that's what we are after. and where we place those treatment is pretty important, too, because if we do that in combination with 18 energy that has invested in being adapted to our, a little more fire wise, then we have a chance of
protecting that community and saving it, even when fire like this comes their way. most of that money is appropriated through the forest service, and we work through the state forestry agencies on the private lands at least, and what happens there is a competitive process in the west with those different states proposing their highest priorities for protection. and the money being allocated. >> so that fund, that money comes out of the local committees like this, give me the sense of that. i understand it's under pressure, and not as robust funding as it used to be. can you comment on that? >> we try to protect that one. >> does it need more? i'm giving you a softball. i know you probably can't answer -- >> what i --
>> i might jump to these do. >> it's not come you asked if it was connected to the president's climate change proposal, and we are working with the administration through the department on what we might be able to propose in that regard. >> may be move -- >> perhaps but it is definitely connected to the proposal for how we finance suppression. if that were to pass or go into effect and free up for the forest service roughly $300 million, of discretionary funding, and the appropriators of course control that, that would be our proposal to use it this way. >> let me make sure i clarify what that is, because i know some people might be watching or later find out what we're talking about. in the past the way your disasters were funded were fires occurred, you rob all these
accounts because we never funded it enough, and to come back to ethics at all and we never do totally. now the idea is -- nutty ideas we look back five years, they got about 80% of what the causes and try to fund it. so you are at least having a budget to work from so you're not robbing all these other agencies but is that fair? >> that's fair. >> i can tell i said that i i know mayor navarre was there when we do it a press conference and i said that, one of your employees, in the middle of the press covers counties in the back, he jumped up excited about the whole thing. because it sounds like that is a big piece of this puzzle that you need to can get out of the way in order to fund the -- this is the piece that senator wyden and senator crapo working on but as an appropriate i think will do to do. so that's a real positive for all of us. is that if a state that? >> that's a fair statement. thank you very much. >> we like that. let me ask you. there was an estimate or we know since the '90s the amount of
money for suppression has gone from about a billion to 3 billion but there's a report out there that talks about we will still be about a half a billion short. do you agree with that? based on your analysis and what you're seeing this summer? >> yes, i do. those forecasts come from forest service research. they provide them to us periodically during the year. it's based on what's going on with the force conditions. it's based on the drought. it's based on how the weather patterns are setting up with ocean temperatures. it gives us an indication of what's coming our way for the season and where it might hit and what that might cost. and right now it is predicting that we will fall short. >> the question or the comment that mayor navarre talked about which was the bark beetle. i know the northwest is issues, a constant growing problem. for silver years i know alaska
was earmarked. we earmarks we were able to do this. for some reason some people in this body don't like it marked. i do. because people i think did not understand what it was and it wasn't adding to the budget but it was taking from existing budgets and get some discussion about to attack these issues. do you think we have enough resources to go after it -- basically beetle kill or force that have dead killed in them, are we doing enough, or do you think that's an area that may become we better be watching carefully because that could be growing because of these drier temperatures and droughts that we are facing. is that question make sense of? >> yes, it does. the drier temperatures, the drought, the condition of the forest, the age of the forest, and the west is largely a disturbance forest and was greeted by disturbance and it's
being regenerated by disturbance, fire, insect and disease. that's going to continue on a large scale, and there are things we can do to mitigate that. we can't stop it but yes, there's more that can be done to help with the impacts of it. >> let me if i can to mayor navarre at the micro to you to in the second year, mayor navarre, at this point you don't have any more federal resources for that type of activity in the spruce bark beetle cleanup order management at this point, or do you still have federal resources you're still tapping into? is that pretty much gone likes what he do now to combat of that issue? >> what did we do -- >> in other words, the grant money used to get, do so if any of that remaining that you can still use to do some of the spruce bark beetle management are what are you doing now that those reasons are pretty limited
to manage that? >> well, it actually happened last time i was mayor from 96 to 99 where we identified the problem and before that mayor gillman had come to the alaska legislature for some funding in order to do some fire breaks in the cooper landing area. when i succeeded mayor gillman in 96 and flew over the entire kenai peninsula, i was actually shocked at the level of infestation and the potential for a huge fire. and really because of the different land ownership and agency oversight and things like that, we did initially was put a task force together that work very well, reaching common ground on things that everybody could agree on. natural firebreaks and enhancing them whether their power lines or you have a one foot right-of-way and trees on either side that are two feet tall. trying to broaden those a little
bit, making sure that you are clear rights of ways for roads little bit further. and then perhaps as importantly as the fire was program, things like that, because people want to stay in their homes and protect their homes. it's their largest investment oftentimes in their entire life. and so making plans ahead of time that put resources into those types of necessary areas so that when you have an event like this, you have the ability to actually combat it on a reasonable basis, and at the same time putting adequate resources to it and protecting the folks who are actually out there fighting it as well as the urban areas. so we still have areas that we could use additional funding
for, but we are going to go forward with that in any event, the educational process for homeowners, you know, where they can build protections as best they can. and then making sure that our emergency operation plans are in place. you know, the reverse 911 system in this case worked exceptionally well. ..
>> and yet they were able to clear, you know, their power line area so they had a clear area all thn way, and then this new designation of federal land goes after that, and they can't clear. yet it's, i mean, if it's anyone else, you wouldn't know the difference between the land except you see there's no be clearing going on. and their point was part of their job, because they have to access those utility lines, is to have that area cleared, but also from a fire protection area, there's a fantastic opportunity there. do you work, have you run into this problem elsewhere, where you might have a different designation by a federal agency of one land and then another designation side by side, and maybe it's only a west, you know, the west has this problem. and yet, i mean, i couldn't believe the map. it's just, clearly, they showed where they clear cut, this strip where the fire line, utility
quarter, and then it just stops, but the utility corridor still keeps going, and they're not allowed to clear this other area, yet the fire could occur anywhere. do you run into this? and is there something -- not to get you in trouble with any other agency -- but is there something we could do to help with the problem? >> it's not just differences of federal ownership, it's differences with state and private ownership. so when we get into this, it really takes everybody coming together. and different agencies have different mandates and different environmental clearance processes that they have to go through. but when you have a common problem such as this and you have values at risk that need to be protected, then you need to find a way of working it out together. >> i may bring you an issue then. because i just think in some of these states that have this huge swath of jurisdictional issues,
especially federal land, seems like we should figure out this. the common, on one hand, we're watching one area burn up, we're controlling it on another land because we did in the right way, the other side's just burning up because we didn't do the right control. so we'll follow up. if i can, to william and kevin, thank you very much for being here. there was a recently-released national wildfire strategy. are you, either one of you, familiar with that? william, do you want to go first? >> yes. >> okay. >> thank you. >> i assume, and if i'm wrong in this, correct me, can i assume you were engageed, members of your organization may have been involved or at least responded to the -- >> our organization was not directly engaged this that. >> okay. >> we certainly have had input, you know, over the years. talking about fire management issues and about, you know, kind of the more strategic picture with, you know, how we manage
our landscapes across the country. >> do you think, and why i bring this up is kevin had a comment about a blue ribbon committee. one thing i'm always nervous about, to be frank with you, is another committee around this place, because we'll committee stuff to death. you had mentioned that ig report which is a question i'm going to ask my staff say, okay, what have we done, what have we not done? because as we found with the va, when you have ig reports, you actually should respond to them x this might be the same thing. but do you think this strategy could morph into where we engage stakeholders and this, again, for both of you, to engage stakeholders to say, look, we've got this strategy, is it the right strategy? what do we need to do? what's the action plan that goes with the strategy to move us forward in a preventive way as well as a response, in a sense? can you respond to that? >> sure. you know, i think the national strategy has great utility in terms of being a very strategic,
sort of broad-based document to get us to thinking about how we engage, how we engage each other across jurisdictional boundaries, across geopolitical boundaries, across other regional boundaries. because that's part of the problem that we have in this country where -- >> [inaudible] some of those land issues that we, they're jurisdictional. >> yeah, absolutely they are, and it becomes very difficult and challenging to try to deal with fire across those boundaries. because you have to understand, fire doesn't respect geopolitical boundaries or other jurisdictional boundlies. >> we saw that in kenai. they really don't. >> so the challenge for us as a country is to pirg out how -- figure out how can we engage the stakeholders and get people to understand that this is not just a federal issue, this is not just a state issue, this is a
national issue that everybody, you know, has skin in the game on. >> well, good example of that, i think, three billion plus taxpayer money. >> absolutely. >> and i think the data point that, jim, you gave which i thought was interesting, 98% of those, you know, you get right at 'em, but it's that 2% that then add to 30% of the cost. and it's, and those are ones where we may not be as aggressive as we maybe could be. so i thought that was an interesting, interesting quote. can i ask -- i'm going to jump back and forth a little bit. you heard the commentary here, because i like the idea that we kind of attack this issue in the sense of what do we need to do. because there are, clearly, changes in the environment. for alaska to have a fire of that magnitude in may is unheard of. and we are very, very fortunate where it was out quickly, they could control it on the back end because it could have gotten to
a whole bunch of homes, businesses, property, lives. and it seems like these little things of prevention could actually, in some cases, we lucked out and jumped over a river, but then it hit a swamp. thank good the swamp was there because it moved a little different direction, and the winds helped us. but those winds are moving left and right literally, aggressively moving that bar. give me your thought on strategy, and it be morphed into this idea you have that given these stakeholders and just going after this? >> well, let me first say as an old firefighter, i'm not much on commissions or meetings either. [laughter] >> i know a lot of firefighters and you fit that mold, i can tell you that right now. >> i do want to, the law is what the national action plan has done. i agree with bill, i think it has an awful lot of utility, and the wildland fire leadership council, i think, is doing a very good job. the international association's not part of that, but this is not a parochial issue for us. this is such a complicated
issue. you can get firefighters in a room, and you can come to consensus. on the ground the coordination between federal, state and local assets is tremendous. but it's more than a fire problem. and in my oral testimony, i use the term "holistic." and by that i mean if you actually read the action plan which i think is a great document, all it talks about throughout the document is bringing people outside the fire service. other stakeholders to the table. and, quite frankly, efforts were undertaken several years ago by the congressional fire service institute, the interbe national codes council -- international codes council on trying to bring people together, and they weren't successful. why? because, frankly, nobody had the hammer to get all the stakeholders sitting at the table. all of these people who weren't part of this effort but, frankly, who need to be involved in a larger dialogue as it relates to this problem. as everyone testified, it is going to be a problem for many, many years. and my analogy to america burning was simply made to draw
that point. >> gotcha. >> if you look at the history there, and it worked very effectively. >> basically, if i can interrupt, what happened was congress got involved and said, look, we see this as a national issue. we're not interested in the, you know, one group taking the lead or another group, we just want to have a strategy that has an action plan that we can look at and determine if we can fund it, help it, make it happen from the state, local, private, federal levels. that's -- >> that's absolutely -- >> that's kind of what happened there. >> that's absolutely correct. and even though i do have been aversion, i really don't see any other entity that can really force people to the table to have that conversation. >> william, do you agree with that? >> yeah. i think the convener has to be the federal government. and i think, i think we need to be sort of, start thinking outside the box of, you know, what do we need to do, what are the interests that we need to satisfy to get these people to the table? for some it may be we might need to consider some sort of
incentive program such as, you know, if you participate in this program and do certain pretreatments to your land, you could get a tax break, for example. >> gotcha. >> so -- >> that's an interesting idea. uh-huh. >> because, again, as you described on the kenai with the utility corridor, if we have people that are participating or landowners that are participating and other landowners that are not, that's really not going to solve the big problem. >> right. what was more amazing about that, they were two federal agencies; one wanting to, one not. and that is something we definitely have control over in this body. let me ask, you had said something that i thought also -- two things. one, i think in your written testimony it says we are still doing business the old way, and it's not working. and then you also talked in your oral presentation about apprenticeship programs which i'm always intrigued about
apprenticeship programs. we used them quite a bit when i was mayor of anchorage and, obviously, as a senator i use internship programs all the time. i was intrigued by that. can you -- would you say it's business as usual, not changing much, can you give me a sense of one of those innovations we need to be doing? which i do agree with the issue of temporary. we had the same problem, we had great parks and rec people that came back every single summer. they had probably 20 years doing it. but because of the way the system worked, the first -- someone could come in that's been working for the city full time first year, boy, and walk in and have a better chance of getting that job than the temporary. we changed that because we thought that was not right. because if you've got 20 years working seasonally, the odds are you're pretty good at it. because we wouldn't hire you back seasonally for 20 years. so besides that which i, you know, obviously, i've introduced legislation to fix that, we think there are a lot of
interesting ideas here. tell me your thinking here when you say "the old way," and maybe i'll turn to you too, kevin. >> another good example is the funding issue. how do we pay for fire suppression? historically, federal agencies have basically been given a budget of, you know, x million dollars for fire suppression, and when the money runs out -- >> we rob everywhere. >> yeah. the agency is forced to look elsewhere in its budget to come up because, again, we can't, you know, fire is unique. >> right. >> relatively speaking in terms of an agency's program. we can't just when the money runs out, we can't just walk away and fold our tents up and leave. >> is it against, do you support the concept of the wyden-crapo bill -- >> absolutely. >> which i feel very confident we're move anything the right path here when we get the interior budget bill which i'm hoping -- we're doing two bills a week now. we just did two today, we'll do
two more next week. and to be france -- frank with you, i was somewhat shocked to find out we were funding that at about a 20% level or so. we know the average, we know what's going to happen. everyone hopes we don't spend anything in disaster fire fighting, but that's not real. maybe this approach -- that's a new approach that you think would be huge. >> yeah. i think that's going to insure that the agency has the funds in the programs that help it to accomplish its mission. whether those programs are pretreatment instead of robbing money from pretreating forest fuels, they'll have a full budget in that area, and we can continue to do some of these projects to mitigate, you know, future fire occurrences and hopefully allow us to catch these fires when they're small before they escape and become these huge catastrophes. >> thank you. kevin?
>> well, i absolutely concur. we have to have a different mentality. years ago while land fires were largely contained in areas, they were simply that, they were wildland. part of fire as a natural phenomenon, and they burn. and some of the mentality was you allow it to burn. and i'm certainly not qualified from an environmental standpoint to comment on that, but from a fire fighting standpoint with the development of wildland/urban interface, we really have to change our view on how to do that. now, when you talk to, you know, the folks in terms of my membership which is municipal, we don't represent the federal wildland folks, but almost all of our people west of the mississippi are engaged in wildland fire fighting. >> right. >> the coordination on the ground is great. their standard mutual aid agreements where it's automatic. if, for example, in california we have a c department of -- california department of forestry station, they immediately respond and in many cases are able to mitigate the event before federal resources are actually there.
convertsly, the same thing happens when there's a federal station near a privately-held land. their radio stations are very compatible, this is a unified command structure, and it works very well. however, what we are hearing from our folks is there is an issue, and it gets back to money, on timely repayments for local assets when they're assisting the federal government. and this is something, particularly in california, some municipalities and counties are actually askewing mutual aid agreements, and it gets back to, basically, money. the same thing applies with training. i agree with bill 100%, training is vitally important. but when you have a municipal fire department that has to train its people on structural response, ems, hazardous material, clearly there is only so much money in the pot. and one of the things we want to insure, you know, the red card, the qualified certification versus a trained certification, we want to make sure every one of our firefighters who's going
to be exposed to a wildland fire is going to be safe and effective on the fire line. there's no substitute for training and, unfortunately, that costs money. >> let me ask one last question and, again, i want to thank the whole panel here. this is helpful. i know in the river fire, and, mayor navarre, correct me if i'm wrong or, jim, you might know this, i think we had to bring in two canadian water tankers, if i remember this right. am i right on that, mayor navarre? i think that's what happened down there. >> that is what happened. they brought in a couple of blackhawk helicopters also, and they had planes that were also deploying retardant in areas that it would be effective on the particular fuel sources. >> here's my general question on that. i think, jim, you laid out a really good inventory, kind of our mutual agreements.
i'm assuming that was one of them, our international agreement with canada, probably the states that border from the lower 48. do you, on the equipment that we have, that we operate or that we have relationships with, do we, do we believe that we have good resources for the continued maintenance and upgrade, or is that an area that we have to really look at here long term to make sure that we're not -- because let's assume, for example, this season, a busy season again. it's the argument you might headache for a guy doing air -- make for a guy doing aviation that the more hours you put on that plane, the more wear and tear it takes so so the capacity for it to operate longer term diminishes. do you see that as an issue we need to re-examine because these fires are more severe and happening on longer spreads of time? meaning the season is longer, i should say. because that's something we have to look at, is that something you are looking at? >> both.
we are looking at it. we have made some strides. we have moved from a primary fleet of 1950 vintage aircraft that are getting tired to a next generation fleet, but we're just getting into that, so there's a ways to go on making sure we've updated our aviation assets, especially the large air tanker portion of that. and i'd say the progress is good, but we're not there. >> mr. and we did something last -- and we did something last year, if i remember this right, new the national defense authorization bill. i think we got 221, if i -- 21, if i remember correctly, surplus planes from the military that, you know, who knows what they were going to do with them. >> that's correct. >> but they saw an opportunity, right? and we were able to mobilize 'em for forest service as well as for the u.s. coast guard. is that -- >> yes, that's correct. that was a welcome --
>> yeah. >> -- addition to the fleet. we don't have those yet, but we will, and we'll start phasing them in next year. that was seven c-130hs, and we also got 15 sherpa aircraft. >> excellent. i though we worked on that from our office with senator mccain, because we thought this was a great win/win not only for the forest service, but for the coast guard for equipment that's desperately needed, so we were happy to do that. let me end there. i thinkç the record, the record will stay open for 14 days for other committee comments and/or questions. i want to thank the full panel here, especially mayor navarre all the way from alaska via teleconference here or skype or whatever we ended up here with, but you're here, which is good. we appreciate that. especially because you're dealing with a real, live issue on the ground. and we thank the panel here x thank you for your written testimony because i know there's a lot of suggestions that some of you have placed in there that we'll absolutely examine.
this committee deals with emergency disaster first responders, fema and others. this is an important issue, and i have a feeling as you described very well, mr. hubbard, that the summer is just beginning, and we're already seeing a lot of issues. thank you all very much. the meeting is adjourned, and the record will be open for 14 days. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> today the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee will hold a hearing on u.s. boarder security. officials from u.s. customs and border protection, the u.s. office of special council and the national border control council, the labor union that represents border patrol agents, will testify. we'll have that live at 3:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3.
>> both the house and senate are in session today. the house is in at noon eastern for general speeches. at 2:00 they'll consider a series of suspension bills before beginning debate on legislation to authorize spending for 2015 transportation and housing programs. votes on amendments to that legislation could occur later in the evening. the senate gavels in at 2:00 eastern for general speeches. at 5:30 senators will vote to move forward on district judge nominations for virginia, massachusetts and nevada. you can watch the house live on c-span, the senate on c-span2. >> the center for strategic and international studies hosts a discussion today on china/russia relations. former australian prime minister kevin rudd and stapleton roy, a former u.s. ambassador to china, will talk about both nations' increasing tensions with the u.s. as relations between china and russia continue to warm. we'll have that live at 1 p.m. eastern on c-span3.
[inaudible conversations] >> as the u.s. presence in afghanistan winds down, some intelligence assessments have warned that al-qaeda and other terrorist groups are beginning to resurface. the american enterprise institute hosted a discussion looking at the u.s. battle against al-qaeda. this is an hour and a half. >> thank you, everyone, for joining us here today. thank you. thank you, everyone, for joining us here today. we're going to start the event now. i'd like to welcome you to aei on this beautiful afternoon for an event that's cosponsored with the foreign policy research institute, and i'm thankful that they're here and that they've brought clint black down and marry hay beck who's recently joined us here at aei as a visiting scholar. i am katherine zimmerman, i'm a critical analyst, and i've been
working on al-qaeda for the past five years. i am hoping that this will be a very interesting discussion, as mary and clint -- both of whose work i i admire very much -- will give us their views on the al-qaeda challenge. mary just joined us here at aei, and she's publishing a sequel to her book, "knowing the enemy next year," which is going to focus on al-qaeda's grand strategy. and she just published a report with aei called "getting it right," and that's available outside and. clint watts is a senior fellow at the foreign policy research institute, and he's published extensively on transnational threats for combating terrorism center at west point and the cia's studies on intelligence, among others. his work is available at fpri.org and also at deflected wisdom blog can -- selected wisdom.com. i will be moderating their
discussion, and i've asked them to keep their answers short. i'm really looking forward to what will prove to be a very lively discussion on al-qaeda, and we'll open up to questions from the audience toward the end. so starting with clint, ask you a basic question of what is al-qaeda? >> all right. so thanks for having me here to aei and fpri. fpri has given me, you know, a lot of room to the run and write a lot of crazy stuff, you know, over the years and let me publish. i really appreciate that. so i'm going to start off with some of my favorite jihadis online. jan berger and i, we love this one because how can you know if you're winning if you have no idea or common agreement of what al-qaeda is? this is very, very difficult position that we're in. and it's not just us who's trying to figure out who's in al-qaeda. al-qaeda is trying to figure out who's in al-qaeda today. what you see right there is a
person on the coast of kenya. it says, brother, are al-shabaab against isis? i'm not authorized to speak about that because they'll probably cut off my phone and maybe behead me, but we've pledged loyalty toal sa war hily andal -- zawahiri and al-qaeda central. doesn't mean that you actually have to keep following them if they're wrong. ah, you've got to love young people on social media, right? we just pick the course of action we want, and we run with it. and whose face is on that? bin laden or zawahiri? ah, it's bin laden, right? so this is sort of the tumult that's going on in al-qaeda right now. the funniest thing about our discussion today is al-qaeda might very well be the second most important jihadist group in the world as of today. the islamic state of iraq may very well be the host important thing going on in the jihadi landscape. in the past three weeks, isis
cells have been disrupted in saudi arabia, you had the jewish museum shooter who is being linked to what's going on as maybe participating with isis. doesn't look like he was commanded by 'em. i mean, he had a go pro and a gun, hung out with some buddies. and then just two days ago you had reports from germany that they had disrupted an isis cell. none of this was commanded or led by al-qaeda central. and so when we're talking about is al-qaeda winning, i'll put it in another circumstance. let's say we wanted to know about the state of major league baseball. say, what's the state of major league baseball? and i, being a st. louis cardinals fan, would say how are the cardinals doing? but the cardinals, while the center of the baseball universe and probably 99% of what's going on, are one of only 26 teams and that's if you count the astros and the blue jays which we could probably get rid of. so what i'm talking about is al-qaeda -- and i wrote this for fpri -- the 1.0, 2.0 sort of
thing, what's the dominant force in jihad? they were the ones leading. they called themselves the vanguard, and they led sort of the jihadi movement. today they're one of many. and they're the still the one that i call old guard al-qaeda. you'll hear me refer to that today. i have no doubt right now somewhere they are planning attacks against the united states. no doubt that that's going on. i have no doubt that they're trying to communicate with affiliates and operatives all over the world. and i'm sure they are. but the way that's received today is wildly different than when bin laden was in charge. so when we talk about al-qaeda, the way i define al-qaeda, i will call them old guard al-qaeda; those that are still committed to the original objectives of al-qaeda, that are still focused on far enemy attacks against the u.s. and when i'm talking about that, i try and be as specific as possible because i really, you'll see when i get to the fifth part, this is really where i talk about how we have to
focus our ct strategy. zawahiri and a couple dozen old guard, committed operatives in pakistan, afghanistan, al-qaeda central is how they're commonly referred to. al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the most important al-qaeda element in the world at this point. they've got a demonstrated and repeated capability. they've tried on three occasions to do an external operations attack into the u.s. they, i have no doubt they're planning an attack against us right now. no doubt whatsoever. they are the decisive point in the future for old guard al-qaeda, in my opinion. we'll kind of come to that with some scenarios in a few minute. certain key leaders, aqim, if you ever want to know how they're trying to communicate, the the associated press has this great document they recovered in timbuktu that are out there are. i'm worried about those folks and sort of the off the reservation murrah i'm writing
my own al-qaeda group and wants to be in direct contact with zawahiri, that's one of the documents that was in the documents. select members offal that babb who are still -- al-shabaab who are still running operations as you have seen with the attacks in kenya. still concerned about them. and most important now and into the horizon is al-nusra, al-qaeda's primary arm and the future for them the to move into this next generation of jihad. they are the new face or the future generation of what will come out for old guard al-qaeda if they can keep moving on. they're in some steep competition. the other two things that i worry about are old guard al-qaeda operatives you see floating around, they'll be with us in rah, they'll try and coordinate with the islamic front, do a trade and barter or some other group. or americans that are floating and joining up with al-nusra. we saw the suicide bomber from florida last week, you know, that was a suicide bomber
frommal news rah. that i'm really worried about. when i talk about al-qaeda, that's the strain that i'm most concerned with still to this day, and that, to me, is what al-qaeda is. >> great. and i have the same question for you since you just published a report looking at what is al-qaeda and, actually, walked through the kind of administration definition of al-qaeda. i think that it might be useful for the viewers to actually hear what the administration has defined as al-qaeda and how you see it. >> the administration's view of al-qaeda is actually quite constrained and narrow and defined to a large extent by the authorization for the use of military force that was passed in september of 2001. it might explain why the senate is in the midst of updating that. according to that, al-qaeda is solely those people who carried out 9/11. that is, it's a very tiny little group of people sometimes called the core or core leadership,