tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 2, 2015 8:31am-10:01am EST
it keeps -- national economy. it keeps growing. so what fun. what an honor. >> host: representative anna eshoo, kate tummarello of politico. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> and live now to the third annual defense one summit taking place here in washington d.c. among the speakers today, the director of national intelligence, james clapper, deputy defense secretary bob work, and also u.s. army chief of staff general mark millie. opening remarks to start and a morning keynote address by white house deputy national security adviser ben rhodes. this is live coverage, it's just
getting underway. >> please join me in thanking our elite underwriters, adobe and cdwg. [applause] our strategic underwriters, hp and marklogic. [applause] our industry underwriters, drs technologies, ibm and monster government solutionings. [applause] you know, we say this all the time, but events like this would not be possible without their generous support so, again, i would like to thank them. and now i'd like to introduce your host for this morning, kevin barron, executive editor of defense one. kevin is a veteran of washington's defense, national security and foreign affairs scene. he's previously written for foreign policy, national journal and stars and stripes. currently, he serves as the pentagon press association, and this is breaking news, he just recently became the military analyst for nbc news and msnbc.
kevin sets the editorial direct and vision for defense one leading a talented team of journalists who cover the people and forces that are shaping the new era of defense and national security. please join me in welcoming kevin barron. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> welcome, everyone. >> welcome. >> good morning, i should say. good morning. welcome to the third annual defense one summit. i'm very excited for so many reasons. you know, this is our third time, hopefully third time's the charm. you know, when we first launched defense one, our tag line was this was about the new era of defense. the future of defense. so we really focused on trying to define what that meant coming out of the big war years, out of iraq, out of afghanistan. and we decided to talk about the limits of power, military power. because it seemed like the u.s.
was kind of starting to go in a lot of different directions at once. and i think a theme was established then, we had secretary hagel, that said if the military's not going to have any limits, the military has too be able to answer the call of the president at any time. so by the second year of our defense summit, we had general dempsey who had written for, i think, the back of the qdr, his one-letter message. he had a line that said the u.s. needed to do a better job of defining the purpose of the military. a little different. so we explored that last year as well, what should this military be designed to do. and where should it go. well, this year i really wanted to blow things up a lot bigger. clearly, the u.s. is at a stage where it doesn't say no to anything. the u.s. is the global leader. i remember back in the '90s at least when we would hear a lot about should the u.s. be the world's global police. i think it is. i think it absolutely is, and those days are gone. so the new conversation we hope
to have today is about the age of everything. meaning from kabul to chattanooga, the u.s. is involve inside global security. from hunting down individual terrorists in far-off places to figuring out how to check down vladimir putin in the grandest geopolitics chess game of old to cyber to intelligence threats all the way to law enforcement. there's really no end to it. and i think behind the scenes, i think the american public doesn't get really a good appreciation, a good view of how much these groups all work together at the interagency level in government, what all of you do, what a lot of our audience does. when what we really hear about are things like syria strategy, an announcement of how many troops in iraq or the islands in china or the opm be hack. a lot of disjointed threats coming at the united states but all part of the same metrics. metric. matrix. whatever. [laughter] so with that in mind, i really
look forward to getting things kicked off with jim shoed da from cnn and ben rhodes, the deputy national security adviser. we'll start at the white house level, make our way down and have a great day of conversation. hopefully make a little bit of news and come off from this day better informed, better educated and maybe even well fed. we'll have a good time. without further ado can, let's bring out jim and ben and let's get started. thank you, and welcome to the defense one summit. [applause] >> thank you. and thank you, ben, for joining us today. i can begin with the good news that ben and i have already dissected the mets' loss last night, so we can actually talk about security issues. full disclosure, i was at the game and took a three a.m. train back from new york. and there were tears on the train, i'll admit to that as well. but that's behind us now. >> maybe behind you.
[laughter] >> so you thankfully gave us some news last week with the announcement about 50 special forces, special operators going to syria. at last count russians have several hundred on the ground, the iranians 2,000 or so, hezbollah, you add that in, that's thousands more. in that picture what do 50 u.s. special operators on the ground, what difference do they make for u.s. objectives in syria? >> so, jim, when we've been looking at the strategy as implemented over the last year or so, we have looked at what works and what has not worked. what has worked is when we have the ability to strengthen a partner who is in the fight on the ground in syria. and we've done that in different ways. so we were able to not just drop weapons, but also develop relationships with people on the ground that allowed us to
provide them with close air support as they went on the offense against isil. what was not working, for instance, was taking oppositionists out of the country, trying to train them out of the fight and then send them back in. this contingent of special operators will be very much in the line of how do we help facilitate the success of partners on the ground. so they're not going to be out fighting side by side with forces inside of syria. they are going to be able to work with them to facilitate their operations, to provide them with advice. we're also going to be doing, as we announced a couple weeks ago, more direct equipping of forces on the ground. so they're intended to be a force multiplier that will allow for those who are on the front lines of fighting against isil to be better coordinated, better equipped and hopefully have better results in taking back territories. >> will they be in -- on the front lines? >> no. what we've done in a lot of these partnered operations in both iraq and syria is, you
know, they're obviously in dangerous places, so we don't have any ill hughs about that. but -- illusions about that. but their mission is not one of combat where they're going out into the fight, but rather they're staying some space back and doing facilitation advice for those ground forces in the fight against isil. >> now, the things we saw though, i did some reporting on this raid in northern iraq two weeks ago where master sergeant wheeler was killed. that was his -- that was an assist mission. they were not meant to be in the fire fight. but wheeler, and i believe one of his unit mates, the kurds were overwhelmed inside the compound. they took the decision on the ground to go in, and he was shot, and he died. it didn't tart as a combat -- start as a combat mission, but they ended up in combat, and his commander made a decision on the ground. by any other definition of the word, that's a combat role.
isn't it? >> well, look, jim, the mission, what they're send to do is not to go out and be engaged in combat, be on combat patrols. however, look, these are dangerous places. and in any case, someone may make a call that they have to engage an enemy. that's true of people who are going out and accompanying on a raid like that even if there's some space back. that's true of a force protection mission associated with our facilities that we're operating in iraq. so -- >> but -- >> the distinction, jim, is their mission is not one of combat. you know, several years ago we had guys who were out on patrol. their job was to engage the enemy as necessary. these troops, not just the special operators in syria but, frankly, all the troops currently deployed in iraq and syria which is a facilitation, advise and assist mission. >> i'm aware these are great
agents here. this is not 100,000 troops kicking down doors. also let's be fair, this is not force protection if you come under attack. they were dropped at night from helos into a protected compound, and under the umbrella of assist, they assisted their kurdish partners in a fire fight. i mean, you know, if a commander -- and we know delta force operators, they're not going to sit back and if they're guys, guys they've trained, know well, they're going to get in that fire fight as this commander made the decision. they may not have started, you know, in the tightest box of the combat role, but that is certainly a combat whatever you want to call it. i mean, it may not be the starting mission, but that was part of their job that day. >> look -- >> and if you're going to have 50 guys on the ground in syria, it seems to me this is something the american people have to be prepared for. >> well, again, not to put too fine a point on it, but the fact
of the matter the norm for these operators is not going to be going out on raids, right? that's not their mission. this decision was not rooted in we need a capacity to, essentially, have guys who can go on a series of targeted raids. that said, again, we have great confidence in our special operators, and they will make judgment calls. and if they make a judgment that they're under some type of threat that requires them to engage -- >> they or their partners? >> yeah. well, that was a determination that was made in that particular raid. but again, the thing that i think people have to understand is the purpose of this mission, just like the purpose of our presence in iraq, is not to have constant raid capacity in the country, it's to facilitate the operations of these other partners. and when we say facilitate, that doesn't always mean going out with them on a raid. so what took place in northern iraq, that was more the exception than the rule. it was the exception because the
determination was made that there were significant numbers of hostages who were held and it was worth the risk, right? so this is the nature of this conflict we're in, which is it's not large u.s. ground forces who are responsible for the security of the country, responsible for reclaiming territory from isil. it is very focused u.s. capabilities. some of that is ground capabilities, some of that is air capabilities, some of that is intelligence sharing that has as its purpose helping partners on the ground be more successful in taking back territory from isil. >> in syria could this be one of their missions there? might they be called into a similar role with kurdish forces if they go in to raid a compound, etc. might they join them -- >> look, i'm obviously not going to rule anything out. we've had special operations raids in syria to try to rescue hostages, right? so -- but that is not their principal function in being deployed. the principal function, again, is helping to organize,
facilitate and provide advice to those forces that are on the offense against isil, and we've seen them have success in northern syria, parts of eastern syria. and to have those troops in the fight. and, frankly, they're the ones who are going to have much more substantial numbers in terms of capacity. and we've seen them, again, have success. when there are people who are well organized and have the will to fight against isil, you've seen the capacity to take back ground. and what they've really benefited from, again, is direct air support from us, equipment from us and increasing relationship where we can provide them with advice. >> not a principal function of them, but it could be part of their function on the ground in syria. >> i, obviously, don't want to rule out the notion if there's -- and we have been willing to undertake limits operation toes as it relates to -- operations as it relates to hostage rescue. but that's not what they're
being deployed to do. >> i'll leave this after this. when the president said repeatedly he would not have ground combat troops in syria and iraq, he didn't make this distinction. he was very clear and expansive in his seeming to rule it out. did the president go back on his word? >> no, look, what he's doing, he's changing the nature of how the united states engages in these countries, in these conflicts where the limiting principle that he absolutely is sticking to is the notion that we're not going to take back ownership of security in iraq and syria, for that matter in afghanistan. but we need to find ways to use our very unique capabilities to support these other partners on the ground. and so, look, he's not going to be rigidly bound by every, you know, by the limiting principle that we'll never have anybody going to syria. if we have an interest that can be advanced by having this type of presence, he's willing to
make that call. but it's very different than, you know, some people, i think, have almost equated this as if it's, you know, a full-scale return to, you know, the iraq war or something here. the fact of the matter is the scale and nature of the u.s. mission is drastically different. >> let's talk about iraq for a moment. is the u.s. concerned that russia is going to take a military role in iraq? military action? >> no. i mean, if you look at -- the fact of the matter is if you look at what russia's doing inside of syria, it's not principally focused on isil at all. >> no. >> it's focused on helping to prop up assad and focused on a range of opposition groups who threaten assad. so they showed their cards through what they're doing. and what they're doing would lead them to be focused on a very specific geographic area that is the remaining enclave that is protected and governed by the assad regime.
and then they have been reluctant to project power even into eastern syria, forget about iraq proper. >> there's also a little bit, we have to admit, of poking the u.s. in the eye or perceived poking the u.s. in the eye here. what's your answer to the criticism that russia is boxing the u.s. out in syria, and iran is doing the same in iraq? that they're filling if not a complete vacuum, at least a partial vacuum left birdie minished u.s -- bydiminished participation there? >> we think that is not borne out by any reasonable analysis of what's taking place. if you rook at the spaces that they're -- if you look at the spaces that they're filling, it's the spaces that, frankly, they used to fill with greater -- with less risk to their interests. so, for instance, the assad regime has longstanding relations with russia, long been a client of russia. they could count on that as a
transit point, as a base of operations for their military in the region as necessary. now they are, the space they're filling is the very small and diminished, remaining piece of syria that is controlled by the assad regime. the iranians, ever since the u.s. invasion of iraq, have had significant influence in the shia areas of iraq. that should not come as a surprise to people. so the notion that these countries are operating in places where they have interests, again, should not be, should not take people by surprise. and i think if you look carefully at it, they're under pressure in other places where they have interests. and, frankly, to some extent the one shared interest that we all have is isil. and they need to roll them back. and that's what keeps the president's focus, you know? he's not, he doesn't see this as some, you know, tit for tat on the global stage to prove who
has a certain set of capabilities that they can deploy in the middle east. the fact is i think everybody knows the united states is far superior to russia militarily, has far more extensive operations taking place across that region, has far deeper relations with countries in the region, most of whom are deeply upset by the russian engagement. so if anything, we think russia has purchased itself even greater isolation, even greater budgetary needs at a time when their economy is squeezed and has not made a move that is going to be to their long-term strategic benefit. >> so there's a certain element, speaking to administration officials and others of kind of knock-yourself-out russia is partly the u.s. response. if you guys want to get involved in this quagmire, that's fine. but this was a great editorial a couple weeks ago positing the fact that can't both be true? is it possible that, yes, russia may be getting itself into a
mess there, but at the same time -- and you speak to diplomats in the region who seedy might bished u.s. inflounce -- diminished u.s. influence, yeah, russia, let's not create this idea that putin is the master strategist necessarily, but couldn't it also -- it's not mutually exclusive that you have actors whether perfectover or imperfect that are moving into spaces that were occupied by the u.s.? >> well, the question is what is in the u.s. interests. i'll be blunt here. you know, if u.s. influence is measured by the united states doing everything that other countries would like us to do in their neighborhood, that should not be the measure of our influence. the fact of the matter is the united states could spend every last resource we have in the middle east. there could be a justification for that. there could be a justification for us to take complete ownership of events in syria, of events in yemen, of events in
iraq. the question is, is that smart strategy? does that make sense in an age of everything? and the president's judgment is, it doesn't. we have core interests that need to be protected. we need to have a counterterrorism capability that can prevent attacks on the united states and our allies. we need to protect the security and sovereignty of our key allies and partners in that region. we obviously have a longstanding commitment to the free flow of commerce there. but the motion that we are going to do -- notion that we are going to do social engineering on the ground, i think we've seen in iraq if you spent a trillion dollars in iraq over a decade with 150,000 u.s. troops serving there and iraq is in the situation it is today, what leads you to believe that there is some resource allocation from the united states that is going to put syria back together in the near future in that is a recipe for us going down rabbit hole after rabbit hole when, in fact, if you look at the world, we have huge interests in asia-pacific. that is where the economic opportunity is coming.
and we cannot cede the rest of the world because we're so focused on demonstrating some degree of influence in the middle east. that makes no sense. >> i do want to get to china, trust me. but you've tried oh approaches -- other approaches in this region. you decapitated the libyan regime, in effect walked away, and that's mess. and stayed disengaged in syria, and you currently have that population emptying itself into europe, and 250,000 people are dead. you can hearken back to 2003, that decision, but what do you, what does the president see in a region today like libya or syria or iraq, frankly, that he's happy with as a result of his policy and strategy there? >> well, one thing is that we don't have 150,000 troops there, are not taking 100 casualties a month and are not spending $10 billion -- >> we're sending more troops back now. not is 00,000, but they're on their way back. >> but, jim, that's a very real
distinction. and the fact of the matter is that your question suggests a degree of u.s. agency for events in that region that is not borne out by history. so the reason that there's a conflict in history is not the united states, it's because there's a brutal dictator in syria who's billion at war with his own -- who's been at war with his own people for the last several years. what can we do to address that humanitarian challenge and to protect our core interests. when you look at what the president's focused on, again, we have to sort out in this region what are the things we really care about that we have to put resources against. counterterrorism, the security and stability of our allies. we do put more resources into the humanitarian challenge than any other country in the world. but we also have to understand that we're not going to be able to, quote-unquote, fix these places that are going through seismic transformations. and, you know, if you look -- what is the president happy about, one of the things that we're focused on over time is
how do we develop better shared capabilities with our partners. our gulf partners so that they are better able to deal with the type of asymmetric threats that are taking place in the region. the security cooperation we have with israel. those are the types of things that we're going to be invested in. because if you just take the most unstable country on any given day, that can be the metric of u.s. policy. that's, frankly, what is going to be the situation in the middle east for many years to come. >> with limited time i do want to get to two other places, ukraine and south china sea, but let's do china. very much in the news. so the u.s. has flown over the manmade islands. i was rubbing key enough to be on that -- lucky enough to be on that p8 when it happened, and now they've sailed within 12 miles. are there going to be more demonstrations that the u.s. does not recognize those as sovereign waters? >> absolutely. i think there will be more
demonstrations to our dedication to freedom of navigation. that's our interest there. it's to demonstrate that wew3 wl uphold thew3 principle of freedm of navigation. >> how does that issue resolve itself though? the chinese response, as you well know to the sail-by, as it were, has been threats at least of more militarization. and i know the goal is to turn that around. i mean, you know, realistically you don't see china tearing up these islands, right? so what's the goal? is the goal just to keep them from deploying, say, military aircraft on the airstrips or, what, putting more artillery pieces? >> the goal is to have, frankly, a mull lateral and diplomatic -- multilateral and diplomatic framework to resolve this conflict to avoid inadvertent escalation, have dialogue. and, two, that you move these disputes over territory into international forums that can resolve maritime claims. as a part of that, frankly, the
u.s. presence in the region is a stabilizing presence. you know, you talk about vacuums, i think if the u.s. were not able to project power in the way that we do in the asia-pacific, that could create a advantage uke where -- a vacuum where, again, there's a suggestion that international law is not going to be upheld, that nations can bully other nations. so, again, we have a responsibility to demonstrate through our military, through the partnerships that we have in that region and, frankly, even through the military-to-military engagement we have with the chinese that we're going to be there. but the way that these situations are going to be resolved has got to be through peaceful means. >> is the president concerned about further escalation? there's been talk from chinese challenges u.s. navy ships. we know how those things can progress in a dangerous direction. >> well, and that is absolutely the balancing act here which is that, again, we have to demonstrate our commitment to
certain national principles. we have to demonstrate, again, that in this parking lot of the world you're not -- in this part of the world you're not just going to have a situation where a bigger nation can bully a smaller nation on an issue like a territorial claim. on the other hand, you don't want to provoke conflict yourself. so i think when you look at what we do, it's very deliberate, it's very measured, it's, frankly, very transparent in terms of us demonstrating why we're doing what we're doing. but you also need to keep a dialogue. so with the chinese, for instance, at the same time that we've been very focused on building our network of partnerships and alliances in that part of the world, we've been very focused on increasing our military-to-military end goingment with the chinese. because these things are not in competition. if you talk to the countries in the region, they very much want us there, but they also very much want us of to have a good relationship with china. >> yeah. >> they don't want conflict. >> the goldilocks. final we on ukraine. has the u.s. and its european
allies, in effect, conceded crimea to russia? >> no. if you look at the basis of the isolation of russia, the pressure that russia's under from sanctions, from exclusion from the g8, it's rooted in the annexation of cry crimea. the fact of the matter is so much of the attention for the last, you know, year or more has been on eastern ukraine because that's where you have, frankly, at times a very conflict -- >> bloody war. >> bloody war. now, there's an opportunity in the next several months to fully implement the diplomatic process initiated in minsk to resolve that, is and that would be, i think, an important step forward towards restoring ukrainian sovereignty at least in eastern ukraine and stabilizing the situation. but, again, russia has dealt itself into a corner beginning with its efforts in crimea which, by the way, are only
going to add tens of billions of dollars of additional burden on russia at a time when they're squeezed. >> but that's a frequent administration refrain, that the costs are rising on russia. and this is all true, and the drop in the oil price certainly hasn't helped, but it's not affecting a change in rush behavior or policy and, frankly -- russian behavior or policy and, frankly, i can't remember the last time we've heard a u.s. official mention the word cry fema -- crimea. sort of the lost cousin in this whole thing. >> well, we've been very clear there's costs that can be imposed, and then there's decision making in moscow. it takes time to absorb, you know, and this is -- part of the age of everything is it's an age of impatience. the fact of the matter is though you have to have the patience, frankly, to stick to your strategy because if we didn't, we wouldn't be able to apply that pressure to russia. it's taken a lot of effort to hold together the sanctions with europe at a time when people's
attentions are shifting to other places. i think russia has to absorb over time the fact that aggressive, provocative behavior in its neighborhood or beyond is going to bring with it a cost and that, ultimately, affects their behavior over a period of time, not maybe in the news cycle of the day, but rather the lifetime of events that are going to determine what is the future of ukraine, what is the future of the middle east. ..
concern there is the budget uncertainty that we have had over the last three or four years. hopefully this framework that has been worked out will eventually and appropriation before december 11 your but we got to dust off our contingency plans for furloughs, which is extremely disruptive, to say the least. >> explained that. what does that mean? on the military side less of training hours or they have less training for readiness. >> for civilian workforce is a little different. some people, when we went through this in 2013, the intel committee gets a pass and that's not the case at all. we in 13 when we shut down and
furloughed a lot of people, the vast majority of civilian employees in the intelligence committee were affected by that, unlike the military. >> you just said is why private accounts after. unlike as you about some of the. if you can the news of this morning is still but this russian airliner that went down at what we know or don't know, it was a terrorist attack or mechanical are what. what does the intelligence community no? >> we don't have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet. isil in the tweet claims responsibility for it, and there is a very aggressive isil chapter in the sinai, but we really don't know and i think once the black boxes have been analyzed, which they have recovered, perhaps we will know more speed than the isis have the ability to shoot down an
airliner? >> it's unlikely but i wouldn't rule it out. >> we will keep on that. turning now i guess of towards taliban the serious announcement, the syria strategy. we are at a place now where i think the way the work is being bought more than changes things will hear more about it. ash carter single be more of these types of raids that we have just seen a couple weeks ago your busy counterterrorism fight, not just isis and direct in syria but across the world, if it's a fight a really lives in the world of intelligence and covert ops in the special operations community, how can you start to say more about it but you yourself have said what a better public understate for intelligence. we hear that from the commanders, too. what do americans need to know? what can do no?
>> that's a great question and one we struggle with, frankly. it's clear that for a number of reasons we needed more transparent and tried to be. we've declassified a lot of documents mostly having to do with the governance and oversight of the intelligence community. i was down in austin, texas, and to temper with the john brennan when we rolled up 2500 president's daily brief items from the kennedy and johnson administrations, and there will be more of that. so we have recently promulgated a principle of transparency for the intelligence community. interesting enough we must be in the sweet spot because i've taken flak both from civil liberties and privacy advocates who say we didn't go far enough, and then i'm hearing from lots
of members of the community and formers who say we should be doing this at all. so maybe we're doing the right thing. the problem, of course for transparency in general is that for us it's a double edged sword. so yes, it's a good thing to try to be forthcoming as we can be without compromising our sources, methods of tradecraft. and it's a fact that our adversaries go to school on this when we are transparent. this is particularly through with the terrorists who have, because of the revelations over the last couple of years, have gone to school on that and are a lot more communications security conscious than they used to be and we are having as a consequence difficulty, more difficulty than we had, and tracking them. so somehow we have to thread the needle between more transparency and at the same time protecting
our equities. i think it's worth some risk to our equities if it serves to regain the faith, trust and confidence of the american people and their elected representatives. >> that's a hell of a bargain. like you said for operators and then the workers who have to incur the risk. doesn't have to come from you? can come directly from you as a top down order, or does it have to come from the president or is this something -- >> well, the administration is committed to more transparency, and as our we. as far as coming down from the, i think actually all transport leaders recognize that and they're out and about a lot more
-- all transport leaders. speaking more in public. john brennan just sponsored at gw the third in a series of seminars that were spotted on the ethos of intelligence. and so i think everyone recognizes collectively come and we've discussed this among the ic leadership elite to try to be more open and transparent. >> so staying in the region then, when i look across the conflicts from syria, iraq and down to human even, give us a sense -- yemen. give us a sense of your level of comfort that the u.s. knows all it needs to know in these regions. what i mean is this seems to be an area was from a journalistic standpoint were it so hard to penetrate for westerners and there's reliance upon sources in the region. it must be the same for your world as well.
>> eight years. and i would never say -- videos. and that whatever is uncomfortable with our level of knowledge on anything. the very nature of intelligence is india with uncertainty come and and in what we try to do, why do we do intelligence is to attempt to reduce, rarely eliminate it but at least reduce uncertainty for decision-makers, whether sitting in the oval office or, to stretch the metaphor, an oval foxhole. and given the increasing awareness of our capabilities, both by nation-states and non-nation state entities, that makes our job a lot harder.
and choose as a journalist, he looked upon the mid-east as somewhat opaque, so do we. and we have certainly our challenges. that's what i've been an advocate in the five years i've been in this job to maintain as robust and intelligence capability as we possibly can with a variety of capabilities which we can bring to bear, depending what the local challenge is. >> i mean, like a commander didn't have enough troops, you will never have enough intelligence but isn' is of useo depend on foreign service in the region for what you have to no? >> i don't know that we are to depend on them. we are dependent on them, and that i think partnering with foreign partners is more intense, a more robust level that i can recall in my time in intelligence. and now, reasons for that are
obvious. what impelled to that is of course the mutual recognition of the threat. but i wouldn't say we are too dependent. that's somewhat of a subjective judgment, but we are reliant on partners and we are trying to place a greater reliance on them. in fact, be more transparent with them as well. >> described the partnership. we just got to the cycle of the iran deal and a pretty heated debate here in washington in the states were a lot of that was portrayed that the u.s. was fracturing his relationship with israel, with others in the region. is that you at your level, or -- >> actually not. the relationship with israeli, the israeli intelligence community is closer and stronger
than i can recall. i have been dealing with the israeli intelligence and one capacity or another for about 30 years and we have never been as close, and i don't recall an era where we have shared more with them and they with us than we are now. so at least in the intelligence level, there has been much airspace between us spent i'm glad you say that because i think there's a disconnect sometimes between the high level political headline versus national security news, defense news, intelligence news. we hear that from the secretaries of defense and the chairman as well. >> exactly. that's one of the reasons why a consistent continuous relationship, intelligence relationship with our intelligence foreign partners
can offer withstand the visitors of policy changes on either side. if you have that foundation, that base level of intelligence partnership, that will sustain you a lot even though there may be policy differences. >> the last question for the region. if we're going to see more of these raids, explain again, why are they worth the risk? is the intelligence out of the more than or is more a mission -- >> that's more -- i think that there's a judgment made about them raise as -- raids or what's the objective obviously and whether it's to capture someone or free up a kidnapped hostage, or in the case of the recent one, free up some partners who were pretty much hated -- pretty
much headed for a terrible demise. so those are operational policy judgments that are made, and it's up to the intelligence community to support those policy are operational judgments as best we can. >> shifting north from syria into ukraine and write to moscow. let's talk about russia for a minute. you were one of the earlier folks sound a warning about russia to come. is this a bit of comeuppance for you to see what's happening? pruden holding back, not just ukraine but moving into syria -- putin? >> i don't feel that way at all. i do think that the character of russia has changed mainly driven by its leader, putin, who has i
think a vision of a great russia that actually not so much a throwback to the communist era is made a throwback to the bizarre era -- czar erica industry mindful of russia's what he thinks is russia's role in the world. and certainly the intervention in ukraine as a manifestation of that. that's just, i think he was rather opportunistic when president kind of coverage left a very suddenly, saw an opportunity to write what the considered a terrible injustice to mother russia which is a loss of crimea. so we took it back. i do think it's a whole different context for the russians in its intervention in see. we can impute all kinds of motives to why he's done that. i do think though that, i wonder
whether there is, yes a strategy for an off ramp, and whether or not he will avoid another afghanistan quagmire. >> that's interesting to say, if he is an offering. deeming that the administration of the obama administration? does this administration have an exit strategy for the region? do you buy into the talk or the characterization that putin is overstretched, this is a horrible miscalculation or that he's a grandmaster and it is obama, your boss, who is the one who was wrongfully leaking from behind it is getting outgained? >> as an old saw i like to repeat questions like this where i'm just down the engine room shoveling intelligence goal. people on the bridge get to steer the ship, how fast it goes and arrange the furniture on the deck.
so i'm not going to go there. it's just whatever it is that we have to support, we will. >> thank you, private first class james clapper. [laughter] salida boss out of it and stick to putin. is this, you know, you see a fox or is he clever by what's going on? >> that's a great question. subject of endless debate. i do think that -- >> eleven minutes. >> -- wonder if his ego may not get in the way in syria when confronted, he's already, the russians already encountering challenges, i'll say, in syria. i think his first impulse would be to pour more people, more equipment into syria.
i think he considers himself a man on whitehorse back end is going to rescue syria, be the savior for the region, and show his importance in the world as a great power. >> do you expect him to send more troops? >> well, they have the capacity, and i think they will probably be drawn into sending more advisors than they have been the pastor 11 of the interesting things about this is unlike his, their presence in ukraine which, of course, they never acknowledged, in this case of course it's quite overt and i think that's another motive of his is to show off the results
of the aggressive monetization, military modernization program the russians have been embarked on, even with all their economic challenges. >> i wish we had a picture of them on the horse behind us. >> bare chested, to. >> bare chested. well, one step at a time. so let's go to china been for our reminder -- remake appeared on the defensive side we were here in the last couple of years that the u.s. was underestimating the pace by which china was building up, rolling of these technological advances. does not rise up to you and it is that still the case? is it still the since the u.s. is a little behind the curve? >> i think we have pretty good insight and were watching this evolution, and certainly were aware of the chinese intent to modernize their forces.
day, again, have gone to school on us. >> meaning? >> well, they watched, going back to desert storm and other capabilities that we have exhibited. and so they i think felt that they needed to compete. and what they've done is a very impressive across the board in virtually every dimension. they have very aggressive military modernization program. i think, the intelligence community didn't really have it too much because we had already have extensive resources committed to asia and particularly china for some ti time. >> we heard ages were pulled out of beijing recently come and cyber back and forth. is that still the case?
>> on what? >> more agents pulled out of beijing? >> no. >> and there weren't? >> no. >> okay, check that back again. spent don't believe everything you read in the media. [laughter] >> we didn't report it. that's what i'm asking about. good to know. i believe that to the intelligence reporters but if you want to ask about sticking with china, with cyber and what they know. as you said going to school on what they do know. the u.s. and china just had an agreement to stop cyber theft of each other. is titled living up to that agreement speak was i think one has to say the jury is out on that. we obviously are going to watch what they do to see if they do in fact live up to it. china is a large bureaucracy,
like us, so we'll have to see how this guidance flows down through the ranks. and, of course, there is the challenge i think to the certain extent that chinese have, how much packing and purloining of information they give is government sanctioned or government controlled. >> how much does an adequate to our report, not just news in the don't come independent study said aubrey tracking the same known government sources out of china that are still -- >> well, we will have to watch this. i don't think the appropriate for me to comment at this point publicly. >> come on. that's okay. do you know who is behind the opm hacked yet and have you said that? >> we have a pretty fair idea.
[laughter] >> getting so close. good. back to the workforce. it's been a while since we've heard about the shift from title x the title 50, or were supposed be hearing and i think a lot of that was talk about drone operations and somehow finding a little bit more transparency but also just operational control. are those discussions still going on or say is this somethig that has been forgotten about? >> there's not a lot i can say about this in this, given my capacity, but i will just say this whole discussion i think is prompted by the interest and support of being more transparent. that's about all i can say about it. >> that's still something that's a consideration of the administration level. it's not come it wasn't just a
talking point that went the way? >> i'm sure it is. >> okay, good. then, bring it back home. i said in my introductory books part of the purpose of our summit it is a kind of expand how the understanding of our national security works and the focus is not just overseas but domestically, and the rise of now terrorists inspired homegrown threats versus terrorists directed. how much do we know about that? do we have numbers? arthur 100, 400? isis in america. what are you worried about? >> the names that we followed is the number of -- the main stat we followed is the number of americans, a couple statistics i suppose and the fbi would be better to speak to one of them, but the main one that i track is
the number of foreign fighters, people that leave the united states, or attempt to leave, to get to syria, who fight, are either killed or go to another country or come back here. we do try to track those figures. the total of all those categories is around i think 250 or 260. the number has gradually grown over time. separate from that which are harder to track are those who sell radicalize or also lighted -- the very sophisticated, slick propaganda apparatus that isil operates. they are very good at it. and that's a little harder to
track, almost implies knowing what's going on in someone's mind, what is the tipping point when they become a radical speed when we hear about them in the news, should the concern matched the hype or is everyone on the level when one of shooter shows up in charleston and we are isis in america versus -- >> put it on the scale of drugs in america, automobile accidents in america, gun violence in america. you know, there is a tendency to i think amplifying homegrown, so-called homegrown terrorism. because there is a very, i think there's a graphic aspect to it that seems to have impact. >> i will close i think what the last couple of minutes on a little bit of what i meant was that coverage matching the reality. go back to the intelligence
workforce like we talked but in the top and recruiting. do you sense that this divide in america that we see happening so often when it comes to either should we fight, should we not fight, you know, the on the side of privacy or on the side of intelligence. if you think snowden is a hero or you think he is a traitor. how is that showing up when it comes to recruiting for the global war on terrorism? >> we really haven't seen over all i will say, we seem to be attracting, continue to attract people who want to be part of the intelligence community. in my dotage now that i've achieved, geezer, i've been spending a lot more time mentoring and engaging with college student and this sort of thing. and i think, generally speaking, our recruiting posture is pretty
healthy. that's not to say we haven't at all the anecdotal basis some attrition and skill sets you would rather not have. a lot of that has to do with the disparity and compensation, you know, what the government can offer versus compensation in the civilian sector. so that has a bearing on -- >> in what skills are you competing? >> unfortunately the technical skills particularly in the cyber arena. that's the obvious one where there's a challenge there. not so much recruiting people. we have a lot of great young military people. the issue is retention. >> so our last thought. are you hopeful for one more year of the administration, or you going to stay on to the end or how long do you have left? >> well, of course you serve at
the pleasure of, so i could be gone tomorrow, but my plan right now is tuesday to the end. i think it's about 446 days if i cannot write. [laughter] >> but who's counting? you are closer to one less of those now. thank you for coming to the "defense one" summer, director clapper. please, a round of applause. [applause] ♪ >> please welcome the chairman of the u.s. house armed services committee, represented mac thornberry, and "defense one" pulls reporter, mali o'toole. [applause] -- mali o'toole. >> record thank you for joining us. here we are course with congressman mack for but that doesn't mean much of an introduction protection of house armed service committee, so we will dive right in between my
speaking too quickly and your texas drawl, hopefully we can come to a happy medium and cover a lot of ground. i want to start with the friday announcement out of the white house about the deployment of your special operators to syria, your response. he used some phrases long overdue, absent a larger strategy, maybe too little, too late, perhaps looking to avoid a disaster while the president runs out the clock. i want to dig into this. we've heard a lot of criticism particularly coming out of congress that the president lacks a strategy and overall national security gadget a specific when it comes to the war against the islamic state. so what specific recommendations do you have for the white house? was to be done carefully in the isis fight? what you that strategy look like? >> the thing that crossed my mind as this announcement was made was a talk that churchill gave in i think about 35, and basically the point he made was
when measures could have been taken that were made a difference, they were. and then they take steps to late to really make a difference. and that's the sense i get year that our actions are behind events. and it gets harder as time goes on. so, for example, it's very much more difficult today with the russian involvement to have a strategy moving forward than it would've been before the russian involvement. much less a year or so. i think the real reluctance members of congress have is many of us are willing to support greater action, but we want to see a strategy, an approach that can lead us somewhere rather than kind of incremental too late trying to catch up sort of activity. so, for example, a couple weeks ago dr. kissinger had an approach in "the wall street journal" that i think outlines
at least a way to hit the he said we need to prioritize isis over replacing assad come and try to encourage the russians to do that. of course, they are not doing that now. they are focused on protecting assad. he and others including former secretary clinton talk about a safe haven in the north, to up with refugees but also to up with we supply and so forth that is harder now that you the russians flying around but i think there's still a lot of folks in both parties who think that makes sense. the other key thing is going to be the rules of engagement. so what are these, clearly -- >> will engagement between us and the russians, us and the syria got a? >> especially us and isis. roughly a third of the sorties we've i don't even drop ordnance. those that do drop ordnance here a lot of use that it's not very effective because of all the
restrictions that are placed on our pilots. and so if we have these 50 folks who are going to be able to leave and go out with folks they train, what will the restrictions on can be? we are going to send a tense by the way, the plane the administration wants to retire, we will see more of those. what is the role of engagement for those planes in supporting people on the ground and who are they going to support? does it we have the coordination we need to support? >> so my point is the rules of engagement for whatever efforts we make can you help them be effective or they can completely undercut it. we don't know the answers. >> that's a lot of lawmakers raise a lot of the same questions that you have raised and the sort of criticism on the other side could be there's monday morning quarterbacking. what could've been done. give me some great questions about what the rules of engagement should be.
how can we balance could you mention of the restrictions take on some of the airstrikes took a lot of those restrictions are to prevent civilian casualties or to some extent because we don't have the eyes on the ground that may be able to call in sort of more strategic strikes. so how can you balance those restrictions that are in place for a reason and then kind of freeing up the military to do what they need to do? >> it's a great point and it just reinforces the point that as time goes on and this morass gets murkier and murkier, there are fewer and fewer good options. and there's no question that without adequate intelligence, then the chances of unintended damage will grow. the rest of the story is, without taking action you will begin -- you will be ineffectual. one of the key points that's been made recently is an ineffectual campaign against
isis is used as a recruiting tool for them and it is part of the reason that they continue to grow. i noticed that at a seminar at west point earlier this spring, 97% of the people surveyed said we are losing the war against isis. so clearly this try to play catch-up, choose prevent a disaster, incremental from behind approach is not working. but i readily acknowledge that a more aggressive approach has downsides, those downsides are growing as time goes on and the morass continues, continues to get worse and worse. >> there was criticism to the announcement on friday, that sort from another perspective that we should be taking action for action sake. >> which is the true. that gets back to the basic point of the strategy. just to go back to question for just a second. 535 people in congress are not going to come up with a strategy. on a commander-in-chief can do
that. what the rest of the story is we need to have a strategy, at least a way forward that can show success. maybe not a way forward that shows ultimate success against assad and isis, but at least some direction that can gain confidence, and that we know what we are doing. and the problem is the administration has never done that. one other thing, this weekend david ignatius had a great piece in the atlantic that kind of detailed the history of our involvement with isis in both iraq and syria, and i highly recommend it. because it is, we've got to learn how we got here, and the mistakes that we have made if we're going to have that path forward that i talked about. >> i want to talk about your comment that this leadership to large extent needs to come from the white house. if i can play devil's advocate
for just a minute. that often is the response when you ask some of the top leaders such as yourself in congress, national security leaders, which was specifically recommend, what they would do differently regarding this strategy. i want to talk about that. that's the theme of our talk, what is congress' role in setting national security priorities and we are simply too much into the role that you into the war against islamic state senator tim kaine and others have called for congress to debate and authorize specifically the war against the islamic state. do you believe that congress has abdicated its responsibility be clear and authorize war come is obligation or its power to enact over the of the executive when it comes to national security? are we seeing that now? >> i think the answer to question is yes. if i could back up for just a second. there are two basic responsibilities congress has.
one is to build a military picket look at the constitution, article 1, section 8 it has a number of responsibility to put on congress' shoulders on what to buy had irregular goods and so forth. the other one is this oversight that you talk about. there is a requirement to authorize the use of force or to declare war as well. i completely agree with senator kaine that we should debate and vote on an authorization to use military force against isis. using the 2001 aumf and shoehorning isis into that stretches it way beyond any reasonable meaning of the words are as i do think congress is negligent in our responsibility for not having come and part of the reason by the way is that there's a real fear of how that's going to come out. part of the reason there's a fear of how it's going to come out so the coast of what are we going to do? pull troops out of? what are the consequences?
the reason there's that concern is that we don't have a clear strategy, that is not the confidence. so if i'm a member of congress you want me to vote to send troops to possibly die, and yet you are not giving me a strategy on their mission. so why should i do that? and it makes a really personal. i voted on several authorizations to use military force. you see that with families you know, people you know who serve in the military. it's a very personal thing. i still think we ought of the vote because that is our job under the constitution a par paf the reason we have not had that vote is the lack of confidence that if we do vote to go against isis, that in the commander-in-chief will have an approach to be successful. >> coming from the white house on friday josh curran is was actually asked this question and he said the deployment of special operators in syria was authorized in 2001 but he made it as more a part of what had
been authorized the fight against islamic state more broadly but it is interesting that comment that this specific action had been authorized. >> the meaning of those words get stretched so far. and by the way, twice in the past five years the house has voted to update the 2001 authorization for use of military force. the senate has never followed through by the house has. >> josh curran is also made the point it's somewhat ironic that russia's part of it has actually improved its actions in syria was the u.s. congress has not. shifting a little here, it's a big week this week on the hill with the budget agreement expecting to be signed possibly as soon as today. also there's a boat set up on november 5 for the defense authorization bill, whether the house will vote to override or perhaps take a different path, reintroduced legislation. can you talk about what this budget agreement, at least two-year temporary certainty for
the pentagon but also for congress means? what does it for you update in effigy were not confronted with this sort of constant budgetary brinksmanship? i would use the phrase holding the military hostage. now that you're not going to have to waste his time and energy with those sort of fiscal cliff, what does a free update in terms of national security priorities? >> i think the most important thing is that it provides stability for defense funding for a two-year period and that's something that is bit desperately needed, whether you're a base commander somewhere in the united states or you running a factory somewhere, or you're at the pentagon trying to plan out your budgets, or whether you on the armed services committee trying to do our job on oversight and building the military. that to your stability so we don't have to have months and months of debate about what the
right number for defense is, is very important. i think it is also important to say, however, that the level that was agreed to is not enough. it does not fix defense it gets even $5 billion below what the president asked for, $5 billion below congresses budget. so if you take the effects of inflation into account, defense spending was cut 21%. a modest increase does not repair the damage that my judgment was that the stability that you get from a two-year deal is more important than the extra $5 billion in this case. and to take most of the folks in the pentagon would agree with that. so that enables us to do our job, as i say, building the military can dig down deeper into those trade-offs that have to be me. where are we going to put money next year, but also try to continue our reform efforts on
acquisition come on personnel, on reducing overhead. and then do our oversight with the policy issues such as we were just talking about spin regarding specifically the 5 billion that needs be reconciled, can you talk a little about what are the heirs you're looking at, what are some of the concerns are even without the amount of people use the phrase and a cut but that's a pretty big haircut. >> $5 billion is real money. we are working with the senate of course and the appropriators to all be on the same page about where that $5 billion will come from. there's one category of just adjustments i would say. so, for example, fuel costs continue to be lower than was expected so you can reduce the fuel account a little bit. the are a number of programs where they are not able to spend as much wood as they thought they would for a variety of reasons. you get a little bit of money from those things without really
costing capability. >> are you able to cut into any muscle speak was absolutely. that's what i started to say. there are real programs, real capability that has to be cut to reach the $5 billion. fewer things we can buy them things we've got to slow down. so it is into the need. the result of these adjustments just because the time changes, but there will be a substantial about of capability that is cut because of this $5 billion. >> do you anticipate pursuing this override vote indicates that given that this budgetary impasse that sort of been resolved or do you see the override votes being moved or is that important to the people on the record to have a final say in terms of the president's veto of this bill cracks first in his administration.
>> there are pros and cons for either path. so it is currently the order of the house of the to override vote on this thursday. i think we are within the ballpark of overriding i don't know for certain what the boat would be, as you point out the main reason for vetoing the bill has now gone away. that would be the cleanest, simplest way to go head and make it become law although we still have to have a separate bill to do with the $5 billion that we were just talking about. on the other hand, we start with a fresh bill, maybe it is easier for people to support. goes over to the senate. is a possibility some will want to add stuff to it and we can't open it back up. and so procedurally you have to deal with that. with the rules committee we can prevent it in the house. the senate is more complicated. we will be ready for both options this week. i think there will be action taken this week to make the ndaa become law. and again it is a building block
on acquisition reform and other things for next year. so it needs to happen spent in terms of the acquisition reform, what sort of feedback have you gotten regarding some of the reforms that are contained within the into a? i know it's unlikely those will change whatever happens moving forward but what's the feedback you've gotten speak with generally pretty positive. there's some disappointment in the pentagon that we elevate the role of the service chiefs in making acquisition decisions. although i think we got to a pretty good balance on increasing their role, yes, but still having atl able to have a major role at the same time. so the most common reaction i get is, acquisition reform, again. you know, what's going to change?
we tried this for years and years. i understand that skepticism. what we tried to do in the first year was just deal with some of the basic things. with the acquisition workforce, with making sure come with simplifying the process, getting rid of a bunch of regulations and certifications and thinning out a bunch of things. and would require there to be an acquisition strategy at the beginning so that the work is done ahead of time and you're not a gambling ketchup as the program goes -- playing catchup. we've always said this will be an incremental process and so we are already, we had here last week about next steps for acquisition, and though the steps after next year, too. so we are focused on building on that, conscious of the fact that we have to improve our acquisition process, but it also has to do its job every day while we are overhauling it. so it's not like you can see stop everything you're doing, we
are going to rearrange all this stuff. it's still got a function to a today. >> want to zoom back out a bit as we reach toward the end of our session. i notice you are presiding as the new house speaker, was sworn in this last week. and in the buildup, sort of taking the speakership taking the gavel and with former house speaker john boehner on his way out, congressman ryan had a lot of rhetoric about a new chapter for a bipartisan discourse, hopefully moving away from some of the divisions we've seen particularly with the house republican caucus moving forward. what is your confidence that this will be the case, that we will see more bipartisan discourse, particularly for you at such a critical time when it comes to national security and though still very real divisions existing within the republican caucus between the fiscal hawks and the defense hawks? >> i have no doubt paul is very
sincere. and really what is focused on is having all members be able to have more input into the process here now, take the defense authorization bill just as an example. we have our combat about how many hours, we went into like two or three in the morning with everybody in the committee offered whatever they want you. we had hundreds on the floor. the senate went to a regular process, passed a bill, a conference that lasted several months. so any member had the opportunity to contribute to the process. i think that's the model he wants to use in other places. and if i could say one of the things that disturbs me the most in attempt of bipartisanship is what the president did with our bill. because we are about to send back an ndda exactly like the one that he vetoed, minus $5 billion, but he vetoed it to try to use it as leverage or
political bargaining chip for this other stuff that could not happen within the defense authorization bill. "washington post" wrote it is historic but not in a good way. so i think one of my challenges is how can we repair some of the damage? because for 53 straight years congresses of both parties have passed, presidents have pashtun presence of a% sign into this bill. true bipartisanship with all members being able to participate. there was future damage done by the president's veto, by using our bill as a political bargaining chip. so in the coming year, once i think of my biggest challenges has how to repair some of the. because regard for the next gym is going to be, who the next president is going to be, it is really important to the country to have a bipartisanship on national security.
it's historic what's been done just in the past few weeks at we've got to make sure it's the anomaly, not the rule going forward. >> i want to push back on that. you and senator mccain both acknowledged that you were not huge fans of use of overseas contingency operations to increase defense spending and better looking for a more long-term deal. so was that vetoed sort of necessary for the leverage to get, to get to the table, to get this budget agreement? >> no. >> isn't this what you want to? >> because you had to have the appropriations bill signed anyway, about the forcing function. this week it happened to be the debt limit that you had the appropriation bills coming at december 11. that's the forcing function for using vocal or not. would have a provision in the bill, section 15 '01 that says if the base increases then we would just move this oco over to the base and it adjusts
automatically. so my point is there was nothing that could be done to the ndda that fixes this problem but it was because of the debt limit and the appropriate to build a context. we all knew that was coming. but the president threatened 41 essential authorities concluding things like combat pay and so forth, which will not be authorized after the year, after the end of the year without a defense authorization bill. he threatened the acquisition reform. the personnel reform. the requirement that the dod and va have a joint formulary to treat post-traumatic stress all of that he was willing to sacrifice in order to make a political point. again, "washington post," "wall street journal" all said it has never happened before. so we have repaired to be done because of the damage that was caused to bipartisanship over that action. >> let's talk about the damage done. also both sides, democrats and
republicans sort of use that veto threat that eventually was made good on to accuse each other upholding the military hostage. we tended that phrase bandied about a lot, but each side is using national security and talk about this, particularly talk about the state of foreign policy crises. we've seen in the past year, this is a critical time when the cabbie folding them into hostage, so one of so forth. not just the damage done as you refer to with the veto but within congress. so moving forward now that we have this budget agreement, when you refer to the damage done, do you think this means going forward in the waning days of the obama administration is going to be difficult to work together between the executive and congress when it comes to national security? or does is clear the way, get some of the bad blood out of the way so real action can be taken in the last year to? >> i hope what we've seen the last couple of weeks is an anomaly, not the rule moving forward.
my sense is the obama administration is going on the last year. democrats and then me and everyone else will increasingly pay less attention to them as more people focus on who's going to succeed the president. and that gives us in congress of the chance to reestablish a bipartisanship we've always said. remember, our bill came out of committee on a boat out 60-2 and that was one republican and one democrat. so that's the tradition, that's the way with everybody participating we have had a partisan bills in the past. it's only when it became politicized in this larger political debate started to be more partisan. i want to go back to the 60-2 vote. it's not because of the biggest because of the country. if we're going to send men and women to syria or afghanistan or africa or anywhere else, they deserve to know that the whole
country is behind them as reflected by their elected leaders spent i will try to get one on 2016 of the talk about national security leadership. you mentioned people are going to be looking less and less on the administration, perhaps looking forward. now with america's longest war, just got longer, sort of indefinitely. our president has extended in afghanistan. we have a special operation troops going to syria. the war against islamic state in iraq and syria. that will not be wrapping up anytime soon. all of these will be inherited by who ever, whoever comes next. in the republican field they are certainly a mixed spectrum of national security experience. do you have concerns with that? are you confident that moving forward, whoever may inherit the white house may be able to really shape these wars ended up the kind of strategy that you've been calling for? >> i have tremendous concern about it that's why my number
one criteria is it would be the best commander-in-chief, given the mess that he or she is going to inherit. dr. kissinger testified in front of us in earlier this week that we have never before had this many conflicts, national study threats facing us all at once. image in several areas where we have combat but in addition you have this general perception that the u.s. has been in retreat, and that has encouraged aggression from russia, china, iran, among others. so there will be an enormous challenge for the next president, whoever it may be, and again, i think the number one criteria is who would be best suited to deal with those challenge is? >> i think that's a good note to end on. looking for different national security leadership, and thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. [applause] ♪ >> please welcome to the stage
john carlin, assistant attorney general for national security of the department of justice. nicholas rasmussen, director the national counterterrorism center, and evan perez, justice reporter at cnn. >> i will turn -- so thank you for inviting us to do this today. i'm going to introduce you briefly to our guests. this is john carlin, the chief of the national study division at the justice department. they do all of the national security prosecutions as well as handle intelligence matters from the legal perspective at doj. nick rasmussen, since 2014, has
been the leader of the national counterterrorism center. previously worked at the white house as an adviser to the president on national security. old fogey gentlemen lead agencies -- old fogey gentlemen lead agencies that were born out of the 9/11 commission report. i wonder if you could give us a perspective, 15 years removed to have you see the role of your agencies as they evolve? >> thanks. it's great to be here. thanks to defens "defense one." national security division was greater than 2006 as a result of both reforms recommended from one of the post-9/11 commission's and the idea was simple important and it was to make sure that not only did the legal wall come down that prevented intelligence sharing between intelligence community and law enforcement, and vice versa, but also that culturally that the lawyers who worked on
intelligence problems and prosecutions sat side-by-side. and so the division was created so that would be a one-stop shopping the department of justice here where the full range of national security problems could be tackled. and in doing that it meant looking at legal problems in a way where when it was department of defense, fbi, cia, nsa, that we viewed the problem as one that was intelligence driven, meaning we would look at what the intelligence shows the threat was. ..