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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 21, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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russia, china, iran and north korea. this is about two hours.
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good morning. the armed services committee meets this morning to consider the nomination of general john e. hyten to be commander of the united states strategic command. we congratulate you on your nomination. we thank you for your decades of distinguished service and your
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willingness to serve, once again. of course we know today woul not be possible without the support and sacrifice of your family and friends, some of whom are with us this morning. as is your tradition, we hope you take the opportunity to introduce your family joining you today. general hyten threats o to the united states and allies have increased recently. we confront security challenges in the world and in domain including nuclear, cyber and space. this new strategic challenge has implications for stratcom. scholars and strategists warned we have entered a quote, second nuclear age. this is not something the united states has chosen and indeed there are those that derrive nuk
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lar weapons. the reality is europe and east asia, there are nations that increasingly believe nuclear weapons are essential to their survival. others are enhancing the role of military weapons in their doctrine and their use on the battlefield. pakistan developed tactical weapons. not to be outdone, india continues to modernize its nuclear triad under the best of circumstances, the iran nuclear deal gives iran a free hand to develop nuk lar weapons in a decade. north korea's fifth nuclear test earlier this month is the latest reminder that it's boyd dictator remains intent on developing the capability to strike our homelands with nuclear weapons.
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there's china, which continues to modernize its nuclear forces placing a new emphasis on mobile missiles and submarines. perhaps the most pressing challenge you would face if confirmed is russia. russia's aggression in ukraine and actions in syria take place under a nuclear shadow. russia is threatening our nato allies with nuclear strikes, modernizing the strategic forces, developing a nuclear ground launch cruise missile cape l of ranging europe and fired sea launch cruise missiles against targets in syria. targets that could be against nuclear warheads and european and u.s. targets. we have to face the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. that's why no matter what president obama may have hoped for when he came to office, the
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united states cannot seek to reduce the role of nuclear weapons on our national security strategy, providing a modern, credible deterrent is more vital than ever. strategic command face long term challenges to that goal. in the next two decades, u.s. nuclear submarines, air launch cruise missiles, heavy bombers and nuclear capable tactical fighters will have to be withdrawn from operational service. having been extended well beyond the service lives. modernization programs are in place to replace these systems but there's no slack left in the schedule and a considerable bill to pay. according to official figures, the department of defense plans to devote $234 billion over the next ten years to operate and modernize our nuclear forces.
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this amounts to just 3% to 4% of our budget each year. any investment is subject to the oversight of this exit tee. today's congress supports the modernization of the u.s. nuclear deterrent. i'm concerned future reductions in funding could delay or harm the relacement systems, increasing strategic risk at a time russia and other countries continue to modernize their nuclear capabilities. just as nuclear threat continues to change, so too have threats in space. indeed, america superiority in space is increasingly at risk as the director of national intelligence told the committee threats of military civil and commercial space systems will increase in the next few years as russia and china progress in developing counter space weapon systems to deny, degrade or
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disrupt u.s. space systems. director clapper stated that russia and china seek to exploit our dependence on space to achieve effects. they are investing significant resources in developing a range of capabilities including anti-satellite missiles, jamming and cyber capabilities. fortunately, in recent years, the defense department experienced a, quote, counter space awakening. after years of prodding from this committee to enhance its focus, i'm pleased with the department's efforts to respond to russian and chinese threats in space. one of your top priorities would be to put strategic command on a war footing for space because, if our adversaries choose to extend more into space, we must be capable of defending ourselves there. finally, beyond space and
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nuclear forces, the third component of strategic command at present is cyber. this committee has been extremely focused on the complicated issue of cyber. i think many of us agree with your assessment from your advanced policy questions, general hyten, the growing importance of cyber warrants the elevation of u.s. cyber command to a unified combatant command. we would be interested in your views on timing and the importance of continued coordination between a future unified cyber command and strategic command. icon congratulate late you once again on your nomination. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to join you in welcoming general hyten. thank you for much for your extraordinary service to the nation. shortly, you will introduce your family. they are a huge part of your success. i would like to welcome your wife and children. they have sacrificed and
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supported you throughout your career. we all appreciate that. general hyten, you have a service, well qualified for the nomination. the commander serves as principal military officer who advices the president on the nuclear deterrent, space and cyber capability and global and missile defense requirements. as is said, it must be safe, secure and effective. there is one additional facet, and it must be ready. you will be responsible for articulating and managing the ready iness of the triad and threats to our nation. the upcoming modernization which must be executed in a cost effective and timely fashion. once confirmed, i want to hear your thoughts on this issue in detail. strategic command deploys our space assets and mitigates
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threats. given your background, you are qualified for this task, but there are other areas you have to lead including missile defense, electronic warfare, cyber warfare, isr and long disstance strike. integrate the capability systems supporting these complicated missions so they mutually reinforce each other and define and fix gaps that exist between them. i look forward to hearing your views and working with you in the future. i must apologize, there's a banking committee hearing going on in a few moments. my departure will be simply to go there, nothing else. thank you. >> general hyten, we have to ask standard questions of all military nominees. if you would just respond, i will go through this rather quickly. in order to exercise the legislative and oversight responsibilities, it is important that this committee and other appropriate committees
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of congress are able to receive testimony briefings and other communications of information. have you adhered to applicable laws, regulations governing con flicks of interest? >> i have, sir. >> do you agree when asked to give your personal views even if they are different from the administration in power? >> i do, sir. >> actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process? >> no, sir. >> your staff complies with deadlines for requested communications including for the record and hearings? >> yes, sir. >> co-operate and provide witnesses in response to congressional requests? >> yes, sir. >> will those witnesses be protected from their testimony or briefings? >> yes, sir, they will. >> do you agree to appear and testify upon request before this committee? >> i do, sir. >> do you agree to provide documents of copies in
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electronic forms in a timely manner and a dually constituted committee and the basis or a good faith delay or denial in providing such documents? >> i do, sir. >> thank you, general. welcome. >> thank you, sir. >> please proceed. >> thank you, sir. >> mr. chairman, senator reed, members of the committee. thanks for the opportunity to come before you. it is an honor to be nominated for this. mr. chairman, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to introduce my family. my family is truly special to me. they are, as senator reed said, the reason i'm here. the most significant of them all, sitting behind me, over my left shoulder is my partner and wife, my wife of 27 years, laura. she is amazingly beautiful and the finest person i have ever
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known. if confirmed, this would be our 15th move in the united states air force. every place we go, she supports airmen and their family. the soldiers, sailors and marines will be very lucky as will the people of home ha and the surrounding community because of laura. in spite of the deployments and the separations and challenges of a military life, we, she, raised two incredible children who are with us today. sitting to the left of her mom is our daughter katie who flew from boston last night. a graduate of pepperdine and has a master of law and diplomacy. she works for a nonprofit in cambridge in conflict resolution. >> at least she didn't go to r harva
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harvard. >> i tried, sir. she did not like. she went to the west coast and never wanted to go to boston. >> she's smarter than her father. >> yes, sir. no doubt about that. >> you are in trouble now, general. >> senator, i have been in trouble a long time. next is our -- yes, sir. next is our son chris who flew in from colorado early this morning. he arrived at 3:00 this morning. he has his degree from texas lutheran in physics and math. a college all american in golf. he's currently living his dream as a golf professional in colorado. he does live the dream life, there's no doubt. each of them have grown into fine citizens and their mother and i are proud of them. one minor disappointment, my little brother, scott, from huntsville, alabama, he hoped to be here, but he was delayed enroute. he wanted to represent all our family and friends, especially those in alabama.
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my parents, still living in huntsville, my sister in scottsdale, arizona. my parents and sister could not travel today. i know they are watching along with laura's mom and family in california. thank you mr. chairman. thank you for allowing me to introduce these very, very special people. >> thank you. >> now, on to the business of the day. first of all, i again need to thank the president and the secretary of defense for nominating me for this position. i want to thank the chairman for expressing his confidence in my ability to serve as a commander. if confirmed, i look forward to working closely with the committee, the congress to address the strategic challenges. the significant problems we face can only be worked through open, honest and timely communications. you can expect that from me. first and foremost, in today's complex volatile security environment, we must never lose sight of the advantage that our
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strategic forces provide. the nuclear force must remain safe, secure, effective, ready and reliable. as potential adversaries upgrade it is essential to move forward and modernize the triad and ensure plans are integrated with combatant commands. we face challenges in space and cyber space. in space, things continue to grow as potential adversaries and encounter what has become a critical advantage for the nation and allies. we must not only be ready to respond but move to build a more resilient space enterprise. in cyber space, cooperation across the whole of government and the allies, partners and friends to prepare, defend against and respond to cyber attacks. it's to work with cyber commands as well. u.s. strategic command has
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global responsibilities, missile defense, joint electronic warfare to name a few. if confirmed, i pledge to focus my best efforts working in sync with force to the department and the nation come rehencive -- support of u.s. national interest. throughout a 35 year career that is well beyond anything i expected. i have gained invaluable operation and command many diverse missions. i have a deep knowledge in many missions, lesser than a few. if confirmed, learn and understand the missions and to lead every day to the best of my abilities. if confirmed, i hope to live up to the expectations of the men and women of the u.s. strategic command and leaders that came before me and my current boss. he has been a truly remarkable leader and commander.
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he's been a great boss. he's taught me a lot. it's important to me to thank him for what he's done. it's humbling to be considered for a position with an amazing legacy in history. mr. chairman, let me close my remarks with a quote from a great american who reminds me what is important. that would be our son, christopher. years ago he said it loud enough for a lot of people to hear, dad, i have been watching you ever since you made general. i have noticed, you don't do any real work anymore. you just have people. i have to be honest, it upset me when he said it. i feel i have a difficult job. i work hard. i have to deal with some really difficult decisions in today's crazy world. but the more i thought about it, the truer it is. the real work is done by our people. the sons and daughters of this nation. the soldier that is stand watch
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every night. the amazing warriors deployed into harms way every day. if confirmed, i'll be lucky enough to have the opportunity to lead and serve longer. mr. chairman, senator reed, members of the committee, thank you again. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general. yesterday you and i had, in a classified setting, a conversation that i have been thinking about ever since. i know there are a lot of things that you can't say in an open hearing, but is it correct to assume that our adversaries, specifically the russians but also the chinese are attempting to or have achieved an ability to cripple our operations in space? >> senator, i believe they are building those capabilities today. we have an amazing force
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structure in space. both the chinese and the russians in particular have been watching those capabilities employed on the battlefield. in response to that, they are building counter space capabilities to deny us those in conflict. >> so they are -- they are developing capabilities specifically designed to cripple our capabilities in space? >> yes, sir, they are. >> it's certainly not something the united states of america is doing? >> we are not going down that path, senator. >> so, again, i understand that this is an open hearing, but shouldn't we be really concerned about especially the last few years, the increase in capabilities that both russia and china have displayed, have demonstrated that if used in a certain way could, literally cripple a lot of activities in
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space? i'm very aware that there's certain sensitivity to some of your answers, but i'm not sure that the american people and even members of this committee are as aware as they should be of this emerging challenge. >> senator, it is an emerging challenge. i believe, as you said in your opening statement, in the last few years, the united states and the department of defense moved out to develop responses to the threats we see coming from china and russia. i believe it's essential we go faster in our responses. we have worked with national reconnaissance office and all our joint space forces developed what we call a space enterprise vision that looks at the future and says this is what we need to operate in a world where conflict extends into space. i think it's a good vision. the vision will always change.
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we'll continue to share that information with your committee, sir, and we'll continue to work with the congress to make sure we can build the capabilities we need to respond. >> well, i'm not one who enjoys these classified briefings, but i'm seriously considering when we come back having a classified briefing in our committee because the information is deeply disturbing and i say with modesty, i keep up with what's going on in the world, but i was not aware of the significance and depth of the challenge until our conversation yesterday. do you think that we have a cohesive strategy to counter this challenge or do we need to do a lot more? >> senator, i think we have a cohesive strategy of what that
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end state looks like for the united states that will allow us to continue as we can today to defeat an adversary that wants to threaten us in any domain, as well as space. i have concerns of our ability to move fast enough to build the capabilities we need to respond to the specific threats i shared with you yesterday, sir. >> in other words, what they are developing in a short period of time, months and a few years is now taking us immeasurably longer time. >> we are moving much slower in certain areas. we need our industry and acquisition process to move faster, sir. >> the russians modernized each leg of their strategic triad by 2020. 70% of their forces replaced with new systems. russians violated the the expanded deployment of luncn
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entrées launched cruise it can threaten our allies with nuclear attacks while exercising theirii nuclear forces near allied territory and are developing an underwater nuclear dronees designed to cause maximum damage to the united states coastalto e target. what does this suggest about the role of nuclear weapons in russia's national security strategy and what should the u.s. abstract, in particular do in response?ul >> senator, there's two elements in response to the question. if you look at what russia has been doing the last number or appears in direct response to what we've been doing.na they modernize capabilities they see. they watch t

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