tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN July 17, 2014 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
were here is did you hear ms. kingsbury's testimony where she said we need to have one agency at least in charge of developing national standards? >> yes, i did. >> what do you think of -- she admitted it's going to be difficult to do that because of overlapping jurisdictions. would you agree that it's worth an effort to try to do that? >> i know you like yes and no answers. i'm trying to think. i agree that we should explore what we're doing today and where we can go in the future, yes. >> dr. embright what do you think about that suggestion? >> there should be a single national agency that sets policy, recommendations policy standards and advises on needs and how those should be met. there should be a national entity that regulates and
oversees the selected agent work. they both need to be there. >> let me just say that we've seen this in this subcommittee not just at cdc. we have also seen it in the labs. and we saw it atl -- where data disappeared because a researcher took it home to his house. it's the same kind of -- or whatever. it's an assumption that there's important research going on and that nothing bad is going to happen. >> correct. >> so what i think is that -- in fairness, i think what dr. freeden thinks, too, is you need to put systems in place so that it's not relying on somebody to have that kind of judgment where really you should have a system. would you agree with that? >> absolutely. >> and mr. kaufman, would you
also? >> absolutely. >> great. thanks mr. chairman. i don't have anything further. thank you for clarifying. >> thank you. recognizing mr. blackburn of tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we're on the same path here with our questions. dr. ebright, let's go back to the cdc report from the 2004 anthrax incident. >> yes. >> you mentioned that. that incident stated inactivated anthrax should be cultured both at the preparing lab and at the research lab several days before use to ensure sterility. did cdc follow their owned a vice is -- >> no they did not. in 2006. definitely not in 2014. >> what we have is a continued
pattern of refusing to learn from their past mistakes? >> indeed refusing to read their own reports and follow their own recommendations. >> okay. you are the director of a bio medical research lab. >> yes. >> you do some of the same work with the dangerous pathogens. how important is it to you that all personnel in your lab strictly follow your biosafety protocols and in order to follow those biosafety protocols they have an understanding that they have that culture of safety that is lacking at cdc? >> i think it's critically important and for biosafety working with any organisms at any level. that message of safety has to come first. that save it training has to come first. and before any experiment is
even begun, there has to be a process of risk assessment, risk benefit assessment in which the investigator enumerates the risks, the benefits, weighs the risks against the benefits. assesses that the risks are outweighed by the benefits. that needs to be reviewed by another set of eyes. >> you follow this as standard operating procedure? >> yes we do. >> yes. is it clearly understood from all you personnel, do they see this as written best practices and do they understand that they are expected and required to follow? >> they understand that they're expected and required to follow these practices. they're monitored in these practices. the message consistently is that these agents require respect. and they must be handled with
respect. and before any experiment, that risk benefit assessment must occur. >> and if one of your personnel failed to follow those protocols, what would you do to them? >> depending on the nature of the failure, they would face consequences up to and including termination. >> okay. and we don't see that pattern taking place at cdc. >> we haven't seen evidence for it. >> okay. do you think that cdc is in need of a major correction and do you have advice for cdc on what that correction would be? >> well, many of the things we heard the doctor suggest will be undertaken at the cdc or precisely the steps required at the cdc. the question is whether this time will be different from the previous time and the time before that and the time before that. >> and if they did not do that, i think probably according to to what you have said, you would
terminate the whole bunch? >> again, i'm not sure -- in this particular case, personnel action won't be sufficient to resolve the issue. this issue is institutional and organizational. >> correct. >> they cannot have the regulatory authority to regulate themselves. it simply doesn't work. it doesn't work in many areas of human endeavor and doesn't work in this area. >> mr. kaufman, anything to add to that? >> i continue to stand by my belief that any type of -- and my conviction, because over the last ten years i have travelled the world including several federal labs in the united states and i have asked scientists to please report laboratory steaccidents so we h a chance to learn. if we take this chance and turn it into a aspect, it's well known punishment builds resentment, it teaches no new
behavior and hides true behavior. and so if we're going to make decision that is are going to decrease risk in science, we better consider how we address incidents and accidents before doing so. punitive actions in my opinion are not a way to go. certainly not against scientists that unintentionally makes a mistake. if there are that willingly go against sop's that's a completely different job issue than a scientist doing their job within a culture and does not go outside of the sop provided to them. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i got to comment. it builds resentment. you have got to be kidding me? you're telling me these people with phd's do not understand that anthrax is dangerous? are kidding me? they need more training? you're making your statement,
was also a result of training failure for scientists working with high containment facility, blah, blah, blah. are kidding me? are you making excuses for these scientist? if they don't understand that anthrax is used for a weapon, its spores can kill people. then they shouldn't be working there. it sounds like you're saying they need more training. boo-hoo! this is a bad situation. i don't think you understand the seriousness of this. it sounds like you're making excuses. look at this. watch and post. today's cartoon. you think the employees at cdc are proud of this. ha-ha-ha! it's funny? no it's not. this is tragic. it could have been lethal. i hear you saying we're going to build resentment. i'm sorry. i don't buy that at all. >> may i comment. thank you, chairman murphy.
i am not defending what's going on with cdc. in fact, i have said and disappointed even as a former cdc -- >> disappointed is not the right word. you should find this to be abhorrent. was it wrong or not wrong? we can make excuses for -- mary from gm said this is wrong. there's no question about it. dr. friedman said this was wrong. there's no gray zone in this. i don't get it. i'll let you respond to that. >> i appreciate that. i know the individuals involved. when i say training is needed, there are several phases of training and on the job specific training which includes sop verification is needed for scientists which have been mentioned in previous panel aspects. i'm not making light of the situation. i'm not making light of the situation at all. i'm simply saying that if we choose to punish people who come
forward when they make a mistake -- >> that's different. >> that's what i'm saying. >> people -- that's different. we want people to be willing to do that. >> thank you. >> but i thought that you were saying here, and i think it is in your statements, they need more training. >> they need -- >> to know this is bad. when you put anthrax in a bag, you don't need training to know that. i want mr. griffith. >> that is subjective. >> i guess my concern is that what we have here is a series of reports that dr. ebright has brought out. we have had a series of reports that date back a good period of time and yet, the changes haven't been made. so it's a concern. a mistake is one thing. having a standard operating procedure which is so flawed that you have repeated mistakes is something that i have to
agree with the chairman on. that's our problem. i agree with you, mr. kaufman, you don't want to punish somebody who merely makes a mistake. you want them to come forward and fix it. but you got to stop them. the same mistake happening over and over again. doctor, how do we make these reforms happen this time? how do we do that? while cdc has to protect the american public from anthrax and other things, our job is to make sure they're doing their job. how do we make it happen? >> i think the two steps that congress and the administration could follow to reduce the probability that this happens again in cdc's own labs and in the labs that cdc and usda regulate outside those facilities. the two most important are to reduce the number of select agent laboratories. the number of select agent personnel. the volume of select agent
research. increased by a factor of 20 to 40 over the last decade. that volume of registered of individuals and activity needs to be rolled back close to the level where it was at the beginning of that increase. that would represent taking the current 1,000 or more than 1,000 select agent labs in the u.s. and reducing it to 50 or perhaps 25. >> high containment, select agent, are those interchangeable or different? >> very close to interchangeable. most research of consequence is done at biosafety levels 3 and 4 are considered high level containment. >> down to 50 instead of 1,000? >> roughly. the increase was a factor of 20 to 40. i would recommend we roll back a factor of 20 to a factor of 40. 1,000 divided by 20 is 50.
1,000 divided by 40 is 25. that is the single fastest and certainly most economical approach. >> and you have a second. >> independent entity that c carries out the regulation in the labs. not an agency that performs or funds the work. >> okay. now, you said we need to scale back. why has there been an expansion and the phrasing that i have is the high containment laboratories. why has there been such a great expansion? >> so it was in large measure a response to the 2001 anthrax mailings. at that time it was understandable because it was expected here and elsewhere that the u.s. was under attack with a biological weapon from a foreign source. it was expected that biology would be put on a mobilization foot to address this threat.
we expanded by a factor of 20 to 40. now more than a decade later it has become clear that the 2001 anthrax mailings did not come from a foreign source. and after it has been clear that the investigation believes it came from within the u.s. bio defense establishment. we have the strange situation that we have expanded that establishment by a factor of 20 to 40 without reason and without reassessment. >> and the risks are self-evident? >> the risks follow mathematically. when you increase the number of personnel by a factor of 20 to 40 when you recruit people without prior experience, new to the field, you increase risks and you increase those risks by a factor of 20 to 40 or more. >> on those points, mr. kaufman, are you in agreement that we need to scale it back some? >> i am not. i agree that there's not enough
information to make a decision to back off or go up. we don't have a baseline. i like to say that high containment laboratories are not built for the threats we see today. they're built for tomorrow. >> let me switch gears and ask about the research implication or the implication from research of reengineering pathogens such as the experiments by the university of wisconsin that generate add virus similar to the 1918 influenza outbreak that killed tens of thousands worldwide. and other ways to headache flu virus more contagious in ferrets. is this part of the expansion. >> this is work funded as research and a prime example of the culture of hubrus. this is work that should not be
performed flat and blank. should not. in those case where is elements of this work are deemed essential when the research information could be obtained in to no other way then this work should only be performed in a very limited number of ings institutions. perhaps one or two nationally and only after extensive review of risk benefit weighing at the national level. and only under the most stringent standards. >> i appreciate that very much. mr. chairman, i appreciate having the hearing. i like the opportunities to learn. thank you very much. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding back. i would encourage the members of this committee to go visit some of the labs around the country. see for their own eyes how this works and certainly for members of the cdc who may be listening, hope they understand the seriousness of what congress views today on this. i ask the consent be introduced
into the record. i also ask unanimous consent to put the docket in the record. in conclusion i want to thank all the witnesses and members that participate in today's hearing. they have ten business days to submit questions to the record. i would ask all the witnesses agree to respond promptly to the questions. thank you. this hearing is adjourned. some breaking news to reports as a malaysian jet plane
carrying 300 passengers has crashed. the boeing 777 jet was en route from amsterdam and is believed to have been shot down by a surface missile in an area of fighting between the ukraine and russian forces. house speaker john boehner commented saying many innocents were killed today. it is horrifying. we should take a moment to reflect, count our blessings and convey our prayers to the loved ones of the victims. president obama also reacted to the news which broke while he was visiting delaware. before i begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the russia/ukraine border and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. right now we're working to determine whether there were
american citizens onboard. that is our first priority. and i directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the ukrainian government. the united states will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. and as a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home. the rest of the president's remarks are available on our website, cdc.org where you'll find video on the cspan networks. we'll bring you chris christie. as part of our road to the white house 2016 coverage and our live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern time here on cspan3. >> 40 years ago the water gate scandal led to the only
resignation of the only american president. the tv revisits 1974. this weekend opening statement from the house judiciary committee as members consider articles of impeachment against president nixon. >> selection of the president, it's the one act in which the entire country participates. the outcome is accepted. the a paoccupant. and if the judgment is to be reversed, if that symbol is to be replaced through the action of the elected representatives, then it must be for substantial offenses supported by facts. >> watergate 40 years later. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on
cspan3. general joseph dunford has been nominated to be the next confidante of the marine corp. he talked about strategic planning for the marine corp. he chairs the armed services committee. >> good morning, everybody. the committee meets to consider the nomination of general joseph dunford to be the 36 comedant of the marine corp. thank you for the many years of extraordinary service that you provided to our nation and also for your willingness to continue
to serve and extend our thanks to your family part of whom is here today for their dedication and support which is so critical as we all know to your success and the success of all those who serve in important positions and pressured positions for our nation. please feel free to introduce any family members or people who are with you here today. general dunford has a record of service, highly qualified for the position to which he has been nominated. he is commanded marines from the platoon level to the marine expeditionary force. he has served the marine corp. currently the commander. and commander of the united states forces afghanistan. in afghanistan, general dunford commanded u.s. forces with great distinction. he's the latest in a line of
commanders in that position. he's overseen the critical transition from u.s. and coalition led combat operations to afghan led operations throughout afghanistan. under general's leadership the draw down of forces and the assist mission is being carried out with considerable effectiveness. general dunford has demonstrated remarkable skills in his interactions with the afghan leadership which has been essential to keeping the transition in afghanistan on track. he's the comidante of the marine corp. you are going to ensure the force contains the necessary structure and readnessness levels to respond to tomorrow's
cris crises. his responsibilities are demanding enough on their own. however, you're also going to be asked to assume control at a time of immense fiscal challenge particularly because of sequestration. thank you and your family again for your service to our nation. we look forward to your testimony and your swift confirmation. and i know recognize senator inhohh. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, general, for the great job you have done during the most consequential periods of the war. with our afghan partners we're making important gains against the taliban and building the capacity of the afghan security forces to defend their country. despite this progress i'm concerned about the future of afghanistan, the recent agreement to perform a complete audit of the -- i hope that works out. you and i talked about this before. that's just really critical.
>> thanks. >> the afghan people are going to have to believe the results of this thing so hopefully we can make that happen. i remain troubled by the president's plan to draw down our forces based on arbitrary timelines. and the facts on the ground. the president tried the same policy in iraq in 2011. we can't afford to repeat that same mistake in afghanistan. you take command of the marine corp as it's being challenged by rising global threats and budgetary crises at home. budget cuts are degrading rea readine readiness. the general has said the budget cuts mean that, this is a quote, we will have fewer forces arriving less trained, arriving later, this is a formula for more american casualties. i think he's probably right and we'll ask you some questions and your agreement on that.
so it's -- i'm glad you're the man at the helm. i appreciate you being here today. >> thank you. >> general? >> members of the committee, thanks for the opportunity to be here today. i'm truly honored to be nominated. joining me today is my wife. i'm fortunate to have her love and support. she's been a great mother to our young children and also served as a advocate for military families. i refer to her as the most valuable player of the family and she earned that title during the last 18 months of my deployment to afghanistan. also joined by my niece and our sons are unable to be with us today but we're proud of all of them. i would like to thank the committee for our support of our soldiers, sailors and airmen and
marines. they are no doubt the best trained our nation has ever sent to war. their performance and the strength bear testimony to that support. i also like to recognizes the 1,817 americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan and the nearly 20,000 who have been wounded. each day the men and women of the united states forces in afghanistan work to bring meaning to their sacrifice. i know this committee and the american people have high expectations for the united states marine corp. o you expect us to serve when the nation is least ready and to be forward deployed and engaged responding to crises and enabling our nation to respond. you expect your marine corp to fight and win in any place and under any conditions. around you expect your marines to be physically and mentally tough. offexpect them to demonstrate
courage, honor and commitment. offexpect a lot and you should. i will ensure that marines will continue to meet your expectations and the expectations of the american people. i'll also ensure the well-being of our marines, sailors, wounded warriors and families. over the past decade plus of war they have done all that we asked of them and more. it would be a tremendous honor to lead them. thank you for the opportunity. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much, general. we start with a set of standard questions which we ask of all of our nominees. and that's -- these questions are asked so this committee is exercise our oversight responsibilities. have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest? >> i have. >> do you agree when asked to give your personal views even if they differ from administration
in power? >> i do. >> have you assumed any duties or undertaken actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process. >> i have not. >> will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines including questions for the record at hearings. >> i will. >> will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to congressional requests. >> i will. >> will these witnesses be protected for their testimony or briefings. >> they will. >> you agree confirmed to appear and testified? >> i do. >> and finally do you agree to provide documents including copies of electronic forms of communication in a timely manner when requested by a committee or to consult with a committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents. >> i do. >> we'll have a first round.
>> general, my view, aftghanistn has made progress and improved the lives of the afghan people. this increases many times over in the number of schools, number of students and teachers including female students and teachers. greater access and expanded connections to electricity, water and cell phones and growing income. can you address the extent of the changes in afghanistan over the past decade that the united states has been involved there and give us a sense of the significance of those changes to the afghan people for the future of their country? >> which, thank you for that question. probably the first thing is i think one of the most significant outcomes of our time in afghanistan has been we put pressure on the terrorist networks and prevented another
9/11. we developed forces in 2002. there were no effective afghan security forces. there's today an army and police force of over 352,000. as well as 30,000 police capable of providing security to the afghan people. we also have enabled through those afghan forces the afghan people the opportunity to determine their own future with the successful elections of the 5th of april and the 14th of june from a security perspective. and we have have some political issues to work through, there's no question that the afghan security forces afforded the people the opportunity to vote. we have today over 8 million children in school. 2 million young girls. in 2001 there were less than 1 million people in school. you mentioned advanced in health care, communications. networks and we'll set the conditions for a secure
afghanistan in the future. i will say the profound thing that exists today that didn't exist in 2001 is hope. the afghan people have hope and confidence in the future that didn't exist under the oppression of the taliban in 2001. >> thank you. is the afghan army performing well in your judgment? >> chairman, they are performing well. since with what we described as milestone 2013 when they assumed responsibility across the country the only unilateral operations that the forces have conducted for security and redeployment operations. i would highlight one statistic indicative of the performance. in 2012 we had over 140,000 forces on the ground that
included 100,000 americans. today there are 30,000 americans. in those two years the security enenvironment has slightly improved since 2012. the security force is now responsible for security. i feel confident about the trajectory that security forces are on at this time. >> thank you. general, the president has called for drawing down u.s. forces to 9,800. and reducing by approximately half by the end of 2015 and transitioning to a military presence by the end of 2016. your answers to pre-hearing questions, you said you support the president's decision on the size of the u.s. troop presence in afghanistan post 2014. is that correct? >> chairman, i do support the
numbers of force that is will be on the ground in 2015 to both conduct operations and train and advise and assist. >> also in your answers to prehearing questions you said you support the pace of reductions outlined by the president, quote, with an understanding that we should continue to validate the assumptions and assess the conditions on the ground as the draw-dawn takes place close quote. now is one of your assumptions that the full 9,800 personnel force will be available through the entire 15 fighting season? >> it is one of the assumptions i made, yes. >> and then the reductions under that assumption would occur only at the end of next year? >> that's correct, chairman. >> can you share with us any other major assumptions which you made? >> i can. i think the critical assumptions
that have to be continue to validated are first and foremost the counter terrorism capability and the will of afghanistan. the nature of the threat. the counter terrorism capacity and the will of pakistan also needs to be considered. the quality of political transition. and also the international community support both fiscally as well as troops in support of the nato mission. i think those would have to be considered when determining our force levels in the future. >> and there's also an assumption in your answers and in your statements that a bilateral security agreement will be signed in a timely manner, is that right? >> that's correct, chairman. >> relative to the size of the u.s. counter terrorism mission in afghanistan after 2014, what
is your recommendation about the size of that mission? the counter terrorism mission? >> of the 9,800 u.s. forces and it's important to highlight that the expectation is to be approximately 4,000 in addition to those 9,800. but of those 9,800. approximately 1,000 would be dedicated solely to the counter terrorism mission but there would be a total of 2,000 special operations forces there. some of those working with the afghan special operations forces who would also be participating in counter terrorism operations. >> i want to change the subject to the question of the russian m-17 military transport helicopters. you wrote me regarding a provision in the defense authorization bill which this committee marked up that would prohibit any contracts with the russian corporation that exports the m-117 military helicopter
and you indicated this prohibition can be catastrophic. can you explain? >> thanks for the question. the afghan air force will consist of over 80 mi-17's. they have been purchased an final delivery will be in september/october of this year. those aircraft provide the afghan forces to provide security to the afghan people as well as to conduct effective counter terrorism operations. 30 of those 80 mi-17's are the afghan special operations forces capability to both conduct counter terrorism and narcotics operations. the afghan forces will not be successful in providing security in afghanistan and will not be an effective partner without that. and one of the second order of
effects of that which is why i use the word catastrophic is it will have an adverse impact of our protection in 2015. the assumption that i make is that the security forces will contribute to the force protection in 2015 and their ability to do that would be degraded without the mi-17. >> as the spare parts as i understand it, the sustainment that is prohibited by that same language which is so important. >> there's two issues. one of them is the ability to have spare parts and sustain the mi-17 fleet. the other is the russian company owns the plans and blue prints. so there's safety flight issues with modifications and ru fur bishment that would require dealing directly with the contractor of subcontractor. >> thank you. >> thank you.
i was going to bring that up. that probably is the most contentious issue on this up here. i agree with the chairman on this. i have seen some of the pretty extreme statements made whether or not some members up here agree with them. that's a different matter. but the special inspector general for the afghan reconstruction june of '13 reported, it was entitled the afghan special mission wing dod moving forward with the 771 purchase. that the aircraft and that the afghans cannot operate and cannot maintain. is there any way this could be change and mot raderated a bit you can still use the existing vehicles there, paid for, in existence and still start forward something -- another purchase? have you thought about any kind
of a accommodation that might work out where we could not lose the value of those that are the 88 as i understand that are there, trained fighters to fly them? as far as spare parts are concerned. have you thought about that? >> we have looked hard. done a global search to see if it would be possible to sustain the fleet without directly dealing with the subcontractors. my assessment is that would not be possible. >> all right. there is recently -- let me see if i can get this on the blackberry. i'm quoting now from -- was this yesterday? >> it's tuesday. >> yes. tuesday the speech before the institute when the general said, it breaks our hearts, referring to the fall of the province in iraq which marines won in 2010. he noted 852 marines were killed
and not 8500,were injured in iraq. i'm sure you're observant as to what happened in iraq. i mentioned to you when you were in my office that i have a young man named brian heckler had two deployments and by coincidence i didn't know who he was, but i was there as were many of these guys there when they had the fingerprints. i think looking at it, that probably could be considered to be the most violent door to door world war ii type of activity. when i called up ron and told him we had lost that after they gained it, he talked about the blood, sweat, and tears. he's been called by a lot of people since then. i just look at that taking place. my concern obviously for
bringing this up is that we don't want the same thing to happen in afghanistan. i know since you're going -- you're the marine and you saw the mission that took place there. you agree with me. what all has been done in your opinion to make sure that that doesn't -- we don't have a repeat of the tragedy that took place in iraq? >> thanks. and i was one of the thousands of marine that is did serve in the province and feel the same way that brian does. i think the biggest difference is we have an opportunity to do a transition in afghanistan, a proper transition that will allow us to achieve our end state in iraq. we withdrew with the consequences. to me, that is the most significant change. we knew when we left iraq there was work left to be done as well as to ensure political stability
existed in iraq such that security instability would continue. in afghanistan, we have a chance to get that right. and my argument is for us to do a responsible transition from afghanistan as opposed to our withdrawal. >> well, that's good and i appreciate that. i just think we need to get on record because a lot of people -- it's hard to explain to people how that happened including the brian's around who were part of it. there's been a lot of discussion on the 38 ships and dropping the number down to 33. i have a later and i want to make it part of the record right now. >> it will be made part of the record. >> it's one that you have read and each member has read from the 20 generals signing on saying they think it's absolutely necessary not to deal with that reduction of 33. any comments on that? >> what i do know is on a day to day basis the commander's
requirements for ships greatly exceed the inventory. i'm a bit dated and i think there were close to 50 was the requirement of a day to day basis. the secretary in the navy a few years ago concluded 38 was the requirement. we're now at the point where we have 33 in a fiscally constrained environment. i would support anything that would allow us to maintain an effective am fib you ship inventory. >> do you agree with the letter? >> i have not seen the letter. >> that's fine. lastly, on the elections and a lot of this i think are partly responsible for the fact there's going to be an audit and real effort there to make sure that not just justice is done and the right turn out is resulted but the people of afghanistan will
accept this as a fair and honest election. do you have any thoughts of -- i know you're going into a different job now. but on what needs to be done to make sure that that can happen? >> i do. and i expect to still be there throughout the process. >> sure. >> we did begin yesterday. i'm glad to report that we began yesterday to gather the ballads in accordance with the agreement made over the weekend. 100% will be brought back and audited. there's oversight as well as candidate oversight in the process of counting those ballads. i think that will give both the people confidence that all that can be done is being done to eliminate the fraudulent bad lads and determine a good outcome. i know some of the members recently spoke to both candidates, both candidates are responsible and know the consequences of the transition
process. they have agreed to accept the outcome of the ballad with certain parameters and those are in place. i'm optimistic that some weeks from now there'll be a winner and a loser. and the loser will accept the results of the election as will the afghan people. >> i appreciate that very much. we all know the significance of that election. thank you. >> thank you. senator reid. >> thank you. want to thank you and your family for serving with you and knowing you a little bit, i think you would first point to the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women who served as the real source of our success. but your role has been absolutely critical. a year ago i don't think anyone would have said we would have two peaceful elections in that
country monitored by the security forces, not by international personnel. that's one significant aspect of your personal command. thank you, sir, for what you have done. can you talk as we go forward about the decision points and the flexibility we have to make adjustments respect to our presence in afghanistan, assuming, of course, that the status forces agreement will be signed? >> again, senator, as we discussed earlier, there'll be 9,800 u.s. forces in afghanistan. the plan that we have right now would not begin to draw those forces down until the end of the fighting season in 2015. so the first opportunity to change -- make adjustments as you described them would be in the fall of 2015 where you can
effect change in the projected numbers in 2016. whatever number you have in in 2016 similar construct would be in place for 2016 where the numbers you would want to have in 2017 could be determined in the summer of 2016 to effect change in the plans for 2017. it typically will run in a post-fighting season pattern over the next couple years in terms of effecting change. this is to make adjustments to forces on the ground. >> not only forces on the ground, but facilities that may be occupied because of conditions in the country? >> senator, that's one of the drivers. what we have tried to do is make sure the infrastructure doesn't drive our ability to provide train assist in 2015. we have done things to maintain a flexible posture. infrastructure is one of the drivers to the timeline.
>> one is train, egypt akwipt a advise. you'll deal with both those m missions. >> absolutely. and this is -- you're comfortable with this going forward because of the built-in flexibility. you see no arbitrary constraints going forward? the review at the end of next year will be based upon the two missions we outlined and the facts as the commander sees it at the time? >> i'm confident that the specific assumptions, the conditions and the tasks that have to be accomplished that drove our recommendation for 2015, all that's available to my successor and he'll have the opportunity to go back in 2015
and to revalidate those assumptions and assess the conditions, one of the important conditions, of course, being the nature of the threat to our nation after 2015. >> again, invariably the parallels are drawn between the situation in iraq and afghanistan, but in iraq in 2008, president bush signed a forl formal agreement with the government of iraq to withdraw all forces, the end of 2011. that is not going to be the policy in afghanistan, as you understand it. in fact, we would have the flexibility for our own interests to change the mix and change the disposition of forces going forward, and that is, i would assume, a key difference. >> senator, it is a key difference. one of the key differences is that, one, the afghan people want us to be in afghanistan in overwhelming numbers, and i've recently spoken to both presidential candidates and i can assure you both presidential candidates also support a u.s.
presence after 2014. >> one of the key factors, which acknowledges the role of pakistan, and one of the interesting developments, which i think you appreciate very keenly, and i wonder how much our colleagues in pakistan do, as we draw down our forces and depend less and less on the lines of communication in pakistan, our relative leverage goes up. is that a fair estimate? in terms of getting their cooperation and getting their help? >> senator, it does. i think our footprint in afghanistan has made us reliant on the ground lines of communication. and i think after 2014, we have an opportunity to reframe our relationship with pakistan. >> and right now, they're conducting operations much more aggressively, but probably not as effectively as they would even want. is that a fair judgment? >> senator, they are conducting operations in north waziristan and certainly wanted them to do
that for some years. they've had some success against the pakistani taliban, the imu in north waziristan but certainly have not had the effect against the haqqani network and others with have wanted to see. they've all been forced to move out of the sanctuary in the area. >> let me just change quickly because you're new job as the commandant of the marine corps touches upon some issues of budget, potential sequestration effects. i'm sure you sort of thought about them but not, i presume, in detail. but going forward, can you just give us your sort of sense of the readiness challenges that you'll face and other challenges that the corps faces today? >> senator, thank you. i think as i look at the future of the marine corps, you know, our leadership, the biggest challenge we're going to have, is to balance readiness, the rye sis response capability that you
expect from the united states marine corps with the ability to modernize the marine corps for tomorrow's fights, to sustain infrastructure, to maintain proper levels of training and so forth for those units and home stations. so balancing all those in a fiscally constrained environment is going to be very difficult. i know general amos has prioritized readiness. i also know he's been forced to make some decisions that create challenges in the future for modernization, and i think balancing those things over the next couple years are going to be difficult. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, senator reed. thanks to senators chambliss and wicker. senator mccain? >> thanks to senator chambliss and wicker. shows if we live long enough that -- thank you, general dunford, and -- >> this is an in joke. i have to explain all this. >> it's the only appropriate mark of respect that i have ever gotten from them, my two colleagues.
i thank you. i thank you, general dunford, for your outstanding service. we've had the opportunity of encountering many times over the past 12, 13, 14 years, and i appreciate your service. and i really am reluctant to get back into this, but, you know, the -- people keep trying to say that, you know, in 2008, we said we'd have everybody out, that we really wanted to stay in iraq. and the fact is that the president of the united states, there was never any public statement the president made, the united states made, saying he wanted to stay and have a residual force in iraq. the fact is, senator graham and i were there and know full well if we had really wanted to, we could have kept a residual force there and paid a heavy price for not doing so, and we were on the ground there when maliki and barzani and alawi agreed, and in the words of the chairman of the
joint chiefs of staff, cascaded down to 3,500 troops that hay want to leave behind which was absolutely ridiculous. so we'll be fighting this for years to come, but facts are stubborn things. we could have left a residual force if we had wanted to do so. in fact, today your predecessor said, quote, in the brookings institutes, general amos said, i had a hard time if we had been there worked with the government, worked with the parliament, minister of defense, minister of interior, i don't think we'd be in the same shape we're in today. those are just facts. general dunford, did you or any other senior military leader personally recommend the policy of everybody out by 2017, no matter what? >> no, senator. >> no military, no ranking military officer that you know recommended a hard date for everybody out of afghanistan, is
that right? >> none that i know of, senator, and i think we still plan to have, as you know, some presence after 2017, but no one recommended zero. >> did anybody recommend that we have a conditions-based decision about what kind of residual force we should leave behind? >> senator, i think you appreciate that every military leader would want to have the conditions on the ground and the assumptions be revalidated as a transition takes place. >> isn't it true that right now, the way that the counterterrorism capability of the afghans are today, that we cannot abandon that -- if you had to make the decision today, with the lack of counterterrorism capability the afghans have, we would have to leave that kind of force behind, at least for the counterterrorism mission? >> senator, there's no doubt that the afghan forces today would not be capable of conducting the kind of operations we're conducting to
put pressure on the network. >> nor right now do you envision them having that capable by 2017? >> not if you project the threat that exists today. >> including recent rocket attacks on the airplane in kabul show that the taliban is still pretty resilient. and isn't it a fact that as long as the taliban have basically a sanctuary in pakistan that this situation will remain extremely complex and dangerous? >> senator, absolutely. the resiliency of the taliban movement is driven by their sanctuary in pakistan. >> is there any doubt in your mind that the announcement of a complete withdrawal by 2017 has had effect on the morale of the afghan army? >> senator, i think all of us in uniform, to include the afghans, would have preferred that been a bit more ambiguous. >> in fact, we were told
recently in kabul by afghan military officers, they said, quote, you are abandoning us. that's what they told me and senator graham. and i don't think they would have any reason to tell us otherwise. very quickly, so the fact is that we need a conditions-based decision because we right now are not confident that the afghans can take up the complete burden of their own security. very quickly, sequestration. right now, as i understand it, marine captains and army captains who are in the field fighting, right now as we speak, are receiving notices that they're going to be involuntarily separated from the united states army and marine corps. is that true? >> senator, my understanding is that that is what the army has been forced to do as a result of the drawdown. the marine corps is not doing that at this time.
>> obviously that has to have an effect on morale of our officer corps. >> it does, senator. >> and a serious blow, i would think. >> absolutely. and probably more importantly, senator, than just the officer corps, is the message it sends to the young soldier whose company commander is forced to redeploy as a result of being reduced in force for reduction of force. >> isn't it true from your time in the military and remembering worst times that it takes a long time to restore the morale of the military when you take out some of the involuntarily some of the best and the bright est that we have had. haven't we seen that movie before in your early part of your career. >> i have, senator. in the late 1970 0s, it took u some years into 1983 or 1984
before we recovered from the host. vietnam drawdown. >> would you agree that perhaps one of the greatest responsibilities that congress and the military has today is to review this sequestration and its effects that it is having long term on our ability to defend this nation? >> i would agree with that, senator. >> so i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of this podium making that one of our highest priorities. and otherwise i think that it is -- it is the unanimous opinion of every military leader that i've met, the continued sequestration on the path we're on could have devastating eff t effects on our ability to defend this nation. would you agree with that? >> i agree with that, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator king? >> thank you, mr. chair.
general, the chairman covered the mi-17 issue, but i just think it's really important to have your unequivocal view, i think the word you used was catastrophic, if we cut off spare parts. and that would, in effect, ground the afghan air force. is that true? >> senator, and the reason i used the word catastrophic which i don't think is hiyperbolhyper afghans having the operational reach represented by the mi-17 will deteriorate their ability to take the fight to the enemy. the more important reason i use the word catastrophic, their inability to take the fight to the enemy actually will put young americans in harm's way in 2015 and beyond. >> thank you, general. you've discussed this. what -- looking now at the lessons of iraq, what do we learn from that that can avoid that future in afghanistan? as you know, there are those who
aren't as optimistic as the military about iraq's -- i mean afghanistan's future after our withdrawal. what do we learn from iraq to avoid that fate? >> i think the key thing that we have in afghanistan, we're in the process of right now, is an effective political transition, but also the opportunity to continue to develop the sustainability of afghan security forces. i'm very confident about the afghan force's ability to provide security on a day-to-day basis. i'm not confident if we were to leave at the end of 2014 that those forces would be sustainable. there are some significant capability gaps that have to be addressed in order for the afghans to be able to do things we heretofore have been doing for them. there's a degree of what i describe as capability substitution. many of those areas are planning programming, budgeting execution, things we take your granted.
delivery of spare parts, systems the army would need. i think the key lesson is after all of the sacrifice and all of the accomplishments over the past 13 years, what we need to do is ensure that the transition results in the afghan force being sustainable without our presence at some point in the future. >> what's the ethnic makeup of the afghan army? one of the problems in iraq appears to be the unequal distribution ethnically or sectarianly, i suppose, if that's a word, in iraq. is the ethnic tribal makeup of afghan security forces representative of the country so the security forces will have a broad, broad support within the country? >> senator, thanks for that question. it is an important question. the officer corps in the afghan army is about 40% pashtun. the nco corps is about the same. the forces are about the same. that's a slight overrepresentation of tajiks in a sense that the pashtun
population represents some 40-plus percentage of the population and about 27% of the population is tajik. i would carry out those statistics by telling you there hasn't been a census in afghanistan for a long period of time. so those statistics are the best that we have available to us. but in general terms, we have the foundation of a national army in afghanistan that is, in fact, representative of not only the various ethnic groups but representative geographically. >> is this representation integrated throughout the force? in other words, are individual battalions or units balanced ethnically? >> senator, they are. they are balanced. there is a slight overrepresentation of forces from the northern part of the country, and eastern part of the country. slightly less from the southern part of the country. but the demographics in each of the units represents the nation as a whole. as opposed to specific units being tajik or pashtun and so forth.
so the assignle of people inside the afghan army is not based on their geographically -- in fact, most all serve away from home. >> we tend to focus around here on problems. that's what we talk about. that's our job. but my sense is secretary kerry and what happened last week was a big deal, and the avoidance of what could have been a disastrous situation. could you share some thoughts about the importance of the, "a," the uniform recount, and "b," the power -- i understand there's a kind of power-sharing agreement or a coalition government agreement of whatever the outcome. this could have been a disaster for us if it had fwoen tgone th way this past week. >> senator, thanks. last week there was a lot of discussion in afghanistan about one of the candidates establishing a parallel government with the potential for civil war. and i would assess that risk as
having been significant. i don't think either one of the candidates wanted to that, but there was certainly a strong sentiment by large numbers of people that were so outraged at the fraud that took place in the election that they were willing to take extreme measures. i think what happened this weekend was very encouraging in that both candidates have agreed to a framework for a process that will deliver the cleanest vote possible, bullet t as importantly, agreed on a political -- there's an inclusive government in afghanistan. and they believe that that is most suitable for afghanistan at this particular time. so while the devil is in the details and much work remains to be done, particularly on the political framework, the discussion in afghanistan now is not about civil war, not about insecurity. it's about a political deal in order to govern effectively in the future, and i think that's fairly significant. >> i've always felt that god is in the details, but that's a
different topic. pakistan. you mention pakistan. you've had to deal with pakistan. whose side is pakistan on, and are they trying to suppress these terrori isist organizatior are they working with them? i find pakistan a puzzling -- i was about to say alley, but i don't know how to characterize. >> senator, in my time in afghanistan, i've met generally monthly with our pakistan counterpart, and also he's now had the opportunity to travel to afghanistan to meet with both me and our counterpart in afghan security forces. numbers of hours of discussions. i'm convinced of a couple things both from the intelligence and from my engagements in pakistan. first and foremost, i believe that the pakistani army recognizes that extremism is an existential threat to the state of pakistan. and i think they are determined to do something about that
threat. less confident that they today have the capability to do all that needs to be done to deal with that threat inside of afghanistan. which is why i think you see them focused narrowly on the most pressing threats to pakistan reflecting an enable to deal more broadly with extremism. this is one of the reasons i think it's so important for us to develop an effective relationship between afghanistan and pakistan, and i think the united states can play a unique role in facilitating that relationship. because the way we will get after this problem is by, one, having a common definition of extremism in the region, and number two, then, having agreed upon framework in which afghanistan and pakistan can deal with the threat of extremism as well as the very real political and economic challenges that exist between the two states. >> so as we draw down in afghanistan, it's more important than ever to establish a good, strong working relationship with pakistan? >> senator, an effective relationship between afghanistan and pakistan is critical to our
long-term success in the region. >> thank you, general. thank you for your extraordinary service. >> thank you, senator king. senator chambliss? >> thanks, mr. chairman. and general, thanks to you and your family for your continued commitment to america, and we're very thankful that you have been where you've been coming out of afghanistan. you're the next in line of a number of great leaders to serve as commandants. so we look forward to your on theed service there. taking up where senator king left off on pakistan. there is no long-term solution in afghanistan without some sort of cooperation out of pakistan. is that a fair statement? >> senator, that's absolutely a fair statement and one of the critical components of our military campaign is to begin to develop effective military-to-military relationships between the two countries. i couldn't agree more. >> i want to ask you about the detainees that were released recently. i understand 12 non afghans were
released. ten of those were pakistanis and they were all returned to their home country. i'm concerned because i know that the serious nature of the alleged incidents that these prisoners were accused of, and we've got 38 more non afghans, i understand. can you address why these 12 were released, and what's our long-term policy with afghanistan regarding non afghan prisoners? >> thanks, senator. i can. first, with regard to ten that was sent to pakistan, we didn't release those individuals. we turned them over to pakistan after the u.s. state department got assurances from pakistan that they would be properly handled in accordance with the nature of the crimes that they committed. we have 38 third-country nationals right now and a similar process takes place where the state department deals with the nation from which these individuals come. gains assurances and then the
deputy secretary of defense will sign an authorization for them to be released after notifying congress. the challenge with this issue, senator, is that our authority to hold these individuals will expire on the 31st of december of 2014. so we're working very hard now to ensure we properly transition these individuals to a place where they can be held accountable for, again, the acts that they've committed. >> and do you have confidence that the afghans are going to treat them in the way that they should be treated because of the acts they committed? >> senator, we're not planning at this time to turn them over to afghanistan. we have -- we plan to turn them over to the untcountries from wh they originated. my sense is if we were to turn them over to afghanistan today, i couldn't guarantee you that they would be properly handled. >> i want to, again, take off on something senator mccain asked
you about. we had general campbell in the other day to talk about continuing operations in afghanistan. and with the drawdown to the 9,800 this year, going down again next year, give me your view as to the long-term situation as you understand it right now as we head into the end of '14, through '15, and more importantly, into '16. what's your understanding of how this is going to work? >> senator, with regard to development of sustainable afghan security forces, i think the pace of withdrawal right now could result in afghan forces being sustainable. i'm comfortable the approach to train, advise, assist in 2015 when we help mature the institutions, processes, the systems that allow the ministerial-level organization to support tactical-level organizations, the work that needs to be done can be done in
2015. i'm also confident that there's some work that will require a longer period of time, but much of that work can be done in kabul inside the ministries. the issue that i really can't talk to you about with any degree of confidence is what the threat to the homeland might be after 2016. that's certainly an area where i think the assumptions and the conditions that informed our current decision would have to be evaluated over time. >> and in that respect, if you had to rate the possibility of either al qaeda or al qaeda-affiliated operators inside of afghanistan, or migrating to afghanistan as we draw down, and resuming training operations much like we saw before 9/11. what degree would you rate the possibility of that taking place? >> senator, i can assure you from what we see on a day-to-day
basis and from the intelligence that there are individuals in both afghanistan and pakistan who are determined to attack the homeland. they're determined to replicate acts like 9/11 and the pressure we have placed on those networks over the past decade is the reason they haven't had to have -- haven't been able to execute a 9/11. so i would say that the risk without continued pressure on those networks of them regenerating and attacking the homeland would be significant. >> is the haqqani network still enemy number one? >> well, senator, i would view al qaeda as enemy number one. haqqani is certainly the most ver lent strain in afghanistan and presents the greatest risk to the force because of their emphasis on high-profile attacks. the other thing that's significant about the haqqani network is they actually provide the network that allows al qaeda in the region to have sanctuary and continue to resource itself. they're certainly, if not the most important group to the
sustainability of al qaeda, they're certainly one of the most significant groups that allows al qaeda to sustain itself in the south asia region. >> talk for a minute about the morale of american soldiers in afghanistan now. what's your thought? >> senator, i am -- and i mean this sincerely -- extraordinarily honored to have the opportunity to lead the men and women that are in afghanistan today. and in morale, after 13 years of war, has met or exceeded anybody's expectations over time. they're focused on what they're doing. they believe in what they're doing. they trust themselves. they know they're well trained and they're well equipped, and they trust their leadership. so i would assess the morale of the forces in afghanistan today and, frankly, in the force as a whole as something we can all be very proud of. >> 48th brigade of the georgia national guard is charged with basically tearing down camp
phoenix. i visited when they got there, and they were fired up about the job that you had given to them to do that. and i trust they're doing well. >> senator, they are. and as you know, the job we gave them to do is one of the more difficult jobs that needs to be done over this next year. it's a piece of infrastructure, camp phoenix, that they're down at, that we want to close. closing a base is a challenging task, but they have taken that on with enthusiasm and they're doing a superb job. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks for your leadership, general. >> thank you. senator hagan? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and general dunford, welcome. i also know that your wife has played a very big role in your success. and so we welcome ellen and your niece. i am the daughter-in-law of a former major general in the marine corps reserve, and just know that so many people hold the marine corps in the highest,
highest regard. so we thank you for doing that. and you've got some big shoes to fill from commandant amos who has certainly led the marine corps, i mean, in a very good leadership. i did want to talk a little bit more about the afghan national security force. as we wind down, as you wind down your tenure as head of isif, and where you have seen the withdrawing of 20,000 troops in an environment with an unsigned bilateral security agreement and an election riddled by fraud that you've spoken about. tell me how prepared the afghan national security force is to take over, especially in light of what we have seen the incapability of what's taken place in iraq. >> senator, thanks for that question. i think rather than just give you my personal assessment, maybe i just outline what the
afghan forces have done over the past few months, which in my mind is indicative of their current capable. first, we had over 300 campaign events involving thousands of people. some as large as 20,000. the afghan forces secured all after thoof those campaign events. there was a persian new year festival in the northern part of the country back in march. 100,000 people came. they secured that event. there was another event in the country that involved people from all over the region to attend. a number of significant threat streams. those threat streams were disrupted and the afghan forces were able to provide security. and probably most significantly, what took place on the 5th of april and the 14th of june is indicative of the capabilities of the afghan security forces. on both of those occasions, millions of people, despite being threatened by the taliban, had the courage to go out and vote. and that courage was drawn, in high assessment, from the confidence that the afghan people and the sense of ownership the afghan people have
for the afghan security forces. so while i'm very aware of the challenges that must be addressed to have sustainable afghan forces and capability gaps that continue to remain, i'm equally confident that the afghan forces today are capable of providing security to the afghan people. they have done that for the past year since they resumed lead responsibility. they're in a tough fight this summer. our forces, when i arrived, we had over 100,000 forces on the ground. we have 40,000 right now. we're providing very little support on a day-to-day basis to the afghan security forces and they are yet still able to be successful against the enemy. >> could you talk about the participation of women in the afghani forces? >> i can, senator. and it's not a particularly good-news story. there's a goal in the afghan army, in police forces for 10% women. we have about 1% in both the army and the police force right now. there are some bright spots. we have the first female police
chief in kabul. we've got a couple other senior-level officers and both the ministry and defense and ministry interior has taken this on as an area of personal interest and have a very aggressive recruiting plan. we recently received from croatia a brigadier general whose single responsibility will be to assist us with gender integration in the afghan security forces. and so from a leadership perspective, i think there's an emphasis by the leadership in afghanistan to make this better, but i wouldn't for a minute under state, senator, the real cultural challenges that are going to make the progress for women in afghanistan very slow and very deliberate, and quite frankly, contingent upon our continued presence after 2014 as well as some of the support that we provide being conditional in order for them to make progress in this particular area. >> how many women in the marine corps are serving in afghanistan?
>> senator, i don't know, and that may be something good that i don't know because we actually don't keep track of things like that. >> okay. i want to move to the camp lejeune water contamination issue. one of my top priorities since, has been to get help and answers for those individuals in the marines that have been affected by this water contamination at camp lejeune. as many as a million marines, family members and civilians that were stationed at the base from 1950s until the '80s were exposed to some harmful chemicals that have certainly led to development of cancer and other diseases. it's been a long quest to get answers, and we are finally beginning to get results of studies that have shed light on this tragedy. as someone i know that you, too, have served as camp lejeune during this time. i hope you make this issue a personal priority. and when you are confirmed, will you work with congress to overcome any of these
bureaucratic hurdles we've had in the past? i feel good from the marine corps' perspective, we're still working with atsdr in some other areas that joovercome any of the hurdles that may halt or delay the pursuit of answers for the affected marines and their families? >> chuabsolutely, senator. we'll do everything we can to be transparent with marine families and at the end of the day to the right thing. >> tuition assistance. that's a powerful program that allows our service members to pursue education in their off time, and i think it enhances the professionalism when serving and certainly helps to prepare them for the civilian workforce when they transition out. congress has sent a very clear message about the importance of this benefit, and by restoring it in fiscal year '13 then by restricting the reprogramming of that in fiscal year '14, and in the marine corps' '15 budget, the request originally included a proposal to cut this tuition
assistance by close to 2/3, and also included a 25% cost share by the individual marine. and it's a program that i spore and i've defended it. i was pleased to see that marine corps quickly changed course and then fully funded this tuition assistance for fiscal year '15. if confirmed, will you continue to show strong support for the tuition assistance benefit? >> senator, i have taken a look at the guidance that general amos provided for the tuition assistance program, and if confirmed, the guidance that i would provide would be consistent with what general amos has provided. >> this is a benefit these men and women i think have really deserved and certainly helped from an educational standpoint for those individuals and as i said when they transition out. so, thank you. i'll look forward to working with you on that. >> thank you, senator hagan. senator wicker? >> thank you. general dunford, thank you for
your test moanoanny and service. let me follow up on a few things that were mentioned. senator inhofe mentioned an amphibious fleet. it's clear we're not anywhere near our requirements there. let me ask specifically about the lpd-17 program. it was originally planned for 12 warships, was reduced to 11 vessels. this committee restored that 12th lpd. it's my understanding that the senate appropriations committee has found the funds for that 12th lpd and that it's authorized in the house version of the national defense authorization act. do we need that 12th lpd? >> we do, senator. >> and what's your risk of -- what's your assessment of the risk of the marine corps and our troops' ability to execute objectives around the world, particularly the asia pacific, if we do not get that number
right? >> yes, senator, we're both short of the numbers of ships required to meet the combatant commander's day-to-day requirements as well as to aggregate marines to conduct an amphibious assault, so i believe that 12th lpd will help mitigate the risk, not completely close the gap, but it will help mitigate the risk that we have right now in both of those areas. >> would it help you, as the next commandant, if we would go ahead and get these bills on the president's desk for signature before the end of the fiscal year? what problems does it cause when we let the fiscal year expire and we haven't given you a national defense authorization act and we don't have our defense department funded with an actual appropriation bill, but rather a continued resolution? >> no, thanks, senator. i know from my previous experience as assistant commandant, what that frequently requires us to do is break programs.
that's actually an inefficient way to do business if you don't have a bill passed by the end of the fiscal year. >> well, you know, we have the -- we have reported out of this committee that carl levin, defense authorization act, and i know that he would like nothing better than to get it on the floor this month. and i would join my colleagues in that. let me also follow up, then -- >> if i can just correct that. i really wanted to get this on the floor last month. >> that's -- but that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone. we need to get to done. i think you and members of this committee are on the same page. i do -- i just implore the leadership of this congress to do whatever's necessary to get these bills on the president's desk in a timely manner. let me follow up then on the question of the pace of our drawdown. right now we have 30,000 troops -- u.s. troops in
afghanistan. is that correct? >> that's correct, senator. >> and another 10,000 from various coalition allies for a total of 40,000? >> that's correct, sir. >> now, at what pace are we going to get to 9,800? what will it look like at the end of this calendar year? >> it will be at 9,800 by the end f this calendar year, senator. >> a very rapid drawdown. >> it is. this is way it was planned so we can keep the max numb number of forces on the ground throughout the election period and fighting season in the summer. as we discussioned a while ago, the infrastructure piece is a key piece. we've worked the transition plan throughout the last year so i'm not at all concerned about the pace of drawdown to get to 9,800. we have a good plan in place and we'll get there. >> are we going to be at 9,800 through much of calendar year 2015? >> that is the plan, start. >> november, for example, of
2015. >> we will have begun the drawdown by november of 2015. >> and at that point, how many of our coalition allies will have -- how many coalition ally troops will be with us there? >> we'll have 4,000, plus or minus, that will be with us in 2015. as we collapse back to a cobble centric approach in 2016, i expect we'd have at least half of that number in 2016. >> and so we'll have about 5,000 troops during -- >> the president said we would have about half in 2016 and the number 5,500 is out there, but the president's guidance has been about half. >> and your testimony with the -- before the committee today, and your best judgment to the congress is that the numbers that we project for 2015 will be adequate to provide security
during that calendar year? is that correct? >> senator, that is correct. the numbers in 2015 are consistent with the recommendation that i made to the president. >> okay. and you reserve the right, as i understand it, to look at conditions on the ground and change that recommendation as it goes forward beyond calendar year 2015? is that what i understand you to have told me yesterday? >> senator, i think any commander, i certainly believe i have this responsibility, any commander has the responsibility to provide the president with best military advice which includes continually reassessments that were behind any recommendation that was made. >> i hope you will -- i tell you this, general. i think we're all impressed. we're impressed with your record. we're impressed with the answers that you've given us, and we think the president's got the right man here. i just have to say, i implore
you, and i charge you with speaking truth to power. and if it looks like, as senator inhofe said, if it looks like we're not getting it right, as we didn't get it right in iraq, i hope you will come back to us and tell us we're not getting it right and that something needs to be done. we need to know that. we didn't get the right advice, frankly, we got surprised in iraq. and i have here a news item which i think i'll ask to be inserted into the record. >> it will be. >> it's a statement by general amos, your predecessor. and i'm going to do you the favor of not asking you if you subscribe to his views because i don't think that would get us anywhere, but basically if i could just read a sentence or two, "stepping into an
intensifying political debate, the head of the marine corps said the united states doesn't have the luxury of isolationism and said iraq's deterioration may have been prevented if washington maintained a larger u.s. presence there. general james amos, scheduled to retire this fall, offered strong views on both debates. on iraq amos said he believes that the isis takeover of central iraq and the growing political fishures between maliki and the minority may have been avoided if the united states hadn't completely withdrawn from the country in 2011. i have a hard time believing that had we been there and worked with government and worked with the parliament and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, i don't think we'd be in the same shape today. amos said during an event at the brookings institute. i agree with this distinguished military leader, and it breaks my heart as it breaks the heart of general amos and other
marines and other troops to see what has happened after all of the blood and sacrifice and treasure the united states has spent. that if we had gotten the correct advice, and we had been given a more realistic assessment, this disaster could have been avoided. it's up to people like you to help us understand the ways and means to prevent this type of disaster from happening in afghanistan. i believe you're the man to do it, but we'd look to you to come back to us and tell us the truth and give us your best guidance as a military expert on what we need to do to make this situation work in afghanistan. thank you, sir. >> thank you very much, senator wicker. and i join you in feeling a level, a very strong level of confidence that that's exactly what general dunford would do. and as he has testified this morning, has the obligation to
do if the assumptions which have been made don't turn out to be correct. so i join you in that feeling of necessity that we can count on our top military leaders to do just that. and i talked to general dunford about the same thing in my office, and i thank you for your commentary here today. senator? >> general dunford, congratulations on the appoi appointment and thank you for your service. you have a lot to be proud of in the work that you've done together with american military and our coalition partners to enhance the capacity of the ansf. i had a hearing recently in the foreign relations subcommittee that i chair about afghan civil life post-2014. your predecessor kind of said something that made us sit back in our chairs. after talking about continuing security challenges, the general said, but corruption is a bigger
threat, ex-totensial threat. he was elevating corruption challenges. we all were struck by that. when i watched the playout of the elections in afghanistan, the taliban threatened them from a security standpoint, but as you pointed out, the ansf did a superb job in blocking the taliban from being able to disrupt the elections. but the challenge with the elections were allegations of corruption. the corruption threat moved to be more real, or to be more impactful on this election process than the security challenge. and i think that is proof adage that general allen made and proof of the good work you've done and i applaud you for it. questions of your role of commandant should you be confirmed, and i have confidence you will be. you have to balance security
priorities, personnel priorities, budgetary priorities. the needs of today are usually kind of readiness challenges and the needs of tomorrow, modernization. let me ask you about both of those. what are your greatest concerns regarding readiness today? in the corps? >> thanks, senator. general amos has ensured that all marines who are deployed in harm's way and forward deployed, forward engaged, deploy at a state of readiness. those forces are absolutely well equipped and well trained. having said that, we paid the cost over years for making sure that those marines that are forward deployed, forward eng e engaged have a wherewithal to accomplish the mission. and today approximately 50% of our units at home station are in an integrated state of readiness. that's largely an equipment readiness issue. today as a result of the years of war and wear and tear on our equipment. so certainly one of the key things would be to ensure that we have the resources necessary
to reset that equipment coming out of afghanistan. as you may know, senator, we've identified a minimum of two years as the window of time where we continue to need vocal funding for that very reason, to reset that force and restore the marine corps to be the force you expect it to be which is not half ready but completely ready to do whatever the nation asks it to do. >> what are your top priorities on the other side of the ledger for forced modernization as you come into the role of commandant? >> senator, i think broadly speaking the critical thing is that you expect us to be a naval expeditionary force of readiness, expect us to come from the sea in a wide range of conditions, again, in every time and place. today i thichnk there's a numbe of areas we have to focus to make sure we have the amphibious, expeditionary capabilities necessary to fight the war as well as today. i think balancing those requirements for modernization with today's readiness is going to be a significant challenge and i know you'll help us with
that, senator. >> indeed. one of the challenges you have in the modernization side is acquisition programs. you inherit some acquisition programs, some that are working very successfully, not some as successful. what will be your philosophy as commandant in the acquisitions to make sure your investments in technology and equipment are well spent? >> senator, where i have seen acquisition programs work is where leadership is personally indecisively engaged in the acquisition program. and if confirmed, i can assure you particularly on the major defense acquisition programs that the program manager, if nonot in fact but certainly in practice will be made. >> what -- to talk a little bit about the progress the marine corps has made in opening up combat-based moss to women since secretary panetta's announcement in early 2013? >> it's clear to me that the marine corps understands that direction set by secretary panetta, and by january 2016
we'll be prepared to make recommendations as to exceptions to policy. i think the approach the marine corps has taken now, a deliberate, measured and responsible approach is exactly the one that i would take were i continue to be -- were i to be confirmed. and certainly at the end of the day, you can be sure that the recommendations i would make would be placed on the impact of the combat effectiveness of the marine corps to meet the standards you expect the corps to meet. >> and finally, general, just a compliment. often as i travel, i'm traveling in foreign relations capacity, not armed services capacity, and i interact with marine security guard at the various embassies we have around the world. that is a critical program that has been enhanced in the aftermath of the accountability review board's recommendations following the tragedy in benghazi. but i've just been enormously impressed with this program and with the marines' ability to
scale it up to meet the recommendation. i don't know, it may be one of the few things in marines where you get to serve without a commissioned officer telling you what to do. it's, i think, all ncos and enlisted personnel. but they do a superb job and we just need to make sure we continue to pay attention to that program. help the marine corps as it needs budgetary resources to staff it up. but i just want to tell you that the appreciation of the state department for the great work the marine security guard folks does is are, very high, and i share that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator king. senator ayotte? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you, general dunford, for your incredible leadership in afghanistan, and i can't think of a better man to serve as commandant, and i also want to thank your wife, ellen, for everything that she's done for our country and the marine corps. i wanted to ask you, general, if we follow the course of action that's been announced by the
administration in afghanistan, without any changes in the reduction of forces, in other words, 9,800 to half at the beginning of '16, to about 1,000 embassy presence in the beginning of january of 17s is. what's the best-case scenario for what happens in afghanistan? then i would also like you to answer with no changes to the pace of withdrawal, what's the worst-case scenario? so we can understand what the two possibilities are. >> thanks, senator. the best-case sncenario for the next couple years would be that, first, we are successful political transition this year. the afghan forces continue to be successful coming out of the fighting season. they have increased confidence and capability. in the fall of 2014. the international community meets tokyo and chicago commitments, so we have the
resources necessary to sustain the force and continue the development efforts that are critical to afghanistan's future. the relationship between afghanistan and pakistan improves such that they have a cooperative relationship in dealing with extremism, and that we minimize the risk of actors being involved inside of pakistan as they grow and develop. the afghan security forces in the best-case scenario would be sustainable by 2017. such that a very small presence inside the u.s. embassy and what we describe as a security cooperation office that would manage foreign military sales, engagements and so forth, with some amount of ministerial capacity advising as well would be there. but in effect, by 2017, we would have addressed those gaps that have identified for the afghan forces, they would be sustainable. and, again, we would have stability as a result of political transition. the worst-case scenario over the next two or three years would be
first starts with the political transition and we don't have successful political transition. i think that's a foundational element to any success that we're going to have. we also begin to lose international communities' support over time. the relationship doesn't go in a direction that we want it to, and both states fall short, where we want them to be in terms of effective counterterrorism partners both from a capacity perspective and from a will perspective. and if we then found ourselves in 2017 whouts without a deceasive presence in the region, and without partners in afghanistan and pakistan, those two nations cooperating with each other, i think what you'd see in 2017 in a worst-case scenario would be the space that al qaeda would need to grow stronger. something they haven't been able to do in the last several years because of a combination of the pressure, u.s. government interagency partners and special
operations have placed but also contributed to by the support we've had from pakistan and afghanistan. >> let me follow up on that. so, with the announcement by the administration, you talked about the 9,800 troops, our contribution in 2015 you're satisfied with. and the administration has announced that that would be cut in half in 2016. if that is followed through in terms of cut in half, one of the things you said in answer to senator chambliss is an important mission that we've had in afghanistan is actually ensuring that al qaeda could not replicate 9/11, and the way we have done that is keeping pressure, continued pressure, not only on those who would want to threaten us in afghanistan, but, for example, their counterparts in the haqqani network in pakistan. so if we go down to half at the beginning of 2016, the c.t.
presence has been beyond kabul, correct? >> it has, senator. >> absolutely. and it would be in 2015. what happens in the beginning of 2016 if we cut them in half? are we -- where are we located? >> in 2016, senator, in akor dance with the plan now, we'd have fundamentally a kabul centric approach. the bases outside of kabul would be closed or transferred to the afghan forces or the afghan government by 2016. >> so if we do that, that's pretty soon actually, if you think about it. that that would be the beginning of 2016 we would go to a kabul-based presence. what does that do overall to our ability to keep pressure on those networks, on the c.t. mission, assuming something doesn't dramatically change with regard to those who would want to threaten us from pakistan and afghanistan? >> senator, that would reduce collections capability, signal intelligence, human intelligence, and our strike
capability, is it would be a significant reduction in our overall counterterrorism capability. >> and if we have that significant reduction in our overall counterterrorism capability beginning in 2016, what does that do in terms of threats that we could potentially face to our homeland? >> senator, i think the equation, you have to look at it in perspective of what is afghanistan's c.t. capacity and what's afghanistan's c.t. capacity and will and what's the nature of the threat? and from my perspective, we would have to be in a position to close the gap between the pakistani and afghan c.t. capacity and will versus the threat in 2016. and while i don't know what the threat will be in 2016, my sense is we'll still need an effective counterterrorism capability based on my projection of the threat and based on the growth of afghan and pakistani c.t. capacity and will. >> so, just to be clear, an effective c.t. strategy really has to go, unless the conditions
dramatically change between now and the beginning of 2016, really has to be beyond kabul for us to ensure that we can keep that pressure to protect our homeland? is that true? >> senator, the only way that it will be successful for us to be in kabul, probably a different way to say it, would be if afghanistan and pakistan are capable of dealing with the threat in 2016. >> so let me just ask one final question which is, if we think about the presence in kabul and what's happening with regard to the counterterrorism strategy, what is it that they would have to accomplish between now and then? it seems like it would be quite a bit, and if we wanted to change course, when would we have to make that decision? because if we're -- obviously we have presence outside of kabul, and we'd have -- and we're pulling into, if we cut the troops in half in '16 back into
kabul, so that takes some time. when would you or general campbell, who will be the new commander on the ground, have to come to us and the administration and say we really shouldn't pull all back into kabul, we're going to have to keep a greater presence? what's our timeframe for that so we understand? >> senator, i'll answer that and then go back to the first part of your question. the timeframe, from my assessment, and, again, it's based on closing of infrastructure, would be in the september timeframe, october timeframe of next year, the latest time to effect a change. what will happen subsequent to that, you'll begin to draw down the infrastructure close or transfer of those facilities that currently house our forces outside of kabul. so about a year from now would be when that discussion would probably have to take place. with regard to what the afghans would have to do to be successful in a counterterrorism fight in 2016, it's really two critical gaps that affect their c.t. capacity.
one is their aviation capability and then the other is the intelligence enterprise as a whole. and while those are developing, we still expect that the aviation enterprise will still have some capability gaps in 2016 as well as the intel enterprise. those are longer term challenges that we're addressing. >> i thank you, general. and i also would point out i think you've said that some of our c.t. missions we conduct independently because our interests in protecting the homeland while the afghans, we have a great partnership with them, ultimately it is our interest and those need to be focused on as well. and so their c.t. mission may not be as focused as we would be on that particular mission. would you agree with that? >> senator, there are operations we conduct in the region unilateral unilaterally, yes. >> thank you, general. >> thank you, senator ayotte. thank you also for pointing out it will be general campbell who will be responsible for giving us his best military advice next year. both senator wicker and i got
commitments from general dunford that he'll make those honest assessmentes, but it really will be general campbell in terms of afghanistan who we got the same assurance from, by the way, as we did from general dunford. thank you for pointing that out. >> well, thank you. one thing i do know, we know general campbell hopefully will call on general dunford for his advice. that will be appreciated. >> thank you for smoothing over that little omission. general harono? senator harono. i made a general out of you. >> thank you for your decades of distinguished service and now taking on this new challenge. and i'd like to also take this opportunity to thank the folks at hawaii's bay. there are 10,000 marines, 2,000 sailors, 4,000 family members, 1,400 civilian employees at
marine corps base hawaii base. so i certainly want to give a shout-out to them. you have been asked a question about, earlier, about the january 1st, >> fr for the occupations within the marine corps in which all women will have the opportunity to come pete. i just want to ask you, who in the marine corps is the lead or lead persons coming up with these standards? and where are you in coming up with this process? >> the person who is the lead is general amos. i know as my previous experience as the assistant commandant, there's certainly a staff down at quantico that works this for him. our training is involved, but, at the end of the day, in our service, the common end is the one who approves the standards.
>> thank you. i think you also mentioned during your responses that training is very important, of course, to all of our services, but to the marine corps. and i understand that the availability of training ranges. could you share your thoughts on the importance of training especially as we rebalance on the asia pa i have civilic? >> senator, thank you for that question. i was involved in what was called the pacific laydown. one of the critical elements was to ensure that we have sufficient ranges and we can do the kind of combined arms-integrated training to be suck elcessful in combat. it would not be an overstatement to say it's the ability to link
our success on the battle field. >> we were told that the marine corps spends 63 cents on the dollar to pay for health care and there is a challenge for readiness and personnel costs. if confirmed, how would you come up with this balance of personnel cost with readiness while meeting the mission requirements of the marine co s corps. what would be the questions you would ask to come up with this balance. senator, first, i view all the money in the marine corps going to the marines. some is in the form of equipment, good training, infrastra infrastructure to provide the
services necessary. so i think your question is how would i balance it? i would consider each of those variables to deliver an effect. and that effect is we wuld have the force and readiness that you expect your marine corps to be. >> i think the sense is that 63 cents of every dollar going to personnel costs is not necessarily the kind of balance that you would want to have in order to make sure that your readiness needs are met. >> senator, our procurement amount is about 8% in the current fiscal environment. clearly, in a perfect world, we'd have more money going towards modernization and towards infrastructure. those are the two infrastructures as we go ensuring that marines have good equipment, good training.
>> my best to you and achieving the balance and meeting the needs of the marines. >> there are dwogoing to be a l of questions about what is the appropriate mix and active reserve units in the marine corps. other services are having to ask those questions themselves. so with the challenges to personnel drawdowns in marine corps in the future, what do you believe would be the best approach to achieve a balance force in both act and reserve components of the marine corps. >> senator, thanks for that question. i actually believe that over the passed decade, we validated both the size, the organizational construct as well as the employment of our marine force.
i wouldn't see any significant changes. make sure we incorporated the lessons learned. we feel pretty comfortable that the overall size of marine forces reserved right now is just about right. >> this committee spent a lot of time on the issue of sexual assault in the military. you responded to a series of questions regarding the marine corps efforts in the military. and you noted that while you're satisfied that you are proceeding ahead but there is much more work to do. and i wanted to ask you how, based on the changes that we made to the statutes that apply and that the marine corps's own efforts, how would you determine the success or the effectiveness of what the marine corps is doing to u one, prevent sexual assault. and, two, when they occur to take appropriate action and
prosecute. >> thanks, senator. and i think the areas where i'm encouraged from the outside and the marine corps and what they're doing the changes in the climate as it pertains to sexual assault. both the surveys have ind kated trust in confidence in marines, confidence in the chain of command that proper action would be taken. any other statistic that is encouraging to me is the numbers reported sexual assault, we all recognize that historically, it has been under-reported. so an increase is a positive step in the right direction. but with regard to your question? when will i be satisfied? i'll be satisfied when there's no sexual asaumts. so the effect we're trying to achieve in assuring that we have bystander training and intervention, the effect that we're trying to achieve to ensure that all marines are treated with dignity and respect.
the results that we respect from all of that and the results from decisive leadership is that we won't have sexual assaults in the united states marine corps. that's when we'll be satisfied. >> that's very commendable. my question had to do with, of course, as you go towards that goal of zero sexual assaults, how are you going to make sure that that was happening and that you will continue to make sure that you will see those changes come about? and i assume your answer is yes, that you have a continuing command -- >> senator, well, i think probably the key piece, from my perspective, is it's all about commanders: it's all about leaders. it's all about standards and holding people acountable to those standards. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general dufford, to you and your family, you've done an extraordinary job in every assignment that you've chosen. the president chose wisely and i think you will get an
overwhelming vote in a bipartisan fashion because you deserved it. thank you for your service to your country. as to afghanistan, do you agree with me if there's a failure to get this election closed out in an acceptable fashion where somebody acknowledges defeet and there's a failure to form a unity government there after, no amount of american troops is going to make afghanistan successful? >> i agree with that, senator. >> as a matter of fact, if that doesn't happen, i'd be the first one to say get the hell out of there. to the afghans, if you're listening, that's my view. let's assume for a moment that can all be accomplished, and i think it will. two lanes, ct, training advise assists. you're okay with the numbers in '15? >> i am, senator. >> you're okay with the regional approach? >> i am, senator. >> let's talk about what we lose over time.
we have about 7,000 special forces types 234 the mix right now, on the ground today. >> we do, senator. >> by january of 2015, it will be 3,000. >> approximately, senator. >> by january, 2017, it will be, basically, zero. >> it isn't determined at this time, senator. >> yeah, it is. it is determined at this time. the president has announced he will go to a security cooperation force in 2017. or did i miss that -- >> no, roger, senator. >> i'm talking about the plan in place. i'm not talking about changing the plan. >> no, i understand. >> i'm talking about the plan by the president. do you agree it will be virtually zero? >> certainly close to that, senator. >> okay. now, let's look at the threats we face. do you see by the end of 2016, any reasonable possible tip that the al al-qaida types will be
contained in such a fashion as to not represent a threat to the homeland? is that remotely possible? >> i don't see it at this time, senator. >> so your view that the threat, by the end of 2016, that we face the homeland is going to be extinguished? i could not agree with you more. but our ct forces will be. unless somebody changes this. do you agree that's a high-risk strategy given the likelihood of the threat? >> unless it's mitigated by afghan or pakistani threat. >> on paper, it's a high-risk strategy? >> from a ct perspective. >> yeah. now, let's talk about the delta that's to be filled in. if you have agreed, the afghan pakistan working relationship on anything, particularly terrorism, what grade would you dwif it? >> today, a d. >> d. the difference between our