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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  September 18, 2014 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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are in iraq. i think my constituents want to know what does this mean for iraq? iraq is the concern right now because that's where we are. who can -- whoever wants to take it. >> i will give you an answer, and then the general may want to go deeper on this. your question about who are we vetting. we would be vetting the syrian opposition forces that we would begin to train and assist. >> i'm talking about iraq. >> you asked the question about who are we vetting. that's who we are vetting. it's not iraq. >> we're not vetting anyone in iraq? >> the iraqi security forces under the government -- the sovereign government of iraq and the peshmerga, who are as you know are part of the overall structure, are in place. they are institutionalized. they are functioning armies now. >> mr. secretary, not to interrupt, but general dempsey
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said of the 50 brigades, only 24 -- >> those are in iraq. >> i'm talking about iraq. he would have messed this together. but i'm looking at iraq. are we vetting iraqi forces that are supposed to be the ground troop s troops? >> the general is nodding and you are saying no. >> i'm nodding because i understand the question. i can understand the question. >> we're not vetting iraqi forces and troops. what general dempsey was talking about is the most capable iraqi security forces, iraqi security forces, vetting in that part of it is part of the syrian train and equip moderate syrian opposition. general, you want to add anything? >> yes. i understand the question. i can see how it can be confu confusing. what we are doing today in iraq is we are securing u.s. government facilities and u.s.
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government personnel, american citizens in iraq. we have two operating centers, one in irbil and one in baghdad designed to facilitate the iraqi security forces operations. we advice them. we make them aware of what they need to do next. we help them track issues. as was mentioned earlier, whether they go on an operation and it needs to be enabled by air support, these operations centers do that as well. most recently, the assessment team that went in baghdad, the area general dempsey spoke to and identified 50 brigades and gave an assessment, that assessment is over and we are changing those forces out and they will be advise and assist forces to work with selected brigades and divisions in iraq. i hope that helps. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> chair now recognizes himself for five minutes for questions. secretary hagel, i want to thank you for yesterday's medal of
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honor ceremonies. i appreciate you doing that for a great american. i understand that the administration was prepared to acknowledge publically that russians were in violation of the inf treaty over a year ago but didn't for policy reasons. do you know what thought went into why we didn't publically acknowledge the inf violations earlier? >> i know that we were carefully examining the evidence that we had and that we were looking at to see if, in fact, they were in violation. as to your specific question, no, i don't know. >> okay. yesterday -- recently, russia's president announced in mid august that he had authorized the deployment of russian tactical nuclear weapons into
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ukrainian territory. do you know how the u.s. would respond and what the implicati n implications are for us if he does move those weapons into ukrainian territory? >> well, again, i think rather than talking about this in an open hearing, we would probably do this in a closed hearing. take you through a number of steps there on this. i think i would feel more comfortable talking about it that way. >> i understand. do you know why the united states is considering continuing to approve russia's proposals to fly under the open skies treaty, enhanced sensors and aircraft over the united states while it's in material breech of the inf? i'm concerned with us going forward with the open skies access when we know they're cheating on chemical weapons, biological and the inf. who are your thoughts on whether
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we should go forward with the open skies practice? >> we had a team in moscow last week on this specific issue. we were represented by a senior member defense department, state department, others. these were all issues that were discussed. we, the russians and us have ma many mutual interests on different things. what they have done in ukraine and their actions the last six months have not only complicated but put in jeopardy all of those interests that we have. so we are working our way through the very questions that you have just asked. >> in fact, this may be one of the consequences they may suffer or experience as a result of the inf violations, denied access
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under the open skies violation? >> no decision has been made on this. we're looking at a lot of different options. we're talking to the russians. >> good. my last question is, recently -- yesterday the committee received the secretary of two reprogramming requests to the total of a billion dollars out of the army o and m to pay for the military's effort to respond to the ebola outbreak. we have a serious readiness problem. what are your thoughts about what this billion dollars would do to that? >> well, thank you. on two pieces to that, one is the money and second is probably the bigger implication of your question, how does that affect, as you say, our readiness and capability to respond to other challenges and we have a lot of them, as you know. on the money, that can be -- that can be done okay by using oko that would not affect our readiness in any other area.
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but the other question that you ask is a legitimate question. right now, general dempsey and our commanders have agreed that what we will be providing, the military, in assisting in africa with the specific areas that the president announced on using our unique capabilities would not affect our readiness anywhere in the world, because these are capabilities that we have that we wouldn't take away from any of the other areas that we are now dealing with that are significant threats. >> am i hearing, since you said oko is the proper source for the money, would it be accurate to say that we can expect to you come and ask us to adjust the oko levels to reflect this added amount of money before we finish up? >> well, i would have to talk
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the comptroller about this and bookkeeping on how that works. as you know, congressman, there are different opinions on whether there should be an overseas account and whether it's a slush fund or not. but in this case, i think -- it's an imperfect process. probably oko is an appropriate count for this kind of thing, these things that develop, these contingency situations overseas. i don't think anybody would have forecast this. we didn't a year ago. the seriousness of this. we're working it right now with comptrollers and the appropriations people here on the hill. >> based on the way the world is looking, oko may have to get bigger to accommodate all the contingencies popping up around the globe. >> it may. you hope not. as you know, we have been bringing that account down every year. so that's the good news. >> thank you very much. thank you for your service.
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who is next? mr. barber from arizona is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary and general mayville for your service, both in uniform, mr. secretary, and in public life as a senator and now as our secretary of defense. you know, i was -- took the vote yesterday after a lot of consideration about what we were doing when we were giving authorization to a limited authority to train and equip the vetted and moderate forces in syria. i was proud to stand with my colleagues to give that to you and to the president, because absolutely we must stop the savagery that we know as and committed at the hands of isil. also, because i want to make sure that we do everything we can to prevent them from having a safe haven to send harm our way in the homeland. we must do everything we can to
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preventists can attack this country. so havei have two questions. one related to that and to the larger issue of how we contain and eliminate and destroy isil. first, could you speak to the question about how you see isil's current capabilities for carrying out transnational terrorism? secondly, could you speak to how arming the syrian opposition will roll back isil's territory and their ability to launch an attack and how long would you estimate it will take for the opposition to really engage isil in order to degrade its capabilities? >> thank you, congressman. the first question on transnational criminal activities is a source of isil funding. it is part of -- a significant
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part of that funding. i think in a couple questions asked here earlier, specifically the blank marketing of oil. >> it's addressing how -- what your view is about how we can prevent the capabilities for exporting terrorism to our country and other countries. >> you have to cut off the funding. and that's what i was talking about earlier in answer to some other questions as well. that is a huge priority of what we're overall in -- in our overall strategy, how you defeat isil, how you degrade them. you disconnect them and you defeat them. taking that funding away is a big part of that. we are operationally doing that right now with our partners through the treasury department, our law enforcement all over the world. it's a key part of degrading any capacity they have in the future. as to your longer-term question, how long, i think the president has been pretty clear on this.
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when general dempsey and i were days ago, we talked about this. i can't give you an exact number of years how long. but we know it's going to take some time. we know it is going to take some years. maybe we can do it sooner. but this is, as you know so well, and has been reflected this morning in many of the comments, this is a group that has capacity that we have never seen before outside of a nation state. and you mix in with that the religious dynamic, ethnic dynamic, all the other factors that complicate this situation, it's going to take some time. we know that. >> in your view, is isil capable today of sending radicalized americans back to this country to do harm to the united states? >> oh, i think they're capable of doing that today.
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>> given that, i want to expand the question of their threat in the middle east to israel, to jordan, lebanon. can you speak to us about what you see as already happening and further threats that might exist for those countries? >> it is very clear to me -- i think most people who have looked at this and certainly it is to the president and his administration -- that with the instability that currently resides all across the middle east -- you go three each of the countries starting on the west with lebanon and move east. every one of those countries is in some form of instability and under threat from isil, from other terrorist organizations. if we see further destabilization of these countries, that will create a global problem that will ripple
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out everywhere. oil. if you would destabilize the major producing companies -- countries in the mideast, that in itself wouldç affect world economy, would affect everything. israel, you look at where we are today in that part of the world. it is probably as unstable as it has been in our lifetime. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. lambborn? >> thank you. mr. secretary, thank you for being here. >> yes, sir. >> i did support the amendment yesterday of the chairman. however, that's only good through december 11th at the latest. so we will be re-visiting this issue again soon. so because we know isil is so dangerous -- look what the news is out of australia just today. going against the public,
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australians. so this is a blood thirsty group. the beheading of two americans is a horrible situation and was one of the real reasons why i supported the president's plan. however, i would like to have you elaborate on some of the details of the president's plan. other questions have done this previously. particularly, is -- are we contemplating, will we be using uavs and drones, armed predators and reapers to take out isil leadership like we have done in iraq and afghanistan, like we are doing now currently in somalia and yemen? >> the way i would answer your question is -- i think the president noted this in his statement to the american people a week ago that we are looking at every option, every target using our capabilities and our
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partners to degrade and destroy isil. >> so that is something that is on the table? >> everything is being closely examined. everything. >> i would hope the president would not take that off the table. >> everything is on the table. >> okay. good. regardless of whether it's syria, iraq or any other neighboring country, this leadership needs to be -- the american people would support eliminating the leadership. >> as you also recall from the president' speech, he said wherever they are. >> okay. second issue is the use of our tier one special forces, our elite special forces to mount assaults on the ground to capture and apprehend isil leadership wherever they are found. this is what i meant when i said we were doing this in somalia and yemen. is that something that will be contemplated and is on the table? >> well, i think to really get
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into any of the special tactics, congressman, we want to probably have a closed briefing on that. we can do that. >> okay. certainly. then let's follow-up on that at the appropriate time. >> we can do that. >> along the same line, using boots on the ground, for lack of a better word, to guide and direct close air support. that is something that i think is critical also. and once again, is that something that we can talk about in this forum? i want to see as many tools in the toolbox as necessary so that this plan can be successful. i think taking things off the table goes against that. >> well, again, within the confines of an open hearing, i everything, nothing off the table. but i would also point to the success recently regarding the
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strikes where it has been the iraqi security forces on the ground with their special forces and to our air strikes. we didn't have our people imbedded with them. they were very successful. the iraqi security forces have capability. >> i'm glad to hear your answers, mr. secretary. my concern is -- i'm going to echo what the chairman said earlier. sometimes the president takes things off the table right off the bat. that's troubling to me. i want to see as many options on the table as possible. >> well, if i might -- i think you have a little time. so i woen't indulge anyone else here. i know it's not a matter of the president taking options off the table. i think what he wants to always make sure that the american public is certain and clear of what his intent is and what he
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as the president of this country is willing to do. but he wants the american people to understand, what is it that he's getting them into. what is he asking the american people. i think that's the clarity you see tactically and -- he won't take things off the table. >> thank you for that reainsurance answre reassurance. i will continue to be supportive. >> we will go to four minutes to get everybody's questions in before we have to go to votes. miss duckworth? >> start with me, didn't you? thank you. mr. secretary, thank you for being patient and staying here until we freshmen get to ask questions. i appreciate that. >> congresswoman, i was a freshman once. you ask the best questions. >> thank you very much. i voted no yesterday. it was a tough no vote for me
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because i simply have a lot of questions. the vote yesterday was on this reauthorization for the $500 million that expiring in just 12 weeks. why would we not start by asking for that amount of money to arm the peshmerga and putting more forces and more resources behind the troops in iraq first before we go to what is a short-term funding for arming these rebel groups in syria? >> two answers, congresswoman. one is, we have to do both. we are presently supporting the peshmerga as well as the iraq okay security forces with literally expanded, accelerated help, equipment, armaments. and we're doing that and have been doing that. i noted that in an earlier
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answer. so it's not an either or. we believe we need to do both. we need to get the training and equip part of the moderate syrian opposition piece started as quickly as possible because they both fit into the overall strategy as how you defeat isil and you help stabilize those countries, particularly iraq. it's not a matter of not doing one versus the other. >> i am concerned we're starting with the rebels. general, i had a couple questions for you. if we turn -- if we actually train and equip these moderate rebel groups and we send them back in, my understanding is that they don't have much of a command and control structure. they are fairly self-identifying, a bunch of groups. there's no military-like structure like the isil has.
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their first mission is to basically defend and deny territory to isis. how are they able to support themselves once we train them and give them this weaponry? how are they going to be able to conduct the operations? who is going to provide them with the 556, the 7.62? is that -- where is that coming from? are we looking now at relying on contractors or secret -- covert ops to do that? >> congresswoman, we are looking at all options. how do you sustain this once you begin? you raise an important issue in developing the leadership and finding those within these initial formations that have the aptitude for additional skills. we will have to find who has the aptitude to be a communications expert. we will build that capability as we build this basic force. the first phase is identify and vet them, create a relationship
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and give them base ic training. the next thing is build off of that with skills. we will stay connected to them. there will be accountability. we will create a method for doing that with the leadership that we identify within the training. >> the last 20 seconds i have, you are not ruling out the fact that we may turn to a black water or whatever their subsidiary is, z international solutions, to provide the logistical support in the initial stages? >> there has been -- we're in the very early planning of this. to date, there has been no discussions of anything other than how we as a military would do this. >> thank you. >> mr. scott? >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thanks for being here. mr. secretary, i think i heard you clearly and concisely say,
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we are at war isand everything on the table. is that accurate? >> yes. >> i think one of the things confusing to me and confusing the majority of americans is that that's not consistent with what the president says when he -- as one of my colleagues pointed out, takes other actions or potential operations off the table. my granddad is no longer here, but he was a world war ii pow. he would tell you the first decision is the decision to win and make sure that we're willing to do whatever it takes to win. desert storm was in 1990. we have been in that country -- in those countries on and off for 24 years, over half of my life we spent trillions of dollars, we have had hundreds of thousands of americans in there, hundreds of thousands of other people that we have trained.
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general, these 5,000 moderate syrians ought to be pretty ease y -- pretty easy to find. my question is, how can 5,000 moderate syrians do what the united states and all of our coalitions could not do in 24 years? >> well, 5,000 moderate opposition groups with basic training to secure their villages will have some affect, but it won't have the decisive affect that you speak to. but it's only one part of a larger effort. that larger effort includes training, continuing to assist in the iraqi security forces. we will have the use of our air power to assist where it's necessary. we're also looking to employ the
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support -- the direct support of partners in the region. so we're going to squeeze on this through multiple venues. >> then with due respect, the president should outline that. there should be a separate vote, not a vote on a continuing resolution. i blame this on my leadership as much as i do the president. this more serious than an ame amendment to a continuing resolution. i would also suggest -- we don't understand the war, certainly not all them participate in it. when we talk about beheadings, mr. secretary, it's my understanding that the saudis beheaded eight people in the month of august and they practice one of the strictest forms of law and do things over there that by any stretch of the imagination i think any american would consider barbaric. how do we pick our friends?
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>> well, i think the first way i your question is, america -- i think any country -- always responds in its own self-interest. what is our interest here? i think you asked the question, when american citizens are publically killed, murdered, is that an interest of this country? i think it is. is it a threat to who we are? i think it is. you can take that out as far as you want. that's partly, i think, the answer. to your bigger question, which is exactly the right question, the history of that area. we can't interject ourselves or impose ourselves on any country or traditions or history. and what we're doing differently is bringing in partners from the
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region. this, as the president said and i said, has to be settled by the countries themselves. that means the a s the arab co the muslim countries. we can help. we can't dictate or determine the outcome of that. but it's in our interests. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, lieutenant again mayville, thank you for your service to our country. can you describe -- there's talk about coalition. what are the members of the coalition that are going to have people on the ground either as military advisers or troops along with us? >> as i said in my opening testimony, we are close to 50 coalition nations who are -- >> i don't mean to interrupt. but specifically have committed to having people there arm in arm with us, not just supplies, but actual human beings on the ground helping us with that mission.
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>> each country will provide assistance based on their capacity. some will be air power. some will be people. we have had a number of military offers. we're coordinating that now. i noted in my testimony that general allen has the essential responsibility of bringing that together, coordinating these pieces. we're in the process of doing that. >> thank you. i'm a little bit still confused about the nature of this. the president promises no combat mission, and i know you have been questioned about what that means. but i am concerned that whether we're -- whether our people are over there on a combat mission, training mission, advisory mission, they will become targets. you can clarify if we have people that are shot at, they will have rules of engagement should say they should defend themselves? >> absolutely. >> i appreciate that. i'm glad. won't that then lead to combat missions?
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maybe not offensive combat missions. but if our people are in harm's way, won't they be in combat? >> anybody in a war zone, who has been in a war zone -- some of you have -- know that if you are in a war zone, you are in combat. what the president has said that there would be no specific american ground combat role. i think that's pretty clear. yes, if you have advisers in a war, they're in a combat zone. yes. but the role of americans in that war, as the president has laid out, i think is pretty clear. what he said we will do and what we won't do. >> you can or the lieutenant general give us any sense how many americans will be put in -- how many americans additionally will be put in harm's way either in the theater or near the theater? >> what i said in regard to the president's announcement last week and what he has ordered now, additional american forces
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into iraq, by the time they all get there, around 1,600 american forces in iraq. >> in iraq? >> in iraq. >> not syria? >> not syria. in iraq. >> finally, i guess, trying to figure out again who exactly we're helping. you speak of sort of the we in this. i know you have been asked similar questions. but i'm still fuzzy on how exactly you're going to identify the forces that we can train, we can enhance. i guess it goes back to my allies question, are they going to be alone? is this a few syrian fighters, 5,000? it seems to me that if we're training them, yes, we will eventually build up a force there. but in the meantime, won't our enemy build up their force far more than we can catch up?
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>> well, a couple of answers to your question. it's a beginning. we might be able to do more than 5,000 a year. as i said in my statement, it depends on more training sites, more vetting, more people. we will train them in units, equip them in units, not just rebels here and there so that they are prepared to take on more and more responsibility. with our partners. that's another piece of this. this is an undertaking that's pretty dramatic and sophisticated. it's a beginning, but at the same time, all the other dynamics of this strategy what's going on as general mayville noted here a minute ago are in play at the same time. we're not just relying on that train and equip moderate syrian -- >> thank you. >> gentleman's time expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. hagel and general mayville. i want to thank you for your service across the board.
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it has been vearied for secretay hagel going back to vietnam. we appreciate that. you made a comment about combat. i want to make sure that our troops that are the 1,600 in iraq are going to be compensated as they should be in reference to combat pay. because they're going to be exposed to that at some point in time or could be. are they going to be? >> yes. they are now. let me have general mayville explain -- >> those are receiving combat pay? >> let me not get in front of that important decision that will come to the secretary. but typically, you are talking about hostile duty pay. there are procedures outlined and under what conditions one is entitled to that. we will apply that standard here. it will go to the secretary. >> so the answer is, the secretary will make that decision whether or not?
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>> yes. and they will be compensated. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. i voted no. i will tell you it was difficult but at the same time -- all the briefings i heard. you touched on it. the syrian force that we're talking about training and equipping, the reason i voted no was they have very little organization. there's no -- you mentioned this. there's no political structure in place to support them. i would support an iraqi issue, because there is a political force to at least start talking about how to fix things. command and control, we know that at this point in time there is no command and control for the syrian free forces or whatever you want to call them. there is for the iraqis, because we helped build that. training or retraining the iraqi force is a lot easier than trying to train up by the
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president's own description of guys that are, you know, the regular folks. they may have some combat experience now because they had to fight for their lives, but they're not a trained combat, just as iraq is, because we trained them, even though they have had issues. but we have at least a base to start from. i guess that's why i disagreed with us getting involved in the train and equip portion in syria when we have the ability to do that, i think, and win in iraq. i think we have. i think we have shown that we can work with them. so it gets a lot -- it's a lot of hoping and wishing in the fact that -- i know it depends upon the training facilities that we have available. but the testimony has been three training facilities, 5,000 troops. i don't know how -- how do we overcome the other things, command and control, political
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system and actual trained force snz it forces? it's not going to remain static. >> the way i would explain it -- it's my opinion and the opinion of the president that if you are going to defeat isil -- that's the objective, as the president laid out -- you're not going to defeat isil just in iraq. matter of fact, most of the isil threat is in syria, safe havens, training camps, resources. you have to deal with them in syria. >> i would think an approach where you can get -- drive them out of iraq where we have the opportunity to and as we're doing it focus then back on syria. i yield back. >> we have to do both at the same time. >> i appreciate that. >> mr. kilmer? >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you mr. secretary for joining us. i'm of the opinion for the use of military force needs to be
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rescinded and a more specific authorization needs to be drafted to combat the isil threat. what cautions, what advice and requests would you have for us if we were to consider that effort of drafting a new authorization for the use of military force? >> well, as you know, we believe the president has the authority under the aumf of 2001 to do what he believes is important to do for the security of the country. he has said he welcomes the congress's involvement, support. if the congress believes that they want to get involved in writing a new authorization of force, that's the per ogative o the congress. i leave that up to what the white house thinks they need if
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that's something they think they should want to do or need to do. >> is there anything specific that you would want or not want in such an authorization? i understand you believe you currently have the authorization. the question i have and the briefing we had it was said we would welcome if congress wanted to provide a more specific authorization. any constraints or things that you would want to see in that regard? >> well, i think any time -- i'm going to be general in this because that's not my area. that's really the president would have to make those kinds of decisions. for us, department of defense, we are always the ones required to implement, we would want to have the commander in chief have as much flexibility within the bounds of accountability, which in a co-equal branch of
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department we have to have. we recognize that. but for us, we have to have that flexibility and i think the commander in chief does as well in order to carry out his duties. >> the other question i had for you was, has the department begun to consider the second and third order affects providing air support and training and supplies as prescribed by this mission? i'm concerned with the wear and tear on our vessels that may have a higher utilization and require more maintenance than presumed. as the presumed $500 million dollars to train and equip our allies won't cover that maintenance, where will the additional money come from? >> we're looking at all that right now. you are right. as we pick up the pace on this mission and do the things that we need to do, we're going to
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most likely have to change some of the those numbers. that's not new. the world is dangerous and it's fluid and it's dynamic. >> thank you. >> thank you, chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. at this time, i will take my four minutes here. i appreciate you both being here. as we look back on things, i remember vice president biden saying the victory in iraq will be one of the greatest successes of the obama administration. as i look out and i see those of you with your combat patches, i would say that the success goes to those that were in the field. but that being said, we did succeed. we succeeded with combat troops in using all of our assets. it was a gift to iraq that has fallen apart. my concern is when we start talking about counterterrorism operations as opposed to full combat. i have concerns there. isil is somewhat of a state, not a raised state but they have territory, wealth and they have
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an army and different than the typical terrorist effort. i understand our desire to want to use the kurds and syrians. my concerns stem from about who has the central command here. who is really calling the shots when you are putting these pieces together? i have the concern with that. but also in another hearing, i had asked, will -- is the iraqi army or the peshmerga willing and authorized to move into syria if that's what it takes to destroy the enemy, especially if our effort is not successful with the syrians. the answer i got was no. that's like saying in world war ii, we will go to germany but we won't go in and defeat them. what is our contingency here? what are we going to do if this effort in syria is not successful knowing that our strongest assets on the ground are not willing to go into syria where they have safe haven at
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this point? >> first, i think we recognize that iraq is a6c2jihnr soverei country. we don't order iraq to do anything. we can't. >> understood. >> so if iraq makes a decision for whatever reason -- >> that would be -- that is their objective. okay? is to liberate iraq from the enemy, from isil. but our objective is to destroy isil. i'm concerned about the strength of what we have in syria. we may run them into syria and then what if we're not succeeded there? >> that's exactly right, that we're looking at this from a borderless dynamic, that isil is a threat to all the nations of the middle east. right now they are focused in their safe havens in syria which is ungovernable in the eastern part of syria.
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with the strategy that we have laid out and we're implementing with partners, partners essential, strong, united, inclusive iraqi government, essential, we have that must have muslim arab partners essential as well as other partners in order to destroy isil. you are right. it isn't by borders. we are not dealing with that. each will play roles where they can. >> my time is running out. i would hope maybe in another setting, a classified setting we can find out what some ofgencie. the good general has anticipated some of these things as a strategist. it's not necessarily something we want to expose to everyone. i appreciate that. i yield back my time. at this time, they have called votes. so we are going to break. i've been told we are going to
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return after the votes. i again appreciate both of you for your time today. i do encourage members to come back, even some of those that have left, and get them back. thank you.
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viewers have been posting their comments about the hearing on c-span's facebook page. here is a couple. voters in scotland go to the polls to decide whether to become an independent country. turnout is expected to be high. polls suggest the result is too close to call. we will bring you bbc's live coverage of the results starting at 5:30 eastern.
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two former members of congress are running for governor in arkansas. c-span will have live coverage of a debate between them on friday. here is a look at a couple of ends that voters are seeing up until that debate. >> the attacks on mike ross are not true and a smear on his business. the house ethics committee approved the sale. why is he being attacked? to cover up the fact that he got caught cheating on his taxes and the fact he was a d.c. lobbyist. sorry, this won't work. >> for our schools, a choice for governor. there's asa. >> he voted to cut college loans. >> and he opposed mike ross' plan to expand pre-k.
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but mike ross says it must be a priority. a focus on tech training and college opportunities. >> i know my kids will have what it takes to get ahead. >> that's why teachers have endorsed mike ross. >> on education, mike has a record i can trust. >> have you seen this later smear piece paid by more allies of obama? here is what they don't want you to know. asa found a mistake in his taxes. he reported the mistake himself and paid his bill in full. many of us have made mistakes on taxes. asa was honest enough to admit it. that doesn't stop team obama. they know lies got him re-elected so they hope it works for mike ross as well. fortunately, arkansas knows better. >> it's a $16 billion industry and arkansas' largest. our next governor must fight on
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the farmer's side. when some criticize free trade, it only hurts our farmers. whether it's rice, wheat or poultry, i want to keep arkansas business open to the world. it's the best way to grow our economy and create jobs. as governor, we will hit the ground running and never look back. >> mr. ross served as a u.s. congressman for 12 years. mr. hitch hut hutchenson was on the dea. they will debate in little rock, arkansas on friday. see live coverage at 8:00 eastern. this weekend on the c-span networks our campaign 2014 debate coverage continues friday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span live coverage of the arkansas governor debate with former u.s.
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house member mike ross debating former u.s. congressman republican asa hutchinson. the governor debate between ter branstad and his challenger iowa democratic state senator jack hatch and sunday evening it, jenny beth martin, president and co-founder of tea party patriots is on k & a at 8:00 and on c-span2, saturday night at 10:00 on book tv's after words. columbia university's director of astro biology, kaleb scharf talks about life on earth and the current debates about how it
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the #comments. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. >> the senate is expected to vote today on a measure to train and arm moderate syrian rebels who are battling militants with the islamic state group. national journal reports it's part of legislation to keep the government operating into december. the house approved the measure yesterday in a vote of 273-156.i "washington journal" talked with committee member marcy kaptur this morning about that vote for about 40 minutes.
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>> our first guest of the morning representative marcy kaptur, a member of the defenseh appropriations committee, also a member of the defense d you subcommittee of that committee she's represents ohio. good morning. n >> good trmorning, pedro. >> how did you vote on yesterday's vote on training syrian rebels? on >> along with 272 of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, i voted forever the bill. >> why did you do so? t >> i did so because i think thit iseg a moment when the united states hass to be very strategi, politically as well as from a g defense standpoint.ompare and the language of this resolution compared to others that we've had in past years is very, very tight and measured. and i don't think that there's anything you know, the planes w aren't necessarilily taking off tomorrow. we have assets in the region teo now. i think in b view of what's we d
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happened, it was very important for the united states to be clear on where we stood in terms of iceal, their gruesome and sti barbaric tactics but also i cast my vote that way in hopes the administration would listen to me as it puts its strategy together to be careful and avoid the united states becoming involved in a civil war. talki talking with the legitimate luded sunni tribal leaders who have been excluded in the politics on iraq over the last decade because of a fatal air paul bremer made back at the floo beginning byr disenfranchising them, if i was hoping and my remarks on the floor invited the administration to focus more on ation of the exclusion of sunnis from the politics of iraq itself.
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and, i view that as critical to both providing counterforce in the region and to being politically preventative inside that society. if we end up taking sides in this global war, supporting iran inside iraq -- because we have chosen sides -- host: is there anything in the presentation of the stra chosen sides, we will lose the arab gulf which is largely sunni. >> is there anything in the vol strategy that allays your concerns? >> i am concerned. that's why i was very vocal during the debate, why i have been going to every briefing enn that's open to us to try to get the strategy right, and the the president and the generals in charge, the intelligence enters we've dealt : with, state e department all these different officials i've been sending the
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same message. >> and their response is? >> listening. reading memos. nothing publicly stated yet, buo i think they're at least hearing me. and i hope they continue to think about the -- those vo of who have been excluded from the governing structure because of the malaki regime over the lasto decade, forces like this iceal that are bringing in foreign fighters from all over the world for a purpose that is quite destructive, why our government has not been linking to the legitimate leaders, tribal leaders who are capable of serving as a counter force the remains my >> is there anything in the amendment yesterday that tells h us whichow syrian rebels will
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train and how to pick the best ones to train?y ther >> that's why i think there's room for us to enlighten the han administration.he a lot s of what's happened, because of the situation in iraq when the green zone was built up in -- we had this mammoth embassy in baghdad, many of our own advisors there, well bassy. americans, highly educated people are sort of prisoners of the embassy.tten and so they're making it policy but they haven't necessarily gotten out into the provinces where the instability of the situation is actually manifested. and so i think information is e being blocked p to some of our n top advisors there. and they are prisoners of the situation inside of iraq, the security situation there. so i think we have to -- we can provide enlightenment i think and urging in the strongest possible terms that you don't ud have s a lopsided effort that i
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fact the united states shouldn't be put in the middle of a civilc war, that we should be speakingi for inclusion in whatever force is assembled and you cannot ignore the legitimate sunni tribal leaders of iraq and the broader region. >> numbers on our screen if you want to talk with our guest. she will be with us till 8:20. for democrats 202-585-3581 for republicans.ab what the president you've heard him speaking about bootsge on the ground, what his thoughts are. you heard general dempsey earlier this week some people saying it was a contradictory th message. what's the message you get personally about boots on the ground of american forces? >> i think they're being very eo measured in what they're saying. they're looking for the counter force in the region. i think we have assets in the region now we have had for manyy decades. dbeca but it's a particularly difficult because of our
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opposition to the syrian regime and this other force that is te also against the syrian regime e that has come into the region and sees an opportunity for itself because of the sunnis lao feeling ofrc exclusion. this particular reactionary force that is there now is not t representative of the legitimate sunni tribal interests in the region. and we have to try to reach inte there inst order to put togethea force that would actually be in the interests of peace and development across the region. right now that hasn't been put together but if you read the ts resolution from yesterday, f it. allows time for the administration to develop a more workable strategy and i know that general dempsey that general allen, secretary kerry,t haven't biden, i mean, these are the best people that we have at the very highest levels. they are trying my concern is em
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that because of the ensuelarity of the baghdad embassy, some of the legitimate voices that should be being heard that havei been excluded inside of iraq haven't been able to be heard. >> first call for our guest is rocky. rocky is from texas. republican line. you're on with representative marcy kaptur. good morning. >> good morning.d mili thank you for taking my call, juan. marcy, i'm retired military and i just have a quick question. it seems awfully confusing to me that the united states of america wants to get involved id another civil war. the last big one we got involved in with was called vietnam and it took us ten years to get outg of there. what's really ironic is we have one of the biggest protesters from vietnam sitting in if the secretary of state's position ct that's trying tohe put us right back into a civil war. have we become the army of the u
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saud family down in saudi arabia to prevent their country from being taken over? >> well, we've had a long-standing relationship withe that kingdom, believe me, you and i share a belief in liberty and we feel the tension of that particular relationship. i don't agree with societies that are -- do not have a rule s of law. i won't get into all of that. probably the best news on the y horizon is under president obama, the import of oil into nn our countrtry has been diminish significantly. if you look what we're doing st with both drilling inside our own country as well as the ndepn discoveries of natural gas, i nn pray for the day that we can be independent here at home and we are not reliant on relationships that are paradoxical at their core that creates allies of
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countries whose values do not at all, their political values do not at all parallel our own.0hs our future depends not just on a economicte relationships but on the philosophies to which our political systems are dedicated. and it is there where we have t majorle fissures with many of hd these countries. having said that, let's recognize that that country has helped to fund the of maldras sass, the schools, the academies that have trained some of the most radical extremists across that region of the world. and the part of the problem wite iceal and with isis is that a number of these young men have come through that experience so in a way saudi arabia is a very outside its borders is different than what it does inside its e t borders but having said all jecd
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that, the united states should e not be r injected into a civil r in that part of the world. we run the risk of that. that's the reason i wanted to be on then program this morning to strongly urge president obama tl take a look at who is giving advice to our military leaders and to the administration from n insideni the embassy in baghdad and to make sure that the legitimate sunni tribal leaders who are not part of iceal and mr isis are not excluded further. we've got a mess in iraq because paul bremer made a fatal error early on in excluding sunni tribal leaders legitimate leaders of iraq and created a shia-led government which now dd the is in quite a bit of disarray there, and again, unrepresentative. >> from lake view, new york, independent line, here's shaun. hello. >>. >> thank you for havingew me on. the question i've got, i've got mixed feelings whether to support the whole thing with the
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syrian rebels or but i'm wondering with their oo training and t.that, how long a we going to be training these one group at a time? one g let's say 100 soldiers or so? how long are you going to train them and what will their training consist of to actually fight because being a combat veteran of afghanistan, i know that does not -- you can't build an army overnight. it takes time and resources ando money. but i'm curious if these guys jt are actually going to fight for us. >> thanks, shaun. thank you for your service and thank you to the prior gentleman who called for your service to our country under very difficult and sometimes peo cloudy circumstances. i would say that from what we'vt heard from general na ga that, l the individual in charge of training and vetting a small set of individuals, it's going to take months.going to we're not talking about days.s and to actually create a force would take we've seen that in iraq. one of the reasons that the iraq
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military broke down and fled att the first tests by iceal was that the -- mr. al maliki had literally weakened his own military, taking out commanders who had been in place that is could actually lead their troops in battle and replace them with his political cronies who didn't even provide them with supplies for example. and so they were not led pplies properly. and it's very difficult to take individuals from that part of the world who don't function as a team necessarily and to try tn train them. but i'm hoping that a structure will emerge and this take months, not days, where some of the remnants of the iraqi military that are willing to fight will be regrouped.qis we will work with their national guard, individuals will be
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carefully vetted and hopefully,n bydi politically reaching out t some of those who have been excluded and i've said this before on this program, the legitimate tribal sunni leaders of iraq, are that a force will be able to be put together. and from every hearing i've been in from every meeting i've been in, though the united states er will have a. force and we have that incredible capability that we are trying to haston the formation of military units in that region that can fight for their own country. >> what do you think about the g selection ofht general john allt as far as the administration's h point man on -- for the effort m against anisis? in >> yes. well, are i have an affinity for the marine corps, and i think that he will listen. i think that he will broadly consult and the marine corps fully understands the price of unrepresentative governments anl
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what we ask those soldiers to do. so i'm hoping he will show of measured judgment as the days tick off and believe me, those of us who have the opportunity to work with him will try to give hip the best advice that wl possibly can. i don't think that the president obama and i can't speak for president obama but i don't think the that -- i think he's i handled this innk a very measur way to date, a very difficult ft circumstance and trying to lead us in a way that allows others to step forward in that region who need to take control. r >> fromeg newport, richy, flori, independent line. here's ann. >> and hi, marcy kaptur.ere's how are anyou? >> thank you for calling? >> i'm so glad. i've tried to call a couple yo? times when you've been on.r caln i'm a little nervous. please bear with me. i would like to ask you a question regarding a concern i have with the ukraine situation and putin leaping over and on
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supporting assad in some way or making it difficult for us to d work over the border in syria with this plan. and i would like to ask you to talk a little bit about the strategy that the kerry has implemented with his diplomat sit with the assad government so the that we can operate over the border in that area. do you think putin will try and interfere with anything that we have in terms of this exercise? >> thank you very much for your question. and, of course, russia has been providing the assad regime with weapons, with advice. there's been engagement there for decades. and he just want to step back b for a second and say i'm one of the few members that's ever say' traveled to syria. and with individuals from my owe region who spoke the language and we -- as we moved through
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syria and i looked at the as corrupt i have to be honest with you, i said to myself, how in cr heaven's name did the united he states of america ever allow ria syria to default to russia? when you go to syria, the artwork is beautiful. it isn't like the heavy soviet t art that you see when you travel through the former soviet union. the marketplaces in damascus was thriving. the syrian people are traders they are a business people.thri they're talented. trade and i thought wow, this feels e. more entrepreneurial to me than you know, fifth avenue in new pu york.fth av i mean, it was exciting to be there. under many syrian regimes, r religious meernts have been tolerated.tolera russia has a problem in its own country with the to ration of religious minorities. i just talked to the ukrainian orthodox church to find out how churches have been burned to the ground if they try to form a ssa
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congregation inside russia's borders. as an american,fo i said to myss how did we get it so wrong for so longing in syria. >> the ukrainian president will address a joint session of congress. bringing? mess poroshenko will bring a message face the months and years ahead in the nation of ukraine. i personally believe that a nation that has suffered so much in its own history deserves its moment, and i believe this is its moment in modern history.try we pray for him. momen we pray for those around him that they will be given the opportunity to heal that country without the interference of hato russia and that we will be able as a nation with the affiliation now of ukraine to the european gloon terms of trade and
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business ukraine could be one of the greatest nations in europe and indeed the world if she's given the chance. you just see it. >> "washington journal" can be heard live and seen live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. we leave it now to rejoin the house armed services committee hearing. it's resuming with secretary of defense chuck hagel and lieutenant general william mayville. this is live coverage. >> the first question i have is as you can imagine, talk of these actions against iceal have stoked some concern in the asia-pacific region that the rebalanced strategy will be abandoned or not fulfilled. i don't necessarily share these concerns but i was hoping that you might be able to touch on how we balance our efforts to degrade and destroy iceal and meanwhile, keep to our commitments in the rebalanced strategy in the asia pacific area.
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secretary hagel? >> congresswoman, thank you. i think your question is an important one because as we all know, the world is faced with many threats. america is faced with many threats. and we always have to keep in mind all of our interests are around the world. and certainly the rebalanced asia-pacific is one very clear commitment and interest we have. our efforts against iceal will not affect our commitment to asia-pacific as the president has made very clear. that commitment, that rebalancing will continue, and i think we have over the last couple of years in particular have made great progress as we have enhanced our relationships and partnerships in your part of the world.
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and very much appreciate of guam's role in all of this because you are a key, key area, and the people that you represent i want to also thank for their hospitality to all of our men and women who serve there. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. and i thank you for your very direct answer to my question. the other one is, i noted on tuesday that chairman dempsey talked about how this is a generation problem. and this battle against iceal will be protracted a protracted war. and with that in mind, what is the exit strategy for u.s. service members? if we are doing our job right over there at some point, our training teams should work themselves out of a job as the countries in the middle east take on these roles. so what is the plan for the
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exit? >> you're correct that our role and our work with you're partners is with an exit in mind. but let's start with what we're doing. and how we're doing it. first, the responsibility for bringing iraq back into a strong position to defend itself is the responsibility of the iraqis. the iraqi security forces, pesh merga, the government, the new government of prime minister abadi and bringing all the various segments of that country together. so it's not our responsibility. we're going to help them do that. we're going to support them in their efforts to do that.
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we will keep obviously some contingency of force there. but this is a different situation than we've had before. it is is their responsibility and their fight, but we'll help them. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i really appreciate your answers to my questions. and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. the chair recognizes himself for four minutes. >> thank you for being patient with us. we had a series of votes. we appreciate your sticking around for this. i voted for the amendment yesterday but i recognized in doing so that it was one element and it has a limited duration and we'll be back at the very least to consider what we're going to do about that one element. obviously it's one element of what is going to be a much, much bigger strategy. the president has key decisions to make there. we heard you talk about some of those today. my first question is, is it the
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president's intent your intent to come back to us with a bigger strategy so we can understand how that element and other elements fit together and operate together and if so, will you bring that back with a new aumf? because there are a lot of us who believe there needs to be a new aumf. as a matter of good policy, would you think that in addition to just giving us a strategy there should be an amf that accompanies it? >> congressman, thank you. on the aumf, as you've heard me say this morning and what the president has said, we believe -- believes he has the authority to do what he needs to do to keep this country safe and to degrade and defeat iceal within the statutory authority that now exists. he's also said as i've said that he would welcome the president or the congress's involvement,
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would welcome a rewrite of any of those authorizations. that's up to the congress. but in the meantime, he feels strongly that he needs to take action on these threats now. as to strategy, the strategy that the president generally laid out to the american people last week as i am up here testifying on today secretary kerry is, as well, has been, i was in the senate a couple of days ago as you know, other cabinet members have been up. we've been up briefing over the last two weeks as you know, in closed-door sessions and i'm sure you've been part of those briefings. all in an effort to further define and bring some clarity to the strategy, how are we implementing it, what resources we're going to continue to need, what are the dynamics to each of these. so i don't think the strategy changes.
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obviously, as we comply with the continuing resolution limits having to come back and in december with more information and i suspect in the next three months we'll have more fidelity and clarity on a number of things as you know, these are fluid and dynamic challenges. we have to be prepared for that that, be ready for that. so the basic strategy, i don't think, is going to change or shift. but as we evolve in our requirements and how we're implementing that strategy, will i suspect by necessity be redefined and shifted. >> listening to my colleagues in the house as we were debating the amendment as we were talking among ourselves, i think it would be very helpful to you in getting successful votes in the
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future if there was a clearly articulated strategy, complete comprehensive of strategy and i think it would equally help if it was accompanied with a new aumf. there's some of us that took the vote yesterday knowing that it was of a limited time duration that we were only talking about one element. i think it would strengthen our ability to support you and support the preds and perhaps getting some more votes if we had it all laid out for us, it was all put together in a package. i'm not trying to get into a legal argument with you or the president about legal authority. i'm talking about good policy. i just offer that observation to you and hope you'll take that back to the president. >> congressman, thank you. i will. i understand what you're saying. >> thank you very much, sir. the chair recognizes mr. gallego for four minutes. >> thank you. mr. secretary, thank you for hanging out and staying. i know that you know, many times when this row gets to ask u=ave.ons, the witness has to
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i appreciate the courtesy. very quickly, when we're talking about strategy, one of the things that i hear is that you know, we're very capable of winning battles but in the long run, we lose the war. that's certainly the impression that so many of the iraq war, the second iraq war veterans have in the district that i represent. as you know, it's a district that it's bigger than 29 states. i mean, it's about 24% or so of the land area of texas. it's a huge swathe. disparate opinions but there seems to be a good consensus that you know, the strategy that we'd outline is a strategy for a specific purpose, limited purpose as opposed to a more big picture long-term. you know? and the perception is we've seen this movieç before. what makes us think that the ending on this particular case is going to be any different than the endings that we've seen
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before? what makes this different from other times? >> well, first, i think the strategy that the president laid out corresponds very directly and clearly with the threat, and that threat has been identified and defined i think pretty clearly by the president and a number of us. this threat that iceal presents to the united states to our interests to our allies certainly to the region we believe is very clear. now, that said, the strategy that the president has announced that we are in the process of finalizing and in the process of implementing is different in many ways. number one, it includes the not just the strateguc but the tactical buy-in of many partners including partners in that
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region, including muslim arab countries. second, it defines oursd role ia very clear way. as the president said, there will not be american combat responsibilities on the ground. we will have support missions where we can help where we have unique capabilities along with our partners. another essential part of this is a new iraqi government that must bring an inclusiveness and a representation to not just the government but the governing where we bring -- the prime minister brings all the people in. i think the clear threat that iceal presents to all of those countries is so clear now and the common interests are so clear that that's different from anything i can recall in how we have certainly in the recent in
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our recent history how we've gone about anything. >> one of the important things that i want to ask you to keep in mind as you move forward is as you talk about getting investments from others is that we need to make sure that the american people are invested in this, as well. you know more than most about what happens when an american public is not supportive of u.s. military action. and it's very important that the public be kept engaged and that they be supportive of the president's action and frankly america's actions overseas. >> congressman, thank you. i get that and i think again, in fact, i know one of the reasons the president wanted to make that dress to the american public last week was for that very reason and we'll continue to make that point. thank you. >> the chair recognizes miss davis for four minutes. >> thank you. thank you very much, mr. secretary, for staying.
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i appreciate it. you know, we know that this is just fraught with complications but my belief is that the consequences of doing nothing is also fraught with great risks and i appreciate the fact of moving forward when we don't have all the answers clearly. you can tell from the questions here and the questions throughout the last few weeks and the wait, frankly, that the vote came up. good bipartisan yes and no. and so that means that we all have a lot of work to do i think. i know you appreciate that. the president requested that authority in order to provide direct military training for our moderate syrian rebels so that they have an alternative to isis. but the concern is partly the lack of unity among the disparate parts of those who
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together? i think the other concern is we obviously are looking for intel on the ground. and yet, it comes to air support and the intel on the ground which is why we're training the syrian forces first in local communities and then hopefully to be more helpful in the broader goals, we're going to need to have more whether it's
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partner support on the ground or u.s. support on the groundswell. and again, in terms of how we describe that strategy, i think that's very important to people. and that's another area that we really haven't heard much about. >> congresswoman, thank you. you askñp a very important question and you led with that
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the moderate opposition forces that we will be vetting in that process i think we talked at some length about this morning how we would do that and so on, our people in syria, people who have lived in syria, who are citizens of syria, whose families have lived there for a long time, they are being and have been squeezed right now, are being squeezed by both the assad regime and by iceal and other terrorist groups. right now, there is nothing that they have in any coordinated organized way to give anyone in syria who wants their country back and some kind of a future of peace and stability for their families and themselves any hope or any possibilities to build on. so the moderate opposition understands it's not a choice between necessarilily iceal and assad -- yes, isil is who we are focused on. that is our primary mission and objective here is to destroy isil. but the reality is that people
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that we st. louis train have to deal with that will both of those reality s realities and t new political base that will come from this organization of hope that we can help with a new moderate opposition. >> the chair recognizes for four minutes. >> thank you for -- there we are. thank you, mr. secretary. mr. secretary, i was one of those individuals who voted favor of the resolution supporting the president's plan last night with the mixed emotions and i know it's not a perfect plan but i think we need to start somewhere and i believe isil does pose a threat to the homeland and to our allies around the world based on the
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knowledge, the testimony i've heard from those on this committee and my work on the intelligence committee. my concern is though that there are going to be boots on the ground that that are going to be required but we don't want them to be u.s. boots. i support the president's position there. and i know you probably have talked about this already but for my knowledge, i need to know the commitment that we have from our neighbors in the region in terms of what they are going to be able to do to put boots ot ground because my constituents are really adamant that they don't want a big u.s. footprint involved in this with forces on the ground but and i know i'm concerned that we hear that it's going to take up to a year potentially to train the forces that we're training in syria. and that's obviously too long a time frame.
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if we had nations in the region who were willing to put boots on the ground now, at least to start with, it would be something to hold us over until those forces are trained that are going to go in and actually battle isil on the ground. so would you comment on that? >> congressman, thank you. i will comment on it. first on your question on coalition partners and what are they committed to do and when will they start doing it, and all the follow-up questions that go with it, just as an example, i understand this morning, i have not seen the report but i knew it was -- it was forthcoming that president hollande announced that france would be involved in military operations with us to destroy isil over iraq. the next piece of this syria and so on as far as i know they have not made a decision.
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but that's just but one since it just happened this morning, an example of how we're having more and more of these coalition partners come forward. but the bigger question that you asked specifically about partners in the region, coalition partners in the region, how are they going to play a role as we take time to forces and our trin and equip program. again, i would emphasize the importance of the entire dimension of the strategy. the train and equip portion of the moderate syrian opposition %
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time to start training these people the right people, the vetted people in groups where we're not just training one or two terrorists or anti-terrorists or fighters, but groups have discipline strategy, tactics, weapons that they can offer then a base of a beginning in syria not just a military option but also political opposition to build around that.
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so it is going to take some time. but it's all these other elements of the strategy working at the same time toward the same end. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you. >> mr. secretary, thank you for coming today. thank you for your patience and your candor. this is a great threat facing. the people of our country. you're very concerned about it. and we share your concern. we know that this needs to be a partnership between you and the president and the congress. and we want to continue to work with you and we appreciate the further communications we know we're going to be receiving from you. >> congressman, thank you very much. and i very much appreciate the questions, the attention and the support. >> thank you, sir. and this committee is adjourned. >> thank you.
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the senate is expected to vote today on a measure to train and arm moderate syrian rebel who are battling militants with
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the islamic state group. it's part of legislation to keep the government operating into december. the house approving that measure yesterday on a vote of 273-156. while this hearing was under way, u.s. central command tweet this had out. u.s. forces continued to use bomber and fighter aircraft to conduct two air strikes wednesday and thursday against isil in iraq. and the white house announced today support for ukraine. that was after the ukrainian president spoke before a joint meeting of congress this morning and president obama met with him at the white house. white house spokesman josh earnest was asked about that and the u.s. response to isis at today's briefing >> before we go to your questions, i did want to echo announcement that was made from paris earlier today i believe. the united states welcomes the announcement today from the president hollande that france will conduct air strikes in iraq. this is a significant contribution to the efforts of the growing international
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coalition to combat isil and we look forward to coordinating closely with our french partners in the days to come. so given the interest that there has been in our efforts to build this growing coalition, i thought i would note that at the top. but with that, darlene, i'll go to your questions if you're ready to get us started. >> i am. thank you. can you confirm reports out there that the u.s. also provide $46 million in military assistance to the ukrainian military? >> well, i did read an associated press report on that topic. yeah, they must have a good source. president obama is looking forward to his meeting with president poroshenko in the oval office shortly. you'll have the opportunity to hear from both of them about the discussion that they have today. the visit is an opportunity to highlight the united states' firm commitment to stand with ukraine as it purees democracy, stability and prosperity. the two presidents will be discussing efforts to pursue a
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diplomatic resolution to the crisis in eastern ukraine as well as our continued support for ukraine's struggle to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. we have announced that $53 million in new security and humanitarian assistance for ukraine which brings our assistance to approximately $291 million this year. that is in addition to a $1 billion loan guarantee that was announced earlier this year, as well. today's new package of assistance includes more than 7 million to be directed to international relief organizations to provide. humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict in the eastern ukraine. it also includes $46 million in security assistance that will support ukraine's military and border guards. this is in addition to the $70 million in security assistance that we've previously announced in ukraine. all of this is a reflection of the support from the united states for the people of ukraine as they seek to determine the
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future for their country that reflects their will. it also reflects our commitment to standing with the people of ukraine as they confront this incursion on their territorial integrity and sovereignty and on their efforts to build a strong democracien a strong economy for their people. >> president poroshenko was here today. he addressed congress. he's asking for legal aid. the u.s. is not yet ready 0 provide what he's asking for. is some of the assistance to providing aid does that have to do with the cease fire and perhaps wanting to see how long that will hold before you make a decision on whether to get ukraine any sort of weapons? >> well, i should point out that the an security assistance we are providing today does include account kind of valuable equipment useful to the ukrainian military. it includes things like body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision goggles and
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other devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, it also includes counter mortar radar equipment that could provide for the protection of ukrainian forces and provide warning of incoming artillery fire. so we're talking about some sophisticated military equipment that would be useful to the ukrainian military and to their security forces. the president and i believe as recently as a couple weeks ago was asked about the possibility of providing lethal assistance to the ukrainian military. in the context that have answer, the president talked about the strong ties between the u.s. military and the ukrainian military and our commitment to supporting them. at the same time, we believe that the best way to resolve the differences between the ukrainian government and the russian-backed separatists is for the russian government to use their influence with the separatists to encourage them to engage in legitimate negotiations with the central government to try to resolve their differences and to do that
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in a way that reflects a commitment to the genuine negotiations. we believe that is the path of resolving this situation in the most enduring way. it also is the way that is clearly in the best interests of those ukrainians right now the who are living in a conflict zone. >> if i could just switch to another topic, general dempsey told the associated press earlier today in an interview that it's going to take at least three months to begin training and arming moderate syrian rebels and eight months to a year to feel a cohesive fighting group. that seems like a long time. can any of that be done sooner? >> well, the chairman of the joint chiefs can of staff would have the best information about how the title 10 authority that we are hopeful that congress will pass today will be executed in pursuit of this mission to
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ramp up our assistance and training to syrian opposition fighters. as you know, darlene, the united states has been providing assistance to the syrian opposition including some military assistance for more than a year. so there is assistance that's already been provided that is already strengthening the syrian opposition forces. the president does believe, however, that additional assistance should be provided so that those syrian opposition fighters can be in a position to take the fight on the ground to isil in their country. this is part of the president's determination that it would not be in the national security interests of the united states to put american boots on the ground in syria in a combat role so we'll be someone however needs to be responsible as our military planners have said publicly. needs to be responsible for taking the fight to isil on the ground in syria and that is why account united states is taking
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an active role in ramping up the assistance that we provide to the syrian opposition. those syrian opposition fighters will have the backing of an international coalition of countries who are prepared to offer military support in the air. in support of their ground operations. so we are optimistic by implementing some of these changes that we can improve the capacity of the syrian opposition fighters but ultimately, the president believes that these syrian opposition fighters need to be responsible for taking the fight to isil in syria. >> steve? >> president poroshenko is asking for heavy weapons. why not simply give it to him? are you concerned about russian retaliation or something? >> steve, it's simply the judgment of the president that the best way for us to resolve or for the situation in ukraine to be resolved is through negotiations between the ukrainian central government and the russian-backed separatists
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in east. when asked this question in the past, the president has recognized or has acknowledged that it would be challenging to provide all of the military equipment necessary to try to level the playing field between the ukrainian military and separatists that have the backing of the rather sophisticated russian military. our strategy of supporting ukrainians has been somewhat different which is to provide them some economic and dim theic assistance and enough military assistance that they can -- that they can sort of bring both sides to the negotiating table to try to resolve their differences through negotiation as opposed to on the battlefield. >> you mentioned the french contribution. is that the only other country besides the united states joining in air strikes? >> well, steve, as i mentioned a couple of times in the past, you
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of thisç broader international coalition will largely come from those countries. that is the way that those commitments will have the most credibility. after all, it's the decision of the leaders of these countries to make about what sort of contribution they can dedicate to this broader international effort. the president did however yesterday in his remarks talk about some of the commitments that we've received and have already been carried out. there are more than 40 countries so far that have offered assistance to the broad campaign against isil. the united kingdom and france have been flying over iraq with us for some time. france in particular has some sophisticated intelligence and surveillance capability that's already been put to good use in iraq and the french president today announced that france was prepared to take the next step of actually carrying out air strikes in iraq. this is in addition to other commit ps that we've received both australia and canada have
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indicated that they are willing to send military advisors to iraq. german paratooers have committed toity praing in some of the training efforts we've been talking about. saudi arabia announced in the last couple of weeks that they would be in a position to host at least some of the training operations that would be -- that would ramp up the capacity of the syrian opposition fighters. so what sta recent to emerge there is a pretty good picture of the kind of broad international support that exists for their strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat, destroy isil. >> and lastly, the president sent out a tweet last night about keeping the uk together. what are his concerns about scottish independence? >> well, i think what the president was trying to make clear in the form of that tweet as he did in his previous comments on this topic is to make clear that this vote is one that should rightly be decided
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by the people of scotland. and they should cast a ballot in support ofyag]nesr they think i best for their country. the president speaking as the president of the united states talked about his belief that the united kingdom is a robust, strong, united partner and we want to keep them that way. okay? michele. >> i'm confused about the lethal versus nonlethal aid to ukraine. in the past a senior administration official told us there was a worry on the part of the u.s. of working this kind of proxy war against russia. is that still the concern or what really is the point of helping the ukrainians militarily but only up to the point of lethal aid? >> we do have an interest in making sure, michele, that the ukrainian military isn't overrun by the separatists. the separatists have access toes rather sophisticated military
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equipment because as we have said on numerous occasions, the russian military is actively supporting their efforts. there's nato has produced photographic evidence of this despite the denials, the hard to believe denials of russian military and political leaders. so the fact is, russians separatists are obtaining sophisticated military equipment from the separatists are obtaining sophisticated military equipment from the russians and we want to make sure that the ukrainian military doesn't get overrun but at the same time, this is a conflict that will not be satisfactorily resolved on the battlefield. there is an opportunity for this for these differences to be resolved around the negotiating table. that's where they should be resolved and the ukrainian government will have the support of the international community as they try to engage these russian-backed separatists in
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conversations. what we do and will continue to do is call on the russians to use their influence with the separatists to encourage them to engage in those conversations. russia's fail lure to do that will put them at risk of sustaining even more economic costs that could be imposed by the international community. it's time for russia to play a constructive role in this process and the failure to do so has already led to significant economic costs being imposed on the russian people and the russian economy. >> in all this time including since the cease fire, have you seen any step at all by russia to do that, to use their influence to de-escalate it? >> there have been some indications that the -- that the russians have taken some steps that are consistent with supporting the cease-fire agreement that was reached a couple of weeks ago. but we have seen as we have in
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the past some mixed signals from russia on this. and so while there are some signs to ob optimistic about the direction that this is headed, there's still a lot more work to be done to implement the cease-fire agreement to convene the kind of negotiations that will ultimately resolve the differences between the ukrainian central government and the separatists in the east. >> so you're still seeing troops massed at the border? >> i would refer you to the department of defense and other places about what sort of -- what the latest assessment is of the situation at the border and what the latest assessment is of russia military involvement is in this conflict. what we've seen is a pattern of russia continuing to allow weapons and materiel to be transported across the border from russia into ukraine into the hands of russian backed separatists? >> that's still happening. >> for the latest tease esment, refer to the department of
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defense. what we have consistently seen since the cease fire agreement, we have seen the conflict de-escalate. there are indications the cease-fire is taking hold. but there have been sporadic
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however you want to characterize it. what i'm wondering is, if all these represent sort of differences of opinion from the present team that people ask questions about them and dates and bureaucracy, it's the latter. it seems a little bit off of this. i'm confident that the national security team on the same page. i feel so confident in saying that, i would encourage you or colleagues to check with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. they are on the same page as the community. as it relates to some of the
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instances that you are serving to, the thing that we have said for quite sometime is that these are complex issues. the president feels a strong commit to make sure we communicate with our ales and what our tell us is and isn't. it is appropriate for you and colleagues to scrutinize the comments of me and other people and the people doing interviews before congress. we welcome that. i think what sometimes that scrutiny lends itself to is a dissection of words. when we are talking about complicated issues, it's natural for people to raise additional questions about the comments. what i have said throughout the
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instances that we have cited, the comments with chairman dempsey and secretary kerry is consistent with the policy that has been laid out by the commander in chief. that continues to be laid out today. >> i wanted to ask about the chairman, debbie wassermann schultz. harry reid said that the future was up to the president. what i'm wondering since the article expresses them, whether it remains confident and whether you expect her to serve throughout the rest of the time. >> i did read in the story, on the record statement, my colleague here expresses his full support for the work of the
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chair and all the staff of the dnc. that is work they do outside. it produces results for the chairman who has a strong record of performance that indicates the benefits of the tireless work she has been engaged in over the last four years or so. she has been the chair of the party. over the last 20 months she travelled to 37 states in 99 cities. just more should be in the triple-digits. under her leadership, they expanded the staff. they expanded the support and the voter expansion project.
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including places. they worked closely with the finance staff. the dnc incurred that to increase candidates. they have succeeded and operating in a surplus. that doesn't happen by accident. the chairman and the dnc. that does really good work outside of the spotlight. they were in position until january 17th since she expressed that desire, the chairman of the party. >> her term does run through
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2017. the membership of the dnc. i don't anticipate the current members's reaction by isis. specifically not taking things off the table and are you concerned about letting the males do what they will? >> i had a version of this question before. i did not see the general's testimony. i am not in a position to react to him, but i can react to the contingent that you raised, the wisdom of taking things off the table when it comes to military
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strategy. it's deploying the personnel in iraq and syria to serve in a combat role. the president does not serve in remarks to the men and women at mcbiel air force base yesterday. he doesn't believe it's in the interest of the us for us to get dragged back into a ground war. you will not see columns rolling through iraq with the goal of holding in iraq. providing for the security of the nation of iraq is not something that they can do alone. they are providing security in iraq for large segments of territory for the iraqi people.
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they must do this for themselves. they could unite the diverse elements to confront the isil threat. we're gratified that the iraq political leaders have taken the step of forming the government and live up to their promise to govern in an inclusive way. make sure the citizen across the country feels like the central government and looking out for their best interest. that will have a positive impact on the capacity for forces to fight for and defend that country. the reason they have been clear about that, it's important to be as transparent as possible. it's important for them to understand that the american military has been swooped in to
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save them. the american military and the people are ready to support the iraqi people. as they take the fight to isil sill on the ground. they can count on being backed up as they have been for the last couple of months by american military air strikes. they can count on the support of the coalition for the building. as i mentioned the president indicated a willingness to order the french military to carry out air strikes in iraq too. that will be done in coordination of the mission and in support of the effort by iraqi forces on the ground in iraq. it's important for the american people to understand what the strategy is and jnt. it's important for the iraqi people and the strategy is and isn't. they need to take responsibility for the information.


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