tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 20, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EST
unfortunately, what we tend to do with these programs when we finally get them near end of production, is reduce the rates to accommodate budget changes and that inevitably introduces inefficiencies. overruns are a problem. they're a little lower than they have been and i think they've gotten a fair amount of attention in this administration, but i wouldn't want to sit here and say this problem is solved. i think part of it is human nature nature. i think you see it in most infrastructure products. i can't quote them, i remember some that looked at major infrastructure problems of similar complexity. many of them have overruns as well. >> isn't part of it the representative government that -- >> democracy the root of all evil? >> we have a chance to pick up -- >> both procurement and military
bases as for jobs in so many congressional districts. and i have heard very conservative members of congress say government doesn't create jobs, it destroys them, and all that sort of thing. it doesn't apply to the military base in my district. if we lost that, we would lose jobs. is there anyway around this? >> i don't know how, other than a fundamental change. i remember seeing many years ago, a map of where the subcontracts were, i think it was the b-2 bomber. there was a pin -- the companies are smart enough to be sure that this happens, because they know the reality of it. i think to some extent representative democracy is inherently inefficient. that doesn't mean there aren't
things you carve out and ask government to do because they only do it. you probably do want to minimize them because it's not going to be as efficient if you have a truly competitive industry. >> and yet we ought to at least acknowledge that the base culture commission turned out to be a very effective mechanism and we closed hundreds of bases. >> we have a few more to go. >> i understand that but this is not a problem that you can't deal with. we have dealt with it under the terms of democracy, it's been very impressive. >> the annual savings from those five rounds is $12 billion a year, so if we hadn't done that starting in the '80s, we would be spending 12 billion more in perpendicular tuitety absolutely and we need another round of brac. >> is there a way to apply that to the procurement problem? >> i don't see how easily to do that. congress is part of the problem, but i think a lot of this is in
the executive branch -- several things happen we don't tend to coral appetites as well as we should. there's a realization by the creators of the systems that are going to be around for 20 30 years, they want them to function well, they push the requirements to a level that is very expensive and then the problems i just cited of human nature keep the costs down low. tend to lead to overruns. i go back to what i said earlier, it's a little crass, but i think you should count on -- you should look at a price of a weapon early in its life and say do i still want this if it is somewhat more expensive? if the answer is no you better worry. >> i agree with the difficulty here. i think there is essentially a way in which there's a check on the system, which is if the question is, do i need to buy 22 b-2 bombers, congress might just say no. and with the f-22 fighter which
was originally going to be a lot less expensive. lockheed martin, made the best jet in the world. we were supposed to have 750. and two things happened the cold war ended, we didn't need as many, also, the price kept going up, the congress and pentagon decided we better curtail this program. what we do instead is keep the f-15s flying longer. we use the existing system longer refurbish it, remanufacture it and i think there's room within today's pentagon budget to do a lot of that. this isn't the one point we touched on, sort of rap up the initial part of the event. if you look for a lot of reasonable reforms in how the pentagon does business, you do that additional round of base closures, you get the health care premium changes that bob and others were promoting you make a few other efficiencies which they're trying to accomplish. even if you do all of this, you're probably going to essentially pay for the needed
increase in your budget, because you are too optimistic about how much various things would cost. in other words, you need to do this to tread water, you need to do the base closures and the military compensation reforms just to sort of tread water and make the administration's plan consistent. if we sequester in addition or we cut further where the administration is going, even if you do the base closures, it takes five years to get the savings anyway. even if you do the compensation reforms, you are not going to begin to pay for sequester, you're going to have to cut the army down even further you're going to have to cut the navy at a time when china's navy is growing, these are the kinds of specific issues that we should get into -- >> i want to make sure i understand the terms here. you're not really talking about the process of across the board spending cuts 37 you're talking about lives with the level of spending that would exist if they either avoid the sequester
by appropriating that much money or being stuck with -- >> i think the caps are too low regardless of how you get there. >> i think the same thing is really true in the domestic side. there are things that appear on people's lists of things that could be done better for example, we have an awful lot of job training programs and they don't work especially well, i would be in favor of a serious look at those programs and consolidation of them. and improvement of them, so that they are actually better at training people for real jobs. that said, it's not going to save much money. you ought to be doing all of those kinds of things. but even if you do, the same thing is true, this amount for the whole set of discretionary domestic programs is quite small and getting smaller in relation to the needs of a growing
economy. >> we're going to turn to the audience here unless someone wants to make another point. raise your hand. >> doctor, you touched on this in your first answer now that we put these caps on defense spending, has this encouraged any of our nato members to begin picking up the slack? if it has not, what level of defense spending will encourage them to spends a little more on world defense and stability. >> your first answer is no. allies are spending more. except in the middle east nato
continues to go through the floor. it's very mediocre even against the standards the alliance established. we're still over 3%. we're headed toward 2.6, 2.8. average for us was 6 to 10% depending on the period. they're way below our current standards. your second question a very good question. i don't see evidence that there is a correlation, partly based on my first answer. if we cut more, i don't think the answer is necessarily that at some point the allies get serious providing four their own defense. the answer could be they become vulnerable to attack. or they wind up overcompensating and engageing in a regional arms race. the nice thing about a strong american linchpin, the allies can plug into. it tends to keep a lid on the
regional tensions. for example, japan, korea, china. three countries that don't necessarily get along all that well, if you leave them to your own devices, i prefer a system in which there's a strong american linchpin, i'm not sure if we see evidence -- you. >> think putin will lead to higher defense spending in europe? >> their economies are in much worse shape than ours. >> the gentleman here in the front? >> thank you. i wanted to ask -- actually provoke you to think about destructive events that might change the calculus for good or evil. you can call them wild cards, ticking timebombs. no one predicted oil at $50 a barrel. i don't think anyone thought swiss were going to take caps off the frank. there may be hundreds of thousands of soldiers who come back with traumatic brain
injuries, which should not have been but will be putting huge pressure on the budget. you have a replacement program on the higher class. what sort of disruptive events do you think could really change the calculus that you worry about or could worry about? both domestically and internationally. >> in defense? >> answer go, please. >> interest rates. interest rates are amazingly low. and yet they're going to increase 262% in the next ten years, under the cbo baseline. if the interest rates went up it would be -- that would really be a difficult event to contend with, i don't see another way except cutting spending and we'd have to raise revenues, i'm sure. >> i'll take a couple, it's probably more mike's line. we have an unstable ruler in north carolina. i don't think anybody can know what he's going to do. we have several tens of thousands of u.s. troops not very far away.
that could be a disruptive act. iran has certainly got to continue to be worrisome, events in afghanistan could be disruptive if things go poorly there. issue s issues that -- >> i understand one, and i know you thought about this yourself all out competition with china. so something that i know alice fears we have a panel several years ago she and bob okayingen and i -- what an arms race with china might look like, right now, it's not an arms race, it's an arms competition. they're spending 2% of their gdp. they're sitting on an upward
trajectory. are we going to try really hard to keep our defense budget level well above theirs how is this going to play in presidential politics? right now i think there's no likelihood of a big disruption based on political debate and strategic debate in brookings events. if you had an exchange of gunfire, perhaps provoked by, or not provoked by cat liesed by some of our allies in iraq and china, in an unfortunate way. we see an american ship sunk. maybe the chinese weren't shooting at us they were shooting at the taiwan navy, but they missed, who knows. something like that, even if it doesn't produce all out war could produce an all out arms race that would be a disruptive event. >> another possibility -- we have a very big debt to gdp ratio. we bore ror heed a lot of money because we had a huge recession. it's not clear to me we could do that again, i'm not so confident that we won't have that threat
again. whether from outside the united states or inside. >> well, you -- >> you mentioned the oil prices have got to have -- >> you really caught us. >> i think the most -- the economic side we could have seen the worst of the last of the problems. we could have -- we could be on the cusp an increase of productivity, that would spin off more revenues and allow us to reduce the debt to gdb ratio much faster than we anticipated if we got lucky. i don't put a high probability on that, but i wouldn't count it out. >> keeping the caps on, a little help. at a tremendous cost. >> enumerator, not the denominator. >> he was looking for good news. >> well, i'm not sure what good news he's looking for. >> i think it would be good -- i think it would be good news if
we had more domestic spending of the right kind. and what would trigger that? possibly some kind of disaster that we don't want, like another bridge falling down or an air disaster. we did not compute -- the russians put the satellite up there, we decided we better spend more for science. >> question over here gentleman in the front row? >> the long range research and development plan, industries indicated they've been a little reluctant because the ap tour's so large on it, and the funding isn't that large. "was wondering what you saw for the future of the program, the funding of the program and maybe it's success. >> what is it anyways?
>> long range bomber? >> no. you're talking about the defense innovation initiative? >> yes. >> so it's a program announced several months ago by secretary hagel looking for initiatives that could be game changers from an r&d standpoint. a new stealth, for example. certainly a game changer. munitions, things that have changed, warfare. you know i think it is still in gestation, and at least that's my sense. i'm not deeply -- i'm certainly not deeply involved in it but the procession of going through thinking about where we should invest r&d for the future is a health healthy one. i'm not sure we can legislate innovation. i think it is healthy to require the department to think am i spending in the right places? are there areas where i should be more innovative?
people to start-ups for example, interact with them in ways that may produce new ideas. i think it's a healthy process, and i don't know where it's headed. but i'm glad we're going down that road. >> gentleman here in the middle and then -- right where you are. >> right in front of you? >> gao did two reports, studying the effect of sequestration. given the concern about the slow eating away of the maintenance or domestic agencies. what is the chance that brookings would adopt the methodology that gao used and create a sequestration monitoring project so that in addition to the many things you do, you provide every two or
three years regular reports on the state of the impacts of sequestration. rather than having add hock events like this one there would be a permanent monitoring? >> i think that's a good idea i would amend it i would be bugging dave, because he runs this new hutchens -- >> you put him up to this? >> to undertake some kind of a depression airy spending initiative. i would want it not just to monitor the effects of the caps, but also to undertake the bigger question of where should we be spending more and where should we be spending less. assemble some evidence about how programs are working or not working that would be guidance for the congress on just that question. >> caller: you've all agreed
that sques question is bad. the budget caps probably aren't good either. a republican congress isn't going to be raising taxes any time soon, you kind of threw out there a minute ago, faster gdp growth. where's the discussion regarding effect on the fiscal policy. work on the fiscal policy from the congress to perhaps free up the corporations, to do more under capital spending. rising tide all boats float kind of thing, won the that get rid of a lot of this entire discussion? >> buffer issues are sitting on a lot of money right now and they could borrow more at very low interest rates they are not investing enough. it's not entirely clear what the government could do about that. maybe you're suggesting corporate tax reform, i'd be for that, but i don't think there's much evidence that it would
unleash a tidal wave of corporate investment. >> over here phil from brookings, i'm wondering at what point these caps become painful enough and the decision difficult enough that mandatory spending, it's not the subject of this event becomes more on the table, more a focus of debate, more of maybe even a regular subject of budgeting for congress? >> i think that it's going to happen regardless of the caps, because with ryan being on weighs and means committee, and talking about tax reform, also he's been a consistent supporter, which really could be a game changer he's not going do give up on that, i wouldn't be surprised to see the house pass it again. there are some possibilities, irrespective of the caps, the republicans will do the right thing, and go after entitlement
spending. as long as we have president obama, i doubt that anything very big will mass but it will be interesting to see. >> but it's very hard politically, even if you're a republican to cut -- to either get tax reform that raises revenues or significant entitlement reform. and it's much easier to cut this discretionary spending. i mean, i was as dave mentioned at the beginning, a veteran of both the simpson-bowles commission. and we proposed tax reform entitlement reform, and caps on discretionary spending. what have they done? they tightened the caps way below what either commission recommended. and they didn't do anything about either tax reform or entitlements. >> i think the one thing that might have changed enough that there could be some action on entitlements, the republican
house has worked very hard to educate it's members about how important medicare is as a problem, support is a reasonable solution. and they support for three or four years and they haven't suffered consequences in the electorate yet. i'm more optimistic than you are. >> i think both entitlement reform and tax reform have to have bipartisan buy-in. they have to have a lot of people around the country saying, we understand this, and it's okay. and that's hard to achieve. >> i agree it's hard the other factor that makes me hopeful is the looming 2016 presidential race. i think about the players, everyone's going to have to say how their plan will do as well for the deficit as the budget control act which is as we know not very good over the medium to longer term. even though our deficits have
been cut back to a manageable number at the moment it's not going to stay that way based on baby boomers retiring and all the things people in this room know well about. it looks like the projections are for trillion dollar deficits again, not too long into the next decade. and so that becomes the would be second term of the next president, and, therefore, a president presumably is going to be asked on the campaign trail to explain his or her vision for the country. and is going to want to explain the vision in terms of american power. military, safety, and long term national growth, is going to have a hard time avoiding this question, just to give two names, if hillary clinton runs as expected she is a strong advocate of a strong national defense, she's not going to want to leave any gray area about her bona fides on that subject trying to become a woman president from the democratic party. it's going to be incumbent on
her to explain how u.s. military will do well under her watch and also how the country will grow in terms of its education, infrastructure, science and so forth, these are the things that amount to a presidential vision. and they require some degree of budget discipline, anybody campaigning is going to have a temptation not to want to talk about cutting entitlements, i agree, having said that, there are ways to limit the growth, the cost of living formulas. you can phase it in gradually, anyone who's near retirement doesn't have to lose anything, for a republican running. republicans, they may have the tea party within their broader gop umbrella. it's still the party of ronald reagan when it comes to presidential races, i'm going to believe that until i'm proven wrong. you can see it with rand paul. he's becoming the guy that wants to build up american strength. which is reagan's legacy as well. reagan didn't use the military a lot. rand paul has recognized you
don't become the republican nominee by being the tea party guy. and paul senses he can win. this is my interpretation obviously, you're a better expert than i. any gop front-runner or likely nominee is going to have to explain how american power will improve on their watch, that's the legacy of the party of ronald reagan, i see presidential politics as a hopeful indicator, not for what's going to happen this year, but certainly by 2017. >> zach biggs reporter with james. i was hoping we could parse the difference between the 2016 caps and the rest of the year under the budget control act. the last year we have this flat spending for defense in particular. before we start to see some of that increase before it keeps up with inflation we heard the horror stories of what was going to happen as a result of the downturn, we're pretty much through the major part of that
downturn. what's different this year versus the subsequent years when there is an actual increase in the cap? >> i find it hard to get excited about those out years. so much is likely to change. you're right. even in 2016 under the defense, there's a 1% increase, probably not enough to keep pace with inflation. but there is an increase, and then it gets up in the two range, it will be roughly flat. i'm not sure whether -- if the gift of your question is nothing has gone wrong so if we're flat we're okay, i would take issue with that, military readiness has been significantly damaged especially in 2013 with sharp sequestration cuts and the other problems i described earlier and there's a gradual attempt to recover, but it's not there yet. we have under funded in the out years of the defense budget
support activities military construction is an obvious one. it was quite well funded in the 2010 period, it's now clearly under funded, we're not spending enough to maintain you can do that for a number of years, you'll pay the price eventually. there are problems that exist right now. and when you add to those the threats that i see as being pretty severe to u.s. national security, they lead me to believe that we need modest increases in defense to fully meet our national security objectives. >> one example. look at the u.s. navy. the u.s. navy right now which is the centerpiece service for dealing with china's rise has 285 major ships as they define them, that's in contrast to twice that many in the 1980s, about 350 even in the 1990s, in other words, it's substantially less.
meanwhile, china has substantially increased its fleet, i'm not saying we should be ready for an all out fight with china. but i am suggesting that our ability to sustain presence and commitment and keep the region stable and help persuade china to rise in a generally peaceful way does depend on our being able to sustain capability in the western pacific region. the navy has tried and president obama hasérúk tried to say we're going to pace a higher fraction of the navy in the western pacific region, the historic average of 50% is being increased to 60% by the end of this decade. that's the trajectory we're on. that makes sense. hillary clinton was part of that, i think it's a strong legacy of the first obama term, president obama's tried to sustain it in a second term. the trip to beijing went well, he's trying to keep this concept going. 60% of a smaller navy could be
less than 50% of the old navy if you're not careful. right now, the navy's ship building budget depending on increases in that budget top line, even if the ships come in on cost. which they won't. if you want to grow the navy modestly, you're going to have to see this downturn we're in. certainly avoid the sequestration -- i see modest real growth in the navy budget in the years to come, that's a reasonable standard by which to judge military efficacy, you can debate the number of ships is not the be all and end all, it depends which ships and what capability. i'm not suggesting that numbers by themselves answer this question, the logic of saying we should be headed upward and toward a somewhat larger navy at a time of such rapid chinese growth, is a compelling logic it's at risk under the caps that are now potentially going to
arrive arrive. >> behind you to your left. >> jason here at brookings ien watted to ask, there's a large department that gets grouped into domestic spending, but deals with security as well. that's dhs. historically, dhs tends to be taken care of similar to dod as well, they get funded appropriations when others do not. and going back to this system shock incident. we have what's playing out in france, and we have the ongoing discussion about what to do with dhs with the cr that comes up in february. i guess my question is might this be instructive as to how congress approaches the issue of domestic spending and security, or is this just a one off immigration issue? i don't want to get involved in immigration policy? >> i think it's a one off issue because of the president's executive order. i doubt there would have been
any problem about moving ahead with the dhs budget but for that. >> don't you think it could be a symptom of one of the few things that congress can really do is hold up the spending bills in order to have leverage with the president? they can't overwright the veto in the senate, the temptation to get limb to do stuff is enhanced. >> it's a temptation, and here's an example. it might happen again. but they did pass them all, so they don't get another chance to do that with an appropriations bill for a while. >> back there? >> hi, i have a question about infrastructure investment. i think the u.s. government. local and federal were spending 2 to 3% of gdp in the 60s or
70s, now it's less than 1%. my question is why the u.s. government hasn't reduced the investment on infrastructure so much. does that reflect republicans seeking for a smaller government or people's hostility for public spending in general? >> i think there are several factors. it's been going on a lot longer than republicans have been in charge of congress. i think both parties are -- bear some of the responsibility. and if you look at the individual systems like spending on the highway trust fund which people have known is a problem for a long time. the congress has done virtually nothing about it maybe they will this year i think it's not necessarily a partisan thing it's just that it could be republicans fault in this sense, in order to do something serious about a spending on infrastructure, there are going to have to be additional revenues of some kind. that republicans are clearly
completely against. it's -- you need to think of creative ways like investment bank of some kind, maybe a devoted change of code that will produce revenues. produce a fund that could produce investments, infrastructure, something like that. we are way lower, we've been declining for well over a decade, and we have a lot of problems, the estimates of inefficiencies and how long people wait in traffic. how much money we lose in airports because they're so inefficient. we're going to have to do something, but there will be some requirement on some kind of financing, other than an out and out tax increase i think. republicans appear to be reluctant to increase the gas tax, which has been declining for years and years and years it's going to continue to decline. i think that's the most important holdup. some creative way to finance more investment in our
infrastructure. >> i think you're right but financing question has been the hold up, the -- we decided to finance highways through a gas tax, that was a great idea for a long time, now americans are driving less and driving more fuel efficient cars, this is just a diminishing resource. there are plenty of other ways to finance highways, including different kinds of taxes vehicle miles driven tax would make a lot more sense than gas tax. but it's been hard to get people together opinion i think it would have to be bipartisan around a new look, how we finance highways and bridges and other infrastructure. >> it sounds like your answer is two fold. one is, it is a symptom of disappointing, dysfunctional our political system is something that's as popular as an infrastructure can't get done.
how to finance it has become part of that ideological obstacle. >> i would say it's more that the congress has not focused enough on ways to refinance. i think that's the problem. they need to think of things, it probably has to be participate, it's got to be something that can at least be made to appear like it's not a tax increase. though, i think there are problems here it's going to happen sooner or later. >> i agree with that, i think that the idea that there's some magic out there that -- call it san investment bank or whatever that's going to bring in a lot of private money to finance roads and bridges is something of a fantasy. >> do you think it was a mistake the stimulus bill didn't have more infrastructures? >> i think it was a mistake that the stimulus bill wasn't larger although they don't think they could have gotten a larger one through. there was some infrastructure on
some investment. yes, there probably should have been more. but it was a very hard case to make. >> don't you think there's this general skepticism about government that has made it possible for a lot of projects to get done? i don't know whether high speed rail is a good idea or not, i never predicted it would be a symbol of everything that's wrong with the government or everything that's right with jerry brown. there's something more than dollars and cents here. >> i think that's probably true. at some point reality's going to intrude. and the congress is going to have to do something, and it will. >> at some point it will interfere. and michael actually thinks something good could come of the 2016 presidential campaign. in these conversations that passes for wild eyed optimism. join me in thanking our panel. [ applause ] >> thank you for coming and if there's a paper cup under your seat or sheet of paper pick it
up and put it in the garbage can, we'd appreciate it. on the next washington journal, lawmakers react to president obama's state of the union speech and talk about their party's priorities for the coming year we'll hear from tom price, republican from georgia then the vice chair of the democratic caucus, congressman joseph crawly. and senator roger wicker the mississippi republican who's the chair of the gop senatorial committee. plus, we'll take your phone calls, facebook comments and tweets. starting live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> coming up we'll be covering the inauguration speech state of the union address and state of the state speeches.
and fellow citizens of north dakota. welcome and thank you for joining me here today. it's an honor and a privilege to address this joint session of the 64th legislative assembly, including your new speaker, wes better of district 22. [ applause ] >> wes and i came into the house together in 1984. hardly aged a bit. and i only made it 16 years in the house. wes is now 30 years in the house, and still going. and as always. i find him looking over my
shoulder making sure that i'm doing my work the right way. wes, i look forward to the session together and i look forward to continuing our work together with all of the members of the legislature. here in north dakota our people come first, and i am confident that we will continue to demonstrate what great things can be achieved when we work together in the spirit of public service and cooperation. i suspect there are many governors all across this great nation who wish they could offer an address like the one i will share with you today. ladies and gentlemen two years ago i stood before you and reported that the state of the state was strong. today i am pleased to tell you that we've made great progress since then.
and that north dakota is stronger than ever. first, let's remember where we've come from. gerald miller of williston stopped by my office a year ago to share with me a usa today news article published on february 24, 2004, he wanted to remind us how far north dakota has come. i couldn't agree more. it's a telling illustration of our progress. i don't want to share all of it with you today. usa today reported in the front page article that north dakota was doing all the right things to energize its economy the national newspaper reported that our economic development strategies were gaining traction, and the state economy
was showing signs of growth. our early progress, however didn't convince all of our college graduates and other job seekers that north dakota offered a promising future. many of our young and well educated were still leading in drills. north dakota was growing older and was the only state to lose population from 2000 to 2003. big cities lure away north dakota youth it says. other national publications around this time were even less balanced with one the new york times going so far as to revive the ridiculous notion that the best economic notion for the great plains would be to turn the entire region into a vast nature park or buffalo commons.
we always knew better and now the entire nation knows better as well. this graphic published by governing magazine in april shows how the people of every county in the nation have faired in terms of their personal income between 2007 and 20012. the counties in dark brown show the greatest gain in personal income. north dakota was the only state to show gains in personal income in every single county. more recent data shows that north dakota's personal income continues to be among the nation's highest. in fact, north carolina's personal income is steadily risen since 2004 from 13% below the national average to 19%
above the national average. our economic progress has not been confined to oil country. north dakota's growth and personal income is fueled by our state's robust economy. over the past 10 years north carolina's economy has averaged an annual growth rate of 10.3%. nearly 3 times that of the nation's economy. we also continue to have the nation's lowest unemployment rate at just 2.4%. and our growing commercial activity has created more than 106,000 new jobs in the past 10 years many after years of migration and population decline our population is growing, we now have some of the nation's
fastest growing communities throughout the state. two years ago the census bureau reported that north dakota has reached a new record population of nearly 740,000 residents. north dakota is also getting younger. a major shift in the long term demographics, a sign of our state's bright future, bright prospects for the future. our growth is allowing north dakotaens to stay close to home. it's attracting new residents from across the country. coallby lynn told me he was astonished at what he saw when he travelled from new york city to north dakota in 2007 to visit a friend. he expected to come across a few isolated towns, far out paced by
the larger metro areas, instead he found fargo and bismarck to be vibrant communities with more growth potential than new york. his visit must have left quite an impression, because today colby, his wife jo jo and their two kids call bismarck home. they are a welcomed edition to this community where they own and operate two restaurants. kobe told us, he is proud and fortunate to call bismarck home and he's grateful for the community's strong support at his restaurants, which by the way employ about 35 people. kobe and jo jo we're glad you've come to north dakota. thank you for contributing to our economy, for creating jobs and thanks for the great sushi.
kobe and jo jo please stand and be recognized for a moment. >> it's stories all across north dakota like the lynns that convinced me we're on the right track. in august, gallop, the national research and polling company released the results of a comprehensive survey of all 50 states. this independent poll based on interviews with 600 residents in each state. details how north dakotaens feel about the state economy, state government education system and
many quality of life measures. for the first time ever gap open asked the same 42 questions in every state. when asked if their states economic conditions were good or excellent. north dakotaens answered yes more often than any other state. is it a good time to find a quality job? north dakota ranked number one in positive responses. is your state a good place to start a new business? north dakota is first in the nation. are the economic conditions in your city or area getting better? north dakota ranked number one in the nation. we rely on a wide range of economic data to help us understand the dynamics of our state economy. and it's impact on our citizens.
statistics are helpful the most valuable information i receive comes from the people i talk with all across the state. the gallop poll bears out what i hear all the time. it is gratifying to know that our progress is making a real difference in people's lives. our economic growth is creating many benefits all across north dakota. we also know growth comes with its own challenges. we remain committed to meeting them head on. in every region of the state we continue to invest in public infrastructure projects that will pay dividends for decades to come. never before in our state's history have we undertaken such an ambitious campaign to improve our roads and highways, expand water supply?@"çñï systems advance flood control projects and develop affordable housing.
these projects enhance the quality of our lives and support our growing economy. we remain committed to permanent flood protection in the fargo area. the fargo area and in the minot area. we're investing in flood control projects in devil's lake, williston, and on the cheyenne river. we're also working to bring quality water supply to more and more people. the continued development of affordable housing is another important focus. in just the past four years the state has leveraged nearly $90 million in tax credits and inventive funds to support the development of 2,500 housing units reserved for low to moderate income residents and for key employees in the community. our housing incentive fund has worked extremely well, and we
have recommended expanding the program from $35 million to $50 million during the upcoming biennium. our pace program has also supported the building of thousands of homes and apartments. we have focused our housing programs on western north dakota, but these development tools are also making a difference in other communities across the state. north dakota's oil production region has significant infrastructure needs and we have steadily increased the state's financial support. in the current bieniunium alone, the state will invest about $2.7 billion in our state and oil producing counties. and i have recommended increasing the state support during the upcoming biennium by another $1 billion.
[ applause ] new bypass routes are providing great relief from residents in williston, alexander, dick inson and newtown. we're making good progress to four-lane u.s. highway 85 and upgrade our high terrific areas throughout the region. we're investing hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the region's busy airports and to improve city streets, as well as county and township roads. managing the kind of growth found in our oil counties is also a heavy responsibility for local leaders we owe a debt of gratitude to all of the region's mayors city and county commissioners, educational
leaders, and the many other people who support their communities in so many ways. ward kozer served as mayor of williston for 20 years before retiring last summer. he was elected mayor in 1994 when the city's population and commercial activity were in decline. those days make a start contrast towards the last four years in office, when williston was rapidly expanding and became the fastest growing micro politan area in america. through it all ward provided exceptional leadership. he was a stronged a vocal for his community, and williston is a better place today because of him. ward and his wife joetta are here today. would you please stand and be
recognized for your many outstanding years of service to the city of williston? [ applause ] the best leaders shine in times of change and challenge. ward provided a steady hand during the lean times and he met the challenge when williston became the epicenter of the nation's energy resurgence. fargo mayor also distinguished himself as a dedicated leader. denny will always be remembered for holding back the holding river and for leading his city into an era of unprecedented growth and opportunity. there are many strong leaders in our oil and gas region and throughout north dakota.
thanks to all of you who are leaders for our state. i look forward to continuing our work together as we move forward. e especially in the state's oil and gas region. we're providing additional funding for schools with rapid enrollment growth. they've expanded in western north dakota's court system, and we provided additional resources in the region's local law enforcement agencies. we should all be proud of the vital role our state is playing to help america strengthen its energy independence. we have become the nation's second largest oil producer and as our energy production has increased, so has our responsibility. and for that reason, we've taken
major steps to strengthen the state's oversight of the oil and gas industry. the state has adopted new oil conditioning standards to improve the safety of oil for transport. we've required major reductions in the -- of natural gas and we've revised more than 60 sections of the regulatory code to strengthen our oversight of environment and environmental protections. in both the 2011 and 2013 legislative legislations we significantly expanded a regulatory staff to be sure we enforce our health and environmental rules. and i have recommended funding additional positions during this legislative session. we've also recommended that the public service commission augment the work.
of the pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration to monitor our rail's safety and pipeline integrity. we also remained firmly committed to keeping north dakota one of the safest states in the country. since 2011 we have steadily expanded the capabilities of our highway patrol. the state bureau of criminal investigation. our judicial system and the department of corrections parole and probation services. this next line shows each person's level of confidence in their government to meet the challenges like public safety and air quality. when gallup asked residents of every state if they trust their government to handle state problems north dakotans answered yes more often than
residents of any other state.wky are you satisfied with your standard of living? do you have confidence in your judicial system? are you satisfied with your air quality? in answering these and other questions of our government north dakotans are more satisfied than residents of other states. for local law enforcement officers in western north dakota the region's rapid growth has created even greater challenges. these local police and sheriff deputies will be supported by state grant funds and the additional of 22 new highway patrol troopers since 2011. in addition to the new fbi office. national drug and sex traffickers are finding north dakota the wrong place to do business.
trooper grant losdky exemplifies our dedication. stationed in north dakota grant responded to an emergency call for assistance after the region received its first snowfall and area roads had become extremely that afternoon merty drove from her rural rocklake home to attend a church meeting when her car went into a spin slipped off highway 281, just a few miles north of church's ferry and plunged down a steep embankment. merty, who is 83 years old, couldn't free herself from the car as the ice cold water rushed
in. thankfully she had a cell phone and she used it several times to call for help as the water rose above her shoulders. grant loudsky closeded in to about ten miles away when merty's phone lost power. but he spotted where her car had left the highway. he couldn't see her car until he began running down the steep embankment. he waded through the icy water, opened the driver's side door. unbuckled merty and carried her to safety. and ambulance crew arrived and transported merty for treatment of hypothermia at mercy hospital in devil's lake. merty and her son roger with very grateful grant was able to find her that day and they
credit grant with saving her life. grant is here with his wife joanna. grant, please stand so we can thank you for all you do to help north dakota stay safe. [ applause ] grant by the way is also a member of the north dakota national guard. the opportunities we have in our state today are only possible because of people like grant who serve in our nation's military
past and present. they keep our nation safe, and we are forever in their debt. whether responding to natural disasters here at home or defending our nation overseas or in stateside missions. the north dakota national guard continued to demonstrate their expertise and competency as a trained and ready force. since the september 11th attacks on america, our guard has mobilized nearly 7,000 soldiers and airmen in support of the global war on terrorism. an impressive contribution to our nation's military money. even more impressive about 70% of all members serving today have joined since 9/11. for every 10000 citizens in north dakota, 65 serve in the north dakota guard, a rate more than four times the national
average. there is no doubt that our guardsmen and all of our military members and veterans are truly the best in the nation. [ applause ] to all the veterans and service members here today, please stand and be recognized. please stand, veterans and service members. throughout north dakota, we are making a major investment to meet the needs of our growing population. some may ask if spending is
getting out of control. it's a fair question. especially in light of recent can drops in oil prices and potential impact on state revenues. it's important for the people of north dakota to know that we are committed to a structurally balanced budget where ongoing spending never exceeds our available ongoing revenues. there are risks associated with any economy that relies on the value of commodities and those risks must always be carefully considered. we guard against these risks in several ways including directing the vast majority of our oil and gas revenues about 96%, to special reserve funds that are not used for ongoing operations.
other capital projects require one-time funding that doesn't have to be repeated should there be a significant downturn in state revenues. in the end i expect our legislature will find that we can continue to fund our priorities maintain healthy reserves and provide even more tax relief. with opec's recent decision and declines in the price of oil, there is a lot of discussion about what this means to north dakota's oil industry and state revenues i believe we will see a correction, a rebalancing in worldwide production. in nod north dakota, production may concentrate, where production costs are high and operating low.
but in the end energy independence in the united states is a game changer. [ applause ] no longer can opec and other foreign oil producers hold our country hostage to their control of oil supplies. in the end, we will provide on moody's analytics to provide us with an updated revenue forecast this winter that includes the impacts of lower prices of oil. if adjustments to our spending plan are needs i am confident our legislature will make prudent decisions based on the best available projections.
in the end our growth may be slowed but it will not stop. one of the best ways we can share the prosperity with our citizens is by keeping their tax bills as low as possible. while other states contemplate tax hikes to offset budget shortfalls, we can provide additional tax relief during this legislative session. since 2009 we have reduced taxes by $4.3 billion in north dakota. and i have recommended reducing state taxes by another $408 million during the upcoming biannual. a great deal of work has also been done to reform our overall system of property taxes this year they will have an opportunity to pass a property tax reform bill that provides for more spending discipline.
and it makes it easier for taxpayers to understand how the tax dollars are used in comparison to other sub political divisions. education is the foundation upon which we continue to build our future, and working together we have steadily improved north dakota's k12 education system. we have put to rest the challenging issues of funding equity, and we have significantly reduced the local cost of education by increasing the state's funding commitment. we have an opportunity during this legislative session to build on our accomplishments by maintaining strong funding of k-12 schools. by investing in early childhood education, and by addressing the extraordinary needs of schools
challenged by rapid enrollment growth. since 2010, enrollment in our k-12 schools has grown by 10,500 students. and just in the last year our schools have enrolled additional 10,000 students. our state is providing grants to help students manage their growth. and we recommend expanding the program to make it even more schools eligible for this assistance. we also recommend adding $300 million to the school construction revolving loan program. during the current bianennium, 22 school districts have accessed this to improve or expand school facilities. our strong revenues also allow us to continue making strategic investments in our higher
education system. even while most other states are having to reduce funding. during the last legislative session we workeded together to develop a better method of funding our colleges and universities and we supported an unprecedented $414 million in capital improvement projects and repairs throughout our university system. while critical infrastructure needs remain, we should also focus on making college more affordable. our colleges and universities do an outstanding job of enriching students' lives and preparing them for a lifetime of success. our universities also play a critical role in north dakota's economic growth. providing essential research and development in support of our farmers and ranchers and many
other business sectors. gallup asked residents in every state about their education system as well. and north dakota overwhelmingly came out on top again. asked if they would rate k-12 education as excellent or good residents in north dakota answered yes more often than any other state. do schools prepare students for a good job? north dakota scored best of all 50 states. are you satisfied with your education system or schools? north dakotans again answered yes more than any other state. we've worked hard to develop an environment where small business and industry can thrive. our proven strategies for economic development include a focus on low taxes sensible
regulatory environment, and an efficient state government that is responsive to the needs of its residents and businesses. but our end goal has never been to simply grow our economy or to stand out in national rankings. the end goal is what a strong, diversifyied economy offers to the lives of our people. in addition to outstanding career and business opportunities and outstanding education, we will make investments in public infrastructure, outdoor recreation, workforce development and in many other priorities that support the continued progress and greatly enhance our quality of life. all the priorities continue to share one common goal, to enhance the life of every north dakotan. for example, we are recommending a $30 million enhancement to
fund major improvements throughout our state park system that will significantly increase the opportunities for people to enjoy our great outdoors. by asking a series of simple but telling questions, gallup found that north dakotans ranked their state's quality of life among the nation's best. do you experience enjoyment a lot of the day? our are you treated with respect? is your day largely free of worry? north dakotans said yes more often than any other state in responding to these social measures. north dakota also ranked within the top four states when residents across america were asked if they have others they can count on for help. if their state is a good place for children to learn and grow. and if their state is a good place for people with
disabilities. # these poll results are encouraging. the quality of life standards we strive to achieve should be our own. and they should always be set high. among our many responsibilities none are more important than caring for our people. we have always provided for the needs of our seniors, our veterans, and our most vulnerability citizens and i am confident we will continue to provide strong financial support to nursing homes and other service providers. melanie bailey lives by the values we hold dear in north dakota. the devil's lake high school senior knows what it means to put others first. during the eastern cross country championships in october, melody
came across danielle an injured fargo south runner. who was on the ground in obvious pain. rather than pushing on with her own race melanie stopped to help and then carried danielle on her back to the finish line. melanie's compassion drew national attention including an appearance on the ellen degeneres show. melanie, please stand so that we can thank you for demonstrating so well the true spirit of north dakota. [ applause ]
here in north dakota we continue to drive an agenda for progress and a quality of life that is second to none. we know that progress comes with its own challenges and there is much work ahead. but we have every reason to be optimistic about our state and the increasing numbers of opportunities it provides. i want to thank all the members of our legislature. the progress we have made in the last decade and especially since the last session is a testament to your good work for the people of north dakota. today i have outlined the challenges and priorities that will help guide this session's
discussion. let us commit now to a partnership and a shared vision so that two years from now we can again say look how far we have come. thank you. god bless all of you and god bless the great state of north dakota. thank you. igeria. - [ applause ] with live conch of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2, here on c-span three we show you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affair events. and then on weekends c-span 3 is the home to american history it have tv. including six unique series. the civil war's 150th anniversary. american artifacts, touring
museums and other historical sites. history bookshelf, with the best moan american history writers. the presidency, looking at the policy and legacy of our nation's commander in chief. lessons in history, with top college professors delveing into our history's past. c-span 3 created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us on tv. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. coming up here on c-span 3, we'll hear from the new chairman of the house armed services committee, congressman mac thornberry. then from the heritage foundation, the conversation on today's supreme court argument on fund raising for judicial elections. after that an october supreme court argument over whether muslim prisoners have the right to grow short beards. the court ruled today that they
do. and later the european union's foreign policy chief on transatlantic relations. texas congressman mac thornberry is the new chairman of the house arm services committee. he spoke today at the american enterprise institute in washington to outline his priorities for the committee. he was introduced by former senator jim talent. >> welcome, everybody. i'm jim talent. senior fellow at the american enterprise institute and former senator from missouri. it's a great pleasure to be emceeing this event. so be thinking of those
questions and when you ask them please wait for the microphone, identify yourself, and then make certain you give him a question rather hthan a statement and we would all appreciate that. it was very encouraging for this me personally when this gentleman, as expected, took over the house arm services committee in this congress. his predecessor did a great job fighting for the capabilities of america's armed forces in a very difficult time, and it is a difficult time. and it is a difficult time for the united states and one of the encouraging things is to have our guest in a position of such influence. mac thornberry went into the congress 20 years ago in 1994, two years after i went in. sometimes you spot somebody when
they're new and you recognize what they're capable of and will make a tremendous contribution to the nation's interest over time because of their judgment, their integrity, their willingness to work, and their charity, their understanding that congress is a place of people with different views and you have to understand how to persuade people on their terms about what's important for the country. and this is the man we have with us today. i'm not going to praise him too much because it will just embarrass him. but it's wonderful that he's chairing the armed services committee. it's gracious of him to be willing to make remarks and to share his time with us today. and without any further adieu i'll introduce my friend and the new chairman of the house armed services committee, mac thornberry. [ applause ]
>> well, thank you, and i appreciate your words and i appreciate you and your colleagues here at aei hosting us today and as well all of you all's contribution to the national debates on national security. you know, being selected by my colleagues to chair the armed services committee is certainly a great honor but it's also a great responsibility. the fist and i believe foremost job of the federal government is to defend our country and people, and congress has a unique and irreplaceable role in carrying out that duty. when i walked into our main committee room and see the portraits of some of the former
chairman in there i found myself wishing for a little harry potter magic. if you remember at hogwarts the headmaster could consult with his predecessors by talking to their portraits. unfortunately i haven't found any of them who will talk back to me yet. but i'm still hoping. and i'm certainly honored to join their ranks. but i'm also sobered by the challenges ahead, for i don't believe that any of my predecessors faced such a wide array of complex national security challenges as we face today. from the renewed aggression of major nuclear powers to grappling with new demands of warfare to failed states terrorism, horrible diseases, the list of security challenges is certainly long. the head of the defense staff said last month that the world
is becoming a more dangerous less certain, less predictable and more unstable place. and i don't know of many people who would disagree with him. the dangers were swirling around there, what was called the red whirlwind and american and american interests are inevitably swept up into it. we know americans are uneasy. a poll in november found that 78% felt that the threats to our security are increasing and 60% felt we were less secure than we were a year ago. and i suspect that in the last few days after paris those numbers are even higher. i mentioned those committee portraits. one of them is of chairman carl ven vincent. as you all may remember his tenure was long. about 50 years. he came with the rifle and left
with the icbm. he has an aircraft carrier and our main committee room named after him. one man said vincent forgot more about the navy than most admirals will ever know. needless to say if any of those pictures do start talking back to me, i hope it's his. but in the 1930s a time when the threats were large and budgets were tight, vincent took up the cause of naval modernization, the new deal in social spending dominated the bunl et, and although the threats from germany and japan were increasing defense dollars were scarce. but vincent insisted on buying new ships. we're a maritime nation and a maritime nation needs a modern navy, he believed. and so after a tough fight, he got his way. and so in the 1930s three large ship hulls with r laid down and those three ships became the
carrier for it in your town. which sank four japanese carriers at the battle of midway. the turning point of the pacific. 3,000 japanese sailors were killed that day. but it could have been 3,000 americans if it had gone the other way, so when i talk about the job being somewhat sobering, that's part pof what i'm thinking about. if vincent were here today he might find a very familiar political landscape and very similar frustrations. the deliberate ignorance of danger, the want of strategic forethought. infinite demands to spend money elsewhere. all part of rhythms that churchill called mournfully the endless repetitions of history. fortunately for the battle of midway, congress got it right. that doesn't mean congress always gets it right. congress -- i mean the country paid a heavy price. in the early days of world war
ii and korea and you might argue on 9/11 because our national leaders or chose to ignore approaching dangers. with all our accumulated talents and all our faults. and so what is this imperfect body's proper role when it comes to national defense? well in the constitutional convention the founders gave certain powers to congress which they viewed as the branch closest to the people. james madison said that these people ought to exist without limitation because it's impossible to foresee or define the extent of variety. in article one, section eight of the constitution at least six specific duties were placed on the house and senate related to national security, and through those authorities congress
determines the size shape and soul of our military. the president then determines how to use it. madison also wrote security against foreign danger is one of the primitive objects of civil society. it is an essential object of the american union. well, that fundamental object hadn't changed in 200 years. but of course the way we meet that objective has to change. the 76th congress worried about japan and germany. the 37th congress dealt with the southern rebellion and the suspension of habeus corpus. maybe the sixth had it worse. king george burned down their offices. the thought of the capitol burning as it did in 1812 was pretty remote for two centuries. but only the courage of the
passengers on united flight 93 prevented it from happening again on 9/11. and only good intelligence and law enforcement stopped a flight just within the past few days. we may not have the same debates, but we sure struggle with the right balance of privacy and security. we don't have imperial japan and nazi germany but ref a resurging russia. the 114th congress has exactly the same obligation as the first congress. and that is to build a military capable of defending the country. it's not clear that everybody understands our constitutional system. congress is criticized for exercising our proper role in defense. for example, some of you may have heard that congress is forcing the army to buy thanks that it doesn't want because of some donor or lobbyist interest.
well here's the reality, we made a judgment call. there's one plant in the country left that make tanks. the army said foreign sales would be able to keep that occupied until they needed it to refurbish our own tanks. the house and senate appropriations committee, the house and services committee believed their math didn't add up. so we decided to start upgrading our tanks earlier than the army had planned edned to make sure that the plant stayed open. to make sure that the trained workforce stayed eded engaged and tanks would get fielded sooner. some may differ on the wisdom of that particular decision but there is a reasonable logical national security argument for it. and it turns out last month the
u.s. army sent 100 tanks back to europe in response to the ukraine process. and maybe that's the evidence that we made the right call. one year they wanted to discontinue the global hawk and rely instead on the 50-year-old, and the next year they proposed exactly the reverse. they asked to retire the a10 and then sent it to fly attack missions in iraq and syria. the navy included no money in this year's budget to begin to refuel the george washington, a carrier with 25 years of life left. and the pentagon repeatedly asked congress for another round of closure when they tell us we have not yet broken even from the last round which was ten years ago. # and now all of this congress on a bipartisan basis disagree
with the request. and that's exactly the way the founding fathers intended our system to work. sometimes the pend gone is penny wise and a pound foolish. sometimes the white house tries to cut military spending to put money in other parts of the budget. and sometimes their priorities are just wrong. it was congress that forced the pentagon to buy it. they didn't want it. pilots don't really like pilotless aircraft. it was counter cultural. but i don't know of many people who would reverse that decision today. if we don't no one else will. does congress sometimes make the wrong call? absolutely. but please don't fall into what
was said in another context, the soft bigotry of low expectations. the constitution gives congress the responsibility to raise and support, provide and maintain military capability. congress can and has in the past risen to meet the historical moment. and that's what you, the american people, should expect us to do today. even if the president does not always rise to the moment in carrying out his constitutional duties. some people expect the lawmakers to cut the check and don't ask too many questions. but congress should not give my president a blank check and congress should not be a rubber stamp. it's the branch of government most responsible for the character and contours of our military. it was congress that created the war department in 1979. it was congress that reorganized it in the department of defense
in 1947 and congress that restructured it. speaker sam ray burn said too many people mistake the deliberations of congress for its decisions, and i admit that the deliberations that lead up to a bill like goldwater nichols can sometimes be pretty messy. but as the thecomplexity of our security challenges grows so does the necessity of congress fully living up to our responsibilities under the constitution. and playing our part to defend the country. who in our constitutional duty also helps connect our people with national policies. a csi a study more than ten years ago titled beyond gold water nichols has always struck a cord with me because they said that congress is the place where ideas become national policies
and commitments. having that messy frustrating debate in congress changes the clinton policy for this or the bush policy for that into the nation's policies. the connective tissue between our national leaders and policies. and a big part of the job is building the military capability to deal with the threats we see. but also for the volatile and unpredictable world that we all live in. and that requires the united states to have a military that is both strong and agile. and i think we have a lot of work to do on both. last thursday at the republican retreat british prime minister tony blair was there. he repeated the advice he has given the united states for a couple of years now, which was
just be strong. don't worry about whether people around the world love you, he said. what the world means is for america to be strong. and of course to be strong we have to stop the slide in defense budgets. that has reduced our base defense spending 21% since 2010. two weeks ago on fox news sunday chris wallace asked general dempsey if at some point the resources would be cut so much that you have to say we can no longer defend the country from the threats we face. dempsey replied, quote, yes, absolutely. and i think it's called sequestration. now i can sit here all day and recite facts and figures of sequestration from the ready levels, the jets that aren't flying, the soldiers that aren't getting to the rifle range. but really the problem with sequestration is about facts and
statistics. it's about whether we have the capability to do what the nation needs and at times demand. it's also very much about the increased danger that comes to our people from diminished training, aging equipment and a tempo of operation that stretches them and their families just too far. it has to be fixed. even without sequestration we have to make good decisions on our investments in people and on technology. our people, of course, are our most valuable asset. we'll soon get the report of the military compensation and realignment modernization commission. we need a comprehensive look, i think, at the whole benefit structure, rather than trying to nickel and dime them year after
year as administration has proposed. but i'm going to look not just at the fm impacts of that study but especially about how it affects our ability to recruit and retain the best our country has to offer. because that's the key to our future. we have to improve our acquisition system to get more value out of the money we spend on both goods and services. in 1952, the navy issued a requirement for a lightweight fighter. two years later the first skyhawk flew. four years later the first was operational and we built nearly 3,000 of them. now compare that to the f22. in 1981 the air force establisheded a requirement for 850 advanced tactical fighters. it wasn't until 2005 24 years later, that the f22 was first introduced. and instead of 750 of them we
bought 195. if boeing can build a new commercial airliner in five years, if ford can take a car from design to production in 24 months, then there's absolutely no reason that the pentagon can take two decades to put a new fighter into service. things have to change. we have a tendency to fix organizational problems with more organization. and i've seen estimates that show firenearly a third of the acquisition budget goes to overhead costs. this system is so gummed up it's a wonder sometimes that anything ever comes out the other end. but to have a mill that's both strong and ageile. it means it doesn't get to the troops in a timely way, which
has the potential to jeopardize their mission but almost certainly increases the risk to their lives. i'm pretty optmystic we can find a way to simply fi and increase accountability for program performance. but it won't be easy, and it sure won't be quick. agility also requires organizational structure that can adapt to meet new challenges. an organizational culture that promotes new learning and thinking. in his autobiography dr. edward teler writes the substance with the the greatest inertia known to man is the human brain. and the more nerves is the the collection of human brains found in a large organization, such as a military service or the faculty of a university. well, maybe he could say that, but with the speed of change we confront confront, we can't afford inertia or failing to adapt.
and we certainly can't afford organizations that stifle learning and adaptation. a reformer who understood the pentagon and its flaws warned complexity causes commanders to be captured by their own internal dynamics preventing them from adapting to changing circumstances. look, it goes without saying there are many good people in the department of defense doing good work with good results. but too many of them are captured or have their work captured by the accumulation of regulations and bureaucratic processes imposed by congress and administrations over the years. this issue has to be a major focus of our congressional oversight. that oversight is going to be fair aggressive, thorough as the people's and taxpayers' voice on national security. that's exactly as the framers intended. part of our job is to update our oversight to fix the kinds of threats we face and the kinds of
operations we need to protect the country today. i think we made a good start with new oversight of cyber operations and of sensitive military operations that go on around the world. but we have more work to do. and we have to ensure our oversight is not just focused on the capillaries, but is looking at big trends that define our world and our security. of course, that's not a new problem. president lincoln once asked for a report on a newly developed rifle. when the report arrived, lincoln took one look at the thick binder and said, if i send a man to buy a horse from me, i expect the man to tell me the horse's points not how many hairs it has in its tail. sometimes as you know congress contributes to this problem of too much effort for too little result. so we're going to be looking at ourselves in the reports that we've acquired. but history and common sense tells us that congress has the
indispensable role in reforming the pentagon. without us it will not happen. and as long as i'm privileged to hold this job, defls reform will be a priority. not for its own sake. but for the sake of ensuring that our military is as prepared as possible for the wide array of threats that we face today and the unknown security challenges with which confront us tomorrow. we'll focus on reforms that take us closer to efficient effective, accountable department of defense with military capability that is both strong and agile. the powers that fail to adapt to shifting realities are relegated to history. that's been true from the greeks and the romans to the soviets. updating and strengthening the role congress plays in national defense, really restoring the role that congress was always intended to play in national
defense will assist in rebuilding our military and rejuvenating america's role. at one time it was said that the sun never set on the british empire. today the sun never sets on the security challenges facing the united states of america. and in meeting those challenges the american soldier never goes to bad. our congress is to fulfill the roles and responsibilities the constitution places on our shoulders, with the courage, dedication, intelligence commitment to service just as military personnel carry out their jobs every single day. kent is one of the most amazing men i ever met. later winning a pulitzer prize, he was a prisoner of war by the japanese in world war ii. in one of his columns he wrote as we have said many times not
all men are called upon to respond to battlefield conditions but all men and women will face many, many situations where courage and duty and responsibility are required and where the true measure of their worth is how well they respond to their challenges. and all the noise and clatter of our day and this age of social media and endless news cycles, it's easy to get distracted from what's important. we can't affidavit to be distracted. the world is simply too dangerous. providing for the defense is the fundamental obligation of government and the most important job we have. i'll work every single day to see that congress fulfills that role with the courage and duty and sense of responsibility that is faithful to the founders and
the amazing men and women who serve in our military and also faithful to those generations yet to come. thank you. i will attempt to be brief and give you plenty of time to answer. you discussed in your remarks the role of congress in as the constitution says raising and supporting the armies of the united states and providing and maintaining the navies. of course, they didn't mention
an air force in 1787 for understandable reasons. and you know from your experience i know from mine that the members and senators who serve pretty thoroughly familiar as they should be, with these issues. you mentioned there are 535 members total though. the other ones, you know, they deal with health care and education and those kinds of issues day-to-day, all the time. do you think that they're as familiar as they need to be with military issues? what can be done, i'm not blaming them, but what can be done institutionally to raise a greater awareness of the issues among the other members and senators? >> well there's no question that other members are not as familiar as they should be with these issues and i think that's part of what we face today, as i mentioned, with such a wide array of complex threats. it's just not as simple as it used to be to understand all of
the different sorts of challenges we have. but i think it's absolutely true we've got to put a greater emphasis in our overall gatherings on national security. so it was terrific, for example, last week to have tony blair come and talk largely about the u.s. role in the world and how important that was. members look to members of the armed services committee for the details of readiness levels and personnel and so forth. but we've got to do a better job in not just you know spouting statistics but in helping other members of congress understand not only what's happening, but why it's important. how it matters. and that's on our shoulders. >> to them and their constituents. >> own to their country. >> and you remember and i remember what a challenge it is when you're new in the committee to understand and absorb. i think a lot of members find
that very difficult. you also noted that carl vincent, really on his initiative made certain that we laid the halls for the aircraft carrier, which turned out to be vitally necessary, and if he hadn't done that, it wouldn't have happened. so is there a capability that you in particular are concerned we need to have and may not have in the future if we don't take some different action? is there a particular thing? i know there's a lot of priorities. is there any thing in particular? >> several things. one back to his point. the sheer number of ships is a big deal. that is the u.s. presence around the world and the u.s. military has proposed retiring them. arguing modern ships are more capable than old ones. they may be true, but they can
still be at one place at one time time. so there is an importance to the quantity of things. ships and other things. i worry about the capabilities for new >> we have a tremendous capability. we koeblt e don't have the laws and policies to make use of that capability. and the last one is i continue to be very concerned about biological threats. and it's not that we don't have some capability in the country, but we're really on different track. dod and hhs are nolt working well together and u yet together and, yet, a biological threat -- >> i'm glad you're conscious with that co-chair of bob graham from florida and eon terrorism. it was a real concern that we had.
and, on the number of ships, i wonder if you recall hearing skelton address the whole quality versus quantity issue. they were talking ant ging about we didn't need as many ships. and he said i have an idea, why don't we just have one ship. and i think ike made a really good point there. okay. i'd love to know you thinking about this. you've talked about institutional issues here with the congress. let's talk about another issue. the chiefs. and they have to -- it's a difficult line for them to walk. they're in the chain of command, and it's their responsibility, obviously, to acquiesce and salute and attempt to execute administration decisions.
they have a competing and sometimes concurrent responsibility. their best and most honest professional judgment about the issues that they confront. i think we all simpleympathize that's difficult for them sometimes. is there a message -- >> we expect you to shoot straight with us. i don't think it is fair for them to become advocates of our decisions, especially if they contradict the presidents. but we have to have the information: and it is as you point out, their obligation is not just to the president. but it's to the country. and that includes congress in its key role in providing for the military, which is part of the reason i think we've gotten a little out of kilter when we talk about congress and national security. and one of the reasons i thought
it's important to start out by reminding everybody just how central congress is in carrying out those duties. and, if the chiefs are realminded so much the belter. >> yeah i appreciate your references to the constitution and i know you're aware of another constitutional provision that bears on this. the powers granted article 1 of the constitution to the congress are permissive. you don't have to have a bankruptcy code right? but article iv says the united states shall protect on one mandatory function. >> which takes on all sorts of new imply lilications given what texas faced, for example, last summer. it may have been an invasion of minors. but, still thousands of people streaming across our border presented all sorts of challenges.
and it's the federal government's responsibility, absolutely, to deal with that. >> definitely a national security component to that issue. all right. i want to just -- and then i'm going to open this up for questions. i want to get into a little bit of the acquisition reform. your words couldn't have been more important or true in that. and i especially appreciated the sentence, you don't fix organizational probables with more organization. well hoorah for you in saying that. so do you want to share with us -- and i know you're going to hold hearings and you don't want to pre-judge the outcome. what things you may be thinking of is the right path to acquisition reform? and i'll give you it as a jumping off point if you want to take the national offense panels recommendations over the years that we really discipline ourselves to trying to design and develop plat forms that we can design and develop in, at
>> senator chairmen, you mentioned a couple of times, reports, repeals of quite a few people. the first thing congress has to do on acquisition reform is repeal some of the layers organization has been added to actually go back and cut away things. you mentioned that as arrows and equipmented. but how big a piece of what you're considering is that? how high on the agenda is just going through the law and striking stuff out as opposed to rewriting or adding? >> well, there's a couple parts as i mentioned, secretary kindle has been working with us to identify implicative over lapping regulations that either he can thin out or working together we can thin out. and so that process is going well and is pretty far along. how -- and then taking some
additional steps will require us acting or change or repeal some laws. that's part of the reason we're not going to just throw out an acquisition package and try to get it through the committee in a short time frame. i want to hear feedback. and, so that back and forth discussion hopefully, not just this year, but in years to come, will help us get back towards that accountability that jim and i were just talking about. remember, it's not about bureaucracy, it's not about just organizations. it is about who has the authority and then can you hold them accountable for the exercise of that authority. and that's the goal we've got to move toward. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you emphasized, basically,