tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN February 4, 2015 12:30pm-2:31pm EST
good morning. the committee meet this is morning to consider the nomination of dr. ashton b. cart toe be the secretary of defense and there are standard questions that my committee ruled that i would put forth to dr. carter at this time. dr. carter, in order to exercise its legislative and oversight
responsibilities it is important that this committee and other appropriate committees of the congress are able to receive testimony, briefings and other communication of information. have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing restrictions? >> i have. >> have you taken any actions for the process? >> no. >> will you assure that your staff adhered to deadlines, including records for the hearings. >> i will. >> will you cooperate with briefers in response to congressional questions? >> yes. >> will the witnesses be protected in reprisal from thur testimony or briefings? >> they will. >> do you agree to appear and testify upon request before this committee. >> yes. >> do you agree to provide documents, including electronic forms of hearings or to consult
with the committee for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents? >> yes. >> [ inaudible ]. >> that concludes our routine questions that we ask of the nominees. and so before the committee proceeds to the business before us today on behalf of all members of the committee we would like to extend our deepest condolences of the family of the jordanian pilot brutally murdered by isil. to the people of jordan, we mourn the loss of a hero that has galvanized the nation and this hero. i hope this puts in place what is lacking a strategy to achieve
the present states goal to degrade and destroy isil. let there be no doubt, we still do not have a viable strategy to counter isil and if you are not winning in war, you are losing. america has no greater ally in the fight against terrorism than jrd and as we made clear to king abdullah in our meeting yesterday this committee is to make sure that jordan has the tools necessary to take the fight to isil. many on this committee will be sending a letter to the administration on this urgent concern and we invite all of our fellow committee members to join us on that letter. i think there was a consensus on both sides after the meet with king abdullah that we'll send a letter this morning. that letter will be submitted to the members forryer signature and perusal so we can get that out as soon as possible and i thank all members of the committee for their cooperation.
and i would also like to add that if legislation is required in order to achieve the goals that king abdullah articulated to us yesterday as absolutely necessary to defend his nation we will consider that legislation as well as soon as possible and i thank all members. we meet today to consider the nomination of dr. ashton b. carter for the secretary of defense. i would like to express my sincere gratitude for chuck hagel, in vietnam, senator from nebraska and he is an honorable servant and the men and women of the armed services have had a true ally who put their interest first. this committee wishes chuck the
best in his future endeavored. dr. carter even in the best of times, the position for which you have been nominated is the hardest in government and so i would like to thank your wife stephanie and your daughters for being here today and loaning you to the service. dr. carter is one of the most direct professionals. he served as secretary of defense for global strategy affairs for technology logistics and under the secretary of defense. i have known him and the members of the committee have known him to be a honest and hard-working and committed public servant. i've had the opportunity to work together with dr. carter on issues of several concern especially trying to reform the defense acquisition system and rolling back sequestration. and on these and other issues
facing the nation we all look forward to having you as our partner once more, dr. carter. but i must candidly express concern about the task that as -- that awaits you and the concern of issues facing our nation. secretary gates and panetta has severely criticized white house management of the defense and foreign and defense policy. according to numerous news reports, secretary hagel had similar issues ranging from isil to ukraine, detention policy to sequestration. dr. carter i sincerely hope the president who nominated you will allow you to empower you and lead to the extent of your abilities because at a time to multiplying threats we need a strong secretary of defense more
than ever. and americans are confronted today with a diverse and complex range of national security challenges. iran is on the march and in iraq yemen and isil continues to expand its influence and control of territory as the new director of defense intelligence agency recently testified to congress. a revision with russia and china each presents challenge to the order that we've known it since the end of world war ii a system that has the rule of law and has free trade and relegates everything to the free trade from the bloody past. american disengagement can only produce more turmoil and increase in the chance of large scale interventions in the greater cost of blood and treasure and that is why we need aco hasht national -- a coherent
national strategy to sustain the international order that has extended security, prosperity and liberty across the globe. but crafting a reality-based national security strategy is simply impossible under the mindless mechanism of sequestration. despite the growing array of complex threats to our security we are on track to cut $1 trillion out of the american defense budget by 2021. readiness is falling across the services and morale is falling along with it. army and marine corp is dropping and the air force and is the oldest and smallest it has ever seen. the navy fleet is shrinking to pre-world war i levels and last week each of the service chiefs testified before this committee that american lives are being put at risk due to
sequestration. sequestration represents a failure to meet our most basic constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. america's military can no longer be held hostage to domestic political disputed from the reality of the threats we face. more than three years after the passage of the budget control act it is time to put an end to the senseless policy. rolling back sequestration is necessary to provide our military the strategy-driven budget necessary to confront the threats we face. but it will never be enough without reforming how the department procures major weapons systems. many of our military's challenges today are the results of years of mistakes and wasted resources. for example over here, the army's future combat system was initially estimated to be a $92 billion project to modernize into a cohesive network new
army vehicles and radios but it more than doubled the price to $200 billion without ever getting off the ground. secretary gates wisely canceled future combat systems but only after spending $20 billion with nothing to show for it. between these four systems, the next chart up there, please, between these four systems future combat systems expeditionary fighting vehicle, comanche helicopter and the presidential helicopter, we spent $40 billion with nothing to show for it. that is $40 billion of training and equipment our military doesn't have today to confront the threats we face. the problem continues today. the cost of the evolved expendable launch vehicle has exposed from around 100$100 million
per launch to $400 million per launch after the air force allowed years of sole source contracts while over the last few months actively keeping out any other companies from competing. hopefully this year we'll see the air force certify that can bring down costs and end our reliance on russian rocket engines. lcs cost overruns follow from a chronic lack of planning from the very outset in three key areas. undefied cost estimates and unreliable technology and integrated risks. the jer aeld force nuclear aircraft carrier was supposed to cost $10.5 billion and it will now cost $12.9 billion, a $2.4 billion increase and we have no assurance such increases will
not plague to follow on ships. this is unacceptable. the f-35 joint strike fighter was estimated to cost around $220 billion to search and engineer and build 2,800 airplanes and now we are going to spend more than $330 billion, a 50% increase to buy 400 fewer airplanes. even more astounding of the money squanders, is in each of the cases i've mentioned no individual has been held responsible for the massive cost overruns and egregious acquisition failures and the result has been the slow deg degradation if we proceed as business as usual in our acquisition policies. this must change.
it will be a priority for this committee and for me personally to change it. dr. carter, i look to you as a partner in all of these endeavors. if confirmed i hope you will provide independent leadership and work closely with congress on the issues that matter most. crafting aco heernt -- aco herent acquisition process, modernizing our military compensation system and many others. i thank you, deeply for your willingness to serve once again and i look forward to your testimony today. senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me join you in extending our condolences to the families of the brave jordanian pilot and the people of jordan. let me welcome dr. carter and thank his willingness to serve the nation and i want to thank
stephanie and will and let me recognize mr. leiberman. and dr. carter is the under secretary of defense and you are uniquely qualified to lead the department of defense at a time when as henry kissinger said last week here, the united states has not faced a more diverse and complex crisis since the end of the world war. you will be advising the president and working with allies and iran. while with the nuclear program, the secretary will be responsible for any number of contingencies relating to the consequences of any outcome of these negotiations. in the event of a breakdown in the negotiations, the consequences could alter the face of the region for generations and generations.
isil. isil is depraved and violent campaign in iraq and syria to establish a danger cal fate will destabilize the region and create a region to carry out attacks against the united states interest. the department must provide leadership that include arab and muslim states and defeat isil to make sure the united states does not own the conflict in syria and elsewhere. afghanistan. the hard-won gains of the past decade are significant but remain fragile. with afghan security, our forces are taking over -- the afghan forces are taking over responsibility for combatting the taliban however the united states forces with our coalition partners must transition to a more limited mission of training and insisting -- assisting the afghan forces and conducting
counter-terrorism forces but it remains to see whether conditions on ground will improve by the end of 2016 to warrant the pace of further reductions under the current plan. ukraine. russia's aggression against ukraine challenges order and progress in europe. over the past few days with substantial russian equipment have abandoned a cease-fire and launched an offensive against ukraine. the united states must determine how to best support the ukrainian people in how to defend their country. cyber. for years we have devoted significant attention to the looming and challenge of cyber warfare. the attack on sony corporation of america was a water shed event that should stimulate fresh, critical thinking. this attack demonstrates that a wealthy, strong and weak rogue nation can reach across the ocean to cause extensive destruction of a u.s. based
target and affect freedom of expression through cyber. the offense and defense in cyber warfare can strike against the homeland is a new and worrisome factor for national security. these are only a few of the challenges facing the defense department but there are also significant internal challenges that must be addressed. sequestration, last week before this committee general madison said no foe can inflict on what sequestration is doing today. the general ody omo said only one-third of the armies are ready to fight. and less than 50% of our squadrons are combat ready. sequestration threatens our national security and risks our education and safety. congress must find the balance and bipartisan solution and rep he'll sequestration.
rising costs, and the chairman has alluded to this succinctly and directly. and tackling rising costs, including personnel cost which consume a third of the department budget. yesterday we heard from the retirement community and the recommendations are far-reaching and would fundamentally change personnel ben pits but these recommendations must be considered because they must ensure the department can properly equip the fighting men and women. and the other problem is acquisition and whether the department has implementing sufficient acquisition forms, many under your leadership. defense acquisition still takes too long and costs too much. we can and should do more to stream line and improve the system. and finally and most importantly, if confirmed as secretary of defense you will be leading 1.3 million active military. 800,000 reseven and guard and 773,000 civilians.
they are tired and overtaxes from a decade of war and years of fiscal uncertainty. they are wrestling with things like civilians, like sexual assault and suicide. yet they protect this world. dr. carter, i look forward to discussing these and other issues with you and thank you for your service. >> i note the presence of our beloved friend and colleague, a member of this committee since the coolidge administration and we're happy to have him here this morning. our beloved friend senator leiberman. >> thank you, mr. chairman and it was a great comfort when i arrived during the coolidge administration to find you had already been here several years. [ laughter ] . >> you must say i'm delighted to be here and it is somewhat sentimental for me to be here. i appreciate very much the opportunity. it is a privilege for me to appear before the senate armed
services committee today to introduce dr. ash carter. this is not the first time i've had this privilege. in fact it is the third time. the first was on march 26th 2009 when ash nominated to be undersecretary of defense for acquisition technology and logistics. second was on september 13th, 2011, when he was nominated to be deputy secretary of defense. so today i suppose i could say i don't think i've ever been so pleased to be asked to repeat myself as i am honored to have been ash carter to introduce him to you as president obama's nominee to be the 25th secretary of defense of the united states of america. ash carter graduated from yale college summa cum laude with a unique combination of majors, physics and medieval history. during his time as a rhodes scholar at oxford, he temporarily resolved the
question of -- which was on everyone's mind, i'm sure -- about whether he was primarily a historian or a physicist. he earned a doctorate at oxford in theoretical physics. nevertheless through confound observers and prognosticators he went on to become the chair of the international and global affairs faculty at harvard at the john f. kennedy school of government and co-director of the preventive advance project at the kennedy school's bellfour center. mr. chairman senator reed, it would be hard to find someone to serve as secretary of defense who combines as much practical pentagon experience with so deep a background in national security policy as ash carter. the fact that you have convened this morning to consider his nomination means that the talents and abilities of a brilliant and extraordinary
strategic thinker and public servant and administrator can, again, be put to use for our nation. it also means as you've said that ash carter has again chosen with the support of his wife and family to answer the call to duty to serve our country. over the past 30 years dr. carter has worked directly or indirectly for virtually every secretary of defense, no matter the political party of the secretary. he knows the department he has been asked to lead very well. and therefore can begin leading it on day one. from 1993 to 1996 ash served as the assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. during that time he worked on the landmark nonluger arms control program, and i got to know him when we traveled together with secretary of defense bill perry and senators
nunn and luger to the former soviet union to observe them destroying nuclear submarines and dismantling missiles and missile sites as part of nunn/luger. i think we bonded personally at one dinner hosted by the high command of the russian military in which i believe it is accurate to say that ash and i were the only two members of the american delegation to keep up with the vodka toasts of friendship with our russian colleagues. when i think back to those days, and you think of the -- what is happening in russia today and what russia is doing outside its borders, those memories are quite poignant. too much has changed for the worse. but in thinking about and introducing ash today, he's done so much. it is important to note that he
spearheaded some developments during that period of time particularly the removal of nuclear weapons from ukraine kazakhstan and belarus, which needless to say have continued to make our world a lot safer than it would otherwise be. through travel, ash had the good judgment, mr. chairman, to come with us several times to the munich security conference. i must say watching him there i was impressed by the range and depth of his relationships with the top level of particularly military, but also foreign policy leaders of our european allies in nato. i would say and i would guess that members of the committee would agree that ash carter's most important contributions during his past pentagon service have been in american lives saved on the battlefield.
he was the driving force in providing 6500 mrap vehicles to our troops in afghanistan in record time. an action that saved many lives. there was someone in washington working for them. this is well known and i think will be one of his greatest legacies. more broadly, the improvements he brought about in the pentagon acquisitions presence showed his mastery of this complex and critical field and will make him an excellent partner for you, mr. chairman and the continuing work that i know you, senator reed, and this committee want to do to improve defense procurement. dr. carter's service on boards and commissions includes the defense science board the defense policy board the secretary of state's international security advisory board, and the congressional commission on the strategic
pressure of the united states. ash carter has been accurately described as a man for all seasons. a man of enormous talents and experiences. it is also true that he has made choices in his life about how he has used his talents and experiences. he has chosen to go where his intellect, his values and his patriotism have called him. we are fortunate indeed that president obama has nominated dr. carter to be our next secretary of defense. and if i may say so the president was fortunate that he will have so experienced a leader at the pentagon and so wise an adviser in the inner councils of this administration. all of which explains why i'm so truly honored to introduce ashton carter to this great
committee at this time. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator lieberman. always glad to have you here. if you would like to take a seat on the dais. dr. carter, welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, member reed. all distinguished members of this committee, thank you, all. thank you for inviting me to appear before you as president obama's nominee to be secretary of defense. i'm honored by his trust and confidence and also by the prospect of serving once again the troops and the country that i love so much. if confirmed i will take the office of secretary of defense after one of our nation's most honorable and conscientious public servants, chuck hagel. i worked for secretary hagel. and i've known him for decades.
though not over all of the many decades he served our country. among the many traits i admire from secretary hagel is the tireless care with which he carried out the most solemn duty of a secretary of defense, which is to the relatively few brave young men and women who defend the rest of us. i also thank senator lieberman for his warm and generous introduction as he noted it is not the first time he's done so but especially for his service to this body and to the nation over many years. thank you sir. my perfect wife stephanie and wonderful children will and aber are behind me as they are every day. and i thank them. the president frequently notes
that america has the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. to the men and women of the department of defense who make it so, and to this committee which watches over them i pledge that if i'm confirmed as secretary of defense to keep faith with the dedication that brought them into service, to ensure that their training and equipment are as superb as they are, that the well-being, safety and dignity of each of them and their families is fostered and respected. and that decisions about when and where they're sent into harm's way are made with the greatest reflection and care. the principle reason that stephanie and i made a u-turn in our life to accept the offer of
nomination is our respect and devotion to them. to chairman and member of the committee i'll be brief. if confirmed as secretary of defense, my responsibilities would be to protect america and its friends and allies in a turbulent and dangerous world. at the same time, i never lose sight of the fact that the united states remains the strongest, most resilient and most influential nation on earth. we do indeed have the finest fighting force the world has ever known. we have an innovative economy that has long set the pace for the rest of the world. our country has friends and allies in every corner of the world. and our adversaries have few. this is clear testimony to the appeal of our values, our principles, and our leadership.
all this makes me proud and hopeful and determined to grab hold of the bright opportunities in front of us as well as to counter the very real dangers we face. these dangers that the chairman has noted include continuing turmoil in the middle east and north africa and the malignant and savage terrorism emanating from it. an ongoing war in afghanistan, the reversion to old style security thinking in parts of europe, the long-standing tensions from the past and the rapid changes in asia and the continuing need for the stabilizeing role of the united states in that region which is so important to the future. the continuing imperative to counter the spread -- the use of weapons of mass destruction.
and new dangers and new -- like cyber, as noted by senator reed. strategy. strategy needs to keep all these problems in perspective. and to craft last seen approaches to each of them. i have promised president obama that if i'm confirmed i will furnish him my most vancandid strategic advice. in formulating that advice, i intend to confer widely among civilian and military leaders, including on this committee. experts and foreign partners. when the president makes the decision, i will also ensure that the department of defense implements it with its long
admired excellence. i will also ensure that the president receives candid professional military advice. this is not only constant with the law, as written in this very committee, but with good sense. since our military leaders possess wide and deep experience and expertise. the law also prescribes the chain of command. and if i'm confirmed as secretary of defense i will be a stickler for the chain of command. i would also like to say a word about the defense budget. chairman, members of the committee, i very much hope that we can find a way together out of the wilderness of sequester. sequester is risky to our defense. it introduces turbulence and uncertainty that are wasteful. and it conveys a misleadingly
diminished picture of our power in the eyes of friends and foes alike. i'm not familiar with the details of the 2016 budget submitted just a couple of days ago, and if confirmed i will come back here for a full posture hearing to discuss that. but i strongly support the president's request for relief from sequester caps in 2016 and through the future year defense plan. if confirmed, i will do my part to assist the president in working with congress to resolve the overall issues of the country's fiscal future of which the defense budget is a part. but i cannot suggest support and stability for the defense budget without at the same time frankly noting that not every defense dollar is spent as well as it should be. the taxpayer cannot comprehend
it, let alone support the defense budget. when they read as the chairman noted of cost overruns lack of accounting and accountability needless overhead, and the like. this must stop. every company, state and city in the country has had to lean itself out in recent years. and it should be no different for the pentagon. and in this matter i know i'm echoing chairman mccain senator reed and this committee, which has long called for and taken concrete action on reform of acquisition and other parts of the defense enterprise, in the weapons system acquisition reform act of 2009, and before that, dating back to the packard commission and the goldwater nickel act. i began my own career in defense in connection with the implementation of the packard
commission's recommendations. the issues and solutions change over time as technology and industry change. they extend from acquisition which was highlighted by the chairman and programs like future combat systems and the presidential helicopter which i canceled, i signed the cancellation orders for in 2009, to the ford aircraft carrier, which senator mccain also noted, which was not satisfactorily solved and still not. it is overrun and i agree with the chairman in that regard. we have a lot of work to do. the issues and solutions for acquisition reform change over time as technology and industry change as i noted. they extend from acquisition. this is important to all other parts of the defense budget.
for size, compensation, and training as well as equipment. if confirmed as secretary of defense, i pledge to make needed change in the pentagon, but also to seek support from congress because i know that in the end, congress holds the power of the purse. i look forward to partnership with this committee, in what can be a period of historic advance. mr. chairman, senator reed members of the committee thank you. thank you for giving me the opportunity to come before you. if confirmed i will seek out your thoughts perspectives and combat experiences to help me do the best job. thank you. >> thank you very much, dr. carter. we will have multiple rounds, but we'll have short ones, five minutes, because that will give more opportunity for members to ask questions and in about an hour dr. carter would need a
short break as we all know he's recovering from recent surgery. so we'll take a break then for as long as you need and we'll go into this afternoon so that all members are able to answer -- ask sufficiently the questions that they have. and to start with, dr. carter members of this committee met with king abdullah yesterday. he made a graphic statement about needing some weapons and the difficulties he's having with those and we will be signing a letter this morning and as i said it may require some legislation, but are you aware of the problems that jury danians are having with acquiring some of the weapons that they need. >> i'm not, mr. chairman. i learned of them this morning as well. and if i'm confirmed, i want to find out what they are and
resolve them because we need partners on the ground to beat isis and the jordanian people have clearly reacted the way that -- encourages us to support them in combatting what is really a savage and nasty -- >> thank you. last week general mattis was before the committee and he said in afghanistan we need to consider if we're asking the same outcome there as we saw last summer in iraq, should we pull out all our troops on the administration's proposed timeline, the gains achieved at great cost against our enemy in afghanistan are reversible general keen said all we accomplished in afghanistan will be at risk as it was in iraq. if the troops are pulled out not based on the conditions on the ground, how can we not learn the obvious and paint theful lessons from iraq. do you believe it should be
calendar based as it is now or should we be looking at the conditions on the ground to base those decisions? >> excuse me mr. chairman. thank you, and also thank you for your consideration about the back. i appreciate that. the campaign in afghanistan has been close to my heart for all the time that i've been associated with the department of defense. i've been there a number of times. i think that success is possible there, but as you indicate, requires the united states to continue its campaign and finish the job. i understand we have a plan. the president has a plan. i support that plan. at the same time, it is a plan. and if i'm confirmed and i ascertain as the years go by, that we need to change that
plan, i will recommend those changes to the president. >> well, all i with say is it is not a matter of years. it is a matter of weeks. one of the major withdrawals is going to start this coming june. and so i hope that you will assess that as quickly and as carefully as possible. in his testimony to the committee this week dr. dr. kissinger said in the middle east, a multiple of evils are unfolding simultaneously. iran exploited this turmoil to pursue positions of power within other countries. do you agree with that? >> yeah, i do. >> do you believe that we need to have a strategy to combat isis and the continued successes in many respects that they are achieving. >> absolutely. >> do you believe we have a strategy at this time? >> i believe i understand our strategy at this time mr. chairman. i also have the intention,
again, if confirmed, to make it my first priority to go there to talk to our leaders military leaders there to confer with you -- >> what do you understand the strategy to be? >> i think the strategy connects ends and means and our ends with respect to isil needs to be its lasting defeat. i say lasting because it is important that when they get defeated, they stay defeated. and that is why it is important that we have those on the ground there who will ensure that they stay defeated once defeated. it is different on the two sides of the border. it is one enemy, but it is two different contexts. mr. chairman in iraq, the force that will keep them defeated is
the iraqi security forces. that's our strategy is to strengthen them and make them that force. on the syrian side, not to take too long, about it, we're trying to build the force that will keep them defeated and that's going to be a combination of moderate syrian forces and regional forces. >> well, it sounds like -- doesn't sound like a strategy to me. but maybe we can flush out your goals. sounds like a series of goals to me. do you believe we should be supplying armed defensive arms to ukrainians. i very much incline in that direction. because i think we need to support the ukrainians in deafing themdeaf ing defending themselves. the nature of the arms i can't say right now because i haven't conferred with our military leader or ukrainian leaders.
but i incline in the direction of providing them with what i guess is your conclusion of lethal arms. >> one way to devolve the strategy is the first look at the threat. the middle east, do you believe the most immediate threat there to u.s. interests and to the region is isil? >> i think isil only because in the back of my mind it is iran as well. i think we have two immediate substantial dangers in the middle east. >> in terms of our current military operations, they are clearly directed at isil. is that the appropriate response at this moment to the threats in the region? >> it is. >> as you point out, there are two theories, one is iraq, where
we have more traction and the other is syria. so you would think in terms of responding to the threat that our actions are vigorous support of the current ranking government is appropriate in responding to the isil threat. >> it is appropriate if i, as i said, whether and how to improve it will be my first job if i'm confirmed as secretary of defense. >> one of the issues, with particular respect to iraq, is not only improvement, as you signature, your comments, the long-term defeat of isil rests not just on military operations but on political arrangements. and what we witnessed in iraq particularly was a political arrangement that consciously and deliberately degraded the sunni population. that's their perception and gave
rise. so would you acknowledge that part of the strategy has to be constituting an iraqi government that is perceived by is own people as being a bit inclusive? >> that's what the government of iraq did not do and that was instrument nall theiral in their military collapse. >> one thing that complicates it and you point it out in terms of iran being a strategic issue for the united states in the region is their relative influence in iraq and throughout the region was enhanced over the last several years by the government of iraq by the maliki government. is that accurate? >> that's accurate, yes. >> we are now in a position of trying to essentially contain the regional ambitions of the iranians and defeat the sunni radical islamists. is that the strategy? >> that sounds right.
>> you understand that. that, to you, is a coherent strategy? >> it is. yes. >> now, that means that, you know, your prioritizing or the administration is prioritizing these actions you talked about in building over time capability in syria. in terms of using your resources and address the most serious threats, is that a coherent response in your mind? >> i think it is the beginning of a strategic response. i think that as i noted on the syrian side of the border, the assembly of the force that will keep isil defeated there is -- we're in the early stage of trying to build that force. we're participating in the building of that force but i think fair to say that we're at
an earlier stage there. on the iraqi side we have the existing iraqi security forces. senator reed, if i can note one other thing may be something i missed in your line of questioning, there is an issue looming over this, which is the role of iraq and the whole region -- i mean, iran and the whole region, which is why i pointed that out at the beginning. that is a serious complication. >> i agree. let me turn to the issue of ukraine. the chairman raised the issue of providing weapon systems to allow the ukrainians themselves but weapons systems have to be differentiated from a commitment of american military personnel. would that be a clear line of demarcation you would draw?
>> excuse me. i was suggesting the provision of equipment to the ukrainian military, yes. >> thank you very much dr. carter. thank you. >> senator wicker. >> thank you very much. thank you for your testimony dr. carter. i look forward to supporting your confirmation and look forward to working with you. at a point some two or three years ago, the pentagon along with the administration made the decision to rebalance to the asia pacific. so i want to ask you about that. would you agree that our challenges with regard to expansionist russian agenda the situation in eastern europe and other areas near the former
soviet union have become more challenging? and that also our challenges in the middle east are more problematic now than the decisions made to pivot to the asia pacific? >> you're absolutely right. the issues in the middle east and in ukraine have developed since we first formulated that rebalance, that's true. >> and to the extent that -- tell me this, how do you understand, as a perspective secretary of defense, the rebalancing to the asia pacific will actually work. and can we afford to move resources from europe and the middle east to the asia pacific given the circumstances that we see today in 2015? >> thank you. thank you for that question.
the rebalance to the asia pacific region as the term goes is in my eyes a commitment to continue the pivotal american military role in the asia pacific theater which has kept peace and stability there for decades now. it has been that american underwritten piece and stability in a region where there is still many historical animosities and unhealed wounds of the past, it is that stability underwritten by the united states that has allowed the japanese miracle the south korean miracle the southeast asian miracle and today the chinese and indian miracle. it is thanks to us that that environment has been created. and in a sentencese, i think the rebalance is a commitment to keep that going. you ask can we do that and keep our commitments in the middle
east and to europe at the same time. and my view is that we can and must. and let me say why that's possible. i think that while isil and events in ukraine are terribly important in their own regard and require a lot of attention and take a lot of attention, they're on the television, they're in the headlines and so forth from the asia pacific is not, we have to remember that half the population of the world and half of the economy is in that region and that our military presence there, the naval presence the air presence, our allies and partnerships finding new allies and building new partnerships, conducting exercises, those things can be done at the same time that we're doing what we need to do in ukraine and that we're doing what we need to do in iraq and syria. i think the world needs to know the united states can do more than one thing at once and keep our commitments there.
>> is it going to be necessary to move resources from the middle east and from concern over europe and russia to the asia pacific to move resources? sounds like you're proposing the continuation of long-standing and ongoing policy. >> well, it is a long-standing and ongoing policy, but to keep the american military predominance in the asia pacific requires us to continually to modernize and add to what we have there. we're adding ships. we're adding electronic warfare that is we're improving our forces qualitatively investing in them. a new bomber. which is importantly intended for that theater, which i think is very important. we're buying new capabilities that won't necessarily have a role in the middle east or in
nato but are principally designed for that theater and i think we need to keep those investments going. >> you don't advocate a diminishment of the resources we're spending with regard to the middle east or russia and europe at this point, do you? >> i think we need to keep our investments going. when it comes to day to day employment i want to get into too much detail here, but i'm sure you know this when it comes to day to day deployments and the location of ships and so forth, we do move back and forth between the gulf and the pacific. and so there is some trade-off there on a day to day basis. in terms of our fundamental investments, in new capabilities, and remaining ahead of any other military opponent, including in asia and in our building and strengthening our alliances with japan, with south korea with the philippines, with australia with thailand, and new partnerships with other countries like india we need to keep all that going. it is an important part of the world. >> thank you, sir.
>> senator donnelly. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you and your family and i want to thank secretary hagel. he took the point in vietnam. he took the point for our defense department. and we're grateful for what he's done. i was privileged to travel with some other senators recently to the middle east and we talked to a number of the nations there, and i just want to make sure that in your mind, do you believe when we look at isis our goal should be to eliminate them on a permanent basis? >> yes i do. >> one of my concerns is time. and what i mean by that is when you look at the map of where they were, a year ago where they are now, they substantially have again. so we have windows that we're working in and when we look at our plan, i'm concerned about how when you look at the depth
and the size of our plan, that what it really does, they have 30,000, we're talking hundreds. it gives them time to grow even more and you worry about a tipping point where x crosses y and they become much more difficult. and so what kind of time plan are you looking at to get movement on this? >> i think it is important to strike back at isil as we're doing from the air, but to begin to retake territory as soon as we can build the forces on the ground which will be local forces that are capable of sustaining defeat when we have achieved defeat in a divgiven location. so i hope that in the coming months and, again i'm not in a
position to have any special information about this or talk to our commanders or so forth but it is my understanding that in the coming months, the iraqi security forces assisted by us will begin to take back territory from isil. i think you're right it is important to get that territory back soon because you don't want them to settle and you don't want the population to settle in and have isil rule them in a barbaric way. >> when we talked to the king yesterday and others in the region, what they said is we're not asking you to fight our battle, but we need you as a partner, shoulder to shoulder, to help us train, to help us plan to help us implement. is that what you see our ground role as. i think exactly right. you're referring to the assistance we provide to the jordanians if i understand. >> and to the other nations that are looking at the same thing. >> that's right.
>> one of the things we had testimony on yesterday was in regards to a switch in scenes a little bit, with the dod. we lost men and women to suicide in 2013 who were in the military. we lost 132 in combat. we don't want to lose any more, so part of what general coralli was telling us the drug form lay larries, they look up, they're being forced on different drugs and stuff, as secretary of defense, are thisere things you can do to help us with that? >> i think there are and must be. the relationship between the dwept department of defense and the department of veteran affairs has to be a relationship like this because it is one soldier. they cross the boundary from one to the other when they move and
become a veteran. but it is one soldier. and so i am familiar. i remember from years back when i was in the department of this question of the different form larries, dod called the drug one thing and va calls it another thing and one set of dosages -- we have to get these together. >> they get lost in the shuffle. >> exactly. >> it is at its most critical time to them personally and so your absolute commitment to that, i know it is is going to be critical. i want to ask you one other thing as i'm starting to get short on time. that is your expertise in the nuclear area and i was wondering if you're familiar with a report issued by madeleine creeden and rear admiral fanta. they did a department wide nuclear enterprise review. it is classified, but it is very sobering. and i just want to make sure that i didn't know if you had seen it yet. if you have, will you take
ownership of the issue and ensure its findings are addressed? >> thank you, senator. i have not had access to that particular report, but with respect to the nuclear enterprise i have a long history in that regard. and i'm a strong believer in a safe, secure and reliable nuclear arsenal for the united states. and that encompasses both the nuclear weapons themselves, and the delivery systems of the department of defense and the command and control systems for it, so i can well understand if they're calling attention to the enduring need to make that a priority. that's another thing that is not in the newspapers every day, thank god. nuclear weapons being used aren't in the newspapers every day. but it is a bedrock of our
security and we can never forget that. continuing quality and excellence in the nuclear enterprise is very important. i am committed to that. >> i want to thank the chairman and thank you, dr. carter, for all your service to the nation and your willingness to serve again. i would like to ask you about according to the director of national intelligence, we know that at least 107 terrorists who were formerly detained at guantanamo and released have been confirmed of re-engaging in terrorism and, in fact, an additional 77 are also suspected of that. in fact, we know that public reports tell us that at least two guantanamo detainees have also joined isis. what i would like to ask you, number one there were reports that secretary hagel said he was under pressure to increase the pace of transfers of guantanamo detainees by the administration and as you know, the statute
says that you as the incoming secretary of defense will have to make the determination and only if you determine that the actions -- there is a whole set of factors, but in particular, you have to determine that actions that had been or plan to be taken will substantially mitigate the risk of such an individual engaging or re-engaging in any terrorist or other hostile activity that threatens the united states or united states persons or interests or i would assume our allies as well. and so i would ask you, secretary carter, soon to be secretary carter, thank you but i would ask you to tell us and to mack ake a commitment to this committee that you will not succumb to any pressure by this administration to increase the pace of transfers from guantanamo.
will you commit to that? >> absolutely. >> i would also ask you to commit to this committee that you will take with the utmost seriousness because we had general mattis before the committee the other day and he expressed deep concerns over the notion that one of our men and women in uniform could confront a terrorist that we had previously captured and the implications to them that you will commit to this committee and to all of us, that you will not allow the release of someone that you think could re-engage in terrorism so that our men and women in uniform will be confronted with them again. >> i do, senator. i understand my responsibilities under that statute. and as in everything else i do i'll play it absolutely straight. >> we appreciate that. that's very important because we have seen an accelerated release of detainees and as you know there has been public reports about one of the taliban five
re-engaging in terrorist activities. so this is something that i think is of utmost importance. the last thing that one of our men and women in uniform should confront is a terrorist we have previously captured and i know you agree with me on that. >> yes. >> i wanted to follow up on the aid to ukraine and i really appreciate the comments that you made that you were inclined to support lethal aid to ukraine. and when we met in my office, you said you were there and involved in the signing of the budapest memorandum in 1994, right? >> that's right. >> as you look at what is happening in ukraine and having been there for the signing of that memorandum, what are the implications given that the ukrainians gave up their nuclear weapons in return for the assurances not only from the united states of america, but
russia, who has clearly violated blatantly the budapest memorandum if we don't support ukraine given that we want -- we do not want more nuclear proliferation around the world, i would assume it would send the wrong message if you give up your nuclear weapons and we don't provide you defensive weapons, why would any country give up their nuclear weapons again? tell me what you think about the violation of that memorandum and the significance of it. >> thank you, senator. it is a clear violation. i was there. i remember when that agreement was signed in budapest in 1994. as i think senator lieberman said i ran the luger program during that period and i was in ukraine the day the last nuclear weapon rode across the border from ukraine into russia. and the -- that agreement provided for russia to respect the territorial integrity of
ukraine, which it obviously has not done. and that was part of the climate and context in which the ukrainians agreed to give up nuclear weapons in the first place. and so -- and by the way, the united states took on a commitment in the very same agreement to respect but also assure as the phrase goes the ability of ukraine to find its own ways as an independent country. that is its state today. and that's why i think that we need to provide support to the ukrainian government as they try to maintain a position, find their own way in europe. >> thank you. my time is up. but i also think it is very important that we also get nato support for the baltics as well in all of this.
>> senator gillibrand. >> thank you mr. chairman. welcome, dr. carter. as we met prior to this testimony, we covered a few issues and i want to submit questions for the record so we won't be able to cover all of them. they include military sexual assault, issue concerning combat integration, military compensation, cyber, iran and syria. so i'll send those, you can answer them in due course. specifically let's focus on the military sexual assault issue, which you know i am very passionate about trying to solve this scourge. one of the concerns i have is that last year we had 20,000 cases of sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact within the military. and i would like your view as to whether you believe that level of sexual assault today is still the good order and discipline we would want from our services. >> no, senator. it is not. you use the word passion. i have the same passion you do. this is -- this problem with sexual assault is something that
is persists in our military. it is widespread in our society, but particularly offensive in the military community because the military ethos is one of honor. and trust. you have to trust the person who is in the foxhole next to you. these are violations of honor and trust. also, at military life we put people in positions, we put them in situations of austere deployment, a situation where the hierarchy of military life is a necessity and in battle, and these also provide opportunities -- this context, military context for predators so it is more offensive in military life, even than in civilian life, and we have got to root it out. i know that many members of this committee, but you especially
senator, have led in that regard. i'm grateful for the -- for the thoughts and frankly for keeping the heat on. i'm confirmed, i'll feel that heat and i'll understand it. and be with it. >> the one statistic i was particularly concerned about the most recent report is that of all those who were willing to report the assault openly were retaliated against. 62% of those who reported these crimes were retaliated against, experienced some form of retaliation. so i'm highly concerned that the military is still failing in living up to the zero tolerance policy. do you agree? >> i do agree that retaliation is a dimension of the problem that to me is becoming increasingly apparent.
this is a problem, if i may say, and you know this because you've worked so hard on it, but that the more we dig into it the more dimensions of it we come to understand. and i think the idea that victims are retaliated against not only by the hierarchy above them, but by their peers is something that is unacceptable that we have to combat also. and the survey that you referred to indicated that is widespread. and we need to get at that. >> i understand from your testimony that you place a premium on the chain of command. i fully understand that for combat situations the chain of command is not only essential, but necessary in every respect. i would like you to, though, consider all options for how to reform the military justice system to professionalize it make it more effective. when our allies have reformed, their military justice system to
guarantee more civil liberties and to professionalize it and take out biases they have not seen diminution in the ability to train troops, instill discipline within the troops and do their job. i would ask you that you keep an open mind to look at all possible solutions for improving our criminal justice system within the military. >> i will. >> thank you. another concern i have is in terms of the issue of how we can create opportunities for women in combat. one of the issues that i have looked at is how each of the services, being able to open those positions opening all positions to women in combat, because as you know, in order to become promoted within the military oftentimes combat missions are required and having certain roles that require combat is required for promotion. are you committed to allowing women to serve in all positions and to gender neutral standards
for each of the services? >> i'm committed to gender neutral standards. what i do know is that the services are exampling whether there are any position ss in the military that should not be open to women. i strongly incline for its opening to all women but i'm respectful of the circumstances of professional military judgment in this regard. i've not been involved in the studies. if i am confirmed, i would want to confer with our own leaders in the department of defense with you and others who have thought carefully about that problem and tried to come to a view. >> senator ernst. >> thank you, dr. carter, for being here today. thank you, mr. chairman. also senator lieberman, thank you for joining us today.
as we sat down in my office the other day one thing that hopefully was very clear to you was my passion for the national guard and the army reserves and all reserve members actually. and so we have spent a considerable amount of time talking in this forum about sequestration and the effects on our services, not just our active duty forces, but also those that serve as wonderful weekend warriors. so i would love for you to please address the panel and just talk to us and explain to us those impacts that you have seen regarding sequestration and how it has impacted those reserve and national guard forces please. >> thank you senator. and, by the way thank you for your own service. i appreciate it. and i begin by saying that we owe a great debt of gratitude to
the guard and reserve because -- for what they have done over the last 12, 13 years. we couldn't have done -- i know this from the time was in the department of defense previously and in the wars in iraq and afghanistan were at their peak. we couldn't have sustained the tempo of combat in those two locations without the contributions of the reserve component of our military. so if there is ever a time when the value was made clear, it has been in the last 10 to 12 years. and they are impacted as every other part of the defense department is by sequester. that's the terrible thing about sequester. it hits everybody. and it hits them hard. and it hits them soon, which means that we don't have time to adjust. so i think the guard and reserve
component has born the impact of sequester as all the rest of the departments have. sad to say. >> and thank you for that. i appreciate that. if confirmed we do have a number of rising threats that we see, all around the world. and specifically in the middle east right now. so considering those threats with many possible deployments coming up then if confirmed, how do we ensure that our guard and reserve units maintain their ability to reinforce our active duty component as effectively as they have in the past dozen years. how do we ensure that they're being supported? >> thank you for that. that is the key issue as you
well know. and i think that the reserve component forces need to be as prepared to go into action, if they're called to go into action, as any active duty element. you never want to send anybody into harm's way on behalf of the united states who hasn't had the training and isn't fully prepared and isn't adequately equipped to do the job. so i think it is important that guard and reserve are at a state of readiness that is commensurate with the need we have for them and one other thing i'll add is they also not incidentally at all, very importantly, play a role in
responding to disasters in our own country. that's another important and, by the way also amply tell straited instrait ed in demonstrated in recent years attribute. so for deployment in a national security emergency, they need to be fully ready when we need them. >> thank you much, dr. carter and thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator manchin. >> thank you mr. chairman. and dr. carter thank you so much for first of all, all the service you've given having such an esteemed senator introducing you, with us, shows your intelligence there. and next of all, willing to serve at this most difficult time. i appreciate all of that, i know how difficult it is. we had an unusual day yesterday and we got to speak to king abdullah. and without going too much --
i'm sure you've been briefed on this. but the bottom line was this we're all concerned that our chairman has taken the lead on this, how we're going to accelerate what we do and think in this committee of how quick we can get necessary military equipment to the people willing to fight and the jordanians are willing to fight. and without the red tape, i couldn't believe what i heard yesterday, all the red tape they have to go through to get something on the front lines to help them defend themselves. i didn't hear so much they need our combat troops, they need our expertise and our people in the right places to make sure we're efficient, they just need the weapons to do the job. do you have thoughts on that? >> i do. i don't know what you heard, but i well believe what you heard. i have a long experience of frustration with getting equipment to the war fighter. our war fighters, never mind partner war fighter on time. this is an element that in --
that is important and we talk about acquisition reform. the cost control is very important. also getting things done. when i was working on the wars in afghanistan and iraq, it was even for americans, assistance to our own forces way too much red tape stood in the way. you had to constantly try to cut through that. and i guess in the context of the jordanian circumstance which i'm not familiar with, i'm not -- i'm sure you know more about it on the committee than i would as a nominee, but i do read the newspapers and i understand the need and i can well believe that it is slower than king abdullah can find acceptable and that you and i would find acceptable. if i'm confirmed as secretary of defense, this is one i'm pretty familiar with. and work to get those things out
there. >> seems like a great challenge coming out of the state department and we'll help and work on that i think, and the chairman is committed to that and the ranking member and all of us are on the same page. this is not a partisan thing. this is an american thing we want to get done. if i can we want to get it done. if i could go to that in the auditing. i'm very concerned about the cost of our military and whether it's being spent efficiently. there's not a person in the country that won't sacrifice for a person in uniform. they'll do whatever you ask them. but we've got to make sure we're spending it wisely. and think that our chairman has been diligent on this for many, more years and i'm concerned. i'm also concerned of the size of the staff. if you look at the size of the staff and how they double and quadruple and every time we get a new change the staff -- we don't talk about that. we talk about our readiness and having people able to perform. but no one is checking the staff sizes. and i'm told from people on top
they don't need these sizes but no one can get rid of them. put them back where they'red inned inned. that's something you have oversight on? >> it absolutely will. i agree with you. overhead headquarters, staffs, lots of parts of the department for just the reason you say. >> let me tell you why the audit is so important. i think we can help you help yourself of the institution. and the reason i say that is there's a lot of things that you're doing that sometimes you don't ask for, you don't want. there's equipment being sent your way, there's things being produced in different parts of the country just because of who we are. we want to make sure that our people are getting the jobs. but can tell you if this es something we're building in west virginia that you don't need, i'll be the first to tell them we're going to do something else. we've got to bite the bullet
this. we won't know unless we have an audit. and i would hope that you're committed to helping us get the audit and a complete transparency. and also the contractors. i cannot get an accurate account of how many contractors we have and what branches. >> thank you. i am committed on the audit front. i understand what you're saying about contractors and ie agree with that as well. i appreciate what you say about us working together to mike sure that we buy what we need and that we buy it well. >> thank you, sir. >> well, senator sullivan and then we'll take a break after that. how long do you need before -- 15 minutes. and then after that the next questioners would be senator hine rick and then senator fisher and then senator shaheen would be in line for the next
questioners after a 15-minute break. committee will stand in recess for 15 minutes. >> senator sullivan. >> after senator sullivan is finished with his questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. and doctor kafrter i want to thank you for your service and particularly your family, your wife and kids. i know how much they go through in these hearings. sometimes it's tougher on them than the nominees. i want to thank them as well. i wanted to start with a little history and geography. 1935 general billy mitchell, often referred to as the father of the air force was testifying in front of congress. he said, quote, i believe that in the future whoever holds blank this place will hold the world. it is the most important strategic place in the world. it is the most central place in the world for aircraft and the that is true either of europe,
asia or north america. do you know what place general mitchell was referring to in his testimony in 1935? >> i think senator, it was alaska. >> correct it was alaska. >> do you agree with general mitchell? >> i do. i point out that one proof of what he said i suppose, is that your state is home to one of our principle missile defense batteries. and the reason for that is it's kind of on the way to and from a lot of bad places. >> i look forward to hosting you in alaska soon to show you why general mitchell was correct. but i want to get actually to -- >> excuse me. senator reid says maybe that's why he was court-martialed. >> i think he may have had a drinking problem but i'm not sure. his stereo teejic assessment was still very correct.
a tough part of your job as a member of the president's cabinet, you also critically important part of the job, if confirmed, is leveling with this committee, you are showing your straight forward approach, which is great but also with the american people. i think we recognize they're challenges. but in some ways when the american president is talking to the american people his views differ. he painted a benign almost delusional view of the world environment with quotes like the shadow of crisis has passed. we're stopping isil'sed a voons. we're opposing russian aggression. we've halted the progress of iran's nuclear program. these are all quotes from the president to the american people. do you agree with his assessment in these areas? >> i think that if i'm confirmed
as secretary of defense i'm going to be confronting some of the most challenging problems that we've had in our national security in a very long time. my intention, my obligation will be to help our president and help our country confront those problems and provide the advice to the president that will help him deal with what is a -- though we have many efforts and many successes because we are the indispensable nation in this world. we have many challenges. and i think my role for him if confirmed, is to help him work through these challenges. >> but again just in terms of straightforward approach, you've been watching the international environment. do you agree with what the
president was saying and telling the american people? i think it's critical that he level, that you level, the administration levels with the american people on our challenges. i'll give you another example. he's talking about ending combat in afghanistan yet we're going to maintain a robust ct presence. but that is not ending combat operations. do you agree with what the president was say in his state of the union on some of these specific quotes that i mentioned? >> i certainly agree with the president's overall thrust -- >> that we have a benign world environment right now? >> i would say the world is -- continues to pose serious challenges to international orders, and that the united states is indispensable to the solution of those challenges is what i would say. >> let me ask one final questions. in the hearings the last three weeks that the chairman has had,
which have been, i think a great education for all of us again for the american people i think there was consensus that we certainly need to work on all instruments of american power, integrate those as part of a national strategy to address what i think are significant challenges that the president has not laid out. one of these instruments that we didn't have ten years ago but there was common agreement on is energy and being once again the world's energy super power in terms of producing oil and gas and renewables. last week the president took over 20 million acres of some of the most perspective lands for oil and gas development off the table. do you agree with having energy and using that to help our national security is important and would you agree that taking such huge areas of land off the table, potentially billions of barrels of oil, do you think that helps or underminds
america's national security? >> i certainly think energy security is an important part of national security. and i'm incredibly encouraged by what the -- the progress that the united states has made in developing new resources both oil and gas in recent years, i think it's showing up in terms of our economy and also it's showing up geopolitically. with respect to the plr issue you raise senator i'm simply not knowledgeable about it and can't give you a knowledgeable answer. >> i think those kind of answers undermine our national security significantly. >> i understand. >> the committee will stand in recess for 15 minutes and then reconvene. and the next questioners will be senator hine rick senator fisher and senator shaheen.
back thrive an empty hearing room with the senator armed services committee likely to gavel back in at 2:has eastern. so within the hour we expect that the hearing to resume. the chairman, john mccain said earlier to reporters that he expects to have the nomination out of committee passed out of the committee before february 16th. that's the beginning of the date of the congressional recess. the associated press reporting that earlier today. we'll have live coverage
obviously when they gavel back in and more from earlier testimony in just a bit. we've been asking throughout the day your thoughts on the priorities for secretary of defense. you can do that at facebook and twitter. a comment here from victor, can you ask a secretary of defense nominee if he will be independent from the president. you want a coupe and that's what that means. the senators are in recess for a couple of reasons. one, there's a bipartisan policy lunch going on and also the senator is going to revote on a motion to proceed to the dhs legislation, the homeland security legislation because funding runs out at the end of february. they failed to move forward yesterday. democrats are opposing the measure because it includes some of the language in the house bill that would block the president's executive orders on immigration as of last year. so we're expecting a revote on
that in the senator within the hour. ahead of that though senators are meeting in a bipartisan lunch, not typically on tuesday. they have their party lunches. today they're meeting in the senator caucus room. a tweet here talking about the atmosphere here. he tweets at that bipartisan lunch, reid is sitting next to sell by merkley and rubio. on the house side of things tweeting boehner meets with ka nes et speaker without pelosi and comes off the ambassadors on the hill doing damage control with the democrats. jennifer from the huffington post tweets pelosi is meeting with the israeli speaker 2 p.m. today. and there's news from the white house too. staffing changes down there and that's from julie who tweets, the last of obama's originals is heading out of the white house
in late february early march. ashton carter served in the obama administration already from 201 to 2013. he would be the fourth secretary of defense if approved by the senate. we spoke to a capitol hill reporter earlier for more details on the nominee and today's hearing. >> he's covering the ashton carter hearing with his experience in two administrations in the defense department. how is ashton carter viewed on capitol hill? >> he's pretty widely respected. a pretty deeper on defense issues. senator mccain and a lot of the other members of the armed services committee walking into this hearing said they didn't expect this to be really a focus on him or his credentials. he's known, he's well-liked. he should haven't a problem. they've seen the hearing as more of a chance to criticize obama on a number of national security
issues looking at his afghanistan strategy. >> it sounded like chairman mccain and ashton carter the nominee were in agreement in terms of getting rid of the sequester, these pentagon spening caps. how are they going to do that? >> that's the big question. you've heard senator mccain, you're heard chairman thorn berry say they're going to hammer that this year. the mandatory spending cuts are supposed to go into effect in 2016. they're all concerned, the nominee included that that could cripple the military. that's really going to set them back. but as of now we haven't seen much of an alternative plan. joust just a lot of promises. the military needs to have the money. we heard carter say that he thinks it's foolish plan, he thinks it's going to harm national security. we heard senator mccain say he wants to see it gone. no alternative out there.
>> ashton carter was asked about whether we would support arming the ukrainian rebels. what did he say? >> he was fuzzy on the specifics there. he supported the idea and would look into it more. you know this is one of several different issues that he's going to have to weight into immediately. the pentagon right now has been in a wait and see mode as the white house has been. and we'll see where that lands when he gets into office. >> another issue is brought up by several senators including senators gill brand and has roen no was military sexual harassment in the military. you tweeted at ashton cart's response saying he called it a problem, sexual assault widespread but particularly offensive in the military. some senators have tried to change the pentagon policy. what do we know of ashton
carter's intentions in this area? >> well, he said clearly that he wants to be aggressive on this issue, look for ways to really attack the problem and forward you know, further the work that the military has done already. shortly after i put that tweet out senator mccaskill came on and tried to reverse the conversation there. obviously the legislation that she proposed and senator gill la brand proposed the idea of taking the issue out of the hands of military commanders. finding a new way of handling this has been a controversial point. this is an issue he's looking at and something he definitely wants to find a solution to. did hedge a little bit and said this is a wider problem than just a military problem. but said again military it's a specifically offensive problem because of the team work and camaraderie that's involved in being in the ranks. >> chairman mccain in his opening statement and a couple of times in the hearing he complained about a lack of
national security strategy on the part of the pentagon. what is he looking for and what did he hear from ashton carter. >> i don't think he heard anything from the nominee that really calmed any of his fears. he's really hammered the obama administration in months and especially since he took over as chairman about having a lack of a coherent strategy. too much immediate reaction, not enough, you know, continued presence and idea of how to combat islamic terrorists worldwide, especially in iraq and syria. but also in their strategy for afghanistan whab's the long term goal there how long troops should be there. you know, secretary carter is still the nominee and a lot of his answers were, you know, i'll look into this, i'll see. i know there are plans in place and if those plans don't look right, then i'll make sure to pivot from those and give different advice. but for right now he's sticking with here's the administration's plans and i plan on stepping in
and trying to implement them. >> you can follow his reporting on twitter at leoshame. thanks for the update. >> as of now we expect the senator armed services committee to come back in at 2:45 eastern to resume questioning of ashton carter. we'll have live conch on c-span3 when that happens. one of the issues that will play on whether that starts on time is the revote in the senate on moving forward with the homeland spending measure. we expect a revote this afternoon sometime after 2:45 eastern. you can follow all of that when they gavel back in over on c-span two. ahead of that there's a bipartisan lunch going on in the old senate caucus room between democrats and republicans and some flavor from that of politico tweets about the senators saying a lot of qume ba ya moments at the bipartisan lunch about how the senate used
refreshing to work with someone in this potential position who has both your technical background and your ability to work with people across the services and with congress. you seem to balance those things remarkably well, speaking as an engineer who struggles with that myself sometimes. so -- if i remember right, i believe you served as a staff director if are the congressional commission on the strategic posture of the u.s. that released its report back in 2009 when i was sitting on the house armed services committee. and i think that report made some very important strategic recommends. in particular i thought the idea that los alamos, liver moore san dia should be designated as national security rather than nuclear weapons laboratories, was a very important recognition
of how the threat environment that we face in the world today has changed. in addition, one of the things the commission recommended was that the president issue an executive order formally assigning the secretaryies of defense and energy, state, homeland security and the dni joint responsibility for the health of these lob toiraboratories. and you and i discussed this a little bit when we met in my office recently. i wanted to ask you based on a recommendation from the strategic posture administration, what sort of joint responsibility do you believe that the department of defense should have for our national labs? >> thank you, senator. i recall our conversation. and you're right, i was the executive director at the so called perry schlesinger commission which make the recommendation you pointed to. the national laboratories the
so called laboratory isies are laboratories. i know that because we used them a lot. we asked them to do things because of their technical excellence. so those laboratories that were founded to serve the nuclear arsenal of the united states and continue to do so, now do lots of other things for national security, for the department of defense, for the intelligent community, law enforcement community, homeland security community. i think they call it for work for others, which means other than the department of energy. but it's important and it was certainly valuable to the department of defense when i was there to be able to get that kind of technical excellence. >> i think one of the challenges has been that originally worked for others didn't really exist at the national labs. they were solely nuclear enterprises. and as that has become a larger and larger percentage of what they do it's been more
challenging to sort of fey feed the underlying foundational aspects of the lab, the overhead and other things. so what i would hope is that if you're confirmed, and i certainly hope that you are that i can count on being able to work with you to figure out if there's not a way we can formalize that responsibility for the health of dod and the other agencies i mentioned as well as for the long term health of those national security laboratories. >> i understand. and if i am confirmed i look forward to working with you on exactly that. i understand. >> i want to move back to ukraine for a minute. we heard earlier about the issue of providing additional defensive military equipment to the ukrainians. but we've also heard a lot of testimony in recent weeks emphasizing the importance of
deterring additional russian discretion in the ball techs. continues troops in those places. and i just wanted to get your sense for are we doing enough in that region to deter additional russian aggression in the baltics? >> i think it's very important that we do deter russian aggression in the baltics. the baltic states are part of nato, after all. it's a pretty big deal. but to answer your specific question are we doing enough. i'm familiar with what we're doing. i have not been in a position to discuss it with our commanders there or the european leaders. that's something i would if i were confirmed, would be a very early priority to see if we're doing enough.
we are doing things, rotating forces in there. and i support doing that. but everything we're doing i'm probably not aware of. and what more we can do i've not investigated but i promise if i am confirmed i would. it's very important >> thank you very much, dr. carter. >> dr. carter were thank you for being here today. thank you for your service to our country. yesterday we saw the islamic state burn alive the pilot of one of our deallies. in recent months they've buried women and children alive, beheaded americans and citizens of our allies. the leaders of the islamic state, the ones who direct and in some cases commit these atrocities have critical knowledge that we need to stop them. they have information that would allow us to go after the islamic state's financial support. they have a lot of intelligence value. if american forces were to
capture one of the leaders, would you recommend that the president send him to guantanamo bay so he would be fully interrogated. >> i would certainly recommend that he be interrogated for his intelligence value. it would be a legal determination about where he ended up. but i think it's important that we get the intelligence value if we capture people like al baghdadi baghdadi. >> would you recommend that he stay in american custody or would you recommend that he be transferred to an ally? >> as i sit here right now i don't know enough about that. that would be a legal determination. but the key from a secretary of defense's point of view would be, let's get that intelligence. >> and would you want to see him transferred to the united states mainland given his miranda rights or otherwise put in an
article 3 federal court? >> again i don't know enough to know what the ultimate disposition would be appropriate. but i do know that it would be important to interrogate that individual. so whatever the ultimate disposition or legal process was, it should make provision for interrogation. >> thank you. i want to move to the recommendations of the national defense panel for the overall military budget. the national defense panel as you know is a bipartisan and congressionally mandated panel that reviewed the 2014 g-rqdr. that panel stated, quote, congress and the president should repeal the budget control act immediately and return as soon as possible to the funding baseline proposed in the fy 2012 defense budget end quote. the pnl went on to note that why that amount would be inadequate it represents the minimum required. do you concur with the national
defense's panel that bob gates' fy 2012 recommendation for the coming fiscal year is the minimum funding baseline needed for the department of defense? >> the 2012 baseline, just to make sure i understand correctly, is the -- would have removed $500 billion from the defense plan at that time sequester would are removed twice that. and so i don't know what the national defense panel said. but i would say that the -- if what they were saying was that the sequester level was unacceptable and that the level that secretary gates recommended was the one that they supported i actually supported that, too. and continue to think that sequester is a bad idea.
and i am familiar with the results of the national defense panel and its membership which is very distinguished. >> to be exact, secretary gates' fy 122012 bujs it said the budget would be $612 billion, at sequester levels it would be under $500 billion. i believe the president recommended $535 billion. so this would be another $70 billion plus that the defense panel recommends for the coming year. >> i see what you're saying. yes. that's absolutely right. i think the defense department budget has been under pressure now for the last three or four years in a way that i experienced the effects of firsthand. and they're damaging. and that's one of the reasons why i want to get back on track to getting enough money for defense by getting rid of sequester. >> so while $535 billion or some congressional number that that
neighborhood might be better than $500 billion, you think $610 billion as recommended by that panel is the minimum necessary to put our military back on the right course? >> i wouldn't say it's the minimum necessary to put us back on courtse. we're obviously not going to get that amount of funding. but i can tell you we could make good use of -- that is the department of defense could make good use of the funding that the president has requested. and i'll say one other thing if i'm secretary of defense i would like to see more spending on defense. i'm very open about that. i want to get sequester an i would like to see us spend more on defense. i think that we're having -- this may have been what the mvp was getting at. we're having to accept risks in the execution of our strategy as a result of our funding problems which i would rather
see us not accept. >> thank you. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you dr. carter for your past service to this country and for your willingness to continue to serve. i want to talk a little bit about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. i remember being at the kennedy school when you gave a very compelling presentation that showed retiring -- or dismantling some of the weapons through the none luger program. and i continue to believe that this is one of the most serious dangers we face both in the eyes and in the world, particularly request terrorists like the islamic state who seem to be willing to do anything to achieve their ends. and i wonder if you could talk a little bit about how to balance the need to address nuclear
weapons and material that is still out there with the effort of dod to modernize our weapons systems and where you see the priorities are and what we need to do to address that. >> thank you senator. i think we need to do both and can do more in the way of securing materials and the other wherewithal of nuclear weapons and biological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction around the world. and i also believe that the united states needs a safe secure and reliable nuclear deterrent. as much as we would like to see nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction rid from the earth, that doesn't look like it's something that's going to happen soon. and it's important that the american deterrent that we
provide to our own country but also to friends and allies who rely upon them is safe secure and reliable. i think we need to do both and can do both. >> you wrote an article last year for foreign affairs entitled "running the pentagon right. how to get the troops what they need" and you talked about two lessons from iraq and afghanistan. first that the pentagon was not prepared and the length of the wars was underestimated and there was little incentive to pursue acquisitions tailored to the specific fights. can you talk about how, as secretary of defense, you would avoid repeating those mistakes of the past two wars? >> well yeah. thank you. and this is something that i have a lot of passion about, which is why i wrote that.
the experience that i had all too often in trying to support iraq and afghanistan as the acquisition executive was that when the troops said they needed something, the response of the bureaucracy was, tended to be, oh, we have one of those. we're making one of those. we have one in -- we'll be finished in ten years. and -- i mean incredibly, that is, in essence the response that would come back from the bureaucracy. we all recognize immediately that's nonsensical. but they needed that equipment to counter ied equipment vehicles. they needed it now, not ten and 15 years from now. and the acquisition department got in the habit -- i think the chairman was referring to this early -- got in the habit during the cold war of doing things very slowly. the soviet union, we always had plenty of time. it was is soviet union, it was
the cold war i would go on a long time. and we would have programs that extended over ten and 10 15 years. you can't do that when you're in the middle of a war and people are dying and success depends upon you acting more quickly. that i obviously feel passionately about that. i think anybody who observed that bureaucratic tendency would have the same attitude i did. and we've got to turn faster as a military. it's not only when you're in war. when you're in competition with other countries that are using the global technology base to advance their own military. if we're going to continue to be the best military in the world, we can't have -- make steps in 15-year increments. we have to turn faster than that. that's the larger meaning going forward, the lessen to use your word of that experience. >> well and my time is almost over. but you and others here today
have talked about the importance of procurement reform. i asunl that will be a top priority when you go back to the department as it has been in the past >> it would if i'm confirmed, absolutely. >> senator ion hof? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for not being here and i don't want to ask something that's been asked over and over again. we have a conflicting meeting that's going on nop now. everyone that's appeared before this committee has talked about the unprecedented mismatch, the chiefs, the old-timers. we had george schultz and kisen jer, could not find the threats that we're faced with today. that's the mismatch that they're talking about with the things
all over the world that are taking place right now. do you agree what that? let me restate that. in the years that you've had such a variety of experience do you ever remember a time like this? >> i think we are in a time where the number and se varyverity is something i've not seen. >> we know that we have a really serious problem with isis, with isil. we've been talking about the fact that they're building a malitia and we now have seen the brutality and what they're capable of. i just wonder sometimes if we -- i would like to have a stronger response from the president when the disaster took place yesterday. but do you -- i fail to see a strategy in terms of dealing
with isis. with that force that's over there. do you see a strategy? where will you be on this? >> thank you. i can describe what i believe to be the strategy. and to get -- just to revert to what you said at the beginning. we used to -- when i started my career in defense it was a simpler world. there was one big problem, which was -- >> those were the good old days. >> -- the cold war and the nuclear disaster. i assume this is what your other witnesses were saying. it's a much more complicated world, much more many-facetted and many more problems and issues for the united states to take on. at the same time i believe we're up to it and we're capable of surmounting all of these problems. with respect to the strategy for isis, i would describe it in the following way. strategy is about connecting
ends and means. and the end here is the defeat of isis and the sustained lasting defeat of isis. and to achieve that lasting defeat of isis we are trying to rebuild the moral and power of the iraqi military and the confidence of its government in a multisectarian approach so that we don't revisit the mall ki experience which led to the disintegration of the iraqi forces. so on that side of the pordborder the lasting defeat will be made lasting by an iraqi security forces and associated forces in iraq that are rebuilt. one enemy two locations fop get to other location, syria i believe the approach there similarly needs to be