tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 24, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT
testimony. >> thank you general and to your family. congratulations on a wonderful service thus far. a few questions. i want to go back to you talked about gender integration earlier. i want to get your take how it's going and the philosophy that the marine corps is under taking to carry out that mission f you can talk about that. >> senator when the secretary made the decision to open up all occupational fields the service chiefs and the fields taking a look at how they might do this. we worked hard to work in a way to figure out how we will integrate. we have opened up and put marine -- female marine officers in units where previously women weren't allowed to serve. they have done well. we are going to continue to do that. and to determine the last part,
whether we would based on a standard allow women to serve in infantry artillery tanks light armory reconnaissance, we formed a task force of volunteers. and we put them together as a unit. they trained up and went to 29 palms and the warfare center and did a series of tests. and the tests are complete and it will provide information to inform about whether or not he will request the waiver. and i have not seen all the data. i have seen some of it. and when we first sent volunteer female marines inligsed to determine their ability to complete that course. the number that went they had
an about a 36% completion rate and again, we are still looking at this. we are -- we have not made any sort of predecision. so again whatever we do, it is about individual standards. it is about the capableeableility of the unit and that unit becoming better, or at least as good as it is now. so that decision is is going to come. i believe we have ainformation, we are working with the army. and i'm sure -- i know they will work with the general if he is concerned as the next chief of staff. >> can i ask about the standard the philosophy and setting the standard. as you set the standard in areas that are not yet gender integrated. sit just describing the current function the way we have always done it?
or an analsis to do the best job? >> i have not seen all of different task condition standards. they will be functionally based. they will won't be -- it will be a screening process for any marine, male or female. but it will be not lift as much weight. i have to prepare the charge. i have to carry the projectile. i have to drag the canyon. i have to go this far with this much weight. so that's the data we got. and what the data says about how men and women did -- i went out and saw the unit that did the test. it was a very hard test. it was hard. and regardless of whatever happens, i can tell thaw the
marines out there, particularly the women marines, they did a great job. it was pretty motivating. >> i want to switch gears to an area of the marines that is incredibly important. they train in virginia. the marine security guards that train at quantico. this is a job that is getting more attention. this is a job where i think armed services we have devoted more services to it. how familiar are you -- do they have the resources they need? are they training enough? because we sure need them around the world? >> senator, i'm not completely conversant in the training. i like to the embasscies and i
talk to the marines. they are high quality and it's a great retention tool for us to get the marines in. i do worry they have so capable that we don't get a lot of them to stay after their service. they have -- they have options. and i always ask them how many of you are going to stay and if any are, i volunteer myself to be their career planner so i can condition convince them to stay. they are some of the best and brightest men and women we have. and i haven't been to an embassy where they are continuewanting or lacking anything. i think they in good shape. >> great. thanks for your testament. >> thank you. general, thank you very much darcy, thank you for being here today. i appreciate your great service
to our nation. ly fire off one quick question. i apologize. i have to step out again. but one of my top priorities has been ensuring that our soldiers and our marines are -- those who are really engaged and close contact, in combat, and those who are taking the majority of casualties in the nation's conflicts are armed with the best possible weapons. available. and give them the will and the fight to win. i mean, we have to make sure they have the best possible tight arms, the personal weapons. that is one of the things they do quality on the individual weapon. with that being said i am concerned about the military's lack of modernizing our small arms programs. i know the marines have recently gone from utilizing the squad
automatic weapon to the light infantry automatic rifle, the i-ar. so i'm glad they are modernizing in some aspects. they have still not modernized the m-4. i would like your thought on the small arms program, maybe see where we need to go with that if we need changes. >> i believe that weapons we equipped our marines with are the best we can get. the m-4, even the marines on a rifle squad carry an m-16, we want them to have the longer barrel for the longer reach. so talking about weapons is a very emotional subject with marines. but i never heard anybody say they didn't think what they had was going to allow them to be a successful battle.
we don't want it to be a fair fight. we are always looking to better ways to improve everything we have. we have improved the javelin and we are always working on the tanks. so there's no lack of emotion and energy and enthusiasm when i walk around about our weapons and i think everybody's satisfied. doesn't mean there's not better ways to do it. whether it's ammunition, magazines and my view and position we are in a good place. >> thank you, and in the interest of time, i will submit my other questions for the record. thank you, and i appreciate it very much. there, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i would like to thank your family and friends with you here today. it speaks volumes about you.
general dunford hars worked hard on the mental health issue. and i want to get a comment on you to prevent suicide as part or your readiness for your marines. >> absolutely. >> and part of that there is no stigma in seeking help. >> senator we have worked this and i can tell you, as hard as we worked, we made progress. and every marinos out there, what we want to do first is foremost is help them iffy need it. >> one of the things works in this area over the past few years is finding out how critical leadership with the squad is to platoon and finding out mental health problems. and i want to make sure that your leaders of in the squad and platoon level make a call talk
to somebody if you see one of your marines going sideways on you or having struggles, they probably see it before anybody, don't you think general? >> senator i agree completely and i can tell you that the focus of our training we do the suicide prevention and how to react at a that level. and i can give you personal accounts where sergeants junior staff were there at the forefront to give a hand or keep a marine from doing something they probably wish they hadn't done and saved their life. >> general, i talked to someone about an area you are familiar with, the anbar province and we are going over the efforts to retake fallujah and all of western iraq. what is your view on how to best
rebuild our relationship with the sunni describes and to partner them against isis? >> senator, again, i have not been in iraq and anbar since i left on my birthday in 2007. i would like to go back. and see it for myself. but i don't think the relationship with the sunni tribes -- the issue is not with us. it's with the government in baghdad. they have to believe that their central government is going to give themmed so modicum of support. they are going to fix the roads, make electricity. fix the roads and let them worship as they see fit. so that relationship that was damaged, it was tenuous at best. it was damaged by previous governments in iraq. if he can do that, i think he
will gain their support but he will have to work really hard. >> in afghanistan you know we face significant challenges moving ahead. and the marines have been such an important part of securing entire areas of afghanistan of creating secure regions. as you look at that what do you see moving forward as some of the keys to success, to stability will and holding on there? >> senator i visited afghanistan a number of times but i never served there. so my experience base is limited. but again, i think it's -- goes back to the afghan government believing we are going to be there to support them. that the resources are going to be there and they have the confidence and their soldiers have the confidence there's going to be somebody there to back them up. there's similar problems.
what we need to stay there and work with them. i believe my experience is that they -- if a foreign nation believes there is somebody that is behind them, they are likely to do the right thing the right way and hopefully for a longer period of time. >> i will finish with this. my father-in-law was a marine and he would be very proud of your service, all your jeeryears of service and we wish you the very best. >> general neller mrs. neller welcome and congratulations. thank you for your service. want to start -- and i apologize for having to step out. we had to have a committee. i'm apologizing if i ask a question that has already been asked. i want to start asking what will
be your top ground modernization priorities? >> senator right now, the two top programs, they are yetted to be fielded, the joint tactical vehicle and the amphibious combat vehicle. both of them -- close to low vated and the acv, we should down select the two venders with 16 vehicles this fall and we will eventually pick one. in that area, and there's a couple other things but a radar, multipurpose radar and a variety of other things. but right now, they are at the top. >> can you talk about the reason they are top and the difference it makes in terms of your capabilities? >> well, for the jotv we need a
wheeled vehicle that has more ver vooifiblety than the humvee. the humvee has been around since the mid '80s. there's only so much growth in the frame and we need something to give us trafficiblety. and the decision is made that the jotv is that vehicle. so we are going to buy 5500 of them. and i'm assuming they are going to meet the requirement. i have not looked at any of the test data. i don't even know who the vender is. on the acv the same reason. the amphibious vehicle we have, we are rebuilt it a number of times. it's okay in the water and not okay in the ground. it's just not survivable. and because that vehicle spends 90% of its time ashore we have
to find something that will give us survivability on the shore and can move through the beach. >> and that has to do with the ship to shore maneuvers. i got some exposure to some of the challenges when i was down at camp lejeune a couple months ago. can you talk about the ship to shore and elaborate on the acv in the capability it gives you compared to what you have today? >> amphibious ware fare is very complicated. it involves a lot of moving pieces, and you are subject to the weather and the sea. we have to get to the amphibious area, and the ships and we use air-cushion vehicles and landing craft to move heavier loads ashore. neither the amtrak or what we -- the acv will be able to give us
a long range launch. we have to worry about ante access denial. we will work with the force. we want to be able to land under a cover of darkness. take advantage of that for your security. so this acv that we buy has to have some surf capability sea keeping capability and has to move with speed that we can do it under a period of darkness. >> the last question i have for you has to do with the size of the force. i know there have been studies for marine corps university that was setting the optimum size of the marines at 186,000. we are at 184,000. and moving to 182,000. the 5,000 differential that is a lot of marines and killing
capacity capacity. i know when i met with you you are the sort of person that will make it work whatever hand you are dealt. do you feel that is a workable number or a number you are working with because that is where we are with troop reductions. or do we have to look back at getting that the number if you believe that 187 is the optimal number? >> senator the optimal number for a 3 to 1 deployment air owe is 186. and we've built into our plan as we have gone down some reversibility of that. we know what units we took down and what units we would bring back. 182, at that point we can meet the combatant commander requirements and we think this is the minimal sustainable
level. e we can do it at 182. but 186 would be better. if resources are available we could grow the force back but that could take some time. >> thank you and i look forward to supporting your confirmation. thank you, mr. chair. >> there, mr. chairman. thank you, general neller for being here, and your sacrifices thank you to your family for being here. and we had a chance to talk about your issues. and after a meetinging i sent you a report i did summarizing cases at bases in 2014 just as a snapshot. in camp pendleton for 2013, they had 50 cases of sexual assault, alleged. ten cases were from spouses. you have an issue with domestic violence that is important to look at. you have 18 w40 are civilian.
who 28 out of 50 who are not part of the survey. when we surveyed sexual assault last year, it doesn't include civilians or spouses. so more than half of the cases are not counted in those numbers. the other statistic with service members s 21. this is a challenge we have, among your spouses 8 withdrew their complaint within a year. they no longer wanted to prosecute. of the civilian complaintant as eight withdrew. so to report a case, you have to put your name on the bottom line, you get a rape kit. and it's public. it does not show confidence in the system. so that brings us the issue of
retaliation. and how much retaliation is existing? we know that someone who reported a rape was retaliated against in the process. and it comes in all forms. 53% social, peer to peer. 35% administrative. 32% professional, 11% a punishment. so more than half of the cases there is a chain of command retaliation. really look to the low level commanders we have issue with sexual harassment and discrimination, and 60% comes from the unit commander. so you have to dig deep to try to create a better environment for to you be successful you have good order and discipline within the ranks. i look forward to working with
you on that. i feel it's vital. i approacheciate your answer to senator mccain. i know the physical fitness tests are gender norms and in the case, she was trying to create tougher requirements for them to meet standards. as you look at your standard review and as you lock to whether you are going to wave ask for a waiver for any positions today, i urge you not to seek waivers. all you are saying there is no one to meet the standard today but if we have standards that can jeender neutral, you will have women who can meet the standard. but maybe not today. i caught you not to take that action. we want all of our best and brightest. so i would like to ask you,
basically, when you are going to relook at the issues, do you expect you will ask for an exemp exemption or a waiver? >>ry not see the data. i have not talked to general dunford about this. he is not longer -- i ask that he could inform me as to what we are going to do. i take all your points. again, i want every marine to have the best opportunity to be successful. nobody joins the marine corps to fail. anybody join here to fail? no? good, we have to be successful. we have to have them do the best for themselves and more importantly, the unit. i know it's going to take close
scrutiny. and again, we want to make sure we have the most operationally capable course. i make your points and appreciate your guyedness. >> thank you and i'm very thankful for your service. thank you. >> thank you for your service as others have said before. it's not only yours but your family's and we are grateful for you to take on this important mission. no one joins the marine corps to fail, that is for sure. and i know that you want to give every opportunity to every marine to serve to the best of his or her ability. and part of the reasons that marines may, in quotes fail or apore to fail, may be because of invisible wounds of war.
my colleague asked about mental health issues. post traumatic stress is the result of combat related injuries that have never really been recognized in the past as mump as they are now. and maybe now as much as they should be. my colleague and i, senator mccain have an act to provide research and care to marines and others who are injured in duty, often in combat as a result of post traumatic stress, and to help prevent suicides that occur among them. i would welcome your commitment that you will encourage and support even more efforts to deal with post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
>> senator, you have my total commit to those actions. >> thank you. do you have any specific initiatives you have contemplated. i know it's early to ask you, but in that area to encourage more marines to come forward to identify themselves? senator donnelly asked about the stigma that comes with those. i ask if you have an initiative? >> senator, i don't at this time. all i can tell you is this. we learned a lot the last 12 years. unfortunately, we learned a lot an about some bad things. and i do think that the force recognizes the invisible wounds. i remember a captain got ieds several times and hoe with you
berated because he looked like he was fine. i honestly believe those days are gone. that said, there may be marines out there or any service member out there who is still dealing with something that is is bugging them. the marines i talked to and the marines i served with today i don't know anybody who is not out there reaching out to talk to them. and they believe they are going to try to talk to them. they will come forward. and there may be some who have not. and those with tbi, they have been diagnosed. we need to continue to take care of them. they are part of the force until they are no longer on the force. so we are not perfect. we still have a lot to learn. and our wounded warrior regimen takes care of remeans when they are not longer on active service. we owe them our best support and i commit to you they are going
to get it from me. >> thank you, and applaud your commitment and your sensitivity i guarantee there are marines and soldiers and sailers and airmen who are out there with wounds that are bugging them. and they need the encouragement to come forward. let me shift to -- >> could i just interrupt? you are familiar with the suicide prevention act? >> i am not. i will make sure i. >> we will make sure your office receives the material. senator mccain, it's critically important, 22 veterans every
day in the this country, commit suicide and this bill is an effort to prevent that problem. if i can comment, the f-35 joint strike fighter, i know we have not yet passed the initial operating capableility test and stage. i wonder if you can comment on what you see as the importance of this fifth generation fighter to the marine corps. >> senator, we hope soon that we will be able to declare based on our readiness evaluation that we are ready. and it's going to replace the airframes, the f-15 and i'm in the sure we realize the potential of the airframe other than the fablgt that it's a fifth generation aircraft and we will be able to enter air space
of adversaryies that we have not been able to do before. and the real, the electronics and all the information that this thing is going to be able to gather and eventually disseminate to the force on the ground. i'm an infantry guy. and they tell us what is on the other side of the hill. and i think you know, this airplane potentially if it does what we believe it's going to be be able to do, it's change to change how we do what we do. and that is when we have to learn as we go through this. it's expensive. the more we build the more our allies buy and the cheaper it will be. and i'm excited about the potential for the joint force. >> thank you very much, general. thank you.
>> thank you chairman. i want to thank you, general, for your service to the country and your wife as well and your whole family. appreciate all that you have done and are beingwilling to take on in this important position. i wanted to ask you about iraq. i know that others have asked you about -- but having served our country in iraq, and just seeing that the director of the fbi james comy said this week that isis poses a greater risk than al qaeda, what is is telling. what is it we need to do in iraq now to address isis that we are not doing? >> senator, my time in iraq is a bit dated, although i'm a bit informed in my current job as to what we are doing as far as
marines and the joint force. so i think we're doing what we need to do right now. and we're training the iraqis. we are training with ammunition and supplies. we are working with them in operation centers, working with them advising them. the only thing we are not doing is we are not accompanying them, to the best of my knowledge. at the end of the day, they are the ones that have to do it. they are the ones that have to restore their territory and i believe based on what i have seen them do in the past they have the capability to do that. because we have to defeat isis. we have to get this to a point where they're insignificant and they are just some people on the internet saying a bunch of stuff but they don't have any capability or anything to back it up. and right now, they are not -- that is not where they are. they have land, they have
terrain. and they're masquerading as a country. >> we have heard from gin ral dunford and others that it's important that we have a conditions based withdrawal from afghanistan as opposed to a calendar withdrawal. would you agree with that seeing what happened in iraq post our leaving? >> senator, it's my military opinion that a condition based withdrawal is more effective than one based on time. >> obviously your enemy can wait you out. you agree with me on that? >> i think that is an accurate
statement. >> and in terms of what we are doing in iraq right now, we have repeatedly raised in the committee, from your experience on the ground, generally does the employment of joint terminal attack controllers make air strikes more accurate and effective? >> i would agree that the provisioner, having that with a maneuver unit takes them more effective. >> one of the issues that needs to be aggressed, obviously, right now with the iraqi security forces, do you believe that our american military dropping air strikes in iraq right now would be more effective in j tacks were embedded at the tactical level? >> in principle, yes senator, but there las to be a
methodology, for a pilot to go out there without a target, there has to be a coordination going on. there has to be coordination where they are given at least a general location or a target or something to look at so they are not just out there flying around. but i don't know the answer to that. but -- so if there are controller generally a unit is more effective. >> certainly that is what they do on the ground. help ensure that the targets are more precise and effective. you and i spoke briefly about this in my office. with what happened in benghazi where brave americans were murdered. where are we today in terms of -- and one of the things all
of us were upset about is the fact that our military couldn't respond quickly enough to help. and i want to know where we are today if we had another benghazi attack would the marine corps be ready to respond? >> we have a ground combat unit and 22 ospreys to spain, the force has grown. it's spread across three bases and a squadron of 12 ospreys. they have an alert force on six-hour alert. if there is known to be an indication or warning, they can position themselves on other bases in the mediterranean or in western africa. there are a number of places to
go with the support of on host nation. so our capability is much greater. particularly if we have some idea that something's going to happen or we know that someone is going to go there and we need to provide them with protection. we are in a much better place tlan we were at that time. >> thank you. >> thank you. general, congratulations on your nomination. the marine corpses in my view is pound for pound, the finest fighting force we have ever created. let's keep that it way. is it true that isil is targeting military and their families, calling for attacks on military and their families here at home? >> senator, i'm not aware they have specifically targeted american citizens. i am aware they have put information about american
citizens on social media. >> it's my understanding they have urged people to come after the military and their families and encourages people here and abroad to do so. if the recruiters would have been armed do you think things would have been different? >> senator, i don't know. >> i think they would have been. and here's the question. i don't want to have ever again. i don't know. the answer. i don't know. we got to know. i think it would have the mattered and i know it's not your job unilaterally to decide. so it's any job to get real with where we stand as a station. they are coming after us here and everywhere else and we got to get ready to defend our people. general dunford said he thought the greatest threat to america
today is russia. do you agree with that? >> as a nation state, i agree the greatest threat is russia. but i believe the greatest threat is radical extremism. >> do you agree with me that the greatest threat is a radical islamic state with a nuclear weapon? >> any radical with a nuclear weapon is a threat. >> do you agrow that iran is a radical state? >> i believe that iran has involved itself in a number of activities around the world. >> do you believe that the
ayatollah is truthful when he says death to america. >> i have never spoken to him. >> would it be smart to assume the worst when it comes to the ayatollah and not the best? >> it would be best to watch them closely and judge them on their actions and hold them accountable for the things they do that violate international law and disrupt the stability of the region and the world. >> would you agree they are the primary stabilizing force in the middle east? >> i believe they are extremely destabilizing force. >> do you agree with me that the last 15 minutes without iranian
and hezbollah would help? >> i agree that -- how long it will last -- >> they are assad's main benefactor. >> they are providing a great deal of support. >> do you believe that the yemen was toppled because of the iranian support -- >> i believe they recease ever seefed a significant amount of support from iran. to what degree that allowed them to top al that government -- >> let's put it this way. iran stopped supporting them, do you think we would have had a different outcome? >> senator, that would be speculative on my part. i have been to yemen a couple times. the government they had was troubled and they have a huge amount of tribal in there. and clearly, the iranian support
facilitated the actions to topple the government. >> do you believe that hezbollah would have a hard time surviving without iran? >> they would not have the capableility today. >> senator, you are not answering the question. do you believe in that or not? >> general, i'm not trying to put you in a bad box. i'm trying to explain to the american people who the iranians are. and what they are up to. that is all i'm trying to do. do you agree with me that are a very destabilizing influence in the middle east? they have the largest state sponsor of terrorism and we should know that? >> yes, senator. >> okay, finally as to the marine corps. you have indicated that in 1975 the marine corps was a place that was in a bad spot. you are come along way.
do you agree with me that if we impose sequest they that is a time we need the marine corps the most. >> we would not be able to provide the support to a nation. >> have you seen a larger need for the united states marine corps than today in terms of the threats we face? >> senator this is a very challenging time and i think this is a time when a force like the marine corps would have a great capability. the nation. >> thank you very much. >> well, general, before we close, when you say we are doing what we need to do in iraq, i don't know where you have been.
obviously isis is winning in iraq. and for you not to be in favor of us having air controllers on the ground in some scholastic answer, you know well that i do they are full ability to firing a weapon. and the line about they're the ones that have to do it themselves. general, they can't do it themselves. we know that iraqis cannot do it themselves. that is why they are losing. that is why they lost their second largest city. that is why isil continues to make gains and the only people fighting against them are the iranian militias. so they have to do it but without american assistance on
the ground, we will see a stalemate. and for you to say we are doing what we need to do maybe you can tell me what we are doing that will win against isis. can you tell me that? >> senator, what i believe we are doing is is to provide -- >> and that is succeeding? and that is success, is that right? >> i stemmed the tide for isis but it is not removing them from iraq. so it's not succeeding right now. >> do you believe that isis is losing? >> no, sir i do not. >> do you believe they are winning? >> no no, sir, i don't believe they are winning either. they believe they are at a stalemate right now. >> they are at a stalemate. and when you have a stalemate then when the enemy controls the second largest city in about a third of it and the only people fighting against them are shia militias backed by iranians. and responsible for the deaths
of 500 marines and soldiers orchestrating the attacks i don't think we are doing what we need to do general. i'm going to give you some written questions. i'm very disappointed in a number of your answers. let me go back again. you know what happened in that recruiting station don't you? the guy walked up to the door and shot and killed four marines. you know, that was in the media. i'm sure no matter what job you're holding you knew that, didn't you? >> yes, sir. >> shouldn't we have had the marines be able to defend themselves? >> senator, the marines needed to have the force protection they needed. there was one individual who was wounded. it was the reserve center where they were killed. yes, they have this have been able to defend themselves. >> general f you think we are doing what we need to do in iraq
and syria, we have a real strong and different view of the situation there. we lost too many good marines in the battle of fallujah and ramadi and senator graham and i were over there, and one of my sons fought there. for us to say we are doing what we fwheed to do i think frankly is not keeping with the appreciation we should have for the sacrifice the brave, young people made. >> well, i just simply want to say i don't think anyone understands the sacrifices that marines made in iraq better than general mill erneller. and i think his comments are based upon what he knows not as commander in iraq. with you i think there's no one that feels more deeply about the
situation in iraq from leading marines than general neller and that should be part of the record. >> this meter is adjourned. >> the national governors association is meeting in white sulfur springs west virginia. a conversation about cities in the u.s. our guest is gregory chen of the american immigration lawyers association. later, sara will join us to talk about two videos of planned parenthood officials. "washington journal" live 7:00 an on c-span. and we will take your comments on facebook and question.
friday afternoon 12:45 eastern, c-span's coverage of the national governors association meeting followed by a session on state strategies on tourism and economic development. chairman of the board of the pittsburgh pirates and the rocky mountain elk foundation. saturday morning on c-span. the governors address the nation's crisis. and mary bono later, the state's economy and impact on the employment rate and thomas perez. and sunday evening at 6:35 eastern, an interview with the former governor of rhode island.
on book tv afterwards. ralph nader on the unanswered letters he spent to bush and obama about thecy policies. and ten years after hurricane katrina. we commemorate the signing of the medical care bill. our coverage including lbj council and family on how the president was able to get the bill passed. phone conversations between johnson, his aides and congressional members about politics and strategy. and the signing of the bill at the harry s. truman presidential library. and also this weekend, saturday night at 7:15, u.s. army cyber command historian lawrence caplan on the history of computers, hackers and the government's response to computer abuses. get our complete schedule at c-span.org.
house homeland security michael mckaul talked about the threat imposed by islamic extreme extremism and the fbi's 9/111 reckommendation recommendations. from washington, d.c., this is two hours. let me thank you all for coming. i'd say thanks for coming out. it's actually a nice day, so i guess thank you for being inside on a really nice day. there couldn't be a more timely time for this event, we had breaking news yesterday about significant terrorist figure being taken out in syria. so, evaluating the state of the threat and how, and what's going on is particularly in light of potentially a deal with iran and
how does it change the middle east, couldn't be a better time to do this. couldn't be a better group to talk about this. we have a terrific panel and congressman mccaul, so, what we'll do is, i'll introduce congressman mccaul up. we're going to bring him up. he's going to make some remarks and then -- it's not that we never get to talk, but we're going to have a conversation so we can flesh out some of the issues. there are just so many. and then we like to bring everybody into the conversation, and we'll do that for 15 minutes or so and then we're going to bring the panel up and continue with our panel. so, sometimes you just have to read the bio. one time i was introducing secretary rumsfeld and i forgot the bio and i went up to introduce secretary rumsfeld without the bio, and i said, here's the secretary. it didn't work out so well. so, i actually have the bio here. it's really important. like introducing secretary rumsfeld, just walking through congressman mccaul's bio is important. because what he's done and the
expertise he brings to this issue and homeland security is very admirable. he is the -- serving in his sixth term as a representative in the tenth district in the u.s. congress. in 2013, he began the beginning of the 113 congress, he became the chairman of the homeland security committee, which has oversight of the department of homeland security and all the core missions of protecting the american people from terrorist attacks. he is also the chairman of the u.s./mexico interparliamentary group. this is a group that discusses issues and events involves the two nations. he serves on the committee of foreign affairs, working to assure national security is strong. he recently discussed a whole range of issues including the key issue of countering violent extremism. he has a -- he was also the co-founder and co-chair of the congressional high tech caucus
and the cyber security caucus and commissioned the chair, developed recommendations to president obama on cyber security. so, having been involved in this enterprise that we call homeland security, you know, since 9/11, there are few people who have invested themselves more in this really important mission, so, we're honored to have here today, and please join me in welcoming congressman mccaul. >> thanks, jim. i want to thank heritage and we're also honored to have attorney general ed meese here. i joined the justice department as he is transitioning out. and dick thornburg coming in. and what an honor it is to see you, sir. one thing jim left out, i have five teenagers. so, when it comes to homeland
security issues, i feel like i have a lot of personal expertise on the home front. but i want to thank the heritage foundation for having me. i can't think of a better forum to deliver this speech. i normally don't give prepared remarks, but in this case, i am. and i'm going to cover a lot of territory, but we will have a very robust q and a, healthy discussion and dialogue about the many issues facing the nation. you just mentioned the strike yesterday, where we took out the leader of the khorasan group. that was hugely significant. one of the biggest external operations threats to the homeland and to the united
states. and i commend our military for their efforts in doing that. you know, last week, terror did strike in the american heartland. and this was the type of event we've been worried about, probably the most. a radicalized suspect, not only the radar screen, launching an assault here on u.s. soil. killing united states marines and a sailor. and this individual was inspired by hateful ideology and he attacked soldiers who risked their lives to protect us in the name of freedom and our hearts go out to the families and friends who were killed in chattanooga. our consolations cannot outweigh their loss, we can honor the memory of the victims by confronting the root of the violence we saw last week and refusing to allow complacency to follow in the wake of terror. and that is why i'm here today. i'm here to tell you that radicalism is on the rise.
and war is being brought to our doorsteps. if it happened in chattanooga, it can happen anywhere, any time. and i agree with british prime minister david cameron, who said this week that we faced a struggle of our generation. a deceitful, perverted brand of islam is expanding globally and at a great cost to the free world. and we need to act decisively to defeat it. first, i'll talk this morning about how this new age of terror has altered the security landscape on the home front, and spread rapidly throughout our communities. then i will address the second front in our struggle with extremists, overseas and how
important it is for us to take the fight to the enemy and challenge its ideological core. but first, i'm disappointed to announce that i believe we are losing on both fronts in this war against islamist terror. our enemies have the momentum. and they have thrown us offbalance. the numbers don't lie. last year was the deadliest year on record for global terrorism with attacks rising by 35% over the previous year and terror deaths worldwide nearly doubling. the motive power behind the terror surge is the rise of isis and its affiliates as well as tall al qaeda's persist end. by any measure, we have failed to turn the tide against them. their global recruitment has soared. their territory held or expanded and the number of plots against us has spiked. the pace is so staggering that i directed my committee staff to begin issuing a monthly terror
threat snapshot. cataloging the rise in extremist activity. since the president declared isis to be the jv team of terror early last year, the group has inspired or directed more than 50 terrorist plots against the west. isis also went from a single terrorist sanctuary to having a direct presence or affiliates in 18 countries. the group's rapid rise has inspired more than 25,000 citizens from at least 100 countries to flock to syria as foreign fighters, a figure that has tripled -- tripled -- since last july. and officials now estimate that more than 250 americans have sought to join or succeeded in joining extremists in syria. terrorist groups have succeeded in spreading their influence because they have evolved. gone are the days of bin laden, where extremists plotted through couriers and caves. we are now seeing a new generation of terrorists. radicalizing and recruiting
online across borders. americans are especially concerned that we are losing on the home front, where groups like isis have started to permeate our society. with terrifying speed. there are people right here in our country intent on striking from within. captivated by an evil and twisted ideology that drives vulnerable minds into unconscionable acts of violence and hate. we have seen more than a dozen isis-linked terror plots in the united states, including recently this warted plans to set off pipe bombs on capitol hill, behead law enforcement officers, conduct mass shootings, detonate bombs at new york city landmarks and live stream a murderous rampage at a college campus.
we even disrupted terrorist plotting to attack july 4th celebrations in the united states. in fact, more than 60 isis supporters have been arrested or indicted in the united states -- in the united states -- in the last year. that's more than one per week. and now the fbi director says that he has open isis investigations in all 50 states. the majority have never set foot in a far away safe haven and were recruited by isis online or distributed the group's social media propaganda. and with over 200,000 isis tweets per day -- this is an astounding number, there are over 200,000 isis tweets per day. how can we possibly get a handle over this? the chatter is so high and the volume is so loud that it's difficult to get a handle. this isn't terror as usual.
this is terror gone viral. i commend the fbi, homeland security and state and locals for their disrupting of these many plots. but as we saw in chattanooga, we cannot stop all of them. in this age of peer to peer terrorism, authorities are searching for suspects who use secure apps, we call dark space, to communicate and crowd source their calls for attack, inspiring operatives who never have crossed into the borders of syria, but cross over borders through the internet to conduct acts of terror. isis cyber commanders now regularly send out internet directives and missives to their followers, as we saw in garland, texas. sometimes our first indication of a hatched plot is an internet
hash tag. we need to have a frank conversation in america about the challenges posed by violent extremists using social media and dark space to further their violence plots. extremists have migrated away from telephones and onto new platforms, but our laws and policies have not kept pace, making it more difficult to uncover terrorist plots. they communicate in darkness and we can't shine a light on the darkness to see what the communications are to attack in the united states. i don't claim to have all the answers to this. i've started a working group with the fbi and homeland and justice to -- and the high tech community, to get some answers, but what i do know is that we all share some common ground from silicon valley to the halls of congress, that we want to see terrorists brought to justice. this has to be the starting point between the high tech sector and policy makers to find solutions for the lawful
monitoring of violent extremists while, at the same time, protecting civil liberties. we also need to do more to stop the spread of fanaticism, before it leads to violent plotting. we spend billions of dollars to detect and disrupt terror plots, but we have dedicated few resources towards combatting and preventing the radicalization at the root of terror. this is called the crucial prevention aspect of counterterrorism. and sadly, while extremists recruiters are moving at broadband speed, we are moving at bureaucratic speed. the administration has not appointed a lead agency in charge of combatting domestic radicalization and few resources or personnel or even allocated to it. when asked by our committee, the top departments and agencies can only identify around $15
million, with an m, million, being spent and around two dozen people working full-time on this issue. that's basically it. and that means we've arrested twice as many isis recruits in the united states this year than there are full-time officials working to prevent isis from radicalizing americans in the first place. in a high threat environment, i believe this is unacceptable. and every day we wait, we see more ground to our adversaries. as chairman of the homeland security committee, i will not stand on the sidelines, asking for more reports and studies while terrorists plot inside our communities. murder our people. murder our military. kill our u.s. marines and servicemen and seek to divide our nation. last week, my committee decided to push forward a bill to streamline and raise the
priority and focus of the department of homeland security's efforts to combat the viral speed of violent extremism. for instance, our bill would give dhs the tools to combat isis and al qaeda propaganda here at home through counter narratives that show islamist terror for what it really is. and it would also help dhs empower local communities to spot signs of violent radicalization and help them develop off-ramps to discourage individuals from being lured overseas to fight with terror groups or from being convinced to commit acts of violence at home. ultimately, we must recognize the best homeland defense is a good offense. and to win this war against islamist terror, we have to take the fight to the enemy overseas. i spent the last weekend in tampa, florida, meeting with our
generals and leaders and top intelligence and operations officers at the u.s. central command and special operations command at mcdill air force base. and i'm proud of the work they have done to dismantle terror groups and their focus on defeating isis and the recent victory in taking out the leader of the khorasan group. but the white house strategy under which they are operating is flawed. it only gives them the authorities to contain isis rather than to roll back and defeat it. i was in turkey and they said, we need to drain the swamp so we don't have to swat the mosquitos. we all know isis will replenish its ranks. and that's a fact. for the number we have killed
over there in strikes, they have replenished to an equal amount. and we all know they will expand globally until we've eliminated at the source in iraq and syria. yet right now, we are fighting with one arm tied behind our back. under the current strategy, the rules of engagement are apparently too high to strike important targets and the number of military trainers is too low. our forces being kept from fully assists with the fight and the president has taken options like ground troops off the table, telegraphing weakness to our enemies. as a result, isis has been able to hold and extend key territory in syria and iraq, despite our air strikes and the iraqi government is beginning to rely on shia militias, iran proxies, to fight back, a development that could empower iran and inflame secretary tensions with the sunnis. i expressed this concern several weeks ago when i was in baghdad, meeting with the prime minister
and the speaker, but it's clear without expanded american leadership and regional assistance, they are running out of options to win this fight. the bottom line is this. right now, i believe that we are losing the war against isis. and the wider war against islamist terror. the president's strategy has failed. and the evidence of failure mounts with every terror plot in america, every attack against our ally and every emerging terror sanctuary used to radicalize and recruit foot soldiers willing to die in the name of a deprived and depraved ideology. the time has come to overhaul our counter isis strategy and it is time for the president to level with the american people about what the threat really is. and about what is needed to win this generation-long war with
radical islamists. so, today i want to outline a basic framework for both. starting with the campaign against isis. we must take immediate steps to strengthen our efforts, including increasing the number of u.s. military trainers in iraq and expanding partner participation. by bolsters the air campaign through forward air controllers, close air support and easing the rules of engagement beyond zero collateral damage. authorizing american military personnel to accompany and assist the iraqis in combat including ramping up the number of special operation forces. and accelerating the delivery of weapons to kurdish peshmerga forces and sunni tribes. but even with these improvements, more will be needed to win this campaign. the president's iraq first strategy has left us with a credible ground force -- has
left us without a credible ground force to fight isis in its main stronghold in syria. recently, defense secretary carter announced, this month, that we have only trained 60 -- 60 -- syrian rebels to combat this group, which can range between 30,000 to 50,000 strong depending on who you talk to. our reasons we have -- one of the reasons we have so far is that reportedly, we make them pledge not to fight the assad regime. an absurd policy, especially when their hometowns are being attacked by assad. in short, we lack a serious ground force in syria while isis itself boasts an estimated 30,000-man army. today, i'm calling upon the
president to stand up a multi-national coalition to build the force needed to clear the terrorist sanctuary in syria. we need a combined air and ground campaign in syria now. one composed of vetted opposition forces, western trainers and advisers, special operation forces and, most importantly, regional military partners including indigenous partners. the coalition's immediate mandate should be to strengthen the opposition, so that they can take the lead in taking back their country, not just from isis, but from all sunni extremist terrorists groups. and this coalition must also force assad to step down. we cannot clear the isis terror safe haven in syria any time soon with the current regime in power.
assad's brutal oppression is one of the main drivers behind the growth -- rapid growth of isis in syria in the first place. and he continues to decimate the moderate syrian opposition, including with chemical weapons recently that we -- we need these moderate sunnis to fight these extremists. with assad out of the way, internationally backed syrian rebels stand a far better chance of rolling back terror groups and our regional partners who want assad gone and would be far willing to engage in the fight if they had that assurance. before taking action, the coalition would first need to develop a post-assad transition plan. syria cannot go the way of
we are not await the peace meal to play out a strategy he admits will take years. we need to take a lead in assembling a coalition of nations we like did in the persian gulf war. we also cannot forget the core principals needed to win the wider war against islamist terror. the reach of isis and al qaeda extends far beyond their primary territories. yet, the administration's global counterterrorism approach can be best described as a whack-a-mole by drone. this may be low cost, but it is also shortsighted. make no mistake, we have eliminated key terror leaders, through targeted air strikes. including the head of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula yesterday -- i'm sorry, earlier this month. the leader of the khorasan group in syria. khorasan group in syria, the biggest leader of external
operations against the west to blow up airplanes using nonmetallic ieds. but these terror groups are getting better and quickly replacing fallen leaders. we can chase these fanatics, we can chase them through the gates of hell, but to win, we must destroy sanctuaries and defeat their insidious ideology. and to do so, we need to identify and confront threats early, wherever they emerge, in places like yemen and libya. we need to work with regional partners to develop full-fledged stabilization plans before power vacuums turn into extremist hot spots. and we must counter the ideology at the core of islamist terror. because when left unheeded, we have seen it spread to all corners of the globe in the same way ideals like communism and fascism led to the decades of
destruction. in the short run, this means exposing the brutality and naked tyranny of life under the role of islamist terrorists to potential recruits will realize that they are headed to a prison, instead of a communal paradise. this is the counter narrative that is not happening right now at the state department, the d.o.d. is trying, and it's not happening at dhs. and in the long run, we need the president to outline a whole of government grand strategy for this fight. the strategy should draw on all elements of american power to promote liberty and human dignity as the great alternatives to oppression, fear and terror. history has shown that authoritarian systems are the well spring of fanaticism.
political and economic development are the only reliable long-term antidotes to terror, which is why american foreign policy must be geared towards shaping a balance of power in the international system that favors the expansion of free states. we have learned the hard way that leading from behind leads us into danger. indeed, weakness invites aggression, as churchill talked about, and leaves us to face more enemies in our city streets, rather than on the battlefield overseas. i do believe we are in for a generational struggle. as prime minister cameron talked about. but i have confidence that our country will prevail. our ideas prevail. every time we witness events like we saw in chattanooga, america's vow not to be intimidated by violence. and we send a clear message to fanatics. if you try to bring terror to
our shores, we will bring justice to yours. that is a resolve the american people and our resolve will propel us to eventual victory in this war against islamist terror. thank you very much. >> thanks. and thanks for the opportunity to kind of follow up and unpack this speech a little bit and some of the other issues. and the first question i want to ask you is to really kind of ask you a question by putting your assessment in context. so, when president obama got elected, we never really understood what his counterterrorism strategy was going to be. for the first two years of his presidency, we joked it was bush-light. he was doing the similar things, adopting different rhetoric in talking about it. in 2010, you really saw the administration put its imprint on how it was going to fight the war on terror and we saw that enshrined in the counterterrorism strategy of 2011.
between 2010 and now, we've been doing president obama's strategy, and your assessment is, it hasn't worked. there are more terrorist attacks, they are a bigger threat than they ever were. realistically the odds of president obama saying, i got it all wrong, and doing something different between now and the last year and a half of his presidency, are really slim to none. we need to have a vigorous year and a half debate about what the next president is going to do to address this? >> i think you're spot-on. this president campaign his nair tifr was to end iraq and afghanistan and close down guantanamo. he failed to negotiate a status of forces agreement, unlike what we did in world war ii, after korea. left a very dangerous hot spot because we had no security left in iraq.
i think that coupled with the political malfeasance of maliki. the prime minister. secretary clinton traveled to baghdad, as condoleezza rise told me, one time, for three hours, and it imploded. that was the consideration of isis. that created the threat that we see today. so, the president couldn't get his head wrapped around isis. this wasn't supposed to happen under his watch. his narrative. it defies his campaign narrative and so, i think strategy for him is running the clock out, not having a strategy to defeat and destroy isis as isis enters our hometowns. and i think that's a huge mistake of foreign policy. makes it dangerous to the homeland. i want to see this -- one of the driving issues in the 2016 debate. i'm not seeing it right now. i have to tell you. i'm not seeing a lot of
candidates, quite frankly, with experience, in national security and foreign policy. i think usually it's about the economy, it's about the economy, stupid, but this election, i predict, that this issue will be one of the driving debates and issues in the 2016 presidential election. and rightly so. i think every american is -- i think the phrase, you feel like you're better off than you were before -- i would ask the question, do you feel safer today than before? i think most americans would answer that question, "no." >> let me bring in a related issue. which i think is fair to do, which is, get your assessment of the iran deal. they go together, because iran is the other great destabilizing force in the middle east and we have to live with the aftermath of the rise of isis and iran, so, i'd like your assessment of the iran deal and what you think that holds for the future --
>> i think first, i mean, we sent chairman royce, foreign affairs and sent a letter to the president to secretary of state kerry, urging them to go through the congress first before dropping this at the united nations security council. samantha powers called me after a hearing where i brought this issue up and within days they submitted this to the u.n. security council. they have now proved the stock and defying and circumventing i think, the will of the american people through its representatives and the congress. so i think this is flagrant. it defies the spirit of the law we passed. now we know that china, russia and venezuela voted to approve this. they will vote to lift the u.n. sanctions. train's out of the station. so, what can be done -- the only thing we have left, the only power we have left is to override the president's veto. and i think that's what we are -- you know, groups like apac, who i met the last several days, to try to appeal to democrats that this is a bad
deal, to try to -- to defeat the president's veto. that's the only way that whole process can be stopped. so, why does it need to be stopped? because it allows them to continue their nuclear weapons program. that's not why we passed the sanctions over the last decade. we passed the sanctions to dismantle their nuclear capability. i mean, the idea it's for peaceful energy purposes is laughable. and the icbm capabilities can still continue to go forward. there's only one you develop that, that's to deliver a nuclear warhead. it will start a middle east arms race. when i was in saudi, they said, why are you negotiating with iran, our allies are confused. they don't know if they are still our allies, like israel and saudi and they are strongly opposed to this. now, we're going to see a nuclear arm's race in the middle east. saudis can get it from pakistan. egypt is going to look at it, turkey. very dangerous.
lastly, just the hundreds of billions of dollars now that will be lifted and given to the largest state sponsor of terror with hamas, hezbollah, with the influence in the western hemisphere, through venezuela and other countries. we saw the sawdy ambassador assassination plot. they conduct cyber attacks routinely on our financial sector. this will pour hundreds of billions more into this operation. i think it's one of the, quite frankly, biggest foreign policy mistakes i've seen in my lifetime and i think it rivals chamberlain's negotiations with hitler. >> just a quick follow-up on that. the president's an argument is it's -- this deal or war, but your assessment is, well, what this deal actually does is, protects their nuclear infrastructure, allows them to
become a -- a stronger, more nuclear breakout state, pours tons of money into the regime and actually makes them more dangerous, couldn't you argue that the best course of action would be for the united states not to participate in the vienna agreement and that would allow the next president more freedom in terms of trying to contain -- >> yeah, i think, the short-term, the only thing in the realm of possibility is to make it veto-proof. i mean, override -- i think chuck schumer is a key player in this in the senate. and we're working very hard to make this a bipartisan opposition to the president's policies. the more the american people hear about this deal, as they chant "death to america." they are celebrating in the streets of tehran over this deal, as they chant "death to america." i'm not seeing a lot of celebrations in the streets of america over this deal. and i think that speaks volumes. and i think, you know, if we cannot accomplish that, jim, then i think the only thing left
is the next president and i think that will make the next 2016 elections that much more important, i think this is going to be a driving issue when we go home in august, over the recess and i think it's going to be a driving issue in the 2016 debate, at least i hope so. >> let me just round out that discussion, because what i really appreciated about your remarks were how comprehensive they were. so, dealing really with the issue of terrorism from both the offensive and defensive points, so, what do we have to do overseas to stop the font that's driving this and also what are we doing here in terms of counterterrorism and also prevention. and so, some of the legislation that you've proposed, part of that is, how do we deal with this, so, let me ask you a sensitive question, where you have gotten some criticism from your friends on the right would say, well, look if you are going to create a countering violent extremism capability in dhs, what is to prevent this administration from using that
to go after political opponents, maybe conservative groups, much in the way that the administration's been accused of using the irs, how can you prevent that, or is that maybe necessarily we don't want to give this president? >> that's not the intent of the legislation. it's to go against radical islamists. it's to go against radical ideology. not intended to go against anyone's political beliefs. and if that ever occurred, you would see pretty good response from me. that's not the intention of the bill. when i talked to secretary jeh johnson and others in the department, their priority is radical islamists. they can go the muslim communities to do the outreach necessary to identify, you know, the next tamerlan tsarnaev who was kicked out of his mosque. would have been nice to have known that, right? and most of these guys, with the exception maybe of chattanooga, had a lot of flags going up before they kill people.
and if we can identify those flags beforehand, and deradicalize, that's -- would be very helpful. this is really a two-front deal. when i meant with centcom, one of their biggest priorities is homeland security. mine is protecting the homeland from within, but also protecting homeland by eliminating the threats outside. for instance, these, what i call isis cyber commanders, sending these directives out on a routine basis to attack, attack, attack, military installations. the idea we can't take them out overseas, i've been pressing them to identify -- i can't name the names, it's classified, but identify who they are at the internet cafes and take them out. not to say that that will end it. there will be others, you know, that will follow, i think at the end of the day, the ideology, it's a war of ideology. and that's why the countering violent extremism is so
important. to provide a counter narrative to a radical ideology. we're in a long-term struggle that i don't know that will end in our lives, jim, probably not. but i hope it ends in my children's lifetime. >> just to affirm that, when it's done right, that can work. i was in st. louis recently, where two individuals were arrested for providing material support to isis from the bosnian -- the bosnian-serbian community. and a, the community were completely outraged and b, they actually were extremely cooperative and they wanted to engage with state and local and even fbi officials, because they wanted to protect their community and protect their children from that, so i agree with you, when it's done right, it's a positive and actually a strengthen force in a community, not a divisive thing that takes it apart. >> and it will save lives. we'll be able to identify radicalization early on.
age, and stop it. >> i wanted to try to squeeze in maybe one or two questions from the audience, but i want to get one more point before we do that, which is, you know, something that we have dealt with for a very long time, which is the -- the role of the homeland security committee in the house and the difficulties and the importance of consolidating authorities in jurisdiction and just get your views on that. >> well, i think, you know, unlike house armed services, which has jurisdiction over the department of defense, department of justice, my committee was built on a compromise after 9/11, so, it shares jurisdiction with so many other committees. that not only is the oversight cumbersome, because we find that officials have to testify all the time and they can't do their jobs and secondly, the -- it makes it more difficult to legislate. i think it's detrimental. the 9/11 commission came back again and said, this is one of the biggest threats to the united states.
and we complain a lot about siloing information in the executive branch and not, you know, communicating, yet the congress, we've done that through our committees. and jurisdiction is the holy grail in the congress. and i think it's something that needs to be fixed. i intend to present this next congress in the rules package, but you know, i think the argument needs to be made, and i think it needs to be done. >> so, we have a question over here and we'll -- and if you would just state your name and affiliation before you ask your question, that would be great. we'll try to squeeze that in and maybe one other question before we move on. >> thank you very much for speaking today, mr. chairman. my name is laura core. well, dr. laura core, and i'm a subject matter expert in terrorist radicalization and deradicalization. my question is, for academics like myself, we are doing a lot of research that would actually support what you're arguing for. how can we help?
and my second question is, when it comes to online sanctuaries, twitter is definitely a serious issue. facebook and google when it comes to reporting accounts, has a faster response time. so, if you complain about a twitter handle, it takes weeks if not months for an account that is blatantly recruiting, definitely radicalizing, for different groups to be taken down. hours later, the same handle comes up with a one, two, three, four or five. my question is, in the next few months, will you be addressing how to perhaps influence twitter to be comparable to its counterpart and not be used as a platform for terrorism and recruitment and radicalization. thank you. >> great question. well, first, you can help support my legislation getting through and, you know, groups like heritage to support it for passage. i think it's common sense to counter violent extremism, we passed it the day before the
shooting, ironically, and i think it's desperately needed. it's not a focus of the administration, it's not a priority and it needs to be. with respect to -- boy, this is the high tech challenge. i talked about bin laden, it was all couriers and caves, now it's this younger generation of terrorists, very savvy on the internet with their propaganda. there are these, i call them cyber commanders out of syria, who are isis, they are in their 20s and they change their handles, they change their twitter accounts, so, trying to stay in front of them, you know, we can argue about changing the law to include a backdoor into devices but that gets kind of dicey on the privacy side. what we're looking for is more of a technology solution, so, i formed a -- actually, my first meeting is friday morning with the high tech sector, the leaders, like, you know, google and twitter, those, and homeland
security, fbi and d.o.j., to see what kind of solution can we provide to this? i'll tell you why it's important, and i can get into more depth, because we see these communications from syria into the united states, we saw it in garland, we saw it in new york, we saw it in boston, for all i know, this guy in chattanooga could have -- i'm not saying he did, because we're still doing the forensics -- could have been communicating in what we call dark space. what is that? they will go to another platform like kik, ask.fm, knowing it is dark, it's secure. we can't, even with a court order, we can't see it. that communication. there are, again, 200,000 tweets, isis tweets per day. when it's in dark space, we don't even -- we can't see that communication whatsoever. so, there's a lot of -- point is, there's a lot of communication going on between these cyber commanders in syria
and americans, thousands of followers in the united states, about attacks in america and we can't shine a light on the communications through the darkness. now, you know, as a policymaker and jim appreciates this, we, civil liberties and privacy, but we need to find a solution to this so we can better stop it. otherwise, if we can't see the communications, we can't stop it. you know, if the guy in chattanooga was operating in dark space with the guys in syria, it will make a good case for why we need to fix that problem. and you talk to -- i talked to the director of the fbi and jay johnson, secretary of homeland, this is one of their biggest concerns. they can't, you know, lawfully, you know, monitor these communications. >> so, we'll take one last question. down here? >> thanks. can i stay seated?
>> sure. >> you know, i think we can all agree that trying to monitor cyber space is futile, lawfully or unlaw fly. given that this is a war of ideology, is there any plan on the table for policy to try to exploit that ideology in that seems to be what the crux of this is. recruits will be replenished as long as they can be reached out to, so, do we have a way to counter this ideology, understand it, use it against them? >> it's a great question. again, i think -- when i go to my -- what i was proposing in terms of a ground force, it's got to be under american leadership with our guys imbedded, but it's time for the sunni arab nations to provide that ground force. they tell me they will, if there was a strategy. i met with world leaders. they will do that if there's a strategy and assad is part of the equation. when the infidel sets foot, you know, the last resort, either we
try to do this or we do 100,000 u.s. combat troops. you know, that's kind of the choices that we have. that is an option that should be on the table, but when you do that, when i talk to centcom, you enflame them, because the infidel is on their land, so, i think there's a smart approach, a smart way to do this without inflaming them, an indigenous force, sunni moderates defeat sunni extremists. that seems to be me, under american leadership, the counternarrative is not there. that's the purpose for my bill, to counter violent extremism here at home. but the state department doesn't have the counternarrative to defeat it abroad. in fact, when i met at centcom, the d.o.d. has a lot of this technology capability to do it, and the ambassador was there at the meeting and i'm urging them
to start this counternarrative. so that they know that if you go to syria, it's not disneyland, you know? you're going to get put on the front lines, probably blown up. your wife and kids will be taken away. "frontline" did a great special. not that i'm always watching pbs. >> it's good. >> they did a great special, enslaving isis women, bartering them off for weapons and $500. it's horrific what they do. the videos i see every week are just chilling. the lack of humanity. and that's the counternarrative, i think, that needs to be out there more. at the end of the day, it's providing stability in these countries. power vacuums, when they fall, you have a vacuum, failed states, and it breeds terrorism. and after we saw the arab spring, we have seen libya and yemen, we have no intelligence. we've had to pull out of
northern, many places in northern africa, we pulled out completely out of iraq and syria we're trying to get back in now. these famed states breed it and without a counternarrative, and a strategy to deal with it, it's going to continue to breed and thrive and that's the -- the problem, it's metastasized so greatly globally, that's what worries me. >> i'm going to ask you all to join with me in a small round of administrative jujitsu. so, in a second, i'm going to ask you to join me in thanking congressman mccaul in this conversation. but as soon as he exits the stage, i'd ask our panel to just jump up and so if you would just hold in place, our panel will jump up and i'll jump right into it so, please join me in thanking the congressman. >> thanks, jim. really appreciate it.
>> remember i told you the story that i lost secretary rumsfeld's bio, so i couldn't introduce him? i just lost all their bios. maybe it's a pattern, i don't know. but fortunately, i know all these guys and they are pretty awesome. this is really -- this is a terrific panel, because what you have here is just a mix of expertise and knowledge, which is really kind of unusual to bring together, so, ken has -- minor, right?
>> and, so, you have this minor job in the white house, right? when you were in the white house, working in the homeland security council staff as the adviser, so, you have -- you see this from the perspective, somebody advising and working at the department every day and somebody that really worked at this on the inside at the highest level. general meese was not just the attorney general of the united states, but for many, many years, one of our most distinguished scholars here at the heritage foundation and i told him beforehand that he works harder now than he's retired than when he did when he was on active duty here. among the things general meese has done, in addition to dealing with these issues for many, many decades, he recently served on a very important commission that reviewed the counterterrorism functions of the fbi, so here's somebody with years and years of knowledge and experience, who has had an opportunity to do an in depth assessment of a key
component of this. and david, who is our policy analyst on homeland security, who works this stuff every day and not just the entire department, but really the entire homeland security enterprise, which means all the federal agencies, state and local, international partners are doing this, so you've got three amazing perspectives and i'll ask each of them to make some remarks and then we'll get in as much q and a at the end as we possibly -- we have a saying at heritage that sometimes we start late, but we also end on time. so, how should we start? start with you and work or way down? >> yeah, thanks jim. thanks, everyone, for coming today. i'm going to use my time today to lay out some of the statistics and trends that the u.s. has been seeing in its long war against islamist terrorism and i'm going to give general recommendations, echoing what chairman mccaul just said on what we can do to better counter this threat.
the heritage foundation has been tracking islamist terror plots against the united states homeland since 9/11. this data tells me that the u.s. has faced more terrorists plots and attacks in 2015 than we have seen in any prior year. and we're only in july of this year. so, just to echo chairman mccaul, this is the most dynamic period of terrorist activity that the u.s. has seen since 9/11, all according to publicly available information. there could be other classified information which we do not have access to and do not know about. the statements by the fbi, they're tracking hundreds of individuals, you know, across all 50 states for islamist terrorist activity, it is clear we do have a very serious problem. now, at the outset, i want to quickly describe what it is we do when -- how it is we categorize, what the criteria are when we look at what is a terror plot? first, it has to be a concrete plot against the united states homeland with action taken to further that plot. not just rantings, not support
of terrorism. if someone wants to travel abroad to support isis, we don't consider that a plot, a terrorist plot against the u.s. homeland. it has to be a terrorist act as defined by various statues. that would be motivated by an islamic ideology. espousing terror to achieve that goal. and generally we also look for an official statement by the government, law enforcement that indicate this was an act of terror. usually indicated by criminal charges, but that's not always the case. take the ft. hood shooting. that was characterized as workplace violence. that's not always the case with that criteria. so, with these criteria in mind, we have been watching and recorded 72 islamist terrorist plots since 9/11 that are known. of these plots, five were successful. u.s. law enforcement foiled or helped foil 59. international law enforcement
foiled or helped foil ten and we got lucky three times. obviously there's some overlap in those categories. these plots involved 171 individuals in total. and at least 27 of these individuals were trained in terrorist camps abroad. 61 of the 72 plots were home grown. these folks were here in the united states when they were radicalized. they didn't get their ideology why they were staying abroad. they were staying here in the united states. and 28 were foiled by law enforcement stings. now, what exactly were they targeting? the number one homeland target for islamist terrorists has been the u.s. military. either personnel or actual bases. 19 plots or attacks have gone after our military. the second-most common target is new york city, with 16 plots, followed by mass gathering, bars, concerts, et cetera, at 12 plots. mass transit systems are the
fourth-most common target and washington, d.c. and law enforcement tie for the fifth-most common target. not a list you want to be on. the recent plots, however, have been unique. all the plots this year have been inspired by or directed by isis. while most prior attacks were done by individuals who were inspired by or directed by al qaeda, one of their affiliates, to have all ten plots in the past six months all be connected to one group shows the influence isis has. it's not a coincidence that we've seen this spike in terrorism as isis has risen to prominence. during the past year, we've also seen a spike in the plots against law enforcement and our military. which makes sense, given the fact that isis has directly called for violence against law enforcement, intelligence and military officials. so, the question is, what do we do about this? my panelists will have an
opportunity to dive into some more details but i want to spend some time hitting, touching on two broad ideas which chairman mccaul has already touched on. first, it's critical that the united states take a proactive approach to combatting terrorism. when we treat terrorism just like a crime that, you know, we can combat with law enforcement, normal law enforcement tools, we can defer it, punish it after the fact, we misunderstand the nature of the threat. terrorists are happy to, and sometimes even want to die in pursuit of their goal. the bigger bang they make, the more likely they are to get us to change our behavior so they're looking for those big opportunities. they're looking to hurt us and criminal punishment after the fact is not an effective deterrent. further more, they are often looking for soft targets, very easily attacked. take the most recent plot in boston, alex ciccolo wanted to attack boston bars and college campus, or look at tunisia and the attack on the resort there.
these are soft targets. they're not guarded by security or a lot of security very often. so, the point is that security isn't enough. we can't have security officers everywhere. we simply can't do that. security is helpful. it can help us in preventing an attack from getting out of hand. take garland, texas, for example. but that was too close for comfort, i think we can all agree. what we need to be doing is look at how we can be more proactive. how can we stop the plots before the terrorists even get close to putting the public in danger? and this means that law enforcement needs to have the tools, the lawful intelligence tools available to them to find terrorists, to put together the dots, the intelligence dots, and to make sure that the public is never put in danger. it also does mean that we have to improve the way that the u.s. goes about counters violent extremism, to make sure that we are preventing individuals from radicalizing to begin with. secondly, the u.s. does need to do more to defeat isis abroad.
the reality is the success of isis is attracting followers. a lot has been made of isis and their use of social media. and there's no doubt isis is effective at using social media and other online tools. it's not just social media causing individuals to take up arms for isis. social media is just a tool that isis is using to display its message that it is a caliphate in possession of real territory that they can defend and expand. this success is compelling. it's a compelling message to many in the world. so long as isis is able to claim the success, would-be terrorists would flock to their cause. this means the u.s. and its allies need to take steps to defeat isis and other islamist groups. greater intelligence and law
enforcement cooperation is obviously needed. it is needed to help uncover and prevent plots from abroad from coming here to the united states. also working to curtail the flow of foreign fighters and monitor those foreign fighters if and when they try to return back to the west. there are also other things the u.s. should be doing. the role of dhs fusion centers. i'm going to leave some of those topics for my co-panelists. le the important take away that i want to convey here is that the terrorist threat is very real. more so than at any time since 9/11. this is not about fear mongering. the u.s. cannot be complacent. this isn't about fear mongering about but accurate the grasping the nature of the threat we face and we can pursue policies that prevent terrorists from striking us at home and do more to defeat their message out in the world. >> i've been asked to talk about the fbi and the review commission. of which i was a part and what we found. the fbi has been involved in
counterterrorism and terrorism activities for a long time. at the time i was in the department, which i recognize suddenly is almost 30 years ago but at that time the terrorist groups were mostly overseas like the red army faction. and most of the attacks that affected the united states were on u.s. citizens who happened to be abroad. of course, 9/11 was the big change, the start of a whole new era of terrorism for the united states, and so the 9/11 commission was formed, and they did an extensive review of what the united states as a government and as a whole as a country had to do. they worked for almost a couple of years and then continued to monitor the situation after that. and one of the major decisions they had to make was shall we follow britain and canada and some other countries that established a different
organization from their law enforcement agencies to deal with terrorism. and i think, wisely, they decided the answer was no. it was to give the charge and responsibility to the fbi, but a changed fbi. and actually what they said in their final report was, they said that we needed a specialized and integrated national security workforce established in the fbi, consisting of agents, analysts, linguists and surveillance specialists recruited, trained and rewarded and retained to ensure the development of a an institutional culture with a deep expertise in intelligence and national security. and so that was what the charge was then to the fbi of what they should be doing as a -- but this required a great many changes in the fbi itself. for one thing, there was a
change in terms of mission. the job of the fbi in criminal intelligence, in criminal investigation is primarily after something has happened to find out who done it and then to gain the evidence and gather the evidence so they can be successfully prosecuted. the intelligence role is a new role and that is to find out what's going on to prevent something from happening as david has properly talked about in the elaborate analysis he's done of the plots we've had over the years. secondly, this meant an organizational change instead of the bureau having the criminal investigation division as the primary focus of the bureau, there's a parallel focus on intelligence and the counterterrorism mission to carry out this role of prevention.
and this brought then a great cultural change in the fbi. you not only have special agents, the people who carry guns and badges and handcuffs but a bunch of smart people coming into the fbi who had degrees in foreign area studies and who were linguists, specialized in international relations. and they had to be given a status equal to and comparable to the special agents themselves. and this required a great deal of cultural change and understanding on the part of the people who had traditionally been special agents of the fbi. so our commission looked at what was happening in terms of all of this. how this was going. and our overall finding was that the bureau had made great progress. they got off to a very good start. they made some extensive progress, but that a lot still had to be done and particularly, something that the congressman mccaul mentioned, was we had to increase the pace, the speed
with which they were gearing up and expanding their activities to keep pace with the accelerating threats we face throughout the world, many of which were discussed by the congressman and david at this point. so that was our overall recommendations. the vision that we as a commission came up with was that the future of the fbi was to be an organization that might be described in these terms. an fbi in which criminal investigation, counterintelligence, intelligence collection and analysis and science and technology are all complementary what we call core competencies, core applications of a global intelligence and investigative organization. rather than its prior incarnation as primarily a domestic organization. and the idea was that the u.s. domestic intelligence, which had
its global aspects with the fbi as its hub, would be a collaborative enterprise. this is really important. optimizing the integration of international, federal, state, local and community players, including a considerable amount of activity in which the private sector would also be involved. one of these major functions, of course, was the building up of an analytical function. and this involved bringing in as i mentioned, intelligence analysts at a very high level. and it was necessary to develop a recruiting program because we had to go and are continuing to go into colleges and universities to find the kinds of people who have these skills. the analytical skills but also the background in international relations and the like. it involved new training and education programs. and one of the major changes was
at quantico at the fbi academy to have special agents and intelligence analysts training in the same classes that were relevant to what they were doing in terms of intelligence, and training together and working together at the start of their careers so that they would continue that. it was a matter of assigning the intelligence analysts for the first time, really, to field offices. to the 57 field divisions around the country working side by side in the squads that pertain to this with the special agents. and it also meant changing the field offices. providing a new form of leadership in the field offices. in every one of these major divisions there was a necessity of having people who provided leadership. assistant special agents in charge who would have that as their primary responsibility of
supervising the intelligence activities going on there. it meant also a change in status of the intelligence analysts and the acceptance by special agents of them as full professionals in terms of their competition, in terms of their status. their informal status within the organization and the kinds of opportunities they had. opportunities to go overseas. opportunities to have interagency responsibilities to go to other agencies like the defense intelligence agency, nasa, other places they could expand their professional capability by field work with other agencies so they would become truly a part of the intelligence community as a whole. today we have 16 or 17, depending on how you count them, different intelligence agencies in the federal government.