tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 2, 2016 7:22pm-8:33pm EST
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supporters here. traveling with the c-span bus. defense secretary ashton carter outlined the pentagon's budget request in a speech today, it includes increased spending to counter russian, iranian inpluns in the middle east and threats of islamic state and north korea. from the economic club in washington, this is an hour. >> we're very honored today to have the 25th secretary of defense as our special guest. ash carter has had a distinguished career in government service and in academic life. very briefly, he became the secretary of defense, the 25th secretary of defense, february of last year. prior to that, he had served as deputy secretary of defense for two years and prior to that had served as undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics. in the clinton administration, he had served for four years as
the assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. for those services in the defense department to date, he has five times been awarded the distinguished service medal of the department and awarded the defense intelligence medal. in the academic world, he's had a distinguished career, as well. graduate of yale university majoring in theoretical physics and medieval history. an unusual combination. he won a rode scholarship. taught at oxford for a while. came back and was a research fellow at m.i.t. and a research associate in the brookhaven labs ultimately in 1986 he went to the kennedy school where he ultimately became the head of the bellford center in a chaired professor at the kennedy school. he is the author of 11 or co-author of 11 books and more than 100 scholar articles on
subjects like management and technology and national security so it's my pleasure to introduce the 25th secretary of defense, ash carter. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you. thanks, david. appreciate it. good morning, everyone. appreciate you being here. it's a pleasure for me to be what i understand, david, to be the first secretary of defense to address the economic club of washington. and one of the core tasks for me and one of my core goals in this job has been to build and to rebuild bridges between our wonderful department and the wonderful, innovative, strong american technology and industry community. so i appreciate you returning the favor by giving me the opportunity to be here as what
is, of course, the largest institution with the largest budget in america. and it's that budget i'd like to discuss with you this morning. a week from now, president obama will release his administration's budget for fiscal year 2017. about half of its discretionary portion, that is $582.7 billion to be precise, will be allocated for the department of defense. and today, i'd like to preview with you some of the overarching themes and some of the new investments that we'll be making because the fact is this budget marks a major inflection point for the department of defense. in this budget, we are taking the long view. we have to because even as we fight today's fights, we must also be prepared for the fights that might come ten, 20 or 30
years down the road. last fall's budget deal set the size of our budget. allowing us to focus on the shape, making choices and trade-offs to adjust to a new, strategic era and to seize opportunities for the future. let me describe the strategic thinking that drove our budget decisions. first of all, it's evident that america is still today the world's foremost leader, partner and underwriter of stability and security in every region across the globe. as we have been since the end of world war ii. and as we fulfill this enduring role, it's also evident that we're entering a new strategic era. context is important here. a few years ago following over a decade when we were focused of
necessity on large-scale counter insurgency operations in iraq and afghanistan, d.o.d. began embarking on a major strategy shift to sustain our lead in full spectrum war fighting. while basic elements of our resulting defense strategy remain valid it's also been abundantly clear to me over the last year the world has not stood still since sen. emergents of isil and the resurgence of russia being just a couple of the examples. this is reflective of a broader strategic transition under way, not unlike those we have seen in history following the end of other major wars. today's security environment is dramatically different than the one we have been engaged in for the last 25 years. and it requires new ways of thinking and new ways of acting. i talked with president obama about this a great deal over the last year. and as a result, we have five in
our minds evolving challenges that have driven the focus of the defense department's planning and budgeting this year. two of these challenges reflect a return to great power of competition. first is in europe where we're taking a strong and balanced approach to deter russian aggression. we haven't had to worry about this for 25 years. while i wish it were otherwise now we do. second is in the asia pacific where chi that's rising and where we're continuing to retain the stability in the region we have underwritten for 70 years and that's allowed so many nations to rise and prosper and win. that's been our presence. third challenge is north korea. a hearty perennial.
a threat to both us and to our allies and that's why our forces on the korean peninsula remain ready every single day, today, tomorrow, to as we call it fight tonight. iran is the fourth challenge because while the nuclear deal was a good deal and doesn't limit us in the defense department in any way, none of its provisions affect us or limit us, we still have to counter iran's malign influence against our friends and allies in the region. especially israel. and challenge number five is our ongoing fight to defeat terrorism and especially isil. most immediately in its parent tumor in iraq and syria. and also, where it is me it is a sizing in africa and elsewhere, all the time we protect all the while we're protecting our
homeland and our people. while isil must and will be defeated now, in the longer perspective, we must also take into account in our budget that as destructive power of greater and greater magnitude falls into the hands of smaller and smaller and more abhorrent groups of people, countering terrorists will likely be a continuing part of the future responsibilities of defense and national security leaders far into the future as i can see. d.o.d. must and will address all five of those challenges as part of its mission to defend our people and defend our country. doing so requires some new thinking on our part, new posture and in some regions and also new and enhanced capabilities. for example, as we confront these five challenges, we'll now have to deal with them across all domains, not just the usual
air, land and sea but also particularly in the areas of cyber, space and electronic warfare where our reliance on technology has given us great strengths but also led to vulnerabilities that adversaries are eager to exploit. key to our approach is being able to deter our most advanced competitors. we must have and be seen to have the ability to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do. to be clear, the u.s. military will fight very differently in coming years. than we have in iraq and afghanistan or in the rest of the world's recent memory. we will be prepared for a high-end enemy. that's what we call full spectrum. in our budget, our plans, our capabilities and our actions we
must demonstrate potential foes that if they start a war we have the capability to win. because the force that can deter conflict must show that it can dominate a conflict. in this context, russia and china are our most stressing competitors. they have developed and are continuing to advance military systems that seek to threaten our advantages in specific areas and in some cases they're developing weapons and ways of war that seek to achieve objectives rapidly before they hope we can respond. because of this and because of their actions to date, from ukraine to the south china sea, d.o.d. has elevated their importance in our defense planning and budgeting. while we do not desire conflict of any kind with either of these nations, and let me be clear, though they pose some similar defense challenges, they're
otherwise very different nations and situations. we also cannot blind ourselves to the actions they appear to choose to pursue. let me now highlight some new investments we are making in this budget to address both near term challenges. i'll start with the near term challenges. and begin there with our campaign to deliver a lasting defeat to isil. as i said a couple of weeks ago at ft. campbell, kentucky, and in paris a week and a half ago and as i'll reiterate when i meet with my coalition counterparts in brussels next week we must and we will defeat isil. because we're accelerating the campaign, d.o.d. is backing that up and we need to back it up in the budget with a total of $7.5 billion more in 2017, 50% more than in 2016. this will be critical as our
updated coalition military campaign plan kicks in. for example, we've recently been hitting isil with so many gps-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets we are starting to run low on the ones that we use against terrorists the most. so we're investing $1.8 billion in f y-'17 to buy over 45,000 more of them. we're also investing to maintain more of our fourth generation fighter and attack jets than we previously planned including a-10 which is devastating to isil from the air. the budget defers a-10's final retirement until 2022. replacing it with f-35 joint strike fighters on a squadron by squadron basis so we'll always have enough aircraft for today's conflicts. another near term investment in the budget is how we're reinforcing our posture in
europe to support nato allies in the face of russia's aggression. in pentagon parlance, this is called the european reassurance initiative and after requesting about $800 million for last year, this yee year we're more than quadrupling it for a total of $3.4 billion in 2017. that will fund a lot of things, more rotational u.s. forces in europe, more training and xer sidesing with our allies, more prepositioned war fighting gear and infrastructure improvements to support all of this. and when combined with u.s. forces already in and assigned to europe, which are also substantial, all of this together by the end of 2017 will let us rapidly form a highly capable combined arms ground force that can respond across that theater if necessary. as you can imagine, the budget also makes important investments in new technologies. we have to do this to stay ahead of future threats in a changing
world as other nations try to catch up with the advantages we have enjoyed for decades in areas like stealth, cyber and space. some of these investments are long term. i'll get to them in a moment. but to help maintain our advantages now, d.o.d. has an office we don't often talk about but i want to highlight today. it's the strategic capabilities office or sco for short. i was deputy secretary of defense. to help us to reimagine existing d.o.d. and intelligence, community and commercial systems by giving them new roles and game changing capabilities to confound potential enemies. the emphasis here was on repetty of fielding. not ten and 15-year programs. getting stuff in the field quickly. we need to make long-term investments, as well. i'll get to them in a moment but the focus here was to keep up with the pace of the world.
i picked a talented physicist, a rode scholar to lead it. sco is incredibly innovated and rapid development and the even rarer virtue of keeping current capabilities viable for as long as possible. in other words, it tries to build on what we have. smart. so it's good for the troops, it's good for the taxpayers, too. thinking differently in this way as is well-known in u.s. defense history and space, country on the moon, computers in the pockets, information at the fingertips. all that. taking kaairplanes off of the decks of ships, nuclear submarines beneath the sea, satellite networks that take pictures of the world. all those things. this kind of bold and enno investigative thinking can't be lost to history. it's happening now every day not only in sco but in other places
throughout the department of defense like the dozens of laboratories and engineering centers all over the country. as we drive this work forward, the budget grows the research and development accounts for the second year in a row. investing a total of $71.4 billion in r&d in 2017. a number that no other institution in the united states or the world comes close to. and to show the return we're getting on those investments i'll tell you about a few projects in the sco. that it's been working on and that are funded in this budget. some of them you may have heard of but my guess is some of you have not and some of them we're talking about the first time here. first one is advanced navigation. taking the same kinds of micro cameras, sensors, so forth
littered throughout our smartphones and everything today and putting them on the small diameter bombs to augment the existing target capabilities on the sdv. that is module kilt to work with other payloads enabling off targeting, small enough to hold in your hand like your phone and cheap enough to own like your phone. another project uses swarming autonomous vehicles in all sorts of ways that in multiple domains. in the air, they develop microdrone that is are really fast, really resist tent. they can fly through heavy winds and be kicked out the back of a fighter jet moving at mach-spoint 9 like they did in alaska last year. or they can be thrown into the air by a soldier in the middle of the iraqi desert. and for the water, they've developed self-driving boats which can network together to do
all kinds of missions from fleet to defense to close end surveillance. without putting sailors at risk. each one leverages the wider world of the technology. mic microdrones are actually 3d printed. and the boths built on some of the same artificial intelligenceal go rhythms that long ago and in a much more primitive form were on the mars lander. they've also got a project on gun based missile defense. where we're taking some of the same hyper velocity smart projectiles we developed for the electromagnetic gun, that's the rail gun and using it for point defense by firing it with artillery we already have in our inventory. including the 5-inch guns on the front of every navy destroyer and also the hundreds of army
self propelled how itsers. in this way, instead of spending more money on more expensive interceptors or new platforms, we can turn past offense into future defense. defeetding incoming missile raids at a much lower cost than round and imposing higher costs on an attacker. in fact, we tested the first shots of the hyper velocity projectile a little over a month ago and we also found that it significantly increases the range. and last project i want to highlight is one we're calling the arsenal plane which takes one of our oldest aircraft platform and turns it into a flying launch pad for all sourts of different conventional payloads. in practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, network to fifth generation aircraft that act adds forward sensor and tar getting nodes, essentially combining different systems already in our inventory to
create wholly new capabilities. so these are just a few examples of the sco has done so far and they're working on a lot more. now, there are many other areas where we're driving smart and essential technological benefits in the budget in the long term and keep our military and the decades ahead the best in the world, the first with the most bar none. one of these is under sea capabilities where we continue to dominate. and where the budget invests over $8.1 billion in 2017. and more than $40 billion over the next 5 years to give us the most lethal under sea and anti-submarine force in the world. it buys more advanced payloads and munitions like better torpedo torpedoes. it buys more advanced maritime patrol aircraft. and it not only buys nine of our
most advanced virginia class attack submarines over the next five years it also equips more of them with the versatile virginia payload module which triples each submarine's strike capacity from 12 tom hawk missiles to 40. now, budgets often require trade-offs which all of you in your own domains are very familiar with. so we're trade-offs among force structure modernization and readiness posture needed to be made, we generally pushes to favor the latter two. this is important because our military has to have the agility and ability to win not only the wars that could happen today but also the wars that could happen in the future. to put more money in submarines, navy fighter jets and a lot of other important areas one trade-off was to buy only as many combat ships as we really
need. this is part of a broader effort in our budget to focus the navy on having greater eer lethalit. i'll be discussing this further tomorrow in san diego when i visit some of the navy surface warfare sailors. we're also investing more in cyber. totally nearly $7 billion in 2017 and almost $35 billion over the next 5 years. among other things, this will help to further d.o.d.'s network defenses, built more training ranges for the cyber warriors and also develop cyber tools and infrastructure needed to provide offensive cyber options. i also want to mention space because while at times in the past space was seen as a sank wair, new and emerging threats make it clear that's not the
case anymore. last year, we added over $5 billion in new investments to make us better postured for that and in 2017 we are doing even more. enhancing our ability to identify, attribute and negate all threatening actions in space. so many commercial space endeavors, we want this domain to be just like the oegss and the internet. free and safe for all. there's some in this world who don't want that to happen. who see america's dominance in these and other areas and want to take that away from us in the future so we can't operate effectively around the globe so we're not waiting to invest until the threats are fully realized. we are investing now so we stay ahead of them. now, of course, pioneering and dominating technological frontiers is just one way that our budget seizes opportunities for the future. we're also innovating
operationally making our contingency plans and operations more flexible and dynamic from europe to the asia pacific. and we're investing to build the force of the future as i call it. force of the all-volunteer force of the future because as good as our technology is it's nothing compared to our people. our people are the reason we have the finest fighting force the world has ever known. and we have to ensure that the talent we recruit and retain generations from now is just as good as the excellent people we have today. i made several announcements over the last few months to help to do that. we're opening owl remaining combat positions to women. very simply so that we have access to 50% of our population. for the all-volunteer force. and every american who can meet our exacting standards, and
that's important, has -- will have the equal opportunity to contribute to our mission. we're also implementing several new initiatives to improve and modernize our personnel management systems to create what i call on-ramps and off-ramp this is allow more people inside and outside d.o.d. to engage with and contribute to our mission. people outside defense to come in for a while, maybe not for a career but for a few years. and contribute to the most consequential mission that a human being can contribute to. and our own people to get out and learn about how the rest of the world works and make sure they're up to date and up to speed. i have emphasized this in silicone valley and our boston technology hub. we're strengthening the strength provided to the military families to improve their quality of life. the emphasis here being on retention of excellent people
and where we can making it possible for them to reconcile the needs of having a family with our needs not always possible to reconcile. but we're making an effort where we can consistent with the profession of armless and our needs. there will be more to come along this line. now having told you about the budget and particularly talking to an audience like this, i need to say something also about how we're reforming the d.o.d. enterprise to make us more efficient. i can't come before a group like this and ask for the amount of money that i believe we need for our defense unless i can also satisfy you that we're spending it in the best possible way. just like you have your shareholders, we have our taxpayers, and we owe it to them
to ensure we're doing everything we can to spend our defense dollars as wisely as responsibly as possible. that's why along with our budget, we're keeping up our focus on, for example, acquisition reform. we're starting to see results from our better buying power initiati initiatives. we're looking to do more and get better. we're also doing more to reduce overhead, which we expect to help nearly -- provide us more than $8 billion over the next five years. $8 billion that we can use elsewhere for real capability and not overhead. and we're looking at reforms to the goldwaters nichols act, the famous act of the 1980s that defines much of d.o.d. on this last point, we have been doing a review for the last several months. i expect to begin receiving recommendations on that in coming weeks and making decisions. let me close by touching on the
broader shift that is reflected in this budget. for a long time, d.o.d. tended to focus and plan and prepare for whatever big war people thought was coming over the horizon. at one point becoming so bad that after a while, it started to come at the expense of current conflicts, long-term at the expense of the here and now. thankfully, we were able to realize that over the last decade, correct it and turn our attention to the fights we were in. we had do that. the difference is, while that kind of singular focus may have made sense when we were facing off against the soviets or sending hundreds of thousands of troops to iraq and afghanistan, it won't work for the world we live in today. now we have to think and do a lot of different things about a lot of challenges at the same time. sad to say but true. not just isil and other terrorist groups but competitors like russia and china and threats like north korea and iran. we don't have the luxury of just one opponent.
or the choice between current fights and future fights. we have to do both. and that's what this budget is designed to do. when this forum we're in now was founded 30 years ago, its inaugural speaker declared that america's best days should still lie ahead. with this budget and with our magnificent men and women of the department of defense, they will -- our best years will lie ahead. as those men and women of the department of defense continue to defend our country, help make a better world for our children. thank you. [ applause ] >> in introducing you, i neglected to say when you were
in high school you were a lacrosse player, a football player, a cross-country runner and also basketball. how did you manage to do all those sports? >> i always did a sport in each of the three seasons. i did swimming and diving in the summer. plus i always had a job at night. i always worked at night. fishing boat, gas station, hospital orderly. i was a busy guy. i couldn't do all the sports at the same time. when people got a lot bigger and taller than i did, i gave up basketball.wrestling. when they got beefier, i gave you up fobble aotball and start cross-country. if you are good as everything, you can be good at lacrosse. but you are not a football player or a tall basketball player. >> when you are the secretary of defense, you have all the military under you. they are in good shape. you have to stay in shape. you look like you are in good shape. >> i try to work out whenever i can.
really every day. if i can. i drive everybody crazy. i think people like it. i walk a lot. one of the nice things about working at the pentagon is -- it has these great big hallways. i walk around. i talk to people. you do a little bit of management by walking around. >> you walk in somebody's office and surprise them? >> when you get to the top, everybody comes to you. you can sit there all day and not move. if i worked in a smaller office building, nobody has a building as big as the pentagon, i think i would go nuts. because i like to get out and move around. >> let's talk about the budget for a moment. is it harder to negotiate the budget with service chiefs or omb? what's harder? >> well, i gotta say, omb by tradition is not totally but quite deaf differential to professional military and d.o.d.
advice. we get a lot of latitude i would say compared to the civil agencies. within the department, we have a very -- a process that has gone back for a long time. you know, it really makes the best use of the uniformed and civilian leadership. i was under secretary as you mentioned for acquisition and technology and logistics. whenever a decision was made above me, i always said, i wish somebody had asked the person who has to carry that out. so i'm very -- i believe in involving the people who have to carry out these decisions and execute these budgets in the decision making. so i'm very inclusive in that regard. i think we have an excellent professional military judgment in all of our services. and that's all reflected in this budget. this is what -- these people who do this for a living and have for many decades think is the best way to spend this money. i have a lot respect for their judgment. >> the defense budget the
president will propose is $582 billion more or less. suppose congress says, we think you need more. what will do you? you won't take the money? >> no. don't say that. look, the budget that we have reflects the bipartisan budget deal of this year for which i am grateful. and i will tell you why. we have started every fiscal year for six years, david, with a con continuing resolution. i won't go through -- most people in this room know how debilitating that is, how inefficient it is. it's disspiriting to our troops. they say, what's going on? other countries look and say, what's going on with you guys? can't you get your act together? it's very important that we not be jerky proceeding. it was two years -- a two-year budget deal. i would have liked something
longer than that. but it was what i have hoped for and was speaking about since i became secretary of defense, which was a coming together in washington. end of gridlock. what that means to your question is, did i get everything i want? no. but i think that's the definition of people coming together and compromising is everybody walked away without having everything they wanted. that said, with the money we have, the shape is what matters. we have been working on the shape within the size that the bipartisan deal gave us. >> for many years we have had a dual budget for defense. we have had the regular budget and a so-called oco account where -- for the war. is the new budget agreement such that you can't get more money for oco and 582 is including that. >> 582 does include oco. the budget deal did take account of both. let me tell you why the theory of oco is a good one.
i'm sorry. it's overseas contingency funding. it's intended to cover the variable costs of operations that go up and down in the course of a year. the base budget funds the enduring military that will be here ten years, 20 years down the road. if you think about it, david, think about hurricanes, for example. a major hurricane occurs every three years. we're asked to respond. you can have us do that. you can give us the money every year and we will spend it. or you can give us the money when the hurricane occurs and we will spend it then. that's obviously more efficient. it makes sense to have variable costs in the budget. >> it has been leaked -- sometimes there are leaks from the pentagon. you probably are familiar with that. something that has been leaked that the navy would like to have a few more ships. i think you cut the number down
to about 40. they wanted maybe more. suppose they go to capitol hill and try to get more. will you resist those? >> well, i'm going to argue for what we, including in the navy, think is the best balance. by the way, the size of the navy is increasing. we're going to go up to 308 ships. >> you have -- what do we have now, 280 or so? >> exactly. that's exactly right. 278 actually. we are increasing the size of the navy. but what's really important is to increase the lethality of each ship. so we're emphasizing that. and we're emphasizing under sea. we had to make tradeoffs. in each of the services you make tradeoffs as i said amongst force structure, capability, investment and readiness. all three of those are important. you just have -- we only have so many dollars. >> there's one ship you are
building. it's a new gerald ford class aircraft carrier that supposedly will cost $15 billion for one ship. how did one ship get to be so expensive? are you going to build more. >> i'm sure we will build more in the future. we will not build them in the way that that was built. that's an example. i talked about the need for discipline. that is a program that was undisciplined. we're trying to wrestle that one into shape. i'm not going to try to justify the history of the ford class carrier over the last 15 years or so. we have been trying -- i started when i was -- to get that program under control. by the way, a lot of our programs we are getting under control now. the figures reflect that. but we have got to do more. it's important because not only for efficiency sake but for the confidence of our business community and our political
leaders and our people. they say, look, we're giving you, you know, this much money for defense. we need to see that you are using it well. when we have an example of that where there's a cost overrun of that magnitude, it casts into doubt the whole enterprise. it's not okay. of course, we will buy more aircraft carriers in the future. i'm supposing we will. but not that way. >> so on isil, do you expect it's likely for any possible way that you can see the u.s. government during the obama administration sending ground troops into the syria iraq area to combat isil? >> we are. >> significant ground troops. 50,000, 100,000, anything significant? >> we're looking for a couple things about that. just to remind everybody, we have 3,700 boots on the ground in iraq today and we're looking to do more. we're looking for opportunities to do more.
to get to your question, we're not looking to substitute for local forces. we're looking to enable local forces. why is that? it's because we not only have to beat isil, we have to keep them beaten. that is, there has to be somebody who sustains the defeat afterwards. we know what it's like when you don't have that force to sustain the defeat. and so we're -- our strategic approach is to enable capable motivated local forces. they are hard to find in that part of the world. but they do exist. but do we have troops that are helping them? yes. we're actually looking for opportunities to do more. so as we go north to mosul, we have to take raqqah. that will prove there's no islamic state. we need to take those two cities. you will see us doing more. we have asked for more.
every time the chairman and i have asked the president for more capability to do that, he has said yes. i expect that will continue. one other thing, david, which is it won't just be americans. this is crucial. it's got to be the other members of our so-called coalition. a lot of them are doing -- making considerable contributions to this. but some of them are not. and you really have to look -- this is a fight of civilization for its own survival. we need everybody -- and that's all the europeans, the gulf states, which are do -- turkey which is right there on the border. there are a lot that need to make more contributions. are we going to do more? yes. we have to win. >> in your coalition, you have 65 countries. i think in davos and other places you said the other members aren't doing very much.
what are you doing to encourage them to do more? >> well, not all of them are in that category. but many of them are. so what am i doing to encourage that? next week i will be for much of the week in europe. and i've asked the defense ministers -- the first time ever interestingly since the campaign against isil began, that the defense ministers -- not the foreign ministers. they met before. but the defense ministers getting together. what i'm going to is sit down and say, here is the campaign plan for -- if you think world war ii news reel picture terms, think of an arrow going north to take mosul and another arrow coming south to make raqqah. that's a good mental picture of taking care of isil and syria and iraq. we have other places in the world, but we have -- it's necessary, not sufficient but necessary to destroy isil in iraq and syria. and what i'm going do with them
is say, here are all the capabilities that are needed. boots on the ground. airplanes in the air. more proday iproday -- prosaic . training for police that are patrolling the cities. i will say, okay, guys, let's match up what is needed to win with what you have and kind of give everybody the opportunity to make an assignment for themselves. this is important. the united states will lead this. and we're determined. but other people have to do their part. because this really is -- civilization has to fight for itself. >> we have flown sorties. is anybody else flying and dropping bombs? >> yeah. others are flying and dropping bombs. we're grateful for that. there are other ones that are
flying transport aircraft that are flying tankers, that are flying aircraft, that are flying isr reconnaissance planes. there are people doing training, brits, australians, a number of people besides us are doing training in iraq and taking action in syria. i don't want to suggest that we're doing it all by ourselves. now, there are some folks that are really doing amazing courageous work. but the reality is we have a coalition that is committed at the political level to defeat isil and that needs to be translated into the operational military contributions they are making. that's what i will be doing next week in europe. >> the russians say they want to defeat isil. but their guided missiles don't seem to be going to the right places. is that because their technology is not as good as ours? >> that's so true.
they did. they said they were going to go in and fight isil. that's not what they did. that would be welcome if they did it, but it's not what they are doing. in the main what they are doing is propping up assad. so this is wrong headed in two ways. it's wrong headed in the sense that it's not doing what needs to be done. r remember, them a threat from isil, too. they going after the russians. so serious business for them as it is for us and the rest of the civilized world. >> when they are flying around and we are flying around, how do we coordinate? >> we have worked that out. we talk at the working level and make sure we have safety of flight. they are behaving professionally in that regard. what they need to do -- i don't know whether they will do that -- is get on a different strategic track. that would be one where they help us to make the transition
in syria that has to occur to end the civil war there and get a decent life for people there again. that means without having the whole state of syria collapse and all the state structures go away, without the person of assad who is a lightning rod for the civil war, but a transition where the state structures as the russians say survive and the moderate opposition and those state structures combine to make a government of syria that can run the place on some decent principals. and then help us turn against isil. that's what they should be doing. but they got off on the wrong foot. i think they have a self-defeating strategy. i don't know how long it will take them to realize that. >> speaking of the russians, on ukraine, it has been reported that we're training in the united states ukrainian soldiers and sending them back now. do you expect to have more conflict there? >> we actually train them in
ukraine. mostly. we send equipment and so forth. it's hard to say -- obviously, while we're watching the russians activities in the middle east, we're not taking our eye off of ukraine. i mention that we're making investments in europe, supporting our nato structure in europe and also supporting the ukrainians militarily and in other ways. >> you expect more conflict in the near future? >> it's hard to say what -- whether the minsk accords are not being implemented to the letter. at the same time, the level of violence is low are than it has been. i certainly hope it stays that way. the minsk accords is the right
way to go to settle things down there. don't forget, david, even if things settle down, crimea was still annexed. >> i know. >> you have to look at this conduct by russia and the rest of the europeans do as well and say this is an unwelcome development in european history. as i said in the speech, it has been a quarter century since we had to be preoccupied with that. unfortunately, it looks like now we do. i wish it were otherwise, but both ukraine and in nato, we're going to have to help countries to harden themselves against russian influence, including the little green men phenomenon, and also melt as we did in decades past staunch defense of our nato allies. >> in afghanistan, before you leave office, obama administration is over, what do you expect will have -- eight to 10,000 soldiers there? >> the plan is to have 9,800
through the end of the year. that's our plan. we adjust plans. the president adjusted his plans in october. the thing to look for in this coming up season is the growing capability of the afghan security. the whole deal is over a period of time that's not going to end by the end of this year, we have a plan to stay with it. the budget i described -- i should have said this in the budget contains full funding for the afghan security forces. remember, that's the key. they are supposed to be increasingly able to take over their own security. so in this season coming up, you watch whether they are using operational mobility more than they did in this last fighting season, whether they will have now fixed wing aircraft. we just delivered to them. rotary wing airport. all these capabilities they didn't have last season they will have this season.
you hope that that -- not hope. that's the plan is to have that strengthen their hand against taliban. full self-sufficiency is years away. >> you mentioned north korea as one of your favorite subjects in your speech. did the north koreans explode a hydrogen bomb recently? >> i don't think that they were as successful as they may have claimed. we don't know that fully. i don't want to go any further than that. but i -- that's the story. don't forget -- i don't want you to take any consolation from that, because nuclear weapons in the hands of north korea, particularly coupled with ballistic missiles, coupled with their -- how do i say this? odd demeanor and position right there on the dmz, that's a really serious combination. they're not in the headlines a
lot. but we, ace sas i said, never t our eye off that. >> you famously wrote an article with bill perry when you were not in government saying that maybe a pre-emptive strike against an icbm or other missile capabilities of the north koreans will be something the u.s. should consider. do you still have that view? >> that was a different circumstance then. it was a test launch missile. our policy was that we were not to tolerate it. we were trying to figure out how to not tolerate it. so that was then. now is now. but for now, the nuclear program of north korea is a serious concern, the ballistic missiles are a serious concern, the size of their force positioned right there on the d mz and the size f the special forces which they work on quite hard, in every way they are a serious business.
and i just got to remind you, we're on the korean peninsula. we will win. no question about it. but it is a very, very savage and intense war. so it's no -- it's not something that -- not an area where you want deterrents to fail. but deterrents has to be strong there every day. >> the chinese seem to be building islands in the south china sea. are we going to just let them do that? are -- you think they're going to use it for military purposes? are we going to send ships nearby? >> they are. we are reacting. we have to react. by the way, it's true that they are not the only ones doing this. therefore, our formal position as a matter of what about these claims in the south china sea is that we, the united states, don't adjudicate those claims. we do want is everybody to stop
land reclamation and stop mi military. the one you described, namely, we will keep doing what we have done, what we have done for 70 years. we will fly and sail and operation where international law permits, period. and we demonstrate that and that won't stop. second, we're making all these investments that you see in our defense budget that are specifically oriented towards the checking development of the chinese military. third, they are having the effect -- i don't know when this will dawn on them -- of causing widespread concern in the region which makes others react, including others react by joining up with us. so to give you a few examples.
vietnam, for example. very eager to work with us on maritime security. vietnam. and then good old friends that you are very familiar with, australia, the philippines, probably notice that japan is a rising military power in the pacific and close longtime friend of the united states. so all around the region people are reacting. the chinese are with this kind of stuff going to get people to react and compensate. more importantly, it's self-isolating behavior. i don't know when they will realize that, whether they will realize that. it's not the american approach to have a cold war there, to carve up the region, to divide. we're not trying to stop the chinese from doing what they're doing. look at what the united states has brought to the asia pacific region over the last 70 years. the most rapidly growing region economically in the world. it has been the peace and
stability there that we underwrote that's allowed first japan to rise, then south korea, then taiwan, then southeast asia and now china and india. that's what we have stood for. and they have benefitted from that. so to disrupt the security environment where half of humanity lives and half of humanity's economic behavior is is not a good idea on their part. certainly for our part, we intend to continue our strong role there. >> before you leave office, do you think guantanamo will be closed? >> don't know. i have been completely unabashed about this. i would like to see it closed. i think on balance it would be good for us. but here is the issue. there are people in that detention facility that -- there's no other way to say this -- have to be detained.
there's no way that i can safely have them transferred somewhere else. so to answer your question can it be closed safely? for us to do that, we have to find another place to detain the people who must be detained. now, at the moment it's against the law to establish another defense facility. some in congress have considered a willingness to consider a proposal to build an alternative facility. we have such a proposal. we will see whether we get the support for it. this is something that i just would rather not leave to my successor, the job of this detention business and to the next president. but i don't know whether we will get it done this year. it's not something -- to do it this way, we need the help and support of congress. i hope we're getting it. i'm working on it. i think it would be a good thing for the country on balance. >> how damaging were the snowden
revelations? >> no question it was damaging. it was damaging first to our security and compromising important secrets to our foreign poli policy and relations around the world but critically to our industry. yes it creates some distrust, which i'm working very hard to try to overcome. not by preaching to people and not by -- trying to work through issues. but also, you know, for our companies, it has put them -- it has used as a -- essentially a guise for protectionism by some competitors to american companies. no question about it. so it has put -- snowden's actions put our companies at a disadvantage to the point where some countries that -- from whom it is wild to hear such a claim are saying, store your data in
our country, it will be safer there. really? safer than here? you know, i'm intent upon building bridges of trust. when i was started out in this business and was a physicist, everybody in the generation older than me that brought me up, they were all manhattan project people and so forth. they had a reflex that it was an important duty to use your knowledge for good and in service of the public good. i can't expect that for everybody today, not as big a fraction of the young people have the experience of closeness to the military. that's why i'm trying to reach out to people and make them familiar with what we're doing, give them a user friendly way to make a contribution. i do find that people out in silicon valley and our innovative community -- i need to say this. these are people who have -- are
where they are because they like to do things of consequence. they see that defending our country and defending our world is something of consequence. so the mission does grab them. they get it. they look at isil and they look at these problems i have talked about russia and china and so on, they understand this is serious matter. we have to defend ourselves. but i need to meet them halfway, listen to them and find a way in this very different age from when i started where a young person can see their way to contributing to the greater -- what's better than waking up in the morning and being part of something bigger than yourself? >> you have said that women can be in all combat parts of our military force. the marines were not thrilled with that, i think. you overruled them? how did that work? >> the marines raised some
issues which we have to address. we are addressing in implementation that didn't make me say we're not going to it, but it made me say -- if you read my statement, i'm working right now on the implementation. simply declaring things open is not effective implementation. there are real issues here. we're working through those issues. it was important to them, for example, that i say and i did that the way we implemented this was going to be important, that standards were not going to be relaxed, that there would be no quotas. this was about creating the opportunity. but i couldn't make it so that women would be able to satisfy that -- those standards in the numbers that -- there's a lot that needs to be done here. i thought they raised some very important considerations.
and we're addressing those in implementation. but for the army and the navy and the air force and our special operations command, they all recommended no additional restrictions. they also gave me their reasoning. together and said what i said, which is this is the right decision, but we have to implement it carefully, standards are important, don't expect quotas. we're going to do it in a serious professional way like -- i'm not saying this about me. i'm saying about the department of defense. i'm so proud of a place like that that is a learning, adapting organization. they take on things -- we took on counter insurgency. before me time. mastered it. you may not have liked the circumstances. i'm not trying to say that. but we got really good at it. this say place that takes on a mission and then very carefully,
very deliberately, very professionally works it through. we will do that. we will do that for this. i'm completely confident. >> you have a ph.d. in theoretical physics. when you deal with members of congress, are they often on the same intellectual plane you are? is that hard for you -- how do you deal with that? >> the joke that everybody tells me, not with congress specifically in mind, is that i have finally -- they were two separate majors. they were a right brain left brain thing. i liked them both. people now say i now work in a field that is the perfect union of medieval history and physics. for congress, i'm going to say something that may surprise you. i find that the great majority of members of congress that i interact with are really
serious, thoughtful, want to do the right thing. they sometimes find themselves in a situation where they can't find a way to do the right thing. i think that's frustrating for a lot of them. that's why when we do come together behind this budget deal and so forth, i think it's a huge triumph. the folks who did that, despite all odds sat down, worked it out, the old-fashioned way in congress, i really think deserve a lot of credit for the -- it wasn't everything everybody wanted, wasn't forever. it was for two years. that's the way things ought to be done. you can't just pound your spoon on your high chair in this country and get what you want. i conditian't do that. i have to work with other people. >> final question. what's the best part about being secretary of defense? >> the troops. absolutely. it's being among the people. that's what lifts you up every time. you look at them and you say -- it's just -- it's incredible.
my wife works -- she can't spend a lot of time doing things. but when she does, she loves the troops. they are families. these are fantastic people. that's by far and away the best part. >> worst part is writing letters to families? >> yeah. you never get used to the loss. i've been at this now seven years. fortunately, the numbers are less than when i came in. that never stops being hard. >> thank you very much for your service to our country. >> thank you for having me. >> appreciate it. [ applause ]
on the next washington journal, congressman dan kildee who represents flint, michigan, gives a preview of house oversight committee on the water contamination problem and the local, state and federal response. after that, representative ted yoho of florida talks about efforts to combat sex trafficking. and later, david levinthal of the center for public integrity on campaign spending. washington journal is live. join the conversation on facebook and twitter. every election cycle we're reminded how important it is for
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