tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN February 11, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EST
feel stigmatized in one way, shape or form. >> what would be the source of stigma? >> if suppose people were pro-transgender eyes of the boys room and that was the policy and people started using that, then there might be a stigmatizing interest, oh, you're against transgender people, you're a bigot, you're somebody who is uncomfortable with that. to me that would be a potentially stigmatizing interest. but, again, you know, we're beyond the record talking about those types of things. and our major point is that the question is whether or not what was done is violative of either title nine or equal protection and it simply is not. >> if g.g. had a sex change operation, would you allow him to use the boys restroom? >> my understanding of what the position would be -- and i'm going to read the policy.
>> biological. >> shall be limited to corresponding biological genders is what it says. i would say if you changed your biological sex, then you would be allowed to use the restroom of your new biological sex. reading this, that's what it seems to suggest to me. >> now, my understanding is that that surgery really, no expert, believe me, but that surgery involves a series of surgeries. it's not a surgery. it's a series of surgeries. so, when does one become a biological whatever? >> i don't know the answer to that question. >> and so how would this policy apply to someone who was in the course of that surgical therapy? >> i don't know how to -- >> you don't know. >> i don't know how that would be resolved. i'd be speculating on what the
school board, how they would interpret their policy. >> they didn't discuss that. >> not to my knowledge. certainly not part of the record. >> did they get expert input into -- >> there is nothing in the record about expert input. felt like it was legally in a solid position. >> all right. mr. block? >> thank you, your honor. two important points i want to clear up, one is the notion that boys were objecting to g's presence. we have no idea who the complaints were, they've never been shown to us or described to us nor to the court. looking at the school board meetings the vast majority of complaints people were worried about in the hypothetical future some boy could pretend to be a girl and go into the locker rooms.
so, the notion that these complaints were coming from boys who were uncomfortable with "g," it's certainly not in evidence on the pi motion for one thing. a second point i wanted to make is, and this goes to this issue of what the school board knew and some of the harder line drawing questions. this is something that was being handled by administrators on the ground who didn't see a problem. what the school board did imposed a categorical rule saying regardless of the specific facts, regardless of the situation on the ground school administrators never have the power to do anything but what the school board policy says. this wasn't, like, a step-by-step incremental approach. "g" didn't come to the school board saying i want you to pass a policy all transgender kids should use the restrooms with their gender identity no exceptions. the school board -- >> which is fascinating because
today the best learning tells us, you know, that the principal is the ceo, and everything you read these days is what we need in public education are strong principals. and this principal was doing it. this principal had the situation under control. had the school operating from all that appears in the record in a really great way. and then some kind of top-down imposition comes along and disrupts what the principal was managing in a very, very humane and orderly way. it's ironic, isn't it? >> i agree, your honor. and the principal sponsor of the policy was clear, this isn't about disruption. these students are mature enough to handle it. it's not a disruption issue. it is solely a privacy issue. so, there wasn't actually some crisis on the ground. there wasn't a mass walkout from the boys restrooms, you know,
stuff was working until the school board became involved. and your honor also talked about the school providing these extra privacy options. they announced that six days before the second school board meeting. and obviously i haven't been able to depose anyone, but my understanding is that they were hoping that would head off the problem. but then six days later after, you know, parent after parent or random community person after random community person threatened to vote the board out of office, you know, what had previously been, you know, 3-3 votes suddenly turned into a 5-1 vote. so no one gave these alternative arrangements a chance. they jumped from alternative arrangements to a categorical ban in six days before those restrooms were even installed, and they were in -- if you look at the board meetings, it was never about "g." it was always about this will open the door to some future sexual predator could come in.
they're hypothetical concerns that we know from the administrator's amicus briefs from schools across the country, l.a. to kentucky, never actually materialize. no one is saying that -- there's plenty of room for policies that ask for some sort of confirmation that this is someone's sincerely held identity, "g" had a carrier letter from his doctor confirming this. no one is suggesting a top-down solution the other way. but -- and the department of education can always obviously issue guidance, too. but what the district court ruled here is that the regulations -- that the regulations mean that "g" automatically loses. we're not saying the regulations means he automatically wins. we're saying title nine means he can't be treated differently on the basis of sex and there's not an exception in the regulations that authorizes it. but certainly there's room for additional guidance and plenty
of model policies for school boards to look at as well. very briefly this issue of adults versus schools. title nine is broader than title seven. jackson versus birmingham says that. and schools have a special -- it's also important for transgender students, too, you know, we know from, you know, plyar that a denial of an equal education has lifelong consequences that can be far worse than denial of a job. so, the importance of education cuts in our benefit, not theirs. if your honors don't have any further questions, that's all i have for today. >> thank you. homeland security secretary jeh johnson is speaking today on the state of the nation's security and his agency's achievements and expected challenges for the new year. he'll also take questions from people at the wilson center. see his comments tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. then at 9:00 eastern on c-span today's house foreign affairs committee hearing on the implementation of the iran
nuclear agreement. witnesses include the state department's lead coordinator for implementation of the deal and the treasury department's head of sanctions oversight. every weekend on american history tv on c-span3 we feature programs that tell the american story. here's some of the highlights for this weekend. saturday afternoon at 5:00 eastern, author marget oppenheimer talks about her book "the remarkable rise of eliza jumel" her unusual life including a second marriage to former vice president aaron burr. >> what brought these two celebrities together? on burr's side of the altar, the undoubted attraction was jumel's money. a marriage to eliza jumel will give him a big pot of money to spend.
jumel had her own motivations for the marriage. on the one happennd, she would have to begin settling her first husband's estate. burr with his knowledge of the law could help her protect her assets. but the main attraction of the marriage for her was the opportunity to enter social circles that had been previously closed to her. at 6:00 on the civil war, historian dennis frye on the reactions of both southerners and northerners to john brown's 1859 raid on the federal armory at harper's ferry. the subsequent execution and the nation's divided sentiments as americans headed toward the 1860 election. sunday afternoon at 2:00 historians explore the history of the death penalty in america including the 1976 greg v georgia u.s. supreme court case that affirmed the constitutionality of capital
punishment and monday afternoon at 3:30 eastern author and historian james swanson compares the assassinations of abraham lincoln in 1865 and john f. kennedy in 1963. their personal similarities and differences in their terms in office, the backgrounds of the assassins and the state of the country at the time. he also talks about the experience and reactions of the two widows mary lincoln and jackie kennedy. >> jfk was very interested in abraham lincoln, knowledgeable about lincoln and jackie did have very much in mind the lincoln precedent for the funeral. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to cspan.org. road to the white house began in iowa. the caucuses which date back to 1972 and then we moved to new hampshire that quintessential first in the nation primary which has a long and rich history. and now we really begin to test the candidates and their
message. we move south to south carolina, the first southern primary, and then to the party caucuses in nevada for the democrats and republicans. more than likely we'll see a number of candidates probably drop out of the race so the field will then narrow. and then we move into early march, super tuesday, the start of winner take all primaries means the delegate count will be critical and as we watch the delegate count for the candidates we'll get a better sense of who is on the path for the nomination. utah governor gary herbert delivered his annual state of the state address at the state capitol in salt lake city. he asked legislators to focus their upcoming lawmaking session on reducing the number of regulations affecting utah businesses, investing in schools and boosting the state's business climate. his comments are about a half hour. >> all arise. the honorable gary r. herbert
>> governor, welcome. >> how are you? how are you? >> well, thank you very much. it's always an honor to be with you here at this special occasion. president, speaker hughes, members of the legislature, attorney general shawn reyes, auditor dougal, justices of the utah supreme court, lieutenant governor and mrs. cox and utah's first lady my wonderful wife
janette. my fellow utahans, the utah we know and love today stands on higher ground because of the many sacrifices of hardworking utahan who have gone before us. let me begin this evening by acknowledging two of these giants who left us this past year. former governors norm bangader and nor lelene walker. improving government efficiency during a time of economic uncertainty. the governor was a down-to-earth leader who liked to say that he was just an old farmer and carpenter from granger who happened to be governor. we all so much more in him. he was a true leader who had the courage to stand up for what he believed. he knew how to partner with the legislature to solve the critical issues of the day. in short, norm offered utah what we need in this state, and that is the steady hand of leadership.
governor walker was also a leader and a trail blazer. the first woman to hold utah's highest office. just as important, she was a tireless advocate for education, who established early reading initiatives in our utah schools. as a state legislator, she had the foresight to create utah's rainy day fund to help us prepare our state for the unforeseen events of the future. that rainy day fund now has $528 million in it. the largest amount in our state's history. and for establishing and prudently increasing the rainy day fund both governor walker and everyone here in this body deserves a round of applause. this week we witnessed a remarkable outpouring of love and support for hometown hero
officer doug barney. who gave the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty. he was a husband, a father of three beautiful children, a dependable friend and brother and an honorable public servant. in honor of him and others who have left and gone before, let us today commit ourselves as a state to show greater respect and appreciation for the men and women who willingly put themselves in harm's way to serve, protect and defend utahans every single day. the question before us tonight
is simple -- what is the state of our state. and just as important what are we going to do to make it even better. six years ago our state found itself in the most severe recession since the great depression. the unemployment rate at the time was 8%. each of us had family members and friends who struggled just to get by. our economy had been weakened, but we did not give up hope. together, we set a goal to not only recover from the great recession but to become the top-performing economy in america. six short years later, our state economy is at added 219,000 new jobs with an unemployment rate down from 8% down to 3.5% today. in fact, in 9 of the last 12 months utah had the highest job growth creation of any state in the nation.
our economy is now the third most diverse. income equality is low. our wage growth is up. and just this fall the state of utah was recognized as the most fundamentally sound economy in america. since i stood here one year ago businesses across our state have now added approximately 40,000 new jobs. think about that for just a minute. some of you within the sound of my voice know the pain that comes from losing a job. 40,000 new jobs means new opportunities for 40,000 utahans. and this isn't just a statistic. we're talking about real people here, our neighbors, our friends, our family members. so, what is the state of our state? the state of our state is
strong, and i think most of us would say the state of our state is outstanding. that being said, i believe that we can do even better. a high quality of life should mean parents don't have to watch their children leave to go to another town or another state because there are no jobs available where they live. janette and i enjoy the singular blessing of having our six children and now 16 grandchildren all living here in utah within 30 minutes of our home. your children may not choose to stay here. but we need an economy strong enough that they always have the choice. unfortunately, this is not the case in some of the rural areas of our state. as we begin this session, i ask you and the legislature to focus on these communities with renewed determination and resolve.
thanks to the leadership of senator ralph ochreland we now have new tools available to help in this battle. soon there will be a new industrial development in iron county, roads and power to a potash mine in beaver county, and other critical infrastructure projects that will enable businesses to expand in rural utah like never before. while developing this kind of basic infrastructure is the proper role of government, make no mistake, ultimately it is our small businesses and large businesses and the tens of thousands of hardworking, productive utah workers who create utah's economic success and not the government. if we expect to make even more progress in rural utah, it will take more entrepreneurs like roland christianson, born and
raised in fayette utah, population 245. in his lifetime he has developed 38 different patents and started four successful businesses. he has employed hundreds of people. and the place he chose to build those businesses is in his hometown in san pete county. for those of you born and raised in rural utah, your hometown needs you. to utahans everywhere, whether you live in blanding or bear river, or plain city, i pledge to you tonight that we will not rest until all 29 counties and all 245 cities and towns in our state are full participants in utah's tremendous economic success. even in those areas where our states have abundant prosperity, we could still do better. recently i had the opportunity to visit with melody trueblood a
young single mother from ogden. as a child and now as an adult she has experienced constant economic struggles, homelessness, joblessness and the feeling that life just isn't what it could or should be. during my visit with her, she said something that has left an indelible impression upon me. she said, "governor, a lot of brilliant minds are lost to poverty." in typical utah fashion melody decided she was going to do something about her situation. she enrolled in a paralegal program provided by weaver state university. she began attending financial planning and budget classes and because she lives in utah, not only will she have a good education, but there will be job opportunities for her once she graduates. as melody has demonstrated and as i believe, it is education, not entitlement, that creates the opportunity for self-reliance.
if you remember nothing else from my message this evening, remember this -- education is the most important investment we can make in utah's future. one of the defining moments in my time as governor came last year when we made one of the largest increases in education funding ever in utah's history. $512 million in all. as i go around the state, i am often thanked by teachers, principals, parents and others for this extraordinary investment in utah's future. members of the legislature, i recognize that you often don't get all the credit you deserve on this issue. i believe that needs to change.
so, tonight i want to be absolutely clear. on behalf of all 3 million utahans from across this state i'm here to deliver a message that is long overdue. thank you, members of the legislature, for investing in our future. with finite resources and hundreds of competing demands in last year's session, you made the tough decision that put utah's children first. together we have invested over $1.3 billion of new money in education over the past four years which is more money, by the way, committed to education than any other time in utah's history. our sustained long-term investment in education is already producing positive results. for example, when i first came into office, one in every four
utah high school students did not graduate. that was unacceptable to you and to me. step by step that number has improved. i'm pleased to report that utah's graduation rate has grown by nearly 10% and is now at 84%. that means 3,400 additional students now graduate each and every year from utah schools with increased opportunities like never before. now, 84% is a good number compared to other states, but i know that we can and that we must, in fact, do better. tonight, i am challenging teachers, parents, principals, school board members, and most importantly our students to raise our graduation rate in this state to 90% in the next 4 years.
we can do it! i pledged to you tonight that we will bring to bear the necessary resources, determination, and innovation to achieve this goal. members of the legislature, now is not the time to take our foot off the gas pedal. let us recommit tonight that we will work together to invest in our children and in our future. as one of the fastest-growing states in america, just a few months ago our state welcomed its 3 millionth resident. with our growing population, we must do all that we can to preserve our enviable quality of life despite some of the challenges that we uniquely face. one example of the meaningful progress we have made to improve air quality, together we have reduced total emissions by approximately 35% over the past 10 years. but the data means very little
when the inversion sets in and those emissions hang in the valleys. there's important work yet to be done. one thing is for certain, environmental challenges won't be solved with hyperbole or misinformation. we must invest our limited resources in programs and technology that will actually work. not just rhetoric that ignores common sense. and that's why i am continuing to push for our refineries to produce much cleaner, tier 3 fuel as soon as possible. this is one of the most effective steps we can take to improve air quality. i am proud to announce that one of our refineries, tesoro, has already agreed to make this transition. i've personally met with every refinery in this state and we expect others will work with us to fully bring tier three fuels to utah. we are currently enjoying a wet winter, but we know from history
it may not always be that way. and that's why the budget looks for long-term additions to our water supply. we must make commitment to be good stewards of our land and air and water. there's no state in america with as much natural beauty as our state and our combined efforts will assure that utah's natural wonders can be enjoyed by generations to come. health care is another important issue. some continue to struggle with inadequate health care coverage because of the fundamentally flawed affordable care act coupled with the u.s. supreme court decision. here in the state of utah we have worked together to try and find a solution. unfortunately, we have not yet succeeded in that effort. too often many of the problems
created by the federal government are simply dumped at the feet of the states. we can speak out in defiance. we can choose to ignore them. or we can roll up our sleeves and work together to actually do something. my friends in the legislature, it's time to find a solution. this problem is not going to go away. this is too important of an issue to ignore. too many utahans work hard and still have no health care coverage. i will promise to you that i will work with you to continue providing constructive, practical solutions to every problem and every challenge that we face regardless of who created them. and i know that you want to do the same thing. no matter what issues we the people face, the states can and do find the best solutions. it's the states, not the federal government that finds the best solutions.
on this issue of health care, let this be the session where utah leads the way in finding the right utah state solution. we have seen that kind of innovation and success in other areas of state government. for example, if we had simply added new employees over the last five years at the same rate as our growing population, we would have more than 2,200 additional full-time state employees today. instead we have reduced the number of state employees by 11%, saving utah taxpayers over $177 million in 2015 alone. what does that improved efficiency mean in practical terms for everyday utah citizens? i'll tell you. it means that our tax burden is one of the lowest in the nation.
it means improved efficiency also means that you can now carry around your fishing or hunting license on your smartphone. it means that we can process fingerprints faster than ever before to get criminals off the streets and behind bars. and we have accomplished what many people would think is the impossible. we've actually reduced the average wait time down to four minutes at the dmv. four years ago my administration conducted an exhaustive regulation review process that has modified and eliminated 3 68 regulations. in addition, i have just completed a review of every executive order issued by utah governor since statehood. tonight i am pleased to announce that i will repeal 52 of these executive orders that are no longer necessary. in washington, d.c., we have a
president who thinks it's okay to bypass congress and create laws by executive order. well, that's not the way we do it in utah. as governor, i will not issue executive orders to bypass you, the legislature, or the will of the people. here in utah, we believe in the rule of law and the three branches of government. to my friends in the legislat e legislature, i need your help. if we truly believe in limited government, now's the time to show it. i see that a large number of bills have been filed already and have been opened for this session. some say it may be a record number. most of those bills add a few lines to the state code to fix
various issues, but tonight i'm calling on you to do something entirely different. i have instructed my cabinet to work with you to find areas of relevant state code that cannot only be updated and improved but where possible deleted altogether. let this be a session where we cut unnecessary red tape in government. let's shrink the size of the state code. please know that you have a willing partner in my administration who accomplished a laudable and much overdue goal. we cannot wait for something to come around to let us know that our laws are old and unnecessary. we must streamline them to allow the 21st century economy grow n
uninhibited. while our economy may be tremendously strong today, there are, in fact, challenges on the horizon. the federal government still controls and mismanages too much of our backyard. and we live with the daily threat of a presidential monument declaration. i am encouraged by the work of representative stratton and others on this issue. i'm also an enthusiastic supporter of the public lands initiative by congressman rob bishop and senator mike lee. i believe these are critical steps to help resolve this long-standing conflict and improve our self-reliance. and, of course, self-reliance is not just an issue for our public lands. it should permeate everything we do in state government especially in our annual budget process. while a $528 million rainy day fund is extraordinary, there are other things we must do in order
to preserve our state's unprecedented fiscal stability. first and foremost my proposed budget calls for no new debt and no tax increases. in addition it pays off 3 $50 million in existing debt. bringing the total debt paid off by the state over the last five years to over $1.4 billion. we all know that being prepared for the future means being fiscally prudent. that's why when mushure emeasur per capita basis it's good to know that utah spends less money than all other 50 states. we've been rated as one of only nine states in america with a aaa beyond rating. think about that for a moment. 41 other states have a tarnished bond rating.
the united states of america recently had its own rating downgraded. but not here in utah. and don't think for a minute that this recognition does not matter. it saves the taxpayer money. aaa is the best you can get, and here in utah we won't settle for anything less. for all the challenges utah faces, it is important to remember that there are 49 other states out there that would love to trade places with us. political gridlock is everywhere in this country. but here in utah we know how to come together. and in spite of our differences and get things done. i believe there's never been a better time to live, to work and to raise a family in this state. so, to ages tnswer the question
posed earlier, the state of our state is strong. it's outstanding. but it's much more than that. the events of last week's tragedy with officer barney impacted all of us profoundly. but equally impactful was the tremendous outpouring of public spirit that we all wntiitnessed. we will never forget the 50-mile-long motorcade, the streets lined with children holding flags and neighbors and friends on overpasses saluting one of their own. i've never been more proud to call utah home. yes --
yes, the state of our state has never been stronger. but as i watch utahans mourn together, i realized something more important. i realized the state of our state is strong because the state of our people has never been stronger. as utahans, you are united. you are compassionate. you are inspiring. you are extraordinary. i am proud to be a part of this great state. i'm proud to be a utahan. it is indeed an honor for all of us to serve. may god bless our great country in this difficult time. may god continue to bless the great state of utah and her people. thank you for your service. thank you very much.
homeland security secretary jeh johnson is speaking today on the state of the nation's security and his agency's achievements and expected challenges for the new year. he'll also take questions from people at the wilson center. see his comments tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. then at 9:00 eastern on c-span, today's house foreign affairs committee hearing on the implementation of the iran nuclear agreement. witnesses include the state department's lead coordinator for implementation of the deal, and the treasury department's head of sanctions oversight. lieutenant general john nicholson says afghanistan security challenges remain. he's the president's nominee to be the next commanding general
of military operations in afghanistan. his comments came during testimony before the senate armed services committee. senator john mccain the committee's chair and senator jack reed, the ranking member, both support the nominee. the hearing is an hour and a half. >> well, good morning, all, and thank you for being here, general nicholson, and i would ask indulgence of the committee to allow our distinguished colleague from illinois, senator kirk, to make a few words of introduction before we begin the committee proceedings. senator kirk? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am here to give general nicholson my highest
recommendation. general nicholson has had 3 1/2 years of active duty service on the ground, more than any other general officer in the u.s. military. i have served him several times as a reservist in afghanistan. there is no officer who has as much experience in the u.s. military that he does. and i would note that with him, you get a multigenerational input from his -- from his father and grandfather and great granduncle, the famous nicholsane who was given a monument in northern pakistan who led the british forces in the seaboy mutiny. and when general nicholson if he was related to nicholsane, he said, yes, i am. that was tremendously impressive to them. to have that level of experience to be given to our forces in
afghanistan is unique in this individual. >> well, thank you very much, senator kirk. i know you have other responsibilities this morning. i thank you for taking the time to introduce this distinguished member of the military who we will hear more from today. thank you, senator kirk. the senate armed services committee meets this morning to consider the nomination of lieutenant general john nicholson to be the next commander of u.s. and coalition forces in afghanistan. general, congratulations on your nomination and welcome. and as our tradition, general nicholson, we hope you will take the opportunity before your remarks to introduce any family and friends joining you today. and as senator kirk mentioned, you have a distinguished family lineage, including your uncle and old friend of members of this committee, jim nicholson and, of course, your father
general nicholson as well. i'd like to begin by thanking you, general, for your many years of distinguished service and your leadership in afghanistan at a critical time. you've presided over important progress improving the capability and capacity of the afghan military and developed a strong and productive relationship with the afghan unity government. when you saw that progress was in danger, insisted that further troop withdrawals should be based on conditions on the ground. while president obama decided to keep 9,800 u.s. troops in afghanistan beyond 2016, conditions on the ground in afghanistan today clearly demand an immediate re-evaluation of scheduled american troop withdrawals. and this administration's continued adherence to a calendar-based withdrawal rather than a conditions-based withdrawal, which some of us have been urging for many years.
in 2001 american forces went to afghanistan because that was where under the sanctuary of the taliban regime al qaeda planned and conducted initial training for the september 11th attacks that killed 3,000 innocent civilians on american soil. our mission was to ensure that afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for al qaeda or other terrorist groups to attack the united states. that mission has been successful for 14 years, but it's far from over. american forces are carrying out that mission today by performing two critical tasks. counterterrorism and training and advising our afghan partners. but the reality is that the .500 american troops that will be left in afghanistan at the end of this year after scheduled withdrawals will be adequate for one or the other of these critical tasks, not both. this similar american force will inevitably be forced to shoulder
a higher -- the smaller american force will inevitably be forced to shoulder a higher level of risk to be successful. but another way the individual american service member deployed to afghanistan is safer as a part of a force of 9,800 than a force of 5,500. the risk to american forces only grow worse as the terrorist threat in afghanistan intensifies. we're now confronting threats from a resurgent taliban, a reviving al qaeda and a rising isil. isil sanctuary in syria has been deadly enough. we cannot afford another one in afghanistan. this complex and expanding terrorist threat tests both our own counterterrorism capacity as well as the capability and capacity of the afghan military, which is still developing key enablers including intelligence, logistics, special forces, airlift and close air support. by now we should have learned
from the precipitous withdrawal from iraq and the disaster that ensued that wars do not end because politicians say so. nor will any politician be able to schedule an end to the threat of radical islamic terrorism that's emanating from afghanistan or the region more broadly. that's why as the security situation in afghanistan continues to deteriorate, it makes no strategic or military sense to continue the withdrawal of american forces. indeed, our military commanders increasing realize that preventing the reemergence of terror safe havens in afghanistan will require a long-term partnership with afghan government and military similar to the u.s. role in south korea or colombia. the world walked away from afghanistan once before. and it descended into chaos that contributed to the worst
terrorist attack ever against our homeland. we cannot afford to repeat that mistake. because the threats we face are real and the stakes are high for the lives of the american people, for the stability of the region and for the national security of the united states. president obama cannot turn back the clock on decisions made four years ago in iraq. but he can make decisions now that will empower his successor to do what is necessary to confront the challenges we will face in afghanistan in 2017 and beyond. it's time to immediately halt u.s. troop withdrawals and eliminate any target date for withdrawal. this will allow american forces to perform the vital tasks of eliminating terrorist threats and building the capacity and capability of afghan military. and it will send a powerful signal to the taliban that it cannot simply wait out the united states and that we will
not abandon afghanistan to tyranny and terror again. general nicholson, i look forward to your testimony and your assessment of the way ahead. senator reid? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me join you in welcoming lieutenant general nicholson, thank you, sir, for your service and for your willingness for command of u.s. forces in afghanistan. i'd also like to join senator mccain in welcoming your family, norene, thank you. and carolyn, and also your father jack, thank you, sir, for your service and your uncle jim, thank you for your distinguished service in many capacities. the general is uniquely qualified to assume these responsibilities having spent much of the last ten years focused on the mission in afghanistan including 3.5 years deployed in country and having held a number of relevant u.s. and nato command positions. your experience is not only
impressive but is extremely useful as you assume this new responsibility. i recently traveled to afghanistan and it is evident that the past year has been one of significant political and security transition for the country. the transfer of security responsibilities from the coalition to the afghan national security forces or ansf hasn't been without its challenges as evidence by the temporary seizure of kundu city and other areas by the taliban, further complicating the security situation has been the emergence of the so-called islamic state in the corazon province or iskp. operations by the pakistani military on their side of the border while a welcome development have also added to the security situation by displacing elements of al qaeda, the pakistan taliban and other bad actors into afghanistan. lieutenant general nicholson, i look forward to your assessment and what you see as the greatest security challenges with all these forces in play that confront the ansf in the coming
year, and they've had the sole responsibility of securing their country and fortunately have remain while increasing the overall operational capacity under coalition training. lieutenant, i would be interested in your thoughts as what you see as building this capacity as that will be the stabilizing in afghanistan and moving forward. with regard to counter terrorism, i support the report of recent approval as part of your mission. the joint operation to destroy general campbell with the largest training tamp identified since 9/11 is a stark reminder
of the resilience and the reminders they pose. i look forward to the assessment of the terrorism issues moving forward. as the president announced in october, it is his intention to maintain 9800 troops with a plan to drawdown to about 5500 by january 2017. i will expect and you will conduct your own assessment based on conditions on the ground and i believe that assessment should be given extraordinary weight for the retention ofus forces in afghanistan. last year was a political transition under the government of president and ceo abdullah. they have been challenging, however the government held together with the break down and provided an opportunity with ambitious reform agendas and
proposals including governance that must be encouraged by the ambassador. the afghan will have to work hard to discuss about their economy which is not performing well at all and the loss of human capital as many, many young talented people leave the country. these are a few of the challenges that you will face, but i'm confident that you have the ability and the dedication and the experience to meet these challenges. thank you. >> thank you. general nicholson, before we proceed, there is a series of standard questions which we ask for all nominees and i appreciate your answer, yes or no. and in order to exercise the legislative and oversight responsibilities, it's important that congress be able to receive testimony briefings and other communications of information. if you adhere to laws and regulations governing conflicts
of interest. >> yes, sir. >> you agree when asked to give your personal views even if they differ from the administration in power? >> yes, sir. >> have you assumed duties or undertaken actions to appear the out come of the confirmation process? >> no, sir. >> will you ensure the staff complies with deadlines for communications including questions for the record and hearings? >> yes, sir. >> will you cooperate for briefings in response to congressional requests? >> yes, sir. >> will they be protected from reprisal from their testimony and briefings? >> yes, sir. >> do you agree to provide documents including copies of electronic forms of communication in a timely manner when requested by a duley constituted committee or to consult with good faith delay or denial with such documents. >> yes, sir.
>> please proceed lieutenant general nicholson. >> members of the committee, thank you very much. i also wish to thank you for the introduction. it's a privilege to appear before you and i appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions as the commander goes. i thank president obama, secretary carter and the generals for their support for the nomination. i also wish to thank my friend for his outstanding leadership in afghanistan and long service and if confirmed, it would be an honor to follow him in this critical position. as you mentioned, i would like to introduce my wife and daughter and other family members. uncle jim, dad, stepmother for their presence here today and love and support of me throughout my career. >> welcome to the family members. i know this is a proud time. >> thank you, sir.
my father and uncle are vietnam veterans and their service has been an inspiration to me and my family for years. so much so that three of my cousins and daughter are in the family business and the service of our country. most importantly i would like to thank the soldiers, sailors and air men marines. their selfless service to our country and each other is a testament to the strength of our military and our nation. i wish to honor the sacrifice of our service member who is died in this noble effort. i wish to remember the afghan soldiers, the police and countless afghan civilians who suffered so greatly. as i sit before you today, i am thinking of them and their families and sincerely wish to deliver for them. the resolute support mission is a vitally important way to protect our homeland and enable
sustainab sustainable capacity. since 9/11, they largely defined my service. i have either been deployed or supported the effort from various positions. i had the privilege to serve alongside our allies and partners. not only in afghanistan, but my four years of service in nato. our common experience in afghanistan produced the highest levels of cohesion. it's an honor to serve alongside the allies and other partners in the 47-nation coalition and alongside our afghan comrades. if confirmed i look forward to working with this committee and the entire congress through my chain of command to address the many challenges we face in afghanistan to keep america and secure and protect the afghan people. i pledge i will make every effort to live up to the confidence placed in me and i am
grateful for your consideration. it is an honor to serve. if confirmed it would be a distinct honor to serve this this position. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. one of the sources of concern to the members of this committee on both sides is the almost continuous announcements even when there is an increase in troop strength or a pause in reduction. it's the announcement that we will be out of afghanistan. many times in my view the events that happened on the ground. the question is do you believe
the security situation in afghanistan is improving or would you argue as some of us do that we were just completed or nearing the completion of the most significant fighting in the winter that we have seen in many years in afghanistan, significant successes on the part of the taliban. now the presence of isis and including iranian providing weapons to the taliban. in other words, the view of many of us is that the security situation in afghanistan has been deteriorating rather than improving. what is your assessment of the overall tactical situation in
afghanistan? >> sir, i agree with your assessment. >> so if that is the case, shouldn't it be wise at least to pause in our plans for further reductions and try to achieve some stability on the ground? >> sir, i agree with your opening statements both you and senator reed discussed conditions based assessments on the capacity that we maintain in the country. this capacity, this capability we maintain should be able to address our two core missions. counter terrorism and train advisers to the afghans. >> isn't it true that there are along this line that the afghan
military still does not have some capabilities that require years and years of training and equipping air assets such as intel and such as even things like medivac. particularly intelligence that despite their brave fighting and i know from your experience you agree that they are brave and tough fighters amongst the best. there certain capabilities that take years and years to develop and they have not achieved a level of efficiency in those areas. i guess my question is what areas do you think that the afghan military still needs the u.s.'s assistance to improve their capabilities and turn this tactical situation around. >> sir, i wanted to echo your
sentiment on the bravery and courage and fighting skill of the afghan soldier. as you mentioned, i had the opportunity to fight alongside them and they are impressive. as we have seen, this was a tough year for the afghan security services. they took many casualties. this is an army that has a degree of resiliency and they continue to fight and work hard to roll back any taliban gapes. to your specific question, you mentioned some of them. intelligence is a key capability. as you mentioned it takes years to build. the growth of mid-level leaders at the small level where tactics matter and we combine arms and it is important. the use of indirect fire and fire support is important.
perhaps one of the most critical is their casualty treatment and evacuation. we have seen improvements steady growth in all these areas, as you mentioned in some areas we have years to go and in particular the aviation area. >> as we all know, one of the biggest problems has been the sanctuary, particularly for the network and the involvement of the isi in pakistan which in many cases have been supporting the network. yet the chief of staff of the pakistani army has been to those of us who had met him and are very impressed with him. you have seen any progress in this whole progress with sanctuary for the taliban in pakistan and how serious do you
view that problem as it is today? >> i view it as a serious problem. this has been one of the principal challenges that you have from one of the many visits to theaters. one of the county networks have enjoyed in pakistan. we have seen it at various times i have seen there. different efforts and offensives and parts of the tribal areas. i note that the pakastanis have suffered significant casualties in the tens of thousands in terms of security forces and their civilians. most recently these horrendous attacks on schools that occurred inside pakistan. at the same time i concur we have not been satisfied that there is pressure put on them. the recent operations in the area helped as well as stationing of the soldiers in the tribal areas. some of this pushed some
fighters into afghanistan. that contributed perhaps somewhat to the issues there. it's a mixed story, sir. it requires continuous engagement and the continuous engagement at the tactical level and increasingly we want to encourage the afghans and the military forces to work more closely. >> senator reed? >> thank you very much. and let me thank you for holding this hearing in such an expeditious fashion. it's important to have the continuity of command. for several reasons. one is that we both have made it clear that your recommendation based on the conditions on the ground is central to any decision. that recommendation is going to
have to be made in the early spring because of the dynamics of changing forces and closing locations, etc. can you give us an idea of when you estimate that you will be compelled to make a recommendation or do you feel -- >> after the initial 90 days, i will have a good sense of where we are building on the experience we have. if confirmed, the chance to do more thorough discussions with the general and the team on the ground. >> and so we really should be looking at a decision period in the middle of this year. we don't have the luxury of december 31st or december 15th or december 1st. that is early enough so you can take operational responsibility on the decision. is that correct? >> yes, sir. general campbell mentioned his intention to hold the 9800 through the majority of the year and the latter parts of the
year. i support that approach. but as you point out, senator, these decisions take time. even if a drawdown is going to occur. we need to set the conditions for that earlier. yes, sir, i agree with your assessment. we would need to have the assessment earlier. >> one of the other consequences of the moving pieces, the fact that the iskp is firmly trying to root itself in with ex-personnexternal support. just to follow-up on senator mccain's point about the general who was a distinguished chief of staff, he has announced his resignation which i think that's correct. is that correct? >> sir, as i understand his normal tour of duty would end this fall and november i believe.
he is as i understand from the open source media announced the intention to depart in the normal tour of duty. >> that could be another dynamic and let's put that aside. the counter terrorism mission seems to have expanded. if nothing else changed, an argument for capacity in afghanistan would be the fact that there many more al qaeda and pakistan and taliban and ha canny in your area of operation. is that a fair assessment? >> it's fair as you said in your opening statement, the presence of iskp, islamic state province and southeast, the presence of al qaeda in the indian subcontinent inside the shore district of kandahar. both of these are clear attempts by the transnational terrorist organizations to establish sanctuary inside afghanistan.
>> yes, sir. the responsibility to go after those forces in afghanistan is your responsibility as the commander of operations. >> yes, sir. >> there is another aspect too and that is that you wear a couple of hats in your situation. my sense again if you can give us insight, their commitment or allies will be calculated based on commitment. the sooner we make a decision, it will be at least clearer to them what they must do and will to. is that accurate? >> yes, sir. again, your service has been extraordinary. very few people have been proposed for years for 07. all the way up and learning. and we all do it through trial
and error and experience. you are prepared to assume this responsibility and thank you very much. >> thank you, general, for your distinguished service and willing to serve in your family as well. i wanted to ask based on the administration's announcement that in fact they will reduce the number of troops in afghanistan to 5500 by january 1st of 2017. you named a number of areas where the afghan forces still have significant challenges. i looked at your list and mid-level leaders and fire support and casualty treatment. given that we have made this announcement, i want to understand what is the military rational for reducing the forced posture by 44% in announcing that a year in advance.
what is it we won't be able to do when we go down to 5500? one of the discussions we previously had with general campbell when there was a discussion about essentially bringing us down to an embassy presence. what is it we will be able to do beyond an embassy presence. if you can help us understand and what risks we are taking on by going down to 5500, it's important for us to understand that. >> thank you, senator. >> the two core missions as you know for operation resolute support and u.s. forces afghanistan, for u.s. forces afghanistan and train advise assist to the afghans and the allies and support training and advising in assisting. i would like to express great support from this congress and this effort. without that we would not be able to man, equip, train, and field this organization.
our allies contribute as your billion euro and the afghans contribute some as well. these two core missions, counter terrorism and train advise assist are the ones against which then from a military perspective and offering the military advice on how to accomplish that policy, i view it incumbent upon me as i'm sure they have to estimate for our political leadership the necessary capability to accomplish those two missions. having not participated in this decision, it is difficult for me although i'm happy to come back to you later why the rational and the numbers, what i say is we need both of the capabilities definitely. what i would like to do in my first 90 days is take a relook at that and what is necessary and what amount of capability is necessary given the current conditions. >> what worries me and what i understand is what risk are we
taking on. this has been a constant kabuki dance. the administration announces we will withdraw to this point, telling our enemies here's the numbers and what you can expect from the united states. i'm very glad that they backed off from their embassy presence which is where we were supposed to be. this is very important because we cannot afford to take on risks that allows the safe haven for al qaeda now with isis engagement and to me we do need you to tell us just very clear-eyed when we go to 5500, what risk, what are the capabilities then? it seems to me that force protection always being the number one priority. 5500 is a small number given a ct mission. and a support mission for the afghan forces given the list that you have been given to this
committee already for what their capabilities are still lacking in some ways. >> senator, i share your concerns and i would ask your indulgence to come back to you when i had a chance to get on the ground and do a detailed assessment to really give you the answers you are looking for. of course this is as we mentioned earlier is based on conditions. to mention a couple of conditions that have been perhaps different in 2015. one, as we heard earlier, the attempt by the al qaeda and the establishment of a fairly large training base inside southeast kandahar. the attempt by iskp to establish i sanctuary in the southeast. these are changes to the condition i need to take a look at and have the right level to deal with that. >> we appreciate that and it's penitentiary. i wanted to follow-up quickly.
last week in the subcommittee, i held a hearing on the task force on business and stability operations. this congress allocated $800 million and 650 million of it was spent. i can't account for it. they have done an investigation and $150 million where they could have stayed on base. literally we are trying to track down how much was spent on an ice cream business and jewelry and compressed national station that appears to cost more than it should. i hope you will follow-up on this. if you think about what we could do with $800 million to support our men and women in uniform, you think about the wequipment and the training, we cannot afford to continue to waste money like this in afghanistan. i hope you will take it as one
of your responsibilities very seriously as well. >> absolutely, senator. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, chairman and welcome. i want to it for your willingness to serve. how long have we been in the train and equip mission for the forces in afghanistan now? >> our first afghan act was created early in the 2002 to 2003 period. however the real effort fully resourced counter insurgency that was adopted with president obama's policy decision in 2009 was one we made heavy investments with. we started late with the air com ponent and that's going to take longer. >> so 14 years overall, but seven properly resourced and focused? what do you see as the pathway
to military sustainability, not the financial piece, but in terms of performance. what do you see as the pathway to self sustainability for the ansf? >> a couple of points. working hard at the institutional level and where as the afghans fight extremely well at the tactical level, they are born fighters. once you get up to the systems that have to sustain that force, recruit, train, equip, maintain, the pay system, etc. this is where we had to create institutions from the ground up. our focus is at the institutional and the core level. that will take time, sir. >> can you give me just a -- and we have been at this for a while.
what does sometime mean? >> i would like to give you an answer you deserve here and need. we greatly appreciate the resources congress provided. i would like to analyze each of the eight areas and come back with something more concrete. i can tell you though the air piece will take longer for a number of reasons. this is afghanistan. there will be some level of violence in afghanistan. from my perspective, the ability of the security forces to maintain that level of violence and for their part prevent the reemergence of the sanctuaries and with our help, this is really the standard we are looking for. we are not trying to create a western style society. we are looking at the adequate level to prevent the reemergence
of transnational terrorist threats. >> you mentioned and we contribute about $4 billion a year to this effort. you mentioned a billion euro from the eu. of that total cost of this effort, how much is born by afghanistan? >> as i understand it's about $500 billion. from other contributors and $500 million with an objective of that increasing overtime. >> do you see any pathway to ever reaching sustainability from a financial point of view? >> there would be two ways that would occur. is the economic development of afghanistan and the president has a number of thoughts about that. as an issue in many respects, of
course the second way is ultimately to reduce the size of the security services. this has been discussed, the challenge is the condition from the ground right now don't merit reduction. >> i am going to change gears. when i was in the kandahar area a number of years ago, one of the things i found interesting is people did not want to commit to the kind of farming that produced crops that were unstable. if you grew melon that is when you got to the border, somebody could tell you when you don't pay a bribe, you have to wait a few days while the produce rots. people would invest in things that were stable. raisins they knew couldn't be subject to that corruption.
how they got a handle on a $22 billion opium trade at this point. >> as you mentioned, the military is in a supporting capacity when it comes to the policy to other agencies at the international community. >> i'm not asking for a military answer, but what can we do and should we be doing not necessarily asking you to solve a problem. >> yes, sir. >> and you are visiting kandahar and this used to be a bread basket of the region. when you look at initiatives like the silk road or tappy, these are long-term. much of the work has been done in kandahar in particular and the british development agency and other agencies like the asian develop bank and the value chains for many of these
products. the challenge they face is they may be able to go, but they don't have refrigeration or other things. the great effort on that. the value chain rests on infrastructure. power, water, roads. these have been the subject of investment for years. ideally at some point they are able to return to that. in this current environment of conflict, it's difficult for these farmers as you saw when you were there. these people are very hardworking and willing to accept hardship with a dignity and grace that they find admirable and we should. they fall back on as you just articulated these things that we know work. production of opium and being
paid in advance for at the farm gate for their product as opposed to having to try to take it to market over a dangerous route that may not work. these are the choices they make. these are choices to survive. until we can create a stable enough environment to take hold, i think we will have this problem for sometime to come. >> i apologize for going-over my time. >> thank you, mr. chair and lieutenant general for your great service to our country. especially the time in the 75th regimen. i want to thank your family for being here today. you have such a great support group.ercñ thank you very much. i am glad that the senator drilled into the numbers situation and i would like to sake that further. we do talk about decreasing the
troop strength in afghanistan. >> i would like your feelings on that. i think that this administration continues to set up members for failure. you stated you don't believe the situation is getting better in afghanistan with the current troop strengths and missions we have. i want to know your feelings if that is the case. does it make sense to keep the troop strength at current numbers. what would you do differently? do we need to increase troop strength or do we need to decrease troop strength and withdrawal completely? what is that magic number? i know you don't have an answer today. i'm sure you have thought about this.
we can't keep on keeping on and expect things to get better. i would like feedback on what the missions need to be and where we go from here to make things better. >> thank you for that question and your support of this effort. we have not been attacked in our homeland for 15 years. that success is worthy of continued effort to prevent that from happening again. as recently as this year, we see a dog determination to reestablish sanctuary. even with a transition and the leadership, they pledged allegiance and support for the new head of the taliban. a continued connection. we have seen the efforts that were forced to the other side of
the border. former monopolies of the ttp. numbers of other organizations that have joined to form and we see their attempt and back to the first principal and preventing an attack and we see attempts and linkages. this again as the first principal requires focus and effort. the first is what level of investment is necessary to accomplish this commission so to avoid us our own troops there in an endless sense, you need to develop that. the 352,000 soldier policeman security forces, we think, that's the right number. as i mentioned before, we don't see this original projections for a drawdown that have to be
looked at. we need to get this force to a level to be able to prevent the sanctuaries and that means preventing the taliban because of the connection. so this means advising is important. the critical parts of our policy and my military opinion are the correct ones. the issue is as we discussed, what capability in each of those could we have going forward? my role is to deliver how to execute those two militarily. now when we have the chance to do the assessment and given the insurgence and given the al qaeda presence in the region, what do we have the right force
and on the advise and assist part, the only thing i mention there is a couple considerations i will look at with the level that needs to advise that. right now we are at the core level. what capabilities do we need to help them with as we build their capabilities. i hope that answers it. >> yes, general. the first point that you made stating that we have not had an attack on the homeland. anything the scale we have seen since 9/11. i think that is a very important point for those that state we need to pull out. we are disrupting our adversary's activities. thank you for making that point lout and clear. we should focus on counter terrorism and we do.
that. we need to protect our homeland as well as make sure we are moving in the right direction. thank you for your service and thank you to the number members of your family for joining us today. >> thank you for being here today and thank you for your service and congratulations on this nam nation and as well to your family who is with you here today. in two regards. one, while veterans are the last people who want to go off again, they are the first to do their duty and family members have to wonder if they are safe at home. thank you for many years of doing that as a representative of all the family members. and second, multigeneration family of our armed services, a reminder that a small percentage of americans shoulder the load of our armed forces and when you
look at the number of multiple family members, it's smaller, often from places like arkansas or arizona or iowa. we appreciate your family's decorated service. you will be replacing general john campbell who was a former commanding general of the 101st airborne. looking at your bioand your right pocket, i see lots of service at the 82nd airborne and none at the 101st. is that correct? >> i did wear the 101st on my right and left shoulders, but i have have not served at ft. campbell, senator. >> i hope you can overcome that in your background. i trust they will see fit an all american particularly if you can get screaming eagles on your team in afghanistan. in seriousness, i want to associate myself with the comments and the questions and i
also want to raise another screaming eagle and perhaps even in afghanistan. do you view david petraeus as insight into current operations in afghanistan? >> yes, i do. that is his deputy general for cooperations. >> are you aware of an article he wrote called time to unleer america's air power? >> i have seen that. the u.s. and nato air power in afghanistan is used openly when attack validated by the targets to counter specific individuals or groups who have attacked coalition forces and to respond to attacks on coalition forces. u.s. and nato forces are not
allowed to attack tal can parg ets. there only 400 which is a fall of almost 2 clash clash she and more than 2,000 since 2010. do you agree that it is time to unleash american air power. >> president gani has asked for help and we have a long range plan and a shortfall on air power. they are the principal force combatting the taliban. we focus on protection and ct. i wanted to take a second to explain why we have a gap. eventually with the air force and army aviation, they will be able to fill the gap. i know i have not had the
opportunity to talk to him about this specific issue, but i know he has thoughts on this and made recommendations and there conversations going on in the department of defense about his thoughts on this and other subjects looking ahead to 2016. at this point i'm not confirmed and don't want to incert myself in his dialogue. i look forward to getting on the ground because filling this gap is important. in order to enable the soldiers to take the fight to the taliban. i agree that we need to address this gap as the president addressed and highlighted. >> given the advantage that they provide us as well as the president's comments, i hope you take a look at that. the related topic said some harbor concerns that the
authorization that the use of force approves soon after 9/11 does not extend to justify the continued use of force against the taliban. do you agree with that viewpoint? >> i believe the point they are expressing is we are no longer engaged in direction action against the taliban and that was also a policy decision. although the rules of not getting into a rule of engagement, we believe we have adequate to engage anyone who threatens u.s. forces. they get back to the earlier question to u.s. power or let the afghans handle it. this is the issue. i believe this is related to the first point about addressing the threat given the intensity with
which they came at it this year. >> thank you. my time expired. >> i want to thank you for assuming this responsibility to all your family. to your uncle jim who served when i was in the house. thank you very much for everything you did for the veterans during that time. i guess the question is, what is our goal when you go to afghanistan. is it to make sure they don't get another foot of ground and what do you need to do to accomplish that? if we have troops there that are not enough to get the mission done, it makes it more dangerous for the troops that are there. what is the goal as you see it when you go there?
>> our policy and i agree with this as the first and foremost counter terrorist to prevent another attack that emanates from afghanistan. enable the afghans through train advise assist to stur their own country with support and help from the coalation and enable them to secure their own country would then lead to a point where the conditions would warrant reduction in the presence. to get to that requires an investment financially and with the assist and going forward it would be prudent to maintain a counter terrorism capability and as part of a global counter terrorist network and the allies
are very willing and supportive in that effort. >> do you think we moved the ball forward or backwards? >> that's a great question. i think the enemy that they came at more intensely than perhaps we anticipated and because of that we do not make the advances we thought. i say this not being confirm and not having a chance to get on the ground and talk to the commander. i wish to caveat all that. >> i have the greatest kp for general campbell and one of the old sayings is plan for the worst and hope for the best. how do we plan for the worst scenario in afghanistan? what do we need to do and how do we need to make sure that the sacrifices that have been made
don't get washed away. >> we need to have an adequate counter terrorist force in place to job number one as preventing an attack. as we assess the growth of aqis and we saw this attempt by them to establish a fairly extensive training base. as we assess the attempt of iskp to get in and go back and look at the capability. we look at the challenges and the security forces faced they need to get underground there and get a handle on everything to figure that out. i trust you will, but we
desperately need to let you know what you need. if it's 10,000 that is needed to be effective, then tell us it's 10. if it's 5, tell us it's 5. i can't think of a worse scenario than to need 10 and to have 5 and to try to in effect be like someone who is trying to paint four pauls at the same time. it will make it worse and worse and worse. we don't want to go backwards and we need you to say that. if it's 12 or 13 or 14, let us know. you don't control the day you get there. you don't control how many you need meaning they may want to
shoo you into a five number. we can't make a peach an orange. exactly what the situation is and what you need to have success. >> senator, thanks for that encouragement and in discussion with the chairman in giving me an opportunity to do the messages on the ground. i remember this committee that you are looking for that best military advice and i appreciate that and will provide that. >> we appreciate your service in taking on this mission. we wish you godspeed and let us know what you need. thank you. >> we would like to know what missions need to be accomplished that the afghans cannot. then come up with one of the mistakes we made in the past.
dictating a number rather than assessing what missions need to be accomplished and then arriving at a number. arbitrary statements made by the president of the united states that we will be down to a certain number boy a certain date is not dictated by the requirements for anything else. numbers of this committee could ascertain. i know you will be looking at the requirement standpoint rather than giving us an arbitrary number. when you come back before us, i hope you will tell us what needs to be accomplished by american troop presence and then the determination of what numbers it requires to fulfill those missions. senator sullivan. >> like the colleagues, i would
like to congratulate you and the service and the service to your family. we know what a sacrifice it is for you and especially your family. i wanted to ask a little bit on this committee. we hear a lot about counter terrorism missions and we sometimes hear about counter insurgency missions and the ct versus the coin approach. i think sometimes it confusions people and confusions the american people. can you explain to us how you see the different missions and how you define the ct mission and how you define the coin mission. and what are the troop levels that we need from your perspective in afghanistan to accomplish either or. >> thank you, senator, for that question. the ct mission in afghan tan
that we know is part of 2009. we transition from a u.s. perspective a counter terrorist mission and a training. >> are we done with the coin mission in afghanistan? >> the afghans strategy is a coin strategy enabled to a train, advise, assist. >> they are the lead, the afghans are the lead for the coin and not us any longer. this is why we have been able to reduce to a train, advise, assist capacity. >> can you define the ct mission? what does it mean when you have a counter terrorism mission in afghanistan. >> the counter terrorist forces identify and destroyy2ç
taliban. do we have a pecking order? >> we know it's part of the attacks and they are clearly a transnational terrorist threat we have to target. >> they are the number one ct mission. >> yes, sir. we have seen the emergence of the state what does does it mean? we know the intention and we have seen this on the media. that's the capability to act on that. we targeting the isis forces? >> yes, sir, as of december. >> can we target the taliban?
>> they are not a part of that designation. and talk to you about some of this. we know it's a severe threat to the government of afghanistan. i appreciate what this body has done to focus on that. help the pakastanis focus on that. thank you for that. they are principally a focus of the taliban. of the afghan security forces. >> let me ask, you mentioned pakistan that you were the director of the coordination cell.
and there still remains a safe haven for the forces that allow them to essentially conduct missions against our troops or terrorism missions and go back to their safe haven in pakistan on the border where we don't touch them. how do we ever ever complete our mission as long as there is a substantial safe haven in the border region of afghanistan and pakistan. >> when the enemy enjoys the sanctuary, it's difficult to defeat them. you have to enlist the support of the nation and the other important piece is to build up the defense capacity of the afghans. they can keep that level of violence down to a manageable level. >> let me ask one final question as i ran out of time. there is a debate that i am sure
you are seeing being played out. i would say the book ends of it are on one end. you had president obama coming in with his strategy and focussed on an exit strategy and ending wars and getting out. we saw through worked out and on the other hand, generals like this and others who have talked about the long war and have talked about generational approach, more of a model of we have been training for years and years in afghanistan. in my experience spending time over there in 2005 and 2006. we were doing a lot of training back then and a lot more troops on the ground. i don't know if i believe the notion more than we will previously. how can we think about the issue talking about a generational approach and the korea model.
is that how we should be thinking about this? these are very, very different spectrums in terms of a strategy. one is get out and see what happens and another is stay germany, korea and generational. how do you think about that? >> thanks for the question. number one, in this age, the threat of transnational terrorism is a legitimate concern. because of the advances and technology, as we saw, the ability of a small terrorist group with the sanctuary to reach out and affect us in america is real. this has changed i believe how we need to view these missions in terms of ct. that's the difference with afghanistan. we have a willing and capable partner. they want us there and to fight on their own behalf.
i talked to many afghans who i talked to an afghan mother who said she weeps more bitterly when a u.s. service member dies because of all they have given up to fight on her behalf. i heard the same from afghan soldiers. they want as a matter of pride to defend themselves. when we have an ally like that who needs some assistance, to me the investment in them and i think we need to think about an enduring commitment as the president said in his october announcement. on the policy shift. we have an enduring connection with afghanistan. so the level of that is where i provide my best advice on how to accomplish that policy and i appreciate the chance to come
back to you and the committee later. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thanks, mr. chairman. thank you for being here and thank you for your service to our nation and your continuing service in the role you are about to assume. i have a question not so much about the flow of people across the pakistan-afghan border, but the flow of bomb-making material. the components of ieds that continue to inflict casualties. are you satisfied from what you know with the efforts that pakastanis are making against the factories and other poerss of whether it's fertilizer or other bomb-making materials that go into the ieds that inflict
these great losses. >> thank you, senator for raising that issue. the majority of the casualties are caused by ieds. this ieds, 2/3. this remains a serious problem. many casualties we suffered were caused by ieds. the difficulty in dealing with this is the availability of these components. you mentioned homemade explosives that can be made from fertilizer. produced globally but in pakistan a significant amount. so, senator, i'd like to be able to come back to you with a specific assessment. i did work this issue specifically while in afghanistan. i don't have a current up to date sense of where we are with the pakistanis but this has been a subject of intense effort on our part to reduce the flow of these precursor materials across the border where they can be assembled into bombs. so if you're okay with that, senator, i'd like to come back to you with a more detailed answer.
>> i would appreciate that. it's been an effort on your part, all after our part and also a source of intense frustration often because as you have asserted very correctly, the ieds have inflicted such massive and serious casualties on our own troops and now on the afghan police and their military, and it remains a source of frustration and concern to me and i know many of my colleagues, so i'd appreciate that greater information. i want to ask a question about the general subject of post traumatic stress known as post traumatic stress disorder but i prefer to refer to it as post traumatic stress. i know it's a subject of concern to many of our military leaders, rightly so. and your assessment about whether our nation is doing enough about post traumatic
stress, especially as a cause of suicide and other related kinds of emotional health disorders. >> well, thank you, senator, for your support of our soldiers, our service members in this area. we dealt with this issue and one of the manifestations as you mentioned, sir, is suicide. so this is a terrible event in the life not only of the family involved but also in the unit because as a member of the family. what we found is because of the intense effort we put into trying to understand the problems, there's an education issue, and get leaders and peers and support networks more engaged so they see the signs of an issue and then the ability to intervene and coaching people to intervene when they need to.
to help save a life. i think we are starting to see positive results of my effort. my own experience, against, this is anecdotally one division in the army, but our categories of suicides fell -- there were two of them, generally, one there might be a trigger event in someone who is otherwise seemed to not have any issues like ptsd or anything, but a trigger event would cause a reaction, in many cases alcohol was involved. and then they'd make a bad decision with respect to suicide. and then in the other half of the cases, there might have been a history, a family history or an individual history, it might have related to their experience in combat, it might have been an issue that they had before they came into the military. and those issues we had to work closely with our medical professionals, respecting medical rules about privacy, but also getting enough information
so we understood when someone was potentially in crisis. and so all of this adds up to greater awareness on the part of leaders and leaders being more engaged. when we see that happen, we see a reduction in the number of suicides. >> thank you for that very -- very insightful answer. and i appreciate your work on that issue as well, and i look forward to your continued service. thank you very, very much. want to thank the chairman for his work on the suicide issue. he and i worked on a bill called the clay hunt suicide prevention bill which addressed some of the -- some of the manifestations that you've mentioned. and thank you very much. thanks, mr. chairman. >> good morning, general, thank you for being here. welcome to all the family members. you should be very proud. also want to just say hello for the folks down at ft. bragg in
fayetteville who remember you fondly for the time you were down there. i hope you all had a good time and hope it's on your short list many, many years from now when you retire. but i have a couple of questions. one, i'm at, with the number of other members when we were in afghanistan last year, he's working hard to address the corruption issues within the government that's a lot of challenges there. i think he's made progress. one of the things he said that he is trying to focus on are other things that will stabilize the country long term dealing with infrastructure projects and getting out and gaining additional support from the population. what role, if any, do we play in that? >> sir, this -- as general john allen recently pointed out, he viewed corruption as the number one problem there, necessarily my time with general petraeus, we had an organization very
focused on how do we eliminate corruption. we continue these efforts with our oversight of how our dollars are spent. we have a great partner in president ghani as you pointed out, sir, who really is committed to this. so i believe at the senior level of the afghan government we see a genuine commitment to eliminating corruption. part of the way we get after this, if i'm confirmed, and my area of responsibility, would be through things like the pay system where instead of cash exchanging hands with all the potential to be siphoned off, we pay soldiers through an automated system where the soldier gets their full amount of money. that's not universal yet in all of the afghan security forces but that's one example. and i know when i get on the ground, sir, if confirmed, to neat with our team that's working inside the ministries to ensure that this oversight and accountability is improved.
we have some work to do there. as you know, president ghani pulled up contracting authority to his level because he wasn't satisfied that it could be done without problems at a lower level. so this was one of the encouraging measures. however, that's also slowed down our ability to do contracting. so these -- this is an area i'll be jumping into, sir. and we'll include this in the assessment i will provide back. >> general, if i look ahead, and there's no way i could do my job, but if i'm looking ahead, things i'm concerned with in your job, i'd like to know whether or not you are. one, going forward are the levels -- i think others asked questions about your level of comfort with the current troop reductions. the other one related to funding. my understanding i think in 2017, the level of funding used
to this point to reinvigorate kabul and get the economy back on track there. there's a cliff out there as i understand it where there's not necessarily a revenue stream we've identified. either from the united states or other partners. how does that make your job more difficult if that isn't addressed over the course of this year because i believe economically it starts hitting them 14 months out. >> well, sir, you're exactly right. one of the positive outcomes of a more stable environment provided by the security forces is a chance for the economy to grow. so that would be a problem, sir, absolutely. one, if there was a -- if a viable economy takes hold and of course there's great potential in afghanistan for the extractive industries, and, of course, as afghanistan is a transit route for the tappi pipeline, i mentioned the silk road initiative before. if there were increased trade between the countries of the region, using afghanistan for that, all this would contribute to an afghan economy.
part of the problem with migrants out of afghanistan that we've seen, many of them end up in europe where i now serve in nato. there is a sense of, one, insecurity, but also no work. and so there's some economic issues associated with migration. then when you couple that with the demographics of the youth bulge in afghanistan, you have many young people who are looking for jobs. we've improved education. that's a major plus. but increasingly educated young people now don't have economic opportunity inside the country. >> i just think that going forward it's important for us. we all have our concerns. i'm not going to ask questions we asked earlier about troop reductions and the strategy within country, but i think we also have to open the appature and take a look at infrastructure buildout, the economic impact of a lack of funding going forward because afghanistan doesn't have an economy that can make up for that now.
and how that actually potentially threatens the security of the region or security of our men and women who are over there. thank you. >> thank you. i think the president chose wisely. you'll do a great job. you're very afghan fluent. you've been over there a long time. to your family, i know this is an honor and a burden all at the same time. when we fight for kandahar, if there was an offensive demara next week or next month where the taliban were able to generate forces to put kandahar at risk, would we sit on the sidelines like we did in mosul or would you recommend that we fight to keep kandahar from falling into the hands of the taliban? >> sir, we need to prevent kandahar from falling into the hands -- >> your recommendation as military commander, we should use american broot boots on the ground, combat power, to protect kandahar? >> sir, beforth