tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 5, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare capabilities. and cyber capabilities and, yes, submarines that are starting to change the balance of power in asia and make it much more difficult for the united states and its allies to operate in the region in the way that they traditionally have. this challenge has a raw quantity of dimensions in terms of the number of modern weapons and platforms that are in the region now and will be in the region in the future. but also a dimension in the sense we're seeing the introduction of new capabilities that are changing the strategic landscape. they are the things i mentioned earlier. at the same time, of course, we're all resource constrained at the moment. budget cuts mean that the size of the u.s. navy, for example, has been falling.
other countries in the region are not spending massive amounts on defense. although, australia and japan have committed to increase spending, particularly on maritime capability. generally, we're seeing a reduction in the resources of the u.s. and its potential coalition partners and an increase overall. so the task of managing this challenge and monitoring it is becoming greater. then as i said, we're seeing gaps in capability. notwithstanding the u.s. rebalance, there are limits to resources in terms of humanitarian assistance, in terms of amphibious capability, in terms of assets, undersea assets. the u.s. attack submarine fleet actually around the mid 2020s will start to get smaller, not larger, for example. and gaps in cyber, missile defense and maritime security
more broadly. for that reason, i really chose to focus my paper on maritime security and how we can take the framework of federated defense and start to actualize it in terms of real capability. in the region. then i narrowed it down to japan and australia for a few key reasons. one is the policy framework that mike mentioned, strengthening cooperation among those countries has been established policy for a very long time. i also chose those countries because they're probably the united states' two most capable maritime partners in the region. and when we're looking to achieve the sorts of strategic affects that i'm talking about in the paper, including deterrents and the capacity to reassure appliances, you need high-end partners.
you need to collaborate in southeast asia and china. but to build integrated high-end capability, you need to start with the most capable partners. then australia and japan have both themselves been shifting their defense policies in the direction of more emphasis on maritime security and both of them have a stated commitment to increase their maritime capabilities. so they're already highly capable partners and they're going to become i think it's fair to say even more capable partners over the next ten to 20 years. now the submarine piece of this equation is the one that generates all the excitement, of course. there's no doubt that c-1000, which is australia's program to replace the current collins class fleet is one very important opportunity to strengthen maritime cooperation between these three countries. there's no question of that. but this agenda is much broader
than just the submarine piece. and the last chapter of the report really is an attempt to draw out an action plan that hopefully will encourage officials -- i'm keen to hear from bob about this -- in the right direction as i see it. and that is to start making some of these more networked, more intere integrated capabilities real. a critical part is to start around isr and networks our intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities much more effectively. in particular, to build a shared picture of what's happening in the maritime environment, because we know from our time in government that when governments share a common appreciation of the strategic environment, they're more likely to act in concerted ways in pursuit of shared interested. here i'm talking really about
things like networking our maritime surveillance aircraft, u.s. and uaustralian and gentlem japanese, unman ne ened items a also i think potentially cooperation in radar where each of our countries have sophisticated technological skills and systems in place already. then there's the undersea part of this. undersea warfare is going to become increasingly important in the asia pacific. again, everyone talks about sub are a me submarines. more important is anti-submarine warfare. i think it's fair to say that the asw skills have not had the attention that they used to get during the cold war.
we have had other priorities. we need to start rebuilding those capabilities in australia and here again i think the networking potential and our ability to leverage australia's geograph geography, japan's geography, create a web of integrated asw capabilities that can take some of the load off of u.s. resources, which are going to be increasingly stretched by this picture that i've tried to set out in the paper. when it comes to submarines, of course, this is an australian decision. it's going to be a very consequential decision, indeed. it will shape our force structure and the options that are available to australian governments for decades. hints, i guess, that the level of excitement around the decision making. it's also, of course, a massive commercial opportunity. i think it's the largest sort of
openly available defense industry contract that's on the world market at the moment. the successful partner will, obviously, gain huge key does wh kudo when it comes to building s submari submarines. the point i would make there and in the paper and in other things i've written, includin includin mike, when it comes to assessing the key capabilities that the different partners bring to the table and also things like cost and schedule and risk and so forth, all sorts of things that should be under consideration, i'm not taking a position on that. the point i make in the paper though and more generally is that partnering with japan and the united states on submarines is a potential game changer at different levels.
at the strategic level, it can have the effect, i believe, of imbedding japan more in a regional security architecture that can help to allay japan's strategic anxiety and that's a good thing. that's a stabilizing thing to do, i believe. at the operational level, a fleet of interoperable submarines can have more impact and can deal both with the kwan quantitative and quality capabilities in the region. the defense industry part of this is important, too. supporting japan's efforts to expand its defense industry and the international dementiimensi important in terms of locking in japan to a broader regional security architecture. for those reasons, i think it's
undeniable that there is a strategic dimension to the submarine decision and those factors should feature in that decision. capability cooperation in the submarine project is a good example is a really important area for the three countries to work in. i say in the pain they're per w think about combined capability when strategic requirements are being formulated and at all stages through the capability acquisition process. that's a way to reduce inefficiencies, reduce duplication and drive int interoperability. someone said amateurs talk about strategy and professionals talk about logistics. i think it's undeniable when you look at some of the checkpoints in terms of, for example,
precision guided munitions for coalition operations in the region, that if we integrate our logistics chain much more look at things like common stockpiles of munitions, mutual supply and prepositioning and also working together on sustainment of our systems, particularly if we can move in the direction of more shared systems and platforms, there would be enormous benefits there. amphibious capability, australia and japan are both building their own amphibious capability. i think it's fair to say it's early days in both cases. this is where working with the u.s. marine corps is so incredibly important for us as we build that capability and where the u.s. marine rotations come into play. this should be a two-way street. for example, when you read about the shortage of strategic sea lift that could constrain u.s.
amphibious operations in the region, we should be very ambitia ambitious here and we should look at building the capability to deploy u.s. marines and their vehicles and weapons and aircraft off an australian platform, one of our large 27,000 ton amphibious ships, for example, or a japanese vessel for that matter. and generating a pooled amphibious lift capability that can work across the region on problems as diverse as humanitarian responses through to stabilizization operations and so forth. just a few other quick things before i wrap up and hand over to bob. the trilateral machinery as mike mentioned has been in place for a long time now. i say in the paper that i think it needs to be updated. we have a defense -- security and defense cooperation forum
which is an analog to the trilateral dialogue. i recommend that be up graded to the deputy second level to cut through in the three systems. there should be working groups in areas i mentioned this morning to take forward individual initiatives in that framework. i think we also need to bring india in. india is an incredibly important potential partner for australia, for japan and for the united states. and we should do that, i think, at a pace that is comfortable for india. but if you look in particular at areas like isr and anti-submarine warfare, then i think india has a huge role to play. and there are some real synergies in particular with australia's strategic geography. lastly, of course, we do need to continue to engage china.
we already do trilateral exercises. i think there's scope for more of that. we need to work with them on hhdr and counter-piracy and build up habits of working together and cooperation, because that will create greater transparency and hopefully greater confidence. i will leave it there and hand it over to bob. >> so i'm very happy to be here to discuss this paper. it's not just because andrew and mike are old friends and colleagues. i would do it for that regardless of what's in the paper. but also because i really do applaud efforts to continue to examine how we in the united states with our friends, but particularly with our allies, how we work together to promote and defend our interests in this key region of asia. this is a paper that looks to do that. and it was well worth the time,
even on the weekend, to take a quick loo being k at the paper e you thoughts and impressions and about how that fits into the way we think about our policier tos asia at large. as i real the paper, there really are two key premises. i think they're worth pointing out and are all to the good. one, we in the united states and with our allies as well have to be able to adapt our longstanding alliance system that used to be predominantly, if not in some cases solely, a hub and spoke system. i think andrew points this out. the federated process -- the systems that csis is looking at. while hub and spoke was the predominant nature of our relationships in asia, it can't be the only way we look at it. i do think that we haven't only looked at that as the way for many years spanning a number of administrations. but that we have to continue that progress. also the second premise, if you
will, is that maritime issues are and will continue to be critical to the prosperity of asia. it goes without saying, but nonetheless it's worth pointing out. looking at a map, you have a hard time -- don't have a hard time understanding why maritime issues are so important for asia for security and prosperity. if you put these two together, it was an easy sell for me to take a look at ideas about how we could increase trilateral cooperation and that alliance network and focus that on maritime issues. let me deal with each of those a little bit more detail from my perspective. first, the idea of increasing multilateral cooperation and doing so with our most capable allies and doing that together. it's on the face of it makes sense. these are two allies with which -- with whom we work very closely. we have very good
interoperability with them. why wouldn't we look to seize opportunities where they exist to work together? that wasn't always the case. and that wasn't even -- when that was the case, we didn't always jump on that. but i think in today's world, not just because of budget issues but certainly i think that's the way to go. in fact, i think that's -- i will jump ahead to a quote i was going to use later. before the president went out to asia late last year, one of the lines in the fax sheet, if you will, is the following. our priority is to strengthen ko cooperation among our partners, leveraging their significant and growing capabilities to build a network of like-minded states that sustains and strengthens a rules based regional order and addresses regional and global challenges. couldn't have said it better myself. i might have. i don't know. nonetheless, that is -- as a principal, this all makes
perfect sense and it's something we need to continue to look at. we really need to look at developing new patterns of cooperation. how can we get our friends, our allies to think about things not just in that hub and spoke process but looking to work more together? i would argue the united states wasn't the largest proponent of the hub and spoke system, but we were willing to work with our friends and allies that way when that was most appropriate and when that was what they were looking for as we emerge and as a new security environment develops and allies become more capable, friends become more capable, we need to look for other way chz s of doing this. we are doing a lot in large multilateral forum. you have seen around, the esa, all of the other large multilateral forums. those are, in fact, i think important pieces of our foreign poll six it's one of the things
we have done and put an emphasis on during the obama administration. that, however, does not mean that those are the only way to do things or the best ways to cooperate in all cases. i think as you look at some of the more advanced capabilities, those are not yet ready for all of that activity. so we need to look at see where we can have those combination of friends and allies and where -- with what missions, what capabilities will be the most profitable and be flexible. asia has the advantage and disadvantage of not having a set in stone very clear multilateral forum. we should take advantage of that where we need to and try to build on it where we think it's not a strength of our relationships. second, maritime security is absolutely one of the key issues. it's a right one to focus on. it's a critical domain to our security. to the security of the united states, to our allies, to our
frernd friends, the region at all. it's for economic prosperity for all of those. what's interesting as we look in the security environment is that we can no longer assume as we had for i would argue many years that the maritime domain will go uncontested. so understanding that as a premise, we need to look to like-minded nations of how we can best ensure the security of the global commons, the ability to operate in and through the maritime domain as we have done and as has benefitted the united states, our allies and the region for decades. so australia and japan are obvious first choices for this. for reasons that we have all talked about. i do think that there are other countries that are capable of doing this and i think we should look to that in the future. india, korea, singapore are some of the first that come to mind. but i do think that with the
clear shared interests and the shared view of the opportunity and the security challenges in the region, uaustralia and japa are the right places to start. this is true given what japan has recently done and with the abe government has done to push a view of japan's security that is beyond its near borders and understanding that it's a broader perspective that they can and should be a participate in. we should explore these ideas and look at them. i look forward to looking at andrew's paper in greater depth. i'm sures oth others will do th. but i'm in no position now and i don't think anybody would want me to sort of say this is the right thing or this isn't. i do think it's -- what it means is it's well worth looking at. as i said, it fits into our overall policy. i would say that arguably the thing that i would ask us to look at as we look at this --
these proposals, i think the areas are about right. isr is a big one. undersea is a big one. amphibious capabilities, other capabilities and logistics, these are all good areas to be examining in greater depth. what i think we need to do with the rebalance as we move forward -- i guess what i would recommend to a follow on administration is to continue the operations that we're doing, continue the ways we're looking at things now. but also look at what we can do together. what missions, operations. it shouldn't be about where we are. it shouldn't just be about what capabilities we bring. it shouldn't just be about what our -- enhancing our allies and friends. it shouldn't just be about geographically distributed and politically sustainable. it should be about all those things. you have heard them. you have heard them continue to be said. one of the things about government is you get to repeat yourself and maybe eventually someone will believe that you mean it.
we will continue to say those things. we also need to talk about for what. for what are we doing all these thi things? why are we looking to cooperate on a range of issues? why are we putting our best technology forward into the pacific? so we can work on things tother. some of these things will be at the high end. some of these things will be at the lower end. we shouldn't forget any of those pieces. making sure that we are better as unilaterally from the u.s. with our allies and then broader with the set of allies and friends in doing operations that span from humanitarian assistance to disaster relief all the way up to ensuring the maritime, cyber, space domains and global commons are able to be operated in freely. all of those things we should look for cooperation and should be able to focus on what we're doing next. it will always be with our asian allies that we will see this. because this is where -- you have heard these things. i won't repeat the statistics.
this is where our interests are intertwined. given that, those are the things that i think this fits right in. i really do thank andrew for inviting me to be here, i say that before the questions and answers -- and to look at this early on. i think the premise makes perfect sense. we need to take a look at what things bright people are thinking about elsewhere. thank you. >> terrific. thank you both. let me start the questions and we will open it up. i think in andrew's presentation, you heard how much australia could benefit from this in terms of bringing up the royal australian navy, perhaps getting greater security dynamics in north asia. there are going to be enormous advantages in this kind of agenda for the u.s. japan
alliance as well. i think our japanese allies will see what alliances look like when you have integration of senior level commands and staff. not a joint and combined command like nato but much trust and integration on an individual level across different commands, intelligence sharing. i think there's going to be an open window for both alliances. not just the australia and japan side and starting to see what the gold standard is in various areas. that's a huge advantage. i like, bob, that you put this in a context as did andrew, the u.s. and japan and australia and in particular japan and australia have been cooperating on regional architecture since -- for those of you you know, apec and various early architectural innovations. a lot came of japan and u
austral australia. it was japan and australia telling us to keep our act together and keeping us focused. that larger context really drives this. let me first ask each -- andrew, the japan, australia security cooperation is 100 years old plus. right about this time 100 years ago if i'm remembering history, japan and australia were sinking submarines in the mediterranean. the japanese navy got the troops there. so there's a long history with an obvious interruption. my sense is in australia, particularly since 15, 20 years ago, views towards japan shifted considerably in a positive direction. on the other hand, beijing is very clearly opposed to anything
like this, even if it involves building regional humanitarian exercise relief. from china's perspective, this isn't our intention in three allied capitals, from the chinese perspective, that's window dressing for a containment strategy. i would expect that chinese official criticism of trilateralism with japan and korea and so forth will increase. i guess my question is, what's the debate like in australia about this? reading the defense white paper, it sounds like the answer is yes. if you could give the washington audience a flavor about how you do this while at the same time maintaining relations with china. >> sure.
thank you, bob, for that context. that's absolutely right. as mike says, our partnership with japan goes back a very long way, indeed. in fact, it's interesting. going back to the formation, it was done through the lens of what had happened with japan. and it was when we had the security guarantee provided that australia felt ready to sign a commerce agreement as early as the mid 1950s, which shows you how quickly australia was -- as our foreign minister said, was prepared to move on and see the potential in the relationship with japan. really, that relationship is incredibly important, because australia provided the raw materials that drove the japanese boom and created so
much of the asian economic miracle. our strategic relationship with japan came later. we have partnered very closely with japan on economics and increasingly in terms of regional diplomacy and building this sort of architecture in the region that mike outlined. but i think it was really only when we worked with japan in southern iraq in the mid 2000s that the strategic potential of the relationship started to become clear, particularly in tokyo. i think australians are seen that for a while and were keen to move in that direction. but for experience of working with the adf and building that level of trust with the adf and seeing how closely the adf was integrated into the way the u.s. military works was powerful in terms of tokyo's thinking. since then, we've seen extraordinary development. there's a logistics agreeme s so
facilitate more exercises and operations in each country so the architecture of the relationship between australia and japan has come on in leaps and bounds. now fuinally, of course, i thin just a few years ago most of us in this room would have thought it unthinkable that japan would be a potential international partner for australia's future submarines. a massive amount of development there. then, of course, there's the china piece. as i said, this paper is about maritime security in asia. it talks about russia and it talks about korea. it's inescapable that china's military modernization program, the anti-axis area denieal capabilities its building, the south china sea, china say
driver of what's happening in our region. i don't think they should be seen as containment. containment is not actually possible if you look at the degree of economic interdependence, even if anyone wanted it. this is about increasing, if you like, the puool of capability t respond to a lotgencies as bob . that should be in the interest of the region, including china. the other point i would make is that i do think there is a deterrent piece to this. as work that csis and other institutions have done and is recognized in u.s. government documents, that the balance of power in maritime asia is shifting. it's shifting in an unfavorable direction. we need more high level capability to sustain a
favorable balance of power and ultimately a peaceful and stable region that is underpinned by open economic institutions and respect for core principals like freedom of navigation. that's the end point. that's the prize. those have been the pillars of prosperity in the asia pacific for 70 years and what we're interested in here i think what everyone is interested in should be the next 70 years. >> most of these questions i think will fly to andrew. let me ask you one, bob, before we open it up. you mentioned a range of areas from diplomacy to surveillance and so forth. can you say a little bit about our initiatives? it seems to me by design probably, but we're creating a new forced posture in the
pacific that links our alliances, in the sense that, for example, marines will go to okinawa and as part of the rotation they will do time in darwin. so there's that connection as well. maybe you can tell our audience more about where that's heading. >> certainly. we have had this sort of tag line if you will for an awful long period of time of politically sustainable and operationally resilient. it's repeated not just because we're comfortable with it but because it represents what we're trying to do in terms of posture within the region. if you think about a number of years ago, would you hayou woul our posture is -- you would equate our posture with our footprint. you would say it's in northeast asia. while that might have been overly sim mris 'ti overly simplistic, it wouldn't have been wrong. this is stuff that ideas that
were started across multiple administrations, but to take a look and see what we could do to do a better job of understanding that we had interests far beyond just northeast asia, that we needed to look about how we could distribute our posture and operate effectively with friends and allies from northeast asia through southeast asia and into the indian ocean. in order do thato do that, you o have the agreement, the exercises with the countries. so we started that. we continued that effort in the obama administration. i think what you have seen, we have some things that we point to a fair bit. we will continue to point to it. some longstanding ones in singapore of how we operated with the support of the government of singapore. you will see some of the australia piece that we have done in terms of expanding our cooperation and our ability to operate with australian forces from northern territories of
australia, particularly air force and navy. we have done a fair bit in the philippines and gotten to the point where we can have more rotation aprro rotational basis. this links together to say that it's important that we be able to operate with friends and allies and operate relatively seamlessly with them across and around the region, not just in northeast asia. this really -- again, i really do think that -- i think a lot of people who work on europe a lot and come into asia think it's a down side, that there is no clear regional architecture like nato. i understand why they do that. i now have to spend a lot of time in europe. i have come to appreciate the nato alliance in a way i hnlt before. it's so hard not to respond. but i also think there are clear advantages to having a more
flexible process whereby you don't have to get the agreement of all 28 nations if you will in europe to do anything. that is by being able to work with countries that you share similar interests and take advantage of those. then you can build on that. i think we have looked to put our posture in a context of not just being places but doing things, but in order to do things with other countries and do things around the region, we to have that posture. the big piece -- the distributed sort of network of our marines coming off of okinawa leaving obviously critical pieces in okinawa, but then also being operated in guam and being able to really have that ability to operate with other countries wherever we think we need to is really the key advantage of this distributed posture. if i may, one thing which i will -- as the u.s. government official up here, i feel compelled to say that while there is a changing balance of military power in the asia
region, i still feel extraordinarily comfortable with the way it is now. obviously, we need to continue to track it. we need to make sure we and all allies can operate in any and all environments with the best technology that we have and in operational ways that are relevant and are able to -- we're able to secure our interests. but it's not just about numbers, as the paper points out. it's about capabilities. i do feel the need to say that i'm not willing to accept the trends are inevitable. i feel very good about our capabilities unilaterally but also i feel better about it when i think about our capabilities with allies and friends. >> good. same question to you, andrew. >> when you look at the u.s. force posture agenda which bob outlined very well and particularly doing things not just being places, i think what
comes through very strongly is a shift in emphasis towards southeast asia. wouldn't surprise anyone that we think that's a good thing in australia and we support the rebalance and what the u.s. administration has been trying to achieve with it. i think as i say in the paper, australia is becoming increasi g increasingly important in this context. i mean, yes, as a capability partner but also just because of our strategic geography. so, for example, the marine presence is important for the kind of capability building reasons that i mentioned a little earlier. and i think it has a wider regional importance. if you look at it, i actually think that the air force part of the u.s. force posture initiatives in australia, the capacity for northern australia to accept increasingly large rotations of u.s. long range aircraft, including isr platforms and bombers and so
forth, is ultimately more strategically significant even than the marine piece. then i think the potential for u.s. navy rotations from the west coast of australia will grow, too, as the strategic importance of the indian ocean continues to rise. i think you are going to see australia become more important in a forced posture sense. in the report i talk about this concept of australia as a sanctuary but also a springboard in terms of our access to some very critical real estate, including some of the maritime check points in southeast asia and out into the eastern indian ocean, approach to southeast asia. here i think the sort of isr cooperation between australia and potentially india could be very important and some work together in anti-submarine warfare as well.
>> thank you. you will find in the report on page 30 a very useful map that shows where some of the critical points are in maritimes asia an how the geography bear on that. why don't we open it up. identify yourself and keep it short. >> the last 15 years, the policy of japan, australia, cooperation has made tremendous progress. mike was in the nsc. the policy level, the architecture, there seems to me we got to the point, particularly in terms of responding to china -- i don't mind the containment word myself, i think that's what we're all about, but putting that aside, we got to the point
where the rubber needs to meet the road now in terms of capabilities. i agree fully with your report. you have outlined exactly what needs to be done in terms of the networking integration of capabilities that are needed to get the force multiplier effect that we need, because we all have limited resources. but the context of the rubber meeting the road or not to me now, the issue before us is the submarine program. strategically, you have outlined the issues very well. but how competent are you that australian government will make what i would say is the correct decision on this in terms of the strategic and the operability of our forces? i can't see the germans and the french caring that much about the south china sea and east china sea that they will have the follow-up capabilities. how confident are you the decisions will be made for the right reasons?
>> thanks, kevin, for the question. the first thing i would say is that i'm not privy to the competitive process within the defense department at the moment. i had a hand in establishing the process and each of the international partners have expressed their support for the process. they like it. they think it's a good robust process. i think that's incredibly important. this is a $50 billion acquisition up front and probably another $100 billion plus going forward for sustainment. absolutely huge for australia. just a big project full stop. i'm not, because i'm not privy to the inside of the process, i'm not going to comment on the relative merits of technically if the japanese or german or
french submissions, i'm not in position to and it's not my job to. that's for defense. what i can say, though, is that if the capability can be modified to the minimum extent possible to meet australia's strategic requirements and that particularly applies to range, and if the japanese proposal is solid on cost and schedule and if it's the best way to mitigate the risks that we have experienced with the cullins class submarine, then i think the strategic logic of going with the japanese is compelling, and i as an australian taxpayer, and someone who worked in the australian government, i have no reason at all to believe that
the process won't explore those issues in great detail with great professionalism and i very much hope and would expect serious, sensible decision just because of its importance for future generations. so i think that would be my answer. >> i'm certainly not going to be in a position to judge it, the outcome. i just, i think what i understand is spot-on. so there are a lot of variables that are, you know, beyond my ability to judge in terms of technology and cost and andrew didn't mention but you're aware of industrial participation and labor relations. there's a lot to this. i actually did my dissertation on these kinds of decisions and how they affect alliances. when you are talking about this much technology and this much strategic capability, these are of historic consequence in terms of the direction or trajectory
of a country's defense policy and foreign policy. so it's not surprising it's under the magnifying glass in tokyo and around the world. you see articles in the financial times and so forth. the u.s. has to stay neutral of course because we have three allies competing with whom we operate at sea. but i think when you control for or set aside for the moment all of the important technical, industrial and other decisions, it is striking to a lot of people here at least that one of the submarines under discussion operates in the waters of the pacific, and the industrial base and foreign policy of that government is committed to exactly the same strategic objectives in that region. and as i understand it, the bid made it clear that there would be some consideration of these strategic factors.
so it's not surprising the u.s. government has to be quite careful on this, but the nice thing about being out of government, of course, is you can sort of opine based on what we have seen of the dynamics in the region. i assume you don't want to answer this? >> just given the elephant in the room to prejudge or predict any other questions are coming, let's be clear the united states doesn't take a position on this except for the fact this is a sovereign decision of the government of australia to make the best decision they think is possible. i certainly expect and hope all the considerations mike and andrew have laid out and everyone else has laid out would be part of that decision but in terms of whether or not we have a position, the only position is that we will work with whatever submarine the australians choose and we hope they go get through this process. >> i think chip is next in the front.
>> chip gregson. freedom of navigation was rightly mentioned as a principle which begs the question, whose freedom of navigation? for instance, how do we help guarantee vietnam and the philippines the right to freedom of navigation in their own exclusive economic zones, fishing, seabed mining, that type of thing? >> thanks, chip. bob might have something to say about this, too. it's an excellent question. i think part of it is that as we know, these countries have limitations on their own capabilities to basically enforce their own interests and their own legal rights consistent -- so i think good works have already started in this area, building up their capabilities. starting with sort of coast
guard type capabilities to monitor the sorts of problems you mentioned around fishing and so forth. i know that the united states has gifted a couple of retired coast guard cutters, i think to the philippines. it's interesting, australia has done something similar to malaysia, some of our patrol boats have been gifted to malaysia to help them with precisely these tasks. japan is also active in this. i think what you mentioned is a particularly good case where strategic cooperation needs to kick in and i think already has, frankly. so rather than sort of duplicating and having an uncoordinated approach to this, we have a shared agreement of what these countries really need, how we can best help them get there and do it most efficiently, and that's to my mind a really sort of good practical example of the sort of cooperation i'm talking about. >> certainly, chip, as you know and many others in the room
know, the actual -- it gets complicated in terms of defining easies when you don't have a judgment on who owns what land feature. it's not as complex as sometimes it's made out to be but nonetheless, it is a difficult situation. it's one of the reasons why we hope that everyone will cede to the way the customary international law looks at these issues. we believe that that's the right venue to deal with the disputes and we support what's going on now in terms of any dispute resolution that could be going on with the case of the philippines brought. and we will live by whatever answer the international tribunal comes forward with. all of that i would argue is immaterial to the fact that every country who has a maritime boundary deserves to be able to address threats within it and deal with and have some sense of maritime awareness, be able to do its rightful positions regardless of what you believe the eezs or territorial waters
are. that's really where we have been focused is on the capabilities piece. obviously other folks in the u.s. government are dealing with the diplomacy and the other pieces but we i think as andrew pointed out have spent a lot of time working with our friends and allies who we can help with building these capabilities. we have some of this is arms sales, some of this is gifts and different ways of doing that. some of this is the maritime security initiative which i think you have seen up on the hill and secretary carter has announced. so that's how we are focused our efforts is making sure that every country has the capability to do what it is within its rights and in fact, what responsibilities within the international environment. but the core answer i would argue to your question is, it's freedom of navigation for everyone. this is a core interest for the united states. it is a core interest for other countries. and it's something that we have all lived by in international norms and rules of behavior for the past decades and it's something i think is critically important to figure out how we can best maintain and why, and
continue to demonstrate and show as well as argue that it's in everybody's interests in the region for that. >> let me, i have other people on the list but to flag bob's point and put you on the spot, we very well may have in the coming months a decision in the arbitration on the philippines case and i think man experts expect, we can't predict, it will be unfavorable for beijing and the chinese side is unlikely to accept it, and may take action to demonstrate that it's a paper tiger. so this is a hypothetical. you're off the hook, bob. but what do you think, andrew somehow would this maritime security cooperation manifest itself in this kind of scenario which i personally would say is at least a 50/50 prospect looking at it today? >> i guess i'm on the hook because i'm no longer an official now.
>> welcome to the nfl. >> i think this arbitration outcome is obviously going to be very important, not least because i think that the way the rules of the region are shaped now is incredibly important, given the sort of trajectory the region seems to be on. it's better that the rules are established now than at a point when things are more out of hand down the road. so it's very important. i think the initial point is that there needs to be a very strongly concerted diplomatic piece that comes in in support of international rules, the international rules based order in this case. the region obviously has a massive stake. australia, for example, is an exporting country and about 60% of our trade passes through the
south china sea. so it's vital to us nationally that as bob said very eloquently and mike's also said, the freedom of navigation is just incredibly important to us all. it's not just the region, though. this is where i think sometimes our european friends probably need to stand up a little more. the eu after all is an institution founded very much on the rule of law and you know, supposedly liberal way of looking at world order and i think it's very important that the european countries get solidly behind the rules and principles. because even though south china sea is quite a long way from london and paris and brussels and berlin, disorder in the asia
pacific is not going to remain isolated. to our region, just as disorder if not chaos in the middle east is going to stay isolated to europe and europe's backyard. so i think this really does need to be seen as a global political and security problem, not just a regional one. the u.s., australia and japan can help to fashion an effective diplomatic response and you would like to think that they will be very well, very efficiently joined up if the moment comes. >> thanks. satu, over here. >> yes. i'm from the east-west center and the center for naval analyses. thank you for ea terrific
presentation. question one, what kinds of constraints do you see in implementing the vision particularly andrew, that you outlined in the report? is it a political alignment in the capitals, yes, it saves resources but it will cost some resources to do the work that's being proposed, too. it's -- there's going to be some expenditure. other considerations mike asked you about, china, the china consideration. that's question one. question two, couple of you, maybe all three of you mentioned including india in this effort. i just wonder given the asymmetry between the u.s./india relationship and india's relationship with both japan and australia, in terms of the kind of agreements you mentioned, logistics agreements and access agreements and stuff, what's the best modality? is it pulling india along to get to this stage of being able to work with us more as allies, or is it insisting on the
foundational agreements and other mechanisms first in order to dock on to the fed rated system that you're proposing? thank you. >> thanks. i think some of what i'm talking about is already starting to happen. it's been fairly quiet and it's been somewhat fitful, but australia and india have been patiently kind of step by step building a stronger strategic relationship. we have a joint declaration on security, i can't recall if that's the exact title but it's sort of that foundational document and interestingly, very much modeled on australia's historics of 2007 joint security declaration with japan, and then
the japan and india piece is also developing quite strongly, similar, again, a similar sort of institutional framework's in place, there's more exercising going on, more exchanges. so i think the, if you like, the architecture is developing. it's at this stage developing principally bilaterally but i would say it's a kind of concerted bilateralism that we're seeing and it's heading in the right direction. and sometimes, you know, quite surprisingly, quickly, australia, japan and india have now established an official trilat which sits next to the japan-u.s. one. that's a really good thing. i don't think it's either/or. i don't think we should wait until the perfect edifice is constructed. we should keep building the perfect edifice but in the meantime, when we can, when it
makes sense, when it's in everyone's interest we should bring india in. mike mentioned the 2004 tsunami in the indian ocean. that was a perfect example, where from almost a standing start, the four countries generated pretty impressive military response to that tragedy because they are like-minded, lot of shared values, there's a lot of sort of latent interoperability and lot of capability which when it's pointed at the same problem can be very effective. i think there will be more things where on a case by case basis, we can reach out to india and say, you know, we're thinking of doing this, what are your thoughts about it, how would we go about it, would you like to join. and it's that kind of process rather than sort of having some big high level goal and sort of waiting until we achieve it.
>> i think -- so first of all, like andrew's paper pointed out, we are at a place where we think we can do more trilaterally between the u.s., australia and japan but that's been working for awhile, those patterns of behavior have built up. there have been a lot of meetings, a lot of things. i participated in my fair share. i think everyone around this table has. and they can range from incredibly intellectually stimulating to painful diplomatic and defense sort of sharing of talking points. and we have done less of the latter more recently and more of the former. i think that's, you know, you have to build that up, those patterns of behavior, that pattern of comfort. i think with india, it's a great goal. i agree wholeheartedly. i think we will have to go at it both ways. i don't sense that we want to be in a position in the united states of looking at it as only through the trilateral lens. we obviously have bilateral pieces we want to do.
and you know, i still remember fondly thinking that it would be easy within my tenure as deputy assistant secretary covering asia, we have these foundational agreements done, it was great and it's both disheartening and comforting to see that it wasn't just my problem. that in fact, this is just hard and it's hard with any country. it's not easy with any country. it's just newer with india. so we have to look at it both ways and if trilateral cooperation or quadrilateral cooperation comes out of this, all to the good. but in the end it's always going to be driven by what every individual country sees as its self-interest. if that's not the driving premise behind it, i'm concerned about it. i don't know why. so when india sees it greater in its interests to be part of something like this, i think it's important that we be able to accommodate it and until then, there are lots of things that we can do with india, both of our countries independently, bilaterally and we should look at any of those opportunities.
>> bob just confirmed my theory that the great attraction of trilateralism for the u.s. is watching our allies negotiate status of forces agreements with each other and sit on the sidelines and say now you understand what we have to go through with you. i don't know if you want to address constraints. i think there is a constraint issue, of course. japan has budget limitations weechwe all do. australia does and india does. when you move to add australia and japan on to the pretty intense u.s.-japan exercise schedule or for india to add japan, costs money. it takes people out of their training cycles. what's been impressive to me, though, i that delhi, tokyo and washington have been willing to do it. part of the reason i think is they operate at a very high level and i think the indian
navys from what i hear from officers gets a lot out of exercising with japan. in terms of competence and knowledge, high end asw and other training opportunities, and not necessarily always with the u.s., too. there's something about exploring -- the gap's not as big but also just for political reasons, delhi, in particular, it's nice to have other ways to have high end exchanges. i have been impressed even in the u.s. with budget constraints and bob deserves a lot of credit for this, i think that despite challenges in the defense budget, the exercise schedule with allies, partners, trilateral, bilateral has been maintained pretty well. to the credit of osd and pacific command which shows you there is leadership and strategic drive behind this. but there are going to be constraints, i think. in some ways i think the real -- you asked about bedrock agreements and so forth. part of the reason you need those is to reduce the costs because if you have these kind
of arrangements in place like an acquisition cross-services arrangement and so forth it will cost less to do it together. it's kind of a chicken and egg problem but you raised the right one. did you want to address constraints? >> yeah, sorry, i didn't finish off on constraints. i think mike's dealt very well with the resources. around politics, i think you're right. i think the broad underlying trend, i foeel like the structural trend is in this direction but no question there are windows of opportunity to advance these objectives. we're in one now. the three countries i have written about and i would put india in this category as well, broadly seeing the region the same way. they have broadly the same sort of if you like grand strategic objective and i think there's a good convergence in the capitals around this. but that's not to say that that
sort of alignment can't be sort of knocked around by politics. i remember, for example, that the government when it came to office in australia sort of disavowed quadrilateral cooperation very quickly. i actually think they did it very soon and probably it hadn't been fully thought through but that's just one example of how changes in the sort of political realm can i think not stop this trend or reverse it, but can sort of temporarily hold it up is how i put it. i think there's a very strong convergence with the four countries we have been talking about. the other point i would make is around just a kind of cultural change that this requires. we have talked a bit about the hub and spokes approach but building up real interoperability is partly about
widgets and machines that talk to each other properly but it's much more about people getting used to how other people do things and building up those real habits of close working. i think australia and the u.s. have always been close, but the sort of sheer operating tempo that our mill taitaries have be working under together since 9/11 really means they are integrated, joined at the hip. in other areas i know the united states, with for example japan works incredibly closely. it's how we take those very close working relationships and sort of broaden them out and encourage a mindset and this is hard. like even in militaries, achieving genuine jointness is a sort of life-long project, really. we are saying we want you to be genuinely joint among yourselves
and we also want you to be genuinely joint and combined with the australians, the japanese, south koreans as bob said, the indians. that's a really big change. it's going to take time for our uniformed services and bureaucracies to kind of make some of those changes. >> thank you. it was a great report, the important things are all there. but in the real world, we have to make choices among capabilities and budgets. i want to push you a little bit on that. the case for asw, talking to navy people, is pretty strong. we are falling behind, we need to catch up with our own selves having had this hiatus since the cold war ended. you have a case for amphibious capabilities in your paper. if i had to trade off between
the two based on what i know, i would say the amphibious side could probably be left behind. what's your reaction to that? >> great to see you, doug. i certainly don't dispute the importance of asw and i probably, if you really sort of pushed me, i would probably and i have to rank them, i would probably put asw ahead of amphibious but i don't think it's a clear trade-off. australia for better or worse has bought these two nearly 30,000 ton ships and has committed to building its own amphibious capability. japan for its own separate but i think similar and related reasons is making quite a similar investment in an amphibious brigade. so those things are happening and those resources are kind of sunk, if you like. the piece i'm hopefully not, i know that was probably a bad
metaphor, invested. what i'm talking about is much more the human piece of this interoperability. you know, mike is right about the exercise schedule but let me give you an example. operation talisman saber, the big biennewel exercise with an amphibious flavor to it last year had about 35 members of the japanese self-defense force participate. that's great. it's a small start. that doesn't really cost anyone anything to do that. and i think scaling that up over time so that the three amphibious forces are working together can start to build what i'm talking about and you know, there have been exercises, we had an event here the other day where the japanese military attache was saying the u.s. marine corps ospreys landed on a
japanese platform. being able to do that sort of stuff isn't going to cost vastly more resources but i think is a really powerful force multiplier and in australia, we know that disasters happen and the assets in our force anyway that are the most stressed tend to be these kind of ready reaction amphibious type capabilities. so asw, incredibly important but i think we can do both. >> i'm just going to comment on one thing, because you have hit a raw nerve here which is where was it, we have fallen behind. so again, not just because i'm the u.s. government official, but i wouldn't trade our navy for china's navy, right, or -- so we all, i think, it's just worth clarifying because i think people, not you, but i think in general, you know, we are the relative dominance and that we
have had for decades is clearly not as great as it is going to be. we do need to find different ways of operating as a result of that. whether or not we are able to do it, i of course do believe we will be able to do it and believe we have made the investments to be able to do it. i do think it's not just about that one particular mission. it's about the sort of, the way a lot of people and a lot of people frankly in the region are assuming certain things of where we are, and i think that if you look at the absolute terms of what we in the united states bring and what we bring with our allies which is one of the real important pieces to being here, i take our situation every time over anybody else's and i think that's something that it's important that we maintain. it's something important that we look at and something important that we continue to understand is our relative strength. >> it's a question that won't go away, though. i think you're right about that. it's a little bit reflected in
tn current debate in the navy about posture versus capability or presence versus capability which gets at the same choice. i think it's a little bit of a false choice in some ways. but researchers are constrained. we were asked in 2012 to do an external review of the rebalance and in fact, andrew was in between stints as national security advisor and helped us write part of it. we concluded that it's easy to say, but you can't just rely on the war-winning high end detrnts because then you leave open all scenarios short of war. that's where wars come from. they don't just start one day. it comes because the regional dynamic changes, states get weak, balance of power changes, vacuums are created. so the amphibious capabilities are critical in a way submarine w warfare isn't for that sort of peacetime shaping mission but if it doesn't work, you really want the other. it's going to be a tradeoff. i think although i find the
navy's debate about this a little artificial, i do think it's the reality that all three governments are going to have to, from the top, shape this. because if you leave it to the services, they each have their own answers. or even within the services. the submarine community and warfare community will have different answers. there really does need to be an intelligent plan from the civilian leadership, from the military leadership, to start balancing this. it's not an either/or, of course. and that's why i think the paper is so important and what bob is doing in government is so important. last question. we obviously need a follow-on report. last question. >> speaking of resources. and budgets. >> hi, andrew and bob and mike. i have a very different question. bob, you used the phrase raw
nerve. i want to hit a big-time raw nerve. donald trump. to what extent, whether trump is nominated or not is irrelevant. what we are seeing among all the major candidates is a drift toward isolationism. look at the free trade attitudes, for example, of haevy major candidate. to what extent is this drift likely to slow down what all you guys are trying to do? is it already -- we know's t it affected perceptions in japan big time. mr. trump has broken a taboo and said go nuclear. how nice. but beyond that, how might this affect all of what we have been talking about? because clearly, there's a mood in this country that i think certainly people in this room don't entirely agree with, i suspect. but there's a mood here that's
creating perceptions wherever i traveled around the world over the last couple of months. what is going on in the minds of those who want to do what you want to do? >> well, we will build bases all over asia, we'll make mexico pay for it. mine, i will start and maybe we will run out of time so bob doesn't have to answer. i have to say, i have had an experience which is probable similar to yours. pretty senior levels among our allies in asia, this went from chuckling to nervous chuckling to in the past week or two since the statements about nuclear, real concern. not just about the i think low probability that we have a trump presidency but that the core of the international system, the united states, could be, you know, the place for this kind of debate at the level of leading candidates. it says, in other words, something about american staying
power. what i try to point out is if you look at opinion polls in december last year, which is the most recent poll on this that i have seen, in the pugh poll, for example, 70% of americans support tpp in that poll. well over half supported free trade broadly. the polls done by the chicago council on global affairs and others show the highest level of support ever for the u.s. japan and u.s. korea alliance. we don't ask about australia because we think people may take it for granted, mistakenly perhaps, but highest ever. when asked should the u.s. come to the defense of japan if they are attacked, it's the highest number since these polls have been done in decades. and there's no institutional basis, no institutional way, no constituency in the congress, for example, to actually enact a policy of retreat. it's very hard to imagine
republican or democratic senate armed services committee saying right, got it, let's dismantle our alliances and change all that. i think the bedrock of american internationalism, if you look at polls and congressional leadership and public opinion polls and so forth, is pretty strong. but let's see what the polls look like next time. maybe this will start to affect views. i don't know. i'm not certain it will but i'm not certain it won't. i think it is worrisome but the b bedrock of american internationalism is a lot more solid than you see in the headlines. that would be my answer. >> obviously, a timely question. i'm going to filibuster now so that bob doesn't have to answer. more seriously, the comments that are being made are obviously of concern because they really do strike at the heart of some of the pillars of
u.s. engagement with the region over not just eez but centuries, really. mike has done extensive writing about this. u.s. economic engagement, open economies, forward u.s. military presence and the alliance system have really been the bedrock of the success of the region and so of course countries in the region are going to be concerned. i'm, i have to say, more optimistic. those of us who know america and respect it recognize that from time to time, you do have these convulsions and one of your endearing attributes is you kind of let it all hang out and so i think -- i think that the more
sober people in the region recognize the sort of america that is represented in some of these comments is not really america. i think mike's talking to some of the kind of structural factors that will reassert themselves after this kind of wacky election campaign's out of the way. but i'm not downplaying it when someone seemingly without a moment's real forethought blithely says that japan and south korea should acquire nuclear weapons. it's not a trivial thing at all. or that nato shouldn't exist. take your pick. but i do think that if you like sanity will ultimately prevail. >> i'm happy to actually speak on the record on this and ensure that we get no more questions. i will tell you what i tell
people when -- friends and allies when they are concerned about this. there is always a streak of isolationism within the united states. it has existed for centuries. it is not anything particularly new. but in the recent, in our recent history, every time that has surfaced in the end, our interests have been clear to anyone who is charged with protecting and defending the united states. and that's that it is in our interest to have an international approach to these things. and i think regardless of who becomes president, in the end, it's our interests that will make sure that we always, that we see the world the way that we see it now and it's been across administrations, across everything, and while it's a -- i will say that andrew said the word convulsion, what it is is a long-standing trend but we always over the past century have gotten to the point where we realize our interests are not best served by that. i suspect we will always do that.
>> so it's probably not appropriate to end a u.s.-australia-japan discussion particularly given our common cultures as colleagues made up of the riff-raff of europe to quote the brits but as churchill said you can always count on the americans to make all the rigwr decisions before they make the right one. and as lord carington said in a meeting when we were having convulsions and the europeans were complaining yes, yes, it's true but they're the only americans we have. as churchill said during the war, the only thing worse than going into this with allies is going in without allies. the good thing we have in the u.s. going for us is our allies actually, we have to work on japan and korea a bit but our allies actually like each other. you know, if you look at history, that's actually a rare and important thing. so this kind of trilateral effort i think we are going to see more of. it's been great having andrew here.
we look forward to further work from him and also, thank you, bob. bob's title shows that he was the strategist but also has to implement this stuff. thank you for your service in m moving this all forward. thank you for coming. during campaign 2016, c-span takes you on the road to the white house as we follow the candidates on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org.
on the "wall street journal" website at wsj.com, this headline. donald trump's path to clinching the gop nomination, narrows. joining us on the phone from milwaukee is reed epstein, who is following this story. thank you for being with us. >> good to talk to you. >> let's begin with the latest polling that shows right now, senator ted cruz is ahead in the republican primary over donald trump. if that holds true, what does this mean for trump's path to the nomination winning on the first ballot? >> well, regardless of how trump does in wisconsin, on tuesday, he's going to have to fight all the way through june 7 to have any chance to get to 1237 delegates. even if trump were to win every state, all of the delegates available in every state, from wisconsin on, he wouldn't get to 1237 until california, new jersey and three other states vote on june 7. so we will see two more months
of this no matter what. trump's path if he don't do well here in wisconsin gets pretty narrow. if as expected ted cruz picks up 33 to 36 of the delegates out of wisconsin, john kasich could win three if he wins six congressional districts around madison, trump would have to win 70% of the bound delegates that are left on the calendar going through to june. now, that doesn't include some of the unbound delegates that will be awarded out of states like pennsylvania, colorado, wyoming and north dakota. it doesn't include delegates that are right now bound to candidates that have dropped out of the race like marco rubio who may either support now or at a convention or on a second ballot at the convention wind up being free agents. just to become the sort of undisputed nominee of the party which is about what trump needs given a lot of the turmoil over
his candidacy and over a lot of the angst from what we have seen from the delegates about supporting him, for trump to be the outright nominee, he needs to win on bound delegates. at this point after wisconsin, he's going to have to win seven out of the ten bound delegates left on the calendar. >> let me ask you about these unbound delegates. as you said, a majority from pennsylvania, also from north dakota, colorado and wyoming. why do the states have unbound delegates and who does that favor? >> well, so this is part of the system republicans have set up where each state gets to set its own rule about how delegates are elected. so north dakota didn't hold a primary or caucus but this weekend they held a republican state convention, where they elected 25 delegates who are all -- will all be unbound at the convention, meaning they can change their allegiance at any point between now and cleveland and during the convention, they
could change their allegiance. ted cruz's campaign believes that 18 out of those 25 delegates are loyal to him but there's nothing necessarily that's requiring those delegates to stick with ted cruz. they could defect to trump or kasich or someone who is not running, perhaps. >> if the path is narrow for donald trump, is it safe to say that it is impossible for senator cruz and ohio governor kasich to get anywhere close to the first ballot in cleveland? >> well, it certainly is impossible for john kasich. he has no chance. his camign openly says that they are in this for a multiple ballot scenario at the convention. that's what his play is. senator cruz at least publicly still maintains that he's going to win the nomination outright and get the 1237 delegates. if you talk to some of his advisors privately, they will acknowledge that that's
essentially impossible for him to do at this point. if you look at the bound delegates alone, there aren't enough left for him to get to 1237 to win on the first ballot. he could in theory win if he were to collect all or almost all of the remaining bound delegates and win some of the unbound delegates and win delegates that are right now credited to marco rubio and some of the other withdrawn candidates. that's a bit of a stretch for cruz given that we know that he's going to have some trouble in the northeast, particularly in new york, where donald trump remains pretty strong. the cruz campaign is banking on a repeat of what's happened in wisconsin over the last two weeks in some of the future primaries where he's had effectively a one-on-one battle with donald trump and is winning. the problem is, wisconsin, if cruz wins, is going to be the first primary state that cruz has won in more than a month.
and it's really a situation that doesn't necessarily lend itself to be repeated elsewhere. in wisconsin you have a united republican organization from the governor on down, including the conservative talk radio hosts in the state who are all aligned against trump. you also have an electorate that is well informed and turns out to vote in typical elections leaving a much smaller universe of first time voters for trump to activate. there's where he's run a lot of support in other states. >> based on what you are seeing and hearing on the ground in wisconsin, can you give us a sense of the mood of republican voters? >> well, certainly the cruz voters are very excited about putting a stop to the donald trump momentum, showing there's a lot of sense from wisconsin republicans sort of what constitutes the wisconsin establishment republican are
anxious to show the rest of the country that they can stop ted cruz or stop donald trump, excuse me. so you see politicians who i have talked to here over the weekend saying that they are not necessarily big fans of ted cruz. i talked to a state senator named alberta darling who represents the milwaukee suburbs who was initially a scott walker supporter, then a jeb bush supporter, then a rubio supporter and now she said she's voting for cruz because she doesn't want donald trump to be the nominee, not necessarily because she has any great love for cruz. there's a lot of that in wisconsin. it is essentially a united republican party, the activists, the conservatives here want to stop trump and they are using cruz as the vessel to do so even though they are not really in love with him. >> reid epstein, who is in milwaukee writing for the "wall street journal." his work available at wsj.com. thank you for being with us. >> thanks, steve.
campaign 2016 continues on tuesday, april 5th, with the wisconsin primary. live coverage begins tuesday night at 9:00 eastern. tune in for complete election results, candidates' speeches and viewer reaction. taking you on the road to the white house on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. white house cabinet secretary brodrick johnson visited his alma mater, the university of michigan law school, to talk about what it's like to work at the white house for president obama. he focused on the president's my brother's keeper task force which he chairs and his observations about president obama's priorities in his last year in office. this is about an hour. >> good afternoon, everybody. welcome. i'm susan collins, from the
gerald r. ford school of public policy. it's great to have all of you join us this afternoon. today it is really an honor to be introducing broderick johnson who joins us as part of the university's month-long martin luther king jr. symposium. in that context as well, it's really a special pleasure to have all of you here with us for today's policy talks. broderick is assistant to president obama, white house cabinet secretary and chair of the president's my brother's keeper task force. i suspect that some of you are a little curious to know about just what a cabinet secretary does. well, just briefly, thurgood marshall jr. was the first person to hold this important position under president clinton and as you will hear more about a little bit later today, broderick johnson in that role is the primary liaison between president obama and the many cabinet departments and agencies so during his lecture i'm sure
he will share quite a bit more about that with us and also about the interagency federal policy process. so much to look forward to. many in the audience may be quite familiar with my brother's keeper which is president obama's challenge to cities across the country to address the disparity in opportunities for men of color. detroit took that challenge head-on. in fact, one of the ford school's alumni, ebony wells, was a huge part of setting up detroit's response and i have heard from our guest that detroit is really developing a particularly strong program in that context and so ebony, i wanted to invite you to stand so we could recognize you. thank you. [ applause ] well, before chairing the my brother's keeper task force, broderick was an assistant in the clinton administration and he previously served as chief democratic counsel in congress. he's also been very successful
in the private sector. he was a vice president of at & t and bell south corporations, a partner with the large international law firm, and in addition, he co-founded a strategic consulting business. so those who know broderick may know only parts of his very distinguished and varied career but i suspect that all of them know where he studied law and his great pride in being a university of michigan alum. go, blue. so before i turn the floor over to him, i just want to say a word about our format. our special guest will speak for about 20 minutes, then we will open things up to the audience for questions. about ten minutes from now, our staff will be circulating to collect your question cards. you should have received them as you came into the auditorium today. if you are watching online, please tweet your questions using #policytalks. then professor ann lynch, ford school professor with four students will facilitate our
question and answer session. so time to get started. please join me in welcoming broderick johnson to the podium. >> thank you. good afternoon. i'm going to try to set my book here without hitting a delete button on these screens here. if i do, i'm sorry. well, it's great to be here in ann arbor. it's great to be back on this beautiful campus. you know, when you're in washington all the time, and you get a chance to go out to a campus like this one, you feel a sense of energy, the excitement, the youthfulness. it warms the heart and back in d.c., by the way, you all should know my west wing office is filled with michigan paraphernalia to remind me of this place, but also so that i can strike up conversations with people who come and visit and they're like oh, you went to
michigan and then about a half hour later, we finally have stopped talking about the university of michigan. so it's all over the place and i'm quite proud to have it there. i have really appreciated not only having gone to this school and graduated from this school from the great law school, but many, many important moments of my own life which i will get to in a few minutes, but suffice it to say this place has had an enormous impact on my life and my career. i have got maize and blue running in my veins. when i hear the fight song i get teary-eyed depending on what the score is when the fight song comes on. when i think of michigan, i think about many, many things. i think about president ford and stories of how he stood up against segregation when he was on the football team here in the 1930s. i think about fellow alums and dear friends the law school like former senator and former interior secretary ken salazar
who was my first year mentor here at the law school. he was a third year student who kept encouraging me and telling me that if i studied just a little bit harder i would make law review and that whatever happened, life was going to be good. i think about my dear friend, valerie jarrett, who is also a graduate of the law school. senior advisor and long-time friend of the president and first lady. i think of great games in the big house over many seasons with law school friends of more than 30 decades. i also think about lee bollinger, my first professor back in 1982, and he became dean of the law school and president of the university. and as you all know, he stood relentlessly in defense of affirmative action and i think of my friend and president of the alumni association, steve grafton, a white dude from mississippi who navigated a largely white alumni association board to take an overwhelming position supporting affirmative action and opposing prop 2.
then there are a lot of very personal moments for me, very poignant family moments which i'm going to share a bit with you all, because michigan has become a true legacy for my family. i think of my late mom, who became a huge wolverine fan. had not attended college but she adopted the university of michigan really as her alma mater. we would spend many afternoons, phone calls back and forth about the michigan game. she would call me and say did you see that? did you see that mistake? did you see this great play? i would say mom, the game's still on, why don't you call me in a few minutes. and one afternoon in 2011, i was able to bring her here the big house for the first time in her life with my youngest son at the time. and it was cold and thank you very much. it was cold, but it was really warm for us to be there and share that moment. my mother was decked out in maize and blue literally from head to toe.
i also think about my late father, who set foot on a law school campus for the first time in his life in 1983 for my graduation. and i proudly put that moment in the context of fulfillment of many of the dreams my dad had about what would happen for his sons, his daughters, his grandchildren and i became really the epitome of the bridge for that for a generation. you see, when my youngest son came to visit the law school in 2011, he was only 10 years old. his father first set foot on a law school campus when he was 50. so the idea that his grandson at 10 could go to a law school campus was really quite the full ilment of his dreams. i remember really really vividly my son asking me after i had brought him through a tour of the law school at 10 years old, the idea of like visiting a law school late at night on a saturday night wasn't the coolest thing, but he was intrigued by all of it and i remember he asked me, he said
dad, if i decide to come to school at michigan, if i decide to come to school at michigan. not do you think i could maybe qualify. it was clear in his mind, maybe it's because of all the investment in his education so far, that he could come to school here if he decided to and that would be a choice that we have and not some far-off dream that it would take many, many civil rights movements to change. and then when i think of michigan, i think about my wife michelle norse, formerly with national public radio who gave the commencement speech at this university in the win tr of 2014. she received an honorary doctorate that day and closed her inspiring remarks with a bit of maize and blue poetry. she said it's great to be a michigan wolverine and the crowd broke out in great applause and i'm glad i told her she should do that, because it was the icing on the cake to what was really otherwise quite a memorable day.
thank you very much, dean collins, for your most kind introduction and for having me back here. you know how much i love this place. so michael barr is here as well. michael and i go back to the clinton administration and we have a secret between us about a job he took that i didn't take that he did a great job at and i'm glad he did, because it helped to save washington, d.c. but i'm really surprised that my friend sally gindy is here. so little bit of history. i was between undergrad and grad school, i didn't know wha wanted to do except continue to study philosophy. there was a program in bowling green, ohio, a master's program in something called applied philosophy. have any of you applied for that program? okay. so the best thing about it is that it let people like sally and i decide applied philosophy would best be applied if we went to law school and became lawyers. so i can't remember the last time i have seen you but it is so great to see you. we decided on ann arbor because we came up here one weekend and
the football team was playing and it was like i got to go to school there. sally, it's great to see you. love you. it's really wonderful to see you. greetings on behalf of the 44th president of the united states, president barack obama. the president has visited the university of michigan more than any other sitting president. sometimes he pokes fun at me about my wolverine passion. i don't know why. but he gets it. i remember back in the spring of 2014, the president visited this campus after the gbl team went to the elite eight. his bracket, there was a big deal made about the president's bracket every year. but he hadn't picked the wolverines. so then he had to come here. and as he stood before our pretty raucous crowd that included several of that year's overachievers like jordan morgan
and glenn robinson the president manned up and admitted his misjudgment about the team. he also admitted that his bracket, quote, was a mess. those are his words. we're talking about a man who barely makes mistakes in sports politics and government. one of my job as cabinet secretary is to make sure as long as i'm there he does not make that mistake again. working in the white house is really the hardest job, particularly this time, that i've ever had. the cabinet secretary job, some people would describe it as herding cats. michael, you know better than that. i would never describe it as herding cats. i say this with all sincerity. there are great members of the president's cabinet throughout. it's great to work with them, but we do have often surreal challenges, unexpected crises that come, trying to get things
done with a congress that often times has a lot of challenges working within itself. but i get to work with hardest working people on the planet. there are many improbable and remarkable moments for me. for example, being able to drafl with the president and first lady when they went to selma last march. being in the east room of the white house a few weeks ago when the president announced executive actions on guns. and watching him get as emotional as i've ever seen the president that day. briefing the president in the oval office along with other advisers. and you look around and you say i'm in the oval office and i'm briefing the president, and i have to say something very intellige intelligent. and then about, i don't know, maybe two or three months ago, i ushered coach harbaugh into the oval office. this was a monday after the michigan state game.
and coach harbaugh had already agreed to come to d.c. to do something with the first dade lady. but the president wanted to meet with coach harbaugh that day, but watching their rapport was quite something. even talked about harbaugh's khakis. i have to admit the president did not ask coach harbaugh, hey, where can i get some of those slacks? be it was really quite a conversation. there were some similarities between the two of them that are quite positive. now, you all didn't invite me to share a host of personal anecdotes and stories about my life here. i've got a lot more. in the q&a if you want to ask for me, i'll give you more. but let's talk about what i do for the president and why it's so rewarding and so incredibly consequential. >> as was mentioned, i have two primary roles. i serve as the cabinet secretary, an i serve as the chair of his my brother's keeper
task force. i'll talk about both of those a little by and how they indeed intersect. then i look forward to having a conversation with all of you and your questions and suggestions i look forward to. i was asked to join the senior team at the white house in february of 2014. this white house. but it's been my privilege to have known barack obama in 2003 when he was a u.s. senate candidate, to have helped advise him in that race, in his presidential race the fist time in his re-election campaign, during his two successful terms as president. i should also add that it's been my distinct honor to get to know the president as a friend. he's quite a human being. when i got the call in late 2013, it would have been the professional mistake of my life, bar none, if i had said no thank you, mr. president. i can't even imagine saying that, but some people do. but i didn't. and it's a good thing that i didn't. because again, it's hard, but
it's incredibly rewarding. the institution of the cabinet is as old as our democracy. article 2, section 2 of the constitution states that the president, quote, may require the opinion of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, closed quote. today eastbound cabinet includes as a head, so 15 departments. everyone from the secretary of state to the attorney general to secretaries of relatively recently established departments, such as department of homeland security. the cabinet also includes the heads of agencies that have been extended, cabinet rank, like the epa and the smul business administration. the cabinet wears many hats. the part of the board of the director of the president. he or she serves as lie sai i don't know being the eyes and ears of the president and vice versa to the cabinet.
he or she coordinates among various departments and agency efforts around the many, many policy programs of the 2k5r789s and he or she worng works on implementation and communication with the president's agenda. the president regularly engages with his cabinet. the team i have in the white house coordinates much of that with me. we have formal cabinet sessions that are held nearly every quart per .you all have seen some of the press around those. you see the spt in the cabinet room and a pool spray will come in. ooitder video or still press. the president will have some remarks at the top, maybe about the subject of the day that he wants to get out and have the press carry. and then, of course, members of the press try to ask the president questions. they yell questions at him and they're ushered out of the room pretty quickly at that point. i real my fwirs cabinet meeting in may of 2014. i asked people who had been there throughout the
administration whether i should be prepared to answer any questions or address any issues. the cabinet meeting they all said no, it never happened in the list/of history of the republic. of course you know he turned to me and said broderick, would you present what's going on in your cabinet? i said yes, of course. i had no idea what i said after that point. >> we've actually adopted various new approaches to engaging the cabinet with the president. for example, there are department-specific briefings that focus on updates, challenges and related accidents, using a specific one-on-one engagement between the president and relevant cabinet secretaries. we also have 1345u8er group meetings that will be based on issue areas. for example, we have a trade cabinet, a climate cabinet.
these are informal designations of groups but they get together and they've done that throughout the time i've been in this white house. president obama has always been clear on his guidance to all of us that we have to anticipate challenges, proactively address them, and be candid in opening how departments will stay on track to meet the priorities and objectives. this president is a leader who digs deep into substance. it's like he has a highlighter in his head. you can give him a 30-page memo, and you would think he would get lost in all of it. he has so much information and so little time because he has so much time to read. michael can attest to this. it's like he goes right tthe subject -- or right to the question at the very moment when it needs to be asked. and you sit there and say this man is unbelievably smart. i've eseen it time and time again. he hates small talk. and happy talk. so don't be the cabinet secretary that comes in and says mr. president, everything is great, we're doing just fine. if it's not.
if it is, that's great. but it better be. he doesn't belief people should air brush over the challenges they face. >> the president's cabinet is focused on implementation of his priorities in the time we have remaining in the next 11 months. policy priorities, but also management priorities and rule making. and quite honestly, we don't expect to get a whole lot done with the congress. that's not the top of our list of expectations. although an exception for that will be around criminal justice reform, and we are quite optimistic about being able to get a criminal justice reform bill to the president that he can sign before he leaves office. the cabinet embodies that approach in a number of ways. let me share a kwoup of cross agency collaboration examples. >> two weeks ago, the president visited detroit to talk about the resurgence of that have
great american city. and in case anyone has forgotten, when we inherited the white house when the president took office in 2009, a crisis on wall street had plunged this nation into a great recession and the effects were being felt certainly in detroit and throughout communities deeply connected to the auto industry. so in addition to actions the president took to support the american car manufactures to bet on their ir sur jens, he bet on the entire cabinet to support the recovery of detroit. the question was whether or not detroit would survive. these are just some of the examples of what happened. the department of treasury certainly reached out to provide capital and state and local finance to the city of detroit. the department of energy helped install or finance new l.e.d. lights that bring security to a
community where there are many people worried about their safety. while saving money and reducing carbon footprint. as i said, i was with the president on his trip to detroit. and look, we know there are challenges that still remain in theity of detroit, especially around communication. but without is on its way back and the president has directed the cabinet to remain present in detroit and continue to invest in detroit and look for ways to make change happen in the city of detroit. >> climate change. the end of 2015 saw one of the most consequential moments. the most historic agreement coming out of the top 21 negotiations in paris. there are many people who said that's just not going to happen. that nerp not going to be able to achieve much in paris. again, this whole cabinet neede
to get involved in a tightly coordinated approach. for example, for the epa, promulgating rules on clean power and clean water, for the department of interior, for the department of energy, standards and renewable energy standards, incorporating climate considerations into policy and glant making and for had you had which recently announced grant to cities and states so we can mitigate the effects of climate change. secretary kerry has made top priority in virtually all of his engagements in other nations in china and india. with regard to criminal justice reform, the current attorney general and her team have continued the work that was done by the previous attorney general eric holder, looking at what we can do to reform criminal
justice. opportunities for many in our society to who want b a second chance. it leads me then to talk a few minutes about my brother's keeper, which we also referred to affectionately as mbk. 2 1/2 years ago, the president spoke from the white house to the entire nation in response to the verdict in the trayvon martin case. the president smoke about the angst and anger that parents and families were feeling and about the challenges facing too many of this nation's young people, especially boys and young men of color. in those remarks, the president observed trayvon martin could be his only son or 45 years ago, he would have been trayvon martin. the president said, quote, there are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative re-enforcement. there has to be a lot more we
can give them in the sense that the country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them. the president and i talked about what he could do to lift up a the importance of this work and the president was very clear that he wanted to go big on this. he wanted to do something significant. he also convened people from the private sector to engage in this work opinion he gave the ceremony in the east room of the white house. that demonstrated how this was a priority of this president, just by where he held the ceremony to launch this great effort that boys and men of color are confronted with.
during the speech, the president reflected on how personal the work is with him. he said i could see myself in a lot of young men. there were young men behind the president that day on the stage. he went on to say the only difference is that i grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgfing, so that when i made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe. he continued, quote, the plain fact is there are some americans who in the aggregate are consistently doing worse in our society groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions. groups who have seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations, and by almost every measure, the group that's facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color. so here are some of the measures the president was alluding to.
i could go on and on with many, many negative statistics, but i just want to site a few. boys and men of color are more likely than it appears to be born in low income families and live in concentrated poverty. to live with one or no parents or attend poor performing schools. boy and men of color too of receive harsher penalties for same infractions as similarly charged white males are least likely to be given a second chance. finally, they're more likely to live in communities with higher crime. black boys, for instance, are 6% of the nation's population, but more than half of the nation's homicide victims. the president thinks about these issues in a very, very personal way, as i've mentioned. he talks about it as often as he possibly can. for example, a few months ago when he visited el reno federal
president in oklahoma, he said he met young people there who made mistakes that aren't that different than the mistake he is made and the mistakes a lot of us make. the difference is the guys he met at that prison did not have the kinds of support structures, the second chances, the resources, that would allow them to survive or get beyond those mistakes. the dit parity is mind numbing. we an economic obligation. we're compelled to act because there is an economic imperative if our country is to remain globally competitive. we cannot continue to have so many millions of young people missing from this society. a recent cent report from the president's own council of economic advisers showed that if
we close the gap that exists in labor force participation between 16 and 54-year-old men of color ennonhispanic white men of the same age, total u.s. gdp would encrease by 2%. there's an economic imperative as much as there's a moral obligation. mbk is about obliterating the barriers or kids face and building stronger communities and stronger opportunity strains. in less than two years, we could not be more excited. soup charged private sector investment and collaboration, let me talk about those work streams. first, federal policy. over the course of the past two years, the mbk task force, an
interagency working group of a dozen federal agencies has led to new and expanded grant opportunities out of the department of labor, department of education, department of energy. in july of last year, i joined arnie duncan and loretta lynch at a correctional facility in jes sup, m m.d. they were testing new mod models to allow incarcerated americans to receive pell grants to pursue secondary education. and of course, we've already received hundreds of applications nationwide. the way out of prison has to be a good education and a good job when they get out. the president visited newark, new jersey, which is one of the stronger nba communities.
to highlight the entry process of formally incarcerated individuals. >> ento announce new actions aimed at helping americans who have paid their debt to society, rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves back into their communities. it was during that visit the president announced a round of what we calleds mbk federal policy deliverables, responding to recommendations that were also a part of the task force on criminal yus. first, banning the box for almost all federal judges until later in the hiring process. so that again, once someone has served their debt, pay paid their debt to society, they get a fair shot at a federal job. another one was department of housing and urban development or department of justice, working together now with the national bar association to seal an expunge records for hundreds of young adults who have made mistakes but who need a fresh start in housing.
the department of energy education awarded millions of grants to help formally incarcerated youth and young adults successfully re-enter school and other educational programs. there are dozens and dozens if not hundreds of new programs that have been launched across federal agencies. there are now more than 200 communities that have accepted the my brothers keeper community challenge, representing 49 state stat states, the district of columbia, 49 tie bral nations. the 50th state is going to have a primary next week. anyway, that's the hint. it's been remarkable. there are some states in this country that have as many as six to eight to 12 mbk communities.