tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 3, 2016 5:49pm-7:01pm EDT
continue all of those things. >> thank you very much. >> general scaparrotti, in an interview this month a secretary general at nato said that nato has to be ready to deploy forces and to intervene again if needed. do you agree with that statement and how likely is it going to be necessary for nato forces to intervene and what is your assessment of the capability of nato forces to do so? >> the purpose of the alliance is to provide a collected defense. and it has to go agile in its movement of forces. so i agree it has to be able to deploy forces throughout europe
both as what is commonly seen as the threat on the eastern flank with russia, but also where necessary to assist allies in threats in the southern border to include terrorist threats, et cetera. i think nato is in a position today where we have capability, but obviously since the wale summit, we realize there has to be change in order to meet the new environment that we see this europe today. >> and we're not completely ready to meet that new environment as a may toe alliance, are we. >> no, sir, we're not. >> and the secretary general said this with regard to afghanistan. he said we have been able to prevent that afghanistan becomes a safe haven for international terrorists.
do you agree with that? >> senator, i believe that we have changed the conditions in afghanistan, but i also believe we have much work to do to realize our objective of a stable economic afghanistan that is no longer a safe haven. >> he said we've been able to build a national unity government. do you agree? >> i believe personally there is much work to do there, as well. >> he said we've been able to build an afghan national army and forces of 350,000 soldiers and personnel. >> yes, senator. i've taken part in the establishment of that army and i'm proud of the services and the service that i've had in afghanistan with afghan security forces. >> and he said we've enabled them to take over the security in afghanistan themselves. to what sent do you agree with that statement? >> senator, they are responsible
for the security of their nation now. there is much work to do particularly when it comes to enabling c-2 and logistics and it's important that we continue that assistance to develop that capability. >> so what your testimony is that these accomplishments have in fact taken place, but there are still concerns and still real work to be done to solidify them? >> that's correct, sir. >> and do we risk losing these accomplishments by a further drawdown in american troops in afghanistan? >> sir, i believe strongly in the conditions that have to be
met in order to meet a drawdown. so i believe in conditions being the driver, not time. >> and so are you prepared to say whether those conditions have been met? in other words, i'm echoing i think what our chairman and ranking member have said, does it make any sense with so much invested and so much accomplishments, does it make any sense for to us risk that by drawing down troops? >> senator, given my experience there, all of the sacrifices we've made to realize our objective, i think that we need to keep toes objectives this mind and work hard to chief them. and any drawdown should be set on conditions to achieve our end states. >> we want to work with on you that and it seems to me that we
risk tossing away hard-fought and hard-won gains. thank you very much. i look forward to your service. >> i want to thank both of the witnesses and your families for all your sacrifice. general robinson, i want to recommend to you a book to read in your new job. and it's called "dream land." it's about the heroin epidemic that is not only sweeping our country, but in particular, this focuses a lot on ohio and my home state of indiana is right next door. and i just want to tell you always story. we have a small county in southern indiana, scott county, and a small town there, austin. 4200 people. in a town of 4200 people, you have 190 hiv cases that came from dirty needles that were
passed around while using prescription drugs. and this epidemic has basically hallowed out and destroyed all of these families. and it spreads -- it starts with the prescription drugs and then it goes to the heroin, the back tar heroin that comes across from mexico. and this book "dream land." helps to describe how destructive it is of these towns and of these families. we have a small -- my hometowns we lost a 20-year-old and 19-year-old young man just from one of these parties. going to have a sophomore at iu, a sophomore at ball state. and it happens in town after town all across new hampshire, all across cape cod, people think of it as a vacation place. cape cod has a heroin epidemic.
and it's coming up from mexico. and we desperately need you to be the point person in stopping this effort. >> thank you for that advice. i commit to you that i will read "dream land" independent of being confirmed. >> it is heartbreaking. >> yes, sir, it's heartwrenching. as senator shaheen mentioned, the epidemic that's happening in new hampshire, in my state of resident, i commit to yu that i will do everything to understand it and to work with dhs to do just what you've asked. >> we see, more than auto crashes now. more than car crashes. automobile related death, hire heroin and prescription drug related deaths have rocketed past that. so we lose young person after young person. when i go to high school graduations and speak to them, i basically spend half my time begging them to keep an eye out for one another because there is
so much black tar heroin coming across from mexico. >> and i agree with you, too, not only the heartwrenching deaths, but as you mentioned what it does to families. so yes, sir. >> and general scaparrotti, it was a privilege to be with you in korea and you did such an extraordinary job there. the one thing you talked about afghanistan and the number 5500 has been mentioned by the chairman. the last thing i'd like to see and i know you would, too, is all the efforts for so many years just kind of be thrown away because of a number. and i know you said it would be conditions based. we want to be sure you give us your unvarnished opinion as to what needs to be done there.
>> senator, i absolutely commit that if confirmed, i will do just that. >> thank you very much. as we look at what just happened with the russians recently, doing a barrel roll over one of our ships there, or over bone of our planes there, is there a point where this has happened time after time after time where we tell them in advance enough, the next time it doesn't end well for you? >> nor, i think it's important that we're as i said strong, clear and consistent with them. and we should engage and make clear what is acceptable. and then we have to enforce it. >> general robinson, what is your assessment as you take a look of the ballistic missile threat to our country posed by north korea and iran and obviously you willing significantly involved in
provides answers for that and making sure we're safe? >> yes, sir. the north korea threat is real. right now it's a medium range, but they are trying very hard to be able to heat the homeland and iran continues to evolve its capability. and if confirmed, that will be a threat that i will continue to monitor very, very closely. >> thank you both very, very much for your service thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you both for your distinguished service to the country. and i have to say, general robinson, i echo center shaheen's comments. we are so very proud of you in new hampshire as a unh grad and obviously as your stated
residency of new hampshire. i want to thank your family, as well. and i want to thank certainly the colonel, colonel howard, for his service, as well, as a great resident of the state of new hampshire. wanted to ask you in the meeting that we had in my office, one of the issues we talked about with your responsibility for the southern border as commander of north com is this idea of tunnels. in fact this morning as i'm looking at the news, we discovered that there are reports that u.s. authorities discovered a half mile tunnel under the border with mexico into san diego used to smuggle drugs. as we think about the heroin and also fentanyl issue that is really killing people this new hampshire, i got an amendment in that focuses on cooperation with the israelis because they have the tunnel issue with hamas and hezbollah. so will you look at the it tunnel issue and how with can he
develop better technologies to ensure that we're looking at not only how they're transporting it in traditional ways but also building these tunnels? >> yes, senator, i saw the article and it did remind me of the conversation that we had about israel and the technologies. and as we discussed yesterday, when understood that, it piqued my interests. so i will go down and look, understand the tunnel, see what they look like, understand the technologies that we have and then understand things that israel is also teaching us. >> and in terms of the fentanyl issue, the synthetic that is almost 50 times more powerful than heroin. new hampshire had last year 430 drug deaths, actually 160 of them are attributed to fentanyl.
so in your role this addressing not only the border, but in dealing with mexico, what i'd like to also have you focus on is talking to the mexican government and obviously in these military relationships of how we can have them step up more on this interdiction issue. >> yes, i want to provide an assessment back to the committee of what we need do together more to support them. >> terrific. thank you. general scaparrotti, i want to thank you for your distinguished service in afghanistan and i would like to ask if you confirmed for this important position, one of your roles not only serves as european commander, you will also serve
as supreme allied commander of europe. and recently we head with the secretary general of nato and one of the issues he raised is that he believed that nato countries and nato as a whole should be more involved in the train, advise and assist mission in iraq to defeat isis. and do you agree that we should seek to get nato more involved in the train, advise and assist mission? obviously we all have a part in defeating isis begin the threats that this group presents to not the united states of america but himself europe with the recent attacks there. >> if confirmed, i will obviously discuss that with the secretary general. it's a matter of policy within nato. but to give my personal opinion, i think that we have very strong and capable ale lies and the more allies that we have assisting us in iraq and other
places around the globe where we have the same challenges is important and we should pursue that. >> and in terms of the russian threat, one of the issues, there was a recent article i think yesterday that talked about russian attack sub marines that i believe that the chairman touched on. i wanted to ask you about the importance of our submarine fleet in terms of having the capacity with this russian threat, but obviously we know that the chinese are another issue in the south pacific. but yet our requirements for attack submarines were not keeping up with pace of what we see the russians doing. how important of an asset is this in terms of combatting the russians in what they're doing right now? >> i believe that it's critical. we presently have dominance undersea. and i don't believe we should pace it, we should maintain that dominance. it's critical to our security. >> i want to thank you both for
your leadership and distinguished service and especially your families, as well. we appreciate it. >> thank you very much. i echo the sentiments of the members of this committee and thanking you, general scaparrotti and general robinson for your service to our country and of course that of your families. and of course general robinson, it's good to see you. thank you for your services in hawaii and leading the pacific air forces and we're very proud of you as being one of the 100 most influential people in the world. general robinson, you noted that one of the biggest concerns that you have is with homegrown violent extremists. what would be -- if confirmed, what would be the steps that you would take to protect our country against homegrown violent extremists? >> one of the things that is incredibly important in that is
sharing of intelligence across all the agencies. so it would be important to understand that intelligence to share as we watch that. it's a very difficult threat to find and pay attention to. >> so any other steps that you would take to -- >> no, ma'am, if confirmed, that would be one of the things. it is one of my focus areas as i look back into the southwest border and defense of the home land that's one of the things that i'm if confirmed will start looking, what are other things that northern command can do in support of all the interagency and whole of government approach. >> and i think that that -- when
you're dealing in this area, state and local law enforcement communities as well as the larger communities have to be brought in. >> yes, ma'am, in supporting them. yes, ma'am. >> i would want to continue to work with you on addressing these issues. >> yes, ma'am. >> general scaparrotti, epaa deepens our missile defense partnerships. what do you assess are the benefits of the epaa and how does it project strength to our allies and of course to our adversaries? >> in europe, we have a serious threat there ballistic missiles. the phase adaptive approach is very supportive of the defense of not only our citizens and bases in europe, but also of our allies and partners in europe. i think it's critical and it's an important contribution then to our allies' defense systems and we should work for a layered interoperable defense of europe
and i believe it's the appropriate step to get that done. >> for general robinson, it was mentioned in our last north com hearing that china is moving in this direction. he testified if successful, they would be china's first sea-based strategic nuclear determent. and in previous hearings, the submarine capabilities of our country have been highlighted as one of our cub's most valuable assets. what are the simply indications of a successful employment of this class of ballistic missile submarines by china and for what you can talk about in this setting how would this affect our capabilities especially in
the asia pacific region? >> yes, ma'am. china continues to evolve other capabilities and they continue to be able to range further and further. so the more that they can range, then the more that it becomes a threat to the homeland both hawaii, guam and if capable further here to the homeland. >> do we need more submarines? >> ma'am, they are asymmetric advantage in the pacific as we speak. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator graham. >> some say that we need to get out of nato or limit -- >> turn your microphone on. >> it's on. must not paid the bill down here. >> senator, i think you asked that some have said that either we need more participation or
payment into nato, is that -- >> that we need to get out of nato. that it's obsolete. >> senator, i personally believe that nato is critical to our interests and in our defense. >> in 30 seconds, why? >> because we have very close ties, they're our longest allies and we have 50% of the gdp that goes through there, one of our most important markets. >> you agree that other countries should contribute more to nato's overall budget? >> yes, i do. they should meet the commitments. >> did you believe russia is trying to basically fracture europe? >> i do. >> do you believe putin would love nothing more than the united states to withdraw from nato? >> yes, sir. >> do you believe that everybody in the baltics that would be a very dark day for them if america withdrew from nato? >> yes, sir. >> so putin would be the biggest beneficiary of a breakup of nato under the current construct? >> yes, sir, i believe putin is deliberately trying to --
>> do you think isil would benefit from the breakup of nato? >> yes, sir. >> do you think the taliban would benefit from the breakup of nato? >> yes, sir. >> all right. if the president goes down to 5500 u.s. forces in afghanistan, do you believe nato countries will respond in kind by reducing their commitment? >> sir, i think given my experience there, that they most likely follow our lead. >> have you known of one country to get to our right when it comes to afghanistan? >> no, sir. >> so do you agree that any withdrawal in afghanistan should be conditions based? >> i do, sir. >> so i just want to say for the record, to the president, you ignored sound military advice when it came to iraq to keep to residual force. the rest is history. you turned down the advice of your entire national security team to help the free syrian
army when it would have mattered in syria. you drew a red line against assad. you did not follow up when gadhafi was taken down by his people. please don't repeat these mistakes by reducing or forces in afghanistan because you will get the same result, probably worse. that's just my editorial comment. in terms of budgets, if we go back into sequestration mode, what would it mean to our presence in europe. >> it would have an immediate impact on the forces that we have there today and i believe that it would potentially put at risk the forces that we plan to rotate today to reinforce our posture. and certainly it would impact the readiness of our remaining forces to come to europe if deterrence should fail. >> would it be an encouraging sign to russia that we're less committed to europe?
>> it would, sir. >> general robinson, what would sequestration do to your ability? >> it would affect the readiness of the force and our ability to invest in capabilities to defend the homeland. >> can you give me some examples of what we would lose in terms of capabilities? >> depending where we are with sensor development or hit to kill development, those would be two capabilities. >> is the threat to the homeland declining or increasing? >> the threat to the homeland is increasing. >> is the threat to our partners in europe and our interests if europe declining or good increasing, general scaparrotti? >> it's increasing, sir. >> you can think of a worse time for the american congress to cut the military's budget to historic lows given your time in service? >> no, sir. we need to reinforce our capabilities. >> do you agree, general robinson? >> i do, sir. >> thank you both for your
service. >> senator kaine. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to associate myself with the comments of senator graham and the chairman. and several others. particularly as you go to this nato meeting, this summer that will be so important in europe. it would be a great mistake in my view to not hain taken a level of force in afghanistan that is necessary to support the afghan security forces and the problem is this decision has to be made reasonably soon because we're not going to go from 9800 to 5500 in a couple of days at the end of the year. the process has to start this summer and i think it will be a mistake given that the taliban
served notice that they don't view this struggle as over by any matter or means. so i hope that as you work with the nato allies, the message will come back from them and to the president that we need to maintain a significant force and a significant -- with the authorities necessary to adequately support our nato allies and the afghan security forces. secondly, just want to associate myself with comments made by border and drug epidemic. since this meeting started, six people have died in the united states of drug overdoses just since we sat down here an hour and five minutes ago. and that is a definite threat to the homeland. and to the extent we don't want to militarize the border, but to the extent we can coordinate better, utilize the resources that you will have general in your capabilities to work with our civilian authorities, that is i think a very high priority. general scaparrotti, one of the things that is concerning me
about europe is that what we're seeing in ukraine is a new kind of hybrid war. with indigenous people, some russian troops, we're not talking about armies and tanks coming across the border in a conventional way. do with -- are we developing a strategy and doctrine for dealing with what is essentially a new kind of war? because my concern is that what we're seeing is a practice for something similar for example in the baltics. >> yes, senator, i know that just from personal experience that ucom, socom as well as the other co-coms have gather and we're studying hybrid warfare.
it presents a problem because it's intended to be below the level that we would normally consider conflict, so it challenges the norms that we have been used to. >> what is an act of war. >> that's correct. and it challenges the authorities that our forces have in order to react. so we are working on how best to handle this, the authorities that doctrine and capabilities in order to deal with this type of conflict. >> let me ask of both of you, the chairman recently mentioned, chairman of the joint chiefs recently mentioned that he would like to see an update to goldwater nichols to ask the for the real time need for the co-coms to be in communication with the president in case of an emergency. we've been talking a lot about goldwater-nichols throughout this year in preparation for our national defense act coming up. what is your thought about the relationship of the co-coms to the chain of command, to the presidency, what do you see
as -- either one or both of you as potential improvements to the goldwater-nichols organizational structure? >> senator, i'd like to first say that goldwater-nichols has produced the officer that i am today and the magnificent military that we have today. i do believe given the change in our strategic environment particularly in the last three or four years that it is time to do a review. with reference to your specific question, i don't know that there is a need for the change. i report to the second of defense if confirmed and the president. but i think what we need in this environment is we also and what general dunford was suggesting,
we need the ability to have agility in our decision making and deployment of assets. very few of these challenges today are limited to one co-com. they're multiregional, multifunctional, multidomain. >> so we have to be sure that our organizational structure allows that agility. >> and the authorities, as well. >> general robinson, your comment. >> i agree with general scaparrotti 100%. it is a great time to look at it. the acts is 30 years old and the strategic landscape has changed. and the most important part out of all of this is the agility and able toyty o work with each other. >> my time is up, but i hope you will supply your thoughts in writing after the hearing and having people of your experience and wisdom would be very helpful to us. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the questions i was going to ask were pretty much asked by
senator graham. and i would just ask you, general scaparrotti, in your memory, in your history and service, have you ever seen a time when this country is more threatened than they are today? >> no, sir, i haven't. >> general robinson, all you have to do is repeat the performance you gave us in this new position and you'll do a great job. i want to mention a few things here just to make sure since i wasn't here until just now, i was in another committee, to make sure they're in the record. first of all, due to proliferation of technology, the number of countries possessing ballistic missile capability continues to increase with the weapons becoming more complex with countermeasures greater range and accuracy. it was testified last week nearly 30 countries possess missile capability with approximately 50 different variants and 13 intermediate range and eight various under
development. since signing the iran deal, which was a disaster, iran has conducted at least three sets of tests on nuclear capability, ballistic testing, the latest had quote israel should be equipped off the earth unquote and had a range up to 1250 miles. centcom commander testified that iran has been more aggression suffer since the nuclear deal. i think we all understand that. and on 9 february james clapper assessed, quote that north korea has already taken initial steps toward fielding the k and 08 road mobile icbm. let me ask you, general robinson, we talked about this before, number one, do you think there should be a restructuring
because of some confusion as to who is this charge of homeland security, do you think that changes should be made? >> sir, i know if confirmed as the commander of north com that i work closely with the interagency, department of homeland security. if confirmed that would be something -- >> so you would be in constant contact with them? >> yes, there is constant coordination. >> in light of everything that i said about the threat that is out there and the comment by general scaparrotti, are you confident in the intelligence that we're getting on north korea's and iran's capability? >> sir, given my recent experience and time that i've spent in the pacific and focus on north korea, i'm confident and comfortable with the intelligence that we're getting. i would have to come back to you about iran because i have not been focused thereto give you an accurate answer if confirmed. >> i've never been all that confident.
it's kind of a scary thing. we know all these things that i mentioned, that's the reality. that is today. general scaparrotti, let me ask you a question, i've been concerned for some time about the capabilities. a lot of our friends who historically always on our side are now kind of in a position with russia due to the fact that they control the russia and iran between the two of them control the capabilities, energy capabilities that we have in this country. now we have passed the lifting the ban and unfortunately the ban was lifted at a time when the price of natural gas was down so low, it didn't have the results that we anticipated and we hoped would be there. but what is your thinking right now about the capability that we're going to have -- how is lifting this ban going to help us in some of these areas that we'd like to be working with us as opposed to russia? >> well, senator, we've talked
about the hybrid warfare that russia practices. they use all the instruments of power to influence our allies and particularly the use of energy. and it's to our benefit i believe to assist our allies in any way that we can to relieve them of that dependence as much as possible on russia and that ability of russia to use that as a form of coercion. >> to you believe -- i think you just said this in a different way. to correct the situation, to be able to allow them to get their energy from us, that this is a great national security benefit we would have when that happens? >> senator, i haven't delved into this as a policy issue, but to me, it is reasonable that if we could provide energy to them, it would both assist them and us in our security.
thanks to the witnesses, but one topic. ask you a question about turkey and border control. heidi like you to talk about the complexities of dealing with turkey given the internal politics of turkey, concerns about the curds. they've been wonderful partners for the u.s. in the antiisil mission in iraq and the kurdistan and iraq has traditionally as a good relationship with turkey, but we've found partners with the kurds in northern syria and creates tensions with cur ki. we can't evaluate a -- have been by the same token, we need to manage the relationship with turkey.
how do you see your role in trying to wrk with the turkish relationships, trying to keep up our partnership with the kurds and manage that important relationship? >> they're a very important ally. if confirmed, obviously, i'll build a close relationship with their military leadership and with my intent their civilian leadership as well. you know, they look at counterterrorism and they look the pkk as the threat. we talk counterterrorism primarily, we think about isil. it's those dynamics that both of us have to realize our interests. in and find areas that commonly we can work together. in turkey's case, there's areas where we can support them in the overall effort within the sous flank of nato.
>> i'm really interested in the seam between north com and south com. we talked about this a little bit and some of the other questions about drug trafficking. is some originated in mexico, but much originated in south america. whether it's drug traffic iking and human trafficking, migrant flows driven by violence in central america, that word bord between mexico and the countries to the south is really important. talk about the kind of working relationship you'd like to form with the admiral. >> that's an incredibly important border. the more we can push everything down towards that border, the less the people will migrate across our southern border between us and mexico. kurt and i are very good
friends. if confirmed, i know he and i will dialogue on a very regular basis to work together to ensure that seam is as seamless as possible. it is incredibly important we do that and we work together to support the mexican military in that in their efforts with that southern border. >> great. thanks, mr. chair. >> thank you, it's been a great confirmation hearing and i appreciate both of you all's service and general robinson, your service of 34 years. whern you retire, i hope you'll consider north carolina a winter home. i guarantee you, the winters are better. one quick question for you. i sometimes think we lose sight
of the fact the number of victims that have been victims of narco terrorism. so, we're talking about the op yoid epidemic today, but hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives because of the activities that are flowing between south com and north com. i'm not going to cover the landscape again except to say it would be helpful for us to shed light on it. if you were to equate this for what we're deal ing what we're deal in with in the middle east, we have a lot of specific targets we could go after that we don't have resources to go after. we know a lot of times, where they're starting. where they're ending and we simply don't have the resources to enjekt as many assing we could. first, do agree and what kind of things can can we do to step up our game there, not at the expense of other important priorities. it's killing more americans than just about any other terrorist activity today. >> sir, if confirmed as i think it's incredibly important for me
to understand the border. i think it's important for me to walk the landscape. also, to work with agencies to understand the problems that you're just talking about. i know interdiction is important and getting after the networks is important. where's the interagency, dhs. where all law enforcement agencies. if r me to understand that and if confirmed, to be able to support. >> i'm glad you recognized that working with the mexican military and recognizing that much of the pressure on the northern border of mexico, ke leaved by taking care of the challenge on the southern border of mexico and that can only come with good partner cooperation, so, i appreciate your commitment to looking at that. to me, it's one of the most pressi ining things we need to .
you mentioned stepping up partner relations with europe. can you give me a brief synopsis in terms of their country's specific efforts to budget and fiund the things we need to do to make it clear to russia this will not end well if they continue their aggression and thirdly, just the general messaging within region. are the words the countries are conveying to their people and to the region consistent with what you think our objective should be in that area? >> with respect to our partnership, we get strong allies in europe m i've served with many and they provided about a third of the force in afghanistan and suffered a thousand casualties right alongside of us. so, i think that's an indication of just how good they can be. and the what we share.
>> i believe as a part of the alliance and as partners, we should meet our commitments and provide our fair share of the defense because we do, we are strong. >> do you feel like they have work to do there? >> we do. there's out of the i license of 28, there's five that have 2% or more of the gdp and nine that have increased their spending. as you know from the wale summit and looking forward to the summit, that commitment is one of the things we're focused on. >> i feel confident to say those on the eastern flank are communicating very, very serious ly act the light of russia. i think that's true. the remainder of our allies as well. however, you know, to the south, you've got a different, but just as important a threat and i think one of the important
things if confirmed that i need to do is recognize all of our threats. and help our allies to be unified. >> in closing, i want to associate myself with senator graham's comments and also make the point because people watch these hearings, take a lot from them. i don't think that there's any serious discussion among any member of congress. that would suggest that anyone thinks that withdrawal from nato makes sense. and the rhetoric and political circles now should not be considered. thank you all i look forward to supporting your confirmation. >> pointed out to us in a meeting that 9/11 was an attack on the united states of america, not a european country and they joined and over 1,000 of the
young men and women that have come from those countries have been killed in action. when we talk about how much money they haven't spent, we should keep the pressure on, i don't think we should forget over 1,000 of their young, i think all young men, have given their lives because of an action taken against the united states of america. >> thank you for your service and for being here today. >> i want to follow up on senator mccain. our support of the kurds, i know there are iraqi kurds and now, the syrian kurds seem to be valiant fighters. we don't seem to be second guessing are they going to turn on us, use our weapons, give our weapons to somebody else. we've not had that concern that's the only group we haven't
had that corn with. with the concern we have had with the turk, how they're looking at our relationship, are we not giving the support to the kurds we could even more and basically, do the iraqi kurds, are they still satisfied with one solution and having everything come through baghdad or are they still very frustrated with that? >> senator, i don't know the answer to that particular part of your question, the last part about their satisfaction. if i could take that a for the record. >> just to find out where we stand there. i mean, they've been very cooperative, but only take so much, if they rely on the dysfunction of baghdad right now, gets the goods they need and the arms they need. to help us defend, i think it would be a shame to not get it
from us detectly. >> they've been one of the best come bbatants we've allied with syria and if confirmed, i'll work closely with the combat and command in support of that. >> i was a year ago in argentina and at that time, i think we had the president was christina kershner and she's been replaced now by president mockery. who i understand is more pro western, pro u.s. than she. and we were having trouble with a lot of meth, a lot of drugs coming from argentina. our officials were complaining we got no cooperation. has that been strengthened? has new president mockery made a commitment to help us fight this drug trade? >> sir, i don't know the answer to that question at the moment, but what i will commit to you is
my relationship can kurt as we work together from south com and north com if confirmed. to watch that and again, to push things down as far as we can on the southern border. >> if you can get that, can't go any further south than argentina, but if you can get that information, it would be very helpful because our people are very frustrate. we're getting no help at ul. >> yes, sir. >> general, back on senator mccain asked you about nato. we should all be apart of nato. the bottom line of frustration is that we know the sacrifices they've made and they have come to the aid in defends the united states, but still haven't made a commit m. 2% of their gdp, but there's no quid proquo, no penalty for that. do you believe there's a way that we can hold them more accountable? if they are not coming up to the
2%? >> i think that's a question for the alliance and north atlantic council to wrestle with. obviously, if confirmed, i'll have the ability to give best military advice to the secretary general and the council. and as i've said, i do believe that within the alliance, the commit ms we make are very important for the strength of the alliance. on missile defense and with canada, i understand they're going to engage again, be involved in missile defense? >> sir, from what i read, they're in the process of talking about what they're going to do with that. if confirmed early on, i engage with my canadian counterparts and see where they're going. >> if they do join our efforts, would that reduce our missile
defensive responsibilities to the north or only be reenforcing our current defenses? how would the that play towards what we're doing now? >> sir, i don't have that now, but if confirmed, that's something i will look into rlly on. >> okay. i had one more i think real quick for general. the russia, the whole thing i think senator donnelly talked to you about the russia flyover. would our ships r, were we in the right to shoot down if we desired to do so with their aggression. >> sir, not knowing the complete circumstances, i really can't answer that this morning. >> so, as far as the justification that we could have taken action, i know turkey's taken action on russia before and i think russia understands turkey would continue to take action, but i think there's a concern that we won't and they were wanting to see how far we would go and i'm not advocating that we should have shot the
plane down, but i understood stood that secretary kerry described it as a wreck laz act and wasn't wrong in saying the u.s. ship would have been justified to shoot down the russian plane. >> yes, sir, i just don't have that detailed information to make that call. but i would say that it's absolutely reckless. it's unfus justifies and very dangerous. when you've got our operations going on as well was the case. >> do you see russia pushing the envelo envelope? are they pushing the envelope and limits of confrontation to test the western resolve or the united states' resolve? >> i think they're pushing the envelope in terms of our resolve, in terms of international norms and law purposely. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me follow up on that line of questioning. jerngs do you think we need to
establish, announce and implement more robust eoes particularly with regard to our navy? this isn't the first time that it seems roes were very weak. we nad navy sailors taken hostage in the gulf. what do we need to do here to bolster this and send a message that we're going to act more forcefully? >> sir, i'm not sure that roe, forces are operating under this prept time the exact rules of engagement, but if you look at the rules of engagement generally, they always have the right of self-defense and the right to act in self-defense, so i'm confident they knew that and if it was a they have to have
the guidance of the chain of command in order to know, understand and fully have confidence that they can take steps in specific -- >> if confirmed, can you take a look at these issues, both in the baltic sea and the gulf? >> yes, sir. >> let me turn to another area. both of you have enormous areas of responsibility. in terms of geographic scope. one place you actually overlap is the arctic. and as you know, we've had discussions, much more growing strategic importance in terms of shipping lanes, in terms of resources. and in terms of russian military build up, snap exercises. we saw tens of thousands of russian forces twice last year. one of the concerns i have and i just passed out something, it's reflected in the chart.
is the in order to address some of these challenges, we have co-com seams in the arctic where north com is the advocate for the arctic area. -- pay com controls most of the forces. so, i'd like to ask just one hypothetical. we talk a lot about fawn ops and hypothetically, if russia decided to deny access to vital u.s. international shipping in the arctic region, which is growing tremendously, which commander would respond to that threat? >> the issue we talked about earlier, most of our thet tlets today are across the boundary. if it were in the -- area, i would take the lead and the others would be in support of that. >> if it were ship ng the
berring straiber berring strait. kind of in your area. in the ndaa last year, we actually had an amendment that addressed this and had the secretary of defense to focus on the operational seams with regard to putting together a arctic strategy. if confirmed, working with admiral harris and pay com, will you focus on trying address this co-com operational seam that certainly can be worked through, but seems to be a challenge? >> sir, if confirmed, i commit to you that i will focus on the arctic. i will use a complex place. it's becoming much more conge congested and i will focus on understanding comp hensley what that is and come back to you and talk about what should we do. >> general -- >> yes, sir, i will. >> in the ndaa last year, it focused on the secretary of
defense because of these issues and the growing threat. being required to develop arctic strategy. a new operational plans that reflect a new situation in the arctic. if confirmed, will you work with osd the make sure that the those requirements from the congress are fulfilled? >> yes, sir, i commit to you to come back and talk to you what i learn. fz. >> >> yes, sir, i will. >> let me talk very quickly on the european reassurance initiative. ik a lot of us are very supportive of that. it's focus, a lot of the focus as you've mentioned is in the east. given what we just talked about here. do you believe that that eri should have a focus? it's not just east, but certainly in the north where some of our allies and friends have very significant concerns about russian threats and
aggression. >> yes, sir, i think er, nids to look at the entire threat. and the entire threat as well as it needs to be joined in nature. there are other areas that we need to look at as i have confirmed, i will look at as i move forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. congratlation to you both on your nominations and general robinson, to your landmark nomination. i think we'll see speedy confirmation of you both. yen, i want to return to a question a few of the senators have addressed about russian aircraft flying by first. wup of our ships and then one of our aircraft in northern europe. i know you're not aware of all the circumstances. to specify a response, but does that activity call for some kind of a response? >> yes, sir, it does.
endangers our crew members, our ships and does require response of some type. >> is that because with no response, it em boldens putin's russia to prove even further? >> i think they need to understand what's acceptable. we're flying and sailing in international waters in the baltic for instance, and we have every right to do so. >> need that response be symmetrical or for instance, javelin showing up on the border? >> i would say as we look at options, we should keep everything on the table. >> and that, whatever the response may be, even if it's not a public response, putin needs to understand it is a response. >> yes. >> i want to turn to a topic we've discusseded previously in your current role in cory yee area, cluster munitions that have a rate below 1%. what is your understanding of
how many cluster munitions in inventory today failed to comply with that gates policy? >> sir, i couldn't answer that accurately. i would just tell you my experience with the, with the munitions that i have in korea, that i would lose just about all of my cluster munitions for use that i have stockpiled today. >> what is the department of defense's current policy or plan to address this problem? >> today, there are studies ongoing and some assets available. that in the future, with programs of purchase, that could begin to replace those. some of those munitions don't have the same lethality that we have today, particularly against armor, and presently for those that are not just that are not envisioned, assets we know we could build, we don't have a plan to replaces them in the
numbers that we need. i would say that's true in korea because i'm very aware of what our requirements are. >> is one of those possible solutions air bursting traditional so-called dumb bombs? and using them as targets? >> that's an option. >> and would that be an option that likes the kind of lrk ethality? >> if you were to use unitary munitions to replace a cluster munition, you have to fire three to five munitions in place. and so, just logistically, it creates a problem. we need to develop cluster munitions that meet the law and my recommendation would be that in the interim, we maintain the munitions that we have today. >> are you aware of any u.s. produced solution to this problem? >> i'd like to take that for the
record. i'm aware of some solutions we're working, when you say it's u.s.-produced, i'm not exactly sure who is working on those products i'm aware of and best so i can also answer it in a classified forum as well. >> thank you. this obviously of most famous concern on the border between north korea and south korea. >> right. >> given russia's recent probing throughout eastern europe and the middle east, how important is this issue for you in the new job after your confirmation? >> it's very important. i would point out that russia has used cluster munitions in the ukraine, themselves. with great effect. >> i thought so. vladimir putin and many other analysts in russia often cite historical grievances in their activities in places like the ukraine and to bolster themselves domestically. they cite three grievances in
particular. the collapse of the warsaw collapse, the collapse of the soviet union and nato expansion into those historically russian-dominated territories. do you think that's a fair account for what's happened in the post-cold warer rar? >> sir, if i'm following you i would say it's clear that putin, i believe, i can't say it's clear, i believe that putin's view is is that russia is being constrained by the international norms. international norms established by the west and predominately the u.s. it's from that view that he has, i think, set out deliberately to challenge those norms. to disrupt our international order, globally. wherever he has that opportunity. >> given that countries like poland and latvia and lithuania and estonia have chosen freely to join nato, do you think
there's any truth to his claims that these are lands that are traditionally oriented toward the east? >> well, he certainly claims that. but as you know, we believe and many of these countries desire to be a sovereign nation and make their own choices the type of government they have. that's what we've traditionally supported as a part of our values and we're in support of today. >> the final point he makes about nato expansion is this is an aggressive action toward russia and could threaten their territorial integrity and sovereignty. has nato been investing lately in large-scale rearmaments of a kind that would launch a massive land invasion of russia? >> no, sir, and as you know, nato for nearly 230 ye ll lly 2d out to russia with the idea that they could become a part of the security that nato proceeds to
all of europe as a partner. and they've refused that hand at this point. >> to look at the claim from the other direction has russia been investing in massive defensive buildups, building ditches on its border with nato, moving in other weaponry to forestall the nato invasion of russia? >> the modernization of their forces is significant. it's developing incredible capability we've seen on display. with their first out-of-area deployment into syria for instance and the weapons systems they deployed there. finally, if you look at the area, access or denial, those areas are a2ad that they've established, i think there's ample evidence of that. >> i think based on the historical record as well as their own investments, it suggests to me vladimir putin's narrative about the west is another classic russian campaign
of dis-entermoxia. thank you. >> general breedlove said he anticipated further russian military activity, separatist russian military activity in ukraine. do you agree with that assessment? >> sir, the indications that i've seen, i believe that's true. >> so do you believe that we should be providing defensive weapons to ukraine? >> sir, i believe that we should provide the weaponry we believe they need to defend their sovereignty and that they're capability of using. >> you think they need and could use javelin? >> sir, i think there's a requirement for an anti-tank weapon like javelin in their situation. >> thank you. general, i hope that you will give some urgency to the issue that you and i discussed earlier and that is concerning the troop strength numbers.
all these things take planning, they take execution. now we're looking at a couple of months from now. so i hope you'll make that a very high priority. general robinson, i'm glad you're going to go down to the border. you'll find that this time of year it starts getting very warm there. and you'll also find it's very hard on personnel sometimes to sit in a vehicle on the border next to a fence in 115 degree heat. that efficiency declines rather rapidly. and that's why we have to emphasize technology. i hope that at your first opportunity you'll go see secretary johnson and so that we can better coordinate our activities on the border with secretary johnson.
the answer to this both whether it be the epidemic of manufactured heroin or whether it be people or whether it be the possibility of a terrorist which increases coming across our southern border can only be defeated by technology. we need to have the ability to detect those tunnels. the israelis, i understand, have that capability, and capability exists. we're not going to stop the tunnels and they are myriad, believe me, over the years. just by observing. we have to have the kind of technology which exists. i also believe that it's very important that we understand that a lot of this manufactured heroin is coming across our ports of entry, not necessarily by the traditional ways because small amounts can be concealed.
and, again, that is technology. so we have -- with the rise of isis, we have an additional now threat on our southern border and that is the threat of terrorists coming across and so your involvement with full respect is dramatically increased. so i hope you'll understand here we have the threat of terrorism and we also have a flood of manufactured heroin and we also have a flood of children who come from the three central american countries and also put enormous strains on our capabilities on the border. one program, amongst others i hope you'll look at is that guard units from states all over
america have come to arizona to train unarmed but providing manpower and capabilities that are much needed so i would say, obviously, you need to go to the border, but i would like to see close coordination between you and the secretary of homeland security so that we can use the best talents that we have. have no doubt this is a crisis in the northeast and midwest, the drugs alone. not to mention the threat of terrorists coming across our border. if those threats are true, i believe they are, then your involvement is greater than it has been in the past. senator king, did you want to -- senator blumenthal. >> thank you, senator mccain. i want to emphasize how important senator mccain's
comments are to all of us engaged actively in our states in this war against an epidemic. it's a public health hurricane that is sweeping our country and affecting the quality of people who are available to you, our military, doing your job very ing actively and responsibly in recruiting new men and women to join your forces. this public health hurricane is undermining the recruiting effort insofar it diminished the quality of people who are available to fight in our military. tearing apart families. causing heartbreak and heartache. i think you used that word, general richardson. and i released last week a call to action with 23 specific
recommendations focusing on health care, on law enforcement, on overprescribing of painkillers, on a variety of areas where i think the nation needs to do more and do it better. and in my public comments, i've talked about the interdiction challenge. and it's not within the ability of states to do, but it has to be part of our national mission. every bit as vital to our national defense as the other missions you have. so i just want to second what my colleagues have said. i'm not the first, but i want to emphasize the point that senator mccain has just made so eloquently. i want to go to another topic that you have also been asked about. general scaparrotti, i am very concerned about our submarine undersea warfare capability force. i know you're very much aware of