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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 31, 2016 9:42am-11:43am EDT

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we believe they pose a severe threat. and like the saudi they have lost considerable confidence in the reliability of the united states. but also like the saudi's, they ear reluctant to -- they're reluctant to put their security ties to jeopardy. also, they're heavily invested in a very ambitious nuclear energy program with the construction of four nuclear power reactors and they know that this program would be dead in the water if they opted for nuclear weapons. indeed, in support of its strong national commitment to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, the uae has formerly renounced the acquisition of enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. after they permitted iran to
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retain its enrichment program, they said they may reconsider their formal renunciation of enrichment, but richard and i were told that the uae has not changed its nuclear energy plans and has no intention to pursue enrichment or reprocessing. next was egypt. egypt is on everyone's short list of potential nuclear aspirins, in part, because of its former role as leader of the arab world and its flirtation with nuclear weapons in the nasir years. but while egypt and iran have often been regional rivals, egypt does not view iran as a direct military threat. egypt's main concerns today include extremist activities in the sinai, the fragmentation of
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iraq and syria, disarray in libya and the adverse impact of these developments on egypt's internal security and egyptians recognize that none of these threats can be satisfactorily addressed by the possession of nuclear weapons. in addition, while egypt plans to build its first nuclear power reactor with russia's help, it has ambition nuclear energy plans in the past, which never materialized. given the secure economic challenges currently facing the egyptian government, cairo's nuclear energy plants are unlikely to fair much better this time around. finally turkey, turkey is also on everyone's short list of potential nuclear armed states. but turkey has maintained reasonable good relation with
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iran, even during the height of the sanctions campaign against iran, although the two countries take opposing sides in the syrian silver war, turkey like egypt does not regard iran as a direct military threat. indeed, sees instability and terrorism emanating from the syrian conflict as its main security concerns and nuclear weapons are not viewed as relevant to dealing with those concerns. current tensions with russia over turkey's shoot down of a russian fighter jet are another source of concern. but the best means of addressing that concern is to rely on the security guarantee, turkey, enjoys as a member of nato and they'll not want to put its relationship with nato at risk by pursuing nuclear weapons.
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for the sake of completeness, richard and i also looked at regional countries whose past nuclear weapons programs were halted by coercive means, namely, iraq, libya, and syria. we concluded that under current circumstances none -- none of these countries was in a position to pursue a sustained, disciplined nuclear weapons effort. so our bottom line is that none of the middle east countries we studies is likely to pursue nuclear weapons or even nuclear weapons capabilities, at least, for the foreseeable future. richard? >> thank you, bob and thank you everybody for joining us here. as bob laid out, our assessment
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is that the likelihood of proliferation cascade in the middle east is fairly low. and it's certainly lower than it was prior to the conclusion of the jcpao iran's nuclear -- in 2000, is that we should be in possession of a healthy sense of humility about make predictions about the future trend and future direction of events in the middle east. there are several events that could happen that could invalidate our prediction, much will depend on what iran does over the course of the next 10 to 15 years moreover, even if we're right, there are several things that the united states both can and should do that would decrease this possibility and frankly also have positive benefits for u.s. policy and u.s. relationships in the region.
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and we offered eight specific recommendations, which have subtle, they are, first, tone sure that the jcpoa is rigorously monitored, strictly enforced and implemented. second, strengthen u.s. intelligence, collection on iranian proliferation related activities and intelligence sharing with countries in the region. third, to deter future decision to produce nuclear weapons, including through the passage of a standing authorization to use military force if iran were to be detected engaging in a nuclear weapons break out. four, seek to incorporate key monitoring and provisions of the jcpoa into routine international energy agency safeguards as applied elsewhere in the middle east and in the global nonproliferation regime. fifth, pursue u.s. civil nuclear cooperation on terms that are realistic and which serve u.s.
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nonproliferation and regional interests. sixth, promote regional arrangements that restrain fuel cycle developments and build confidence in the peaceful uses of regional nuclear energy programs. seventh, strengthen security assurances as partners in the middle east and eighth to promote a stable regional security environment. i won't go into all of these recommendations here, but i do want to stress three common themes that kind of persists throughout all of them. the first is that the central test of nonproliferation in the middle east will be on whether or not the jcpoa does what it sets out to do, whether it's able to constrain iran's nuclear program as well as constrain's iran's ability to establish regional. this may seem like an obvious point, but it cannot be stressed enough that the decision to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities at the end of the day is always going to come back to an issue of security delima and a sense of vulnerability. and so, an inability to address
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that vuner blt will certainly prompt consideration of nuclear weapons or at least late nuclear weapons options by countries. the history of nuclear pro lirvesion in my view is, in fact, one of tit for tat armament in the face of overriding security, in finished and aborted nuclear weapons programs bear the hallmarks of this security dilemma, and that's no less true in the middle east. to the extent that the overall security environment can be stabilized, then there will be less of an impetus to develop nuclear weapons or the option to pursue nuclear weapons by all states in the region, both countries outside of iran and iran itself. and it's for this reason that we emphasize the full implementation of the jcpoa, creation of the strong sense of deterrence, the establishment of security assurances, especially through mechanisms necessary for them to be seen as both existing and operational, not just simply words on a piece of paper, but something that actually is living and breathing and works on a day-to-day basis.
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and work to promote a more stable regional environment, especially by seeking resolution of simmering conflicts. but these two latter factors also point to another resident theme in our research -- the need for the united states to be a player in the region. in my view, after decades of involvement in the region, we have yet really to settle upon an equilibrium for how the united states ought to operate in the region. in establishing this equilibr m equilibrium, the choice between involvement and remoteness is essential. states in the region need to have some sense of predictability when they are dealing with washington. they need to have a sense of whether or not we are in it for the long haul and whether or not we will fulfill the obligations that we take on. in part for this reason, we've recommended not only deeper security relationships, but also civil nuclear cooperation with interested straits throughout the region. of course, such a relationship is not simply going to be about establishing a closer link between the united states and partners in the region. there is also a value about
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discouraging the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology. doing so may, in fact, require something different than the use of the gold standard as enshrined in the uae/u.s. nuclear cooperation agreement, at least insofar as the words on the page are concerned. but the practical impact in the meaning of those words has to be the same in order to create this, again, this sense of equilibrium and this sense of fairness, really in how u.s. nuclear cooperation operates. we've also emphasized this imperative of closer intelligence-sharing on both sides so that countries in the region know what we know, and we're in a position to know what they know, and most importantly, what they think they know. and this is a critical distinction. and our ability to be able to work with one another to both dispel rumors that may be contributing to a sense of security concern that isn't even there as well as to confirm the reality of any suspicions that, in fact, exist. the reality is, however, that only time will tell. and even more important than how
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the jcpoa was negotiated and what its words say will be how we transition from its restrictions and transparency mechanism into a new world in 10 to 15 years. and this, i think, is the third theme of our recommendations. to put it bluntly, i think bob and i believe that we should avoid this transition altogether to the extent that we can. the potentially easiest lift in this regard, but i must stress it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, would be to try and incorporate into standard international monitoring and transparency practices those very tools that we worked so hard to put into the jcpoa. some of these are just technical changes on the part of the iaea and how it operates. for instance, the use of online enrichment monitoring in uranium enrichment facilities. other parts, however, may require agreements at the iaea and beyond on how nuclear-related activities, particularly those that have some nexus with weaponization, will be in the future. but it's work that must be
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started now and it's work that's going to take a long time to complete. a far more difficult lift would be the organization of a regional approach to the nuclear fuel cycle. i'm not suggesting that we seek to establish a multinational fuel cycle in which iran and countries in the gulf arab side of the persian gulf are able to work together on nuclear projects. i think that's probably something that's not terribly feasible. instead, we recommend that we find ways of crafting regional agreements or at least regional more torah on aspects of the fuel cycle that others in the region would find threatening. reprocessing is an easy one, because really, no one outside of israel is suspected of even engaging in these activities throughout the middle east. enrichment would be altogether more difficult. but i think that there is a relationship that can be built between countries and iran about holding fast on the kinds of restrictions that are already in place. for iran, this would involve the actual possession of enrichment but not in a materially useful
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way for nuclear weapons pursuits, and iran agreeing to hold back the development of its enrichment capabilities. for countries in the region, it would mean holding off on enrichment and accepting that with iran but also avoiding the political and security investment that would have to be embarked upon and accepted if, in fact, countries were to decide to try and match iranian capabilities in 10 to 15 years. frankly, all of this may prove to be impossible to work out, but i believe that a multivariable approach, picking up various different aspects of these recommendations and bringing them forward has the greatest chance of success in reinforcing what we already think is a positive direction for non pro lirvesion in the middle east. and i think it's argued that the recommendations we put forward are an agenda of ambitions that ought to be developed further and considered by countries in the region, the united states and our partners, if we wish to actually ensure that the middle east does not become a cascade of proliferation. thank you.
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>> thank you very much to both of you for outlining the analysis in the report, the recommendations fluorite. we'll now turn to our discussers to speak a few words from the table here. derek? >> sure, thanks. great to be with all of you this morning. first, i just want to congratulate bob and richard for what i think is a terrific report. i had an opportunity several weeks ago to read it in draft and realcommend it to everyone here. so much has been written on the iran nuclear deal over the past year, much of it slanted one way or another, and this report is sober, fair, self-critical, and solution-oriented. so, it is a real achievement, and i congratulate you. i concur very much with the bottom line that bob and richard have talked about today. the result of the jcpoa and the nuclear deal has thwarted a proliferation cascade in the middle east, at least over the
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next 10 to 15 years, but i also very much concur that there are a lot of uncertainties here. and they are right to warn that ensuring implementation presents a series of tests for the united states, for our middle east partners, and for our european allies in the years ahead. so, the question is what we can do to build on this deal and enhance it to ensure that it meets its objectives. there's a lot of very smart recommendations in this report. i'm going to focus on those related to the security and military aspects of what we should be doing in the next 10 to 15 years. an essential part of implementation of this deal is to further deter iran from its nuclear ambitions and reassure our allies. and this is a process that is going to need constant tending and maintenance in the years ahead. now, the roots of this strategy really began eight years ago with the dual track of pressure and engagement, and maintaining
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pressure will be important and must be a priority for the next president and his or her administration. that's, of course, economic pressure, but it's also going to be maintaining the military pressure. and i think there are four components of that -- it's presence, it's planning, it's capabilities and it's cooperation. and i'm going to quickly tick through each of those, starting with presence. as richard and bob noted, there is for better or for worse, fair or unfair, a lack of confidence right now perceived by many in the region in the united states. so, that's why presence is important. it is important, will be important to maintain a u.s. military presence in the region, and i believe to be explicit about our intent to do so over the next 10 to 15 years during the period of the jcpoa. folks should not be guess whether or not we intend on maintaining a robust military presence in the region. we should be clear about doing that. several years ago, alongside the diplomatic efforts of the
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sanctions regime and outreach to iran which bob and richard were instrumental to, there was a concerted effort to build and maintain a u.s. military footprint in the middle east in the wake of the withdrawal from iraq. and the dod where i served in the last 2 1/2 years of the administration, we called this set the theater, to ensure that the united states had the capabilities in place to execute all options if the president so ordered. we need to continue to set the theater in the years ahead. we have that capability there today. we still have more capability in the middle east than the united states had prior to 9/11, but that will come under increasing pressure from demands in other regions, in europe, in asia, where there is a high demand for more u.s. military presence, also budget pressures here at home, also the sense that the jcpoa has solved the problem, and that therefore, there is less of a demand for u.s. military presence in the region.
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so we should commit to maintain that. that includes ground presence, aviation, maritime, for example, like maintaining a carrier battle group. second, planning, making sure, as richard noted, this needs to be -- we need to ensure that this remains operational. we must maintain the military planning for all options. a little history here is important. when the obama administration came into office, the truth is, the planning was not in the shape that we had expected it to be. that planning had atrophied in the 2000s for many reasons. secretary gates initiated a series of efforts that secretary of defense panetta will continue to ensure that the u.s. military had done the necessary planning on a variety of scenarios to execute any options that the president ordered. and we made sure it was resourced and exercised. we cannot let that atrophy again. in fact, i think it's even more important in the next 10 to 15 years to keep that planning tight.
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a critical component of planning is, of course, u.s. capabilities and the development of weapons to address the unique and hardened iranian nuclear infrastructure, and a lot of resources and high-level attention over the past several years went into assuring that the u.s. maintained the military capability to address the iranian nuclear threat, and we need to continue to work that work on weapons design and procurement in the years ahead. and a final point it on our declarative posture. at the various leader summits of the last two years at camp david and riyadh, the united states with our gulf partners reiterated the carter doctrine in terms of the u.s. commitment to security of the gulf. i think it's worth exploring, as the report suggests, looking at expanding the nuclear umbrella in the event that iran proceeds to break out. and i think that's something that the next administration should take a close look at. i also commend the report's idea that it should seek prior authorization from congress and aumf if iran violates the deal.
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i think it's a good idea. unfortunately, i think it's very unlikely because it's hard to see congress authorizing the war that we're currently in, let alone one that's theoretical, but i think it's something we should definitely pursue. third, partner capabilities. we need to focus on enhancing partner capabilities in the middle east. that's something that's been a big project of the obama administration over the last seven years. working with our gulf partners and our israeli partners to ensure that they have the means to protect themselves and deter iranian aggression. there's been several record-setting arms sales over the next several years and there is plenty on the table now that needs to get over the finish line soon. we need to implement the commitments made in the camp david and riyadh leaders summits, especially on greater cooperation on maritime, missile defense, cyber security. and we do need an expedited process for weapons acquisition here in the united states. this is something when i was in office, i worked very closely
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with the ambassador. it's a frustrating process, to say the least, and i think this is something a new administration and new congress next year should take up as one of their first 100-day projects to come up with some new system while maintaining israel's qme, but to ensure that our gulf allies get the capabilities they need in a more timely fashion. and we also need to recognize that some of our best partners -- and here i will also point out the uae. they should get major non-nato ally status. this is something that this report suggests that we do. fourth, cooperation. and over the last seven years, the u.s. and our gulf partners have created various fora to try to bring about a conversation about the iranian nuclear threat and about what we are going to do together to try to address it. it started at a ministers' level and has continued on at a leaders' level. that's something we need to lock in for the future.
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it's important for the summits to continue. it fills the gap, when you think of the u.s. engagement with other parts of the world, europe, asia in particular. there are regularized leader summits, where once a year, sometimes more, the president of the united states will meet with those regional partners. we did not have that in the middle east, and i think that's what this process has started, and it's important for the next administration to continue it. this report recommends that in the first six months of the next presidency, there is another one of these leaders summits. i think that's a good idea. i also think it's important that between now and the end of the year that there's another ministerial-level meeting for the foreign and defense ministers with their gulf counterparts to talk about where we are on these various projects that we've outlined for one another. and although the report also notes that it might be a bridge too far at the moment to think about some sort of more binding security alliance, like a nato, i think there's some ideas from nato that we could import into the conversation in the region. for example, it might not be article 5,mute mutual self-def
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but it could be article 4 of the treaty, which is a cultative mechanism built into the alliance that if a partner feels threatened in any way, they can call for immediate consultations, and that's something perhaps we could look at as some sort of regional security architecture. two final points. first, it's very important for us throughout the process in the next 10 to 15 years to keep the onus on iran and to ensure that we maintain the leverage that we created together over the last seven years where iran was seen as the partner that was the outlier, was seen as that party. whatever the united states does, we cannot let our actions allow iran to turn the tables and make the united states that partner in the eyes of the world and that the united states is the one that ends up isolated. that's very important. secondly, this is not just an american project. this is a common project of the
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united states, our middle east partners and european allies. therefore, it's very important over this process over the next 10 to 15 years, where it will be constantly tested and there are so many uncertainties, that the united states keeps the world together on this. getting to this point, where we are today, required one of the most intensive u.s. diplomatic efforts in our history alongside camp david under president carter, the two plus four process on german unification, dayton. it's going to require the same kind of energy, creativity, relentlessness in the next 10 to 15 years that it required to get to this point. the next administration is going to have to lead on this. this is not something that's just going to be about nice words. it's going to have to take on a series of very tough and relentless actions, and that's yet another reason why the choice we have in front of us over the next year in terms of the new administration is so important. thank you very much for your time. >> thanks very much, derek.
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and on that note, i'd like to try to draw ambassador into the conversation. you've been one of the most articulate voices on the tension this report gets to, between the importance of the implementation of the deal in its strictest terms, but the broader recognition that the deal does not address the real challenge that iran poses. and recently, you wrote in a "wall street journal" op ed that "the iran we have long known -- hostile, expansionist, violent -- is alive and well and as dangerous as ever." can you speak to how you see the early phase of the implementation going and the broader challenge that the region perceives from iran? >> sure. thank you, suzanne. i want to thank brookings for having me today. i also want to say that i largely agree with derek in that this report is probably the most objective and thoughtful report on the iran deal i have seen so far. so, thank you to richard and bob
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for all the hard work in putting this together. iran to most of the countries in the region is a much broader threat beyond the nuclear front. in fact, i think the nuclear file is probably the easiest part of the iran threat to deal with. and i do agree with the report's conclusion in that for the next 10 to 15 years we have gotten our self a runway, a safety zone, so to speak, that as we've taken off one of the most important issues, we believe that in the next 15 years, it is going to be virtually impossible for iran to get a nuclear weapon. now, having said that, if we can now move to work effectively together as an international community to address the other part of iran's behavior -- iran's support for hezbollah, hamas, shia militias in iraq, rebels in yemen, creating havoc in saudi arabia's eastern province or bahrain or kuwait -- then this deal will be judged as
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a good deal. if, on the other hand, we now fear risking this deal by pushing hard on iran and sort of taking our foot off the gas and looking in the other direction, this deal will be largely judged as a bad deal. and i think this is not often taken into consideration when people discuss the deal. people look at the deal and say we've prevented iran from getting a nuclear weapon, you know, our job is done. no, it's not. i think our job is just beginning. what i wrote in the article -- this was an easy article to write because i wrote facts. i simply wrote what iran has done in the last 10 to 12 months. we have repeatedly tested missiles in violation of u.n. security council. they have continued to support hezbollah. they have continued to support the houthi rebels in yemen. and so, what i wrote was how the region sees iran's behavior. so, the question remains, are we going to now be able to make iran pay a higher price for this behavior or not?
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and the answer to that will largely reflect on how that deal is viewed. >> and if i can maybe press you on that point. are you seeing from the obama administration at this stage the sort of pushback to iran's behavior in the region that begins to rebuild some of the confidence that has been lost around the region about u.s. presence and commitment? >> i do, but i also see mixed messages. i do see a desire to push back iranian influence, but at the same time, i also see u.s. officials encouraging european businesses to go do business with iran. and so, there is this mixed messages that we receive. on one hand, yes, don't worry, we have your back, the u.s. is committed to your security. but at the same time, we're trying to open a broader avenue into iran, despite their current bad behavior. so, i think if you ask anyone in the region, they will tell you that they see two sides of the
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same coin. >> i'm going to abuse my role as moderator for just a moment and pose just a couple of questions to our panelists before i bring it out to the audience and hope that at least a few of our distinguished guests sitting up front might have a few words to say when we do that. but i want to speak first to the assessments within the report and then get to what, as derek said, the solution-oriented aspect of the report, which i think is really important. in terms of the assessment, the one area that seems to be a bit of a wild card at the moment is just the internal politics of saudi arabia. and i wondered how confident you are that the changes that we're seeing in saudi leadership and in the dynamics within the royal family will mean for the durability of the assessment that, in fact, the saudis will prioritize the vital relationship between the united states and riyadh in a way that would deter them from taking any
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sort of other action in terms of proliferati proliferation. >> well, it's clear in many ways that the saudis are concerned with current u.s. leadership. they are acting more independ t independently, more assertively, especially this generational change we see with the defense minister, mohammed bin saman, apparently, reportedly in the lead and taking a much more assertive role, especially in the campaign in yemen. and you know, in our research, richard and i heard many regional countries concerned that the saudis may be overreacting and may be simulating instability and even blowback to their own interests
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by doing this. it's a very delicate balance i think the u.s. has to pursue and is trying to pursue in the obama administration. on the one hand, showing our support for the security interests of our partners, including saudi arabia, but on the other hand, not providing too much support for actions that the u.s. believes may be going a bit too far. i think the u.s. knows, and certainly, president obama has stated, that it's going to be very important in the long term to first of all achieve a balance in the region between iran and its supporters and the sunni arabs that are concerned about iranian behavior. establish this balance with a strong u.s., credible military
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presence. but there's a second part of that dual-track approach. after demonstrating our commitment, it's to encourage some kind of regional accommodation. it's difficult politically to do that in the u.s., to seem as if we are mediating between our traditional partners and the country that's caused so much instability in the region. but i think unless we can promote perhaps an accommodation, a reconciliation goes too far. but at least some kind of balance so that both iran and the saudis feel that they can stand down a bit in terms of, you know, military activity in the region. that's going to be very important. the saudis are demonstrating their independence in a number of ways, not just in their campaign in yemen and the support for elements in the
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syrian civil war, but also engaging in discussions with other suppliers of arms and potential security cooperation. there have been meetings with russia and other countries. but what richard and i learned, and we met with very senior saudi officials, including in the ministry of defense, was that at the end of the day, the kingdom relies on the united states for its security and is going to be unwilling to jeopardize that by flirtation with other suppliers. it knows no one else is going to be both able and willing to fill in for the united states. so that i think is a stabilizing influence, but the u.s. has to be a good security partner and to engage in activities along the lines of what derek has emphasized. >> and let me just pose one additional question, really to any of you who would like to take it down.
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one of the key aspects of the deal was the sunset provisions within it, key and obviously very contested on the part of many here in washington and in the region. you've talked in this report about using various aspects of the deal, kind of rootenizing them and making the iran deal a sort of platform for non pro lirvesion activities across the region and potentially more broadly. but clearly, the timeline's going to matter because the clock's ticking on the expiration of the various provisions in the deal. what are the key steps that particularly a new administration might want to be working on expeditiously in terms of setting the bar high and trying to do the best possible in terms of ensuring that some aspects of this deal survive and endure well beyond the 8, 10 and 15-year expiration dates. and i'd invite any of you to maybe tackle a few words on
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that. >> can i tackle a part -- i'm not going to answer that, because that's a question for the administration. but i'd like to tack on to your question, what happens if it's not done? what happens if at the end of 15 years those restrictions are lifted and the exact opposite happens and iran does ramp up its enrichment capacity, its r&d capacity and the restrictions are lifted off, iran is stronger economically? i think that's an important question to address, too, because it goes to the heart of the cause of the report itself. >> so, i'll take a swing at answering both of those questions. i mean, i think the reality is that a lot of the steps that are part of the jcpoa are within 9:00 a.m. bit of the international atomic agency to adopt more generally. things like online enrichment monitoring, which they use to ee what's going on and going
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through the pipes. that's a very straightforward way for an inspector on the ground to be able to say, yes, what the country's telling me they're doing is what they're doing. and the degree to which the iaea can rootenize that monitoring, especially with remote monitoring and transmission of information, that gives you a lot of confidence that what you think is going on at the plant is going on at the plant. and it may seem very overly technical and a little bit too podantic to focus on things like that, but frankly, those are the steps that give you confidence to know when breakout has started. because you know, like it or not, at the end of the day, iran's nuclear weapons ambitions are going to be hamstrung or facilitated by its fuel cycle capabilities and what it presently has and what it will have in the future. if you know what they're doing at any one particular moment, that gives you greater confidence that you can react quickly. and i think if there's one unheralded accomplishment of the deal, it's not just that it extended breakout times from two to three months to a year, it
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made sure that entire year was usable for any administration seeking to counter it either through military force or through diplomacy or through quick application of sanctions. so, it's an important step that allows i think countries in the region and beyond to know that what's going on in that enrichment plant is still what's going to be going on later on. and i think you can see value for bringing that technology and similar safeguards/measures into the broader global context. i think there are other things, and we talked about it in the report, that would be useful. probation on some activities directly related to weaponization. i think the jcpoa utilized key technology, like the systems used to validate a nuclear explosion's going to work when you test a warhead -- x-ray, cameras and so forth -- that you could be able to have broader export control rules or agreements on the part of countries not to pursue those capabilities. you know, for the very fact that they are so destabilizing and
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risky. again, i'm not suggesting that all these things are easy, but it seems to me these are fairly straightforward technical fixes that you could bring to bear. which brings to the question of, let's say that we're not able to bring forward all these technological fixes and legal and infrastructure fixes to how nuclear programs are done. you know, i don't think the obama administration ever foreclosed the possibility of responding to an iranian increased enrichment program in 10 to 15 years in any way that it might deem fit, including use of military force, return to economic sanctions and so forth. and i think the iranians have some awareness of their vulnerabilities in that regard. to some extent, the reintroduction of iran back into the global economy is going to only increase their vulnerability to the possibility of economic sanctions. and for those who say, well, there's no chance that we'll ever get that kind of sanctions regime back against iran, i would point to the sanctions regime we have against russia. russia is by far a much more significant oil producer. we still have sanctions on russia in response to ukraine
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and those sanctions are doing damage to the russian economy. i don't think there's any reason to believe that you couldn't reintroduce similar sorts of measures against iran if you wanted to go the sanctions path. and if not, if the military option is what you choose to pursue, then we have a better understanding of whether nuclear sites are, what's in them, what their capabilities are. so, i think really all options do remain 10 to 15 years from now. >> if i could add to that, and if you have more to say. you know, this is a critical matter, the question of what happens after 10 to 15 years. this is one of the areas that has been focused on most by the critics. i think it's important to recognize that, sure, iran legally can ramp up its capability to produce the material after 10 and 15 years. it legally can do that as part of the jcpoa. the question is will they do that? they say today that they will do
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that, that they're committed to have an industrial-scale enrichment program in order to produce fuel for their future fleet of nuclear power reactors. but how realistic is that? the reality is that iran is not going to be able to produce its own nuclear reactors for many, many years, for decades. it will rely on foreign supplies. and the russians in particular have been and will continue to be i think their major source. and the russians insist on providing fuel for all the reactors that they sell to iran, which eliminates any persuasive rationale for iran to have an industrial-scale enrichment program. i think that needs to be pointed out. there is no legitimate, peaceful justification for iran to ramp up its programs. and we should be looking at
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further incentives to convince iran that it doesn't need to do this. also, technically, it's not at all clear how iranian research and development on new centrifuges will go. will it even be in a position to ramp up its capability to the extent that it says it's committed to do? we will see. but we should adopt policies to try to discourage them from building up their capability to the extent that is legally permitted. also, there's a kind of misperception, i think, of how the jcpoa works. yes, iran can legally ramp up its capability after 10 and 15 years, but it's not -- let's say it decides to do that. it has good r&d program, it ramps up its capability. is it free to go ahead and use that capability to build nuclear weapons? no. the jcpoa as well as the
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continuing iranian adherence to the non-proliferation treaty forbids them from doing that. plus, after 10 and 15 years, all of the very intrusive monitoring arrangements under the jcpoa will remain in place so that if they decided to break out of the jcpoa and npt and go for nuclear weapons, we would be able to detect that and we would have the opportunity to intervene, if necessary, by the use of military force to stop them. so, while many critics speak as if it's virtually automatic that after 15 years we're going to have a nuclear armed iran, it's far from automatic, and we have tools to intervene and stop them. >> if i could briefly build on what bob just said, because i think this gets to the question of what happens in 10 to 15 years and is iran just going to flip the switch. i think you used the phrase runway, or we're in a zone now.
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and i think it's very important to see the next 10 to 15 years that way. because as bob and richard have suggested in their report, and as i firmly believe, we can't be frozen in time over the next 10 to 15 years and pretend that this deal has just done the job for now and we'll kind of punt, to use another sports metaphor, for, you know, another decade plus. it's really how we use this moment that we're in. and a lot of what bob and richard have suggested, what i talked about, are ways that we can build up this muscle tissue of regional cooperation, dialog dialogue, capabilities development. so that as we get closer to the time lines as laid out in the jcpoa, we can make a common judgment of where we are and what needs to come next. and in the meantime, we're doing a lot of things that are going to hopefully deter and influence iranian behavior on all of the issues that you've rightly pointed out that are not addressed in the jcpo thank
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really, really concern all of us. and i think the key to that is not taking really any option off the table, if iran breaks out or if iran chooses in the next 10 to 15 years to take some steps that we would deem as in our security interests. >> i think that brings me to my earlier point, which is the absence -- what will determine a lot of these questions we're debating up here is simply how this deal gets implemented over the next 10 to 15 years. if this deal is implemented as strictly as it is written, i think it will give everyone the comfort and reassurance they seek and they will be less worried of what happens at the end of 15 years. but again, if we say, oh, no, this is a really good deal, we don't want to risk it, we don't want to upset them, they might walk out, then no, we're going to have a problem. so i think how we address it and deal with it is crucially important for the sake of the deal and for the sake of the countries outlined how they will react throughout the deal. >> we're going to open it up to
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the audience in a moment. if we could get a microphone up front, i have at least one hand that was raised even before we began, that of his excellency, javier solana, who is both a brookings distinguished fellow and has an enormous amount of direct experience in negotiating with the iranians as the lead european union diplomat during the early phases of the iran nuclear talks. javier. >> thank you. thank you very much. does it work? thank you very much for the fantastic explanation. thank you very much for the report. i have not had time to read it completely, but i think it's a very fundamental piece for everybody to read, and if possible, to agree on. i think that the report with all the detail that you had given, i think it's a good show that the
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situation very likely will develop in the right direction. of course, there are doubters. but let me say that we have to repe repeat, and repeat many times, that this agreement is not an american agreement to resolve the problem. it is an agreement by the international community as a whole. to maintain that is fundamental. this agreement was signed in a very difficult moment. the tension among the big power was already there and it was possible to do it because proliferation is an important issue for everybody, and i think that should be read like that. and i think also it should be read what we got involved in this arrangement, trying to get agreement, we thought that to get resolve, at least for a long period of time, the nuclear issue, it was basic element to
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have serious negotiation for security arrangements in the regi region. with the threat of iran with nuclear weapons, it would be absolutely impossible to have an agreement originally. now, we have the agreement. we have, and everybody has agreed that we have 20 years in which we can be safe, if all the things have been done, but nothing that has been said within here 20 years is just to be with open eyes and et cetera. but i wonder how we are not going to be able, the international community, in 20 years, or in 15 years, to get an agreement reached. i think that we are going to have a lot, but everybody is going to be so exhausted, it would be possible probably to get an agreement critically. and for that is very important
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to maintain the chinese aboth. and chinese are very interested in peace in the region. the russians would like to be part of the deal, but they are very interested also in being part of the deal. so, i get out of this conversation, this debate, much of relax about the component nuclear, less relaxed about what the ambassador has said, the behavior. but i think we have to put all of our energy, political to get an arrangement that will guarantee security in this region. and that is going to be necessary. lfer, let's get to work on that direction as much as we can. >> thank you. ambassador, would you like to speak to the viability of any kind of regional security dialogue that would actually incorporate iran? >> i think it's inevitable, at some point we are going to have to sit down and discuss these issues. and i think we've had as a gcc
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and the uao alone, we've had these discussions in the past wp we cannot continue to live in this kind of environment without hopes or at least a path for a solution. the problem is we see absolutely no desire from the part of the iranians to do that. the conversations we always have with our friends here in the u.s. is, you know, how are we going to sit down and how are we going to send signals for iran to sit down and have discussions on syria and on yemen. and my question to them is, why is the burden solely on us to send the signal? what has iran done to send a signal that they are willing to sit with us? what positive, collaborative, friendly message have they sent to us that says, yeah, part of the responsibility falls on them? we've seen nothing but more support for terrorism. we've seen nothing but more interference in our internal affairs. we've seen nothing but more missile tests. and i'm not even mentioning the rhetoric, the tweets and the statements by the supreme leader.
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so, while we recognize there is a desire, it's also important to know that there is another side of this equation, and they have to display a willingness to sit down and talk to us about resolving syria and resolving yemen and resolving all of the challenges that we face in our part of the world. and like i said, i don't see any of that at the moment. >> thank you. we have about a half an hour for questions. i'd like to take perhaps three at a time, just so we can get as many of you on the boards and responses from our speakers here today. so, if we can have i think two on either side of the row there and then one up front. >> your excellency -- >> i'm sorry, if you wouldn't mind standing and introducing yourself. >> yels s yes, i'm sirius jabari here with my class, studying nuclear non-proliferation. nice to see you. the u.s. has all but exported
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its presence in the region. do you believe any measures beyond behavioral modification must be taken to address the other parts of their behavior? >> so, your question is what should policy be towards iran going forward? it's a very difficult question to answer, but i think the short version is we need to see a combination of carrots and sticks. we need to see carrots when there is good behavior, and we need to see sticks when there is bad behavior. but as long as any country, and not just iran, feels that they can continue to behave a certain way, and when there's no price associated with this bad behavior, you know, it's going to be very difficult to work in a collaborative approach. i have two young kids, and if one of my kids does something wrong and i don't punish them, guess what, they're going to keep doing it. and so, i think we're at a point where now that this nuclear deal is behind us, i think we need to rethink what our approach
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towards iran should be. i understand that there is a moderate side in iran and that there is a desire to work with that moderate element. and believe me, we have that desire as well. let me be clear, there is no country in the region that will benefit or be better positioned to work with iran if iran behaves responsibly than the uae. just imagine the economic cooperation, the investments, the energy, the cultural exchanges that we can have. but again, i don't see that moderate side in syria policy, i don't see that moderate side in iraq policy, i don't see that moderate side in yemen. i only see that moderate side of iran on this deal, you know. the moderate side came, negotiated a deal on the nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. i would love to see that type of moderate deal-making approach in yemen, in syria, and the regional problems that we are still dealing with. so, i am not in a position to sort of advise what u.s. policy
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should be, but that's how i would look at it. >> thank you. i'm professor wayne glass of the university of southern california with these incredibly brilliant students from the university of southern california on a six-week course on nuclear non-proliferation. mr. ambassador, good to see you again. it's a pleasure to be here. i am going to follow up on that question from exactly what you said. is there room for the u.s. government to engage in the region using soft power tools or smart power tools to sort of move the iceberg, given all of the ambiance that you just described with a lot of posturing and a lot of leverage and a lot of military preparedness that are all part of the toolbox? are there other tools in that box for the u.s. government to pursue with respect to the region? >> since i am the only non-american on the panel, i would like to defer that question to my american
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colleagues. >> and we'll just take i think two other questions and try to group them together. so, if we can get a mike up here to shivli telhami. >> brookings and university of maryland. my question is to derek. derek, you said that the u.s. should make clear up front that the u.s. wants to maintain what you called a robust military presence in the region. so, i'm just wondering who questions about that. so, what are the elements that that robust military presence, just keeping the configuration forces that we now have right at the same levels, expanding, reconfigu reconfiguring? and second, is that principally aimed at the perceived iranian threat or other threats, you know, at play here when you're thinking about what is a robust military presence? >> thank you. eli
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elise laboratory with cnn. i'd like to follow up on bob's comments about the accommodation in the region. ambassador, i'm wondering what you think of that? i think this follows on what the president was saying in his interview with "the atlantic" about, you know, saudi arabia and iran having to share the region. given what you are talking about, about the fact that eventually you will need to sit down with iran, i mean, how do you see those comments and how do you see that playing out in a way that eventually -- is there any point or any possibility that that could ever happen? and when you look at the report when it talks about a possible aumf for military force, does the uae support such a move? and do you think this portends a possible military coalition against iran if there was a violation and a breakout capacity? thank you.
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>> i think any policy question one needs to address really looks different depending where you sit. if you are sitting in washington, your economy's doing well, your military's strong, you know, iran is not a threat if you are sitting 7,000 miles away. i think it looks vastly different when you're in abu dhabi or riyadh. so, i think the president's comments in terms of sitting down and actually engaging iran, they're not unreasonable, but i think if you are in the region today and you are witnessing current iranian behavior in your own neck of the woods, it's very difficult to see a conversation where that takes place in the current environment. and again, if we are to engage iran, iran has a responsibility to also engage with us. and i don't see any behavior that indicates that so, in theory, it's a good position to have, and it's not unreasonable. but i think given the current
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climate and the environment we are dealing with, i think it's very unlikely. on the aumf question, i don't think i'm the right person to answer that. i think that's a domestic u.s. question and i'll defer that to my american colleagues up here. >> so, just picking up on the question about soft power tools and things that we can do to move the iceberg here. i actually think that's where a lot of our effort ought to go in the next administration. it's the simple stuff, but it's the nonflashy stuff that you're going to spend a lot of time on, rebuilding relationships and a census of trust in the united states of our gulf arab friends and partners, so they believe us when we say we are going to stand with you and they trust that they can rely on that assurance. it's simple. you can say those words easily, but actually getting back to a sense of real trust and real commitment on the part of the united states is going to take a lot of effort. it's going to take a lot of commitment of resources. derek i think spoke very well to the four different prongs of that on the military side. but it's also going to take more
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people. the people interactions. it's going to take refreshed diplomatic interactions. and again, the sense that, you know, between the united states and our partners in the region, you know, there may be differences of view, but those are healthy differences of view, not shatter points for the relationship. part of that will also come in the, frankly, sweeping economic reforms we're seeing in saudi arabia and to certain extent in other places, to reform what a lot of the societies and economies look like in the region. i think frankly, the uae is a good light to follow for a lot of folks in the region in terms of developing nonoil sources of income, developing ways in which your population can have useful, productive employment and feel like they're part of the system and help push the system forward and help push the country forward. those are the things that we're seeing, really, in saudi arabia now. and the success of that vision i think is going to be really important to the united states
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and to our relationships more generally to ensure, really, that saudi arabia in particular feels confident both externally and internally as it moves forward. and i think that there is a corollary, really, to the iran case. i agree completely with the ambassador that iran needs to be challenged and confronted in all the various different aspects of its hostile policies in the region, and our report speaks to that. and that includes the use of economic sanctions where necessary and where appropriate. the flip side of that, and this goes to the question of how you encourage the moderates to take the wheels of the policy in syria and yemen and so forth. they need to be able to demonstrate at home that the jcpoa was worthwhile, that it delivered the results that they had paid for and that they had made these nuclear concessions for. i think there's a fundamental tension there. and this goes this nervousness and maybe even hesitation that even some people in support of the deal had when they see the secretary of state spending a lot of time in europe saying european banks do a lot of
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business inside of iran. but it speaks really to the desire and the imperative on the part of the united states to ensure that iran gets what it pays for so that those moderates in the regime can say when we strike deals with the united states and with the broader international community, we see resul results, and we don't see results when the security hardliners go ape in syria and yemen and so forth. that's a complicated tension to reach. and i'm not suggesting that there isn't going to be time where we're going to overcorrect and be too hawkish and overcorrect and sometimes be too dovish in terms of giving iran what it paid for, but struggling with that tension is something we have to do, and it's something that we're going to have to keep doing for the next 10 to 15 years so that we do reinforce the position of people in the system who want change. >> i will note that that is an interpretation of iranian politics that could be contested if we were here with a different focus. but let me turn it now to derek, who is specifically asked several questions. >> sure.
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but if i could, just to pile on what richard said, this gets to the point i ended with, which is ensuring that we keep the onus on iran throughout this process. and this gets to what javier solana was talking about. if we get to a point in the next 10 to 15 years that we judge iran is violating the deal, we need to be in the best possible position, the united states and our partners to make the case that that's why we need to reimpose sanctions and take certain steps. the u.s. was out of position, i would argue, eight years ago to make that case internationally. we weren't getting much cooperation from european partners because they didn't believe we really wanted a deal. the world needs to believe that we want this deal to work on the terms that it was negotiated. but therefore, we can't be seen as the party trying to undermine the deal, because therefore, it's going to be -- it's going to leave us alone and isolated. and i should just second my endorsement of the smart power-soft power elements of this, not just on the jcpoa
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specifically, but overall when it comes to influencing the iranian regime. i absolutely agree that that's critical. u.s. tools are not what they should be in that department, despite the fact we've worked mightily on it for the last decade plus to try to improve our capabilities there. therefore, now i'm going to pivot to the military side again because i was asked directly about that. and i think certainly what a robust presence means, there's not a magic number that i want to outline. i mean, certainly part of that is symbolic, it's a reassurance, it's a show of u.s. presence. i should note though that for some of the region, there's a paradox because while they want that reassurance, they don't want to advise it too much. there are places where when the u.s. secretary of defense has to visit a certain u.s. military facility in the region, the journalist has to write the byline "somewhere in southwest asia," even though there are thousands of servicemen and women there helping protect the
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region. so i think we've got to get that right for starters. but i also think it's more than just optics and the sense of psychologic reassurance. we need to be able to execute on options. we need to have the force presence in place should the president decide that iran is breaking out, that there's cheating going on, the kind of cheating that we saw that bob and others helped uncover in 2009, that we could take action, if necessary. and that's not just going to happen by inertia or just kind of routines. as i said, that force presence is going to get pulled in different directions because european allies are going to want more of it to reassure them on russia, asian allies will want more of it for the south china sea, budget-cutters in the united states will want more of it for savings elsewhere, or for spending elsewhere. so, it's going to take a lot of effort to maintain that in the next 10 to 15 years, particularly if -- and this is
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kind of the ironic thing -- if the agreement is seen as going well, there will be an impulse here in washington to say, look, this is succeeding, so why should we make the sacrifice to keep this force presence in the region. >> let me open up to one more round of questions. we have about 15 minutes left. if i can get a couple -- a microphone up here. i'd like to ensure we have a balance in terms of speakers from both front and back. right up here. sorry, gentleman in the second row or third row here? >> oh, thank you. >> yeah, greg jiles, saic. question for bob and rich. in your meetings in riyadh, for example, what were you hearing from the saudis about possible next steps in u.s./saudi civil nuclear cooperation? >> i'm the washington correspondent for "the arab weekly." my question is for the authors of the report and a second question for you, your
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excellency. my question is about the international thermal nuclear reactor, experimental reactor in france. and i understand that it's part of the agreement that iran will have the opportunity to get involved in projects like that. and i know they're pushing to become involved. so, what's your perspective on how this might solidify or undermine the agreement? and my question to you, would the united arab emirates consider becoming a partner in this project? i know they're always looking for new funding. >> i'm dave davidson, no affiliation. in light of the economic and political situations in pakis n pakistan, are there any disincentives for them to not cooperate with saudi arabia in
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moving forward in nuclear development? >> let me say something about the state of the u.s./saudi discussions on a civil nuclear agreement. discussions have taken place on and off for a number of years, and they're stalemated at the moment. the saudis are prepared to meet all -- most of the critical requiremen requirements, u.s. requirements for a civil nuclear agreement, and it has incentives to conclude an agreement with the united states. the saudis have an ambitious nuclear energy plan. they want to have 16 big power reactors. they'd like to get started as soon as they can.
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but the u.s. has, at least for the time being, been adhering to the so-called gold standard. richard alluded to it before. the gold standard was reached in the u.s. and miradi civil nuclear agreement in which the uae agreed to foreswear all enrichment and reprocessing permanently, essentially, not just enrichment of u.s. origin material but throughout the country. it did so because it saw no need for it in its civil nuclear energy program and realized if it pursued enrichment reprocessing, this could stimulate others in the region to follow suit. we thought it was very responsible approach. so, the u.s. administration has been trying to emulate that positive outcome, including with
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saudi arabia, but the saudis are reluctant to foreclose legally all of its fuel cycle options. not really because, site options. n not really because they're determined to have preprocessing. when we were in reyald and spoke to civil nuclear energy officials they told us they have no current plans for enrichment or reprocessing. they didn't want to foreclose the option all together in part because sometime in the distant future they would see a need to do that. but largely for political reasons. they didn't want to see themselves forgoing an option they believed was available to them under the non-proliferation treaty. so far there's been a stalemate there. in our report, we say the u.s. with its civil nuclear cooperation partners should try
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to get the strongest constraints on indigenous enrichment and reprocessing. when that's not possible for a variety of reasons, the u.s. can afford to step back and settle for something less. something that gives us confidence that our partner won't pursue enrichment reprocessing. one idea was to conclude an agreement that legally would allow them to enrich or reprocess. but would allow the united states to withdraw from the agreement and stop nuclear cooperation with them if they elected to go that route. and this would be a strong dist incentive for them to do that. there's a number of ways you can go ahead with this. but our view is take a little more flexible approach and still have confidence that our partner will not pursue these destabilizing fuel cycle
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capabilities. >> do you want to talk about -- [ inaudible ] >> yeah, we really try to get at the ground truth on this. it's impossible to get. you get some saudi officials outside of government saying yeah, there was this understanding, you have others saying no, there was never understanding. you have the pakistani government officials at very high levels say there is no such understanding. but we think there already strong disincentives for pakistan to cooperate. pakistan is very eager to be seen as a responsible non-proliferation supporting country. they want to get into the so-called non-proliferation main
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stream. they've got a lot to live down. they have the history of the aq con black market network. this was really a blemish on their copy book. but in order to get out from the -- we call it the dog house in our paper. they have to demonstrate responsible behavior. any indication that pakistan was thinking about cooperating with the saudis in this field, would essentially disqualify them from being seen as a main stream non-proliferation country and achieving some of the benefits that that would entail. also, pakistan wants better relations with iran. it's -- had a number of high level conversationwise the iranians and they're not prepared to do anything with saudi that would totally harm any prospect of better relations
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with iran. i think they're already important disincentives. i wouldn't be surprised if american officials from time to time would warn the pakistanis that they really must not think about, you know, sharing technology, sharing equipment, or anything else that would move the saudis closer to a nuclear weapons capability. >> just on the issue of iranian interest in being a participate and some of that work, you know, i think the iranians told us very clearly in the negotiations that they wanted to be able to have advanced civil nuclear energy capabilities. they want to be part of the national scientific community in this regard. you know, we looked at that issue and we were able to demonstrate to our satisfaction that from a proliferation perspective iranian involvement was not a problem. certainly if you think about over the course of the last ten
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years of u.s. non-proliferation policy towards iran it's been energy for sure particularly if it doesn't require the use of a fuel cycle in iran. it had material being delivered and taken back from the reactor. from the perspective of iran pursuing civil nuclear energy possibilities and advanced technology that would give them the possibility without requiring the fuel cycle. we see that as a positive. it speaks to the point that bob made a moment ago about what will happen at the 10-15 year mark if iran is still trying to fuel ten 1,000 mega watt reactors on its own that's a problem. if they're looking at advanced technologies that don't require that, that's to our collective
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benefit. the project itself was vetted from u.s. non-proliferation concerns. i think it's conscious of the fact we didn't see the same sorts of concerns there. >> i apologize i'm not familiar with the project i'm not sure what our position is. i'll look into it and come back to you. >> i'm going to give one last wild card question since we have a few molments left to the youn woman second in and midway through the room. >> i'm with energy intelligence i have a point of clarification for the ambassador and that is could you please go into what your view is of your obligations under the 123 agreement with the u.s. now in light of the jcpoa? not your intentions but your obligations. >> our obligations has not changed. as bob mentioned we create adgold standard for a reason. we like the gold standard.
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despite what has been said in the media repeatedly, we have not planning to change our position. we adopted this gold standard particularly to be used as model going forward. it's unfortunate we haven't been able to replicate it so far. that intention and regulations and commitments we've made has no plans to be changed. >> with that will you all join me in thanking the ambassador, the authors of the report, bob and richard. and derrick cholet. [ applause ]
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the heritage foundation t e takes a look to whether productive is related to how much a worker is paid.
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cspan will have live coverage at noon eastern. former officials discuss the changes of a two state solution. cspan will be live from the center for a new american security at 1:30 eastern. while congress is on break we're going to be showing american history tv programming normally seen on the weekends here on cspan 3. tonight the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war including interviews with ken burns and secretary of state john kerry who served in the vietnam war. american history tv tonight at 8:00 eastern. on wednesday and thursday june first and second, cspan's washington journal will be live in laredo texas on the u.s. mexico border to talk about immigration and trade issues affecting the region and the country. we'll look at immigration with
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the managing director of breitbart text. he talks about the players involved and the efforts to cover the security aspects of the area. and dallas morning news mexico city bureau chief examines the cartels in mexico. he is the author of the book midnight in mexico. a reporter's journey through a country's descent into darkness. on thursday the focus will be trade, a trade reporter with the the san antonio express will discuss the flow and volume of trade across the laredo border. congressman of texas will join us will talk about how trade benefits the country. bob cash, state director for the texas fair trade coalition and a nafta critic looks at how the
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trade deal took jobs from southern texas to mexico and how it hurts mexicans as well. watch this beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern june first and second. join the discussion. the house small business committee held a hearing. members heard about the experiences of the individuals, this is about an hour and 15 minutes.
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committee will come to order. i want to thank everyone for being here. before i give my opening statement i'd like to welcome here the co-chairs of the autism caucus. chris smith from new jersey is here is mike doyle from pennsylvania is the -- his democratic counterpart we thank you for your hard work in this area and appreciate you being here today. often when this committee meets it's to discuss the challenges facing small businesses, today, however, we get to talk about some of the truly inspiring opportunities they can offer. after all small businesses are not just the backbone of the american economy but they are also at the heart of our
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communities. so today the committee will hear about the role small businesses are playing in expanding employment opportunities for all americans. i'm proud to welcome our four witnesses today who have had such a positive effect on their and our communities. i'm pleased one of our witnesses, ms. terry hogan is visiting us from cincinnati, we welcome you as we do all our witnesses. for adults with intellectual or developme developmental disabilities finding employment can be a challenge. they can be overlooked and too often they're shut out from the workplace all together. across the country we're seeing examples of small businesses are able to provide employment opportunities to those who might not otherwise get a chance. we're excited to hear about some of these stories and learn more about the ways individuals who
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may have special needs are contributing to small businesses' success all over the country. as we approach the end of may, graduation season is officially upon us. thousands of young adults will be leaving school, ready and eager to join the work force. this new chapter in their life can present challenges for everyone. but for those with intellectual or developmental disorders or disabilities, this can be daunting. these men and women leaving school might face a future where the prospect of finding employment is unknown. businesses are allowing individuals with special needs to enter the work force and grow their quality of life. i'm looking forward to hearing from our witnesses today and applaud them for the example they have set in showing the tremendous impact expanding employment opportunities can have. and i now like to yield to the ranking member ms.velazquez.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for putting together this hearing. i am very, very excited. for most people, work is closely aligned would feelings of self-wurself self-worth. generally, when small businesses are succeeding, the result is greater employment opportunity for all americans. small businesses create jobs in their communities, opening doors for the neighbors. we have seen this phenomenon recently as the u.s. economy recovered from the great recession. today, we are in the midst of the longest streak of private sector job growth in history. in fact, 10 million jobs have been created since 2009. and thanks largely to small businesses, the overall employment rate has been cut in half. from 10% to 5%. unfortunately, one particular demographic continues facing
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persistent challenges when it comes to securing employment. not only when there is an economic downturn, but in good times as well. sadly, those with autism spectrum disorder or down's syndrome have an unemployment rate significantly higher than the national average. it is estimated that 90% of these individuals are unemployed or under employed. regrettedly, this population faces an uphill battle to overcome false perceptions about their abilities and capacity as employees. many of those on the autism spectrum excelled in specialized kinds of work, like software testing, labwork and proof reading. they observe details that others miss and are able to focus for long periods of time. naturally they take well-deserved prize in their
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abilities and atypical ways of viewing the world. similarly, individuals with down's syndrome are valued members of the work force when given the opportunity. they are proven to be efficient and loyal employees. yet, despite their proven abilities, desire to work, and the benefits to all parties involved, a lack of opportunity remains. enhancing opportunities for these employees is not only beneficial from a business perspective, but also from an overall society perspective as well. research shows employing individuals with disabilities reduces reliance on publicly funded adult services. with increased public awareness, and inclusion efforts, many other false notions about those with autism and down's syndrome has been dispelled. today thousands of small businesses are providing not only job opportunities but career opportunities to these
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individuals. we're very happy to have some of them here today with us to share their experiences. if there is one thing they are good at is creating opportunity. today, small businesses are at the forefront of creating innovative business models that employ hard working individuals. ia i hope today's hearings will dispel misconceptions while making clear that we can do -- what we can do to further facilitate small business employment for all americans. on that note, i thank the witness witnesses for testifying and i look forward to your story. thank you. >> thank you very much. on that i'll explain our lighting system here. each of you gets five minutes to testify and then we'll ask questions for five minutes. and the green light will be on for four minutes. the yellow light will be on for
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one minute. let's you know time's wrapping up and the red light comes on we and you to stay within that. if you need extra time, that's okay. try to stay within it to the degree possible. and i might note that we may be -- will be interrupted by votes at some point we think about 10:30 or so. if you hear buzzers go off and members scurrying out of the room. we're adjourn for a little bit. some of us will head back. i guarantee you i'll come back and the ranking member will. we'll be back. i would like to introduce our very distinguished and very interesting panel here today. our first witness will be licea goring, she's the executive vice president of programs and services at autism speaks where she has worked since 2006. autumn speaks has provided resources and support to hundreds of thousands of families and individuals with autism all across the country. lisa has implemented many grant
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programs over the years to expand services and support for people of all ages with autism. and is work ing with autism speaks on its small business initiative. we welcome you here this morning. our next witness will be ms. terry hogan who is coming to us from the great city of cincinnati. ms. hogan is the chairman, ceo of contemporary cabinetry east, a small business with around 70 employees. seeing the need for inclusion and diversity in the workplace she has through her business looked to provide opportunities for individuals who may be shut out from employment. her business has partnered with local schools to connect real work labor skills with the life skills for students. i would like to yield to the ranking member for the purpose of introducing another witness.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. and it is my pleasure to introduce the co-founder of ultratesting a high profile testing company employing individuals on the autism spectrum. he began his career at microsoft and joined a company where he focused on business incubation and growth strategy. for the past decade he has worked in the impact sector including setting up and running the private sector division at the global forum to fight aids, tb and malaria. he's a member of the advisory board of the asperger's institution. he holds degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from the massachusetts institute of
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technology. welcome. >> thank you, very much. we thank the ranking member for that introduction i would like to introduce our final witness mr. joe steffy. he's coming from kansas, the owner of popping joe's kettle corn. he's a shining example as to the tremendous promise everyone is capable of achieving. when others sought to limit his potential, mr. steffy and his family developed a business plan and through his hard work he has grown his business to where popping joe's kettle corn can be find at walmart, events in kansas and georgia and hopefully someday in my office. he has also shipped his kettle corn to our troops serving overs overseas. and we would have welcomed him bringing popcorn today but our rules prohibit food coming in.
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he is accompanied by his father, ray steffy who will be here to answer questions. we thank you all the witnesses for being here. mr. goring you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, good morning chairman. ranking member velazquez. thank you for the opportunity to speak about a topic that's of great importance to the autism community. advancing the role and impact of small businesses in employing individuals with autism. as mentioned i'm the executive vice president of autism speaks. autism speaks is the world's leading science and advocacy. we advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. we aim to support adults on the spectrum by providing the tools and resources to expand
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employment opportunities and workplace supports for individuals with autism. as the largest wave of children with autism age out of our school system, one of our communities' most daunting challenges is finding employment. it's being tackled by entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country. small businesses are utilizing unique flexibility to create accommodating and innovative business models that sustainably employ individuals with autism. expose students earlier in their education to work world work experience and provide opportunities for work based learning and technical skill attainment. national data indicates that the vast majority of adults with autism are un or under employed with some estimates ranging as high as 90%. while 50,000 young adults with autism each year age out of the
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school system in the united states, only a fraction of those are gainfully employed in jobs that match their capabilities. autism speaks is working with small businesses to improve employment outcomes. over the past three years, our collaborative efforts with small business communities strive to spread awareness about the benefits of employing people with autism, to develop innovative and sustainable business models, and hiring practices and to provide technical assistance to implement best practices. what we've learned is clear, the innovation and flexibility unique to small businesses and entrepreneurs enabled them to lead the way in employing individuals -- >> the thoughts, the thoughts that are buzzing -- >> that's okay. small businesses are in a position not only to develop new models that employ individuals with autism but to innovate in a way that directly responds to
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local labor market needs. the connection many small businesses have with their community is vital to creating the partnerships necessary to transition students into local work force and share best practices with other businesses and nurture work force comprised of people of all abilities. businesses hire employees to fill need and -- fill a need and support their business's bottom line. small businesswise work force that include employees with intellectual or developmental disabilities consistently report these employees' performance equals or exceeds that of their co-workers. the popular narrative that it's been based on a sense of corporate social responsibility must shift to business centered and represent the worth, the capabilities, and the efficiencies that individuals with autism can bring to the workplace. employers are often unaware of the low cost, high impact of
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work accommodations and benefits of hiring individuals with autism. all employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs. similarly, people with autism may need some adjustments or accommodations to maximize their productivity. employers report a high percentage of job accommodations cost nothing. and the rest typically cost less than $500. from our small business initiative we learned that creating communities of experts and invested partners who share information about accommodations and best practices is essential to help businesses utilize this untapped work force. looking forward, leveraging small businesses as a key partner in work force development strategies could better prepare students with autism for employment and provide employers with a pipeline of skilled workers. national state and local work
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force development strategies should collaborate with small businesses to increase access to work based learning and work experience for secondary school students to raise employment and independent living aspirations of people with autism and their families. while demonstrating local employers the value individuals with autism bring to the workplace. individuals with autism deserve the opportunity to contribute as productive workers and actively improve their quality of life. and businesses today have the opportunity to access a largely untapped labor pool of qualified job candidates who happen to be on the autism spectrum. once again, mr. chairman, ranking member velazquez, i thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i've submitted additional remarks for the record and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. thank you so much. >> thank you very much.
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and it's been brought to my attention, by the way, that popping joe, mr. steffy actually does have popcorn here that will be available at the end of the hearing. so it's an encouragement for folks to stick around through the end. let's hear it for joe. [ applause ] ms. hogan you're recognized for five minutes. >> all right. well, good morning, chairman and ranking member and members of the committee. i am terry hogan, speaking on behalf of contemporary chemistry east located in cincinnati, ohio. my title is ceo and chairman and we're certified bos, woman own businessed. we began as a small family business in 1984. hi we purchased the company from the family in 2003 and have grown the business steadily and employ 70 individuals. my husband and i volunteer in the special needs community and are raising our 17-year-old son, bailey who has autism.
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we understand the concern of families who are facing transition into adulthood and those who have already reached this stage. what happens now is a question frequently asked. how can our young adults become independent members of the community? thank you for this opportunity to speak before you to discuss how we can address these concerns with and discuss inclusion in a small business workplace. we need to educate others so they can begin to take the dis out of disabilities and replace it with abilities. we need to also make small businesses aware of the huge untapped resource people with diverse abilities. hiring people who are physically genetically or cognitively diverse is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. i believe cincinnati's small business community needs to work harder to address inclusion in the workplace. over a year ago our company hired mike, mike is here with us
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today. when he started, he had a job coach working with him. after a few months he became self-sufficient. job coaches shadow employees. since mike has been with us he's become a model employee. he comes to work on time. he is reliable, he has raised morale, brought community awareness and has caused others to have a broader perspective. he has developed many friends at our company. for the business mike has helped to develop a healthier bottom line and everyone works harder because of mike. a quote, when businesses identify the strengths of employees with disabilities then put them in jobs that match their skills those employees turn out to be faithful low turnover hard working employees. the special employees come to work on time and when scheduled and have lower sick time off. in conclusion, i would hope you would all leave here today with a better understanding of how
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inclusion in the workplace adds to the diversity of the workplace environment and may lead to a more diverse customer base. the positive effect these individuals have on lifting the morale of our employees and set role model work ethic examples, begin career in technical education in middle and high schools so students can learn the skills before they face transition into adulthood. take the dis out of disabilities and focus on abilities. here is a quote i recently read. i feel it's applicable to this discussion. we become like our friends. the people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. mike has raised everyone's standards at cce and hiring mike was the best business decision i have ever made. thank you for your time and attention. let's go to work. and also thank you congressman chabts for supporting the able
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to work act. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. you're recognized for five minutes. >> i'd like to start with a video. my name is david mcnabb i live in illinois and i work for ultra as a quality inspector. i map and model thing and help people solve problems. because of this difference i'm good at imagining combinations that may cause errors but aren't obvious. i connect things in different ways i'm better because those connections help me find what's essential.
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>> chairman, ranking member velez k velazquez. i'm one of the co-founders of ultra testing a company i started three years ago with my old college roommate from m.i.t. who is not here with us today, someone has to run the business. together we started a company that we believe will revolutionize the software testi testing industry. we're building a business that we hope will prove the tremendous economic opportunity to be unlocked by employing individuals with autism. david who you saw in the video, he graduated in 2001 with a computer science degree. he was eager to start work. he interviewed for dozens of positions but was not able to find a job in his field or any field. he was eager to work so he
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started volunteering at a computer repair shop and helping friends and family with their i.t. issues. for over a decade david tried to find paid work. without success. and in 2014 he applied for a part time software tester position at ultra, and successfully concluded our rigorous testing process and he was working on billable projects generating an income for himself. within a year based on consistently excellent results david produced we offered him a fulltime position. today thanks to his heightened abilities, his innate curiosity about technology, his thirst to learn and improve, his willingness to persevere through difficult projects and commitment to work hard and do his best every single day, david is one of the best software testers we have on our team at
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ultra. i would argue in the world. there are 3.5 million americans on the autism spectrum. by some estimates a third of this community have graduated high school and in some cases college. many individuals on the spectrum like david are extremely capable and willing to work hard and would make a fantastic addition to any team or organization. yet, over 80% of this population are not employed. when my co-founder and i founded ultra three years ago. we set out to build a company that brought excellence to our industry by employing a diverse work force of people with different abilities. today, we have team members working in 13 states across the u.s., including the home states of many and most members of this committee. over 75% of our employees have
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asperger's syndrome or a similar profile. 100% of us believe that it's our differences that make us better. thanks to our team, altru has tripled our revenues two years in a row and we consistently out perform our competition. we haven't used a single dollar of government support. we developed an entirely new operational model for running a business. one that reinvented how recruiting and training works. that reimagined how projects and teams need to be managed and redesign how we communicate and react with each other. today, thanks to widely available tools and technologies that allow for data driven hiring that don't require resumes or interviews, that promote digital first communication that don't mean you have to be showing up to an office and can work from an environment that's comfortable for you and allow remote teams
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as efficiently as teams that are co located. any business small or large can leverage the talents of individuals anywhere in this country, including individuals on the autism spectrum. our experience at ultra, has proven that by doing so companies can gain highly capable employees but can also achieve a consistently superior result and a competitive advantage. thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. steffy, you're recognized for five minutes. >> good morning chairman, ranking member velazquez and members of the small business committee. thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you about my journey from no expectations to becoming a successful business owner.
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it is an honor for me to be here. i was welcome today life with -- i was welcomed to school with -- then came welcome to adult life with -- here's where you belong. labels create low expectations. the worst disability of all, my parents attended a kansas partners in policy making training. they learned that i and others with significant challenges could own their own business. mom wrote the business plan. dad continued the trial work period with me. data collected working was useful developing the business plan. my future in the kettle corn business looked promising. my start up team included the kansas council for developmental
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disabilities. another member of my start up team was social security. vocational rehabilitation provided support for the specific business equipment and supplies. my past plan let me set aside money to achieve my specific work goals. i submitted my business plan to each of my team members. their support made it possible for me to become the sole proprietor of joe's kettle corn in april 2005. the first five years shows a steady increase in sales. each year remains constant. 2015 grossed $67,000. please watch with me a few minutes of my work day. ♪
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>> work is to be about the person. the next question is who is the person. ♪ >> for people with disabilities entrepreneurship is a really good way to make a living. if you can create your own workplace environment, then you are going to be much better at creating one you can live with and thrive in. >> popping joes is a very popular addition to our market. when they're not here on wednesdays, people ask for them. >> kettle corn is a very multistep process. there's always something different to do. and he can always find something -- when he gets bored with one task there's always another task to bdo. and delivering and interacting with the community.
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>> i did have a glimpse of his economic situation when we were building the business plan. first year being in business nonprofits were averaged $900 a month. he was working at another job for $20. >> i love being popping joe. i love being around people who know me and greet me. it connects me to my community. ♪ >> the idea that people with disabilities are going to be co-workers in workplaces is an emerging idea. >> we probably sell somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $6,000 per year of joe's product. that's a lot of popcorn. a lot of happy customers.
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>> let's do caramel corn. >> one, two, three. >> and i just love to see him counting and adding and handing you that invoice for the signature. it gives me great feeling. >> it is phenomenonally economically as it was a wage employee. it's not a trivial pursuit it's ongoing serious work he's doing every day. he certainly enjoys it. >> owning my business works for me. it creates opportunities for me to grow as a person and to be an engaged valued member of my community. with the right support system, being a self-supporting entrepreneur can happen. i love being popping joe. thank you for inviting me. have a popping great day. >> excellent.
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gentleman's time is expired? is he finished i assume? thank you very much. all four, excellent testimony. we've -- the buzzer you heard was votes. we've probably got time for one group of questions before we break, so i'll go ahead and recognize myself for five minutes and after that we'll adjourn, go vote and we'll be gone for a while and come back. let's see, i'll begin -- joe i'll begin with you and your father, ray. and first of all, i want to thank you for upgrading the p pronunciation of my name. you did some research here. what are some of the challenges that you faced in the business, getting it off the ground, and how did you overcome those challenges? what recommendations would you have to others that might want to do something similar.
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>> basically, in the beginning, joe was -- he had a transition meeting with the school. and they said that basically he had no attention span, couldn't keep on task, would probably never hold a job. and that he would live in a group home the rest of his life. no one wants that said about their child. so i was determined i was going to prove to this committee that he could work. and it was from there that we found kettle corn as being a business with a number of different processes to making the product. that way joe could move from one phase to another phase as he chose. so he could keep his attention span involved with it. so that was one of the main things in the beginning. funding, we were able to work with david hams and kerry
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griffin and they showed resources we could go to, all of those entities contributed money for him to get his equipment to start with. and it was there, from there that we started in just doing it to prove joe could work and it was within a five year period of time that they indicated that we would be able to -- joe would be able to own the business. and so it was -- that's how we got started then. we made the application, the first -- 5th of april in 2005 was when he became the owner and has been the owner ever since. >> excellent. in the film there it said they sold $6,000 worth of the product. but that's just that business, right? my understanding is the business makes -- >> yes, that's a cider mill located there and that's how much they paid joe for his corn. today they're selling over $10,000. close to $100 a week right now.
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when you get into the fall during cider season, he'll be selling upwards to a 1,000 dollars a month. >> that's just that one business. >> yes. >> overall, how successful is the business? the irs wants me to ask this question. >> right. he has been audited, too. basically, he's selling upwards of $70,000 worth of popcorn a year going to festivals. he has five or six outlets he sales retail to people, convenience stores that kind of thing. >> tremendous. next question, mwhat perception do you hear from other businesses or the public out there about hiring folks that have challenges? and how would you respond -- how do you address those challenges? predisposition that some folks might have about hiring folks like this.
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>> well, i think on a whole a lot of them have hesitations because they're not educated and aware. one of the things that went to my advantage is i am raising a son with autism. so i understand the language. i get it. so i think what's important is that we get out there and educate the small business owners that aren't like me. and you know, how do we tap into them to tell them it's okay. i mean y have quotes from our employees with me today. and the things they have said that mike is just totally brought their morale up, made them better employees. and some of them -- most of them have never been around anybody with special needs before. so it's created awareness for them. it's done a lot better for our business. so we need -- because we are doing it -- we need to work with you somehow and how can we get out there and talk to these people? how do we reach them so we can give them such a positive story
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about how good it is for their business. >> thank you. in 25 seconds, ms. goring, if you would like to respond. >> it's important that we utilize the skills that people with autism have. and they are very good at complex, yet repetitive tasks that others may not be as good at. it's a competitive advantage. >> thank you. unfortunately, as i mentioned votes have been called. so we're going to have to adjourn. my understanding is we have votes, which will take about 45 minutes. and then we'll be back. remember, there's popcorn waiting after we get back. is so stick around. so we are adjourned.
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