tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 19, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
come up in the remote pilot aircraft business. what we found was that because there are so many elements associated with getting a cap airborne and do a sortie, we hadn't gone through and done the work that built the requirements that layout over an entire year, and so the wing commanders were having to plug holes and go month to month to month. so as a result of that, we put together a team and we're working with the director of the national guard layout annual requirement force the npa days, and once we have the annual requirements, we'll fund them. i'll take this on. >> that would be terrific. >> finally, for you, general miller, i'm a big, big fan of the marines. but i was struck when i was at fort leonard wood, visiting recruits, they had done nine weeks, ait training, and i had a chance to visit with these men and women. i was struck how many immigrants
were in this training class. from south korea, handuras, costa rica for 67 soldiers. these people want to cross the line and die for their country. when i saw the way the muslim soldier was treated in paris island, it hurt my heart. i just want it on the record for you to commit that you will get to the bottom of this, and there will be no question in the marines that abusing someone because of their ethnicity or their religion is absolutely unacceptable, or their gender orientation. >> senator, you have my complete and total commitment to that. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> on behalf of chairman mccain. >> thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. i'm going to pick up a little bit on senator mccaskill's expression of frustration and
expand that. many times, the american people hear different stories, different information from different sources. i would like to highlight part of that today and get your response to that, and if you would clarify it. general milly, the "wall street journal" published an article by general petraeus, the myth of the u.s. military, readiness crisis. while some categories of aircraft and other key weapons are aging and will need replacement or major refurbi refurbishment soon, most remains in fairly good shape. according to our sources, army has mission capable rates today exceeding 90%, and that is historically high level. general, do you believe that
general petraeus was correct in that assessment to that -- the equipment and mission capable rates are what he says they are, and what does that tell us, or possibly what does it not tell us about this state of the army? >> thanks, senator. i've got -- i know general petraeus and i have a lot of respect for him, along with the co-author. but as you might expect, i don't necessarily agree with that. the readiness issue, you know, the title of the article, i don't know if crisis is the right word. that's packed with emotion, but there are serious readiness challenges in the united states army today. the operational readiness rates are not above 90%. they are well below 90% in some cases. and that's cause for great concern. they're improving, but they're
below 90%. 90% is the standard. nine out of ten are ready to go at war, weapons systems are not in condition it. >> thank you for clarifying. also, the column goes on to argue that training for full speck rum operations is resuming. by 2017, the army plans to rotate nearly 20 brigades, about a third of its force, through national training each year. the marine corps plans to put 12 infantry battalions, half its force through large training exercises and the air force is funding its training and readiness programs at 80 to 98% to what it considers fully resourced levels. generals, do you that that accurately portrays your services and their readiness to conduct the full spectrum separations? general milly? >> it is a partial answer.
so with the flagship training event for an army brigade, going to a combat training center down in louisiana, and a few years ago, we were not doing decisive action operations against higher end threats. we changed gears about 24 months ago and about 12 to 18 months ago, we started putting brigades, unless they were specifically designated to go into afghanistan or iraq. by the end of next year, 100% on active duty will have one rotation. all about reps. so if you are back in the day, pre 9/11, a major for example, would he have three, four, five, maybe more rotations through a training center by the time they reach those levels.
today, we have an entire generation of officers, commanding battalions or even in some cases companies that are not -- have little knowledge. it is a matter of reps. we do it over and over again. the data i have and the forecast we have is by the end of 18, 24 months from now, we'll have nine of our prbrigades, with three rotations, 18 with two, and four with one. that's not bad. it is better. and all that is good, but more to it than just going to the training centers. that's a key part, but more to it. manning levels, holding us back. we have over 30,000 non-available soldiers in the regular army today. that's a corps. an entire corps are not available for medical, lead, and variety of other reasons.
that's not even talking about your training account, basic training, what the overhead it takes to run basic training. your personnel piece is big and equipment, those are all parts of readiness. that's just readiness with the modernization, the systems we have today. five or ten years from now, there is lots of systems out there that we need to investment in goet them online, if in fact that day ever comes. so i don't subscribe 100% to what general petraeus and michael hanlan wrote. >> thank you. i'm out of time. if you could get me that information. i too respect general petraeus, but it is important we get correct information to the people of the country so they understand the situation that we
are facing with our military. thank you. >> on behalf of general mccain, senat senator arona. >> thank you for your service and the men and women you lead. over the course of the many hearings that this committee has had with regard to the negative impacts of is he questions administration, we have be -- sequestration, causing me to question the article that my colleague just talked about, much as, of course, we appreciate the service of general petraeus. for general miller, i've been monitoring the progress with the marine corps pacific lay down, including guam, cnmi, i know it will be very important to have adequate training facilities, so general, can you talk believe
about the current status, and if you have any concerns about the progress so far on the marine corps specific lay down plan. i just read an article recently about the governor of cnn y and his position regarding training. >> senator, we are still in the execution of the current plan of the pacific lay down for marine forces. the fetema has been separated from guam, but from the very beginning, our movement to guam was contingent, and based on the fact that we could train once deployed there. and because of actions of others, an environmental impact, right now, that's potentially at risk and has pushed the time light to t-- lime to the right. we're still committed to go to guam, but to go to guam, we have to be able to sustain a readiness of the force, whatever that force is that we deploy
there. i'm concerned with. i'm watching it. i think there may be some other forces involved in this that's cause deg l causing delays about this. there are issues in okinawa that are tied up between negotiations between the government and japan and we continue to monitor that. >> i share your concerns, because there are a number of moving parts with regard to the move out of fotema, and there are now delays there. i am very concerned about -- i realize that we're doing the build-up necessary for guam, but we can't send our troops there unless they have a place to train. so cnn i, and the discussions we're having with the government is really a critical and i would appreciate you keeping me apprised as we go along, and anything that this committee and
i can do to help. >> yes, ma'am, i'll certainly do that. >> for general milly and go goldfein, i want to commend you for your services, including the national guard components in your mission. as you know, combined force of active guard is imperative to the defense of our country. so our full committee hearing on cyber security this week, the important role of the national guard plays in contributing to total force requirements was discussed. can you talk about both of you talk about progress and other areas where you will be depending on your guard components to fulfill army and air force requirements. >> senator, i'll give general milly a break. we're looking across the entire enterprise of the five core missions that the air force does for the joint team and nation where we can partner with the air national guard to leverage
that component and the air force reserves across these missionaries. cyber, intelligence, command and control, nuclear enterprise, conventional air power, in terms of bomber and fighter force. we're looking at all that mobility portion of our business. you go into c-17, ask a question in the cockpit, who is reversed, all three hands will go up. because we are that connected. so you know, we have three components, we have one air force. we have five missions. we're looking across all those mission areas. i predict cyber will be a growth industry when it comes to including the air national guard, because it is ideally suited. we're looking at ways we can partner and increase that. >> general milly. >> thanks, senator. we have made a lot of strides i think in the last year in trying to integrate and enhance the readiness of the national guard.
it is my assessment we're going to have to significantly improve the readiness and the army national guard and reserve. we're the only service that has over 50% in the reserve component. we've got about 53%. as was designed many years ago, the bottom line is the united states army cannot conduct sustained land campaigns overseas without the national guard and without the united states army. it is not possible. that's the way the system was designed many decades ago. so today, what do we rely on. there a considerable amount of maneuver forbes in the national guard. we're moving to 26 brigades with this president's budget. a lot of ar tatillery. if you look at combat service support, logistics units, about
62% of the united states a rm me's logistics is all in the reserve kpoenl nenlts. the army, bottom line, couldn't fight, couldn't feed itself, couldn't maneuver, couldn't extend a land campaign without the guard or reserve. it is critical to what we're doing and we need to increase their readiness as well. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and gentlemen, i want to thank for your service. as a matter of fact, there is something, secretary carter, when he testified last time, i know a number of us have had a lot of criticisms with some of the obama administration's foreign policy and national security, but one area i want to commend the president is the quality and character of the men and women he has been nominating that have been becoming before this committee for confirmation to lead our military.
and i think the four of you exfy th -- exemplify that character. chairman has touched on it, the frank and honest views that you have been giving this committee and others, since your confirmations and your important positions leading the men and women in uniform of our nation. general milly, when you were here a couple of months ago, you talked about the issue, and you already restated of it, a near peer, full spectrum threat in terms of a conflict. if we had to address that, you stated that the u.s. army would be at high military risk. you mentioned, again, to meet our national security strategy. do you continue to hold that view? and then i would like to have each of the other service chiefs here give us your assessment of where your services in terms of
risk. i thought it was remarkable. courageous for you to say that. the press didn't pick up on it. the chief of staff for the army, saying high risk, pretty remarkable. i want each of the service members in terms of a full spectrum conflict, the a fwibil to meet that, where are we in terms of risk for your service. >> thank you, senator. my assessment remains the same. just as a reminder, what does it mean when i'm using that term. i'm taking about the ability to accomplish the military tasks assigned to units. the ability to do it on time and the ability to do it at an acceptable level of cost, pressed expressed of troops. >> high military risk. >> that's correct. >> admiral richardson.
>> i concur with general milly. you've got, i've forbidden my team to use the word risk, because it has become so overused, you start to lose a sense of what that he means. but it is actually as general milly describes. if we get into one of those conflicts, we'll win, but it is going to take a long longer than we would like. it is going to cost a lot more in terms of dollars and casualties. >> general miller. >> senator, in short, i agree. we build a force that's been focused on counter insurgency fight, and while we've been doing this effectively, our potential adversaries have recaplized and from ground up, build a force that has very cable that grows everyday. we are in the process of getting ourselves back to work and looking at those capabilitiecap. we need to match that up. would we win? yes. but i would associate myself it
would take longer, and i think the cost would be higher. >> so you're putting the marine corps at high risk as well? >> if we had to do based on the contingency plan, one major contingency and near same moltanious, yes. >> sir, that's the key for this discussion, which is ready for what. what we're all, i believe, talking about, is if the guidance tells us we have to be sa sa simultaneous, ensuring our safe, secure nuclear enterprise, while at the same time, defending the homeland to the level it will be required, we're at high risk. but you've got to walk down that line. >> right, that's what we expect
of you. that's your mission. let me just end by we talked about cost, general milly mentioned it. i know some of you in the army and in the marine corps of the book by t.r. farrenboch, maybe this is for general neller, when we're sending less ready units, we talk about cost, it sounds like dollars and cents, what is it? relate it to the summer of 1950 korea, where dead americans were in the thousands. >> that's exactly right. the cost is the butcher's bill is paid in blood with american soldiers, for unready forces. we have a long history of that. task force smith, the korean war, bull run. lincoln thought he would fight a war for 90 days.
they're often thought to be short. they often cost more. it is a dangerous thing. the best thing i know of is to ensure that you have forces that are sized, trained, manned, equipped and capable to prevent the war to begin with and then once it starts, to win, win fast and decisively. that's the most humane thing to do, otherwise you're expending lives that i don't think is necessary. in the korean war, the book you're referring to, in that war, task force smith, 21st infantry, was out of japan, went forward to the peninsula on relatively short notice and essentially decimated. it wasn't because they were bad. it wasn't because they were incompetent. the commander was inexperienced. it was because they had two 90
millimeter rifles. they were doing occupational duty in japan. they were sent into combat in harm's way unready and they paid for in and tens of thousands paid for it in the first six months of korea. readiness matters. reps at training centers matters. equipment matters. to do otherwise for us, at this table, is the ultimate sin to send someone into combat who is unready. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> that's a risk we're facing right now. senator king. >> thank you. general milly, you've delivered the line of the day for me. the only thing more expensive than deter rans is fighting a war and the only thing more expensive is losing a war. that summarizes the situation. i would lining to ask a couple of questions about afghanistan and then go on to more general question. i know the president has modified the troop draw-down schedule in afghanistan, which
was an proppropriate response t situation. where the authorities maintained for the forces that we have there that allow them to act effectively to assist the afghan forces? >> as i understand it, yes, i'm heading over there next month, actually and i'll see general nicholson. with my jcs hat on, as i understand the authorities, but i'll double-check that and get back with you. >> the second question is related. are the nato commitments that have been in a sense proportional to ours being maintained? >> i believe yes, but let me get you a better answer that that. >> i would appreciate it. thank you. >> this hearing is focused a lot on money, and i think it is appropriate, and there should be some context. in 1967, defense spending was 8.6% of gdp. in 1991, it was 5.2%.
today, it's 3.3%. i think often, we get the public and all of us get caught up in these big numbers of $560 billion, but the reality is the commitment to defense has fallen dramatically in the last 45 years, in part because of the perception that the word was getting safer and in part, because budgetary issues. the net issue on the national debt today is more than one-third of the military budget and we're at an all-time low of interest rates. that will only go up, which will tend to make the budget be strained even more. i just think we need to be talking to the american people about the fundamental responsibility of any government, which is to keep its people safe. and that the dramatic reduction in the commitment we've made to
defending this country. the follow-up point which has been made previously that since 2011 and the budget control act, we've had syria, isis, south china sea, ukraine, north korea nuclear development, and cyber. and to maintain a rigid budget structure in the light of those changes, it just seems to me as dumb. and we are trying to protect this country. we have new threats. and it is similar to the discussion we've had mr. chairman, about the troop levels in afghanistan. we've got to respond to serkss on the ground. the circumstances have dramatically changed in the last ten years, in terms of threats of this country, this country faces. and the other point that has been made by member reid,
certainly as important as a mountain. i think you testified to that. the other way, we're not serving the public is by the absolutely ridiculous process of not adopting budgets, doing continuing resolutions, getting the money in the middle of the year, which doesn't allow you to plan, doesn't allow you to do the capital planning and long-term planning you need to do. i realize i've talk add i long time without a question. i'm going to add one more point. the other piece of this financial burden that we're facing is the nuclear recan'tzatirecap talzation. i've got some slides that are rather dramatic. and what we're facing is a very large bulge if you will in the commitment, and if we don't make some additional overall way of dealing with that issue, it is going to eat up everything else. we're not going to be able to
maintain aircraft or develop the ships that we need, because all the money is going to go into that. i just point this out, it has been 40 years since there has been a recap talzation, and we're heading into a -- eve ae got to have some special way of accounting for this. it doesn't mean borrow for it. but it does mean funded in some way, otherwise, it will crowd out the necessity of modernization across the rest of the enterprise. if you can find a question in there, gentlemen, you're welcome to it. admir admiral. >> i'll jump on that, sir, because general goldfein and i, we're lock step on trying to solve this problem in every way we can. i think that bulge talks to a number of the points you made. one, as general milly said, it is much cheaper to deter a war and this is what this program is all about. this is about deterans. >> it is a theory that has
worked for 80 years. >> effective for 80 years. not only nuclear war, but also conflict worldwide. if you look at sort of before and after, it is a startling difference. the other point is that each of these recap talzations, the first one in the '60s, '80s and now, we're getting the mission done for less. each peak is smaller. your point, we can get the peak even smaller if we have predictable funding in place. we're going to reat that particular time lies under sea leg with 12 submarines. if we get to that predictable funding, to buy that package in a block, we could get the 12 submarines at a cost of 10 or 11. can you see real savings. but i want to go back to my first point. absolutely essential we get this done. because without the deterrent
effect, we think things are bad now. it would be much worse. >> thank you, gentlemen. thank you for your outstanding testimony here today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's see if we can summarize here. all of you agree that a long-term cr is bad for the military. >> sir, yes. >> so when i hear my house colleagues wishing for a long-term cr, you don't wish for that? >> no. >> okay. to my house colleagues, the alco account, do you have a problem doing what they're doing. >> i'll tell you that our preference is long-term budget that we can plan on. >> do you think it is not stable? >> it is one year funding, so it doesn't give us -- >> does everybody agree with you? you would prefer not to go this route? >> yes.
>> they don't want to bust the caps, take on the right and tell them you all are crazy, you know. this sequestration isn't working. have you all talked to the president about this? have you told the president what you're telling us about the state of the military under see quest administration? have you had a conversation with the commander in chief, telling him what you just told us, general milely? >> i have not personally had a conversation with the president. >> what about the navy? >> no, sir, not personally. >> what about the marines. >> no, sir. >> what about the air force. >> no, sir. >> what are you doing at the white house, mr. president. you're threatening to veto a bill that would decrease defense spending. i will make some suggestions to you. go tell the president what you're telling us. i absolutely see the flaws in what the house is doing. i can't believe the commander in
chief is sitting on the sidelines and watch this happen. taking a laisa pair attitude, i will veto. i find that is repugnant, what the house is doing. okay, by the end of 2021, we'll be spending what percentage of gdp on defense if see quest administration s sequestration. 2.3%. do you see by the end of 2021, given the threats that we face as a nation, it is wise to cut defense spending in half in terms of historical numbers? >> no, sir. >> do you, general? >> no, sir, i do not. >> no, sir. >> no, sir. >> well, somebody should ask, how could your congress and your president allow that to happen.
i ask that all the time. i don't have a really good answer. if sequestration goes back 2017, are we putting lives at risk in terms of training? >> yes, sir. >> yes, sir. >> well, does anybody else listen to these hearings but us? how do you live with yourself? i say that, "we" i include me. i'm part of this body. i voted against sequestration, but that's no excuse. if you want revenue, i'll do revenue. i'm not going to keep playing this silly game. when you rank threats to our mil military, would you say sequestration is a threat to our military. >> yes, sir. >> sure. >> would you agree with me, general, that the congress is going to shoot down more planes that we can think of in the nate
future. >> potentially. >> are we going to part more marines and take them out of the fight in the near term here general, see quequestration. >> nobody will park us, but we will be at risk. >> what is your budget in terms of personnel cost? >> we pay about 61% of the green toa for personnel. >> let's just walk through that real quickly. 60% of your budget is personnel. >> yes, sir. >> if sequestration goes into effect, are you going to lose marines? >> yes, sir, we will. >> okay, so they'll be out of the fight. how many ships will the navy have if sequestration is full will he implemented. >> fewer than 380. >> they say 278. is that about right? >> that's in the ballpark. >> so congress will sink how many ships? >> sir, i take you on the word sink, but it will be -- >> okay, whatever, they're not going to be there. >> 30. >> so up brigades are we going
to wipe out, general, in the army? >> our estimation, we'll lose between 60 and 100,000 troops. >> would you agree with me when you rank the threats to the military, you have to put congress and president in the mix if we don't fix sequestration. >> i won't judge either congress or -- >> you're not required to answer that question. >> i'm not judging the president or congress. >> i will abstain. >> senator bluhm -- blumenthal, there are questions you are not required to answer. >> i was going to say i was going to re-ask that question, but i would probably reach the same result. i just want to say how much i respect your service, and i think we all do.
regardless of the demanding and tough questions that have been asked. we approach this as a lecollegi effort, devoted with extraordinary distinction and bravery. that goes for you and all that served with you. i just want to begin with my profound thanks for your service. admiral, i want to talk a little bit about submarines. i know that we are moving toward building two submarines a year, virginia class. in your testimony, you briefly note your concern for the future shortfall in our attack submarines. what is the navy strategy to deal with that shortfall when the desired 48 boat minimum in
2025 reach ace low point of 41 potentially placing our nation in jeopardy? do we have a strategy to address that shortfall. >> sir, we do. first, that shortfall highlights sort of a fundamental element of ship building plans, which you've got to think long-term. some of these things are very difficult to correct in the short-term. it just takes time to build s b submarines. we're building two per year, we're going to continue to oh do that and look to every possible way to extend the life of the current los angeles class submarines that are carrying much of the burden today, so we can fill in the trough as much as possible. we're examining the feasibility of -- we are building to virginia class submarines a year. we're going to continue that as we bring the ohio replacement
program, particularly in the year 2021, and if you put that submarine in place, it actually starts to fill in, you know, a good percentage of the trough. and so we'll look forward to more creative deployment options, so we get more out of every submarine and we'll use all of these methods together to try to minimize the effect of the trough. we won't be able to ae raerase . >> your point about planning, a little misunderstood by the american people who often think we can snap our fingers and turn on the spigot for submarines. but we know that planning also requires the investment and skill training, and the defense industrial base that consists of those men and women who in many ways are as vital as the men and
women in uniform, because they build the platforms, the submarines, who make our projection of power possible around the world. would you agree? >> i would completely agree. in terms of their talent and skill level, i wish we could take every american through that facility electric boat and the same down in the ship building facilities, just to see what american do when it puts its mind to it. it is stunning. as we ramp up to build up a higher replacement, the biggest challenge is the work force and bringing those skilled laborers on. i agree with you 100%. it's a team effort and a tough job. >> i hope you'll come back. i've been privileged to go through electric boat with you. i know senator reid has on many occasions as well. and this investment, it is not spending. it is investment in our future. i think it is really vital.
likewise, general milly, on the blackhawks, as you know, the national commission on the future of the army issued aviation recommendations earlier this year, and these recommendations create some budgetary tension with the aviation restructure initiative. i'm concerned that the plan, uh-60 blackhawk procurement, a vital initiative for the active army and national guard across the nation, will be reduced to pay for other programs, as you move forward with the army aviation fiscal year 18-22 budget, are revisions being made to ensure that future aviation modernization plans will be sustained in light of the commission's recommendation? >> aviation is one of our top
priorities, one of the ones i mentioned in my opening statement. absolutely we're committed to modernization. with respect to the national commission, we have what some of the aviation requirements finance requirement list, others were funding. so we think the commission did great work and we intend to implement the recommendations to the extent we can. >> thanks. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chair. gentlemen, thank you for being here today. it is a privilege to be in the same room with you. we do have a lot of difficulties coming up, especially with is he questi -- see quest administrati -- sequestration. i understand the navy is facing budgetary challenges, and this is true of all of our services. however, i was able to visit one of your ships earlier this year, and i was stunned to learn about
the requirement for up-to-date paper charts aboard u.s. navy ships. and the low priority of celestial training. i did send a letter to the navy about two months ago. as of yesterday, and i'm still waiting for a written response, but what i would like to know from you, what steps are you taking to increase basic nautical and celestial training and remove from electronic devices. they use an off the shelf product that other civilians use, as well as a program that is specific to the navy. they just don't get those up-to-date downloads. so, they don't have the paper charts necessary. maybe you can fill me in a little bit. >> well, with respect to navigation, it is something that obviously we take very seriously, both in every moment that we're underway and looking into the future.
with respect to minimizing our vulnerability to electronic navigation, global positioning system and those systems, a multi faceted approach, we've started teaching selestial navigation, and they're back at the naval academy and other plac places. we can use technology to move us forward, and then one of the thing that i am working hard with in our industrial based partners is there are other ways to get precision navigation and timing into our systems, which is so critical, not only for navigation, but also for weapon system performance and everything across the board. and so that's an area of emphasis as well. these would be systems that would be independent of gps and
more precise than gps. >> that's very encouraging. we can't forget we need to stay a little bit old school. >> we have to stay in the channel, ma'am. >> outstanding. thanks, add mir realmiral. general goldfein, i had the chance to visit air refueling wing in sioux city, and one of the things i noticed was the pilot shortage, they continue to talk about that. i know the chairman has already addressed this issue. but what i would like to maybe note from you is there a solution for the guard and reserve force as well? what can we do to better enable them with the pilot shortage? >> ma'am, actually it is a similar solution that we look at in active duty. the motivations are the same. the same pilot who joins, a lot of the guard came from the active duty. so the important part for us is to ensure that they are getting
the same opportunities to train in the in guard than they do active duty. like general said for the army, air force structured as well, we could not do the job without the guard, active component, all working together. especially in the mobility unit we're the most connected in terms of these associations and how we get together to get the mission done. so actually, what i mentioned in terms of quality service, making sure that they have the hours to ply, t fly. at the same time, we provide the financial incentives they need to stay. all that will improve our retention rates. >> wonderful. thank you very much. and just very briefly, in march, the army associated a pilot program, reeveryboserve compone. my understanding it could greatly increase the readiness of our reserve forces and reduce
costs. general milly, do you have any updates on how this program is working so far, and again, sir, very briefly, please. >> we've got 14 associated units now in the pilot program. we think and hope it will increase the readiness of the guard along with increased ctc rotations and increased requests for mandates. >> outstanding. we love our guard folks, don't we. >> absolutely. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chair. and general goldfein, thank you for being here. i note i was here for your opening comments. i had two meetings i had to run to. you made me reflect, and i'm not going to focus on it, except to say you need the flexibility you need to shed infrastructure if you're going to meet some of your -- address some of your budget constraints. the 440 was a classic example of
that. i know very well, fieve or six other sites, the target you were hitting, so i understand the pressure you're under. hopefully we'll repeal sequestration. i have one question for you. it really has to do with the ndaa from fy 16, which has i think a requirement to retain 1,900 aircraft. how are you going to comply with that requirement? or can you? >> sir, in this fida, we will, after that, it will be a challenge. as we bring on new weapons, the challenges we face, being able to maintain 1,900 will be a challenge. as we increase in investment in key areas that the nation -- >> i'm not sure -- >> probably outside of this committee, shedding light on that putting in a requirement, i
don't think you're going to be able to achieve. to the comment, general neller, i've spent a fair amount of time down in north carolina, cherry point, and i've had a number of discussions up here, and i continue to hear about challenges facing readiness for your aircraft. and then you have the second, third order effects on challenges for pilot training time. how would you assess the current state of readiness and give me an idea what the trend lines look like. >> the current state of readiness for marine aviation is dependant upon what model type series. in the agregate, it is improving. we're not flying enough. we don't have enough ready based aircraft and that means the aircraft we fly get turned faster, so they're harder to maintain. we're right at, and we're at our flight hour program, because not that we're flying a lot of
hours, but that's where we get a lot of our parts. we are not where we want to be. i don't think we're going to be where we want to be, if we can increase the parts support, it will happen faster. if we can get new airplanes, it will happen faster. the trend line is slightly up. >> i'll tell you one thing i saw at cherry point. where you really, the rubber hits the road and you're down there and you see these repair operations, the way it works, they can go so far with certain repairs and then they're waiting for parts or relying on some other part of the chain. we've got planes that could probably be ready to go, but for changes in some of the processes. other things we may need to do to provide with the flex bill fee and funding. i know that has to do with funding that have been depleted. we've got to shed light on that as we go into planning for next year. general milly, you made a
comment about whee're mortgagin our future readiness and creating a debt. can you get into examples of what that looks like. >> well, specifically, with respect to the budget, we've over many years now have under cut or reduced our s and t and r&d in the modernization accounts. that part of the budget, that part of the pie has been reduced over time. that's the part of the pie that is future readiness, because ten years, 15 years are now, those projects become really weapons or real equipment. that's what i'm talking about so that part of the pie has been reduced. we are trying to in this president's budget make hard choices. as a service given a top line, and given basically a fixed amount on the compensation piece of it, to try to balance the readiness today, versus
modernization s & t for tomorrow. these are tough choices, and in the army's piece of it, we are prefacing, biasing today's readiness because of the gaps from the last 15 years. we've got to get them back up to speed because of the threats. >> thank you all for your service. and i think senatank senator mc effects of that sequestration, and end this. thank you, all. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. in 2014, the jacob sexton suicide prevention act was signed into law through the fy 15 ndaa. the first bill i introduced after joining the senate and it is after a hoosier soldier we lost in 2009. last year was the most year we
lost to combat. my colleague, senator king, is sponsoring a showing of a movie "thank you for your and when we talk about taking care of our troops, when we talk about readiness, when we talk about maintaining the strongest fighting force the world has ever known, i can't think of anything more fundamental than ensuring the physical and mental health of our men and women in uniform. the act mandated each of the services provide ro bust health assessment to every service member, active or reserve, every year. i'd like to know how each of your branches are doing in implementing this requirement. general millie, if you could touch on that? >> thank you, senator. one thing, within the army, we are seeing in the last year an improvement, meaning a reduced
number of suicides. slight but significant enough to be noticeable across the force and that's important. all the efforts we've done with your help and congress' help and lot of folks' help over the last several years are we think showing leading indicators of improvement in suicide, which we recognize is a component of readiness. because it's a tragic event. specific to your question, we are implementing with the -- through he hadcom annual monthly health assessments for the force in the regular army. i'd have to check on the guard, reserve, how that's being done. we are doing that throughout the force. we also do routine post-deployment health assessments. so if you go to iraq, afghanistan, come back, we do tbi checks. we've got a lot of programs right now throughout the force to focus on the very thing that you're talking about.
we're taking it serious and we think we're taking some improvement. >> thank you. admiral richardson and general miller, i know you're a team in many ways on this, if you could touch upon it. >> sir, exactly the same commitment. we're on track time plement that completely in compliance with your intent. we share your deep commitment to the mental health of our sailors. with respect to the other measures to prevent, we find that the more that we can make our sailors feel like a member of a team, that they've got a network of support that they can fall back on, that is -- seems to be one of the most effective things. that in combination with an assessment, we hope to turn this thing downward. >> thank you, general miller. >> according to the senior medical officer who's a navy admiral that is for the marine corps, we're in the process of implementation. he estimates on the active side by the end of this -- by the end of fy 17 it will be implemented. the reserve will probably take
longer just because of the nature of their drilling on weekends and having access. but as far as filling out the questionnaire online and then having a care provider contact them and have a conversation and all the intentions of the legislation or law, we are planning on being fully implemented by the end of fy 17, senator. >> thank you so much. >> sir, i'll say the same, we're in the same boat. and we'll be fully implemented by about mid part of fy 17. i will also say we're taking a different approach to it as well. it's fairly new. we're actually taking the socom approach that they've approached it with. take a look at their approach, if we would take an aircraft off the schedule at a certain periodic time to do periodic maintain nance, then take an aircraft off the schedule for longer periods of time to do depot maintenance, make sure they're in good shape and put them back in the fight, why wouldn't we do the same thing for airmen? we're actually looking at taking your initiative to the next
level which is a periodic maintenance schedule for the human to increase performance. that takes the stigma off. because if you're having to go in based on a schedule and everybody's having to do it, we think it will have profound effects. >> okay. admiral richardson, you were kind enough to visit crane naval base. and it's integral to several modernization efforts we have going, most prominently the ohio replacement program. how does our pattern of reliance on continuing resolutions impact your ability to modernize the 97y? >> sir, i think that we all sort of feel this pain in some way or another. we -- this continuing resolution business really undercuts the trust and confidence that we have with our suppliers, with the industrial base, that are so key to providing not only at the ship level, particularly in the strategic deterrent business, but also down at the component level. and when you disrupt that trust and confidence, when you double the amount of contracts that you
have to write just to get through the year, when you prevent the ability to buy things in blocks over a long period of time, the only thing you're doing is increasing cost, increasing time, and that translates to increasing risk to our war fighter. >> thank you all for your hard work and dedication. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mansion? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your service and for being here today. the one question that i want to ask that i know has been batted around quite a bit. the united states air force, i'll start, general, with you. it's really for all of you. standing tradition of leadership and coalition-building, which you all do. and it's evident today in significant role in the 20-nation air core litigation against isil, which you all have done quite effectively. as you may know, four of our fellow nato coalition members spend at least 2% of the gdp on defense spending. and the target for nato countries, there's 28, should be
at 2%. there's only five, including u.s. that leaves 23. that doesn't seem to care, make any attempt whatsoever. i can't figure why that condition was even put in. if it was not intended to be kept or met. so i think i'd just like to hear y'all's assessment of this and what effect it's having. i know there's been some wild political statements made about what would be done but i don't subscribe to any of that. i'm thinking, why do we still have that condition if we're not going to force anyone or there's no retribution if you don't? how is it affecting i think is what i would ask. >> i'll just say the secretary's been over there talking to nato significantly about their contribution and increasing their investment in defense. and that was certainly something all of us at the table would want to see, not only in the air domain but in all the domains. one of the areas we're focused on in the air force specifically the next several years is coalition-friendly command and control. because the information age of
warfare is more about data sharing, it's more about information sharing, it's more about being able to connect into a common network and architecture. and technology has increased security over time and has actually made that harder. and so as we partner with not only our nato allies but other allies and partners around the globe, being able to have them wecht into a common framework, a common network, share information, and be able to fight as a coalition is going to become more important in the future, not less. >> i know that. i'm just saying, how much of a strain is that -- we know with our challenges we have financially and everybody else's challenges around the world. but if they're basically able to just neglect that thinking we're going to do all the heavy lift, which we've done, and i understand, but also come up with the financial wherewithal to do it too, is there anything that we could do that kind of -- do you see any movement in a positive direction? i understand germany kind of takes the lead on this and the rest of them follow, german doesn't take it serious, it's not going to happen. >> one of the areas that would
be very helpful, i think, and we've had this conversation, i do it as a global air chief, my partners here do as well. and that is, we call something high-demand, low-density. then we tend to admire it over time. we do the best we can to be able to increase the density or decrease the demand, that doesn't often happen. it would be very helpful if our nato partners and others could actually contribute in those key mission areas and enablers which would raise the bar for everyone, as opposed to sometimes what they choose to invest in. >> would anybody else have any comments? >> senator, i would just add that, first, this isn't a new problem. i was a nato officer in the '90s. after the end of the cold war they took the peace dividend and they haven't reinvested. second, our military counterparts, they want to participate. they want to play. and they play within their capability. and i think we need to provide them opportunities to do that, whatever their percentage of gdp is for investment.
and lastly, i think it is changing. i think it is changing, i think the world environment and the strategic environment you see, particularly in europe, has -- is causing them to recognize that they have underinvested, particularly the eastern european countries are going to. i think there should be change. i think we should encourage them. we should facilitate their purchase of u.s. equipment which has increased our interoperability. then whatever way, whether fms or their own money, we encourage them to increase their capability. >> so i'll just add on to that. first, just like general miller said, my counterparts in nato, they're as frustrated as anybody about this. they want to be full participants in securing not only their nation but europe and contributing to global security and stability. and to that end, again, the importance of american leadership to provide an example, be there, is another thing that they comment on
consistently. and so as a team, whether it's equipment interoperability, command and control, they want to participate and they're as frustrated with these policy decisions as anybody. >> general? >> as you know, senator, we've had a long history in europe with the army. we've still got 30,000 troops over there doing a lot of exercises. we're putting out aps systems. with respect to the nato partner spending, et cetera, what i've read is that their defense spending is actually increasing with many of these countries lately. perhaps not at 2% yet. but lithuania, latvia, estonia, poland, even germany, sweden, finland, norway, these countries do include the uk, they're reversing some of these trends because of what they've seen in the ukraine, crimea, elsewhere. so they are investing and they are expanding. keet now enters operability and work as a team. nato's a critical alliance. there's been a long peace in europe, since 1945, so going on
seven decades. part of that is because of nuclear weapons. but also because 300,000 soldiers stood on a wall up until 1989, '90. also because of those european allies all shoulder to shoulder facing down the soev yen union. that alliance is key, it's critical. i think it's mutually interdependant between us and them in order to achieve effect on any kind of future battlefield. >> i would just finally wrap up real quick. if this is one of the conditions that the members of nato member nations had when they formed nato, how many other conditions are not being met? that there's no enforcement, no policing, there's no retribut n retribution? it just seems that if you're not going to do anything, why do we have it there? and they're going to say, don't worry about it, the americans will pick it up, they'll pay. you know, just -- you understand, we go to our constituents, it's pretty hard to explain, why is it there? if you're not going to make them do something, if there's in
retribution. i'm not saying we're not going to help, not going to defend. but maybe world bank interest rates, things of this sort, that gives them privileges being a nato member that there might an little bit of a penalty, might give them a little bit of a push. i'm understanding it's not from the military, must be coming from the policymakers and state departments. but thank you all again for your service. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. for general miller, on april 6, secretary stackly testified that the required number of a.m. fib bus ships necessary to provide the lift of two mat reason expeditionary brigades to conduct joint forcible entry operations is 38 ships. he also said that number is fiscally constrained to 34 ships. with an operational availability of 90%. we often hear about combat and commander requirements concerning amphibious ships.
general, you're the man who provides the marines who operate off those ships. what's the right number, in your opinion, and what mix of ships should that include, sir? >> senator, you're correct, combatant commanders, if we could meet all the requirements, it would take 50 ships. the fiscally constrained requirement is 38. with a 90% availability. right now we're at 31. we're going to go to 34 by 2022 -- >> we'll get to 34? >> we'll get to 34 by 2022 -- >> where would that leave us? what would that not permit us to do, sir? >> it will not give us, based on the average availability, the ability to embark two marine expeditionary brigades which is the minimum requirement for forcible entry. so ultimately we'll get to 38 but it will be beyond multiple
fed-ups, i believe 33, then it will start to go down if we don't sustain it. so what's the right mix? the right mix is ideally 12, minimum of 12 big-deck amfibs that can handle f-35 and osprey. 12 lpp 17 class. then 12 other comparable hull forms, either lpd 17 repeat, or lxr which uses the lpd 17 hull mass for its space. >> that's only 36. you've also got two lahrs and other ships that would get you to 38. so we have two nonwell deck, big-deck ships which would get you 14. >> between the lpd 28 and lxr, can you get more ship at less cost if the schedule is accelerated? >> first, senator, thank to all the congress for giving us the 12th ldp, but absolutely. it's similar to submarines.
anything that we block buy and we can give the shipyard, whatever shipyard it is, certainty, where they can get the workforce, they can train the workforce, they can learn as they build the ships, they can build these ships faster for less money. so if we were to block buy five lpd 17 replacements or lxr, we could probably get three and a half ships for the cost of five. that's a big number but that would be -- i know mr. stackly would agree with that. it goes with any type of ship or any type of platform, whether it's an airplane. the more we can provide certainty to both not just the primary vendor but all the subs that build the parts, we can drive the cost down and the workforce gets better, they get smarter, they get faster. >> thank you, sir. general millie, about afghanistan. my understanding of our goal in afghanistan is to participate in a sustained partnership with the
elected leadership there. and i would observe that we've had a sustained partnership for decades with our friends in europe and a successful sustained partnership in korea, although there's not much kinetic warfare going on in korea at this point. we're there, we've had a sustained partnership, and i think it's been successful for the people there and for americans also. what is the understanding in your opinion of the afghan people about our purpose in being there and our long-term relationship? >> sir, thanks. as you know, i've got a fair amount of time in afghanistan. in general, the afghan people are very supportive of the united states military being there. and they would be fearful of us
withdrawing. you know, completely. at least in the near term. so what we are trying to do is working by, with, and through the afghan security forces who are -- have been built up to a significant size now. what we're trying to do is train, advise, assist them in order to maintain stability against their enemy, their internal enemies, so that the government and the other elements of the campaign pan, the economy, rule of law, et cetera, can be sustained over time. i think that's going to take a considerable length of time. the attitude of the afghan people is that they -- at least from my experience, is they would prefer that we continue to stick with them. and i think that's our plan. our current u.s. government plan. i think that's also the nato plan. is continue to sustain that effort. >> i for one concur in your
conclusion there, sir. is it unsettling to the afghan people when they hear that we might leave early? >> i would say, yes. but i think that we, the united states, and nato, have been very firm in our commitment now, and we have said what we're going to have going forward. and i think that the government, the military, the people understand the message. that we're not going to abandon afghanistan. >> mr. ranking member, i understand we've had some discussion about sequestration. my understanding is no one has asked these panelists if they are designing a fidip that reflects the return to sea guess traition. i realize i'm a bit over my time. but i would -- i think it would be important for us to hear.
i know they are horrified at the thought of sequestration returning. but if each of you could tell us, are you designing the future of your defense plan to reflect going back to sequestration? >> sir, we're not. >> you're not? >> we're not. >> you're aware it's the law of the land? >> yes, sir, we absolutely are. >> well -- okay. general miller? >> sir, we're not designing one but we have had discussions about what might be the consequences and is some actions we could possibly have to take if it became -- if it went into effect. >> admiral richardson? >> sir, i'd say our design is based on the security that the americans expect of the united states navy. but we've always got to start that conversation with the sequestration level. so it's put us in a terrific bind being able to meet that mission. >> no fidip that actually
implements the draconian things you'd have to implement? >> no we'd have to adapt. >> we've done some preliminary planning, senator, so i understand what the order of magnitude actions that would have to take place in the event of full sequestration. however, no, we have not developed a pom or a fidip to that level of detail that would be submitted to the president and to congress. >> i certainly hope we can avoid it, but as i said years ago, senator reed, it's the law of the land and it surprised us all last time when we got to the -- when we got to that point and it actually went into effect. hope we can avoid it. thank you all for your service. >> thank you very much. on behalf of the chairman, senator sheehan, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here and for your service to our country. i apologize, i had two other hearings this morning so i'm sorry that i missed much of the discussion. and i'm sure you may have already answered this question but i think it's important to
ask again. as i have traveled around the month of august when we were not here in washington and met with businesses, one of the things i consistently heard from many of our businesses in new hampshire and we have a significant number that provide -- that have contracts with the department of defense, that provide equipment and technology to our military, was concern about two things. one was about the budgeting process. and about the fact that we're going in again with no budget for the upcoming year and the short-term continuing resolution. hopefully we will have a longer-term budget after the election. and the other was about the reduced investment in research and development. and so can i ask you to speak to what the impact is, not just of your budgets in the military,
but also of the industrial base that supports our military that we need to maintain if we're to keep our technological edge? and general golfine, i see you nodding, so maybe you could begin. >> yes, ma'am. you know, the impact to industry, when we can't provide some stable budget and projection for them, probably hits them the hardest in their technical work force. so what i see as a rather technical force is when i'm talking to a company that's building, for instance, a -- let's just say an air to air or exquisite air to ground missile or munition, they've got to keep a certain amount of that workforce engaged over time. and so then when i go to them with one-year budgets and tell them my procurement quantities now are going to be here, and in the next year because of traits they're going to be down here, and i go jack them around back and forth, it causes an
incredible challenge for industry to be able to sustain their workforce that we need. and that doesn't even go into at what point do i go to them and say, because of the global security environment, i need you to surge and build even more capability and produce more weapons over the period of time. and what they tell me is, we got rid of that workforce because you told me you were coming down this year. so everything that we deal with in terms of an unstable budget and one-year budgets actually gets accelerated into industry as well. >> and you alluded to the impact that has on our national security and our ability to be prepared. but can i get you to elaborate a little more on that? >> well, ma'am, it goes to what kind of weapon systems that we need to modernize. so for the air force, like all the services, we've got aircraft that have already exceeded their service life or at the end of their service life and they've got to be replaced. and so we rely on industry to be
able to support us in their acquisition programs going forward. if we don't have stable budgets, if we don't have the research and development dollars to be able to develop that technology for the future, then what happens to us is we continue to push that to the right and like general millie said, you start mortgaging the future to pay for the current readiness and the fights you have. and the other challenge you have is as the aircraft age over time, they actually become more and more expensive to fly. and so you take even more of those dollars that you need for research, development, modernization, and you shift them left into sustainment of older weapons systems this all adds up to an increased risk. >> thank you. >> ma'am, if i can pile on to that. >> please. >> in support of my fellow chief, this is really a team effort. this message of stability is critical because it's not just government r&d but those businesses that you visited, they're investing their own dollars in irad. >> right. >> they need to know if they're
going to get anything back on that investment. and when we don't give them that signal of stability and confidence, they're simply not going to invest. they're going to cash out and they're going to be out of the business. the other thing that is particularly with technology changing so quickly today, and senator reed highlighted it in his opening statement, what used to be long-term future, that's become more short-term future. so we're not talking decades into the future anymore. we're talking single digits of years. because things are moving so fast in directed energy, additive manufacturing, electromagnetic maneuver warfare, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies. we've got to keep on the step with this because we are not the only team out there looking to capture these capabilities. >> thank you. well, hopefully that's an admonition to congress that we get our act together and produce a budget. and some certainty for the long-term. mr. chairman, could i ask one
more question? >> senator king one too if you'll let him, so you go first. >> okay. >> i know this is on budget but i just came from a hearing on the foreign relations committee in afghanistan and i heard thor? asking about afghanistan. i wanted to ask you all about the special immigrant visa program for the afghans.se asking about afghanistan. i wanted to ask you all about the special immigrant visa program for the afghans. it's about to expire and congress has so far declined to extend that program. therefore we have several thousand afghan in the pipeline who it's questionable whether they will get visas and many of them are under immediate threat or their families are being threatened. so can i ask you to speak to the importance of that program to our men and women on the ground and why it would be important for congress to extend it? general millie, do you want to start? >> yeah, thank you, senator.
we've had, you know, lots, hundreds, thousands, of afghans work for us, the united states military, since 2001. they've been interpreters, they've been analysts, they've been doing a lot of the things. many of them have asked to become american citizens and get visas, et cetera. so i personally would be in favor of extending that. because those are brave men and women who have fought along our side. and are men and women, american men and women in uniform, that are alive today because a lot of those afghans were putting their life on their line. for their own country, to be sure, but with us. now they want to become american citizens. i for one would like to afford them that opportunity. >> thank you. would anybody else like to add? general miller? >> yes, senator. when we saw a similar thing in iraq, very same thing general millie described, where they're out there shoulder to shoulder
with marines, soldiers, airmen, risking their lives and sharing the risk and providing great services to keep our citizens alive, our folks alive. and i used to interview them myself. and make sure they understood that this is not what you might have seen on tv, but you're going to come here, you're going to work, you have an opportunity. so i think there's a proper vetting process. i know there's background checks. i fully support with the proper vetting process that this program be allowed to continue. >> thank you all very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> one of the privileges of serving on this committee is the relationship we have with our services. one of the relationships is the military fellows assigned to our officers. today marks probably the last hearing for lieutenant commander
dennis wishmire, naval officer who has served in our office for this year, and i want to recognize the importance of that program, recognize the work lieutenant commander wishmire has made. if i've asked good questions, they've been his. if i've asked stupid questions, they're mine. i just wanted to provide that recognition. thank you, mr. chairman. >> he must have been here today, senator king. on behalf of chairman mccain, let me thank you for your testimony. forthright and very sobering. thank you for your service individually. and please extend our thanks and gratitude to the men and women that you lead so proudly. with that i would adjourn the hearing. thank you.
tonight on "the communicators," seamus hughes, deputy director at george washington university center for signer and homeland security, and alberto fernandez, vice president of the middle east research institute, discuss how isis and other extremist groups use social media to radicalize and recruit followers and how the u.s. and other nations are trying to reduce that trend. >> i think we're seeing kind of explosion of the use of social media to recruit, particularly in america, individuals to isis. so their use of social media, like twitter, which was a platform of choice for a number of years, now telegram, where
they're largely concentrated, you see these ones and twos individuals in the u.s. you aren't finding like-minded people at the mosques and community centers and are reaching online. >> you want depth, you want religiosity, you can have that. you want bloodlust, you want revenge, you want wacko ways of killing, you have that as well. it allows them to project a complete package in a way that bypasses television, bypasses the regular media, is accessible for all people. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, "national journal hotline" editor kyle trigtad will talk
about campaign 2016. the senior mellow at mat han tat institute and vicki shebo, vice president of the national partnership for women and families action fund, will be on to discuss hillary clinton and donald trump's proposed child care and family leave policies. be sure to watch these live, 7:00 eastern, tuesday morning. join the discussion. next, a look at u.s. relations with russia, including president vladimir putin's political power at home, his image on the global stage, and what future relations with russia would look like under a donald trump or hillary clinton administration. from the center on global interests, this is an hour and a half. >> -- my job this morning is to quickly get out of the way so we can get to our panel. we're very lucky and excited to have the particular members in front of you this morning. the center of global interests job is to produce for you constructive discourse.
not to have particular opinions. but we've got depth and breadth of expertise on the panel this morning. i'm going to quickly pass it off to eager zeblev, currently with woodrow wilson, but got a distinguished history here and central europe and russia as well. so eager, can i ask you as i take over, introduce the speakers and get moving. >> thank you very much. good morning, everyone. welcome to the panel, what the 2016 election mean for u.s./russia relevances. as you heard, my neem is igor zebelev and i will chair and moderate the panel. and our purpose today is to better understand u.s./russia relations in the context of the upcoming national elections in each country. i'm sure you all know this very
well. distinguished government official academic and author currently he is the george cannon senior fellow for russian and you' and you're asian studies. the council for relations and of course professor of international diplomacy at columbia university. he's the author of "maximalist" published in 2014. and as you probably know from 1997 to 2001, steve was the u.s. state department's ambassador-at-large for the former soviet union. and he will speak about the kremlin in the u.s. race. and i'm delighted to welcome steve sistanovich this morning. steve fish is a professor of political science at the ufr of
california berkeley. he's the author of many books, most recently "are muslims distinctive?" a look at the evidence published by oxford in 2011. steve also authored several books on russia, including under the titles of "democracy from scratch" in '95, and "democracy derailed" in 2005. you see the contrast between the titles and probably they tell us something. he will talk about russian democratization or lack thereof in the 2016 dumas cycle in the comparative and historical perspective. the organizers of the panel asked me to offer some introductory remarks. and the definition of a really
bad panel chair is someone who has been asked to say a few words and as an introduction and says too many. well, so i will try to be very brief and just identify several puzzles in the election campaign in russia and the united states. i see at least two puzzles in the russian campaign. first, in many countries around the world today, political elites face a challenge, an ongoing potential challenge, of a populist rebellion. hungary, poland, the united kingdom, the united states, the philippines. very different countries but there is something in common going on in the political sphere.
russia should be in theory among these nations. this is the first election after the '90s taking place during a serious economic downturn. many people who run the country are unspeakably corrupt. but russians clearly are not tired enough of the same old faces, names, and policies, to demand change. why? the second puzzle. i am under the impression that many ordinary russians, not u.s. experts but ordinary russians, are much more interested in and intrigue the by american electi elections, not the state duma elections. are the stake in the russian
elections indeed so low? are the results too predictable? is the result of the u.s. election that critical to russia? of course one may argue that in a political system which maybe calls for presidential parliamentary elections are not that important. according to the levata center, a newly named foreign agent unfortunately, 42% of russians believe that state duma elections is a mere imitation of political struggle. and of course the united states still plays a role of a significant other in maintain ing russian national identity. are these explanations sufficient to help toweus to be
understand why russians soar interested in american relations and not much interested in their own relations? the american campaign is more puzzling, least to me. first, the degree to which russia has taken place in the u.s. presidential election hasn't been seen since the end the cold war. how did it happen? why? if someone told me a year ago that russia would play such an important role in the current american election, i would laugh and say that this is the kremlin view, that we are at the center of the universe. but now it's the case. mr. kosachov, head of the russian centers for media said the focus of russia in the american campaign is a "true
acknowledgement what russia has returned to the international arena as a real factor in world politics." from my perspective this kind of attention to russia is unhealthy and counterproductive. so far, neither candidate from my perspective has offered anything resembling a strategy for managing the u.s./russia relationship when he or she is elected. and polarizing campaign rhetoric has largely overshadowed the real very difficult issues in u.s./russia relations. the second puzzle. the most surprising development in the campaign is that the major party candidate may be called or often called as pro-moscow. in the past, bashing russia during the campaign was
cost-free and actually beneficial to mobilize some constituencies. and now we see something opposite. the major party candidate is so pro-moscow, and it is coloradost cost-free to him. why? how did it happen?st-free to him. why? how did it happen? next puzzle. never before russia preferred one candidate in the american presidential race so openly and strongly. of course it is related to the previous puzzle. i may assure you that many influential people in moscow understand the risks russia may face if the american presidency is unpredictable. nevertheless, they hope that the republican candidate will win. now, why? it is understandable that russia
would prefer the candidate who is making such statements about russia, crimea, nato, so on. that donald trump does. but i think there may be something deeper. i think the prominent russian analyst is right when he argued that these statements are not just pro-russian. they correspond pretty well to the russian picture of how the world should be. on what principles the international system should be built on. so that maybe a deeper affinity on the philosophical level. this is just hypothesis. or maybe it's a stretch, i do not know. there are many other puzzles. and that's why we're here today.
i'd like to ask steve fish to go first and discuss democracy and elections in russia. and steven sestanovich will follow with his comments on russia in the u.s. election. and of course he may also share his views on russian elections with us. then i will ask a couple of questions and then open the floor for general q&a. and we will adjourn at about noon. thank you. steve, the floor is yours. >> thank you, igor. just to begin with, a couple of responses to his very interesting questions. and i think igor covered some of the really big questions that we need to bear in mind. especially as we think about our relations between russia and the west. you know, why aren't russians interested in these elections? or why are they less interested in their own elections than they are in american presidential leaks? let me start off by saying that these are parliamentary
elections in a presidential dictatorship. they will have absolutely no effect on how russia is governed. we know what the results are going to be. ever since 2007 or so, the presidential administration has enjoyed full control over the duma. the lower house of parliament, and indeed parliament as a whole. lawmaking is not even done in parliament anymore, it's done by the presidential administration. and there's really very little that the duma is left to do. it's just a decorative appendage. so these elections don't really matter to russians very much. the elections in the the united states are capturing attention everywhere. in recent months i've been in pakistan, sweden, traveling. what i've seen is from pakistan to sweden, those are the elections everyone's focusing on. it's because of trump. it's because of this absolutely bizarre candidate who's come to the fore in american elections. people just can't believe this all most of the world and i think that's why they're getting so much attention. in addition to the fact that as igor said, trump is talking a lot about russia. in an answer to one of his other
questions, which is why russia's getting so much attention, and it doesn't seem to redound to the harm of trump to be pro-russian, i think it's because hillary clinton is simply not picked up on it. she's blown a very big opportunity. when trump actually calls for the russian government to spy on, to hack into hillary clinton's e-mails, he's actually enjoining people to engage in treason. this is americans to actually go along with this kind of thing. this is a guy who is doing something that's so bizarre by american electoral standards that i think this is one big reason why russia's come to the fore in these elections. he's a very different kind of candidate. back to this point about these elections not really mattering. you know, the duma has been the lower house of parliament in russia has been occupied fully by putin's party, united russia, and a couple of decorative pro-kremlin parties, as well as the thoroughly housebroken
communist party of the russian federation now for quite some time. and these elections are not going to change that a bit. but there is something that the impending elections, and i have in mind here body the duma elections that are coming up on the 18th and also the presidential elections that will be held sometime between a year and a year and a half or two years after the parliamentary elections, really does bring up in russian politics. and this is something i want to flag today. i think the important thing is that these elections have actually changed a bit the way the government in russia is dealing with opposition. there actually has been a kind of slow, moderate to be sure, but there has been a bit of a crackdown on opposition in russia with the elections impending there. you know, ever since 2011, right after the parliamentary elections in december of 2011, when there were demonstrations, spontaneous demonstrations, against what many people in moscow regarded as falsification, and then of course especially since 2013
when yanukovych, viktor yanukovy yanukovych, was thrown out of powner a mass popular uprising, putin has been obsessed with the danger of his opponents abroad linking up with his foes at home. he's very -- paranoid would be too strong a word but he's very worried about that happening. this is really a big deal to putin. i think the fear is completely unjustified. but he does seem to think that there's this dangerous possibility of, especially the americans teaming up with his foes in-country and trying to topple him. so the rise in repression i think actually is a bigger story than the leaks themselves. it's also significant in my view that this moderate but noticeable rise in repression really started in 2012 during putin's third term in office as president. but it's actually been
especially noticeable before the elections. why i think this is important is that it really does represent something of a departure in putin's approach. by putin i mean the whole government, the presidential administration in particular which runs the country now. because this administration has actually been better than just about any other autocratic regime in the world at maintaining control without the use of naked coercion. this is a title aspect of putinism that i think we need to focus on. and it's something that the current parliamentary and the future presidential elections might actually change. so what i'd like to discuss a little bit with you today what is i'll call the rather inelegantly the elegance of the putin dictatorship in russia. i think if we're going to understand why this guy runs on 80%-plus approval ratings year after year, it would be hard to think of another political leader in the world who can possibly pretend to this kind of popularity.
i think it's real. i don't think that these polls are just telling us anything that's not true. i don't think they're all that inflated. i think this is actually remarkable. in order to understand this, we have to focus on the nature of this dictatorship. the fact that we would even perhaps question, is it really a dictatorship, just shows us how elegant it is. because of course it is. this is a presidential dictatorship. we would call it that in any other system. and it's remarkable. think about it. a decade and a half ago, russia actually had a free-wheeling media, a contentious if underpowered parliament, and partly manipulated but still competitive elections. and today it has none of those things. and the remarkable thing about putin and company is that he's actually made people like this. it's not just that he's gotten away with it, he's actually gotten away with and it made people like it. this is very unusual. this is not something you see in most other autocracies. from a comparative perspective
as we look around the world of other cases this is rare. usually one sees a much, much greater use of coercive efforts in order to achieve this kind of movement from semi-democracy to full-blown autocracy. this is a puzzle that's worthy of our attention. as we consider how the government has done this in russia, we can focus on the government's political tactics and the mechanisms of how putin has achieved such a high level of control. we can discuss the presidential administration's control of the media which for my money is the slickest, most subtle indoctrination machine in the world at the present time. we could also consider the process by which putin and company brought the legislature to heel and under control starting with 2000, his first year in office. actually first months in office when he made a kind of strike on the autonomy of the upper house of parliament, the federation council, shortly after he came to office. we could also consider how he was able quietly to seize
control of the duma. the lower house of parliament. by using his authority and state resources to build a party as well as by pushing through changes in the rules that enabled him to eliminate virtually any trace of parliamentary autonomy and dissent within parliament even by the 2007 legislative elections. in any discussion of elections we would have to consider putin's gradual but steady conversion of the entirety of the electoral machinery and to basically from top to bottom a mechanism designed to maximize votes for himself and his preferred candidates and parties. in order to understand the extent of putin's control, we need to keep in mind that for the better part of the past decade, the head of the central electoral commission in russia, vladamir khurov, the head of the electoral commission in russia. this is a guy who called
khurov's first law, his own first law, the following law, which is that putin is always right. that's what he says openly. that's the guardian of probity and even-handedness in russian's elections speaking. this is absolutely remarkable. and in fact, i would say what's even more interesting than this is that most russians seem to subscribe to khurov's law. which is precisely why if not most, certainly a very large minority. and this is part of the reason why having such a man in charge of the elections is not all that -- it's not the object of much attention in russia. this is something that, in fact, most russians go along with. but there's an even bigger story underlying this. everything i'm talking about that underlies these others and helps explain why putin, in fact, has been able to achieve all these things of kind of creating a well-ordered autocracy in a country that just a decade and a half ago had something resembling an imperfect democracy.
even as the economy has slowed, putin has been able to remain an object of affection and veneration on the part i would say probably most russians. and has become almost immune in most russians' mind -- minds from basically blame for anything that doesn't go right in russia. there's many reasons for thinks extraordinary authority which i think is really the thing that drives both these elections and russian politics in general right now. one of course is the trauma of the 1990s and the fact that in 1999, 2000, as he was coming to office, the economy started recovering dramatically. this made possible, of course, the rise of russia, russia's prestige and status in the world. another that is putin's policies for the most part, even if they look harsh and authoritarian and hypernationalist to us in the west, actually place him right in the dead center of the russian political spectrum.
and we have to keep in mind by privileging russia's international status above all else, this guy is pretty much in sync with mainstream russian opinion. not every nation in the world is concerned with its position in the world and its status in the world as a first priority like russians are. most, in fact, are not. most people in this world care about other things just as much. we americans, though, really do. to russians and americans alike, the ability to really kick ass in the world is a very big deal. and people are willing to sacrifice a lot for that. russians are that way too. so as we look at putin's priorities, which put russia's status in the world absolutely in first place, we have to keep in mind, this actually wears pretty well with most russians. most of his countrymen. it resonates well, they like it. his personal style, while unappealing to most of us in the west, or many people here, actually suits russians reasonably well. it's certainly wearing very
well. the things i'm talking about gets to igor's question about how, in fact, this is possible, that this dictatorship has remained -- he didn't use the word dictatorship, i'm using it -- has remained so popular. he said people are not tired or not yet tired of the same old faces. well, they're not at all. and i'm talking about some of the reasons why they're not. but it's really putin's face they're not tired of. they get tired of other faces and that doesn't really matter because they know that they don't really have all that much power. but there's another basis for this astronomical, seemingly bullet-proof level of trust that putin and company enjoy that brings us back to the elegance of his dictatodictatorship. this is his relatively strong and consistent preference for using incentives over punishments. this is a big part of his government's style. and it's a very important part of why he's as popular and as legitimate as he is. to be sure, putin's state is ready to use coercion if necessary in order to protect
itself. but it uses coercion much more selectively and much less frequently than other authoritarian regimes in the world do. this fact combined with this moderate decline in mafia-style killing and in ordinary crime in russia since the 1990s helps elites and ordinary people alike actually feel safer and feel their physical security is better now than it was 15 or 20 years ago. so putin really is emerging as kind of the anti-stalin which has helped him achieve a level of esteem and respect, arguably power, than stalin ever had. the point seems counter intuitive to us because in our media we hear about the nemsov assassination or other assassinations. but by the standards of other awe accurates in the world, putin's use of force could hardly be less promiscuous. he uses violence selectively and very rarely. and mostly against serial
offenders of his kind of bottom-line, informal rule against betraying his wars or his security services. the rulers of most other regimes that are as of other regimes close to putin's russia and many that are not as close engage in far more deadly violence and coercion in general against their opponents than this regime does. for a people that is so voiceless in elections, where elections are so rigged, so manipulated f ed by the media, are unrepressed. this is part of the skill and this is part of putin's skill and the reason why he's, in fact, still so popular and people are not yet tired of the same old faces. what's more? there's typically much more within regime coercion within the elite when someone falls out
of favor either they are on the wrong side of a court entry or they lose favor with the ruler, typically there's much more coercion with them than contemporary russia. as long as one stays loyal to the main man, they are not subject to coercion after they are sent out of office for whatever reason. that's remarkable. putin grasps a truth, he and his people grasp a truth, but he above all alluded autocrats. the use of violence actually produces weakness and it's a sign of weakness rather than strength. it makes more enemies than one needs to make. putin has surprisingly few enemies for someone who has been in power and had as much as he has for the last 17 years. he really does prefer, whether he's dealing with his own inner circle or the public at large, voluntary willing compliance to coercion.
he wants to be feared, but understands in the modern day, being liked and being the object of respect actually gets you more than fear does as long as you are feared underneath that. a truly commanding ruler, putin is showing others this. it doesn't mean they are paying attention. it's obvious, a commanding ruler resorts to violence when he reaches the end of his rope and he should have a long rope as well as fuse. there's no greater sign of his political mastery than his ap tud for seizing and wielding so much power inflicting so much damage, so little damage in make sog few enemies. the vast majorities of subjects, including his subordinates, his iron fist touches lightly. how stable is the system then. his authority, which is unusual combined with the identification
of him personally with the political system creates a great deal of stability in the regime, in the regime itself. it inoculates it to mass uprising as long as he em bodies it to most russians as he does and is perceived as a wise ruler fully in charge, but not to blame him for anything. as he is, the regime will be in good shape. his legitimacy can keep them in line. anyone who might seek to displace the ruler, replace him or her has to grapple with what public reaction would be. even though the russian public is very undermobilized, any pretender to the throne in russia knows an attempt an putin is met with mass popular disapproval and he is able to wield the popularity with the leads very effectively. this, in fact, is why he's above
all concerned with pop lawyerty and does so much using teams of social scientists to find out where the popular pulse is to keep his finger on it and, in fact, to remain as popular as he can. while the remarkable authority and personalization of the system is a source of stability in the regime, i think is a source of instability of the regime. as long as putin is alive and hail, the whole system seems safe. if he dies or falters, all bets are off. in fact, all bets are off to a greater extent than most regimes in the world. we think of this as a modern dictatorship. there may well be an elite consensus about the core of russian policy right now. in other words, the idea of putinism after putin is certainly conceivable. but, you know, regimes do not break down systems over policy
differences. usually they break down over fights, who is going to be in power after the main man leaves the scene. they are inevitable after putin leaves power. we have no idea who would be in charge a month or a year or two years after putin leaves, if, in fact, he is forced to leave for one reason or another and dies. that fact is remarkable. there's nothing above putin in the system unlike the soviet system. a party organization to which he answers. no ideology to guide him. when stalin died in 1953, there was something bigger than him left behind in the system. he exalted himself and put himself above the party and security agencies became more important. we know that. we know there was a party there to restore the power. there is nothing like this in russia unlike china, there's no party or informal mechanism for succession in russia as there is
in china and has been for some time. his authority drives from the fact not that he holds the presidency in fact, it's because he is putin. that is his source of authority. when he stepped out of the presidency between 2008 and 2012, no one thought the president, no one in russia or abroad thought the president was in charge. he wasn't. everyone accepted putin was in charge. not because he was prime minister, because he was putin. this is extraordinary. unlike communist parties, there is no order. think of the dictatorships in latin america in the '60s, '70s and '80s. the regime in south korea. in the 1960s and '70s. the mber meez. there was a military organization that was higher than the president or the dictator and they could survive
his ouster. there's not in russia. there's no guardian council. unlike in china, there is not this kind of regular succession, this pattern of regular succession and mechanisms therefore that are in russia at all. there's nothing like this. unlike herred tear monarchies, there's no family. unlike plan and family regime -- this, in fact makes succession a bigger question mark in russia than it would be in any other in the world. this is what we generally consider modern and up to date. it's really very hard to imagine if putin were to pass from the scene, there would be an orderly transfer of power according to the constitution. according to the constitution after the president leaves the scene, if he does so, if he resigns or is incapacitated or
dies, the new president, the prime minister becomes the acting president, e llections a held within a few months and a new president in power. this was all arranged when putin came into power at the beginning of 2000. this is actually something that i don't think is possible to imagine in russia right now. the idea that putin would leave power, then three months later an orderly transfer of power to whoever won these elections is inconceivable. if one thing will survive putin, the elections will not decide who will run russia. the elites will have to sort it out. they have to be rigged. that's not something we can anticipate who they would be rigged in favor of. the thing to watch during this election season is how far the government's crackdown actually goes.
compared to most leaders in nondemocratic regimes, putin has little to fear in his moderate, but noticeable turn toward harsher methods has not been prompted by real threats to him at all in the country. i think it's unjustified, but prompted by his very real, but unjustified fears of his opponents at home, weakest there, linking up with the forces in the world especially agents of western security agencies and somehow trying to undo him and embarrass him through social media, public demonstrations, through something else. it's important to keep in mind putin does seem to believe, i'm convinced he believes that the uprising against victor in ukraine, late 2013, early 2014, was not a mass popular uprising. it wasn't spontaneous. i think he thinks it was planned in the united states.
now, we might shuchuckle at thi. i am incredulous when i hear he believes this. i think he does. we have to bear this in mind when we consider his behavior. justified or not, he has this fear and he is turning toward coercion in a way that he has not in the past. he is cracking down when you can go to jail as people are these days, it's very selective for wearing a putin mask in public or reposting putin means and the repression is very much aimed against people who ridicule the president not people who ridicule others in government. it's against, in any way casting on him. we are seeing a movement toward greater coercion than the regime has been willing to engage in. it certainly does have the ability to do so. the strong preference for methods and control survive the election season of