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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 28, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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concerning a chemical shell, obviously, shows that they're doing a lot of things, including a chemical weapons factory which adds a new dimension to the threat to the lives of the men and women who are serving in the military. i still look forward to hearing from secretary carter and general dunford what is the strategy, if the present strategy continues to utterly fail, and frankly i haven't heard that. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary and general dunford, one of the fact that appears to be influencing, is how do you govern after you militarily succeed, iraqi security forces succeed with iraqi and military assistance.
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and that triggers the defense like the state defense, iad and others, but the resources they have, it would be -- is it necessary, in your view, that these agencies be robustly funded in addition, because without them you could have a military victory and, essentially, just wait around because they'll come back because you haven't put the politics and capacity. >> it is necessary. i had the defense ministers of the key coalition contributors here to handle a sort of while ago. we went through as we always do the campaign, their role, including the moves to envelope, which we've now taken. their biggest concern with campaign, at this point, in iraq is exactly the one you knew, namely, is the political and the economic lagging so far behind the military that there's going
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to be an issue once moezle -- once isil is ejected from muzzle. if i may take a political part in the stabilization reconstruction part. on the political part, this is a question that recurs actually everywhere we go. everywhere we enable forces to defeat isil, the people who live there say that's what's going to happen afterwards, that's something we dealt with falluja, all complicated all different. they're going to be different, too. my understanding and that's just not mine with the chairman's and the commanders there and also the president -- who are contributing forces, and the isf
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from the south, for the envel e envelopment and control. our understanding with them which they both adhering to is that neither of the forces that will participate in taking them, should be a hold in government force, they should be local police -- it's mixed ethnicity center and governor of the province is the one they're working with and we're working with. that's a daily exercise through general towns end and for us to keep everybody aligned and focus on the job at end, which is defeating isil. with respect to stabilization reconstruction, we don't know what the collapse of isil's control of remote will look like. we've had a different experience
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in different cities. and obviously no one wants to seek the street to street fighting, but you don't know. there could be a larger number of refugees and we're preparing for that, not usaid, you mentioned u.s. government funding, that's essentially. i should say, by the way, that's one of the things i ask our coalition partners. if you don't want to make a military contribution or it's problematic for some historic or political reason for you to make a contribution, a check is good. essentially you can conduct operation that the real long term effort is political economic relief, refugees support, et cetera, those are funds outside of the policy
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defense. comprehensive approach to all of requires relief not just for public defense spending but other federal agency, right? >> it is. northern command is critical to defense another united states but without a robust of homeland security, without adequate -- then you can be performing peak efficiency, but the job would not get done; is that right? >> that is true. we count on their support, we support them as well. it's the whole of government element, defeat of isil. >> do you concur from your perspective. >> i do, sir. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. let me start off by saying we have rules in this committee, we're to get the written
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statement, 48 hours in advance. we didn't get both of yours until 8:30 this morning. now, we did a lot better with the chiefs last week, in fact general was in 72 hours in advance. i just think it's a good idea to pass on to others before they come in that we really do need to have that to conduct a hearing that's meaningful. when general was here to describe what's needed, he talked about sufficient stable predictable funding in your statement, secretary carter, you let the word "sufficient" out and i'm concerned about this, back during the clinton administration when they were actually trying to cut 400 out of the budget, we in this committee and sitting in this dice here were able to put 100 back then. general milly said last week,
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and i think he said it best, he said "the only thing that more expensive than deterrence is actually fighting a war. the only thing more expensive than fighting a war is losing a war" i guess the question is for short answer, is are defense funding levels kept pace with the reality of our environment out there? >> senator, i don't believe they have and that's why we've arctic rated an increased increase requirement and we'll continue to reinforce those areas that we identified for 17 for 18. we'll turn it over. >> i appreciate it that. do you agree? >> i want to say i agree with general dunford and what the chief said as well, insufficiency belong with instabilities, i'm sorry we left that word out. the point they were making that i would strongly echo is the
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effects of eight straight years of ending a fiscal year. that is -- has had a serious effect. we've tried to manage through it. we've done our best. that's just not -- >> we've been in support of nuclear triad and had stated the nuclear mission is deadlock of security. today we're spending about 3 to 4% of our budget, however, the long-term plan shows we're going to move up within the decade or some time in the decade to 6 to 7%. the question i would ask is, you know, general dunford actually modernizing their nuclear weapon, we know what's happening in north korea, you think we should accelerate this that we can reach this 6 to 7% much earlier like now. >> as you know, many of the
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programs is not just a function of accelerating it's how much time it takes for development. i'm confident that having looked at this very closely, the path we're on and timing of introduction of new programs is about right. it balancing both the budget but more importantly operations for those systems to be introduced. >> i think what you're saying, even if you had more now you could not spend it wisely, you would need it. the course that we're on is adequate, in your opinion. >> senator, that's exactly my assumption. >> all right. that's fine. i was in ukraine after their particle men tri elections, i've never seen -- they were at that time, how proud they were for the first time in 996 years not having one communist in parliament, and yet, as soon as that happened, people started killing the ukraines and the -- and i would ask you this,
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secretary carter, is deterrence of russia in europe a policy priority. >> it absolutely is, that's why we quadrupled the insurance initiative. >> i would answer the question, why are we not providing the system. >> that is still on the table. it's been on the table for quite some time. >> more than -- >> i just met with my ukrainian counterpart a couple of weeks ago, great guy, by the way, who has been doing this for a long time and is we've got to work with. we have training -- have training now. we've moved from their national guard. >> i don't want to be rude, mr. secretary, my time is just about expired. i want to know -- let me ask you, general, durnford, if we
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were to change the policy, what type of weapon would be right now? you're both fully aware in our defense authorization bill we address this issue, we support lethal defense weapons? >> critical capability ukrainians have identified, include support. >> do you agree with that? >> that's the capability, yeah, i agree with that. >> thank you. i want to join for your very forthright answer it is to our questions here. general dunford, is there any question in your mind, any doubt that russian planes were responsible for attacking the united states -- the u.n. convoy that was trying to deliver aid to aleppo? >> sir, my -- i don't have the
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facts. what we know are two russian aircraft were in that area at that time, my judgment would be that they did. there were also some other aircraft in the area that belonged to the regime at or about the same time, so i can't conclusive say that it was the russians, but it was either the russians or the regime. >> well, it sounds to me like you're saying that their responsibility was demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. >> senator, there's no doubt in my mind that the russians were responsible. i don't know whose aircraft actually dropped the bomb. i would associate myself with the comment you made earlier, yes it was the russians that's responsible. >> which is a war crime. i'm not asking for your legal judgment knowing that you would probably disclaim your expertise as a lawyer, but you would agree with me as a layman, as a military person that that act constituted a war crime.
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>> it was an unacceptable atrocity, senator. >> would you agree with secretary kerry in intending that what ought to be done, is a grounding of all aircraft in certain areas of syria, including that one. >> i would not agree that coalition aircraft ought to be grounded. i do agree that syrian regime aircraft and russian aircraft should be grounded. >> would you agree with, apparently, the growing strain of thought administration that the syrian kurd should be? >> we're in deliberation about that. we have provided them support. they are our more -- most effective partner on the ground. it's very difficult, as you know, managing a remgts between our support for the syrian democratic forces and our turkish allies we're working
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very closely to come up with the right approach to make sure that we can conduct defective and decisive operations and still allay the turkish concerns about the kurd's long term political prospects. >> if those concerns could be allayed and even if they can't be allayed, would you agree that arming the syrian kurds presents an opportunity for us as a military option to be more effective in that area. >> sir, i would agree with that. if we would reinforce the, that would increase the success. >> in terms of the russian responsibility for what you have absolutely correctly termed "an atrocity war crime in that era" what can kwlieunited states do? what are some of the military
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options that the chairman asked you about? >> i would prefer to talk to you about military options that might be being discussed as future options the president may have. i think right now managing the russian problem is largely a political diplomatic problem and that's what secretary kerry and the president are dealing with. >> let me turn mr. secretary, you mentioned that there were three areas, the fiscal, the over regulation or micromanaging and much needed reforms, as you characterized them. could you give us your priorities as to what those reforms would be? >> i have spell -- i have a number of concerns, which i spelled out in great length in letter to the committee and i really look forward to working with you to resolve that.
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there are a number of them. they're serious concerns that i have for provisions in the bill and i'd like to work all of these, i think, where we have common intentions, work them to a place where i can support an mdaa that the president would sign. that's what i would like to get with you all by the time you return november. >> i'm just about out of time, this topic is immensely important because it involves effective use of resource. we talk a lot about what the levels of resource should be, managing them effectively is very important. as to the syrian conflict to both of you, i don't need to emphasize how desperately serious, the humanitarian catastrophe is in syrian, the chairman has rightly referred to the numbers killed and displaced is as secretary rightly termed
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it, probably the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since world war ii and the united states bears the responsibility to use its military forces to stop the bloodshed and the needless and senseless killing of innocent civilians there. so thank you very much for your testimony today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i would share that thought, the situation in syria is a colossle disaster. do not believe it had to happen. i believe a wide statesman could have forseen some of the difficulties we're facing today and we should have been more cautious and careful in our declarations of how we expect syria to develop over the years. it hadn't developed like
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president obama projected and disaster has been the situation. with regard to this sequestration issue. mr. secretary, i've tried to contain spending on all our accounts. i've come to believe that we have to have more defense spending and we've exceeded sequestration, i guess, for the last two years. but i guess my question to you is senator mccain has proposed an increase in defense spending, all the items that he proposed are things the defense department have said they need. is it your position -- and is it the president's position that we will not spend that additional money for the defense department, unless, at least, an equal amount of money is spent on the commerce department, the epa and other government agencies. >> well, speak for myself. what i can't support and won't support is anything that moves towards instability and that means towards sequestration and
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that means a way from bipartisan ship. we submitted a budget that was consonant with the bipartisan budget agreement. eight months -- >> i understand. >> few months into the bipartisan budget agreement. and -- and i don't control this. i simply -- >> i understand that. so what he's saying in leading the democrats and they're saying not only do we have to bust the budget for the defense department. we have to bust an equal amount for nondefense spending, that's the problem we have today. that's why we don't have a bipartisan agreement. we go on to the next subject. >> there is -- if i may say so, there is a bipartisan budget agreement. that's what we submitted our budget in accordance with eight months ago. another -- >> avoid government shutdown and the leadership of the president
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and determination compromises have been reached. i wish we could have supported the defense without going further. mr. secretary, secretary rums field, secretary gates and you have criticized our allies in europe about their unwillingness to even meet their minimum commitments to defense. i suppose you still believe they should meet those minimum standards, do you not. >> yeah, absolutely do. >> and you said that before, but this -- european reassurance initiative, are european official told me, why did not the united states demand that europe increase their defense spending at the same amount we're increasing our defense spending for europe in the european reassurance initiative. >> well, all i can tell you is, yes, i am in the long tradition, it goes back before -- >> why didn't you not tell the europeans?
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>> i did. >> we don't have a commitment from them to match that amount of money, do we is this. >> well, it's complicated. because each of them has made a contribution to european reassurance. but in terms of aggregate spending, they have a commitment, which not many of them have met, senator, but a few have. >> 28 countries are at the minimum. >> 2% of their gdp. important major countries in europe aren't even doing that. and that's unacceptable. it means that you're -- too many european militaries have made it themselves incapable of independence. >> i'll just say this -- >> military activity. >> for the last 8 to 12 years they've continued on this and we've said it and nothing has happened. it's time for something to happen from europe. let me ask you, really, about the syrian situation. it's such a disaster. we've got hundreds of thousands
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of dead, 6 million refugees and i don't see an end in sight on general dunford just said assad is not leaving any time soon. five years ago president said assad has to go and is going. he did not go. and this is all a result of that. so now we're making some progress, i understand, against isis. what kind of agreement, what kind of end do you see, mr. secretary, for this disastrous conflict. what do you foresee and what's our goal. >> we're making progress in the campaign in iraq and syria. >> no i'm asking what is the goal of the united states of america for syria? >> the goal of united states policy in syria is to end the
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syrian war, it's been that for a long time. and that means an end to the violence there, and also a political transition from assad to a government that includes moderate opposition and that can run the country. our approach has been political -- >> the problem is, let me ask you this, it seems to me that the problem is that with our support isis is being damaged, but they're not utterly destroyed. it's some sort of peace agreement is reached, some sort of cease fire and the united states and others reduced their presence there, can you assure us that i isis, the toughest meanest group in syria won't be able to destabilize any government that might be put
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together. -- our campaign is no not on the table, that is about the russian activity, syrian activity in -- our counter campaign, we are conducting a campaign and we are conducting the right we're making progress in it and -- >> and i don't think secretary kerry is trying to do. again, as we sit here today, it's very problematic about what he's trying to do is exactly what you're calling attention to, namely, to end the humanitarian disaster occasioned by the civil war in syria and to promote a political transition. >> let me wrap up. my time is almost up. >> and they're not exercising. >> i believe we could have done a better job with safe zones. i'm worried about the area in iraq. i talked to you previously, personally about it. we need an active american
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policy, a leadership in the world, but we cannot establish all these governments and run them in assure how they'll come out in the end. we can't occupy these countries for decades to try to assure that. that's just not realistic. a wide statesman would have seen the danger in syria. a wide statesman would have seen the danger in libya. a wise statements should have been what could have happened and except for 30 million egyptians going to the public square and driving out the muslim brotherhood, we could have a disaster there. we've got to be more realistic in our foreign policy. we've got to know what we can do to effect positively the world and what we cannot do. and we're not able to ensure democratic governments throughout this region of the world and we're now facing
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coloss colossal, humanitarian disaster and it's been bubbling for a number of years and it's no easy solution to get out of it. i wish it were, but it was not. >> an observation about the budget, a year and a half ago we had a bipartisan agreement on the budget number. and then allocations were made to the appropriations committee and they went through their process and i thought, finally, some stability. we can have appropriations, but i'm reminded of an old saying, he's so dumb he could screw up a two-car funeral. we had the numbers. we had the allocations. we had the agreement and yet here we are to continue in resolution. i think we ought to be -- to be clear about what it is what got us here. there is a dispute on the numbers, that's the kind of things that can be negotiated.
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if there's $18 billion that's been added and there's like the fbi, for example, that's a legitimate area that reasonable people in an afternoon should be able to figure out. what's really holding things up, as i understand it, are writers that have nothing to do with the budget but policy preferences, a perfect example is the national defense authorization act, which, my understanding is, is now being held up by the safe -- sage grous, that's what's stopping the finalization of the natural defense authorization act. an important issue to a lot of people. i know it's important in the west, but it should not be the thing that holds up the defense act in support of our men and women all over the world. i think we ought to be clear about what the problem is here, that trying to load on a lot of political baggage to both the
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appropriations bills and the national defense bill is what has gotten us to this place. the numbers have been agreed on for a year and a half. if we want to increase them, let's discuss that and work out an agreement. that should be easy. but to be holding up this similar to the oh kind of those issues what, my understanding is it's holding up the appropriations process, we're doing continuing resolution, even though we've had a number agreed on for two years -- for year and a half. it's just, you know, this institution, as senator lindsey graham pointed out last week is one of the greatest threats. he went through litany, more ships out of the ocean than any enemy has done, by our inability to work out what ordinary people on the street would think people ought to be able to figure out
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in a relatively short period of time. if you can find a question in there, you're welcome to it. >> i would like to say one thing, which is just to repeat that it is on the basis of -- that bipartisan budget agreement and the stability it promised that we submitted our budget. >> right. >> now -- and we figured that was the best the country could do on a bipartisan basis. that's the only way we've had stability in the past. i'm asked about this proposal and that proposal which will depart from that. and my answer is, in all seriousness with responsibility for trying to shep pard this institution, is i have to look at what i think can be delivered on a stable basis. that was what the bipartisan agreement is and that is the -- that has been the foundation and remains the foundation for a budget submission. we did a very good job, in my
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judgment, and this is the senior leadership of the department to manage responsibly within that budget. we've done that. that's the budget we submitted months ago. >> mr. secretary -- >> and now the fiscal year ends. so we've played it very straight. >> and my point is, we had a budget agreement and we had a number and we still can't get it done. let me ask an entirely question, we're probably going to deal with a veto of the bill that will allow people to sue saudi arabia, the so-called justice against sponsors of terrorism act. are both of you, do you have concerns about what the effect on our troops, our liability around the world would be if that bill becomes law? >> let me, if i may say something, first of all, i completely associate myself with the intention of this, which is to honor the families in the
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9/11 parished, that is the origin of this and that's -- and that is a worthy one. it is a law enforcement matter and i have to say that we're not the ones who are dealing with it, nor are we -- am i, at least, an expert on it. but you did raise one thing that i'm awir of, which is a complication, that would be a complication, from our point of view, namely that we're another country to behave resip procattily from the united states. that is, i'm told, something that we in the department of defense should be concerned about and you're referring to that and that's my understanding as well. let me ask the chairman if he wants to add anything. >> the potential the secretary has raised, one that's been brought to my attention, that's my concern as well.
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>> i think it will be helpful if you can give us more detail on that issue because we're going to be having to make a decision probably next week and i for one want to be sure i understand the full implications of that decision, not only on the victim's families, but also on other united states interests around the world. soy would appreciate it if that could be made available in the next few days. thank you. >> you know, just to briefly weigh in on this funding issue, what's been most disappointing to me is someone who supported the bipartisan budget agreement, is that the defense appropriations bill passed within that cap set by the bipartisan budget agreement unanimously out of the appropriations committee, so both parties agreed with the funding on defense. then it came to the senate floor
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and it's been blocked multiple times because it's being held hostage to other issues. so just to be clear, what you're asking for it's there and it's just disappointing to people like me and others here because the priority of defending this nation and having the funding for our troops and what you need to do should be our priority no matter what. so, you know, as i hear this dance, it's obvious, we passed an appropriations bill that was kplee completely bipartisan, so why is it being blocked? i wish we would get it done for you and our men and women in uniform. i wanted to shift gears here and ask about iran. and general dunford, does iran continue to be one of the lead sponsors of terrorism around the world. >> they are, senator, i described a major export milan influence. >> and are they continuing to
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test ballistic missiles that is quite troubling to both and our allies and i think in violation of un resolutions? >> they are. >> that's right, senator. >> so one of the things that i want to ask about, recently we learned that the 1.7 billion in cash relief has actually gone that the administration has provided iran, has actually gone directly to the revolutionary guard core. i don't know if you're aware of that and, in fact, the iranian parliament, or their equivalent of their legislative body, passed a law that essentially said if there was a settlement, a legal settlement from a foreign country, which is how this $1.7 billion has been character rised.
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would that trouble you that would give them the funding in military. >> i wasn't aware of it. it doesn't surprise me they would have a high pryty for funding inside iran. it's certainly troubling the more effective they'll be in spreading the line of influence. >> one of the things as i look at this, this is our, you know, this relief that we're giving them, they're testing ballastic missiles. the money they're getting isn't going to the iranian people. it's going to their revolutionary guard core that we know promotes terrorism and under minds stability around the world. and yet as i see this situation, i don't see -- i don't see us taking any steps that we should in terms of being aggressive in coming back, especially, on the ballistic program and their terrorism issue. so what should we be doing, general.
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>> there's two things that draw your attention to, first is our posture in the central command which is both tour of iran. and also should a response be required. in the fy '17 budget and i expect you'll see similar request in the fy '18 budget. much of what we're focused on is the desire to keep us moving into that area and operating freely within that area. in many of the programs from a cyber perspective, ballistic capability, strike capability, are all designed to deal with the threat of iran in the region. >> so let me just ask you, there's still testing ballastic missiles, you would agree that's a grave threat in something that needs to be addressed in terms of our security. this is post agreement that they're doing this, agreed. >> that's why we've identified for them as one of the four state challenge that is we've benchmarked.
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>> one of the things i wanted to ask your thoughts on, general. is that we've learned about this $400 million in cash that iran got that would be included in the 1.7 billion that i reference for release of the american hostages. and did you think that was a good idea, were you consulted about that? >> senator, that would not be something in my lane, so i was not consulted. >> do you think it's a good idea that we should exchange cash to a country like iran, that you've already confirmed is one of the largest state sponsors of terrorism in exchange of hostages? because as i look at the situation, they've taken at least three more american hostages. >> i just don't know the details of the agreement that was made with iran and what the nature of that money was. on principal, i would prefer we not provide additional resources to iran. >> so on principle, you would rather them not have more money. doesn't it worry you, as we
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think about exchanging cash with a country like iran, obviously, it was funneled through the european countries, that, in fact, we're going to encourage more bad behavior from iran and we've seen some of it? isn't that something we should be concerned about? >> before whatever arrangement was made and after, i'm under no illusion what iran is intending to do nor are we -- we are mindful of the capabilities that are developing, as well. >> well, i hope -- you know, i've introduced sanctions legislation on -- to address their ballistic missile program. i think this ran some payment issue is just deeply troubling and it's just causing further bad behavior from iran. i hope that this administration will step up and finally address iran's bad behavior. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you gentlemen for being
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with us today and joining in the discussion. i would like to start with just a few quick yes or no questions, very brief, please, gentlemen. for secretary carter, did you know that muhammad, the master mind of 9/11 attack and 1993 world trade center attacks, utilitized the philippines for safe haven for their planning and training, yes or no? >> senator, i hate -- i'll try to answer your questions yes or no, depends on whether they lend themselves to that. in this case, no, i was not aware. >> yes, he did use it as a safe haven during that planning and training? >> general, did you know that operation enduring freedom covered the philippines in order to train and assist those local forces against the philippines against terrorist organizations?
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>> yes, i did. >> thank you, general. are you both aware that isis released a video this year, encouraging fighters that can't get into syria to head to the philippines? >> i am, yes. >> i am, as well, and i was in ma lnila last week, senator? >> thank you. just like we're witnessing in the middlest east. we've heard much of the discussion, general, i appreciate you spent time in africa as well, dealing with islamic extremist groups, they're also in southeast asia and we are not spending much time talking about that, groups are now bonding together beneath the flag of isis. yet, we really -- like i said, don't seem to be focusing on this. the philippine forces lost 44 of their special police in a single battle to these terrorist groups
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last year. 15 soldiers were killed in a single battle just last month. it's clear that this is a very real threat. and president obama admitted that we have under estimated the rise of isis in the middle east and what i fear right now is that we are completely underestimating the rise of isis and southeast asia. so, before the president went to asia last month, i did send a letter to him and encouraged him to visit about how we can counter terrorism and counter isis in that region. i did urge him to bring up this issue with the president. and shortly after that, isis claimed another attack killing 14 civilians. secretary carter, are you concerned with what we see as a rise of isis in southeast asia? >> i am. and i'll say something and ask the chairman also if he would
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chime in. when i talked act the me tas tis of cancer, southeast asia is clearly a place they apyre to spreading. i talked to our counterparts there who were concerned about it. we worked with them just next week. i'll be convening them in honolulu on a number of issues, but one of them is going to be counter terror. p. i will say indonesia, singapore, you mentioned the philippines and those places. i've spoken to the defense ministers in each of those four countries. they have concerns, particularly about the possibility that isis could establish a foot hole there. in some places it's troubled in some way and there are places in all of those countries and it could grab hold there. it is very much on our agenda, chairman, please. >> i agree with your assessment
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in concerns last week, i met with 29 chiefs of defense in the pacific, hosted by the chief of defense of the philippine armed forces. we discussed broadly the threat of extremism in asia and what we need to do to deal with it. to your point there are a thousand firefighters alone. there are hundreds that came from the philippines. other countries, as well, dealing with that issue. i think although it's not very visible. there's a significant amount of activity going on to build capacity of our partners. we're trying to work with them and develop framework in which they could share information. we have an initiative which will help them understand movement into the sea. we see for example, indonesia associated with the movement of people and so forth, you know, as far as this violent extremist problem. it is a different fight.
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i call it riermequirement for regional approach. but, we are absolutely putting pressure on isil in southeast asia. we're working very closely with our partners. frankly the limit of the support we surprise is often what they're willing to accept political politically. we'll bring to the question, we are providing some support now to the fill means intelligence support and other support to deal with the extreme problem they have in the south. >> thank you, gentleman. i really want us to ensure that we're not taking our eyes off of that region. we seem to focus very heavily, as we should, the middle east and africa. we do have other foot holes for is isis. we have five new bases going into the military. i think it's important we capitalize on the opportunity.
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>> on behalf of the chairman, let me recommend -- >> thank you secretary carter for being here and for your service to the country. at one point before this committee, you indicated that russia poses the greatest threat to the united states. do you still feel that way, if so, can you identify where you think those threats are most concernin concerning? >> i can. i was raised that issue, i was asked before the committee what do i think the most significant challenge of the united states was. we talked about allstate championship. but when i look at the nuclear capability. when i look at the cyber capability. when i look at their patterns of operations, it's a pattern of operations that we haven't seen
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in over 20 years. when i look at mr. putin's activities in ukraine, crimea, in georgia, that causes me to say that a combination of their behavior, as well as their military capability, again, in some high end areas would cause me to believe that they post the most significant challenge, the most significant dret i appreciate secretary carter, you're raising the initiative as one of the programs that's threating if we can't agreement and sharon that concern, especially the -- the po senl resh i'm an eastern -- one of the things that secretary kerry said yesterday is that we should consider grounding all military aircraft in key areas of syria in response to what appears to
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be a blatant russian bombing that was scheduled to zbo into syria. and they have denied, of course, but i think as we've seen in the past we can't really believe what they say. so i would ask you, secretary carter, do you agree that that is avenue that we could take and what would be the following up position, if they continued to fly aircraft? >> i can't speak for secretary kerry. he is trying to get on the -- for the syrian and russian air force exactly that. a cessation of hostilities which means a grounding of our aircraft and not continuing to use them, completely colums si way. >> syrian. in the civil sere yar war, there
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can't be no question of grounding u.s. aircraft that are conducting strikes against isil. we do that. we do that with exceptional precision and care and concern for civilian casualties that no other country can match, and that's true and hold coalition and all the strikes we can conduct. they're not in the same category at all. we need to contain with our campaign. >> and i don't know what the proposal is, but i would not -- first of all, there's no reason to ground the aircraft. we're not barrel bombing civilians. we're not causing collateral damage. we've had momentum as we've all discussed here earlier today against isil. i think what the secretary is saying, we need to keep the pressure on him. the number one priority that they have to conduct their
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ability to -- in the cost of taking pressure of isil right now, exposes us to risk that i think is not acceptable. >> in the absence of some other action that we take along with our allies in that area. do you see anything changing the dynamic of the civil war in syria. i mean -- i believe it's going to take some other outside -- some other intervention in order to change direction of this war. and right now, there's nothing happening that would do that. >> either one of you. the direction in which secretary kerry is trying to put the russians to move is i understand
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fully the direction they always should have been in syria. that means put not pouring gasoline on it. and not em bolding assad to be -- >> let alone conducting an air campaign, which is -- doesn't adhere to the standards that our does. >> but i'm sorry to interrupt, mr. secretary. i guess i appreciate what you're saying and that should have been russia's position all along. >> that's what secretary kerry is trying to get them to. >> we have had no success after five years of civil war. is i'm asking what other options do we have that might change the trajectory of what's happening in syria. >> well, i, you know, i'm not going to try to get in the middle of these negotiations. but i think that secretary is trying to find -- a way to
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achief those objectives. they're the right object tiffs and i have -- but as we sit here today, the russians do not -- and the syrians seem to be moving in that direction, as he said yesterday. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. secretary, i share your regret about the department starting fiscal year with another continuing resolution. i regret the democrats have busted the -- >> i can't take speak to the internal allegations. >> let me just say, we know that the only way to get budget stability is with everybody coming together. and i see proposals from this side and that side and this committee and that committee and they're all different. we submitted a budget in terms -- just months after a
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two-year bipartisan budget agreement was agreedful that's what we did. and that is, in my judgment, the only way we can get through stability. so i'm -- i am continuing to support the position of the bipartisan budget agreement. and anything that comes out of the congress that is supported, an appropriation at last for fy 17 -- i hope we get such a thing in the november. the reality is they have to be supported by both parties, both houses and signed by the president. i'm the secretary of defense i can't make all of that happen. but i know that's what has to happen in order for us to get an appropriation, eight years in a row straight. >> i understand. my time is limited here. do you believe if a bill is passed out of the house of representatives it has a larger
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dekreens f defense spending that the president should sign that legislation. >> i can't speak for the -- >> mr. secretary, you're the secretary of the united states, you're not the director of the down -- you're not the secretary of housing and development. >> that's -- therefore i can't speak for the needs of those departments. i do know that some of the national security-related departments which are outside -- >> you've stated that testimony. you're here and in other. >> -- need their funding as well. it's not a matter indifference to me. it's not a matter of indifference whether an appropriation that can be supported by everyone up here so that it passes and passed by the president is done or not. that's what i have to before i'm for getting a budget and for budget stability. i just observe, i'm not a
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participant, i'm an observer that the only way that happens is not with this proposal and that proposal. it's with a bipartisan budget agreement. that's tf line we tried to adhere to. we're playing it as straight as we can. >> you were the deputy secretary of defense or secretary panetta; is that correct. >> he states "in fact as my efforts to fight the sequester began, a few congressional em drats urge me to exercise tf dangers of cuts. to my amazement, the rest of the cabinet, including members those responsible largely stayed out of the debate. that left me argue for all of us, which i tried to do even when i found myself alone. had they -- increase of domestic spending in addition to defend spending. >> first of all, i should >> i should say few had the
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experience with bipartisan budget management than secretary panetta. i don't remember the passage of his memoirs, it sounds like his voice. i've not found myself in the same circumstance, accept i am in the same circumstance he was facing the prospect of sequester. he didn't like it, i didn't like it. i don't think any secretary likes it. >> it's what we've been warning about, it's what our chiefs did, last week and i'm hoping when everyone comes back in november, congress reconvenes, we get an appropriation, that everybody can stand behind. and that moves the country forward. >> are we in great power competition to china? >> we are. >> are we in great power
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competition with china? >> we are, absolutely right. one final question, are you engaged in any planning deliberations, internal consultations of any kind to transfer control of the detention facility at guantanamo bay to the department of justice? >> no, i'm not. >> i'm going to take a deep breath. i'm always proud to serve on this committee, because it's an oasis of bipartisanship in the senate. and i hope we keep our eye firmly on our ability to lead in the bipartisan way to get the funding for the military that we really need. including being honest about budgeting, not putting base budget items in oko, so we can pretend that we're not spending money, because oko is off the budget books. i think the chairman has done a remarkable job to keep us in an
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honest place as it relates to budgeting, i respect him for his effort in that regard. and i know i speak for many on our side of the aisle, i know we're going to try to work as hard as we can in a bipartisan way, to get the budget done, and make sure we're not trying to come back in six months to fund the war effort because we've played budget games at the 11th hour. my question today, we have 1.3 in the budget for local opposition forces and for the iraqi security forces, i'd like some kind of brief update if i could, on the screening process. how are we determining who -- i mean, one of our challenges has always been in syria. who do we help and are they really the good guys. and obviously we had one massive failed attempt to try to put
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together a force on the ground and now i know we've gone back and i was in jordan and visited with the leaders over there working with smaller groups, and making sure they're doing the right thing. if you could briefly talk about how we are doing the screening process for those resources, i'd appreciate it. >> i'll start, and thank you, and basically, it is as you say, namely, we have the same vetting process going on, and i'll ask the chairman to describe that. the training program that was a disappointment when it started, is now -- we have changed completely our approach to it, it is as you describe, namely not trying to create de norv vow forces that will go in and oppose isil, but identifying
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forces that are and then enabling them, that has been successful, but we're going to continue to do that, it does involve vetting to our standards which is required of us, the program has changed. it needed to change, it did change. i should thank the committee in the spirit for their budgetary support in a timely way to our requests. if i had asked the chairman also. >> the mechanics, first individuals we are working with -- we do biometrics, we do a detailed interview process, we watch closely to behaviors, our leaders over the last several years have been very very good at literally separating as we go through the process of growing. forces in iraq, tribal forces in iraq. so the vetting process, i think
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is fairly sophisticated, it's built on 15 years of lessons learned right now. some intangibles that include tribal leadership, behavior, those kinds of things. >> i also wanted to -- both of you, i appreciate your continued commitment in the area of sexual assault i know we have put a lot on the military. there are hundreds of changes we have made over the last few years, to the uniform code of military justice, i did want to hone in on one area, as we looked at all of the reports in the last year, lots of good news incidents down, reporting up. you issued a report in april that highlighted standardizing the definition of retaliation because it is tough.
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in the eye of the person who's being retaliated upon, and getting a standard definition i think is really important. we put in this year's ndaa a retaliation to find out -- what kind of progress are you making to come up with the standard retaliation in this context. >> let me begin by thanking you and all the members of this committee for bearing down on this problem. i'm really proud of the way our forces conduct themselves. but there are people who don't connect themselves. and we can't have, it's objectionable anywhere in society, but in the profession of arms it's particularly objectionable. i very much appreciate your efforts, you're right, retaliation is something that we have gun to realize is a
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dimension of this problem that was under attended. we had done good work at the law enforcement part, attending to victims and at prevention. retaliation, the reason why definition it's complicated, but we'll get there, is that there are a number of different ways retaliation takes place, some of them quite subtle but serious, one is, you know, a superior who holds it against somebody that they reported a sexual -- >> which is completely unfair. a little more indirect is people who are getting taunted. >> social -- >> via social media and so forth. we need to define these in such a way that they're legally appropriate which you would understand, but also covered the full gamut of things that a common sense retaliation would approve. it is complicated and we'll get there. >> how soon do you think you'll
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get there? >> i believe that the update is due by the end of the year, of this year, i did the report that i submitted to you, earlier this year we should be able to get that done, and we'll communicate that to the committee and get your views. >> thank you, both. >> i'd just like to point out if it were not for the work of the women on this committee in a bipartisan basis, we would not have achieved the results we have, and i'm deeply appreciative for the bipartisan effort that's gone on and continues to go on in this committee to address an issue that you know is still with us. maybe to a lesser degree, but is still with us. senator, tell us. >> good morning, gentlemen.
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>> i want to go back to the comments that senator ayotte made about, i was someone else who supported the bipartisan budget agreement, very disappointed that on three different occasions, the defense appropriations bill has been filibustered, not talking about any other discussions about appropriations. you're familiar with our defense appropriations bill, right? the one that's been filibustered on three different occasions. do you each of you think passing that bill would be helpful? >> well, i'm going to go back to where i started, which is, there's no particular bill. i'm aware of three or four different versions. >> are you familiar with the measure we've tried to get on in the chamber on three different occasions? >> i'm aware of several different measures, both in the senate and the house. >> this is a specific thing we're trying to get on, and the chamber of the senate. are you familiar with the bill
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that passed out of appropriations -- the defense appropriations bill that we tried to get on in the chamber? >> i'm aware of the one that came before, yes. >> are you -- >> is someone on your staff familiar with an appropriations bill that we're trying to get on in the senate chamber. >> i'm sure they are. >> what would they generally say about the passage of that bill with respect to you being able to complete your commission. >> i think what they'd say is that if the senate and the house pass an appropriations bill, that comports -- that the president can sign we will get an appropriations bill. >> general dunford are you familiar with -- >> senator, i'm not familiar with the details. >> do you know with your service chiefs or anyone else that they think would be helpful to pass that bill? >> have you received any
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feedback? this is a specific measure. this isn't a concept, it's something that's gone through the appropriations process, something we want to pass, that gives you certainty that's within the constraints of the bipartisan budget agreement. >> we do not ask the uniformed military for their opinion on issues that are political in nature. >> fair enough. >> let me go to something else. >> it seems odd to me that we can't get a straight answer on something. at least on the political side, i understand that. from the second on something this specific to helping provide the certainty that we want to provide the department. i want to go a completely different direction. general dunford, maybe i'll ask you, back in january, we had iranians fire missiles within about 1500 yards of the harry s. truman, later in the same month, we had patrol boats captured.
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do you think the commander who surrendered met -- that dicta dictates -- are there other factors that are important now. >> the fact that it's going through the etmj answers your question. >> another subject, this has to do with isil. you said we need to keep the pressure on isil. >> do you feel like we've adequately addressed, keeping pressure on isil, when you talk about libya, egypt and other areas, where they seem to be and senator ernested talked about the philippines. >> we have a military strategy
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to deal with isil differently. we have on going, and we don't have an opportunity often to talk about it, but we have ongoing operations in west africa. we have ongoing operations in libya. we have ongoing operations in east africa, of course, in iraq, we've spoken much about that today. we have ongoing operations in afghanistan. we're working and i just spent this weekend with a large group of my counterparts to look at counter isil, i'll have almost 50 chiefs of defense here in october to discuss this. this is, in fact, what you're suggesting, a trans regional problem that will require a global response. one of the key drivers of our success will be a broader intelligence and information framework within which we can harness all of these information. am i satisfied or complacent with where we are?
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no. do i believe we have a strategic framework in which to deal with isil? yes. >> thank you. >> thank you for your public service. would either one of you like to characterize the resurgence of the taliban in afghanistan. >> it is the fighting season in afghanistan, the afghan security forces have done well this season, the taliban has been strong. the afghan security forces are much stronger this year than they were last year, they continue to gather strength, general nicholson is doing a great job of helping them with that, we made some decisions, the president made some
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decisions which gave general nicholson a wider scope, to advise assistance. the afghan security forces, the president made a decision to adjust upward our presence there next year. we're continuing to go forward with the aviation and other enablers for the afghan security forces, the process, which has been under way for some years to build the afghan security forces to a point where they can maintain the security of their country and afghanistan, doesn't become a place from which terrorism -- that is our program. that's what we've been trying to accomplish. i should turn it, we -- that o progre progress. >> there's no doubt that the afghan national security forces have had some challenges over the past 18 months when they've
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been in the lead and we've trained an assist mission. our assessment is that they continue to control about 70% of the country. they're taking far more casualties than they're comfortable with. and they have capability gaps, aviation enterprise. and of course broadly at the minister, defense minister interior level. that's our focus now. to further develop those capabilities. as well as the sack tickal set backs. i would call what's going on right now, between the afghan national defense security forces and the taliban as roughly a stalemate, the taliban had not been successful in achieving the goals that were outlined in their campaign plan, which they typically make public in the spring of this year. on balance, the afghan forces are holding. continue to grow their capability. they will be able toe provide
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security in afghanistan. as secretary carter said, as importantly, we'll be able to maintain an effective counter terrorism presence in conjunction with our afghan partners. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thanks to both of you for all you do to keep us safe and our country free. your service and sacrifice are deeply appreciated. >> late last week there was a video that surfaced, a video that appeared to show the free syrian army threatening and insulting american service members. forcing them to leave the town where they had been providing assistance to the fsa. analysts who studied the video believe the incident occurred because the u.s. is also
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supporting kurdish forces in syria. secretary carter, have you seen this video, and can you confirm reports that it appears to have taken place? >> i've not seen the video. i've read reports about it, let me ask chairman dunford who has followed that closely. >> it took place in northern syria, i'm familiar with it, i didn't watch the video, i have spoken to our commanders about it. what i can assure you is, that the group was taken some action against our forces, at least verbally, was a small minority, the forces we're supporting. that incident was policed up by our other partners. we view that to be an isolated incident. and not reflective of the relationship that our forces have with the opposition forces. i think the relationship is very
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effective. >> what's the level of tension that you're seeing between some of the sunni arab rebel groups that we're assisting on the one hand and on the other hand the kurdish groups that we're also supporting in syria, is that -- is there tension there, and could that tension and the resentment it engenders possibly threaten the security of our personnel. >> it's incredible tension in that region. i would offer to you, it's a testimony of professionalism of our forces that are there, because they have been managing this tension for months and months. and the fact that we've been able to continue to support the syrian democratic forces. continue to support the vetted syrian opposition forces, we politically managed the relationship between turkey and the syrian democratic forces and the united states is all -- it
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is all part of a pretty complicated situation on the ground over there, that we are managing on a day to day basis. i'm not dismissive of the challenges, but frankly, to date, we have been able to mitigate them. >> yesterday as i'm sure you're both aware, there was some discussion of our broader support of saudi arabia's intervention in yemen. this is a headline from november 2014, they will continue their fight until al qaeda is defeated in their strong holds. secretary carter, you stated on april 8th, 2015 regarding new gains being made by al qaeda, in the arab peninsula, aqap is a group we're concerned with, as the united states, because in addition to having other regional ambitions and ambitions
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within yemen. we all know that aqap has the ambition to strike western targets. your quote was made roughly one month after the u.s. supported intervention against the rebels who four months before had been pushing back against aqap. now, i understand the complexity of the conflict in yemen, i appreciate the fact there are no easy answers when it comes to that conflict in yemen. mr. secretary, do you do -- do aqap and other sunni extremist groups still pose the greater threat to u.s. security? >> i absolutely stand by what i said. we continue to watch very closely aqap and take action where we need to to protect ourselves, no question about it. >> does our support of the fight
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against the huthis who are aqap's enemy. does that threaten potentially inadvertent inadvertently take the focus off of isis? >> we've not taken our focus off of aqap, no. >> you look like you wanted to add something. >>. >> i fully agree with the secretary, we are singularly focused on aqap and we have the resources dedicated to aqap that we think are appropriate. >> mr. secretary, are the huthi's backed by the iranians?
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>> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> would you like me to proceed? >> thank you. >> mr. secretary. general i want to get your input on something i asked each of the service chiefs last week. in the ny 15, we passed a requirement from the jacob sexton act for every service member to receive a robust mental health assessment every year, can you give me an update on where the department is with implementation of the sexton act? mr. secretary-general? >> i'll need to get back to you specifically on that assessment, i would like to say something more generally about mental health and sobriety if i may. >> that's fine. >> i appreciate your interest in it. if it happens, it is suicide prevention month this month.
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we do have suicide in our services, and we do believe that suicide is preventable. that's what the doctors tell us, this is something that is preventable. and, therefore, it belongs in the family of things that we do to take care of our troops and ensure their welfare. we're spending more. and i can get you the numbers on that, we have over the last few years increased several fold. are spending on mental health treatment, specifically aimed at suicide. and trying to remove the stigma, associated with seeking mental health care. and also emphasizing the need for other service members to watch out for one another. one of the things we know is, there's usually somebody who
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spotted the behavior that looks -- that can lead to suicide, self-isolation, depression, odd things on social media. we're trying to tell everybody to watch out for their fellow service members. >> chairman? >> i know -- >> we can certainly get that. that's largely a service chief responsibility. not something i pay attention to on a day to day basis, i've been very involved in the mental health issues over the last several years. >> this was signed into law december 2014. it's about 2 years now, do you expect do see this fully implemented in the next year? >> i do. the percentage of the force that has it right now. >> i understand that. i know it takes time to ramp up.
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do you think 2017 is the year that this can get fully implemented? >> i think that's a realistic time line. >> mr. secretary. >> i absolutely concur, we'll meet that time line. >> to both of you. i wanted to talk a little bit about broader counter terrorism strategy. if four months we're going to have a new commander in chief, and preventing the next attack on our homeland and addressing the persistent conflict and instability in the middle east is going to be one of the pressing complex challenges. how would you advise this concern about our counter terrorism strategy, how would you inform that next commander in chief how to move forward at this time. there's a number of areas, looking forward, how would you talk to them about our counter terrorism strategy as we head into a new administration. >> i'll start and turn it over
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to the chairman. we need to continue to press on all fronts. we can't let up. whether it's in the counter isil campaign, in syria and iraq, elsewhere and here at home, aqap was mentioned a moment ago, that's a serious one. >> and so our capabilities, our military capabilities our law enforcement capabilities all of this which we've honed now in the years since 2001, this is not going to go away. this phenomenon to defeat isil. there will be terrorism in our country's future. >> if i could ask you a question -- i apologize, i'm running out of time here. and you may have answered this earlier. had it come in and go out, but
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raqa. when do you, and not obviously a single date how is this moving forward. i know a significant amount of the flow has been cut off. where do we stand in raqqah. >> i do see progress, we're working in that part of syria with the syrian democratic forces. they're the group with which we worked in -- as you indicated, successful successfully, others associated with them, will be the force that envelopes and collapses isil's control. at the same time, i emphasize and the chairman already stressed this, we're working with the turks also, our good ally, very strongly.
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also in northwest, in the northwestern part -- portion there. and obviously they have difficulties with one another. but in each case we support them -- >> on behalf of everyone in indiana, the families and others too. when we go to raqqah, we lost some young men and women there who were killed by isil. we want to have them come home. we don't want to leave anyone behind. my young man, peter cassik, kayla mueller, so manier os. not to leave any names out. all the parents and all the folks back home, we want them all to come home. we sure appreciate your assistance in making that happen.
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>> thank you for bringing that issue up, they should come home. >> senator graham? >> thank you both for your service to the country. >> do you support the arms sale to saudi arabia? that's being proposed? >> i do, yes. >> are you concerned we could be creating an environment where something like this could be used against our troops down the road? >> that is a law enforcement matter, but we are watching it closely for the very reason. >> do you support the president's veto -- >> i'm concerned about exactly what you're talking about. >> fair enough. >> i'll talk, i'll write you a letter more in detail, i understand your concerns. do you support arming the syrian kurds? >> i do support working,
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continuing to work with them, yes. >> do they know -- >> i didn't say work with them, providing them -- >> we have provided them some equipment already. and they are part of the syrian democratic forces. we haven't taken any specific decisions about that, and -- but they are -- >> the answer is yes, you support arming the kurds more? >> i support whatever is required to help them move in the direction of raqqah. >> which would be providing them more arms? >> what about you? >> senator, it's important i say a couple things about this. they're the most effective force we have right now. we have sufficient forces to be able to secure and seize raqqah. >> do they support removal of assad? >> today that is not their stated political objective. >> wait a minute, slow down. we have two objectives, to
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destroy isil, and to remove assad. is that correct? both of you? >> we have a military objective to destroy isil. i do not have a military objective to -- >> the president has an objective of -- >> he has a political objective -- >> do you agree with me assad is winning right now? >> i think assad is clearly in a much stronger place than he was a year ago. >> you've always been very honest to this committee. >> do you agree that obama will leave office and assad will still be in power january 17? >> i don't see a path right now where assad wouldn't be in office. >> let's talk about how you change the political equation. do you agree with me that the only way assad's ever going to leave, if there's some military pressure on him, that makes the threat militarily more real to him? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> if the main fighting force is not signed up to take assad out,
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where does that force come from? >> senator, i can't identify that force, i want to distinguish between what you're suggesting with assad and raqqah. my number one priority is to stop the planning and conducting of external operations. >> totally get it. >> moving forward against raqqah. >> let's look at it this way. isil's germany and assad's japan. will this force which is mainly kurd. can they liberate raqqah and hold it? >> no. >> we currently have 14,000 arabs that have been identified and when -- >> is that the holding force? >> that may consist of part of the holding force. >> do we have a plan to hold raqqah. >> i want everyone to know where we're at in syria. we're making gains against isil.
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the main force we're using are kurds that can't hold raqqah. the kurdish force which is the main center of gravity at this point is not interested in putting military pressure on assad. other than that we're in a good spot. you didn't create this problem, years ago, most of you recommended we recommended the free syrian army where it mattered. i want to make sure the country knows what's going on in syria, is going to be inherited by the next president, if there's not a change in strategy, you create a ground component that can hold raqqah. russia, did they bomb this convoy? >>. >> we -- that hasn't been concluded, but my judgment would be that they did. >> they're certainly responsible. >> do you agree with me, and we've been friends for years, i'm sorry it's so contentious.
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>> what should we do about russia, who was given notice about this convoy, if they bombed a convoy delivering humanitarian aid. what should we do about that? >>. >> if -- >> put it a little more harshly. and the chairman said this earlier, the russians are responsible for this strike. whether they conducted it or not. they have taken responsibility for the conduct of the syrians by associating themselves with the syrian regime. what they're supposed to do, and what secretary kerry has been pursuing diplomatically is to get a true cessation of hostilities and get assad to move aside in a political transition. >> they're not doing their part?
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>> that is what secretary kerry is trying to achieve. is that difficult, does it look, in the last few days like that's the direction it's headed? no, and he said as much, but that's what he's trying to accomplish. >> do you think the russians are being helpful? my time is up. have they been more -- do you think the russians bombed this convoy? most likely? >> last question, is there a plan b in terms of if diplomacy fails. >> regarding assad. >> we have done and will continue to do a wide range of planning. should the president change the policy objectives, we'll be prepared to support those. >> senator fisher. >> thank you gentlemen for your service. >> secretary carter, you stated that the united states will not ignore attempts to interfere
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with our democratic processes, which i believe is in reference to the recent cyber attacks on political parties, candidates and election systems. by that do you mean that costs will be imposed on those responsible for these attacks? >>. >> it's sadly, the reference is a broad one, i made it in europe. and was speaking to that audience. very broadly to include the issue you stated, but which is a concern they all have, we have nato. the broader category is called hybrid warfare. it's a concern i was discussing with allies when i was over there part of the way nato is going to have to adapt to the world. yes, we're going to have to
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defend ourselves. >> cost would be imposed for cyber attacks? >> that's like any other attack. >> do you think that with regards to cyber, this should be done in a way that penalties are visible to other potential attackers in the future? >>. >> i think that we need to defend ourselves and then take action against perpetrators when we identify them and that in -- is an appropriate way, i mean that because the perpetrators are of cyber attacks range from, and cyber intrusions range from nation states to cut outs, to hackers to criminal gangs, it's quite a varietyp p and it's why our highest priority in cyber, including in our cyber command is defense of our own networks. >> it has been widely reported
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that russian hackers are responsible for the penetration that we've seen at the democratic national committee. when we look at the leaks, irguess the questions continue to persist regarding the strength of that connection between the hackers and russian officials. and it is generally accepted that the affiliation exists. if this is true. that there is this connection out there, what is clear is that it's a -- to me, another public instance. this time, using cyber, where russia continues their aggression toward this country and toward our interests. and when we have an adversary who so brazenly strikes at the heart of our democratic process.
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i think that indicates how low they believe the cost of that behavior's going to be. in other words, i think we've possibly lost the deterrence factor when it comes to cyber attacks. would you agree with that? >> we can't lose. deterrents affect ever, and with respect to russia, it is -- one of the reasons -- one of the emphasis, stresses we made in our budget, and by the way, this is one of the reasons why we would appreciate having our budget passes as is. is because it prioritizes something we haven't had to do as you're stressing, for a quarter of a century, which is -- it used to be, we haven't had as a major component of our
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defense strategy countering the possibility of russian aggressi aggression, now we do. that's why we're making investments, and it ranges from cyber to the european reassurance initiative, which is one of the things that we hope doesn't get affected in. >> i apologize for interrupting you, the chairman's strict on time. >> dealing with cyber, do you have plans that you have given to this administration or plans available to provide the administration with flexibility and dealing with cyber? specifically, how do we address such attacks, whether they're from the nation state, organized crime, or whether they are from individuals? are there plans out there on how these attacks are going to be addressed whether through
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deterrents or actual actions and are those plans updated as we continue to see the expansion of cyber attacks on this country. >> that's a very good question, and we're just discussing here. there's many aspects to the answer to this, there are cyber command, and we're generally, for the russians, let me ask the chairman to add something. >> for exactly the reason you're raising, we're in the process of rewriting at the secretary's direction, a more broad framework for dealing with russia. it's also the reason why our national military strategy now will be a classified document, what we're trying to do is provide a strategic framework to deal with the full range of behavior we may see from a state like russia, china, north korea and iran. in some cases, a cyber attack, may not be get a cyber response.
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there's really two things the strategic framework we're working on, and we're working on a full range of tools so that we have the ability to protect our own network, and to take the fight to the enemy in cyberspace as required. i would tell you that the issue you're outlining, is being addressed in a strategic framework as well as physical tools we're developing. it's not just focused on cyber it's focused on providing the secretary and president a full range of options with which to respond in the event of an attack. >> thank you for that. i think the deterrent aspect of cyber response is very important, that we keep that, and also that public responses make an impression as well. thank you, sir.
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>> senator, sullivan. >> last week, as you know, we had the service chiefs testifying, i began my comments commending you and the president for the selection of such men and women of high caliber, high integrity, leading our military, including the current chairman. and one of the reasons they typically give this committee and the american people honest testimony, an example of that was last week. i asked what the risk level was our nation faced in being able to conduct a full spectrum of operations, including one conventional conflict. and each service chief said this would entail high military risk for their service. each service chief, which i found remarkable and distressing. do you know if that's ever happened before, where all four
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service chiefs have stated that we currently exist at a state of high military risk for our forces, a lot of death for our military if they have to go into this kind of spectrum of ops. is this unprecedented? >> i don't know if it's unprecedented. over the last several years, i think all the chiefs before me assumed that responsibility had been articulated, the risk of readiness challenges that date back as far as 2005. >> you agree i assume the assessment of each service chief, we face high military risk? >> i don't agree that we have. >> the one thing i think -- i would like to say, and then answer your question is, we today can defend the homeland. we today can meet our alliance
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responsibilities, and we have a competitive advantage over any of those 4 plus ones i spoke about. i associate myself with the chiefs, when we talk about the time and the casualties that we take as a result of readiness shortfalls we have today. >> you think high military risk is acceptable? >> i did not say that for one minute. >> so -- >> what i want to do is communicate to those who are listening, both in the force and our potential adversaries to make it clear that our judgment is the u.s. military can dominate any enemy in a conflict. >> mr. secretary, the four service chiefs talked about high military risk. again, i thought that was remarkable i don't know if that's ever happened before this committee before, but it begs the question we've been talking about in this hearing today. how can we not -- how can the president not support increased military spending.
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>> first time since 2002, the american people support more military spending. if the service chiefs are each saying, we face high military risk, how can we not be supportive of additional military spending. >> i don't -- i don't understand that at all. >> first of all, let me thank you, and associate myself with your commendation. we're blessed as a country. to have such people serving us. and they told it to you straight and i too associate myself with what they said. the risk -- they each did that for you. there are -- it's different in each of the services, one has been budget instability.
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which is why i am and will continue to hugh to the idea that we need budget stability. and that means everybody coming together. >> mr. secretary. >> let me finish. eight times in a row. that's going to have an effect. >> you have the minority leader, filibuster the defense appropriations bills, six times in the last year and a half. we're trying to make that happen. and we're all trying to make that happen. >> let me go on. there's another thing that's of substantive importance, other than the budget instability the last few years, that is the services, and i think you mentioned general milli, he is trying to move to full spectrum, exactly the words you used, from an army that we dedicated almost
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wholly in terms of forced structure to the coin fight that is we had to conduct in iraq and syria. the army's been resourcing them heavily. now he's trying to get his forces trained for full spectrum combat. i think as he said to you, that's a matter of budget stability it's also going to -- it's a matter of time. and he's working on it. that's his highest priority, and i agree with him. he's trying to get all his brigade combat teams to go through the nellis. if we go to the marine corps, and i know the general spoke to you about that, their highest readiness priority is in their aviation, and there are a lot of different dimensions to that one, one is the recap of their aviation.
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coming down the line. with the navy, it's mostly a matter of ship maintenance. and admiral richardson is working on that. in the air force, the air force continues to have readiness challenges which are associated partly with budget instability. but mostly with the high tempo of the air force, we're working the united states air force really hard in that air campaign over iraq and syria. it means that air wings are constantly rotated in and out. when they come back, they have to go back in for readiness training. so in the budget we submitted for fi-17. we said this, readiness and resourcing are the readiness plans of each of the services was our highest priority. there's no question about it
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there's risk there, we need stability and priority in order to work through it. we need stability from you, we'll give it priority, and i totally support the chiefs and what they told you last week. >> mr. secretary, the impression that was given by the service chiefs was, it comes down to readiness training, spare parts, all the things that go when you have budget cut backs, we've seen the movie before. although as you pointed out, each individual's service has some specific needs, it all comes back to funding for operational readiness and training which is always the first to go, and that's obviously, when we have u.s. pilots flying less hours per
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month than chinese or russian pilots, there's something fundamentally wrong, and i know you agree with that. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. thank you for your testimony on the critical national security threats facing our country. the last seven years we've had an administration that has in many ways neutered itself and ignored one transgression after another from our enemies. our adversaries are continuing to increase their bridge rans. iran has received no meaningful repercussions for seizing american sailors and endeavoring to humiliate them. and has since increased their aggressive tactics and harassment of u.s. navy vessels operating in the golf. russia has been ramping up the pressure on our military previously flying within 30 feet
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of a war ship. instead of treating these assess ka la tory acts. secretary kerry rewarded russia by agreeing to share intelligence in syria. these examples don't even touch on a rainy and north korean efforts to develop their ibcm efforts. sadly this week's terror attacks in new york, minnesota, new jersey, demonstrated that radical islamic terrorism continues to threaten our safety. by any reasonable estimate, we can conclude that our national security interests are at serious risk. i want to thank both of you for your service during a pivotal and dangerous time in our nation's history. for your leadership of our men and women in uniform. i want to ask you starting with iran. what is and what should be the
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response to escalating the bee lidger answer and threats. >> thank you very much. >> you hit them all. the five parts of our military strategy that are reflected in what we're trying to get in our budget, namely counter isil. iran. north korea, russia, and china. all of those present very different but serious challenges that have a serious military dimension. with respect to iran, notwithstanding the nuclear deal that was good in the sense that it removed if implemented faithfully, removed nuclear weapons from our concerns about iran. it did nothing to alleviate
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other concerns we have. their malign for terrorism. and this is why to give you one answer to your question. i'll ask the chairman to pitch in. why we have a ready presence and the gulf gets back to our ready discussion. it's not just about isil. we have a big op tempo to defeat isil. it takes a lot to do that. readiness consumed doing that we are standing strong in the gulf, that means defending our friends and allies defending our interests, and countering iranian malign influence, it is an enduring commitment of ours. >> i think from a military perspective, there's three things we need to do. we need to make sure that the inventory of the joint force can
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deal with iranian challenges that range from ballistic missile offense to the influence you spoke of earlier. we need to make sure that we're going to sail, fly and operate wherever international law allows us to. number three, as the secretary said, we need to have a robust presence in the region that makes it clear that we have the capability to deter and respond to iranian aggression, those would be the three elements we need to have from a military perspecti perspective. to give the president whatever options he may need to have. >> in your judgment, was flying $1.7 billion in unmarked cash to give to the iranian government incentivizing positive behavior from iran? >> i'm not trying to be evasive, i don't know the details of that arrangement, and it was a political decision that was made to provide that money, i don't think it's appropriate that i comment on that. >> let me ask it this way.
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i spoke yesterday to pastor abadini, one of the american hostages held in iran. he described how his captors told him, they were going to wait until the plane load of cash landed. if it didn't land he wasn't flying out. when $400 million touched down in cash, they allude him to fly out under any ordinary use of language, that would seem to be a payment of ransom, does it concern you if the united states is in the business of paying ransom. the incentive we face for future terrorists and future terrorist governments to attempt to kidnap and hold for ransom americans. >> let me jump in here for the chairman. >> we weren't involved in this this was the settlement of a
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legal case and the -- the longstanding i don't know all the details of it and the chairman and i were not involved in that, it was a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and the diplomatic -- >> i appreciate that, but i would like an answer from general dunford to the military question, whether in his professional military judgment it concerns him the precedent of paying ransom to americanfor am terrorists. >> our policy is that we don't pay ransom for hostages, that's held us in good stead in the past. i don't know the arrangements that were made in this particular case. i can't make a judgment as to whether or not that's what we did. all i've done is read the open source reporting on that. >> thank you.
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>> give general sullivan a chance to ask one more question. >> indeed. >> i wanted to turn to the issue of the south china sea, and the international ruling of the hague put china on the defensive. we've been supportive of your efforts and i want to give the administration credit for sending two carrier battle groups to the region together recently. i think a number of us remain concerned about the likelihood of reclamation. and the ongoing, it's definitely ongoing from all the reports mill tarization, mischief reef which was also declared as not being within china's territorial realm. what's the strategy to deter future chinese reclamation activities in the south china
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sea what's the plan to respond to on going mill tarization of the land they've already claimed. >> thanks, senator, i'll start and the chairman can join. i'm actually glad you raised the issue, we haven't talked much about the asia pacific. you know a great deal about it, i appreciate that chairman mccain always leads a delegation out there. it shows the persistence of the american presence of the region, and the centrality of our continued presence there. now, what we have stood for there now for many, many years and continued to stand for and the reason why so many countries associate themselves with us, and increasingly so, we stand for principal. one of those is the rule of law. the decision did come down, and our position -- we didn't take a
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position, that disputes themselves, we do supports the decision of the court, china's rejection of that is having the effect what's the reaction to all of this. the countries wanting to do more with us, and we like building the security network there, we're not trying to do that against china, if china chooses to exclude itself in this way, this is the development that occurs, we're working more with each and every country there. we find them increasingly coming to us and we're continuing to operate there, and last i guess i should say, in terms of investments in addition to putting a lot of our forced structure there, that we're familiar with i'm thankful that
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your state hosts some of that. we're making a number of qualitative investments and that's one of the things that's reflected in our budget, and one reason why we hope that in addition to funding our budget, we -- nobody shuffles around in our budget stuff that we new stuff that is oriented toward the high end for old forest structure, we've seen a tendency toward that. we're reacting in a number of ways toward our own activities and investments. the most important thing that's going on is in the region its f itself. >> i think a response to the challenge you identified is going to include diplomatic action. right now, the diplomatic peace is not the most important. we need to recognize the
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military in the south china sea, and our plans need to be adjusted accordingly. we need to continue to fly, sail and operate where national law allows. we need to make sure that our posture in the pacific assures our allies and deters any potential aggression by china and makes it clear that we have the wherewithal within the alliance and u.s. capabilities to do what must be done if we provide the president with clear options, we will have done our job, primarily, right now, i think the president is -- has some diplomatic issues where also contribute to moderating china's behavior. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say that i hold both of these witnesses in high regard, i appreciate their distinguished career of service, i do have a a statement by secretary carter
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followed by a question. mr. secretary, in his farewell speech to the u.n. general assembly, president obama stated there is no ultimate military victory to be won in syria. as a member of this committee for many years, i find this assertion to be astounding. our chairman and i have made repeated admonitions over the years, that decisive action nieds to be taken against president assad. >> the president delivered his now infamous red line statement in which he said, we have been very clear to the assad regime, that a red line for us as we start seeing a bunch of chemical weapons moving around or utilize. that would change my calculation, my equation. a year later, disregarding the council of your predecessor the president cancelled air strikes against assad, who had unleashed sarin gas on his own people outside of damascus, and
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continued his gruesome use of barrel bombs on civilians this dramatic demonstration of weakness left a vacuum that was seized by president putin, we are now faced with an enduring quagmire. president obama's stunning remark that there is no victory, belies the obama foreign policy that has ignored and belittled the advice of our foreign leaders. the president issued a memo yesterday ordering you and general dunford to consider climate change during our process. we dealt with multiple terrorist attacks on our shores. last night we heard that isil may have launched a chemical attack on our troops. it boggles the mind that the president would issue such an order during this critical time in our


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