tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 21, 2016 2:14pm-4:15pm EST
have stood without apology for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and the freedom of religion. >> on friday night beginning at 8:00, farewell speeches and tributes to several outgoing senators, including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte and dan coats. this week in prime time on c-span. we have more from this recent conference on foreign policy and defense with national security experts talking about innovation and cyber security challenges. welcome back. my name, again, is chris griffin, executive director at the foreign policy initiative. i ask that you kindly make your way back to your seats. once again, as a courtesy i ask that please make sure you put your cellphones in silent mode
for the courtesy of those around you and of course for our speakers. the next panel discussion will be on opportunities and challenges for defense innovation and reform. this really will continue on some of the threads that came up in our first discussion between chairman thornberry and senator talent, which should be no surprise. the major topics they discussed were immediate challenges to defense readiness today and the points that chairman thornberry raised, as he described it, the eroding technological advantage enjoyed by united states forces going forward. we have an excellent group that will discuss this topic today and it will be moderated by dr. thomas mahnken, the chairman and ceo for the chairman of senior and budgetary perspectives. in the discussion today will be ben fitzgerald is with the center for a new american security, if i can get that correct. rebeccah heinrichs with the hudson institute.
and last on the panel is mr. rob weiss who leads the skunk works team at lockheed martin. i greatly look forward to your comments. thanks for joining us. i ask you to join me in thanking them for joining us today. [ applause ] >> thanks, chris. the panel's topic or charge is a very apropos one, not just as was brought up by chairman thornberry and senator talent this morning. at least since world war ii, the united states has sought to maintain a qualitative advantage over prospective competitors and adversaries. that was the focus of a lot of effort during the cold war. over the last quarter century, the u.s. has enjoyed unquestioned dominance, at least
from a qualitative standpoint. in the 1990s, as charles krauthammer famously dubbed the unipolar moment. and then over the last 15 years, the focus of defense has been quite, quite rightly, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. but now, you know, we face the reemergence of competition and increasing possibility or probability of great power conflict, whether because of russia's aggression in eastern europe, china's assertiveness in maritime asia. and so i think it's quite appropriate, as we close out the obama administration and look to the trump administration, we kind of take stock of where we are and where we need to be. so certainly in recent years,
the obama defense department has placed emphasis on the so-called third offset strategy, the defense innovation initiative. and as we approach the end of the obama administration, i wanted to ask our panel, you know, how they would take stock of those efforts from their -- you know, from their standpoint, whether it's running a science and technology program at a think tank, focusing on missile defense and other areas, or from defense industry. where do we stand with the third offset strategy and whatever it will become in future months and years? >> so there's a lot to unpack in there. and i think sort of my bottom line up front would be, i think that leadership in the pentagon and also frankly on the hill have created a window of opportunity for some fairly significant change. we're going to see i think at noon today more details of the
ndaa for 2017. but we already have seen some fairly significant structural changes. and also under the leadership of secretary carter and deputy secretary work, we've seen a focus on the need to improve our military technical advantage. that's great. it's unclear to me if that's actually going to move forward or what it's going to look like. while it's great that we all have a common understanding that we need to improve, how we get there is not clear. the third offset strategy i think is important, and helps us address one very particular problem, which is our ability to continue to project power, conventional military power. that's one thing that's separate from in some ways all this other innovation conversation. a lot of those actions have been very good. the daox is actually great. we're hosting an event with them later this afternoon, not to compete with this. those have been innovations sort
of outside the bureaucracy, around the bureaucracy, we're going to create a new office. what we haven't seen is a fundamentally different approach to how we generate technical military advantage and how we pair that military, that technology, with new concepts of operation. and i think that that's what we need. i'm happy to unpack that in detail but i don't want to monopolize the whole conversation. >> rebeccah? how about you? >> happy to be here. if i could go back a little bit to 2014, when then secretary of defense hegel introduced the third offset strategy, he talked about what the threats were and why we needed this third offset strategy. some of the things he talked about were that sort of less sophisticated actors like al qaeda and hezbollah were beginning to challenge the united states in ways we haven't seen before. then of course on the higher end, near peer competitors china and russia were advancing in military modernization programs
in ways the united states hadn't seen in decades. and then he listed some specific technologies that they were spending a lot of time and resources and energy in. they were in areas in which they saw a vulnerability that the united states had so they were taking advantage of that vulnerability and exploiting it. and so they were developing new missile technologies. advanced aircraft, submarines, longer range, more accurate missiles. he mentioned missiles multiple times. the undersecretary i think has been one of the most helpful administration officials in laying out specifically where we are getting behind. and i like specificity. and i think in the age of trump we're going to have more specificity and less vagueness, which i'm excited about. that will i think do a lot to help us move forward so we know what we're talking about here, so we're not just talking about things in vague terms.
undersecretary kendall mentioned in a memo he sent over to congress that the united states was getting behind in missile technology, that he specifically mentioned china, but then made clear he wasn't only talking about china, but china and russia were challenging the united states in space. and that posed a unique problem, because everything else we do in the pentagon depends on what we do in space. space is unprotected or does have vulnerabilities or getting behind or others are challenging us in this particular domain, that portends very, very bad things for the united states across the rest of the pentagon. and so i think that is going to be, if i had my way, i think that we're going to be focusing more on space, what we do in space, national security space, surveillance in space. i think that, you know, president-elect trump is a new kind of president-elect, will be
a new kind of president. sorts of things -- we sort of have gotten used inside the beltway and inside the pentagon, we sort of know what each other means when we say very vague terms and phraseology where the new president is going to want to be convinced and persuaded. everybody is going to have to start doing their homework when we talk about what we want the administration to do, and that's a very good thing. it will have to make sense, it will have to be the most cost effective way to do it. things like oh, we just don't put kinetic kill capabilities in space because it might be provocative, i think you're going to have to make your case if that's what you think. i take another perspective and say, we can't just have passive space capabilities, we're going to have to have more active defense capabilities in space. and so i think that's going to be the next phase in our ballistic missile defense capabilities in addition to directed energy technologies. the mokv we're putting on the gmd system to protect the united states homeland.
i think we're going to see more investments in that. and so all of this means that we've just -- we've taken too long to come to this place where it's no longer a matter of should we do it some day. it's that we have to do that, there are adversaries that are challenging us in those ways and we have to do that. my last point on this, when we began to talk about the think tank world and inside the pentagon, how we're going to pay for this new offset strategy, a lot of people talk about legacy systems, we'll build legacy systems. but now we see, oh, no, we're still fighting wars in which we need these legacy systems, the f-35 isn't quite ready so we're keeping the a-10 now, which i'm very excited about because i love that airplane and so does john mccain. so it's going to be around longer, we need it, we're using it. so now where are we going to get
this money? that means of course we'll have to increase the top line. i'm optimistic that with the new administration we will be increasing the top line and we won't just be bill paying with legacy systems for advanced technologies, we'll have to do both. that means getting rid of the bca, which i think is the direction that we're headed. >> thanks, rebeccah. rob, where do you think we stand with defense innovation more broadly? >> thanks, tom, great to be here this morning representing the defense industry in the conversation. i would like to begin by talking about where we are in the nation from my point of view. one of the great things in my job, i get to go out and interface with many of our young women and men who are defending the nation. and i would contend that we remain to have the best fighting force across the globe, bar none. we have the best people. they're well-trained. and they frankly have the best equipment compared to any other nation in the world.
that said, there's real challenges, many of which we talked about earlier this morning by chairman thornberry. we're spread too thin. we have a readiness decline, and we have an acquisition system that needs to be more agile. specifically regarding the third offset, we are investing in virtually every technology that's highlighted in the third offset. hypersonics, big data analytics, open system architectures, autonomy, big energy, on and on. and we're demonstrating a lot of those technologies right now, not only lockheed martin who i work for but our competitors and teammates across the defense industry. i believe we have a qualitative advantage in the technology today. the question is how do we field it more quickly, i believe.
and when we look at the adversaries we face around the globe, a lot of this is presence. we're talking about western pacific, eastern europe. in order to enable that presence we do need substantial force structure that has been on the decline for many years now. and i think that's one of the big challenges, is transitioning this technology to a larger force structure as we move forward. that will in my view enable us to maintain the qualitative advantage across the globe. >> a response to that. i think while we're sitting here, we have a fundamentally like strategic problem. while i'm very sympathetic about the need for acquisition reform, i believe the need for that, we've seen some positive steps in the last couple of years, we've had an acquisition system that hasn't been great since arguably like the 1970s, yet we were able to maintain qualitative advantages. what's changed?
we've seen in the latter part of the 20th century we still had a neat strategic alignment between our strategic needs, which was really until the fall -- until the end of the cold war, containment. we had a fairly finite set of technologies we needed to invest in. we had very clear business models in terms of requirements defining threats out of the defense industry and lock that in with export controls. none of those things pertain today. we have a range of threats from terrorism to cyber threats to great power competition. we have shown no appetite to pick which ones of those we're going to try to address, we want to do everything. we have a much wider range of technology as we've heard. to your point, we still need to maintain legacy systems, we can't walk away from that. we want all of those things as well. yet we're still trying to using the same business models. it doesn't add up. that's what we need to look at, not just acquisition reform or the top line. what's our approach, how are we going to make those choices?
we have not yet had the conversation. >> that's a topic i want us to address in a minute. but before we get there, i want to pick up on something a couple of you mentioned, which is, yeah, we can't do it all. so what are the areas -- and rebeccah addressed this a little bit, but what are the areas that are particularly promising in your view as we think about innovation and we think about maintaining an advantage going forward? again, i'll be kind of straightforward about this and i'll go back down this way. >> i'll answer quickly, given that i just started monologuing spontaneously. i'm increasingly skeptical of trying to pick technology winners. i don't think we can do that. things change too rapidly. we need to maintain a broader portfolio of investments in a range of technologies and figure out internal methods where we can be more agile in deciding, based on the threat environment we're going to put these things forward or leave these things back. we need to take things from
prototyping and move them forward quickly. i'm more interested in that type of innovation. rather than saying, like, lasers. i know they've been five years away since 1972 but they're really five years away. i don't know. and i don't know if we'll be facing an enemy that addresses that. the one gap that i see in what we do is the ability to incorporate commercial technology and adapt it for military purposes. that's where we have the most opportunity to move forward. it's great to see that there's commercial technology and they're moving ahead. we can acquire it. we have no process for actually adapting that for truly military purposes and to generate unique military advantage from broadly available commercial technology. that's where i would be focusing. >> rebeccah, you mentioned space and missile defense. would you add to that? >> sure. again, i'm encouraged and optimistic by the new opportunities that this administration means for the pentagon, because we get to sort of take a fresh look at where
these vulnerabilities are, where is the united states being targeted. again, i talked about this is the new missile age. i talk about missiles a lot, not because i randomly selected them of all the different threats, but because that is becoming how, all the way from north korea on the low end to china on the high end, that is how they are investing in these technologies in order to coerce and deter and dissuade the united states from doing things in the region. several months ago i had the privilege of authoring a report that had a senior review board including the former director of the missile defense agency, former administrator of nasa, so a whole slew of people who were very familiar with the high end threats, the missile threats, the acquisition process and what would need to be done in order to close these gaps. they all agreed with the findings and recommendations in the study. what we found was that the united states, it's not a matter
of can the united states -- are our engineers smart enough to come up with technologies that can close these gaps. of course they are. of course they are. it really is, if you go back to what is the problem, what is the hindrance in order to move forward with some of these more advanced technologies. and it's been policy. the united states has been intentionally holding back in particular areas of advanced technologies for fear of becoming provocative or of trailblazing in a particular area or of weaponizing space, some of these buzz phrases we've heard for many decades because they simply don't make sense anymore, which is where the chinese are going, the iranians, et cetera. some of these challenges get to the resources, there are problems with resources, but i think that's a shorter hurdle that i think we can clear. i think some of the bigger problems have been a matter of policy. and so i'm excited about the opportunity that we can have in terms of changing those policies and actually we talk about america's technological edge or
technological advantage. i like to just say american primacy. once you sort of say that go committee is that out of the way, that's what we're doing, we're moving forward in that way. we're not going to maintain peer status with china and russia. we're moving forward, we're plowing ahead. and then i really do think the sky is the limit. it comes down to where are we going to get some of the money. the budget control act has always been confusing to me because nobody wants it, the congress doesn't want it, the president doesn't want it, yet here we are, we have it, the president threatens to veto bills that go above the budget control act even though he says he doesn't want it. the conference report that was just settled, i don't know if these figures are official but this is what the media is reporting now, it's $3.2 billion above the pb. so congress is excited about spending more money on the pentagon, which it should, if we're going to spend money anywhere, it's on american
security. so i think we'll see what happens with president obama in his last few weeks here and what he decides to do with this bill and if we can pass it. i do think it means we're sort of headed in a different direction. >> rob, how about you? >> well, i think rebeccah made several good points there about maintaining an american primacy. going back to your point, ben, about the spanse of tasks that we're asking our military to do today, i don't see it changing. i think we're going to have to maintain a capability against near peer threats, major regional actors, and counterterrorism. and so we've got to be able to address all of them. and i think the priorities and what we invest in as a nation to address those priorities are very important. so clarity in the national military strategy i think is something that is going to be key. then we're going to have to
budget accordingly, to rebeccah's point. that will enable us to do what we need to do around the globe. i think the other points have been made, we are invest in these technologies, as i mentioned earlier. we are prototyping and proving out these technologies. we're seeing mature capabilities that now need to transition to programs of record so that we can in fact bring about the force we need. i can tell a lot of stories of skunk works, one that just pops into my head, i think the into my head, i think the f-117, when it was fielded as the first stealth fighter, it came out in desert storm in the early '90s, and a tremendous capability that demonstrated something the united states had that no adversary had at the time. but it began with a program that many of you may not know called have blue, that was the prototype. and it proved that we could
actually fly this hopeless diamond, as it was called. we proved that out. and then it transitioned to a program of record. and i think that's what's going to be key going forward, is we prove out these technologies, that they actually transition and move forward quickly. >> and there is a challenge there, right? so the challenge of being in an era of budgetary constraints on the one hand, there's a lot of reluctance to transition to programs of record. on the other hand, there's a different set of challenges coming with opening up the budgetary spigot, right? the tendency is, well, if you have a lot of money, just keep doing more of the same, perhaps less urgency for doing things differently. so -- and maybe we'll start with rob and come back this way.
talk a little more about the budgetary dimension of all this. you know, how big a constraint is the budget right now? and, you know, what's the best way to move forward sensibly? >> well, i think i might start by answering your question, we talked about a little bit about f-35 earlier today, and if we think about just in the air dominance spectrum, for example, so we have a program that the nation has invested considerably in over the last decade, the f-35. it is now, we recognize it's had some challenges along the way. it's now a mature, capable system. but the rate that we're buying airplane is insufficient. all the services are ready for new equipment. and so we should start by buying the leading edge technologies that are already available to us today, because that will not only provide us more capability, but it's going to get us out of
these older airplanes that are costing a substantial amount of money to maintain and are insufficient against future threats. so i could begin there. and again, speaking in the air dominance arena, the next step is to modernize these airplanes. over the life cycle of all aircraft, all successful aircraft programs have had robust modernization, continue to add capability over its life cycle. we need to be doing that with our more advanced systems as well, not just airplanes but everything we've invested in. the third step is to invest in technology that's 25 or 30 years away. again, coming back to air dominance, we're investing in those technologies today. someday we will field another fighter. but right now we should buy the one that's available to us and get on an aggressive modernization path. so the budget is not there to do that today. and frankly, coming back to the f-35, it becomes the bill payer
for everything else we want to do. that's not the best way to go about an acquisition. >> rebeccah, you pointed out quite right that dca makes no sense other than the fact that it's the law of the land. assuming, and i think it is an assumption, but assuming that that changes, how do we go about spending money the most effective way, the most responsible way, but also the way that gives us the greatest advantage? >> sure. every time i talk about wanting to get rid of the dca and talk about how we need to increase the defense budget, people immediately think i don't care about waste, i don't care about defense waste, i don't care about acquisition costs. that's not true, we can do both. we have been planning and spending money in ways that don't make sense at all in the pentagon. i think everybody in the room would agree with that. some of the things we can do
differently is buy more of a particular item at once. this sort of buying a couple of items, procuring a couple of them and then buying a couple of more when we need them and letting production lines go cold, having to restart them and finding the people to build them and the expertise to build them, that is incredibly expensive. it is a -- it's incredibly shortsighted. it's not thinking through in the long run how the country can spend money more efficiently. if this is how families ran their own personal budgets, we would, you know, see a lot of bankrupt people. so we need to start thinking about how do we spend, how do we plan, how do we prioritize. we talked about the f-35 a little bit. but i also heard, as we put the together the new budget, as the air force was considering major big-ticket items, i heard that -- and these were just people thinking out loud, but maybe we should kick the new icbm down the road, the gbsd down the road, because we need
to pay for the f-35 now. why in the world is the f-35 competing with our nuclear triad? that makes no sense. we need to have the nuclear triad. we need to have the f-35 fighter jet. in no reality does it make sense to punt on what i would argue is quite possibly the backbone of our nuclear triad, something that we absolutely need and we can't afford to kick it down to the right. we need to prioritize programs, figure out what the united states is going to prioritize, what we need, what we can no longer afford to punt on. then we need to figure out how many of these items we can buy at once so we're not having this trickle effect and just creating a lot of extra cost on that end as well. i'll leave it at that. i've got more ideas but -- >> okay. >> so i'm not sure about that. yes, we want efficiency in the programs that we do, but we've seen certainly since the end of the cold war this push towards
efficiency, a sort of putative efficiency, we'll have a single role aircraft, and that's less expensive. i'm not sure that turns out to be the case. not criticizing the good work done by lockheed martin, but from a dod perspective, was that the right approach. when we talk about the costs associated with that, if you have an aircraft that has a cost per hour flight of $40,000, and we're going to potentially be rolling that out against people in $010,000 trucks, that's not a cost-imposing strategy on the part of our enemy. that's a cost-imposing strategy. other people might question it. i agree bca is irresponsible. i don't think it's purely an issue of top line. we need to think about what is an actual portfolio investment strategy across this range of things and what are the ways to
buy down risk depending how you count it. since the early 1990s, we spent taxpayer funds with zero capability, look at future come bast systems, cost overruns. i don't think we're starving for dollars but i don't think we have the right approach. how do we have a more diverse mix so we don't get into mono cultures where we're putting in platforms that assume efficiencies over 50, 60 year life cycles. we don't know what's going to happen next year. we are continually surprised in the strategic environment, and we need to have a portfolio that allows you to respond to that. it's going to be expensive and less efficient as we go but less likelihood of massive, multi-billion dollar failures or strategic failures in the future. >> okay. we have about 15 minutes left for this session. if previous sessions are a clue, you probably have lots of
questions to ask our panelists. so we've got microphones out here. sir, in the front row center. >> my name is dick kaufman, former cia officer, u.s. marine. i've been in the private sector. you all are very smart, but i haven't heard one word about the ground forces who do 80% of the fighting, 80% of the dying and get 1% of the budget. 1%. our guys out there are still using the same family of infantry weapons that i used in vietnam. i'm hearing about icbms, f-35s. we have to put more attention i
think and energy and resources into the people that are doing the fighting. thank you. >> responses? >> i don't think you'll find anybody here that disagrees with you. i think your point is well taken. i think, you know, it's exactly right. one of the best ways to increase moral of troops is give them newer stuff, better stuff. make sure they are protected and well cared for. i certainly don't disagree with you at all, and i think your point is incredibly well taken. >> we've actually been investing a lot in the army and a lot in the marine corps but for a particular type of war, the wars we've been fighting, right? i've done this a couple of times in a couple of contexts. take a picture of a soldier in 2001 and compare that with a
soldier in 2016 and you'll actually see a lot of change. i know the army likes to -- and marine corps also -- i say that as proud son of a marine, but technology does matter in ground combat we've invested in some areas of technology. the body armor that soldier, marines, airmen, sailors too, wear today is much better than it was 15 years ago. tactical awareness, commanding control, all that is much better than it was 15 years ago. but other areas that could be crucial or decisive in a high-intensity conflict against a capable adversary, things like electronic warfare. things like active protection systems for armored vehicles. because we've been investing in
particular areas of technology, those other areas have been deferred. right? we retrained whole artillery units away from artillery because of the exigencies of iraq and afghanistan. now we're entering a period where artillery and artillery threats are more important. i don't know it's lack of investment. we've invested for a set of wars we've been fighting. i think the challenge for the army and marine corps, requirements in the future are likely to look much different. >> i will say this, though, if you look at percentages of budget where we're spending it among the service, the army does have less, in terms of percentage, what things cost. that's not necessarily indicative that they're getting everything that they need, but, again, the point is well taken. the army tends not to. i will say some of the things i mentioned specifically, our dependency on space. who is dependent on space? the army is dependent on space.
you want to take care of our guys, they need to see. they need to see where the enemy is moving and what they are doing. that's why i talk about and try to emphasize a little bit on surveillance as well. you have to make sure the army has access to great technologies that might end up in the budget of the air force, for instance. >> guys on the ground needs situational awareness -- >> that's exactly right. >> they're not surprised by an ambush by 17 taliban. >> there are going to be structural differences, structural changes, i think, that we are going to have to figure out over the next couple of years as we advance in these technologies in order to make sure that the people who need them most actually have access to them. >> two very short points here. our conversation has been self-deterministic if the united
states does these things then we'll win. we're also engaged in a multi-party conflict here where other people get a vote. we're seeing advance of commercial technology has really enabled non-state actors in the ground domain. it's not that hard for our adversaries to have encrypted coms, their own satellite imaging. that's available now. they have moved ahead relative to us more than we've seen in some of the other domains. the other thing i would say, we'll hear with general mcmaster, he'll disagree with what i'm about to say. the army is its own worse energy right now. the army doesn't have a clear vision of what it needs to do in the future. it hasn't started vehicle modernization program. it's not that there's not money for it, they don't know what's there to do, that's fundamentally problematic. the army today is where the marine corps was in 2010. the marine corps has done great
work between 2010 to 2014 figuring out here is what the marine corps needs to do and the army is less clear. less clear. the frustrating bit there is there's lots that the army needs to do, a lot of the stuff we're seeing in eastern europe is classic army stuff and i think they're starting to get to a place where they can articulate that vision and hopefully there will come modernization efforts. >> first of all, thank you for your service and thank you for recognizing the women and men who are out there defending our country and the army and the marine corps on the ground. i would just add that, yes, we talked a lot about airplanes, but the technologies i mentioned earlier have application across airplanes, surface units, subsurface, army, the data analytics, over the system architect tours, the communications. we have done a number of activities, demonstrations where it's all about communicating to
your point what we're seeing in space, what we're seeing in the air, in putting that information in the hands of the men and women on the ground. and that's key. and we're going to continue to do that, those types of -- advance those types of technologies. so i think we are addressing -- addressing this. the other thing i would say is many of the things we're doing are related to the special forces, not everything we can talk about in this particular form, but there's a lot going on behind the scenes, if you will. >> thank you. i'd like to move on to our next question. the gentleman in the back on the far right. hold on. you have a mic coming. >> nicholas romero. my question is about protection against compromise of technologies. something that's probably not seen so much, but is incredibly important to prevent bandwag
bandwagoning from near peers. i'm wondering if you get that we're spending enough on that to prevent reverse engineering, compromise, we're seeing a lot of news about infiltrators, there was news yesterday about a german intelligence officer who was exposed in the domestic intelligence agency over there and we've had very recent revelations of information breaches at the national security agency. so i'm wondering if you see -- if you see that the prevention of compromise and reverse engineering as a focus area or something we should spend more time on. >> i'm actually going to go to rob first just from an industry perspective, i mean, that's -- i will give you the first crack at it and if anybody else wants to weigh in briefly, happy -- >> great. i will be quick. cyber security is a top priority and security across the board for that matter, but cyber is
one of the big -- big issues we are paying a lot of attention to. it's a continuous, you know, challenge because the enemy gets better, we've got to get better, they get better, we've got to get better and we are continuing to try to keep that advantage versus what our adversaries are doing to basically steal our technology. so it's at the forefront of what we're doing every day. i would also say that there's an element of taking the fight to the enemy, if you will, that offensive cyber. so you don't want to just be playing defense all the time. and there are things that are happening that will keep them playing some defense. i will leave it at that. but great question and at the top of the list for things that we're paying attention to. >> do you want to -- >> i think very briefly i agree with everything that rob said. also we need to assume that these things are going to keep happening, even if they are not happening from espionage the
people will figure out the technology we're using or who can develop something similar. we can't let the features be the key different operator for our technology. we need to be able to pair those technologies with technology. even now they can reverse our technology we can still kill them 27 different ways. >> next question, gentleman with the glasses. right there. >> we've heard today quite a bit about acquisitions and engineering but one of the other things that the dod does is research. so i want to ask what your view is the role of research in the mixture of, you know, funding and especially with regards to the new administration i'm speaking specifically about basic research that aims to yield capabilities 120 abilitie years down the line. >> basic research by definition
occurs in academia and outside of industry. >> i think it's balance and there does need obviously to be funding in it the basic research which is going on. some of it in the skunk works and advanced development programs, we do some of that work. we tend to be in more the 6-2, 6-3 arena versus earlier technologies. there are parts of our corporation that are doing it as well as the rest of industry. but what we are trying to figure out is, you know, with limited resources is where is the balance. so when you invest in these early technologies you want to see them mature and then as the mature technologies that are available, you want to transition those into the program record. the way i have our organization set up, we have a technology arm, we have a program record arm and i'm always looking for challenging the technology arm on how we're going to advance it to the program's of record. so great point and i think, you
know, again it comes to finding that right balance of resources but we definitely need to continue to invest in basic research. >> the only thing that i would add, too, is we for the last several years -- we have a lot of technologies that have been sort of in limbo in research and development that really, again, are ready to move beyond. so though i'm a huge proponent of investing in research for the next generation because you have to continually look ahead, we've got plenty of really good stuff, we talked about lasers, directed technology, but we always talk about how it's five years away. well, get some people who are serious about it for a matter of policy and get some money behind it and see what happens to these programs that are really -- have been continually five years away and i think we will start seeing them up close. remember, the airborne laser program right before it was cut up to many pieces and sent away it shot down a missile.
now, the con ops some people had problems, it was directed energy on a 747 so we had some questions about the concept of operations but we proved that the technology was actually able to do what we wanted it to do. now we're trying to look at that directed energy and see how we can perhaps get it on a more usable platform. that's one example that we are ready to go with some of these tech knowles we've been sitting on for a while. >> i will just say that the united states basic research capability, especially through the dod lab network is one of our key differentiators and i worry over the next four to eight years that funding is going to get can ut to that in a search for stuff that we can have immediately. i agree at the same time that we do need to have better methods by which he can harvest the great work that's done and move those things forward, but that shouldn't be at the expense of that fundamental research because other people can't do it
in the way that we can. >> i think the sign of any good panel is we leave questions on the table and i know i see a number of hands up, but in the interest of keeping us on schedule that will have to be the last question. i want to ask you to join me in thanking our panelists and thank you for the discussion. [ applause ] this week on c-span, tonight at 8:00, former vice president dick cheney and former defense secretary leon panetta on the future of the defense department under president-elect donald trump. >> i think the challenges are very great and i think we have unfortunately over the course of the last many years done serious damage to our capabilities to be able to meet those threats. >> we're living in that period where there are a lot of flash points and a new administration is going to have to look at that
kind of world and obviously define policy we need in order to deal with that, but then develop the defense policy to confront that kind of world. >> thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at the career of vice president elect mike pence. >> and amidst the shifting sands of contemporary law we have stood without apology for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and the freedom of religion. >> on friday night beginning at 8:00 farewell speeches and tributes to several outgoing senators including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte and dan coats. in week in prime time on c-span. central command chief general joseph votel on military operations against isis, also the yemen and u.s. relations with egypt and turkey.
good afternoon. my name is chris griffin, again, with the foreign policy initiative. i ask that you kindly return to your seats so that we can begin our next conversation featuring general joseph votel who is the commander of the united states central command, and we are moderated by michael o'hanlon of the brookings institution. we will give folks just a minute to take your seats, a couple of courtesy reminders before you get there, once again, kindly make sure that your phones are set to silent, however, do not necessarily turn your phones off. feel free to join the conversation on twitter a at #fpiforum. you're more than welcome to do so. if you're perhaps watching on tv
feel free also to visit our website www.foreign policy i.org. once again it's a pleasure to welcome today general votel to this discussion on crises and challenges in the middle east. have an excellent moderator in michael o'hanlon who is a senior if he will low at the brookings institution and a co-director on the certificate territory 21st century security and int gents there. he is the author of too many books to list in the name that we have available but most recently would want to emphasize the $650 billion bargain, the case for moderate growth in america's defense budget which i highly recommend to you all. michael, thank you for moderating the conversation today and ask you to please join me in welcoming general votel. [ applause ] >> thank you, chris, and good afternoon, everyone. it's a real honor for me to be
here with general joseph votel. i think many of you are familiar with his great work around the country and the world in the time he has been in uniform. he was commissioned in 1980 after growing up in st. paul, minnesota, went to west point, spent a lot of time in various ranger units and activities early in his career and thereafter, also a lot of time with the 82nd airborne division, time in europe, including in sarajevo, bosnia, so some backdrop in the kinds of mission that is perhaps were slightly fore shadowed by that particular set of operations in the balkans that we have now seen him preoccupied by in the 21st century with a lot of activity in iraq, afghanistan and elsewhere. he was the combatant commander at special operations command, is now the combatant commander at central command, it's a real privilege. general votel, as you surely know, you are widely respected and admired and, therefore, we're looking to you for a lot of good wisdom in this key
transition moment not only in the middle east but in our own country. general votel has 20 countries to worry about in the country command, that's a smaller number than the average command but maybe a little higher headache ratio per country, therefore, i think it adds up to a pretty robust portfolio. i thought if we could, general, maybe we would begin with a few words on a number of countries maybe in this case working west to east and starting with egypt. so luckily we get to hear from you when you testify and in other forms so i just want to have a very focused particular question on egypt. i know you've had a lot of important counterterrorism collaboration with egypt, they are an important partner, but it also strikes me as a country that we as a nation, we have a dilemma in our relationship because of course the leader of egypt essentially is there by virtue of a coupe and we are in this uneasy position of not really knowing how to relate to his government, how to influence his government. i would just ask how do you think through this issue of how
to make the egypt under presidency see a full partner not only in specific counterterrorism issues but at a time when they are in such flux for themselves. >> interestingly as i came into this position i took the opportunity to reach out to a number of officers who had been the centcom commander to get their advice. one of the common themes i took away from that was the importance and role of egypt in the region and the strong encouragement from all of them to make sure that egypt was one of the first countries that we visited and it was. it was one of the countries we went to first on the first trip i made in this position. so, you know, i think the -- i think the importance of egypt, i think certainly there is -- there are some challenges as you have highlighted here. i think the way that i am trying to think about egypt is through
a longer-term relationship with them and what they have meant to us over a lengthy period of time. you know, there certainly are some challenges that president el sisi and his team are dealing with on a regular basis there, economically, with securitiwise challenges and so what i've tried to do is, one, we've gone and first of all listened to what they are telling us and try to hear them. i do hear a concern from them about ensuring that they are -- that they are stable. they have established stability within the security -- the security environment there and i think that weighs very, very heavily on them. and so i think that is a priority for them and i think it's something we have to recognize, that they are -- he is very concerned about making sure the country is stable. and that it has a stable security environment. and then i think -- i think we
have to -- we have to look at the relationship with egypt not just through the lens of just the last couple years but over a much longer period of time. what it's meant to us in the past, what it is to us right now and what it will be to us in the future. one of the things i was very quickly reminded of is the important role that egypt plays in the facilitation of our activity throughout the middle east. we will talk about the suez canal, the support that we get from them for our transit of ships and commerce and other things through there is extraordinary and we get what i would describe as premium service. the head of the line privileges, if you will, in some cases to move our resources through. and so that's a key aspect. so i think what we have to do is we have to take a longer term look at egypt, we have to recognize the importance they play in the region, we have to recognize the relationship we have had with them in the past and we have to continue to work
through the current political challenges that we're dealing with here and look long-term with them. they are an important player in the region, they have been, they will continue to be. they are the most populous country in the region, we have to recognize that, and they sit a very critical point. so looking for ways to cooperate with them, looking for opportunities, big and small, where we can work with them i think is extraordinarily important. and i think as we've looked at things like our presence in the sinai as part of the multi-national force there, i think we've been able to do some things with them that have helped to ensure the stability and security of that mission, that critically important mission in the sinai. i think we have to continue to stay engaged with them, we have to look for opportunities to move forward with them and we have to -- we have to weather through the political --
political waves that do take place. >> one or two follow-ups on egypt before i swing over to the arabian peninsula. of course we had a complicated period in dealing with egypt in 2011 through 2013 and everything from the slightly confusing signals about when president knew bar rack should step down to president morsi in his period, president sesy. i realize some of this is getting into the broader relationship but in some ways you are arguably the highest level american official dealing with egypt and therefore all these issues i know are on your mind. the follow-up question would be have you seen consequences, fallout that affects the relationship between the united states and egypt from that 2011 to 2013 period in a harmful way that has pushed them away from us and therefore there is not that much trust or cooperation as there once might have been? >> certainly we have -- i think we've seen some outreach to
russia here lately, i think that's of some concern for us and it's certainly something we ought to take notice of here and look at what that means to us long-term. i don't know that that is particularly helpful to the things we're trying to accomplish in the region to push them into the arms of others here. so i think we do have to -- we do have to pay attention and i think those are good examples. that's a good example of something we've seen here most recently. >> just one last question and the rest of my focus will probably be more specifically military and security in other countries. on the issue of egypt i noticed that president el sisi has seemed to often a little in some of his crack down on the brotherhood, at least he has taken president more si off death row. i would be curious to what extent these issues affect you and how you need to deal with egypt. >> i think they're helpful to us
and, you know, frankly i think the military to military relationship, it's certainly like all relationships has its highs and has its lows but i think it has remained pretty steady. so i talked to general hagazi on a regular basis, we've visited back and forth several times just in the relatively short period that we've been here, but things like that i think help give us space to develop the relationship and to move forward and look for opportunities to move forward and to try to capitalize on. i know as i work with their military leaders, mostly through the chief of defense there, i think he agrees with that and so we are. one thing we are trying to do, we are trying to get our exercise program back in place. as many of you recall we have had an exercise program called bright star that's long been a staple of security cooperation in the region, we stopped doing it back in about 2009 time frame, largely due to the up tempo of what's going on and
we've been challenged to get it started. but they agree and we agree that this is something we ought to -- we ought to investigate and so we are. we're looking for those types of communities where we can capitalize. >> now, i know that, again, before i get to the arabian peninsula -- by the way, the format here, i get to have most of the fun, chris told me i should ask questions for the first 30 minutes, 45 minutes and we will involve you in the last 20. please be preparing your questions in addition to those i try to cover here. as we think about one more country in that general neck of the woods, i know that libya is not within your chapped, however, obviously thinking a lot about egypt you are a key observer and participant in all things libya i'm sure. so as a new administration prepares to come in in washington is there any advice that you would -- if you were asked, for example, how well are centcom and european command working together on the libya problem, is there any need for a new mechanism, a new collaborative vehicle or is the
system at least in institutional terms more or less working? would you have any thoughts there to share with an incoming administration? >> i think you're hitting on an extraordinarily important point. i had been the so come commander and we have a tendency to think more globally, i don't mean that as a critique of any of my partners out there, but we did have an approach that had soft forces around the world. so i think the thing that is important to recognize for me as a centcom commander is that i'm not in this by myself. the seams around centcom as you point out, libya, turkey, russia, india, the sudan, the horn of africa as just some examples, these are areas that have challenges as well. so we have to think trans regionally, we have to look at the threats that transcend across these. i think when we limit ourselves,
we limit our thinking, we limit our operations, we limit how we organize to bureaucratic boundaries we limit our options to address the threats that we have. i think there has been very good work done, largely through the leadership of the chairman, to develop a national military strategy that capitalizes on the trans-regional aspect of all of our threats, the trans-regional multi-functional, multi-domain aspects of all of our threats and it is, i think, going to begin to change how we think about command and control and how we think about relationships between the various combatant commanders and my -- my advice to the incoming administration would be to build on that. i think it's the right direction for us to move here in the future. >> thank you. let me now go to the arabian peninsula and start with yemen and we will work northward and come over to iran and afghanistan and pakistan. but i wanted to ask briefly about yemen which of course has
been an extraordinarily complicated conflict itself and our saudi friends have struggled, maybe learned some of the same lessons that we've learned historically hoping that their power could work miracles, having been a little bit disabused of that expectation perhaps, i don't want to put words in your mouth but i would be curious how you would see the evolution of the war in yemen and just in broad terms, again, we have a transition coming up in the united states so it's just good to think about the big story on yemen. where is this conflict in its long standing history and what opportunities do we have now to influence it? >> it remains largely a military conflict between the saudi-led arab coalition and the houthi supported by iran and former regime elements there. so it unfortunately remains a military conflict. my personal opinion here is that this is an area where it will require a political solution at
some particular point. i think what we are finding is we are finding both sides trying to use military means to gain leverage to support their positions in the political negotiations. unfortunately that is sometimes a protracted process. so that's kind of how i view the situation here right now is it's a struggle for leverage between both sides to try to gain a leg up in any kind of political -- political negotiations that will ultimately address the real problems here. >> is this a country where the united states should think about doing more? and when i say that i'm using that in a very vague broad sense. you know, more could be more things of the special operations variety or it could be more efforts to influence saudi arabia's behavior or it could be more diplomatic flexibility at the negotiating table, maybe thinking about confederation instead of one new central government. is there a case at least as an
option for us to think about doing a lot more? >> i think we are doing a lot in all three of the areas that you just highlighted there. certainly our excellent diplomats are well engaged in the cessation of hostility discussions and continue to provide a leadership role in that and i think we've seen that play out with the secretary of state and ambassadors in the region who are very engaged in that and remain kuly engaged in that. we have had long-term ct interests here in yemen. i would just remind you one of the most capable franchises of al qaeda still remains there, the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, this is an organization that has demonstrated capability to try to come after us in the homeland so we have to take that seriously. certainly the ongoing conflict has been a challenge for us to have some of the presence we have hadded on the ground before, but i think we've been able to begin to address that.
certainly our -- our strike program and other things continues to -- continues to move forward in that and we continue to keep pressure through that and we are working with a variety of other partners. as many of you know we worked very closely with the uae a few months ago on an operation focused on al qaeda down in the -- in the macullah area of yemen and that was very, very successful. i think this is a good example of kind of the approach that we are going to have to take and have to leverage here. we look for opportunities, with he try to capitalize on that and by doing those, capitalizing on those we prevail, we support our interests as we move forward. and then, you know, certainly working with the arab coalition, we aren't -- obviously are not providing intelligence support, we are not in there picking targets for them, but we do continue to work with saudi arabia and other partners here
to help improve their processes and the way they go about this and providing some -- some training, advice, assistance about just some of their general security operations. i don't know that we necessarily need to be involved in the civil conflict that's taking place there, but i think all the three areas that you touched on are the areas in which we're focused on. i think we have to continue to look for opportunities to continue to push the gas pedal on all of those areas they present themselves. >> so if i could now turn to iraq and syria and i want to ask you about the -- sort of the broader strategies in both places but first i wanted to see if you just wanted to share any tactical updates from the fight itself, the battlefield. i'm not asking you for a full classified briefing, but if there's anything specific that you want to mention that you think recently is worth highlighting, just be curious about that before getting to the broader -- >> so here is the big idea. here is the big idea about how we're trying to approach the
campaign in both iraq and syria and that is create momentum and pressure and to do it in a variety of different ways. certainly on the ground with our partners, through our targeting of key leaders in the islamic state network, through our targeting of threat -- or of their financial resources, looking at how we improve our capabilities to address the ideology and the narrative, the toxic narrative that comes out of here and how we enable partners in the area to do this. so what we are trying to achieve essentially against -- in a broad sense is we are trying to present the islamic state with a lot of dilemmas that we have to deal with simultaneously and that strategy in very broad terms, military strategy, i think is working and i think it is beginning to expose the cracks and certainly i think it's helping us with reducing the size of the physical caliphate. it isn't just about the physical
caliphate, there is a virtual caliphate that goes along with this that has to be addressed and in many ways we are doing that and we will continue to do that in the future. so that's kind of the big idea. as many of you are tracking here in iraq the main focus is on -- is on mosul, the iraqi security forces under the leadership of the prime minister working in very close coordination with the kurdish regional government have put together a plan and they are executing it with the support of the coalition. it's not a perfect plan. it's their plan. and we have figured out ways to bring our coalition capabilities to help move them forward. and they are on track with where they need to be. it will be a long fight in mosul. i would remind you that if you look at the town of manbige in syria, it took us 71 days with our indigenous forces to take that area.
raqqah is three times of size of that. mosul is three times the size of that. this is a huge, huge urban area and the islamic state has had a couple years to prepare their defenses. it's not going to be a cake walk and we don't want to give the impression that it is but the iraqis have developed i think a pretty good plan, they're executing it, they're making adjustments to it and we are making adjustments as well with our support. so with that, that will be -- that's the main focus and that's what we're trying to keep the focus on here right now. so generally on track, a hard fight in front of us in mosul. in syria we have now begun, as you've seen some of the isolation of the town of raqqah, there is an element of trying to synchronize both of these things while our partners on the ground are iraqi security forces and indigenous partners in syria may not be synchronized between
them, the coalition is trying to do some of that. so it is important to provide pressure on the town of raqqah, at the same time we're putting a lot of pressure on the town of mosul. so they don't have the ability to move back and forth. i think we're seeing some good effects with that. that will be -- that will be a long fight as well and i would just highlight to you that we've got two different forces we are working with, in iraq you have the iraqi army, you have a well developed special operations capability in the form of the iraqi counterterrorism services and you've got federal police and a variety of other things there that look similar to what we have, in syria we're working with much more of an indigenous force that picks up partners on the go and requires a different way of working with them. so these are not equal -- equal forces here. they each have their advantages and disadvantages each way. what we're trying to do is make sure that our coalition capabilities are matched to the capabilities of our partners and then we are continuing to focus on this idea of momentum and
pressure, momentum and pressure against the islamic state in as many different places as we can. >> so one specific follow-up on that before i ask also a broader strategic question about each of those countries. it sounds like if i heard you right, you would not want us to think in terms of a predicted date by which the mosul operation will have been concluded. you might want to encourage us to stay open-minded that it might be all winter, 71 days times 3 is much of 2017 theoretically. could this be months more time required to liberate mosul? >> i think it could be. i think it could be a couple more months. and, again, you know, we'll see. the islamic state is fighting hard right now, but, again, i think you have to look at the wear and tear that they're absorbing with this, the continued strikes, the continued pressure we're putting on them, the inability of them to move forces between the two major concentrations here and ultimately i think that will --
that will have an accelerated affect and will allow us to move a little bit faster. yes, i'm not in the business of giving dates here for this. we're going to move at the pace of our partners and continue to keep the momentum going. >> my broader question about iraq before asking asking one on serious would be a lot of people have said as tough as the fight is in mosul and you've underscored the number of people losing their lives, it's a very serious business no doubt but also people have said that's going to be in a way the more manageable proposition compared to what follows and the day after, everyone from my colleague at brookings to general petraeus have argued that it's building that enduring multi-sectarian consensus that's going to be the challenge. i realize that's a job for many people, mostly iraqis. but one part that's probably in central command's purview is the issue of how we work with sunni
citizens, sunni tribes to build up police forces or a national guard that will give the sunnis more a sent of controlling their own fate, protecting their own people. do you see any general in that general proposition that will help us after the fight, not just during the fight? >> i do. admittedly it's come a little bit late here in terms of this, but i do see some decisions taken by the prime minister lately that have provided the means to develop those sunni tribal elements to basically hold and then to be part of the security plan afterwards. i do see some progress and that's certainly something we are going to have to keep our eye on and continue to encourage as we move forward, but i absolutely agree with that. as we approach the plan for mosul this wasn't just about the military plan, it was about the military plan, it was about the political plan, it was about the humanitarian aid plan. in the months leading up to this this was a constant mantra that came across the coalition in our
discussions with the government of iraq and other parse nurse here that all three of these things needed to be addressed at the same time and while, you know, we will continue to work on all of these we can't do -- one is not independent of the others. they are all very, very length. i think we tried to do as good a job as we can in trying to link that. i'm particularly proud of the job the united nations and others have done on the humanitarian side. they are handling what they're dealing with right now. certainly, again, i knocked on wood here, i don't want to jinx myself and it will get -- it will become more challenging as we get more into the city, but they're handling it right now and they've got the right piece in place. and i would tell you there has been an extraordinary level of cooperation between the kurdistan regional government and the government in iraq. both militarily and i would say politically. and they are talking, they are talking on a regular basis, they
recognize this same concern about what happens next that we do, it's not something that's unique to us. they recognize that and they are -- with the help of our diplomats i think are continuing to address that. >> there is progress on iraqi national guard, right? so the progress that you are talking about is primarily about police or tribal cooperation, is that a fair -- >> that's correct. >> summary. >> yes. >> on syria i wanted to ask about two things. one is how are we doing against al nusra or the fight for conquest or however it's renamed itself and a lot of people are concerned that even as isis's holdings shrink the only progress against he will nusra is evicting it from those poor neighborhoods but otherwise it remains a formidable force and the absence of a promising plan to share power with the sunnis in syria. it looks like president assad is trying to hold on to power, he has russia and hezbollah on his
side, he's winning on the battlefield, it doesn't seem like he's sincere about talking about a political transition. so i'm worried about the world in which we've made headway against isis but the entire sunni world is enraged against assad, maybe by that point donald trump has said things that have made us seem complicity in the whole thing ourselves, how does that world end without constantly giving he will nusra an opportunity to regroup. >> i think you're correctly identifying a key challenge for the upcoming administration as we look at this. i mean, in terms of al nusra to get to your question, i would agree this is an organization we should be very concerned about. this is al qaeda and they have long-term designs and so we have to -- we have to be very, very concerned about that and to the extent that we can, we have been, i think, addressing al
nusra. principally trying to disrupt their network through leadership interdictions and addressing some of their key capabilities that contribute to that and i think we've been i would say moderately successful in addressing some of that. that said these are resilient organizations and we should expect that they will respond to this. so the idea of constant pressure is important and i would just kind of bring you back to my first comment here. this is an organization we have to be concerned about long-term and how we address that. taking care of the islamic state is necessary, but it's not sufficient to the challenges we're facing in syria. >> i realize that president-elect trump is not yet in the white house and certainly the first advice you give him is going to be private not in front of all of us, but let me ask is there a way to sustain at least some support for those moderate insurgent groups in syria that have been our important allies,
that have -- that we feel a certain, you know, commitment, loyalty, promise to who have helped stabilize the jordanian bord border, who are done other things that have been important contribution, and we don't want to desert just because we decide to focus like a laser beam on isis and al nusra. is there a way to imagine ratcheting back should that be administration policy ratcheting back some of our support for some of the more questionable groups but staying loyal to the ones that have been good friends? >> i certainly hope so. i can think of a number of groups here that we are working with who have been very, very good partners to us and have done our bidding with our support, with our coalition support. so i think we should -- we should look to do that. and i hope that we will find a way to continue to do that. >> well, moving right on to iran briefly and then we will finish up in south asia before we go to your questions. i just wanted to ask a broad question about iran. any particular updates that you
wanted to give this kind of a group that seems like people obviously are debating the future of the joint comprehensive plan of action, but at a technical level most people who watch it say it's being implemented reasonably well, whether you like the deal or not it's at least being complied with more or less, both sides complain about the other on specific details. anything you would want to add. >> i would share your assessment there. i think from our perspective it's not my -- necessarily my job to monitor that, but i think that it is -- it is being implemented appropriately and i think it has addressed one of the threats that we needed to be concerned about. the bigger concern for me is that the jcpoa has not really changed iranian behavior and it certainly hasn't changed their regime behavior in terms of things they are doing. so the other concerns that we have with the broader iranian threat problem remain, whether it's their cyber activities, whether it's their use of
surrogates, whether it's their facilitation of lethal aide, whether it's their buildup of missile capability and other anti-axis capabilities in the region or whether it's their unprofessional and aggressive activities in the persian gulf. i think these are all things that remain very, very -- very, very concerning to me. again, as we -- one of the principal interests we have in syria is choke points and the criticality of those and certainly we've been, you know -- the straits of hormuz are an area that is under certainly the close watch of iran, i'm concerned as that spreads to other areas like the babo space mandeb and what that might mean to us in the future. i am concerned about the continued malign activities of iran across the region. >> would you describe that level
of malign activity as relatively steady since the signing and initial implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action? sounds like you haven't seen a down tick but have you seen any upti uptick? >> certainly we've seen them intervene in yemen, in the country of iraq, we look at, you know, 100,000 plus shia militia group members that are there that i think iran has been -- has had some role in raising and developing and so i think i would probably see it as a little bit of an uptick. >> let me ask about afghanistan and pakistan and then open things up to others as well. so on afghanistan, president obama decided to hold the force level steady at roughly 8,400. again, you know, a few of us at brookings with a few of your predecessors and friends did a paper over the summer, we suggested maybe there should even be a broad range of options
considered by a new administration that could even imagine a few thousand more forces from the situates and coalition as well as maybe some expanded authorities in the use of air power. i don't know if you want to comment on whether we should have a broad review of that type that would consider multiple different options or do you feel like we are sort of on a steady path that you're comfortable with? any broad comment on the strategy? >> nothing is on cruise control in centcom and i would encourage that we don't take that approach. we should always be looking at what's happening out there for opportunities to, you know, change our footprint, whether it's increasing or decreasing the activities we're doing. in general i think we should always be looking at what's happening out there and assessing that. i think the president's decisions have been very fortuitous to us. the decision to stay as opposed to going down to 5,500 which is where we would generally be right about now and keeping it at a much higher level around 8,400 i think was a wise one and i think it sent a strong message
to the coalition and sent a strong message to the afghan forces and the people of afghanistan and like wise the additional authorities that have been granted to us i think have helped us immensely and have helped us help the afghans immensely. i'm very keen to keep that going into the future as we kind of continue to assess the environment and other things we might need to do to keep the afghans going. i think afghanistan is a country worth fighting for. as a military member who went with the first wave of forces in october of 2001 i remain very hopeful about it and i know it's a very challenging environment and there is a lot of -- a lot of things to address there, but i think it's important for us to see this through. >> how would you describe where we are with battlefield trends in afghanistan, specifically over the last one to two years, you know, there has been concern that the taliban of course temporarily occupied con do you say last year and took some of
the excerpts this year, they have made headway in hell mund province, they've always been in flux but are maybe a little less favorable to us at this juncture. i haven't personally detected a systemic collapse, either, or it seems like it's sort of 5% to 10% of the country that may have shifted hands in terms of population and territory. is there any way you would describe the last one to two years. >> i would describe it as an equilibrium in favor of the government right now. as you point out there has been a number of attempts here by the taliban that's been part of their strategy this year is to try to seize a population center and they've certainly attempted on a number of times, i think maybe seven or eight times since august and while they may have gained some initial success as a foot hold or something like that the afghan forces with the support of the coalition i think has been successful in addressing that and bringing it back under the control of the government. i am concerned about the
casualty rates that the afghans are taking and we are addressing that and i think as we look now to move from one -- from one season to another here we will -- we will -- i think general nicholson has done an excellent job of how we continue to refit and address these challenges with our capabilities to keep the afghans moving forward. so i think they are holding their own and as, you know, president ghani described to me 2015 was a year of survival and they did and this has been a year of kind of solidifying that a little bit more. there's certainly a challenging security situation out there and i would agree with you that does fluctuate back 5% or 6% a little bit either way but the better part of 60% is under the control of the government of afghanistan, 5% to 10% under the direct control of the taliban and the rest is kind of
contested territory that we're going to have to continue to work over. >> any impressions -- i realize this may be getting into a detailed question that's best to ask general nicholson but i'm sure you've thought about it, too, any trends in the quality of leadership in the afghan security forces? >> i think it is improving. i'm very encouraged by my interactions with the chief of defense and with the minister of defense who i think are very serious individuals, are well experienced and are looking at things not just from a good tactical sense but from a values sense about it isn't just what you do, it's how you do things, and so i'm very encouraged by that. i think the police are an area we will need to continue to look at. i'm encouraged by some of the things that the president is doing to address corruption in the ranks and there has been the removal and -- of some corrupt military leaders here in the past and i think that's well received and i think it sends exactly the right message, that
needs to be sent, not only to the forces but to those of us who are contributing to the effort. >> my last question will be on back stand and it's a -- pakistan and it's a big country and big challenge. i will ask one big broad question which is sort of the overall trend that we see in afghanistan, there are certainly hopeful elements in the sense of a transition within the military leadership that's been on schedule, there has been ongoing civilian leadership that hasn't been overturned by a coupe, but there's also continued pakistani tolerance or even support at times as i understand it for the taliban and then of course in the east to finally extend your zone of immediate concern and responsibility but to go right up to the border with india, there is sort of a low grade ongoing skirmish with india right now. how would you describe overall trends in u.s. security relations with pakistan at this moment? >> again, this is a relationship that's complex but one that's
vital to us and it has its ebbs and flows. we may be -- you know, have been for the last maybe couple years at a lower point than we've been in the past, but i think this is a relationship we have to -- we have to have and we have to maintain as we move forward. i'm encouraged by the transfer of leadership that's taken place here, i think it was good, it was, again -- and there are a lot of potential ways that could have gone, but i think it went the way that we would have hoped it would have went and i look forward to talking to general bajwa hopefully in the next couple days and beginning to develop a relationship with him as we move forward. i think it's important with all of our partners across the region that we take the time to walk with them and listen to what they're telling us and to make sure we understand the situation with granularity. we can't always look at things through our americanize all the time, we have to understand what their concerns are, what their interests are and we have to look at how we try to balance
that. as you point out there is -- it is a critical balance. they are very concerned about what is happening on their indian border and the cashmere and certainly our concern about what's happened in the federal and minister areas. we're concerned about that. we have to look at how we blahness that back and forth with them. so it will remain a challengesed complex relationship but a vital relationship for us as we move forward. >> thank you. remarkable breadth of expertise, i'm honored to have had the chance to ask some questions and i will ask others. let's start here in the back. please wait for a mic and identify yourself before asking general votel a question. >> -- with bloomberg news. what are the geopolitical and military implications if the new administration [ inaudible ] the iran nuclear deal? >> yeah, tony, thanks for that question. i mean, i'm not sure what all the ramifications of that are. as you know that's an agreement
that was put in place by a number of nations, so, again, i won't -- i won't presume on that. i mean, i don't know. i don't know. i think it's addressing a concern right now. so i don't know what that would mean and how it would be absorbed by iran if we did that. so i think we will just have to wait to see what the -- >> [ inaudible question ] >> -- a nuclear arms race among saudis and other allies -- >> i think we're always concerned about those types of things and not just in nuclear arms but in conventional arms and in a race that is not helpful to anything that we're trying to do here. i know this is something we'll continue to watch here as we move forward but i think we just have -- i think -- we have to
let the new administration get in place here and get up to speed on what's -- what's actually happening. i'm confident we will have the ability to provide input to that. >> kevin. if there's a microphone here in the middle. kevin. thanks. >> kim doesher with the daily beast. sir, the incoming administration has signaled that it would work with russia to find a resolution to the conflict in syria. the u.s. and russia have had professional military relations in the past, a lot of cooperation, cross training between special operations. what would that sort of cooperation look like? could russian forces help deconflict assad's forces and irregular glars and keep them apart from u.s. operations? could you give us an idea? >> the deconfliction piece takes place right now. we have a mechanism to do that
and it is -- it supports our -- supports our efforts. it's not coordination, it's not synchronization, it's not collaboration, it is deconfliction and it is about ensuring safety of flight and safety of our coalition forces on the ground and i think that works. i think that is working for us right now, it's a complex area so we have to continue to look at that and make sure that we are keeping that properly updated. you know, again, this is, you know, a political decision here that may or may not be addressed. and so, you know, as a military professional we will take a look at what -- what happens here and we will look at how we -- how we adjust to that particular situation, but in terms of the deconfliction stuff that you're talking about, frankly that occurs right now.
[ inaudible question ] >> it sure does and, in fact, it is -- it is -- it's already -- it's already a challenge for us. i mean, this is -- northern syria and air space over it is a congested area and so we are finding our way through that right now, through our deconfliction process. and, again, this is something that we're very concerned about supporting our -- our military objectives, we're also concerned about supporting and keeping our forces safe and so, you know, we'll look at how we do that if there are some changes in how we do this. >> we will go over here, please, and then we will go back there. >> divine conservative. thank you for the opportunity to speak. general votel a very concerning iran again. there has been reports that iran is advancing not the military
ways but through influence and politics and culture [ inaudible ] in america. what are the plans if any to counter this advance. >> thanks. i would -- i think that question is probably better answered by admiral tidd our u.s. south com commander, but i think this -- this, i think, highlights the concern about iran and i think we have to look at -- we can't confine our look at iran through just the nuclear program or this or that, we have to look at -- we have to look at what they are attempting to do. iran has a place in the world and iran has a place in the region, but when that plays out in maligned ways, in ways that create friction, in ways that create conflict and add to instability, that's not helpful. so i think what we have to do is we have to look at what that -- what that role is going forward
and that includes things that may be taking place here in our own hemisphere. i think these are things to be concerned and certainly are things to be discussed. so i favor looking at -- at the challenges and the threats that we face out there in a more holistic fashion that would include looking at what you suggest. >> in the back row here, please. >> laura jarrett, cnn. general, in paris defense secretary carter spoke about the joint special operations command taking on an expanded role in fighting external isis threats. can you shed any light on what they will do or how it would help the fight, and just what is the external isis threat these days? >> well, thanks. i hate to kind of give this thing again. that's a really great question for the so com commander and i
would encourage you when you have the opportunity to ask him about that. i think what the secretary talked about there is -- i mean, as we talked about a little bit earlier, the islamic state isn't just limited to iraq and syria and some of these silent extremist organizations aren't just limited to specific geographic areas. they do have influence, they do use virtual means to put out a toxic narrative to try to influence people, to try to, you know, create disruption and conflict in other areas. so i think we have to look at -- we have to look at these threats much more trans-regionally. we can't limit ourselves to specific areas. i think what the secretary is talking about is making sure that we have a process, both in the military and across the broader government, that allows us to look at this much more holistically and to bring the power of all of our capabilities, our diplomatic power, our military power, our intelligence community power, our informational power, our
economic power, to really address these issues. these aren't just military problems. these are -- have to be addressed in a variety of different ways. so i think what the secretary is talking about is a process and a way of looking at these problems that brings it together. you know, one thing we have within the -- within the department of defense here is the u.s. special operations command, it is an organization that looks at this particular problem, that has forces around the globe that has well developed capabilities and can be a leader in how we pull all this together. >> eric, here in the front row, please. sorry to get you your exercise. >> eric schmitt with the "new york times." hi, general, thank you. on afghanistan, this 40% or so of the territory that's either contested or held by the taliban, to what extent are you
concerned that regional or international terrorist organizations are taking advantage of that uncontested space to move in and take over be it al qaeda, isis or some other groups? >> i'm very concerned and i think as youconcerned. i think as you look at the 98 he violent extremist organizations that your department of state has identified and as designated terrorist organizations out there, you look into the afghan, pakistan region, you will find 20 of them. 13 are present in afghanistan. so i think we have to be concerned about this. the taliban pulling together and cooperating and collaborating with other terrorist organizations is something we should be concerned about. so i am concerned about that. i am concerned about how these voids are filled and how we address and provide the pressure and incentives for them not to grow in these particular areas. that is something we will have
to contend with in places like afghanistan. >> we have five more minutes. see if we can get a couple more questions here. we'll see if we can finish up all three. >> my name is russell king. general, i just have a question to what extent are the battles in the middle east driven by the fact that we have had all of these terrorists incidents in europe? is there like a coalition of the willing? i know in iraq we had the coalition of the willing. afghanistan was obligated because that was article 5. what are the nato countries doing in -- >> well, yeah. exactly. i mean, we've got a coalition of 52 countries here that are contributing on a regular basis. some contribute by providing economic resources.
excuse me while i take a drink. one of the things we have seen is this heavy movement of refugees that are have moved from places like syria, that have moved across southern europe into the main area. they get that aspect. they're very concerned about it. they want to address it. what i found is our partners, particularly our european partners, have been extraordinarily cooperative and collaborative. they are as concerned about this as we are because they have seen these attacks, whether directed, inspired, influenced. taking place in their capitals just like we have seen them taking in some of our cities as
well. they are very concerned. and i think that does motivate them to continue to be contributing members of the coalition. so i think we will continue to capitalize on that. >> right here in the front row, green shirt. >> hi. my name is alexa hopkins. how do you think the recent integration of the pmf will affect the future of the u.s.'s ability to coordinate activities with the iraqi army? >> well, thanks. you know, it sounds like pretty challenging. it will increase shia and potentially iranian influence and we have to be careful about that. i'm not sure the last shoe has fallen on that. certainly a lot has to be done in terms of how that is implemented. as my reading of this, this isn't just limited to shia but it is is shia/sunni.
we are concerned about that i think others in the region are concerned about that. i think we're going to have to work with our government of iraq partners in trying to shake that a little bit. >> very last question here. >> i'm with the hill. president-elect trump has said he would ask his generals for a plan to defeat isis the first 30 days. has that planning begun? what might be done differently that is not already being done and where might the fight be when he does take office? >> the president-elect has to be inaugurated. nothing is on cruise control
with anything that we do in central command and across the department of defense. we are looking at ways we can do things better. we can be more effective against our enemies. so, you know we read the papers. i'm thinking about how i might do this as well. we'll be prepared to do that. i don't want to get out in front of the new administration. i want them to have the opportunity to come in, look at the situation, and give us the strategic direction we need. and then we will, as military professionals, provide them the best military advice. can i exercise my prerogative and ask that we go to this group over here. i will be happy to take a question of this group. >> that's a great way. these two gentlemen almost next to each other. we will take them together and give you one last. thank you. >> thank you for having us.
i'm jack donahue from alexander hamilton society. it seems russia has drawn a pretty clear line in the sand in syria. putin has invested in blood and treasure saying he will not let the regime fall. he directly attacking rebel groups the united states is backing. what can we attempt to accomplish without lead to go a larger scale with russia? do you see russia's momentum gaining in this region after crimea, ukraine, and now their success in syria and given trump's kind of statements that he is going to be drawn back. do you see russia expanding in this area or other areas? >> let me just go off on your comment about the new administration. i don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on that. but let me just say this. yeah, i think we are concerned about what russia is doing.
it's always been a little bit of a mystery to me exactly what they are trying to accomplish here. i take your note on the fact that they inadvertently struck one of our groups here in ones that we control. we certainly have address thad with them. so i think this will be something we'll have to pay attention to. and, again, this is very complicated in terms of how we address this. the activities that russia has supported on behalf of the regime are horrendous. the atrocities should concern all us. it is certainly something that has to be taken into consideration as we look to address that relationship. and, again, as we talk about earlier, i'm very hopeful we
will be able to maintain a relationship with some of the opposition groups we have been able to support. >> one more? >> yeah. >> please. is and then we'll finish with that. >> miami university of history, also with hamilton society, drake long i would like to ask you turkey entered the war. what do we know about the military the's goals, turkish military's goals and their capabilities especially since this is so unprecedented and how are we incorporating actions into overall strategy. >> thanks for bringing that up. let me start by saying turkey of course is a nato ally to us. they are an extraordinarily important partner in the can coalition. we could simply not do the things we are doing without the support we get from turkey on a day-to-day basis, with the support that they provide to us. now, like others in the region,
turkey has interests. turkey has concerns. and it's important i think for us to recognize this. they're certainly very concerned about the islamic state. it is very well established they are concerned about organizations like the pkk and what that might pretend for long-term security and stability for them. and i think you see some of that taking place in the operations. the operations they did along their border i think were very helpful to us. they took care of an islamic state enclave. they did it with coalition support and working with opposition elements. so this is a nato country. capabilities are well developed. it is a country we have had a long military relationship with. we hope to continue to have that in the future. i think it is is important to
what their other concerns or interests are. it just highlights the complexity of what we are dealing with right here. as we enter more some more into the heart of the caliphate, raqqa, mosul. we expect we have to do this. it is a combination of diplomatic discussions and military discussions back and forth to make sure that we are trying to operate in collaboration and coordination with each other towards common goals. at this point, towards defeating the islamic state but with a recognition there are other things that will have to be addressed here in the long run. that's a long way of saying this is an extraordinary complex environment. turkey has interests there. they are great partners. we couldn't do what we do without them. and, by the way, they are a nato ally. and that means a lot to us. and we can never forget that.
>> thank you, general. please join me in thanking him. [ applause ]. tonight on american history tv, programs from the emerging civil war blogs conference on great attacks of the conflict, including the army of tennessee's assault at franklin, the federal break through at peters borough, virginia and civil war wives. american history tv begins tonight at 8:00 on c-span3. this weekend on american history tv auto c-span3, saturday afternoon, just before 5:00 eastern, architectural historian barry lewis talks about the construction of the brooklyn bridge, why manhattan needed the bridge, and how transportation in the city changed at the turn of the 20th century. >> when the brooklyn bridge was
opened, it did not put the ferries out of business. the ferries were still running at capacity. by the mid 1890s, the city of brooklyn had reached 1 million people. >> then at 8:00, on lectures in history. >> that is the interesting thing about country music. it's the music of poor white people. people who were privileged white, is and i'll talk about that in a second. but also people who are under privilege in terms of their class identity and economic opportunities. >> dickinson college professor on the emerging definitions of whiteness and blackness in colonial america and how it impacted the origins of country music. . then sunday afternoon at 4 on reel america. >> a cautious congress, budget cutbacks and a tangle of local and administrative problem on
the new year's horizon, this problem may be slowed or, worse, level off and fade. this was the climate, the land and the unfinished tasks that faced lyndon johnson the 1st of december, 1966. >> the film "the president, december 1966" documents the final month of the year of president lyndon b. johnson. his meeting with mexico's president at a cooperative dam project, awarding the medal of honor to a marine who fought in street than. and at 8:00, on the presidency. author of "madam president" the secret presidency of edith wilson. she buffered act is asses to the president as he recovered from a massive stroke in 1919. for our complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.org. a look now at recent trends
in muslim bullying and ways to help muslim students who were the victims of bullying. hello, everyone. we're going to get started. feel free to grab a seat. so good evening and thank you for joining us for the capital area muslim bar association's program this evening anti-muslim bullying, emerging issues, and pro bono opportunities. i'm selena snow. i am one of the board members of the capital area muslim bar association. i'm also fortunate to seven as an associate professor of law at
the university of district of columbia david a. clark law, committed to eradicating sociojustice inequities such as issues we're addressing today. i want to thank our hosts for tonight's event. thank you othe' melveny&myers. we're honored to have the section for bully proof committee joining us as a cosponsor. courtney dunn, we thank you for making this happen. 2013, the section developed its bully proof initiative as a way to do programs at schools and youth centers and bringing together students, parents, teachers, administrators, members of the community to the address and collaborate on
and strengthening muslim charities. so appropriately october is national bully prevention month. it is a month to educate and to raise awareness of bullying prevention. this week is also national pro bono week. and that initiative is designed to increase access to skwrusity by recruiting volunteers who will consist in representing people who are low income and those often vulnerable. tonight is about addressing an issue that impacts the most vulnerable members of our community, our children and our youth. so when we're looking at muslim children in particular, we're going to kind of focus this panel on issues impacting them as children, which i think that part of the conversation is often overlooked. i think it is fair to say there is a an assertive campaign to the create this otherness when
we talk about muslims, as foreigners, terrorists i'm muslim. i was born in boston, massachusetts. for those of you questioning, i have a birth certificate to prove that. it makes it acceptable for our legislators, for our courts also. the first question i would like to pose to the panel as we start this conversation is has this prevalent anti-muslin climate where schools are able to demonstrate indifference to harassment against muslim
students. maybe you can start us off. what is the nexus between the rhetoric we hear and bullying? >> thank you, and thank you for all being here. there is a rhetoric all too common in our society that is anti-muslin, screen phobic. that is infiltrating but pervading our mass media screens is and our most vulnerable, our children, are being exposed to that rhetoric. it is becoming almost the i would say. it is very troubling for me. i am executive director of a nonprofit karama in d.c.
we get calls from mothers and fathers on a daily basis it seems how to deal with their young children being asked about very layer rowing issues, anti-muslim issues about what's happening overseas and a lot of different kinds of things. some is students came up to me afterwards. two young women came to me afterwards and said, you know, we're not much out as muslims in school. and i said okay. and i asked them to tell me more. they said, well, we don't have comfortable not only amongst their peers but from the administration, from teachers,
from the principal. they didn't feel comfortable even owning their identity as muslim women. i'm not aware of all the social media platforms. but i was informed you can most to that one school. so only people at that school can post to that school. there had been troubling remarks about muslim, about women on this platform. that had made these two young women hide their identity publicly. they felt they needed to come, to use their terms, outthemselves to me so they could talk about what they are going through. but i think that is an example. this was not after this happened. it happened to me multiple times
where people say they go by a different name in school. they wear different clothes at school. so i think there is a direct correlation. and i can go into statistics a little bit later of hate speech and the rhetoric that is in our public spaces and how it is is impacting muslim identity and bullying in schools. >> thank you. >> i always say anti-muslin bullying does not happen in a vacuum.
it is the number one concern we hear across the board from parents all the time. i'm a parent myself. i'm always worried somebody is going to say something to one of my children at school. you raise your kids to be proud of who they are. and, you know, i fear they may want to not share that part of their identity as they get older and become more aware of the rhetoric that surrounds them. but one thing that i will add to that is it happened multiple layers. there is peer to peer bullying which happens between a student and another student. however, we see a significant number of instances where administrators at the school are the ones that are perpetuating anti-muslin climate at the school. these are relationships in which students trust their teach.
they go to their teach when they have a problem. this is the person they're learning from. they say your dad comes from the taliban. it plays a role in the overall climate. >> i'm wondering if we have any data or statistics about muslims being disproportionately targeted. if we don't, quite hon 6thestly, why don't we have it?