tv House Armed Services on Afghanistan - Part 1 CSPAN October 6, 2017 7:59pm-10:58pm EDT
defense secretary james mattis and general joseph doneford were on capitol hill this week testifying on president trump's new military strategy in afghanistan and discussed the need to remove terrorist safe havens in other parts of the globe. it ran three hours. >> committee will come to order. committee welcomes secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff today for a hearing on afghanistan and south asia. the secretary had had previously
indicated he would be back to discuss the approach to the region once it is decided and that's the topic for today. i understand there are many issues facing the department and this committee but in the interest of time and focus i want to encourage members to confine their questions to today's subject. the united states officially launched operation enduring freedom on october 7th, 2001, just about exactly 16 years ago. approximately 2,400 american service members have lost their lives in the conflict. another 20,000 or so have been wounded. as this administration formulates its policies, the american people and members of congress have basic questions such as does american national security still warrant our military presence in afghanistan? do we have a strategy to succeed or one to avoid failure?
how is this administration's approach different from previous approaches? and can we ever be successful in the face of afghan corruption and afghan's due plisty. both secretary mattis have considerable personal experience with this conflict and i believe they're as authoritative as anyone in helping provide answers to our questions and to chart the way forward. but these fundamental issues do need to be discussed openly for the american people and for those who have sacrificed over the last 16 years. that's the reason we're here today. mr. smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i think the chairman raised all of the questions that need to be raised. this is obviously a very, very difficult part of the world. we clearly have national security interests in how afghanistan is governed and pakistan as well, going back to 2001 when they allowed al qaeda
to have safe haven to plot and plan terrorist attacks against the u.s., including 9/11. making sure we don't return to those day sz clearly in our national security interests. what is not as clear is how we do that and the cost of our current effort. afghanistan is a difficult place to govern and one of the things that concerns most people in the country is we understand it's a fragile situation. we've been hearing that for, as the chairman mentioned, 16 years. if we're there for another 20, i envision who's ever sitting in those seats at that point would have the same conversation. how do we get to the point where we can reduce our commitment in afghanistan so it is not an open ended commitment and a blank check. he said that in his remarks when he ruled out the strategy. absent from that is what that meant and how we would go about achieving that very worthy goal and i think that's my biggest
question and the second question to that would be while granting there are risks and pointing throughout are risks in staying there. so what happens under two different scenarios because it would be great if we were able to bring our troops home and commit our troops elsewhere and the longer we stay, the less it's going to move us towards the positive outcome that we want. so are we envisioning a pro longed steal mate where we cannot leave because if it we do it will get worse or do we think we can get to the point where we go beyond pro longed stalemate and i'm paraphrasing one of the questions the chairman asked. i appreciate both of our witnesses being here and obviously their tremendous service to our country. with that, i yield back. >> again, mr. secretary, general, thank you for being here. we'll turn the floor over to you. >> ranking members smith, distinguished members of the
committee, i'm here before you following the tragic event in las vegas. the drmnt of defense remain alert to law enforcement's assessment of events. you, on this committee are keenly aware of the complex and volatile security environment our country faces today. russia continues to invest in a full range of capabilities designed to limit our ability to project power erode u.s. influence and undermine's transatlantic alliance. and weakening our position in the indopacific region, even as we work to find common grund in confronting north korea's provocative actions. the international community is reflected by the two latest unanimous sanctioned resolutions. is focussed on the destabilizing threat posed by north korea and kim jong-un's relentless pursuit of nuclear and ballistic
capabilities. the defense department supports fully secretary tillerson's efforts to find a diplomatic solution but remains focussed on defense of the united states and our allies per president trump's orders. in the middle east iran continues influence across the region. while we continue to make gains against the terrorist enemy in syria, iraq and elsewhere, in afghanistan we have faced a difficult 16 years. general nicholson, our nato and u.s. field commander with troops from 39 nations has blunted the terrorist offensive moves in afghanistan. nato strikes in support of the improving afghan security forces and disarray among various enemy groups have caused the taliban to expend resources, constrain their movements and lim thet taliban's ability to conduct major offenses. beginning last month and for the first time in this long fight,
all six afghan military cores are engaged in offensive operations. during these recent months, there have been fewer civilian casualties as a result of coalition operations, although regrettably taliban high profile attacks on civilians continue to murder the innocent. while the taliban continues to see provingsal centers, they have generally been forced into decentralized small scale ambushes in the use 06 improvised explosive devices. importantly the rate of afghan national security force casualties has reduced from last year. as you know i just returned last week from a trip to india and afghanistan and can report that general nicholson and the nato team are holding the line. forecasts of a significant taliban offensive remain unfulfilled.
violence and progress do coexist in afghanistan but the uncertainty in the region and the nato campaign has been replaced by certainty due to the implementation of president trump's new southeast asia strategy. it's been welcomed almost uniformly by leaders in the southyishau nation. we must always remember we're in afghanistan to make america safer and insure that south asia cannot be used to plot net transnational attacks against the u.s. homeland or our partners and allies. our goal is a stable and secure south asia. a political settlement in afghanistan is only possible if they get report of our conduct of terrorism. based on the intelligence community analysis and my own
evaliation, i am convinced we have sent ourselves from this region to our ultimate peril. our new conditions-based approach has set the stage for regional and afghanistan national change. our new strategy vigorously approved and reviewed by president trump is quote r 4 plus s unquote, which stands for regionalize it, realign it, reinforce it and reconciliation coupled with sustaining it. the first "r," to regionalize it recognizes chal 7gs exist beyond afghanistan and adopts a geographic framework with a holistic comprehensive view. india, pakistan, iran, russia and china were considered at the outset rather than focusing only on afghanistan and inintroducing external variables late in our
strategic design. my visit last week to india was in part to thank them for their continued generous development support in afghanistan. we also discussed ways to expand our collaboration to improve long-term regional stability and security. we will firmly address pakistan's role. nato's damajds need to be heard and embraced. the second "r" to realign signified we're shifting our main effort to allow more advisors who can provide training and support at the battalion and brigade level. the fighting will continue to be carried out by our afghan partners. but oured a vdsvers will accompany tactical units to bring nato support to bare when needed. this is combat duty for our
troops but they remain in the lead for the fighting. we have now approximately 11,000 troops in afghanistan along side 6 thousand,800 from nato and coalition partners and 320,000 afghan national security forces. from these numbers you can see the afghan forces remain the main number. and we're supporting them, not suplanting or substituting our troops for theirs. the third "r" is reinforced and that's in our addition of 3,000 u.s. troops arriving to help nato's advisory effort to afghan troops currently without. nato's secretary general and i together toured afghanistan last week, sending a meslk of the nato coalition's unity. he's reaching out to our allies to inhad crease their troop
levels. 15 nations have signalled they will increase their support. the uncertainty now having replaced uncertainty, we're looking to our partners to provide more troop and financial support. the last "r" is reconcile. and that's the desired outcome from our military operations. convincinging our foes that coalition is committed to a conditions based outcome. we intend to drive hitters and those who will see we're not in this -- our goal is a stabilized afghanistan achieved through an afghan led, afghan-owned peace process. war is prince pale a matter of will and the international community is making clear it will stand along side the afghans for the fight. as we have shifted to a conditions based strategy, not time based or troop number
focussed, ambiguity has been removed. the elements of the strategy are a tangible demonstration of our resolve. all this will be carried out by, with and through our afghan partners and within the coalition framework, assuring this campaign is fiscally and militarily sustainable. our afghan partners fight most effectively where nato and partner advisors are along side them. as the president said to the united nations general assembly in new york "afghans are determined to fight. no one should mistake our will to defend our country." i'm heartened and impressed by the international reception to our strategy. i'm confident we'll see heightened levels of support in the months ahead. as nato general said last week in kabul, this is about making sure afghanistan doesn't once
again become a safe haven for international terrorists and the best way is to enable afghans to have defense security forces strong enough to do that. we're already starting to see the psychological impact of this new strategy both militarily in the field as well as through the afghan government's commitment to reform. the president recognizes that fighting corruption and accelerating institutional reform are critical to success. the recently launched u.s.-afghan compact out lying more than 200 measurable bench marks for reform, demmen straights our shared emphasis on these goals. our south asia strategy reinforced that the only path to peace and political legitimacy is through a negotiated settlement it is time for the taliban to be forced tootoo
recognize they can't kill their way to power nor provide refuge or support to those who would do us harm. i want to close by recognizing the need to maintain the closest possible dialogue with congress and specifically this committee. imposed the greatest inhibiter to our defense. without relief from the bca caps, our air, land and sea fleet will continue to erode our path to modernization will be short changed and our technological competitive advantage lost. i trust i'll sayour support as we address today pft complex and increasingly volatile national security environment. thank you. >> thanks for the opportunity to join secretary mattis. in recent months our commander
in afghanistan described the current condition in the country as a stalemate. secretary mattis has testified we're not winning. the situation has developed since the nato mingsz afghanistan transitioned to the advisory effort. since 2015 we've acampanied and cysted afghan troops at the tactical level but limpeted to the army core and institutional level. we also reduced the aviation, artillery and intelligence support provided to the afghan forces. this construct did not provide afghan conventional forces with the support they needed to succeed in combat operations. my military assessment is we drive down our kaurm bat support for the afghan forces too far and too fast. as a result the taliban
inflicted significant casualties on the afghan police while we lost momentum. last spring secretary mattis conducted the department to conduct a detailed analysis to identify the root causes for the afghanistan, any directive we provide targeted solutions. informed, they developed and approved a new operational approach to break the stalemate and bolster afghan capabilities. it supports the broader strategy by expanding our advisory efforts to the tactical level, and enhancing authorities. we believe these adjustments will im3r50u6rb theability of the afghans to conduct operations, defend critical terrain and afghan casualties. the emphasis on providing effective support to the afghans so they can secure their own
country. going forward, we'll support the president pfsz efforts for the afghan forces, reducing less effective units. we'll also continue to develop a capable, sustainable afghan air force and finally enhance and expand our own operations in the region. >> it will have our most senior, capable leaders advising at the decisive point. the specifically for the afghan to take the fight to the enemy. as we implement the strategy, we're also tackling corruption, the single greatest road block to congress. our objectives are clear and achievable. the first is we feet isis and al qaeda in afghanistan and insure others are unable to launch
attacks against the homeland, u.s. citizens or our allies. capable of managing the rezijal violence. support president's effort to insure key population and economic centers are secure and will provide an enduring counterterrorism. al tool protect our shared interest in south asia. as secretary tillerson husband recently outlined, it's to have them understand they will not win a battle field victory, so they'll enter a afghan-led peace process to end it. >> i appreciate it, sir. >> i guess i want to basically have one question.
i was directed by this editorial in the washington post august 9th. it says in theory it has been to train an afghan army that can fight al qaeda, the taliban and islamic state and withdraw. after 16 years it's not surprising many people think that strategy has failed. in fact, it hasn't really been tried and then he goes through a brief history of our efforts or lack of efforts of deadlines, of not meeting commitments and so forth and concludes by saying that much of the rush to failure has been washington driven. and so i guess i would like each of you to comment on the extent to which you have the lack of
stability in commitment, funding as we begin the ninth consecutive year under a cr. to what extent those washington' driven aspects have contributed to a afghanistan not being as successful so far as we would like it to be? >> war is primarily a matter of willpower and what we have to demonstrate based on where the situation is at this time is an implacable will the international community and that means america first among all of them is going to stand by this effort and that has to do with standing by surtden policies, by the afghan military, standing by budgets that give predictability so we keep our own military
strong. it's all part of setting a cohesive framework within which we can achieve tangible results and not face what ranking member smith is concerned with, a prolonged stalemate. when you set timelines, you're telling the enemy what you will not do. when you set troop caps, you're saying what you won't do and i believe right now the most important thing is to let the enemy know they're not going to win and that's because we now have over 300,000 afghan forces in the field that through some very severe fighting have earned our support as we try to drive this towards an end of this war, towards reconciliation. >> chairman, you and many members of the committee have visited afghanistan multiple times. hedging behavior by the taliban, regional actors, in particular pakistan. one of the primary drivers of
that hedging behavior, which was inhibiting us in actually making progress was a lack of certainty and confidence that u.s. commitment to international coalition commitment would be enduring. and particularly for probably four or five straight years, there was always a sense and it's been described as the y 2 k effect in afghanistan. they would depart. i think one of the most significant changes with conditions based is it leverages the center of gravity, which is the confidence of the afghan people and the confidence of the afghan forces and on the flip side it actually undermines the confidence of the taliban. they're not actually trying to wait us out. they now realize the 300,000 afghan soldiers and police that have been built, they're going to have the support they need to bring the taliban to the peace
table. that's, to me, in my judgment how the hedging behavior, lack of clarity has effected the campape. pain campaign. >> sort of following up on that question. we have had timelines, troop caps and consistent lay exceeded those troop caps and gone beyond those timelines. so if the taliban were paying attention, they would come not to rely on those troop caps. if we just stay there long enough, in great enough numbers, afghanistan will eventually be able to defend itself and we won't have to be there anymore. i think the lack of confidence in that and i hope that editorial written is correct, comes from more than just a lack of commitment. it's the complications of the terrain. what does reconciliation look like? and what we're really looking
for is some confidence. let's say we do all this stuff. for how long? and i'm not looking for a one year, two year, 12 months exactly. but what are the factors that give you confidence that we won't be in the scenario i just described that even if we do this more open ended commitment, we won't have the same conversation we had had. as everyone knows, people have come and gone for a very long time and i get the feeling as far as the taliban are concerned, we can say we're going to be there for 50 years and we say fine, 51. so what is the confidence you have that this change can address, not just whatever shortcomings might have been in previous administration strategies but the reality of afghanistan and pakistan. >> congressman, men and women in this world live by hope. they hope tomorrow's going to be better. the taliban can hope repeatedly
that whether we over stayed what timeline we gave our svls, we had still said we're leaving as soon as we can. what we're saying is there's going to be an end to the war, it's going to end because we don't want the threat to america. we don't want a threat to our allies and the best way to do that make certen the afghans have a force that can deal with this internally. it's going to take our mentors but reconciliation looks like goes back some years in terms of the conditions. it's afghan led. involves the taliban rejecting terrorism and supporting people who have attacked this country. it involves them to stop killing the afghan people and live by the constitution. that's a pretty low bar if they choose to rejoin the political process. if they don't, we're going to make it extremely uncomfortable for him by training, advising, assisting the afghan forces.
and i think what we don't want is some transient success. so we pushed this forward in a way, in an implacable way, because that's a better waito end it faster, rather than stringing it along. if it addresses your question. >> and i understand my question is unanswerable at a certain point. i guess put it one different way. when the president says no blank check, what does that mean? where does the check stop? where does the commitment stop? >> one point is, sir, that secretary general when he was getting off the plane when we came out of theater said he's going back to brussels to build more support. in other words we're going to have more people aligned with us because of our -- the certainty
we've replaced. the uncertainty with. it also means we're going to see a declining use of american mentors. as this army gets up on the step. we simply cutback too soon. we pulled the training wheels off before it was fully ready to be balanced and move against the talib taliban. this was a concern when we pulled all of our forces down to the level they were at and so we're going to have to makeup for it and inherit it where it lies now but it's not an unending commitment. you'll see a degrading number of forces, declining number of american forces as you see an improving capability. >> understood and i know congressman jones is next and he will drill down on this in greater degree than i did. the only other question i have
and it's rhetorical. as you mentioned at the conclusion of your remarks, the budget caps and the crs that have been presented to you v been one of the factors that have made it difficult to maintain a consistency to afghanistan. if we were to reduce revenue by $1.5 trillion over the course of 10 years, would that not make it just a little bit more difficult to provide the department of defense the money it needs to do what it needs to get done? >> chairman, probably someone with better financial background than myself could give a better answer. as i understand the process right now it's to reduce the taxes to build the economy and the growth is going to acrew more government revenue. but this is not an area i would
call one of my expertise. >> fair enough. and i know that is the hope. there is no credible economists, even conservative economists say that's absurd that somehow if you cut taxes dramatically you're going to magically wind up with more money. if the top rate was like 90% or we had capitol gains rate of 66% and cutting it down from there. but cutting it from where we're toot right now, making a commitment to national security and reducing revenue by $1.5 trillion is consistently inconsistent. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. smith. and we& going to proceed. thornberry has gone to vote so the committee can continue meeting. and at this time we now have
mr. jones of north carolina. >> thank you. i wrote to president trump on july the 8th -- 18th asking him to please come to congress and ask us to have a debate on a new amuf. i'd like to read "let's get out of afghanistan. our troops are being killed by the afghanies we train and we waste billions there. nonsense rebuild the united states of america." that's his tweet, not mine. in addition that brings me to this, general mattis. in the politico article titled trump administration poses effort -- kwab mean, not kweeting you but makes reference to you. that stauns peers to contradict
comments by mattis to govern the war against isis. mattis chastised congress, testifying he has not understood why the congress hasn't come forward to at least debate on aumf. that's the leadership under paul ryan. he could ask that we have a debate but he doesn't do it. that's one if you'll write that down. the other one is quick as well. the waste fallen abuse in afghanistan. we have spent over $1 trillion. you talked about the marines and soldiers that have been killed. thank you for remembering the 23 or 2400 -- over 20,000 wounded. we have been paying ghost soldiers to help the americans over there. they don't even know who they are, but we spent billions and billions of dollars.
dod paid -- i mean $6 million to buy nine goats. we don't know where the goats are, by the way. that's why the position on sequestration, i somewhat agree with you. in all fairness we keep waeshing the taxpayer's money. he tds 30 times. and i have all 30 of his quotes. of all the waste fallen abuse that have just about shot people of the third district of north carolina was the one that the u.s. department of defense signed a contract with a british firm called new century consulting where we pay them $50 million totrain afghan to be intel officers. out of that they bought seven luxury cars.
and i asked bentleying, but they paid their rives. $400,000 each. go back to the aurks mf and i want to ask you this. who is responsesable for reporting to you about all this waste fallen abuse that john has done a great job of informing congress and the american people and it keeps going on and on? it's got to stop because it is going to hurt the nation, which is $20 trillion in debt and it is hurting our military but how can you justify, not you personally. how can we justify spending more and more money, when we can't account for the waste, fraud and abuse in afghanistan? so those are my two questions and appreciate your answers. >> congressman, we cannot justify waesh any money.
and i'm committed to finding everyone's responsible. and i need look into the new century consulting piece. and i will get backing to you on this in detail. one of the things we're making certain to there are no ghost soldiers and the president has embraced it because it's working on his ghost teachers. ittime biometrically enrolling them. trbs butted we are not go toing to thand money over and hope it gets to the right places in terms of fighting this war. the bio metrics alone will remove this problem. so the ghost soldier piece will be more of matter of monitoring their continued status than having krupgds introduced in the
beginning. the chairman's failure analysis and what do we do about the thicks you rightly bring up to us here today. but we're not going to continue that. as far as the aumf goes, the point is we need the unity of the american government and that brings the unity of the american people to this fight and i re g recognize we have to win your trust and confident on this. and i intend to do that. >> thank you, sir. thank you, chairman. >> we now proceed to mr. larsson in wauks state. >> first off, with regard to the region region regionaliation. in 2004 they dez ugnitted
afghanistan as a nonnato ally, making it eligible for certain refer ngss, especially with regard to support of its military. given that one of the points you've made and the president about the administration taking a hard line, are you ready now to revoke the nonnato ally, status a status. >> congressman, what we're doing right now is aligning the department of treasury, defense, intelligence kmuncht say. >> this is what we must ask pakistan to do to change his behavior. >> we have 39 other nations that will also be reinforcing this. as you know i've been to new
delhi about the situation they face on their border. there are a number of ways, based on a very recent visit by the pakistan chief of army staff to kabul about three days ago tat we can help pakistan see its way forward in its own best interest. we will do this in a hohad listic indegreated way. it and that's across south asia. this strategy is not exclusive. in other words kbael naesh nation that wants to fight back against terrorism and reduce this threat to all nations. is more than welcome. it's are not exclusive as pack sfan, it's inclusive. as we move this forward, we're going to have to find common ground with pakistan and as you know the international community
doesn't stand for terrorism they have lost more troops than probably any other fighting terrorists. so on the one hand we have problems of havens. another thing we've all registered and that same foithding the terrorists. we've got to get this alined regionally and solve this problem. >> in 16 plus years i have probably shared the frustrations of many on this committee about pakistan, as well as the limed number of successes we've had with pakistan. is designation of nonnato allies on that list? >> i'm sure it wim be. >>ia just visited one border but there's a 90 kilometer border between china and afghanistan.
it's not easy to get to but it does exist. did you have any conversations with china on what role they can play? >> that trip was really focussed on north korea. had a few side bar conversations on afghanistan. there are many areas where they converge and i think counterterrorism is one of those areas, particularly in afghanistan and i've certainly suggested that they could play a more productive role, particularly in development in assisting with the counterterrorism effort on the border. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first, i'd like to go on record to thank secretary mattis and general dunford.
i'll take a moment to express my appreciation to you and the department of defense for providing the security to the people of guam from north korea. and we do appreciate the department's efforts to have the thad battery protecting the people of guam. thank you very much. my expectation is today's hearing is one of the first steps in drawing out what an afghanistan strategy that the administration puts out would look like. at your recent speech at the air force association conference, you stress the importance of not only listening to your allies but be willing to be persuaded by them. so can you point out to me pieces of the strategy where the administration and department of defense have been persuaded by our allies or would solicit imput from the international community and what portions of the strategies do our allies and
partners have concerns? >> congresswoman, right now i would just tell you that to be willing to be persuaded, the allies were 100% persuaded by our approach to drive towards reconciliation. it has received near universal agreement. i say near because i haven't talked to all of them. but during while we were putting this strategy together, i've met three times with various groups of allies from the defeat isis groups because of the similarities in the counterterrorism campaign and with the mintersters of defense in brussels as well as the pacific when i was at the shang rilaw dialogue. they made it clear they believe
this enemy had to be defeated in afghanistan or whether it was in europe or the pacific, we were going to see a wider spread. so i think this is why we have seen such support, frankly, from across our allies since we've rolled it out from brussels and the nato nations to new delhi in india. certainly kabul where even the housing crisis are going up based on the confidence -- this is an objective measure we watch clochely for what's going on there. so we have seen the input, heard the input and it's been incorporated into what we have and we're getting good feedback. >> thank you, mr. secretary. happy to hear that. and when do you expect the new strategy to produce positive results? what tools and prosesz do you have in place to address progress towards the stated end
goal? i'm aware it will not have predetermined timelines, but i'm interested in the department of defense's plan to monitor towards position based goals that have been set. either one of you. >> congressman, we have in a u.s.-afghan combakt agreement with the president's government, we have over 200 specific bench marks. you can't quantify everything. further more, we have poelg going on to see how we're doing with the hearts and minds of the people. additionally we have a separate assessment that will be going on as we look at our own bench marks we intend to meet. number ozf units that are
mentored. but in order to be output orynlted, it's going to take a little time. that being said i was struck by the degree of confidence i saw in afghanistan among our coalition troops and anung the afghan leadership, militarily and political as a result of this strategy. so i think the psychological impact has beginning to feel. heir still trying oo as we speak butted they are starting to fight among themselves due to a loss of key leadership and because they are just not getting along with each other under the increasing pressure the forces are placing on them. >> i think we'll have a pretty good sense for the strategy next summer as our advisory effort is revised and we implement the
full advisory effort informed by the failure analysis we spoke about earlier. next summer's performance will be one indicator. there's also a very important event which is the elections. we'll see the afghan's ability to perform the security function associated with the election. >> that can you very much, general. and i yield back. >> to both of you. we are deeply grateful for your service and for the kind of indepth analysis you do on all of these issues to present to the president. director coats, director of the national intelligence recently testified to congress in which he said the intelliance community assesses the situation at afghanistan will deteriorate
through 2018. general dunford, only plans for a mot ratd increase. then how can you defense thousands more troops. >> i think it's a fair question and what they've done is provided a snap shant time. one is the revised organizational construct of the afghan forces. they're making significant changes. i don't think the intel community has factors in the change, the advisory assist effort that u.s. and coalition forces are providing to the afghans. i don't think the intel community has adequately assessed on the confidence of the afghan people, security forces. so congresswoman, again, this is
a very difficult endeavor. the one thing i'm sure is the strategy will keep people safe. but iall sobelieve it has a good prospect of allowing them to get to the point where they can secure their country on their own. >> do you agree with me that we will have a presence in afghanistan for the foreseeable future? >> i'll take that question first. here's what i would say. in south asia as a whole we have vital national interests and i believe those interests are enduring. and i believe we'll have a diplomatic and in some military presence in the region for a long period of time. i believe the military will decrease over time to a sustainable level. we're insuring that working by which and through leakal partners.
alfiscally sustainable strategy. so while i do thinking there will be u.s. influence and presence for time good come. the i don't think there will be forces for a long time to come. >> so we should make it clear to 24e them that we're not leaving afghanistan? >> we should only leave a region -- if you look at our strategy if we didn't have enduring vital national interests albeit in different form but she had to get out ot. >> mr. tersecretary. >> as they improve their own
capability, certainly our numbers would come down. conditions based, as the president said. >> so what does a diplomatic solution look says. >> what does a diplomatic solution look like? >> first, we have to show them they don't have to achieve what they want with violence. once we get that through their head, we will peel off some of them and you see an at tomization of the taliban going on when they have lost key leaders and those that stepped up not been as good. it makes the political reconciliation a little harder because some of the people we're dealing with may not represent this new fragmented taliban. eventually the weakening of the taliban should put us in a position where some say, that's it, i'm not going to keep this
up. others say, we're willing to negotiate. what does the negotiation look like? they stop killing people and stop supporting the terrorists who attacked this town and new york city. at that point, if they're willing to live by the constitution, president ghani has made clear they can come back in. you've already seen parts of it come over. come over to ghani's side. it's starting and not tidy but ongoing now. you will continue to see it move forward as we block military to have victory on the battlefield. >> thank you, i yield back. >> gentlemen, it looks like it will be another five minutes or so before the other gentleman come back. i've been peppering your questions but i won't.
you've been testifying a lot today. we will invite the witnesses to the ante room and we will recess presidential 5 to 6 minutes. come to order. we appreciate your patience with our voting schedule. recognize the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i want to thank you on behalf of military service members, military families, veterans, there's such a reassurance with your service and greatly appreciate your dedication and persistence on behalf of victory as we're proceeding in the global war on terrorism. >> as an afghanistan veteran, one of the primary concerns i would like each of you to address the rules of engagement in afghanistan. during the previous administration i introduced
legislation calling for revision of existing rules of engagement under resolution support in afghanistan in an effort to succeed in the complex environment commanders. what are the new rules for engagement in afghanistan? >> sir, the old rules included both rules of -- the rules of engagement and operating principles included a requirement for proximity of the enemy to be engaged by our air force. president trump has told me that i have the authority to change that, so i've removed proximity. that in itself opens the enemy, wherever they are found, to the nato air support under the nato old plan. the first thing is we unleashed that. at the same time, we had a
reduction in the number of deaths by innocent people as a result of coalition operation, not taliban. my point is we will always take every humanly possible step to protect the innocent. the rules themselves permit the engaged forces to bring air support in furthermore by extending the -- which units are being advised means many afghan army unit never had advisors had a very convoluted way to get at that air support not a rules of engagement problem but air support problem, that has been engaged as well. i hope that answers your concerns. >> it does. i appreciate the complex organization of end rules and you addressing it. it's reassuring as a parent.
mr. secretary we all want to succeed in afghanistan and you eliminated safe havens for terrorists abroad and families at home. at the same time, i support your efforts for more troops. we have increased deployments meaning fewer ready units at home for unforeseen contingencies. sadly, we've also had the recent extended loss of two destroyer, the fitzgerald and mccain, and the necessary support for devastating hurricanes. the strain on the military is ever increasing. what can we in congress do to help you face the multiple threats that are facing our country? >> congressman wilson, i think the most important thing is we get budget predictability and certainty. without that, we cannot take and adjust our forces and get predictability into our budgets that permits us to gain the best bang for the buck to put it
bluntly. we're going into the ninth year with a continuing resolution. as you know, i cannot make new starts under that, even if the cyber domain or space domain require we do new things we've not had to do before to maintain our competitive edge. the most important thing i believe is to make certain the congress act together to relieve us of the budget control act and defense caps and get predictability in our funding. >> i'm grateful for the leadership of paul ryan and diane black. we're trying to address that. additionally as the former co-chair of the india caucus, i appreciate your visit last week to new delhi. under the new defensive strategy how will the relationship with new delhi change and keeping that in mind how can we balance our cooperation with india where we have a situation where pakistan has a level of
resentment? >> sir, the question you bring up is why i was in new delhi last week and the national minister of defense welcomed me. india is on the move and their economy picking up. we have a natural convergence of the two largest democracies in the world. india has been generous with afghanistan and been the victims of terrorism. i don't need to talk about the terrorist threat and we are deepening the military relationship with them. it is not an exclusive strategy with them. any nation that wants to be part of this counter-terror effort and stability effort in south asia can sign up.
pakistan need not think this is exclusive of them, open to any nation who wants to remove this terrorism threat to all civilized nations. >> thank you. >> thank you for your service to our country. in president trump's august 21st speech, the president stated he had lifted restricts placed on our war fighters and expanded targeting authorities. >> i know you understand it's important we have these changes and can you explain to me what has been lifted and what results have you seen since these
changes were made thus far? >> sir, the nato o plan had certain objectives in mind. it is organized to bring the afghan army into a strange position. in some cases we have not given the high ground, a very uncomfortable feeling when the enemy is above you. we did not give the young afghan boys they had the high ground fighting this enemy. today, i can bring the air support to them. we have to reorganize our advisors because those units with nato and american advisors win and those without them often do not win. we are going to spread the number of units with advisors and bring that air support to
bear and specifically, we are no longer bound by proximity to our forces. in other words, wherever we find the enemy, we can put the pressure from the airport on them. it used to be we had to be in contact with the enemy. at the same time, we do not want this to be misinterpreted into a lay say fair use of fire support when we're fighting wars where the enemy intentionally hide is among innocent. it is still very much aligned with our efforts to do everything possible to prevent the death of innocent people, women and children in villages, this sort of thing. >> are there other restrictions you know you can identify now? >> other restrictions are basically we can bring this to bear whether in proximity or with the units. we were only advising under the
old what i inherited down to the core level. we're now going to the brigade level and next level down what you and i call the battalion level. these are the forces that move against the enemy. the commando forces and special forces consistently win against the taliban they also have nato and u.s. advisors with them. our failure analysis made very clear why we had the problem with the other forces. we are going to solve that. >> thank you. while the afghan government is certainly able to maintain security and stability, also obvious they're clashing with cultures in the region, necessitating a coalition of partner nations through regional security challenges. i understand you spoke with congressman wilson, where they
pledged $3 billion to train african officers as well as additional naval cooperation. how will this expanded advancement enhance security in the region and how do you intend to leverage relationships like this to develop a more effective coalition strategy between the afghan government and people and regional partners and similarly, something that caught my attention with the president's speech with respect to pakistan, how do you plan to persuade pakistan to take more action to eliminate cooperation, support and refuge for the taliban in the network? >> sir, let me take the second question first. on pakistan, what you will see is 39 nations, all in the nato campaign, working together to lay out what it is we need pakistan to do. secretary treasurer, secretary
state and intelligence community and defense department and lay out what it is we need pakistan to do and the government international effort to align basically the benefits and penalties if those things are not done. pakistan, again, has lost more troops in this fight against terrorists than nearly any country out there. yet, at the same time, as you know, there's been parsing out where some terrorists have been allowed safe havens. we're out to change that behavior and do it very firmly. based on a visit three days ago by a chief of army staff of pakistan to kabul, we have a sense of some optimism out of the afghan government. i'm in a show me stage right now but we intend to work through international partners diplomatically, economically, and work together to make the
change that's actually in pakistan's best interests. as far as gaining confidence with the afghan people and their little and how do we make this work, i will ask the chairman to say a few words on this. the bottom line, sir, if you look at what we call the largest political assemblage under their culture, it is overwhelming how much of the population, once the nato alliance to stick with them. wants the nato alliance to stick with them. you add to that, countries like india, trying to provide more generous -- they've been very generous but even more development support, there's ways to build the confidence of a people that have been tormented ever since the soviet invasion by violence. chairman, if you have something. >> congressman, the one thing we always said was the most important thing we were delivering to the afghan people was some hope for the future in
a conditions-based approach gives them that. in recent polling about 80% of the people reject the taliban. about 70% plus have confidence in the afghan security forces. roughly those same numbers as secretary mattis alluded to, roughly those same numbers welcomed a coalition presence. the commitment of the international community, this isn't just a strategy about the united states, there's 39 other nations and nato has the same approach, a conditions-based approach. i think that's having a profound effect on the psychology of the afghan people we always felt was a source of strength in the campaign. >> thank you boat. >> secretary mattis, general, thank you for your solid leadership. the nation is very fortunate you 7thed these assignments. a lots of my questions have already been asked and answered. i want to go back to what a
couple of my colleagues said previously about pakistan. i know that they are demonstrating at least rhetorically the right approach and expressing willingness to help. we've seen this before and we've been disappointed and sometimes they do a little bit and make it sound linike it's a lot. recognize we're also in an open setting. what can you tell us about it if we find this is a false started again to pressure them to more cooperate. i think it's pretty obvious without them we have a much more difficult time in afghanistan. >> sir, the reason we did a regional approach in the beginning was so we didn't try to start with afghanistan and put together a great plan and say, now we have to add in these variables. we started with india to iran and looked up to central asia and down into pakistan, and came
at afghanistan as a geographically centralized problem, informed by the others. i think that there's an increasingly level of discontent in the world with any country that supports terrorism for any reason. i mean, it's taken a while for some countries to come on board. you look what secretary tillerson put something, 69 countries right now plus arab league, european union, interpol, you think of that number of countries, it's clear what isis has done is created its own antibodies. by doing that, there's more of a concern about the spread of terrorism. as we work this problem with pakistan, as pakistan has moved actually against the border areas here in the last six
months, losing a lot of troops and pushing against some of the border passes that give access into afghanistan, i think we're in a position now where we can be more compelling. built this is going to be one step at a time. we are going to remain basically focused on this effort. we're not going to back off. it will start with assistant secretaries coming out of washington and the national guard staff members going in soon followed by the secretary of state. i will go in. we have secretary general saltenberg very clear as a secretary of nato. we will continue to build this up in an international way with a whole of u.s. government argument for pakistan to work in their own best interest and ours. >> thank you, secretary mattis, i yield back.
>> miss ungus. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you both for being here. at the outset i want to endorse mr. jones' comments that i, too, feel that we as a full body of congress should have the opportunity to debate an authorization for use of military force. it's been too many years. i feel -- i've been here 10 years and we have been having these hearings over and over again. we have many new members of congress as well. with the new administration, a new effort not necessarily as different but nevertheless a new effort i feel we need the chance to debate this and recommit or not to what you're doing. i also wanted to just address again the regional approach that you're taking. we've had some conversation about pakistan. there has also been reporting that russia is engaged in finding ways to support the taliban, iran as well. i'd just like your thoughts on
how that's complicating your efforts there. >> any effort to support a violent group, a terrorist group like the taliban, until they renounce terrorism, support for them is not in russia's best interests, not in iran's best interests, certainly not in afghanistan's people's best interests and contrary to the nato campaign and international agreements in the u.n. that put us there in the first place that authorizes us to be there. i think that this is very difficult to discern why they would do something that's not in their best interests. i'm not ready to say precisely what it is. i want to see more evidence how deep the support is. it's hard to believe iran had their diplomats killed by the taliban and terrorists coming out of south central asia.
this doesn't make sense but the world doesn't always make sense and we'll figure it out to get a change in behavior. >> yet you have seen some evidence of it without fully having a sense to what level it goes? >> we have seen some, ma'am. it is -- i need more definition what is coming out of russia. it doesn't make sense. we're looking at it very carefully. out of iran, it's always been a low level of intermittent support of taliban, mostly financial, some weapons. iran doing what it usually does, in terms of trying to create chaos. >> general dunford, would you like to comment? >> congresswoman, what we've seen, just to be clear, because you talked about support. i think we have clear indications of communications. with regard to the iranian, there's no question there's a degree of support as well as communications.
with the russians, i don't think we have specificity on support to the taliban. >> thank you. that was my only question. i yield back. >> mr. turner. thank you, chairman. mr. mattis, thank you for being here. i, too, like the other members want to thank you for your work since you've been secretary. you've been very diligent insuring this committee is informed and working with the members of the committee. even beyond that with the class sfid briefings you had for the whole house make sure the other members hear your whole message. that helps us. what we learn in these hearings we take to other members. you're taking your message directly repealing sequestration and effects of crs. i want to appreciate you have done that because it is making a big difference. i want to thank you for being here today also and want to ask you concerning the drug trade in afghanistan. according to a 2016 survey concerning opium cultivation and production in afghanistan, the
cultivation in afghanistan in 2016 increased by 10%. all regions except the southern region experienced an increase in opium poppy cultivation last year. besides from a drop from 2014 to 2015 the data shows steady growth in opium population between 1994 and 2016. if you look at the historical levels from 2001 to where we are today, it has roughly doubled. it was less than half before 2001. i know that's unacceptable. i'm certain you believe it's unacceptable and it has a direct impact on counter-terrorism, as you know, because it includes funding, counter narcotics efforts lessen the funds available to terrorists. it also breeds corruption in the afghan government and afghan military. we know how to address this, address the crops, distribution,
address labs and funding and infrastructure for the narcotic trade. in looking at your new additional strategy in south asia, how do you see this strategy including an effort to affect the opiate narc cottic trade? >> it's a great question. both the counter-finance aspects of the strategy and the counter-corruption are linked directly to the counter-narcotics campaign. we watched as we drew down too fast too early, we watched the taliban surge. as the taliban surged we watched the poppy surge right along with it. there's no surprise here. the intelligence community warned us about this. it's exactly what we were told would happen. as we look at this we will go after the counter-narcotics refineries, transportation nodes, the bizarres as they call
them, where they're bartered. the reason is, that's where the taliban actually accrues their taxation cash off of the trade. it's not from the little guy down there who's farming this hearty crop of poppys. we're going to look where does it help the taliban and fight it from that direction rather than going pretty much in a big way just after the farmers themselves. there's a way to cut this thing and reduce it by targeting the right locations and the right nodes in the drug trade that will also cut the taliban's fund-raising. >> general, we dealt with this issue a lot. there have been times we had some success. looking at this issue the committee is very aware there were impediments how things were
structured. are there interagency department fund-raisings we need to address to make sure the new strategies are implemented. what do you see as your impediments? >> are you talking more broadly or just with regard to the drug problem? >> you get the assignment but don't have all the authorities. where are there areas difficult for you to achieve the reduction in narcotic production. how can we help you? >> having the right numbers of drug enforcement agents to advise the afghan forces. they have a major crime task force and to the arrests and protect evidence and prosecute is something that showed good value in the peace and making sure the justice system continues to mature as well. >> sorry. my mike was off?
>> secretary, any tools you need? i know you have interagency departments structurally to achieve these goals. because it touches the taliban and counter-finance effort is something we're very much invested in and integrated. i don't sense that i have any missing authorities here. but if i find them, i will come up and see you and tell you what i need. i've made a note. but i need to look at it. so far i've not heard that but i haven't asked a specific question. i need to do so before i answer you. >> thank you. >> mr. roark. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis you said a couple of times during this hearing war is a matter of will and the taliban have to understand there is an imblackable will on our side to continue this fight and see it through until we achieve our
goals. convince me our will is more imblackable than theirs going forward. >> of course, i'm not alone in this fight, sir. i've just come out and seen our troops in the field including the troops of other countries. i have no doubt we have the troops with the willingness to endure danger and discomfort in the defense of this country and this town and new york city that were attacked by terrorists operating out of this very area we're we're fighting in. you bring up a good point that goes back to something mentioned earlier. the u.s. congress has to embrace this as our fight. we're all in this. i'm eager to hear any criticisms of strategy, changes in the operation, open the door, have you go in, look at it. to me, what you go in and see
and what our inspector finds isn't something you admire, i need to change it. one thing, i've dealt with this kind of enemy since 1979. i do not patronize them. when they say girls don't go to school, you're not going to talk them out of it. they didn't rationally arrive at that point and we're going to have to confront this the way generations of americans have confronted other threats, whether it be militarism, fascism or communism, we have to confront it for our time. >> let me ask you a follow-up question. you talked about some of our goals, the primary one being afghanistan never again be used to plan or carry out attacks against the united states of america. we want those stakeholders like the taliban to work within the national government and the political process. you also said the taliban have to understand they cannot kill their way to power. i think you would also agree we cannot kill our way towards
these goals and conditions. so therefore what is going to have to happen for the taliban to accept our conditions short of us killing all of them? >> well, i think, congressman, it has to be they recognize they're not going to gain power at the point of a gun, and that the afghanistan security forces are capable of defeating them. >> congressman, if i could just add in there, we talk about will, i think the secretary just touched on something that's important. it's not the taliban will just against u.s. and coalition will, it's the taliban will against the afghans and afghan forces in particular. last year, the afghan forces had 16,000 soldiers killed and they stayed in the fight. they've proved incredibly resilient. sure, they've had battlefield short falls and we know what they are and our failure analysis proposes their gaps and
capability at the small unit level and particularly ability to deliver fires. i think at the end of the day this is a clash of wills but a clash of wills between the afghan people and some small portion of the afghan people that actually want to resort to violence to advance their political objectives. with support to the afghan people i'm confident their will will endure longer than the taliban will. >> with all due respect, general, it's not just the afghan government and a small minority, the afghan government and a trillion in u.s. taxpayer support, we tens of thousands of u.s. service members, nato allies, support monetarily and military from those countries as well and we are in our 16th year with no end in sight. i'm having a very hard time understanding and being able to explain to my constituents what the game changer is that i'm hearing today that will make this different going forward and i mean no disrespect, i'm just not hearing it. i think this war has suffered
from a lack of oversight and lack of questions asked. >> sure. i think it is a fair question to debate why this is different and why we should stay after 16 years. i will certainly tell you from a military perspective why i recommend that we stay is look carefully at the 20 groups international terrorist groups, 20 of the 90 we recognize around the world the consequences of not keeping pressure on them. that was number one. in terms of what's different, people talk about 16 years. for 14 years of those 16 years, we were in the lead and we were in the fight. over the past two years, it's been the afghan forces that were in the lead and in the fight. they didn't have adequate force capabilities to deal with the taliban. this doesn't address 16 years of us being in the fight, this address two years of the taliban fighting legitimate afghan security forces and this plan is designed to fill the capability gaps that have been identified as a result of the two years of
casualties and setbacks that they have suffered. i think that's really important is this is designed to be fiscally, militarily and politically sustainable over time. it will require a u.s. presence increase in the short term but in the long term, this is about a leveraging the 300,000 afghan courses we have grown over the course of 16 years but inadequately supported here over the last two. thank you. >> mr. landborne. >> mr. chairman thank you for what you do to protect us and our allies. and you talk about pakistan and how they need to be more consistent promoting stability in the region. secretary mattis, you addressed that very strongly in your comments earlier. i'd like to follow up on that a little bit. what can we do if pakistan does not follow-through and be a
better promoter of promoting stability? >> sir, we have an enormously powerful number of options there. right now i would like to think we will be successful. you ask a very good question because we don't want a transient or temporary change and then things go back the bad way. but i think that right now, with the growing consensus against terrorism, they will find themselves diplomatically isolated, find themselves economically in increasing trouble as countries that are damaged by this terrorism coming out of there say enough is enough and take steps. there's an awful lot of advantage to pakistan coming online with the international community. we have to stay focused there.
the penalties are just as significant as the advantages if they choose to go a different direction. for right now we need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by with and through the pakistanis. and if our best efforts fail, president trump is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary. >> for either one of you, how will or how should our defense relationship with india change? >> sir, i was in india last week and was very well received by prime minister modi, minister of defense of the national security advisor, we have a strategic convergence between the world's two biggest democracies. this is probably a once in a generation opportunity to, with shared interests to deepen and to broaden our defense
relationship, but also our economic relationship, our political relationship can be tightened together. they are a force for stability. in south asia, they're a force for stability in the endopacific region. a nation coming into their own economically as a great nation, as they have steady growth rates going on right now. i think there's an opportunity here we have not experienced in decades to tie us together in terms of a broadened level of cooperation and a natural alignment with each other's interests. >> as a follow on to that, do you have anything you're ready today to announce or designate specifically that we will be doing that we haven't done in the peace with india? >> there's -- there are a number of things in motion right now, sir, and decisions i think will be coming very soon.
we're both working to turn these big words into pragmatic realities. because i see both sides working together on it, i'm optimistic. it's not like we have to go over there and convince them that terrorism is a threat. they felt what's happened there. we have not had to convince them we don't have nefarious designs on the endopacific area, we're two democracies we can work together on this. there are some things we're doing in terms of their support in afghanistan, development funding. they have been very generous for many years and achieved a degree of affection from the afghan people as a result. they intend to continue this effort and broaden it. furthermore, they are providing training for afghan military officers and ncos at their schools. they're willing to do
rehabilitation of soviet era equipment until we can replace it with americans and it will take years to do it properly. helicopters, for example. furthermore, they have been providing and will continue to provide training for afghan army doctors and medics in the field so the army is able to take casualties and better sustain themselves, that sort of thing. it's really a very holistic approach india is taking. you'll notice i left off boots on the ground because of the complexity that would bring to pakistan. we're trying to make this an inclusive strategy and we don't want them to get a sense they're vulnerable to any indian army people from their western flank. it's not necessary. >> thank you. >> mr. veasey. >> thank you, mr. chairman, secretary mattis, i wanted to specifically ask you about the
state department and usa programs in afghanistan now, and how do funding cuts to the department, as proposed by the administration affect the overall mission there? i know in the past you've been very outspoken about the importance of diplomacy and other programs to support the mission. >> congressman, right now, what we're trying to do is get a lot more development aid from the international community. this is separate and distinct from what we're doing to lower the demand on the american taxpayer where we're paying an awful lot of the military piece of this and trying to raise money from our allies to carry more of the commitment on the military side. i am not certain what the cuts are as far as aid's budget for afghanistan. i can get back to you. i'll go to state department, to usaid and determine that and come back to you with an informed answer, sir.
>> thank you very much. >> i also wanted to ask you about special inspector general john sobco. he said in march with a new administration and congress it is a good idea and opportune time to evaluate our efforts in afghanistan and find out what's working and what's not. one smart first step would be to do what was recommended years ago for each of the three major agencies in the reconstruction effort, state, usa and dod to rack and stlairk worst performing projects so they know where to invest further and where to cut those losses. that was his quote. i didn't know if you agreed with that proposal and if so, has it been implemented in any way in crafting a south asia strategy. >> i do agree what he said with what's working and what's not. we've done a failure analysis
tracked into this issue. before i have the chairman talk with his background as nato commander in afghanistan, i'll tell you when i heard that the budget was being reduced for aid, secretary tillerson and i sat down together the next day and we spoke about how we would line dod and dos at the high level to determine what priorities without any violation of our funding lines, make sure we were talking to each other, that we aligned our foreign policy effort, dod enforcing state department with a very strong partnership, to make sure we're getting -- we probably should have been doing this anyway, make certain what we're doing was collaborative with one another in any part of the world we were both operating. let me pass over too the chairman. he has specific information on afghanistan. >> congressman, to your broader question, did the cigar's report
inform our strategy moving forward? they partnered with us. when secretary mattis directed us to do a failure analysis to look at what has worked and hasn't worked in afghanistan, one of the key partners, we brought in a number of outside agencies, one of the key partners we brought in, i had mr. sopko in my office and it was very much informed by the work done over the past few years, not only with regard to projects as you talked about but they've done good work on resource transparency and accountability. good work on what worked and didn't work in our advisory effort and worked and didn't work between the state department and department of defense. i feel confident in saying that sigar's work as well as some of the other literature out there that talks about what has worked and hasn't worked in afghanistan is very much a part of the
recommendations we made to secretary mattis and the president. >> also on that one, the july sigar report has a 21% increase in security incidents of last quarter of march 2017 and increase from the same period last year. what does this uptick in the security incidents tell us about the security situation overall and how are we shaping our strategy going forward in light of these particular figures? you can answer that quickly, time has elapsed. >> sure. will tell you i don't think any of us are satisfied where security in afghanistan has been in 2016 and 2017 although 2017 is slightly better than 2016. the reason why we believe those incidents have occurred because the afghan forces haven't had the wherewithal for their mission. we focused where they have fallen short of the mark and security aviation and level needed. >> thank you.
>> mr. chairman, secretary mattis and general dunford thank you for joining us today and for your service. i want to refer to the u.s. defense force and the president referred to it in his august address. india continues to be a great economic partner. i agree and had the chance to visit the foreign secretary chief of naval operations. i know you just returned from the region there speaking to president modi and others and your effort and direction dealing with india is going to be steady engagement i think is spot on. i'm all in favor of doing joint naval exercises and defense trade. i'm more concerned about a stable afghanistan and securing the hard fought gains we had there. you noted in reference to terrorist safe havens in the
region, that is global leaders india and the united states reself to work together to eradicate this surge. i want to get your perspective, what do you think india can do specifically to help root out or reduce terrorist safe havens. you talked about putting dollars into afghanistan. what can they do in a broader sense to help with terrorist safe havens happening throughout the region? >> congressman, india has an outsized role to play because it's as ruckus a democracy as we are and gives people hope their voices can be heard and economic opportunity can be passed broadly in a society, not to a corrupt few. i think their example alone is important, why we're looking at this strategic convergence as an
opportunity for steady engagements. we actually do pragmatic things together. i think in this regard, if there's any way for pakistan and india to open their border to trade at great economic advantage to both of those countries, it would be a big help across the region because stability can follow economics as much as stability enables economics. so i would hope we will eventually see that happen. i believe india wants that to happen. it is hard to do if the concern is you open the border to one thing and you get something else. there has to be trust building between those two nations. that would be in south asia one of the key enablers to getting trade across all those borders, afghanistan, pakistan and india. >> very good. thank you.
chairman dunford, i wanted to follow up along the same lines as terrorist safe havens, you talk about the new afghanistan strategy calls for expanded authority for u.s. forces to target terrorists and criminal networks that operate in afghanistan. the president said he agreed and said we ought to have a policy to make sure there's nowhere to hide and no place beyond the reach of american might and american arms. i wanted to get you to elaborate a little bit more. you talked about some, what you see american authority specifically to be and what it means in a combat sense and give us maybe examples about what's not happening now but could happen under expanded authority and how the train, advise and assist role happens now versus what it would be in the future. have you seen any positive changes resulting from this transition through this change and will there be any more changes you think will be implemented or necessary to be
implemented. >> let me start with the ta changes. i think this is one of the more significant ones. we were providing advisors only at the core level. that's the general officer level, largest formation. those are not the organizations actually in the fight everyday. two levels down below is where the decisive action is taking place and we didn't have any advisors there. even though we had some aviation capability, intelligence reconnaissance capability, it wasn't being delivered to those afghan units most relevant in the fight because we didn't have the authority to put advisors down to that level. one of the more significant changes in authorities is the level at which we advise and assist. that has and will make us more effective. also, just broadly speaking without going into rules of engagement in an unclassified venue, there are no individuals, there are no groups that threaten the afghan government, threaten u.s. forces, threaten
our mission or threaten the coalition that general nicholson does not have the authority to prosecute. >> thank you. i yield back. >> this question is for secretary mattis. in your opinion is iran compliant with the jpcoa? >> i believe that they fundamentally are. there have been certainly some areas where they were not temporarily in that regard. overall our intelligence community believes they have been compliant and the iaeo says so. >> will you be recommending to president trump we continue working with or working through the jcpoa to contain iran's nuclear capability? >> we are working that right now. we have two different issues,
one is the jcpoa and one is what congress has passed. those two are distinct but integral with each other. as you look at what the congress has laid out, a somewhat different definition of what's in our best interests, and therein lies, i think, the need for us to look at these distinct but integral issues, the way the president has directed. >> thank you, secretary mattis. if there is going to be any change in the status of our participation in jcpoa, especially when it involves the interpretation of what we in congress pass in terms of sanctions outside the jcpoa, will you come back and talk us to? i believe many of us voted for iran sanctions outside jcpoa with the understanding they were not going to be linked? >> i think that this would probably be most appropriate by the secretary of state.
i would follow him up here. i think that our diplomacy and the president and the secretary of state, i think, have the lead on that. once a decision is made i'll be in on the decision and give input, of course. i'm always willing to come up and talk in hearing or private. thank you. i yield back. mr. kaufman. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dunford, mr. chairman. when we look back on the history of the vietnam war in august of 1969, president nixon orders the vietnamization program and a phase withdrawal as the army of south vietnam gains capability. then he couldn't in 1972 bring the north vietnamese to the
negotiating table. he did linebacker 2, a massive bombing campaign in north vietnam. he brought them to the table and negotiated a peace agreement that extricated the united states from the war in vietnam. if i look at -- in afghanistan today, i think that there actually is a better in-state because i think that the taliban come from the posthewn ethnic group and i think there are areas in afghanistan where, particularly in rural posthewn areas they prefer the taliban to the government of kabul. like the north vietnamese, the taliban feel like they're making gains and no need to come to the negotiating table. i understand this new strategy, it's designed to increase pressure to bring them to the
negotiating table. at least that would be a byproduct of it. but so what i see is a change of the rules of engagement, when you talk about air support, which is vital, but -- we're plussing up with 3,000 troops. is that going to bring the taliban to the negotiating table? >> sir, in the past we have not had over 300,000 troops who are, for all of their challenges, have stood in the field and kept the taliban from doing what they intended to do, even today, which is take the provincial and district centers. we now have the advantage of that experience, more experienced force but we have to get the advisors to the level they brag nato air support and nato intel support and broader
support to them. time will tell. the strategy is regionlize it first and make sure we're dealing with safe havens and broader issues and get more support. it's to realign our forces along these lines to get to the tactical level, reinforce them enough to get down to that level and make a difference and reconciliation. there's also an s, four rs plus s, sustain this effort because if we are willing to sustain the effort, i still remember being on capitol hill sitting behind dr. perry when he testified that it was never going to end the fighting, killing and coast in cost sovo, the international community stuck with that effort and how many times did we read in the newspaper about the murders of innocent people in
kosovo? do we still have some people there? yes, we do. the international community, if it sticks with this and sustains that, can throw the enemy on the back foot and give the afghan people a chance to pull it together. >> if i understand right, the rules of engagement in the prior administration unless in temps of the taliban, secretary mattis you referenced being in contact with the taliban, unless the taliban showed armful intent to u.s. forces, we didn't engage them and that was modified towards the end of the last administration if the capital were falling we could be engaged. if i understand the fundamental rules of engagement, it is
clearly the taliban are an exigencies essential threat to the afghan government we are there to support. if in fact afghan security forces in and of themselves are in contact with the taliban, then we will provide close air support when reasonable. is that a correct interpretation of the current rules of engagement? >> not completely. >> at one time, sir, we could not help the afghan forces unless they were in ex-stremme miss. i was not here then and i don't know why it happened. eventually that was rescinded and they had to be in proximity and in contact, wherever we find them, terrorists, anyone trying to throw the nato plan off and attack the afghan people and government we can go after them always with the caveat we want
to make every effort to not kill women and children and innocent people. >> chairman, if you want to comment on that? >> congressman, i think to reinforce the point, there's two things that have changed. we in the past were only providing advice at that senior level and afghan special operations forces. the only aviation support we could provide was when we had actually advisors that actually could control that air support. the large number of afghan forces, the preponderance of forces we talked about called not respond because we didn't have advisors. that's the big difference. pneumonia individual or group that threatens the afghan government, coalition forces or u.s. forces obviously, can be engaged.
the conditions aren't specific to, as secretary mattis alluded to, a specific engagement at a specific time. if they're in an assembly area and training camp and we know they're in the area the general has the flexibility to make that decision. it's at his level where the authority is and that is a fundamental difference. >> mr. molten. >> thank you, mr. chairman and gentleman so much for your continued service as a country we have a lot of renewed confidence in you with your renewed positions. confidence is really my key question here, to come back a few times we heard from senator mccain on the other side of the hill, how really will this be different? we talked about some details. as we discussed on this committee before the end of the day there has to be a political solution. afghan army, 300,000 doesn't
mean much if afghan politics fall apart. afghan politics have fallen apart several times. how is the political effort different this time around? >> congressman, having just returned, i notice sitting across the table from me in my meetings were new commanders, ministers of interiors of defense proven people the nato officers said we fought with these guys, it's great to have them in place. when you go down to the core level commanders, these are all proven young officers who have grown up in this fight, they're not holdovers, not kept around from past wars, there's also an effort under way right now to remove many of the officers who are over the hill and replace
them, give the young officers an opportunity to come up to levels they've demonstrated they can handle this fight. that can only reflect a political reality because of the nature of that you know it's a that's been shaken apart since the time the soviet invasion. it's also a group that now recognizes they basically have one last shot at this. >> you have detailed and the chairman as well, how bringing our advisors down to a lower level will help on a military front. it sounds like the same is needed on the political front. how confident are you that our state department can do that? >> it's not only our state department, the nato special civilian representative scr there and his deputy and the
other diplomats in the town of our frame work nato nation, but also for example india. they're all working along these lines. >> i understand that. how confident are you that our state department can provide that support? >> i am confident we get varsity people out there. em bas dar bass is coming out of turkey. >> a lot of positions are unfilled. we eliminated the special position for the afghanistan and pakistan. >> that has no effect on the intent you're trying to highlight. the ambassador and his staff does the heavy lifting of that job. we have other u.s. military officers in their ministries to build bridges across to each the various ministry. we try to get the political concentration of effort unity of
effort that we need. >> are we actually pushing advisors further down in the same way we were doing opt military side offend things? >> i'm confident we will be. we currently are doing that with nato officers inside the min city of defense. as far as the others go, let me ask the chairman he's been there on the grown in the past. i will tell you i have seen a new level of collaboration between chief executive and president gani than i have seen in the past. >> the bar is low. but i appreciate that. mr. chairman? >> congressman, it's a fair question. and as part of this strategy the state department is tasked with coming up with a robust approach. i would reimp sis one point. and talk about one that's aspirational. when we knew moving forward we were going to have a new
strategy with needed strong leadership in kabul. ambassador bass was hand selected. he's doming out of turkey. incredible experience. many of us spoke to him and encouraged him to accept the service. which is what he's done. for three years. it starts at the top. we have the right diplomat going to kabul. with regard to the other question. has the advisory effort on the political level been pushed down to where it needs to be, not yet. that has to be done in order for us to be successful. i know that's what secretary tillerson intent is. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you gentlemen. we're so glad you're at the helm at this important time in the nations history. in the life of afghanistan. i'm so encouraged by a will the of the changes you are instigating. it makes so much sense to have a strategy be conditioned based
not just time based or number based. i have been encouraged by what you shared earlier about making sure that every dollar that goes there is invested wisely. our over sight held a hearing recently dealing the allegations that the afghanistans bought and perhaps wasted $28 million dealing were their camouflage they chose for the uniform. i was so encouraged at your memo, mr. secretary, directing we bring to light the wasteful practices and make sure everything is looked at and there's no waste. i'm going to ask a question about another area. that deals with the assessment of the afghan security forces. general dunford you mentioned of course we talked about 300,000 troops there. now. and a lot of changes are taking place. when i was in afghanistan in 2011, i was struck by what i learned there about the
difference in perception and the expectations of our military. when we first went over there, at the level of their education level of their ability. and we thought we were going to begin training at this point. but the reality was we had to go back here. because of even the literacy rate. was such that we had to start teaching them basic literacy. before we can get them to this point. and move forward. you said we're going to expand close air support. could you give a general assessment of where you think they are in their capabilities, where is there literacy rate now? where are the shortfalls in the capabilities? building the air force and the close air support that we feel like they need? >> sure. let me start at the air force. when you were there in 2011, i think that had a couple small helicopters. they had mi 17s and mi 35s on
any given day they had one in the air. today they fielded aircraft. the fielded i think on the order of 20 md 50s. and plan to increase more. in the process of transitions from mi 17 to uh 60. the first four uh 60s we delivered this month. the first two attack versions will be loaded in january. and between now and the next seven years we'll transition to a uh 60 model helicopter. which combined with the fixed wing, and one other aircraft that's smaller light aircraft. called a c 208. they have a robust air force that's growing right now. the most promising area of the air force has been the special mission wing. which supports the special operations. i can tell you the profiles that
those pilots are flying are sophisticated as the profiles we fly. on a routine basis. again, that's result of many years of training. this is the cream of the crop. but there is some room for promise and the afghan air force. it's important when you talk about lessons learned in 2011 and having accurate assessment of afghan capability, one of the things the secretary directed is our advisors will be the most mature, most competent, most experienced we have. people that have been there before going over there on a are peted basis. advisors will be people who had experience in afghanistan in the past. so we'll be starting from a known part. appreciation of culture, strength and weaknesses and so forth. one area i think is
significantly different is leadership. and in 2011, we were still dealing with the resid chul of a soviet informed army. this summer alone as a result of president gani decision the average age was reduced ten years between last sprig and right now. he replaced five of the six core commanders. we are dealing with a group of individuals that have been trained, organized and equipped and influenced by u.s. and coalition forces for over a decade. the young lieutenants and captains that you met in 2011 those are now the commanders and the brigade commanders. so that's something that takes a long time. we say 25 years to grow a division commander. it takes a long time. the investment we have made bringing afghans to the schools and training them are starting to result in leader being in the
right place. >> very encouraging. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, general dunford thank you for being here. secretary mattis, you talk about the new strategy the r 4 plus s. is that a strategy you buy into? >> right. is that something you support? >> absolutely. >> can you tell me -- i understood your description of what regionalizing is. can you tell me what reconciliation means? >> i can. what it means is that the taliban decide to stop killing their fellow countrymen and women. and sit down as some of the small fwrups have and start working with the afghan government. they have grievances then bring them up during the normal
processes that countries have to. no need for violence. no need to support terrorists. >> is this sort of linear. do we have to go to each r to get to the s which is sustain? >> it's not. we're going fight and talk at the same time. already some groups have broken with the taliban. further more because the taliban lost some key leadership. there's internal fighting going on now. which distracts them from working against the afghan government and nato forces. so this is not going to happen in a sequential linear way. some will peel off early. some will fight to the rugd end. the bottom line is we will fight and talk at the same time. >> is talking about the others not just -- you're not talking about troops. realign you're talking about
realigning like the other terrorists organizations. other groups? >> we are talking ontd realignment realigning ours forces to the main effort of bringing nato support and make two of the afghan forces that have not had advisors before, and insuring the afghan forces are made capable to provide for their own defense. >> the reenforce component is that the united states reenforce by having more troops? >> we will bring in more troops to extend the add vie tors to the other units that are not getting advisors. it's also secretary stoelten berg and myself going to nato and partner nations. ones like georgia, australia and have them pick up more of the
advisor duty align more of their troops to advisor duty as well. >> we may not have more boots on the ground, we anticipate having more of our advisors or nato advisors in afghanistan in the future? >> yes, ma'am. there will be more boots on the ground. we are reenforcing. it's mot to take over the fighting, it's not to substitute for the afghan soldiers. it's o to make certain units that never had immediate access to nato support, will have it. making them more effective at fighting. we're not taking over the fight. we're enabling them. >> in your testimony you spoke a lot about the taliban. and how the basically lack of better drep better description how the taliban was doing everything so bad and evil entity. yet in the testimony of the general, he talks about the
defeating isis and al qaeda and to ensure other terrorist groups unable to launch attacks and ends with something i think you're talking about when you talk about reconciliation. tillerson has recently out inte put pressure on the taliban and have them understand they will not win in the battlefield victory. so they will enter an afghan led peace process. to end the conflict. so is that the ultimate goal that we will do away with isis and do away with al qaeda, but the taliban is viewed almost like our future partner? or the partner in peace? in afghanistan? >> as you know the taliban embraced al qaeda. supported them and refused to break with them. even after they attacked new york city and washington dy. we go after the taliban as providing the structure so to
speak that other transnational groups have in fact used to conduct international attacks. you know what al qaeda has done. you know what isis has done. in the area. but the bottom line is we are going to go after al qaeda, we're going to go after isis. and if the taliban want to break with them and stop killing people and rejoin the political process, we see reconciliation as the way we will end this war. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. thank you for being here today. general dunford you mention the a 29 mission. im proud to tell you that's air force base in georgia. my district. we're happy to have the mission there. hope you will continue to expand it. and i know the mission is being yut lo utilized for other countries. thank you for the support of that and mentioning it.
you talked about this and. on page three of the testimony you talk about the decisive point and moving, or the new approach that will have the most senior capable and operational experienced leaders advising at the decisive point in afghan operations. can you speak to -- can you give specific examples of where that has made the difference? >> absolutely. the one thing we identified is afghan units that had coalition or u.s. advisors are most and variably successful. we have persistent imbedded. they live and eat and fight with the afghan forces. in support. that's what the case was with special operations forces. that is worked well. we have not had a effort with afghan conventional forces.
so when we talk about the decisive point we talk about continuing to make sure that at the lowest tactical level. this organization of a thousand in the conventional forces we have persistent imbedded advisors. that is advisors there when they're in the fight. and worked with special operations, it's worked in our previous experience before we drew down the force. before 2014. when we had a fairly robust advisory effort with afghan forces. and i was in afghanistan during ha time. they were successful. why? we we facilitied -- all of which takes time. they're more improved than 2014. but still need advisors at the level. so i think we have a pretty good body of evidence that indicates this will make a difference.
>> if i may before i yield, i know that one of the isr platforms we use in the area moving target indicator the j stars. u up to and until a few weeks ago i would say i was proud to support the air force and the recapitalization of the program. i have concerns about the air force commitment to that mission at this stage. i look forward to working with both of you to make sure we maintain the capabilities that the jay stars platform gives us and hope that that the two of you can support the recapitalization of the program. with that i yield the remainder of my time. thank you for your service. >> thank you, mr. chair.
secretary mattis and general dunford, more than 24,000 u.s. troops have been lost more than 20,000 wounded. all with a price tag of over $800 billion. i know both of you are familiar with the numbers. after 16 years, you are asking the american people to endure more, more loss of life. more money, and without an expiration date. and for what? secretary mattis, i believe in the strength and capability of our military. i believe we have the most powerful military in the world today. however, i do not know if we have the will to fight this war to the end. because i don't think there will ever be an end to this fight against terror. this is not a war that can only be fought with troops. we are fighting against not one, but a number of worldwide net works. the american people are tired,
our troops are tired. and our allies are tired. i believe the american people deserve to know why additional troops are being sent back to afghanistan. secretary mattis, you have to understand i have to be able to go back to my district and explain to my constituents why they are sending their sons and daughters to afghanistan once again. secretary mattis would you say we know who our enemy is? reading over the lessons learned, report by the inspector general report for afghanistan reconstruction, it doesn't seem we knew ourselves or the enemy. for example, we were wasting precious taxpayer money in imposing advanced technology to an illiterate and uneducated population without the appropriate training, expecting them to be prepared to fight.
according to to the same report the u.s. under appreciated key strategy level threats inclouding the will and ability of the taliban to continue to fight. sustain popular support for the taliban in afghanistan, insurgent sanctuary in pakistan. eroding afghan government legitimacy. and corruption in the afghan national defense and security forces. essentially we didn't know our enemy. have you considered this strategic level threats this time around? if so, what are they? >> i believe the strategic level threats are the ones we experience most directly on 9/11. problems in these kinds of areas do not stay in those areas. they in a global idsed world they come out. so the question i always ask
myself before i walk in to the president's office if i'm going to recommend that we deploy american troops where they can be killed is does this contribution, does this commitment of our forces contribute our forces to this fight contribute sufficiently to the well being of the american people. we can lose people as a result. it's got to pass that standard. i think we do know very well who the enemy is. he's an enemy that doesn't wear a uniform. hides behind women and children. i recognize the difficulty of taking the country further into this war. i first landed in afghanistan in november of 16 years ago. so i recognize the challenges you bring up about keeping the american people motivated and understanding of what this fight is all about. i believe it is necessary to defend what we believe in.
and to protect the freedoms we have. so the next generation can enjoy them. i don't believe we can ignore this. i think if we loef this region we leave it at our peril. we have a lot of people even with all the confusion out about the strait ji over seven years. when we kept talking about we're leaving. 39 nations out of 50 still stuck with us. i think hoping we would come up with what they are encouraged by. which is this strategy. we're not alone in this. it would be one of the first me messages i bring to your citizens. they need to know we're not alone in the fight. is it tough? was the society of the afghan people completely shaken apart, torn apart by the soviet invasion? did that open the door for what
happened here in terms of the society? i think you apply described. yes. we deal with the ball where it lies right now. we can't wish it away. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis i had recent occasion to visit with some of my constituents serving in the theater when they returned home. and i promise them that i would share with you their complete confidence in the president and complete confidence in your leadership. of the department of defense. they were injured in a green on blue circumstance in which they were attempting to give training advise and assistance to the afghan forces. can you speak to any new strategy that we have. any new tactics we have to ensure that folks who are there rendering assistance on how to perform the mission don't then put themselves in an unnecessarily vulnerable
situation. >> this is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the war. we all recognize treachery has been a part of warfare since the beginning of time. this aspect is especially difficult for us to understand. or to embrace. and it certainly under cuts the sense of commitment if this is what's going to happen. so let's get down to what are we doing about it. there is a very invasive counter intelligence program in which we vet the people that we are going to be training. numerous people have been dismissed from the service from the afghan service because of it. we also maintain a guardian program where you have guards on our people who are giving classes. in the event the counter intelligence program like all of them can't be perfect. we assume that. we also have a very strong
support element there. in the afghan government. they recognize that nothing is more corrosive to the support of the american and the democratic people from europe and other democracies part of 39 nations than this treachery. so it's got our attention, the taliban continue to try to infiltrate their way into the afghan units. and we have been relatively successful at stopping them. but chairman, if there's anything i have not answered, go ahead please. >> we had a high incident of these in 2012. in fact to the point where i think it's fair to say it threatened the campaign. in the measures secretary out lined were measures that have matured over time. to detect changes and behavior of the people. the thing i believe is the most
significant that i just reemphasized. the afghan leadership owns this problem and recognize it. they know our ability to continue to provide the kind of training and support they need is base td on them making sure our people are secure. we provide guardian angels and rely on the afghan forces to create an environment in which we can get the mission done. my judgment, the afghan leaders jumped in and the reason why we do have some incidents and one is significant in the young folks that you visited at walter reed. are suffering the consequences. we have driven the level of these incidents down to a low level. it's an enemy tactic designed to erode our will. we have to deal with it as such. >> thank you. i absolutely appreciate the extent to which we have highlighted this as a priority. that is where we will likely get
the intelligence that we need to minimize this risk. another area feed back we have gotten frequently. the deployment cycles that people are on can create circumstances where someone goes and has great relationship with the leader. partner. but then they're out a new person is in. and the confidence that you have spoken about can be eroded by some of the sickles. is there any tactical change to that going forward? >> we are trying to bring troops back on repeat tours. that's more of a corporate memory than a personal relationship. we recognize the challenge at at the same time we need to keep our troops fresh. it is very wearing as you know to be in a combat zone where you keep your guard up all the time. and somehow we have to sustain this. and we have a military that is
got a wide portfolio right now in terms of threats around the world. so we're trying to maintain a more veteran approach. going back in. we're trying to do the kind of things that mean we're putting people into areas they understand. inherently. even if they don't know that specific village. in some cases we're able to get that kind of return to the same area again. but that is going to be very challenging as we go forward. so it's more how do we train our forces for it. and how do we do the counter intelligence piece that allows for us to be dealing with people who want to work with us. >> i yield back. >> mr. brown. >> thank you gentlemen for your making yourselves available to the house armed services committee. several weeks ago president trump out lined in very sketchy format a three prong strategy.
to afghanistan. and i'd like to ask about two of those. one is the time base to the condition base approach. the other is the deploying advisors to a brigade level. starting with the first. does the conditioned base approach invision or contemplate. i'm asking for does it contemplate a state where we withdraw all u.s. forces? >> no. it does not. it implies bringing people the number of people we have there down based on the standing up of more capability and the maturing of the afghan forces. there could be american advisors there ten years from now. maybe handful compared to today. >> okay. follow up. so while the military goal as i understand it is to provide that time and space for the afghan
government, the afghan army, to establish itself. so it can provoid its own security. what are the non-military efforts to address the corruption and poor leadership, the eroding security, the economic stagnation, the minimal foreign investment and the soaring unemployment. all of which contribute to a climate in which the taliban and other extremist groups can recruit and then conduct their activities? >> yeah. congressman, the corruption is to our way of thinking, a strategy as a ruvulnerability t to be addressed. the president signed with us a compact about what we're going to do about it. control of money, it has to do
with who they put into position. there's accountability, they put a three star general in jail. to show this is going to the very top. it's not like it's only the little guy who is being scooped up. there's an accountability there that is going to shift the opportunity for this into a penalty box. not an opportunity. we'll change that. i think on the eroding security, the offensive actions by the enemy have been pretty much blunted. they're down to isolated ambushes and ied. some of the ieds are large high profile. but they have been unable to sustain the kind of offensives they had last year. where they were able to move in large groups. they get in large groups now they understand the rules of change. and we'll take them out. so they have had to fragment and disago gait more. they can't take over the
district and centers that are press. full of stories they were proclaiming. they have been able -- unfulfilled what they said they're going today. it's not they're not dangerous and we don't have to increase the security. we will. as far as investment goes, you'll see india for example picking up a larger bit of investment. we're going to other nations about the development investment to try to get them to do more. and so far we have had some success in in this. we'll see it actually going to action probably some time later this winter. we're addressing each of the efforts that you have laid out with benchmarks. so that we as much as possible can quantify the progress. you may not be able to quantify everything about it. some is subjective. we're trying to quantify what
we're going in each case. so we do not have a -- we do not have an assumption that things will turn out well. we'll have to make it turn out well. >> if i could just use the rest of my time to make a statement. i visited with ambassador lauren. he has the largest in the world. they're camped out in kabul. you have asked for 4,000 or plus more soldiers. they're going to the brigade level. you're stretched too thin with advisors. you're going two levels down. stretched that much further. he won't get the force protection he needs. i understand the presidents concern about nation building or trying to build western style institutions. nobody can help reestablish better than the united states. our military is the best in training foreign military and our state department. that does the development better than any other nation.
i would hope we could see more u.s. involvement in that non-military effort. i yield back. >> thank you. i want to thank you both for being here. our country is blessed to have you. you commanded forces in afghanistan in 2014, how's your thinking evolved since then. from the new perspective? >> to be honest, to some extent we're going back to the future. when we did the evaluation in 2013 and 14 about what we need in a post 14 environment. we identified the advisory effort that would be necessary for the afghans to be successful. we talked about the capability gap to include the aviation gap. logistic staenlt that wasn't in place. in we made a decision to lift off in provide support at the core level and institutional level. we're now having a conversation
that's not dissimilar from the conversation we had in 2013 and 14. to be suck setszful we need to have advisors at the roogt place. and have sufficient aviation capability until the afghan air force came online. i'm not sure my thinking has changed significantly so much as we actually now in this rare that we do, we now have an opportunity to do something today that is the right thing. >> that you think. you may have touched on this. with the votes walking in and out. can we collar fa point. it is often we think the taliban have nominal control of 40% of afghanistan. is that accurate? >> what general talks about is the government clearly and control of somewhere between 60 and 70%. 10% is approximately contested. it's a bit less than what you describe. i think that's probably less
important than the populated areas. in focus on that. i think in that regard the government is probably closer to 70% in what the goal is for president gani is get to 80% of the key populated areas in four years. which i believe is attainable. >> that's better than what i was reading. good to hear. secretary mattis, what's your assessment if we pulled out of afghanistan as some want us to do. what would happen within two years? >> if we pulled out completely. >> yes, sir. >> i think we would benefit the taliban greatly. and the taliban have shown that they will permit transnational terrorists. so basically what we saw 9/11. i think we could anticipate happening again. >> absolutely. the taliban allied with al qaeda. would you say they're still allied with al qaeda?
i know the taliban had been allied. the close ties. it's fair to say they have the close ties. >> absolutely. we have encouraged them to break the ties. our argument was with al qaeda. we encouraged them to break with al qaeda. they were not a transnational terrorist group. the taliban themselves. but they would refuse to do so. so, they chose to fight. >> one last question. our emphasis seems to be on counter insurge si. training. the afghan forces. what would you say is the percentage of investment or effort put on nation building vs. the training aspect? >> if nation building is large certainly having security forces and intelligence forces and police forces help. they set the conditions for a nation to find its footing.
they set the conditions for families to raise children to have to bring in to go to farms to go to jobs, bring jobs in. so in that regard we're setting the conditions for the afghans to build a nation. in that regard, there are what's called the donor nations and those everything they met several times over the years. they raise money for afghanistan and countries like japan sdp afghanistan so many more united kingdom, bring the money in for targeted efforts. whether it be build a road or in order to get product to market before they spoil. that sort of thing. we're setting the conditions for that sort of thing. with the military campaign. the security campaign we're putting together. >> i share your assessment. if we pulled out, we would be back in two or three years having to take out the taliban
and al qaeda. it would be a worse fight. i applaud the strategy to win this. and keep them out of power. thank you. >> mr. secretary, thank you for being here. i appreciate that. i appreciate the opportunity to address you and hear from you and appreciate your candor. you mention counter terrorism, in the region. in which you're doing. i was wondering how much of this is being responded to with special oerms operation forces? we have about 8,000 in the world. and what i'm hearing over and over is that the forces are stretched too thin. is that true and is that affecting our ability to deal with counter terrorism in afghanistan and are we still
using the element of the strt ji that i saw there in 07 and 08. finding, fixing and finishing and exploiting. is that being utilized? >> yes. that methodology is still the same that we used to go after the enemy from the perspective. i would say we have sufficient special operations forces do the mission today. but the issue you raise is a concern that we are running them too hard and in some cases maybe other missions they are performing that could be done by other forces. secretary about four or five months ago after he came into office asked us to make sure as we were doing global force management. every day looking at requirements. number one we made sure that only if something required special operation forces. and back fill certain assignments that would be filled by special operations forces
with other capability. for example this add vie ri effort is the vast majority of the advisors going in is result of the plan. it's been approved by the saek tear. are conventional forces. the army and marine core will provide the add vie ri effort. we are sensitive to the fact special operation forces are critical to the counter terrorism fight. but to the russia, china, iran and thort korea fight. getting the balance right from a day-to-day engagement perspective. making sure they can train against a full range of missions. something we're very sense tiff too. >> understood. >> when back in 07, 08. we were -- the federal administered d administer administered tribal areas were like the wild west. is it still like that?
can we be assured pakistan will be able to patrol and control those areas when it comes to breeding grounds for terrorists? >> as you know, the federally administered tribal area of the northwest frontier has a long history of discontent would be a polite way of describing it. i would also say that since the partition, it's called lt federally administered tribal areas for a reason. in other words it's not a state. and you understand that it's been an area that's been hard for pakistan to maintain the same kind of control it has in the settled areas. for example. but that said they have been running very strong operations up there. they lost as you know many of the their own troops in this fight. and they just completed one set of operations that moved against
the border on several lains of effort. those obviously had some of the effect pushing people over into afghanistan. enemy over there. so three days ago the chief of army staff from pakistan flew into kabul. this is the first time i have heard of a visit actually creating some degree of optimism. so we'll see, there is reason for us to say there's a new day here. but it's too early for me to come in front of this committee and pronounce that with confidence. i will fly into islam bad soon after the secretary of state has done. i will fly in and we will continue to try to work with them cross border operations against the common enemy. we'll see if we can make it work this time. >> i yield back. >> mr. banks. >> thank you for being here.
a war veteran myself i represent tens of thousands of americans who served there and want to know the service and sacrifice meant something. i aploud your work and the change of course in afghanistan. why your change in strategy brought me great hope and optimism that we'll turn the tide and fight to win. rather than fight 14, separate one year wars. that resulted in what we see today. i want to focus on the specific mission. the over $70 billion that we have spent in funding. you talked about the wasted money on uniforms. but every week a different story piles up in a stack of stories you can find by goog lg waste in afghanistan. from the headlines that i brought today. 43% of american military weapons unaccounted for. afghan sforss lost $700 million in u.s. ammo. u.s. unsure if afghan intel
service works despite half a billion dollars in aid. $28 million wasted on uniforms. waste td money op payroll. wasted money on construction you get the point the list goes on. these aren't stories from ten years ago. these are stories from the last couple of years. my first question is i know you have talked about the general the lessons learned, what are we putting in place within the structure of what type of process are we creating to raise the level of accountability on this investment we're making in afghan national police and afghan military? >> great question. about 2012, maybe it was early as 2011, in order to develop afghan capacity we started to move money to what we called on budget. meaning we gave the money to the afghans for them to manage. at one point we had well over 70% of the money that we were given to the afghan forces on budget. we have actually walked that back now.
less than 25% of the money is actually administered by the afghan government. 75% is administered to us. for ha 25%, we have put in rigorous conditionality. make sure we have transparency. their president unlike the predecessors allowed us to get into the ministry where the money is being administered. check the books and do an audit. and i'm confident in telling you this, that the $4 billion plus that we provide to the afghan security forces every year our commander will have visibility. i expect to be able to come back up to you and talk to you about the transparency and act blt we have over the resources. we have learned lessons. one of the most significant is we're now delivering capability
and and equipment. and they weren't quite ready for to execute the entire budget in have the safe standards that you suggest. >> thank you. as a follow up. how do we know today more than ever after supplying 14 years of weapons and ammunition, vehicles, uniforms, that we're giving them what they need and not what they want? >> that's a constant process of refinement. here's what i would tell you. the glimmer of hope. we bought striker vehicles those are being employed and provided a competitive advantage of the forces over the counter parts. the aviation intersurprise is a success story. i would hope when you go back you can see the air force in particular. we delivered an a 29. relatively simple to learn and fly. we bring the pilots back and
being able to sustain that effort. so i believe right now that lessons learned over the last few years have highlighted for us what equipment works what equipment doesn't work. we need to improve the accountability of equipment and maintenance procedures and so forth. that's an area the add vie ri is. >> when we talk about rule of law in afghanistan. it seems to me one of the greatest inhibitors is vice president. what are we going to prevent him from continuing to reek havoc on the rule of law situation in afghanistan? as he returns to country and his position. >> the most important thing is we're reenforcing the positive elements in the country and not leaving them to deal with the kind of issues that represents on their own. this is we're looking at
bringing in police trainers. not from the u.s. but from the countries that maintain arms so the police themss are capable of carrying out rule of law. you have to have the right kind of police force. and need to have the right kind of court. again there's nothing easy about it. because of what happened that society what it's been through. i think that the right thing to do is reenforce the positive side and keep working against those who are disruptive. and right now, we obviously are trying to work by, wu and through the afghan government on it. we register loud and clear the concern that that is in trying to get the rule of law reduced to corruption and get this country on the right track so we can draw down. and leave them on their own. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. secretary, general, thank you for your service. i traveled to afghanistan in april. general was making request, logically supporting his idea we should increase the number of troops by 3,000. i publicly supported that effort. with the understanding those troops would be used for force protection and replace private contractors. are they being used for those purposes? or implement the strategy of moving doup lower in the brigade? >> both. obviously some will be in force protection of the advisors out there. and certainly we're going to make certain where we can bring in an army unit coherent, rather than breaking it up and bringing in high paid contractors. that was forced by the troop cap. and i'm not condemning anyone who did it in the past. it's not the way we want to go. >> thank you. the problem of ungoverned areas is a problem on the afghan side
and other places where the troops would not be take offensive action, more or less wait at check points onto the afghan army would do that. i met with the pakistan am bats dor. they were doing efforts in the ungoverned areas. you said earlier in your testimony that all six cores are currently in offensive action. does that mean they're moving beyond the check points and ungoverned areas? >> it does. in each of the core areas they have offensives under way. that doesn't mean everyone is doing that. in some cases they're simply holding their own, holding the district centers. there are offensive action in each area in each core area. >> are we encouraging them to move into the ungoverned areas on their side of the border? >> principlely we're encouraging them to hold and protect the populated areas.
at the same time i would -- they certainly have offensive actions under way in. that's right along the border there. >> another major initiative was to get our air force to train their air force how to coordinate better with their military? is that happening? >> absolutely. we have talked about the advisors. we have an equally robust effort with the afghan air force where our best and brightest airmen are over there training with them. in the key is you hit on really i think one of the key points. that the ability of the afghan ground force is integrate the afghan air force is the key. key link. and because we have an add advisors where the level takes play. they haven't matured as fast as
we want. one of the primary out comes we expect is the afghans being more effective in the ability to integrate combined arms. the artillery and air support to be suck saysful in their maneuver. >> one thing, i think most americans don't appreciate the difference between the transnational terrorists that operate out of afghanistan that we're trying to disrupt. and the taliban. and that's a completely different type of terrorist organization. it's focussed on regional impact. have the rules of engagement changed for the taliban as part of the change in rules of engagement? or only changed for the multi-national terrorist organizations? >> congressman, when we the authority that has been passed down to the commander by the president is that any individual or any group that threatens the afghan government, threatens our mission, threatens u.s. forces or threatens the coalition, can be engaged.
it's based on their behavior and what they're doing opposed to what group they're part of. >> our special forces will seek out members of taliban if we believe they're engaged in terrorist activity. >> groups or viindividuals that are threatening the mission or our people. >> i yield back. >> we have now gone through all of the members who are here at the gavel. we have already held a secretary and the chairman longer than we intended. so what i want to do to wind up is see if the remaining members have one, 15 second question. that we have not addressed yet. and get them out together. and then give secretary and chairman a chance to wind this up. did you have something we have not yet touched on? you do? okay 15 seconds.
>> i'd tlik thank you for being here. thanks for allowing us to conduct over sight obligations and thank you for reminding us we have a constitutional obligation. to support, raise, maintain armed forces. and as often as you can, this notion of bca damaging us. we're in a position where i'm completely dismayed as a new member of congress. at the extent to which there's agreement about the damage. and then people walk away and don't do anything about it. as we come up to december 8, it is fwoing to be crucial that we take this on. i can assure you both this is something we take seriously. we cannot fulfill constitutional obligations with the bca in place. that's it. >> it was great. more than 15 seconds but it was good. ms. davis. >> my question was partly how do we avoid empowering the factions
that grow up out of the voids that are often created as the government begins to take hold? and are we at a point that we cannot use quantity as much as a metric but quantity? i'm thinking about the work that's been done not just in afghan military but among women who are being trained for the afghan police and other jobs. they seem to be more capability than they're allowed to yut loiz. that takes security. wondering where we're going with that. >> did you have -- >> briefly. so much of what's been discussed today in the justification for our continued open ended presence in afghanistan centers around it preventing it from being a safe haven for terrorists who launch attacks
against us the issue is there's a long list of countries who fall under this category of being a physical safe haven. what to speak of the phenomena of the internet making a physical save haven is not even required for terrorists to plan and launch an attack on us. so my question is a big one. maybe you can follow up with me. how do you justify the expenditure, the open ended presence this forever war in afghanistan given the global threat that we're facing both physically and electronically? thank you. >> miss murphy. >> quickly. in president trumps speech in august he stated one of the core pillars of south asia strategy is take a more aggressive approach towards managing our relationship with pakistan. specifically said we have been paying pakistan billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting. that will have to change and
will change immediately. i think it's fair to say the relationship with pakistan and complicated. it's important we understand what they're doing and not doing. as it relates to our relationship. that's why i'm planning on spro deucing legislation that would get the intel community to account for that. it was an idea that was proposed in the 2009 policy review. my question for you today is what tools does dod currently have at its disposal to calibrate our security relationship with pakistan and compel them to act in a way that's helpful rather than harmful to the united states? >> thank you. briefly. i don't know if you had a chance to see the saudi ambassador op ed in the new york times. it would be the definition of pr propaganda and fake news. if we're going to be involved in
yemen against al qaeda. that makes sense. could you assure the committee and the american people we will not aid in any way the saudi arabia in its war against the huto and gross human rights violations? >> thank you all for agreeing to do that. >> let me chairman take a first stab. at this. and bring the chairman in wherefore he believes i missed something. or has more. as far as the build up of factions in afghanistan as we get rid of terrorists in certain areas. so long as the factions become ones that are part of political process, we will not get choosy about which ideas can come forward. that is for the afghan people to sort out. but i think, too, that we have
seen enough progress in some parts of afghanistan and the younger people are different based upon the education that is now reaching boys and girls. which is a big a big change. and i think that we will see the afghan people choosing better which factions, hopefully political factions they can support. on quality verse quantity, we are also carrying that theme forward. in that regard, if a unit is -- cannot fight well, if we find there's too many ghost soldiers, there's no requirement for that unit to be maintained on the roles. take the good soldiers who are in it, transfer them to an effective leader, an effective unit and go with quality, not quantity. about the women who are serving, they continue to go through the training. obviously there's a cultural aspect to their service, that's
a reality everywhere in the world. every nation has its own culture, but at the same time we would not be having even the discussion about women serving on reducing the number of afghan units to on the quality ones if we were meeting here ten years ago. so it's somewhat a challenge for us, but it's a good challenge to have as we go forward here. on the havens and the concern there, the reason we shifted to a by, with, and through global approach to terrorism is exactly what you bring up. we could eventually pour our troops in so many ungoverned spaces, so many havens that we wouldn't have enough troops go around. so the way we invest our troops is, and i can show this now private, it's classified for obvious reasons. i can show you what it is we do for every troop invest rrd how many coalition troops do we have
in north africa with us, how many african troops do we have? you go to somalia, i can show you what's going on there. if we go to the korean peninsula i can show you what 28,000 or whatever it is u.s. troops bring in terms of the 3 million man south korean army. so what we're looking at as we look broadly across the world, how do we deal with the geographic havens in a way that we do things by, with, and through others. now, you make a very good point about the virtual havens, about the internet and this sort of thing. different problem set needs a different response. and in that one i think education is one of the most important bull works against this take over young people's hopes and dreams and turning them into what we've seen in various places. i would just tell you that exchange programs, usaid efforts
to keep libraries open, virtual libraries open as we promote ourselves and take our own side in this fight. but i think it's got addressed differently and perhaps that's not where the military should have the lead, that's addressed separately. on the pakistan relations and what tools do we have, we have diplomatic tools, diplomatic isolation by more and more nations that are growing -- excuse me, joining together with secretary tillerson's defeat isis campaign. that's 69 different nations joined together to fight isis from all around the world plus arab league, nato, european union, and interpol so that we can trace these foreign fighters as they try to go home or try to move across boundaries, this sort of thing. all of this shows an increasing alliance against terrorism and any nation that would then
support it or be seen to providing havens would be running afoul of basically the most powerful, economically and diplomaticically powerful nation in the world. we also have economic tools from lone guarantees and working with other countries on what access people have with certain banking tools and this sort of thing. as far as yemen goes, we are engaged in antiterrorism campaigns only right now and where we work with the others it is to reduce civilian casualties and it's to try to drive this or draw this into the u.n. brokered peace negotiation to end the civil war there between the hutis and u.n. recognized and
saudi supported hadi government. >> i think you gave a comprehensive answer to each those questions. >> we're all tired. >> mr. secretary, let me just add one final thing back to ms. chain nip's pointed and it's really how we started talking about stability. stability of commitment and stability of funding. in addition to stability, adequacy is also necessary for funding. many of us were very pleased to see the president at the u.n. endorse the level of funding that's passed the house authorization, the house appropriation and the senate authorization bill. working together i think it's essential that we get that across the finish line so that whether you're the taliban or the russians or the chinese or whoever, you know that we're going stand up and defend ourselves with adequate resources to do so. that's a key part of our mission as well as working with you.
so i appreciate that. thank you all for being here. >> i think this was very helpful. hearing stands adjourned. this weekend on american hissry tv open c-span 3, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures and history sonoma state laura wat discusses the evolution of the national park system. >> this was not just a case of setting aside an already natural landscape and leaving it alone, which is, again wlar we tend to think of when we think of park protection. what he was doing was making nature out of what at the time was mostly old sheep's meadows, there actually say big grassy area in central park called the sheep's meadow and that's why, because there were sheep on it. >> sunday at 6:00 p.m. on
american artifacts architect and historic preservationist joby hill on saving slave houses. >> we're going to do this because one documentation say type of preservation. slave houses are buildings that are disappearing from the landscape and so by documenting them that's one way of preserving them. documenting them and through my database is also a way to share information and get it out there and learn from them. >> then at 7:00 p.m. on oral histories we continue our series on photo journalists with an interview with lucy and perkins. >> i want the name sandier within who ended up on the front page of the post and the photos her yelling at these freshman who are lined up against the wall with their chins tucked in like this and that photograph ran everywhere in the world. and i'm convinced that that
story helped me get a job at the post. >> american history tv all weekend, every weekend, only on c-span 3. >> richard smith is the former chair and ceo of equifax. he was open capitol hill this week testifying about the agency's data breach. that put personal and financial information of more than whun 40 million people at risk. this was one of four hearings mr. smith appeared at in which he faced questions on how the breach was first detected and what steps the agency took in response. this house energy and commerce subcommittee hearing is three