tv Hearing on U.S. Special Operations Cyber Commands CSPAN February 14, 2019 9:30am-11:33am EST
>> take somebody -- you don't see anybody from the dallas paper doing that, do you? or from the examiner. even the christian science monitor, but huff post. >> public radio is full service all the time. i was waiting for that plate to appear empty. thank you. >> i'm a bad host. >> i couldn't eat when i was -- i couldn't eat when i was talking any way. >> that's okay. >> i think the cameras are still running. we are live on capitol hill this morning with the heads of special operations and cyber command. we will be giving an update on security threats facing the u.s. they're testifying before the senate armed services committee chaired by general inhofe. >> the posture of the united states special ops command and
the u.s. cyber command. i'd like to welcome our witnesses, the honorable owen west who i met for the first time today, general tony thomas who is planning to retire somebody told me and i think you're far too young to retire, but that's up to you. you have two sons that are west point graduates. you don't need to put them loose this soon. and then general nagasoni i preervt the fact that we've had open and closed meetings because of the seriously of what we will be addressing this morning. so the senate armed services committee's top priority is to support the effective implementation of the national defense strategy. central to the nds is a growing focus on competition with china and russia, our peer competitors, and of course we
also at the same time -- i don't want to forget about the threat posed to us from the terrorist organizations. our special operations force have proven remarkably effective in combatting isis, al qaeda and other terrorist grups over the last 17 years, however, these groups remain resilient and p continue to pose a threat to the united states and our allies. at the same time military advancements by china and russia pose new and increasingly complex challenges to our national security. when you talk to people out in the real world in america there is this assumption that we have the best of everything and it's our duty to explain sometimes that we don't. when we have our chairman of the joint chiefs of staff talking about how we are outranged and outgunned in artillery and so, any way, they are advancing and ahead of us in some areas. another critical component of
the nds is developing robust capabilities to counter growing threats in cyberspace. the department of defense is making important progress, including the elevation of the cyber command to a fully combatant command in the cyber emissions forces achieving full operational capability. additionally dod released a new cyber strategy last year that provides a roadmap of how we will operate in cyber domain. i look to our witnesses to describe what investments will be needed to meet these objectives. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me join you in welcoming our witnesses for this update on the readiness and the part of special operations and command and cyber command. general thomas i'd also like to thank you for your extraordinary service and your upcoming retirement after 39 years in service.
you've ably led socom during difficult times, you've done it with great energy, great for sight and great dedication to the men and women you lead and i thank you for that. thank you. also want to thank your family because they served alongside you and they continue to serve with you. nice to see that your sons got good educations also. so thank you. general nag sony this is your first time to appear before the committee since cyber command has been elevated to a unified command. congratulations on this and also your accomplishments in partnership with nsa and other agencies recently in combating some of our adversaries in the cyber sphere. thank you very much, sir. socom is u mean really the department of defense, it has service like responsibilities to the training, equipping organizing and readiness of special operation forces. for that reason it's appropriate that the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict owen
west joins us today in his role as the service secretary like official responsible for oversight. so welcome, mr. secretary. thank you. since the passage of the asd reforms contained in the 2017 national defense authorization act dod has made important progress including hiring additional personnel and integrating the asdsolic into departmental processes related to budgeting, accecquisitioacqu redness. these are necessary but not sufficient to retain the intent. i hope you will provide your assessment of what more needs to be done and how this committee can continue to support your efforts. so com as a microcosm of the broader department of joint force continues to adjust the security environment and focus of national defense strategy on great power competition. this change will have implications for the department's management of soft sources, their redness capabilities and development and the operational authority that
they have to undertake. as the demand for soft continues to grow we must keep in mind there are limits to what we can ask special operations forces and their families to ensure. the united states along with our allies and partners face an urgent and continuing threat from information attacks from russia and other adversaries. russia attacked our democracy in 2016 and we must view these attacks with the same level of seriousness and resolve as a military attack. we a peeve to have had some success encountering russia inter peers in the 2018 midterm elections we cannot take this as a sign that we can let our guard down. we must anticipate these increasingly significant attacks and ensuring we are properly organized across the u.s. government and department of defense. general thomas and nakasony you stit at the nexus to operate in the environment. i hope you give a full
assessment to authorities in this arena where gaps remain. with respect to cyber com while progress has been made many serious challenges remain, dod has developed what appears to be a viable cyber strategy and has conducted a serious cyber posture review. this posture review identified gaps in capabilities across the enterprise and the principal cyber advisers cross functional team is defining objectives, specific tasks, resources and time tables to correct them. when completed these activities should greatly increase the department's cybersecurity and the effectiveness of cyber command. the physical year 2019 ndaa explicitly established that unacknowledged activities in cyberspace conducted below the level of armed conflict are a legal form of so-called traditional military activities. the ndaa also provided authority to the president to take action against sustained campaigns of specific adversaries against the united states.
this legislation along with the recent presidential directive provided dod and cyber command with the needed authority to plan and conduct more vigorous actions in cyberspace to defend the country. to support such operations cyber command has developed an operational concept to employee so-called persistent engagement in line with the national defense strategy. this is an important milestone which i hope will provide an even more effective model for engaging our add varies without undue risk of he is case. general nakasony i look forward to hearing more about this concept. we have come a long way but we have a long way to go further. i know with the generals leadership and with secretary west we will continue forward. thank you very much, gentlemen. >> thank you, senator reed. we now have opening statements and we are going to try to confine our remarks to five minutes. we will start with you, general thomas and work across to general nakasony.
all right. this has been corrected, we will start with secretary west. >> thank you, chairman. >> he was pointing at you anyways. >> senator reed, chairman inhofe, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify alongside my partner, general tony thomas on our global posture of our nation's special operations enterprise. tony's command has safeguarded the nation for three years, i look forward to continued progress working with general richard clark when he assumes command next month. we are honored today to team with general paul nakasony whose command defends the nation at the leading edge of the modern battlefield. the breadth and capability of our special operations force is astonishing. in over 80 countries this vanguard force tackles our most pressing challenges in the most hostile environments. in the past two years 23 soft personnel have been killed in action and many more have sustained life altering
injuries. representing just 3% of the joint force, sof have absorbed over 40% of u.s. casualties in this time. this sacrifice serves as a powerful reminder that special operators are in the risk business. their families carry the burden of individual tragedy so we might prevent a national tragedy. it is an inflection point. first the section 922 legislation is reinvigorated the partship between my office and socom, second, the national defense strat knee has challenged dod to increase focus on long term strategic competition with russia and china. the sof enterprises in the midst of transformation, something special operators have always done very well. any transformation starts with people. in november general thomas and i issued the first ever joint vision for the sof enterprise challenging professionals to innovate in pursuit of decisive
competitive advantage. special operations should be viewed as an integral part of the joint force. designed to quickly and cost effectively solve risky problems which do not lend themselves to mass or scale. general thomas has made tremendous progress in reducing the strain caused by the high operational temp toe and demand. at the height of the wars a large proportion of the force was spending as much time overseas as in the united states. this year over 90% of the force will spend at least twice as much time in the u.s. as they will in deployment. i'm proud to report to you that our special operations force is neither over stretched nor breaking but very healthy. boysed and eager to defend the nation against increasingly adaptive foes. despite this clear progress we are concerned about ethical failings by o members of our sof community. they are totally unacceptable and do not reflect the true
nature of the sof professional. i would like to thank general thomas for 39 years of service, much in combat. from 2001 to 2013 he deployed to afghanistan every year except for one in which he was wounded in iraq. his relentless desire to defend the nation is an inspiration to us all. he epitomizes quiet professionalism as a public official but in leading his troops and behind pentagon doors he is not shy. he consistently demonstrates blunt intellectual integrity that has personally inspired me. our nation will miss him. his wife, barbara, less so now and probably less in a year. mr. chairman, i am grateful for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. now general thomas. >> chairman inn hoch, senator reed and distinguished members of the committee, i'm grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today on the posture of united states special operations command. i'm privileged to be here today with assistant secretary owen
west as well as my friend and teammate general paul nakasony from cyber com. since its inception we have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with the world class team at u.s. cyber command and have forged the type of partnership reinforced in combat that ensures our absolute collaboration and cooperation and our shared mission of defending the nation. u.s. socom continues to field the world's most capable special operations forces. we are an integral part of the joint force and integrated into every facet of the national defense strategy. our numerous successes over the past years would not have been possible without the support and resources provided by the congress and for that i thank you. for the last 18 years our number one priority has been the effort against violent extremist organizations. as part of the joint force we continue to be the main effort or major supporting effort in afghanistan, syria, iraq, yemen, somalia, libya, the sahel, the
magreb, lake chad lacen and the philippines, everywhere isis and affiliated organizations are we are relentlessly pursuing them to ensure this country never ever endures another 9/11. we remain focused on finishing this effort by with and through our many coalition partners. at the same time, again, as part of the joint force, we are endeavoring to provide a more lethal and capable special operations force to confront peer competitors. u.s. socom is already well oriented to the challenges of great power competition, particularly in the competition space short of armed conflict. our sof network integrated with interagency and international partners is focused on producing unorthodox yet complementary capabilities and solutions in support of u.s. policies and objectives. with he continue to maintain strong enduring international partnerships while leveraging authorities and core expertise to convert indigenous mass into
combat power to deter, deny, disrupt and ultimately defeat our adversaries. to build a more lethal force, strengthen our alliances and partnerships and reform for greater performance and efficiency we are reshaping and focusing our current forces and capabilities while simultaneously developing new technological and tactical approaches to accomplish the diverse mission that is sof will face in the future. the joint solic u.s. socom sof vision is our guide to move us forward. the emergency security challenges will require socom to be an organization of empowered sof professionals, globally networked, partnered and integrated and relentlessly seeking advantage in every domain for the joint force in the nation. in addition to our service-like responsibility to man, train and equip the special forces forces over the last few yurs socom has experienced development in our
role as combat and command. we are assigned the role as a coordinating authority for three major global mission sets, counterterrorism, encountering weapons of mass destruction and recently messaging countermessaging. these roles require us to lead planning efforts, continually assess joint force progress towards campaign objectives and recommend improvements or modifications to our campaign approach to the secretary of defense. in parallel, u.s. socom has begun pursuing an aggressive partnership with the other combat and commands with global portfolios, cyber come, strat com, trans com and u.s. space com, designed to leverage our respective capabilities towards providing agile solutions to the department of defense. sof has a long tradition of solving hard problems, adapting to changing conditions and fielding innovative technology and tactics to give us the decisive advantage in combat. we believe that this tradition will continue to serve us well in the future. we are increasing our investments in a wide spectrum
of emerging technologies to include artificial intelligence and machine learning, automated systems, advanced robotics, augmented reality, biomedical monitoring and advanced armor and munitions development just to name a few. we are in the formative stages of establishing experimental force which will more coherently focus and integrate our force development in the pursuit of the required peer competitor capabilities. leveraging our proven ability to rapidly develop and field cutting edge technology flowing from our focus on the tactical edge of combat this joint experimentation initiative will bring together innovative efforts from across our special operations force tactical formation toss ensure commanders combat requirements are addressed with the most advanced concepts and equipment available. finally, in 44 days i'm scheduled to relinquish command of the greatest special operations force in history. i know that sounds a bit haughty but the men and women of u.s. socom back that statement up
every day. they represent the best that america has to offer and exceptionally dedicated, effective and resilient group of warriors and problem solvers. i'd like to publicly thank them for the opportunity to be their teammate. it has been an incredible privilege to serve with them over the course of 39 years of service. i'd like to personally thank pat mccauley our socom senior enlisted adviser appearing with me today. pat is the epitome of the pest that u.s. sof has to offer and in a few short months will conclude 30 years of faithful service to the united states army, united states special operations command and the nation. during his gishd career he has inspired many by his personal courage on the battlefield, his sage counsel to commanders and leaders at every level of command and his moral and physical leadership. he represents everything that is great about this command, most importantly our people. thanks again for the opportunity to appear before you today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general thomas.
general nakasony. >> chairman inhofe, ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for your enduring support and the opportunity to testify today about the hard working men and women of the united states cyber command. i'm honored to lead them. i'm also honored to sit alongside these great leaders, assistant secretary of defense west and general tony thomas. for tony my congratulations to you and barb. it's been a tremendous journey for you and i've enjoyed our partnership and friendship. my personal best wishes to you, tony and and your family. and the commander of u.s. cyber command impossible for conducting full spectrum cyberspace separations supporting three mission areas, defend the nation against cyber attacks, defend the department of defense information networks and enable our joint force commanders in pursuit of their mission objectives. in the cyber domain we are in constant contact with our adversaries who continue to increase in sophistication,
magnitude, intensity, volume and velocity and remain a threat to our national security interests and economic well being. the national security strategy and the national defense strategy of great power competition. beyond near peer competitors china and russia rogue regimes like iran, and north korea continue to grow capabilities. using a aggressive methods to conduct malicious cyberspace activities adversaries have until recently acted with little concern for consequences. the department of defense cyberstrategy identifies the need to defend forward during day to day competition with our adversaries. this strategy aims to maintain our superiority in cyberspace through protection of our critical infrastructure and networks. the u.s. cyberer command we dmemt the dod strategy by adopting a approach of persistent engage maniment, persistent presence and innovation. this past year witnessed the elevation of u.s. cybercommand to combatant command status.
the opening our integrated cybercenter and hift from building the force to the readiness of the force. in progress ensureses our ability to execute our mission requirements for the department in defense of our nation. the defense of the 2018 midterm elections posed a the significant the strategic challenge to our nation. ensuring a safe and secure election was our number one priority. and drove me to establish a joint u.s. cybercompanied command national security agency effort we called the russia small group. the russia small group tested our new operational approach. with the organization and direction from the president and secretary of defense, the russia small group enabled partnerships and action across the government to countera strategic threat. our response dominatesed the value of a tight knit relationship between u.s. cybercommand and the national security agency. bringing together intelligence, cybercapabilities, interagency partnerships and the willingness to act.
through persisten engagement we enabled partners to act with unparalleled coordination and cooperation. through persistent presence u.s. cybercommand and the national security agency skechted adversary adversarial actions improving early warning and threat identification. in support of the department of homeland security, the federal bureau of investigation and others. beyond the interagency we partnered and engaged with allies and public and private secretarier to build resiliency. for the first time we sent our cyberwarriors bray broad to secure networks outside the dod information network. . our operations allowed for us identify and counter threats as they emerged to secure elections and prevent similar threats interfering in those partners and allies. the russia small group effort demonstrated that persistent engagement, persistent presence and persistent innovation enables discuss success. effective cyber the defense requires a whole of nation effort. information sharing plays a
violate role enabling everyone including government attention as to defend networks. therefore we are sharing computer malware we fund during routine operations with the private sector and the broader cybersecurity community. we have posted numerous malware sachlts ohs crowd sources analysis. we believe our actions will have a positive impact on kbrofgt cyber security globally. our actions are impacting our adversaries. our shift in approach allows to sustain key competitive advantages while increasing cyberhe shall capabilities. as we review lessons learned from the midterm elections we are focused on potential threats we could face in 2020. looking forward we need to build a warrioreth ohs similar to the other war fighting domains. cyber warriors will be in constant contact with our adversaries. there is no operational pauses or sanctuaries we must ensure sufficient capability and capacity. people, technology and infrastructure. which we are decisively focused on now. through persistent presence we
build a team of partners that enable us and them to act more effectively .complex and rapid pace of change in this environment requires us to leverage cyberexpertise brewedly across public and private sectors. academicia and industry. therefore we apyres to increase effectiveness and capabilities through persistent innovation across the partnerships. cyber-defense is a team effort. critical teammates such as the national guard and reserve are integral parts of force they provide strategic depth and provide the nation of a reserve capacity of capable cyber warriors. finally in proving readiness continues to be a focus area. iwork with the services and department to accurately measure and maintain readiness, manning training and equipping and certainly ability to perform the mission. after a year of change and progress, we see 2019 as the year of opportunity. we have much work ahead as cybercom mature we assure they
merit the trust you place in them and with your support they will accomplish the tasks our nation expects. thank you for inviting me on behalf of u.s. cybercommand and continued support. i look forward to questions. >> thank you, general nakasone. first of all, i think we have all pretty much zodecided in commission, the national defense strategy commission is kind of the blueprint that we are using in in committee to start this off. let me address the two-levels of threats that we're talking about, first of course the level of threat would be the peer competition that we have out there. then the terrorists element that's out there. it's very alive today. so starting off with maybe a response from both generals on the first one, how can skochl and cybercom most effectively support our efforts against
china and russia? and talk a little bit about any deficiencies in terms of resources that you would be suffering in order to kerr out these goals. general thomas. >> chairman, you highlighted at the outset the challenges to maintain the focus on the counterviolent extremist effort while shifting to the folk of the national defense strategy. i would tell you that it's a burdensome in terms of resources but something that we can and will manage going forward. i'm lucky on two accounts. one my predecessors focused on russia and china as emerging threats before the national defense strategy and already committed resources to that effort. so i appreciate the investment that preceded me. i also appreciate some new authorities that have developed in this house which enabled us to approach the problem differently but in a similar way that we approached the counterterrorism problem. so resource that is enable some
unique, unorthodox approaches to peer competitors, especially in that space that we call competition short of conflict. the big arm wave but arguably the most important phase of deterrence. >> yes, thank you. general nakasone. >> chairman, i would offer in terms of our ability for near peer or peer competitors, our most important thing right now is to be able to enable our partners, whether or not they're joint force commander in cyberspace or partners are other members of the interagency. our work with the department much homeland security and the federal bureau of investigation is a -- of an example i think of the enabling aspect that we will do against near peer competitors. >> yeah. >> i would also offer that the fy 19 national defense authorization act was critical for us as u.s. cybercommand. it gave us capabilities and authorities that were important for us as we looked to further enable. that included the ability for us to rapidly deploy elements of
our force to the department of homeland security. the ability for us to look at networks that are not part of the department of defense network. and the other piece of it that was critical is ranking member reed mentioned, is the idea of cyberas a traditional military activity. i think knows are areas that are going to help us immensely with near peer competitors. in terms of our short falls and challenges, the areas we are focused on is continuing to ensure that the force that has been built, the force that is ready, the force that will operate has the required infrastructure, the sensors, the locations, the capabilities to address the number of different threats to our nation. >> i appreciate that. i'm going to read a quote from dan coates and ask for a response, secretary west and general thomas. he said isis still commands us that thousands of fightners iraq and syria and maintains eight
branches more than a dozen networks and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world and will exploit any reduction in ct pressure to rebuild key capabilities such as media production and external operations. do you agree with that? let's start with you mr. secretary. >> mr. chairman, i do. >> um-hum. >> general thomas. >> i do but i would add in context we have crushed the physical cali the phate, the terrain they formerly maintain add sanctuary drew resources specifically oil resources has been badly -- you know badly diminished. but any continue to be a threat. process and i agree with the scope of the assessment as provided by the dni. >> well, and you know we get a variety of reports in terms of the effectiveness of the various
isis, al qaeda, terrorist operations. yes we want to make sure everyone understands the peer competitors are important but so it the sore. >> thank you major macaulay for your services we recognize non-commissioned officers the service the back bone i think the winning edge that we have. thank you. >> secretary west and general thomas, if you could elaborate on the challenges that still face you in implementing 922 that would be very helpful to us and if anything we can do to help make 922 the whole issue of creating a service-like sector under the ads so secretary west, please. >> thank you, senator reed. well 922 is certainly reinvig rated our relationship. but it's also very timely. because our basic task is to
help institutionalize ussocom within the joint force and the pentagon while keeping unique attributes. but it has come along simultaneously with the national defense strategy. and so this year general thomas and i have co-signed four separate letters, one of which was to align socom's fiscal strategy to achieve the nds. this body has been very supportive. i think we are very adequately supported. injury the fask is left up to us to slowly build the business and achieve our object zbleeft thank you, general thomas your comments. >> i noted ted outset the owen referred to me as his teammate which i appreciate because technically he is my boss. in legislation as you know affected by the last year and with one of my hats on as for the man training and equipped and responsibilities he literally in the chain of command and we have braced that going in which. i think that integrates with the department more optimally.
and so the conceptually we've certainly been able to drive the relationship i think to a much more enlightened level. i moep that it continues involved. i think asd so/lic provides a critical function for us for interrogation with the department and it's been a pleasure working with owen as we developed out what we think the intent was. >> thank you high pressure thp thank you general nakasone thank you for your service and your great efforts with respect to the last election and looking forward to the next one. one of the areas is social media. and we have talked about it and we've talked about it also -- you've talked about it with the intelligence committee. there were two independent reports commission the by the senate intelligence committee that looked at social media, not just particular platforms but the cross-movements of information on the platforms. do you think it would be helpful having studies like this for your use? and should we contemplate trying
to provide you the authority to do that? >> so certainly, senator, what we -- what we found with those reports is it provided a window on the adversary that we hadn't seen. as you know our focus on intelligence is outside the united states. we're on foreign intelligence. so we were able to capture. but having the reports done in terms of what was done within the united states, very, very helpful in terms of being able to understand exactly what our adversary was trying to do to build dissent within our nation. >> if we can somehow institutionalize that maybe the proper format might be through the intelligence committee but the reports are useful to you and complement your direct activities. >> those reports certainly provided a window on the adversary that was very telling. >> and one of the issues that two of the -- came into context in social media is that the issue -- will they voluntarily take steps appropriate and necessary? no. my understanding is this is that they do take down sites that
have been identified. but i also don't think they identify to the consumer that these sites were either fraudulent or malign. is it something that they should be doing in your view. >> so, senator, what we were able to do was declassify information about our adversaries and pass that through the national security agency to the federal bureau of investigation. the fbi specifically worked with those social media companies and so i would defer to the bureau in terms of their ability to do what you had state tld. >> fine. again, gentleman, thank you for your service. thank you very much. >> more fischer. >> thank you, mr. kmarm. general thomas, thank you for your service to this country and congratulations on your retirement. general nakasone, thank you for your service to the country as well. over the years many have talked about deterring adversaries in cyberspace and the broader question of cyberdeterrence is
compared to nuclear deterrence. i've said this before. i don't think that's a good comparison at all. you made a similar point in a recent article where you argued that deterrence in cyberspace results from the employment of cybercapabilities, not the threat of employing them. something you described described as persistent engagement. you mentioned earlier that this committee and the white house have provided cybercom with additional north in the past year. can you tell us what impact the changes have had? >> senator, a year ago i appeared before the committee for my confirmation hearings. in that year let me just trace i think the major elements that have helped our command be able to be more effective. first of all, a national strategy on cyberspace, a department strategy on cyberspace -- cyberpos tour review. the key piece i would offer is the fy 19 national defense
authorization act. that recognized cyberas a traditional military activity that provided us the blin of being able to operate outside of our department networks. and the idea that we would enable other elements of our interagency. tremendously helpful. and that i would say the last piece is the -- the work of the president to bring a new policy to bear in terms of how we operated offensively in cyberspace. >> have you been able to put your theory of persistent engagement into action? >> senator, we have. our number one priority was the defense of the midterm elections. we utilized all of the capabilities, the strategies and our new operational concept persistent engagement to ensure a secure and safe election. >> i appreciated your classified briefing on that the other day. i think it was very helpful for members to hear that. is it your view that imposing costs on adversaries through persistent engagement -- is that going to have a deterrence
effect? and can you -- or do you think there is any connection between a cyberdeterrent and also a nuclear deterrent? i saw you shake your head when i mentioned that in my opening to your question. >> senator, i would offer that my view on nuclear deterrence is much different than on the idea of cyberengagement and being able to prevent our adversaries from accomplishing their goals. as i mentioned, in nuclear did he it terence, the power that a nation state has is through the threat of the use of the weapons. what we see in cyberspace is our adversaries are operating below a level of armed conflict every singledy. the to steal our intellectual prosecutor. leverage our personally identifiable information, challenge our institutions. and this is where i believe being able to operate either to enable other elements of the interagency or operate outside of our national borders against our adversaries is important.
>> i would say from your comments you -- and you can correct me on this -- but that you don't believe then that cyberis a substitution for the -- the deterrence we achieve through the nuclear enterprise. >> so i believe that cyber is overall one element that our nation is going to use to achieve deterrent effects against adversaries. but there are other elements, other powers of our nation that will also bear on adversaries that attempt to operate below the level of armed conflict. >> last year i discussed the adequacy of the size of the cyber mission force with your predecessor. and he testified that, quote, we're probably going to need some level of additional capacity over time. and that's something i'll be talking to my successor about. i think that it's going to be a key thing for him during his time in command. so how adequate, do you believe, the size of the force is compared to the threat that we
are seeing today? and how do you measure force adequacy? >> senator, we are looking at as we measure our rrdness against what we -- we consider a number of different adversaries both near peer and rogue states, we believe that the teams that we have created right now is the building block for that. we are also as you no he building a series of defensive teams in the army reserve and the national guard that are going to be a strategic depth for us. my sense as we continue to operate more as our dears continue couldn't to brof dma that there will be requirements shl paternal outside the 133 teams we have right now. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, very much mr. chairman. general thomas, when we had the new -- the new overall defense and national security strategy that put more focus on near peer
competitors or peer competitors. there was an implicit hydraulic effect that efforts were going up on the -- on the conventional peer competitor and down on c.t. do you see any reduction in the c.t. threat around the world or should it be -- the hydraulic effect it seems to me is not a good idea. because we maybe feel good today. but the c.t. threat is still there, is it not? >> senator, i think the c.t. threat is in the throes of transformation. as i mentioned this time last year we had just taken raqqa at the capital of the caliphate but had substantial maneuver operations and challenges to push through to the destruction of the defeat of the physical, caliphate. somebody played it out tom if you wanted to put a grasp on in physical terms it's twiez are twice the size of the base i'm
stationed mcdeal air force base tiny. down to last dozens of square kilometers. >> the c.t. threat in between 2001 and 2010 wasn't measured in territory, measured in terrorist threat. that's still there isn't it. >> well and you're correct. i would -- i would offer that in our efforts to defeat isis we have cigarettely diminished their ability to export the threat to the united states and to our western alis. in -- in the throes of in transformation right now they still have very dangerous. and i could highlight the specific groups that we consider to be external threats to the united states and are truly thekind of the focus. >> and there is a growing c.t. threat in afghanistan. >> i wouldn't label it as growing. in fact we made huge progress against isis k which is the primary threat in afghanistan. more regional -- i would offer more regional instability in
afghanistan but not external threats. >> thank you. general nakasone, you've described the progress that you have made in this year. i'm on my way from here to a hearing on the security of the electric grid and the energy and natural resources exit. and it seems to mes in a classic case of cross jurisdiction. and if you could describe your replace of cybercom and nsa to fbi, dhs, utilities. how do we be sure what you know and are able to do is protecting us because you don't have jurisdiction within the united states? >> senator, for the energy sector, the lead for the securing of that critical infrastructure is the department of homeland security. they work very, very closely with the sector specific lead which is the department of energy. where we tie in is we tie in on the u.s. cybercommand side. providing enabling support to the department of energy and the
department of homeland security if requested. right now what we are doing is sharing information, sharing information very clearly about when we know about foreign adversaries that may be attempting to get -- >> do you share that information with the utilities. >> we share that with the department of homeland security and specifically the department of energy. >> let me ask about structure. sharing of information, is there a regular structure? is there a -- an organizational chart of these relationships where you meet regularly? or is it sort of ad hoc? >> we have put into place within the department of defense a path finder program to look at this element. and so we have established pennsylvania regular meeting with the secretary of security agent the department of energy working with them and the dp much homeland security to share the information regularly. >> and finally, you talked with senator fischer somewhat about deterrence. and you're talking about a persistent engagement which is in effect telling the davies we
a are- dsh temg the adversary we are there. does your theory of perris nlt engagement i think you used the term engagement pressure and innovation. is that intended and will it change an adversary's calculus when they come to decide whether to launch an cyber-attack on the electric grid or financial system or elections? >> senator, we think it will. through two different means one is through building resilience in terms of what we are able to provide to our partners and their knowledge of our adversaries. but too also imposing a cost on the adversary. >> that's -- that's what i want to hear about. >> yes, the ability to the identify where they operate from, the tools they are using, to be able to provide that the cost that the adversary has to think twice in terms of can any conduct and exploit -- an sploiltation or attack against
our critical infrastructure. >> the calculus is if they can do it. but shouldn't the calculus be they will be respond first degree in a forceful way. >> that comes with cyberand all the elements of our nation that can be brought to bear on the adversary. >> i think that's important. it doesn't have to be cyberfor cyberit can be other elements much national power. thank you, general. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. assistant secretary west many of us on the committee are working through the president anticipates decision to withdraw forepersons from syria. it's appears a fair amount of work to be done there. i'd like to know from your perspective and sof perspective how would you characterize victory in syria, what does that look like and what do you need to get there? >> excuse me, sorry about that. sir i'd be cautious to us eye
the word victory but it's important not to diminish what has happened there. as general thomas said, the -- the physical, caliphate did at one time attract over 40,000 foreign fighters into that territory from 100 different countries. they can no longer do that. but this will be a very long war. isis is quite expansive in terms of its global territory. but it now becomes of an insurgency. >> general thomas, let me ask you the same question. what do you -- what does winning look like? in syria? and what -- are we -- have we won? are we satisfied with where we are in terms of sof's mission there and what you feel that you have been tasked to accomplish? >> senator, again, i'd be hesitant to use the term winning spoopt the objective the reasonable objective to reduce the threat in the area and maintain persistent capability so that an external threat can't
emanate from the area in the future. having thad siever is the most complex battle space i've experienced in 40 years. my recent trip there had our forces operating in and around syrian regime forces, russian forces, turks and surrogates, iranian the revolutionary guard force opinion lebanese hezbollah and isis. i think the objective is to reduce the threat and be able to maintain some sort of sustainable zurt there. >> just on the point about reaching a point where the external threat can't emanate from the region, are you satisfied, general that we're at that point? where an external threat can't emanate from syria. >> i do not nifrpg we are there yet. we are on the verge of dpishing the threat and then in the process of determining what the residual capability needs to remain in place in the region to ensure that we are securing
that -- scouring that objective. >> let me ask you, general, about recruiting and retention. you talk about in in your prepared testimony. you talk a lot about the significant strain on sof over the doubling of the size of the force, and the significant deployment demands. tell me about where you think we are in terms of recruitment retention, what additional tools or help that you need to make sure that your forces is ready, rested, healthy, and is getting everything they need to be able to do the significant and demanding and dangerous work we ask them to do. >> senator, over the years we have aspired to grow the special operations force that the nation needs but have not dropped standards at all. so it's a little bit of catch 22 here. you know, part of our mantra is you can't create it in a hurry and people are the most important asset pep we have had challenges of late i attribute
to a number of causes as much the downsizing of the army for recruiting special forces. but there are some very good initiatives in place to rectify that and try and address our recruiting shortcomings. i think we are trending in the right direction. but it has been challenging the last year or two in terms of getting the numbers in that we would like to have. but could go nizant of the fact we don't drop standards. >> is it your sense general -- i'll put the same question to you secretary west. but general is it your sense ununder the nds and reprioritization of great power conflict that demands on sof will maintain -- will be the same, will increase? i mean, what's your sense of as you think about your pos touring and needs unthe nds? what do you see the demands for the forces you command? >> i think the departmentwide we all can take away the nds highlights there is not a respite in terms of national security challenges.
we have had an 18-year ongoing struggle, longest in the history of the united states. that has not concluded yet. so we have work left to do there. we have had the reemergence of peer competitors as a priority a existential threat and clearly a focus for the dp. we sthar that across the department. i get good guidance from the department in terms of where they want me in terms of prosecutor priorities and affects as part of the joint force. as a floebl combatant command that provides forces to the six agree javanka demands this is our daily challenge but one we embrace. >> thank you. very good. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator hawley. senator duckworth. >> thank you, mr. kmarm. gentleman thank you for being here today. you are the you operate in is not just one geographic areas but also you ater environments
around the world the men and women you lead the heroism is battle is not fully understood by the american public. i'm grateful for the opportunity to hear about the challenges you face. i'd like to take this opportunity to thank general thomas for his 38 years of service as you come to the end of your time in uniform i wish you the best of luck on your next phase of your career. since the committee began hearing testimony from military leadership in this year much of the conversation has been ensuring our forces are legislatele and agile so that they provide a credible deterrent reducing the probability of armed conflict with peer adversaries yet special operations and cyber forces are uniquely tailored and achieve effects against the adverse adversaries in a variety of situations short of war itself. could you briefly discuss conceptually how special operations and cyber can ekt exact a toll short of armed conflicts and what kind of restructuring with the special operations and cyber communities will they need to do in order to
dominate these gray space conflicts? >> thank you, senator. certainly you are correct in the nature of war doesn't change but its character has changed radically in the last 15 years i'll take general nakasone take on the cyberportion. in terms of special operations tactics where sof traditionally thrives we see the nechl employee these. i'll let general thomas talk specifics on provisions. but when we talk about competition short of armed conflict, dealing with partner nations, problems that need to be quickly solved and agilely solved in a cheap manner, you are really talking about sof. there is a real role that general thomas will be able to describe. >> thanks, senator and thanks for your service as well. senator, we're actually very excited about the opportunity that the nds and the specific subject of competition short of conflict offers for us.
and in conjunction with paul and others in terms of winning that critical phase. and winning in that case is not -- we don't think it's a defeat moniker that applies it's disrupt. nigh and really you know ensure that our united states policies abobjectives are pursued and successful. we think it's a combination of information operations, influence operations, partner capacity, cyber operations in conjunction with paul, the whole array of sometimes described no kinetic activities that we hope a play a substantial role arthro. >> thank you. general nakasone on tuesday admiral davidson highlighted to this committee the need to enhance the cyber defense of our logistical networks. which touched the commercial industry that we help contract for support both in the u.s. and overseas. can you provide examples of what
might be attacked andrea how we might be able to harden the network when it comes to organizations such as transcom. we have the long logistical tail that must support our forces no matter where any operate aneurysm they are vulnerable and we overlook the organizations. and how does that transcom fit into the priority for cyber security? >> senator, general lions and i have not only had discussion base in but i've been out to visit him. we see the ability for us to project our strategic elements in the world as being something that's uniquely suited for our nation and a tremendous capacity. what we are doing at u.s. cybercommand is ensuring that we understand the networks that he has to operate on, the platforms that he is utilizing and most important the data. because it's data that we want to make sure we can secure. the challenges you point out is
making sure that we have enabled our partners -- and these partnering are often time private sector partners that we work with the department of homeland security and other sectors to ensure they have the information upon which they understand the threats to them and they can build resilient networks and protect their own data. >> thank you, general. i yield become, mr. kmarm. >> thank you senator duckworth. senator cotton. >> thank you, gentlemen for your appearance here today. generals thomas, let's start with syria. we talked a little bit about state of the fight there and the great advances our troops have made, a little bit about what will happen when our troops dprt syria. one thing that's been on my mind is all the bad guys currently detained in syria. some of your colleagues have testified before the committee that that number would go into the hundreds. we don't have to be more specific in that setting. they have testified that while some of those detainees are front line untrained canon
fodder, some are also external operation plotters and master bomb makers and other really bad guys. is that your understanding as well. >> senator, without getting into specifics on the number it's closer to a thousand than it is hundreds. already in detention with more to potentially come. a huge area of concern for us especially because they're being maintained by the non-nation state that's otherwise known as the syrian exactic forces. how we resolve this foreign fighter mostly foreign fighter detentions from i think i lost count but it's in the dozens of countries that have contributed -- contributed to it. but how we reduce that threat and have the people properly detained and handled over time of is par mount importance for the problem. >> how are we going to do this that. >> pretty aggressive action ongoing with state department and with other partner nations to specifically reduce that threat. i'll give kudos to some countries a surprising number of
countries who recently stepped up some smaller countries that had capacity challenges but that have nonetheless assumed the burden, started to assume the burden and we with state department primarily are trying to assist them in reducing this problem. >> i know it's not in your area of operations but we have empty beds of guantanamo bay. >> we do. >> maybe we should consider that for some really bad guys in syria. while we are talking about syria let's contrast syria and afghanistan. or specifically afghanistan sam or some other places where we have a serious terrorist threat .president said we will troops in iraq for a while because we need to to watch the threat of iran and counterterrorism that's next to syria places like yemen and somalia we have freedom of action on seas for troopers. contrast the ct mission in afghanistan which i think is 800 orp 900 miles from the nearest sea and the challenge that we would face there if we
significantly drew down our troop presence in the conventional forces for your forces in special operation sns. >> thanks, senator, truthfully we look in a global context. in afghanistan and as senator king pursued earlier, the external threats adversaries have been cigarettely diminished and we are focused on them specifically. there is a larger counterinsurgency effort that into the 18th year but with a specific focus to potter ambassador khalilzad's effort to drive that to reconciliation. so, you know, a distinctly different as you mentioned problem. but correlated in terms of the global threat and the conduct testifity. >> hard to get after the terrorist organizations in afghanistan to are troops if we didn't have a physical presence in afghanistan. isn't that right. >> access and placement are key. something you can't establish in a hurry necessarily. if you leave it.
i probably failed to answer senator king's question earlier. the way we look at the current context is very similar to 2011. so the recent annual assessment we did reflects on 0u when al qaeda in iraq was badly down but not out and we pulled out of iraq at that point we know in less than two years time they were isis running the deck through anbar. how we finish that threat or at least contain it going forward is of critical concern. >> what's -- what's troo true of our troopts is true of nem forces as well process helps them to have a safe, secure abphysical base from which they can carefully plot attacks outside of that base? >> yes, senator any thrive on sanctuary and actively seeking sanctuary right now if they lose the toe hold in syria and other places. >> general nakasone quick question about the 5g network?
what is the status of your conversations with counterparts around the world that chinese companies like huawei and other telecommunications networks pose to ours. >> for fifth generation wireless on u.s. cyberkpand we have certainly talked with our partners and our allies with that. in terms of the director of national security agency of which i am -- we have also worked that through the department of state as they have made engagements with our allies throughout the world. >> thank you my time exexpired. general thomas i don't think you'll be appearing here before us again you are smiling at that i can tell. i want to thank you and thank you your wife barbara for many years of carrying the ruck sack of responsibility for our nation. you have earned the opportunity and privilege to pass it on to the next man. >> thank you, senator cotton. senator kane. >> thanks mr. chair and thanks to all of you general thomas i offer my congratulations as well. i want to ask you a question and
the others may want to comment too about an important aspect of our military operations which is building partner capacity. as i've traveled in armed service codele i've been struck positively by the response of our allies to the partner capacity we work we do with them all over the globe. there is a crs fda. congressional research study in 2016 that analyzed about 20 instances of building partner capacity and their conclusion was gnat results are sort of mixed in terms of effect. i've always viewed the partner capacity issues whether we do work in the field and other nations or whether bringing foreign military leaders here to go to the army war college, or other -- or other institutions as it's great to build strong relationships. you build them with young officers and later they might be a minister of defense or prime minister or president. but as you finish your time,
your lengthy career, what is the sort of metrics we should be looking at in the building partner capacity investments we make through dod to see whether they are successful or not? share kind of lessons learned on that, please. >> thanks, senator. great question. i guess my first point of reflection is how drastically different the approach to partner capacity and really partners is from when i first started. mts had very little to any contact points, established relationships were checkered. often when -- when countries were deemed to behave badly the first point of separation was to separate imet schooling and things like that. great difficulty to keep them close and work the capacity if you don't have the point of contact. over the years the establishment and expansion of our contacts and true partners has been extraordinary. i tell our younger officers, you in her a period of time of international recommendations and partners that i didn't grow
up in, please don't -- don't lose sight of the potential. to your point on success, though, it is -- you know we should assess constantly how -- how worth while what's the return on investment for the various efforts? again, i think the report card is better than probably the american public knows. and it's both with established nations, you know, and the russia threats is a good case in point. we have had persistent presence in countries -- every country in the european land mass with russia for the last five to six years and thriving there. but even with untraditional partners i reflect back on the syrian defense democratic forces which started as you know seed corn of a couple of hundred is now 60,000 strong has done most of the fighting and dying in syria in in support of theest. rmts lost hundreds of thousands of people an extraordinary force cobbled together through a partnering effort. i'm inclined to see the potency
and results than fortunate shortcomings. >> secretary west. >> senator, the national defense strategy requires us to answer this question. and assess zbloomt secretary mattis says by with and through any time he was with by with and through other nations i heard him say that many times i know that's an important part. >> since there must be resource allocation we must look at number one the nature of the threat, local forces mo do not demonstrate intent or capability do not deserve the same resource allocation as do those enemies with the capability and the public declaration they will strike us. number two, as general thomas said, what are the odds of success of training this force? how long will it take? and how well connected are they to the people and government? >> general, nakasone, how about the cyberrealm? talk about the partner capacity activities and engagement with enemy. >> i would add to the importance of building partnerships as our
national defense strategy indicated, my perspective in terms of what i've seen in the cyberspace campaign is it provides three critical elements. first of all intelligence we may or may not have by ourselves. secondly capability that is our nation may or may not have. third thing unique placement pmt placements around the world that's critical for us giving us greater reach as a nation. >> i will follow up with this in other hearings as well because i think it's important. it is a significant investment. it's a part of the dod budget not massive but has massive up side if we do it right and make sure we analyze the in metrics correctly i'm asking a question general nakasone for you but let me preface. i'm on the health education labor committee. we are thorsoning the reeducation part of that is analyzing workforce and skills gaps. public service loan forgiveness and other things to fill gaps one area we look at is cyber
professionals whether in the dod side of the house. dhs side of the house or in the private sector. so the question i'll ask is if you would have any suggestions for us as wework on higher ed reauthorization programs you think are successful to enable us to train and recruit and retain the cyber professional that we need. i'll ask that question for the record. >> thank you within senator. >> thanks, mr. chair. >> thank you, senator. senator -- senator rounds. >> thank you, kmarm. gentlemen thank you for your service. general thomas we appreciate all of the hard work you put in and our service to our country. i'm curious to -- with regard to the middle east we have talked a lot about syria and the challenges that we have there. what about with regard to iraq at this point? i know we talked about the fact that we're going to have forces remaining in iraq in the near future. the president indicated that
there is president capability to be able to move back into the syrian areas. but within iraq itself, what is the current state of play with regard to isis, specifically within northern iraq? senator, i would offer that we -- with our iraqi partners they have embraced the sofrp responsibility in terms of defend and prant we maintain persistent pressure on ieszis in terms where they were and where they have resurgent pressure. it's a work in progress. but it's borne primarily through the iraqi forces who we have rekindled our relationship with. >> do you see evidence of their activity in northern iraq with regard to any incidences they appear to be responsible for? >> in terms of the iraqi forces, sir. >> in terms of isis impacts within northern iraq? are you seeing evidence offed of
where any try to impact local communities and so forth. >> they are attempting to make a resurgence in various locations. but again, i believe our forces with the iraqis very aware of where they are and addressing them accordingly. >> thank you. thank you. general nakasone, i appreciate the way in which you laid out today a little bit about the activity that the men and women of cyber com with in re associated forces with the nsa and so forth work very hard with regard to the previous election, the 2018 election. would it be fair to say that it is not a coincidence that this election went off without a hitch and the fact that you were actively involved in the protection of in very important infrastructure that we value? >> senator, the security of the midterm election was the number one priority at u.s. cybercommand and the national security agency. >> would it be fair to suggest
that one of the bigger challenges you have in being able to share the story of just exactly what occurs is the fact that in the future there are every time -- can you share a bit about what the tools are and the need to protect the tools, the systems and the process that are -- that are used in order to protect an election as an example and the different types of threats that you see and that have to defend against? could you share a little bit about that. >> senator, as part of a whole of government effort, we were looking at three different areas. we were looking to ensure that we prevented interference in the election. secondly was to disrupt any attempts by adversaries to influence that election. and thidly to impose cost on any adversary that decided that they would attempt to interfere with our democratic processes. >> would it be fair to say there's been clear evidence in the past -- we have seen with regard to russia and in the past
they've done propaganda. they've attempted to manipulate the american public, tried to pit one side against the other and so forth. in this particular case would it be fair to say that russia has in the past nontsed a capability in the cyber realm to use internet activities, social media and so forth as a way to do exactly the same thing with more sfisks than perhaps in the past. >> senators the russians are very sophisticated adversary in using influence operations you described. >> would to be fair also to say that there have been -- there have been concerns in the past and that the cyber com has worked very hard to make sure that the elections that have been held in the united states have not been impacted directly in terms of vote counts or anything like that? >> certainly, senator, again, working as part of a broad government team that was our focus. and i give great credit to the department of homeland security,
the federal bureau of investigation and other elements of our government to work towards this. informs a team effort. >> very good. thank you. sometimes when we talk about the items we talk about in terms of being able to impact social media, to be able to impact and make sure that -- that folks outside of the united states coming in are not able to influence public opinion by perpetrating misinformation. but there's another piece of in as well. and that's to actually be able to defend and protect the infrastructure, the physical infrastructure within the united states. while i'm on it now would you explain to the public that there is more to it than just simply stopping bad tweets from going out. it is a matter of actually protecting critical infrastructure has a an impact on day to day lives of american citizens. >> senators one of the things within our mission is certainly to protect that critical infrastructure in defense of the united states. you accurately portray obviously
both the opportunity and the challenge that we have at our command in doing that. i would also offer that one of the things that is so important here are the partnerships that you formed. and if there is anything i learned over the past several months, the partnerships give us real strepgt in being able to do that. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator rounds. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. kmarm. thank you all for being here today and for your service to our nation. general nakasone, i was grateful to have the briefing that we did, classified briefing very recently which i think was very illuminating as to the continued threats to our nation as a result of cyber, particularly meddling and interference with our elections. the threat from russia continues unabated. can you say that in public here today? >> senator, russia certainly
provides a very sophisticated threat to our nation. and one that- that they have done over several years. >> and that threat ought to continue to concern the american people, shouldn't it? >> yes, senator, it should. >> and i said in that briefing -- and i've said it in newsroom such classified briefings, that really, i wished that the american people could have heard more of what you told us. in a sense, the enemies know what they're doing. we know what they are doing to some extent. they know we know what they're doing. .only ones in the dark really are the american people. and as we enter this next election cycle, would you agree that we ought to do everything we can to make the american
people aware of that threat? >> senator, we will at cyber command exit to working that. i think your point is a very important one. being able to educate the public is critical for us. the success that we had 2018, more of our nation should know about. >> and it was success. i think very few of the american public know about the successes. they assumed that the meddling and interference in our election system when it occurs simply is undeterred or unstopped. and i think, again, without going into any of the details, there are some successes that the american people should know happened. but famt, should know that the threats do continue, not only from the russians -- but let me
ask you, whether you have seen any indication that china has sought to conduct activities slr to what we have seen from russia? 2016, 2018. >> senator, given the -- the forum we are in today i would offer to broadly state what we see is that oh our adversaries understand how to operate again below the level of armed conflict and are taking broad lessons learned upon which they will attempt to impact our nation. >> and would you agree that the american people should know about threats from not only russia but other countries as well, because the tools and means and techniques are highly asymmetric, that is, they don't need to invest tens of billions of dollars to disrupt our
election system. some of it is available with very little such investment. >> i agree, senator. >> he general thomas, and mr. secretary, i know we have been over this issue to some extent. but i just want to be clare. from your standpoint, moving special operators from syria to iraq, in other words, withdrawing from syria and moving those forces to iraq, could you say again what the -- what the impact is on our operational capability. >> senator, obviously it's easier to do our job with access and placement and proximity. and we have thrived on that being with the syrian democratic forces and enabling them to do the heavy heft lifting i described earlier. it will certainly be harder to
not have that proximity, make it more challenging but we are working on alternate solutions to maintain some contact and some level of support for them. >> would you agree, mr. secretary that it will make it harder but you are driving to overcome the challenges. >> militarily it's more difficult, sir. but we can remotely assist and advise. and if special operations does anything, in agile force has already adapted. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator, i would buoyant out too that's how we started the was we were for the in first the firstier i was in a command responsible for that and we did everything external to establish the force and provide connect. >> but there was a reason why you went into syria, which is that it enhanced your operational capability, correct. >> and it got us the return on investment. they maneuvered and destroyed the caliphate -- on the verge of destroying the caliphate that's the subsequent phase at play. >> thank you. >> thank you senator blumenthal.
senator purdue. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen for appearing today. china it's public information they are trying to build a navy of about 425 ships within the next decade or so. and they're accelerating that it's been reported in just december that chinese hackers have been breaching naech contractors to steal pretty much everything from maintenance data to missile plans. particularly egregious report kim out later that one breach was about a supersonic anti-ship missile that we were building for our nuclear submarine force. if they're successful by 2030 i'll have a navy about 100 ships big are than our navy has today. and the problem is right now that they are accelerating that development through hacking not the navy network of information but our contractor network of information. so general nakszen, how do you operate with our contractors?
should this data be kept on dod networks? how do you interface with the fbi when we get into the commercial entities out there that seem to be less protected than the military networks? >> senator, the example that you cited there is one that drives the department and we are working with the department as a lead agent to ensure that contracts are written right. that ensure that our clear defense contractors understand the standards that have to be met, that we test the standards, working with the services, ensuring that there are proper safeguards in place that will guarantee that the information that they have that's critical for our nation is safe guarded better. >> are you optimistic you have everything you need from an organizational standpoint of funding and so forth to help accomplish that in. >> senator i'm optimistic if i don't have what i need i'm coming back rapidly to ask for it. >> yes, sir, you have done a
good job of that. let me move to the organization. right now, in august of 2017 it was announced that the cybercommand would be elevated to a unified command, if i'm correct. today we operate operating in a structure and it's been reported one of the reasons we have a dual hat responsibility is there is a concern about the lack of intelligence in a separate unified command versus nsa, you're still getting a lot of your intelligence through the nsa. how do you equate this relative to the long-term plan of having a unified command? does that mean we'll have a duplicate capability in terms of intelligence in the cyber command and nsa or will there always be a close relationship between the two? >> senator, the decision on the dual hat remains with the secretary. i've commented during my first 90 days i provided my thoughts on it. whatever the ultimate decision is there will be a close partnership between nsa and cyber command and so that's
where i see it right now, senator. >> thank you. general thomas, first of all, thank you for the leadership. you're at the tip of the spear. when we have continuing resolutions how does it affect your operation in the field? i mean, you've been at war for 17 years. your troops. i've been around some of your troops around the world and i would have to say the best and very best of what we have in america is in your uniform. but when we do a continuing resolution here in congress, i get the feeling that it really impacts you guys pretty directly, is that true? >> n >> senator, that's an accurate statement. >> can you just describe just a couple of anecdotal examples of how that really impacts training, refitting, rotations, all of the above? >> sir, i would be inclined because it's usually played to me, the biggest impact is in the prescription for new starts. inside a fiscal year, the aspect
of a continuing resolution inhibtsz our agility to actually adjust to the problems. it's a fluid and dynamic environment we live in. more broadly it's the aspect that we're stuck in a proceeding paradigm and not able to move on to the new better ways of solving problems. >> thank you. i will yield my time but general thomas, i want to echo my colleagues' comments about your storied career, but particularly your time in the 75th regiment in georgia. god bless you. >> thank you, senator purdue. senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, all of you, for your service. and general thomas, we wish you well in whatever you do next. i want to pick up on senator purdue's questions about how vulnerable we are to third-party products and software and so i think this is for you, general nakasone. in 2018, the ndaa included a
provision that would prohibit the use of products and services developed or provided by cas perske lab and third-party products and required a report on d.o.d.'s capacity to spot and address risks. can you tell me what the status is of banning all of those casperki products from third-party contracts and also what's the status of the report on what risks might still be there? >> senator, i know that we have conducted, but let me take that for the record to make sure i have an accurate response to both parts of that question. >> thank you very much. >> general thomas i want to pick up on the questions about syria and the detainees. as you are probably aware, two of those detainees are suspected in the murders of four americans, james foly, steven so the love, peter kagan and
mueller. i don't know if you have anything you can tell us about what their status is and the potential is to make sure they can be brought back to the united states to be tried for their crimes, but certainly that's what the families of those murdered americans would like to see happen. >> senator, i don't have nan update -- an update on status but express my appreciation for your on the matter. that helped focus the world on the problem and specifically on the u.s. problem. but i don't know the current status. i know it's in the legal wrangling of considering how we handle special cases like that. >> well, thank you. i hope you and secretary west will both take back the interests that the families have in making sure they see justice in the united states. but general thomas, i want to go back to the question about how confident are you that given the
system on the number of isis fighters who have gone underground who may be operating out of iraq or other places in the middle east, that we will be able to contain that threat if we no longer have operations in syria? given the complexity there. >> senator, as i mentioned this has been one of the most complex challenges that our forces dealt with in quite a while. i am concerned that we are not overly restricted in the end state and i don't honestly know what that is. there are several planning efforts ongoing with a focus to maintaining what we've gained so far, to focus to ensure that there is no external attack capability coming out from bad actors, admittedly bad actors, many who are regional local times. we're in the throes of trying to do the right planning and preparation to provide the nation options to make sure
that's not a shortcoming and we have a revisit to the 2011 recurrence. >> and how much of a threat continues from turkey to the syrian democratic forces and their continued work on the ground? >> senator, there has been friction is an understatement right from the very beginning in terms of our choice of a partner force, truthfully it was a necessary choice, the only force really available and their relationship with the turkish government, again, i would, you know, commend both general votel, senior leaders who have been trying to work through the friction and stay focused on the counter-isis effort which is why we're out there. it has been a challenge, but i think we are certainly addressing turkish sovereign interests and concerns as we stay focused on isis. >> while i appreciate that, i hope we're also continuing to
support sdf who have been such good partners with us in the arena. secretary west, i understand that you're the point person at d.o.d. for implementing the women peace and security act, is that correct? >> i am certainly on point, senator. >> okay. good. i wonder if you could give us an update? i understand we are expecting the plan that it's going through final approvals. can you tell me when we might see the final plan for how that's going to get implemented and any thoughts you have about the effectiveness of being able to implement that as we're looking at all of our operations around the world? >> we were certainly supporting the interagency plan as they say in the green berets trying to lead from the back to the front, but this does establish the united states as the world leader in ensure women are part of the conflict resolution and prevention process and i want to thank you personally for the appropriation we have this year because the gender advisors which were already installed in
some co-comes will be permanent. >> thank you. i hope as we're looking at continued negotiations in afghanistan, that we will certainly make sure women are at the table in any negotiations. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator shaheen. senator ernst. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. on behalf of the american public i would like to say thank you because much of the work that is done within your commands, the american public will never know about nor will they be able to appreciate. so thank you very much for that. general thomas, i would like to start with you and what i would like to do is basically give you an open floor or a moment to reflect upon your time in command. there have been many innovations in your time in command you have brought forward for special operations command and i would like to give you the opportunity to talk about some of those innovations, why they have been so important to our special
operators and if there's anything that is not yet finished, what you would like to see continue on in your absence. >> thanks, senator. dangerous to give me an open mic. i'll try to stay focused. i humorously joke with contemporaries whether in the armed forces or private sector the one problem we do not have in special operations command is to spur innovation. it's almost runaway innovation and problem solving every day. bottom up driven. so the challenge for us as a higher headquarters is to assess and bundle, you know, the great ideas and the solutions that are being afforded and put them into programs of record that drive budget considerations and things like that. nice problem to i have i would offer. i can't recount, you know, the extraordinary number of, you know, initiatives and solutions that the forces provided over last couple years and i'm incredibly proud of it. i'm more excited about where it's going in the future.
the command is truly poised to be even more relevant, you know, for the department of defense and for the nation in terms of securing this country and borne on the back of just the best talent that the country has to offer, but with the resourcing that you all provide and the ability to do creative solutions. the one area you and i have discussed time and again that was probably the best innovation that i would ascribe to my predecessors and address is directly how we sustain this force, despite the pace and the relentless pace of things and that's the initiative awkwardly named preservation of force and family. but juxtaposed it to our ability to care for our people with the care coalition. right now we have i think 15,000 wounded and injured members currently sefk pa currently serving part of our core focus but the effort has
been remarkable. i give all the credit to my predecessors who saw a need requirement and giving the resources to get after it. >> i thank you so much for your emphasis on pot if ff. i've had an opportunity to travel and visit with your operators at ft. bragg and benning and coronado. we've covered the bases there. not only supporting the operators but their families as well. they truly are such an important part of the equation on why you are so successful. thank you for addressing that. we do have a closed hearing this afternoon so i will save some of my questions for that time period. i do want to take this opportunity to thank both of you, both general, thank you very much for the command structure you have provided, leadership and guidance. secretary west, thank you for taking on this challenging
position out there with d.o.d. we know that it's an ever-growing and influencing part of the d.o.d. so thank you very much for that. just in the very short time that i have remaining, general thomas, i want to thank you for your time and service. to you and barbara, my best wishes as you move on to retirement. it is well earned and well deserved. you will be missed. you will truly be missed but thank you for your leadership. thank you very much. i'll yield back. >> thank you, senator ernst. we all agree with her comments. senator warren. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and also i want to add my thank you, general thomas, for all of your work and leadership. last year's ndaa required secretary of defense to review whether members of the armed forces or coalition partners of the u.s. abused or witnessed abuse of detainees during operations in yemen and the unclassified summary of d.o.d.'s
report to congress concluded, quote, d.o.d. has determined that d.o.d. personnel have neither observed nor been complicit in any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in yemen. end quote. so when i asked general votel about this last week he said d.o.d.'s conclusion was based on the discussions and reports from the people that they have on the ground. general thomas, is that your understanding as well? >> senator, i monitored your conversation with general votel and i am in agreement with that assessment. >> okay. the associated press human rights watch, amnesty international and the united nations, all four, have all conducted their own investigations and come to a very different conclusion. they determined that our emirati partners oversaw a network of detention centers that regularly engaged in torture and abuse. general thomas, do you find these independent investigations
credible? >> again, senator, i monitored general votel's answer to the same question and you'll probably hear consistency. every one of those allegations is taken with the utmost, you know, interest in terms of pouring into them and during if they're factual and we have and, in fact, i'm not aware of any outliers. if we observe violation of the law of armed conflict it is a break context standard along our force to address it specifically and/or to break contact with those partner forces. again, i would reinforce how general votel answered it. it's a high standard. >> i appreciate that. and general votel said that exactly that, that -- he was careful about what he said. he said -- i asked him if he reached conclusions about whether or not our emirati partners are engaging in detainee abuse when d.o.d. personnel are not present and he
said he was not aware of that. the question i was asking, though, general thomas, do you find these independent investigations, those four investigations, do you find them credible? >> senator, i find them of sufficient interest that it's actually been our topic of discussion back with our emirati partners so the hard part, hard for us to confirm or deny if it happened but not something we take as something i can't prove or disprove, it's the subject of our discussion with the emirates if we can prove this or there's evidence this could be a de dealbreaker. we take it very seriously satisfy appreciate that, general thomas. i know you work hard to encourage our partner forces to obey the laws of armed conflict, but when it comes to whether or not our partner others forces h engaged in abuse of detainees there seems to be a disconnect between what d.o.d. understand to be true and credible,
independent reports from journalists and human rights organizations. i remain deeply concerned about whether our partners in yemen are treating detainees in ways that are consistent with the law of armed conflict. as you know, turning a blind eye is not acceptable, so i'm going to keep asking questions about this. i appreciate your answer on this. if i can just ask one other area quickly in the time left to me, general thomas, i'm concerned about the militarization of our foreign policy, and nowhere is that more evident than in the use or overuse of our special operations forces. i think senator reed alluded to this earlier. in 2017, special operations command deployed forces to 149 countries under your command and they launched air strikes, carried out raids, trained foreign militaries. all in the hope of removing
terrorists from the battlefield. many of these countries have governance challenges that allow violent extremist groups to grow. instead of treating the causes of violent extremism we're treating the system. let me ask, general thomas do you think we can kill our capture our way out of this problem? >> no, senator, i definitely do not think that's the solution to most of these problems. >> you know, do you think that current pace of operations for your command is sustainable? >> i do, senator. we had challenges on specific parts of our formation and to specifically get to the department directed standard of one to two dwell rates, so for one cycle of deployment down range, two parallel cycles back home, but we have gotten that back into healthy shape with a few outliers and intent on getting them healthy as well. >> i appreciate that. thank you, general thomas.
we need to be thinking about using our non-military tools as well. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and to each of you, thank you for your service to our country. general thomas, we wish you well. we wish your family well. senator earnings mentioned some of the posts she visited and she also has visited fort campbell and they were and still are a big part of our tennessee community and i represented that post during my time in the house and have enjoyed working with those military families and looking at the challenges that are going to be necessary for 21st century warfare, and general nakasone, you know,
cyber is an enormous part of that, and i think it's been really curious to me this week as we have looked at the different geographic combatant commanders and those aors, maybe a hesitancy to engage in a discussion of how our adversaries are using the cyber area to their advantage, namely china, of course, and we've talked some about the great competitive threat that is there. my question to you, general nakasone, would be, do you feel like that your command, cyber command, is being properly integrated into all of the other commands in those missions?
>> senator, i do feel cyber command is being integrated properly into the other combatant commands. we have undertaken an aggressive approach to engage with the commands. general thomas and i have had a long association, one of the things we've been able to leverage is the close partnership of ensure that what we do in cyber space is supporting his end states and what he was trying to do, whether in previous commands or at u.s. special operations commands. we are very, very appreciative of the work that has been done and approved by this committee to build cyber space operational integrating planning elements at each of our combatant commands. this will allow us to allow the planning expertise to ensure we get to outcomes >> okay. let me -- let's talk about artificial intelligence for just a moment because i think that strategy, it's been released and the strategy highlights a
reality that we've known for some time and i want to quote from that and then have you respond. i'm quoting, other nations, particularly china and russia, are making significant investments in a.i. for military purposes including applications that raise questions regarding international norms and human rights. failure to adopt a.i. will result in legacy systems irrelevant to the defense of our people, eroding cohesion, among allies and partners, reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living, and growing challenges to societies that have been built upon individual freedom. now, that in my opinion is a pretty sobering assessment. do each of you agree with that
strategy assessment and exactly how do you see the a.i. strategy informing your command as we move forward? >> i agree with the statement that you read, senator. i do see artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, as something that's a critical of what we need to do at u.s. cyber command. we have seen the power at the national security agency of what artificial intelligence can do for our foreign intelligence mission, cyber security missions. this is where the world has had it in terms of innovation and capability. we as a military fighting force have to ensure that we have that enabler. one of the things that i do take great credit in and pride in is u.s. special operations command has led a lot of work in artificial intelligence and integrating some of the early thinking into how they become a more powerful force. >> general thomas?
>> senator, great question and we can spend several hours talking about it. unfortunately we don't have that kind of time. i agree with the assessment in terms of threat. more importantly, i am incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity. eric smith visited our command as part of the group. quick assessment he felt compelled to give me, you have tremendous people, your prototype effectively and absolutely terrible -- he had more colorful words for that. it gave me a spark three years ago and turned me to a zealot on the subject. more important it is kind of reoriented our command to embrace this phenomenon and apply it. relevance to everything we do until it's proven otherwise. so we're taking not so small bites but some pretty substantial bites into embracing applied artificial intelligence and i'm excited where we're going in the future. >> thank you for that. thank you for your service. i yield back. >> thank you, senator blackburn.
senator tillis. >> thank you, mr. chair. gentlemen, i apologize for not being here for a lot of hearing. we have three committee hearings going on simultaneously. general thomas, i want to thank you for your service and all the quality time you spent in north carolina. i hope in retirement you continue to spend a lot of quality time there. i will take probably questions a different direction in my capacity as personnel subcommittee chair because i know a lot of the other members covered the landscape on the extraordinary work you're doing and i think general, i thank you for the briefing this week. there's some real -- i got a real sense of progress being made and i think some of that stems from some of the authorities that you've granted and you're doing great work there. thank you for your leadership. i want to talk about the personnel aspects. when you look at general thomas, the very challenging job of an
operator and disturbing percentage they're going to get injured in one way or another, what more do i need to be thinking about in terms of family support for the members and actually even in dealing with the wounds of war, what more should we be looking at as a function of the personnel subcommittee to send the very clear signal we understand the dangerous job and impact it's having on family? >> senator, thanks for that question and thanks for the concern expressed. i would actually challenge the term operator because that -- therein lies the opportunity for us to do better by our people in the future. while you highlighted a particular career fields that are inherently dangerous in terms of jumping and fast roping and things like that, we're as good as our weakest link. we're as good as our support personnel. we -- the term we use enablers, broad based but the fabric of the force and arguably we didn't focus efficiently on the entirety of the force when we talked about potff and how we
sustain it. we're focused on that and we have examine to you to ask for additional resources so that we can be more thorough in the implementati application there. thanks for the support. truthfully the best comment we can get on it is the sister services are emulating what you allowed us to do as the way they could and should take care of their people as well. >> thank you. something else we'll be talking about, i was briefly speaking with senator king about progress we can make on procurement. we've taken some steps in recent ndas for procurement and i think we can still take a few pages from your book in terms of rapid prototyping and deployment. look forward to that. mr. chair, hopefully we can have that as a subject at some point in this congress. generale nakasone, you've got a challenge. you mentioned in your opening statements, i was here, you're trying to find the resources and competing with the private sector again, and the last ndaw
we made some progress in terms of getting some resources from the private sect into positions, but what more do we need to do? i have to believe you don't have enough of what you need in terms of expertise? what more would you suggest we look at as a matter of policies going into the nda cycle? >> i think that we have to come back to the committee and identify those critical subsets. there are people within our force right now that i call 10 or 20 x type of people. they're 10 or 20 times better than the people that they work with, better coders, better malware analysts, better developers, and so how do we ensure we keep those within our force? the services do a wonderful job in recruiting. we get great recruits. we do a very, very good job in training them. our challenge will be in retaining the very best, not everyone, but the very best. this is where i think identifying those categories coming back to you to make sure we have the proper career paths
an the proper enumeration will be very helpful. >> senator rounds and i talked about it in his capacity on cyber and we feed that information sooner and the private sector, i led a practice that had ethical testing and cyber security resources and they were very -- they're scarce in the environment where you can pretty much pay whatever the market rate is. i can't imagine what you're going to go through for retention. we need to recognize these are hot skills and you have to have the soft equivalent of cyber warriors out there and we need do everything we can to provide you the authority to do that. but you also have to differentiate as you just said, you've got to differentiate between that person as a 20-time multiple on skills and just say we're going to treat you all fairly and not treat you equally because you have to have those extraordinary warriors in this domain. i'm going to follow up with a couple questions for the record, but they happen to do with
plumbing and business matters so i'm going to yield back my retaining ten seconds. thank you all for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for your service. general thomas, i really want to thank you for all you've done for our fashion and i think i've had a bit of a unique opportunity to not only get to know you from this position, but also within i put my reserve uniform on as my commanders like 17 levels above where i am in the chart, so it's -- you've done a great job and really appreciate it. secretary west, appreciate the job you're doing. you know, unfortunately there's a very small number of harvard marines in you're making us proud. very few. and general nakasone, i want to ask you on this issue of offensive operations, i know you probably can't talk too much,
but you might recall a hearing we had in this committee a couple years ago where director clapper and some other leaders on the cyber and intelligence front openly admitted that after the chinese hacked the opm and stole over 20 million sf-86 forms for all our top secret operators, including members of this committee, that he openly admitted we didn't retaliate against them, which i thought was kind of a stunning admission, and to me was part of the problem. whether it was north korea or iran, i think a couple years ago china, certainly russia, we were viewed as kind of the world cyber punching bag. any of these countries could come and do what they wanted and we did not retaliate. can you tell me without revealing anything classified, do you feel you have the authorities to hit back or maybe even hit back harder to make the
costs of those kind of operations against our country, against our democracy, much more prohibitive? particularly for a country like north korea where i'm assuming we can just drop their entire electrical grid and internet system overnight if we wanted to? >> senator, if i might, one year ago, i appeared before the committee for my confirmation and you asked a similar question of me and i think it's important that we look at what's happened within this past year. a national cyber strategy side, d.o.d. cyber strategy side, the fy national authorization act that provided us greater capabilities and authorities within the law was signed. a new presidential policy that came out on offensive cyber and finally, our ability to have a new construct upon which we operate which is persistent presence. all provide a much different envimts for our adversary today than one year ago. >> can you publicly state in
this hearing, again without getting into classified information, that you have the authorities and you are not unwilling to undertake offensive operations that can help deter whether it's chinese stealing 20 million fs-86 forms or the north koreans hacking our companies? >> senator, i have the authorities to accomplish my mission. >> or the russians attacking our electrical or our election systems? >> i have the authorities that i need to accomplish my mission, senator. >> good. i want to ask secretary west and general thomas, you have taken the lead over the last two years on the counter wmd mission, and to me there's probably no more important mission for the survival of the entire nation, the entire republic, we might have, you know, threats that, you know, rise, isis or al qaeda, they might rise and fall,
but as long as we have a republic to defend the counter-wmd mission is going to be in my view the most important mission, how is that going? do you need more resources on that? are there any things we can do to help you with the authorities, whether it's working with allies or more resources to undertake that mission in terms of the leadership that you now have with regard to that mission? >> senator, one, we appreciate the opportunity to perform this mission. it is a daunting critically important mission as you mentioned. we had john heighten from stratcom visiting and paul nakasone this past week and i would offer his mission is probably, you know, the true primary mission and this one is connected just underneath. the level of cooperation and collaboration that we enjoy with the community of action is extraordinary. we just hosted our seminar two weeks ago and about to produce our annual assessment of the
secretary to defense, this mission continues to move in the right direction. i don't know on resources yet. i dare say we will probably uncover some gaps in terms of collection capabilities that we the nation need going forward, whether it's department of defense or other entity is, but the mission is going very well for us and i'm appreciative of some of the expertise that has been brought to bear on it. >> mr. chairman, if i may, one final quick question, the great return of power competition is spelled out in the nds, national defense strategy, how is socom aligning with regard to that mission and have we over utilized soft intensity threats and are we focused on the new nds mission on the soft side? >> senator, quickly from my perspective, soft is perfectly well suited to take on this challenge because it's cheap. it provides a nation real leverage. but the basic task is resource
allocation. as you indicated we are at capacity and demand is not shrinking. this in turn requires a new assessment of the threat in counter terror to repurpose forces. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. general nakasone, in february, the department of justice and the department of homeland security sent a joint report to congress on 2018 election interference. you testified before a classified session of this committee yesterday, but the public specific conclusions of the report of these two departments was as follows. quote, there is no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had any material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or
political campaign infrastructure used in the 2018 midterm elections. i appreciate your testimony yesterday and i realize there are things you cannot get into today, but what can you tell us in this public setting, this committee, and the public, about the -- whether or not based on what you know, the department of justice and the department of homeland security were correct in saying there was no such interference? >> senator, i agree with what you had read with regards to that report. what i can say in terms of our role with that was within u.s. cyber command and specifically the national security agency, we took a look at all the intelligence information we had on our adversaries and we declassified as much of that information as we could, we shared that with the department of homeland security, who in turn shared that with the state and local levels so that they
had a very, very good picture of what we knew about adversaries that might be trying to interfere with our elections. >> so to the extent that there were concerns that a foreign government or agent had an impact on the election, you concur with the public conclusion of the department of homeland security and the department of justice there was not such interference? >> i conquer, senator. >> thank you very much. i appreciate it, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator wicker. all the other senators. and certainly for the three witnesses. that was a very eye-opening and a great presentation. appreciate your patience and your thoroughness. thank you so much. we're adjourned. >> thank you.
. senator elizabeth warren announced she is running for president and she will be speaking at a new hampshire democratic party dinner in manchester next friday. see that live february 22nd on c-span. there are nearly 100 new members of the house of representatives this year. ohio, west virginia, maryland, mississippi, and washington are five of the states that added one new member. representative anthony gonzalez was a football star at ohio state before the indianapolis colts drafted him in 2007. after injuries cut short his professional football career representative gonzalez earned his mba at stanford business school and he's the first latino elected to ohio's congressional
delegation. representative carol miller served over a decade in the state house before voters in west virginia's third district elected her to congress. politics runs in her family. she's the daughter of former congressman samuel divine, whose seat would later be filled by future ohio governor and 2016 presidential candidate john kasich. congressman michael guest was a local prosecutor in mississippi for nearly 25 years. the last decade as district attorney before his election to the house. he's also a sunday schoolteacher at his local baptist church. representative david trone and his brother opened a small liquor store della wear and the company moved its headquarters to maryland and expanded to become the largest independent fine wine retailer in the country. washington's eighth district elected representative kim schrier, a pediatrician and only
female doctor in congress. watch it all on c-span. >> if beale street could talk received three oscar nominations for original score, best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay. sunday on q&a, we'll discuss the movie based on the 1974 james baldwin novel with a "washington post" deputy local editor monica norton. >> i thought the film was visually beautiful and the thing that really sticks with you is, just how loving and lovely the film is. >> i think his writing really does deal with love, whether it's universal love, loving one's self, love between people and society. i really think that is sort of the overarching theme. i think a lot of people probably see him because he was so passionate in fighting for the rights