tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN June 11, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
i am a law professor at the university of baltimore law school. your legal adviser is a professor at another law school. it is not the university of baltimore, but it is pretty good. we would like a written legal opinion because this is a very important question. thank you. >> as i said, i would like to raise this again,. on the the contract, figure is perfectly free to audit. they audited it once if they want to audit it again. the point i we want to make is they are free to all construction proms in iraq but not the state department. that's the jurisdiction of three other entities.
on the figure review, i will talk to a certain former law professor, and ask him what his opinion is on this matter. >> thank you. commissioner? >> the first recommendation in our report was to have the agencies do a comprehensive risk assessment manpower contingency. your response to us was along these lines. the human capital planning process both identified the need to determine the organic resources. that's the stimet identify organic resources. i'm looking at your qddr, your approval oversight and you just told us i believe that law enforcement is an inherently governmental function.
>> correct. >> page 179 of the qddr, there's a statement that when you read it with your mind open, it's a little jaw dropping. you say here bill direct hire capabilities in two specific state bureaus. international narcotics and i.n.l. and information resource management i guess those are the i.t. guys, and both of those bureaus work for you? >> i.n.l. works for the undersecretary of political affairs. >> they work for you, correct? >> yes. >> there's a sentence that really floors you. it's about international narcotics and -- i applaud you for being candid. >> give at any importance of the state's mission and the fact that i.n.l.'s current workforce comprises only 5% direct hire state employees,
rebalancing is necessary. to me that's just one of those statements that is just -- you're telling me that in the i.n.l. workforce, law enforcement is 95% contractor? to the statement of what the qddr says. >> no, sir. >> but is that what the qddr says? >> yes, sir. but there's a major distinction between law enforcement, the power to arrest and -- and training fortune law enforcement. so i do not regard the training of foreign law enforcement as inherently governmental. we take training in many forms. what the qddr also talks about, and this is specific request to the secretary, which we agree on is we've been in numerous
consultation with entities, the department of justice being one of them, to find out that in lieu of contract training, could they put at our disposal but state and local governments put at our disposal. >> but generally the answer is no, we content have the capacity. so you're not built for it, and they are not built for it, therefore, you have to hire contractors or personal service contractors to oversee your contracts. >>al correct. >> so the part of qddr calls for an in-depth cost assessment of the two bureaus will be conducted to develop an appropriate workforce and analysis. is that complete? >> no. they are looking at what
causes, finger, may be caused byal in effect her workforce. >> the cost savings are not really vent when it's inherently governmental. or it should -- but it just says if it's inherently governmental, it should be had by the fed. >> -- handled by the fed. >> those are being looked at to determine if we are having any activities that are inherently governmental now being done by contractors. the costization run the gamut from is it cheap tore bring in-house rather than -- >> would you share with us at the appropriate time the -- >> yes. i'm not sure it will be done in the time frame of the -- >> yes. i'll be brief. one last question.
at some point in afghanistan, security of the beached was provided by u.s. -- security of the embassy was provided by u.s. troops. >> at the very beginning. >> i understand the d.o.d. said not our mission. give it to state. at the point that decision was made, did the state embrace the decision and say give it to us, we can do it. it's not inherently governmental? >> i was not in a position that was involved in that. i'll be glad to check. however, it is the consistent opinion of the department of defense, that they will provide, and we are deeply appreciative of it, emergency assistance. for example, in sanaa, yemen, i'll get the decision on the record for that. >> thank you.
>> and no one is going to interrupt you in your four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a couple of quick yes or noes. >> in the comment i made earlier. i know in your response to our recommend datheses, you make reference to waivers for core certifications. that tells me maybe you've made use of waivers. so for that list of the contracts you have put out, would you include waivers in that listing as well. second thing is as you know o.m.b. circular requires each chief acquisition officer to review a its acquisition function. so i'll ask you first, have you done that evaluation? and secondly, if so, is it possible for us -- could we use them in that present record as well? >> that is an internal
document. let me check with our lawyers because of the unique nature. the executive branch of this -- i think i've given you everything you've asked for up to date. i'll just have to -- >> there's talents requirement that you monitor your activity. >> we do that. >> that might be another way to get that. >> ok. >> they have already set up from d.o.d. to state department. has the government set that you type of -- >> yes, we have. >> ok. >> and we are actually dispatching as our chief management officer in kabul and an officer whose been intimately involved in the office of transition. >> my understanding was that had not been done yet, so i'm glad to hear that. secretary gates sent to
secretary clinton a memo looking at alternate ways to pull funds and resources for those missions that have become conflicted between the department of defense and department of state. were there overelapping missions and authorities. do you know if the state department ever responded for that? >> that activity has been worked out between the secretary and -- the secretary of state and the secretary of defense and the secretary of defense and o.m.b. >> is there a memo? >> no. it was essentially resolved in the f.y. 12 budget request. so what you see in that reflects the collective administration's opinion on that. >> is that part of putting everything in the o.k.o. account? >> no. the o.k.o. ask the related separate. the authorities invested in one
agency are in the request. in the o.k.o., it's the operations for the results of the agreement between state and defense. >> so the section has expired and now there'sing? in the fy-12? >> yes. >> and lastly, you make reference to the blue print for elevating american civilian power. i think that's one of the things we've certainly been looking at on this commission. what is the appropriate mix in the workforce with an eye towards some of the problems agencies have had getting civilians overseas. we had one over to talk about the fcrf -- i dare say it's a
failure in the fy-12 budget. i guess the request is for $92 million down significantly from the $102 million. what's your opinion on getting the other civilian agencies into iraq or later into afghanistan? >> well, the state department has filled every state department position in iraq and afghanistan, and the other agency, a.i.d. would like to specifically note incredible assistance that's been provided us by the department of agriculture in de ploying personnel from all their field units around this -- from around this country. so we are filling those jobs. the contingency question you raise is one specifically called out in the qddr. there is a task force at the state department reviewing structure function way ahead
for the civilian stabilization of a new bureau is asked for it or referred to called the overseas operation. >> so yes or no? i'll get a yes or no. yes, you have been able to get all the civilian representation that you wanted? yes or no? >> no. >> that's the conclusion. thank you. >> the conclusion has to be specified. yes or no answers aren't always. >> let me just say. if you want to qualify the no, it's kind of on your time now, so it's because it's 11:00. >> i'm trying to draw out of your long answer sort of what the bottom line was. >> some agencies have had the resources to be able to provide personnel on n detail. other agencies because of their
missions in the united states or elsewhere. >> have chosen not to provide. >> have not been able to provide staff for deployment to iraq. >> in some cases they have chose not to. and in some cases they have not -- >> yes. i cannot let that pass. commissioner -- chairman chase and i were in afghanistan and were told for instance the agriculture department left approximately 40% of the slots unfilled and of those filled many were from the service that had no knowledge or ability to deal with the problems out in afghanistan. so with all due respect, mr. ambassador, what i think my fellow commissioner is saying is no, it isn't exactly as you're putting it. and the agencies are not forthcoming, and they are still not fighting this war, they
send the wrong people if any at all and i insist on putting that on the record, because that's what it's really like out there. i'd like to ask you about one of our recommendations regarding certification. we noted in our report that agencies have con creeded that they content give regard in reporting past statements in -- we've said this ought to be certified that a database was used. state department says no, i'll disagree with that because accurate and current information and candid assessments of -- >> sure. if it's done. do you belief it's now being done? >> up until recently, there was a split between agencies that used one tool and civilian agencies that used another
tool. we are now filling in the new d.o.d. tool, and i know the state department is populating that database. i can't address the other agencies. >> but we're concerned about use. has the database been used? do you have any theafed people are actually using the database? what do you have to basis your -- to base your disagreement with us that such a certification is not necessary? >> all i can tell you, sir, is that the state department checks all available information, and before we award contracts. >> well, it would be nice to get some set of thattistics. i don't know if you can come one that. i have another question in the minute or soif left of me. your testimony you talked about the fact that you are achieving greater efficiencies in
contract terms. you mentioned time lines and timely options in the teent company fails to perform. can you give me an example as an reduced option and what some are? what do you mean by that? >> yes. taking the second, first, for example, when you have a master contract at which you have prequalified eight firms, and then you compete with the specific task order. if for so many of reason one of those fails to mobilize or some other occasion cannot perform, the fact that we have eight qualified and their individual bids on the tasks, enable us to immediately go down that list where as before we would offer one contract at a time, you'd have to go out and treapt contract. that allows us to, i don't want to say anything is
instantaneous, but it certainly eliminates weeks if not months of effort. >> and reduced acquisition time sfline -- time line? >> i think that the fact that we are reawarding the medical contract for iraq, i mean, this goes to a very inherent point in the inspector general's report. inspector general's report was a snapshot done in the third quarter of last year. and he was absolutely right. it is absolutely right, saying that on the date that picture was taken, we hadn't awarded the medical or security contract. as i outline today and in my written statement, no, on the sixth of june, we have done this and this and this and this and this. snapshots are good to call things to our attention, but this is a continue wan. this is a sprint not a mayor --
this is not a sprint. it's a marathon. this is one of the most difficult things we've ever done, but we are making the hack marks as we go down the line. >> thanks. obviously we have issues with some of what state does, but you're a good litmus, because you do a good job, and i thank you for that. >> thank you, sir. >> ambassador, i want to go back to this us is pension and disbarment you had. i looked back at the full response on page 27 and page 28 in response to our report. and basically what you say there is, there are two kinds of agencies with regards to the state department. there are those where the evaluation and recommendation is made at a lower level, and then the determination whether to suspend or borrow is at the
level of the agency. the decision maker is somebody within the management chain. and then there are other agencies like the state department where the ultimate person making the determination is someone who is quasi department. and your concern sounds like, reading your full response is one the administrative burden. and two, compromising that person's independence by requiring the agency head to sign off on the determination. as we say in our recommendation that, there needs to be written justification for it. and that has to be approved by the -- >> we are happy to modify that recommendation so the concurrence of the agency head is required. that's not importance to me and
i should argue that that shouldn't be -- to ignore or agree with the recommendation, whoever makes that recommendation, has to have a justification to the title why that's been made, and to argue that it's an administrative burden to me is nonsensical, and i think that's -- i would urge you to rethink it. >> as i promised the chairman, we will look at it again. we do have a great concern about compromising the procurement of the -- secondly, we also want to make sure that any one -- especially someone on the outside can bring a charge. if the charge is truly affirmative louse or very spurous.
simply giving it the credibility of dutying its rebutal than simply dismissing it. >> just to stop you there, we're not stalk talking about somebody on the outside. we're talking about someone made an the inside that is overruled by someone in the management chain or -- we're saying whoever that is the make that determination to overrule to, make that -- >> to document it for the record. we had read your statement recommendation 23 against a contractor officially recommended for the state or department. >> that could be by anyone. so with the qualification. >> officially could be by anyone? >> from another agency for which, yes. so we will take the chairman's notes. we will take these two, which i
regard as clarifications. maybe we misunderstood. but you posted positive two clarifications that i did not read when i read this in the intent of what your recommendations were. that we would not have to put oversight on -- we will take those into consideration as the chair correctly asked me to do. >> thank you. >> that's all right. we have a few questions and then we're going to let you close with any comment you want to make without interruption. commissioner hanky was making reference to d.o.d., kind of pulling the rug out from under you. and the department. and saying you have to provide protection security to your tpwheafed kabul, and it ended
up that you hired armor group. during that dialogue we had in the middle of 2009, we realized that saying you had to get lowest price contract instead of the best value. and so we jumped in to try to help you all with best value. what's disconcerting is the armor group is still there. and it's disconcerting. and why it's disconcerting is they compromise the security of the ambassador and two, they brought tremendous disredispute to our government because they in a sense were defending our government's ambassador. and thirdly, -- our government's embassy. and thirdly, those who stepped forward, their lives were threatened. and they are still there. one of the reasons we recommended a qadry help?
is so they say fine, find someone else, and you can't, because you're stuck with them. i want to know why are you still using them since the the hearing was in 2009. why are they still there? >> i think they are there for two reasons. one, we have just recently awarded the new worldwide protective security contract, and are completing the task orders. and this gives us one of the examples where the original low bidder for that specific task order did not mobilize in time, so that's why we're going to an additional replacement. this goes back to the doctor's question of not having the ability to have the worldwide protective security contract
cover both static and movement security then allows us when something to move to a replacement entity. >> we wonder why, though, there shouldn't be within your department, within d.o.d., a qadry of folks that can step in immediately to deal with a challenge like this, because the contracting process takes too long, and it is highly imperfect. >> i think the issue of mr. chairman is, by my notes, we have something like 4900. 4,900 static guards in iraq. i'm sorry -- in afghanistan. that is a very, very large number. >> when you travel -- >> and even that 4,900 number you have to add an zirble
factor for training and movement. none of us are going to have in a swat team of that size. so we really do have to work -- >> we're thinking that that may be foolish. it may endanger our ambassador our embassies and goodwill to have a qadry you can turn to quickly. because the bottom line is, you're stuck with us. >> and that shouldn't be. let me just make an argument for you to rethink in your oppositions. it's 760. this 49.81 gives us a grand total. but even that, when you add rotation is over 1,000 personnel, and we simply are not funded or programmed to have that kind of a reserve force available for immediate
-- >> you're not -- and the question should you be? and we would argue you should be. but let me make this final comment and then let you make your final closing comment. i find it difficult to understand the opposition to an independent special inspector general for contingencies. and that's based on my experience in congress. because frankly, as republicans and democrats both realize, we were not seeing the kind of oversight of contingency contracting. and when we then got that in there, we began to see the other inspector general started to pay more attention. in fact, he was not even in theater. so one of the values was that it kind of raised the attention for everyone. secondly, the very example that you are rising and that secret
doesn't have the -- we believe they should have the full breadth so they wouldn't have to encounter the very thing your legal people are saying they content have authority. we want a current inspector general that has the authority to cross different departments to do interand intrastate deals. we want them to look at -- and i would suggest to you that we would like you to reexsm this in the light that -- of the fact that hugization could take place. you have the final word to close out. you can take as much time as you want. it's your time. and i'll just say again, we appreciate the candid dialogue
and look forward to you getting back some of the things. >> before i sum up, let me respond quickly, mr. chairman to your question. i thinker entirely correct that there was not a focus, the full focus the full in-depth focus that should have been made in the beginning. but i think the corrections we have seen, d.o.d. now de ploying their personnel in theater and state department opening a regional office to do both iraq and afghanistan does address the question of focus. secondly, i think on your question about the breadth of the responsibilities of an inspector general, i certainly agree that we need full breath. at the same time, when you are receiving a request, such as i am from sigor to address not
the -- >> i'm not taking that issue. you've already addressed that. honestly. i'm saying if you had been at any legal thoort you wouldn't even be answering this question. >> i'm saying we have a third-party inspector to towards platform the state department is operating on. one has to understand that and the state accountability. house surveys, investigations. understand that platform. and then there's what's riding on the platform. i have no problem with that. if it's open to any inspector jep, there are 15 government united states agencies operating. if i had to have even one of them on the rise to investigate my platform, i won't ever deliver any services under that platform. i'll simply be doing questions and answers if i think it's a
debtment to the united states interest abroad. >> state i.t. recently closed the middle east office? >> no. . they have not. >> how many people do they have there. >> no. i'll get that, but they have not closed the middle east regional office that i'm aware of. in fact, they are -- they have just done another report. i mean, it's the report you cited they did last fall. >> we're talking about people there, not here. >> they are there. >> tough closing word now. ok? any comments you would like to make? >> commissioners, there is no doubt that the acttivity state department is engaged in, in iraq, and will be engaged in, in afghanistan, when the time line -- when the timeline is fixed for the withdrawal of the united states troops is unusual. it is beyond the scope of
anything that we've ever done in the past. and that is acknowledged. on the other hand the state department has historically stepped up to challenges. the fall of the berlin wall resulted in the opening of different -- imposed in the immediate aftermath, something that a number in a short period of time. and then there was the traffic attacks in nairobi and is a lom. the state department has now 77 new embassies in the last 11 years. we know how to mobilize in this. we have the confidence and we have the personnel, and we absolutely in this case have the full and unairing partnership with the department of defense from every level from secretary gates and
chairman mullen all the way down to the e-6 expendable and property clerks that we are dealing with now in iraq now, and have provided us with almost 4,000 pieces of equipment. there's a lot of work to be done. it's entirely correct that when the inspector general takes his -- took his snapshot last fall, there was a lot more to be done. but as i outlined in my oral testimony and in the longer written statement, many, many, if not most of the issues raised by the inspector general correctly that the moment in that snap is not time have now been resolved. and in the remaining six months, we will resolve the remaineder of them. we have the contracting vehicles in place. we were in the process of awarding them those we have not already awarded. the congress has provided us
funds. maybe not all the funds we would haval liked. but we have adjusted the mission. not the safety or security, but the mission to consort with the dollars available, which is what any executive branch does in our democracy. my last point is i want to thank the commission for calling attention to issues that we do have to address. your assistance a year or so ago in allowing us to make contract awards on best value was incredibly helpful and is part of the new worldwide protective security contract that we have awarded the master to, and we've already awarded several task orders under. it is a long road. it is a marathon. i think we have already crested heartbreak hill. and we have only so far to go. the time that remains is short.
anything can go wrong, and i am sure that something will go wrong. but with the teams we have and the executive steering group. the team in baghdad and teams at state and d.o.d. and joint teams and staff i brought with me, plus many more staff who are there who have phone calls three times a week at 8:00 a.m. with everyone in baghdad. we will deliver on this mission, because it is in the u.s. national interest that we do so. thank you. >> thank you, and have a good afternoon. and with that, this hearing is closed.
>> next. defense secretary robert gates on the future of nato. then your calls and comments on "washington journal." on sunday, challenging the new health care law. the 11th circuit court of appeals in atlanta hears arguments on the department of health and human services brought by 2k6 states which oppose the law. they argue that the state is infrin -- that it's infridging on states' rights.
we'll have that on sunday at 10:30 eastern time on c-span. nato members failed to increase defense spending and their commitment to military operations. he stressed the u.s. is shouldering most of the costs of nato missions in libya and said it would be increasingly difficult to support the transatlantic alliance without its allies. this is about 20 minutes. [applause] >> thank you mr. secretary general and for the opportunity to speak here today. this is day 11 of the 11-day
international trip. so you can understand why i am very much looking forward to getting home. but i'm glad at this time and in this venue to share some thoughts with you this morning about the transatlantic security relationship in what will be my last policy speech as secretary of defense. the security of this continent with nato as the main instrument for protecting that security has been the consuming interest in much of my -- life. this brings me full circle. after taking this post almost 4 1/2 years ago was also on the demonet at the munich security conference. that was the opportunity for a brief exchange with my good friend, vladimir putin. the subject of my remarks then was the state of the atlantic alliance, which was then being tested with the resurgens of the taliban in afghanistan. today i'd like share some
parting thoughts about the state of the 60-plus--year-old alines to include where the alliance mission stands in afghanistan as we enter a critical transition phase. nato security gaps and other short comings laid bear by the libyan operation. the necessity of fixing these short comings in the transatlantaic alliance moving forward and to make it more broadly difficult to sustain current support as the american taxpayer continues to carry most of the burried engine the alliance. i share these views in the spirit of solidarity and friendship with the understanding that true friends occasionally must speak bluntly with one another for the greater sake of the greater issues that bind us together.
first on afghanistan. i returned from days with meetings with our troops and commander and have come away impressed and inspired by the changes that have taken place on the ground in recent months. it's no secret that for too long the military in afghanistan suffered from a lack of focus and resources and attention. compasser baited by the focus on iraq for most of the past decade. when they agreed in 2006 to take the lead for security across afghanistan, i suspected many allies would be primarily peacekeeping. development systems. more candid north balkans, instead nato found a tough fight against a resurgent taliban resurging from its force in pakistan. since the challenges inthirpte any coalition -- came to the
surface, the caveat that tied the hands of commanders in sometimes infuriating ways, the -- al highs -- in some cases wildly dis pretty contributions from different members' fates. frustrations with these obstacles sometimes boiled into public view. i had some choice words to say on this subject in my first year in office. i'm favorably characterized as megaphone diplomacy. yet through it all, nato has an alliance collectively has for the most part come through for the mission in afghanistan. consider that when i became secretary of defense in 2006, there were about 20,000 non-u.s. troops from nato nations in afghanistan. today i figured -- that figure is approximately 40,000. more than 850 troops from non-nato u.s. members have made
the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan. for many this was the first casualties taken since the end of the second world car and years ago they would have never expected the alliance to sustain its operation at this level for so long much less adding significantly more forces in 2010. it is a credit to the troops on the ground as well as the allied governments who have made the case for the afghan mission under difficult political circumstances at home. in the past years priorities away from iraq and toward afghanistan, providing reinforcements to allies who courageously have been holding the line in the south. these new resources combined with a new strategy have decisively changed the moves
object ground. president obama is still considering the size and pace of the drawdown in july. i can tell you there will be no rush to the exit. the vast majority of the forces arrived in the past two years will remain through the summer fighting season. we will also reassign many troops from areas in afghan control to certain projects. now is the time to capitalize on the gain in the past 15-18 months by keeping the pressure on the taliban and reinforcing military success with improved governance and reintegration and ultimately political reconciliation. given what i have heard and seen not just in my recent visit to afghanistan but in the past two years, i believe these gains can take roots and be
sustained over time with proper allied support far too much has been accomplished at far too great a cost to let the momentum slip away just as the enemy is on its back foot. today we cannot afford to have neighboring troops to pull out their forces in a time line in a way that undermines the risk. in afghanistan, the way is in together-out together. then our troops can come home to the honor they so rich richly deserve and the transatlantic alliance will have passed its first test of the 21st century. success after a long-suffering people needed hope for the future and provided stability for a critical part of the world. though we can take provide what has been accomplished, the
mission has exposed significant short comings in nato. military capabilities and in political with will. despite more than 2 million troops in uniform not counting the u.s. military. nato has struck, at times desperately to stay with a deployment of 20,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground but in important missions with helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance and recon answer and much more. turning to the nato operation over libya, it has become painfully clear that similar short comings in capability and will have the potential to jeopardize the ability to conduct a sustained campaign. consider the operation of the united protector is a mission that does not involve ground troops under fair to.
and indeed is a mission that is deemed to be in europe's vital interest. to be sure they did meet their initial objectives, de grading gaddafi's ability to wage war against his own citizens, and while the operation has exposed some short comings, it's also shown nato where the opposition is taking the lead with american support. however, while every alliance member voted for the mission, less than half have participated at all and fewer than 1/3 have been willing to participate in the strike mission. frankly many of those sitting on the slines are the most
advanced fighter aircraft are of little use if they do not have the means to strike as a process of part of the integrated campaign. to run the campaign, the nato required targeting specialists, mainly from the u.s. to do the job. adjusting time and personnel that may not always be available in future contingencies. we had an air operation designed to handle more than 300 sore tees a day, laufpblging 150. against a poorly-armed regime? a sparsly-populated country, yet many of our allies are running short of knew anythings requiring the u.s. to make up the difference.
in the past i worried about nato turning into a two-tier alliance, those with a peacekeeping mission and those conducting the hard combat mission. those willing to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance's commitments and those who enjoy the in my opinion of nato membership be they whoever that content want to share the risks and the costs. this is no longer aalal hypothetical worry. we are we are there and much of it stems from an herea of lack of resources and austerity. the budget in absolute terms as a share of economic output have been adequately starved for adequate funding for some time. with the short fall compounding on themselves every year.
despite the commands of the mission in afghanistan, the first hot war fought in nato history, it declined by nearly 15% in the decade since 9/11. furthermore rising personnel costs combined with equipping afghan deployment has -- the result is that investments for future modernization and other capabilities not directly related to afghanistan are being squeezed out as we are seeing today over libya. i am the latest in a string of secretaries who have urged privately and up wardly to meet agreed-upon decisions for defense spending. however, political and demographic reality make this unlikely to happen anytime soon
as even military styles like the u.k. have been forced to ratchet back. today just five of 28 allies, the u.s., u.k., france, greece along with albania exceed 2% g.d.p. spending on defense. regretfully, but realistically, the situation is highly unlikely to change. the relevant challenge for us today, therefore, is no longer the total of defense spending by these allies, but how these the dwindling resources are allocated, and for what priorities? while some have funded military that do not meet the 2% threshold, some have managed to punch well above their weight because of the way they use the resources they have. in the libyan operation, they have provided 12% of allied
strike aircraft and yet have struck about 1/3 of the targets. del whichmen and canada are also making contributions to the strike mission. these countries have and their constrained resources found a way to do the training and buy the equipment and field the forms to make a military -- a military constitution. and despite need support ongoing missions, as has been evidenced, too many allies have been unwilling to fundamentally change how they set priorities and allocate resources. the non-u.s. nato members collectively spend -- annually on defense which is allocated -- if allocated wisely and strategically could provide much more.
instead the results are significantly less than the sum of the parts. the -- ensuring -- looking ahead, to avoid the very real possibility of collecting military irrelevance, we must approach new ways of combat capability in procurement and logistics and sustainment. while it's clear the military should do more, initiatives are not a pan aas ia. in the final analysis there's no -- for resources necessary to have the military capability the alliance needs when faced with the security challenge. ultimately nations must be responsible for their fair share of the common defense. so let me conclude with some thoughts about the political
context. as you all know, america's serious fiscal situation is now putting pressure on our defense budget. and we are in the process of assessing whether the u.s. can or cannot accept more risk as a result of reducing the size of our military. tough choices lie ahead. they affect every part of our government. and during such times, it will inevitably fall on the cost of overseas commitments, from foreign assistance to military basing and support and guarantees. president obama and i believe that despite the budget pressures, it would be a grave mistake for the u.s. to withdraw on its global responsibilities. and in singapore i outlined where the investment in asia is sthrite grow in the coming years even as the traditional allies in that region regularly take on the role of full narns their own defense.
with respect to europe, for the better part of the decade, there has been little doubt or debate in the united states about their value and the necessity of the transatlantic alliance. after being twice devastated by wars requiring american intervention was evident. they could justify defense and investments and costly forward basis that made up roughly 507 of all nato military spending. at a time when the politically painful budget and cuts are being considered at home. the blunt realeds reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the united states congress and in
the american body part at large. on behalf of nations that are unwilling to de vote to necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense. nations a apparently willing and eager for american taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in european defense budgets. indeed the current trends in the decline of european defense capabilities are not halted and reversed. future u.s. leaders, those for whom the cold war was not the formtive experience it was for me, may not consider the return on america's investment in nato worth the cost. what i've sketched out is a real possibility for a dim if not dismal future for the transatlantic alliance. such a future is not
impossible. but it is inevitable. it's well within our means to halt and reverse these trends and instead produce a very different future by making an effort to prevent the efforts from being gutted in future austerity measures and reallocating the resources we do have and by following the commitment we have to the alliance and to each other. it's not too late for europe to get its defense institutions and relationships back on track, but it will take leadership from political leaders and policymakers on this continent. it cannot be cokesed, demanded or imposed from across the atlantaic. or the like of the transatlantaic alliance there's been no shortage of setbacks, but through it all we managed to get the big things right over time and made the tough decisions in the face of