tv Newsmakers CSPAN April 14, 2013 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
>> about this and where do we go from here? >> i'm very concerned about it, and it wasn't classified. he stressed that in this question, that that was not classified. and i think it was new information to us, and they said in the report that there were -- they felt moderately secure that what they were -- that they felt like they had the information. >> i think it's a game changer if, in fact, it's real. i mean, you know, sometimes you don't always get it right with the intelligence, but i think with what's happening right now there in korea, that just makes it that much more difficult. >> that's why i want to raise the question, because the white house came out and issued a statement that said look, the intelligence agencies don't always agree about this, in fact, the white house does not believe they've been able to miniaturize -- that's a huge
step, to take the missiles -- they said the rest of the intelligence committee doesn't agree with it and lasty, 29005 story, claiming di hafplt had north korea de militarized. eventually they may be right but wondering if you're a little concerned as to how this was released, and the timing of the release, whether somebody is trying to play some games here. >> that's always a problem here in washington. i mean, you never had anybody leak anything to you, i'm sure, either of you, but you would like to, and you try to get information. that's what i do. i think however way we got the information is something we should be paying attention to. it's serious. even without that information
, we're in serious confrontation there. i am happy that secretary kerry did what he did. he is in korea, he's going to china, he's going to japan. i think it's been a very proactive secretary since he was sworn in. he's been to afghanistan working on the sba there, which i think is crucial, so i'm real happy with what he's doing. but you know, this is a touch and go thing. none of us knows what this young leader in korea would do. and i think the thing that we have to remember is that south korea has a new young leader that has made commitments, and when they sunk that ship, korea, the south, said that's the last time, next time they do something, we're going to respond, so i know general fuhrman has his hands full. >> phi could follow on that. >> sure. >> most generals and admirals
you talk to, it depends on, expect north ye contra-- north korea to do another ballistic missile test of some kind and how should the u.s. respond? a few years ago, carter, he wrote an op-ed in the post saying that the north koreans put a ballistic missile on the launchpad, we should take it out with a fire. we've got to take a harder line to discourage this kind of aggressive behavior on their part. how should the u.s. should respond, if the north koreans do another ballistic missile test? >> you know, i don't want to -- the commander in chief is going to make the decision of what to do. the military will give him options. item not the president, i don't have that responsibility, that arbgts and i don't want to get out in front of any decisions that he might make.
i do think, and i've said this before, not just in this assistance, our whole post you're in the world, i think we have to be careful about setting red lines and moving them, and then moving them, and that has happened in the past. not just with this administration. but i think when you do that, you encourage people to move forward. i compare nations to individuals. and in fact, i was just meeting with some of our top military leaders, and i asked them if any of them had reared children. of course, they all have. and i said did the push ever -- children ever push you, as they all do, and that's human nature. you push until finally, you get stopped. and so that may be an action that should be taken. remember when we didn't go take out -- and take out iran
and the israelis dipped. sometimes it's best to take action. >> do you think the obama administration has been too accommodating with the koreans? the bush administration got the same criticism and this cycle comes up again and again, the north koreans, they back out, give us some clue, give us some aid, and we'll chock the nuclear program and inevitably, it comes back. >> historically, we can see that. i mean, go back to the concessions that were given to hitler. he just felt like he could keep going and going and going, and finally, you have to take action. i think it's better to take action earlier rather than later. >> you said earlier that this new assessment, this intelligence report that was brought out in your committee hearing, that that's a game
changer. what about the current game? >> if in fact it's reality, and we really don't know, because you -- >> well, what about the current game? the administration's strategy right now, what do you think needs to be changed? in general. >> you mean their whole defense status? >> when it comes to north korea. >> well, i think you have to be very careful that when you say something, you don't back away from it. and i think we have shown a propensity to do that. as you said, not just this administration, other administrations have done that. and what happens around the world, these -- everybody watches us. they see us going back -- pulling back our defense spending, they see us pulling back on commitment. i won't say commitment. we haven't done that yet that
i'm aware of. but we've pulled back. we had a big fight in '09 over missile defense. and we lost that fight. the administration cut missile defense. now with korea's latest a. they've reversed that. secretary hagel said no, we are going to move forward and put those missiles in the silos in alaska. i was happy to see that. i think we should have been moving forward on that back in 2009. one of the things that bothers me about all this is the president has more knowledge than any of us. and i think he knows what a crucial state we're in. not just korea. that's the one that's on the front page right now. but iran hasn't stopped. they keep talking and keep moving. the whole middle east. china is increasing their defense spending. we've got very -- i mean,
syria, you know, these are things that are happening all around the world, and yet, the president sent us up a budget yesterday that cuts 100 -- well there, are different numbers. the number the secretary used, $150 billion more out of defense over the next nine years. and i think that at some point, we need to be very careful. what is the breaking point? when are we taking too much risk? and you know, his emphasis on changing -- and this is why i asked about strategy, because up until a year ago we had a strategy since world war ii to be able to fight two major conflicts at the same time. well, when they made these -- at the time, it was going to be like 450. those cuts have gone to $487 billion, that we've cut out of defense, on top of the $78 billion cut under secretary gates.
those are pretty big cuts. and secretary panetta, the president, changed our strategy, so we would be able to fight one and do a holding action. and now, when we went through the hearing process that dempsey determined, joint chiefs of staff, we can't cut anymore out of defense and a week ago, secretary hagel said we're going to have to revise our strategy again. so we have strategy from world war ii to a year ago, and changes it, now we're going to change it again, and in response to money, instead of the threat, and -- >> we'll take it down to the budget in a second. you mentioned north korea, you know, we have the issue going on with north korea, we had concerns about iran for a long time. now you have democrats and republicans in the senate who are instigating for military action in syria, that have
70,000 some odd people in syria killed, now it's time to act. i haven't heard you speech much on syria and i'd like to get your take and what should be happening in syria. we talked about lines and what are the lines to syria from the united states. >> i think if we still had a robust military that we could go willy nilly, wherever there's a problem, that we would be in a better position to take action i'm very reluctant to commit our military anywhere right now given what we're doing in these budget cuts. you know, you cut 78 billion, you cut 487 billion, and throw the sequestration on top of that. this year, this chairman of joint chiefs and the chiefs of the services involved --
they've all been there less than two, three years, none have ever had a budget. they've punched it under a cr. this year has been totally upside down with the cr and the $487 billion cuts and the sequestration, everything coming at one time. what had happened, and this is my number one concern, we have troops fighting in afghanistan, right now, that are in danger, every single day, and we have troops that are training to go over there in the next deployment and the next deployment, and they are not giving adequate training right now. they are not getting the training that the troops that are over there right now had. and now you're talking lives. >> mr. chairman, again, we'll talk more about budgets, again, but this is a good time to ask about afghanistan. you brought that up this week on the hill about how long the u.s. is going to keep its
troops there in terms of an agreement with the afghan government. >> right. >> bilateral strategic forces agreement. are we seeing the same kind of thing that happened in iraq, where we're unable to come to an agreement on troop immunity and groups in afghanistan that might require us to pull out our forces out by next year? >> it's a very big concern that i have. i just came back. i was over there a few weeks ago. and we went -- we were having our briefings on saturday. they are long days, you're only there two days, so you really have to use your time, and one of the early briefings we were in, general gumfort wasn't scheduled. he came in early and gave us a briefing, and he pretty well laid things out where the war effort is going pretty good. we've turned over 80 percent of operations to the afghans, and a couple of areas,
they've divided the countries into six areas, we have afghans in charge in those areas, and the americans are moving back to advisory positions, and back. he said that is all moving very well, by may, we should be able to turn just about all of the operations to the afghans, but his number one priority is this bilateral -- >> well, if the war plans are going as we draw them up and the afghans are doing more of the fighting, why is it -- reaching an agreement with karzai, for 2000 troops after two years of war. >> i sat in with the secretary and joint chairman of chiefs, i would push to come out with a number now. one of the things that happened in iraq, i met with
-- he was like defense minister, a member of their parliament, probably in august of 2011, and this is what we talked about. and i've said, you know, the number i was using was 20,000. he was using 20,000. we both thought that was a good number. and his question was if we asked for 20,000, will you say yes. i said yeah, we've already agreed to it. it's in your bill that we're pushing for. but you need to make a commitment now, because we have to plan. you can't come up to december 15th and say okay, everybody, you're leaving town tomorrow. >> talking about 20,000 u.s. or 20,000 nato writ large? >> we were talking 20,000, but i was talking u.s. we're in iraq, okay? >> what do you think the odds are by the end of 2014 there will be no agreement and we'll have to pull everybody out? >> i don't want to say what the odds are.
>> why not? >> because i have no idea. and i don't want to do anything that would departmentnize -- that would jeopardize it. i think after that briefing, to me, that was the most important thing to come out, was -- with secretary hagel, i said i would sure like to visit with him and they said the schedules were all planned, but he came the next day and we had a good discussion, and i don't know how he changed his schedule to make it work out, but he did. and we were in total agreement on that. and he was going to meet with karzai the next day. i think general pinford is great, admiral cunningham. i think they're a good team. i think all of the chips are in place to make it happen, and i asked at this meeting at the pentagon, i asked what -- that's my first question, how are we proceeding on this agreement. they said the president had
talked to karzai the day before and told him, you know, we need to get this done now. i'm saying get it done this spring, the downside, what we would lose, all of what we've invested there, the blood and treasure that have gone into it, it would be tragic. and i saw real positive things on my trip to afghanistan. this was the most positive. we've made really good gains there. you don't hear about it. what we hear about here are the tragedy, the suicide bombers. i mean, they blew one up as we arrived at i.f. headquarters.
but i see a positive future if we can get this agreement and leave the status of forces there so they can provide enough security. the taliban can't beat the afghans. they don't have the numbers, they don't have the ability, with the great progress in training the afghan military but we need to be there and advise. >> you don't think the taliban -- we haven't been able to defeat the taliban. why do you think the government could with us gone? >> i think with we are defeating the taliban. that doesn't mean they're not going to be able to set off a suicide bomber. i don't think it's going to be totally as peaceful as, say, washington, d.c. >> when you were there, i mean, secretary hagel was targeted. >> right. well, i don't know -- >> during his visit. >> of that half a mile from
where they were, and they killed seven people? >> the middle of the capitol. >> and i think that that will probably continue. but they're not going to be able to come in and control the government. that's what i'm talking about. they're not going to be able to gain control like they did, so that those terrorists that train and prepare for attack on us, not like 9/11. >> you're positive of that. >> yeah. >> that they cont -- won't be able to retake power and karzai and his sector will be able to maintain control? >> they will have all the tools they need, but if we do not stay there and back them up, and that's the taliban's stance, they're leaving, they're leaving, that's why i'm saying this agreement is so important to get done sooner, rather than later. karzai has his own political problems he has to deal with, so you've not head of state dealing with head of state and again, you come down to
people, individual people, and there are certain important things that need to be done and need to be in that agreement, and if he waits too long, if he overplays his hand, we could end up like iraq and that would be disastrous. >> we have a little more than five minutes left. go ahead, frank. >> it's interesting, i want to get to the budget. i would love to talk more about red lines. but -- >> we could spend a few more hours. >> we could. but let's talk a little about the budget. you've heard the budget. we are in the post-sequester period here and that means that there's tremendous stress on force right now, the readiness, the training, that needs to go on, that isn't happening, deployments aren't happening, ships aren't being put in place in hot spots, we're starting to feel what the sequester is like. >> it's not just sequester. remember, we had 487 that just kicked in this year. four hundred eighty-seven of
that, that's billion, out of defense. >> i understand that. but you're facing tough questions in this budget, you're facing benefits that would be slashed. i mean, modest, but still slashed over a five year period that would impact -- >> well, maybe a cut. >> if you look at what a military person pays for health care benefit versus what you pay for health benefit as we talked about, it's a pretty radical difference. >> state what that is so people -- when you state radical, different, we pay more. >> right. >> i don't want -- >> at lof -- a lot of people think congress gets everything for free. we pay four # $50 a month, they pay about 350 a year. >> but you have issues in the military now, benefits issues in the military, and what you heard hale say yesterday, robert hale, the comptroller -- >> on thursday. >> on thursday, pardon me, was you have problems with readiness, so you're going to have to consider things that
seem to be theurld realm. also talking about base closures. these are issues for congressmen in districts all over the united states. but where do you go? i want to get your take on whether you're willing to accept the closures, whether you're willing to accept retiree benefits, the enrollment fees and so forth being increased. where do you stand on these things? >> i think we're going to have to look at everything. i'm not in favor of base closures. what they will tell us is that in the long run, they save money. we haven't realized a savings yet, to my knowledge, from the last base closure in 2005. we have a short problem right now and bracs bought money in the short run. when you're talking readiness, you're talking short term dollars, when
you're talking about. rac, you're talking long term savings. and i think we have to really look at that carefully. it is the third rail, and getting a brac passed is -- would be very tough through this congress right now. >> and brac for those that don't know, we're talking about closing bases. >> right. and it gets very complicated, because bring troops home, reduce the size of the military, why do you need all the bases. well, i think it's something we need to look at, but -- >> they've taken 100,000 troops out of the force, more people believe it's going to be much higher than that ultimately. it's pretty hard to justify the -- >> it is like about 180,000, just out of the army. >> how do you justify not shutting facilities down, then? >> well, it depends, if you're bringing troops home
from germany and from other places and where are you taking those troops out of and bringing the troops home from afghanistan, 60,000, where are you going put them? that's -- i'm just saying we don't need to argue about this, we need to look at it. and i think we're in agreement on the fact that when people say everything has to be and the -- on the able, defense has to be on the table and they cut defense, when the defense only accounts for 18 percent of the savings, i think that a lot of comes out of defense, back to brac, back to benefits, all of those things need to be looked at. >> let me stop you one more time, because we're running out of time. i want to ask you, are you whistling past the graveyard on budget proposals? you would talk to talk further about the cap, the ryan plan is $70 billion above the bap. >> for defense. but the front line is the sequestration number. >> but you have to deal with
the senate in this, and we were here last year, in the same place. i'm wondering -- >> when you say cad what -- cap, what do you mean? >> the budget control act, the law passed that set limits for how much defense can spend, congress and the president agreed to this, and these limits on spending are going to -- they're going to cause problems. budgets are being proposed that exceed those caps which could trigger across the board cuts that we just went through. >> the white house budget does not exceed the overall cap. we voted on the sequestration, it's the same top line. but where we run into the problem, as we do in the ryan budget, which i support strongly, because i think the response building -- responsibility we have as congress is to provide for the fiscal responsibility. that's our number one priority. that should be funded at a greater degree than we are.
it does put numbers back in that we're taking out from sequestration. does not make up -- make up the difference for the $487 billion that we've already cut. that's gone. >> okay. so where i think we're going to run into real problems, and i've been telling people, let's wait -- the military leaders i've been meeting with, right now we're feeling really good, we passed a budget, senate passed a budget, president gave us the budget and all have the same number for defense, but the senate has a higher top line, the president has a higher top line, and he has increased taxes, so we're so far away from a deal that right now, people are talking about gun control, immigration, things -- the financial problems, we're going to have a debt ceiling, things that we've got to worry about, we're going to worry about when do we take the budget out of the budget and give it to the appropriator, they have to
pass a bill given the numbers they are given. the numbers in the house will be different than the numbers in the senate. i see a few months from now, september 30th, it looming and the same fights we've been through. so i think the president in his budget did make a move on some of the mandatory spending effort that i've been calling for, because he talked about a balanced approach and we haven't done anything about mandatory, which is the real problem. because if you eliminate all the discretionary spending, we still have a half trillion dollars deficit annually. >> mr. chairman, sorry to interrupt. we're running out of time. i would like to hear your secretary of -- opinion of secretary hagueen, chuck hagel. it's been on the job for a couple of months now. you were very critical of him, with those in your party , how would you rate the job he is doing? >> i'd probably give him an a.
>> really? why? >> i feel very good at about him at this point. you're asking me a month into his administration. >> but you've been working directly with him now. >> let me tell you a couple of things. he called me when he was nominated. i didn't know him. i didn't have a vote. but he would ask me what my concerns were. i told him, we discussed them i have not found him to be -- to be saying one thing and doing a different thing. i did opposed him when i watched the hearings, i didn't think he did well in those hearings, and my concerns weren't alleviated. i opposed him. didn't mean anything. but he called -- i was going to call him to congrat congratulate him, he called me first to say hey, you know, i'm the secretary, we're going to be working together, i want to reach out. i thought that was -- i mean,
around here, you know, that's not a normal thing. and i went to his swearing in, i listened to what he said, i thought he was -- i liked his demeanor, i liked what he says, and i like the way he's acting. and then how he changed the schedule to meet with me in afghanistan, he came over to my office, i think we had a half hour scheduled, i think it was 45 minutes, i had to leave to go vote. we were still talking. everything i asked him about, he was knowledgable. i get the feeling he's very comfortable with himself. you know, he doesn't have to -- >> right. sounds like he's winning you over! >> i'll tell you, i've just been very impressed. when he first -- in the missile defense, it's -- i felt good about that