tv Washington This Week CSPAN October 25, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT
but it is, as the saying used to go, it's a hell of a way to run a railroad. >> well, thank you very much, dr. gates, for your extraordinary service to the nation. thank you. >> general sessions. >> thank you, dr. gates. thank you for your service. i would add my compliments to those of predecessor -- prior speakers that i believe you represent one of the best defense secretaries the nation's ever had. i know you served with dedication, put the nation's interest first, you put the defense department first. some of your former cabinet colleagues put secretary of health first and education first and roads first, so we got pleased from every department agency and we don't have as much money as we like. so the crisis we've entered on the budget process is
essentially that the president of the united states has said, you republicans care about defense. you're not getting any more money for defence unless i get more money for nondefense. that's a big conflict. so the process we move forward met the defense department's request and president's request for defense but has not met nondefense increases, all of which on defense and nondefense are barred. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac
really tried to work with us more than anyone else has. 1961, 51% of the budget. now it is 15%. that is a problem. it is the lowest percentage since world war ii, but that is not the problem we are addressing today. what we are talking about is the tooth and the tail. hagel suckedtary to shrink the headquarters and major combat command staff. secretary carter indicated a
target 20% reduction of the staff during his time as to be secretary and in august of this year, the deputy defense costtary ward said reductions at major headquarters ordering reparations for a 25% cut and appropriations from 2017 to 2020. there is a lot of language in their that says this is what we need to do. to think about something that has not been brought up yet. the observation that i have made a long time ago. that is the problem you have with bureaucracies in general. they don't want to get smaller, they want to grow. every time it seems, that there
is a bureaucracy that has to reduce its overhead, that is what we are talking about today, they will cherry pick something that they do that the public is so concerned about. i have introduced and passed legislation that addresses the faa and the treatment of general aviation. with reams and reams of jura kratz from that -- of bureaucrats from that department lobbying for their staff. in 1990ook at the faa, the total number of islets that they regulated -- of pilots that they regulated was 625. today it is 593. so, the workload is actually reduced.
in 2000, their budget is $9.9 from nined it grew point $9 billion to $16.6 billion. that is an increase of $67 billion. what do they do every time there is some kind of an effort by me, or something else talking about how it is an inflated iraq or see that does not have the same workload but their budget is the 7% more. -- 67% more. so what do they reduce? things that scare people. the number of controllers out there. give you a lot of examples but i don't have to because i know that you know this. so what is the way to handle
leaveeven though i had to to another committee hearing, i suspect that part was not brought up. what are your thoughts? >> just so happen senator in january i have a new book coming out that specifically addresses the subtitle, lessons on change and reform from 50 years of public service and it is how you lead and change big bureaucracies. and how you bring about change and one of the elements in that book, for example, is how to use a real of budget stringency to change the way that an organization does its business. opportunity for a leader determined to change things and make them better because you don't have enough money to do all the things you have been doing and therefore you have to think about how to do it differently. programs in af
four-month. $180 billionwith in overhead cuts in the defense department over a multiyear. . -- over a multiyear. period. senator kaine will recall the reaction when i shuttered joint forces command in norfolk. virginiae entire delegation in my office. >> and the then governor. >> and the vendor -- and the then governor. the point i am trying to make is, we cut $80 billion out of the defense department generally, but what i assigned the services to do was to fund $100 billion in cuts on their
own. what i did was, with the approval of the president was to tell him, if you find what hundred billion dollars. if you meet the target i have given you. if you can show me new military capabilities or expanded military page capabilities, i will give you the money back to invest in those. they were incentivized. it wasn't a zero-sum game where anything they identified, they would lose. but if you force them to address and tale into the issue created of penalties if they did not achieve the goals but an incentive to find and be successful. what are the things goes to what the committee is addressing. as part of the exercise we took an initial swipe at senior
leadership and this is one of the things you start and you never know if it can out, we proposed cutting 50 general officer positions. and i think that twice that number of senior civilian positions. thingn do this, but the that it requires whether it is the faa or the defense department or anything else, it requires the person in charge to monitor it almost daily and to make sure that people are doing what they said they signed up to do or the assignment they were given.
you cannot tell him i want you to cut $25 million and then one week later asking how he is doing. you can make these things work. that is kind of the thesis of the book, how do you do that, because it clearly is not done very often and one of the things i did and for which this committee expressed a great deal of appreciation at the time was actually holding people accountable. people get fired in washington all the time for doing things wrong. anybody gets fired for not doing their job well enough. rare, someone getting fired because they did not do their job well enough. >> my time is expired but that is a great answer to that question. and i have a chapter in my book on this, too. >> i hope they are available on
audio. [laughter] thank you, mr. chairman. dr. gates, thank you for your very strong statement about congress's responsibility to govern through compromise. we have been wrestling with very negative impacts so my hope is that there will be a compromise that will achieve sequester relief for both sides in both segments because national security is more than just defense. i am not trying to lecture you because i respect your views. you mentioned during the cold war that we had a broad strategy about containment. with all of the conflicts that continue to arise in the middle east, you did note that we are in an environment where many of these conflicts are unpredictable, that we do not
have a strategy like a strategy in the middle east. i think that after our decade-long experience in iraq and afghanistan, that there is a desire that boots on the ground in the middle east should not be u.s. boots. number ofat flows a what i would consider a strategic kind of decision. reasons be one of the that our unwillingness to put our own boots on the ground in the middle east maybe one of them, would you consider that, perhaps not a strategic decision that one from which so much flows from our response to what goes on in the middle east deco -- east? >> when it comes to something that specific, it would be a
mistake to have in essence a one size fits all that says from pakistan to morocco, the united states will have no boots on the ground. example, we, as one have 600 sets of boots inside i bopart in sinai as part -- ots on the ground in sinai. >> we are talking combat and long-term. >> my point is, we need to begin to make some distinctions. you can have boots on the ground as long as they are not in combat. so does that allow advisory work. is, the first thing about a strategy is identifying, what are our interests. what are we trying to protect,
what are we trying to prevent from happening. then, you work back from those answers into the tactics by which he tried to accomplish those broader objectives or that broader strategy. i think that the solutions, particularly where the situations are so complex in the middle east where you have multiple different kinds of conflicts, the solution for each country or each part of the problem may be different. but you do need an overarching strategy that tells you what are we trying to achieve out here. a negative int here, what we think we have modest it is to be very about our ability to shape events in that part of the world. it doesn't mean we should stay out.
it doesn't mean we should do nothing, but we also want to make sure that our strategy doesn't include grandiose objectives that are fundamentally unachievable. >> perhaps one of the areas where we do have what i would consider a strategy is in the asia-pacific area, would you agree that is a strategy? >> despite going back several presidents, we have had several presidents during their campaign take one position toward china, and when they became china, the adjusted. havenk that while we don't an explicit bipartisan agreement on strategy in asia, i think there is a broad agreement across both parties, the leaders of --h parties, in terms
maybe except one or two presidential candidates about what our strategy on to be in asia. i guess i fundamentally agree. it is more implicit than explicit but i think there is a pretty broad bipartisan agreement on the role we ought to play. senator ernst? >> thank you for being here. i appreciate your service to the nation in your many capacities. your sex -- successful in getting drawn so that field to support our war fighters. to do that, even while we were undergoing sustained ground combat, you had to fight the bureaucracy at the pentagon to achieve that. so, we are glad that you did
that. and you took the steps to make sure the war fighters were protected. left,raid that, after you it has resorted back to the same old, same old. i would like to see more pushback. but for the example, the army has spent 10 years trying to figure out how to buy a new handgun. item with a total cost of $500 per item. 10 1/2 years, or half a dozen industry days later the army produces a 351-page request for proposal. 351 pages for a handgun.
because of the bureaucracy and the lack of responsiveness to anyone who isn't engaged in the special operations arena, our soldiers have handguns that are over 30 years old and in recent surveys they have stated that they absolutely hate those small arms. what should congress could to get the army to fix this mess for small arms that our soldiers need on the ground in a time of war. dr. gates: it seems to me -- my friends in the army are not going to like my answer, but -- i think -- what it is about is calling the secretary of the
army and the chief of staff of the army and the chief of acquisitions to city table and ask that question. why is it taking you guys 10 years? this is absurd. why is it a 350-page r.f.p.? it's a handgun for god's sake. again, i always come back to the same theme. most bureaucracies have stifling effect. it's just in the culture, it's in the d.n.a. and what is required are disrupters. and if you have people in senior positions who are not disrupters, you need to make them into disrupters. and the way you do that is by holding them personally accountable. senator ernst: i appreciate that, thank you. i like that answer. i don't know why they wouldn't. i think you're right on there. i would like to talk a little bit about the middle east as well. in the past you have called for a safe haven to help end the
humanitarian disaster in syria. i'd like to direct my attention to iraq because we do have a humanitarian disaster in iraq as well. i believe we have a safe haven there, which is iraqi kurdistan. they have taken in nearly 1.6 million refugees. many of them are christians. and our k.r.g. friends who are providing that safe haven, they are really unequipped to provide for the influx of all those folks. the peshmerga are also fighting with limited resources against an enemy which seems to have an endless supply of weapons and other types of equipment to include many weapons procured through various processes from the united states. whether that's simply picking items up off the ground that have been left behind by other security forces.
how important, in your opinion, has the u.s. relationship with the iraqi kurds been for our country and for the d.o.d. over the past quarter of a century? dr. gates: i think it's a very important relationship. i think it's worth noting that the chairman of the joint chiefs is either there right now or just been there. my view is that one of the things we ought to be -- i said this in an interview and i probably was a little more blunt than i should have been, but i think that the idea of training indigenous fighters outside of a country and then reinfiltrating them was probably never going to work. i think one of the things that
could work is to identify groups, particularly tribes and ethnic groups, that have shown they are prepared to defend their own territory against isis and provide weapons to those tribes and those religious groups. they may not fight in iraq or outside of their own turf against isis, but they may well fight to the death to protect their own homeland, their own villages, and so on. so finding those groups and arming them at least begins to contain isis and flenlts with a diverse number of enemies that make it difficult for them to further expand their activities. i would include above all among those groups the kurds. senator ernst: thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair.
senator mccain: that's what the anbar awakening was about. my crack staff tells me the army specified everything the handgun needed to do including comply with the current bore brush, but they didn't specify what caliber the weapon should -- governor kaine. senator kaine: thank you, senator. thank you, to you, dr. gates, for your service. we have a special affection for you because of your service to your alma mater, william and mary. i want to focus on the last bit of your testimony which is what congress can do better. in particular we have a hearing right now in the budget
committee about federal budget reform. you testified that, i think, only two years during the years that you were the secdef that you were dealing with an appropriations bill on the first day of the fiscal year. otherwise you were dealing with c.r.'s. you and your colleagues in the secretary of defense dealt with c.r.'s. you dealt with sequestration. you dealt with furloughs. you dealt with threats of all of the above. you dealt with brinksmanship over debt ceiling limitations. you dealt with a high degree of uncertainty as you're planning what scenario do i run in terms of the resources that i'll have? will i have -- we have to absorb the full sequester, budget caps? talk a little bit about the strategic challenge that it
presents to the entire defense mission of the united states when you're dealing with the degree of congressional budgetary uncertainty that we have seen in the nation in the past number of years. dr. gates: as i said in my comments, we have an appropriations bill at the beginning of the fiscal year, twice in the last 10 years, and believe me it was, i think, probably in the ninth and 10th year ago. i submitted through the president five budgets to the congress as secretary, and never once had an appropriation at the beginning of the fiscal year. the problem is you then have to straight line your spending, you have to adjust all of your spending because you can't spend -- you can't start anything new, you can't spend anything more on anything, and then you get several months into the fiscal year and all of a sudden you've got money. so instead of disbursing the money over a 12-month period in a rational and planned way, you have to hurry up at the end of the fiscal year. when you get a cut of 30% in the operations budget, half way through the fiscal year, which is what happened in 20 sp, because of sequestration -- in 2013 because of sequestration, that's when you end up with a third of the air force active
duty fighter wings grounded. that's when you didn't have the money to deploy the harry s. truman to the persian gulf. those are the very real consequences. and this uncertainty ripples down to every level. so what you have are commanders at lower levels not wanting to get caught short so they are very conservative in the way they spend their money. because they don't know what's going to happen. so you have less training, less exercises, less maintenance. these are all the things that can be put off and they are being put off. the backlog of maintenance in the navy, for example, is becoming huge. but it's because of this uncertainty of when we are going to get something. i mentioned in my prepared
statement often in a program in a development of a program, when you move from one year to the next, you create the opportunity to significantly ramp up production. when you ramp up the numbers, the costs go down. you lose those opportunities if you don't have the money to ramp up because you don't know whether you're going to have the resources to do that, or even the authority, if you've got a continuing resolution. so it has a huge ripple effect, even a continuing resolution, a huge ripple effect throughout this entire giant organization. i used to say when testifying up
here, i said you guys expect me -- i've got the biggest supertanker in the world and you expect me to run it like a skiff. and that's just impossible. senator kaine: let me compare your uncertainty. if he start of your testimony you talked about there can be a conventional wisdom you challenge, i know the world is more uncertain now, more dangerous than it's been, you walked through from world war ii to today and you pointed out decade by decade the challenges. while we may not be able to
predict the next challenge, that there will be challenges. you've testified that you don't think the o.c.o. account is particularly good. it seems to me the mission of national defense is probably in real terms kind of more threatened by uncertainty here than uncertainty in the world. bad things are going to the happen in the world and we know it and we're not necessarily going to stop that. we can predict that they will
even if we can't predict the particular one. the uncertainty that we can fix here is the uncertainty of our own budgetary dysfunction. dr. gates: i sometimes say when i'm talking to groups at universities, i get asked, what's the biggest threat to the national security of the united states? i say fundamentally and i'm not kidding, it can be found within the two square miles that encompasses the capitol building and the white house. if we can't begin to address some of the tough problems facing this country, there is no single foreign threat that is more dangerous to the future of the united states than that. senator kaine: thank you, dr. gates. senator mccain: when you have the c.r.'s and sequestration that you mentioned and the uncertainty that it breeds, doesn't it over time have a significant effect on morale and retention? dr. gates: absolutely. and i think if bob hale, who was referenced earlier, who was comptroller while i was secretary, bob wrote an article about the consequences for morale about all these changes and uncertainty and so on. people just get discouraged. i mean, they do all this planning, and then it all comes to naught. and i told general odierno and general amos before i left, i said, my biggest worry is how you -- as these wars ramp down is how you have given these young officers and n.c.o.'s amazing independence and opportunity to be entrepreneurial, innovative and thoughtful and out there on their own doing amazing things is really the captains and the n.c.o.'s wars. i said, and if you bring them back to the pentagon and put them in a cubicle you're going to lose them. you're going to lose the best of these young people. i think the continuing uncertainty about the future -- i mean, pilots join the air force to fly.
people join the army to drive tanks and other equipment. people join the navy to go to sea, and when you tell them you're not going to train as much as you thought you were, you're not going to fly, you're not going to sail, you're not going to drive as much as you thought you were, i think there is a real risk that these uncertainties will lead to a bleeding out of some of the most innovative and desirable young people we have in the military who just frankly get fed up. senator mccain: senator ayotte. senator ayotte: thank you, chairman. thank you, dr. gates, for your incredible record of service to our country. i certainly hope as you have rightly said to us today that we can come together to address sequester with a budget agreement that is going to make sure you have that certainty and that our men and women in uniform have that given the challenges we are facing around the world so they can plan and make the right decisions that need to be made to make sure that the nation is safe. i want to shift gears a little
bit and ask on a topic, first of all, that i noticed an op-ed that you and secretary -- former secretary of state condoleezza rice wrote recently on the situation in russia and the engagement that russia is taking in syria to keep assad in power in cooperation with the iranians. and wanted to ask your thought process about as we look at what russia is doing right now what you think that their goals are and also what you think we should be taking as steps. we recently had testimony before this committee from general keane and general jones, both very distinguished retired
generals, and one thing they said really struck me that they believe that if we continue the current course with our interactions with russia they believe it could be the end of nato if nato doesn't further step up, also, to help address, not only this -- we think about what's happening in syria but also the situation with ukraine and what is happening in that region. so i wanted to get your thoughts on russia and where you think we should be stepping up. dr. gates: well, i had a number of opportunities to interact with mr. putin when i was secretary. we actually had an interesting relationship because of our respective backgrounds in intelligence. i would sometimes remind him i was deputy director of c.i.a. when he was a lieutenant colonel serving in southern east germany. what putin has been most impacted by, in my view, was the collapse of not just the soviet union but the russian empire. russia's borders today are roughly what they were when catherine the great was emperoress. ukraine has been part of the russian empire for a very long time. putin is all about lost power, lost glory, lost empire. and he's not crazy. he is very much an opportunityist. i think he has two basic strategic objectives.
the first is to restore russia to great power status so that no problem in the world can be addressed without russia's involvement and without russia's agreement. and the second is, as old as the russian empire itself is to create a buffer of states friendly on the periphery of russia. and if he can't create friendly states then frozen states where the west can no longer expand its influence and russia can hold -- have at least a barrier and that's what's happened, if you will, in eastern ukraine. so i think those are his objectives and i think he will be very opportunistic in pressing those optives but at the same time -- objectives but at the same time i don't think he's a manned man.
if he encounters resistance, he will hesitate. he will pull back. and so i think he has seen an opportunity to cement russia's position in the middle east through helping assad. i don't think, as condi and i said in the op-ed, he's not particularly sentimental when it comes time for assad to go. putin will be happy to throw him overboard when it's convenient as long as russia has another person coming in who will be attentive to their interests and allow them to keep the naval base at tartus and their military position in syria. so the question then is, what do you do about this? and i think that -- and i guess one other thing i would add, also in the back ever putin's
heads, if he sees opportunities, if he has the opportunity to poke the united states in the eye he will never miss that opportunity. so the question is, how do you -- where do you resist him? where do you push? and frankly, in ukraine putin has escalation control. he has -- he has a lot more forces on the ukrainian border than we or nato can put on the opposite side or are willing to put. we also happen to have a pretty dysfunctional government in kiev which makes our trying to help them even more difficult. so the question is then, where do you have the chance to establish some limits? and it seems to me one of those places where he's at the end of
a long supply line and we have some real assets is in the middle east. and i think that there is an opportunity to draw some lines in syria that -- let me frame it another way. i think we should decide what we want to do in syria, whether it's a safe haven or anything else, and basically say, just tell the russians, this is what we're going to do. stay out of the way. and if it's a safe haven and it's in an area that doesn't threaten assad's hold on power, then it seems to me that the chances of then challenging us are significantly reduced. but at a certain point -- first of all, i think we need to stop talking about whether these actions make them look weak or he doesn't know what he's doing or whatever. i think he knows exactly what
he's doing. and at least in the short to medium term, he's being successful at it. senator ayotte: thank you. senator mccain: fortunately he's in a quagmire. senator king. senator king: doctor, welcome. it's a delight. your testimony has been provocative in many ways. in fact, my first comment is you talked about the usia. we abolished it in 1998 and now its successor agencies, according to my quick calculations, about half the budget it had and yet one of the reasons we're having such a
problem with isis is we're losing the war of public opinion, particularly in the middle east. that was a in retrospect a strategic error in terms of our ability to combat the idea which is a very important part of this conflict. would you agree? dr. gates: totally. i would run into people from pakistan to morocco and elsewhere and they would say they learned to speak english in a usai library.
we had a library in virtually every city of the world. these guys would go as kids and said we went there because it was the only building in town that had air conditioning. they learned to speak english but they also learned something about america. and these libraries and these activities were very important. obviously during the cold war we had all these capabilities, and it wasn't just usai. the soy had a huge covert propaganda going on. we infiltrated millions of miniaturizes of the gulag archipelago into the soviet union over years and it was a complementary overt and covert policy that extended the reach of the message that the united states wanted to communicate to
other countries extraordinarily, and what we have now is a pale reflection of all of that. senator king: and that's essential the element of war we are in now. dr. gates: absolutely. senator king: second point, you talked about how to fix the bureaucracy and what you were really talking about was leadership. organizational structure you can mess around with, you can change, and then we talked about the budget process. here we can change things, have a biennial budget, a different budget. we have a budget process -- pass authorization bills and then pass appropriations bills. we don't do it. wouldn't you agree it's really a failure of leadership, it's not
a failure of structure or good intentions? dr. gates: it is -- it is a failure of politicians to do politics. politics is about leadership but also about making choices and making decisions. you know, one of my favorite churchill quotes is having the ear to the ground is an awkward position which to lead. senator king: going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. [laughter] senator king: we had a very interesting hearing last week on the aircraft carrier and overruns. as we got into the subject, it became apparent that one of the problems was trying to cram a lot of new technology into an asset that's going to have to last 40 or 50 years. you can say the same thing about the f-35 or other new weapon systems. how do we deal with the problem of new technology which involves risk which involves time which involves mistakes and rework and yet we can't afford to be building obsolete weapon systems? do you see the challenge? dr. gates: well, i think -- let me use an example from when i was secretary. i stopped one new bomber program because i thought it was headed down the wrong path. and i ultimately, before i left, approved the next generation bomber that the air force is bringing before you all, but i told them that they had to design it with a couple things in mind. first of all, they needed to be able -- we didn't want to repeat the b-1 or the b-2 bomber where, because we kept reducing the buy we ended up with 20 of them and so they ended up costing $2 billion apiece. so when we lost one on guam, that's 5% of our bomber force, and it's $2 billion. so i said, you got to build it, you got to design it so you can buy at least 100. and you have to keep the cost --
you have to start with technology that you understand. so your colleague was talking about off-the-shelf hardware. i think if you look at the b-52 -- i was born and grew up in wichita. they built the b-52 when i was in elementary school and middle school. and they're still flying. now, there's not much original left in the b-2, but the point is those planes were built in such a way that we have been able to enhance their capabilities as new technology has come along for decades. that's what we need to do with the next generation bomber. it needs to be something we know we can get off the ground for a reasonable price and then as new technologies become available integrate them into that system. whether you can do that with an
aircraft carrier -- i got into a huge amount of trouble with the navy league several years ago when i made the mistake of telling them at their meeting we ought to think long and hard about the long-term missions of aircraft carriers. and particularly as china was working on their anti-axis area denial capabilities. but i think we need to think about these systems more in terms of how we can get the best technology we can that we have available, that we know works, build it and then enhance it as we go along. that may not get you the most tremendously advanced capability, but you'll have a larger number. i mean, one of the reasons the navy ships are down so far is
because each ship has become incredibly expensive. you know, old line is, well, we had a lot of quality. i mean, there's a lot of technological capability in these things. another one of my favorite quotes from an unlikely source is joseph stalin who once said, at a certain point quantity has a quality all of its own. and it goes to the chairman's point, you can't have the same aircraft carrier in the persian gulf and the south china sea at the same time. so we got to figure out a way, you know, having the most advanced technological whatever in the world doesn't help you much if you can only afford to build 20 of them.
so better to have something that has somewhat less capability where you might be able to build hundreds. senator king: and modularize it in some way so you can upgreat, i think that's an important concept. thank you. appreciate it. senator mccain: in the defense bill, we do require studies on other platforms, maybe not do away with a carrier but certainly the dependency on one company building it as part of i think contributes to the overrun problem. i think you would agree, dr. gates. dr. gates: absence of competition is never good. senator mccain: senator cotton. senator cotton: secretary gates, thank you very much for your lifetime service to this country. your actions saved hundreds if not thousands of troops of lives in iraq and afghanistan. appreciate it. in those many years as a leader and america's national security establishment, can you recall a time when our strategic interests were as threatened as they are today across the year
asian supercontinent? dr. gates: i think we have -- as mentioned at the very beginning of my remarks -- every decade has had a variety of challenges. i think it's fair to say we not had as many challenges in as many and widespread parts of the world as we do today that the occasions that that has happened have been pretty rare, i think. senator cotton: the one country that spans across the entire continent that has a global interest, you might say, like the united states is russia. given some of russia's recent provocations, not just in europe but in the middle east, do you think as part of defense reform we should relook at our basing structures in europe to include the possibility of moving permanently stationed troops to the front lines of nato, the baltics if not poland? dr. gates: i think that -- i think we need to increase -- first of all, let me say i agree
with the steps that have been taken to increase the presence of nato and u.s. forces in eastern europe, particularly in poland and in the baltic states. i think the idea of having equipment sets, as the pentagon is thinking about, has a lot of merit in terms of having the equipment already prepositioned in europe. i think i would -- i think i would work very closely with our nato partners in terms of the wisdom of having permanent u.s. bases in poland or in the baltic states. there is always the risk of taking a step too far and creating a consequence that you were trying to prevent in the
first place. and as in the case of eastern ukraine, the russians have a lot more capability and a lot shorter supply lines in that area than we do, but i think enhancing the defensive patrolling out of the -- air patrolling out of the baltic states, challenging russian aircraft when they come up and go beyond where they should go and having regular exercises in eastern europe, the truth is putin has provoked all of this. our allies, when i was secretary back in 2008, 2009 when we would propose -- when the united states would propose having an exercise in poland or in the baltic states, our nato -- our nato counterparts wanted no part
of it. so one of the things putin has achieved is to create enough alarm in europe that our allies are now willing to participate with us in those kinds of forward operations. so i guess what i'm saying, i totally support advanced kit being over there. i totally support the rotational presence and increased presence of our forces and our nato forces on a rotational basis. i think whether you want to go to permanent bases is a tougher question.
senator cotton: another thing that vladimir putin has done, especially in the last month, display some of his advances in missile technology to go along with the things he has made. the united states has accused of russia in violation of the nuclear forces treaty. given that vladimir putin already has nuclear weapons that hold all of europe at risk, why do you think he would be considering developing such a missile, what does that tell us about the way he conceives his nuclear strategy as part of this overall security strategy? dr. gates: russian defense minister as early as 2007 approached me about doing away with the i.n.f. treaty. and he said, the irony is the united states and russia are the only countries that cannot have intermediate range missiles. he said, now, of course, if we do away with it, we would not put those missiles in the west. we'll put them in the south and in the east. meaning iran and china. i wasn't sure i believed that at the time. but -- so they've been interested in getting out of this treaty for several years, and just as we unilaterally walked away from the a.b.n. treaty early in the second bush administration it would not
surprise me in the least to see russia walk away from the i.n.f. treaty and have the opportunity to deploy more of these missiles. senator cotton: should we, a, consider their offer and abrogate the i.n.f. treaty and, b, regardless, should we consider the begin of new nuclear warheads that would be smaller, more versatile to counter the threat that vladimir putin is beginning to pose? dr. gates: theoretically my answer would be yes but i would say practically speaking i spent virtually the entire 4 1/2 years that i was secretary of defense trying to get the executive -- first, the executive branch and then the congress to figure out a way to modernize the nuclear weapons we already have. that effort was a signal failure. so until -- if i have to have a priority on developing nuclear weapons, it would be to modernize the ones we already have to make them safer and more reliable rather than building new ones. senator cotton: thank you. senator mccain: senator
donnelly. senator donnelly: thank you, chairman, and doctor, so much. as some with our b-52 crews recently, they enjoy flying them as much as ever and we want to thank you, also, because you are also a member of the indiana university family. and we are very, very proud of that fact. i wanted to talk to you for a second about some of the after-effects of so many of the battles we have been in and that is the veterans administration and the work together with the department of defense. and we've had glitches. things like sharing health records, aligning the drug formularies when the handoff comes, matching up disability ratings. and i was wondering if in your time do you have any recommendation -- that you've learned any recommendations you have for us that can help make that transition better, that can help make d.o.d. and v.a. work together better? any gives you saw that you think, look, it still exists, how do we take care of this? dr. gates: i saw a lot of glitches. as i've said, if there's one bureaucracy in washington that
may be even more intractable than d.o.d. it's v.a., and i would find repeatedly -- and i worked with two secretaries of v.a. that i thought were of very high caliber people. and they were very intent on helping veterans. the problem was that when we would meet, we and our deputies would meet and we'd agree to do things, it would all fall apart the second he and i weren't on top of it. and i -- this is one case where i think i was better able in defense department to make sure things got done, but in v.a. and particularly under secretary shinseki, i just had the feeling that he was sort of on the bridge of the ship and he had the big wheel in his hands but all the cables below the wheel had been cut off to every other part of the organization and he was just spinning the wheel. we worked on electronic records, and frankly, a lot has been accomplished. not nearly as much as could have been, but i've just -- i had the feeling, first of all, these bureaucracies were at each other's throats over whose computer program they were going to use -- v.a.'s or d.o.d.'s, and we'd go back and forth on this and we'd get briefings and
so on and so forth. so i think the bottom line answer is to reaffirm what everybody knows, that is there are huge problems in dealing with these veterans' issues. my objective had been, i wanted the transition to -- for, let's say a soldier to be seamless when he passed from d.o.d. into v.a.'s hands because it was all done electronically and so on. and unfortunately we're just say -- we're just not there. i mean, my own view on these issues -- and i'm not an expert on veterans affairs -- but i think the idea of if you can't get an appointment at a v.a. hospital within a reasonable period of time, then you're automatically granted a voucher to get help from a -- from somebody in the private sector. so that you will uck actually get treated quickly.
but v.a. was as unprepared for long protracted wars as the department of defense was. they were dealing with basically their youngest people they were dealing with mostly were vietnam era people. so people -- the chairman reece and my age. and all of a sudden they had this gigantic influx of young men, mainly, who were grievously wounded and would need help for years. senator donnelly: let me talk about one area you dealt with is trying to reduce suicide in active duty military. one of the areas that we're pushing on as well is to try to move decisionmaking down to
platoon leaders and others who deal every day with the soldier. do you have any additional recommendations that you think could make a difference in reducing the suicide rate? dr. gates: one of the things that we discovered -- and my guess is it hasn't improved much since i left -- as we went out to hire a significant number of mental health professionals to work in our hospitals, to work with wounded warrior units, warrior transition units and so on, there basically weren't
enough of those professionals for able to -- for us to access to be able to make as big a dent in the problem as we wanted. one of the ideas that i had that frankly i never got the chance to push was that just as -- just as there is legislation that if a young man or woman goes to medical school and is willing to commit to some years of service in the military, the military will pay for their medical education. one thing you all might look at is whether that could be extended to mental health professionals as well. and it would be a twofer for the country. first of all, it would give the military more of these assets that we need, and so we could have people at almost every base and post but when they leave the military, fill a very real need in american society as a whole. senator donnelly: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccain: we'll take that
suggestion onboard, mr. secretary. senator lee. senator lee: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, dr. gates, for being with us. i think you are somewhat uniquely qualified based on your experience as secretary of defense to testify and to give us advice on issues related to reform within the pentagon. we appreciate your service and your willingness to come back today. even though as you note in your book, it's not your favorite thing to testify at these hearings and i can't blame you. a lot of military analysts have lamented at some length the growth over the past two or three decades of what they sometimes refer to as the military bureaucracy, referring, of course, to support staff and headquarter staff, whether they be uniform, civilian, contractors or a combination of the -- all of the above. and that a lot of this occurs -- this growth occurs at the expense of the military's core
operational forces. so in other words we get a lot of growth, a lot of movement but not necessarily forward progress bus because we're not growing the military that does the work that the military's there to do. how much of this growth in headquarters and support services occurred as the united states became involved in the wars in afghanistan and iraq? dr. gates: well, as your question implies, it began before those wars, but i think that the amount of money that began to flow to the department of defense after 9/11 really, really removed any constraints for hiring additional people. so one of the things that -- as you're probably aware, couple of our commanders got into a lot of trouble by giving interviews to various press outlets. they got them into trouble with
the president. well, what i discovered is that several of these commands had gone out and hired contractors to provide them with public relations advice. this was not something that seemed to me that a combatant commander needed, but i -- senator lee: at least not for the purpose of fighting wars. dr. gates: so in 2010 we put some various severe constraints on -- in fact, we froze contractor -- the number of contractors and then put some -- put restrictions in place that would require the different parts of the department, begin reducing the amount of contractors. we also tried, as part of the overhead effort in 19 -- in 2010 when we found the $180 billion in savings in overhead, the measures that we were taking included a number of cutbacks in terms of headquarter staffing. i mentioned earlier we had a, as part of that plan, cutting 50 general officer slots. one of the things we discovered had been a grade creep so that where you might have a three star commander of the air force in europe at one time you now had a four star so how do you
push that back down because they all have, you know, if you go from three to four stars you get more staff and so on and so forth? i think we have a pretty good idea of how we can go after those kinds of -- that kind of overhead, but it requires, as i suggested earlier, it requires a continuing pressure on the institution and accountability of, you know, you said you were going to cut x number, have you done it? and if not, why not? senator lee: how about the -- how are these issues, meaning the relationship between the size of the d.o.d. bureaucracy, how is the size of the d.o.d. bureaucracy related to the scope of the missions that we've become involved in around the
world? in other words, if the united states were to take either a more involved or a less involved role in addressing various crises around the world, what affect might that have on the headquarters and support structures for the military services in combat and commands? dr. gates: i think when it comes to headquarters, whichever way it went you could cut the numbers. senator lee: if you are taking a more involved or less involved role? so it need not leslie follow from a decision to get involved in a particular conflict that we have to grow the pentagon, that we have to grow the support staff or the military bureaucracy to a corresponding degree? dr. gates: that's my belief. senator lee: thank you, mr. chairman. senator cotton: senator blumenthal.
senator blumenthal: thank you, senator and secretary gates. thank you for your continuing service now. i wonder if you could talk a little bit about the connectivity between the department of defense and the v.a.. and i know this was an issue very much on your mind when you were secretary. from what you've seen, has there been improvement, for example, in the transfer of medical records, in the services that are provided to our military men and women when they are about to leave the military, could you give us your assessment? dr. gates: senator, we were
beginning to make some headway on sharing electronic health records when i left. in all honesty, this is the area in the four years since i've been gone that i'm not aware of what's actually been done under my successors and with v.a., i would hope the progress has continued, but i must say just based on what i read in the newspapers and what i hear from various veterans as i go around the country, i worry that they don't see a lot of improvement. senator blumenthal: i think you worry for good reason so i appreciate that you do not have the same kind of access or involvement but i think your instinct and your observations are well taken that in many ways there has been very little progress in the years since you've left. and i think that the
institutional barriers to progress really have to be broken down and reformed. we hear about reform. as i think you have observed probably in this very room on repeated occasions, nothing more important as a resource than the men and women who serve with all the equipment and the organization at the end of the day it's really the rewards and incentives that we provide to our military men and women and the transition to civilian life is part of what we owe them and afterward the education and skill training and health care that they need. from your -- from your last four years in the civilian world, do you have any observation about how well our schools are doing in accommodating the needs of our veterans? dr. gates: as in the public schools or higher education? senator blumenthal: higher
education. dr. gates: higher education. so i have affiliations with several universities. i'm the chancellor at the college of william and mary. i was president at texas a&m so i get down there from time to time. we have a community college in our local -- in our local town in washington state, and just taking those three examples, i think that these -- i think many universities and community colleges over the past few years have made extraordinary strides in reaching out to veterans. all three of the institutions that i just described have space allocated for veterans organizations. a lounge where veterans can go and relax together on campus. programs to help veterans. ways to get veterans together to give mutual reinforcement so that men and women who've been in combat in iraq and afghanistan have somebody to talk to other than an 18-year-old that just graduated from high school. i have the sense -- i read in the papers about all the scandals in terms of misuse of v.a. funds and so on, but i think in terms of some of the for-profit schools and so on, but my experience and what i've
heard anecdotally, i talk to various universities from the most elite universities to the biggest public universities, i have the sense that they're totally unlike vietnam. these campuses are bending over backward to make veterans welcome and to -- and to help make them successful. senator blumenthal: thank you. i say your observation, i think, also are aligned with mine anecdotally, i don't have numbers or statistics but peer-to-peer relationship and veteran-to-veteran programs where veterans can provide relationships and crisis intervention i think are increasingly common. plus, the oasis program you described where veterans can go
and find other veterans increasingly common as well. so thank you for being here today. dr. gates: thank you. senator cotton: senator cruz. senator cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates, welcome. thank you for being here. thank you for your many, many decades of distinguished service to our nation and also to my home state of texas. it's very good to see you. dr. gates: thank you. senator cruz: i want to start by talking with you about morale in the military, which is a concern that troubles me greatly. the military times did a survey in 2009. they asked soldiers whether the overall quality of life is good or excellent. in 2009, 91% of soldiers said yes. in 2014, that number had dropped from 91% to 56%.
likewise, they ask whether senior military leadership had their best interest at heart. in 2009, 53% of soldiers agreed with that statement. in 2014, that number dropped in half to roughly 27%. do you share my concerns about declining morale in the military? and if so, what do you see as the cause of these challenges? dr. gates: i don't have any statistics, but i do have the sense that there is a morale problem, and i think it is -- i think it's due to several things. first of all, i think it is due to the substantial and growing cutbacks in the number of men and women in the military. so people in the military now are less confident that they will be allowed to remain in the military, that in the force reductions they will be turned out in essence, be fired. and particularly for those who
have some years in and probably have families, concerns about what they will do if because of force downsizing they end up out in the civilian world again. i think there's a morale problem that derives from a lot of the budgetary uncertainty in the sense that as i suggested earlier, people who joined the military to fly airplanes, sail on ships or drive tanks are finding they don't have the same opportunities to do that anymore. that's the stuff that made it fun and that was one of the things that encouraged them to stay. so i think that these and the budgetary uncertainties and so on are all part of a
challenge for our young men and women in uniform. and then the final one that i mentioned just a few minutes ago and that is you go particularly the ground forces. you go from mostly young men who have been out in iraq and afghanistan and on these deployments, they have this great sense of camaraderie and brotherhood with their fellow soldiers and marines, they've been given a lot of opportunity to operate independently and in an entrepreneurial way and be innovative and so on and they're being brought back and put in cubicles and asked to do power points. so i think all those things together probably are having a real impact on morale. senator cruz: you know, in my view another factor that's contributing, in addition to everyone you just -- every one you just discussed, is having a commander in chief that fails to
set clear objectives. in particular, an objective of winning clearly indecisive military conflicts that we are engaged. in your book "duty," you stated that president obama didn't appear to believe that his own strategy for afghanistan and the middle east would work. is that still a concern you share? dr. gates: well, what i wrote about and what concerned me was that my belief that if a commander in chief or a secretary of defense is going to send a young man or a young woman into harm's way, they need to be able to explain to that young person in uniform why that mission is important, why the cause is noble and just why their sacrifice is worthwhile. and that was, i think, the easiest way to put it, that was not a speech i heard the president give. senator cruz: sadly it was not. one final question.
the budget request that you proposed in fiscal year 2012 called for $650 billion in the base budget for fiscal year 2016. that was the last pentagon budget that was directly derived from the threats we face. by any measure, the world i believe has become much more dangerous today than it was in 2012. do you agree with that assessment, and do you view that baseline of $615 billion as a reasonable baseline given the growing threats in the world? dr. gates: i would say i've been out of this for four years but i would say certainly the number of challenges that we face in a variety of places in the world are more complex and more difficult than when i put
together that f.y. 2012 budget. i have seen several assessments by analytical groups that i respect that are nonpartisan that basically say that the congress and the administration should go back to that f.y. 2012 budget as a base for going forward. and i respect the views of those who say that and i therefore think that probably would be a good idea. senator cruz: thank you very much. senator cotton: mr. secretary, if you said at the beginning, the least sin share is mr. chairman, i'm ready for your questions. perhaps the least welcomed statement is i have a few more questions. just two, though. when we were talking earlier you
said that theoretically you think we would need to modernize our nuclear warheads, build new ones, maybe smaller, more versatile. that's a debate we can have. but practically you had the devil's own time of just modernizing the warheads that we had. why do you think that is? dr. gates: well, to be honest about it, there's a great deal of resistance both within the administration, this administration and here on the hill to allocating the funds for modernizing our nuclear enterprise. at a time when the -- sort of the political aspiration is to get rid of nuclear weapons, the -- it was seen as the u.s. trying to improve or enhance our nuclear capabilities. when in reality what we were
proposing was not any additional nuclear weapons but simply rather trying make the ones that we already have more reliable and safer than the very old designs that we have deployed today. it's a very expensive proposition but i actually allocated within the defense budget about $4.5 billion that would go to the nuclear enterprise at the department of energy. but at the end of the day it all fell apart but it was part of the deal actually that was made with the passage of the most recent strategic arms agreement, part of the deal that was made was that we would modernize a good bit of the nuclear enterprise in exchange for support of going with the newest arms control agreement. the trouble is to the best of my
knowledge, and i say i've been gone four years, to the best of my knowledge there is no forward progress on that modernization effort. senator cotton: since you pursued that effort given the political head winds you think there are things more important than a safe, reliable nuclear deterrent for the president to have. dr. gates: there is nothing more important than that. senator cotton: the goldwater-nichols act improved the quality of strategy policy plans and military advice for civilian leaders. do you think the organization set up by goldwater-nichols provide you with the best possible ideas, options and advice while you were secretary of defense? dr. gates: i would say that the policy papers and the planning that i received both from the office -- from the undersecretary for policy under both president bush and president obama were first rate
led -- that organization was led under president bush by eric edelman, by michelle under president obama. and i thought i got very high quality work from them. on the military side, i got very good planning and very good advice from the joint staff and from the combatant commanders. i think that the one place where the gap between resources and strategy begins to diverge is every four years when we do the quadrennial defense review. and too often the quadrennial defense review, which is kind of what our strategy ought to be to implement what our military approach ought to be to implementing the president's national security strategy gets divorced from the budget realities. and therefore i think that reduces the value of the quadrennial defense review. and we did the one in 2010.
we tried to bring those two back closer together, but we didn't entirely succeed. senator cotton: thank you. mr. secretary, thank you, snot just from me but on behalf of all my colleagues and the citizens we serve but most importantly the men and women of our armed forces who you led 4 1/2 years at war and whose lives you saved. this hearing is adjourned. dr. gates: thank you. \[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] \[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> in his weekly address, the president outlined his issues on climate change.
pres. obama: hello everybody. our country is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. from lush forests and landscapes teaming with wildlife. it is our responsibility to protect these treasures for previous -- future generations, just as previous generations protected them for us. i am setting aside 260 million acres of land and waters. last month, we announced 11 states had come together with ranchers and industry groups to protect the threats to species, without jeopardizing local economies. two weeks ago, we announced we are creating one new marine century on the potomac in maryland, and another in wionsin. part of unprecedented efforts to restore the chesapeake bay, and the great lakes.
we joined a coalition of countries cracking down on illegal fishing that threatened jobs and food security around the globe. i will keep fighting for the things that make america special and the livelihoods of those who depend on them. we will also do what we can to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it is totally. -- too late. we have led by example, lowering carbon emissions. our efforts stepped up in a big way, including this last week, some of our biggest company's made new impacts on the fight against climate. this is how america is leading on the environment. because america is leading by example, 150 countries representing 85% of global emissions, have laid out plans to reduce their levels of the harmful carbon pollution that warms our planet.
the world is to come together and build on these individual commitments with an ambitious, long-term agreement, to protect this earth for our kids. now, congress has to do its job. even this month as the pelicans and congress barely managed -- even this month, as republicans in congress barely managed to keep the government open, they shut down the water conservation fund. it has provided water to 5 million acres of land from priceless parks to landscapes, all without costing the taxpayer dime. nearly every single county in america has benefited from this program. it has bipartisan support in the house and senate. republicans in congress should reauthorize and fund the water conservation fund without delay. as pope francis reminds us so eloquently, this planet is a
gift from god. we should leave it in better shape than we found it. thanks, and have a great weekend. boehner: education on to the a civil right of the 21st century. this week, the american people took another step toward fulfilling that major goal. a small group of republicans and democrats came together to create some thing called the d.c. opportunity scholarship program. it is the only thing in america where the governor of -- federal government allows low income families to choose the schools best for their kids. the program has truly made a difference. over 6000 students have gone to better schools using these scholarships. last spring, 90% of 12th graders in the program graduated. that is much higher than the
city's average graduation rate. of the 1400 students this year, some 87% would otherwise be in a school that the government has identified as a need of improvement. these are the results that parents dream of. there is a reason this is the only program of its kind. our approach gives equal support the public schools, charter schools, and low income families. but the unions and education establishments see school choice as a threat. more than once, the obama administration has tried to eliminate this threat altogether. here is what the status quo does not seem to understand, if you have the resources, you already
understand school choice. but if you are poor, and stuck in a bad neighborhood, your child will not have that chance. to me that is fundamentally unfair. your zip code should not decide your fate. education, can and should be, the great equalizer. i hope the senate will soon follow suit, and we can get to the president's desk. this bill will not solve all the problems in our schools, and it is not designed to. education reform is another big job ahead of us, but this is a chance to keep doing something eating a difference for our kids. if we can't -- making a difference for our kids. if we can do it here, we can do it anywhere. if you come together for the right reasons, good things will happen. thank you, and god bless the greatest nation on the face of the earth, the united states of america. >> today will show you the second half of secretary clinton's appearance before the benghazi committee. it begins at noon et.
♪ wings and dothe not come out too often. this is quite unusual for me, but i want to thank all of you for your friendship and loyal support and for planning this wonderful evening for me. and thank you to the young people for this great welcome. nixonent's and was -- pat was the first republican first lady to address the convention. she made volunteerism her issue. was chief supporter to her husband and her behind the sink -- his behind-the-scenes political advisor. nixon.pat on first ladies, examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady, from martha
washington, to michelle obama. on it caught p.m. et c-span3. c-span has your coverage of the road to the white house 2016 where you will find the candidates, the speeches, the debates, and most importantly, your questions. rugged white our house coverage across the country with our student cam contest. -- our road to the white house coverage of across the country with our student cam contest. giving students the chance to talk about what they want to talk about. c-span.org. now, former president bill clinton speaks at a rally for hillary clinton. it was held outside the auditorium where the candidate spoke at the annual jefferson-jackson dinner.
i don't want to talk long, because i have never been the warm-up act for katy perry before. but i am well aware that i am the warm-up act. i just want to say a couple of things, first of all, the american people in the last six weeks have learned a lot about hillary. what she is for, why she is running and what kind of a president she would be. if they watch saturday night live, they know she is a pretty good bartender, too. it has been an interesting month for our family. seven weeks ago, our granddaughter had her first birthday and then, we celebrated and, thennniversary
we had that amazing debate in las vegas. i have to say that even though i was immensely proud of her and i thought that she did great, i was proud to be a democrat, because i watched five hours of the republican debate. every disagreement our people had was over an issue. every difference of opinion was over this or that course, what would be best for the american people. nobody insulted anybody else, nobody was trying to get people to stop thinking, nobody was trying to denigrate anybody, it may be proud. ago, we hadle days the 11 hour marathon and washington. i will say this.
we had the thrill of a lifetime with all of our friends e-mailing me telling me hillary did great and to every one of them i wrote a simple answer, i think i will vote for her. and here is what i want to say to all of you. hillary has run on for bang issues. -- hillary has run four big issues. making sure the benefits are broadly shared. the people actually have a part -- chance to participate. this guy really thinks that you came to see him, give him a big hand and maybe he will think you got it. thank you. thank you.
[crowd chanting "hillary"] pres. clinton: we got it. thank you. thank you. we got it, will you please quit now? thank you. thank you. give him a hand. [applause] let me tell you something. at least that guy is for something. he didn't come here to badmouth anybody and that is rare enough. i want to tell you things real quick and then we will get on with the show. all the jobs back
that we lost in the crash. we got them back to bank year -- two years earlier than the historic average. normally it takes 10 years. but we do not have the income growth act and we do not have the job security growth back. we do not have the ability to educate people and get them out of crushing debt. where one of nine nations in the world without paid family leave and that is why we only ranked 20th in the world and the percentage of women in the workforce. it is killing us economically. we have denied opportunities. this is about, how do you create broadly shared prosperity. i have reviewed these plans, and one time in 50 years we group together, when i had on a serving you as president. when we had in percentage terms, the bottom 20% group as much as
-- and grew as much as 5%. under president obama, it couldn't happen, because they had to get over that recession. now we have to build on it. we need security to know that you can afford childcare, so they can have access to free kindergarten, so they will not be hurt developmentally and have equal pay for equal work. but nobody who works 40 hours a week works in poverty. to do that, we need to strengthen families, which is why all these family issues are important. and we have to deal with the fact that the political system is dominated by negative strategies designed to get all these smart people, well-paid, to spend hours in rooms staring at screens, looking for the least little thing they can find
that they can turn into a big ad paid for by anonymous donors, saying that this person who was nice is an ogre waiting to destroy you all. we all know what is going on and we have to reject it. if you want to do something about it, you need to realize that the next president will make appointments to the u.s. supreme court. if you want to do something, you need to stop rewarding the strategy of destruction and stock -- start rewarding people who want to rebuild the country. [applause] the last thing i want to say is you are collecting someone -- i see that the a sign -- va sign, you are letting someone to uphold all the duties of the president, including being commander in chief and head of diplomatic forces, somebody who will do his or her best to stop bad things from happening and make more good things happen. the headlines are bad, but the
trim lines are not, there are a lot of good things going on. a fastest growing economy in africa, latin america has upheld democracy against the odds, we're about to go to columbia where we are getting along better. we are working things out with cuba. things are moving in a different direction. so when you elect a president, you need to say, who is the
person most likely to keep bad things from happening and make more good things happen. and we do it together, so we can be part of the future. i do not think there is a question that. -- there. that is what i want you to talk to your friends and neighbors about. that is what i want you to think about at this election, it is about you and your families and your future. look at that man with the va sign, whether you have a veteran in your family or not, there are problems with the the va. we had problems with the va when i was president and we fix them. what happened, we ended up fighting two wars and the number of veterans poured back into america with a number of different health care problems, both mental and physical health. and a lot of those from the vietnam era moved into
retirement years when they needed more health care and the system was overwhelmed without a strategy. the only thing i want to say is i believe progress has been made, but there is more that needs to be done. hillary was the first new yorker to ever be on armed services committee. i have heard countless nights of horror stories of the challenges facing veteran families and what needs to be done. you are hiring the president to do with the big things -- to do the big things right, but you are also fighting for somebody to figure out how health care reform can include mental health, how the people that are left out and behind, including people who are caught up in this prescription drug in harrowing craze that is sweeping across role america, not just big cities.
to deal with parents who have children with autism and to fix things that the nation must fix like the va system. the last point i want to me, this is a job. when i met hillary in law school, there were only 23 women out of 200 students at law school. now more than half the lawyers in the country are women. [applause] she was working in a legal aid clinic. when she got out of school, she did not take a law intern job, she would to work for the children's defense fund. in the early 1970's, she went to georgia and alabama to look into the conditions of poor foster children and african-american
14-year-olds who are in jail as adults, to get them out and get them treatment. when she was a kid, when she came to arkansas to marry me, she opened the first legal aid clinic we had at the university. jimmy carter put her on the legal services board and at 29 years old, the other board members, she is still youngest person to serve at that job. she started and advocacy group for children and parents, she brought a group from israel -- when she was first lady, she oversaw the effort to add children to health insurance, a big expansion of health care until the affordable care act past. she worked with republicans to
get millions of children out of foster care and into homes. when she was a senator, she worked with republicans to help farmers. i would not be surprised in iowa if you see republican farmers from new york show up here. one of them called me the other day and said they wanted to come back, they said they did not know what party she was in -- he was in anymore, saying that she was the own person who did anything for farmers and i want to help her. so, that is the person i know and the person america got to see again without all those barnacles in the debate and in those 11 hours of testimony. and i just want you to know that that is why she still has the best friend she still had in grade school.
anybody whose best friends in grade school are still close to her, sending out pictures of her high school reunion, which she cannot go to, by definition is a trustworthy person. and i want to say one other thing, then i will get off. and you can get on here. there has been a lot of talk about breaking the glass ceiling. [applause] i want to talk about a barrier that has not been broken, allowing you to support hillary for me too. i want to break a ceiling. i am tired of the stranglehold
that women have had on the job of presidential spouse. we are laughing, but this is serious. i would rather be looking to the future in america, than in any other country, but it depends on whether we take politics seriously and stop running each other down and start building this up. you can do that. and there are a lot of young people here, one word to you, you need to show up and your friends need to. one reason why america is so polarized today is that one set of americans show up every time there is an election and then tons of them stay home at the next election, so you have one america electing presidents and another america electing governors, state legislatures, congress, the congressional districts, it is not work that way.
if you want an end to negative politics, stop rewarding it. you need to say, i want to claim my future. i know how hard it is. we have been through things like this before. i am no spring chicken, i have seen it all. i promise you, there is not a better position for this country for the future, than where we are if we have the right leadership and if we decide we will do it together. god bless you. thank you. [applause] [whistling] [cheering] >> three democratic presidential candidates with the speakers last night at the jefferson-jackson dinner in des
moines iowa. clinton,was hillary bernie sanders and martin o'malley. this is about to bang hours -- this is about two hours. >> thank you, please take your seats. before we start back up, can we give a hand to the fabulous event center staff, the catering staff, the bartenders, and the ushers who have been making's -- working so hard to make this successful. i am now honored to welcome our featured speakers this evening. our democratic presidential
candidates. who watched the debate last week? [applause] wasn't it nice to listen to people who know what they are talking about? impassionedghtful, plans for this nation. we are so thankful to have them all here tonight because it is us, iowa democrats who are going housee sure the white continues to move our country forward. let's get started. decades, bernie sanders has been fighting for justice and equality with an unwavering --lingness to stand up [applause]
[cheers and applause] the unwavering willingness to stand up for what is right instead of what is politically expedient. holding wall street accountable and taking on the billionaire class, opposing trade deals that cost american jobs, and speaking out against disastrous wars. this is bernie sanders. his authentic the portrayal of a declining middle class is what is fueling his call for a revolution. over 350,000 people have come to hear him speak, a record-breaking 750,000 individuals have made more than one million contributions averaging about $30 per donation.