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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 28, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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reminds us of the high-stakes of our mission in the middle east. and how grateful we are to americans serving there. we need a strategy and unfortunately we don't have that. what's worse, it appears the administration is not even define the problem correctly. a policy that fails to understand that isil is actually just a symptom of a deeper problem, the struggle for power raging across the middle east, the epicenter that is iraq and syria. that is my isil exists today with the strength that it does. ,e hear it said all the time
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there is no military solution to this problem. that is misleading. the real problem is will achieve nothing. changing those conditions is what the administration is consistently failed to do. instead it is assumed our nation could withdraw from the middle east and avoid the conflict. on those occasions where the administration has felt compelled to respond after the use of chemical weapons or with the rise of isil, and now amid the ii, the administration has address the symptoms of the
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problem rather than the problem itself and made that problem worse. there no clearer example than this than the syrian train and equip program. the fighters can only fight isil, not assaults forces which have slaughtered more syrians then isil has. the administration made no commitment until only recently to provide these forces with any meaningful military support was they returned to syria. after millions of dollars and months of effort the program failed to come to the department original expectations. the president has expressed surprise. it was not a surprise. it was completely predictable and many of us did addictive. only some of who does not understand the real problem, the underlying conflict in syria and
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, couldr does not care to think that we could recruit and train large numbers of sunni syrians to fight only against isil with no promise of coalition assistance if they came under fire from assad's forces. this is tantamount to killing the program because it is destroying trust our syrian allies have entrusted with us. the president now says incredibly the failure of this program the president's , proves he was right for not wanting to do it in the first place. harry truman must be spinning in his grave.
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training effort in iraq has its own challenges. it is déjà vu all over again. we don't have enough u.s. forces to train and advise iraqi units. we are looking the other way as shia militias go on the offensive in the iraqi heartland. we are prohibiting u.s. forces from bowstring their will to fight by advising them in combat were calling in airstrikes. we have learned these lessons just a few years ago. apparently we have to relive the spell years now. for seven years the administration has tried to extract america from the middle east. we are created a massive power vacuum that has been filled by , and and other affiliates i ran on the other hand. now has stepped vladimir putin.
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his intervention in syria began in the ukraine. it allowed to in they are, dictate the terms of a frozen conflict, and pivot to syria. it has confirmed he believes he administration is weak and to putin, weakness is provocative. the administration's response has only made this problem worse. it urged russia not to build up its forces in syria. the administration then tried to iny russia the airspace syria. what has been the result? the number of airstrikes has dropped.
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just as it was starting to show results. the administration scrambled to pin a deacon affliction agreement with the russians that spells out more but we will not do in syria. this agreement means the united states is now moving out of the way and watching as russian aircraft's together with iranian, and has belowground forces attack and kill brave syrians, many are nation has supported and encouraged. this not only harmful, it is immoral. ofmust stop assad's use , we must establish areas in syria where civilians can be safe, and do what is necessary to protect these areas.
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putin is not interested in a negotiated solution that favors u.s. interests. onshould impose real costs russia, not just in syria that everywhere we have leverage to do so. as general petraeus has recently said we must devise a strategy to confront iranian power rather than acquiescing to them. object we cannot bear the course of these actions but consider the costs of our current in action and half measures. mass atrocities will continue. allies and partners will be put at greater risk of existential danger. continue to be destabilizing consumed by the internal challenge of managing the refugees. the cancer viso will grow more potent and spread across the middle east. posing a greater threat to our national security.
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iran will be emboldened in its pursuit of regional ambitions. who will establish russia as a dominant military power in the middle east for the first time in 4 decades and all the while america's credibility and influence will continue to erode. mistake, this is the course we are now on. consequences.he no one believes there are easy answers to the underlying problems in the middle east. this much should be clear. we cannot go on pretending we can somehow avoid these problems are that the current approach of trying to treat the symptoms of the disease rather than its cause will work if only be given more time. policies of gradual escalation never do.
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>> let me join the chairman of welcoming back our guests. the hearings altering the situation in the middle east includes a massive wave of refugees on the ground and in syria. and the deployment recently of s,e new commander of operation s and meetings with saudi arabia. the hearing comes weeks before the g8 20 summit where these issues will be at the forefront. general mcfarlane has been at the issues.
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his arrival comes at a critical time as the coalition campaign requires a reevaluation of our strategy. intermingledaces conflicts, a syrian civil war, proxy war between the gulf states and iran, shia conflict, terrorism fights, and with russian aids, a power struggle. in iraq, they have focused attention on the effort to train security forces. taken as a whole it has not shown the will to make necessary advances in the operation to take ramadi. the political leaders have not made a progress theater in the general broader goal of
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grievances. operation forces demonstrated that such targeted efforts can have success in protecting innocent civilians and degrading isil. they can also result in critical intelligence to support the broader campaign against isil. the time may have come to evaluate them and can be increased, whether our troops need to play a more active role, including by accompanying air forces when direct contact with the enemy is unexpected. forces haven's shown success in northern syria.
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it shows promise for placing additional presser on isil and surrounding areas. this will be a positive development in the broader campaign. the program clearly failed to live up to-expectations. the task force recalibrated the program based on lessons learned and later graduates are having a direct impact in the fight against isil. the coalition cannot succeed in syria without a reliable sunni force on the ground to hold territory a gains. -- territorial gains. it will require the building of trust and contact between the coalition and our new partners on the ground.
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out the secretary and the general will [inaudible] it has the potential to set up another wave of refugees, russia's military operations have obligated the coalition air campaign have the potential to draw the attention of opposition forces away from counter iso-operations. russian operations that negatively impacted the distribution of the humanitarian aid to the syrian people, i hope general mcfarlane will be given the operational flexibility to implement modifications to the campaign against isil. i would be interested in your recommendations for how to ensure general mcfarlane receives the flexibility and support needed to be successful going forward. thank you and i look forward to your testimony. welcome the witnesses.
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members of the committee. thank you for inviting us to come here. this is the first time for me appearing before this committee alongside chairman joe dunford. i am grateful to joe for answering mine and the president's call to step down from what every marine knows is to becomeosition chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. thank you. i'm glad to have him near today. before i return to the subject of the hearing i want to
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reiterate as i have said consistently and continue to believe, washington needs to come together behind a multiyear budget deal supports our defense strategy. the troops and their families, and all elements of american's national security and strength. significant progress was made on this overnight and i'm looking forward to reviewing the details. i welcome this major positive developments and apply the members of this committee for what you are doing to help us get there. ae middle east presents kaleidoscope of challenges. actions everywhere our and strong military posture are guided by what is in america's interest. that is our north star. amid the complexity and uncertainty those interests are to determine aggression, oflders -- bolster security our allies especially israel,
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ensure freedom of navigation, to ,heck iran's malign influence even as we monitor the implementation of the plan of action, and to degrade in ultimately defeat isil. peoplest a threat to our and to friendly countries not only in the middle east but around the world. changesirst outline the in the execution of our strategy that we have considered, and are now pursuing militarily. when i last spoke to this lines of and its nine the central and nonmilitary effort i made three things clear about the military aspects. isil a will deliver lasting defeat.
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that truly lasting success would require enabling capable motivated local forces on the ground recognizing this will take time and new diplomatic energy. execution strategy's can and must be strengthened. all of that is still true. even as the situation continues to evolve and we continue to adapt to execute our plan for more effectively. i would like to elaborate on the third point. we are reinforcing what we know works. the changes we are pursuing can be described by what i call the three r's. mean, i expand what they i took actions to streamline command-and-control of the issa
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military campaign by assigning the entire effort to a single general officer. in the urgency of the early phase of the campaign last year to the layers were added general office already present in iraq. rocco.st are is we have been clear for some time we need to keep up pressure and we will support moderate syrian forces fighting isolate have made territorial gains. he will work overtime to push towards it.
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this will include more strikes against isil high-value targets as intelligence improves. and it's oil enterprise is a critical pillar of the financial infrastructure. i like president obama and members of this committee was disappointed with that program's results. we examine the program this summer and have since changed it. the old approach was to train and equip completely new forces outside of syria, before sending
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them into the fight, the new approach is to work with bedard leaders -- vetted leaders that are already fighting isil and provide equipment and training to them and support their operations with their power. this approach builds on successes. if done in concert all of these actions should help shrink isil's territory into a smaller area for targeting isil. denying this evil movement any safe haven in its suppose it heart land. second r is ramadi. which serves as a critical example of the government's commitment to work with local sunni communities with our help to retake and hold ground for my
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soul. and to build momentum to go northward to mozilla. have begun to use f-16s to support counter operations and have empowered commanders to step forward. as we see more progress to assembling under baghdad's patrol and including sunni elements we are willing to continue to provide more inabilities and fire support to help them succeed. the iraqi government and security forces will have to take certain steps militarily and make sure our progress sticks. more in theee direction of multi-sectarian governments and defense leadership. government 2 the battalions as we provide the
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support iraqi government must ensure it is just to be did effectively. -- effectively. ensure it is distributed effectively. the third and final r is raids. we will not hold back from supporting capable partners and opportunistic attacks against iso-were conducting such activities directly. last week's rescue operation was led by iraqi kurdish forces. heroicallye advisers acted to ensure the overall success of the mission. the death of any service member is a tragedy. his family and
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teammates this week and we offer our condolences to master sergeant wheelers loved ones. we want to support our partners and we will. andhe same time the raid most recently i'll lost or them know that no target is beyond our reach. as we have looked at how to gather momentum in a debt to the changing battlefield some have discussed putting the buffer zone or no-fly zone in syria. there isnalyzed options in the political and military requirements of each. it has raised some challenges which i am prepared to to
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discuss. let me turn to russia's involvement. to be clear we are not cooperating with russia and we're not letting rush impact the pace or scope of our campaign against russia in syria. instead of singularly attacking isil as they said they were going to do they are primarily attacking the syrian opposition as the chairman as noted which fuels the tragic civil war there. their actions suggest a doubling down on their long-standing elationship with the sod -- assad, in attacking moderates who oppose the regime and are essential to serious political transition. they use [inaudible]
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which increases the possibility of civilian casualties. the united states will continue to strengthen our 65 nation global coalition. reached anhave understanding on coalition pilots in syria it will keep prosecuting our campaign unabated. we will keep the door open for russia to contribute to efforts of political solutions which in the final answer, analysis is the only answer of the syrian conflict. i have discussed the military strategy and campaign but before
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in, defeating iso-requires efforts across all of the nine lines of effort. enhancing intelligence collection, disrupting isil's financing, stopping the flow of foreign fighters, providing humanitarian support, and protecting our homeland where other departments and agencies of our government have two lead. thank you. general dunford: thank you for the opportunity to discuss our challenge to the middle east and the military dsi campaign against isil. i have been in my position for four weeks and have reviewed our counter isil campaign. i followed up on a commitment i made to visit the region early in my 10 to get a personal perspective. i visited israel, jordan, and iraq.
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i was impressed on the ouritment of our focus soldiers. the coalitions campaign must reduce iso-'s territorial control, destroy its war fighting capability and undermine its are of aura of invincibility. interdict their lines of communication and denied them sources of revenue. we must support partners on the ground, to season secure isil held terrain. before i became the chairman of leadership across the board recognized the need to increase
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pressure on isil. as with any campaign we are continuing to examine ways to enhance the operations. heisel is a trans regional requiring more. groundditions on the create challenges and opportunities. without a partner on the ground syria has presented the most difficult challenge. we must continue to work with our turkish partners to support the border of syria. must be more aggressive on strikes that will deny access to have revenue. the secretary has addressed the adjustments to the syrian train
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and equip program. in our support, but it will be meeting specific standards. we will look for opportunities to support groups in the northern along the border with jordan. i would like to thank them for their hard work. due to their effort we have a much better understanding of the operating environment and the opportunities. we will be able to leverage their lessons learned. we began to move the campaign by striking a source of revenue for isil. accelerate broader iso-'sefforts against
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economic means. they have continued to work with turkey to secure the border area . we still have some work to do. in iraq we have been frustrated with the pace of operations. there has been recent progress and movement around ramadi and the peshmerga have made progress in the north area after talking to the commanders on the ground we will have an opportunity to reinforce iraqi for us in the days ahead. to be successful in syria and iraq and the issues i have mentioned, we also need to continue to improve how we leverage our capabilities. we will also look for ways to increase the effectiveness of the campaign. themexpect me to bring to all of the options that may
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contribute to our winning the il.ht against iso in closing as i complete my initial assessment of the campaign we have identified and started to implement the initiatives to move the campaign forward. we are not satisfied or complacent about where we are and we will not be satisfied until iso-is -- isil is defeated. thank you very much freight secretary carter, the president's spokesman after it was clear that the arm, train, and equip had failed the president spokesman said the president felt vindicated this program had failed because he never supported it to start with. this was a program that we invested $43 million at least of $500 million program. i'm not sure how many young people were killed in trying to
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implement this failed program. did you feel vindicated when this program failed? secretary carter: i thought that the effort, i want to repeat the the chairman said, general given this program, which was conceived last summer -- secretary carter: i asked if you felt vindicated are not. secretary carter: i was disappointed in it. i wish it had turned out differently. lessons fromng are that and therefore our new approach differs. i can describe the difference between the old and the new, but we think that we have learning lessons from that. mr. mccain: you don't feel vindicated the program failed? secretary carter: i was disappointed the program failed. mr. mccain: the president felt vindicated according to his
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spokesperson. in this change, we're seeing the changes, does that mean that we, these young people that we trained and equipped and sent into a fight that we are going to protect them from being barrel bombed and attacked by russian aircraft? we havey carter: conveyed the same obligation last summer i was before you. rightcain: after bombing now as we speak russian aircraft are bombing moderate syrian forces in syria while we have the conflicted. do you believe we should be protecting those young people? secretary carter: our title x forces have an obligation to protect. we have stated that. mr. mccain: are we protecting them? secretary carter: they are operating -- they have not come under attack. mr. mccain: russia's air has not been attacking? i'm asking about the moderate syrian forces that are there.
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i'm asking the question about equip,hat will train and that are now being bombed by russia. mr. mccain: with wrist -- secretary carter: with forces to the title x the department of defense trains, they have not come under attack. mr. mccain: none of the moderate forces have come under attack? secretary carter: nine our title x program, no. ssad dosians and a attack moderate forces supported by the international coalition and one of the reasons why the russian approaches so -- mr. mccain: are we going to train these young people, rewind us and them into syria to fight, are we going to protect them from being barrel bombed and protected --
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anyone we send in an train we're going to protect? secretary carter: we have an obligation to do that we have made that clear from the beginning. mr. mccain: we haven't done it. i promise you they have. you will have to correct the record. general petraeus and former --and secretary clinton have all stated that they think we should stop the barrel bombing and that we should train and equip, and we should have no-fly zone or aircraft exclusionary zones. i might point out as complicated as it is we were able to do northern watch and southern watch rather successfully in iraq although it is not the same. are you recommending that we ?hould stop the barrel bombing to stop the barrel bombing to
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provide an aircraft exclusionary zone? the innocentrotect civilians that are being driven to refugee status, and the greatest refugee situation since the end of world war ii. general dunford: we have as i the zonecated analyze various times in the humanitarian buffer zones, no-fly zones. i can give you considerations. mr. mccain: and stop the barrel bombing. general dunford: that would be one of the contents of the no-fly zone. i can tell you considerations. mr. mccain: i would like to know whether you supported or not. general dunford: we have not made that recommendation to the president. he has not taken off the table. i can explain some of the reasons for our recommendations. mr. mccain: it is not an issue that has not been examined.
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it has been recommended for years by some of us. have to examine all over again? secretary carter: we have looked at a quite closely. i'm prepared to describe it. mr. mccain: it's an issue that has been on the table for three or four years that i know of. we have received information when general dempsey said it would cost $1 billion a day or something. it is not a new issue. secretary carter: it is not a new issue. it is a substantial issue mr. mccain:. mr. mccain:you should have a position on it. secretary carter: we have not recommended that. we have presented the alternative. mr. mccain: you do not agree with general petraeus, secretary gates, secretary clinton. secretary carter: we do not have a -- mr. mccain: after all these years we do have a concert of operations? secretary carter: that we are prepared to recommend.
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senator reed: you have spoken exclusively about forces trained by the department of defense. you can't title x but there are a lot of titles in the u.s. code. there are other forces on the ground that our coalition trained, that have come under attack by the russians. that is clear. secretary carter: absolutely true. but they have been placed in areas which for many reasons have not been subject to aerial attacks. secretary carter: they are fighting isil. the russians are not. even though they said they were. but the go back. -- let me go back. it has shifted to train individual units to the i
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sil fight to providing some training to the leader and then some support. this is another aspect of approach which i would like to clarify. individualaders, but enablers pride people with technical skills that can go in to the deployed units and provide those skills. is that still being done? secretary carter: that is so part of the approach. the big differences rather than trying to form brand-new units we are identifying units already fighting isil, providing them equipment and as you pointed out, after vetting their leadership, providing them with selected abilities that help enablementge our from the air. the program is
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able to do that and in addition grow not so much units but teams of syrian nationals that can go in as specialists, a whole range of issues. air support, medical support, logistic support and aid. secretary carter: exactly. we are transactional in this. we are giving some equipment, butng how they performed, these are groups that already exist moving in the areas north of rocca is an example of that. secretary carter: you just returned from iraq and you had conversations with the prime minister. reportsre disconcerting of imitations that the intelligence level with the
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russians, what is your latest estimate of that, is it something that was a more political statement or is there actual ongoing real efforts. general dunford: i ask that specific question to all bc -- all the senior leaders. i was assured at every level that would be the case. can i follow up on the train and equip. we suspended the program. i wanted to clarify one point. individuals we previously trained, we are still supporting them when they are in the fight and there i number that are doing the things that you spoke about. support forviding forces fighting isil. reed: we are talking now
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about the syrian arab coalition and training those large groups. when we seen is opportunities we ought to develop operations. mr. reed: both your testimonies highlighted the inability of the government in baghdad to fully support sunni forces. some of that is historic mistrust. from your testimony you are considering having american advisers not at the company level but higher up. one function they could perform
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is to be an honest broker which would allow the payment of troops, the government of magnetic deal they have some control, and demand on behalf of sunni forces they get a fair share. there are four: reasons why you might consider putting forces in a company role. the first is what you are suggesting, to bring campaign coherence. the other is to ensure logistic support is effective. another challenge is situational awareness and intelligence. that would be another advantage of doing that. then the better delivery of combined arms. there are four factors that would be considered. impact,nal or strategic we could reinforce success. that would be the basic framework of which i made a recommendation. to make the record clear there are coalition
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supported an american supported forces that are in syria being attacked by russians aircraft. is that true or false? secretary carter: there are moderate syrian opposition forces in syria supported by the coalition and people that we think are part of serious future and part of the syrian political transition. they are being attacked and that is not iso-and that is why the russian approach -- mr. mccain: and that is why it is immoral to train people m and and fight to go in and watch them being destroyed and maimed and killed. secretary carter: for our part, as i said before this committee we have a moral obligation. making an: you are distinction without a difference for these are american supported and coalition supported men who are going and being slaughtered.
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>> senator cotton is presiding. we will d return to regular order. senate equivalent of staff duty. you talked about are nine lines of effort. not all of those are military lines of effort. secretary carter: that is correct. cotton: who are those non-defense lines of defense? of thery carter: one things i have proposed and secretary kerry has excepted, that he and i meet periodically with the other agency heads to have the other lines of effort. his successor, ambassador mcgurk will be there.
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,hen i look at this campaign since all of these lines of effort, it is necessary to have moving in concerts, we needed a better effort to do that. secretary kerry has agreed to do that with me. we had four meetings. financing,counter before that, foreign fighter flow into the conflict region and out of the conflict region two-year of, around the world. we are addressing messaging, and sil's effortss -- i to recruit people online. there are different dimensions to this that are not military per se but i believe there are opportunities to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts and i have fought to seize those opportunities with
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secretary kerry, now with general dunford, and to make sure all of these different efforts are coordinated. they are all important. the other participants are doing important things. i think the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. that is the intent. cotton: is that a way saying that there is not a single person? secretary carter: there has not been a single person with that responsibility. general à la how the responsibility for assembling the coalition which you did with great skill and to his credit, ambassador mcgurk, we had a broad coalition. assembling the mechanics of all of the nine lines of effort, that is something i am undertaking to do with secretary and we are gathering in the other parties that are involved.
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for an organizational change. a few years ago before the major russian movement in syria the united states government requested iran and iraq close its airspace. how do we transmit that? secretary carter: i do not know the mechanics of that. can i get back to you on that? i simply don't know. mr. cotton: is that something the department of defense would do? the white house? i believe that: would be delivered by ambassador jones in baghdad. mr. cotton: bulgaria accepted it. general dunford: decline the request. mr. cotton: and let russian air
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>> they have limited air capability. >> if the united states government requested airspace over russia, surely they would assist iraq. >> it is a sovereign decision by iraq, we are not an interested in it. you raise an important question. is iraq going to cooperate with -- wrongheaded approach in syria.
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from the primed no uncertain terms, the statement that he will not work with the russians. to bel not allow them partners with iraq in that regard. we are the preferred partners of iraq. the prime minister has repeated those pledges. i only say that because we feel emphatically about receiving those pledges. we intend to have been implemented by private history body.- prime minister of >> i raise it both with the mr. and france and private mr.. -- and prime minister.
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nots assured that they had extended that invitation. they don't intend to extend an invitation to do that. our request renew that they exclude russian aircraft from the airspace. our military should be prepared to help with that. thank you. you.or mccain: thank my question is, what is their in game? theree been bogged down sometime. when i go to west virginia and talk to citizens, -- fax you have to have people feel like they're safe. as the country rebuilds, there are still people there that are basically peaceloving, well educated. we have not made a decision on that. i know that the chairman has asked about that. involvementussia's'
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-- they are more involved in working with iran to have influence in my valuation. you look at the united states come we are more concerned about iphone -- isil. endgame, and the what part will we play in this? unless we take on russia or check russia from what they're are doing, unless we have some type of diplomatic relation with them, i see russia as being in the situation to where they are going to be a major broker in that region. iran seems to be -- if you will -- more influential frs in iraq as far as in iraq and syria.
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isire out there fighting l, we are not protecting the people that put security back into syria. it is a confusing situation. it is hard for us to say what the endgame is. somebody has any explanation for that and tell me what we are trying to accomplish, i would be happy to hear it. >> i will take that, senator. objective paramount is to defeat of isil. >> that is our number one priority. -- on by : they said they would fight isil, that is not what they're doing. this is just fuels the civil war.
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>> the united states and russia has two complete different objectives. secretary carter: they say that. >> they are in line with iran when it comes to protecting assad. secretary carter: iran has office -- has also supported assad. the endgame has to be a transition in which assad is no longer running the country. we would like to see that occur, and as peaceful and promptly as possible. we would like there to be the -- of -- >> is it obviously that russia and iran will have more influence on who the next leader will be then we will? secretary carter: i don't think they could reach their of that -- sure of that. the future of syria will be in the hands of the syrian people.
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many of those are syria moderate opposition leaders who are being forces withassad's russia's health. help.have -- russia's >> have we been able to identify the peaceloving? secretary carter: there is a section. there is all the way through moderate to isil. >> it is so hard to go home and explain our involvement unless we have a no-fly. and protect those who want to be there to rebuild. we will not have much to work with. >> the chairman said something important in his opening comments, i think that is exactly what the military campaign is designed to do. that is to provide leverage. i think what we over president are options that will allow us
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to generate the confidence in the military campaign against isil that will give us leverage. coachese two separate -- approaches. when is we are dealing with is il on the ground. broadere there are political negotiations taking place to determine the future of the transitional government. i think right now it is clear to me what we should be doing on the military side -- that is taking the fight to isil, generating momentum, giving confidence to the campaign. >> of i could talk to the campaign -- chairman. are the rebels or coalition forces, which we are supporting and syria, are they more intent on fighting assad, or isil. >> the individuals we are
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supporting -- specifically those in the north are fighting isil. dunford: even though we do have other groups that are beginning to negotiate in the south. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. rules have always been to submit the statements 24 hours in advance. it is really helpful to us if we can t that. i would ask and future hearings to do that. appreciate the fact that both the chairman and you, secretary carter mentioned by name, josh wheeler. he is from oklahoma. -- heone who is certainly was a hero before all of this happened. by his actions he saved 70 lives
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of hostages and fellow members of the coalition task force. i appreciate very much you talking about him. you are here before, secretary ju, isil still controls much of iraq despite a year of u.s. airstrikes and the loss of ramadi. russia continues military buildup in syria. they began operations to support iraq. beenforces in syria have joined by iranian support forces from lebanon, hezbollah to support the assad regime. they previously directed attacks on u.s. forces in iraq. we talked about the change in the program which i would like you to elaborate on.
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and your statement that we got this morning, secretary carter, you said "to be clear, we are not corporate with russia. we're not letting russia impact the face of our campaign against syria."aq, and last week -- some time ago we had dr. kissinger as a witness, but then last week we had five professors that were there, in one of our early good hearings we had on wednesday or thursday. kissinger when he said, "syria is the latest symptom of a disintegration of the american role in the civilizing the middle east order." do you think that is inconsistent with your statements, secretary carter? secretary carter: i think that the middle east is certainly a
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oncetumultuous -- but again i come back to our role is to protect american interests in that circumstance. whether it be the fight against , our alliances and partnerships with gulf countries, and israel. our posture in the gulf. all of that is intended to protect american interests in the middle east. is the middle east mulch with? -- tumultuous? you bet. >> from what i read, it is not consistent with that. ,hat do you think, general about kissinger's statement? >> what i agree with the former secretary is that we have a critical role to play in the middle east. we have national interest in the middle east.
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we should be decisively engaged in advancing those national interest. ok, i know this is about the middle east, ukraine is another example of what our posture is in that part of the world. a lot of us here were -- i was actually there during last election in october. years, theyme in 96 don't have one communist and their party. that was a pro-western effort. immediately food and started killing them all. -- and started killing them all. do you agree this is the right response? to maintain what you have always perceived to be our role? >> i don't want to be evasive, but i'm not sure it would be
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appropriate for me to comment on a issue of policy. my job is to provide military options to our leadership. in support of policy. >> let me asking the question, what is the status in falluja? >> it is being held by insurgents. that is one of the areas that has been identified for future operations by iraqi security forces. secretary carter, secretary carter, if there is one lesson it seems to me we have -- should have learned in the middle east and north africa by now it's that every time we think it cannot get worse, there is not an in game -- and again, it can.
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saddam hussein gave us a war. in libya we removed a brutal dictator only to see chaos and extremism rain across what can now only loosely be called a country. two reference senator manchin's comments that we need to think about it into game -- and in game. i think about many of our colleagues think the solution in syria is to focus on the removal of the assad regime. rather than the focus on isil. fall, thatme was to could create -- without stability, how confident are you that syria would not slip into a more chaotic date -- state, potentially trending our allies, creating new opportunities for
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, and creating a new wave of refugees that could make the current outpouring look modest? secretary: the endgame we seek , andth the defeat of isil a transition in syria. you are right, the sooner that occurs, the more likely it is that the structures of syrian society are not completely destroyed either time that transition occurs -- by the time that transition occurs. that is why they are trying to get a thought out -- a sod out and now the forces opposing a ssad. the sooner that occurs the better. that is why we are supporting a political transition. at the same time we have to defeat isil. assy point with respect to
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ad, we need to think about what comes next. i believe that he talks that secretary kerry was having with various parties are precisely deciding what the contours of the political settlement would be, and what would come after it. one of the reasons why it is so important that this occur quickly is that the structures of the syrian state will be important to the future. we do not want them to disintegrate entirely. the syrian fueling civil war, which is so wrongheaded. >> with respect to the no-fly zone brought up earlier, what would be the limitations?
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perspective,itary we can implement a no-fly zone. we have the capability to do that. are political, legal, and i diversion of the resources currently fighting isil. those are among the factors we consider we look at the no-fly zone. >> moving back to you, secretary carter, you're in previous appearance before the committee in july, he emphasized that abadi was doing everything he could to recruit sunnis to the fight. do you still feel this way and can you update the committee on the progress or lack of progress . >> it is still true. is recapture of western iraq
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going to require sunni forces that participate, of course that keep the peace after it is one. that is why we are so intent on getting sunni fighters into the fight. the legacy of primus or maliki was to make the armed forces more secretary into the fate of the sunnis. i think that the prime minister is trying, but i think that but honestly they need to do more. if we are going to reverse it, we need to recruit, arm, adequate sunni forces -- equip sunni forces. that is what we are doing with the iraqi forces. that is to be part of the future. the no-fly zone has been studied. i will give you some of the considerations that go into
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that. the president has not taken anything like this off of the table. you asked if we recommended that, we have not. a no-fly zone would be intended forcevent the syrian air , as the chairman said, barrel bombing, or otherwise using air powered boat against the civilian population. where they are doing that is over in the western part of the country, not the area where we are flying in now because we are flying and attacking isil further to the east. that area is protected by the syrian air defense system. if we were to fly there, we would need to deal with the air defense system, which is a substantial undertaking of its own that we have -- as the chairman indicated analyzed. we certainly have capabilities to do.
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be interdicting both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft that are attacking the syrian population. that however most of the civilian casualties forces onby assad's civilians have been from artillery. this would not do anything about artillery, but our airstrikes. we have analyzed it and made the recommendation to do it at this time. i respect people who are making recommendations for these kinds of zones. there are also humanitarian zones which have been referenced also. those are a portion of syria. congregatee could and be protected. zones would be contested
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il, so it would have to be defended. it is a substantial military undertaking. the people who live there would therefore take a ground force helping air forces to a college that -- accomplish that. the people who were protected could be people who lived there, or come i think some people who have moved into turkey, turkey wishes to move back. clear that to keep it safe would require fighting to keep faith. -- it safe. the people who want to terrorize the population would attempt to attack such a zone. you need to think in each case, we have thought through several.
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who is n, who is kept out, and how the enforcement is done. there are arizona's and ground zones come we have considered all of them. there are air-- zones and ground zones that we have considered. >> anything to add, chairman? >> thank you, to my colleagues for letting these jump ahead. right,see if i have this we are going to train people inside of syria to fightisil, rather than outside? equip them outside in train them inside, right? new strategy? . >> that is where they are. >> county and for trying to help. do we still want to replace assad? is that our goal? >> yes. a transition from assad to a
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government of syria that is moderate and together. rice -- smart to let russia fight isil and we stay on? >> russia is not fighting isil. >> that would not be a good idea for us. click senator, i think we need to be engaged in defending our own national interest. i am not confident that russia is effective at doing it. >> i am 1,000,000% with you. are we going to supply air support for the people we trained to fight isil. to the people want to take assad down? cooks the ones that we support now i supportsil. >> today have the goal to take assad down? >> i don't know. >> what do you mean, you don't know? don't you think people in syria d,nt to fight, destroy assa
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is that industry? -- a mystery? is russia going to fight for assad? >> russia is. >> will iran fight for assad? >> they are doing that. >> when the people we trained to turn on assad, which they surely will, we fight with them to replace assad? >> i cannot answer. >> can you answer, secretary carter. that day is coming. where the a scenario people in syria do not take on assad? carter: the people that we are equipping are the people who live and come from isil occupied territory. >> did they want to take assad down?
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secretary carter: for the most part they are focused on -- >> have you asked them? secretary carter: we know what their intent is. it is to fight iosil. >> both of you know the average syrian wants to destroy isil, but they are intent on destroying assad. here is the question for this leverage -- how do we assad leaving when russia is going to fight for him, iran is going to fight for him, has the law is going to fight for him, and we are not going to do a thing to help people taken down. -- take him down. you both know that. when kerry goes to geneva, he is turning syria over to the russians and iranians. is there any credible military threat to assad now that russia, ezbollah, are on
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his side? >> i think the balances of forces are in assad's advantage. >> he is secure as the day is long. this is is what happened, the strategy is falling apart. hezbollah willnd fight for their guy. and we are not going to do a thing for the people who want to change syria for the better by getting rid of the dictator of damascus. do you see a scenario, secretary carter, where we would fight to support an effort to take assad down? we would fight alongside of people who want to take him down? >> that is remotely possible. secretary carter: of our approach to removing assad has been to -- >> doesn't have a military component? -- does it have a military component? secretary carter: our military efforts -- >> are we going to fight with people who want to take assad down?
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are we going to provide military health -- health? the answer is no. let me just end this. if i am assad, this is a good day for me. the government -- american government has said without saying it, that they are not going to fight to replace me. the russians and iranians, and hezbollah, this is a good day for them. their guy has no military credible threat. you tell me what kind of deal will we -- we will get, hope. i am sure we will get a really good deal with this construct. what you have done, gentlemen, along with the president, is you turned syria over to russia and iran. you told the people in syria who have died by the hundreds of thousands, we are more worried about a political settlement than we are about what follows. is is a sad day
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for america and the region will pay hell for this. the arabs will not accept this. the people in syria will not accept this. mccain: since the quorum is present, i ask the committee to consider a list of military pending nominations. these have been before the committee for the required length of time. is there a motion to support these? is there a second. all in favor say i. >> thank you. secretary carter, you stated that the primary objective of our action as you describe this morning is that defeat of isil. i am going to dig into that. engaged against isil. when we were on -- it during
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that week of congressional recess the president sent to congress a war power letter indicating be attachment of 300 american troops to cameron to against thetivities boko haram which has pledged lisa and -- pledged allegiance to isil. have i left countries out that is either isil activity? >> we are watching isil all of the world. as you know, they use the web. we have had, the director has made it clear, americans who have self radicalized. that isa phenomenon around the world -- we're watching -- not just ourselves, but in law enforcement and intelligence circles, that is one of the reasons they need to be defeated. >> in terms of connecticut activities by the military, and my -- kinetic activities by the
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military, am i right that is currently deploying troops to cameron? secretary carter: it depends on what you mean. >> senator, we do not currently have operations ongoing in yemen. we do not have operations against libya against isil. isrsupporting cameron is support. >> we can get you what we are doing in each country. >> i don't want to get into asking about non-title activities that. i think the public record about activities in most countries is playing. we are watching isil in other countries. is it fair to assume, based on your joint national judgment continues to mutate and find adherents in other countries. we may have to contemplate dod
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activity against isil and nations other than those that i mentioned. secretary carter: it could come to that. that is why we need to kill the source. that is in syria and iraq. >> it is fair to assume -- is it fair to assume -- we pray this is not the case, that the death of sergeant wheeler might not be the last death of an american servicemember in this campaign? secretary carter: i think we need to be realistic. positions will be in -- they are right now every day. there are people flying right now. there are people training and advising forces there. they are in harms way, there is no doubt. quickly have lost service personnel before sergeant wheeler, not necessarily in direct combat, but as you say they were in positions of danger
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because of their support for this mission against isil. secretary carter: make no mistake, they are in harms way. >> in your professional judgment , your notion that the primary objective is defeat of isil. how long will it take? secretary carter: it needs to be -- i can't tell you. i think that it needs to be soon. which is why we are so intent on strengthening our effort. that is why we are working with the iraqis and trying to get them to strengthen our training and equipping of the sunni forces. that is why we are prepared to do more with those forces in iraq. the president has indicated that. willingness for the chairman and me to make recommendations in that regard. to enable the sunni forces so they can take back the sunni territories of iraq. in syria it is rocco.
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the coalition forces that are intent to get back to the question -- they want to iraq -- attack rocco. that is occupied by isil. they therefore deserve our risk -- support. >> when you say soon, let's be realistic, are we talking -- with all the countries we mentioned, and your acknowledgment the leader could be more -- are we talking about an effort that is likely to be a multiyear effort? secretary carter: and that is probably the case. the reason is that the strategy is an important part of the strategy. support capable and motivated that can retake and hold territory. that is the only way for a lasting victory.
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it takes time to identify those forces, to motivate those forces, to train them. it depends on the political circumstances in both iraq and syria. it does depend on a political circumstances. ist is not something that anything other than a very real factor there. that is necessary for a lasting defeat. to be defeated, but to stay defeated. the people who live there need to govern themselves and restore peace and order. that is what takes time. to develop forces. it is hard work. that is what we are doing in iraq. it will take some time. >> mr. chair, i will conclude and say that i think that answer about the complexity and the
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fact that this, under any circumstances go to take the time is irrelevant one for us. -- a relevant one for us. the administration that gave the authority to wage this war was based on authorization passed on system or 18th, 2001, before many of us were here. it specifically said the president is authorized to use ,orce against those who planned authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001. i would renew my observation, i think it would be far beyond contemplation to members of congress who voted on that at the time. it is certainly beyond the contemplation of those of us who did not vote at the time that those words would be applying 15 years later to an effort in the countries i just mentioned. you take the other countries by the admission of our witnesses today, likely to take a good deal more. i think it is very much time that congress revisit the
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question of this authorization. try to provide underlying legal justification for the ongoing military action. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary carter, which you a south -- would you assess isil to be one of the most capable groups on the battlefield? secretary carter: i would. they are ferocious. they are extremely cruel and brutal. forcesse some of these that are not trying to brutalize the population, but trying to fight assad are, as has been indicated, more moderate syrian forces. they do not behave that way. that is why they deserve to be and will be part of the syrian political future after assad. >> are you concerned that the
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russian and romanian attacks will further polarize battlefield. we will see more moderate fighters cooperate with isil, and al nusra. secretary carter: that is precisely the point i am a to the russians. the way i put it, they are pouring gasoline on the civil war in syria by supporting iraq. the are going to enhance very extremism that they say they fear. they have every reason to fear. now isil, and other groups, oppositionyrian groups are turned against russia. russia has had bitter experience with extremism in their own country. their actions are not consistent with their words. i keep using the phrase, wrongheaded. they are doing one thing, there are other. >> have you told russia not to
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attack units trained by the u.s. or avoid certain areas where u.s. affiliated groups might be operating? have you indicated to the russians in any way that the united states will respond to such attacks? secretary carter: we certainly indicated that we continue our ice -- counter isil plan unchanged. >> you have communicated to the russians that if there are attacks on u.s. trained troops or unit in any way that we will respond? secretary carter: i said earlier in this testimony, publicly, we have an obligation to our forces that we have trained and equipped to protect them. we intend to do that. >> that does not include the coalition trained units, is that correct? secretary carter: we don't control all of the opposition forces to assad.
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our train and equip program of the department runs is oriented towards fighters whose principal occupation is fighting isil. there are others fighting assad, they do come under attack by the russians. some of them deserve to be part of the syrian political future, that is a serious mistake on russia's part. >> would it be a serious mistake on russia's part to attack any units that have been trained by other agencies besides the department defense? would we have a response in that case? secretary carter: that is something we would have to talk about separately. secretary, they stated in article two of the constitution allows the president to use force against assad if he attacks syrian rebels trained by the u.s.. i would assume that a similar determination has been made with the spec to using force against
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russian plane if they attack u.s. trained rebels, is that true? carter was letting ricky what i said -- let me repeat what i said -- for the department of defense forces that we are training and equipping in syria, we have an obligation to protect them. they are fighting isil, they are far from the territory that is contested to where the russians are operating. we do have an obligation to defend them. with respect to other syrian opposition forces, that is something we would have to do discuss -- discussed. >> with the united states take action against russian airplanes if they were attacking u.s. units? secretary carter: just to repeat -- we have indicated that we have an obligation, we have options to protect our people from whom we have trained against attack.
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>> i would appreciate if you could provide us with more information for the records, specifically if the unit states forces have the legal authority to intervene if assad's forces attacked u.s. trained fighters, but not if russia attacks such fighters? if you could provide some clarification there, specifically legal authority. secretary carter: will do, but the short form is, we have an obligation, i believe we have legal authority to do that. i am happy to put that in more detail meant. there are other aspects you are alluding to that we would have to talk about in a closed section -- session. >> thank you. before senatory, graham again his important line of questioning i wrote in my notes, the opposition will never push a thought out as long as russia and iran are all in.
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i think that is the reality. is, what do we do about that? heinrich: we cannot say there will be a political solution and negotiations. the negotiations will fly out of the military situation. they will not negotiate as long as they think they are solidly in power, which they clearly think they do. on the other hand, a no-fly zone with ring us into direct conflict with the russian air force. that raises questions. give me some more thoughts on senator graham's line of questioning. let's be realistic, wishing is not we make a policy. assad will be there as long as russia and iran are willing to stay all in. how do we change that? without a significant committal of military power. ,ecretary carter: first of all
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assad isan support to having the effective increasing and catalyzing, and motivating the opposition to assad. both thebelieve that russians and syrians will see the effects of that on the battlefield. they will be conditioned by the military situation on the ground. with respect to political transition, at what point russia will recognize its actions were civil war ands the extremes of -- extremism fears, i can't speak to. that is what secretary kerry is exploring with the russians.
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>> i cannot tell you if they will reach that conclusion. isis ishave to tell if a bigger threat or the loss of assad. i agree with you, that is the narrow diplomatic opening. they seem to right now trying to have it both ways. as you say, they cannot. as long as they propped up assad, they are essentially propping up isis. secretary carter: there is no question. i have said that from the day it started. why it is so wrongheaded, their approach. at what stage they will recognize that, i don't know. i commend secretary kerry for talking to them and trying to find a different way. they have to reach that recognition. part of that will be learned of the battlefield. part of it will be learned in terms of extremism, and how it is turned on russia. >> the question the of ministration has to address is how do we put pressure on assad to change the military calculus
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in such a way that it will move that population. -- calculation. both of you use the term with the regard to the iraq he army, capably motivated to iraqi forces. is there any likelihood that that is changing? >> there are some, but not nearly enough. for example, the counterterrorism service, which is anined by the u.s. effective, capable, motivated force. what we lack enough of in iraq are capable, and motivated sunni forces. the type of force that is in short supply. that is why it is so important that the government of iraq continue to recruit sunnis, pay
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them. we will equip them and train them and support them in the .utfield -- in the battlefield it will require sunni forces to retake sunni territories. he give lip service, does he understands this? if he does not, we are sunk. secretary carter: he has been consistent in what he has told us. heinrich by -- mr. heinrich: but his actions? prime ministerr: al-abadi does not have completes way over everything that happens in iraq. we have insisted anything we do to support horses must be by and through the government of iraq. very clearly, you see it, there are militias of various kinds.
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shia militias that are inadequately in control of the government of baghdad. the forces that we support are those that are under control of prime minister abadi. believealked to him, i he is sincere in wanting to do the right thing. wanting to do the right thing and having complete authority are two different things in baghdad. his authority is growing in that regard. we do not have the sunni forces recruited, paid, enrolled, trained, and so forth that we need and want. >> i certainly hope we will use our influence to the maximum. if that does not happen, this whole enterprise is all for not. thank you.
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>> it is a difficult time, i was in theater with a handful colleagues. i was disturbed by what i see going on in the ground. >> you said music continue the momentum -- you said we need to continue the momentum. we actually have to have momentum to continue. right now the only group i see in iraq that is fighting isil that have momentum is the .urdish press mar they have been great allies to us. over the past several months we have had prestigious form of military commanders and government officials such as the petraues.general betray
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all of them agreed we need to enhance our support to the iraqi kurds as part of a more copper has a strategy against -- competence is strategy against isis. i am concerned right now our the weapons,emeals equipment, we have various types of calibers of weapons going from our coalition partners in the united states to the kurdish. transporter, as a supported those forces, our forces in iraq, i know how difficult this would be for any army. --meali soe dealing muchng. what is our strategy to develop a more capable force for the long-term fight for isis? carter: you are
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absolutely right. are an excellent example of motivated ground forces they have taken and held territory. in the operation conducted this past week. them,espect to equipping and you know from your logistics background as you indicated very certainty of supply are important to them. we have a policy of routing equipment to the kurdish peshmerga through the government of baghdad. i think that is where the hinge
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turns for your question, for the reason to get back to what senator mccain was asking, our approach to iraq is to try to support a multi-secretary and government in baghdad. we are trying to do both, supply the kurdish peshmerga, and al-abadi.ime minister in the early days that issue led to some delay in our supplies to the kurdish peshmerga. those delays do not occur now. not just the way it is us, there are more than 14 other countries that should be tons of equipment. i do not believe that there now is a bottleneck in our supply for the kurdish peshmerga. we still do go through the shipping through and
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with the permission of the government of baghdad for the very simple reason that we need to stick up for the principle. >> i do believe we need to do a better job at this. general, if i could turn to you, forcesthe iraqi security or army -- how to their fires and effect unit compared to the kurdish peshmerga's units? general: i think the best of the iraqis we trained compare favorably to the kurdish peshmerga. they have confident forces. they are comparable. >> we are utilizing them to the best of our capability? general: we are. that is important because the one thing the commanders told me is that those brigades we put through training, there is a qualitative difference in their performance. there are two brigades surrounding ramadi, those have performed at a higher level than
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other units. as well as this c.t.s. has performed well. that training and advising and assisting low the division level will be important in any future operations? general: from a training perspective in particular, yes. >> i do believe that needs to be a part of our decision-making process as we move forward. thank you, mr. chairman. >> and your testimony he went over a number of areas we need to focus on in our fight to defeat isil. you said that we need to do more to cut the flow of foreign fighters to isil. can you briefly describe what we're doing now, and what more we need to do in this area? secretary carter: we have a team on the ground. - general: we have a team on the ground.
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we have mostly a military view of foreign fighters. when i sat down and spoke to the team, one of the challenges clear is that we do not have amongst all of the coalition the kind of common view of where the foreign fighters come from, how they move back and forth, but more importantly, not much of a track on where they go once they leave back to their home country. from my perspective, this is an area that the secretary and i spoke to secretary kerry about last week, we need you much more. -- to do much more. the legal,maximize military, and political tools that are available to us to cut off the flow of foreign fighters. >> is this an area that we will see some kind of measurable improvement? general: when i came back there are two areas we need to focus on to move the campaign. i engage on our foreign fighters and intelligence.
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appreciableee some -- measurable improvements. i know you cannot talk about the intelligence side of things in this setting. , you saidcarter that the timeframe for defeating isil better be same. -- soon. understand,ing we this whole area of the world is a very located. it is, i realize, difficult to what ahone in on reasonable timeframe maybe. with regard to assad, there were indications he was about to collapse. his regime was going to collapse. now that russia has come in to bolster that regime, how long do you think that assad can be propped up by russia's actions?
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putin think that vladimir is looking at a long-term scenario where assad stays in place? is he more interested in the stability of syria for russia's interests? secretary carter: i cannot say what vladimir putin is thinking about assad's future. i can tell you about his behavior and what it suggests. does want tohe support at least for now. assad. avoid the collapse of the syrian , ite, which as you indicated think he believed could occur. that was one of the things that support for assad. i told you what i think about that. i think it will backfire.
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i think it will have the opposite effect he is seeking. it enhances the opposition to assad. it also enhances the extremism he says he fears. it is not sensible. that appears to be what his behavior suggests. >> that appears to be his immediate goal. i think that's why mayor smart enough to figure out if he wants stability in syria, he might be -- get get it as -- not it as long as assad is in power. if ado we need to do no-fly zone is declared in syria, what do we need to do to sticks?e that that zone either one of you. general: we have now for quite a while, preceding my time as
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secretary of defense -- have now carter: we for quite a while preceding my time as secretary of defense analyzed no-fly zones. int would require operating a country where we are not conducting operations now, and where there are syrian air defenses. if we are going to put aircrews met environment we would have to take care of those defenses. that is a substantial military undertaking. >> one thing could be that assad -- would not abide by that? secretary carter: you have to assume that the no-fly zone would be contested by assad because the intent was to engage his the air force -- his air force. a have not undertaken to take -- have u.s. forces engaged assad's forces in a war for
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control. >> that is probably one of the reasons. with that scenario it is probably one of the reasons we hesitate. secretary carter: is a new military undertaking. likewise, zones on the ground would have to be defended as well. there are military evocations -- invocations. we have not made recommendations. >> thank you. are unable to: we establish a no-fly zone to protect people from being barrel bombed by assad and russia. that is embarrassing. secretary carter: we could do it. senator mccain: people like petrauesfo could do it0 history shows that they will not do it if they get
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shot down. senator: secretary carter said that the russian presence in syria has not affected the pace or scope of u.s. operations there. is that because the pace is slow any scope is narrow? how does that happen when we have the administration saying that we are not going to have any sort of conflict with russian air presence in syria? it seems like it is affecting the pace and scope. i do. because we are focused on isil, and the russians are conducting operations, we are not operating in the same area. we have had two or three incidents. those proceeded the memorandum of understanding. >> that goes back to what chairman mccain said.
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that is because we are not providing support to those who trained. >> we are operating in two different areas. iraq, i wouldin like an update on the iranian presence. secondly, i have only been here for 10 months. the discussion about having the thei government reengage sunnis is already a broken record. there any tangible evidence they have actually acted on the words? there was an agreement to train and equip the sunni.
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had 5000 men identified, recruited, and trained of the 8000 number. that is slow progress. >> i'm sorry, i want to be sensitive to time. is that a transactional win. to make sure that remains sustained and we build on it? >> i don't think there is any. >> what about the iranian presence in iraq. what are they doing, what should we be concerned with? >> they have the provisional forces that are there. beenor, the numbers have bounced around. use a 1000, i think there is more than 1000 iranians underground. in syria, we think the numbers are less than 2000. that is our assessment.
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>> secretary carter, i appreciate you mentioning sergeant wheeler. he was from oklahoma. sons, theynd four lived in north carolina. operation, you commented, those operations are probably occurring frequently, if not daily. american soldiers are at risk. in my opinion, the peshmerga would consider that a combat operation. >> he was killed in combat. that was not the intent. he was accompanying forces. when he saw they were running into trouble, he heroically acted in a way that all the report suggests about the difference between success and failure of that important mission. >> final question.
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were you consulted by the president? >> i was not, senator. consider it being passed positive or negative to the men and women in uniform? is to identify the requirements to support the force. areo think some of those fulfilled? secretary carter, where you consulted by the president nva?re he vetoed the >> i supported it. reasons.ipal first, and i started to say this in march. i believe it. carter, i'm going to be
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out of time. are you telling me that the president's the joe of the ndaa leaves us better off than with it? >> the president's veto of the ndaa reflected 2 fax, to get back to what i was going to say, we need, the department of defense needs, budget and stability greater than a one-year horizon and a foundation of base funding that is adequate. >> no one on the committee disagrees with you. that goes all the way back to sequestration. remarkable, given the circumstances and the testimony
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today, we would take a step back with the ndaa while we continue to fight. that would require a willing administration. it is clear this administration is not willing to face the challenges the men and women face. i respectfully disagree with your recommendation for the veto. >> what i think we need is what i hope is going on now. where budget agreement washington comes together behind straight-forward budget with a multi-year horizon . that is what the department deserves. perhaps, that is occurring as we speak. i could only say what i think is best for the department, and that is honestly what we need.
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i recognize no individual member or committee can deliver, it requires a coming together of a gridlocked washington behind a budget. i fervently hope that occurs. there is some indication that that might occur. that is what i've been urging since march. that is what the troops deserve and the world needs to see. i was pointing out that elko will be a part of this agreement as well. there is one other aspect that i would ask the committee. reformse a number of that we have requested. that have been denied. in the authorization bill. stuff having to do with health care. some having to do with
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readjustments in structure. these are things that the relevant armed services have determined are the optimal use of their resources. the authority to carry out those reforms has been denied. to allowpeal to you those reforms. it is the professional judgment of the department of defense for those funds can be had it when it is difficult to find fun thing for the federal government and i , understand the reasons, we have to use every dollar we do did for the best use. we are not able to do that with some of the restrictions. that is why i would ask you to reconsider. thank you for the time to elaborate on that.
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senator mccain: i would also point out there is $11 billion in savings. a reduction in headquarters staff, which will be glad to show you the dramatic growth. many other reforms that have been made. i look forward to looking at further reforms with you as we begin new hearings and further, very necessary reforms that we feel are called for. i am proud of the reforms , frankly. i am proud that we have dramatically revised the retirement system. i am proud of the fact that we are finally getting a handle on the cost overruns that have characterized acquisition practices. you may have some concerns.
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after being on this committee for 30 years, i cannot tell you how proud i am of the bipartisan reform. >> i think you personally. hank you, personally. i don't mean that reforms haven't been enacted. there are additional ones we would like to have. the only way we can ask the taxpayers to get more money for defense which is what we need is if we shall we use the dollars well. i appreciate your leadership. senator mccain: i think you. you, mr. secretary. we will have hearings beginning this week on restructuring that i think -- and i am glad to work closely with a graduate of west point. senator blumenthal: thank you for your service to our nation
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and for your candid and forthright answers. as you may know, i am working with a number of colleagues who both supported and opposed the joint comprehensive plan of action. by providing more military assistance to our allies in the area and anticipating some of the financial windfall will go toward increased extremism. so to bolster the defenses and military capacity of our allies in that region, this legislation will reassert -- it will reform our dedication to imposing sanctions and assure that our

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