tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 30, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT
i would encourage you to touch base with central command. richard. reporter: i don't want you to get into details, is this train, advice, and assist mission, is it similar to what the u.s. forces are doing with the afghan forces against the taliban? secretary ernest: it is always hard to draw comparisons because the situations and each country are so different. i think, generally speaking, that would be a fair comparison to make. it does effectively differentiate between the combat role that the american troops previously had in afghanistan. they no longer have that combat role. they're trying to make afghan security forces more effective. they benefit from the training, advice, and assistance that they
typically receive from american military personnel that remain in afghanistan. drawing thism analogy is because it is consistent with the broader strategyerrorism that the president laid out, i believe in his west point speech, in which you said that the united states needs to develop more capability when it comes to enhancing the capacity of local forces around the world to prevent extremists and terrorists elements from establishing a toehold in their country. we have talked about how this is an important part of our relationship inside afghanistan -- building the capacity of afghan national security forces. a long debate about the situation in yemen. previously, before that country was assumed by a civil war, the united states was able to partner effectively with your many -- yemeni national security
forces to take strikes, or at least mitigate the risks posed by opposition forces, operating in yemen. it has been diminished because we do not have a central government with whom we can order to effectively right now. this is part of the counterterrorism strategy that the president laid out before. it is why the president called for the establishment of this counterterrorism partnership fund, where we have resources available in the federal government, that could be used to support the local forces in countries around the world, with united states is trying to build the capacity of the local forces to provide for the situation in the country, and provid prevent terrorist organizations and extremist from establishing a toehold in the country. the decision to keep
forces longer, and more than expected, and based on the fate of u.s. operations in yemen, shouldn't we be worried about a similar situation in syria? secretary ernest: i think the greater risk is -- and this is something we discussed in the context of the afghan decision that the president made -- the greater risk is denying a request from a government like the one that exists in afghanistan. for the united states to continue partner with them, and build up the capacity of their local security forces. afghan government has demonstrated that they are committed to taking on this test. they're not asking the united states to do this important work for them. they are asking the united states to build of the capacity to do it in their own country. that is why the president made the decision he made in
afghanistan. always the, our relationship with the central government in syria is much, much different than that. there is a similar dynamic in iraq. the prime minister abadi, with whom the president consulted today, they talked about how they can intensified efforts and those parts of the country where they feel they need to take the fight to isil. in places like ramadi. the united states can play a role, not on the front lines, necessarily, but in a situation where they are supporting the forces, including places like ramadi. reporter: in iraq, the u.s. hopes that nato forces will continue the mission -- the training and assist mission. plan of trying to build -- extend the coalition mission
from the ed to the ground in syria with nato forces? secretary ernest: nothing that we are prepared to announce at this point. let me just say, generally, the united states benefits from the expertise and capabilities of our coalition partners and this region of the world. it is not just american military personnel that are serving this training role inside iraq. there are other countries that have made important contributions based on the own country toir be engaged in these training operations. i think it underscores the significance, the difference in approach of the united states to try to counter isil in iraq and syria, and the unilateral approach that the russians have taken, going on their own, and trying to prop up an assad regime, the has become increasingly destructive. reporter: can you talk a little bit of the meeting with the fbi
director, where they talked about a different view on mass incarceration, and also the extent to which increased scrutiny of police activity has led to a shift in law enforcement patterns, and subsequently violent crimes. secretary ernest: you may not be surprised to hear that i will not get into the details of a conversation about the president had with the director of the fbi. the director of the fbi is an independent of was that role. the president does have an opportunity to consult with him on a range of topics, on a fairly regular basis. i do not have any specific out.rsations to read one of the reasons that the president chose director kobe for this job is because he is someone who is an experienced prosecutor, but also someone who has demonstrated the capacity to think and act independently.
the director of the fbi has an important independent law-enforcement role. i think over the last several weeks, we have seen director kobe willingness to independently express his views. the fact of the matter is the president believes that the director of the fbi, particularly, with somebody who kobehe skills of director must be involved in grappling with the difficult policy debates that they are having in this country right now in balancing security and protection of civil liberties. take for example the encryption debate. policymakers and officials have been grappling with how to ensure that the civil liberties of the american people are protected without giving terrorists the opportunity to
plotbehind technology, and and carry out attacks that could threaten the safety and security of the american people. this involves a highly technical debate about the capabilities of technology, but also it involves a more philosophical debate about how to balance these competing equities. someone like director kobe has an important contribution to make to that debate. the same is true about criminal justice reform. there is a similar dynamic at play trying to put in place criminal justice policies that adequately protect the american protectnd adequately the civil liberties and civil rights of everything will american. these are difficult issues. the president certainly appreciates the important perspective that the director brings to this policy debates, but more important, his constructive country should to that debate will be necessary for us to find the right policy
solutions. director toct the continue to participate in all of those debates, and do so with the full confidence and support of the president of the united states. should lawmakers, when they are figuring out what to do putt reforming those laws, the director's statements on the presence of interpretation? secretary ernest: i would allow the director to describe the point of view that he has. our expectation would be that somebody who has a position -- hoosiers in a position like the director of the fbi, that their views would be taken into account when making policy decisions that come to criminal justice reform. with that, let me do the week ahead, and let you get started on your weekend.
on monday, as part of his commitment to criminal justice reform, the president will travel to new york, new jersey .- newark, new jersey the president will be thatd by mayor barack on trip. after that, he will travel to new york city for event .enefiting the dnc and triple c those are two separate events. the president will return monday evening. on tuesday, the president will attend meetings at the white house. he will give remarks at a dnc event and washington. on thursday, the president will host the tribal nations conference. the conference will provide leaders from the 500 cc seven federally recognized tribes the opportunity to indirect directly with high-level officials and members of the white house council on native american affairs. this will be the seventh conference for the obama
administration, and continues to build on the president's commitment to strengthen the government relations with indian country and improve the lives of native american indians and alaska natives with an emphasis on increasing opportunity for native youth. on friday, the president will attend meetings here at the white house. reporter: he will sign the bill arkore he travels to new on monday? secretary ernest: that is the current plan. have a good weekend. >> white house press secretary josh earnest and today's briefing at the james brady briefing room in the white house. at the top of the briefing, taking most of the questions on syria today. ,he president announcing through the press secretary, that he is ordering a small number of special operations forces to syria.
boots on the ground in syria for the first time in the syrian and combating isis. the white house announcing that a small number of special operation forces will be sent to syria work alongside groups with a proven record of fighting isis. we would like to get your thoughts. do you agree that it is time to send u.s. forces to syria? the numbers are on your screen. 202-748-8921 is the number for republicans. democrats, 202-748-8920. independence and all others, the number is 202-748-8920. we will take your calls in just a few moments. we are going to show you the very top of today's briefing with josh earnest --
earnest, about a minute and a half. then we will come back and get your calls, tweets, and facebook comments. [video clip] secretary earnest: good afternoon. happy friday. before begin, let me do a brief out.n the president spoke today with on the political situation in iraq. the president committed reset progress the iraqi forces have made against isil, and welcomed the ongoing campaign to isolate isil and ramadi. the united states, in partnership with the iraqi government, will intensify support for iraq is forces in these efforts. the president also voiced support for prime minister abadi . the two leaders noted their full support for the us-led global coalition to counter isil, emphasizing that the united states and iraq are fully committed to ultimately destroy
isil. they also reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership between the united states and iraq. this is part of the discussion -- part of this discussion was some of the efforts that the united states will begin to undertake to intensify the elements of the u.s. strategy and our coalition strategy against isil that have yielded some progress. i know there has been some reporting on this already, and i anticipate that will be the subject of some of the discussion with you today. host: a bit of josh earnest from the white house briefing today. the white house announcing today that it will send a number of special operations forces into syria, special op forces will be on the ground in syria, in an advisory role. we would like to hear from you
now. you agree with sending u.s. special forces to syria? republicans, 202-748-8921. democrats, that number on your screen as well. a reminder that you can tweet us . nathan has been holding for quite a long time. we would like to start with him on the democrats line income -- in kentucky. go ahead. caller: i agree with the deployment of special forces with the stipulation that this is not the first time that we have assisted and health forces you goed forces during back before i was born, and we assisted afghans. you see how that works. host: thanks for the call. daniel joins us from ohio on the republican line. caller: i begin sending any troops into syria. if we are going to go in, we need to declare war, and go all in.
we need to put all options on the table. that includes a nuclear option. i think the real reason the russians are in syria is not to prop up the assad machine, but put a buffer against israel. i believe that is why they are there. host: next call from ohio, independent line, bill joins us. caller: my understanding is that we are supporting not only the fight against isis, but the syrian regime. are we then putting their forces and potential harms way from russian bombers. my question is what will happen when russian bombers kill american soldiers, or vice versa? will russia use the downing of an aircraft as reason to declare
war on the united states? that is my question. from over, ohio, on the democrats line. what are your thoughts on special forces troops going to syria? .aller: i am totally against it i think we are extending the proxy war with russia to a real war. about -- whoalking are these local forces? they are so nebulous. did you not have a nucleus. it seems to me that they are the same people that the russians are attacking. i think we are looking for more and more trouble. , josh little bit ago earnest said the problems cannot solved with military might. i agree with that. let's not put any more military
might over there. thank you. host: a number of members of congress, senators, and congressmen are reacting to the white house announcement that fewer than 50 special ops forces will be going to syria. the street from senator martin , a democrat, saying, said the u.s. special operations forces to syria is a mistake, and that he references a letter that he sent to the president. john cornyn, who is the republican whip in the senate says, potus sending u.s. troops to syria in pursuit of what strategy? barbara lee says u.s. troops in syria and iraq is definition of mission creep, congress must , hold aink check aumf debate, and vote on military action. meanwhile, fox producer, chad ergram, quoting
thornberry on sending forces to syria -- a more serious effort against isis is long overdue, however these steps may be too late. a republican caller, what are your thoughts? caller: i just remember when john kennedy sent advisers and special forces into vietnam. like the person just said, mission creep. -- they got more troops killed. they need to get out. thank you. host: wayne in california, an independent caller. caller: hello, thank you for having me. no, i do not agree. if we are going to be using special troops, we need to use
them to actually fight isil, and not lying to the american people, and wasting money in ssad's troops. we wasted already one point $4 trillion over there. we need to stop lying to the american people, and actually do what we are supposed to do. get a fight out of this, or get out of the middle east. host: john is with us. what you think about boots on the ground in syria? that gentleman from california that just spoke, and my right? host: yeah. caller: ok, i agree absolutely with him. i've 62. i would call myself pretty liberal, very liberal, i went to a very liberal college in the early 1970's.
and protested against the fact that nixon had gone into cambodia to stop the ho chi minh trail. the fact that he did not play with the rules -- i was naive, i was like 19 or 20. back in the day, you played by the rules. nations have boundaries. since we went in here, in the hornets nest, in iraq in 2003, humpty dumpty cannot be put back together again. look at iraq. these people are from different coulters. iny are artificially fenced by artificial boundaries by the british and french after world war i. just like africa with all of these straight-line boundaries.
they were cynically designed by great britain so the people in the artificial countries, like iraq, would be at each other's throats and would be the strong man backed by the united states to keep humpty dumpty together, at itep the oil companies , and keep consumers here happy. we should be grateful that we are only paying two dollars. host: we will move on to get a few more viewpoints. in new hampshire. what do you think of the announcement that the will send some special operation forcesy to syria? caller: i have three comments. we created isis.
[indiscernible] if they need help learning how to set up a police force, we can help them do that. they can come here to learn that. we do not have to go there. .econd, about oil exports the u.s. has 2% of the world supply of oil and uses 20%. it makes no sense at all to export any. the third comment, i will my eyes every time i hear a percent of thet people can cross a 90 mile border? 100%. you have not secure the border at all.
mile.s. has a 95,000 border that is crossed by one million people per day. that is the equivalent of the entire country leaving and returning every year. what percent of the people want to come in? what percent would get here if we put a 50 foot high wall with automatic machine guns deco 100%. host: thank you for calling. is the democrat that sits on the senate armed forc services committee. he released a statement that says in part, it is time for the administration to present a unified strategy. i strongly support the efforts underway in vienna to ring a peaceful end to the -- to bring a peaceful end to the efforts in syria.
dois time for congress to its most solemn job, to debate and declare war. that is from tim kaine. the new house speaker, paul ryan, had this to say. his statement on the syria announcement. house speaker paul ryan with the statement. u.s. forcesent of must come with a coherent strategy to defeat isil, otherwise we are likely to see the same results in the region. i look forward to reviewing the details of this announcement. just a handful more of calls. jewel in florida. caller: i'm 100% against sending our voice over there, fighting a war that they have been fighting forever. they will continue to fight. precious soldiers to a country like that? leave them over there, just
don't let them come here. that is where we need our forces. host: thank you for calling. deborah in virginia, a democratic caller. what are your thoughts on troops in syria? caller: i think it is absurd. first of all, we have to get it straight here. we are the ones that trained the quote terrorists to go after assad. ,hat is the free syrian army paid mercenaries. second of all, if we do that, we hell all over the place. we are in their to take out a he is notcause inclined to do whatever we want him to do. host: thank you. virginia,w from west an independent caller. go ahead, russell. caller: i agree with her
totally. the administration ought to take credit where credit is due. a lid that whole fire over there wednesday encourage the government to -- the people to overthrow the government. they caused the exodus, and all pilled.ood to be stil protect israel and america, and let them people kill each other if that is what they want to do. host: ok, thank you, russell. i appreciate all the calls. the announcement today from the white house that the u.s. will be sending a small number of special operations forces to northern syria to pursue the battle against isis. now, on c-span, we will move on to more on the u.s. military as the senate armed services committee looked into alternative ways the u.s. can take on adversaries. lawmakers hear from a number of
the senate, house, and be signed by the president, and intend to embark with hopefully the participation of every member of the committee on extensive examination of our structure of our challenges in the future, our need for reforms and every -- in every area of national defense. i would seek an urge both subcommittee chairman and making members, as well as all members, es ofgage in a seri examinations of national defense , in all of its aspects so that we can come up with a continued reform package to follow on the modest beginnings in this year's
ndaa. i know that senator reid is committed to the same prospect, and i know that we can embark on completelyy in a bipartisan fashion. i think the men and women who are equipment and women who are surrogate deserved that -- i think that men and women who are serving deserve. that. i will be having a meeting of the committee next week so we can discuss this in greater .etail panel pleased to have our here today.
i welcome all of you today. last week former secretary of defense robert gates echoed with senior security leaders have testified to this committee all year. many of our adversaries has spent the past decade and more investing billions to build up and reshape their militaries and developing technologies to america's military advantages. as we will here today many of
the technologies that made america the unparalleled global power just 15 years ago, such as precision guided munitions and are contributing to others at a dangerous speed and scale. our adversaries are fielding new technologies from cyber to .ounterspace at the same time we face growing networks of extremist that would engages in a low technology conflict of ideas for years and decades to come. as the bipartisan defense panel warned future public are likely to unfold more rapidly, atul feels horribly more lethal, operational sanctions will be scarce and often fleeting. conflict will be the norm in this rapidly changing environment. u.s. military superiority is not a given.
and yet since the end of the cold war a century ago the united states has maintained a similar but ever shrinking version of the military results during the 1980's. the constant dollars we're spending is on us the same amount as we were 30 years ago. but for this money today we are getting 35% fewer combat brigades, 63% fewer combat air squadrons and a lot more bureaucracy and overhead. you start forces are no more capable than ever, but they are not capable of being in multiple places at once. capacity still matters, especially given the numerous potential contingencies we face around the world. once more our adversaries are more capable to. many significantly so you are military technological advantages are eroding fast. add that to the years of defense spending cuts, and sequestration
and we are now facing the dual problem of a quantitative and qualitative erosion of our military edge. we are now living through an all-too-familiar pattern of international exertion plus the desire to cut defense spending we handle courting disaster that is where we are today. relearning that under reaching can be as dangerous as overreaching if not more so. now more than ever we need a clear strategy or strategies plural to guide our actions and defense investments. too often senior leaders in our government do not even seem able to define the concept. when pressed for a strategy they
objectives and general interests and inputs and dreams and means but not a strategy. not a description they will marshal limited means to achieve their ends. that's how we heard -- and we get what we heard on tuesday the three r's. what's worse than the national security strategy that become a speech writing exercise to please all constituencies and tell us less than the quadrennial defense review which our witness told us last thursday has become more of a sustained explanation of the program of record. strategy like governing is to choose. we must have priorities. we must determine what missions are more important than others. what capabilities we must have at the expense of others. and there are no shortcuts around strategy. doing more with less is often just a rationalization for doing less.
while we need more money for defense, more money spent on the wrong ways and wrong things will still fail if we think we can succeed with business as usual. we cannot. that is why defense reform is so important, not nearly as a cost-saving measures although there is costs to be saved but we need to be more smarter and innovative about how we prioritize our national security interests and how we use our military power to achieve our policy objectives and what size and shape our military must be to succeed now and in the future.
the choices entailed here will not always be popular in all quarters of the defense establishment. but these are the choices we must make to ensure our military is built and postured to deter and if necessary, defeat our adversaries. that is the purpose of today's hearings and hearings in the future. and i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses. senator reed. mr. reed: thank you very much. and thank you. senator reed: your expertise and insights are important as we cope with the issues that the chairman laid out. let me thank the chairman with this opportunity to take a deliberate review of the defense department organization, its structure, missions and essentially look forward to very creatively and thoughtfully. former secretary of defense bob gates and a host of other experts, former officials, historians, they talked about the defense department and going forward. and it is worth while and to
quote dr. gates, americans are leaders regard international crisis they are the norm. dr. gates also repeated his conclusion by more than four decades of public service that our record in predicting the future, we have never gotten it right. we must provide training that gives our forces the capabilities across the broadest possible spectrum of conflict. we heard comments from several of the last week's panelists about the way in which our strategic guidance is crafted including the strategy and the quadrennial defense review. among other things, our witnesses said they consume energy and resources and overtaken by global developments by the time they are published and i would be interested hearing comments about this process and how it can be improved. another theme of dr. gates' testimony is the need for strong civilian leadership particularly by the secretary. while this point is self-evident, dr. gates emphasized satisfying battlefield needs cannot be on the personal involvement of the secretary.
he continued, the challenges how to institutionalize a culture and incentive culture that has long-term planning and acquisition. and several of our witnesses have stated the organization processes are outdated and i would be updated on getting insight. given the dynamic and evolving security challenges facing our nation today and 30 years after passing goldwater-nickels, how the military should be structured to carry out such task and defense guidance to make the products more planning. and i commend the chairman for leading us in this effort. >> senator reed, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to present my views on this important topic. given the limited time, i would like to summarize my testimony by making five points. senator mccain: all witnesses' complete statement will be made part of the record. >> it's in the context, i would say, a medical analogy. first you need a good diagnosis
of the environment you are in before writing the prescription and a lot of times we like to go from the threaten virmente to talking about forces and equipment of the defense program. but as you pointed out, mr. chairman, and senator reed, the key connecttive tissue really is the strategy that tells us how we are going to develop a defense program that most effectively helps protect our interests and achieve our objectives. my first point is that we are now in a period where we face threats that are growing in scale and shifting in form from those begins which we spent most of the last quarter century planning for. there are three revisionist powers in three key regions of the world, regions that
presidents of both parties going back decades have declared to be vital to our security. and these powers are interested in overturning in significant ways the rules-based international order that has benefited us and our allies and partners over an extended period of time. aside from these powers, china, russia and iran, we also see the rise and empowerment of radical nonstate groups and entities.
and in terms of the scale of the problem, we are also seeing a shift in the form of the challenges they present. any good strategy involves developing sources of advantage that you can use to exploit your enemy's weaknesses. and we have see this through advanced military technology. the chinese focusing on the tendency we have had to operate in permissive environments, areas where our operations aren't contested. so developing capabilities to go after our battle networks and also our forward bases and large mobile platforms like aircraft carriers. second if our adverse sears can't take us on directly they have gone to protracted warfare and gone to acts of aggression,
little green men in the ukraine and war that iran has waged against us and paramilitary forces in the form of organizations like china's coast guard that are pushing and advancing its interests and overturning the national order in east asia. we find the potential for aggression. space, cyber space and the undersea where it may be difficult for us to detect acts of aggression or attribute them once we have detected them. and finally there is what is called the second nuclear age, which i think could be better described as a new age and strategic warfare. if you look at russian and chinese military writings, not only do they talk about nuclear weapons but new kinds of nuclear weapons, very low yield nuclear weapons, and we consider nuclear weapons to be non-usable. but the role that conventional
capabilities, the chinese talk about the united states' global conventional strategic strike capabilities something that we haven't thought through in detail. there's also the issue of cyber warfare and the ability of cyber weapons to hold certain targets at risk that perhaps were once reserved for nuclear weapons.
so an array of new challenges on a greater scale have been presented to us in a different form. now in confronting these challenges, we confront them with the resources. as a percentage of our gross domestic product our defense budgets are declining over time. in terms of the budget itself, we have rising personnel costs. the costs per service member since 9/11 in real terms has gone up over 50%. this means over time that if the budget doesn't outgrow the personnel cost growth, you have diminished resources for training, equipping, training of the force and readiness. we also find that our capital
stock, planes, tanks and ships and guns, while more formidable than that possessed in any power in the world. it is shifting. so our emphasis on, for example, forward deploying forces to large bases, when you have adversaries that are mastering the precision warfare and target these bases with heyak rasi, they make what was once assured to our allies, a source of anxiety and lack of assurance. finally, if there's an arms race going on between ourselves and allies and partners, it's more of a disarmament race or race to the bottom. our allies and partners particularly in europe have failed in most cases to meet the nato standard for 2% g.d.p. deployed or invested in defense. japan, another one of our powerful allies has said some impressive things recently and adopted some forward-looking policies. but we have yet to see japan break through that 1% of g.d.p. barrier.
we are not just restricted to our budget in terms of how we respond to threats and the increasing scale and shifting form of the challenges we face. but in terms of the budget itself, how the budget is distributed, our capital stock and the ability or the willingness of our allies and partners to step up when they're needed, i think there's a growing disconnect between the threats we face and the means we have to address them. consequently, i think there is a need for a well-designed strategy, one that employs our resources most effectively to maximize the effect of these limited resources. unfortunately i think we have lost a great deal of our confidence to do strategy well. i don't think this is a military problem or a civilian problem and i don't think it's a republican or democrat problem but a problem that has developed since the end of the cold war. in the 1990's when we didn't have a threat, we didn't have to focus on strategy. after 9/11, the tap was open in
terms of defense spending, we didn't have to make tough choices. we are in that period again where resources are limited and perhaps diminishing, where the threats are growing and it is about time that we begin to focus on strategy. one final comment, in terms of the size and scope of our military, in terms of the forces we have and the mix of where they are positioned around the world, we have to come up with a strategy before we can make informed decisions about those kinds of issues. how are we going to deter china from advancing its revisionist aims in the far east? is our objective to defend the first island chain? have we made that public, made that clear? if we have, are we going to defend it by positioning forces there in what will be called a forward defense posture. there is off-shore control that we ought to limit ourselves to blockading china as a way of deterring acts of aggression. that has an enormous effect on
the kinds of forces, where you position them, what we ask of our allies. you have to come up with that strategy. and i'll close with a quote from a british admiral, jackie fisher, who along with nelson is regarded by many brits as the two greatest admirals. he said members of parliament asked me what kind of a navy we need. you have to make up your mind how you are going to deter and fight. how many of us made up our minds and how many admirals have minds? thank you, mr. chairman. [laughter] >> chairman mccain, ranking member reed. thank you to contribute to understand factors that shape the u.s. military.
this is a summation of the submitted testimony. i'm delighted to know that this committee is looking at all aspects of military. and this is an important step in that process. obviously, there are differing opinions on how and why the military should be postured. with russia, ukraine and syria, iran deeply involved in operations across the middle east and expanding its military portfolio, china behaving more provocatively and nuclear missiles to reach the united states, having the right force in sufficient quantity is critically important. recent work i have been involved as editor of the heritage foundation's u.s. nuclear strength, how one might think sizing the u.s. military. instead of trying to predict where forces might be needed and what type of conflict, it looks at what history tells us about the actual use of military
force. we reviewed other studies on national defense requirements to require the bottom-up review. what we found was that from the korean war onward, the united states found itself in a major war every 15, 20 years and used roughly the same sized force. each of the nine major studies came to end strength, major platforms. in general, the historical record and the studies indicate that the u.s. needs an active army, a navy approaching of 150 ships, air force of 1,200 aircraft fighting. this size will provide the united states to handle a major war and having sufficient capacities and respond to an emerging crisis should a major competitor try to take advantage of a perceived window of opportunity.
in other words, the force enables the country to handle one major crisis while deterring competitors. this historical record spans 65 years encompassing decades of technological advancements, various geographic regions, enemy forces and economic conditions and shifts of political control of the executive and legislative branches of the u.s. government. there are practical realities that override all other factors. the nature of war and where it is waged require large forces to control territory or deny such. numbers really do matter. sustained sustainability operations require a large base, conventional combat operations require sizeable forces to replace combat losses. small numbers of equipped forces are inadequate to such situations and can lead to a
force that is sensitive to combat losses or worn down by numerous deployments. numbers matter in preparing for the future. when the force is small and already hard-pressed to meet demands, little capacity is available for the future. if new ways are needed to maintain a competitive advantage, a portion of the force must be available for experimentation, whether by reducing current demands or enlarging the force. instead, we continue to see further reductions in increased work load. robert gates recently appeared before this committee as has been noted. one of his major points is the u.s. continuously cycles to ramp up for a crisis and then cutting the force to a bare minimum once the crisis is over.
people are assuming another crisis won't come along and we will have to predict when and where it will occur. there is expense. we should continue to explore the advantages of unmanned systems, and precision guided munitions but numbers matter in war. our current modernization path at existing levels of funding, we are likely to find ourselves with state of the art capabilities yet incapable of conducting sustained operations against a credible opponent. this outcome is troubling and something this committee should consider. to summit up, i emphasize that
numbers matter. the capacity of our military is at least as important as how it is equipped. overall sigh of the force and how much it is used appears to be independent of technology, perhaps even strategy, internal organization. and too small a force is profound consequence. once again, i thank you for the opportunity and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, senator mccain, senator reed and distinguished members of the committee. it's an honor to be here. i would like to focus on how current u.s. national strategy shapes the international system and discuss an alternative strategy for the future and i will address the capabilities required under this new strategy. the single word that best describes u.s. foreign policy today is prime asy, a strategy that hinges on a forward-deployed military poised
to stop threats before they are realized. as one government explains, our military power aims to deter potential competitors from aspiring to a larger global or regional role. leaving aside whether the strategy is preventing them, the costs have been considerable. american taxpayers and especially american troops have borne the burdens. going forward, we should ask more of our security partners. we shouldn't merely expect them to support us when we use force abroad. rather we should expect them to address urgent threats before they become regional or global ones. what are these threats?
we are quite quote of identifying them but far less prove fish ent of prioritizing. the united states is expected to address all threats in all vital regions at all times. a more resilient world would not be overly dependent of a single power. restraining our impulse to use the u.s. military when our interests are not threatened would move us in that direction. reluctance to use our military relies on a smaller one. alliances that have advanced common interests are acceptable. the current rangement where we agree to defend our allies, is not. let me turn to three aspects of the force structure consistent with the foreign policy. a capable navy, a credible nuclear deterrent and a flexible and mobile army. i have served in the navy. i grew up in maine where you might have heard they build ships. so yes, i'm a navy partisan. but my support for a strong and capable navy is more than just parochial but integral to a strategy of restrain.
in thinking of the missions that the navy will need to perform, we shouldn't focus on number of ships in the fleet today but rather on the cost and capability of those of the future. investing a substantial share of the ship building budget on a few aircraft carriers leaves less money for small service combatants. and where do subjects fit in the mix? the budget must account for them. understanding these tradeoffs is crucial. we not build our fleet that it will be continuously engaged in operations all around the world. the u.s. navy should be a surge
force capable of deploying to address threats, not a permanent presence force committed to preventing bad things from happening all the time and everywhere. what about our nuclear deterrent. that is a key component of national security policy. under restraint and does not require 1,600 nuclear warheads on a deliver of vehicles. the try add grew up during the cold war and it was never required to deter soviet attacks against the united states. the case is even more dubious. no adverse sear can destroy all submarines and there would be time to change if the circumstances did. lastly, what about our ground forces? our troops are overtasked and we have asked much of them and they have responded, but they cannot do everything and cannot be everywhere. more troops is not the answer.
more judicious use of those we already have is. in that context we should consider the wisdom of armed nation building. to observe that the united states is ill suited to such missions is not the fault of the u.s. military. the american people will support missions to strike our enemies with a vengeance but most doubt that nation building is the effort. public skepticism is warranted. the crucial factors for success in coin are beyond the capacity of outside forces to control. then again, americans are accustomed of doing the impossible. the real reason why we will not master state building is that it is not needed. we should deal with threats as they arise and drop building nations abroad. if we revisit the other possible rationales, if we reduce our overseas presence and encourage countries to defend themselves, we could rely on reservists here on state side. the roles and missions that we assign to our military will grow more onerous and unreasonable to
expect our military to do more with less. many would solve this means and mismatch by increasing the means. we should reconsider the ends as well. the military's roles and missions are not handed down on stone tablets from heaven. strategy must take account of the resources that must be made available to execute it. increasing the military budget entails telling the american people to accept cuts in popular domestic programs, higher taxes or both so our allies can neglect their defenses. hard to realize that americans will embrace that approach so we must reconsider our policing role and encourage countries to defend themselves and bring the object of our foreign policy in line with the public's wishes. >> i would like to reiterate my thanks to the chairman and ranking member and to the committee for this opportunity.
this is indeed a critical topic. many people have said before me, defense planning is strategy. on the other hand, strategy is not the place that we should be starting, nor starting with threats or operational capabilities. the place to start is really with reflecting upon the continuing security interests of the united states. this is a lesson that i learned while serving as a staff scribe to the national defense panel. distinguished members of those panels took the briefings that were available and begun to scratch their heads and were deeply dissatisfied with what they heard. what they came away from, simply not by taking the briefings, but
reflecting on the behavior of the united states since 1945, if not before, was there was a consistent pattern of american behavior. they said, it's in both reports that the principal security interests of the united states having a secure homeland not just north america but the caribbean basin, access to commercially and to exploit the seas, skies, cyberspace and balance of the three critical powers, europe, east asian the middle east. and finally that because we are americans, it was important to us to preserve a decent quality. when there was a humanitarian crisis or the threat of a genocide, the united states could not stand by and would be
willing to use military force to intervene. if those are the purposes of our power, then we can ask the how-to strategy question. but without that to orient on, any strategy will do, any set of capabilities will do as we have heard from the previous three witnesses. on the other hand, if you want to preserve the international system as it exists, which i think is not only wise, possible, but something of a moral obligation, our children would not look kindly on us and would hold us accountable if we failed to prevent the remarkable post-cold-war peace that is slipping away. there hasn't been a great power war and remarkably prosperous. there are more middle-class people on this planet than there have been in any previous period in history. and it's the freest international system that anyone can record. so it has great benefits. it's fundamentally sound, but it
requires us to re-engage now. i believe that time in defense planning, in strategy making is equally as important as numbers of troops or the quality of weapons systems. i just have four basic yardsticks that i want to suggest that you should consider in appraising defense strategies. in a report we put out a couple of weeks ago but there are four fundamental tenets. the construct needs to be a three-theater not two or one 1/2 as recent reviews have framed them but relevant to the international politics at the moment. as i said, the principal driver of military force structures is preserving the balance of power
in the middle east, in east asian europe. requires us to be not simply capable of establishing supremacy in combat but deterring them from crossing the line in the first place. therefore, we must be present. and there is no status quo to preserving the middle east that is worth the cost. if you are going to be responsive to the situation that we need about every day in the newspapers, we want to reverse the trends. so simple deterrence is not likely to be acceptable. those theaters are all very different in character and gee ag gray. land-bases and my maps show a lot of blue there. so maritime forces are critical for presence. and in the middle east, probably all sorts of forces are
necessary. we need to balance in a variety of forces. if we make choices by having one form of military power over another, we will find ourselves behind the eight-ball as we have found ourselves in the last two decades. secondly, capacity matters. that's the most immediate problem that the military faces. i look at the history of the past 15 years and my take-away was that we did not have sufficient force despite the active duty navy and marine corps and reserve component forces at record numbers and december plight employing naval and air force officers in ground missions to successfully prosecute cam papers in iraq and afghanistan simultaneously. we did not meet our own two-war standard. and those wars were relatively
small wars. so the first thing and the thing we can do in a timely way to meet the crisis at the moment is to increase the capacity of the force that we have. that said, i agree completely with the testimony that new capabilities are needed. however, i think the time factor needs to be applied in this regard as well. as much as it would be great to have devices and all the things that american and international science can invent, it's important to field new capabilities now. we have a very few number of programs that we can throw money at. this is not like the reagan years where there was a warm and diverse industrial base that could difficult guest a lot of money. ronald age and decided not to
build the b-1 or b-2 but both. we have chosen a company team to build a new bomber, that isn't going to be fielded within the span of the next administration. so we have to put money where it can show some return. we can't afford to wait another 10 years to get new exicts into the field. and finally, we have to pay the price. the forms are important and i would urge the committee to focus on several forms, an ideal way of fighting the cold war and passed into law just as the soviet union -- it was remarkable we can support combat outposts with teams from a carrier. but it's not the most effective way to do that. there are things that we can do
now and we need to be able to have sustained increase in our defense establishment. many people talk about getting back to the gates' baseline budget of 2012. that's not going to be sufficient. that's a good first step. but getting something back to a 4% base which is affordable, sustainable and would be necessary to build the force that would be sufficient to protect and defend and advance our geo political interests and allow united states to continue to be the leader of the free world. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee. i'm truly honored to appear before you today and testify along with my distinguished colleagues.
in my statement, i argue that america's armed forces are the most highly trained, equipped and experienced in world, yet the margin is eroding. unless the trend is arrested and arrested soon, america's armed forces will find it more difficult to prevail in future conflicts. modern u.s. military strategy depends on technological superiority. this was a consistent pillar of strategy during the cold war and the wars of the post 9/11 era. this was intentional cold war strategy designed to increase the quality of u.s. forces to help offset soviet advantages. and this strategy ultimately resulted in capabilities like the g.p.s. satellite, stealth aircraft. the resulting monopoly on these technologies that we enjoyed is among the reasons that the united states stood alone at the end of the cold war. the erosion in american technical superiority is eroding because they are proliferating across the world and nothing we can do to stop it. the same technologies that u.s. forces enjoyed are now central
to the defense strategies of our competitors. this development alone is shaking the foundations of u.s. defense strategy and planning. in my statement, i describe at some length how the velocity of global change coupled with military power is shaping tomorrow's battlefield in three ways. precision munitions will dominate. these weapons have proliferated that nyack tore who desires to employ them can do so effectively on the battlefield and only begun as a community to grapple with the world in which nonstate actors will be able to hit anything they aim at. second, the sizes of battlefields will expand. the i.s.r. networks that support their employment are increasing the effective range. our adverse sears will not only be -- adversaries will not only hit what they see but strike over longer distances. third, concealing military forces will be more difficult.
more actors are developing capabilities designed to find and target their adversaries. finding the enemy will be easier than hiding from him. these features of the operating environment, munitions, larger engagement zones and larger battlefields are more clearer today. the south china sea is due to china's investment and long range guided and cruise missiles. russia is developing anti-access bubbles over parts of ukraine and syria and hezbollah and some inside syria are using anti-tank guided munitions. the logical trend of this should concern us all. in order to prepare, we need to demand creative thinking from the pentagon and the dens community concerning how to change operational concepts. these are the things which guide how u.s. forces plan to engage add a veer sears in different plausible contingencies. core operational concepts will focus more on our abilities to strike at range, persist inside contested areas for longer periods of time and disperse our
forces and retaining the ability to mask our fire power when needed. i describe these at length in my written statement. if our operational concepts begin to evolve, it will guide us towards the investment portfolio that does three fundamental things. shore up our air and maritime projection exicts by employing land and carrier-based unmanned strike platforms and i know the chairman's leadership. submarines that can attack. developing dispersed undersea sensor grids that can persist an adversary's contested zones and as we heard the other day ensuring the new long strategic bomber and procured so 100 is important to constitute a credible sustained ability. we need to ensure u.s. ground forces are rapidly adapting by pushing guided munitions down into the squad and the individual level for our ground forces, experimenting robustly with robotic ground systems and air systems that can obviate the need to risk individuals and developing platforms that can deploy along side our dismounted units to provide them protection from adversary's guided munenigs. by more aggressively funding research and development and exploring innovative concepts that can disperse military forces. mr. chairman, america's finally u.s. edge is eroding and closing
window of opportunity to arrest this trend. our adversaries were convinced that u.s. forces would be able to see them first and shoot them first due our overwhelming advantage and the means to deliver at a time and place. if this erosion is allowed to continue, the power of the united states will erode as well causing significant disruptions to the balance of power. thank you for the great honor of testifying before you. senator mccain: i thank the witnesses and it is very important and i hope that all of our witnesses will read your written statements, which i think are very important as well. a little over a year from now, we are going to have a new president of the united states. and let's suppose that you are
to invest his or her political capital early on, working with members of congress to re-establish a baseline defense budget that is robust enough to fund what the pentagon has been arguing for some time along with your leadership and the leadership of others. as i said in my statement, erosion of our military edge has to be addressed. size is important, the quantity is important, but i worry that
if we allow this erosion of our military technical edge to continue at this pace, it will pose great danger to our men and women and we would be putting them in harm's way at some point. mr. donnelly: i would suggest that the president reposture american forces particularly in the pacific, south pacific but also in europe and the middle east. something he or she could do even with the force that will be inherited and important first step towards reassuring our allies that the united states is serious about preserving the world that we live in today.
senator mccain: dr. preble, are you related? mr. preble: it's about as distant as you possibly can get. senator mccain: still a great name. mr. preble: strategy is about choosing and setting priorities and we have not done a very good job of that. when you articulate those priorities, you send signals some of which are not necessarily welcome, some of
which are necessary. and i do think it is important to send a quite different message to our allies that we will have forever their back forever and forever and not do anything to assist us. i don't think that's wise or over the long-term going to be effective. i don't believe that the united states has the ability to foresee many, many other countries that what their security priorities are. senator mccain: mr. wood. mr. wood: i believe the president needs to clearly define u.s. national security interests and then resource those commensurate with those interests. how could you do otherwise? you aren't willing to devote the resources necessary to serve, you have to recast your interests and the role you want
to play. we have seen the impact of the baseline budget. army dropping 520,000 and 490,000. and degradation in readiness and shrinkage of capacity for u.s. military forces to do things. if we want to maintain a primary role in the world where we need to resource those commensurate with those levels of interest. the recent budget deal, $607 billion is to stem the erosion we have seen. it's not going to buy back significant numbers of readiness or build brigade teams where we have seen them drop. that's the bare minimum that folks have been able to agree to. the funding needs to increase. the services themselves will figure out how to solve operational challenges. they need that breadth of
capability to test and see how new technologies are brought into it. if they don't have the capacity to do that, then we are not going to be able to get ahead of that curve and we have a terrible record of trying to predict what the next war will be, against who, what the characteristics will be, and in that mix and in that current conflict. to have that ability to test those kinds of things, is the overarching need and finding adequate funding to have the military commensurate with the u.s. role in the world. mr. krepinevich: the first order of business that we continue to sustain the vital interests that we have made for ourselves in the middle east, far east and europe is deal with the three revisionist powers and describe what the priority is among those three, not only in the near term but over time so it is a time-sensitive strategy.
my position would be going in the far east, a defense posture strategy of forward defense. in the middle east, it has to be low footprint combined with the posture and trip-wire force with the potential for reinforcements as necessary. and finally we need to come up with a strategy to address the problem of what i would call modern strategic warfare that involves nuclear weapons but advanced nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, cyberweapons and advanced conventional weapons capable of attacking tarts that were once reserved only for nuclear weapons. senator mccain: my time has expired but i would ask witnesses to give me a written response to what you think is the future of the aircraft carrier. i ask that because the aircraft carrier has been the backbone of the navy since world war ii. and there is significant questions about the carrier itself, its size, the air wing,
the role and so i would appreciate that answer. that's one of the issues that we are going to be grappling with when we're talking about a 10 or 12 billion weapons system. i thank the witnesses. senator reed: i thank the witnesses for a very thoughtful and frank comments. let me ask all of you a question and it's been highlighted, one of the most rapid areas of change is technological innovation which is worldwide, affecting ourselves and affecting our competitors and the other dynamic i would ask you to focus on is a lot of the technological change is taking place outside the defense industries, you know, military installations.
private sector. and how do we fit that in to our operations in d.o.d. mr. krepinevich: that is integral to the third offset strategy and my strategy and the advantages we have developed for ourselves in battle networks that was based in the 1970's. now wasting assets. so where to we go next? if you look as you said senator where technology is going today whether it's big data or robotics or directed energy, those chnologies are widely diffused, they're available to anyone with the resources to buy or sell them. i don't think, as my former colleague bob worth and i discussed, you look at the 1950's, the 1980's, you have to
look back at the interwar period, the period in the 1920's and 1930's. in that period you had a number of great powers, i mentioned the revisionist powers we're dealing with now and technologies that were moving very quickly then, the automotive industry, radar, aviation, were available to us they can german the brits and so on. what made the difference in world war ii were two things. one, operational concept who best figured out how to employ the technologies. when it came to mecknyization, aviation, radio, the germans developed brits creag based on that the french didn't. you look at other aspect the first integrated air defense system, that was the british. the germans were a little behind on that.
so it was a combination of how best to leverage that new technology to deal with the problems you identify and it was also the speed at which you could develop and apply that. so we start world war ii with eight aircraft carriers. we end the war with 99. 99 aircraft carriers of all types. and this gets, i think, back to the issue of time. how effectively can you exploit time? i think that's one of the reasons i would certainly commend the committee for its focus on defense reform because we are a terrible competitor when it comes to exploiting
time. and the better you can exploit time, the less standing military capability you need, the better you can exploit time, the more range of possibilities that are open to you, the better you can exploit time, the more uncertainty you generate in the minds of your adversaries because of the directions you could go with it. in terms of your point about technologies widely diffused, those are the discriminators, who developed the best concepts and who can do it fast. mr. wood: we need to see what is available, what's free, to do what he mentioned in the interwar period. you need operations that are able to operate independently. g.p.s., independent kinds of precision munitions. closed loop kinds of com systems. those kinds of things, where one part of the formation can take a hit and the roves the force can continue on. >> thank you very much. my time is diminished, but dr. preble, would you comment? mr. preble:: i'm worried about nonstate actors, it brings us into an area of defensive dominance which raises issues of will we risk truly exquisite platforms and risk large numbers of lives for projecting pow entire other people's areas. this new era of defensive dominance. mr. donnelly: i think your principal task is to understand what our geopolitical purposes is.
technologies, as mr. preble said, mean different things to different people we feel need to figure out what elements are central to us and our job still will be as it was in 1942 to figure out how to have an effect on the far side. we do not want to, you know, experience another sort of pearl harbor like event and our purposes are quite different than they were in 1941. we are trying to preserve an
international system, not build one from scratch. >> mr. brimley. mr. brimley: i associate myself with dr. krepinevich's comments. i understand this committee is holding a theerning goldwater-nichols act, i think the 1986 or 1988 amendment to that act created special operations command, socom has the 1986 or 1988 amendment to that act created special operations command, socom has unique operational authority that can pull things and experiment with them and by pass the acquisition of the bureaucracy. investigating those authorities, how they've been used, how they could be replicated would be important. >> thank you very much. on behalf of us all, thank you very much.
>> we've had a lot great hearings on the subject of today. mr. inhofe: we had hearings with uniforms present, a lot of people responsible for the mess we're in right now and the other the outside exports -- experts and you fall in that category. we last week had five professors an that was really, really useful to see if the outside, we're hanging around here, we listen to each other, i like to listen to those who are outside. i would also single out one individual, dakota wood, he certainly has spent time two decades in the marine corps and has been an outstanding leader
in america, far more significant than that, he's from claremore oklahoma, one of the homes of will rogers, so you see a lot of the characteristics he exhibits are similar to those of will rogers. let me read something. this is 30, 35 years ago but if you go back to compare, the criteria set in developing a defense budget under the reagan administration with what's happening today, i'll ask you to respond, of course, dakota you've already read this, this is 1983, they said, we start by considering what must be done to maintain peace and review all possible threats against security. then a strategy for strengthening peace and defending against those threats has to be agreed upon. and finally, our defense establishment must be evaluated
to see what is necessary to protect against any and all of the potential threats. the cost of the a-- the cost of achieving these ends is totaled up and the result is the budget for national defense. what do you think about that strategy, mr. wood? mr. wood: i think we've, as many members have noted, this has been a budget driven exercise. how much money do we want to spend on defense? and then we try to make do with that. i think what was -- what ronald reagan was getting at with that is figuring out what it is you want to be in the world, where your priorities are at, and then resourcing that commensurate with those interests. so it should be strategy driven. should be u.s. interest driven. if you want to shoulder that burden you have to find the funding and resources to be able to do that. mr. inhofe: but to do that, you have to prioritize where it is. most of us out there, i can't speak for all of them, that's their number one priority, what we're supposed to be doing here. does anyone disagree with that? >> it's the second part i would disagree with. i have come to believe that,
particularly sense the pass am of the budget control act, that it affects what we have seen over the last five years. mr. donnelly: if not an articulated strategy, it's a de facto strategy, wherein the president and say, the more libertarian members of the house of representatives agree that america is doing too much in the world and that if we take away the means of mischief, that we'll get into less mischief. again, i don't think that it's anything like in our, you know, in a formal, strategic review process but there's broad consensus that for the united states to step back from its traditional engagement in the world. mr. inhoff: i don't agree with that -- senator inhofe: you have very specific in your written statement, i read that before you restated it here. that is we should, one of the things western do is adopt a three theater force construct.
i agree with that i've watched it deteriorate down to a two theater and one and a half and so forth. i'd like to know what some of the rest of you think, what about you, dr. krepinevich? mr. krepinevich: i believe we don't have unlimited resources so it's never going to be possible to eliminate every threat to our security. to a certain extent, the amount we spend on defense is a function of how -- of our risk tolerance. the more we spend on defense, the more we can reduce, theoretically, the risk to our security. but we can -- can't eliminate because we don't have enough resources to do that. i think another factor you have
to consider is what can our allies contribute? and oftentimes, it seems the more we do, the less they do. so how do we come up with strategies to encourage our allies to do more and be less free riders on the security provided by the american people? i think there's an element of social choice in this. we have chosen as a country, as a society, to have an all-volunteer force. that costs a lot of money. other militaries don't have all-volunteer forces and when we had a draft era force, our costs were correspondingly less. as a society we place a high value on human life. we spend over $40 billion on mraps and another $20 billion on jado to protect lives. in world war ii, russia cleared minefields by sending their infantry through it. we spend a great sum of money to minimize casualties. finally, strategy. it always comes back to strategy.
a strategy that is in a group that advocates as i mentioned an offshore control strategy in the event that it's a way of discouraging conflict with china, and they call for maritime blockade. that's a very different level of expenditure than what i've been talking about, which is defense which is -- senator inhofe: i'm sorry to -- senator inhofe: i'm sorry to interrupt you, but i'm running out of time. we have resources, but we don't have priorities. in your statement, you made that clear. as a percentage of g.d.p. we had at one time and how it's deteriorated over a period of time. i would only say if you give me a written response, each one of you, in terms of this, i would appreciate that very much. i can get that for the record. as to how the reprioritizing would give us the defense that we don't have now and that we
need. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much for being here. i'll start with you, mr. brimley, i'll get all of you to answer, but if you could tell us what our yeatest threat to our national security is. mr. brimley? mr. brimley: at the risk of being somewhat provocative i'd say the number one threat is our policymakers and the american people overestimating the ability of the u.s. mill tear to -- of the u.s. military to close with, destroy and confront our enemies. i think there's a growing gap, as i talk about in my written statement, between what our forces are designed to do and what our adversaries can
condition test us with. i would hate for the country to experience a level of strategic surprise. senator manchin: maybe overreaching? mr. brimley: i think there's overreaching but there's also underreaching. like in syria and iraq. senator manchin: mr. donnelly? mr. donnelly: i think the hedge -- the rise of iran is a potential hegemon in the middle east is the greatest threat we face. the middle east is such a mess and it's critical to the whole system. it's the point of most likely failure. again, iran's bid for hegemony there. mr. preble: i think the greatest threat is what threaten ours greatest strength, which is our ability to mobilize power through a strong, vibrant economy. -- what threatens our greatest strength.
therefore the greatest threat to our country are the things that undermine the strength of our economy and reduce our ability to mobilize in the future. senator manchin: mr. wood? mr. wood: one is actors of scale, somebody like russia or china, profound implications that dominate entire regions with very deep nuclear magazines. that's a different kind of threat than north korea or iran which will be very sharp and erratic and very pointed. senator manchin: i'm just talking about the greatest threat to our national security. you think russia -- mr. wood: yes, i do think they're our greatest threat. russia and china. mr. krepinevich: i think the greatest threat emanates from russia and china. i think the exiss ten rble threat is nuclear conflict though i'd expand that to say that there's a blurring between nuclear and conventional weapons that's been occurring for the
last 15, 20 years or so. lower yield nuclear weapons, more powerful conventional whens, not clear, when off russian military doctrine that says you escalate to nuclear use that worries me. senator manchin: i asked this five years ago, i had chiefs of staff before me and i asked the question, it was asked of admiral mullins, i was intently listening and everybody give your opinion he said the debt of this nation is the greatest threat we face. the debt of this nation is the greatest threat we face. so i would say to you, do you believe we have enough money in the system, in the system, department of defense, if we can make the changes or are we
unwilling to make the changes because we're going down the path? where if we flow more money -- i asked my grandfather one time, hey, papa, what's the difference between a democrat and republican. he said no problem, i can explain that to you. if you put a pile of money on the middle of a table, tax dollar, they'll both spend it all. republicans will feel bad about it but they'll all spend it. with that, i don't think we can print enough money. tell me if we can make if we just have to make sure we have enough. mr. preble: we could fund it at the levels they're talking about, 4%, 5% or more. we could. in real term, real dollar terms, -- i don't think it's wise to do so. in real dollar terms, because the economy is grown so much, thankfully what we're spending , now on our military is higher than the cold war average in inflation adjusted terms. so we have -- senator manchin: not getting bang for our buck? mr. preble: exactly. senator manchin: so we need to make adjustments? i'm committed to the military.
people question about the money we're throwing at it or the money they're demanding. i don't think you can print enough. >> that's right, sir. senator manchin: you think it could be revamped and still protect our nation and still be a superpower of the world? mr. preble: yes, sir, all true, all of the above. senator manchin: any other comments? >> in the cold war era, we spent 6% of our g.d.p. on defense. we're going below 3%. that's not the only metric. mr. krepinevich: pe talk about threat -- senator manchin: you're not all using the same metric, he's using g.d.p. -- mr. crepe pitch: -- mr. krepinevich: president kennedy spoke about the decline of powers because they spent too much on defense. we're in the throes of entitlement overstretch and an
unwillingness to fund the things we want. we're defering that burden to -- we are deferring that burden to the next generation and sticking them with the bill for what we're unwilling to pay for now. >> i do think you'll find a rare area of agreement of all five of us, we're not in fiscal defense because of the money we spend on the military. -- we not in fiscal distress because of the money we spend on the military. but raising money to increase the amount of money we spend on the military is constrained by the other things we are spending on. senator manchin: thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccain: i will be showing the committee the deline in the -- decline in the size of the military, the number of ship the number ofbury gade combat teams and also commensurate decline in capabilities, dr. preble, i know of no one who believes we have sufficient capabilities to meet the challenges that we face today
which have been outlined at this percent of our gross domestic product. we just have an honest disagreement, senator sessions. senator sessions: thank you, mr. chairman, for your opening comments and those of senator reed. i believe they're very wise and raise some important questions all of us need to think a lot about with regard to the question of debt being the greatest threat, well, i think the admiral in one sense if you take it in this sense, was correct, that the larger our debt you get to a point where you can't function anymore. and everything gets squeezed. if he's trying to maintain a certain defense budget, as long as our debt continues to surge, then it does inevitably squeeze the defense budget. wish it weren't so but it does. we tried to fund an increase in
the defense budget this year on the republican side based on the dangers that have surged around the world and the president insisted that we equally defend -- raise the same amount of money for nondefense. i mean, double the cost. this doesn't help us. i believe, mr. krepinevich, you mentioned our allies' contributions, met with some germans recently in estonia. estonia is at 2% of g.d.p. on defense. germany at 1.3%. the german presiding officer with a good delegation stood up and said, i agree -- when i raised this question -- that it is unacceptable that the united states spends 70% of the cost of nato. you are correct, senator. that's what he told me. secretary gates last week talked about his plea, demand to europe that they do a better job and you, i believe, indicated sometimes when we raise our spending, our allies reduce their spending. how to we deal with this?
mr. krepinevich: we have inherited, we have right now, an alliance portfolio we constructed in the 1950's in a very different time with a very different security environment. i think if you look at the situation now, as we revise our strategy, i think it's also time to revise our alliance portfolio. not to say we dismiss long-term allies with whom we still have security interests but i think, for example, in the case of europe, we're going to have to look for to the eastern european
countries and less to those of our traditional western european allies. i think in the middle east, obviously, israelis are, in a sense, almost a de facto ally. there are other countries in the region like the u.a.e. for example that show an increasing interest in stepping up and providing for the regional defense. japan, i was there a few months back, their western army command. i was amazed at the level of effort they have going on right now there. implementing what i call archipalogic defense. i think they're moving toward a more robust defense posture. we have nonallies, for example, like singapore, the level of interest and contact between
japan and india is striking. so i think part of it is to look at countries who live in dangerous neighborhoods. i think to a certain extent, west europeans haven't come to realize their neighborhood is still dangerous. senator sessions: i think it's a problem, we need to keep the pressure on. mr. donnelly, it seems to me that a big change has occurred, and i'll ask you from your experience to comment, in the middle east if iran gets a nuclear weapon. i mean there's not a country in the middle east that this united states military couldn't topple its government in short order but is there a historic alteration of those circumstances that if iran would obtain a nuclear weapon? mr. donnelly: i think iran is already getting the benefits, threatening to have nuclear weapon. again, i would offer that iran's
goal is regional hegemony and the nuclear question is a means first of all to deter us. secondly, they're getting the things they wanted, and they're actually enjoying a run of success, as one might say. without -- and they have the prospect of possibly having a legal nuclear capability within 10 years. they have a very clear path to becoming the dominant power in the middle east without even having to cross the nuclear threshold at this point. we find ourselves in a worst of both worlds situation, where the iranians are getting what they want and we don't. senator sessions: i notice secretary gates last week when he talked with us said, my concern is we dent have an overriding strategy on the part
of the united states and this complex challenge over the next 20 to 30 years, he said, we seem to be thinking striketly in a sort of month-to-month term. i think that's a tremendously devastating comment by the secretary of defense that served in this administration and a previous administration, a man of great wisdom and experience. i don't believe we do have a strategy and i think it's important and i think it's possible to do it in a -- on a bipartisan basis. thank you. >> thank you, gentlemen, for your thoughtful testimony this morning. i have been in several countries, and one thing i heard everywhere i went was concern about our inability to respond to the propaganda being put out both by russia and by isis. and the impact that's having on the potential for us to be successful in eastern europe, in the baltics, in latvia and we know the numbers around recruiting that isis has done in the middle east. but i was interested that none
of you mentioned that. even though former secretary gates last week talked about our failure, even dismantled usia in the 1990's because we thought it was no longer needed. i wonder if anyone would like to comment on the need to do a better job and the role that the department of defense should have in our response to the propaganda that's coming out of russia and other opponents that we face. >> if i may, just quickly, to your last point, i'm not convinced that the right for the department of defense. i'm not convinced of that. what i think we're seeing, in the same way they talk about the proliferation of technology, we're also seeing the proliferation of information and
the ability of nonstate actors and weak states to control the information in a way that not so long ago was controlled exclusively by states. mr. preble:: now we recognize there's a double edged sword there because state controlled media also has its problems. i think we just have to recognize we are in a different environment in which it is harr harder for a single large entity, even as large as powerful as the united states to shape that narrative. we have to rely on many more sources of information to sort of drown out that of isis or russia as the case may be. senator shaheen: mr. donnelly? mr. donnelly: young men of very few prospect respond to spectacular violence in the isis videos. vladimir putin takes his shirt off and tries to look as virile as possible. our problem is we don't have a message of strength which is not the only message we should be
communicating but one that we must communicate and it's just not very convincing. because there's a proliferation means of communication we could win this battle and wouldn't require much government intervention to get the message out. just as i said a better message to try to communicate. >> it's not clear to me we're communicating much of a message at all at this point. mr. donnelly: i think we're communicating a message of withdrawal and retreat loud and clear. senator shaheen: i mean we don't have a strategy and a means by which we are actively looking at responding to the propaganda that's coming out of russia and isis. mr. donnelly: i would just offer that the way to defeat their propaganda is to defeat their narrative and we don't have a convincing story to tell at this point. senator shaheen: does anyone else want to a-- to respond to that? >> i have to agree with the tenor here, to counter
propaganda, you have to be confident of who you are, what you represent, and that what you have is better than the other guy. mr. wood: we're seing a lot of confidence and a lack of assertiveness in saying that the united states, our values systems and what we represent is a better path, it's something better than the opposition. but i think what we have been focusing on was the core idea of this particular panel, had to do with military capabilities. senator shaheen: i understand that that was the idea. but i'm suggesting we're missing a critical el ofment what should be part of our military or at least our national security
strategy. >> i'm not an expert on this by any means but it seems fundamentally we're talking about the old story of hearts and minds. trying to mobilize people can you win their hearts? can you convince them they're try -- that you're going to vide a better future for them an the other side? mr. krepinevich: you can win my heart but in my mind i think the other side will win, then i have to live with them and you've lost me. so it's important to have a good narrative to win the hearts but also to have the capability and strategy that convinces them that ultimately you're going to succeed. there's also a problem with the way the message is communicated. the russians present one problem on state-based media. diash take -- advantage of technology to reef mass audiences that 20, 30 years ago a non-state entity couldn't dream of reaching. you're looking at mass audiences, microclimates, almost a highly segmented market and i think we're at square one on a lot of these issues. and it's -- i think strategic communication is going to be, i know it's a mission for the military, we used to call it
propaganda, but i think it's going to be a mission for the but i think it's going to be a mission for the u.s. government and an important one because of the, what i would call, democratization of destruction, the greater and greater destructive power in the hands of small groups. senator shaheen: my time is up but i'd make an observation, you talked about what kind of message are we communicating. as we watch the tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing the middle east and conflicts in afghanistan and iran and syria, they aren't flee to russia or ian. they're fleing to the west. they want to live in countries with strong economies and that have values that support democratic values. so i would say we have a strong message. we're just not doing a very good
job of communicating that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentlemen, thank you for being here today. this has been an interesting discussion. december 13, 1636. that's the birth date of our modern national guard. senator ernst: and of course i'm very proud of our national guard's capabilities. we have seen the national guard participate in conflicts all around the globe as well as in support roles and places -- in places such as kosovo and honduras and many other types of exercises. around the world. i would like to hear a little bit from all of you about what role that you think the army national guard should play. as i mentioned, we've been in support, combat sustainment roles, but we've also served in combat roles as well.
just recently, our secondbury gade combat team from iowa actually occupied battle space in afghanistan. so there is an increasing reliance on the army national guard and they respond quite well. i believe to the -- quite well, i believe, to the needs of the united states and our forces. i would like to know that if you believe the army national guard should be designated as an operational reserve of the army and if so, why, or if not, why not? dr. krepinevich. mr. krepinevich: you said it right, senator. senator ernst: thank you, i apologize. mr. krepinevich: that's all right. it goes back, tell me how you're going to fight. the krepinevich strategy over the next 20 years, the big growth in ground forces is rocket artillery, coastal defense, and striking. that's going to be essential to having effective defense of the first island chain. so i think in terms of an operational reserve or a second
wave force or reinforcing force, national guard to perform a function there, in the persian gulf, if we were, i think the forward of course has many capabilities that would support it. but also if we have to have an expeditionary force there, you have to mobilize a certain amount of force. again i think support major growth area for there would be rocket artillery in its various forms. in eastern europe if you buy my idea that trip wire forces, we're going to need because of limits on finances and manpower and so on. if we were to develop our own anti-access area in yeern europe, we would be relying on those kinds of systems as well.