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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 9, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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candidates look for traction, they go after each other. my guess is as sanders begins to decline, he will turn away from the attacks on clinton and move substantialto a role, trying to pull her more toward the populist left. >> thank you. considerably expanded the size of the iowa electorate in 2008. he brought in many young people and that was the key to victory. it's not clear we will see that same thing for bernie sanders in this campaign. this campaign. head to the primary calendar. henry, we will start with you. i wonder if you can start with byzantine delegation rules. the republican nomination has a pretty good chance of being significantly influenced by rules. that is because the republicans
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have decided any contest between march 1 and march 15th must award there are delegates in proportionality. republicans being republicans, they have a looser definition than democrats. so, what that first means is, if you are an republican voter in a state that votes during that time, your vote counts less than a state that votes afterward, just because your vote to delegate ratio is going to be lower. secondly, for some reason, the very conservative states of the south and the midwest have all decided to lockstep vote in that window.onality when you read the polls about ted cruz gaining and ted cruz telling you how he will unite all aspects of the movement, he will walk out of those key smallerith a much
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delegate lead. states more heavily influenced by moderates, particularly in the mid-west -- midwest and northeast have adopted much more winner take all approaches. someone who wins new jersey will get 51 delegates. for deepave to win southern states by a large margin to get the 51-delegate lead. if there is an establishment candidate who is not fatally wounded by march 15, that person highly likely to win the nomination, but they will have to wait until april to make it clear to the other candidates, that the other candidates will drop out. karlyn: one thing we should point out in those contests, eight of the states have a threshold of 20%, so the
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delegates can only be awarded after that. five, 15%, and 113% overall. >> if i can add to that, a couple of interesting things to keep in mind. establishment candidates may do very poorly in the first four or five or six contests. marco rubio is likely to finish fourth, fifth, or worse in iowa. he is third in new hampshire now. it's hard to imagine him doing much better than that unless things change. he's not doing well in south carolina. nevada -- maybe. but nevada, i'm not sure how many hispanic republican voters there will be, and they are mexican-americans, not cuban-americans. then you moved to super tuesday where you may see cruz, trump, carson doing particularly well. if you go for the first month and a half of these contests and
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you're not winning much, it may be hard to build traction. in the states with the 20% threshold, you can imagine the candidates with that core 20% leading them -- start with donald trump who could win some of these winner take all states just by getting all 22%. >> what the candidate it's no more than 19% in a 20% threshold state -- gets no more than 19% in a 20% threshold state? karlyn: john, can you -- which part of the electorate consolidates first? a lot of people are thinking ben carson may fade and ted cruz may henryhat vote, as indicated. a lot of the earlier states will be favorable to them. if that happens early, that gives ted cruz a lot of momentum establishment candidates may be more divided. i do think they be question --
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the big question is donald trump. is he a conservative? he's not a social conservative. he does reasonably well in the moderate part of the party in polling. does he become the alternative or the one that can last through? >> very quickly -- i am assuming ben carson is going to fade. it if hen's polling, were to sustain, it's quite clear he would be the nominee. he is running clear among all of the ideological factions, particularly evangelicals, and he is running first or second among establishment conservatives. if that were to continue, ben carson would be the nominee. i do not think it will last. it becomes the question of who drops off? this, he was more of an
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establishment candidate. if they were going to be for trump, it would already be for trump. everything we know about ted cruz suggests -- there is one veryion tpp asks that is telling. what would you prefer in a candidate, most conservative on candidate whoa can win? 40% say most conservative. , those people are going to carson when they drop off. they will not look at crews. if they would go for trump, they would already be for trump. -- they will not look at cruz. i think you will see a late rise by rubio. i think he will finish late -- secular third in iowa. down, peopleoes will switch to someone who looks more like the candidate they are backing now than the other alternatives. right now, because of jeb bush, it looks like marco rubio.
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>> i'm very cautious about predicting who will come second, third, or fourth. just ask president romney about making predictions. our numbers i am cautious about. those are 24 million, 23 million. those were the viewers of the first two republican debates. a worldd debate, on series night, that 14 million. the previous record for the debate was 8 million. 8 million. 24 million. triple. you also had a rise in democratic debate viewership, but less so. the one to think they had so far, 13 million viewed. the previous record was 10 million. not insignificant, but nothing like we have seen on the republican side. the republican caucus and primary electorate could be vastly expanded.
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norment mentioned that the democrats turned out in iowa in 2008. democratic primaries and caucuses overall, 37 million voted, versus 21 million in the republican caucuses and primaries in the '08 cycle. had, '08, the republicans won 20,000 in the caucus. most evangelical electorate outside the south. those numbers could change. 6000, 700, 8000 people iweb -- republican in in iowa. obviously some of the increase in that debate performance -- a lot of it was the celebrity value of donald trump.
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, thes i look at this static political alignment i talk about and that i look at the possibilities of large numbers of people which is a fading in stages where they large numbers, -- of people purchase a fading in stages where they haven't before, i'm cautious. karlyn: thanks, michael. about obama? chris christie seems to be the only gop candidate who is taking ads. on in his and in the quiet car in amtrak as well. the president is always on the ballot, even in an open race. if you want to throw away the details and look at political science models and say, how is the president doing? what do people think of his job approval? how is the economy doing -- various measures -- that gives
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you a sense of the playing field for the race. how it will be. the president right now is kind of in the middle. the president's numbers are up from the midterm, but they're not great. they are in the 47% range. the economy is kind of in the middle. a neutralint, it is playing field for the election. but that could change. we are still early enough things to get better. we could be looking back and saying, these are bad economic times. much better in the summer of 2016. or the president's numbers could matter for hillary clinton even though she's a different candidate. karlyn: how valid do you think the obama-rubio comparison is? norman: this is one area where you should keep a close eye on paul ryan. the dissatisfaction and anger, so much of it focused on boehner, now much of it focused on mcconnell, was in large part
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a since the republican establishment leaders were letting obama just kill them over and over again. and of course, it's part of the reality that if you look at lame-duck presidents, 2-term presidents in their final years, the results are usually pretty pathetic for a host of regions. you are tapped out with ideas. you have many, many fewer members of your own party in congress to review start to lose your people in your own administration and you can't replace them very easily. your party is usually divided over who the successor will be. people don't want to do big the next person may move in a different direction. obama has broken that mold. ad part of it is because in polarized world, instead of having a united congress taking president who uses executive authority, you have democrats in congress siding
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with the president over the republicans, and that has frustrated the hell out of republicans. will paul ryan be able to change that and reduce the frustration level? not, then obama becomes, i think, a bigger factor, but a factor because he looms over it all and it adds to the traction for outsiders, a believe that, look at what these insiders are doing, that is nothing. a problem ryan is going to have, which is the same problem boehner had is, he may well be mobilize house republicans to pass some things conservatives will like. they are going nowhere in the senate where mitch mcconnell has to try to protect kelly ayotte, toomey, andat others running in blue states from fouts over and over again that are too extreme for those states. the votes over and over again that are too extreme for those days. if writing can do that, it
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reduces the role obama plays. obama plays a role just because he is presiding over an economy, what happens with that economy. it still comes down to with an open contest, do you want more of the same or do you want change? and the president's successor in his own party has a difficult time saying i'm actually real change without alienating members of his or her own party. rubio, anyone question mark henry? no? i agree with john and norm's recent remarks. policies that are most important of the obama administration, obamacare and the iran nuclear deal, poland or 50%. they are not popular. we have not heard the democratic candidates, insofar as we heard
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them, trumpeting those policies at all. to listen to the rhetoric in the democratic debate, you might suppose we had a reactionary republican president for the last seven years. yes, obama is a factor. yourn: we want to turn to questions now. we will ask you to identify yourselves. if you could wait for the mics, that would be important. is there going to be a clear and merging theme, or will this be a mishmash of the economy and other things? confidentmuch more predicting possible moves in the electorate 60 days from now than a year from now. i think michael is right. american politics has been pretty much electorally divided in the same patterns, the same distributions since the 1994 gingrich revolution. going back to the presidential
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level, the 1992 races. there's very little that the issues will do anything else but mobilize the existing consistencies and move on the margins the few remaining swing voters that we have. right: first question here. if you could identify yourself and wait for the mic. >> thank you. i am tom with the policy discussion group. i wonder if the panel could talk about what foreign-policy issues are likely to be featured in the presidential race. >> [indiscernible] the argumentake and continue to make the argument that doesn't obama does not want to lead from behind. marco rubio i think would make it right and center.
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ben carson probably soft-pedal more. soft-pedaled it that is what republicans generally believed. i think you will see that kind of attack across the board. iran will be an example of that. shaking military would be an example. failure to draw the redline in syria would be an example. -- shrinking military would be an example. the only thing that would be an issue that would come up is if there was a negative development in the world that would force people to debate that. otherwise, we will hear republicans say we are weaker than we were seven years ago and if you elect hillary are burning, it will be more of the same. overall numbers of the president's job approval have moved up a little bit. foreign policy has changed dramatically.
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it has not really affected his overall number dramatically. the one thing i will add to henry -- of course, republicans arounddebate will focus malaise or weak leadership, all sorts of problems. the one thing that did seem to move the numbers and could be more specifically moving things is if terrorism very directly comes up. when we saw the beheadings from woke that is when people up more, rather than saying this is a weak leader, but this is something you might change your vote on. norman: i have been amused. there are two maine republican -- main republican lines of attack on obama. one is that he is feckless and weak. the other is he is sherman back here at home while the republicans get rolled over repeatedly. it's hard to reconcile those things. what is also the case, there is
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substantial fatigue even among conservatives over boots on the ground and more wars. we may see an interesting contrast here. it may well be there is a desire for stronger leadership. -- theon up truck that, notion of trump, anyone who tax me on the wrist, i will cut their lights off and i will do that to isis and putin, and here he is taking over the debate negotiations again -- negotiations as well, that may be a general matter. but if we have a republican nominee who is willing to move into more aggressive military actions, that could create waves in the nominating process. karlyn: michael, very quickly. key momentthink the was the's second term execution of the journalist james foley.
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before that, rand paul seem to be a real threat in the republican race. before that, republicans were willing to accept these sequestration cuts in defense. after that, as we have seen recently, they were not. if americans think the world is spinning out of control, as they 2007-2008,979-80, that is a problem for a candidate who might have happened to have been formally secretary of state. karlyn: questions from the side of the room? anyone here? let's go right here. can you wait for the mic? it's coming from back there. is leaving from behind. [laughter] identify yourself, please. >> [indiscernible]
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what stuff do you put in ted cruz's theory it has not -- what stuff do you put in ted cruz's theory it has not affected the nomination? lot of thes like a other candidates are operating under the assumption that donald trump will fade, collapse altogether and will not be a factor. do you think they feel that way and is that correct? >> ok, taking the first isstion, ted cruz's problem like he's working in common core math. he thinks a lot to get the wrong answers. there is not a majority of people who agree with him were -- within the republican party, much less the country as a whole. arereason that republicans not winning is not because they are not nominating people who are conservative enough. there is no pool of movement
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conservative voters who have not in 2008 and 2012 because the candidate was not conservative enough. that is simply not true. that hasno argument any degree of statistical validity or any sort of support that says somebody like ted cruz is the person who can summon people from the deep and cause .hem to come out and vote the reason republicans don't win is because they don't understand the modern electorate. they don't understand what these swing voters in the modern electorate want, and they are shibboleths that do not move people the way they used to. when the republican party stops trying to run the 1980 campaign
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-- which is effectively what romney did, just not without as much charisma or detail -- and reflects real issues today, then i think you can see a cam -- a candidate from the conservative wing when a general election. until that happens, it's not going to happen and ted cruz is so flat wrong, it's really shocking he continues to get serious -- that that theory continues to get serious play. karlyn: does anyone disagree? norman: i can make an argument in the other direction. i'm not sure i agree with it. but i can make an argument. people who surge of voted for obama. that is a fairly accurate way of looking at it. it has not been true since. in down it is declining turnout. i look at the elections and i see democratic turnout at record lows in these governor races
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since the 1960's or 70's in kentucky, louisiana, mississippi -- admittedly republican states now. z theory might work if you get your voters out and the democrats do not, if they continue to have increasing difficulty. vote was up one million from mccain. reverse those numbers and the republicans win. that would be my defense of the cruise argument. john?: john: i want to take on donald trump and whether he will fade. any number of things he has said might have caused him to fade and he hasn't. ben carson, a lot of people have
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not figured them out. has a record. a lot of people do not like him. i think that is an argument he will stick around at some level for a while. >> really quickly on the trump thing, trump draws like blue-collar candidates in europe. is going torump collapse. i could easily see trump being something like -- like what happened to the you kept -- ukip policy -- party in britain. when it became a serious about, a number of those people decided to hold their nose and vote for the tories. 23%, 25%, iling could see that going down to 15%
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nationally. he will not implode, but he could very well drop out. >> remember, trump is putting money into organization in early states. he has a campaign now. anne carson, as we have seen, a lot of money -- and there are huge amounts of money going in -- is going to carson allies who are making a fortune out of this campaign, and there does not seem to be much infrastructure there. it changes, but it's getting late to build that kind of infrastructure and there is no infrastructure there. .rump is building a there and i believe the anger level at the establishment is high enough. my guess is it is worth digging into the somewhat conservatives a little bit. people are reading the same things and hearing the same things from their neighbors that support for outsiders may be a little bit more persistent than we have seen before. karlyn: speaking of organizations, the "post"
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reported that crews had 6000 volunteers in some of these early states. >> hello. i am a congressional fellow. as you are looking at the press coverage on both sides, g you think a different lens is being used when they look at the candidates? on the republican side, donald trump, dr. carson are seen as not really serious candidates, democratic side, bernie sanders has been billed as the progressive alternative to hillary clinton. folks who know bernie from his days as the socialist mayor of burlington know how burlington did not thrive under his leadership. at my question to you, do you think that there is a disconnect or a different standard being used? why do you quick tot folks are so write off jeb bush, who for many people really is the most
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thoughtful candidate and really the most presidential? ben will the silly season over and we have the bush-clinton race that many of us are looking forward to? [laughter] the first question, bernie sanders was a mayor and has been a senator and a member of the house before that, and has actually had some legislation, in the veterans area specially, go through in a bipartisan way. donald trump and in carson have never served in any office. they will look at them in a different way. when you are looking at one side where there are two main candidates and the other where there are a bunch of others, you for get different lenses their use. i would say for donald trump, you could change the name of cnn to tnn. it is the trump news network. a have given him a billion dollars worth of -- they have given them a billion dollars
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worth of free publicity. i'm sure the other candidates would say, please judge me by that standard. as for bush -- this is all driven to some degree by press and of spirit a lot of the narratives are the deathwatch. they love the deathwatch narrative. and then they love the resurrection narrative. we are into the resurrection narrative now. this becomes crucial. if bush can stay alive through early contests, we are going to get into a super tuesday and a contest where we know john is goingf he is there to win ohio and all of those delegates and very well may do better in some of these midwestern states. if bush and rubio not each other out in florida, then it completely alters the context of this race -- knock each other out in florida, than it completely alters the context of this race. and rubio facing scrutiny that comes when you move to an upper tier. with that comes a danger. it's a little early.
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he did not want this happening. you have several establishment candidates hitting at each other. mitt romney got away with having nobody in that category basically. karlyn: is jeb finished? henry: jeff has been running a poor campaign. it's not a technical thing. as michael to cost us -- as the fishukakis said, rots from the head down. this guy has been retired from politics for more than a decade. the american political scene has changed dramatically in tone and substance and he has not adapted to it. now he is trying to adapt to it and you can see, he needs to show passion, so he is shouting at the microphones. , i think, is who more likely to be this cycle's john connolly, which is to say spending tons and tons of money and getting very few delegates,
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despite the media and establishment thinking that he was a serious candidate that could come back. you look at polls, and they have consistently shown the third of the republican party that call themselves very conservative load l jeb bush. the jeb bush.a he is the only candidate in trial heats up with donald trump that regularly gets pasted no matter what state, whether it is nationally or in state. unpopulars deeply with a third of the party and is not given the other two thirds much to hang their hat on. henry's analysis generally, but he has painted himself as the candidate who might have a foot in the liberal part of the public and party and establishment conservatives -- he only has beat in the leftmost part of the party.
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marco rubio has some support with establishment conservatives, some with the more left-wing and it's hard to get out of that. he was a conservative governor in a lot of ways. how to back oneself out of being seen is not just establishment -- appealing to only the most left voters in the republican primary is a very hard thing to get out. karlyn: other any questions in the back of the room? there is one right here. this gentleman in the middle. then, unfortunately, we have to shut this down. this gentleman right here. if you could make it brief. we only have a few minutes. it is not on. could you speak loudly. it's not on, unfortunately. scholar frombright johns hopkins. last week i attended a lunch speaking about american
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political dynasties and i have a question. suppose there are two candidates who are equal in capacity and experience. one is from an unknown family, and the other from a family with the fame of a political dynasty. which one would americans prefer? henry: in large countries that are a lecturer democracies -- >> in large countries that are electoral democracies -- in japan, the issue with his grandfather the prime minister. in korea, taiwan, the philippines, indonesia, india, and so forth. people in a very large country do not know the candidates first. don't know anybody that does. it helps if you know the family
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and trying to assess turkey. on the other hand, vis-à-vis jeb bush, back in the 1980's when his father was running for president, i went down to texas, drove by the house is the bushes lived in. the nicest of them was a modest little ranch house. the idea that the three presidents of the future united states were living there in the 1950's somehow strikes me as really weird. i think that is a problem. obviously if the republicans were to nominate jeb bush, they forfeit the idea you can campaign against hillary clinton as old stuff, and remembrance of the past. and i don't think -- you know, i used to say jeb bush was the best conservative governor in america and the last 10 years. now i've got to extend it to 20 years, which suggests his problem. michael.hank you,
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we will be back in february. i want to thank everyone on the team. this has been a great session. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> live later, a look at the future of afghanistan with the carnegie endowment for international peace, speaking with an afghan politician. we will get his view in about half an hour and -- about an hour, actually, and on capitol hill, the house quieter than usual today, with members on trips or in their districts
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until next week. the senate, live coverage from in about 30 c-span2 minutes, as senators continue to debate spending for military construction projects and v.a. funding. also a vote on the next director for the european bank for reconstruction and development, and a vote on defense authorization. businessrsons having before the honorable supreme states, giveunited their attention. -- boldly comes with the internment of japanese americans and world war ii. he took his case all the way to the supreme court. >> this week on "landmark orematsuwe discuss k
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versus the united states. after the attack on pearl harbor, president roosevelt sent an evacuation order, sending japanese-americans who lived close to military installations to internment camps throughout the u.s. >> this is a re-creation of one of the barracks. they were divided into six different rooms. they did not have ceilings. they did not have the masonite on the floor. it would have been freezing, even in the daytime. the only heating they would have had would have been a potbellied stove. but this would not have been able to heat the entire room in a comfortable kind of way. evacuationing the rematsu defied that order and his case went to the supreme court. find out how the court ruled with our guest, peter irons, author of "justice at war," and
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u, executivets director of the fred t. kor daughter oftute and the plaintiff. we will follow his life before, during, and after the court's decision. that is coming up on the next c-span, andses" on for background on each case will you watch, order the companion book. it is available for a dollars $.95 plus -- $8.95 plus shipping. tonight on "the communicators," we discuss cyber security threats to the u.s. and other countries. james lewis is our guest and toss about what the u.s. is doing to avoid attacks by china and russia.
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and also cyber security legislation passed by the house and senate. on the program, he is joined by the cyber security reporter for politico. mission toa grand defend the united states, but they do not have resources. they need to think about infrastructure. the bill in 2012 would have dealt with critical infrastructure -- probably not in the right way, and you saw the obama administration put out an executive order in 2013 that imposed a requirements on critical infrastructure. congress needs to go back and ask if that is enough. communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span two -- c-span2. >> the senate for street --mittee held a hearing on
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for street committee held a hearing. of this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> good morning.
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i called this meeting of the forestry.mittee on we turn our attention to a topic that is quite timely coming to the end of a disastrous wildfire -- season. it is hope -- it is my hope that addresses the need for management on federal mistake, and private lands. the state has the primary response ability for the u.s. forest service, whose overall mission is to maintain the national forests. this hearing serves as a reminder the agricultural committee has a larger role in the larger wildfire debates. national forests are supposed to be administered and managed in a way to provide multiple uses and
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benefits. the forest service readily admits nearly half of the acreage are at risk of devastating insect infestation, disease, and catastrophic wildfires. as a result of policy decisions from decades ago, we are seeing a significant the climb in frivolousvest and lawsuits, leaving our national forest consisting of overstock stands as more fuel for more fire. coupled with threats such as chronic drought and insect outbreaks, our forests are hazardous fuel stockpile susceptible to damaging wildfires. today's wildfire season , andates hotter wildfires these catastrophic emergencies devastate landscapes, echo systems, and at the systems and people. in response to this, the 2014
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farm bill provided valuable tools. the forest service has made positive strides in implementing these provisions. wildlife preparedness and suppression costs now account for nearly half of the agency's annual discretionary budget. that is up from $1.6 billion in 1994 to $3.9 billion last year. meanwhile to address the rising cost, the forest service addresses other non-fire account program resources to cover the cost for wildfire suppression. this redirection of program funding, or fire borrowing if you will, is disruptive to the forest service and its ability to conduct other vital activities such as preventative,
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active forest management and hazardous fuel reductions. the committee has a long history of working on an advancing legislation on forestry matters, most notably with the healthier forest restoration act of 2003. i would like to remind everyone that our two midi has a resourced and we would like to work with you -- our committee has a resource and we would like to work with you. my hope is that this reinforces that the status quo is an acceptable and congress must focus on this issue. even a chainsaw can enter a national forest -- obviously not on its own. as a former forrester chief once said "there is a crazy quilt of laws that the forest service ist comply with which time-consuming and costly. the forest service must comply with well over 50 separate laws ne the clean water act, and
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the endangered species actpa, to name a few." mention the threat of frivolous lawsuits to stop restoration work causing delays. these are fundamental problems contributing to the degradation of the national forest system. it is time that congress and the administration and stakeholders advocate for solutions that not only address funding fixes, but advocate for solutions that improve the management of our forest. to decisions have to be made for policies that promote greater streamlining. wildfire knows no boundaries. forest service deficiencies are a significant contributor, restorationecessary
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work. if nothing changes, every thing goes up in smoke. i look forward to hearing from members. i recognize our ranking member senatorstab now -- stabenow. senator stabenow: i appreciate the witnesses coming to give us their time and expertise. i want to give a special recognition to chris, whose business was founded in my state. this was, as we know, yet another record-breaking wildfire season. it resulted in the destruction andhousands of homes properties, and tragically, these fires took the lives of 13 flatland firefighters. our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these brave men and women.
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this is a stark reminder of the challenges that we face. and increasedate residential development in fire prone areas has made this problem worse and more complex to deal with. while there is not a single solution, there are several measures that we, as policy makers, can enact now to make a significant difference, and i hope we will talk about those today. . fixing the fire service budget is of paramount importance and needs to be a top priority for this congress and for our committee and others. is nowest service routinely forest to transfer funds away from key projects like forest restoration and
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timber sales, which help alleviate the threat of wildfires, and instead must use these funds to help pay for firefighting. this process known as fire aansfer or fire borrowing is huge problem. it is essentially a stop work order on ongoing and long ourned projects which place forests at risk from everything risks from everything from fires to invasive species. our effort to protect forest from and bases -- invasive species was pulled back. so much to it is time to stop these transfers. we introduceds, bipartisan registration that
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would end the fire transfers by allowing the worst 1% or 2% of fires to be treated like natural disasters. under this plan, the fire service could fight the most severe fires more effectively by using disaster funds. certainly these are disasters like any other disaster in our country. i am pleased to be a cosponsor of this legislation. i appreciate the bipartisan as we discussed building on these changes, something i am hopeful we will talk about this morning, i suggest we continue to prioritize the full implementation of the reforms enacted last year. in fact, just last week, the state of michigan and the forest service injured into a good
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neighbor agreement, and these agreements -- entered into a good neighbor agreement, and allow us toents partner to restore our forests and sustain the more than 26,000 jobs that depend on healthy, in michigan.ts mr. chairman, i hope the committee will continue to develop, and i know we well, to continue to work around restoring our natural forests. i hope that we will start by funding, which will promote committee hasour long championed. i look forward to working with everyone on the committee. i am eager tos: hear testimony from all of you, as all members are, and this important issue. i believe we have compiled a
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panel of witnesses that will be very constructive. our first witness is mr. dan dessecker, who is the director for the ruffed grouse society and responsible for their conservation policy initiatives to promote forest health and wildlife habitat. in addition to his professional accolades, he serves on a number of conservation boards, including the department of interior's counsel. welcome. i look forward to your testimony. our next witness is mr. william dougan, who represents a union serviceg the u.s. park firefighters. he has served in a variety of capacities throughout his career with the department of interior,
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the u.s. forest service, as a former forest are in the west, and even a former firefighter. welcome, sir. be ken stewart will introduced by senator david purdue. mr.tor purdue: thank you, chairman. i am pleased to introduce ken stewart mr. ken stewart --introduce mr. ken stewart. he is the deputy director of the newly formed bioproducts institute. previously he was appointed commissioner of the georgia department of economic development in january 2007. government ine 2007 when he was appointed the director of the georgia for a street commission. his perspective is especially important in our state since georgia has more privately owned commercially available timberland than any state in the
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country. acres,gia's 24 million 54% is owned by private individuals. only 20% by public, state, and county. we should draw on his experience with private and family forest landowners in the field. their voices critical as we discussed for a street issues that impact them directly. ken, thanks for being here. we look forward to your testimony. roberts: our next witness is chris treese. introducennett will the witness. senator bennett: it is my pleasure to introduce chris treese to the meeting. he serves as the manager of external affairs for the colorado water conservation that's conservation district.
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-- conservation district. he oversees issues that directly affect the caller otter river basin and we have worked with chris on a number of -- the colorado river basin we worked with chris on a number of issues of importance to this committee. he helped ensure the farm bill focused on what quantity and also looked this bill build consensus around the forest tree reforms. this includes the treatment program for forests suffering from insect and disease epidemics. i would like to welcome chris treese to the committee and for the opportunity to be here today. >> i think the senator. witness will be chris wood, be president and ceo of trout unlimited, which is an organization to conserve and protect coldwater fisheries. he also has served in a variety
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of positions in the u.s. forest landce and the bureau of management during the clinton administration. welcome to the panel. it should be noted the committee worked very hard to get witnesses addressing this issue teese. of wood and [laughter] let's getberts: started. >> chairman roberts, members of the committee, thank you. fullve to maintain the range of forest, while life habitats and we are not doing that. -- wildlife habitats. we have accomplished only 24% of the minimal goal for young forest habitats as it in a five in existing forest plans. a den ofo expand -- as
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fight in existing forest plants. we need to expand and we need to provide adequate resources. as you pointed out, the u.s. versus service is becoming the u.s. -- the u.s. forest service is indeed becoming the u.s. fire service. a big chunk of money is going to these mega-fires which are in theingly common landscape and unfortunately likely to become even more so. every year, like wildfires in the west, we face hurricanes and tornadoes and we treat them and find them as the natural disasters they are. see the need to do the same thing for these mega-fires. and financial resources used to combat these mega-fires, these natural disasters, are unavailable to be used for
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wildlife conservation another agency conservation. what we see is a loss of wildlife that require diverse habitat. populations are declining across the country, particularly in the east. er across the nation are also declining as habitat becomes in short supply. and hunting is a business. hunters, about $11 million. that accounts for a major portion of $34 billion spent by hunters every year. this is not pocket change. it's not just game animals. if you look in the northeastern quarter of the country, approximately -- if you look at species that require young forest habitats, those species are apt to be six times as likely to be declining as increasing.
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region eight, the southeastern portion of the country, same birds, same species, nine times as likely to be declining as increasing. we need to address that. these trends are real. they are reversible. and as you mentioned, this committee and others in congress is a great job providing good neighbor authority, which will be helpful. just getting into gear. we think it has tremendous potential to enhance the landscapes and other private partnerships. target categorical exclusion to address disease issues -- again, and tool. we need to expand these tools. one way to do it would be to identify product exclusions, particularly one geared to providing wildlife diversity in
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the forest. we have to give the agency the resources to utilize to meet the challenges they face. in summary, wildlife is pretty much the window through which many in our nation view our national forests, and we need to enhance the ability of the agency to meet the objectives and expectations of the public. thank you. roberts --chairman mr. dougan. dougan: thank you for asking me. my current position, i spent 21 years fighting wildfires. i can tell you, firefighting is dangerous business. the only thing between you and trouble is your equipment and the brave men and women with you on the fire line. that is wade is so critical that we arm firefighters with the
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training and resources they need -- that is wade is so critical that we arm firefighters with the training and resources they is why it is so critical that we arm firefighters with the training and resources that they need. compared to the 10-year average -- wethousand wildfires must recognize that this is the new normal and we must change the way we do business to account for it. the usda inspector general issued a report in 2010 that predicted future shortages of qualified firefighters in the forest service. to view were being trained to few werehose -- too being trained to replace those retiring. that has come to fruition. training system is an outstanding achievement.
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my department is proud to be a partner in the apprenticeship program. unfortunately this program has underutilized. i am pleased to work with those in the house and the senate with the land management workforce flexibility act. senatorlike to thank johnson for his assistance in bringing the bill forward for a vote, where it was passed by unanimous consent and signed by the president in august. for a firefighter, wire to the legislation, the firefighter career path was blocked by fraud and functional that prevent employees from being able to advance their careers. because of this barrier to career advancement, any firefighters eventually left,
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taking their valuable skills with them. legislation signed into law, it will allow the employees to compete for positions when they become vacant, thereby maintaining skills in the workforce. i am disappointed to report that while we are still waiting oh p.m. to issue guidance, unfortunately, while we wait, hiring for the workforce is already underway. pending opm guidance, they are not considering firefighters for career positions. change withinot the next few weeks, the knowledge loss we have been seeing for far too long already will continue for another year. funding for wildfire suppression continues to be a problem. with the occurrence and severity of wildfires happening, preparedness has increased dramatically. in fiscal year 2015, the overall budget was $2.5 billion for the fourth service. of that, $708 million was for
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fire suppression, and more in a special account for firefighting. from a a 60% increase decade ago. the need often surpasses the funds, and when this happens, the agency transfers money from other accounts to cover the shortfall. this so-called fire borrowing work.s the in fiscal year 2015, the forest service was forced to transfer about $700 million from other programs in order to continue to pay for suppression costs after initial funding was exhausted. ironically, many of these are to reduce the frequency of the catastrophic fires. it is robbing peter to pay paul and is costing the taxpayers more. we encourage this act to prevent this. in addition, to make sure there is additional funding to pay for with theon costs,
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urban interface, it must be part of a holistic strategy to reduce the risk of wildfires escaping initial attack and becoming catastrophic in nature. simply increasing the budget by itself will not affect the impact of wildfires. it is time for congress to take action to provide the resources thessary to protect critical resources found across the country and to protect communities across our country from wildfire. be enactedms cannot on. i will be happy to answer any questions you may have. chair roberts: thank you. i know the members of the committee will join me in trying to light a fire under office of personnel management. mr. stewart? stewart: mr. chair, ranking
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member, and others, the season is largely coming to an end so impressedd i am with how well informed the committee is from the opening statements about many of the issues that we are facing. american forest foundation represents the interests of 22 million forest land owners across the country, and these are the private landowners that we are talking about here. your leadership on this issue is very important to us, and i would also like to summit -- this is a member, excuse me, for introduction from the record from the western water threatened by wildfire. it is not just a public lands i want toprincipally, talk not about the public side but the private side today. 30% of the land in the western states are privately owned, and of that, 40% of the high fire threat lands are on lands that are in the critical fire hazard
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area, and the interesting part of that is the 4 million westerners depend on that watershed for their drinking waters. he catastrophic wildfires that they are facing out west right now, that they have been facing burn so hot that it creates what is called a parking lot effect. it effectively bakes the soil, so when there is run off, it takes all of the debris. it does not soak up into the trees as it normally would and filter. as a result, many of the municipalities in the west are spending millions of additional dollars just to treat their water for 64 million westerners. foundation dug into this, mostly on the private side, and will be basically found is that there are some barriers to action. land,ople who own the yes, they are ready to go. some say that is a disconnect. we have some things to deal with. what is the cost of it, and the
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other is if we treat our lands and the others do not, then what happens? what have we accomplished? and they have got a good point, so i think this is something that is appropriate for congress to begin dealing with. the metrics we mentioned earlier, we have had 60% of the forest service budget that was dedicated to fires, 50% now, projected to be two thirds in 2025 if something is not done. georgia and the midwestern states, also a fire problem, but state and private forest he -- 43 programs are impacted, and they have seen an impact on their budget. part of this is mitigation. some individual programs are down 20%. earlier, the borrowing program, that is a significant issue in terms of the effect on programs and some 40% of the serviced foresters. --
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solutions, and we will particularly focus on private plans, but first, we recommend there is three considerations. first, we must can fit -- fix done.ldfire funding is congressional action is needed, and it is asked to be treated like other federal emergency funding. secondly, we need funding to better help the treatment of private family lands and do it on a landscape approach. this is simply to say we need to be collaborative. with ouro work partners, the fourth service, the national services and the local and community agencies as well so that we have a coordinated landscape approach. third, certainly, is about markets. this is near and dear to my heart. it starts with markets, and we have a way of spending some develop thoseo
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markets through loans and grants programs to help develop them, so, mr. chairman, members of the committee, certainly the time to act is now. thank you for your consideration, and i believe what we are talking about here should have good bipartisan support. mr. stewart,: thank you. especially for pointing out that 40% of the land is held in private lands, and 64 million people depend on the water supply with regards to the real problems that we face. se? tree treese: thank you, mr. ms. stabenow, and members of the committee. we represent members across 13 western states. as this committee knows, the
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founding purpose of the national forest system was to secure favorable water flows. the currently degraded conditions of the national forest adversely impacts water, runoff, and yield. large-scale high-end since the wildfires are becoming more frequent and significantly larger. all about alone from 2007, an ofrage of 47,000 acres forest land was burned. that average jumped from 2007 to 2014 to 140,000 acres per year. while wildfires can cause sick of the loss of water and hydropower infrastructure, the greatest impact of wildfires often comes after the fire is out. letting, siltation, and debris flows represent the major and .ecurring threat a 2003 study found post-fire
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runoff can increase tenfold, and erosion rates increase up to 100 times over prefire conditions. remediation costs quickly run into the tens of millions of dollars. additionally, drinking water oratment cost suffer similar greater increases. nearly all of these costs are borne by local utilities and water providers. federal actions must address both fire suppression and fire prevention. 'sapplaud senator bennet introduction, addressing fema limited funding. already mention is the need to address fire borrowing, the adequate resources for fire suppression cannot come at the expense of fire prevention. fire mitigation works. coloradod-setting wildfire raced across the denver
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foothills as a uncontrollable ground fire until it reached an area of the forest that had been previously thinned when it dramatically and immediately dropped to a lesser intensity and manageable ground fire. the 2014 farm bill regional conservation of partnership innovativeated an and competitive grant program to encourage and facilitate innovative watershed partnerships. the resilient federal forest act builds on the good work of this committee and the 2014 farm bill by incentivizing collaboration with local governments by expediting permitting for qualifying projects. often, environmental permitting comes as an impediment to critical, time sensitive, on the ground actions. the farm bill authorization of categorical exclusion for insect infestations is very much
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appreciated and is being successfully employed in my district. these are good starts. deteriorating conditions of our forests did not come overnight, and we do not contend that immediate action is possible, -- excuse me, that immediate resolution is possible, but immediate action is imperative. the western water community is committed to working collaboratively over the long forest improve our health. we look forward to your questions. mr. treese,erts: thank you for your testimony, especially for expedited policy as best we can do that. wood? chairman thank you, roberts, ranking member stabenow and members.
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the committee is right to focus on this issue. high levels of wildfires spending, including wholesale borrowing from other programs are substantially undermining the ability of the forest service to manage our national forests. i offer this testimony today on unlimited, and its members, many of those who force. half of the trout streams flow across the national forest service. as has been said, wildfires are becoming larger and more severe. intervening factors include changing climate conditions, hotter, drier summers, longer, more severe drought, increasing to the limit in fire prone areas, and the legacy of past timber management and fire suppression policies that have left many of our areas of vulnerable. budgeting tof fight fires, it significant disrupts the ability of the fourth service and the very
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health of the forests underneath its jurisdiction. ironically, the more money that is transport or reallocated to fight fire, the less money is available for restoration activities that would approve -- improve force resiliency and impact the fires. need to address two related fires. first, a midseason firebombing, and second, the scope and scale of restoration work. a solution to fire funding would allow access to disaster funding in address the increasing cost of suppression over time. the wildfire disaster funding act is the right solution to solve this problem. in addition, we must accelerate the scope and the pace of our nationaln forest lands. as has been mentioned, the recent farm bill created opportunities, including a small, targeted area for analysis for certain projects,
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permanent stewardship contracting authority, and the expansion of good neighbor authority. it is important to note, however, that cutting trees alone will not restore our forests. restoration must be approached by looking at how to best recover ecological functions and processes that keep the land healthy. closing or relocating roads, fixing culverts, and moving unneeded, small dams, assuring adequate flows of water, cleaning up abandoned mines, and cleaning up are all part of a forest restoration strategy. fundamental to forest restoration is the fact that many of these forest we are talking about our fire adapted and, in fact, need fire to remain healthy. our general approach should be to allow buyers to burn in remote areas so long as they do not pose risks to communities. most hazardous risks and reduction should be focused on the areasemost where people live.
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it is also important that we educate landowners about steps that they can take to make their own homes fire safe. homeowners and local governments must bear more responsibility for the proliferation of homes in fire prone areas and help to work to reduce the risk to homes and firefighters. you again for this opportunity to provide testimony on this important issue. s s-235nlimited support as critical to the fire budgeting process and urges the committee to advance the bill. stewart: i ask unanimous consent to enter the following letters of support supplementary to the hearing of 1, 2, 3,half of 4, 5,, 7, 8, 9, 10 different organizations that complement the testimony.
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so ordered.ction, i'm going to ask members to limit their comments in four minutes so that we can conclude the hearing because we do have a vote at 11:00. -- thankve six members you, david. and the distinguished senator from colorado. 1, 2, 3, after you are, five. let's see, ranking member, five, 220, is a four. i think we can do this. we ask the cooperation of the witnesses, and we thank you again for your testimony. dessecker, can you say more about habitat, specifically about the conservation and environmental benefits that accrue from this kind of management to maintain an early successional forest habitat? it seems to me if we do this, we
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can avoid a lot of the problems later on. please. dessecker: thank you, mr. chairman. these are with dense growth and dense presentation -- vegetation. there is a host of species that you will not find anywhere else. they host a variety of pollinators, a class of critters right now we are very concerned about. pollinator numbers are declining across the country for various reasons, so without question, we have to employ additional active management to try to get a better balance between mature forests and young forests, recognizing that mature forests are equally as important as our young forests, but when we see the latter declining at tocipitous rates, we have increase our efforts to address that. i feel your to do so was simply
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mean that these species that are of great ecological importance, in some regards economic importance, will regain their landscape, and a failure to do so, frankly, from my perspective, and i am a little biased as a wildlife biologist, but i think it would be irresponsible. : thank you very much free at i am going to yield to the distinguished ranking member. stabenow: thank you, mr. chairman, others. question first. i would like you to indicate whether or not the organization supports the wildlife disaster funding act. if we could just have mr. dessec ker? yes.essecker: >> yes. >> yes. stabenow: great.
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i think it is unanimous. when you talk about the partnerships, and through your work with child unlimited as well as with the forest service in the past, could you talk a little bit more about additional examples and details that illustrate how damaging the fire transfers are two agencies and their partners when you're trying to do the work that you are doing? mr. wood: yes, ma'am. they are doing everything they can to spend as much money before june, before the fire season starts, and in places like michigan, we have seen inventories, important road inventories that are not being done to help identify places where over is in the landscape needs to be replaced because of
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sediment in the rivers and we have seen lots of endangered species work, and, of course, the more we do to offset this come with a less economic and social disruption we have. as we said earlier, we are basically robbing peter to pay paul. we are taking money away from programs that not only help to manage healthy landscapes but that create opportunity and jobs in order to fight fire. now: thank you very much. you worked with the advisory committee. do you see new opportunities to improve the way the agency develops management plans that will reduce fire risk and restore wildlife habitat? dessecker: i think the primary impetus with the committee you are referring to were very interested in the area --collaboratives, graying
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bringing people together so that there is a greater by and. we feel quite strongly, and i want to be carefully, because i do not want to speak or members of the committee, but i think it is fair to say that there is broad consensus that if we can reduce the rancor, we will have more funds to spend on conservation. stabenow: thank you very much. an, i wonder if you can speak more. what implications have the changes that you have seen for the wildland firefighters that are out on the front lines? mr. dougan: over the last 10 to 15 years, we are seeing an increase in these fires. these fires are burning hotter. they are covering a lot more ground in a shorter amount of
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time, which creates problems for safety for the crews that are out there on the landscape, trying to dig fire lines to stop these fires. we are seeing a lot more crown fires, or the fire gets up into the top of the trees, and it can spread very rapidly. if they are large enough, they can create their own weather and much of the large amount of money that is being spent on fires is, with 1% of the fires that escape initial containment, and then the landscape characteristics are such, and the forest characteristics are such that they become catastrophic very quickly. placing not only the firefighters but the communities in and around these fires in danger. benow: thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i will not have time to ask mr. treese,
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but talking about that, i think that was one of these successes of the last farm bill and will hopefully continue to be a positive tool. stuart: mr. tillis. you, mr.s: thank chair. i understand the fire borrowing, but i have a question related to some of the underlying costs. what thoughts do you have on things we can do to reduce the cost of suppressing large fires? need toan: i think we spend more with pre-suppression activities. it is the same approach as going to a dentist and getting your teeth cleaned. it is insurance, trying to help not get a cavity. the same principle applies in the forest. we have to actively manage these forests. if you look at the predominance of forests out in the western united states, these are fire adapted forest. fires,orests depend on
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and the problem out there now is our own making. over the past 100 years, we have been aggressive in putting out every fire that starts and not allowing a fire to have a natural role in the landscape and ecosystems, and because of this, we have had these large buildups of both ground fuels and standing fuel, so if we get a fire going now, it creates a problem, so we have to be actively managing and actively looking at reducing hazards. s: i agree with the ounce of prevention. what once it occurs, are we as efficient as we can be to address these wildfires once they are her? there is always room for improvement. when i look back over my career and over the history in this country, some of the technology we have in some of the planes that are dropping fire retardant, we did not have that
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in the beginning of the 1900's, but in terms of the work and the tools that people on the ground fire line, that really has not changed very much over the last 100 plus years, so i think it is worthwhile thinking about and asking the fire agencies, such as the as whether they think there would be any good outcomes in investing some in research and looking at new technology to help these folks out on the line. what about the relationship with state? i am from north carolina, and we have had a lot of firefighters go out west time to time to assist. how would you assist that co-op would -- ss that cooperative relationship when you need additional resources to go out there? an: it is absolutely critical.
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bp, we had 30,000 people -- at peoplek, we had 30,000 out there, so about the ability to move crews, whether they are contractor crews, without the ability to move folks where we need them, or the most critical fires are, we would have a much worse situation, so i really appreciate the fact that that, you know, your state and others have pitched in over the years and made people available. tillis: i want to keep to my time because the chair scares me, but i appreciate all of the witnesses, and we appreciate any feedback after the hearing in my office. thank you, mr. chair. ms. k klobucher: employments, nine
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point $7 billion, and it is what my grandpa did, so it is near and dear to my heart, and i, like so many other people talked about today, am concerned about the transfers of money, which have to obviously take place for emergency for fighting fires is taking away from what we have to prevent these fires from happening in the first place. -- conducting burns on 100 acres this year. this work not only protects forests from wildfires but also the surrounding communities. reese, you talked about communities and that water infrastructure is impacted and wildfires.oyed by how have agencies had to a death their procedures to accommodate wildfire risks? e: thank you, senator.
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they have done their best, but it is an investment. some have been able to create redundancies, operating with neighboring agencies and utilities, and created or established multiple watershed sources for their water. for the most part, however, that is not possible in rural colorado and my community. it is simply cost prohibitive. we simply run the risk. -- ms. kl char obuchar: you mentioned that in your testimony. stewart:ect -- mr. they both need to be actively and with the drought we have in the west, they are all interesting factors, but
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distantly, this ultimately gets back to the budget, and if we spend money on the budget and maintain the programs which continue to improve the land and invests in the state and local programs that the forest service .as, it improves it over time it is something that we have to continue to invest in. lobuchar: yes. thank you, mr. dessecker, mr. fires,eyond fighting what you we do to change some of our solutions to address forest lines, and along those what concrete steps should we be taking? they haveminnesota not reached even their goals of how many trees should be cut, and it is obviously creating a further problem, because of fires then can go more rampant.
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mr. dessecker? dessecker: very simply, secure the budgetary authority to fund these as they are, natural disasters, as opposed to taking the money from the budget , and allow the personnel resources to get the work done on the ground. which has been identified through the planning process. mr. wood?har: wood: i think the pound of cure is apt. doingand foremost, hazardous fuels treatment around those communities, making sure we are protecting homes, operating with larger landscapes in terms of our restoration, but the first thing we have to do is fix the fire borrowing problem. klobuchar: thank you, and i
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will ask a question for you on the record. i am sure you will appreciate that. mr. stewart: we're on a four-minute time schedule trying to make the vote. senator ernst? ernst: thank you. i am sorry to join so late, but have any of your agencies or organizations utilized or witnessed utilization of the national guard forces, and any of these fire or fire activities? and if you could just please share with us that experience. ood: i believe this is the first time since 2006 when they were called in to supplement the mr.fighting work horse -- this is thelieve first time since 2006 when they
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were called in to supplement the firefighting workforce. ernst: anyone else have experience in utilizing any of the national guard question work well, we have some wonderful air guard and other out there, and i just want to say we should not overlook the capabilities available with those types of response units, so that is all i have. thank you, mr. chair. chair stuart: thank you, -- : thank you,d senator. big-- there are two
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issues. the first is in the name of fiscal responsibility, we are mine aging are forest -- we are managing our forests in the most fiscally irresponsible way. we are taking money that could be spent on mitigation -- mike [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: we leave this now and go to the afghan politician about the future of afghanistan with the carnegie institute.
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host: welcome, everyone. i want to extend a warm welcome to our speaker this afternoon. as all of you know, he has played an important role in the politics during the karzai government. the ambassador to two of the most problematic neighbors, iran and finally, as the afghanistan minister of the interior during 2014, which was a very important year in
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politics, and our focus today on afghanistan could not be more timely. president obama has made important decisions with respect to the continued u.s. troop presence in the country. as a continuing reminder of the high sacrifice in treasure that the united states and its allies have made to rebuild post-nine/11 afghanistan. unfortunately, this task is by no means complete, and the recent crisis and the faltering efforts at reconciliation raise unsettling questions about the prospects for success. these demand the careful and critical hearing. understanding the political
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state, in this embattled and the ambitions of its powerful neighbors. it is essential if the united states and its allies are to consolidate their achievements thus far. they havets for which worked so long and hard, as have the afghan people, so without will yield then, i the podium for his remarks and welcome him once again to the carnegie endowment. [applause] mr. daudzai: thank you very much, mr. tellis, for that warm
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introduction, and good afternoon. at the onset, let me take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to the carnegie endowment for -- the carnegie endowment for international peace for giving me this opportunity to speak here today. let me also take the opportunity to thank the people in the government of the united dates for their continuous and generous contribution to afghanistan. the blood of young afghans and american men and women, soldiers , for a common cause and in the same battles marks the depth of
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the bond between the two partners. let me assure you that your sacrifices in support of freedom and democracy in afghanistan is not wasted and will not be wasted. today, i see many familiar faces here, many friends here. colleaguesriends and , and some of them, we have worked together over the past decade and a half, and my , withational colleagues whom we have had lots of interaction and worked together with lots of ups and downs, and i am so pleased to see the ambassador, who we worked together in one of the problematic areas. i do not think i have anybody here in my -- in the room from my experience with the other
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problematic country. anyway -- it is a great honor to be here, and it is a pleasure to be among you and see you all here today. headlines are painting often a picture that is assured that it is not a full picture. it is not representing the real picture. true, butem may be they are not the full picture. we are certainly increasingly challenged by terrorism and by a problematic neighborhood. it is still a costly war going
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on in our country that is taking countless lives and disrupting people's potential. but there is a lot that has gone well, too. the past 15 years, afghanistan has undergone significant positive changes that can only be better noticed and judged by those who have seen that country in the civil war and under taliban and and see it now. note fromrtant to where we started. recognize ourt to theline rather than judge country against unrealistic expectations. in 2001, there were hardly 5000
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, that wereoys only enrolled in universities, and weretwo universities nominally open, in kabul and john levine -- and in another city. on a state without functional universities, how we havet, but today, over 100 universities fully half anal, and over million boys and girls are enrolled. of boys andsands girls have been to universities across the world. most have returned and work in the country, and some of them we see here also who are working here in the united states, and, heree way, those who come
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and stay on and work, and those working in afghanistan, and when they come they've become a binding part of our enduring relationship. anyway, from what were the piles of dust and chaos, we built a state. of course, with a lot of patience and a lot of pain. and we afghans are all of us committed to continuously safeguard that state. memories of have our troubled elections, particularly the last one. but i am here to tell you that democratic customs are entrenched. people participate, and people
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speak up like never before in the history. significant progress is made in the area of freedom of speech and human rights, and certainly not enough. not enough for ending violence against women. just this year, we had at least two very bad examples, rather shameful examples, with a tragedy in kabul and also lately the stoning of roxana. this is a problem that needs to be fought head on. today, there is ground for too.rn in other areas, doubts are expressed on the after aorce ability
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loss to tell a van that happened months after the completion of the international force drawdown. this, the liste is long, and that takes hours to explain each side, but for the sake of discussion and in order to save time for discussion, i have picked a for your rather four questions that i often encounter, and with your permission, i will speak in those four areas, and then will go on. the first one which many people is about the capacity and capability of the afghan national security forces, whether they can hold on to the taliban on slot or not. was lucky that i had the responsibility to lead the afghan national security forces
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during a very challenging time, secure two rounds of intense presidential elections. i can tell you with all honesty that the afghan national security forces is now a force to reckon with. fighters.ud of our they do a good job every day. course, the four still has a long way to go to further professionalize. this summer was exceptionally challenging for them. as they faced a very high number and scale of sophisticated taliban assault. experience,om my this was the worst that the afghan national security forces could face. prepared fornd had this summer for many, many
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years, and likely, they failed to get what they expected. talibanion to the assaults, the afghan national security forces had to bear the word and of combating thatnational terror group were pushed to afghanistan from across the line, through the pakistan army hezbollah operation. the afghan national security forces successfully denied the taliban the pleasure of taking control of any job or fee that could have replaced their quarters in pakistan. let me explain this one a little more. this year, there were thoughts that taliban were pushing for taking control of certain pockets of geography in , and we thought that they wanted to do that in order to be able to push their headquarters or pull their headquarters to afghanistan. then the fall happened in
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the middle of that, and that was a major incident. but the truth is, it was a major incident, but it provided a lesson learning opportunity for the afghan national security forces, too, and they are trying to learn their lessons from the fall of that area. there were many losses, and they protected civilian life, and they inflict it heavy casualties to the taliban. the other aspect of this was the taliban and image was tarnished, because within that one week, they committed so many atrocities that people remember since14 years ago rule,
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, and that isunduz making them increasingly popular within the country, and people look at them as their savior. now, in support of the afghan national security forces, and we have not had any public uprising inside of afghanistan in support of tell a van. against still violence women. yes, women are victim in afghanistan, but there are too, in women stars, many different fields, but i want to give you an example of a woman in helmand. , ands leading a force now
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she was the wife of a police he was killed, and to revenge, she picked up arms and formed a small resistance group, consisting of many of her distant relatives, including her daughter-in-law and sons. when i was minister of interior, in order to legitimize her work and bring her under the framework, i brought her under the umbrella of the afghan local police, and she continues under that umbrella, and last week, sadly, we heard that she lost a son in this latest battle in .elmand now, the other frequently asked question, and what i have said so far was about the afghan national security forces. the second area that i want to talk a little bit about is the
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national unity government. which was, in a way, put together by the ambassador. before i give my judgment or say something about the unity government, let me clarify one thing, that the state of afghanistan is the product of collective efforts of all of us for 14 years. we have enlisted our sweat and blood and treasure to create this state of afghanistan, and we defend it at all costs. now, as far as the government is concerned, the government is always there to be criticized, but there is one culture that is dominant. when we are outside, we do not normally criticize the
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government, so it's some of you are expecting me to criticize the national unity government, you might be disappointed, but unity, the national government is new. although some would argue that it has been tried twice before. and that tried twice before is slightly different. 1978, when that first government was created or came to be. that was from two factions. argue that they do not survive for more than a year, because they stage coup s against each other, and the second unity government with , when they majority formed a national unity government, and it did not take a year between prime minister
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that they started fighting each other, but then that was passed, and we are a totally different era. there was no constitution at that time. now, we have a constitution that we are proud of, and it is one of the best in our region. the national unity government may not be 100% in accordance with the constitution, but more than 50%, it is in accordance with the constitution. anyone talking about the national unity government is within the limits of the constitution. now, as for the political argument that brought the afghan unity government into being, there is supposed to be a constitutional item within two years of their term in office,
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and the purpose of that is to of the the position chief executive officer to that of prime minister. willhow the evidence unfold, i do not know, whether they will be able to hold that or not. i do not know. signs are that they may not be theyto hold it, because have to hold the election, and under the circumstances, the election for the district council is not an easy thing to but what i can say for sure is that i know of no afghan clinical forces in the country that do not wish that the national unity government completes its five-year terms. there is no force that wants to cut their term short.
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they want to continue until 2019. but the political forces across the country, they are anonymously working and preparing for the upcoming parliamentary election, whenever it is, and for the next presidential election that will be in 2019. or thee other question third question that i want to say a few words is about the -- inct of a political wereast 15 years, while we busy with reconstruction, with the great and generous support of our international partners, in the midst of what was there was the
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political dialogue that goes back to 2007. from my memory, the president's chief of staff, in 2007, we there was a resemblance, a great resemblance between taliban and the rural afghan population, which meant that if we tried to eliminate the taliban and by force, that meant a very high rate of civilian casualties. as part ofiban and their strategy always used civilians. he never hesitated to use civilians as shields, and whenever there was civilian casualty, the afghan government would raise their voice, and it was sometimes a source of tension between the afghan government and the international partners, so we talked about a political settlement as the
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other way also. the war continued, and the peace process, and we started that process. talk toorder to taliban, we needed to find their address, and the only address we knew was to go to pakistan, to islamabad. only address where we could find the taliban leadership to talk to, so that is why we turned to islamabad, and that is they stage as serving as president's chief of staff, i was moved to islamabad to be afghans ambassador there to improve the relationship with pakistan and to secure the cooperationncere with the peace, and an youresting coincidence, call it, i arrived in islamabad and presented my credentials to the president of pakistan, exactly on the day that the
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american seals took bin laden, 2012 when i started as the afghan ambassador, so a very difficult start, a very difficult beginning i had, but i tried my best, but it took me a couple of years or less than two years to realize that what i was doing was impossible. there was not going to be any political outcome from that. anyway, we waited, and pakistan waited, and everybody waited that president karzai's term was over. and the other president, he took from us. steps further he went to the general headquarters of the pakistan army, and i think that he did the right thing. i will not criticize him for that because the ambassador would agree with me that we were
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in islamabad. we always said that islamabad had two capitals. and the decisions about afghanistan were not made in islamabad, so the president did still, wething, but all know that he did not get anywhere either. beginning.all he had a face-to-face talk, which was also mysteriously by the news of a death. well, while i thought that it was mission impossible, i also concluded that the way to go to through pakistan was too much accident prone and too much personality driven, and i will
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give you an example of each of those two for your information. was too much accident prone, in 2011, i think it there was a time gap of three months that we had to work. months, thethree professor, who was the chairman ,f the high peace conference was assassinated. the follow-up of that was the lost event pakistan the promise of cooperation. it's a given more months. -- it took even more months. he was in 2012


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