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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  March 23, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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it? how are we going to be part of the solution? if we in congress can't get that right, how can we expect the people that we represent to do it as well? if we can't raise our gaze, raise the tone of our rhetoric, the the nor of debate and offer real, concrete ideas and solutions to fix our country's problems, then how can we expect anybody else to do the same? so that is why through leadership by example i think members of congress need to be part of the solution by putting an agenda out there that says, america, we have problems that we can fix and we need to do this together, we need need to unify. what bothers me about politics is the notion of identity politician that we're going to win an election by dividing people. that we're going to win an election that separate people from other people rather than inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our common culture and the things that should unify us. we all want to be prosperous.
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we all want to be healthy. we want everybody to succeed. we want everybody to reach their potential in lives. what policies do we need to get to achieve that? liberals and conservatives will disagree with one another on that. no problem. that's what this is all about. so let's have a battle of ideas. let's have a contest of whose ideas are better and have that kind of debate and members of congress can lead that and that's the thing we're trying to do how about over there with the sweater? >> aside from changing how people approach different ideas -- sorry. mr. ryan: no. speak right into it. >> aside on changing people's approach -- on how they approach other ideas, what other institutional changes can we take to help minimize legislative gridlock? mr. ryan: legislative gridlock i think is opening up the rules process. when i became speaker, i made a couple of decisions which was
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not to have the leadership predetermine the outcome of everything, and that is kind of ended up happening. i came here in 1998. it was a different system and more members of congress could bring more amendments to the floor and you weren't sure of the outcome of something. when we lost the majority i think the then democrat majority -- look, this is critical, but i think they consolidated power greatly. i remember sitting here in this committee commensurating with my fellow democrats of how the committee was losing its power to shape legislation for rank and file members of congress to shape ideas and legislation because power was becoming consolidated. when we retook the majority, i don't think we decentralized power enough. i think we still kept a bit of that consolidation of power. so what i am laboring to do is change the culture of this institution to decentralize the power so that ideas are done in the committees and brought to the floor by members of congress. that cultural change, i believe, is going to help get a better result at the end of the
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day. perhaps a less predictable result but a better result. so i came in this job different than most people come in this job. most people who become speaker work their way up the leadership ladder, which is a fine path to take in congress. i never saw myself doing that. i always saw myself as a policymaker, hoping to be a chairman of this committee to write great policy. i was chairman of the budget committee around then chairman of this committee. and you spend your time in congress focusing. if you're a jack-of-all-trades in congress, then you make yourself a mile wide and an inch deep. that is in my opinion not an effective way to be an effective policymaker to make this a good vocation so you need to focus and specialize. what do you do when you focus and specialize? you go on the committee in the area that you care about, the policy. so that is why i think these committees should be the ones writing the policy. and if you're not on this committee, if you care about this policy, then you should go and do something about it by having an amendment on the floor. but if leadership consolidates
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power and short-circuits that process, then i feel like this institution is short-circuited, this institution does not function at its full potential and that is one of the reasons why i decided to take this job because i wanted to see that kind of leadership change occur. i got to tell you, it's not easy to do. changeing the culture is hard to change -- changing the culture is hard to change. last five months, we have the biggest transportation bill we had since the mid 1990's. the most comprehensive rewrite of our k-12 education laws in 25 years. we finally rewrote our customs and border laws on international trade that we've been trying to rewrite for decades. we had tax policy that we worked on in here for over 10 years we've made permanent. so we've made doc fix. a big medicare problem that was 17 times we kept patching this medicare problem one year at a time, one month at a time. we finally permanently fixed it. so by looseening control, letting policymakers actually
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write the policy i think we've gotten a better result. we had 120 or something like that amendments to the highway bill. i have no idea what the outcome of the highway bill would have been. it was very partisan for a while but we ended up having over 300 votes. so i think by looseening control of decentralizing power, subsidiary, so to speak, letting people do their jobs i think you get a better outcome and have more participants and the tenor and quality of debate improves as well. [applause] all right. they tell me i have to go. thank you very much, everybody. enjoy your time here. i hope you're learning some good lessons. thank you so much. i appreciate it. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit] >> we'll show you all of this speech again tonight here on c-span at 8:00 eastern, and a programming note, tomorrow vice
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president biden will be speaking about merrick garland, the supreme court nominee and the nomination process 12:30 eastern live here on c-span. >> the need for horses on the farm began to decline radically in the 1930's. it was not until the 1930's that they figured out how to make a rubber tire big enough to fit on a tractor, and starting in the 1930's, the 1940's, you had an almost complete replacement of horses as the work animals on farms. i do believe, one of my books on horses, i read that in the decade after world war ii, we had something like a horse holocaust, that the horses were no longer needed and we didn't get rid of them in a very pretty way. > sunday night on "q&a" robert gordon, professor of economic
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which looks at the growth of the american standard of living between 1870 and 1970's and questions its future. robert gordon: one thing that often interests people is the impact of superstorm sandy on the east coast back in 2012. that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer worked in new york. the electricity stopped. you couldn't charge your cell phone. you couldn't pump gas into your car because the -- it required electricity to pump the gas. so the power of electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something people take for granted. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> the supreme court today heard its fourth challenge to president obama's health care law. the latest appeal is the second
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time faith-based objectors argued that the law's contraception mandate violates their conscience rights and the religious freedom restoration act. here's reaction at the court today from sister lorraine marie mcgwire from little sisters of the core who brought the case. schenk, verend rob president of the national clerky council. thousands of evangelical orthodox, church leaders. we signed onto a petition supporting father frank pallone and priest for life because two questions are at stake here. religious freedom and the right of conscience are at stake in this case and father pavone will make comments of what we observed in the courtroom. >> national director of priest for life of the 37 petitioners in this morning's case, we were the first ones to issue a legal
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challenge to the h.h.s. mandate. and part of our case is dr. king, the niece of martin luther king jr. she is a petitioner this morning because this is about freedom. this is not about us imposing any kind of restrictions on our employees. this is not about us denying them anything. this is about insisting that the government not impose its pressure on us to violate our faith. a believer should not be forced by the government to have to choose between following its faith and following the law. i was very encouraged by what i heard inside. justice -- the chief justice pressed very hard, acknowledging that what we're saying is that the government is hijacking our insurance plans. it would be the very same plan that we are offering our employees now that would become the vehicle for the contraceptive and abortion coverage. that's the point. it's our plan.
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it's not a different plan, and the chief justice pressed that point very hard. even justice kennedy referred to the word hijacking. he said, is this not hijacking the plan of those who object to these services? it's very important to understand, it is not the government that is the judge of whether our religious beliefs are accurate or valid. this court has said that many times. we're the believer who is the judge of that. our listeners and our people now enter into a period of prayer and we launched a major prayer campaign, and we're going to be following up on this. bottom line, we will not obey this mandate no matter how this court rules but we believe, based on what we just heard, it's going to be a split 4-4 decision. thank you very much. i'm father frank pavone of priest of life. >> i'm with the beckett fund for religious liberty and we
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represent the little sisters of the poor. right now we'll have mother lorraine mcgwire give a statement. it's loraine, maguire. thank you. >> hello. my name is sister lorraine marie claire. the lord gave me a calling. that's little sisters of the poor. we are a group of women who make religious vows to god and we dedicate ourselves to serve the elderly poor, caring for them regardless of race or religion, offering them a home where they're welcomed as christ, they're cared for as our own family and we accompany them until god calls him he to himself. you know, we've done this work for over 175 years. so, you know, now we find
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ourselves in a situation where the government is requiring us to make changes in our health care -- our religious health care plan to include services that really violate our deepest held religious beliefs as sisters. you know, it's hard for us to understand why the government is doing this. there are 1/3 of americans in our country that are not covered by this mandate, and, you know, there is large corporations such as visa and exxon, pepsi that are fully exempt from the mandate but yet we are threatened. the government is threatening us with fines of over $70 million a year. so you know, it's such a privilege. it's a privilege for us to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, serving them, comforting them, just being a
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loving and healing presence in their everyday lives, just being their little sister every day is our joy. and really that's all we want to continue to do. that's our motive is to continue our work as we've always done it. so after hearing today's hearing, the case, we are hopeful for a positive outcome today. and you know, our mother's founders taught us and said the work is god's. he will help us. so we put our trust in him. he'll be there for us as he's always been for 175 years. so thank you very much. thank you. god bless you. >> reuters writes the supreme court is headed to a possible 4-4 split over the legal challenge by christian nonprofit employers who object to providing workers' insurance covering birth control. the story says an evenly split ruling would leave in place
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lower court rulings rejecting challenges brought by christian organizations. representatives from the american civil liberties union and the national women's law center also spoke to reporters in front of the court. >> gretchen, vice president for reproductive rights and health with the national women's law center. we filed a brief in this case on behalf of 68 organizations. women deserve insurance coverage of birth control no matter where they work. this birth control benefit has been a game changer for women. it has advanced women's health, advance women's equality and saved women over $1 billion in one year alone. these employers want to take at benefit away from their employees. the alternatives that they proposed in court today are unworkable and frankly insulting. if their view prevails, they'll return their employees to the battle days of sex discrimination in health care. if the supreme court follows
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its own logic in the hobby lobby decision, the outcome is clear. no boss's religious beliefs will trump a woman's access to essential health care. thank you. >> miss, before you leave, a question? one of the arguments they give is they can get this insurance through the state exchanges. why isn't that a less offensive alternative? >> i think there's two things. one, there isn't an insurance plan expressly for contraceptives and secondly, that's treating women different than anyone that has a service. that's in essence saying other health care insurance is through this one plan but if you want contraception, you have to go out separately and buy a separate plan. that's like saying women have to go through the back door in order to get the care we want. it's offering an alternative that's fostering discrimination in response to something that is meant to address discrimination. >> and you are, ma'am?
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>> i am -- i'm louise from the aclu. i'm the deputy legal director of the american civil liberties union. we filed a brief in this case in support of the government. you all know we stand up, we defend religious exercise, but the arguments in this case are arguments we can't abide. we're just focused on one thing that justice breyer said in the case. justice breyer was asking over and over, how do we think about the line, the line between religion and its intersection in secular society? he talked about how quakers have to pay taxes even though they're opposed to war. how jehovah witnesses have to get health care for their children even though they're opposed. he talked about people having to clear a sidewalk outside abortion clinics even if they're opposed to abortion and said, what's the line we should draw here? i think we can look to hobby lobby and we can look to other sources to say the line is to say that religious liberty doesn't mean the right to impose your views on others or the right to discriminate.
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if the court takes away the court says this accommodation is per mibble, the court will have -- permissible, the court will say this fosters discrimination. thank you. >> and we'll have the oral argument audio of the little sisters of the poor supreme court case dealing with the health care law's contraception mandate when it's released on friday. that case was heard today, the sixth anniversary of the affordable care act, and democrats on the joint economic committee tweeting, in its six years, the affordable care act has covered 20 million strong and reduced health care spending. and republican senator -- >> for this year's student cam contest, students produced documentaries telling us the issues they wanted the candidates to discuss during the 2016 campaign. students told us that the economy, equality, education and immigration were all top issues. thanks to all of the students and teachers who competed this year and congratulations to all of our winners. and every weekday in april
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starting on the first, one of the top 21 winning entries will air at 6:50 a.m. eastern on c-span. all the winning entries are available for viewing online at >> obama administration officials testified on capitol hill today and americans have been killed by detainees released from the guantanamo bay prison. president obama announced last month he plans to close the prison and relocate some prisoners to facilities in the u.s. this house foreign affairs committee hearing is about an hour and a half.
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mr. royce: this committee will come to order. president obama's race to empty the guantanamo bay detention facility is on. in recent weeks and months, many hardened terrorists have been released. many of them have been sent abroad and according to the president's closure plan sent to congress last month, another 35 are set to be transferred this summer. unfortunately, we know many of the recipient countries don't have the desire or commitment or even ability to monitor these dangerous individuals and prevent them from returning to the battlefield. untries like ghana and uruguay aren't typical security and intelligence partners but they are being asked to shoulder a heavy burden and a heavy responsibility. and there are real concerns about the administration
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setting aside intelligence assessments to deceive countries about the threat posed by the militants they are being asked to take in. that was certainly a finding of this committee, our investigation into the release of six detainees to uruguay in december of 2014, and i want to thank mr. jeff duncan of south carolina, the chairman of our subcommittee that focuses on the western hemisphere. the top state department official overseeing guantanamo at the time wrote to the president of uruguay that there was no information about these six that -- that no information that they were involved in conducting or facilitating terrorist activities against the united states or its partners or allies. no information? they were known to have been
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hardened al qaeda fighters involved in forging documents, trained as suicide bombers, fighting at tora bora, committing mayhem, committing murders in afghanistan. and although the law clearly states that steps must be taken to substantially mitigate the risk of released individuals from, again, threatening the united states, senior uruguayan officials asserted before these six arrived they will not impose or accept any conditions to receive these former detainees. indeed, these six terrorists were housed just blocks from the u.s. embassy without the prior knowledge of u.s. officials and frankly were often seen outside of the embassy. the administration often talks of detainees cleared for release as if they are no
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longer a threat. but just over 30% of the detainees that have been released are either confirmed or suspected to have returned to the battlefield. several of the senior leaders of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula are alums of guantanamo. the administration is emptying guantanamo with the flimsy claim that it is a terrorist recruiting tool. let me explain that i don't think that if you're standing in line in raqqah to recruit into isis you say, oh, guantanamo bay is going to be closed. no need -- no need to enlist here. what raqqah is about, what isis is about is the establishment of the caliphate. that's what's driving recruitment and frankly the success of isis on the battlefield is driving recruitment. closing this detention facility
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has been opposed by bipartisan majorities in congress and even members of the president's own cabinet. it is no secret that former secretary of defense hagel was pushed out in part because he was not certifying releases fast enough for the white house. yet, president obama remains determined to push out as many terrorists as he can to other countries. 45 or so other law of war detainees would be moved to u.s. soil. doing so could open a pandora's box of legal issues, combaring our anti-terrorism efforts -- combaring our anti-terrorism efforts. to bring guantanamo bay detainees to u.s. soil would be, according to the secretary of defense, against the law and that's also according to the attorney general. i see no interest in changing that law. certainly not by the american people, and our laws must be
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honored. the white house, meanwhile, has no solid plans to detain and interrogate terrorists captured today. that's a problem. indeed, the administration admits that its proposed domestic guantanamo would not take in any new terrorists captured on the battlefield. if the administration was spending as much time working to capture and detain isis fighters, as it was trying to close down this facility at guantanamo bay, we would be more secure. isis is continuing to threaten and expand in libya and in afghanistan and elsewhere across the globe. europe is under siege by jihadists. we are under attack, so unfortunately we are going to eed a detention facility for
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fanatical terrorists who's processing in the legal system is unwarranted and simply is not feasible. and we're going to need that for some time to come. and we'll now go to an introduction of our panel. this morning we are pleased to be joined by special envoy senator lee:. he's the special -- lee wolosky. ess at the from the u.s. department of state. previously he also served as the director for transnational threats at the national security council under president clinton. and we also have special envoy paul lewis for guantanamo detention closure at the u.s. department of defense and previously mr. lewis served as both the general counsel and minority general counsel at the house armed services committee. and we welcome them both to the committee. we appreciate that our two witnesses, along with the
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intelligence community, have already agreed to meet with the committee in april in closed session on necessary classified issues. and without objection, the witnesses' full prepared statements will be made part of the record and members here will have five calendar days to submit any questions or any statements or extraneous material for the record. and at this time i would like to go to mr. eliot engel of new york who is the ranking member of this committee for his opening statement here today. mr. engel: thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for calling this hearing and, gentlemen, mr. wolosky, mr. lewis, welcome to the foreign affairs committee and thank you for your service. we're reminded today of the terrible cost of violent extremism. i was just on the floor of the house speaking on a resolution
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declaring our solidarity with the people of belgium. so that's why i just got here. came here right from the floor. the dark shadow of a terrorist attack has fallen over another of europe's great cities and we're standing alongside the belgium people today as they mourn the dead, heal the wounded, rebuild what's been broken and seek justice. in these situations, it's important to look at what more we can be doing to enhance cooperation with our partners and prevent this type of violence. it's also important to reflect on where our policies have gone astray and maybe -- made the situation worse. so it's appropriate today we're taking a hard look at one of the most troubling and divisive symbols of our counterterrorism effort, the guantanamo bay detention facility. the subtitle of today's hearing is what are the foreign policy and national security cost of closing the guantanamo facility , but as policymakers, legislators and experts have been saying almost since the facility was opened, the
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question is, what are the costs of keeping it open? the prison's drain on military resources. it costs nearly $5 million a year to keep the person detained at guantanamo versus 78,000 a year in our prison. closing gitmo and transferring detainees would free up $85 million a year. resources we could put to better use elsewhere combating terrorism. the argument against this goes, we need to spend whatever it costs. these guys are too dangerous to bring here. let's look at that. today 91 detainees remain at gitmo. since the prison opened, 644 individuals have been transferred out. 144 under president obama. 500 under president bush. as of today, more than a third of the current detainees have been cleared for release after a thorough review process. under no circumstances will these people be released onto american soil. like all others, they will be transferred to other countries. prior to 2009, more than one in
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five released ditaintees returned to the battlefield -- detainees returned to the battlefield. under the obama administration, nearly eliminated this problem. if the president plans to close the guantanamo detention -- if the president's plan to close the guantanamo detention facility goes forward, only a handful of detainees would ever be brought to the united states and those who are would be held in supermax prisons. they're called supermax prisons for a reason. no one has ever escaped from one. and who are some of the current residents of these incredibly secure facilities? terrorists. zacarias moussaoui, who helped plot 9/11, something i'll never forget. richard reid, the so-called shoe bomber. the boston their money bomber. four men behind the 1993 world trade center bombing. six terrorists responsible for bombing our embassies in kenya and tanzania.
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l these men will call a.d.x. florence in colorado home for the rest of their days. we should try them in federal court and get justice for their victims. if there's any doubt that our justice system can handle the terrorists, ask any people i just listed. it's not a question of what rights guantanamo detainees should be or should not be accorded. it's the simple fact that the federal justice system has tried and punished terrorists much more effectively than military commissions. but beyond the dollars and cents, beyond our safety here at home, we need to consider the harm gitmo has inflicted on our security interests around the world and just as importantly on our values. the terrorists seeking to recruit more fighters into their ranks, the guantanamo facility is a gift that keeps on giving. this prison has become so infamous and so reviled that our enemies no longer even need to call it by name. instead, as we've seen again and again, terrorists flip on a
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camera so the whole world can see, parade out some innocent prisoner dressed in an orange jumpsuit and catch him on fire. everyone knows what they symbolize. this prison has helped strengthen our enemies. it's become a stumbling block on our relationship with coalition partners. after all, it's not just americans that isis is addressing in those orange -- dressing in those orange jumpsuits and it's created deep division here at home and that's because gitmo has long strained some of our country's most important values. it's become synonymous with torture and indefinite detention. when we were going to school and learned all about rights and constitution, this was never allowed under american law. so i want to quote retired major general michael leonard, the first commander of the detention facility after 9/11. this is a quote from him. he said guantanamo was a mistake. history will reflect that. it was created in the early
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days of consequence, fear and political expediency. it ignored centuries of international law. it does not make us safer and it shows us who we are as a nation. i ask unanimous consent that major general leonard's full statement be included in the record. mr. royce: without objection. mr. engel: thank you, mr. chairman. so coming back to our question. what are the costs of closing guantanamo? to me the answers are clear. the cost of closing the facility are far, far less than the cost of keeping it open. i'm not alone in this view. president george w. bush was very clear that he wanted to close gitmo. john mccain made a campaign promise to do the same. an overwhelming majority of national security and military experts, including former secretaries of state and defense, c.i.a. directors, national security advisors and chamemen of the joint chiefs of staff thinks it shut be shuttered. as i pointed out, the arguments against closing it just don't hold up.
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at the end of the day, my opinion, the only justification for keeping the prison open is fear, fear of violent extremism, fear our justice system or prison system cannot get the job done despite all the evidence of the contrary and fear is precisely what our enemies want to instill on us. i don't want them to win. we shouldn't allow that we should clean up the stain on america's commitment to justice and democracy. we should take away this propaganda tool for terrorists. we should work to implement the president's plan and shut down this prison. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses. everyone who knows me knows that i take a very hard line on this, but i think that we are far better off closing this facility for our interests, no other interests, our american interests than if we leave it open. so i look forward to hearing our witnesses. thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. mr. royce: thank you, mr. engel. lee. mr. wolosky: thank you. distinguished members of the committee, good morning. i appreciate the opportunity to
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appear before you this morning to discuss the important matter of closing guantanamo bay, cuba's detention facility. i'm honored to be joined by my colleague, paul lewis, special envoy for guantanamo detention closure at the department of defense. today i'll describe the rigorous processes that determine whether a detainee should be approved for transferred and the extensive interagency efforts that ensure compliance with applicable statutory requirements before each transfer takes place. at the outset, let me emphasize that president obama concluded that the continued operation of the guantanamo detention facility damages our national security for many of the same reasons that led president george w. bush to the same conclusion. according to president bush by his second term, and i quote, the detention facility had become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies, closed quote.
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it remains though when president obama took office and remains so today. -- so when president obama took office and it remains so today. the bipartisan view that guantanamo should be closed is not limited to presidents bush and obama. senator john mccain has said he is in favor of closing guantanamo. likewise, former secretaries of state clinton, rice, powell, albright, christopher, baker and kiss injury have alled a -- kissinger have all advocating closing guantanamo. so two former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staffs and 42 generals and admirals. the list goes on. in addition to leading democrats and republicans, world leaders and international organizations from the pope to the organization for american states consistently call on the united states to close guantanamo. today, there are 91 individuals detained at guantanamo, down from a peek population of 680.
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a total of 779 detainees have passed through guantanamo and of those 688 have departed. the vast majority of detainees transferred out of guantanamo to other countries, some 532, were transferred before president obama took office on january 20, 2009. prior to the implementation of rigorous interagency procedures that were implemented by this administration and are described more fully in my written testimony. my written testimony describes at length the two processes by which this administration has approved detainees for transfer. what they have in common is rigorous review and analysis of all available information in the possession of the u.s. government and the unanimous agreement of six agencies and departments before a detainee
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may be approved for transfer. after a detainee is approved for transfer, the department of state leads negotiations with foreign governments about possible transfer. we're joined in our efforts by colleagues from the department of defense, justice and homeland security as well as by those in the intelligence community and on the joint staff. the decision as to whether, when and where to transfer a detainee is the culmination of a rigorous interagency process similar to the initial decision to approve a detainee for transfer. this process, including the process by which we negotiate security assurances with our foreign partners, is described at length in my written testimony. i look forward to your questions about it. once we arrive at a satisfactory security framework with a foreign government, the secretary of defense seeks concurrence in the transfer from the secretary -- in a
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specific transfer from the secretaries of state and homeland security, the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. only after he receives the views of those principles and only after he is satisfied that requirements of the national defense authorization act are satisfied that the secretary of defense sign and transmit a certification to the congress conveying his intent to transfer a guantanamo detainee. the rigorous approval and negotiation process i've described have contributed to the dramatic reduction in the confirmed or engagement for a detainee's transfer during this administration. thank you, again, ladies and gentlemen of the committee. i greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak before you about this important issue, and i look forward to your questions. mr. royce: mr. lewis. mr. lewis: chairman royce, ranking member engel, distinguish members of the
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committee, good morning and thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i'm honored to join my colleague, lee wolosky. mr. chairman, i particularly appreciate your continued and sustained interest in this extremely important issue. at the outset, i want to echo special envoy wolosky's statement and one final point regarding the detention facility at guantanamo bay. the president and his national security team have determined closing this detention facility is a bipartisan national security imperative. the president has repeatedly stated that the continued operation of the detention facility at guantanamo weakens our national security by damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, draining resources and providing violent extremists with a propaganda tool. in january of last year, 42 retired military leaders, all retired general officers or flag officers, wrote the leadership of the senate armed
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services committee and force flee argued for the closure -- forcefully argued for the closure of this facility. saying it's not a political issue. there is near unanimous agreement from our nation's top military and law enforcement leaders that graunt should be closed. this letter was signed by general charles c. krulak, a retired commandant of the marine corps. major general michael leonard, the first general of the joint task force at guantanamo. general joseph hore. general david maddux, the former commander of the u.s. army in europe. and many other leaders. many of these leaders reaffirmed this letter this month. as lee noted, in addition, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral michael mullen and dempsey supports closure. envoy wolosky has supported gitmo closure but i think it's
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important to highlight this broad conclusion. this conclusion shared by two presidents, four former secretaries of defense, eight former secretaries of state and it demonstrates this bipartisan support at the highest level of our national security leadership. as envoy wolosky noted, in his memoirs, president george w. bush himself concluded that the guantanamo detention facility was a propaganda tool for our enemies and a detraction for our allies. the president himself made this statement. and as president obama recently noted, by 2008, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close. this was not my opinion. this is the bipartisan support to close it. as the special envoy for guantanamo detention closure, my primary focus is on the transfer process. 16 detainees have been transferred to date in 2016. these transfers have reduced the guantanamo detention
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facility's population to fewer than 100 for the first time since 2002. overall, 27 nations since 2009 have accepted guantanamo detainees who are not from that perspective country. in addition, 13 other countries or territories have accepted repatriation of their own citizens since 2009. as with our military leaders, foreign leaders regularly cite the guantano detention facility as an obstacle to counterterrorism efforts. in my written statement, i cite several statements. cliff sloan, envoy wolosky's predecessor, noted an example. as a highly ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism once told me, the greatest single action the united states can take to fight terrorism is to close guantanamo. and i note highlights by our counterterrorism experts from the previous administration.
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john bellinger and matt waxman who both worked for the department of state noted the counterterrorism effects of not closing gitmo. and i describe them in more detail in my opening statement. mr. chairman, i'm also prepared to address the plan to close guantanamo detention facility. the president announcing the plan stated that it has four main elements. we'll continue to transfer, we'll accelerate the p.r.b. process, we'll look for individual dispositions and most importantly, we'll work with congress to find a location to transfer everybody from guantanamo safely and securely. as far as the transfer process, i just want to state that secretary carter has forcefully stated that safety is his number one priority. he does not transfer a detainee unless he's confident that the threat is substantially mitigated and it's in the national security interests of the united states. finally, i'd like to take a
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moment to recognize the military service members conducting detention operations at guantanamo bay. too often in the course of considering the future of this facility we lose sight of the remarkable men and women who serve honorably under extraordinarily difficult conditions. they have the deepest appreciation for their service and their professionalism which they display each and every day on behalf of our nation. gentlemen, president bush worked towards closing guantanamo. many officials in his administration worked hard towards that objection. of the nearly 800 detainees that have been held at guantanamo since the facility opened, over 85% have been transferred. including more than 500 that were transferred by the previous administration. the president, his national security experts and this administration believe it should be closed. the senior military leaders of this country and the leaders of the department of defense concur. as indicated in the letter by the retired military leaders,
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many believe that closure of this facility is the single most important counterterrorism effort the united states can undertake. we believe the issue is not whether to close the guantanamo detention facility, it's how to do it. thank you and i look forward to your questions. mr. royce: let me ask both our witnesses. secretary of defense carter and attorney general lynch have both stated that transfers of guantanamo detainees to the united states are legally prohibited. is that your understanding of the law as well? mr. wolosky: it's my understanding of the law that the statute in its current form prohibits transfers to the united states, which is why we are working at this time with the congress or seeking to work with the congress to modify the law in order to be able to bring into the united states a
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small, a minimum number of a -- reduceable minimum number of detainees as described in the president's closure plan. mr. royce: is it correct, then, that under current law the department of defense is prohibited from expecting any u.s. site or making any preparations for transfer of detainees to the u.s.? mr. wolosky: frankly, i have no idea. that is a legal question that is most appropriately directed to the department of defense. mr. royce: mr. lewis. mr. lewis: mr. chairman, we believe detainees can be safely and securely and humanely detained in the united states. we believe -- i believe that current statute does prohibit it -- prohibit us from doing that. the plan that was sent up, we gave a look at locations. military facilities and federal and state facilities that could do that. we believe detainees, as i said, can be detained.
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we did not pick a specific location. mr. royce: the -- one of the concerns that congress clearly terms of that in our experience with those who have left guantanamo bay over the long haul, those that returned to the fight or those who are expected to return to the fight is a little over 30%. i understand the argument that the administration's making that recent -- recent individuals released, they haven't returned -- lower percentage that returned to the fight but, of course, there's a continuum in terms of collecting the information and monitoring and transitioning as people end up -- i'm just looking at the overall number. the overall number is in the neighborhood of 31%.
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and if we begin to focus on some of the recent examples of , it is pretty concerning that ibrahim kozi, he was one of the high-risk detainees transferred by this administration and by 2014 he had joined al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. and now he is in their leadership. and last month we saw video urging a takeover in saudi arabia. w, he would not be out doing his propaganda if he were housed in guantanamo. and one of the concerns i have about the rap sheet on those inside, as we make the argument -- we've been through these
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discussions but we make the argument about the necessity of releasing them, but the fact is, the bottom line is they end up, a certain percentage of them, pulling stunts like this. calling for the overthrow of the government in saudi arabia and very engaged in that process. nd so in terms of -- i understand the theory that it's that itment tool, thesis, but the fact is that a percentage -- a significant percentage return to the fight and we have an unclassified letter to congress last month from the director of national intelligence writing that the intelligence community lacks reporting that guantanamo propaganda has motivated recent isis groups to join the group. so there is a debate. i certainly talked to former administration high ranking
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officers and officials who have the opposite view of the view you laid out today, who tell me, no, they don't think it has to do with recruitment. we understand your theory on it, but there is the fact and the fact is that we do have this process. so let me ask you this question. we do have this challenge because of the way this process is releasing individuals to countries that don't have the capabilities. so here's my question. mr. lewis lists in his testimony some of the countries that the administration has transferred detainees to since 2009. so, mr. lewis, el salvador, kazakhstan, ghana -- and i would just ask lee, have you been to ghana? this is one of the countries that i've been to. are you fully confident that it has the capability and motivation to monitor and track these detainees?
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mr. wolosky: mr. chairman, yes, we are. as you know, no transfer occurs unless we are confident in the security assurances that we have received and the secretary of defense makes the requisite certifications to the congress. to date -- and we only have admittedly several months of experience -- what i can tell to you in this open quorum -- we're happy to come and brief you in closed session -- is that we are very pleased by the implementation by the government of ghana of the security assurances that have been agreed to. mr. royce: as i say, i've been to ghana and across west africa. ghana is a wonderful place. it's a wonderful country, but the fact is that it doesn't have top-notch intelligence or law enforcement services to deal with this kind of problem. the g.d.p. per capita is like $4,000. it's 175th in the world. the fact is that their leaders
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have many, many challenges in ghana facing them every day. so i'm going to guess the tracking and monitoring former guantanamo detainees isn't a in ity, just as it wasn't other examples that i've laid for you -- laid out for you like uruguay. it just wasn't a high -- you know, up there and if they weren't returning or if 31% of them hadn't returned to the fight, this wouldn't be a concern, lee. but this is a very real concern. i'll go to mr. engel for his questioning. mr. engel: thank you, mr. chairman. because emotionally of terrorism and the attacks on 9/11 and the attacks in brussels and things that we're hearing, emotionally you just want to say, well, you know,
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throw them all in jail and put them all in jail and throw away the key. but that's not how we're supposed to work as a nation. that's not what we stand for and i don't believe we should abandon our principles if we can still be safe. i would say that things are a tradeoff. i wouldn't be for abandoning our principles if it meant there was going to be a larger chance of being unsafe as a result of releasing or transferring some of these people. but when you read the facts and you look at the facts, you see that it's really worse by keeping them there. have a balance sheet. now, i'm not for releasing anybody who was guilty, but i'm also not for keeping people in prison year after year after year after year with no trial. that's not what i learned when i was in grade school about one of the reasons why this country is so great.
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opponents of closing the guantanamo detention facility often say that the people currently in the prison are the worst of the worst or the most dangerous and that's why we should not release them at all. some critics point to risk assessments from the previous administration, from the bush administration, in support of this claim. what's your view of how risk assessments have been conducted by the interagency task force and the periodic review boards compared with previous risk assessments? and given what you know about detainees currently held at guantanamo, are they really the most dangerous? and if not, why have they been in guantanamo for so long? is it because we've already transferred all the easy cases? have n how these people beened a jute indicated? mr. lewis: thank you, congress -- mr. wolosky: thank you,
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congressman, for the questions. there are extremely dangerous people that remain in guantanamo, but it's also the case there are individuals in guantanamo who are not extremely dangerous. of the 36 that are currently approved for transfer, 29 are yemeni nationals and, of course, we've been unable to return them to yemen. returning them to the country of origin is always our first choice in removing a guantanamo detainee from guantanamo. so there's a significant component of country of origin that goes into the remaining detainee population and why they are still there. with respect to your first question, it sort of bleeds into the re-engagement issues that the chairman raised which i appreciate the opportunity to address because we actually do have hard data on re-engagement
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and i'd like to refer you to the numbers in the report issued by the office of director of national intelligence earlier this month on re-engagement. this ual numbers are in administration seven confirmed reen gaugement form -- reengagement former detainees. in the previous administration, 111. seven in this administration out of 144 transferred. that translates into 4.9%. the number for the previous administration is 111 out of 532 which translates into 20.9%. e believe that this data affirms that the procedures that we have put in place during this administration have
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worked to substantially reduce any re-engagement concerns. and i also think that you're exactly right when you indicated in your opening statement that the risks of transferring detainees and we've acknowledged that there are risks, must be weighed against the risks of keeping the facility open. there has been, until recently, a bipartisan consensus that there are signal security and foreign policy risks associated with keeping the facility open. that was articulated by the previous president w transferred over 500 detainees out of guantanamo and furtherance of his efforts to close guantanamo because he recognized it was a propaganda tool. the conclusion was also reached y nonpartisan military leaders
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across the services. so i think that when we talk -- i'll stop speaking in a moment. when we talk about re-engagement, it is important to refer to the actual data that has been put forward by the director of national intelligence. mr. engel: well, let me ask you. who's left at guantanamo? is it correct that 91 individuals -- of the 91 individuals who remain at guantanamo, 81 are now facing criminal charges, is that true? and is it also correct that 35 individuals have been cleared for transfer out of guantanamo? so what does that mean to be transferred out? who decides? how long have they been cleared for transfer? why are they still waiting to leave? mr. wolosky: thank you for your question. there are 91 detainees in guantanamo. 36 have been approved for
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transfer. some of them have been approved for transfer since 2010. ome of them more recently. 10 have been -- are in some portion, some stage of the military commission process. either facing charges or serving sentences. and the remainder, 40-some-odd detainees, are neither approved for transfer nor currently facing charges. mr. engel: mr. chairman, if you can indulge me, i want to ask a federal court question because the administration's plan calls for some guantanamo detainees to be tried in the u.s. federal courts, and congress has imposed a ban on transferring any guantanamo detainees to the u.s. for any reason, including for trial. but from what i can see, federal courts have been extremely effective at trying terrorists, terrorism cases. since 9/11, federal courts have convicted over 500 people on
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terrorism-related offenses, and by contrast, the 9/11 military commission trial has been in pretrial hearings since 2012. so the trial itself is not expected to start until 2020. so why have the federal courts, in your opinion, been so much more effective at bringing these terrorists to justice? . . mr. wolosky: the federal courts are a proven mechanism for both convicting and then making sure that convicted felons serve time safely and responsibly. you're right, there are numerous terrorists who have been effectively convicted and are now serving time in the federal prison system. the times square bombers, richard reid, the shoe bomber, mr. tsarnaev, the boston marathon bomber. moussaoui. the list goes on. they all have been held safely
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and securely. back to the point the chairman raised about mr. al kosi, he was released from the custody of the united states after serving his military commission sentence. so he is an example of someone who went through the military commission system, was -- pled ilty to material support and conspiracy, and then after he served his sentence in that system, he was released. if he were put through the article 3 system, he would probably still be serving his sentence and not be off doing hat he's been doing. >> if i could, we were talking about two sets of numbers so if i could address that quickly before we go to the next member.
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mr. royce: in terms of the administration's numbers they released. the administration's claim is 7. 9% of those released by the president are confirmed or suspected of terrorism. you're using the number confirm the administration released the figure, overall the rate is 31%. investigators tell us it takes four years to confirm system of there is -- there is a question in terms of the trendline on detainees' recidivism but the overall rate i'm quoting here is the rate that -- on confirmed or suspected. we'll go now to mr. chris smith of new jersey. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. welcome both of you to the committee. yesterday i chair and oversight hearing on -- focusing on the 14 countries that reuters found
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after a series of investigative reports. i want this on the record and i hope the press takes note of this because i think it's an egregious flaw in the trafficking victims protection act, which i am the author of. mr. smith: i'm deeply concerned that cuba's tier 3 state department ranking, which is the worst, it was designated in the bush administration, and then in the obama administration and then manipulated politically for nonhuman trafficking in anticipation of the rah protchment which i find -- of the rapprochement. i think it should be accurate. it should speak truth to power when it comes to sex trafficking and child sex tourism which is rampant and the castro regime
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gleans enormous profits from it. we have an upgrade which takes them off the sanctions list which i find to be appalling. yesterday, one of our witnesses pointed out that the cuban government is likely one of the largest and most profitable trafficking promoters in the entire world. so my hope is that this year and yesterday's title of our hearing was next time get it right, there will be no political manipulation of the trafficking tiers. if you read the report itself, it reads inescapably to a tier 3 sanctions rating, but when it got to another level there was a ma liplation there for political reasons and i find that appalling and deeply, deeply saddening. let me ask you a question on point. the point man in uruguay as we all know for overseeing the uantanamo detainees is the minister of the sweeror,
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minister bonami. are you confident in his ability to ensuring that these six individuals don't threaten our embassy personnel or american nationals in uruguay. in other words, do you trust eduardo bonami and believe he's a man of honorable character? mr. wolosky: i don't know him but what i can say is we're confident, there's never no risk associated with transferring a detainee. the appropriate calculus, we believe, is the one essentially congressman engel put forward, weighing the risks of transferring versus the risks which have been recognize aid cross the spectrum of maintaining the facility. but we are confident, to your question, that the government of uruguay is taking appropriate steps to substantially mitigate the risk associated with each of
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the six detainees that have been transferred to its custody. mr. smith: again, is it your view that this particular minister, an avowed left itself, is trustworthy? he's the guardian. mr. wolosky: i don't agree with that necessarily. when we look at countries to resettle detainees in, we do not base it on personality well, base it on the government as a whole, the capabilities of the government as a whole, and the willingness of the government. and then of course the specific security assurances that have been negotiated and our assessment of whether or not those security assurances can and will be implemented. mr. smith: he's likely to be the point man or is the point man, could you provide for the record your analysis as to his trustworthiness? mr. wolosky: i can't because i don't know him. when we look at transfer opportunities we base our conclusions on the capabilities
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of a government. mr. smith: but he's the point person for the goth. mr. wolosky: he may be now but may not be tomorrow. with edon't rely on particular personalities is the bottom line. mr. smith: i understand but with all due respect, personnel is policy. if a government has a person walking point on a particular issue like this one, and it happens to be this minister of interior, we want to know if he's a person who can be trusted, particularly with such people who have committed terrorism and may recommit. mr. wolosky: again, i have not met him so i feel uncomfortable offering a personal assessment and what we do do is we base our decisions on governments as a whosme mr. smith: that's why for the record if you could provide additional amplify case of those who analyze the situation and felt comfortable enough to proceed with this vis-a-vis this particular minister. mr. wolosky: the department of
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state felt comfortable. mr. smith: could you provide us that analysis in followup answer. mr. wolosky: to be clear, the alysis of -- mr. royce: we can do that through followup answers, we need to go to mr. david cicilline. mr. cicilline: thank you, mr. chairman. the title of this hearing is the costs of the plan to close guantanamo bay. huffer the vast majority of national security leaders as you both indicated as well as leaders on both sides of the political spectrum say that the real foreign policy and national security costs come as a result of keeping the prison open and describe it as the closing of guantanamo bay detention facility as a national security imperative system of i'd like you to speak to how the administration's plan to close guantanamo bay detention
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facility will impact our ability to work with our coalition partners in the fathe against terror and how that failure to close it is providing a real impediment to that critical ork. >> thank you, sir. as i noted in my opening statement, continuously, countries across the world and allies tell us that gitmo hurts so. mr. lewis: we worked with those countries by closing git moe, we address a concern with the rest of the world. the united states needs to lead. we can't do this alone. and when our allies are -- in counterterrorism are telling us that gitmo needs to be closed, we take an issue off the table. we don't remove the risk completely, it's always going to be a propaganda issue, but we take that issue off the table. and -- mr. cicilline: does the presence of guantanamo bay have an impact
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on our ability to use diplomacy to press other countries to things we rights, speak about with other countries and has our credibility been harmed by the continued indefinite detentions at guantanamo bay and the opening of this facility? mr. lewis: yes, sir, i believe it does. the president noted leaders he meets with continuously raise the issue of gitmo and specific detainees. lee's predecessor, cliff sloan, mentioned how he's been told by foreign leaders that closing gitmo would be the single greatest issue to help our counterterrorism efforts and repeated leaders from both this administration and the priest administration have said the same. so i think it does hurt us. mr. cicilline: with respect to the 36 detainees approved for transfer, some since 2010, what is taking so lock for that to be pleated? mr. lewis: as lee said, most of
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them are yemenis, so we can't confidently send them to yemen right now. we have to look at a list of 7 other countries that have stepped up to find a fit for that detainee, find a fit for security situation in the country, their willingness and capacity so it's a mixture of sequencing, it's a mixture of the domestic issues in the country, but 27 countries demonstrates there are countries that want to help us and are willing to step up and we are confident that the majority of these 36 can be transferred the next several months. mr. cicilline: with respect to issues with re-engagement, office of director of national intelligence categorizing these re-engagements in three different ways for purposes of this hearing. 17.5% of detainees have re-engaged but if you break that number down, prior to this president prior to january of
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2009, the number was 20.9%. but since president obama, the figure is 4.9%. will you explain, are those figures accurate? what do they represent? and how do you account for the dramatic reduction in re-engagement which is critical. those are obviously any re-engage suspect alarming but the fact that it's been brought to 4.9% from 20% didn't happen just by magic. it has to have been some change in process. would you speak to that? mr. wolosky: sure. there have been many changes in process put in place in this administration from the actual decision to approve someone for transfer which is a complicated, time consuming, very thorough and rigorous interagency process, and only moves forward with the consent of each of six agency and departments, to then
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the actual decision to transfer and approve for transfer detainee to a specific country which again is a rigorous interagency process that entails the negotiation of details and quite specific security assurances with the specific country and then ultimately input from the same six agencies and departments and then congressional notification by the secretary of defense. so our process is very thorough, it's very rigorous, very time consuming, further to your question about why things have taken so long, and we believe that again there's never no risk. but we believe that the relative success of our processes are reflected in the re-engagement figures when you look at the figure, the small figure in this administration and the larger figure in the previous
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administration. >> thank you. -- mr. cicilline: thank you. i yield back and thank you, mr. chairman. mr. royce: mr. rohrabacher. mr. rohrabacher: the first question i'd like to ask, i think it can be answered with a yes or no. has the defense department ever knowingly transferred a detainee to a country that did not exhibit an ability to substantially mitigate the risk or maintain control of that individual? i think a yes or no could be -- that's a very straightforward question. no? has the defense department ever sent someone to a country knowing that that country was unable to keep control of that person? mr. lewis: no. i'm not with the
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asame department but i you mean this administration. mr. rohrabacher: actually i'm not. do you know of any examples? is there some reason you can't say yes or no? mr. wolosky: i don't work at the department of defense. mr. rohrabacher: do you know of a case where the deft defense department has knowingly transferred a detainee to a country that did not exhibit the ability to sun starble -- substantially mitigate the risk by maintaining control of the individual? do you know of a case like that? mr. lewis: i do not. mr. wolosky: the statutory standard -- mr. rohrabacher: it's all right, you made your answer. let me suggest that this idea that people throughout the world are going to be so -- are so pset with us for keeping a
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significant number of people who are captured as part of terrorist units incarcerating them in guantanamo, that is such a horror story that it's a recruitment vehicle, that's what the president is telling us, that's what the administration is telling us, let me suggest if that is true that our european allies and some others believe that taking these hardened murderers, who murder men, women, and children, and incarcerating them on cuba or anywhere else, let me suggest that that attitude of our european friends may well be changing in the next six months or so when they realize that the slaughter that's taking place in paris and now in brussels is part of an international movement to destroy western civilization and replace it with
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a caliphate. and when they understand that, my guess is that view that it's so bad to keep these people in prison will change as well. let me ask you this. we say that about 30% or whatever that figure is that have been released have been -- have returned to terrorist activities. how many lives have been lost by those terrorists who went back to their terrorist activities? how many lives? mr. lewis: i can talk about that in a classified setting. mr. rohrabacher: classified? so is it over 10? mr. lewis: what i can tell you is unfortunately there have been americans that have died because of gitmo detainees. mr. rohrabacher: how many americans have to die, how many people in brussels or paris have to die, civilians, what's the threshold at that point maybe we will keep them under control in gitmo? mr. lewis: when anybody dies
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it's a tragedy and we don't want anybody to die because we transferred detainees, however, it's the best judgment and the considered judgment of this administration and the previous administration that the risk of keeping gitmo open is outweighed -- that we should close gitmo. mr. rohrabacher: so the innocent people who are going to lose their lives because of this are just part of the equation. i'm sorry, i want to tell you this much. as far as i'm concerned if one child is safed because she would have been blown up by someone who is being released, it's better to keep all 90 of those people in gitmo. and this idea that the people of the world, oh, they're so upset with us, that it's a recruiting vehicle that we've kept terrorists who murder innocent people in gitmo, well you know what, i think that the bigger
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recruiting tool today is when our government, especially this administration, is perceived as being weak. i think terrorists are recruited not because we've held other terrorists in prison, but because we look like we're weak and cannot deal with the challenge. this disgusts me. thank you very much. mr. royce: robin kelly of illinois. ms. kelly: thank you, mr. chairman. yesterday i returned from cuba with president obama's delegation where we discussed the opening of u.s.-cuba relations. while we have made steps toward bilateral relations, president castro said relations with the united states will never be fully normal as long as the united states occupy the guantanamo bay facility. how do you imagine the continued use of the guantanamo bay
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facility would affect normalizing relationship between the united states and cuba? mr. wolosky: as the president said this administration has no plans to leave, to turn over the base at guantanamo bay, cuba. we are in fact, as you know, to close the detention facility at that base, we would expect to ntinue to use the base for dealing with mass migration contingencies and also to support coast guard operations with respect to counterdrug operations in the region. ms. kelly: to what extent do you believe this local diplomatic security could contribute to advancing our national security efforts? mr. wolosky: president obama feels firmly that closing
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guantanamo is in the national security interests of the united states. no detainee is transferred from fwauntaun moe -- guantanamo absent a certification from the secretary of defense that the specific transfer will further the national security of the united states and as i said in my opening statement, president obama was hardly the first u.s. president to conclude that closing guantanamo was in the national security and foreign policy interests of the united states. the first president to do that was a man who opened it up, george w. bush, who concluded that it was a propaganda tool and distraction to our allies. not only did he believe that, he acted on it. in transferring over 500 detainees from fwauntaun moe to other countries. so -- from guantanamo to other countries system of believe as did president bush, as did numerous former secretaries of
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state of both parties, same for secretaries of defense, same for three chairmen, former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, and numerous retired flag officers that closing guantanamo will on balance enhance our national security. as we have said, you cannot live life without risk and the proper analysis as congressman engel suggested, we believe is balancing the risks of keeping it open versus the risks of closing it. and you know, we worked diligently to prevent re-engagement. we've been quite successful in this administration in preventing re-engagement and even one detainee returning to the fight is too many. but the proper analysis is balancing closure versus the risks of keeping it open. and i would point out that
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obviously our hearts go out to the people of belgium today. and our hearts went out to the people of paris just a few short months ago. but the maintenance, the continued maintenance of the facility at guantanamo bay did not prevent either of those attacks. there are unfortunately going to be acts of terrorism, probably whether the facility is opened or closed. the proper analysis is what are the risks of keeping it open in light of the very obvious use of that facility as a propaganda tool, which frankly you should not have to question. isil which has now claimed responsibility for the belgium attacks, uses guantanamo as a prop began a da tool. there's no question about this. we have all seen images of
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prisoners taken by isil being executed wearing orange jumpsuits that we believe are the to mimic and evoke guantanamo jumpsuits. there's no question it's being used as a propaganda tool as president bush himself concluded when he determined to close the facility. ms. kelly: i'm running out of time so thank you. i yield back. mr. royce: matt salmon. mr. salmon: as long as we're talking about cuba policy, i have something to get off my chest. i find the images of the president yucking it up with farc terrorists at a baseball game when yurp is under siege disgusting. absolutely disgusting. i believe that -- well, i'm not going to go on on that. i just think there are better things that i think the public should be seeing.
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one of the troubling aspects of the transfer of six detainees to uruguay was the slow letter, the letter assuring the uruguay government that none of the detainees had been associated with terrorism. we know this isn't true. i know it was your predecessor who wrote the letter but can you walk us through how the administration could make such a misleading statement? how can you expect a host government to then take seriously the monitoring and mitigation of the detainee in uruguay's case the government stated ahead of time they would not monitor we still released them. does this speak to the administration's overall willingness to accept greater risk in pursuit of the president's political goal to empty the prison. mr. wolosky. mr. wolosky: sure, thank you. though we can't speak in open
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session about the specifics of the security assurances that have been agreed to with any one country, i can assure that any public statements you may have just referenced are not accurate and we do have security assurances with uruguay. we briefed this committee in closed session on those security assurances and we're happy to come and brief you about what they are and how they're being implemented. as to the letter, what i can tell you is that the conclusion in the sloan letter mirrored the conclusions reached by the executive, the eotf process, the process put in place at the beginning of this administration to carefully review all reasonably available information to the u.s. government with respect to a particular detainee. that process was described in some detail in my written submission and involved dozens
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of national security professionals from all relevant agencies and departments of the fwoth including the intelligence community. many of them career professionals. and they reached certain conclusions about each detainee and the information available, then available to the united states about each detainee. so what the cliff sloan letter does is it attracts the conclusion -- it tracks the conclusion of the eotf report, a comprehensive interagency review conducted for the specific purpose of analyzing the available information in the u.s. government about each detainee and then making a disposition recommendation about that detainee. mr. salmon: whatever justification you're trying to make for why is a letter, though inaccurate was sent, doesn't
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really provide a lot of comfort to most of us. the fact is, it was flat out wrong. it was an error and a gross error. in an interview with, recently with npr, you said that after having visited guantanamo bay you felt the detention center was better certainly than any state or local correctional facility or prison you visited and better than many of the federal facilities. yet you're advising the president on the closure of this facility to build a new facility here? would it not be better to tell the people the real story that it's a model detention city, that the interarable committee of red cross has regular access to it? wouldn't it be best to dispel the false narrative some use rather than close down what by your estimation is a great facility? mr. wolosky: i do think it's a professionally and humanely run
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facility and in particular the service men and women who serve there face enormous hardship in their service and do an outstanding job in running the acility. quen kelly did an amazing job, the admiral has taken over, they do a great job maintaining a top well-run facility. that said we still think it should be closed. mr. royce: we're going to greg meeks of new york and then mo brooks of alabama. mr. meeks: i want to get a cup of things first straight for the record. as i listened, my heart goes out to those who lost their lives recently in belgium as well as we talk about the paris attacks often. i want to make sure that everyone in the record is clear that this war is not just against the west.
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we don't talk about all the attacks that have taken place in various places, taken place and we should be just as concerned in nigeria, in kenya, in turkey, so to think that these are all human lives, we have to be concerned about all those lives, not just in one area, not just against us, not just against christians. when you look at that, muslims have been killed also by these thugs. and that should be properly noted. and it should also be clear i think that the historical record is clear that in acts of fear when we act out of fearing our nation has made monumental mistakes in keeping gitmo in operation out of fear because that's what i'm hearing, folks are saying out of fear we need to keep gitmo open, would be yet another monumental mistake that one hurts america's interests rather than helps it. what comes straight to mind is we acted out of fear when we put
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e japanese into internment camps. so therefore i caution us and then after it happens we say, oh, we try to not talk about what we did system of history gives us a reminder of what we should or should not be doing in this place and calmer heads and better heads as opposed to acting out of fear and emotion. i think the record should be clear on that it should be clear that all kinds of lives are lost in all parts of the world. this is a threat to everybody, not just to the west. not just to the -- to christians but to everybody. that's why we've got to band together work together in a cooperative manner. that being said, let me ask a quick question. where do we go, if the guantanamo detention facility is closed, we closed them, what will the united states do then we capture terrorist suspects in the future? do we have other adequate
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facilities for these individuals? and how would the administration approach the future capture, detention and interrogation of high level isis commanders? mr. lewis: we do believe we have the facilities. future captures would be considered on a case-by-case basis and we'd consider whether the host nation could detain them or whether there'd be a disposition under prosecution, article 3, possibly military commissions, but we believe we have the ability as we've shown in one or two cases in iraq recently to detain people and then turn them over to the host country but it's on a case-by-case basis. mr. meeks: there is a clear and concrete plan on how we would do this? mr. lewis: yes, sir. mr. meeks: i was listening to debate earlier, there was a question about recidivism rates. in, i guess, according to the official report from the office of director of national
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intelligence that fewer than 5% of detainees transferred by the obad -- obama administration are confirm to have had engaged in terrorist attack. i did hear, i think it was chairman royce, they used the re-engagement rate that is 30%. how -- can you describe how you make that determination? how are those rates determined? why is there such a disparity? mr. wolosky: i'll let the chairman speak for himself. mr. royce: because it's confirmed and suspected, you're leaving out suspected. mr. wolosky: the rate of suspected in this administration is 8.3%. mr. royce: that's the numbers i concur and the overall numbers are 30% overall. 8.9% confirmed and suspected and as explained to us the investigators say it takes about four years lead time in order to
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get the confirmation, all the confirmation. 530 olosky: there are over detainees tnsferred in the previous administration. we can't speak to the circumstances under which those detainees were transfer. first, how was the decision made to transfer them? second how was the decision made to transfer them to a specific country? third what assurance, if any, did the previous administration obtain from the third country to keep us and them safe? we can't speak to that. all we can do is speak to what we are doing. what we are doing in this administration at both stages of the process, first making a determination in principle that a detainee may be aproved for transfer and designated as such and second transferring him to a specific country subject to specific and detailed security assurances, what we are doing is very thorough, it's interagency,
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very comprehensive, it takes a long time. it's described as length in my written testimony, i'm happy to answer questions about it. but the results of it as set forth in the odni report from this month are clear. the results of it are first, confirmed re-engagement. seven out of 144. that's 4.9%. suspected, 12 out of 144. that's 8.3%. those are what the numbers are, sir, for this administration. i point out also that with respect to the standards that are applied in defining what it even means to be confirmed or suspected, it's important to point out first that confirmed is a preponderance of information standard. this is not a reasonable doubt. this is not that we are 100%. mr. royce: the gentleman's time has expired. if i could just go to the gentleman from florida, mr. yoho for his questions and then maybe
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a question from mr. trout and mr. connolly. mr. yoho: i have more of a statement, i appreciate it. to start with, when we speak about closing guantanamo, i'm glad to hear you say that they will not transfer the naval base back to cuba. we're talking about the detention center only, there's two entities there as we're all awar of. as far as the recruiting tool, guantanamo bay as a recruiting tool, i think that's a weak argument. if those people come to the united states is that not a recruiting tool too? to say they're in guantanamo is going to be a stronger recruiting tool is so fistry at its finest. because the jihad dees will look at them being here in the belly of the great satan. i think that argument is very weak and we shouldn't talk about that i disagree with your comments about the ewing way six. i met with their foreign minister, they don't have a clue of what the negotiation was when it was negotiated under president mojica.
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they don't know what the deals were. what the conditions were. they don't have a clue of monitoring and i think it's a joke. but saying that, i think the overall success rate, if there were 780 total detainees, we're down to 94% have been processed. that leaves only 6% and of those 6%, there's -- that's taking out the 36% -- or the 36 that have been cleared, yet this administration hasn't found them a suitable place to go. i would encourage you to move a little bit quicker on that. of the remaining 52% if we take the 30% that we know will go into combat against our young men and women or suspected, that terrorists be 15.6 back fighting our young men and women. i don't think any american would want that or people around the world. i'm going to yield the rest of
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my time back to mr. trout. mr. royce: we're going to have one question from mr. trout and one from mr. connolly. mr. trout: thank you, i thank the gentleman if florida. if we move detainees to u.s. soil that's not going to be used as a recruitment tool for isis? tool osky: it's still a but we're taking away the issue our allies are asking us to do, they're saying close gitmo. so if they're going to -- mr. trout: isn't there a chance they'll change their position in light of brussels, isn't there a chance they'll change their opinion? mr. wolosky: it's been a continuing position they want gitmo closed. their leadership and our leadership say the costs of gitmo outweigh the benefits.
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mr. connolly: do you remember the c.i.a. incident a number of years ago in fairfax county? was the perpetrate or that caught and tried? mr. lewis: it's my understanding yes. mr. connolly: was he tried in guantanamo or tried in u.s. district court right here in virginia? mr. lewis: it's my understanding, the u.s. district court in virginia. mr. connolly: was he sentenced. mr. lewis: he was. mr. connolly: he received the death penalty, did he not? mr. lewis: i don't know for sure. mr. connolly: but somehow justice worked. we could handle a terrorist and did. i just, for the record, we have to take into account the consequences of the symbolism of guantanamo and frankly, the fact that the suggestion is planted that we're not all that competent in our own system of justice and handling terrorist
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cases. the fact of the matter is, we do have experience and our system worked. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. royce: thank you, mr. connolly. we have votes on the floor, we appreciate the time of our witnesses this morning. and our witnesses have agreed to meet with us in april in closed session so we appreciate that. as you have heard there are many concerns with the president's plan, especially given the ever-growing terrorist threat as evidenced by what happened in brussels this week. the points made by mr. trout and mr. yoho bring to mind a conversation i had yesterday th the former n.s.a. and c.i.a. director about the concept that if you move them to u.s. soil, in fact, that will be a magnet for terrorists, the fact that jihaddists are being held in the united states. and so i think the last two -- the last questions raised were
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also questions worth ontemplating but we will adjourn at this time for the jotes -- for the votes and thank our panel. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
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>> we heard republican lawmakers suggest that the recent terror attacks in europe might persuade u.s. allies to change their minds about the guantanamo bay detention facility. the house today voted unanimously, 409-0, to condemn yesterday's terrorist attacks in brussels which killed more than 0 people. here's some of the debate on the resolution. i rise in support of h.res. 658
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condemning the terrorist attacks carried out by islamic extremists yesterday and i will yield to mr. royce, from california, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. mr. royce: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this resolution condemning the terrorist attacks in brussels carried out by islamic extremists yesterday. they struck in europe and this time in belgium. the murderers coldly chose crowded areas at the brussels airport and at the metro system in order to kill as many innocent men, women and children as possible and the latest numbers are 31 dead and 270 wounded, including a number of americans. isis has claimed responsibility for the attacks. the latest in a series that
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cludes an horrific attack in brussels, the attack in paris, a double suicide bombing in beirut, lebanon and downing a russian passenger jet in egypt. the list of atrocities is far longer including those by isis affiliates elsewhere such as the recent attack on the ivory coast. as these assaults show, isis is rapidly expanding its reach beyond syria and iraq. over 30,000 fighters from more than 100 countries have joined isis, including 250 americans. we had a young yazidi girl tell us she was taken by one of these americans who had been recruited four years ago on the internet by isis. 4,500 of thi -- these
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terrorists hold western passports but are a plane right away from the united states and from europe. this resolution puts the house on record as condemning the attacks in brussels and extends our sympathies to those affected by this tragedy. and it reaffirms our support for the people of belgium, in their time of national anguish. but we must do more than than just express our sorrow. we must take decisive action to eliminate the threat including expanding information sharing with our friends and allies, putting stronger border checks in place, combatting the online propaganda and hate speech of isis extremists and sharpening coalition efforts to destroy isis itself. and i will remind the members that the foreign affairs committee has held a series of hearings on this. when isis came out and headed
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towards the border and headed towards fallujah, that was the time to hit this j.v. team, this group of guys in pickup trucks, as the president called them at the time, they were an open target on the open desert as they headed to fallujah and after that after they headed to city after city after city and they finally took most you will and the central bank of iraq. at this point, they have to be destroyed and going to take a strategic plan and the united states >> the house went on to approve that resolution. the vote was unanimous, 409-0.
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>> the the need for horses on the farm began to decline radically in the 1930's. it was not until the 1930's that they figured out how to make a rubber tire big enough to fit on a tractor and starting in the sunday night 's on "q and a," robert gorton discussing his book the rise and fall of american growth which looks at the growth of the
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american stan card of living between 1870 one thing that often interests people is the impact of superstorm sandy on the east coast back in 2012. that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer worked in new york. the electricity stopped. you couldn't charge your cell phone. you couldn't pump gas into your car because the -- it required electricity to pump the gas. electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something people take for granted. >> sunday noith at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." obama administration officials are testifying before congress on all parts of the budget, like this hearing on the president's budget request for the defense department from yesterday, which you can see at today, the executive officer of the f-35 joint strike fighter program appeared before a house subcommittee. that program is expected to cost
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$14 billion a year over the next decade. his is an hour and 15 minutes. >> the subcommittee will come to order to receive testimony concerning the f-35 joint strike fighter. i want to welcome our panel of distinguished witnesses, director michael gilmore, doctor chael j. sullivan, the honorable shawn stackley, assistant secretary of the navy for research development and acquisition and lieutenant general cristobal bog don. because we were held up for votes i'm going to enter my statement for the record if there's no objection and we'll also enter ms. sanchez's statement in for the record and proceed right to the statements of our witnesses. which i believe we'll start with r. gilmore, correct?
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dr. gilmore: in my opening statement i'll focus on readiness for operation. my estimate is it won't be ready to begin until mid calendar year relative a one year to its dates this ereasons are the following this emost complex mission system test regular mains as does verification of fixes to significant problems, some of those fixes having been ident fid and some not. mission stability including the radar still a problem. inadequate fusion of censor -- sensor information from sensors on the same aircraft as well as different aircraft continues to be a problem. there are shortfalls in electronic warfare and electronic attack and other issues that are classified. with regard to mission assistance. stealth care craft are not achieve -- not invisible.
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we're relying on our $400 billion investment in f-35 to provide mission systems must work in some reasonable sense of that word and we must provide every incentive to the contractors to make them work. the program has now changed this approach from schedule-driven software releases which overlaid old problems on top of new problems system of now the program is atrezzing the significant deficiencies with a given version of software prior to proceeding with the next version and i commend that approach and that should help work through and solve some of the problems i've mentioned with mission systems. other reasons it's likely to be delayed include the need for weapons testing and certification, the rate at which that has happened in the past must triple to get the vevpbts tone. there's talk of cutting the number of events by 2/3. if that occurs, that would shift the work to iote and make certain late discoveries porn.
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the program is exploring ways to up the rate of testing including the ranges and that would be a good decision but decisions and action need to be taken soon. there's also the issue of full weapons use throughout the full flight envelope. the most recent test is that would occur for f-35 a and may 2018 for f-35 b. some and we are looking at this, some proposed an incremental rolling start to operational tests. that may not be practical and was problematic when we tried it on f-22. there's still problems with the autonomics logistics system, critical to combat operations of the aircraft. there are many research intensive work arneds required. under the schedule, the full capability veerings required would not be ready until 2018. there's also need for currency
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driven modifications when it was thought that iot&e, the current unmitt gated, schedule shows mods extending into calendar year 2019. it's working on a multipronged approach and taking hardware from recent aircraft that could move completion of those modification into 2018 and the decision is need on that. there are inadequatecies in the u.s. programming lamb used to generate the mission data files, which are necessary for the success in combat. the program's optimistic schedule for delivery is validated but my view, possibly inadequate mission data testing is third quarter of 2017 but that date assumes the u.s. reprogramming lab restheaved fully capable version of block
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3-f by 2016 next month. which we know won't happen until this summer at the soonest. for all these reasons, i suspect that we won't be ready for operational testing in mid calendar year 2018. thank you. >> mr. sultan. >> thank you. i have a written statement i'll submit for the record. mr. sullivan: i want to summarize fife of the major points in that statement and my oral remarks. first the department is planning to add new capability known as block four to the f-35 beyond its baseline capability and is planning to manage that effort as part of the existing program rather than establishing a separate business case and baseline for this new work. this has significant implications as far as congress' role in oversight this modernization effort is like a
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new program with estimated costs of about $3 billion over the next six years. the price -- that price tag alone would qualify it as a major defense acquisition program in its own right and it should be managed as such so that it is subject to the same statutory and regulatory reporting as any other program its size. the f-22 provides precedent for this. it began its modernization effort as part of the existing baseline program and it eventually established a separate business case and developed into a major acquisition program with its own milestone b in order to better track progress and cost changes. second, though the program has been managing costs very well since 2010, the nonmccarty breach back then, and cost estimates have decreased -- decreased since then, it still poses significant affordability
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challenges for the department and the congress. as production begins to increase and the program begins procuring more aircraft each year, the department is expected to spend about $14 billion per year over the next decade and will average about $13 billion per year over the next 22 years until all planned purchases are complete in 2038. these annual funding challenges will compound as the program begins to stack its funding needs against other large acquisitions such as bomber program, the tanker program that is ongoing, the ohio class submarine replacement, the new carrier, and many other very large programs. it's important to note that this is just the remaining acquisition cost for the f-35. as we all know, the cost to operate and maintain the f-35 across its entire life cycle is estimated now at about $1
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trillion. which is added to that overall price tag. my third point is software development and developmental flight testing of the f-35 are now nearing completion but the program faces challenges in getting all its development activity completed on time. i think dr. gilmore covered that pretty well. it is through with 80% of its developmental flight tests. it's completed the first three blocks of software and is now working to close out flight test og of its final block of software, block 3-f, that's the critical block of software as it will provide the full war fighting capabilities required for the f-35. program officials have stated that there could be as much as a three month delay. we've done our own analysis and we think it could be more in line with six months and i think dr. gilmore's analysis indicates even longer than that. fourth work regard to technical risks on the program, program
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has most recently found fixes for its engine seal problem that we were talking about last year and the design of the helmet mounted display and it has begun to retrofit aircraft with those fixes, they're not all in but the solutions are there. two new challenges have recently been identified, one concerns the ejection seat and the other concerns the wing structure of the carrier variant. the program is working now to find solutions to each of those problems, i think on the ejection seat they have a pretty good concept figured out to solve that one. it should also be noted that the autonomic logistics information system known as alice continues to be challenging and has been cited as one of the most significant outstanding risks to the program today and that has a lot to do with operations and maintenance as you know. finally, manufacturing and production data continue to show
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positive trend toward more efficient production. the amount of bor hours it's taking to build each aircraft continues to go down. quality is increasing and engineering changes have been reduced significantly. while there are still issues with late parts, this is consistently improving as well. contractors now delivering aircraft on time or ahead of schedule. we continue to track the measures for the aircraft's reliability and maintainability. and while they still fall short of expectations, they continue to improve and there's still time to achieve the program's required goals at the right time. i will close with that, i look forward to your questions. general bogdan: thank you for the opportunity to address the committee regarding the f-35 program my purpose is to provide
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you balanced assessment of where the program stands. that means i'll tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the program and tell you what my team is doing to improve costs on the program and meet our scheduled commitments. overall flight test, production, fielding, base standup, maintenance and support, and building a global sustainment enterprise. the program is at a pick of to the anthony: -- pivot point and is now rapidly changing, growing and accelerating. we'll be finishing our 15-year development program in late 2017 beginning to transition to a leaner, more efficient follow-on modernization program. we'll see production grow from delivering 45 aircraft in 2015 to delivering over 100 aircraft in 2018 and up to 145 aircraft by 2020. additionally, in the next four years, we'll continue to stand up 17 new operating basll


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