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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 8, 2016 3:45pm-5:46pm EDT

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social security was designed to provide general welfare to the american society and and sure as -- social security still continues to pour a large number of [indiscernible] almost one in six americans depend on the social security system. supports arity variety of groups. providing supplemental security and medicaid for americans alike. over the years social security has been able to support a large number of its recipients, and being funded by the payroll taxes of americans, it has remained relatively stable. security -- social anurity has experienced immense demographic change. in 1935 there was 61% supporting social security repairs --
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social security recipients. this change is significant, especially for retired seniors, some of who rely on social security. a retired citizen living off of social security. >> it bolsters my income. i wouldn't be living here if it was only on social security, so it only pays about half of what i comfortably need to to live here -- need to live here. other people don't get as much money. >> in recent years social security has begun to face a number of roadblocks. one of the reasons social security has helped americans over the years is largely to the fact-- largely due to the -- >> i'm about to speak to the senior manager of advocacy for
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arp. let's see what information we can find about social security and the citizens it affects. >> the cost of living adjustment is an annual adjustment made to the social security check. revolves around the the socialnsuring security trust fund has enough to support future generations. >> it has not kept up with inflation. what you are seeing is individuals having to live off of a benefit that has not kept up with the cost of living, and still having to have all the necessary basic necessities, including health care, food, everything that goes into basic care. but they are limited on what they can and cannot afford.
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securityny, social something -- social security is something that directly affects -- americans are working and paying into the system. evenknow when i retire, though i have been paying into social security, the money may not be there. >> i hope it is something we think about a little bit more. paycheck, -- et a >> according to a pew research center analysis, the social security funds will be depleted by 2034. the old age and survivors fund will be depleted in 2031. after they are gun, the system will be receiving tax revenue, but only enough to divide three quarters of the scheduled benefits. think it is important for
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the younger generation. they can always fall back on social security. coworker -- as a social worker, i would like to know where my money is going and how it will be used to benefit those. she notes the need for bipartisanship and congress to discuss social security values. was aial security supplemental income for people who are in retirement. it was never set up to be something as a sole income. it has become as more of a partisan battle then it has been about issues that affect america. only the end of the day one aspect of the issue is finding a problem -- is finding the problem and finding a solution for it.
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the other aspect is all parties involved cooperate in working toward fixing this issue. and it is the responsibility of our next president to ensure that we are working toward one united system social security for the united states of america. >> to watch all of the prize-winning documentaries, visit >> tsa administrator peter neff administration works with local officials to prevent terrorist attacks across the country. he spoke with the transportation security -- with the senate transportation committee for one
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hour 20 minutes. >> we will be joined momentarily by senator nelson. let me start by will coming administrator neff ensure here today. thank you some much for making time for us. on march 22 a terrorist associated with isis detonated three bombs in brussels. one in a easy metro car. , including four americans, were killed. the victims of these attacks remains in our thoughts and prayers. policy ensure that sound isreplaced -- sound policy in place to prevent these attacks.
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in light of the attacks in address, we will also challenges related to safeguarding to areas outside passenger screening checkpoints. were bytand that you chance of the brussels airport at the time of the attacks and i hope you will share your thoughts on the horrific events and how we can prepare for similar threats. i understand your written testimony focuses on rail transit and pipeline security. from attackslearn and look for to new and emerging threats. the terrorist associated with al qaeda and isis has identified passenger systems at soft target. it is critical we not look like -- we not neglect these targets. nevertheless, some of the techniques we utilize apply to
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service assets, as well as areas of the airport on the street side and checkpoint. tsa has adopted a multilayer process to identify threats and mitigate security concerns. john pistole strongly promoted the tsa resources. tsa cannot and should not be at every bus stop and train station. we must address the most significant threats. security efforts can also make a difference. k-9 and police presence can deter criminal activity. tsa is also charged with protecting freight railroads and
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pipeline infrastructure. these infrastructure networks are crucial components of our nation's economy. tsa receives high marks from pipeline operators who work with the agency to identify and mitigate threats. public, private security partnerships between the agency and operators have been valuable in hardening these networks. on the aviation front, ranking member nelson and i have been anding oversight successfully managing security credentials. this oversight led the committee to approve bipartisan legislation senate bill 2361. the airport security enhancement at oversight act, a tightened vetting of airport workers at those with ties to terrorists do not access sensitive airport areas. in the current system such individuals are not always captured. some of the perpetrators in the deadly attacks in brussels or previously known to authorities as criminals. u.s. terrorism experts believe isis is recruiting criminals to join its ranks in europe. as we were to address the threat
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of an aviation insider helping terrorists, criminals who break laws for financial gain and those with histories of violence are good place to start. ensuring that airport workers with security credentials are trustworthy is important considering and isis affiliate is believed to have killed 224 people on a russian passenger plane leaving egypt with experts suspect, the health of an airport employee. the committee has approved the tsa pre-check expansion act that would expand participation of the tsa pre-check application program by developing private sector partnerships and capabilities to enroll more individuals. more vetted passengers would receive expedited screening which would get passengers through checkpoints more quickly and ensure that they do not pose the kind of easy target that isis suicide bombers exploited at the brussels airport. i believe both of these important measures can and
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should advance in the full senate this week. thank you for being here today. we need strong leadership and decisive action to address this terrorist threat. you're faced with a great challenge of getting it right every time when a terrorist just needs one opportunity. i look forward to hearing from you about how tsa is working to meet that challenge. i would like to recognize wrecking member senator nelson for his opening statement. sen. nelson: thank you mr. chairman. in the last 10 years, right after 9/11, 1900 attacks were carried out against transit systems around the world, resulting in 4000 deaths and 14,000 injuries. in aviation, almost 15 years after 9/11, terrorists are still finding those vulnerabilities which the chairman has noted.
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we have two types of vulnerabilities before us. the vulnerability of the perimeter of the airport, which was addressed in legislation passed last year, sponsored by the two members at the front of the dais. airport security perimeter that allows the egyptian airport because of an airport employee to sneak a bomb on. same thing with the gunrunning scheme in atlanta. two years ago. unbelievably over three months 153 firearms were smuggled onto 17 flights. that was in december the last quarter of 2014.
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so we address that and this committee in the airport security enhancement and .versight act of 2015 hopefully that is going to be attached to the faa bill. we have this additional security problem. that is where passengers are bunched up in a soft area, like the queued up lines going through tsa. like the crowded lines at an airport check-in counter. like the lines in a bus or train station. where people are all huddled up trying to get through the security.
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in 2016, less than 2% of tsa post total budget and full-time employees are dedicated to protecting surface transportation networks. the bus, the trains, etc. while we have yet to suffer a recent attack on a mass transit system in the u.s., brussels is a just another reminder of what they did in the transit station there. tsa can take immediate action by completing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, which were enacted into law in 2007. additionally, we have an opportunity to improve the law coming up in this current faa
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bill, with regard to the soft targets outside of the security erimeter. so it's time to re-examine our transportation security strategy and refocus our efforts. and, mr. administrator, we thank you for being here today and we look forward to it. >> thanks, senator nelson. administrator neffenger, thanks again for being here. we look forward to hearing your opening remarks and then look forward to asking you some questions. please proceed. administrator neffenger: thank you. good morning. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss t.s.a.'s critical mission to ensure security of our nation's transportation systems. first, let me add my condolences and all of the professionals at t.s.a. to the victims of the brussels attacks. as you noted, mr. chairman, i
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was at the brussels airport on the day of the bombings for meetings with a number of my european counterparts and we arrived as the bombs detonated. being there that day and seeing the devastation and the chaos of the airport jirmente and the evil behind it was a stark reminder of the importance of the work we do at t.s.a. every day to protect travelers. i've been on the job now for nine months. when i arrived i was confronted with the disturbing results of the inspector general's covert testing and found an organization in crisis. what i also found was an organization of nearly 60,000 dedicated professionals who are committed to our national security mission. it was immediately clear that while we needed to tackle what was wrong the ingredients and commitment were there to build and evolve what was right. we've come a long way in a short time. we've determined the root causes of the testing failures. we have retrained our entire work force. we have established the first ever full-time t.s.a. academy. we've begun a deep examination of processes and practices across the agency.
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of course, there are challenges we must continue to address, both immediate and longer term. i assure you and the public that we serve we are focused on our counterterrorism mission and are committed to delivering excellence in every aspect of what we do. as an integral member of a much larger counterterrorism network t.s.a. employs a range of capabilities to understand threats to transportation, continuously vet travelers and credentialed employees and deter, detect, and disrupt potential enemies. at our checkpoints we screen on average of 2 million passengers each day at nearly 440 airports. to improve we are investing heavily in our work force. all of our people are being trained with a better understanding of why we do what we do and the nature of the threats that we face. we have shifted our focus to security effectiveness and instituted comprehensive training at the new t.s.a. academy at the federal law enforcement training center in georgia. an academy that has already helped to build a connection to our mission, enhance morale, and ensure our employees better understand their role in fighting terrorism. recent attacks remind us that
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terrorist organizations remain committed to attacking the global transportation system. at present we have no specific, credible intelligence of any plot to conduct a similar attack in the united states but we must remain vigilant. these events highlight the important work we do with international partners to mitigate risks at last point of departure airports, to inspect and assess compliance with international standards, and to build international capacity and securing passenger and cargo flights bound to the united states. the attack in brussels further highlights the imperative to address security beyond airport check points where our shared responsibility with partners makes a difference. we work with federal, state, local, and tribal partners to provide law enforcement presence throughout airports and serve as transportation hubs across the nation. the resources of countless agencies deliver thousands of officers who help secure our national transportation network. t.s.a.'s law enforcement officer reimbursement program provides approximately $45 million each year to law enforcement agencies for enhanced law enforcement presence. t.s.a. also deploys visible
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intermodal prevention and response teams of integrated t.s.a. and local law enforcement specialists to patrol public areas to provide a visible deterrent and response capabilityy. we are also focused on the inside threat to those with access to transportation facilities and infrastructure. in collaboration with stake holders including the aviation security advisory committee we have taken a number of actions to enhance security including requiring enhanced criminal history record checks of aviation workers, piloting the f.b.i.'s capability which provides continuous criminal background checks and conducting a nationwide vulnerability assessment airport by airport to create an expectation that every employee could be stopped and inspected every day. securing surface transportation systems is a complex undertaking that requires extensive collaboration between transportation operators. we support these owners and operators on threat awareness, information sharing, identification of vulnerability, development of security programs to address risk, exercises to assess and improve readiness, and the
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implementation of those security programs and they in turn invest millions of their own funds to maintain and enhance system security. recent attacks remind us that the threat to transportation is very real and that our work to ensure freedom and protect our nation is never done. while challenges remain i can confidently and without reservation tell you that we at t.s.a. are on the job and intensely focused on protecting the public. i will end with a note about the summer travel. the good news is a strong economy means more people than ever are traveling. the second however places tremendous pressure on our transportation systems. in our communications with this committee we've identified immediate steps to hire, train, and field additional front line work force and collaborate with airlines and airports to address the high volume of travel this summer. two key points. traveler security comes first and we cannot compromise on protecting travelers. second, the expected volume means there will be longer waits during peak periods and travelers need to be prepared. we will continue to identify
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ways to immediately improve efficiency without compromising security. thank you again for your continued support and advocacy for t.s.a. and for the men and women on t.s.a.'s front lines and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, administrator neffenger. as you mentioned, and of course you were there, the brussels attack was directed at aviation infrastructure but it wasn't just an attack on that. it was also the metro car as we mentioned between stations which killed 13 people and injured a lot more. rail and transit are very open systems, much like the nonsterile areas of airports and could easily be perceived as soft targets. what have you, or i should say how have you communicated with surface transportation operators about the potential for a brussels like attack on a u.s. transportation system and do you believe that transit systems and passenger railroads
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in particular are prepared for an attack like the tragic events in brussels? >> mr. chairman, thank you for that question. that is a question that's been op everyone's mind, certainly since the brussels attacks. i will tell it you's been our minds for a long time and is one of the fundamental questions that we've asked ourselves across the surface transportation world for quite a number of years. i will tell you that it starts really with good intelligence and as you from the briefing that we gave this committee earlier this month there is an extensive network of intelligence professionals focused on the transportation threats on all modes of transportation so it really begins with the assessment of what we think the current threats are, who the potential groups are that would deliver those threats, and, more importantly, who the individuals are that might be moving through the system that might provide a particular threat. the next step of course is to identify the vulnerability across the system. we work very closely with our partners across the systems.
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i spent quite a bit of time over the nine months i've been onboard meeting with transit police chiefs, transit professionals, transit authority directors, to look at the types of systems that we have in place and i have been very encouraged by what i've seen. there have been extensive -- there is an extensive network of security professionals arrayed across this system that really leverage the investment we can make from t.s.a. to establish a very high level security standard across the system, awareness of what's going on -- there is a great deal of shared intelligence and a lot of sharing of best practices and we help facilitate many of the groups and teams that get together to do that. while any open system is by definition at risk, i think that there is a great deal being done to ensure that we reduce that risk and we understand ho you that risk might present itself. >> just as a follow up to that, less than 2% of the president's budget was a request for t.s.a.
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was directed to the security of surface transportation. i know we all understand the threats to aviation sector are very real but as a followup do you believe in terms of resource allocation that the t.s.a. is doing enough to ensure the security of passengers on our railroads and transit systems? >> i think that we've been able to as i said leverage thousands of professionals across the country and you have some superb local and state law enforcement entities that are doing work in that sector, whether the amtrak police, the new york city transit police, the new jersey transit police, and so forth. there are more than i can mention. the -- so we've done that. i think if you're asking an operator if he would put more resources to use, yes, i would. and what i would do is put them to use in support of those entities that are doing really good efforts out there. we coordinate with them. we integrate our teams with their teams.
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we work to increase our ability to understand what might be happening out there, understanding the threats and the vulnerabilities, and then share that information in a way that allows us to deploy our resources most effectively. >> yesterday homeland security secretary johnson endorsed a new proposal by senate democrats to double the number of visible intermodal prevention and response or vipr teams nationwide from 30 to 60. by contrast the president's fiscal year 2016 budget request called for the elimination of two vipr teams and 23 related positions. in your written testimony you note that t.s.a.'s vipr program, which operates in both aviation and surface transportation venues has updated its concept of operationtors focus on risk based deployments. the question is have the events of the last two months since the budget was released convinced the administration that doubling of the vipr program is needed to address current threats?
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>> well, i appreciate the attention that congress is giving to t.s.a. resources and i will tell you this, mr. chairman. vipr re to receive more teams i would be able to put them to use across the transportation system. i would be a ibble to deploy them more effectively with our partners in the surface world and deploy them to more public areas of our aviation environment. >> just one last question here. in the past year and a half we have seen repeated abuses of airport badges that grant access to areas of the airport. these are used by airport and airline workers to bypass t.s.a. screening check points and in this case facilitate criminal activities like gun and drug smuggling. these incidents have raised a lot of questions about whether our airports are vulnerable to an insider threat. and as i mentioned earlier in response along with our committee members senator
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cantwell, johnson, and klobuchar have introduced the act to help counter some of the aviation insider threats by improving the vetting, credentialing, and inspections of airport workers. do you think it's important to update and expand the criminal background checks and random inspections of airport workers that have access to secure areas of an airport? >> mr. chairman, thanks for that question. as you know, that's been a big concern over the time that i've been here. and as i came in. it was on the heels of the incident in atlanta and some other concerns. and as you noted in your opening statement, we've had some of those same concerns with respect to the attacks overseas. so i'm very pleased and happy that congress has given us the support that they have. i think you're right to focus on that. the additional access -- this committee in particular was very supportive of our access to additional categories. that's made a huge difference
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in terms of recurrent vetting. i'd like to see us fully implement the f.b.i. program before the end of this fiscal year so we can do continuous recurrent criminal vetting and i think anything we can do to tighten the oversight of the insider population to verify their trusted status i think is worth doing. >> thank you. senator nelson? senator nelson: mr. chairman, i want to take the opportunity particularly to tell our democratic members of the committee that apparently we just received word that there has been an agreement on the and, therefore, if that is true when we get to the floor in just 35 minutes it looks like we're going to be able to proceed without that controversy that previously we had known about. so we ought to be able to get on the bill. i want to just piggyback on a
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couple of the points raised by the chairman. he gun running scheme showed tremendous vulnerability especially 300 airports in the country and, lo and behold, only two up to that point, only two, had done a perimeter security where they had reduced to a handful the number of entry points and had the adequate checking of the badges to make sure the airport employee was who they said they were as well as checking in one of the machines the stuff that they brought in. things that were not done in atlanta that allowed over a hundred guns to be transported
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into the airport. then the employee goes up into the sterile area, into the men's restroom, and transfers the weapons to a passenger who has come through security. atlanta has now complied, so hat's atlanta, miami, orlando. what about the rest of the 297 airports nationwide? >> senator, i had the exact same question. it was a wakeup call for atlanta and as you've noted they've put measures in place, both the private sector -- >> what about the other 297? >> so earlier this year i noted a detailed vulnerability assessment across the entire system for those other airports that you mentioned. that assessment, the results of that assessment are coming in this month. the purpose of that assessment was to answer that very specific question. first and foremost, what have you done?
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what is the nature of your insider population? >> that is the question. what is the answer? >> the answer is that there has been a lot of movement in terms of reducing security access points across the system. there's been a lot of movement to greatly enhance the oversight of that insider population both by t.s.a. as well as by the employers. >> a lot of movement. such as? >> what i'm going to have to provide to you in the report is once we evaluate all of these that are in that's going to drive us to add requirements into the aviation security, airport security plans for each of those airports to take the best practices we're finding om miami, from orlando, from atlanta, and drive those into the other airports across the country. i was concerned that we hadn't had a lot of specifics on that. >> mr. administrator, the best practices are obvious. you have to check the airport employees. so is your testimony today that nothing has been done? >> no, sir.
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that's not my testimony. we have done quite a bit. we are checking. t.s.a., itself, has increased the number of inspections of employees by fivefold just in the past five months. we do that ourselves. >> but you don't have enough resources. you've got to get the airports to do it. >> and they are doing that. >> well, give us the report. >> and that's coming your way, sir. because we're evaluating -- i wanted to give you good specifics from the vulnerability assessment we conducted so i could give you specific answers airport by airport to exactly the question you're asking. and those are all due this week is the deadline for getting those in, and we'll compile that report and get it to the committee so you have it. >> why couldn't that have been done in time to report to this committee, since that was such an obvious question that you were going to be asked? >> well, i think the answer i would have to that is that i didn't have, i felt, adequate specifics to satisfy this
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committee on the specific measures taken. so that's why we went back and i ordered a very specific vulnerability assessment airport by airport. it was done in a very short time frame. it was done in conjunction with the recommendations from the aviation security advisory committee. it was done in a way that ensured i could give very specific answers and, more importantly, provide very specific direction with respect to the requirements we're going to put in place. that said, we have greatly enhanced the oversight and airports have greatly enhanced their oversight already. it's not as if nothing has been done. i just want to know exactly what has been so we can ensure consistency across the entire system. >> mr. administrator, you have . sterile, sterling reputation it's not sterile. it's sterling. but that's an insufficient answer and a problem that has been begging now for two years.
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and the only person that's going to get the airports off their duff to limit the access into their airports is going to be you. and your administration. >> yes, sir. >> i realize that you can say that you have a specific urisdiction of requiring security checks on who's going on the plane, but what about the stuff that may be going on the plane, which is getting at the same thing? and, therefore, you got to go to a different perimeter. >> well, we do that. so i -- i'm sorry if i've given the impression that nothing is happening. that's not at all true. we have greatly enhanced our oversight of cargo screening facilities, of the catering facilities, so there are a number of measures, quite a few measures that have been put in place. i'll provide a specific outline of those for the record, but it's oversight of the caterers,
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catering facilities, the way in which they inspect catering carts, oversight of the cargo, the way in which that cargo is inspected, multiple steps that we're now inspecting cargo that wasn't done before, the amount of security perimeter checks that are being done that weren't done before, the reduction in the security perimeter entrances into each of those airports that are covered by airport security plans. so a lot has been diop. what i was -- so a lot has been done. whey was referring to is i wanted to give you a very specific detail to you airport by airport and i went back and asked for much more detail so i could outline it specifically and then move that into the required security plans in an official and directed way. >> all right. i'll just close, mr. chairman, by saying this. it's pretty simple. you lessen the number of entry points, like atlanta had over a hundred down to a handful.
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and you check the employees going through. you can't do that just as t.s.a. you've got to get the airports to do that. >> yes, sir. >> and that's the report that we want to know in our oversight capacity. >> yes, sir. >> how many airports of the 300 following the lead of miami, which did it 10 years ago, have done this to watch so that something like egypt and the russian airliner doesn't happen here? >> thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. nelson. i couldn't agree more and i think it points out the need for senate bill 2361 which i hope we can move. as you can tell, this is an issue that we screen passengers getting on planes but there are so many examples now of airport workers with badges that are committing criminal acts, and this is an area that i think we
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just got to shore up. >> thank you, chairman. i, too, want to add that i hope that with the f.a.a. reauthorization on the floor that we will get the airport security enhancement and oversight act, perhaps, added to that, because i think it makes a lot of sense to do that in light of some of the concerns that we have in this committee and the broad support on this committee for that bill. but i wanted to follow up on this issue as well on the angle of, we know that one of the ings that came to light that was of deep concern as we thought about the work force is there were 73 individuals the inspector general had identified with reported some ties to terrorism or issues of concern and as a result of that, we learned that, in fact, t.s.a. was not getting access to the real time information from the terrorist identity
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data -- or data to help inform your vetting of these employees that were having access to the airport. and so i wanted to get an update on where we are in terms of you getting access to the information that you need not only as senator nelson has identified the materials that are being brought to make sure people are inspected but what information you have access to that you know about these individuals who have access at the airport that your average person doesn't have, obviously. >> senator, thank you for the question. as i noted earlier, this committee was very supportive in asking for that access and i'm pleased to report that we now have access to all of the categories that we need to ensure that we're vetting people continuously against those tide categories. that's allowed us to more
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effectively screen the credentialed population on a daily basis. >> and so that's going smoothly? >> it is, yes, ma'am. it is. >> scre good. i'm glad to hear that. very good. i'm glad to hear that. i wanted to ask about a bill that congress passed in december of 2014. i also serve on the homeland security committee. and this bill was one that i supported the transportation security act reform act. this is legislation that required t.s.a. to implement best practices and improved transparency with regard to technology acquisition programs because there have been a number of difficulties, challenges, and failed programs that haven't come to fruition that prompted congress to pass this bill. and so i wanted to get an update on where you were in terms of greater accountability on t.s.a.'s acquisition practices as well today. >> well, that's a particular interest of mine, as well. when i came in, i had dealt with acquisition reform in the
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coast guard before coming to t.s.a. and so i wanted to pay particular attention to the way in which we conducted acquisition. one of the first things i did when i came onboard last july was to ask the defense acquisition university to come and do a top-to-bottom review of our acquisition programs and the way in which we conduct them to look for particularly any gaps or process improvements we could make. they just provided that report to me. it took them about four and a half months or so to do that. i am very pleased with that report. we're now comparing those requirements against the requirements of the acquisition reform act and making process improvements as we go. what i'd like to do is i've got a report we're compiling now for the committee that will show the steps that we can take i think that will dramatically improve our accountability, our oversight, as well as our ability to actually -- actually field capabilityy when we need it. >> obviously that's the key because a lot of the work
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before wasn't fielding capabilityy. >> that's my big return. >> and sending dollars with no results. so i would love for us to receive that report so that we can understand where we stand with it and what further action that we can support you on to really improve the acquisition process because that's critical as you think about your mission and making sure that we have everything functioning with our security system. i also wanted to just ask about the managed inclusion issue. as i understand it, and i'm pleased that this has happened, that you've discontinued manage inclusion two. >> yes i have. >> which is i think very smart and logical in light of the purpose of your agency and security concerns. i just wanted to follow up that the app that was being used that certainly came under some criticism was an app that i
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understand this app essentially was some reports that it was $1.4 million for using it. i'm assuming you don't need this app anymore now that you discontinued the manage inclusion two. >> we are not using that app. >> okay. was that one of those which would be an example where maybe we shouldn't have purchased that? >> i looked at that. it really wasn't -- there was a lot more involved in that contract. it was apparently an i.b.m. contract from 2013. and that covered, that $1.4 million apparently covered quite a few components or things. and so the actual app was significantly less cost than that, somewhere in the thousands. nonetheless --. >> we didn't need it. frpblts nonetheless, it is not an app we're using anymore. >> right. >> and what i will tell you is that i have great concern over the way in which we are spending our contracting dollars, the way in which we're spending our acquisition money.
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it's why i did a complete review of the acquisition program. i think we can build more controls and more process improvements into it so that i can get capability out there that is at the lowest cost to the taxpayer but actually produces things that we really need. >> well, good. i appreciate your focus on this. to me this is critical as we think about the things we do need to do at our airports that require resources and so not to waste resources on things we don't need. i appreciate it. >> i couldn't agree more. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator ayotte. senator cantwell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and mr. neffenger, good to see you again and many of us participated in a closed door briefing that you gave us prior to the brussels attack and i thought it was a pretty poignant briefing and i think even post brussels i think probably is important, mr. chairman, to do another one of those maybe in conjunction with homeland security or separate as the focus on aviation needs to continue. i wanted to ask you, mr. neffenger. i come from a border state and
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a lot of traffic moves between the u.s. and canada. we've always held the position that we have to have incredible security. one of our border agents caught the millennial bomber when he was on the way to come to the united states to either blow up l.a.x. or whatever his mission was. but a customs border person caught that individual. so we are very well aware of security but we're also very poignantly aware of efficiency. we need both. we need both in our system. and we know that as a border state because the amount of slow down, so my point is that ctac is the fastest growing hub in the country and has experienced growth rates of 7% in 2014, 13% in 2015. so we've had this map of lanning for ctac which was the -- to handle 19 million passengers and last year we had 42 million passengers sofmente we have a plan for 19 and we
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had 42. so we have a problem at ctac. so my first question to you is, one, will you allow for localized, regional training, because part of the issue is with this new requirement of t.s.a. officer training systems -- people are going to i'm not -- i don't remember -- >> in georgia. >> in georgia. but you've allowed other airports to do regional training. will you allow -- because we're about to hit this spring and summer and we have cruise ships that greatly impact the flow in the northwest. will you allow for localized training so that those individuals can be trained? secondly, what information sharing do you think that we now need to do? you know that we were successful in getting the cantwell/collins bill which is to move custom border security to overseas airports and that lowed us to do that with
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those passengers over there. i'm fully supportive of that and we're so glad we got that in the customs bill but now what else do we need to do? are you for the machine reading/sharing, helping those airport facilities have better machine capabilities? what list should we share? and would you i assume with the role in the coast guard, the coast guard dogs have played a significant role in protecting our ferry system. do you think we should be making a larger investment in that? and so that's a lot to answer. i really do have concerns, i think you need a coalition of constant input on ho you to get efficiency, you know, paying this much for an app that we, you know, shouldn't have --. but if you'll focus on those first questions. >> yes, ma'am. with respect to the training, we are going to do local training. you know, the idea -- >> at ctac. >> yes, ma'am. we have to mitigate what is going to be a very challenging
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summer season by pushing as much, many new hires as we can into the system, directing them to the airports of greatest need. ctac is one of those. and then ensuring we are working as much as we can with the airlines and services that service those airports to identify the most efficient means of moving it through. that has to do with working with the airlines to understand their travel -- >> thank you for that. that is very important. >> so we'll do that. as we build capacity in training centers so that we don't have to do this in the future. secondly with respect to seattle i'd be out there as a matter of fact next week. i'm going to be meeting with the airport director and local officials as well to look at the issues and see ho you well this is going. i've been trying to do this with each of the major airports around the country. with respect to other resources we might need it falls into the category of people, training, and technology. i think that i'm very interested in the way we do acquisitions because i need to evolve my technology faster than the threat is evolving and
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i think there are things we can do to ensure that happens. training i want to continue to build the t.s.a. academy out so that i can effectively train people to do what they do. and on the people's side -- >> just because i only have 20 seconds are you for more list sharing and machine sharing with our overseas -- >> yes, ma'am, i am. >> okay. thank you. this is something, mr. chairman, i think the committee needs to spend a lot of time on. thank you. >> thank you, senator cantwell. good points. senator mccaskill? >> thank you. we have spent an awful lot of time and money and energy focusing on the security of our aviation and airports. and i am not critical of that whatsoever. but there remains, i believe, a gaping hole in our security, which has to do with foreign repair stations. i don't think most americans realize, and by the way, i've been talking about this since 2007. congress wanted f.a.a. -- wanted t.s.a. to do security
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rules applicable to foreign repair stations. it took 10 years. but we got a rule in 2014. there is shared jurisdiction here. f.a.a. is supposed to be certifying the safety of the foreign repair stations. you are supposed to be certifying and overseeing the security of the foreign repair stations. i don't think most americans know that almost every domestic plane they're in is cared for, repaired, overhauled, in foreign repair stations, including foreign repair stations in countries that are listed by the state department as countries that can be a haven for terror. now, i don't understand since we have been talking about this since 2007, i came to the senate, chaired a hearing on this in 2007, that the rule that you issued didn't even require background checks of people who worked in foreign repair stations. there is no perimeter security at foreign repair stations. there's no alcohol and drug testing at foreign repair
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stations. so we've got one standard for machinists and others who work on airplanes in the united states but if you want to take those jobs overseas, then all of a sudden it is like a simb. and i am grateful there has not been an incident but i can't imagine why your agency has not -- i know you've not been there -- but i can't imagine why in this rule there would not be background checks of people working in countries like egypt on airplanes that are flying american passengers around the world. >> well, senator, i recently spoke to the aircraft repair association and they had one of their meetings here in the last couple of months. and we talked about the rule and we talked about what we do. just, you know, all of those people hold f.a.a. credentials which means they're automatically vetted by us
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every day through terror screening data bases and we vet them against the criminal data bases as well. so anything -- we vet them against the combined terrorist screening terror base that looks at all of the people of interest around, and concern around the world --. >> so before they're hired? right now when you're hired as a mechanic on domestic american airlines and you're working on a plane in egypt you have a background check before you get on the premises? >> i can't speak to what exactly every individual employer does. i can tell you that once, if you get a credential from the f.a.a. or if you apply for credential frst the f.a.a. we're going to screen you before you can get that credential and determine whether or not you can be issued that credential. so in my opinion that is the last step before you're actually hired before you can actually work on an aircraft that belongs to a u.s. flight carrier. >> well, i would be thrilled to be proven wrong on this, but it is my impression that you can get into these facilities and
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get near airplanes without a background check right now. and it is also my -- my understanding that there -- who is inspecting these facilities? who is actually physically going to the philippines and to egypt? >> t.s.a. does. have our aviation inspector cadre and they make regular and periodic rounds to each of these locations to ensure they're complying with the standards. >> i would love to see that schedule because i know if you had a repair station in the united states there was an f.a.a. person almost on site. >> that's right. f.a.a. also does the same. >> and when i did this hearing before, most of this was being done by phone. they were not physically going to the facilities. so if that has changed i would be really thrilled to hear that. i would love to know ho you often we're inspecting. i would also like to know because at the point in time that we looked at this before there was no effort made on perimeter security at these facilities in these other countries.
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if we have certain standards for our flying public and the responsibility lies with your agency and the f.a.a. to make sure that the standards are just as rigorous, you know, without a foreign agreement being in the way, they need to be just as rigorous in the locations where people are working on these airplanes on foreign soil. and my sense is that has not been the case. so if you've got information that will reassure me in that regard as to inspections, the ability of somebody to get on the premises, and near airplanes, the ability to actually work hands on on an airplane, if you can reassure me of the thoroughness of that, 10 years to make the rule was not a confidence builder for me. and so i would like to be reassured that we are in a better place than we were when we started down this road when i arrived in the senate.
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>> let me get you a fuller answer. >> that would be terrific. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccaskill. senator heller? >> mr. chairman, thank you. to you and the ranking member for holding this hearing today. i want to thank the administrator also for being here and answering our questions. i want to go back this allocation of personnel and ask you a couple questions. when was the last time you flew into las vegas airport? >> it's been -- it has not been since i've been administrator. >> okay. recent though? within the last couple years? >> within the last year. >> would you agree with me it is one of the fastest growing, busiest airports in the world? >> it is a very fast growing airport and you've seen some huge growth in passenger volume. >> we have. we had 3.4 million passengers go through mccarron in february of this year. in fact, it was almost a 9% growth from february previously, 2015. we're going to anticipate continuing to see this growth. can you explain why t.s.a. reduced the number of agents at that airport by 110?
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>> i got that report and we've actually increased the allocation there so i'm not sure how that information got presented. but i went back and checked because i was concerned by the same number. what i found is we reduced the numbers. sometimes it takes us a while to get people hired in. let me get you the exact numbers. can k if i laid it out i see that report there. we have higher attrition rates in some locations we like to see and sometimes it takes time o back fill those positions. let me get you what i have for numbers. >> it was promised that it would maintain 10 k-9 units at that airport. today there is only one, i think one that is actually
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borrowed. but can you explain to me why there's a lack of the k-9 units that were promised to that airport? >> well, we have an allocation staffing model that we have for k-9's. i can't meet all of the staffing that i'd like to see. i've said before this committee and others of congress that i will take more k-9 teams because i can put them to use. i think it is one of the most effective technologies we have out there. i will -- where i use them most effectively right now and las those -- it is one of the best tools we have for moving people efficiently through the lines and is what we're trying to do at all of the large airports. let me look specifically at las vegas with respect to the team. i don't have the numbers right on the tap of my head and i'd like to get back to you with whatever rationale we're using currently. >> i just wanted to make sure it was not a hall of promise. >> from my perspective i'd like
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as i said to grow the k-9 capability across the system because i think it is hugely effective. both for detection but deterrence as well. >> okay. so if i'm hearing correctly, you would -- i can go back to the administration, that particular airport and say that those 110 t.s.a. personnel will be back filled or for whatever reason. >> that is my understanding. i'll verify --. >> that they will receive the 10 k-9 units. >> as i have them available, yes, sir. the challenge right now is the availability, the numbers. >> a timeline -- what would you anticipate would be a timeline to get the 10? >> there are about a thousand total k-9's operating across the country. about 670 or so are deployed to local law enforcement. so that means there's about three, a little over 300 teams that the t.s.a. has itself. of those when i came onboard last july we had only 112
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trained to do passenger screening. we're converting the rest of the dogs to passenger screening. we should be up to about 270 or so by the end of the fiscal year, converted dogs, these are dogs that can do both regular cargo screening and then do passenger screening. i'd like to get all 320 teams converted by the end of the year. that will give me the ability to start moving teams back into locations that don't currently have them. >> do those teams sniff for dogs? >> they're exposed to sniffing k-9's and a large range of explosives. takes about 10 months to train the dog team. once they're trained they are incredibly effective and what they do if you've noticed in the airports, they move up and down the passenger lines and they sniff for vapor and then they trace the vapor back to he source. >> there are not many places you can get direct flights from sioux falls, south dakota but
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one of them is las vegas. my constituents were adding to that number in and out of your airport this year. >> yes. >> give me one second to put something on the record to clarify the previous testimony because i'm going to go vote. it is my understanding from talking to my staff that the research says the only certification at the foreign stations are supervisors and people who have authority to move the aircraft which is only a fraction of people working on the aircraft at foreign repair stations. my belief is and you correct me after this hearing if i'm wrong and we'll correct the record. my belief is the vast majority of the people working on the airplanes and foreign repair stations have not had a background check. >> i'll follow up. >> thank you. >> thank you both. senator nelson thank you for hoding this hearing and administrator neffenger for your time and testimony today and the service you provide to our country. wanted to ask a couple questions. i understand you were in denver recently. >> i was. >> a couple weeks ago we
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received a letter from denver international airport, my office did, and it talks about the attacks in brussels underscoring the need to address the location of the t.s.a. screening check points at denver international airport. i think most people have had an opportunity to have a final departure from i believe it's a destination of denver or layover in denver and understand this is the fifth busiest airport in the country and 18th busiest in the world so this is a significant concern they are sharing on the screening check points in the great hall at d.i.a. that d ask, mr. chairman, i be able to submit this letter or the record. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to talk to you a little about the innovation task force initiative aimed at modernizing the passenger screening process with the goal of improving service and passenger experience. last week i toured denver national airport and talked
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about partnering perhaps with the t.s.a. to serve and denver international airport as a prototype of modernized security screening. earlier this week i had an opportunity to tour the facility as well with the leadership to learn about the details of the proposal. could you provide a little more information on t.s.a.'s plans with denver international airport? >> yes. senator, thanks for that question. we're very excited at what we can potentially do there. we're seeing, as you know, huge travel volumes right now. and at some point we reach capacity no matter what we do with the current system. so what we have -- we have to address today's problem right now and we're working hard to mitigate it using passenger screening k-9's and pushing staff and saving overtime and the like. i'm convinced we need to find more efficient means of moving people through screening both to reduce pressure outside of the check points as well as to improve the efficiency while not changing the effectiveness of the program. so when kim day the airport director approached t.s.a. and said we'd like to move your
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passenger screening check points from the main hall floor up to what used to be the ticket counter area, it looked like it presented an opportunity to address that. and so that initial conversation turned into an opportunity to rethink the security environment of the airport and for lack of a better term think curb to get a. what can we do? and it is as simple as just putting automated conveyor belts and rfid tags into the bins that you use so you can more effectively track carry on baggage coming through the system and more efficiently move the baggage into the screen. it's astonishing how slow the line becomes just because someone has to push their stuff down the conveyor belt. presenting at multiple stations at which you can stand to put your stuff into a bin so you're not just standing behind the guy who wore the combat boots today and waiting for everybody to take your time. that's one aspect. there is an evolution that has to happen. we're not going to get to sort
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of the check point of the future right away but we have an opportunity think there and so what we did is we worked with denver airport to bring in the airline partners at that airport so all of the airlines that service that airport are members of this team. we brought in the manufacturer's teams as well as even the f.a.a. and then local authorities to put together what we call the innovation task force to really do a white board on how you would recreate the screening environment to reduce friction to the traveler and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the system. so in its biggest sense that's what the idea is. recognizing that there are incremental steps to get thrg but it gives us an opportunity to try some things and denver has been very forward leaning in terms of their willingness to pilot new ideas. >> thank you. what steps could congress take to assist with implementation of the innovative task force initiative both at d.i.a. and across the country? >> i think this committee will get a report on what we're
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doing there and that is part of the plan is to outline the status. there may be some opportunity to create some authorities for public/private partnerships we don't currently have, for the ability to do spiral test and development of new technology so you can field the technology before you go through the long, drawn out acquisition process and to reduce the potential cost penalty on the other end to do that. so i think there are some things that we will be presenting to you as we learn more about how we might go forward that could provide some opportunity to open up some -- a pilot, some pilot legislation that would allow us to try something different there that may in fact allow us to transform more of the system. as we're addressing what is the real problem right now. >> well, thank you. i think in the visit that i was able to take last week to see this entire empty floor space that they have as part of the redevelopment of the hotel right next to the airport, i think it presents an incredible sort of blank slate of
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opportunity to innovate, test, create this laboratory of security that we need really at a major airport, major u.s. airport to find the kinds of techniques, technologies, and security innovations to really move us forward over the next decade and beyond. as we see more passengers move through the system. >> well i agree. it is a wonderful opportunity and it's some very -- it solves some very real security problems in denver and it points to how we can solve those elsewhere as well. so we're very excited about that and we see it as an opportunity to do something very different. >> thank you very much for your time. >> mr. sherman? >> thank you, senator gardner. senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for your testimony here as well and the work you do each and every day to keep us safe. my question follows up on a comment that you made but something that was troubling to me when i had an opportunity to tour one of our large airports in the state of michigan. there is a potential
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vulnerability as we've talked a great deal about screening airport employees, making sure they have security checks, screening what they may be bringing in. but a concern is that there is an awful lot of material that goes into the airport, into the sterile area for the catering services, the restaurants, the newspaper stores, to have a stack of newspapers and put a weapon in between a stack of newspapers or whatever it may be. my understanding is there is little or no screening of that happening and yet there as great deal of material going in. you've mentioned that you are stepping up some of your catering security service protocols i believe in some earlier comments you made during this hearing. could you give me a sense of what is done now and why have we not done more given the fact that that's a lot of stuff coming in? an employee could screen clear and then be waiting for a packet of newspapers to come with contraband in the middle of it whatever that contraband may be. >> well, there's actually been a lot going on for quite
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sometime. the stepping up piece was adding additional layers of that. but all of that, all of those items, all of that stuff that comes into an airport, all of the things you see in the stores in the airport are all examined in some manner at some point before they enter the sterile area of the airport. what i can do is give you some specifics exactly how you inspect newspapers, magazines, water bottles, and the like. in addition to the catering and things that find their way on to the aircraft directly. what we've added in the past ine months or so is additional times at which that's done, additional randomness associated with how that's done so somebody can't get through a predicted layer of screening only to find a way around it later on. what i wanted to do was add a significant amount of random, unpredictability into the system so that at any given moment at any given part of the day if you're an employee and handling something or you have things that you're bringing in that you can -- that we create
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an expectation that somebody is going to take a look at what you have. we've done that with both t.s.a. personnel as well as airport security personnel and other folks. >> so you have implemented that now for material coming in? >> right. we actually have been doing that for some number of months now. that is an ongoing thing. that will stay ongoing. because we find it to be a useful, additional measure of uncertainty that you introduce into the system that will help us to deter, detect, disrupt anybody who would attempt to do what they did in atlanta or other --. >> and the report that you're in the process of drafting now you will address that specifically and whether or not it is robust enough? >> yes, sir, we will. >> you'll report to us obviously more inspection also has a resource and that may be something we have to look at here in congress? >> yes, sir. >> i appreciate that. i've heard from airports in my state that they want to have an opportunity to comment on some proposed t.s.a. security
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regulations or directives before they're implemented. it has been their experience at least what they're telling me that there is a disconnect between t.s.a. officials crafting regulation and then the airports who actually have to implement or at least assist you in implementing a lot of these regulations. do you think the t.s.a. has taken -- they either think the t.s.a. has taken a one size fits all approach without regard to different levels of security threats experienced at different airports and different sized airports and they believe that certain security regulations or directives have the effect of assigning t.s.a. responsibilities to airports without providing any additional funding to those airports, which can be a burden for them. to what extent do airports currently -- are they able to comment on proposed security regulations or directives and how is that feedback taken by your agency and can we do a better job in the future so i don't hear this from my airport managers? >> i'm going to say yes to all
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your questions. >> good. because i do think we can do a better job. i think we have done a better job recently. i'll speak to one example of that. i think it's a valid complaint. i think it is very easy for any government agency to get so focused on its mission it forgets some of the impact it has. i like this idea of full collaboration. this is a system, my job is to ensure the system operates consistently and in a coordinated fashion, but some of the best information about security is held by the people running the system every day at the airports, the airlines, the people who operate in and around those airports, all those things that come together into an airport environment. so i've been very interested in expanding our collaboration. the aviation security advisory committee is a good entry point for me on that. they gave me a lot of that criticism when i first came onboard and i think it was, from my perspective, i take it well. that's what i'm here to do. i see myself as the ultimate public service agency, probably
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the face of public service for the government. so long story short, when i discussed with senator nelson the work that we're doing to do the vulnerability assessments, we actually worked very collaboratively with the airports and the airport association or the representative -- associations that represent the airports to craft that directive in a way that was implementable, understandable, and we actually took a lot of their advice in terms of how we did that. in fact, the first attempt i put out came back at me, and we adjusted accordingly. so i think we've made good progress. there's lots more we can do. it's a constant challenge to make sure that you're including and involving but that's the approach i like to take. >> i appreciate that. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you, senator peters. senator daines. >> thank you. thank you chairman, thank you administrator neffenger for testifying. it is a pleasure to see you as
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always. >> thank you. >> unfortunately you've not had a quiet nine months on the job. terrorist attacks in brussels and paris clearly highlight the vulnerabilities at home, transportation systems will remain a target, and we must remain vigilant so thank you. i know many ideas are being discussed to modify t.s.a. practices, to extend perimeters, increase k-9 presence amongst other proposals, ultimately t.s.a. needs to deploy resource in a fashion that will maximize our nation's security. it also includes protecting rural access points to transportation net works. and speaking as somebody from montana, we talk about rural access points. the screening partnership program is an effective way for t.s.a. to leverage its limited resources specially with the smaller airports. out of the 21 participating airports nationally, nine are actually in montana. as a voluntary program, how does t.s.a. handle airports that may want to opt back to t.s.a. screening? >> well, you know, they have
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that option if they'd like to. if an airport is currently under the screening partnership program with a private contractor and they wish to come back to federal screening, from my perspective we have to work with them to ensure that happens. we try to ensure a smooth hand off from contractor to t.s.a. >> yeah. i appreciate that commitment. i have an e-mail from the montana department of transportation. at the butte airport they formally requested to go back to t.s.a. screening, and the response we got back from t.s.a. was that passenger screening would cease at butte, reverse screening would be conducted upon arrival at salt lake. and so i think they were questioning that, how would eliminating screening at a commercial airport actually increase the safety of the national air space? >> let me look at that. i apologize for not having that information in front of me. >> and i think they're starting to get some verbal commitments now because they pushed back strong on that recommendation but i want to get your commitment to ensure that
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whether t.s.a. or s.v.p. we can always maintain the level of security at these rural airports. >> yes. >> mr. neffenger, in 2013 the inspector general reported that the nearly $900 million spent on screening of passengers by observation techniques, the spot program, was unsuccessful. i recognize this was before your time on the job and again i'm grateful that you're in this job and working to secure our nation as well as spend our dollars efficiently. last month the g.a.o. reported cost saving opportunities in the k-9 program. three days ago we read about t.s.a. spending over $300,000 on a randomized ride pad to tell passengers which lane to stand in, left or right. how is t.s.a. reforming to be good stewards and gain the taxpayers' trust? >> those are good questions and the exact questions i've been asking since i came onboard. with respect to the randomized -- that was part of a larger contract so not all of that was spent on the randomizer but,
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nonetheless, it points to some need for oversight. a couple things we've done, one of the first things i did was to look at our acquisition program. i brought in an outside, independent agency, the defense acquisition university, just to look top to bottom and tell me if they saw any gaps, any is bestimprovements we my concn capability at low price. is one of the things we are doing, and we are working hard on improving our oversight, controls, and we are going across every contract we have, that the money is going to go thing that we think that it is, so that is important because it is about making sure we take limited resources we have and get results for it. senator: thank you. as you know, our security is as strong as our weakness link.
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rural airports, bad guys ak places toe come in. i asked you about scanners in 2012, and montana airports are still without them. this is a question for montana, but do you know what the status is of procuring this security equipment for montana's reports? >> this is a problem across the system. we do not have advanced machines at the small airports. that includes upgrading software technology and making sure they
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meet our standards. we had put together a technology plan for getting those on board. if i could accelerate that plan, depending on how we can redeploy resources, part of the reason for the acquisition study was determined if we had funding internally we could reallocate. : there are two important communities in our state, one being helena. they had been waiting for their technology. the other is great falls. this is where we control 1/3 of the nation's icbm's. we make sure and our security processes are heartened for obvious reasons. door entrance to our icbm capability for the
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country, so i would appreciate if you look at that and let us know how that looks. senator: senator nelson has one other question. we have a couple members returning. senator nelson? mr.senator nelson: administrator, real promise is being made by government they ares at nist, and working on a new detection system that mimics a dog's ose, dog thing so effective in this attempt which is the bottom line for your agency. what do you see as the possible future of the use of such systems that mimic a dog's nose? >> if they can be effective, it
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is wonderful. they are a long way from deploying a system like that. we have some of our folks working with the scientists to see what the nature of its capability is. what it shows us is we have to ofthinking about the future screening because you have to you have to evolve the technology we had. that, and wen of need to do that, and wherever possible, highlight it in limited control situations to determine if that works in the real world environment. i'm intrigued by it, there's potential there. if it works, it could perhaps significantly augment our capability that we currently have. nelsonnelson: -- senator : do you know the data or the science behind this device? >> i know a little bit about it, but i can promise you a deeper
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dive for the record. senator nelson: we will ask the as well.ator of nist > nottor: all right, we do anyone breaking to the door momentarily. admiral, thank you for your time, your responsiveness. we will have questions for the record that we will follow up with and ask if members want to survey questions to for the record do that within the timeframe, two weeks, and that canbe as responsive as you on getting back on those, and we will look forward to continuing this discussion. these are issues that are greatly important to our country, and you have an enormous responsibility. but we want to support you in every way we can and make sure
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we get the job done right. so thank you for being here today. with that, this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> kicking off our lineup tonight, dick cheney visits pepperdine university law school and discusses the role of the vice president and how presidential candidates choose their running mates. here is a preview. cheney: i was reputed by some to have an especially powerful position. >> i think the president said that when you hear dick cheney's voice, you hear mine.
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that was an endorsement. mr. cheney: i think about the way it worked on my watch, and there were a lot of reasons, but none of them related to the constitution -- >> more of a personal dynamic? mr. cheney: personal. my ability to work with congress -- i had been a member of the house for 10 years. i was part of the leadership. i was visited by the speaker of the house after i became vice president and the chairman of the ways and means committee. the speaker of the house was a good friend. they came and said we know you will be the president of the senate, constitutionally. and you will have an office on the senate side of the capitol building, but we think of you as
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a man of the house and we want you to also have an office in the house. the chairman of the ways and means committee had two nice offices. one you could look out the windows all the way to the lincoln memorial in arlington, huge office. bigger table than the cabinet table. the other one we had was a smaller office, but right off the democratic book room on the house floor. they gave me my choice and that i could have either one of those offices, even though i was president of the senate. but because of my background in the house and my relationships, i picked the office right
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outside the democratic cloakroom, partly because i know it aggravated my democratic colleagues. but at the time, i had an office not only on the senate side and not only down in the west wing, but also on the house side. and was able to work from that position to break some logjams on tax legislations and the legislative impact. that was all based on personal relationships from my personal background in the house and senate. >> you can watch all of dick -- at's comments on 8:00 8:00 eastern on c-span. here is more of what to expect tonight. >> the book tells both the story of the fact that the manuscript, this national treasure, is not what we thought, while also trying to chronologically think about what would -- what was
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madison and countering the time. and keeping those two narratives straight was tricky for a wild. onsunday night, a discussion hand."k "madison's took the notes on sheet of paper and he folded those sheets in half. se then at some point he wed all these pieces together into a manuscript. one of the things we noticed was the last quarter of the main holes that had been sown in that did not confirm the earlier ones. i confirmed my suspicions that the end of the main script -- the manuscript had been written later. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern.
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says themark milley u.s. is at risk. a current effort in congress to will be inp cuts disaster without increases in the services' budget. active duty services have been reduced. from the senate armed services committee, this is about 2 1/2 hours.
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senator mccain: good morning. the senate armed services committee meets this morning to receive testimony. i am pleased to welcome acting secretary, much too young, patrick murphy and army chief of staff general mark milley. i thank you both for your years of distinguished service and your continued leadership of our army. 15 years of service have tested our army. our soldiers have proved their commitment and determination. it is the duty of this committee
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to do our utmost to provide them the support they need and's of the support they need and deserve. that starts by recognizing that our army is still at war. at this moment, when hundred 186,000 soldiers are deployed in 140 locations around the globe. they are fighting terrorists and training our partners in afghanistan and supporting the fight against isil all the while defending south korea and reassuring our allies in eastern europe. the demands on our soldiers continue to increase as the threats against our nation continue to grow. despite this dark and urgent reality, the present -- the president continues to ask of the army to do more with less. he has done this once again. the president should have requested the defense budget that reflects the scale and scope of the national security
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threats that we face and the growing demand that they impose on our soldiers. instead, he chose to request the lowest level of defense spending authorized by last year's budget event -- what it agreement. -- budget agreement. it will force our army to confront growing threats and increasing operational demand with shrinking and less ready forces and aging equipment. by the end of the next fiscal year the army will be cut down to 450,000 active duty soldiers coming down from a wartime peak of 570,000. these budget driven, i repeat budget driven force reductions were decided before the rise of isil or russia's invasion of ukraine. ignoring these strategic facts
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on the ground, the budget would best continues down the path of an army of 450,000 soldiers, and army that general mcmaster, an individual known to all of us as one of the wisest soldiers who testified earlier this week -- the risk of being too small risks being too small to secure the nation. we should be very clear that when we minimize our army, we maximize the risk to our soldiers, the risk that in a crisis they will be forced to enter a fight to few in number and without the training and equipment they need to win. that risk will grow worse if mindless sequestration cuts are allowed to return. as our army shrinks, readiness suffers. just over one third of the army's brigade combat teams are ready for to lehman and decisive operations. indeed, just two of the army's 60 brigade combat teams are at full combat readiness. the army has no plan to return to full spectrum readiness until 2021 at the earliest.
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the national commission on the future of the united states army, both the mission and the force are at risk. meanwhile, the army is woefully behind on modernization and as a result capability is not nearly as great as it once was. decades of underinvestment and acquisition malpractice have left us with an army that is not in balance, and army that lacks both adequate capacity and key capabilities to win decisively. as vice chief of staff of the army, general daniel allen recently testified at the army could no longer afford the most modern equipment and we risk falling behind near peers and critical capabilities. the army currently has no major round combat vehicle development program underway. it will continue to rely on the increasingly obsolete bradley fighting vehicle and abrams
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tanks for most of the rest of this century. as general mcmaster phrased it earlier, the army is outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries. confronted with the most diverse and complex national -- array of national security threats since the end of world war ii, the army urgently needs to restore combat readiness, and invest in modernization. instead, this budget request is another empty promise to buy readiness today by reducing in strength and modernization for tomorrow. mortgaging the future of our army places an unnecessary and dangerous burden on our soldiers and it is the urgent task of this committee to do all that we can to chart a better course. i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses today and their recommendations as to how we build the army the nation needs and provide our soldiers with the support they deserve.
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i would like now to call on a former army person for his remarks. senator reed: thank you very much. thank you for calling this important hearing. let me welcome secretary murphy and general milley. thank you for your distinguished service. we are reviewing the army's proposals for the fy 2017 budget request, and they are critical. we are facing extraordinary challenges. the chairman has outlined them very precisely. we have to rebuild readiness. we have to modernize the force. and also in this line, another message, with all respect to secretary murphy -- we need to get a a permanent secretary. the president's fy 17 budget submission includes total
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funding of which $125.1 billion is for base budget. while the budget request complies with the funding levels including the bipartisan budget act of 2015, the army's top line is flat as compared to the fy 2016 enacted levels. as a committee considers the request, we have to be mindful of the risks and national security challenges. it is unlikely that the demand for army forces will diminish in the future. currently, 190,000 soldiers, the active reserve components and active forces, are serving in 140 countries. while we continue to field the most capable fighting force in the world, 15 years focused exclusively focused on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency has taken its
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toll. some critical combat enabled units are in far worse shape. the evolving threats facing our nation impacts readiness in a full spectrum environment. unfortunately, while additional funding is important, it is not the sole solution to restoring readiness levels. it will take time to rebuild the depth and relief from high operational tempo. i applaud the army for making readiness their number one priority. general milley, i look forward to your thoughts on the army's progress in rebuilding readiness and what additional resources may be needed. while readiness is vital, we cannot neglect investments in them modernization of platforms and equipment. our forces need access to equipment that is properly sustained and updated.
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the budget request, $22.6 billion for modernization efforts include $15 million for procurement, and is a start. i would like to know if our witnesses feel confident that this is adequate and will not adversely affect the readiness of the aviation units. related to the acquisition process, important changes in the procurement policies are necessary, including giving the service chiefs significant responsibilities. i would appreciate the chief's and the secretary's comments on how these procedures are being worked into the system. the men and women in uniform remain a priority for our committee. we need to insure the pay and benefits remain competitive to attract and retain the very best. the committee also understands that military and civilian personnel costs comprise nearly one half of the budget. your insights into how we can control those costs would be very much appreciated.
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finally, the budget control act is ineffectve and shortsighted. in our bipartisan fashion, we have to repeal this and establish a more reasonable limit. i would like to thank the witnesses and the chairman. senator mccain: thank you. secretary murphy. secretary murphy: it is my 12th week on the job as acting secretary of the army. it is an honor to be back on the army team. i've traveled to see our soldiers, our civilians and families in kentucky, in missouri, texas, kansas, and also in iraq. resolve.service and we are tasked with the solemn
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responsibility to fight and win our nation's wars and to keep our families a few at home. our army must produce ready units today to determine and eter our nation's enemies, defend the homeland, project power, and win decisively. and by ready, we mean units that are fully manned, trained for combat, fully equipped. and led by confident leaders. we must also be ready for our future fights by investing in modernization and research and development. we do not want our soldiers to have a fair fight. they must have the technical and tactical advantage over our enemies. with our $125.1 billion-based budget request, our army will focus its efforts on rebuilding readiness for large-scale, high-end ground combat today. we do so because ignoring readiness shortfalls and puts our nation at greatest risk for
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the following reasons -- first -- readiness wins wars. our army has never been the largest. at times, we have not been the best equipped. but since world war ii, we have recognized that ready soldiers, properly manned, trained, equipped, and led, can be larger and more determined forces whether confronting the barbaric acts of isis or the desperation of north korea. our army must be prepared to execute and win. we train like we fight and our army must be ready to fight tonight. next, readiness deters our most dangerous threats and assures our allies very we are reminded with alarming frequency that great power conflicts are not dead. today, they manifest themselves on a regional basis. both russia and china are challenging america's willingness and ability to enforce international standards of conduct. a ready army provides america the strength to deter such
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and actions and reassure our partners throughout the world. readiness also makes future training less costly. continuous operations since 2001 have left our force proficient and stability in counterterrorism operations, but our future command sergeants major and brigade commanders have not had the critical combat training experiences as junior leaders, trained for high-end around combat. investing in readiness today builds a foundation necessary for long-term readiness. finally, readiness prepares our force for potential future conflicts. we cannot fight the last fight. our army must be prepared to face the high-end and advanced combat power of an aggressive russia. or more likely, russian aggression employed by surrogate actors. the budget, this budget dedicates resources to develop solutions for this to allow our
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force to develop new concepts informed by the recommendations of the national commission on the future of the army. our formations must be ready to execute against current and emerging threats. the choice to invest in near-term readiness does come with risk. smaller modernization investments risk our ability to fight and win in the future. we have no new modernization programs this decade. smaller investments risk our ability to conduct multiple operations for sustained periods of time. we are mortgaging our future readiness because we have to ensure in today's success against emerging threats. that is why initiatives are needed to be implemented now. let us manage your investment and this will result in $500 million of savings and a return on your investment within five years. lastly, while we thank congress
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for the bipartisan act of 2015 which does provide short-term relief and two years of predictable funding, we request your support for the enactment f -- of our budget as proposed. we request your support for continued funding at levels that are calibrated towards national threat and our interest. we request your continued support for our soldiers, civilians, and their families so that our military and our army will continue to be the most capable fighting force in the world and will win in decisive battles and keep our families safe here at home. senator mccain: general milley. general milley: thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. thank you for your consistent support and commitment to our soldiers, civilians, and our families.
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lethal ground force valued by our friends and most importantly feared by our enemies. this mission in my view has one common thread and that thread is readiness. a ready army's manned, trained, equipped, and well led. as a foundation of the joint force. in order to conduct issions. to defeat a wide range of state and nonstate actors stood, tomorrow and in the future. as mentioned by the chairman, 15 years of continuous counterinsurgent the operations combined with recently reduced and unpredictable budgets has created a gap in our provisions he to conduct armed operations against enemy forces resulting in an army today that is less han ready to fight and win against emerging threats. america is a global power. our army must be capable of winning if -- a wide variety of threats under burying
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-- varyingconditions anywhere on earth. our challenge today is to sustain the counterterrorist and counterinsurgency ability that we have developed to a high degree of proficiency over the lastwhile simultaneously rebuilding 15 years the capability to win in ground combat against higher and -- higher-end threat such as russia, china, north korea, and iran. we can wish away these cases but we would be very foolish as a nation to do so. this budget prioritizes readiness because the global environment is increasingly un certain and complex. destroying isis is the top operational priority. the army -- conventional and special operations forces are paying a key part in that effort. in europe, russia has modernized its military come invaded several sovereign
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country since 2008 and continues to act aggressively towards its neighbors using multiple means of russian national power. yummy will play a continuing role in defeating an aggressive russia. in asia, and the pacific, there are complex systemic challenges with a rising china that is increasingly assertive militarily especially in the south china sea and a very provocative north korea. both situations are creating conditions for potential conflict. again, the united states army is key to ushering our allies in asia and it during conflict - in detering conflict and defeating the enemy if conflict occurs. while none of us in this room or anywhere else can forecast precisely when or where the next tendency will arise, it is my professional literary view -- military view that if any contingency happens it will likely higher a
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significant commitment of army ground forces because war is ultimately an act of requiring one side to impose its political will on the other wall wars often start from the ir or the sea, wars ultimately end when political will is imposed on the ground. if one or more possible unforeseen contingencies happened, the united states army currently risks not having eadily -- ready armed forces available to provide flexible options to our national leadership. if committed, we risk not being able to fulfill the missions at hand. we risk incurring significantly increased u.s. casualties. in sum, we risk the ability to conduct significant ground orce operations. he army is currently committed to winning our fight against radical terrorist in deterring
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conflict in other parts of the world. the army provides 46% of all of the combatant commands around the globe and 64% of all emerging command and control demands. as pointed out earlier, almost 190,000 americans holders are currently to wait in over hundred 40 countries globally. to sustain current operations and mitigate the risks of eploying an unready group. this is not an easy choice and we recognize the risk to the future. all the army prefers our investment for both current and future readiness, this gritty -- the security environment of today and the near future drive investment into current readiness where global operations and potential contingencies. specifically we ask your
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equip to fully man and our combat formations and conduct training at both home stations and combat training centers. we ask for your support for modernization in five key areas, aviation, command-and-control network, missile defense, combat vehicles, and the emerging threat programs. we ask in continue to appreciate your support to recruit and retain high quality soldiers. soldiers of character and competence. we request your support for the fy 17 budget and we thank you for the bipartisan budget act of 2015 which did provide some short-term relief and two years of predictable funding. we will find it in us levels to meet our current command and build readiness for contingencies for the future . thank you for your continued support. and i look forward to your questions. sen. mccain: thank you general. i read your written testimony and that of secretary murphy. it is not often that i quote
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from it. but in reference to the budget control act, you state -- this continued unpredictability beyond fy 17 is one of the army's greatest challenges and inhibits our ability to enerate readiness. i think that is a pretty straightforward -- it goes on to say that this will force the army to continue to reduce modernization decreasing army capability and capacity. a risk our nation should not accept. those are strong words and i thank you for them. i am often critical of the administration's policies but that sentence can be laid at the doorstep of the congress of the united states of america and our failure to stop this indless reduction. reductions in our capabilities to defend this nation.
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i thank you for this straightforward comment on that issue. god for bid, a crisis -- god forbid, a crisis arises, the , part of the responsibility for our inability to act efficiently will lay at the doorstep of the congress. which by the way is the ajority of my party. general milley, you have -- in your statement, you made it clear but let me just -- are we at high military risk? general milley: yes. i wrote a classified -- a formal risk assessment, which as you know is klatch. -- classified. i characterized this current state as high military risk. sen. mccain: hide military risk. that is -- high military risk. that is a strong statement. i'm sure you thought hard before he using it.
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couldn't we substantiate that by pointing out that two of the brigade combat teams are at ategory one. the b.c.t.'s. and approximately one third that are category one or two. is that correct? two thirds of our bcts would require some additional training , equipment or whatever before they would be ready to fight? is that the correct interpretation of that classification? general milley: in short, yes. i would say even those -- the couple that are at the highest level, we could deploy them immediately. one is already forward deployed. the others, will require something in terms of training to get them ready. roughly speaking, one third
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across the board of our combat formations and combat support and service support are in a readiness status that is ready to go. sen. mccain: it would require, depending on the unit, some length of time to make them ready to get into category one or two. general milley: that is correct. sen. mccain: two thirds are not ready to defend this nation in times of crisis. general milley: that is correct. it would require some amount of time to bring them up to a satisfactory level. a satisfactory ready bs -- readiness status to deploy into ombat. sen. mccain: at the beginning, you pointed out the 190 --
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186,000 soldiers in 140 locations around the globe. can we maintain that if we continue to reduce the strength of the army down to 420,000? and taking into consideration that we are an all volunteer force? general milley: to my knowledge, 420 is only under sequestration. this budget takes it to 450. but even at 450 for the active force, and some are overseas and our national guard and reserve. 980 army is stretched to execute the global commitments. the real issue is if a contingency arises and then tough choices will need to be made. sen. mccain: any sane observer are what -- of what is going on n the world would surmise as we incrementally increase our particularly army special forces deployments that the requirements at least in the hort term were it least -- at least short and medium term
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drs would require more deployments, more training more equipment -- in order to counter the rising threats that we see that secretary murphy outlined in his opening statement. is that true? general milley: that is a correct assessment. en. mccain: and that is why he -- you have assessed, come to the conclusion that we are at, quote, high military risk? general milley: to fight -- we have sufficient capability and readiness counterinsurgency and to fight counterterrorism. the high military risk refers specifically to emerging threats and the potential for great power conflict. i am specifically talking about the time it takes to execute the tasks. high risk would say we would not be able to accomplish all the


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