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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 28, 2016 9:00pm-12:01am EDT

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one thing's for sure is that like you said earlier there is a totally different threat dynamic now than there was 10 years ago in this country. isis and affiliated groups are radicalizing americans over the internet to do violence at home this to foment on e file and, it is something they will. i am hoping to talk with you about that. gov. haley: we welcome them talking to us, because then we would be able to tell where we are at least in the situation or if there is a naval break and we have gone no information whatsoever. mr. katko: that seems particularly outrageous to me. so it is not a maximum facility? we would have to do some things to it and i think may be the department of defense has figured that out. mr. katko: i was a federal prosecutor and i prosecuted the
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cartel of drug traffickers and i can tell you that there are individuals that i prosecuted in maximum facilities for much less egregious crimes than these individuals have perpetuated against the united states. it is just shocking to me that we have different standards in the federal system, medium max and super max and it is strange and itade that facility is perplexing at least to say the least. gov. haley: i agree. now have to ever considered or consulted about possibly taking legal action from stopping this from happening given that it is illegal under the law or that spendited states would any money to transfer individuals from guantanamo bay to the note states? gov. haley: governor brownback and i both sent letters because at the time it was kansas and south carolina that were states
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that were being strongly considered. we sent a letter to secretary carter saying that we absolutely didn't want to have this happen, have heardif i something, i will absolutely fight, i will absolutely sue, i will do whatever we need to do to protect our state, and republican or democrat, i will stand with any governor who has to go through this. i know the fear it can put into the minds of the people in their state and the security concerns that they would have. mr. katko: lastly, is it true that most if not all of these detainees are facing a military tribunal? gov. haley: i think so. mr. katko: is guantanamo bay a military facility? gov. haley: so what are we doing is one-time obey a military facility? gov. haley: yes.
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mr. katko: so what are we doing? [laughter] have the same question. >> and the bill that i have filed would give paul ryan and the house to stop this with legal means. thank you for your time. i yield back. thanks thehe chair gentleman and thanks governor haley for her current -- for her questions. the clerk will prepare the witnesses'able -- table for further review.
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chairman: all right, everybody,
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we reconvene, the chair asks the lady sit in and is so ordered, and the chair introduces the second panel and it will be a little out of order. we start with michael bouchard, is that correct? oversees oakland county and oversees an annual budget of over $140 million. bou is testifying our behalf ofc the law enforcement agency ofhard representing counties or parishes with a population of 500,000 or more. each representative represents 108 americans. mr. ken gude is a senior fellow
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at the center for american progress. he was a policy analyst at the center for national security studies. at this point, the chair yields to the gentlelady of kansas. you, mr. chairman, for allowing me this great opportunity for introducing mr. thompson, the leavenworth district attorney. in thompson is a kansan every sense of the word. he is a leavenworth native and his family dates back 150 years in leavenworth. he went on to graduate and wash university school of law, his knowledge in the impact that a detainee transfer would have on leavens worth and the entire is part of his
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investigation as a top law enforcement official and he has context and insight into this process. i thank him for taking his time to come to washington to sit before the subcommittee to answer questions. i have full faith in his ability and he will help congress and the president, i think, better understand the implications and the repercussions of such a transfer. thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. chairman: the chair recognizes the gentlelady, mrs. jenkins. the chair recognizes mr. bouchard for an opening statement. mr. bouchard: thank you mr. chair, and distinguished members of the committee. of oaklandl bouchard county and i run one of the officessheriff's in the nation.
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often times, the head of law enforcement is not notified of ahead of time. despite years of conversation about opening get mo, no signal noint has this administratio requested our viewpoint on this. we are adamantly opposed to any effort to close gitmo and transfer detainees to u.s. soil. evolved in the encryption of media and propaganda, lone wolf attacks and recruitment, and we have seen it has exponentially grown. security of the homeland cannot be an afterthought. we proactively plan and practice for the and thinkable. mumbai, iattacks in contacted all of the chiefs in and i asked them to talk about this on a regular
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basis for just such as scenario. this could be a powerful inspiration for a lone wolf attacker and for recruitment. we know that isis has gone so far to suggest targets, including a kill list with home addresses. clearly this could easily the added to such a list. and a bigt is ongoing concern. the same standards that are detainees federal must be applied to quantize low. 2003, there was a testimony before senate that said we know that inmates are vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists. there was 30% of former gitmo prisoners who were confirmed or suspected of being back in terrorism.
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ago,ionally, a few months iraq authorities arrested isis affiliates. with high recidivism and proclivity for violence, releasing detainees is counterintuitive, even in the increased threat environment that law enforcement has been continuely to asked -- asked to do more with less. we have not been given the associated equipment with transferring detainees to the u.s.. programs that were to address the capabilities, however, over the years we have seen a steady decline in funding. most recently, in president obama's budget cut, it was cut by 45%. the federal surplus program and grant program are great examples of partnership with local communities. through executive action and not
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legislation, this administration recalled 1033 military equipment and put bertelsen -- put burdensome requirements on others. bernardinoof the san terrorist attack, police in san bernardino called the terrorists and they came prepared the day. became less prepared because of an executive order. gitmo houses detainees and putting them in u.s. italy's would present an extraordinary burden on the local community. sheriff mcmahon, a local friend of mine in san bernardino, has acquired in overtime bill at a expenditure. when emergencies arise, federal officials in emergencies are not the first responders.
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it is the locals. they must betrayed and equipped to deal with every situation. bring people here will necessitate that expenditure. that means significant planning, training, and equipment, and all of these unreimbursed costs have been ignored in so-called cost saving efforts. this would be a local responsibility and cost as would escape. we have always been thought to be a positive source of collaboration and ideas and we applaud the community for hearing our thoughts. as to chairman, thank you for your time and i would be happy to answer questions. thanks thehe chair gentleman and the chair ,ecognizes mr. gude, correction we will go ahead with your description. mr. gude: thank you, mr. chairman, and i know you are in iraq war you are ian
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veteran. i think it is incredibly important to spend time talking about the facts associated with the implications of bringing 100 detainees into the united states. first, i want to say i do agree with president obama in closing guantanamo would be in the best interest of the united states. broadly-shared views from senior officials and national security officials in and parties in 2007, 2008, 2009. george w. bush wrote about the necessity of closing on tom and ---- holding quantum am in a closing guantanamo. there were a host of other high-ranking officials that agreed with the necessity of closing it. reiterated this
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year just how necessary it was. express myo and sincere disappointment that you would so casually impugned the integrity of our military officers and men and women serving in the pentagon that they would be presenting what there is not their full judgment to this at the restoration. it is in the national security interest of the united states in closing guantanamo. i think you all an apology and i think when you were serving, you would not let that cloud your judgment and i feel like that kind of comment is indicative of why it is so difficult to have a reasoned debate and a reasoned analysis of this issue. it is a critical national security issue. they'll looking and assessing and whether or not guantanamo the cheney's and international terrorists would be inside u.s. prisons or secured military
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prisons, we don't have to speculate. we have the wisdom of experience. i think it would surprise everybody here in this room, i think it would surprise everybody watching on tv, everybody following this debate, that it was a republican president who brought a terrorist into the united states. why that was to me not the same kind of incredible security risk that governor haley and the members of this committee seemed to indicate it was in the first panel when he was held in charleston for the first two years. also, i was a video, the man accused of trying to detonate the united states -- also, jose padilla, the man accused of trying to detonate a bomb in the united states. there were no protestations from governor sanford to the bush
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administration or to congress that those detainees in charleston represented the kind of security risk that we discussed this morning. 2002 this of that in attack meant that we face somehow a lesser threat than we do now i find very hard to believe. and the detainees in trouble and are not the only ones. we have at least 11 states in statestrict -- 11 and the district of columbia terrorists in maximum-security prisons and secure facilities. according to the ranking member's opening statement, just 15 miles from now, the accused leader of the benghazi attack is sitting in prison awaiting trial. he has been there for over two years, there has been no protests, there has been no
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notion ofy, but the bringing guantanamo detainees into the states in a very similar situations presents not acceptable risk is hard for me to understand and hard for me to fathom. i would just close with one last comment regarding the implications for state and local officials. there is emergency response planning that these individuals have to deal with on a day to day basis with almost every eventuality. notion that pentagon officials and the officials in the cities and states of south carolina and kansas have not been prepared strikes me as hard to believed, because there could be quantized road detainees there now as there were guantanamo detainees there years before and we changed the fact that we have already done these kinds of plans. conclude my will opening statements and i look forward to your questions. thank you. chairman: the chair in a
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recognizes mr. thompson for his statement. mr. thompson: esteemed committee, i would like to first think our veterans as well as those who have worked in guantanamo bay. i would also like to thank our law enforcement officers in giving me this opportunity to speak today. today i speak on behalf of leavenworth and i thank you for that opportunity. i look at the impact this would have on communities, particularly lemons worth. today i want to focus on the issues of concern, first, the by the obamaation ministration. second, the indications to the kansas city metro area if the detainees were transferred there, and third, i would like to talk about the locations to the mission of love is worth. the county attorney, i am the chief prosecuting officer and must assure the safety and
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welfare of our community. it is important for me to have as much information as possible in regarding to the community's safety. failed toment has share any information with local officials. without this information, my community has no way to prepare for the economic burden or the potential threats it may receive detainees from guantanamo bay. fresh from attacks of san bernardino and brussels, we remain on guard for terrorist attacks. we would become a high priority attack for terrorist. in 1997, a convicted perpetrator of the 1993 world trade center bombings was housed in leavens worth. we received several letter bombs. law enforcement as well
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as national law enforcement had to spend significant resources to respond to this threat. to build a new facility in fort leavenworth, it would cost $91 million and take three years, and that is in comparison with the previous facility that was built 10 years ago. paul lewis at the department of defense and the special envoy for the closure of guantanamo bay said that any facility would require adequate medical facilities. for leavenworth does not have these such facilities. the closest facilities are the university of kansas medical center, which is roughly 45 minutes away. there would be significant the detaineess if would need to be trans-for their further care. there are roadways that are less than a chip shot away from the border. carries a railroad that hazardous materials. if it were necessary to shutdown, it would cost the
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community $100 million worth of revenue per day. there is an airport shared by my community that would be rendered useless for a no-fly zone required such as that guantanamo bay requires right now. fortifyd necessary to the fort's borders, families that surround the areas that owned it before kansas was even a state would have to lose their land to eminent domain. the county is home to over 75,000 residents. because the fort leavenworth is there, approximately 20,000 veterans residing in and around the leavenworth community area, and many of those serving in afghanistan and iraq. some of them suffer from ptsd as well as serious injuries from urs of service. gold star members have families buried just yards away from the
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disciplinary benefit -- disciplinary barracks. how would this affect these people, psychologically? finally, fort leavenworth has the generalof officers, powell and eisenhower among the attendees. our officers, as well as international officers, bring their families to our community, which is a significant economic benefit to our area. president obama wants, and obey -- wants guantanamo bay closed because of our economic connection with cuba. this would impact losing relationships with international officers and this could have a long-term effect on our foreign relations. putting it frankly and from a
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friend of mine, placing the detainees in fort leavenworth auld be similar to building prison on harvard yard. i look forward answer questions from you and the committee. chairman: the chair thanks mr. thomas and the chernow can isis himself for five-minute -- for now minutes -- the chair recognizes himself for five minutes of questioning. the san bernardino terrorist attacks, how much would it be? $350,000 in: extended overtime. chairman: $350,000 in overtime and 90 million dollars in unexpected costs to the local government and as i recall, you said unreimbursed costs, right? so the federal government had to go back and take care of the
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local community that has bared the burden of the terrorist attacks that some have said that all agencies are prepared to handle and deal with at any time and we understand that law enforcement does every single thing it can, but we understand we are all human and they only have to be right one time, right? are saying ise that every community has to be prepared for $350,000 in overtime at minimum and up to $90 million in unexpected costs for a local attack. am i correct sir? yes.ouchard: chairman: i don't know anybody an apologym ,, mr. gude. -- we server worn
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at the pleasure of the commander and chief, period, period. we offer our opinions, however, once the commander in chief gives orders, our job is to salute, and if you had ever worn the uniform, if you had ever served, you would know that. moving on -- mr. gude: [indiscernible] chairman: like i said, moving on. how would you know about the national security strategy? i have freely read the national security -- frequently, frequent lee. many times, it is part of my job. -- do you know the strategy
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isn't updated to concur with current event and it evolving events, right? mr. gude: the national security strategy has been updated two times in this administration. chairman: and you have read both? mr. gude: yes. chairman: ok, what background do you have, what professional background do you have, other than working at the center for 13 years now, what professional background, training, etc., do you have in military and national strategic studies, what have you? what back rent you have other than working at this location -- background do you have other than working at the location? mr. gude: i have a professional background -- chairman: but what does that mean? what training do you have? mr. gude: i have been following these issues and i have been deeply involved in the. chairman: many of other americans have as well but they don't come before congress and
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testify. many americans are concerned but i am asking if you have any law-enforcement training? mr. gude: no. chairman: military training? mr. gude: no. chairman: diplomatic training? mr. gude: i don't know what that is. chairman: it has specific training in diplomatic relations? mr. gude: no. chairman: i am looking at your own testimony here where you say for these reasons, a long bipartisan list of national security figures do not believe guantanamo advances national security interest. i can tell you that a whole lot of people have served to have training whether they are law enforcement or national security or whether in the diplomatic court they disagree, so with all due respect while i appreciate your opinion and many of us do and we asked you here for your alternative opinion and quite frankly, i'm not sure it is an
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informed opinion and we appreciate that. let me a you this. i asked some folks recently -- let me ask you this. i asked some folks recently about a similar subject, a special envoy for guantanamo closure and a special envoy for guantanamo detention closure and both of those individuals said numerous things like you do about it is a magnet for recruiting and guantanamo is and it -- it -- it hurts our national security, it hurts us to have it there, and i ask, what empirical data do you have to support that? what empirical data do you have to support the claim that moving these individuals to south carolina or anywhere in the middle united states would have a difference? would make any difference? provided me nols empirical data of cost or otherwise.
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can you provide any at this time? mr. gude: there was one of the most famous cases during the bush administration, there was an interrogator, a military interrogator from iraq, reported at the time that the number one recruitment tool that al qaeda in iraq was using to draw individuals into their ranks with the existence of guantanamo bay and that it was clear and it was persuasive and it persuaded not people just like me, but people like powell, jim bakker, people like the president of the united states, george dubya push, john mccain, you can impugn my credentials all you want, i think you will have a harder time of impugning -- george w.ials bush, john mccain, you can impugn my credentials all you want, but i think you will have a harder time of impugning their credentials. chairman: it is my job to question and by the way, i don't understand and you haven't told me how it makes any difference
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whether it is in guantanamo or south carolina? can you tell me a difference? is a symbolantanamo of the torture and abuse that occurred during the bush and ministry and in that prison and in other prisons. is not simply propaganda against guantanamo and it is not simply associate with the fact that there are military detainees there. there is nothing wrong with that. there was a no propaganda associated with the charleston naval break -- chairman: so when we moved these prisoners to south carolina and the propaganda moves to south carolina, that would then justify and validate the governor's concerns -- mr. gude: i don't think there is a way to validate that -- chairman: you have any way to show? talking about three, all of them, all in that location, all in the focus of international terrorism. mr. gude: i understand that is your opinion and that would follow -- chairman: i am not talking about
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my opinion, i am asking if you have any evidence. mr. gude: there is no evidence -- chairman: thank you, at this point i yield the questions to the general me, mr. richmond. mr. richmond: based on history, because you can only use history to predict the future, based on history, when south carolina contained and held three, was any propaganda targeted at south carolina? mr. gude: no. mr. richman: thank you. mr. thompson, you mentioned in your testimony and i'm trying to relate this altogether that the lack of military equipment and the 1033 program causes some concern for housing detainees? bouchard: this. thompson: causes us great concern because
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the focus it is about of perception and not reality. mr. richmond: so you think it was perception that some of our military -- our police forces were being militarized and going into urban neighborhoods? i am saying that the perception has been fostered and that the police have been militarized is wrong. that and armored tank pulls up to a bank or grocery store every day to give money and a police vehicle shows up with the same armored vehicle, somehow it is scary or militarized, it is false. that is there to protect people. mr. richmond: i understand, but when a tank is going through an urban neighborhood -- mr. bouchard: we have no tanks. with noarmored vehicles weaponize -- that is part of the misperception. there are no armored tanks in america. carriers.rsonnel
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just goingd: we are to agree to disagree on that and i think that one of the things, especially in the petrochemical industry, that is one of the things that my sheriffs ask for. i'm just trying to figure how we made that connection. you also mtioned there is a high recidivism rate with guantanamo prisoners. what is the recidivism rate? who was released at how often do they recommit a crime? mr. bouchard: there has been a number of studies. the most recent one that i had read that said there was 30% of guantanamo detainees returning to the battlefield. can i comment on that one? mr. richmond: sure, but what is the recidivism rate at the largest u.s. prison under your jurisdiction? mr. bouchard: depends on the crime. mr. richmond: no, no, no, no.
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but let me ask a question, because i was just -- i was on the judiciary committee and everyone knows that the general citizen rate -- and everyone knows the general recidivism rate of their prisons. mr. bouchard: the point that i wish to make -- mr. richmond: don't you run a local jail? dependshard: i do, it on the jail, typically it runs between 30% to 60%. these figures, i think they must be properly assessed by bringing them down between the detainees that were released during the bush administration and the detainees released from guantanamo during the obama administration and the reason that is is that the obama administration had determined a substantial process to determine whether it was proper or not to release the detainee. now in order to be released, it is the unanimous decision of the
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senior national security officials and then it also further requires the secretary andefense to certify that individual, the security arrangements with the individual or secured to help keep americans safe and what we have learned is that this process has worked. of the detainees who have been either confirmed or suspected of rejoining the fight were released during the bush administration. detainees thatf have been accused or confirmed to retrain the fight were released under the current administration. mr. richmond: mr. thompson, let me -- look, this is very difficult for subject, and i understand being an elected official and i think all of the witnesses on the republican side are elected and when elected because of different spots
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ability, but let me ask you a question. would you just be in favor of closing the general prison facility we have in leavenworth now? no, i would not be in favor of closing the facility. that would have an undue process on our economy. when talking with officials, -- detainees coming from entente obey would create a very serious concern. especially to the detainees that we are a house at fort leavenworth. mr. richmond: it is for minimum, well, i guess minimal security? mr. thompson: correct. withichmond: so you are ok the economic development and the jobs that are created by housing minimum, but you just want to go to ask him for a few detainees are several detainees from guantanamo? mr. thompson: i'm in leavenworth. i mean, we are known for prisons.
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we are known to be able to house prisoners. except these prisoners are much different than any of the others we have seen or have seen. they are 80 of the worst that we know of. there is a specific reason why there at guantanamo bay and we would not want them in fort leavenworth or leavenworth for the effects it would have on our community and honor citizens. not even the economic concerns, economicluding the concerns, but including the psychological concerns it would have to all of our veterans, our goldstar family members, and anyone else out there. if i could also address mr. gude who is talking about the symbolism of guantanamo bay and the reason for its closure, that simple is him is something president obama has used for the example of why it should be closed, but that is not good to dissipate with it being closed. that is going to stay with it. we don't forget about 9/11 even though these structures have now been built over where the old ones have fallen. we are going to continue to have
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that burden and we are going to have to worry about that threat. i would also reiterate that mr. 's own written statements in january 2016 said symbolism is fading. mr. richmond: thanks the gentleman. chairman: we now recognize that a moment from south carolina. >> what year was the 9/11 attacks on new york? mr. gude: 2001. you are talking about detaining people in charleston. what year was that? mr. gude: 2002. mr. duncan: what year was this committee formed? mr. gude: 2004. mr. duncan: what i'm showing is that we had to begin prosecuting a war against those who attacked us. would we captured enemy combatants on the battlefield, we had to figure out what to do
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with them, correct? mr. gude: yes. mr. duncan: the homeland had to figure how we were going to respond to terrorist attacks on soil. we created a brand-new committee within the halls of congress to inually talk about the security of the homeland. for your information, the recidivism rate or the number of retaining his -- detainees the return to the battlefield is at about 30%. it doesn't matter if they were released from the bush administration or the obama administration. how many terrorist went to the chattanooga recruitment statement -- recovery facility? mr. gude: one. mr. duncan: 1, 1, it only takes one to kill a large number of americans in the world. whether they are released by bush or release by obama, it only takes one to commit heinous againstterrorism
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americans. so we know the dod study said that 30% of those released regardless of who released them have returned to the battlefield. i would argue that american lives have been lost because they returned to the battlefield. your argument that bush released more and more returned to the battlefield just doesn't hold water. italy takes one terrorist to do that. mr. thompson, you heard governor haley talk about doing an assessment and we know it august they did a site assessment at fort leavenworth. what kind of communication have a had with you? mr. thompson: representative duncan, they have had no conversation with myself or no or little conversation with our city, or local law enforcement or officials. she and governor brownback sent a letter asking for this, correct? mr. thompson: correct.
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there are 80 detainees who could potentially becoming. we don't know who of those 80 are coming. are 44 that cannot be released at all and then there are 10 or seven that are being prosecuted and three have been convicted. we getting the seven are we getting the three are getting the four argued in the 27? four or are we getting the 27? we don't know. have no idea because we are not being talked to and that is one of the things that i would want and i would want for our community or any community that would look at having these detainees. mr. duncan: exactly. have any of you gentlemen visited the prison at guantanamo bay? mr. bouchard: no. mr. gude: no. mr. thompson: no. thompson, imr.
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have. in 2001, 2002, when we started catching enemy combatants, they took them to guantanamo bay. time magazine" loves to show pictures of an outdoor facility and people cooking and detainees being in a fenced in area, since 2002, we have built some pretty substantial prison facilities there. security, there is low security, i don't think there is any prisoners in the low security area, there is medium security, and there is maxim security. it is much like a prison in your county. they have the ability to cook their own food and do their own laundry. it is much like you see in county and state facilities. then there is a maximum security facility. in maximsoners held
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security, khalid sheikh mohammed , he has no cure and occasion with any other prisoners. he has his own room, his own 24/7.he is monitored they are muslim. they have to have their area to pray. they have an area outside of the compound where they can go out, ist some fresh air, but it connected to their cell. they don't have any other contact with the other prisoners. there are special circumstances holding muslim terrorists that want to harm america and a special prison facility has been built on guantanamo bay specifically for that purpose. in addition, there is a courtroom facility built in one tom and obey -- built in byntanamo bay paid for taxpayers.
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they have secure access to go to counsel with their legal counsel. if they came to the military brig in charleston, i do believe it is going to cost the taxpayer additional resources to create or re-create what we already have an guantanamo bay to house these very special prisoners. are you set up the same way in guantanamo bay based on my description of the cellblocks? mr. thompson: we are not set up for thatmr. thompson: -- mr. thompson: we are not set up for that. to build this new facility, it would take at least three years. of $91 million may be up to -- mr. duncan: is the dod coming up with these plans right now? because they are not having any conversation.
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are they doing this unilaterally? isse are the facilities it going to have, when they talk to you -- wouldn't they talk to you? talkedmpson: i haven't to military officials on military duty. i can't tell you what they are doing. i have looked on the map. there is a royce cow and girl scout camp in the center. there is no water. there is no electricity. it cannot connect to that area. much less build it. the also told that have tomo bay detainees have almost specialized security watching over them. mr. duncan: so if we've got to build all of these facilities, why do we go out to louisiana and build on the high ground of
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the bayou? there are thousands and thousands of undeveloped acres. why are we talking about fort leavenworth or charleston? it is interesting when you bring that closer to home, i do believe. mr. thompson: guantanamo bay, away from harming citizens. that is one of the biggest concerns that we have, bringing them to united states soil. talking about charleston where there are communities of veterans living there, that is going to cause concern,e threat economic impact social impact, all of these things just by moving here. gentleman's time has now expired and the gentleman now recognizes the ranking member. mr. richmond: i just wanted to let you know that there is no higher ground in the bayou.
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i just wanted to tell you that. [laughter] chairman: the chair thanks the members for their very valuable testimony today and the chair thanks them for their questions. some additional questions from the witnesses and we ask you to respond to these in writing pursuant to the committee rule 7e. the subcommittee stands 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 ncicap.org]
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announcer: tomorrow morning, -- whiteocratic leader house correspondents dinner on sunday this sunday. -- sunday at six 1 p.m. eastern. 2700 people are expected to attend this year's sold-out dinner.
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larry will more will headline and this year, president obama will give his final speech as commander in chief. watch the white house correspondents' dinner live on c-span. tomorrow morning, house democratic leader nancy pelosi will hold her weekly press meeting. we will take you there live at 9:15 a.m. eastern on c-span2. announcer: defense secretary ys as therter sa u.s. continues to battle isis and iraq, he is concerned the economic and military battle that each country faces. he spoke on the administration's's strategy and efforts to combat the terrorist groups. alsoal joseph dunford testified. this is about three hours and 20 minutes.
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>> well, good morning. good morning. the senate armed services regarding thes efforts to counter the so-called islamic state. i think our distinguished witnesses for speaking this morning and continuing to serve our nation during a time of war. please convey the gratitude of this committee to all of the men and women who should -- reserved. airstrikes have steadily him priest and improved and new
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capabilities such as the a-10 and now attack helicopters have gradually been added and efforts embeddedand equip security forces have expanded. troops have periodically been employed been deployed to the fight. these adjustments have resulted in some operational gains and we have seen iraqi security to -- iraqi security forces make gains. we have seen them take territory away from eiffel across parts -- isil across parts of syria. forces continue to degrade isis in iraq and syria. aree gains are real and useful to our troops on the
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ground. more importantly, this can put them into some strategic context. too often, it seems, politicians and the media all want to engage at the operational level. i understand. military operations are important and interesting, but i worry that they are disturbing our challenges in the middle east. we need to lift our sites. at a more strategic level, it is descending into chaos. in the words of henry kissinger, and i quote, "there is a struggle for power in states, a conflict between states, a conflict between ethnic and religious groups, and an assault on the international system, but at the epicenter for this struggle of power and identity is iraq and syria where isis will establish its caliphate."
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this affects libya, it just, yemen, parts of east and west africa, afghanistan, and beyond. we have seen from paris to san brussels, they have the ability to target us as many of us predicted that it would. strategic level, we always remain a step behind, a day late, and a dollar short. while members in the administration and yes, the congress, too, they saw it to micromanage efforts in iraq and syria, isis launched sophisticated attacks into the heart of civilizations and deepened their security in libya. -- werecipitously a band precipitously abandoned libya and all of the warning signs
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existed in afghanistan on september 10, 2001. the administration appears increasingly focused on this problem, but once again, the response has been active, slow, and insufficient. similarly with russia. first out of country russian forces moved in and decimated the moderate syrian opposition groups. russia has used syria as a live fire exercise in modernizing its military. despite predictions of a russian quagmire, president putin has achieve military to distinct military goals.
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he now appears poised to retake aleppo. capabilitiesary remain in syria and enhance his ability to project power be on the region. u.s.again, once again, the response has appeared confused, reactive, and in adequate. none of this is happening because our adversaries are 10 feet tall or somehow more capable than us. instead, a sophisticate -- instead, as sophisticated and -- flat of isis is, but --in is paying -- vladimir putin is playing a game. aggressively expanding
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and put simply, too many of our leaders appear to involved in the tactical fight. the escalation of military operations are not enough in the strategic fight. despite the tactical gains, we must ask ourselves, "are we working? are we winning? are we getting ahead of the questions and the problems that we face or are they getting ahead of us? what objectives do we hope to achieve across the middle east, a region that is experiencing greater turmoil than any time since the collapse of the ottoman empire? how will we would achieve those goals and on what timeline and at what cost?" i understand the american people are frustrated with washington. a belief outs there that we invaded and
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occupied iraq and that we failed and that we occupied libya and that it failed and that we did not intervene in syria and that failed, too. but what ties all of this together is that we left. we left. in the firstngaged place. we pulled away and we stood back and we tried to convince ourselves that everything would be all right and look at the result. new order has emerged in the middle east, only chaos, and the vacuum we have left behind is filled by most of the extreme anti-american forces, isil, i and it's terrorist -- iran, it's terrorist proxies - its terrorists -- proxies. that inetorius wrote
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the case of syria, the action of the extremist groups are instability, extremism, and violence far beyond their immediate surroundings. we cannot go on protecting we can avoid these problems or that the current approach of trying to treat the symptoms of the disease rather than its cause will work if only be given more time. it will not. fixating ontop military details and look at the bigger picture. are easylieves there solutions. after the past seven years, this much should be clear -- walking away isn't the answer. time is not on our side. senator reed? reed: this morning's
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hearing to update the committee on the status of operations against the islamic state and iraq and isil is timely. the president, secretary, and both of you continue the review of our ongoing efforts as part of operation inherent to resolve the. military tasks that can be accomplished in the months ahead. in recent days, the department announced two deployments, one for iraq and syria. that should change the focus of coalition as it turns to and making sure that -- allies on my work ground on the ground can continue. theooks to bring together sunni, shia, and kurdish elements in iraq, a complicated
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reality in display. hisprime minister shuffled cabinet amidst thousands of protesters threatening to storm the parliament. as we consider our policy in , it is important to remember that the coalition is there. ignoring that reality risks damaging our broad strategic goal of lasting political solutions for iraq, and the defeat of isil. this has seen a growing number of violations in the coming days. in aleppo and his running regions. in march president putin announced he was withdrawing its forces from syria. that is often the case with him, the public message is not consistent with the reality of events on the ground. reports,'s four sources are beginning to mass around of aleppo.
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these met -- actions not portend well for this conflict. i felt the secretary and chairman will provide their updated assessment on the military actions of the regime. before the committee is a request to extend the dod authority to equip the syrian defense. without them, to recapture cities, and a number of other towns and villages it would not have been possible. i hope the secretary and chairman will speak to the -- importance of this request. and iraq and syria i hope they provide their assessment of isil libya.ing influence in some suggestions that others may follow as the committee moves toward a markup of the authorization bill it is critical we have the dod view on the threat emanating from libya.
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chairman mccann, ranking member reed, thank you for those statements. and for this hearing, and for the range both the geographic and in terms of tactical operational and strategic that you are asking us to speak to. i thank all of the members of the committee for being here, and above all, chairman, thank you for thanking the troops. it means a lot. you have many opportunities to carry that to them directly, but i will try to do that to. i will briefly in my opening statement address all of the aspects of the subjects raised in your two statements. obviously, our campaign to broadlysil, and more
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our military strategy in the middle east. i appreciated this is my seventh appearance before this committee, the fifth focused on the middle east since i became secretary of defense. the timing is fortuitous in the sense that i just returned from trip to the asia-pacific, and the middle east was the both regions are critical to u.s. and global security. in uniform are deeply engaged as they are all over the world. it is emblematic why with all the challenges going on, particularly five challenges i listed last month and my budget testimony russia, china, north korea, iran, and terrorism. can'tally isil, dod choose between one or the other. or between acting in the present, and investing in the future. we have to do them all. there was much i could say about the asia-pacific i will focus my comments here today on the middle east. actions and strong
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military posture continue to be guided by our northstar of what is in america's national interest. these are several things. they include dealing isil a lasting defeat. that was the principal purpose week visit to iraq last when i conferred with our commanders and visited with our troops and met the prime minister and defense minister. i spoke to the kurdistan regional government and announced a number of key next steps that president obama has directed to further accelerate the defeat of isil. more on that in a moment. when i appeared before this committee to discuss our we had-isil campaign embarked on a major acceleration of this campaign. and ithe chairman dunford had recommended that, it consisted of multiple steps. first, there were a number of immediate accelerants. we deployed additional strike
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aircraft, supporting an extended air campaign to get target illuminated by refined intelligence. we deployed special contingent forces to syria, and expand the equipping of syrian arab forces in the fight against isil. the found committed local forces in southern syria also, and enhanced to jordan's border control and got advisors to help take sinjar, cutting the iraqi poweretween isil's centers. he an expeditionary targeting force. we work to improve our ability to target isil's leadership beyond iraq and syria. we expanded the campaign to every area including cyber. marshaledse were against a clear military campaign plan focusing on
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operations on three objectives -- one, destroying isil's parent tumor in iraq and syria. it is necessary. second, combating the metastases of these worldwide wherever they appear. it is been noted by the chairman and senator reid. our most important mission which is to help protect the homeland. in addition to accelerating the campaign with additional u.s. capabilities, we renewed our outreach to coalition members. over the last three months i convened my counterpart several times in paris, brussels, last brief them on, to the coalition command plan but above all to urge them to contribute more and in more meaningful ways. embarked on that acceleration, results followed and have continued even in recent weeks. in iraq, the security forces we took ramadi.
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and then begun operations to isolate and pressure moz osul, with the them to collapse -- mosul, with the attempt to collapse isil's control over the city. cutting off to significant lines of key medication and rocca including one of the last major arteries between there and mosul and between isil and syria and iraq. lives in results on targeting leaders and finances. we have systematically .liminated isil's cabinet taking at the ministers of war, and finance. we removed external plotters from the battlefield and took out the isil emir for southern mosul. on the economic infrastructure
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from oil, to cash storage, to financial leaders, it is putting a stranglehold on their ability to pay its fighters undermining its ability to govern and making it harder to get a new recruits. these are the result in our coalition. they are also result in our train and equip efforts as well. so far, with your support in congress, we have trained over 20,000 security forces and worthed six full brigades of equipment to the iraqi army. with at a critical supplies donated by more than 20 countries. for our part, ranging from ammunition to small and medium to heavy weapons. in addition to the local forces we are working within iraq and syria, 90% of our military coalition partners, 26 countries and all, have committed to increase their contributions to help accelerate the defeat of isil. all this has been necessary for
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putting isil on a path to of a lasting defeat. but it is not sufficient. i have consistently told you where looking to do more as we take advantage of opportunities we are generating new ones, and in seizing those opportunities --repeat this cycle reinforcing success. this has been our intent and is consistent with our strategic approach to allow capable, motivated local forces to recapture and hold and govern territory tyrannized by isil. based on the results we have had and our desire to continue accelerating isil's defeat we are conducting the next plays of the military campaign. they are stabilizing iraq's provinces, and generating iraqi security forces to envelop mos
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ul, and a developing more local forces in syria that will isolate. providing more firepower and sustainment and logistical support to help them collapse control over the cities. to facilitate this, we're taking a number of key actions in both iraq and syria. president obama and i announce them over the last week and a half. the president has approved all of the actions that chairman dunford and i have recommended to him. in iraq, our actions are in support of the iraqi security forces operating to isolate and of all beenul, and approved by the prime minister. as i told our troops in baghdad last week, we will place advisors down to the brigade and the brigade and battalion levels. we will be leveraging apache attack helicopters to support iss effort to envelop and retake mosul.
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we send additional high marks, and will provide financial assistance up to $415 million to bolster one of the most effective fighting forces against isil. to do all this we will adjust how we use u.s. forces already and bring in 215 more of them. are toa, our actions help our local partners continue isolating and pressuring raqqa. we are increasing u.s. forces 300. from 50 two these include special operations forces to help expand our ongoing efforts to identify, train, and equip capable, -isil forcesti inside syria. toy will serve as a hub incorporate partner special
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forces from european and golf partners. that will augment our coalitions counter-isil efforts there. in addition to training inside syria, we are continuing to train and equip other syrian forces outside of syria. inping our focus, as we have recent the, on battle hardened anti-isil leaders whom we can make more capable as enablers and amplifiers of our effects. in this context, the section 1209 program is central to our ground campaign in syria, and are carrying out a different approach than before. instead, one that we have used to train and enable local elements that have proven themselves against iso-on the battle -- isil on the battlefield. your support to fully overcome them. focus on the program as it is now, and in particular release
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1209 funding currently blocked by congress. mr. chairman, i understand you help to intend to clear these funds with the committee, and i hope other committees will follow suit. the fact is, for our commanders to be agile in accelerating our campaign against isil, we need a similarly agile funding process. we are required to submit reprogramming requests as you all know to the for congressional defense committees. so far, we have received differing responses on differing timelines. sometimes with conflicting demands, the must get this working better going forward. otherd urge you and the three defense committees to consider ending the reprogramming requirement for syria. so that it is on equal footing with how you structure our oversight of our training and equip programs and iraq and afghanistan. -- current setup involves
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invites troubling micromanagement of a wartime effort and risks inhibiting results. beyond iraq and syria we are addressing isil metastases in afghanistan. we authorized our forces to conduct targeted strikes in a degraded the terrorist groups elements in that country and in libya. we have continued to follow isil activities closely undertaking a successful strike last year in which we took out a key leader in the country. in of a strike in february training campl post of as the libyan government gets on its feet will support it in the fight against isil and work with partners were ever .sil tries to get a foothold whether yemen, west africa, or southeast asia. even as we do more, we are continuing to marshall our friends and allies across the coalition.l
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when i met with my counterparts from the gulf cooperation council last week i emphasize the importance of their country's doing more. not only as saudi arabia has been doing, but also politically and economically. that is because sunni support for stabilization and reconstruction will all be critical to ensuring that isil stays defeated. mr. chairman, i want a second the point you made that in the their in my conversations parties already beginning to look beyond the defeat of isil and ask what their situation is at that point for this reinforces the need to think strategically. germany, i will be convening my fellow defense ministers from the major contributors to the military campaign to discuss ways we can continue to accelerate our efforts. that said, while the military
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momentum is gathering, and isil is struggling to resist our multifaceted pressure, i'm, increasingly concerned about and othereconomic challenges in syria and iraq effecting the pace of the military campaign. threat has the isil diminished, political aspirations of created discord. in some instances, f no sectarian conflicts have ethnosectarian conflicts have increased. iraq struggles with physical challenges due to the lower price of oil and a huge reconstruction bill as it retakes cities from isil. in syria, competing agendas are inhibiting the coalition and coalition -- coalescing of isil
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forces. intently,used on this but we need support from you in congress to help ensure that military momentum is matched with political and economic momentum. and that the military defeat of isil will be lasting. i have articulated a clear strategy with the end state being a lasting defeat of isil. that means it must be achieved by local forces. we can collapse isil's control of cities by bringing to bear the u.s.nmight of military with some of our unique airbilities like precision campaign and offense of in cyberspace. training, or just ask, sustainment, and equipment. enabling local forces -- not substituting for them -- is
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necessary to ensure a lasting defeat. sometimes, that means our pace is predicated on that which local forces can absorb our enemy. some seem to suggest we pursue different strategies. there are alternative strategies. i have addressed these alternatives in previous testimonies. we don't recommend them. here is why -- one alternative would be to leave the complex and chaotic middle east and try danger to thel's united states and target terrorists from offshore. and approach of this sort has attractions -- it avoids complexities. as such a containment approach simply cannot concede -- succeed in today's world. don't recommend it. another alternative would be to introduce a significant foreign ground force. hypothetically international, but certainly ponderously --
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preponderantly american. there are several problems with this approach that led me to not recommend it either. such anear term, approach would entail significant military undertaking that, much as we would wish otherwise, realistically we would embark upon largely by ourselves. concede our competitive advantage of mobility and firepower. instead, fighting on the enemy's terms of ground combat a midst a local population that has previously responded via lately -- violently to such an approach. to westernize the effort from the populations of iraq and syria we might turn those local people fighting isil, who are inclined to resist their rule into fighting us instead. as chairman dunford has said, i sold would love nothing more -- isil would love nothing more than a large u.s. presence in
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iraq and syria civic have a call to jihad. lastly, in the long-term, there would remain the problem of securing and governing the territory recaptured, which in by end much -- must be done local forces. the bottom line is this -- we can't ignore this fight, that we also cannot win it entirely from the outside in. that is what we are helping capable local forces in every way that we can without taking their place. concludei want to with some words about resources. i have serious concerns from one of the proposals to underfund dod's overseas were fighting account and spend that money on items we did not request. i have to say this approach is deeply flawed and the troubling. objectionsiled my yesterday.
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today, in this context, i want to highlight the danger of underfunding our war effort. gambling with funding in places like iraq and syria. i cannot support such a maneuver. is important we provide our troops and commanders in the field with all the resources they need to succeed. i know that with your support, of the continued dedication our people and our partners, we will deliver isil a lasting defeat. thank you. chairman mccain: thank you, mr. chairman, general dunford? general dunford: chairman mccain, ranking number reed -- member reed, thank you for allowing me to come here today. secretary carter provided update in overview of our strategic approach before taking a questions i want to briefly share my perspective but where we are in the military campaign, and where we are going.
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is a translator threat from southeast asia to west africa. our top priority remains to disrupt attacks against the homeland regardless of the source. we continue to assess the most dangerous threat remains isil in iraq and syria. i've received a campaign update from our commanders in iraqi leadership. opportunity to visit with our troops and visit our forces at their training site. there is no shortage of political and military challenges, i was encouraged by what i heard and saw on the ground. has thebelieve isil momentum any longer. thatl summarize by saying the forces and sunni tribal forces will reduce isil's territorial control and nddermined its brand a
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destroyed much of its were fighting capability. enemies resources and freedom of move and have been significantly reduced. progressrtantly, the of the last seven months has instilled confidence in our iraqi partners. they believe they can defeat isil. currently, they are continuing operations while simultaneously shaping operations to isolate mosul. in the month ahead, iraqi forces will bring increasing pressure to bear against the enemy and mosul. we will look for opportunities to reinforce success as a secretary carter has said. you'll seize any opportunity to take momentum. similarly in syria, the pressure degraded isil has their capabilities and their freedom of movement and their resources. the local kurdish and arab forces have retaken a
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significant percentage of the territory previously under isil control in northeast syria. other opposition forces are currently fighting along the turkish-syrian border putting additional pressure on isil in stemming the flow of foreign fighters into syria. the recent authorization of additional u.s. forces will allow us to increase to capacity and can ability of indigenous ground forces and set the operations.or in closing, i believe will move the campaign forward over the previous months and the progress is real. we are not satisfied or complacent about where we are. once again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning. i look forward to your questions. chairman mccain: secretary carter, it is frustrating to a lot of us as you outlined the options that we have. the option you left out, which
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is entirely doable, i know this for a fact, is if we had 10,000 of 100,000 person contingent of which the sunni nations would contribute that would go in on the ground and take the cities. any talk about the territorial gain you forget to mention that he second largest city and iraq is still in isis hands and their no strategy so far to retake it. it is really frustrating when the set of this strawman that the only alternatives we have is to walk away, and the other is a ponderously american force. that is not true. we have been pushing for months and months and years for an international force of which the united states would be a small component of. that is doable. when i keep hearing this that we only have these two choices -- i say it is intellectually
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dishonest. on the issue of reprogramming, approval blocking the of the reprogramming until yesterday when i had an excellent briefing from general dunford that cleared up concerns that i had. why did i have those concerns? when we spend a couple million -- hundred million dollars last time the central command testified before this committee that we had four or five people left after expending a couple of hundred million dollars in what i believe would have been an abysmal failure. which was making these people pledge that they would only attack isil. my question is -- is that still the case with this force? are they prohibited from responding to being attacked by syria? sec. carter: thank you,
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chairman. i will dress both of your questions and ask the chairman to do the same. i described two bookends, if you like and there are various gradations in between. you are absolutely right. with respect to the option that of describe of a 9-1 ratio international forces to u.s. forces, that would be a highly desirable circumstance to be in. i do not doubt of that. i have no indication from those countries despite a lot of that. a willingness to do the second point of the like to make and i will leave that is, was describing the possibility of foreign forces entering iraq and syria, i tried to describe the welcome that they might receive and the
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remaining issue of sustaining anditory once it is taken held. i think that is the principal strategic issue with a large foreign force -- whether american -- chairman mccain: i will. sec. carter: on the 1209 program, thank you for that, chairman. we madeo acknowledge a disappointing start to that and no bones about that. approach toged the that, fundamentally. i believe the chairman has described that give you. that is the basis on which you indicated a willingness to support it. to be briefed about what the difference is -- we were trying the program was initiated to make a new forces to counter isil in syria. our approach now is to identify
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-- this is where the special forces have been valuable -- whoes already fighting isil we can enable with the great might of the american military. that is our new approach. chairman mccain: do you believe that the cease-fire is collapsing? general dunford: chairman, i do believe there is some difficulty. chairman mccain: we know what happened the last time before the cease-fire. that was that the russian air was bombing the daylights out of the moderate forces, many of which we trained and equipped. what are we going to do with the collapse of the cease-fire, a resumption of russian bombing of american trained forces. what is going to be our option? our forcesford: if are attacked by regime forces via the authority to respond. chairman mccain: will be give them the ability? service to air capability? general dunford: it is not mean
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that, chairman. well, i guess i problemgo back to the that we face. that is that with the cease-fire breaking down, with millions of refugees, with at least 300,000 people killed, and the presumption of hostility with the russian air practicing indiscriminate bombing, what are we going to do about that situation? can we count on a couple of thousand american trained and equipped forces to reduce, or counter, what is clearly a consolidation of power on the part of assad? i hate isis, but it isn't isis
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that has killed 300,000 or driven millions into refugee status. it is assad, i wonder what you believe our options are in this deteriorating situation, which means a resumption of the slaughter and flow of refugees. sec. carter: may a start then chairman can chime in behind? we are intent upon fighting our in syria because principal and paramount responsibility is to protect the american people. and isil is trying to attack the american people. i agree with you about the assad regime, that is why he can't be part of the future of the country because of what he has done to his people. you thatd i agree with
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ofle the cessation hostilities has had an important effect in both the north and the south in permitting the humanitarian assistance, it is not being completely abided by. that is especially by the syrian regime, and finally you mentioned russia. just remind you of what i said to you before. the russian said they were coming into syria to fight isil, and that is not what they did. they supported assad, prolonging the syrian civil war. that is a tragic situation. toretary kerry is trying work on that and i can't describe it the full extent of our efforts with respect to the assad regime, but i go back to our focus in the department of defense.
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it is protecting americans. that means destroying isil. chairman mccain: my time is expired, but obviously the situation in afghanistan is deteriorating. isn't it imperative that we revisit the decision on reducing the number of troops in afghanistan by half? should we do that before these important meetings in june and july? general dunford: chairman, we are constantly reevaluating the situation in afghanistan. chairman mccain: we had to make a decision. will the president be making that decision? sec. carter: i think the president will be making that decision. expressed a willingness to adjust to circumstances there and to ensure the success. chairman mccain: you agree it is important our allies know that? sec. carter: i do. chairman mccain: i apologize to
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the committee for overstaying my time. this complex region, sometimes with difficulties with turkey has been both a supporter and also s omeone who has not been completely corroborative -- cooperative. can you comment on what you would like them to do more and what they are capable to do? sec. carter: thanks, and it is a timely question. by dint of geography they are the single most important of the nato question family of countries that can have an influence on the situation in syria. amy are doing more,l and i
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grateful for the are doing along the border. they're helping us to operate in some ways i can go into. and, i am very grateful for that. i would like them to do more. i wanted them to do mroore for some time. but we continue to work with them. they are an important party and an important ally for the bacon make an important contribution. : the spectrum of possible operational approaches that you laid out, the one that is being adopted now is rather light footprints. to, going in and trying morede both isil and would require an adjacent country providing operational and political support.
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have any indication to that being accepted, or tolerated? sec. carter: turkey has allowed us to operate for enormous amount of the air campaign. they are willing to let us operate against isil. with respect to the special forces in syria, i want to distinguish that from the iraq. we have thousands of americans doing all kinds of things that are necessary. logistics, because this is iraq he army needs to be sustained. it needs to have lines of communication sustained as a goes up the tigris river valley. there are a lot of pieces to this. the reason for the special notes present in syria is their numbers themselves. it is their ability to go in, identify groups that are willing to go after isil and bring down like the funnel of a tornado the
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great weight of the american military power through those fact --nd amplify their effect. that is what they are so good at. sen. reed: the point is those operations -- special operations -- i been supported by adjacent countries. is there indication they would support a large land force mobilizing? sec. carter: i don't have any indication from the turks that they would do that. reed: let me shifted years for the many on the committee have been urging we take a much more proactive approach to the cyber presence in that conflict. , if either of you could comment on the cyber operations? sec. carter: very generally on it. the chairman a number
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admiral rodgers our cyber commander and the nsa director to take on the war against isil as the first major combat operations. he has done that. the objectives are to interrupt isil command and control and its ability to move money around. interrupt its ability to tyrannize and control populations. interrupt its ability to recruit externally. all of that it does in a cyber-enabled way. we are talking about cyber operations and syria and iraq. my feeling is very direct which will are bombing them, and take out their internet and so forth as well. isthe modern world, that
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necessary to defeat an enemy. this is the first big test of that. i very high expectations they can be successful. the overallord: effect we are to achieve is virtual isolation. the physicalnts actions on the ground and it particularly focuses on external operations that might be conducted by isil. the -- this week we have been talking what the additional troops that will be deployed. you have onts do the ground now. iraq the total is around 3500. i want to remind you, that is the force management level. the special operations complement we multiply that
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sixfold is from 50,000 to 300000 and syria. : talk a little bit about rules of engagement. it can only include defensive activity in certain areas. where are they now on that? general dunford: are you talking about our forces on the ground? number one, they're going after isil. they are unrestricted and going after isil. if they are under attack and it was positive identification of an enemy, they are authorized to engage. nhofe: my second question is all the activity. we have during the course of this hearing not talk about anything outside of syria and iraq, but other things are happening. we talked about the islamic state is extending its control
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of territories in libya. recently warned that isil is spreading in europe and have allowed isil to get sleeper cells. general rodriguez has said that force in africa has grown to 6000 in the past year with a major presence in eastern cities. we are talking about libya, tunisia, algeria. now, it is going down further in sub sahara africa in nigeria. even in central africa and the eastern congo it is becoming apparent. wasuestion is this -- it developed without resources. they have to get their resources from other places. what isng the case,
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happening right now i think if we say we had a strategy to contain isil, that the strategy did not work. we talk about our troops, what they are doing up there, the training programs, but what about these new areas? how can we resource them? i will get started, but the chairman has been working on this. -- ire right, we have seen am not familiar with the specific testimony but i'm sure it is absolutely right. you also know africa extremely well, senator. there are two things going on, -- rebranding of existing extremist groups. the other is newly inspired or
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, both ofded nucleus i those are a concern. and wouldn't say containment, i would say destruction of isil whatever it emerges is the right strategy. it can't end with syria and iraq . that is necessary, but not sufficient. those following developments closely and taking some actions, some of which we can discuss here that will turn to the chairman at that point. : is rodriguez right when he talks of the 6000 number? general dunford: i agree with that assessment. they're conducting operations in africa and east africa and libya. general rodriguez developed the concept of operations for support for the libyan government. we have as a result reallocated
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resources. the secretary made that decision about a month ago to reallocate resources to africomm to development of what we would need. we are working closely with the french in west africa with the coalition in east africa. sen. inhofe: in sub-saharan africa? general dunford: we have isr in that area. heinrich: secretary carter, before i get to a couple of different questions i just want to bring to your attention an important issue facing our national security at the moment in terms of the availability of domestic trust and supply of state-of-the-art microelectronics. you maybe aware there was a recent sale of ibm's boundary
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which had been dod's leading supplier for a decade. i think that raises some serious concerns about the future stability of dod's trusted microelectronics source. certainly, the capable state-of-the-art industry suppliers here in the u.s. we could fill that void. i just want to urge you to take a hard look at that. sec. carter: we have, and we do have a mitigation strategy. i would be happy to have somebody come over and discuss that with you. source.a trusted forocircuits, especially special and essential functions. : i look forward to that. to the issue of the day, we all
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recognize that isil continues to be a very serious threat. there have been some positive signs of progress since last year. according to media reports, new foreign fighters joining isil, those numbers are at a significantly lower rate this time than they were last year. the news reports suggested that they are on the order of 200 a month from something close to 2000 a month a year ago. are those numbers in the media actually accurate? to what do you attribute the sharp decline? role incomm having a that as well? sec. carter: we do observe that trend. behink it is hard to precise with these numbers. i think that trend is run the intelligence community does say
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is a very discernible. at the same time, from my point of view, any is too many. we are not done until there are none. trend istold that observable. theral dunford: i am with secretary in terms of specific numbers. i think the reduction is for a couple of reasons. for fighters come from 145 countries and a many of those have come together to share information. it is not what we wanted to be but it is much better than it was a year ago. we do have a specific organization that has been established to bring those nations together to exchange information and to be proactive about foreign fighters. our visibility on foreign fighters has increased. the turks have been helpful in that regard. havefforts they have taken
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reduced the numbers of foreign fighters thati go back-and-forthn between turkey and syria. much moreeas, we have work to do. we are not satisfied with the level. it has proven to make an impact. ich: we appreciate that you don't intend to let up until the job is done. have we had any success in cutting off the ability of isis to reach into suburban communities in the united states and create a demand for a number of us had news reports where kids in our communities suddenly decided to try to get to syria. how is that process going? are we able to cut off that electronic foreign fighter
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source? sec. carter: our effort in iraq and syria is aimed at making it more difficult for them to operate out of those locations, including by trying to lure americans into acts of violence. i have to say, the law enforcement community has an enormous effort here. i don't want to speak for them, but they're working extremely hard on that. area ofnot our responsibility but it is essential. they're working the other end of the problem. toeral dunford: i was going say, one thing that is encouraging, the talk about the appeal of isil worldwide -- there has been a fair reduction in that. invincibility of has been shattered over the past
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year. the less success they have on the battlefield the less appeal there is to be a global caliphate. >> general dunford, as chairman mccain just pointed out, most of fatalities and civilian casualties are caused by assad's and air attacks was the you agree we have the capabilities to take out assad's air force? general dunford: i do. >> why have we not? general dunford: we have not declared war. >> you are not saying it would take a congressional declaration of war? general dunford: it would take the president directing us to do that. the wicker: why has president not distracted us to prevent these civilian fatalities and casualties by
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taking out assad's air force? general dunford: the directive he is given us is against isil. specifically, as to whether to attack the regime? take up the air force causing the majority of the civilian casualties. toeral dunford: i prefer not get that recommendation in public. that is a policy recommendation that i was going to provide that i would provide that to the president in private. sen. wicker: ok. assadary carter, you said cannot be part of the future. is that the explicit view of the president of the united states? sec. carter: yes, it is. that is why secretary kerry is working on a political transition to a regime after assad. ven't undertaken to change that regime by force for a
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number of years. we have not made that syria.king our focus in the department of defense is of itsg isil because direct threat to americans. but with respect to the tragedy in the civil war in syria, we're working on that political transition. but it is a political transition fustanella leadership has indicated that it necessarily involves assad removing himself from the scene because of everything he has done to his people what you just cited. sen. wicker: voluntarily removing himself? sec. carter: no, here is where to russians would do well make what they do correspond to what they say. the politicale transition forward. use the leverage that they have
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and have gained by intervening on assad's side to end the civil war. some structure to the syrian government that can then mary up to moderate opposition who we support and create a life and the government for the people of that shattered country. let me just ask, there were reports last december. there was an article in bloomberg that obama no longer seemed sure that assad should go . i think what you're are saying is that is not accurate. let me just make sure -- is the president ruling out somehow working with the assad regime against isil in the short term? sec. carter: we have not worked with them, they have shown no inclination. sen. wicker: is there a debate
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within the administration? sec. carter: i have not heard that idea broached. number ofr: a european parliamentarians i spoke with have told me in private that they wish europe had worked with us on syria back in 2013. frankly, i wish congress had been more resolute in that regard, also. was a voice in the wilderness at that time. and now that our nato allies face the chaos of an unprecedented migrant influx, do in believe nato could help substantive action against is il? sec. carter: i do believe they could be. and it is a more helpful because the nato countries without exception we mentioned turkey already.
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they are working along with us and helping us with the same campaign plan. askeds nato has not been yet by the european countries. we favor that. there are reasons why nato as nato is more than the sum of hte the parts. i think they could make a contribution, that is being discussed with the secretary-general right now. with respect to the refugee crisis, the european preference has been to use the european as their not nato chosen instrument for addressing the refugee crisis. that is their choice. and, so they have not asked for nato to be a big part of that effort. we did tak ee a step to assist inn i was im brusseln --
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brussels to bring the greeks and the turks together to get some naval operations in the agean sea aimed at deterring smugglers to bring people from turkey to greece. the europeans have wanted the european union not nato to address the refugee situation. sen. gillibrand: secretary carter, thank you for being here and for all of your hard work. last week, and at the sick is a group -- an advocacy group detailed inaccurate information was provided to this committee during a hearing in 2013 and follow-up letters about sexual assault cases and civilian prosecutors refusing to prosecute. the chain of command insisted
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they be tried as opposed to simply approved. a follow-ony in-depth investigation by the ap alleged that the 93 cases the department highlighted to prove the toughness of commanders were inaccurately described. i'm very troubled by these , specifically the military provided misleading information to congress with the intent of defeating legislation that i and others introduced. these reports suggest an effort by the military to undermine its committee and congress's responsibility to do oversight and determine policies. if you look at this, the testimony given was quoted verbatim by several senators. when you give testimony, senators listen to what is sad. they will repeat it. giving false
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information, then senators are repeating false information which is not in the interest of justice. have you looked into these allegations yet, and if not, do you plan to? sec. carter: thank you, senator. two things, the first is absolutely essential that we give accurate information because it is important that we use accurate information to defeat this scourge and i appreciate all of your information and support in that regard. withheld -- admiral when winifeld is extremely knowledgeable and i haven't asked my staff to confirm the numbers that he gave and i will ifcourse report that to you
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i can just say on a somewhat different note since you raised is is sexual assault -- it sexual assault prevention month and later in the afternoon, i will be recognizing six sexual assault response coordinators around our country in the bases here. i just want to put in the word for them and they are super and you had something to do with creating that role, but i will have to ask my stuff to confirm those numbers and it is very important that we do so. ms. gillibrand: it is more about the numbers, if you are aware, it it is about the characters. sec. carter: absolutely. ms. gillibrand: what the "ap" said that because commanders insisted that these be done, they were done. uncovered by
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talking to these local das is that that is not the fact, she declined to prosecute, it was done collaboratively, so the best way for the military to proceed is not about the numbers, it is about how, what happened, what was characterized, and i also share your faith in the admiral, but i would like to know, are you going to be investigating who gave him those numbers, how they were characterized, were they given to him in report form, and who wrote those reports and who provided that? and carter: yes, we will confirm or not confirm those facts, and you are right on just the numbers in the characterizations of each case and i have asked my staff to look into those numbers. it is important that we get it right. you are absolutely correct. ms. gillibrand: what do think is aligned at the department of the military should draw with legislation? our job is not to
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lobby. i think we are here to try to tell you the truth about what we are doing to the best of our ability and to explain the choices that are the for the country and the resources that will be needed. needed for things and our efforts and lobby is not what we would like to use. our responsibilities are to report our procedures and to the best ms. gillibrand: of our abilities to report it. when will i expect your investigation of this to be complete? -- and to the best of our abilities to report it. ms. gillibrand: when will i expect your investigation of this to be complete? sec. carter: as soon as i complete it. ms. gillibrand: thank you. >> what are we trying to achieve? sec. carter: our military efforts in syria are intended to and regain for local
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forces the territory now being tyrannized by isil and being used as a buffer to attack america. are military efforts being focused entirely on isil? not the chaos that is happening? sec. carter: that is correct, we have another effort that kerry can speak to about military efforts. ms. fischer: do you think these efforts will be successful? sec. carter: we have the taking and the purpose is
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ultimately why the president has given us authority to increase our numbers there. our objective, of course, is to over theisil's control area. ms. fischer: i am assuming you are referring to the deployment of another 250 troops to contribute to the goal? sec. carter: correct, that is correct. ms. fischer: and if we have an immediate objective to recapture this area, am i correct in restating that? sec. carter: yes. ms. fischer: do you leave the deployment of this 250,000 these 250,000 soldiers will commit to this purpose? sec. carter: let me talk to this and this is precisely the reason why we are here addressing this, those forces and to identify and that areble forces
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local to the region and to want to excel isil to that territory, and along the lines what we have seen elsewhere with the syrian-arab coalition which was enabled by us, expelled isil from that important area, we would like to do that with this region as well. chairman can i clarify? when you are talking about local forces, are you talking about sunni forces in the area? sec. carter: yes, they are the ones who live in that area. ms. fischer: and are either you or the secretary or the general, how manyu build -- troops do you believe will make this operation successful at for us to reach this goal? senator, i just want to wrap back on the purposes of this special forces increase in the area and it is that to things, and
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your original question, it is to grow our size on the ground and to increase their effectiveness. there are about 6000 syrian-arab coalition members and we have approximately twice the amount of those numbers in the current vetting process and we expect those numbers to increase. are regards to forces that going to attack, we believe that will be a combination of both syrian-arab coalition forces but also by the kurdish forces that have been supporting us here over the past year. those numbers are almost 30,000 kurdish forces -- 30,000, the kurdish forces there. thefischer: and going past numbers of the boots on the ground that are needed, are there obviously other capabilities that are going to be required for these forces to have, for example, what kind of equipment do they need and are
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there any leadership or chain of command issues that you believe need to be resolved before this can be affected? gen. dunford: senator, the answer is yes, and we are doing several things. one, we are assisting in the planning efforts, we are providing logistical support which requires ammunition for the authorities in the area, and that is specific to the equipment, weapons, vehicles, communication and so forth, and that is training as well. those of the four areas that requires them to be successful. ms. fischer: either leadership concerns or chain of command concerns in those forces, especially when we have our troops in bedded with them -- are there leadership concerns or chain of command concerns in those forces, especially when we have troops embedded with them there? gen. dunford: we believe what we have there is sufficient to put additional forces there. ms. fischer: thank you again, mr. chairman.
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>> i will recommend senator donnelly. donnelly: thank you, mr. chairman, i will yield my time to my colleague who has a pressing engagement. >> i would like to direct this first of general dunford. the defense department is required to make tough choices in a budget constraints and we understand that. 250nnounce we are sending of our special operating forces into syria and i understand that will be 1.5 million dollars to train each special operator equaling roughly three her $75 million to train those 250. on tuesday, we will discuss the f-355 program. per will cost $108 million unit. on tuesday, i asked the general
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if he things we're spending our money wisely with the f-35. we are on track to purchase many aircraft. knowing the fight we are expected to fight right now in defending our country, conceptually, if we traded 10, 's, we could increase our special operations by 700. in the world we see today, are we concerned that we are needsicing short term for long-term strategies? f-35's make that much of a difference down the road? gen. dunford: senator, i think you bring up the really important issue that we struggle with, and that is that we do confront a wide range of challenges from iran and north korea and extremism.
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in fact, the choices you just outlined are the choices that we just made. we did reduce the number of f-35's this year to balance other capabilities in other areas and we did the very best we could to make sure that we could deal with all of those challenges. so we did exactly as you outlined, sir. mr. manchin: i am saying that i then, i wasuld ask asking basically about our troop strength, mr. secretary. at 980,000? gen. dunford: yes, that is our total. mr. manchin: when i asked the other general how much it would take, he didn't hesitate, we are short. i don't want to go back to west virginia until the people that we are a little bit short on this one. we are looking at ways to fix this under constraints. you have a job to do and we want to make sure you could do the
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best job that you can do. i'll -- i'll -- ms. fischer: -- mr. manchin: what are you -- gen. dunford: we are aiming at -- mr. manchin: i know what you are aiming at, what i'm asking, what will it take to do the job? the numberd: that is we are shooting at, and i hundred 80,000 and anything less than that is adequate. -- is inadequate. army's, their the fact aboutare in readiness and that is the principal thing that's the general and i have focused on in the army. this is more than and strength.
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we are adding resources this spectrumcreating full training and bringing the full army back to levels of readiness. if i can loop back to your special forces point also, senator, we have a lot more than 300 special forces. people there. we have tens of thousands of special forces. they are exquisitely trained people. it is not what we don't have them to apply to syria. we are applying them in a number and a manner in which they make sense. let me ask the chairman if he has any other questions. right now, at least in this budget year, i was concerned with the force. a lease the capacity. with the current situation, we had sufficient training and that was the focus on the capability of the forces that we had as opposed to the force structure. i am concerned that
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basically you are explaining sir, i understand where you are coming from, but this doesn't make sense from the way that i am trying to analyze this, because the general was very clear. he didn't hesitate. i asked him what it would take take to defend this great nation, and he said that we fell woefully short than 1000 80,000. 80 we can talk more about a security briefing on this. --. carter: you are thinking maybe we can talk more about a security briefing on this. thinkinger: you are about structure and readiness and modernization as the chairman said, that is a balance that we have all struck, including general milley and the leadership of the army. that thet repeat thatipal strategic issue
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we are trying to address in the army budget is not structure, it is readiness. 's and myeneral milley general concern in the army. mr. manchin: that sounds at least fair, but i would say that this dysfunction that we have in this body and on capitol hill here shows you that we must come together for the sake of our country and put our country first in defending this country versus our politics and it is a shame that we don't get a good budget and that we have to make these difficult choices. it is a shame. i'm sorry for that. gen. dunford: thank you. >> thank you, gentlemen, for your appearance before the committee. general carter, i want to talk about isis, but first talk about the south china sea. you just returned from a trip to the philippines where we announced several new initiatives what unfortunately, we have heard reports that china has begun some reclamation activity on a scholl 120 miles
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west of the bay. is it the case that if china were to reclaim and militarize the scholl, they could watch all flights out of the northern philippines and hold the bay at risk with military systems on the scholl. hoal?i sec. carter: they are a treaty ally, we take them seriously, very seriously, and that is why we are establishing some new installations from which we can operate so that we can strengthen our own posture there and then that is why we are .oing the rebalance in general we have partners coming to us saying that we are concerned about china. it is also why we are sending our best equipment to the asia-pacific and why we are doing more. mr. secretary, it is
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also why last week i gather there were three flights conducted in the vicinity of the area by u.s. aircraft? sec. carter: i would rather not get into that and i would prefer to discuss that and be briefed with that in private if you don't mind, senator. mr. cotton: but there is no question about it. we will continue -- sec. carter: we will fly, sale, and international -- and operate were ever international law says. we will not stop. mr. cotton: media reports say they did not occur within 12 miles of that feature, which would have been a more assertive action in contesting china's claims. now i want to leave the south china sea but make a point about the policy-making process. interrupt, could i senator? that is the second time when you have denied any accounts that have happened in the media.
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that is not fair. there were flights around those islands and why you would refuse to confirm that when it has already been in the media is i think not the proper deference that this committee is owed. refusinger: i am only because i believe it is classified information, senator. mr. cotton: i am glad the chairman pointed it out, but i think it raises the point that i want to go on to now from your predecessors, secretary gates and senator panetta -- secretary panetta. secretary gates recently said that obama's foreign policy is diminishes its effectiveness and the way things get done to indicate reluctant us of a certain american power. they arrive a day late and a dollar short. it presents an image that president obama is being dragged kicking and screaming to each new stage. it is incremental and the message is lost and it makes
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them look reluctant." end quote. i think i've seen in the last year, according to secretary panetta, is cautiousness and correction. or may beay not flying these missions or where we may not or may be controlling couldorial areas, but we be deploying troops to syria but only 250 troops, what do comment on secretary panetta and secretary gates positions on policy that is being made? sec. carter: i can't obviously speak for them or for the time that they were secretary, i can only speak from my own experience as the chairman. i could do the same and i'm and i would be as you confirmed i would be in secretary of defense in giving
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the president my best advice. i am also absolutely committed to making sure that he gets professional military advice. that is where the chairman comes in. i have never failed to have a hearing for my views and you wesed one particular which are ready addressed in the hearing and that is the additional move in syria. that is precisely what the chairman and i recommended, what we had announced last week was precisely what the chairman and i recommended. fallhe approved last compared to what we called the accelerant, at the time, is what the chairman and i recommended, and that doesn't mean that he is always going to approve our recommendation, i am just giving you those as examples. we tell it straight to the best of our ability. i can certainly speak to myself
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but i can't obviously speak for my distinguished processors in their experience. mr. cotton: and i will address one final question, general dunford, and that goes back to s's andry gate secretary panetta's comments. they were saying that it was the operational micromanagement that seniore nuts, driving commanders out in the fields and second-guessing commanders. , can youunford comment about your roles in your previous roles on the security staff? gen. dunford: i guess what i focus on is my relationship with the access to my president in both my previous role and in this role. i provide the best military advice. with regards to the national security staff, i didn't deal with the national security staff in my previous assignment and in fact was specifically prescribed
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to not do that with the secretary of defense and i think that was appropriate because i don't think i should have been dealing with the national security staff in my previous assignment. in fact i would deal with the national deputy assignment in my previous assignment. i don't go through the national security stuff. secretary, the fact that we are sending our ships in our airplanes into international waters and to have that classified when it should be magnified throughout the world that the united states is asserting our respect and adherence to international law is something that is confusing of the filing. why would we want to classify the fact that we are doing what every nation in the world should
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be able to do, and that is sale or fly wherever we want to? why should we classify the information? sec. carter: it is a fair point and i will look into why what aspects of these operations are classified. i them just respectful of the process, but there is no question and we have said it many, many times and i will say it again today, where we fly and where we sale, we exercise that right routinely and the exercise has details and what parts of it are classified, i will look into aboutt i would be careful disclosing classified information, or information i believe is classified, not to this committee, because u-haul -- because you all have access to it in the right setting, and the fact that it was in the newspaper does not make it classified as you all well know. think you, mr. chairman.
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for just a few minutes, mr. secretary, i want to look a little bit beyond iraq and syria and look at extremism globally. when we asked you and other witnesses to talk about her strategies against isis, we often get a response detailing the efforts that have been outlined by the president. is it your understanding that these nine lines of effort is a strategy to defeat isis and is it solely to isis or is that our strategy for the global efforts against terrorism? sec. carter: well, there is a the of good sense to lines of the nine lines commit acacia that was made years ago. named the parts of the campaign, political, economic, military. i would also say that we have moved beyond that conceptual framework now and we are more
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, irational in syria and iraq have described that. but it still remains true if you go back to the nine lines of effort. they are still interrupting isil's finances. we are still doing that. foreign fighter flows, we have a role in that, what a lot of other countries have this role, so it is still a good taxonomy of our efforts, that we have moved beyond that in specificity. mr. donnelly: does it set a primary framework for the fight against the rest of global terrorism? these nine lines? sec. carter: i think it makes a good framework, but we've got much more operational in our approach, including in our individual locations in addition to syria and iraq. mr. donnelly: let me ask you some information that just came out today, and if you not -- if
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you are not familiar with it, that is ok. we know that the troops from russia are on the verge of collapse. senior administration officials say there is no path ahead in syria, the path is murky. there have been airstrikes in aleppo, striking a hospital, killing at least 14 patients and staff, we know the air force of russia has stepped up raids in that area against rebel factions, it talks about catastrophic deterioration in aleppo in the last few days, it seems we are further away from a workable plan in syria that in a very long time -- than in a very long time. exactly what we are going to do to try to move this forward when it appears it is moving in another direction? sec. carter: that is precisely what secretary kerry is working on. he is discussing with all of the and i can't speak to
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overnight developments. thehe is both working on cessation of hostilities in itself and most importantly, to get back to what we were discussing earlier on the political resolution of the syrian civil war and i will leave that to him to comment on that. iraq anelly: i was in month ago and we were talking with sunni leaders there. do you see that continue to move in the right direction and are we leaving people behind? one of their concerns with the governance in those towns once they took them back. sec. carter: that is a very good question and it is very important that the stabilization take place after the recapture
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of these cities. that has been going on in ramadi. i will ask the chairman if you want to add more to that. it is getting the water back on, getting the power back on, getting the schools back open, clearing ied's, which are really people wiring in people's homes, that is essential. we have worked on that in ramadi and we have worked on that elsewhere, and when i was talking about the necessary political economic complements in this effort, we can do all we are doing will a terribly and i think we are on the right track their, but that victory cannot be sustained unless the local people have the wherewithal to resettle and with the political situation in iraq and economic situation, or to julie with oil prices -- mr. donnelly: i am almost out of
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time, but i just want to mention that in syria, as we are trying to get isis out, trying to a college that, at the same time that aleppo seems to be going into it deeper problems -- into deeper problems, greater flames, that whatever secretary kerry is working on, the stage seems to be getting -- it seems to be heading in another direction is that of moving forward. finally, as an aside, we hope you can make it to ukraine, we know how busy you are, but in syria, the most recent headingents seem to be more against our goals than for goals. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, mr. chairman, i want gin with a couple met, thank you, mr. secretary and mr.
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general, for the quality that you have leading us. they often come to this committee with very impressive ideas. on march 19, there was a marine who wasaff sergeant -- was he killed in combat? sec. carter: he was killed in combat, sir. inanother was killed afghanistan. was he killed in,? -- was he killed in combat? sec. carter: he was, sir. >> are they conducting combat operations? sec. carter: they are, sir. >> when they are doing bombing missions, are they in combat? sec. carter: -- gen. dunford: they are, sir. is very question
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simple, whenever the white house talks about our troops in the middle east, they go to great length, and this is a quote from the present, "he will not involve american combat troops fighting on foreign soil." why does the administration go through these crazy somersault that the entire country knows is not correct to say our troops are not in combat when they are in combat. the chairman of the joint chiefs just a stated that pretty much everyone in the middle east is in combat, so why is the president not leveling with the american people? why does the white house continue to say that they will not comment? i think -- one thing i would like to think is how you could as a question, but another thing i would like to ask is how it informs our troops and their families. why can't we level with the american people and say they are in combat? gen. dunford: i am going to
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associate myself with the chairman and say that these people are in combat, senator, and i think we need to say that clearly. statements that you are quoting, but i can well imagine that the point being to describe the strategy that i described earlier, which is not to try to substitute for local forces, that to get back to senator donnelly's point, to try to get them powerful enough that they can expel isil with our support and when we provide that support, we put people in harm's way and we ask people to conduct combat actions. i mean, a pilot flying over -- gen. dunford: -- mr. sullivan: dropping bombs -- gen. dunford: yes, flying over
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-- think it would be helpful to pass this onto the president and to the people, to the press, i mean, even last to the50 forces go middle east, but they are not in combat roles. i think leveling with the american people is very useful. i know the two of you are doing that, but if you could pass that message onto the president, i think that would be useful. gen. dunford: can i think you by the way for what you said? it is general milley and it is a whole bunch of -- sec. carter: our country is blessed. mr. sullivan: i would like to follow-up on sen. cotton: line -- i would like 's follow up on sen. cotton
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line of questioning, but we see a very important strategic significance about what people are calling for strategic triangle in the south china sea. the chinese have already established two legs of the triangle, the fighters and radars are part of that radius that you see around the shaoal. what is the strategic significance if the chinese do start to build up their military capability on that island, particularly being so close to the philippines, and what are our plans if they do begin a militarization or a buildup of that island and do we have a plan to respond to the u.n. tribunal ruling that is expected in june with regard to china's excessive maritime claims? there is a lot going on there
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and i would appreciate just an answer to those questions. sec. carter: sure, there is and i should say also, thank you for your role and leadership in this part of the world. it is a critical one. i know the middle east is in the headlines all the time and justifiably so, but this is where half of where humankind lives and this is where half of our economy goes, so it is critical. to getp is accurate and to your various questions, the united states is reacting. that is what our rebalance is all about. there are many things that we work with china on. there are certain aspects of chinese behavior that are very disturbing to us. they are deeply disturbing to countries in the region, which have them all coming to us in the effect of causing some isolation by isolation by
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china. we are being increasingly invited to work with countries, long-standing allies, allies and we havelippines new partners like vietnam. a halfn india a week and ago and many of them are concerned about chinese behavior. mr. secretary, i am sorry to cut you off there, but the strategic significance at the scarborough shoal is of significance there. can you comment on that? sec. carter: it is a piece of disputed territory where like other disputes in that region has the potential to lead to military conflict. that is particularly concerning to us given its proximity to the philippines. we have the same view about all of these disputes.
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by the way, even though china is by far and away in recent times the recent reclaim her and re-militarization of other areas, other countries are doing it as well and i just don't represent our diplomatic positions, but our diplomatic positions to get back to what we said about the tribunal is that these disputes ought to be settled peacefully and one of the ways of doing this is through the tribunal. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mccain: you was a poor of restrictions of provisions to the chinese? sec. carter: we have discussed this in the past and i appreciate your leadership in that regard, and yes. sorry, donnelly, i am senator? >> i support the european
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research -- european reassurance initiative and we have important leaders and i support it, but let's be clear, the only reason of thehere is because budget caps. correct? sec. carter: well, i think it was put there originally because -- ms. mccaskill: mr. chairman, i think we referenced this last year, he set up bank robber -- sec. carter: yes, there is something to that. to be fair, i wasn't around at the time, but when the thing , urgentme up in crimea money was required and so money was moved there which is easier an in the base. there is all:
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difference between the rebalance in the pacific in the european region, correct? sec. carter: i am afraid you are right. ms. mccaskill: severely thing is, let me just be clear, the only reason that there have been two different budgets is that there is an artificial cap put on by congress to try to pretend to the american people that we are trying to balance something? you don't have to comment on that, i just wanted that on the record. it is just so it irritating to me that we just can't be honest to the american people. how about be honest with the american people about what we are doing with the base budget of the military? so tired of congress member saying that we want to support the military and that we are shopping all of these things there that don't belong there. the reason they are doing it is because they can pretend they are paying for it and pretend that they are balancing something and it is just so it irritating to me that i wanted to get that on the record first. mr. mccain: we hope you feel better. ms. mccaskill: i do. thank you. [laughter] sec. carter: can i get into this
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too? mr. mccain: i think the chairman totally agrees with me. we need more people to quit being hypocrites about balancing the budget and being honest about what it takes to be fiscally responsible as it relates to our budget and military. poland/-- the sinai peninsula. i am worriedrd, about the international peacekeeping initiative on the sinai that is there. to enforce the agreements back in the late 70's between israel and egypt and there have been incidences, there have been americans hurt, tell me what you of egypt your sense being capable of continuing to sustain and protect its peacekeeping mission? gen. dunford: senator, a couple of points, and first, i have looked at this very closely over
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the last couple of months, and while absolutely committed to remaining in the sinai peninsula to enforce the camp david accords, we of course are concerned about the protection of our forces and we have already taken a number of steps in providing them with weapons and equipment and adjusting their force protection level. wem not satisfied with where need to be right now, so we're working very closely with the israelis are working very closely with the egyptians to take some steps to further enhance our forced protection and if i am not satisfied that we can properly address our force protection, which really includes two things, adjusting our posture as well as addressing the terrorist that are in the environment and making sure that we have ineffective -- have an effective counter terrorism plan, if these don't work, then i will talk to the president about what we can do moving forward. i would like to talk in private
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about my conversation with the ejections over the weekend and the number of conversations with the egyptians and the israelis over the last couple of months. it is a trilateral issue and we are working very closely to address those two issues. number one, the immediate posture of our force, that as important a, i think both of these things are necessary for us to be satisfied that we can do all we can do for the men and women that are there. the second thing is to deal with the terrorists in the region. there is the islamic state in sinai and other areas. ms. mccaskill: thank you, general, i look forward to the and learning more about it. finally, in regards to jordan, i don't think people realize in america that there has been 10,000 syrian refugees in jordan. it makes up 30% of their population. they closed their board and -- border last year because of it.
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i was in jordan a couple of weeks ago because of our terrific military leaders there and also with the jordanian military. i am worried about the 15,000 people along that border the are sitting there because they are not allowed to come in to jordan and as you all focus on northern syria, i am wondering if withing you can tell me this because most of what i have learned would be appropriate in closed settings about drifting of isis and isil to the southern region along with this where we have 50,000 people just on the other side of the border from jordan? sec. carter: thanks. i will say a few things about it. first of all, thanks for going there and seeing our guys and gals and also all of our fantastic partners who are the jordanians. view are right, on a per to per capitan a
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basis, they have observed -- enormous amount of this refugee flow. in both southern iraq and southern syria, there is the possibility that as we apply pressure to the north that i goes,as the expression will squirt out. we have talked to the iranians -- the jordanians about that and the israelis about that as well and have worked with them and we do have operations that are facilitating within iraq, for example, it in the direction to the southwest, even as we help them move up the tigris valley to the north and, do you want anything to that? have a strongwe military relationship with
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jordan, so part of what we are doing is increasing our capacity in supporting them and in the 1209 program, we talked about allowing us to grow indigent as ground forces to take the fight to the enemy, from jordan into syria. we also have an active 1209 program down in jordan near the syria border area. think you were briefed on that. ms. mccaskill: correct. thank you very much, thank you both, we are very proud, think you for your service, and i'm going to do everything i can to get you everything you need in the base budget and get you where it belongs. mr. mccain: that is senator mccaskill's shy and tim your manner. thank you for your passionate discussion and i agree with you that we are deceiving the american people and that is not good. thank you. ms. mccaskill: thank you. you, mr. chairman,
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thank you both for appearing, again in front of this committee to discuss middle east policy and thank you also to the brave young men and women that you represent in the united states and all across the world. --s debate and are committee this debate in our committee is a difficult one because it has to do with broad, strategic decisions that have to be made outside of the department system. however, until the administration reforms its strategy to confront the unpleasant strategies of the middle east and recognize that areican security interests and figure out what the strategies are and what they are not, i think congress needs to be very cautious as we contemplate any further funding request from the department of defense or any other national security agency. has presidentd,
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obama reiterated in his meetings with european leaders this week that the united states counter isis strategy ultimately relies on a transfer of power in syria from assad's regime to an inclusive government there? now while certainly admiral bull , it isainly admirable far from realistic as it was written in the new york times two weeks ago, "syria, one of the most important states in the arab world, is cracked up, and no peace settlement can put it back together. -- together." general dunford, what do you think it is as far as this discussion of the obama administration and what is happening in syria, just given the amount of of violence we have seen and the last few years and the competing outside interests and the sectarian
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context and what is the intelligence that we are collecting to indicate a possible willingness of these groups to come together to form some sort of government? senator, i think the most difficult challenge in dealing with foreign government is the role of sod and -- role of assad and they are absolutely adamant that he has no future role in syria. or unless the grievances of this civil war are addressed by civil opposition forces, and i find it hard to imagine that is a successful transition. solutionif a political to the syrian conflict continues geneva, diplomats in there will not be up little sovereign to unite the various rebels who we know from previous testimony often have competing
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or conflicting or mutually inconsistent long-term goals as well as ideals. secretary carter, what will become of the weapons and the equipment that we have provided if aese rebel groups peaceful resolution of this inflict remains out of reach, mean, will we have simply dumped hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment and weapons into an already volatile situation? the carter: i will answer general question and then we can go into more specifics, but in everything we do, it as in there and elsewhere, we always make ahead when we are providing weaponry to a group and we think about with the future and what is the next step, and so we have certainly thought about that in that region as well. so your bigger question, which is, what is the role, i think
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what you are saying, the moderate opposition, in the future of syria? our strategy, political strategy, and the one that secretary kerry is pursuing is leaves, the structure of the government remain in place, but -- is that assad leaves, the structure of the government rmaiemain in place, peoplead leaves, and the of the country get what they deserve. we are a long way from that now, but that is the vision for syria. so these people have a role, is the point. mr. lee: do you have a realistic vision? one that we can realistically achieve in a realistic period of time? sec. carter: i think it is realistic because assad can't be
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part of the future of the country. mr. lee: but what if he doesn't go? what if he doesn't leave? sec. carter: this is why it is so important that the russians keep their commitment, which is to a political transition there. there are the ones that have the righteverage over assad now. as the chairman indicated, there is no resolution in the syrian war until that occurs. mr. lee: thank you. >> well, thank you both for being here. secretary carter and general dunford, for your service, and dealing with what is a very big challenge. that is not only for this country but for most of the civilized world. i want to follow up on senator mccaskill's comments on jordan
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and the number of refugees they have taken in, because lebanon is another country in the middle east that has taken in a limited -- a significant number of refugees, and i noticed there was a story in this morning's armyabout the lebanese killing and isis leader who was operating out of lebanon with syria. can you talk about the the military contribution that some of our partners in the middle east are making to the fight against isis? sec. carter: i can. it mentioned the jordanians, ntionedjordan -- you mea the jordanians. the jordanians are great partners. and perhaps you can speak to this. i can't speak to overnight
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developments in that regard. i can feel that question of the lebanese forces over to todd. the dunford: i was in command working with the lebanese forces and we have had 11 years of strong relative military-to-military forces. it is important that we continue to support them. mr. shaheen: it is also important to point out the refugees and the humanitarian situation. we had a discussion at the foreign relations committee with humanitarianected aid to our national committee and i think that is an important connection that we too often don't recognize. if we are supporting refuge
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go home tocan syria once the fighting ensco, it is a lot better for us and it than not for them supporting those efforts and continuing to support the conflict. let me ask you, and i know there has been some discussion about what russia is doing, and of course, they had a very well-publicized announcement after their withdrawal from syria last month, but there remains a significant russian ground and air force in syria. do we know what they are doing? can you tell us? are there any indications that they intend to depart in whole anytime soon? sec. carter: we do watch, we do know what we are doing, you are right that it was far from a complete withdrawal despite how withs valued initially and
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respect to their specific operations, we obviously keep a very close eyes on that and we know it extremely well. if the general once to add anything to that? gen. dunford: i have not seen a significant reduction in forces nor have i seen less support for the regime before they announced that reduction, so as i look at it, despite some rotation of forces and so forth, it seems to be pretty much status oh today relative to before the announcement. -- status quo today relative to before the announcement. mr. shaheen: and given the cease-fire really ending in inia and the increase conflict, is there any reason to believe that we can work with russia to try and get people tok to the negotiating table try and get back to a real cease-fire again and to make any
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progress on a transition? that --ter: that -- that is the aim that secretary kerry is on, he is the authority on that and has been managing that but that is precisely what he is trying to a cop was. mr. shaheen: well -- trying to accomplish. well, i am: encouraged that he is trying to do that with the success of the military efforts of their, and assad seeingand that there is not a path of him remain in power. before,ter: as i said that is why there is such a difference between what russia said what it was going to do and what it did. there can treating to the syrian war -- they are contributing to the syrian war and propping up assad is not doing that and has
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not done that and they also said they were going to fight isil but they were mostly propping up assad, no doubt about that. mr. shaheen: thank you. thank you both. >> secretary carter, have you ever heard of the tyd? sec. carter: i have. >> who are they? sec. carter: they are a kurdish group, one of several, a number -- id?have you heard of the tt sec. carter: i have. >> are they the military branch of the tyd? sec. carter: they are. >> they were afforded in 2003. reports indicate that they are aligned or that they have substantial ties to the pkk. is that true? sec. carter: yes, we have -- graham: is the pkk a
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terrorist organization in the eyes of the turkish government? sec. carter: they are, and they terrorist organization in the eyes of the united states government as well. been involvedas in this as well, and we have extensive consultation with the turks. is turkey ok with this? they are not ok with this. they think this is the dumbest idea in the world and i agree with them. how many democratic forces or whatever that we are talk about, are out there? gen. dunford: there are about 6000 arabs, senator. mr. graham: what is the percentage? 20%.dunford: that is about
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mr. graham: if you wonder why turkey is a little upset, we are arming people inside of syria aligned with a terrorist group and turkey could do more, but i think this whole concept is , quite frankly, absurd. i just got back from saudi arabia, and they are not going into syria as long as they think assad is going to win. have they ever expressed to you their displeasure in regards to the authority of assad? sec. carter: i will take that, but i do want to get back to the turks. thank you for going there, thank you for talking to them, they are nato allies, and we do discuss with them our efforts, which are important efforts, and one that is important -- mr. graham: secretary carter,
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i've got two minutes left, i am not asking you to tell me sec. carter: let me go on to the saudis. the samehe saudis have problem we do which is that assad is still there. : is it fair to said they believe that assad is firmly entrenched because of the backing? an. carter: again, that is observation that we would make and did make with them. mr. graham: our goal is to destroy isil and replace a ssad. he is more firmly in power than ever. president obama will leave office in january, and it likely that assad

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