tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 29, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT
border because of it, the imbalance that was occurring within their country. i had an opportunity to be in jordan a few weeks ago. visited with our military, our terrific military leaders there and also with the jordanian military. i'll worried about the 15,000 people along that border that are now sitting there because they're not being allowed to come into jordan. and i -- as you all focus on northern syria, i'm wondering what, if anything, you can tell me in this setting and maybe this is also for a closed setting. most of what i learned would be appropriate in a closed setting, about the drifting of isis and isil to the southern region, along this border where we now have 15,000 people. just on the other side of the border from jordan? in gen. dunford: thanks i'll say a few things about it. we can talk more in another setting.
i'll ask the chairman to chime in. thanks for going there and seeing our guy and gals -- our fantastic partners in the jordanians. you're right. for -- on a per capita basis they have absorbed an enormous refugee situation. yes, we were actually talking a lot about the northern parts of both iraq and syria. but we're very mindful of the -- both southern iraq and southern syria. and the possibility that as we apply pressure to the north in both mosul and raqqah, that isil as the expression goes squirt to out to the south. we talked to the jordanians about that. talked to the iraqis about that and talk today the israelis, by the way, about that as well. and work with them. and we do have operations that we're facilitating with iraq, for example. in the direction to the southwest, even as we help them move up to tithevalley to the north.
gen. dunford: jordan is one of our more important leaders in the region. we have a strong military to military relationship with jordan. part of what we're doing is increasing their capacity and supporting them. the 1209 program, which is designed to allow us to grow effective ground forces to take the fight to the enemy, in this case from jordan can into syria. we also have an active 1209 program down in the jordan syrian border area i think you were briefed on -- >> correct. thank you very much. thank you both. thank you for your service. and we're very proud of you. and we're going to do -- i'm going to do everything i can to get what you can in the base budget. where it belongs. >> and senator mccaskill's shy and retiring manner, she will do that. thank you for your passion, senator mccaskill and i totally agree with your dissatisfaction.
>> i think congress needs to be very conscious as we contemplate any further funding requests from the department of defense. or any other national security agency. general dunford, as president obama reiterated in his meetings with european leaders this week, the united states counterisis strategy ultimately relies on peaceful transfer of power in syria from assad's regime to an inclusive government there. now, while certainly admirable, it's far from realistic as middle east journalists wrote in the "new york times" two weeks ago. syria one of the most important states in the arab world has cracked up. no peace settlement can put it back together. in your professional opinion, general dunford, what do you
and think the chances are that the sort of reconciliation and political unity sought by the obama administration can happen in syria? given the amount of violence that we've seen there over the last four years, competing outside interests and the sectarian context of this fight? what is the intelligence that we're collecting tend to indicate about the possible willingness of these groups to come together to form some sort of government? gen. dunford: senator, i think the most difficult challenge in forming a new government is dealing with the role of assad. i can't tell you the opposition groups they're adamant. they're adamant assad have no future role in syria. until or unless the grievances of the civil war are addressed by the opposition forces i find it hard to imagine a successful political transition. >> if a political solution to the syrian conflict continues to allude diplomats in geneva,
there will not be a political sovereign to unite the various rebels who we know through previous testimony often have competing or conflicting long term goals as well as ideals. secretary carter, what will become of the weapons and the equipment that we've provided to these rebel groups if a peaceful resolution of this conflict remains out of reach? and will we simply have dumped hundreds of million dollars worth of equipment and weapons into an already volatile situation? gen. dunford: i'll answer the general question and we can go to more specifics. i can't answer the general -- in everything we do, there as else where we always think ahead when we're providing weaponenryry to the group. what's the next step.
we certainly have thought about that. in that region as well. to your bigger question, which is what is the role what we would call the moderate opposition in the future of syria, our strategy political strategy and the one that secretary kerry is pursuing is that assad leaves the structures of the government remain in place. but without assad. and that the moderate opposition becomes part of the government and there is a government that can give the syrian people what they deserve, a country that runs and moderate and treats its people decently. we're a long way from that now. that's the vision for syria.
these people have a role is the point. >> you think that's a realistic vision? one we could realistically achieve within the necessary time? >> i think it's a necessary one to achieve. because i think assad can't be part of the future of that country. >> what if he doesn't go? what if he doesn't leave? sec. carter: the -- this is why it's so important that the russians keep their commitment, which is to political transition there. they're the ones that have the most leverage over assad. it's very important they do that. as the chairman indicated, they're the ones that have the most leverage over assad. there's no resolution of the
syrian civil war until that occurs. >> thank you. well thank you both for being here. secretary carter and general dunford and for your service and for dealing with what is a very big challenge for this country and for most of the civilized world. i want to follow up on senator mccaskill's comments about jordan and the number of refugees that they have taken in because lebanon is another country in the middle east that has taken in a significant number of refugees i think about a quarter of their population are refugees. there was a story in this morning's news about the syrian civil war until that lebanese army killing an isis leader who was operating out of lebanon along the border with syria. can you talk about the importance of the military contribution that some of our partners in the middle east are making to the fight against isis?
sec. carter: i can. you mentioned the jordanians, the jordanians are great partners in every respect. and the lebanese armed forces as well. we've had a long-standing role in supporting them. i believe general dunford knows that much better than i do. and perhaps you can speak to that. i can't speak to overnight developments in that regard. let me ask the chairman if he wants to speak to the lebanese forces over time. gen. dunford: senator, we've had for years, and i was a component commander in the u.s. central commands work ing with the lebanese harmed forces. we've had a strong military to military relationship. it's important we continue that. they have been partners in the fight fight against isil. it's important we continue to support them.
>> thank you i would like to point out something as we're talking about refugee and the humanitarian situation. we had an interesting hearing before the foreign operations subcommittee of the appropriations committee with bono who connected humanitarian aid to our national security. and i think that's an important connection that we too often don't recognize. that if we -- our supporting refugees who are in jordan or in lebanon and we can keep them in the middle east so they can go home to syria once the fighting ends, it's a lot better for us and it's better for them. than the not supporting those efforts and continuing to support the conflict. let me ask you, i know there's been some discussion about what russia is doing and, of course, they had a very well publicized announcement about the withdrawal from syria last month. but there remains a significant russian ground and air force in syria. do we know what they're doing? can you tell us, are there any indications that they intend to depart in whole anytime soon?
sec. carter: we do watch them, we do know what we're doing. you are right, that it was far from a complete withdrawal. despite how it was bally hooed -- valued initially. we know it extremely well. i'll see if the chairman wants to add to that. gen. dunford: i have not seen a significance reduction of forces by the russians nor have i seen less support for the regime than before they announced the reduction. you know as i look at it despite rotation of forces and so forth it seems to me pretty much status quo today relative to before the announcement. >> and given the cease fires really ending in syria and the increased conflict, is there any reason to believe that we can work with russia to try and get people back to the negotiating table to try and get back to a real cease fire again?
and to make any progress on a transition in syria? sec. carter: that's the aim and the path that secretary kerry's on. he's the authority on that and has been managing that. that is precisely what he's trying to accomplish. >> i appreciate he's managing that. and assad being able to see that he doesn't have a path to continue staying in power. sec. carter: well, i'll just repeat what i said before, that's why when russia -- that's why there's a difference between
what russia said it was going to do and it did. they said they were going to contribute to the ending of the syrian civil war. and that propping up assad militarily is not doing that. and has not done that. and they also said they were going to fight isil. they were mostly propping up assad, no doubt about it. >> thank you, thank you both. >> thank you all. what russia said it was going to secretary carter, have you ever heard of the pyd? sec. carter: i have, yes. >> who are they? sec. carter: they're a kurdish group, one of several -- a number of -- >> have you heard of the pypg? sec. carter: i have heard of them, also. >> who are they? sec. carter: another kurdish group. >> aren't they the military wing of the pyd? sec. carter: they are, yes. >> is that right general dunford? gen. dunford: that's correct. >> they're a leftist syrian kurdish political party founded in 2003. reports indicate that they're
aligned or at least have substantial ties to the pkk. is that true? sec. carter: yes, we have -- >> is the pkk a terrorist organization in the eyes of the turkish government? sec. carter: the pkk is a terrorist organization not only in the eyes of the turkish government but in the eyes of the u.s. government as well, senator. >> is it a surprise to you that the turks may be upset to us by arming the ypg in syria since they're closely aligned with the pkk? sec. carter: no, it's not at all, sir. we have -- let me just say that, and the chairman has been involved in this as well. we have extensive consultations with the turks. >> so turkey is ok with this? sec. carter: they're not ok with that -- >> i just got back from turkey. they're not ok with this. they think this is the dumbest idea in the world and i agree with them. had how many of the syrian forces are kurds versus arab?
gen. dunford: about 6,000 arabs. >> what percentage of the force is that? gen. dunford: that's about 20%. >> ok. so if you're wondering why turkey is a little upset we're arming people inside of syria aligned with a terrorist group that's fighting the turkish government. turkey could do more but i think this whole concept is quite frankly absurd. i got back from saudi arabia they believe that they're not going into syria as long as they think assad is going to win and damascus will be controlled by the iranians. have they expressed to you their displeasure our policies towards assad? sec. carter: i'll take that.
but i do want to get back to the turks, though. thanks for going there and talks to them. they're a nato ally. it's important. and we do discuss with them our effort to, which is an important effort and one that's important to protecting -- >> secretary carter, i've got two minutes left. i'm not asking you to tell me what they told me. i know what they told me. they may have told you something different. i think the saudis having been there just last week have the same problem we do. assad is still there. >> is it fair to say that the saudis in every gulf arab state believes that assad is firmly entrenched because of the russian iranian backing? sec. carter: again, that's an observation that we would make and did make with the saudis -- >> did they ever suggest -- our goal is to destroy isil and replace assad. on the assad side, he's more firmly in power than ever.
january 20th, 2017, president obama will leave office. is it likely that assad will be in power? sec. carter: i hope not. >> ok. i think it's likely he will be because hope is not a strategy. plan b. secretary kerry says there's a plan b if the cease fire falls apart. he's let the russians know we're going to try it nice, if the cease fire falls apart, there's a plan b. do you have a plan b for assad? sec. carter: i'm going to let secretary kerry speak to the -- >> but, i mean, he has the state department, the state department is not going to go take assad out? is there a military component to plan b? sec. carter: i think what the -- again -- >> or is plan b just bs? sec. carter: i don't know. i'm sure it's not bs. >> have you been -- have you talked to the secretary of state
-- sec. carter: of course, yes. >> and change in strategy -- sec. carter: and without speaking for him, senator, i think what he's saying is that the united states -- >> no, my question is have you had a discussion with the secretary of state about a change in military strategy if the cease fire falls apart regarding assad and russia have you had that discussions? sec. carter: we've had many discussions -- >> is there a plan b? sec. carter: i wouldn't call it a plan b -- >> outline the change in military strategy. sec. carter: we have discussed alternative strategies -- >> what are they? sec. carter: some of them i'm willing to speak about here. some i'm not. as you well know the entirety of what goes on in syria is not something we can discuss here. >> i like you, i'm not -- finally general dunford, is this the dunford plan to destroy isil? or is this the plan that general dunford came up with given the constraints put on him by the white house?
gen. dunford: senator, when i came in last october, there was a strategy. we made some recommendations last october to acceleration our progress against isil. those recommendations were accepted by the president and i would say i'm in my job seven months, so i own it. >> good. i wanted the whole country to know this, that the president's goal is to destroy isil. i share that goal. i know you do, too. the military strategy that we're embarked on is the best way to destroy isil and it's what you recommended. or is it limited by conditions put on you by the white house? >> would you do more if you could? gen. dunford: i would do more if i could. but the limitation is not just a political limitation, part of it
is our partners on the ground. i want to clarify if what you're saying is the strategy, meaning a bye-bye with and through those on the ground, i support that. >> you think the ypg are going to liberate 80% kurdish ground forces going to take isil raqqah away from isil and hold it? gen. dunford: the ypg have secured a large kurdish area -- >> that's not my question. are they going to be able to take raqqah and syria away from isil and hold it? gen. dunford: they will not in and of themselves. >> on behalf of the chairman let me recognize senator cane. >> if i could defer to senator king and a trade places? >> certainly. >> several observations based upon this excellent hearing. number one i want to associate myself with the chairman's comments about afghanistan. i think i -- the concern is that a decision has to be made in the next several months, i don't think we're going to learn anything in the next several months we don't know now because the draw down, scheduled draw down is going to have to start late this summer early fall to make the january deadline. i sincerely hope thalgiven where -- hope site given where we are,
given the level of violence, given the really i think surprising -- i shouldn't say surprising, but the effectiveness of the afghan forces we ought to provide the support necessary including the authorities to maintain what we've gained there, which has been considerable. that's number one. number two, a lot of talk here today about end strength. i've learned from talking to senior military officials particularly in the army that readiness is as important as end strength. if you've got 50% or 30% or 60% readiness that's important. that's an important consideration. finally on the law of the sea -- on china and the chart that we saw, it would really help in my view if we remembermembers of the the tribunal so we could make decisions. on the last point o secretary do you agree? sec. carter: i do, yes. a long line of defense officials
who have -- and navy officers who have supported that agreement. we're not party to it, but we do respect its provisions. >> it's not in our national interest to not be at the table it seems to me. sec. carter: again, people have sat in this chair and testified for many years in favor of the that treaty but that has not carried the day. >> secretary carter, the most disturbing thing you've said today that in my view, is -- you sort of touched on it and then we went by in the hearing and never got back to it. you suggested there's been a rise of ethno sectarianism in baghdad. if that's the case, number one, that's a disaster. that's what laid the groundwork for what happened with isil. number two, what can we do about it and are we trying to do something about it? i'm not talking about jawboning, are we talking specific direct pressure if you will on the iraqi government because if
baghdad isn't inclusive then the whole enterprise is just not going to be successful. sec. carter: what i was referring to is the turbulence in baghdad just over the last couple of weeks. in which the prime minister and has been contend ing with a variety of the opposition parties. that's a serious concern to us. because the integrity of the iraqi state is an important part of the end state, our strategy seeks. we support the prime minister abadi in his overall approach. a multisectarian as he says -- >> is he back sliding on that? several hearings i've been told he's doing the right thing he wants to do the right thing. are we losing ground on that? sec. carter: i had a conversation a week and a half and we were completely aligned
on what we're trying to do there with respect to our campaign. but it's also true that his -- he is contending with a very complicated mix there. with respect to your question what are we doing about it in addition to providing political support, i want to reiterate the importance of the economic support. that's not just by the united states, but by others as well. so when i was with the president last week, we were urging the gulf states, that's a place they could contribute. don't cede baghdad to iran. get in the game, support a multisectarian approach. that's what abadi is trying to stand for. that's what maliki didn't stand for. it's important to support him. politically and economically. and the economic situation is particularly important today in view of the low oil prices. >> concerned about the mosul dam. are you satisfied that the italian contractor in the arrangement that's been made by
the government in iraq is sufficient and is going to be timely? it would be an absolutely catastrophe if that dam went out. sec. carter: it is. they are -- it is the best practices outfit to do grouting at the dam. and with respect to the timing question, that is the concern we all have, to get the grouting done as soon as possible to mitigate the risk that the failures in the dam before the grouting is complete and the dam can be shored up. >> one more quick question general dunford. we talked about how isil has been degraded. that seems to be the consensing i'm hearing in the last few weeks that i'm hearing in varios settings. are they being degraded in terms of equipment as well as finances, man power, foreign finances, man power, foreign fighters? where are they getting their equipment? gen. dunford: as you can
imagine, there's no lack of ak-47s and weapons that have been left behind as a result of years of war. primarily they got them from the former iraqi soldiers brought their weapons with them. you'll recall they had significant progress two years ago in grabbing territory and part of that ground was weapon storage areas and so forth from the iraqis. >> very much so. -- >> are they being squeezed? gen. dunford: very much so. i would say that their freedom of movement has been reduced. their ability to resupply with foreign fighters and equipment has been reduced in addition to the resources that you spoke about. so i would say that their military capability has been degraded. >> do we have information that their moral is declieng. gen. dunford: we do, senator. that's an important point.
my observations in my recent trip and over the last few months, one of the more significant things i see is the moral of the security forces versus isil. we see in the intelligence and from our commanders that the moral and spirit of isil has e eroded over time as a result of the battlefield losses and the fact their pay has been cut because of the resources that constraints that the leadership has. >> always a negative effect on moral. gen. dunford: a negative effect on moral. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator reed. thank you for being here. i went on the recess and was in israel, egypt, saudi arabia u and turkey and one of the feelings that i got in speaking with the number of the leaders there was a sense that everyone recognized at some point if we take advantage of maybe some of
the degraded status of isis at least in that region that ultimately once we take ground we're going to have to hold it. for us to hold it, we'll have to have people present there that are hopefully not men and women in american uniforms. it's going to come from the partners in the middle east. but the sense i got is they want to be prepared to do it, but they are not necessarily prepared to take the kind of fight and have the kind of presence in syria that we're going to need. do you agree with that assessment? what specific actions are we take ing toing to prepare the saudis to be able to play a role in that with the other partners in the region. sec. carter: just being in saudi arabia and speaking to the saudis and ask the chairman to jump in. i think i will speak for them, but from our conversations, they have some of the same view we do, which is in the end it can't
be them or us. it has to be local people. but they want to join the campaign and play a role. we have to remember, this is a two-way street. the people who you think you're helping have to welcome your help. that can be an issue. that is why it is so important to navigate those politics as we were discussing. we do everything with the permission and through the iraqi government. in syria, there is no government with which we can cooperate. but we still made local forces who live there, and want to live there. to get back to senator graham's point, kurds are not the right people to take and govern raqqa. we are looking to identify and enable syrian arab forces that would be the appropriate people to take, because the people have to accept their liberators.
you can't just say you are the liberator, thereafter believe that we could violent backlash. the saudis and others in the region understand that dynamic. we are looking for their help, finally. not only in terms of military help, but this is where their economic stabilization assistance can be so important. if the gulf states would help the sunni lands being taken back by the iraqi security forces, that would help the state of iraq, a counterweight to what is currently iranian influence. we think iraq are to be multi-sectarian place.
mr. tillis: what i am more concerned with is you as a war fighter is the level of capability in the saudis. we used them as an example. it seems a very good capabilities in the air, but not on the ground by our standards. to put them in a situation where we finally gain the momentum to try to eradicate isis from syria, is their level of readiness approaching and in that possible with them as a key partner? general dunford: i think each of our partners have certain capabilities that could be employed to good effect in syria, were they to have the
will to do that? mr. tillis: i was aware of the presence of isis and it was growing as a hub in that area. they will be fortified somewhere else. >> i assume that is part of the strategy. >> your point is absolutely right about the gulf states in the sense that their capabilities to operate, particularly against asymmetric threats in the region is an area where they could improve. >> i agree with your assessment. sign high acid part of our
strategy. i just came back from a visit to cairo over the weekend to talk to our egyptian partners about improving our cooperation in dealing with isis not only in sinai but across north africa. >> i want to thank you for your leadership on the veterans bill. i had just about for a press conference. i thank you for your leadership. >> vice president of your fan club. i am sure there is a lot of competition for that role. many think the witnesses for your testimony. i also want to compliment you on some tactical successes that you have described in the earlier testimony. isil is shrinking but that
creates new challenges. they want to do other things that are more asymmetric around the world to maintain relevancy. while i applaud you for tactical successes, i will repeat that the escalation of troop presence in syria -- i am deeply concerned about the legal basis for this. on the domestic side, i am in a minority in this body in congress in believing that the 2001 authorization does not provide justification for this war. there is a justification. general mattis, spoke last friday at the center for strategic and international studies and was partially critical of congress for not passing an authorization. he said, worth more than 10 battleships is a sense of american political resolve.
i worry that we have not sent that sense. you testified one year ago before this committee and i ask you about an authorization. you said, what our men and women need is a sense that with the are doing as meaning, value, the support of the american public. i do not think we have sent a message of political resolve as the political leadership, as the decision-makers contemplate this. we have not sent a message of result for our troops, to our allies, to our adversaries. i continue to believe that the domestic legal authorization for this war is highly problematic. i want to turn my attention to a second legal issue, there has to be international legal basis for war. if you are fighting on your own
soil in your not invading anybody else's sovereignty, you do not need separate legal justification for fighting that war. if you are into the sovereign space of another nation, they're not only has to be a domestic legal justification, there has to be an international one. a common legal justification -- one of the most common is that you have been invited in by the sovereign nation that wants your help. action against isil in iraq is at the invitation of the iraqi government so there is clear international justification for our activities, setting aside the domestic question. i am sorry to say this, but there is also international
legal justification for russian military activity in syria because russia has been invited in by the government of syria. we may think it is a bad idea but in terms of the international legal justification, russian activity has been invited in. russia, through proxy entry thereof forces, is carrying out operations in ukraine -- that is a violation of international law. it is a clear violation of international law because ukraine has not invited them in payday are carrying out operations in a sovereign nation without the support of that sovereign nation. what i struggle with is, how can we criticize the russian incursion into ukrainian sovereignty when we are carrying out escalating military operations in syria without the permission and even against the will of the sovereignty of that nation?
i am correct -- am i not -- that syria has not invited us to conduct military operations within syria? >> you are correct. just to address a couple of points, i hasten to say that i am no lawyer, but we do have lawyers, and with respect to the use of military force, i agree with you. testified in favor of therapy in -- it was signified the troops of the country is buying them. i think they feel like they are buying them. your visits to the region at test to bed. they would have been another way of attesting to that. i am told by the lawyers of the legal basis for what we are
doing exists in both domestic law and international law for everything we are doing that again, i am not the expert on that and could not explain to you the ins and outs. i also will say that if there is a difference between what we are doing in syria and with the russians are doing in ukraine, we are fighting real terrorists, we are not destabilizing the stable situation. we are trying to return order and decency. i do not know what a lawyer would say, the common sense -- there is a difference -- >> of course there is. i completely agree. if i had russian witnesses on the stand, they would talk about what they are doing. i will conclude with this. at the end of this administration, as a strong front of everybody around the stable, we have made a complete hash -- and that is a tip of the doctrines of more. we are engaged in an incursion into the sovereign nation of syria without their permission against their will.
we are trying to criticize russia for engaging into an incursion into another nation against their will and we are asserting the difference that we are doing something good. i agree that they are doing something that. that is not a limiting principle because everybody is going to say what they are doing is good. at the end of this administration, with the complexity of this congress, we have basically, with the doctrine that says whenever and wherever as long as the president feels it is a good idea. without congress even need to do anything about it. the problem is that that is the rule and i think that has become the rule. that is a rule that will haunt us domestically under future presidents in congress. i think it is a book i could easily be seized by any other nation to basically justify all kinds of things that are horrible. we are only six months before the into the administration.
they promised they would work with congress to revise the 2001 authorization is currently being used as justification for actions in yemen, africa, iraq, syria, the arabian peninsula. there has been virtually no work time to put any limiting principle on that. we are going to be in a position where we have turned an authorization from 2001 and a lot of administrative blocks into an all-purpose domestic justification. we have taken common international principles of law in we have decided that if our motives are ok, we can incur the sovereignty of another nation because we are doing the right thing but then that takes away our ability to effectively criticize other nations that get
into the sovereignty of other nations as russia is doing in the ukraine. this is not a subject we are going to resolve today but i just, as we reach these new milestones of escalation i'm going to keep putting on the record 80 concern about the precedent that we are setting for this nation but also the example we are setting for other nations. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. i want to thank senator kaine for that very powerful and compelling summary of concerns that i share. i will not give my own version of him because he stated them very well in the and your for a long time and i thank you for being here so patiently and so informatively to this committee i noted mr. secretary that there
was a note of pride in your voice on you said you were not a lawyer. which i forgive you. >> i only meant that i was a physicist. >> there are many days there were i wish i was a physicist and there is no way i could be, so, thank you both for your service. i want to explore an issue that i think is extremely important, the evolving military cooperation between russia and iran -- and may have been mentioned here but not in depth reports that russia's shipment of parts of an air defense system to iran. in addition, western iran supposedly in talks over fighter jets. if the systems are delivered, there has been a violation of
security council 2231. i am not an international lawyer may seems pretty clear that would be a violation which requires security council approval for the sale of any major, systems to iran. supplying weapons to iran is particularly dangerous because it is not done in a vacuum, supplying weapons reflects a growing partisanship that has far-reaching ramifications for hezbollah because that is the run's terrorist proxy, benefiting the -- indirectly from russian arms and military operational experience in syria. my question to both of you, may i begin the general dunford, what implications for israel if you're on continues to receive military equipment in russia and what would the united states have to do?
>> i think clearly there are implications for israel. i have visited a couple of times over the last few months and the israelis you, the developments in iran are of great concern as it with our printed and commitment to ensuring that israel maintains a qualitative military edge in the theater and so the implications are that we will continue to work very close with the israelis to ensure that they have the capabilities and the capacity as you know -- they talk about -- not just the capability to also the capacity to deal with threats in the region and so i think are committed what the israelis now call qme2 is now the most appropriate response for development and iran but i do share your concern and an of the israelis do, as well. >> what can be done to stop the flow of arms in this way you potential diplomatic steps, are there also military steps and i can be taken? >> first of all i associate myself with what the german just
said that there are both diplomatic and military steps -- i don't mean military steps in this sense of attacking that in posture -- the diplomatic once i cannot speak to but there is a, a body of un security council resolutions are not just one number of them -- i am not an expert on that -- but i doubt they do apply -- in a should constrain countries that are supplying iran with dangerous arms because of your own's other activities in terms of supporting terrorism, in terms of ballistic missile threats and so forth for which they have been sanctioned in for which -- and which sanctions were not a part of the iran nuclear deal. to the military provisions i just say this, this is one the reasons that i was in the gulf and the president has been to go
there last week as a talk to our partners and fortifying themselves. now that wasn't a conversation with israel but i find conversation with israel as well also to strengthen their capability. missile-defense, lots of other areas, committed to their quantitative military. mitch inman indicated, and of course they have broader concerns than iran but iran is their personal concern -- that is the -- we have a huge posture in the middle east, military posture as she was military posture -- part of that is isil the other one is -- the other i, isil, and there is iran and that is why we're there, too underscore deterrence, to support our friends and allies especially including israel against iranian aggression and influence so it is a very important --
>> i take it that this continuing flow of arms and i would appreciate cash would be taken into account in the negotiations on the memorandum of understanding that her ongoing right now as we speak. >> and yes. those discussions are conducted by the white house but obviously completely informed by the views of myself and a chairman of the military dimensions of it and extensive discussions that i have with my colleagues including my good friend the defense minister of israel and the chairman has with his counterpart there. >> gentlemen on behalf of the chairman, thank you for your
testimony, for your service, and i declare that the hearings are adjourned. thank you very much. >> it is known as one of washington's guerrilla events, bringing together government officials, members of the press, and hollywood stars. c-span has coverage of the 2016 white house correspondents dinner starting at 6 p.m. eastern. our live coverage includes red carpet arrivals, background on the dinner, and award presentations. 2700 people are expected to attend this year's sold-out dinner. larry wilmore, code -- host of comedy central's the nightly show will headline. this year, president obama will give his final speech as commander-in-chief. join us to watch the 2016 white house correspondent's dinner at 6:00 p.m. eastern live on c-span. what's this morning, nancy pelosi will hold her weekly press briefing. we will take you there live at 9:15 a.m. eastern on c-span two.
this morning on capitol hill, members of the house energy and commerce committee hold a hearing on nuclear energy regulation and modernization. we will take you there live at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three. on c-span two, a hearing on the pet medication industry. federal regulators and industry executives testified before a house energy and commerce subcommittee. that will be live at 9:45 a.m. eastern. again, on c-span two. >> this month, we showcase our student cam winner. annual video documentary competition from middle and high school students. this year's seen as road to the white house and what issues do you want presidential candidates to discuss? our grand prize winner from oklahoma. olivia heard, a 10th grader
wants presidential candidates to discuss the federal debt in her video titled up to our next. >> the united states has $18 trillion in debt. how exactly does america get up to its neck in debt? every year, a budget is formed. a large fund of the federal money, discretionary spending. in 2015, a receive $1.1 trillion. mandatory section is spending which has received 4.5 trillion dollars. lastly, there is the interest on the federal debt which received $229 billion. this totaled a whopping $3.8 trillion.
>> in order to pay for these things, the government has to taken money somehow. this is how the budget works. you have revenue and expense. in other words, money you taken and put out. in the case of the u.s. government, revenue is created through taxation. when the amount of money taken enter taxes doesn't equal the amount put out there spending, we have a deficit. up for the make deficit, the government sells treasury bonds. this is essentially a loan from a third party. this sound like a sweet deal until you realize we actually have to pay these people back. borrowing can be a temporary solution to an unbalanced budget, but it is the cause of an greater problem. the national debt is the sum total of all past deficits and represents all of the money to future generations, my generation, is going to have to pay back. dear candidates. i would like to know how you, if
elected president, would deal with the debt crisis that our nation is facing today. sincerely, olivia. >> growth. >> very serious debt crisis has to be solved through shared sacrifice. >> we have tremendous cutting to do. >> the train wreck that is the federal balance sheet, the only way he gets fixed is if there is growth. >> the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations in this country have also got to play a role in deficit reduction. >> hundreds of billions of dollars is going to be saved in terms of running government. >> there is no shortage of ideas for potential solutions. if ideas are in dime a dozen, why do we still have these problems? nancy pelosi claims there are no more cuts to make. i don't think the coverage is quite bear. i see them for amounts of ways in discretionary spending on. take the arts, for example.
the national endowment for the arts receives over $100 million of federal spending per year. their budget requests the 2016 total of $149.949 million. as $149 million we don't have to spare. i am an art kid in every sense of the word. have every color of beret imaginable. i think this is one area where we can safely cut down federal spending. -- would you say you are making a difference in the community without government money? >> definitely. the arts organizations that we represent have in doing so for decades. they have been making it on their own. today, we would solely rely on the generosity of our foundation . >> my community is living proof
that the government is not an essential component in keeping the arts alive. if you still think there is no room to cut, you need to think again. hello, there. the budget plan that president 2016k obama proposed for had spending appropriations totaling $4.1 trillion. pass revenues would only equal $3.5 trillion. that can't be right. i spent a long time trying to wrap around my -- try to wrap my head around the reason why the budget -- the president would set a budget plan. our budget is over budget.
apparently, no one else sees the flaw in the logic. over the last 50 years, we have run a deficit. since the idea of the debt ceiling was first created in 1917, it has been raised nearly 150 times. point of ay is the budget and a debt ceiling if we are going to keep going over budget and raising the debt ceiling? i may be misinterpreting the facts. i'm pretty sure that is called being irresponsible. as a gain knowledge and understanding about the debt crisis from working on this project, i decided for myself of the only solution was to make drastic spending cuts across the board. in fact, i was so sure about my solution that i decided to approach is essential candidate senator rubio and ask him about
it directly. you, if elected, would be willing to sacrifice in order to regain control of government spending? >> it is not about sacrifice as much as it is about making ranges to medicare and social security for future generations. we can leave it exactly the way it is for people who are retired now and about to retire, but for younger americans like myself and you and the people watching this, the program will work differently. it will still be the best thing in the world, but it will work differently. instead of retiring at 67, i want to retire at 68. that will bring the debt under control. talking to senator rubio, i realized it's not that simple. when i heard him say it is not so much about sacrifice, that was a first time i considered maybe i don't have all the answers. i thought we were up to our neck. we are in way over our head. federalwhy i want the debt to be discussed in the presidential campaign. i don't know how to fix it.
america needs a leader who does. , the ball is in your court. >> to watch all of the prize-winning documentaries and this weeks's -- this year student camden competition, visit student can.org. washington journal is next on c-span. later, the house needs to reauthorize a private school vouchers program for residents of the district of columbia through 2021. we expect to vote in the house as early as 10:30 a.m. in 40 minutes, or student can grand prize winner, olivia heard, will join us from oklahoma to discuss her grand prize-winning documentary entitled up to our next. public --sylvania republican congressman tim murphy will be on to talk about the state of mental health care funding and services. after that, california democratic congressman ted lieu
will join us to talk about the hacking of his iphone on 60 minutes and his call to the oversight and government reform committee to investigate the security defects. >> you have seen in her john boehner's comments about ted cruz and republican politics in general. now, we want to get your reaction on the walls -- washington journal this morning. we have divided our lines differently. a2-748-8000 if you are supporter of ted cruz. if you are supporting donald is the202-748-8001 number for you to call. all others, 202-748-8002. you can make the comment via social media at c-span wj is our twitter handle. join the conversation