tv Thornberry Armed Serv CSPAN June 25, 2017 10:00am-10:35am EDT
to markup the national defense authorization act next week. can you tell us, what is in the bill and what is the top line for the fence? -- defense? >> rep. thornberry: last fall, the toaker act us to -- asked us look at problems in the military, planes that could not fail, and the number we came up with was about $640 billion for the next fiscal year. president trump one election. navy,ked about a 355-ship a variety of other things. we still think an appropriate number for the next year -- and that is the number we are proceeding with in our markup. it may be at the end of the day,
there's negotiations and we don't quite reach there, but our committee does not believe that we can continue to put then dates on the situation when we have so many problems -- band-aids on the situation when we have so many problems test planes, ships, ground vehicles -- and when the threats are multiplying -- north korea, etc. joe: the house committee number is somewhere in the neighbor of $620 billion. the $640 billion figure is $37 billion more than the president's budget. is that a realistic number, given the dynamics in congress? what is the strategy for making that a reality? ap. thornberry: it is realistic number. it is what we need. one of my hopes is we can focus this discussion on the capability our military needs because their lives are at stake
than playing a numbers game. the second thing is a little bit of context. if you look back to 2010, we have cut the military budget about 20% from what we were spending in 2010. remember, 2010 was before russia invaded crimea, before china was building islands in the south china sea, before isis even existed, not to mention north korea and so forth. when you cut 20%, you are going to have a lot of damage. it's going to take a while to repair that damage, but this is the time to start, and i think the attitude of our committee is no more band-aids. this is the time to really fix our problems. we owe that to the folks who are risking their lives every day. guess what i'm
interested in is trying to figure out how to square mr. rhetoric, where he talked about the things that you mentioned -- the 355-ship navy and all these other things -- but all the pentagon folks heard her in the last couple of weeks of testimony was lament of lawmakers asking why is it not more. it seems like mr. trump's own budget folks cut the legs out from underneath the pentagon on this deal. help us square -- why are they coming up short when mr. trump wanted to do so much more? rep. thornberry: i would say first, i don't think there's any doubt the president wants to repair and rebuild our military. the budget that his administration since up -- sense did not do that, in the reason is they did not have any people in place on capitol hill. when the budget came to capitol hill, there were exactly two senate confirmed trump
appointees in the pentagon. one was the secretary of defense and the other was the secretary of the air force and she had and there one week. what you had was either obama ord odors -- holdovers people who were there temporarily, and what they had was the plans of the obama administration, and that is what they sent. those of us in congress who have been following this understand that is inadequate. part of the attitude of some of the trunk folks is a less a year to study this and get our people in place and we will come up with a better budget in 2019. our response with that is we cannot wait. we have to fix our planes, our ships, our unit now. pentagon still looks a bit like swiss cheese, and a lot of holes. i think they are even losing some time on building the 2019 budget.
quick question on this year's budget again, which is it was meant to be, you know, a readiness-fixing budget, but i gather that is hard to get the pentagon two-part with some of the data that i think you folks require to make the case for this more money. is that an issue? it is an issue, but i see both sides of it. there are leaders in the pentagon who do not want to publicly talk about what our problems are. their view is that is telling the enemy where we are weak, and i am sympathetic with that. at the same time, unless we can talk about what our problems are, we will not have members of congress who are willing to fix those problems. certainly, the folks who devote most of their time and energy to these issues, like the folks on the armed services committee in both the house and senate,
understand how deep the damage is that has been done by that 20% cut i mentioned, and we are just determined to follow through on what the president wants to do and make it a reality. joe: you have talked about the damage done by budget caps, the budget gap, sequestration. under way events amongst your colleagues, the republicans, to repeal budget caps? and thornberry: i think so, by the end of the negotiation, i hope that is the result. as the defense budget was being up, so it is went clearly not the defense budget that is driving deficits and the other thought i
have is we cannot wait to get our budget house in order before we fix the planes and ships and tanks for our people. they deserve to be safe. they deserve to have the best our country can give them now in spite of some of our political dysfunction in washington. that's why we are so committed to try to make that happen. let me move to a broader issue, which is the building of various strategies that i know you familiar defense secretary mattis is trying to do. i think there is a suspicion, as you are well aware, that these strategies going forward, which 3000,nform if they send 5000, or more troops into afghanistan, are going to look much different from the previous strategy or the existing strategy under president obama.
what is your view on that, but rider orat is your upper limit on what you are willing to accept when it comes to deploying more troops and what they want to do? think thererry: i is agreement on the strategic goals, and those are that we do not want to allow afghanistan to again become a haven for terrorists who will attack us, and we want to help the afghan military be able to provide their own security. those are the goals. the problem is that president arbitrary troop caps -- in other words, limited how many people he would allow to be in afghanistan, so you had this very strange situation where you had some helicopter pilots go over to afghanistan, but they were not allowed to take the maintainers to keep the helicopters operating, so they
had to hire private contractors to do the maintenance on the helicopters, which was more sensitive, and meanwhile, you had a bunch of maintainers back here at home without helicopters to work on. that is the sort of thing that has happened over the past years because of, i believe, politically inspired troop limits. i believe the approach going forward is to look at these strategic goals and honestly assess how many people it takes to do that, not politics, not placing arbitrary limits, but not having more than you need. have what you need to do that job, and i think that is what secretary mattis is looking at. that is the right thing to do, and i don't know what that number is, but it ought to be the right number for the mission, not some sort of political number that actually makes it harder for our folks to accomplish their mission and may well increase the danger to their lives. quick follow-up to that
and another question if i may, but is there a limit in terms of the number of troops, which is really the metric we all kind of use to establish footprint for any of these policies? i don't knowry: was that is. we certainly are not going to have another 100,000 troops and afghan and. help the afghans do better on their own. there is a limit to how many people you need, but you need enough to do that, and we have not had that in recent years. of to follow-up on that, clearly, the obama administration was criticized for micromanagement of all these things, as you mentioned, the pendulum is clearly swinging the other way with the authorities given to mr. matus at the pentagon in yemen, iraq, syria,
.nd afghanistan are there perils for the that nowlong-term seems to be having to own this policy, whatever happens? again, different from mr. obama who, rightly or wrongly, owned the policy? it seems that the pentagon will own it, and i wonder what you think about the perils there. rep. thornberry: if someone is the decision maker, that person will be held accountable with a result of his or her decisions, but i have to say, i recently mcmaster's book "dereliction of duty" about what went wrong in vietnam. you had the white house, in that case under lyndon johnson, making the military decisions which were based more on politics than on military
strategy and tactics. that was a disaster. i think you have seen shades of that in the obama administration. too many decisions were made in the white house among staffers and so forth. the military ought to be given the goal. the president say, "this is what i want you to do," and then it is up to the leadership and pentagon to determine how to do it and what resources are required to do it, and they come and say that. could they be held accountable if it does not go well? yes, but they are the decision-makers. that is the way it should operate. joe: sir, a russia question. the president has talked about a ,ew relationship with russia going in a new, friendlier direction.
yet, we are seeing revelations day by day about russian hacking in the election. do you consider russia a friend or foe at this point, and is there anything in the defense policy bill aimed at curtailing russia's activity or deterring russia's activity in terms of interfering in elections, hours or anyone else's? russiaornberry: i think is clearly acting as an adversary to the united states. it may well be that we have in certainerests places, and where we do, then it is ok to pursue those interests together, but we should be very clear eyed about what russia seeks and the means they are using to achieve their goals, so i think we will have a number of items in this year's defense notcy bill that relates
only to russia but to nato strengthening, for example, the european deterrence initiative and looking at our troop deployments there. in addition, we will strengthen our cyber capabilities. we ask for a really comprehensive review of what has become known as hybrid warfare, and the russians are expert at this. it is not always over and military means they used to accomplish their goals, but they use bribery. they try to undermine confidence in elections and other institutions and democracies. they put economic pressure, political pressure on countries especially in eastern europe. they use all the instruments available to a government, and we are not very good at that.
i think -- one last point on this -- there is no clearer signal we could send to the russians than to have a substantial increase in our defense budget. remember what really happened in the 1980's was the reagan defense buildup made such an impression that the russians knew they could never keep up. so they had dramatic change. that weto show evidence are serious and committed to defending ourselves and our .llies that action, even more than our words, will send a clear message to russia as well as others who would test us around the world. quirks to you think the pentagon is on the right footing as far as cyber warfare you could and what is in the bill that is aimed at strengthening cyber warfare capabilities?
: do you think the pentagon is on the right and cap it ishornberry: challenging because the constitution puts responsibility on our shoulders to oversee the military and their actions when in cyber, these actions take place at the speed of light. it is a challenging proposition, but we have changes in the way we require oversight of cyber to try to help move us along. in general, we have as good a cyber capability as anybody in the world. what we have not developed are the policies, the restrictions, the tactics on how to use cyber, so that is really where we need a push. it is in the policy area even more than in the equipment and .eople and so forth
gordon: are you at all concerned the administration does not necessarily appear to have a unified policy toward russia that lawmakers like yourself can use to kind of carry the ball forward and get bills passed and get the stuff you're talking bout done? it seems the military is very wary of working with the russians, although quietly communicating all the time, particularly with regard to syria, but do not really necessarily want to go further. the state department kind of leaning a little bit more forward, and mr. trump seems to have his own views, but we are never sure exactly what those are. is that a risk moving forward? rep. thornberry: one of the things, as i visit with leaders in europe and asia and elsewhere around the world -- one of the things i try to remind everybody
is congress is a separate, independent branch of government, so i think you will see on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capital and congress, a very clear eyed you about russia, what their intentions are, and what their capabilities are. secondly, i think it may be ok if the administration approaches differentm slightly perspectives, and i would expect the military to be more cautious and the state department tried to encourage dialogue, etc. i don't think everybody has to be exactly the same because we're dealing with different aspects of the relationship, but doubt to say i have no secretary mattis, for example -- and i'm sure secretary tillerson -- understand where russia is headed, what they are willing to do to a compost their accomplish-- to their goals and our
responsibility to keep allies -- key allies around the world. >> we have six minutes left. we should get to north korea. joe: sure. you talked about the policy will as emphasizing missile defense and last week, we saw a missile-defense test in the pacific that failed. are you satisfied with u.s. missile defense capabilities, and how does this bill address that? rep. thornberry: i'm not satisfied with where we are on missile defense. we have significant capabilities, and just two or three weeks ago, there was a very important, successful test, i think we need to hit the accelerator when it comes to missile defense, both in terms of existing systems, buying more inerceptors, for example, alaska and california, but also
for advanced missile defense that will be even more effective. that thee ways i know administration budget request that came up to us was largely the obama plan is that the request actually cut missile defense below what we are spending this year. so i think in congress you've got a lot of agreement that we need to not only not cut missile defense, we need to accelerate inse efforts, especially light of what north korea is doing but also iran and others are developing missiles with greater capability to threaten us and our allies. joe: what is the read on the test this past week, though? does the technology flawed? rep. thornberry: the reason you conduct tests is to learn things. a readout sotten
far, but we need to conduct more s so that we learn faster. hopefully, with more resources, we can do more testing and work the bugs out so whenever a missile is launched against the united states, which could be sooner than any of us liked, we have the capability to protect our people. >> we are recording this on friday morning while the house is busy at work. i'm just getting word that we had to stick with our time here, so we have about three minutes left. do you have another question? gordon: i'm curious on the role of north korea and the role china may or may not be able to .lay i know president trump tweeted recently that china tried and we need to move on. i don't know what that meant or how well it was bedded -- bedded -- vetted through the
administration. >> chairman, you have about 10 seconds left. rep. thornberry: china needs to do more and we need to do more with more military capability in that region. that will help encourage china to do more. >> clearly, we have a lot more questions, but your time is limited. thank you for your time. thank you.erry: >> so much debate in washington is going to be on numbers, and as you said at the outset, we have so many different numbers going up here, and the numbers will drive the policy and the acquisitions process, so how does this go forward from here between budget caps, the president's plans to the agreement that the house and $640it seems to have on a billion number -- the house and senate seems to have?
joe: i think that's the big question. mac thornberry on the house side and john mccain on the senate side, and then we heard from kate granger, who is the chair appropriations defense subcommittee, who said money would have to fall from heaven to have that the a reality. the $603 billion that the president has proposed and that $640 billion number the senate budget committee has offered a compromise of about $620 billion. what chairman thornberry told reporters yesterday was that they are just going to move out with their $640 billion number, but negotiations are still ongoing. whatt caps apply, but chairman thornberry told reporters yesterday is that they to the of prices,
to be appropriations bill, so where we wind up is still kind of up in the air. we have a limited calendar, and republicans have a pretty ambitious agenda outside of defense. in addition, there's an emergency operations contingency on top of this that brings it up over $700 billion. joe: that's right. it's about 705 alien dollars. i think where chairman thornberry and the trump administration as they are both foring about $65 million boko -- >> that's the iraq and afghanistan-based initiative. joe: correct. we do not know what the truth number is going to be in afghanistan and is that is going put pressure to increase the overseas contingency count.
is interested in putting more competition into the process. you have been watching this process for a long time. will major defense contractors have a lot of pushback on that? gordon: senator mccain was complaining the other day during testimony before the pentagon's , who represents these top five companies that essentially are responsible for 90% of makeup on some level of the pentagon budget. mattis clearlyry wants to do some reform of some of this -- some of the internal stuff, and as soon as he get some people in like shanahan, they can start to work on it. said theyhornberry were starting kind of with a
deficit in terms of time. they still do not have the people even really to do that. there was going to be pushed back on reforms. there always are, but i think mr. trump's of you, and it's tod of trickling down, is get more business-oriented people into the building. look at a problem and find a more economic solution. joe: but let's not forget that last year, spearheaded largely by senator mccain, there was a massive acquisition reform effort. i think what we seeing, at least on the house, is i think a little less ambitious.
i think what we are seeing is a less ambitious spate of reforms coming from the house. be?hat will the flashpoints that is a great question. we are seeing conversation right now about getting to a 355-ship navy. although we do not have all of thenumbers because chairman's markup of the indie aa comes on monday, we know more will be a push for shipbuilding. with $640 billion, you can do a lot, but if there's less than that, i don't think we will see as many ships, and jets, tanks. joe: ships was sort of iconic in mr. trump's campaign rhetoric. this is not easily done. there's no real consensus on how
to pay for it. with to be concerned about the strategy in afghanistan, the strategy in iraq and syria, getting the right number of troops there, and if there are plans to and troops to some of -- lawmakers are not necessarily going to writeyea theyy on it, but i think will be paying a lot of attention does not necessarily nay on it,ite yea or but i think they will be paying a lot of attention. you do not necessarily build capacity -- you don't build capacity overnight. to his point, doing what testing just to see where the witnesses are an essentially -- and thentially make more robust
message. thes we close here, all of people who cover this town is on the unfolding russia investigation, etc. can you tell people at home about the process we are talking about here, advising the military on the budget. gordon: i think the armed services committee deserves some credit because this defense policy bill in a town that is known for some dysfunction as staff and year, the chairmen like to point out. this is a bill that likes to move every year. democrats and republicans come together to get it done. >> thank you very much for coming. we hope you can make it back. thank you for joining us on the program.
>> tonight and q&a -- >> i was a reporter. i covered politics. i got interested in political power. i see these books as studies in political power. my thought, you know, when you are a reporter -- i won a couple of really minor journalistic awards. you win an award, you think you know everything. the first time robert moses's started talking to me, i realized i did not know anything about power at all. >> bullets are prize-winning biographer robert caro talks about his prize-winning project on power, looking at the exercise of political power in america, and he shares his progress on the next volume of his multipart biography on lyndon johnson. >> he wrote compassion from the beginning -- he had compassion
from the beginning, as i wrote in the book, but ambition was the overriding concern. it was only when compassion and ambition coincided. he realizes if he wants to be president he has to have a civil rights bill. then you ask if his feeling was false. not at all because all his life he had wanted to help poor people and particularly poor people of color. >> senate republicans release a discussion draft of their health care lobby placement on thursday. the congressional budget office will score the bill this week when senate floor debate is expected to begin. we have hosted the bill at c-span.org. follow live coverage next week at c-span2, online at c-span.org, and on the free c-span radio app. >> recently on c-span, williams college student zachary was at a
senate judiciary committee on free speech. >> the president enacted new speaker policies that made bringing speakers to campus and especially arduous process former student group. impermissible, undemocratic, and antithetical to the intellectual character of the college i attend is the president's decision to disinvited a speaker solely on the basis of his inflammatory remarks about race. to get onswoman diana the opioid crisis in the u.s. >> i was sitting next to the denver librarian, and i asked the issues they are facing here at the denver public library, and i thought she would say something like cyber security or access to books. she says, "we have people overdosing in the library every
day. we need to get our librarians the drugs so they can give them to people who have overdosed. at the denver public library. >> patrick shanahan. >> we now have an executive of one of the five major operations that has corralled 90% of our defense budgets, and on one of the major issues that this committee has had hearings about, has had markups about, has reported out our bill, and you want to find out more information -- not a good getting. not a good beginning. -- not a good beginning. again, -- do not do that mr. shanahan, or i will take your name up for a vote before this committee. >> you can find that run on our home page or by searching the