tv Army Chief of Staff Well Act When We See Transgender Directive CSPAN July 28, 2017 2:18am-3:23am EDT
balanced budget. >> watch our interview with mick on c-span,riday c-span radio app c-span.org. staff army chief of talked about security challenges. the president's statement on transgender people in the military and u.s. army priority. >> good afternoon. and welcome to the national press club, the place where news happens.
i'm myron belkein, the 2014 national press club president and a former correspondent and bureau chief for the associated press in england, india and japan and i now teach journalism and the importance of accuracy at george washington school of media and public affairs. before we get started, i want to remind our in-house audience to please silence your phones if you haven't already done so and for our viewing and listening audience please feel free to follow the program on twitter at #npclive. and for our c-span and public radio audiences, please be aware that in the audience today are members of the general public, so any applause or reaction you hear is not necessarily from the working press. before i introduce the head table, i want to recognize two very special tables on my right and your left in the audience which are comprised of members of the national press club's american legion post 20, which was founded on november 11, 1919, one year after the signing of the armistice that ended the
first world war and for many years was associated with general of the army's john j persene who was an associate member of the national press club and who served as the tenth army chief of staff. legionnaires' led by post 20 commander and jim noon, please stand and be acknowledged. [applause] >> now i'd like to introduce our head table. please stand when i call your name. and to the audience please hold your applause until all the head table members are introduced. on your right kevin wensing, retired u.s. army captain and a
member of the mpc head liner's team that plans these events. brendan mccarry, managing editor of military.com. lisa matt utes, vice president at haguers sharp and co-chair of the mpc headliners team. ellen mitchell, defense reporter for the hill. scott mscione, defense reporter for federal news radio. yasman tajda, reporter for national defense magazine. josh rogen columnist for the public section of the washington post. skipping over our speaker for a moment, eric meltser, a senior news production specialist for the associated press and the npc headliners team am he be who coordinated today's lunch. thank you, eric.
jim michaels, military reporter for usa today and former marine infantry officer. amanda matsias national security reporter for cbs radio who comes from a military family. david majundar, defense editor for the national interest. and alfredo dias, retired army master sergeant, a veteran of vietnam, iraq and panama and the vice commander of american legion post 20. [applause] >> i'd like to acknowledge press club members responsible for organizing today's event, betsy fisher-martin, john donnelly and laurie russo and staff members laura coker and lindsay underwood.
>> with just over 1 million active duty and reservist soldiers, the army is the oldest and largest of america's armed services. its fiscal 2018 budget request is about $166 billion, including proposed war spending. in the context of a roughly $639 billion total pentagon budget request. the army faces a host of challenges today and president trump added a new challenge yesterday with his tweets barring transgender people serving in the military. in case you are not aware, we have some breaking news update on that story which is the news that a little while ago as we were preparing for this lunch
marine general joseph dunford the chairman of the chief of staffs and who spoke at the national press club a few weeks ago sent a note, wrote a message to the chiefs of the services and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to, quote, treat all of our personnel with respect, unquote. and the two key paragraphs i will read out, quote, i know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the president. there will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has
issued implementation guidance. in the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect as importantly given the current fight and the challenges we face we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions. general joseph dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. the army's ranks enlarged after 9/11 and they shrank after the iraq and afghanistan drawdowns and now they have begun to inch back up. the army wants to be sure, though, that if the units are larger that they are also properly trained and equipped. the army and other services have said their readiness, their preparedness to fight is not up to standard.
to improve the situation the army wants more money, but everyone agrees it needs to be well spent. the army has had trouble in particular executing large weapons acquisitions and billions were spent on the crusader, co marchy and future combat systems programs, for example, with much less to show for than had originally been planned. the army is battle hardened today but it has mostly waged one particular type of war, counterinsurgency. while tomorrow's fights might be markedly different in character, to stay ahead of the curve the army is focused on keeping pace with rapid technological change. general mark milley is keenly aware of all of these challenges and is in the midst of addressing them. general milley became the 39th army chief of staff in august 2015. before that he led army forces command at fort bragg in north carolina. he has had multiple staff and command positions in eight divisions and in army special forces units throughout the last 35 years. he has deployed to multiple theaters of conflict. he graduated and received his
commission through the rotc program from princeton university, he holds master's degree from columbia university in international relations and the u.s. naval war college and national security and strategic studies. he is the recipient of numerous military awards including the bronze star. they are too numerous to mention. just look at his chest to see the wide range. general milley is a native of winchester, massachusetts. he and his wife have been married for more than 30 years and have two children. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a major big welcome from the national press club to army chief of staff general mark milley. [applause] gen. milley: thank you.
i love coming to the national press club and getting headline news as i sit right there coming out of my chairman. that's great. i really appreciate you doing that. so thanks for the opportunity to be here and i don't know how many of you know it, but myron was also a veteran himself, served in vietnam as a young man, pfc bell kind, he was on general westmoreland's staff in the early years of vietnam, '64, -- 1964, 1965, 1966 time frame. so thank you also for your service. >> thank you. [applause]
-- through the media. not exclusively through the media but it is one of the mechanisms and i have an obligation to do that within the bounds of classification. i want to talk today about four topics. have 20 minutes or so and then i want to open the rest of it up to cure and a. -- rest of it up to q and a. if you have following questions, you have to do it. i want to give you my view of the security challenges that we
the united states and is a witht are being challenged around the globe today. , what weou much army prepare for. i'm to talk a little bit about the future and lastly to throw in a couple of myths about i do want toations reiterate one thing. the issue of the transgender news that came out the other day. i'm to reiterate -- i want to reiterate which and for tougher the joint chiefs of staff -- the military is the military. to date, walking in here, i have yet to receive implementation guidance from the department of
defense, general mattis. we grew up to learn to obey the chain command. we will work through the implementation guidance and we get it. then we will move from their. into my knowledge, secretary mattis is not received written directives. there's a lot of churn out there about what was said. that is where we are. receive at when we directive through the proper chain of command channels. then we will you violate will be have an move from their. -- move from there. the entire force, the entire chain of command will -- always have -- and always should greet every single sailor with dignity and respect for their service,
bar none. that is where we stand as of today. i will be happy to field with ever questions -- field whatever questions. that is about all i'm going to say about it. let me shift gears to other things. i want to talk about the strategic environment very briefly. as of right now, we do find some of the challenges globally. --ase a mnemonic mnemonic there are a lot of ways to describe skewed challenges. challenges.time there are other types of challenge, people to the economy , people say climate change, etc.. within the department of defense, broadly speaking and finding them. by a set of nation-states, for which we are talking about. one broader challenge which are
nonstate actors, terrorists. it is based on the security challenges that we designed the force. secretary defense matters is leading all of us --secretary of defense mattis is leading us through a global strategic review and i would expect that we will complete that sometime in the fall. that may or may not change how we view the strategic challenges. at this point in time, i look at them through the lens of four nation-states and one group of nonstate actors. the nationstates are china, russia, north korea and iran and the non-state actors are violent extremist organizations, al
qaeda, the taliban, isis, al-nusra front as a whole variety of like type groups that seek to do damage to u.s. national interest. the most capable of them is russia. the way i look at strategic challenges or threats is capability and will. that is a pretty conventional look, that is a standard look for people in the military. capability and will. with russia it is clear that the russian military capability is significant and it is the only country on earth that represents an existential threat to the united states because they have the inherent capability of nuclear weapons that can strike and destroy the united states of american. by that definition they have
extraordinary capabilities. other countries have nuclear capability but only russia has the capability to destroy the united states. their conventional capability has been modernized significantly in the last 5-10 years. then you get into will, and that is a much more subjective, capability can do the math and added up but when you get into will or intent, that gets quite subjective. there you are dealing with a higher order of estimates and judgments. all we know for certain behavior is that russia has acted aggressively it certainly that's externally. they operate and try to undermine things like elections in european countries and other countries. we know there is a variety of cyber activity that goes on and
a variety of nonmilitary direct action pressures that go on. a very sort of aggressive state. then you ask yourself why, why are they behaving like that and you will get all kinds of debate on all kinds of arguments and you can try to figure out how to handle it. i would argue that russia is a, the russian leadership is a purely rational actor, they operate off of traditional cost-benefit as they see it. russian aggression or further aggression can be deterred through the proper use of tools and russia does undermine the united states interests in europe and elsewhere but there are also areas of common interest. russia is a state, because it is a great power, the russian state and the united states need to move carefully and possibly with
--h deliberate forethought that will assure our allies and partners and it's her further -- and partners and deterring further aggression. china is a different situation. china is a rising power and in china's case we're looking at a country since the reforms of 1979 and over the last 39-40 years, china has advanced significantly in terms of economic development. 10% gdp growth per year, they slow down in the last couple of years. they are probably one of the most significant if not the most significant economic ship and economic global power since the rise of the west in the
industrial revolution. the chinese economic growth over the last 40 years is really significant. what does that mean? historically when economic power shift so successfully, military power follows. we are seeing a significant increase in the capabilities and capacity and the size and strength of chinese military capabilities. then you get back to will and intent. what is their purpose? the chinese have been transparent about that. they have a thing that they call the china dream and their intent restore their historical 5000 year role, they want to be a global coequal with the united states and they want to achieve that by midcentury. they would like to do that easily if they can and if they cannot give up easily, that is why their building that military.
china is not the enemy and neither is russia. for people like me in uniform enemy has a specific definition and that is a group of people or nationstates who we are currently engaged with armed conflict in. that word gets used loosely. competition is one thing, even if it is adversarial, even if there are things that happen that are not savory but there is a big difference between open conflict and the activities below open conflict. competition without conflict is probably a desirable goal especially with those two countries given the size and capacity and capability of this
country. that is where we are at. china is a very rational actor, perhaps one of the best rational actors and i believe through proper engagement and deterrence and assurance measures that we can work our way into the future without significant armed conflict. but these are unanswered questions and we will not know until we get there. that is my estimation of his point. when you get to iran, their their desire for nuclear weapons has been put on pause. even if it is, we can say with certainty that iran consciously tries to undermine u.s. interest in the middle east. baby that are asymmetric means and support terrorism and terrorist groups. we are in a posture relative to iran to support our friends and allies in the region and be very
wary of iran. in the fourth country is in the and that is the threat of north korea. i don't want to go into a tremendous amount of detail on it. much of it is classified. but it is clear that north korea has advanced significantly, quicker than many had expected, their intercontinental look significant ability that could hit the united states. north korea is a significant threat. the united states policy for many decades now have been the -- has been the objective that north korea will not that's nuclear weapons and they will not that's nuclear weapons that will strike the united states -- not possess nuclear weapons and they will not possess nuclear weapons that
will strike the united states. we are fully in order of the secretary of state and department of state in the efforts to bring this to a resolution. time is running out a bit. north korea is extremely dangerous and gets more dangerous as the weeks go by. we will see on that one. the last one is the violent extremists or terrorists organizations. you have a situation in afghanistan, iraq, area, west africa, libya, each had different factors and analysis. you cannot group all of these things at once. we are in a very long struggle against violent extremist organizations, terrorist
organizations that have a radically different view of the world than we do and they consciously want to kill americans, undermine american interests and also kill all their friends and partners in the middle east and elsewhere. we in the military are committed to help in that effort. our basic approach is to work with our friends and partners in the region and increase their capability to reduce terrorist threats so local intelligence forces can manage to those on a local level. you see what is playing out against isis which has been quite successful to date. we will destroy the --organizational entity called isis, that organizational structure is going to be destroyed in the near future. they will disperse. all these organizations can morph into different forms and they are dependent on a very
radical ideology. it is mostly for the peoples of the region to destroy that ideology. that is the world in a nutshell as fast as i can do. let me shifted gears to army readiness, you heard us talk about the army, we do not have a small army but the question of five, army, navy, air force, marines, it is a question of what do you want it to do? how big do you want? the united states is a global military and we happens in the first world war and with absolute certainty since the agreements at the end of world war ii which established the international order, the rules and regime by which the world runs today. for seven decades the world have had a certain rules in the
following things like free trade, international commerce, democracy, the quote unquote liberal world order. you have institutions that it rests upon, the united nations, the world bank, the wto, many things developed years ago. that is looking for virtue as the world order. -- that is what people refer to as the world order. the united states has been enforcing the world order, maintain its stability. in the first half of the last century there was a bloodletting unlike any that had ever occurred in the history of mankind. between 1914 and 1945, 100 billion people were slaughtered in the context of war. my mother and father both served in that war. my mother in the navy, my father
in the marines. there were millions of chinese killed in battle and murder, if you want a real trail of tears go to europe and see what happened in belarus and ukraine. 90% of jews in poland were not alive in 1945. one out of three males in the ukraine who lived in belarus were killed in 1945. it is a horrific picture that occurred. those people who were in leadership positions in 1945 said, never again. they said the same thing in 1815 after the napoleonic wars. that works well for one century, they kept the long piece in europe more or less. -- kept the long peace in europe more or less.
there was not a continental life wide war in europe until 1914. the system is under stress today. that system is under stress from revolutionaries and terrorist nation-states that don't want the rules. they want to rewrite the rules of the road. that system is under stress. that system has prevented great power wars similar to what occurred in the last century. how big of an army do you want? how much do you want that system? how much do you value that system? is it that system worth preserving or not? system worth
preserving or not? you get to the size and the goat of your army, navy, air force and marines. -- you get to the goal and the size of your army, navy, air force and marines. it is the united states that has been the leader with that system. the status of the army as part of military force that works to maintain the stability of the world, we are a global military and a global army. we've got 180,000 soldiers in the united states army, active duty, reserved and national guard that are employed to 140 countries around the world to help stabilize the system or it that is a significant amount of u.s. forces --around the world to help stabilize that system. that is a significant amount of u.s. forces.
the active army is less than 500,000. based on the tasks required, i believe we need a larger army. i know others on the joints chief of staff, they also believe that of the navy and marines. it is not just some arbitrary number. we have done the analysis. we need to be stronger and more capable which brings me to the future. there are a couple of drivers, you are never going to know what the future brings, we are changing in the character of war. the nature of war is political. war is a political act, when you impose your political will on your opponents through the use of violence. war is dealing in the round of -- in the realm of uncertainty, friction and chance. is dealing in human will, a lot
of areas not particularly well measured. that is the nature of war. the character of war, the weapons you fight it with, that changes. it changes frequently. i believe that right now we're going through a fundamental change in the character of war, how you fight wars. several things are driving that. one is societal urbanization. right now we have a growth that is been going on for a century of urbanization. but now the curve is going exponential where we think by midcentury or so 80% or 90% of the earth's population will be concentrated in highly dense urban areas. that means that armies in the past have been optimized to inht in rule areas -- fight
rural areas and we had thought and jungles and mountains but we need to fight in urban areas. the organization of the global population, if war is politics and politics is all about people, the future battlefields are going to be in urban areas. it is a real certainty. we saw a minor preview played out in mosul. the united states army will have to optimize to conduct combat operations in urban areas. that is significantly different when it comes to the size of your organization, how he moves, what are the weapon systems, what are the explosive powers of the rockets to fire. all of those characteristics change when you shift the terrian. when you go from desert or -- when you shift the terrain. when you go from desert or forest to urban areas.
that is an example. things like technology, we are on the leading edge of a significant revolution in robotics. i believe we are seeing those in the commercial sphere more and more. we've seen them in limited use in military operations, unmanned aerial vehicles, the navy is looking into unmanned see the nichols -- sea vehicles. we will see the introduction of widescale robotics. all areas are being impacted very rapidly by technology, unlike speed and scope, unlike anything we have seen in history. the combination of terrain and the combination of technology is significant and leads to a fundamental change in the character of warfare.
i know he wants me to stop and go to questions. let me throw out five minutes of war that are prevalent and probably more prevalent right here in the city. myth one, in my view, myth one is that wars will be short. there are wars that have been short in the past but they're pretty rare. most of the time wars take longer than people think they will at the beginning of those wars. so always be wary of the wars will be short. this will be quick. this will be a little dust up, we will achieve victory real fast. be careful of that one. things -- wars have a logic all their own sometimes and they move in directions that are highly unexpected. be careful of the short war myth. second is you can win wars from afar. look, wars are about politics. that's what they're about. they're about imposing your political will and they are about people. i can tell you with a high degree of certainty that human beings can survive horrific
things from afar. when my father hit the beach at iwo jima, he was told the japanese defenders were dead. those defenders underwent 66 consecutive days of bombing from the united states air force is. we rolled up a fleet of 400 naval vessels, that's almost twice as big as the united states navy is today for one island, and they bombed that island with shells for 96 consecutive hours. there is no eight square miles of the earth that has ever received as much ordinance as the island of iwo jima. almost all the japanese survived. life wasn't good, they were drinking their own urine, they never saw the sunlight, they were deep underground and they weren't happy campers, but they survived. they survived and were ideological committed. they survived to the point where they could kill 7,000 marines when they hit the beach. look at what isis has done for
almost six months in mosul. they're losing, but it took the infantry and armor and special operations commanders to go into that city house by house, block by block, room by room to clear that city. and it's taken quite a while to do it and at high cost. what i'm telling you is there is a myth out there that you can win from afar. to impose your political will on the enemy typically requires you at the end of the day to close with and destroy that enemy up close with ground forces and i'm very wary of the win from afar myth. third myth, special forces can do it all. i'm a proud green beret, love special forces. special forces are designated with that name for a reason, they are special, they do certain special activities, typically of a strategic nature, they highly trained, highly vetted. the one thing they are not designed to do is win a war. they can do raids, they can train other countries, there's lots of other things they can do.
winning a war in and by themselves is not one of their tasks. it is a myth they just throw special forces at it and it's magic dust and it works. we love it because they're highly trained, very quiet, not in the news, it's great, but winning wars is not in their job jar by themselves. last two, armies are easy to create. they are not easy to create. there is a myth that you can just bring kids into the military, march them around a field a little bit, six, eight weeks of training and, boom, you got an army. wrong answer. it takes considerable amount of time to build armies, navies, air force and marines. especially with complex weapons systems. and the last thing i will throw out there is the myth that we in uniform sometimes propagate this myth, is that armies fight wars. we don't. armies don't fight wars, navys, air forces, they don't fight wars, nations fight wars. it takes the full commitment of the entire nation to fight wars.
we can do a raid real quick, that's one thing, but war is a different thing and it takes a nation to fight and win a war. so i will stop there, that's probably a little longer than you wanted, but that's what you got. [applause] >> i always tell my students, general, it's not the length of a story or the length of a speech, it's the content and speaking objectively, you gave us a hell of a lot of content and we appreciate it. now for a few questions, as you mentioned, we still have a few questions on the transgender issue and i'd just like to ask as follows -- >> let me turn to my answer. [laughter] >> has the army faced problems with having transgender people serving in its ranks? >> i mean, look, i will be candid, there is a variety of
issues. i was telling josh here this is a complex issue and there is a variety of challenges out there that we have to deal with and when we've been working through it, but this is not clean cut either way. so the short answer to your question is, yes, yeah, we've had to deal with problems. we don't get it in the media, we deal with it professionally, quietly, with dignity and respect for the individual and institution. >> did you have advanced knowledge that the president would be issuing the ban via twitter yesterday? >> i personally did not, but nor would i have expected to. i notice that's been in the media out there. i, like i said up front, it's a chain of command thing and i render my advice through the chain of command, which in my case would be i render general dunford and secretary mattis and they would render it back to me. so no personally, no, the president didn't say, hey, mark, i'm doing this. no, he didn't do that, but nor would i expect him to do it nor is there any requirement to do that.
>> how did you learn of the president's decision? >> well -- >> when he sent out the tweets yesterday. >> same way everyone else did, i saw it on the news. but, again, we're trying to make this out -- or some people are trying to make this out as if that is particularly unique. if i could count on -- if i had a nickel for every time i read decisions in the news over the last 10, 15, 20 years, i'd probably be a pretty wealthy guy right now. so it's not particularly unusual to read about things in the media. that's why in my office i have like six screens and i have the scrolls going every which way and i'm always looking for the breaking news thing. did i know that? so, you know, the people can say what they want about the media but the one thing you are is fast. [laughter] >> and accurate. >> accurate sometimes, but fast. fast all the time. [laughter] [applause]
>> what have been the main >> >> what have been the main challenges so far in integrating women into the infantry and other combat arms? >> so this is a point actually a bit of pride actually. we did a lot of intensive study, a lot of analytical rigor on how to do this. right? and it took us three or four years of intense study good we we studied other armies, we did -- intense study. we did pilot programs, all kinds of inside stuff that we did. today, the execution of that policy is actually working well to date and what i had recommended and what we were granted was i said -- i recommended to do this, women in the infantry, there were others who disagreed, but i recommended to do women in the infantry or special forces and armor, right? and i said give me three years,
36 months. now that we've done all the analysis, let me have three years to run this and see its impact on readiness and our war fighting capabilities. if i see a detriment in readiness and war fighting capabilities, i will be the first one to come back to you, secretary of defense, and tell you we need to change. this didn't work. it was a great idea but it didn't work sort of thing. that is kind of what we are doing. we are in the first 36 months. thus far it seems to be going ok, it's working well, but again, i comment on that because though a lot of preparatory work went into doing that, we have our first woman infantry company commanding the 82nd airborne division, women that have been commissioned as infantry officers, a variety of enlisted and nco that are spread out. a couple principles that we put in place, i wanted to narrow the focus because it is still an experiment. so for 36 months i wanted to narrow the focus to fort bragg
at fort hood, two of our biggest installations and that's where the women are being assigned. and then i also insisted that we have leaders first so the sergeants and lieutenants had to go into units first. female sergeants and lieutenants had to go into units first. and the third one is that it's sort of a mantra, is that the military should be -- should and is standards-based. so there's standards of performance, standards of conduct, standards of fitness and medical standards. if you're meeting those standards, pass go, collect 200 and move out. if you don't, then you're going to do some alternative, you know -- either in the military or we will get you out of the military, but it's a standards-based military and you rise to the level of success based on your merit sort of thing and your performance. that's inherent in the wearing of the uniform and we're very strict about it. so that's where we are.
right now, the women that are in the infantry have met the standard of the united states infantry and it's going ok. the numbers are very small. frankly, i expect they will be small for many years if not forever. the canadian army has had women in the infantry for 30 plus years. they have a very tiny percentage of women. but it doesn't matter how many want to do it, i don't think they should be denied, my personal opinion is no one should be denied if you meet the standard, drive on. if you don't, try something else. >> could you say a few words, sir, about continuing efforts to reduce sexual harassment in the army and how is that going? gen. milley: it's a challenge. it's hard. the numbers have come down which is good. numbers -- reporting numbers have gone up. reporting in the sense of the way the system is designed to indicate that women have -- and it's not just women, by the way,
there are guys that get sexually assaulted as well, but victims have greater confidence today than, say, they did four or five years ago in chain of command and the victims advocates and the results that will come of it. is it perfect? no, not by a long shot. there is still sexual assault, there's sexual harassment in the military. we only have 15, 16, 17% or so of the military are women, although west point's last class that just got admitted i think is 23% women. but, you know, there's no excuse for any of it. to me, it has to do with good order of cohesion, discipline. i think of it as blue on blue, i don't know if you're familiar with that term, but i think of it as fratricide. if i was to go out and, say, conduct a live fire range or i was in a fire fight with the enemy, shooting your fellow soldiers by accident is not a good thing and serious
consequences happen to chains of command when you have fratricide in training or in combat, but in training, live fire is an example. well, if you go out and sexually assault someone, that's fratricide. you're beating up on your own unit. so there needs to be and there is very, very serious consequences to it. not only to the individual, but to the chain of command. if a chain of command has significant multiples of these type incidents in a unit, that speaks volumes about the good order and discipline of the force. every commander knows full well that they are responsible for everything the unit does and fails to do and they are responsible for the good order and discipline of their unit. if they have an ill disciplined unit, then you probably need a new commander. so some of this stuff is pretty straightforward, at least for me. there's no room for it. there's no excuse for it. there is no tolerance for, -- for it, period.
it's just the way it is. it's the rules sort of thing. >> according to the question that's been submitted here the quotes that defense secretary mattis is saying in response to a question, what keeps you awake at night? and he replied, nothing, i keep other people awake at night. [laughter] >> do you feel the same way? does anything keep you awake at night? >> yes, general mattis. [laughter] [applause] >> no, he's -- you know, this nation -- i've known general mattis for a long time and of course, you know, many people have and he is a national figure, et cetera. but this nation is truly blessed, actually, to have him as our secretary of defense. he is a remarkable individual, he's tremendous, competent, deliberate, he thinks things through, very, very squared away, this guy. he promised us that he would give us 400 calories a day and three hours of sleep and that's exactly what we get.
no, he's great and he works hard and he's utterly dedicated to the defense of this nation and, no, he doesn't keep us up at night in that sense, but his quote is a great quote. to answer your question, no, there's nothing -- do i toss and turn every night? no. but to take -- that's the literal answer, but to take your question more figuratively, the one thing i'm worried about, frankly, candidly, this situation with north korea is very serious. it is a very, very, very serious situation and not only for the united states and south korea and japan, but for china, for russia, for the global community, and it's a very serious situation and it's not going in good directions. so -- >> those of us that are old enough to remember remember the korean war. >> that's right.
>> what would you envision if there was a ground war with north korea, what would it encompass? what would it look like? gen. milley: let me use descriptive words rather than kind of specifics because obviously, we have plans and kind of different things that shouldn't be talked about in public. but a war in the korean peninsula would be highly deadly. it would be horrific -- i think general mattis said catastrophic or horrific or something like that. and it would. i mean, think about it, you've got a city of soeul, 25 million people or so in the greater metropolitan area, 10 million people in the city itself. north korea has a wide array of conventional artillery and rockets across the border. they've got a sizable conventional force, they have a sizable chemical capability not even including the nuclear weapon peace.
iece. do i think that north korea's military would be destroyed? i do. i think that the united states military, i believe absolutely that the united states military in combination with the south korean military would utterly destroy the north korean military, but that would be done at high cost in terms of human life. in terms of infrastructure. there are economic consequences to a war on the korean peninsula. there is a wide variety of consequences. war on the korean peninsula would be terrible, however, a nuclear weapon detonating in los angeles would be terrible. there is some real -- the comment out there that there are no good options is a very apt comment. at this point, for lots of reasons, and we can go back 25 years in history of dealing with north korea, but the fact of the matter is we are at a point in time where choices will have to
be made one way or the other. none of these choices are particularly palatable. none of them are good. the consequences of doing nothing is not good. the consequences of accepting them with a nuclear weapon that could strike the united states -- the continental united states is not good. the consequence of armed conflict is not good. the consequences of, you know, a -- the downsides of all of these options -- the consequences of, you know, a collapsed north korea is not good. a wide variety of scenarios. so the idea of the down sides of all these options are bad. that's true. they are. that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility of choice. and we are going to have to make conscious decisions that are going to have significant consequences. and i'll just stop there. but it would be -- it's not going to be a pretty picture. i can tell you that. it will be very violent. >> going from northeast asia to south asia, we have journalists here from the subcontinent, one
of whom asked because of tension between china and india on on the indochinese border, do you have any comments on a possible usa role in that region? gen. milley: we're monitoring it. we're tracking it. but, no role, not that i'm aware of other than to try to encourage both parties to, you know, deescalate and reduce tensions. >> six months into the administration, there's still no army secretary. what is the consequences of that? and how does it affect your job? gen. milley: it would -- you know, we have intent to nominate guy named mark esper. his name's out there. we had two nominees, both withdrew for a variety of reasons. it's best to have a secretary. there are a variety of, you
know, authorities and -- that come with having a secretary. but having said that, the way the system is built, no one man is indispensable, so to speak. so bob spear was designated as the acting secretary and has been since the inauguration. he's done a wonderful job and he's doing a great job. granted, he's an acting secretary, but i'm an acting chief of staff for a period of time, too. so, i mean, we're all acting in a sense that all of our timelines are always constrained, limited any time you're in an appointed position in government service. bob spear has been doing a good job for five or six months. i would argue not having a quote/unquote full fledged secretary of the army has not been catastrophic. the professional civilians, army department of civilians have stepped up and done a tremendous job. and that includes secretary spear. so we'll work through it. i think it's better to have one than not. but it's not catastrophic not to have one either.
>> we have two questions similarly tied together about tank warfare. gen. milley: yes. >> with russia preparing to have its new tank, the t-14 armada, enter service in 2020. gen. milley: right. >> do you worry at all that the united states or its nato allies may be at a disadvantage? and should there be an increased focus on tank warfare and modernizing our fleet? what technologies would you like to see developed? gen. milley: yeah, so i have an entire group of people digging into that exact issue. it is beyond the new tank, it's a new family of vehicles and mechanized one. so let me go back to the basic question of, you know, have tanks and mechanized war and conflict between ground armies, has that gone the way of the dinosaur? in 1914, there were guys around who were wearing three and four
stars who were adamantly adhered to the role of the horse calvary, then the horse calvary ran into machine guns and things didn't go so well in 1914 for the horse calvary. so are we sort of at that point in history where perhaps mechanized vehicles are going the way of horse calvary and going the way of the dinosaur? i don't think so. but i'm skeptical enough to continue to ask that. we have a good, solid tank today. the m-1 tank, and the m-1 tank that you see today visually looks exactly like the tank from 1980 when i was second lieutenant. it is not exactly the same thing. the insides of that thing and the firing mechanisms, the engine compartments, armor, et cetera, that's all been upgraded and modified over the years. having said that, we do need a new ground armored platform for our mechanized infantry and our tanks. because it's my belief, at least in the foreseeable future and
call that out to say 25 years or so, there is a role to play in ground warfare for those type of formations. and the tank we have today and the bradley, for that matter, came online in 1980, almost 40 years ago almost. i do think we need to do that. what are some of the technologies? there are active protective systems, reduced crews with automated turrets. but the real sort of holy grail of technologies that i'm trying to find on this thing is material, is the armor itself. because if we can discover a material -- and there is a lot of research and development going into it, if we can discover material that is significantly lighter in weight that gives you the same armor protection, that would be a real significant breakthrough. and the last piece of technology is, we've been using kinetic or
powder-based munitions for five centuries. and there are advances in nonpowder kinetics such as rail guns, lasers, et cetera. and the last piece is robotics. every vehicle we develop we probably need to make sure it's dual use so the commander in the battle at the time has the option of having that vehicle manned or unmanned. they can flip a switch and it can be a robot. so those are some of the technologies we want to see get built into ground vehicles, not just tanks. mr. belkind: we have a little traditional presentation. and then we will have a light question at the end. gen. milley: a light question? [laughter] mr. belkind: i think you'll like it. general, while you have received many medals and awards during your distinguished military career, we have something we feel is very special to present to you today to mark your visit. something that many other national and international leaders, including the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff a few weeks ago received when they
have spoken at the national press club. and they proudly display in their offices and please do let me know if the next time you go into general dunford's office if you see the coveted national press club mug. gen. milley: thank you, myron. [applause] gen. milley: i was in his office the other day and, i did not see it. [laughter] gen. milley: he was actually drinking out of it. uses it all the time. [laughter] mr. belkind: general, for our concluding question, which as they say by tradition is given in a light hearted manner, we have an anonymous source, we don't like to use anonymous sources, but they tell us -- anonymous sources tell us that you are a big boston red sox fan. gen. milley: yes. mr. belkind: so what do you think about the red sox cutting third baseman pablo sandoval? and will it affect the chances of winning the world series? gen. milley: it will have no effect. we will win the world series. [laughter]
[applause] mr. belkind: we have 30 seconds. gen. milley: another one? is this on the patriots? mr. belkind: no. general, you played ice hockey at princeton. gen. milley: correct. mr. belkind: i am pleased our researchers get things right. back in april 2016 when you were visiting fenway park, you said you were supposed to get drafted into the nhl, the national hockey league. if you had to choose, where would you have signed? gen. milley: i did play -- you know, when you're 16 and 17 you actually have dreams, so my brother convinced me i was good enough to play in the nhl. i never was, but i always wanted to. for some reason, i think they drafted a different guy named milley and forgot my name so i didn't make it. but if drafted, the bruins, absolutely. how could there be any other team? yeah. mr. belkind: ladies and gentlemen, a warm thank you to our guest of honor, general mark milley. [applause] mr. belkind: thank you.
one final request. the general has another important engagement, more important than the national press club, i take it. gen. milley: i don't know. i never know what i'm doing. i have to ask my people. mr. belkind: we're told he has to leave promptly, so could you just remain seated for about 30 seconds while the general leaves? and once again, thank you all for coming to the national press club's, where i think it was demonstrated thanks to our guest of honor today that this is the place where news is made. ladies and gentlemen, we are adjourned. [gavel] [applause]
announcer: former white house ethics director will discuss the six months he worked in the trump administration and his decision to resign. live from the national press club at 10:00 a.m. eastern. then a discussion about iranian public opinion of the presidential election there in may. the nuclear agreement and the trump administration, live from the atlantic council at noon. conversation about the importance of the u.s.-japan military alliance. posted by the center for strategic and international studies. live it 2:30 eastern. you can follow these events live on c-span3, seek -- c-span.org unelected free c-span radio app. c-span's "washington journal," live with news and policy issues that impact you.
morning, we focus on the debate in the senate on efforts to repeal and replace the nation's health care law. we will take your calls on the subject. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion. sunday on american history tv on c-span3, we look at two u.s. presidents. at 6:00 p.m. eastern, john f. kennedy's life in photos from the smithsonian american art museum's election of an image -- images. >> the wonderful thing about the kennedys is they never put photographers are writers away. they didn't care how they were theographed, whether tire was fixed, the cult was on, this or that. then you if they made themselves accessible to the media, they would be published and of course, it was a groundswell. there is no question about it, that the media coverage of jfk
was just the first time we had ever seen anything like it. announcer: that will be followed at 8:00, looking at ronald reagan's relationship with pope john paul ii. as discussed in the book "the pope and the resident." the extraordinary untold story of the 20th century. sent a letter to reagan saying i am praying to you. now the president said in a cable to the vatican, i am praying for you. as for moscow, if they are worried at this point about a kinship between the pope and the president, now they are really going to worry about it. announcer: american history tv, all we, every weekend on c-span3. president trump awarded the medal of valor to police officers who responded to a shooting at a congressional baseball game practice.