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tv   Defense Department Confirmations  CSPAN  November 6, 2017 4:05am-6:00am EST

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>> the house ways and means committee rate -- begins its work on the republican tax plan today before sin it to the full house. watch coverage today starting at noon eastern. listen live using the free c-span radio app. on thursday, the senate arms committee held confirmation hearings for several defense department nominees. this is just under two hours.
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john s.mccain iii: good morning. the senate armed services committee held a confirmation hearing for several defense department nominees. among them was mark espers to be the next army secretary. other nominees included the defense undersecretary for intelligence and for personnel and readiness and the assistant defense secretary who advises on weapons of mass destruction to -- i would like to say that i've been pleased with the reaction of the secretary of defense and the administration being cooperative and responding to our questions and to our ability to carry out our responsibilities on the defense authorization bill. i think most members were happy with their briefing that we received concerning reactions on the uss mccain and others so we
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are glad to begin this hearing. we thank all of you for joining us this morning. we welcome your family and friends here with us today. as is our tradition at the beginning of your testimony we invite you to introduce those who are joining you. standard for this committee to ask certain questions in order to exercise legislative and oversight responsibilities. it's important that this committee and other appropriate committees of congress be able to receive testimony briefings and other communications. i would ask that you each provide responses to the following questions. for the years i've been a member of this committee, it has not been an important issue. it is now an important issue because we are not receiving the information and communication that is the constitutional
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responsibility of this committee. so, i urge you to consider your answers very carefully when i ask these questions. have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest? >> yes. >> will you ensure that your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record? >> yes. >> will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to congressional requests? >> yes, sir. >> will those witnesses be protected from reprisals for their testimony or briefings? >> yes. >> do you agree if confirmed to testify upon request before this committee?
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>> yes. >> do you agree to provide documents including copies of electronic forms of communication in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted committee or to consult with the committee regarding as the basis for any good-faith delay or denial in providing such documents? >> yes. >> have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of a confirmation process? thank you. mr. wilkie over half of the annual defense budget is spent on personnel costs. include training, health care, compensation. our force is facing a readiness crisis. our personnel are experiencing the strain of 16 years of continuous conflict. i wish you could have heard our navy testimony yesterday concerning the action that has taken place and we all know the us congress bears significant responsibility for the lack of funding and a lack of readiness, the lack of capability of our
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military which then makes for a 100 hour work week which leads to accidents. i'm sure you are aware of them. testimony of the chief of naval operations. our force is facing a readiness crisis. personnel are experiencing the strain of 16 years of continuous conflict. the next undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness will be the senior official responsible for issues that have been a priority for this committee in the last three years. the sweeping personnel reforms congress has passed in recent defense authorization bills that reflect the importance we place on these issues. if confirmed, we expect that you will work to faithfully implement these reforms and be a forward-thinking partner to this committee as we look to ensure
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that serving in the defense of our nation remains the compelling calling for our best and brightest americans. admiral kernan, if confirmed as the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, he will serve as the principle intelligence adviser for the secretary of defense and will be dual-hatted as the director of defense intelligence of the office of the director of national intelligence. it's been nearly 15 years since this position was created and the security environment has changed dramatically during that time. the scope and complexity of global tragedies unlike anything the nation has faced during the last seven decades. that's why it's more important than ever that this committee and the department make certain that the defense intelligence enterprise is appropriately structured to immigrate and prioritize challenges resources and capabilities throughout the department. i look to our nominee to explain
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how he intends to reassess the structure and ensure that the military has timely and accurate intelligence to defend the nation against a rapidly evolving series of security challenges. mr.roberts, if confirmed he will be the principle adviser to the secretary of defense on nuclear weapons and chemical and biological defense as well as the executive director of the nuclear weapons counsel. as such, you will have a key role in shepherding modernization programs of the nuclear triad including the bomber submarine icbm long-range standoff weapons and nuclear command and control. if confirmed we will expect you to abdicate in a timely and responsible execution of these programs which remain a cornerstone of our nation's national defense, especially in the current strategic
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environment. we also expect he will work with their national nuclear security administration and the department of energy to support the recapitalization of the critical infrastructure. many of these facilities are in a disgraceful state of disrepair and strong leadership from both the dod and doe will be required to keep all of these programs on time and that costs. doctors esper there's no clear illustration that our army remains that war that the loss of office brought. after 16 years of war the army perhaps more than any other service has been tested. repeatedly our soldiers have met the test, improve the commitment , courage, skill, and
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determination. today however our army is facing a crisis. the burden imposed on our soldiers only grows as threats to our nation increase and sequestration remains the law of the land. given current operational demands restoring readiness must be the army's first priority. we have made progress this year towards improving the number of ready brigades are to available for deployment but too many of our soldiers remain in brigades that are currently known the -- non-deployable. the army still does not plan to return to full spectrum readiness until 2021 at the earliest. meanwhile the army is woefully , behind on modernization and our soldiers are increasingly unprepared to confront the harsh realities of 21st century warfare. with glaring capability gaps and mobility in legality and survivability these problems would only get worse as our ever series continue to modernize their forces. put simply our army lacks both the adequate capacity and the
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key capabilities to win decisively. if confirmed we will expect you to implement the sixth key -- six key parties for host modernization that the army announced last month. we must work to turn these goals into real weapon and equipment and put them in the hands of soldiers as soon as possible. our soldiers can't afford the false choice between readiness and modernization. building a ready modern army will require visionary leadership and a clear strategy. if confirmed we will expect you to lead the army to those ends. you will have to learn the lessons of the past, make tough decisions, take and manage real risk and hold yourself and those working for you accountable for results. when you do so you always have an ally in this committee. burke, -- esper,
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i would be remiss if i did not reiterate my concerns about the number nominees from the defense industry filling out the leadership ranks of the department of defense. i want to be clear that my reservations in the early consultations ahead with the administration about potential nominees including yours and a handful of others that have yet to be nominated. it was then i decided i can't support for the nominees without background beyond those we have already discussed. commitment notur only to recuse yourself from matters really into the to the raytheon company bever than not to seeker except laborers to your recusal obligation. i would like to submit your commitment into the record without objection. again let me thank our witnesses , for their willingness to serve our nation at this challenging time.
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the length of my opening statement was directly related to the importance of the task that you have asked to undertake. senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and let me join you in welcoming our nominees and to thank them and their families for their willingness to serve i would also like as you introduce your families you will at knowledge the critical role they play in supporting your efforts and the men and women in uniform. doctors esper you've been on a two-week one of our greatest -- been nominated to lead one of our greatest institutions the united states army. if confirmed he will serve the organization that is facing many challenges including full spectrum readiness while the continued to deploy soldiers around the world. the army continues to grapple with modernization to include how best to make target investment programs canceling those efforts that are underperforming or prohibited.
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dr. esper, you have a wealth of experience as well as lyrics sensitive experience in the public and private sector. your unique perspective will allow you to tackle these challenges head-on and i look forward to hearing your views on these issues. mr. wilkie, if confirmed he will face many challenges including first and foremost that our military has adequate numbers of ready and trained servicemembers and sufficiently high character and talent and national defense objectives. this overarching organization or wires challenges. military personnel cost of continued to rise exceeding the increase to the overall defense budget even as the overall number of active-duty soldiers has dropped from over 2 million in 1998 to 1.3 million today. -- 1982 1.3 million today. despite an increased defense budget over that timeframe mr. wilkie your vast experience with congress should serve you well and in the fewer confirmed i
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look forward to working with you and tackling difficult issues and i know you will do that well. intelligence and operations are more integrated than ever before but at the same time the demand for act and timely intelligence continues to outstrip supply. this challenge is exacerbated allocation process of airborne surveillance and recognizance capabilities among geographic combatant commands. as technical intelligence gathering abilities continue to advance at an exceptional pace we are experiencing a short wall , and personnel and analytical tools necessary to make effective the overwhelming amount that is being generated. given your more than three decades of service in the navy, you bring important experiences to the position of the usdi which you should serve with great distinction as you have in
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the past. mr. roberts, since its creation this office has assumed other missions including reduction, not as elementary. the core mission has not changed which is to serve as the interface between the department of defense and stop of the requirement to support its deterrence mission and over the nuclear security agency to -- a -- agency. i expect you as your predecessors have done to hold the nn as they accountable in meeting the stockpile made in a particular restoring your ability produce plutonium pits as we recapitalize our triad over the next 20 years. thank you to the vision. thank you for your willingness to serve the nation. >> thank you.
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i know the presence of our respected friends, senator tillis, who would like to believe introduced one of the witnesses. >> thank you mr. chairman ranking member and distinguished colleagues. i had the privilege of making a few comments about robert wilkie or colonel robert wilkie paez -- wilkie. he has an extensive resume and i'm sure to the record for the years repeating some of the more important things that i believe makes him uniquely qualified for this role. many of you probably met robert when he was working for the nomination of secretary mattis. we put him in the office of her's no transition. he has several years of private sector experience including projects to reform and were organized the united kingdom ministry of defense supply chain and logistics system. he also served in the bush
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administration for both gates and rub about as assistant secretary of defense and before that he served under condoleezza rice. i could go through the but i i could go through the full resume but i want that i could go through the whole resume but i won't. i have to tell you being a junior senator coming in and having someone of roberts cal -- caliber willing to serve with me was a real honor. he has the grasp of history that is unparalleled. we play a game in my office called stop robert and we haven't figured out how to do it yet. he also has a broad-based educational experience that follows in the line of the service that mr. chair and your comment about taking up readiness seriously there's probably not a day that goes by that we are not talking about that and it's one of the reasons when they were looking at the subcommittee that i may serve on that he was the one to say it would be great to get the personnel subcommittee because that's an area where we can do a lot of work and we focused on it
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and we have made progress. i'm pretty sure most of the senate armed services staff have a high opinion of roberts i will -- robert. i will tell you we also call him for scott because there's not a single story we cannot put in context of these years he had during his working career dating back to roman times. is going to be a great addition to the department of defense and i personally, it's bittersweet to lose him as a capacity of personnel subcommittee of those that are as. i wholeheartedly support his nomination and appreciate the opportunity to introduce him. >> thank you for your very good words and your opinion is shared on this dais as well. thank you very much. maybe we will just begin with you, mr. wilkie if you would like to proceed.
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>> senator reed and distinguished members of the committee armed services. this is the second time i've appeared in this chair. >> i hope it's better than the last time. >> in 2006 i was blessed to have my wife julie with me. we grew up together outside of fort bragg and she is the foundation of our family in both our civilian and military lives. unlike 2006 my daughter meghan is now old enough to sit here. she is escaping from her junior high school classes at washington and lee and is also representing her brother adam who was a first semester mechanical engineering student at clemson university. i'm also proud to help my sister-in-law carla counsel here. we to went to high school in fayetteville. >> we welcome them to the committee. >> i was honored to be introduced by a former member of this committee and a truly great
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senate leader, trent lott. i'm equally humbled today not only by the confidence placed in me by the president and secretary mattis but to be introduced by senator tillis. senator helms said for any senator to truly represent north carolina that senator must understand north carolina highway 24. that is the road that connects 45% of the entire united states marine corps in the eastern part of our state and a place senator reid calls the hub of the universe fort bragg. , it exemplifies what all of us who've been part of military life straight to be and that is -- life stride to be and that is to serve. mr. chairman if confirmed i will , be charged with making life easier for the men and women and civilian,military and who carry our future on their shoulders. i have been fortunate to see this military life from many
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angles. as dependents, the son of a gravely wounded combat soldier as an officer with a family in the military health care system in the senior leader of the white house and the pentagon. my earliest memories of the mass jumps of the second airborne division on the normandy and sicily drop sons and fort bragg and artillery rolling across the old quadrangle at fort sill. i witnessed first-hand the all -- the transition from the conscript told terry to the all volunteer total force guard active and reserve. since desert storm readiness has met the ability to mobilize fight and win two wars. without prejudging secretary mattis'procedure review that , notion of readiness is a good place for pnr to start assessing the quality of the total force. in my opinion as the chairman mentioned the department is too often been caught up in chasing shiny objects.
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the new carrier, the new fighter. there have been few champions for riddance to work with this committee. simply put we need to get people , back on the range in the voter pools and prepare for the full spectrum of conflict, a spectrum that now includes cyber and space. the threshold question is whether each decision made by the department enhances america's ability to deter and defeat any enemy while keeping our soldiers sailors airmen and -- soldiers, sailors, airmen and , marines alive and getting them back home quickly. when they return, we owe them an their families same level of care and tension. this is not the military that senator mccain or my father joined the don of the kennedy administration yet we are hamstrung by policies and procedures in place then to run that force of multiple millions each year by thousands of draft and are the graduates.
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today our military is vastly different comprised entirely of -- different comprised entirely , of high-quality volunteers. 17% of the forces female many of whom are serving on the front lines in numbers and missions unimaginable in the days of the wax butter headquarters are -- we rely on the upper model for servicemen and women who are forced to leave the military. success in the information age will increasingly rely on the technical ability of our troops yet our assignment system values breath over depth of experience. recruiting may not reach a wide audience on line. servicemembers cannot move freely amongst active targeting reserve components to meet changing circumstances in their lives. in my father's day few soldiers , have families and today over 60% do. for families, the center of
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their lives would be the military health care system. that system is slow to keep up with modern medical advances for conditions like autism and other behavioral disorders as senators gillibrand and tillis have aid -- made clear. constant rotation again based on 19th century army model presents thatevents thousands spouses -- spouses from putting down roots regarding meaningful employment. pre-childcare is indeed the bottom line. if the families are not happy , the soldier walks. the all-volunteer force has performed miracles with 12 times for front-line marine and army units down to 1-1.19 years and on any given day 15 given day 50% armies medically unable to deploy.
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mr. chairman, we must address those hard facts or the force will break. this committee has kept pace and faith with the finest military in the world and the solutions for many of the issues i mentioned have already begun to take place. if confirmed by pledge to build on your work and also work with the great patriots as part of their family the patriots to man the ospf help you keep that faith. i thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for an excellent statement. doctors esper. >> it is an honor and a privilege to appear before you this morning as the president nominee for secretary of the army. i want to thank you for this opportunity. myant to introduce you to widely a and our children luke,
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john, and kate. like many military families they make sacrifices in support of my service. my wife gave earth to our first son in an army has to go in a auntry while i was manning rifle company as part of a rapid reaction force. we moved four times in five years but she always made a home for growing family where of the army sent us. after i transitioned from active duty on the army staff's as virginia guard she shouldered additional parenting duties during the long weekend's annual training and everything in between. this will continue for several years doing various jobs in the senate, the house as the deputy assistant secretary defense until my retirement from the army reserve in 2007. i the story because i owe my wife all the support she gave me an israeli job she did raising our children. her supporters something i will be on again should i be can learn as the next secretary of
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the army. i also share the story to give you said mike. so the army area until my retirement, i wore an army of warm over 25 years. i was privileged to serve in some of the army's best units. attend the army's top training and leadership schools. i understand well the challenges of military service. the rigors of wartime deployment. wasably military career, i fortunate to serve america's test. the soldiers and officers and civilian employees that were. was this and those of our great nation safe. i am learned a good deal from all of them. their welfare and readiness always my top are ready. today's army is the greatest ground combat force in history. despite this fact, service is else's. this committee knows them well.
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the army is at a critical point. uponght terrorist groups and global demand for as fiscal pressures in his. the next secretary must prepare for success in the size. must be prepared as well. deliver my to values, experiences and it is to make your voice. if confirmed, my first party will be ready. training rotations to europe. for deploy units in the pacific. readiness must be our top priority. this means recruiting and retaining the best our nation has to offer ensuring young men
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and women are well-trained and well led and equipping them with the best weapons and technology developer at every unit must be -- developed. every unit must be prepared to deploy and accomplish its mission through these are the fundamental duties of the secretary of army and if confirmed i intend to do them well. this means growing the forceful maintaining quality reshaping it to be more robust and successful and modernizing it with the best weapons available to guarantee clear over match in future conflicts. for modernization to be successful, the secretary must articulate their vision championed by this committee. this includes changing requirements are set, ensuring accountability prototyping and , demonstrating systems early and involving the private sector and involving the private sector much more. ,we must provide our soldiers with the tools they need to fight with when they need them. the vents dollars are not where they need to be.
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in the meantime, the army must exercise her stewardship of his resources. third party is sufficient the. to achieve this identity by an active role in the army's acquisition program. i will reduce bureaucracy and reagan interest see out of organizations. i will promote audits ready culture. lastly, if confirmed, i will wish -- approach my duties with the behaviors used to maximize effectiveness. i will collaborate broadly and treat others with respect. andll encourage innovation empower people and hold leaders accountable. these principles of the lives, promoted, and it held day in and day out. members of this committee, thank you for timing considerations they. having served on capitol hill, i know well critical armed
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responsibilities. and what you expect. i look forward to working with the committee to ensure the army is ready to deploy on a battlefield, on any day, on any condition. i am grateful for your consideration in my nomination and look forward to your question. >> thank you. distinguished jurors of this committee, thank you for the update to appear today. -- opportunity to appear today. appreciate the trust and confidence that cap recently. i look forward to assuming the responsibilities of the u.s. the eye. -- usdi. i would like to recognize my
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family or not here in person. they have on thursday greatly. my father, who left columbia medical school in 1939 to fight in world war ii. my grandfather who wanted two sisters,ea martha and mary. my wife jan is always patriotic and always ordered and always very. she was along for much of my military career. she was too often called upon the boards and console the families of casualties under my command. by willingness to service for the men and women is handed our country. they deserve the best from us. they will have my unwavering commit. the fidelity of intelligence combined skill and courage of those in women is crucial to our
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nation's security. combat a contingency operations, i have placed a high value on intelligent support. it allows us to. it allows us to exploit tells. experience, law enforcement enterprises were vital computers to our operation. collective and collaborative intelligence get abilities. if confirmed, that will continue. i will provide intelligence support to war fighters and national security decision-makers. proactively collaborating across the department of defense the intelligence enterprise and with our allies and emerging foreign partners. and finally leveraging commercial technologies and innovations were they can -- where they can support mission success and address other internal and external
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security threats and challenges. we must collect process and life -- and analyze information from all domains. use all our abilities. our intelligence enterprise must be trained and equipped to do so as well. in closing, i'm committed to working very closely with this committee and other committees to provide the information you to carry out oversight of. -- oversight responsibilities. >> thank you, mr. robert. thank you, mr. chairman. members of the committee, thank you for your consideration for my nomination to assistant secretary of defense for chemical and biological defense programs.
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it is an honor and a privilege to be considered. i wish to thank the president and secretary mattis. of course, i will tremendous debt of gratitude to my family, my wife, my two sons, who regrettably cannot be here today. love, support, and sacrificed have been uplifting and without it i wouldn't be here today. i'd also like to express my appreciation to the men and women who have served in the to serve in uniform. .here sacrifices our norm us we cannot thank them enough -- sacrifices are enormous. i cannot thank them enough. i want to make sure that they as well as all merrick and start the print active on the threat of weapons administration and use. i look forward to working with the rest of the defense team to implement the present plan, to
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rebuild our military, and to ensure safe against tyranny. ensure safety and security. experienceears participating in an negotiating bilateral agreements and overseeing our nato did her posture. makes the uniquely qualified. this is as serving as a military or. -- military officer training programs as an academic. official innior policy where i worked as -- on issues that you to be difficult. beissues that continue to difficult.
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as nato's deputy assistant secretary general and regular policy, i work as it with our allies to help shape our policy. i developed and implemented deputypolicy to counter -- wmd corporation. appreciation keen for the importance of regular consultation and working closely with partners and allies. anticipate having to work closely with such partners. as well as with my agency counterparts. most importantly, the president has prioritized modernization.
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i will make sure we have nuclear capabilities. and institute declaratory laycies that credibly does that aggression is not a rational option. we must stop and counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction possession and use. i will work closely with other dod component to ensure that state and nonstate actors never have the opportunity to wire and use these weapons and disrupt our forces, our allies, or home. finally if confirmed i looked forward to working with this committee to support developing and modernizing capabilities to
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deter adversaries reassure allies against the spread of and respond to the threat of wmd proliferation news. thank you again and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much mr. roberts. i would just like to make a comment here and that is the reason why these nominations have not been acted on as rapidly as possible is because of failures of communication between this committee and the pentagon which is a shame since i have known them for many many years. we expect from you as in the -- as i opened westjet, not only communication and cooperation. that is something that is our constitutional responsibility and i hope that you appreciate it. dr. esper, from time to time
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there is frustration on this committee because of failures of major weapons systems. for example over the last 10 , years or so we have wasted about $40 billion on programs like the future combat system , comanche attack, the crusader howitzer, the joint tactical radio system, and the distributed common ground system army. most recently, the committee has learned of the failure of the warfighter information network tactical known as wind t. this program has cost the taxpayer over $6 billion and has yet to meet the requirements of our warfighters. just tell you now that is
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not acceptable. it's not acceptable for the taxpayers of america and is not acceptable to the members of this committee. we made several changes over the last couple of years in the defense authorization bill but we do not want any more of these failures. you lose credibility with the american people when they -- a program as to be canceled and it cost the taxpayers over six dollars. please keep that in mind. exercising careful scrutiny. we can't keep wasting billions of dollars like this. we just can't. the message you get from every member of the committee on both sides. , dr. esper, you have a strength of over one million soldiers. army remains one service in the
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greatest demand by the combat commanders. all the while it works to build readiness. is the current budget adequate and continue?get >> i do not think so. no sir, it is not. no, chairman, i do not believe it is efficient. >> army leaders have asserted readiness as already number 1 -- as priority number one.
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>> i think with only one third of the brigade combat teams and 25% of the combat aviation is ready, engaging in a conflict with the conducting interest. significant risk. >> we often hear of another issue can turning cyber. tax.ations of all the old attacks. of what russians did to affect our outcomes of elections. as far as we can tell, for the last eight years, there has not
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been a strategy in cyber that would be translated to policy which would be translated to action. we have provisions in the defense authorization bill. we have a cyber subcommittee. how important do you think this issue is? i think a cyber threat is one of the most concerning threats to our nation's day. -- nation today. cyber activities, we have to commit ourselves to prove protecting our networks and mitigating the impacts of malicious activity. capabilityoffense of . it's a serious threat that we
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need to take seriously. it is a borderless warfare domain. there are actors attempting to undermine our democracy. whether it be stealing our technology or trying to influence our election. >> we look forward to working thisyou because still to day we do not see a discernible issuegy on confronting an that under certain circumstances have undermined democracy. they are fundamental of selecting our leaders. add, we intend to move your nominations through as quickly as possible. we need you to get to work. thank you for your testimony
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and service. esper, let me associate myself with the chairman's initial remarks. the unfortunate failures on programs going all the way back , can you give us a sense of how you are going to approach this issue? how are you going to take it on? concerns inour regard to the modernization record. it is wrought with a number of mistakes in the past. it has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and left soldiers without the tools they need to be successful. the era of minor fixes is over. we need to rework the whole
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process. to do that means you need to take a holistic approach -- approach. you are trying to get on a fundamentally new system that in the end changes culture as well. a number ofeen reports in the past to give us a roadmap to do that. there was a very good report that chairman mccain was a part of. the requirements are getting all the right players to the table at the same time and having a process that incorporates all those folks that is stable. assignments, and create clear accountability. what the army announced recently our steps in the right direction
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but to me the key is getting rid of bureaucratic -- bureaucratic habits. connection to industry both private and commercial. prototyping, eight demonstrating, using other transactional authorities. fundamentally overhauling the system. >> thank you for your service both here and in many other places. one of the issues this committee is sexualled with harassment. yetdepartment has not created a comprehensive policy with that regard. can you give us a commitments that you will work on that? >> yes, sir.
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there were several items in that place by were set in the fy 15. i think given the current climate, it is now more than ever. you view it as a serious issue? >> yes, very serious. >> one of the issues i alluded to is the lack of overhead isr. was one of the factors in nigergerian situation -- situation. how do we fix that? we have other demands like the korean peninsula that will put more pressure on the allocation
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of isr. overhead isr in general, there is an insatiable demand for that. provides the higher opportunity for mission success and protects your force. the adjudication process we go through, my top priority is fire support. they are going to be in support of the war fighter. mean there are not opportunities to support other organization. i haven't seen an investigation er but isr could have benefited that, i'm sure. >> thank you for your service. again, concerned about the ability for the nsa to
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support dod through the plutonium pit production process . we are looking at a recapitalization of our nuclear roughly $1.5ich is trillion to $1.9 trillion. part of that is getting plutonium pits. can you give us a sense of that? >> senator, when i first started this process, i was surprised to find out we don't have the capability of production right now. committee has looked that and raised this issue. is one of the highest priorities i had to work with the nsa to find out the latest. back int perplexing,
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2014, they have indicated there was a solution and then subsequently there was a series of looking at other alternatives. i've seen the letter this committee have sent. i believe the concerns are legitimate. >> thank you. >> i have to say i want to blow a little smoke at you guys because in the 30 years i've here i've never seen a group of nominees more qualified than you for. i think we are going to turn this corner now because we have the right people at the helm. question ask the same .f all four of you i've been trying to explain to people what's been happening to our military.
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the threat is different than any kind of threat we face before. i did not have the credibility to sell that the with the uniform starts talking about that it makes a big difference. and i am that happened proud to tell the unvarnished truth. only a third of our brigade combat teams were ready, one fourth of our air brigade, and then general dunford said to this committee, it was pretty shocking. don't address this, we will lose our qualitative and competitive advantage. that is a pretty shocking statements. i just want to ask two questions, yes or no. would you agree with -- would you agree with these statements?
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yes. yes. >> yes. >> would you be just as straightforward and honest as these uniforms? >> yes. >> yes. >> i believe you will. not only the uniforms are important for the secretaries are important. i feel that way. wrote,er, general milli talking about the goal is rained readiness, he said the goal of 66% to achieveve in a combat ready status. at any moment.
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now would you say that under this model, do you think that we are on track to reach that goal? is that thetanding army is on track to reach that goal. my personal view is that is not fast enough. if confirmed, i would like to work with leaders to accelerate that. challengesgiven the on the international scene. >> let me complement you. the answer you gave to senator reid's questions about acquisition problems and a definitive answer on how to address that i thought was a very good answer. wilkie, i remember so well, a guy that has always been a real hero to me is jesse helms. i remember going to his funeral. we talked about that.
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i would say to my friend, senator tillis:, that that is one of the main things that i look at when i look at you and your extensive service that you have had in the past. i'm grateful to know that you understand our readiness challenge. i chair the readiness committee and i've been very concerned inut where we are today terms of your top priority going forward. affectedur budget cuts our military readiness capacity and capability? it is important to answer this question now. in terms of the debate that is going on today. >> if we start from the premise that we have never faced the breath of the strategic challenges that we have now, that leads you to only one answer, that unless the department of defense has a steady and understandable stream
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, as any other business would have, then it would not the capable of playing in a field where we continue to have an unfair advantage over our adversaries. >> a good answer, but it is unfortunate. what are some of the options we have to expand the draft cool? >> it is a society-wide problem.
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what i don't believe the department has done, as we moved into the 21st century is adopt the modes of information collection at america's young people have. we have not mastered social media. we have not mastered something i consider to be fundamental and that is online recruiting across the country. we have also had situations in the last 15-20 years where the ,irst experience that our youth at one time had with the military, if they were not with a community tied to an installation, was junior rotc. we are losing those units across the country. obviously, in a time of budget crunching, that is probably low on the list, but if you are looking at the long-term, if you're looking at trying to change the perception of young americans, those kind of interactions and the ability of the government through the
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department to adapt to the way young people think is vital or we will never get caught up. >> time has expired, but that is a great answer. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman and congratulations to all of you and thank you for being willing to consider taking on these positions. coming youtimony said that your first priority will be readiness and ensuring the total army is prepared to fight. can you elaborate on specifically how you would improve readiness and modernize the national guard? >> this, senator. as i note in my opening statement, i had the privilege to serve on active duty and in the guard, so i know all three components fairly well. clearly in the last 16 years of fighting in afghanistan and iraq , we have learned that the guard and reserve are not just a strategic reserve, but a critical operational component of that. , ih that context in mind
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think it is critical as we try to put readiness on a better footing in the we look at four key areas. improving munitions stockpiles, that equipment is better maintained, the training through high-end is conducted through the combat training centers, and in terms of personnel, units are fully manned. allink that applies to three areas. we need to make sure that national guard brigade contact teams are there as well. don'tost people appreciate is that the majority of the total army is in the guard reserve. it is critical that we train as a total army in all of those regards across the spectrum of conflict. >> thank you, i appreciate that and i look forward to having you come up to new hampshire to see the challenges we face without guard and reserve in new hampshire. mr. wilkie, thank you very much for your work for sen. tillis
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on the special immigrant visa program. that was very helpful and that is very important as we support our men and women on the battlefield. i want to ask you about the health care system in the military. kids vacs is a universal vaccine program to ensure that vaccines go to children regardless of a family income. the only health insurance plan that does not pay the kids back x's tri-care. when you commit to this committee that you will focus on getting this matter resolved? >> yes, senator. the program impacts 10 states. new hampshire having the largest complaint against the system and i will pledge that i would look
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at that, as well as a number of other things with tri-care, but getting our children vaccinated would be a top priority for any undersecretary. >> thank you very much. senator mccain talked about the importance of cyber and you agreed with that in your response. charge tell me who is in of the cyber strategy for the united states? not just as in the department of defense, but throughout the federal government. >> so, i would just say i'm familiar with the department of defense side for building a cyber strategy and that we are fundamentally committed to that. >> can you tell me who is in charge at the department of defense? >> i think it is a collective responsibility right now. i have responsibility in the intelligence realm and i have responsibility for developing
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the strategy chairman mccain discussed. the issue is that it is such a prolific and important issue to be addressed because it involves everybody in our country, not just civilian, not just military, our infrastructure, our networks, all of it has to be addressed. i believe it is going to be a whole of government approach. , somebody has to be in charge, mr. kernan. >> that was my point, senator mccain. right now, we don't have somebody who can be held accountable and to everyone knows is the person in charge if something goes wrong. , in your testimony, to talk about working develop a nuclear posture that is responsive to today's threats and challenges and instituting declarative policies that credibly convey that aggression
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of any kind is not an option. what do you mean by that? what kind of policies do we need to have in place? the concern is not only toing the capabilities indicate to our adversaries that aggression is not a rational option, but also the political that ifmake it clear indeed you attack us, you will pay a terrible price. having that posture, which right now i feel is difficult to convey because of the fact that we have, for so long, undercapitalized of nuclear deterrent and we are approaching a time where we've got to replace all of those things at a very high cost and that is going to be a challenge. >> are you suggesting that we should be prepared to engage in nuclear war against their enemies? >> senator, i believe we should
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be prepared to engage so we never have to engage. i've often said that we use nuclear weapons every single day because it is a political tool more than a military one. >> i certainly think that that made sense against the soviets and was very effective, i'm not sure it makes as much sense against north korea. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator rounds. >> thank you mr. chairman. let me add my surprise to that of senator shaheen and chairman mccain with regard to, mr. -- or, the response rather, i would say perhaps in nonresponse to who would actually be responsible for the cyber challenges our nation faces.
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it points out and i would not suggest that you were -- wein your response actually requested members of the white house to actually in one of our hearings here to discuss this issue and they declined to even attend and that type of an attitude is the wrong attitude with regard to finding the appropriate way to respond to attacks and the defense of our country in the cyber realm. what i would ask is this. a commitment with regard to your responsibilities to participate and to be able to respond the next time that we ask you to come back, in terms of laying out a plan to at least identify a person who would be responsible for cyber defenses within the whole of government, within the united states government system, would you commit to that, sir? >> i'm absolutely committed to
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that and i would second coming from the military that there needs to be somebody in charge to make it work and are absolutely committed to that and bringing the department of defense cyber concerns, cyber perspectives into helping the whole of government effort. >> and would you, once again, would you agree with us or would you concur with us that right now it is difficult to determine who is actually responsible for of responsibility today >>? >> i would concur that it is difficult to address the that is. it is not focused under one person, that i'm aware of. >> thank you. to just curious, with regard north korea's nuclear weapons -- they have gotten a lot of attention lately, but i think we
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should remind people about their chemical weapons stockpile. open source documents estimate the north korea has 5000 tons of chemical weapons and is likely to use them if a conflict breaks out. in 2009, the army published a report on counter weapons of mass distraction, which stated the army lacks the full range of capabilities required to support -- joint force commander additionally come in 2015, a report identified a serious gap between the magnitude of the weapons of mass destruction threat and dod's resource priorities for counter wmd missions. can either of you speak to the readiness to mitigate the impact of potential north korean use of chemical weapons? >> senator, i will take the first stab at that. concern.n area of
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much like the rest of the army, the forces are not fully prepared. there are 130 teams and a quarter are ready to go, are deemed ready. we are working to continue that area. is preparede army to engage, this is a threat that we faced. this is something i experienced in the gulf war. we were in a different training posture at that time in the armenians to get back to a similar posture as we look at adversaries potentially in asia and europe. >> if i can add, senator, that is an area of concern that i'm certainly very concerned about. we looked at the threat and the focus has been on the nuclear side, but clearly the north koreans have a large chemical capability and i'm very much worried about the biological capability that they have, as well.
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we know from unclassified reporting that they have a program from defectors that have told us that. this is one area where we really are not well prepared to deal with. that is one of the things that, if confirmed, i plan on addressing very strongly. >> would both of you commit that perhaps time is of the essence with regard to that particular issue? >> yes, sir. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. >> sen. blumenthal:. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to join the previous comments of my colleague, most particularly the chairman, in calling attention to the importance of our personnel for all of the extraordinary equipment and advanced technology that we bring to bear to the battlefield. it is, at the end of the day, our people who are our greatest resource.
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senator -- the remarks made previously about the excellent qualifications of these nominees and i want to thank and congratulate each of you. before ask any questions, i want to just raise for the committee's consideration news about the ruling in a case now pending in guantánamo, in fact, camp justice, as it is perhaps incorrectly called -- a ruling by the air force colonel --siding over the case holding in contempt of court brigadier general john baker, a 28-your marine corps veteran, second highest-ranking marine corps lawyer, sentencing him to 21 days of confinement and a $1000 fine simply for raising
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the issue about a potential conflict of interest for ethical problem -- or ethical problem with the three lawyers assigned to that death penalty case at guantánamo. i'm deeply troubled by this decision. i find it very, very questionable indeed, potentially contrary to our justice system, and i hope that our committee will bring oversight to this matter and this case and to the conduct of military justice at guantánamo. committeean led this and requiring the last administration to end guantánamo, but they fail to follow through on the chairman's
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direction. this job now belongs to the present administration and this committee has expressed very constructive interest in making sure that the justice system works there in accordance with our due process requirements. obviously, i'm not asking the witnesses to respond, but i hope that the department of defense will turn its attention and give us a briefing on what is happening there. i also recognize its possibilities for intervention may be limited. i know all of our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in troubledcity and i'm by the president's eliminating funding to the program in new york city whose sole purpose is responders. first
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years toed for over 65 keep our communities safe from nuclear, biological, and radiological attacks. cuts, in mythese view, they are careless and contradictory, would weaken our against terrorist attacks. i sent a letter to the appropriations committee urging $3.4 million in fy 18. whether you to know will support the funding for this laboratory, which is essential to our national defense. senator, i'm not familiar with the lab or the issue, but i
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certainly will look into it and we are more than willing to work with you on this issue. i believe that we need to continue making investments, research and development is critical to the army's future readiness and on this particular issue, i would like to follow-up with you on that if confirmed. >> i appreciate that. mr. roberts, i think you will have in particular jurisdiction over this issue. labenator, i believe that is under the department of homeland security, but saying that, of course, dealing with the potential attack to our homeland, the department of defense will work closely with the department of homeland security and identify particular gaps that, frankly, if this closure would result in a gap, that is something we need to address, so i certainly will commit to looking into this is confirmed. >> i appreciate you saying you will look into it. i would like you, if you would, to respond in writing and tell
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me what your position will be. >> if unconfirmed. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. st: gentlemen, thank you for continuing your service to the united states. i would like to ask you simple yes or no questions. do you commit to cutting wasteful spending and making it a priority? >> yes, senator. >> do you commit to working with major combat and prevent military sexual assault and retaliation in the army? >> yes, senator. >> will you provide me with advanced notice should changes to the gender integration policies be considered? >> yes, senator. >> do you commit to an unbiased and transparent approach through the acquisition process? >> yes, senator. >> i appreciate that, those answers very much. now on to a more open discussion. in your advanced policy
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questions, you state, i also believe small arms modernization is an area very suitable for outrage to the commercial sector for an off-the-shelf or easily adaptable solution for a new weapon. i do agree with that. i also feel that full and open competition is paramount to making sure that our soldiers get the very best weapons into their hands. so, can you speak to the importance of full and open competition and can i get your commitment that you will make this a priority? >> yes, ma'am, first of all, let me give you the commitment i would pursue full and open competition on everything we can. answering your first question, my experience on this side, on the government side, my time on the hill, and more recently in the industry, i witnessed firsthand that competition does
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two things, it drives quality and it drives lower price. more we can open the aperture to include the widest , weer of participants should pursue it. in my mind, the key thing is getting the soldiers the tools, equipment, and weapons they need as soon as they can at the best price, the best value being the key criteria. >> i appreciate that. at a time when our competitors ,re outpacing us in small arms we have to figure out the best way to get those weapons into our soldiers' hands. i'm sure you know the military has made progress in reducing the number of sexual assaults from 26,000 down to just slightly less than 15,000 over the past four years, while keeping adjudication of sexual assault cases within the chain of command. yet, we need continued
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improvement. there is no doubt about that. given your many years of leadership in the army, i'm confident that you understand the responsibility and accountability that commanders assume on a daily basis. do is talkd like to and little bit to that. do you think for the reductions in sexual assault like that we have seen over the past four years will be possible without the ability to hold our military commanders accountable? and can you outline how the commanders' role in the process has placed them in a position to be held accountable? first let me say up front that there is no room whatsoever in the army for sexual assault, orsexual retaliation against anybody in that regard. it is a terrible thing, it cannot be tolerated. all it does is undermined readiness of individuals, units, it takes down cohesion, so there must be zero tolerance whatsoever.
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, i was anote commander, i understand well the commander's duty is to maintain good order and discipline. in my view, having that full toolkit of authorities available to him or her is critical to maintaining good order and discipline. it is also critical that the commander understands that it is his or her responsibility to maintain the right culture in a unit, to make sure that the soldiers under their command understand the sexual harassment , assault, retaliation will not be tolerated. my concern is that if we consider pulling some of those tools out of the toolkit, that the commander will be less able to deal with it and may feel like it is less their responsibility, which my concern is it would set us back rather than forward. i think the army has put a number of programs in place, the senior leadership is working this issue hard. in some cases, we see the numbers moving in the right direction with regard to
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reductions and increases in reporting and in other cases, we don't. will take very i seriously if confirmed and my aim is continue to drive that number down. decreasee have seen a in those numbers, they are not yet good enough, so we have to continue. i hope you will be willing to continue working with this issue army. we do need our commanders to set that level and culture of dignity and respect in our army units. thank you very much for your commitment. thank you. >> i would like to thank the senator for all of her hard work on this very important issue. thank you. senator heinrich. >> welcome, gentlemen. mr. roberts, as you know, los alamos national laboratory is the nation's center of excellence for plutonium research and is currently the only facility in the country capable of meeting the pentagon's production cost and
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schedule requirements. i've got a copy of a july 2014 letter from the nuclear weapons council where, in response to section 3114 of the nda, they tell congress that the national nuclear security administration will begin the process of designing and building modular buildings for pit production at los alamos because it meets those requirements. i know my staff has shared that letter with you and i understand that senator reid may have raised it earlier in the hearing while i was at energy and natural resources. you, do youk support the continuation of the plutonium pit mission at los alamos as endorsed by the nuclear weapons council for which you will be the executive director? >> thank you, senator. indeed, i did -- thank you for the letter, i have not seen that before. it is clear what the nuclear weapons council had decided. frankly, once i looked into it and saw the letter that this committee sent in response in
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september, i was a little surprised that nothing has happened. in fact, i agree with your statement or the committee that the analysis of alternatives is a rehashing of decisions that have already been made. if confirmed, this is a high-priority issue that has a major impact on our ability to produce plutonium pits and i think we are falling behind the mandate of being able to do that , produce up to 80 by 2027. i will look into that. >> that is exactly my concern. i would ask you that if there is any deviation or delay from the nuclear weapons council endorsed back in july 2014, that i have your commitment to simply instruct the pentagon's independent cable office to look at the independent analysis to make sure that the assumptions and conclusions of proposed
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alternatives set that. >> yes, senator, i'm not quite familiar to the extent that i can tell them what to do, i will do it. thank you. >> thank you. octor, this committee has authorized funding to train and advise foreign security forces so that they can take a greater responsibility for their own security. army'sinly welcome the decision earlier this year to set up five additional grades that will -- brigades that will specialize in this growing mission area. as you know, currently, there are $170 million worth of new, modern facilities currently sitting vacant at white sands missile range. given the budget constraints that we are under, i just would simply ask you that as you look as to wear to station security force assistance brigades, that you will take into account the
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ability to use existing facilities rather than build brand-new facilities, if they meet the requirements for those locations. >> yes, senator, i will. i also want to think the army about adjusting the boundaries of white sands missile range and a national monument to support those missions. the army staff and wise as has been very helpful in putting
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that process together. i want to shift gears in my last seconds to mr. kernan. one area technology where we are seeing a lot of increase in activity and commercial 70, i just want -- commercial space activity, i just want to ask you how should the department and intelligence community should broadly leverage commercial space as part of the overall portfolio addressing space issues? mr. kernan: it's important we leverage commercial activity to include space and a cyber. space is unique domain that we andld treat just as land sea. space provides incredibly important support to things we do. so i am an advocate supporter of the mission.
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i will certainly do that if i am confirmed. >> thank you. >> senator wicker. dr. esper, we appreciate you being here, your willingness to testimony, and your service, both in the past and in the future. i have task you today involving my home state of mississippi, where we manufacture helicopters and also uniforms. i mention this because it involves the industrial base, but also, it involves items that our troops need. lakota treating helicopter, which airbus makes in columbus, mississippi. in 2015, there was an award of lakota helicopters. ensued, andispute those helicopters are being held up, pending the court case.
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in 2017, the appropriations committee appropriated 28 lakotas, a separate matter entirely. they gave clear directive , language for the army to purchase the lakota's. i brought this up in a previous hearing with the acting secretary of the army as to why this clear language by the appropriations committee in the past had not been followed. he said something to the effect of the court case. that is not true. there are 60 lakota's involved in the court case. subsequent to that, this congress ordered the army to purchase 28 lakota's. and that is not being held up in
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a court case. sounds like an excuse to me. i want you to be aware of the detrimental impacts this situation is having on the industrial base but also on army pilot training. and i want to ask you, do you believe the army secretary should follow clear language expressed in legislation? >> yes, senator, i do. >> are you familiar? >> i am a little familiar with the case, yes or. >> how i -- yes, sir. >> have i gotten it wrong at all? >> i trust your facts, sir. so if it is in your power expedite those contracts are signed into law? >> yes, senator. if confirmed, i will work
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closely with your office to resolve it as weekly as possible. >> we really do need to resolve it. the other thing involves uniforms. withreating the uniforms insecticides. we have been doing this in mississippi for years. you manufacture the uniform, then they put the insecticide on. , in the in their wisdom department of the army, decided that we should treat the fabric first. it into cut it and sew a uniform. i can tell you the people working in the plants don't like this. because obviously, you have a chemically treated these of fabric, you are cutting it, and it is getting into the air that they brave -- breathe, and it becomes a problem. i cannot fathom why the army would want to change an
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efficient and proven process that leaves no environmental waste. and that is to make the uniform, then treat it. if confirmed, will you get somebody to look into this issue and then get back to us to make some sense out of that? >> yes, sir. >> good. i will yield back the remaining 50 seconds of my time. >> senator peter's. chairman, andmr. thank you for each of our nominees here today for your willingness to serve. dr. esper, i would like to ask about ground vehicle modernization, particularly the abrams platform. i believe modernization of the army's ground combat vehicles is one of the most pressing issues we face as a nation. earlier in a subcommittee
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hearing, there was testimony the abrams tank is not only at the top of its class and not overmatch, compared to our allies and competitors. this is concerning to all of us. i know it is concerning to you as well. we want to make sure our soldiers always have the advantage. never a fair fight. and this information is of great concern. last year, general mcmaster testified that at the current funding levels, the bradley fighting vehicle and abrams tank will "soon be obsolete but will remain in the army inventory for the next 50 to 70 years." our allies and competitors are investing significant resources into rapid modernization. current for justin's -- projections estimate it will take us 20 years to upgrade the current way unless we fast-track vehicle modernization strategy. there are other options to
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modernize the fleet at a much faster pace to save billions of dollars. multi-procurement. contracting or options that offer potential savings. so how do you believe the army should increase the armed force structure and upgrade the abrams fleet to address known vulnerabilities and imaging threats? >> first of all, i share your concern about the age of our current ground combat vehicles. they have been in service as long as i have been, going back to the early 1980's. the army has made a number of upgrades to keep them as effective on the battlefield as possible. but as you expressed, i am deeply concerned at what point we are no longer able to upgrade them. so one of the things i hope to look at is the timelines and how
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to accelerate that, so we can build a new combat -- ground combat vehicle and tank sooner or later. this committee has put important fy that callsthe for prototyping and demonstrate in these vehicles. we should look at what other partners are developing to see what we can adopt or build from. in the meantime, it is critical we continue with the upgrades happening with both the bradley and the abrams. with the abrams, it is the v-3 upgrades, enhancing its survival, power, lethality. that is critical to overmatch. but we cannot wait another 10, 15, 20 years to design and build another vehicle. >> i am encouraged about that answer as well as your answer about prototyping. you see prototyping as something
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we can use to accelerate the process? >> absolutely. it is critical. we could prototype earlier in the process. which means if we have those prototypes, we can test them, either in training scenarios or in real-world deployments, where we might be able to use them. prototyping is the way we need to continue to go. >> dr. esper, when we have the opportunity to meet in my office, we had a discussion about autonomy and robotics, some of the abilities that have, artificialome out intelligence and others. i spoke to you about the research and development arm in michigan, which is engaged in pretty cutting edge technology. but we also need to capitalize on the innovation in the private sector. so tardac is working closely with general motors.
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it has a wonderful prototype in hydrogen fuel cell technology. but there is a host of other areas we need to explore as well. how do you believe the army can best capitalize working with the private sector, and how do you do that if confirmed? >> we absolutely need to do that. the army needs to engage the private sector, research facilities, companies, and entities, looking at robotics and autonomy. one of the things we discussed, which, the vision for me, is looking at around convoys -- ground convoys. rather than scores of trucks moving between destinations, much as we had during the iraq war between kuwait and baghdad, hauling supplies, you can now do that autonomously, no longer putting at risk soldiers to do such tasks, yet completing them probably more efficiently. what that does is also free up manpower in your ranks.
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and that is one example of a future i can envision. and i think we need to look across the board. the army is doing this in not just economy but robotics to help the soldier. drones are critical to provide surveillance opportunities. there needs to be greater outreach, greater partnership between the private sector and dod on these matters, if we are really going to maintain the overmatch we need our future battle yields. >> thank you very much. >> senator king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. esper, i serve as ranking cotton,ith chairman tom raise a number of issues about modernization. i agree that after current readiness, modernization is your number one priority. in fact, i would venture to say
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it may be your legacy. we have had a series of failures over the past dozen or 20 years. it just cannot continue. modernization is the future of readiness, and if we don't have that, we will not get there. i just want to have your earnest commitment to this significant challenge. >> absolutely, senator. modernization is critical to future readiness. i am convinced, however, we cannot modernize the force unless we completely overhaul the current acquisition system. >> you anticipated my next question. >> so my commitment is working with army leadership to do just that. i think they have gotten off to a good start with the ideas that have been discussed and that they are putting into play. i think that will help us to get the current system into position where we can do a much better job in terms of delivering to the soldiers the tools,
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equipment that they need. >> over the past four or five years, i have probably been to a dozen hearings or more that have touched on procurement one way or another. themes --ring certain one is built off a stable design. get a design before you build. don't do r&dd is in the middle of building. and quite often, that is an issue. we are trying to do r&d in the middle of constructing large objects like aircraft carriers. third, use off-the-shelf technology as often as possible. senator mccain has made a very strong point in the past about the 200 page spec of the new handgun. -- thatit off the shelf should be the first option rather than the last option. number four, design platforms
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with an open architecture that are modular. when you are doing a large platform like a new tank or a land combat vehicle, the danger is the technology in that vehicle will be obsolete by the time it is built. therefore, it should be designed in such a way in order to pull out technological parts and replace them. and finally -- this is one i have heard repeatedly -- you have to really take care asked her who is in charge of this procurement process and provide continuity. see if you can keep people in that, with the program, for some period of time so it does not stop and start. do you concur with those? that is based on what i have been hearing. >> absolutely. you hit the key things i have outlined in my apq's. the most important is accountability. making sure you know who is in charge. that involves changing the personnel system, so there is clear alignment and responsibility of handoff from
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milestone to milestone. or from face to face in the process. >> part of that is also making the procurement process reasonably timely, some people do not wait -- reach retirement age while they are waiting for the system. >> the challenge in the past is the reach has exceeded the requirements. so rather than striving for perfect -- we cannot left the perfect tv enemy of the better. so pursuing the 80% solution now and building in modularity so we can upgrade later is critical. the success of the big five systems, going back to the 1980's, was because the secretary protected them in terms of funding and protected them in terms of good ideas that came up later in the process. thee is a classic story of apaches and their patchy longbow -- those systems would not have -- fourplace or
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operation desert storm. it is time to go to work to get the system right. >> when my people talk to me about how long things will take, i remind them that eisenhower took europe in 11 months. that is a good time frame. final question. you are taking on a very important position. my main concern, as a member of this committee and the intelligence committee, is redundancy and overlap in terms of military intelligence and civilian intelligence. we are talking $70 billion a year between the two functions. , just hope that can be a focus and where there is overlap or redundancy, we can work to reduce that. >> yes, if i am confirmed, i will be completely committed to that. we are in such a resource constrained environment, we
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we cannot afford to do that. we should leverage those capabilities. we should not have duplicity. >> we will continue to keep in touch with you on that subject. >> senator warren. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. esper, i appreciate the chance we had to meet in my office. like chairman mccain, i am concerned about the number of nominees coming from the big five defense contractors. and as you know, avoiding conflicts of interest is very important to me. first, your letter to the dod general counsel ethics office states he will not participate in particular matters involving your former employer for a period of one year. but your letter also states you will comply with the white ethics pledge, which you to recused yourself over two years.
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can you confirm for the record that you will recuse yourself for two years for all matters involving raytheon? >> yes. >> also, i would like to ask the specifics of your job at raytheon when you served as vice president of government relations over the last seven years. which particular army programs did you lobby on behalf of during your time there? >> i actually spent the overwhelming majority of my time on the business side of the company -- >> fair enough. but i would like to know about the program you lobbied on a behalf of. >> there were three programs that were of such important i personally engaged the hill on over the past two years. the patriot radar systems in support of the army's budget
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request. also, pushing the army to accelerate its next generation radar. because the company thought we could revive capability to the soldiers sooner than the current timeline. the second is the elevated surveillance and fire control radar program, designed to protect the capital region. that program has now ended. the third program i worked on was distributed common ground system army increment two. angress was pushing for legislation only solution, and raytheon opened that up as a way to drive competition. to drive down price. >> those were the three -- you use the word "personally." did you oversee lobbying in other areas? teame lobbyists -- the that reported to me, i oversaw all of their opportunities across all services. >> said everything that raytheon
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lobbied on, basically. >> yes. that was one of my response abilities out of several. >> thank you. the ethics u cited allows you to seek regulatory exemption for your refusal involving matters involving your former employer. i know you have had conversations this involving the chairman. and you pledged not to seek a waiver. i appreciate that. but i hope you go further than the two-year occlusal -- recusal requirement. would be willing to commit to recuse yourself from particular matters you identified for the duration of your time in office? >> i do not see that as a problem right now -- >> is that yes? >> it is not. what i would like to do, if confirmed, is come back to see if there is an issue, and then come back to you if there is one. important to is take these ethics obligations seriously. the american people need to have
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that the officials at the pentagon are working for them. that starts with completely and fully stepping back from decisions that will have a an impact on the former employees former employers of those officials. if i can, i would like to has -- ask one other question quickly. i received several complaints from the massachusetts national guard officers about the delays of federal recognition of their promotions. according to a letter received, the current processing time is between six and eight months. in the a morale issue massachusetts state guard now. i imagine it is a problem in other units as well. if confirmed, will you commit to breaking me and my staff about why these delays are occurring ?
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>> if confirmed, i will. >> we have to speed this up before the morale problem spreads. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would like to say to my friend from massachusetts we will look into that. it seems to me that it is not a problem directly connected to the card promotion, but other aspects of it. is that your understanding? >> fair enough. i have heard about this more specifically from the guard. they brought it to my attention. but if it reflects a larger problem, then we need to deal with the larger problem. >> i would be eager to engage with you on this issue. we cannot have these kinds of delays. can keep people serving. honestly, this is the first i have heard of it. i would be glad to work with it
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-- work on it with you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to thent to say nominees, thank you for appearing. we will convene the committee probably tomorrow. we have all the paperwork to nominees to the full senate. then, there is the matter of scheduling, which there seems to be some problems with lately. but i hope that, given the aspects of these responsibilities, that we could go ahead and move them rather than 30 hours of non-debate debate. so i think you all. -- thank you all. i thank the witnesses. and this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> c-span's washington journal. live every day with news and policy issues that impact nuclear coming up this morning, warmer new york congressman chris gibson, sharing his ideas about revitalizing the american dream and how politics has divided the nation. former representatives jason altmire will discuss this. thealex ruoff will discuss children's health insurance program. join the discussion. the house ways and means committee begins its work on the billlicans' tax reform
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today before sending it for debate. watch live coverage today beginning at noon eastern on c-span 2 and and listen live using the free c-span radio app. tuesday is election day, with key governors races in new jersey and virginia. watch live coverage of victory and concession speeches from both races on the c-span networks. candidates in new jersey are democrat phil murphy and republican kim guadagno. in virginia, it is democrat ralph northam and republican ed gillespie. watch on c-span and listen on the free c-span radio app. >> this week on q&a,


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