tv Joint Chiefs Gen. Dunford at Atlantic Council CSPAN March 22, 2019 6:08am-7:01am EDT
causeway, at the right was the tower of the robert moses state park, there is robert moses framed by his monuments, intimidating. he got up, he had this wonderful charm and smiled, tough guy, still mighty, at the height of his power at 78 but still at the height of his power. he said, you are the young fellow who thinks he will write a book about me. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> next, a discussion about u.s. military strategy with the chair of the joint chief of staff at the atlantic council in washington, d.c. general joseph dunford talked about computer security, chinese military technology, and north koreans' nuclear program.
cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr moderated the discussion. it is about 50 minutes. [applause] one general dunford story. >> we did not rehearse this part. every once in a while, you run into general dunford unexpectedly. one day it was 5:00, and i was walking in some part of the pentagon, and barbara, what are you working on? i had no idea what i was working on. i was thinking about going home. never again will i be caught. if i run into general dunford, i have to have something i'm working on just in case. this is an informed audience. you guys know about the notion
of the return of great power competition, so i don't want to be the one to talk about that. i want to get right to it. we will talk for about 30 minutes and then turn to questions. general dunford, let's start with the why. why the return to great power competition? gen. dunford: i was going to make a couple of comments, and i think fred framed the idea of great power competition pretty well. let me share a quick story. this year, i started addressing the national war college in september. 1998 when i started as a student. it was 20 years. in preparation, i read the national security strategy from 1998. what did it say? to put it in perspective, it did not say anything about china.
it was not mentioned. it spoke about russia and the dialogue ongoing with nato. there was a lot about failing states at the extent it spoke about violent extremism and the nexus of violent extremism and weapons of mass destruction. so, you think about the whole period of the 1990's. we did not have a competitor economically, diplomatically, or militarily. we did not in 1998. you compare that to today and you have two states, both trying to establish preeminence in their respective geographical areas, and both trying to assert greater influence on a world stage. then, from a military perspective, what this really means is the path of capability development that china and russia has been on does challenge us in a number of areas. so, why is it important? our national military strategy,
the first thing you want to do is look at yourself. we said there were two things that make the u.s. military strong. one is our network of allies and partners, and the other the ability to project power when and where necessary. what has been going on with china and russia? they both recognize those strengths and recognize the strength of our allies and partners, and both recognize having carefully studied the u.s.'s ability to project power, they recognize the competitive advantage historically. what they are seeking to do is undermine the credibility of our alliance structure in europe and in the pacific. as the case may be. from a military perspective, they have been on a path of capability development to make it much more difficult to move in an area to meet our alliance commitments, and operate freely once we are there across land, sea, air, and space and cyberspace.
again, in the past, we took for granted our ability to project power to advance our interests. 1990's we took advantage of the access our alliance structure gave us. neither of those things can be taken for granted today. in a nutshell, when we think about great power competition, we look at allies and credibility with our allies and the ability for the u.s. military to do what it has historically done, to give us a competitive advantage. directly related to conventional deterrence. barbara: let's drill down on the russians just a little bit. you talked about adversaries' intentions and capabilities. you mentioned their intention appears to make it more difficult for the u.s. to project power. do you see an intention or a capability there? what is their military intention?
to cut to the bottom line, do you anticipate the russians are trying to develop a capability to attack the united states? gen. dunford: barbara, what they are developing is a capability to deny the united states to meet its commitments specifically in europe. many people are familiar with access denial. that term means to make it difficult in this case for us to get to europe and for us to operate freely once we get there. russia over the past 10 or 12 years in particular has made significant investments in and i ship cruise missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles, electronic warfare and anti-space and maritime capabilities. all of it focused on what they perceived to be our vulnerabilities. gen. dunford: -- barbara: that is an intention you see them developing, on the capabilitie'' side, how soon?
two years, three years, today? could they deny us the ability to get to europe? gen. dunford: let me address both the intention and the capability. there is no doubt that their capability is specifically tailored to prevent our commitment to europe. they see it as a threat. they are developing capabilities to do that. with regard to can they deny us the ability today? the answer is no, they cannot. can a contest us in a way they could not 15 years ago? there is no question. it would be more difficult to project power in europe today than it would have been 15 years ago. as we were focused on dealing with violent extremism, going back to studying what we did in the 1990's, they developed a range of capabilities to make it more difficult to do what they have seen us do in the past. barbara: if i understand you
correctly, if there was a contingency, it would be more difficult for the u.s. military to deploy to europe, to defend nato and other allies in europe than in the past? gen. dunford: first, let me make one thing clear. before we try to isolate one variable, when i look at nato and i look at the 29 nations of nato, economically, politically, militarily, i have no doubt that with will, we have a competitive advantage over russia and we can meet our alliance commitments as an alliance. yes, it would be more difficult to project power with europe than it would have been 15 years ago. no, russia is not in a position to deny us the ability to meet our objectives. it would take more time. it would be more costly. but we could do it. my evidence of that is i believe
today, russia is deterred from conventional action. i think what we see them doing is largely driven by the fact we have conventional deterrence in europe right now. barbara: that gets to the question, i suppose, of putin's military intentions and capabilities. he does have an expertise in that sort of gray zone. the line below conflict. do you see him having any intention of military conflicts with the u.s., or is he happy to stay below that line and aggravate things? gen. dunford: you described a gray zone and i call it adversarial competition below the level of for long conflict with the military dimension. we are talking about vladimir putin putting together cyber operations, economic coercion, political influence, unconventional military operations to advance his
objectives in places like georgia to the ukraine and so forth. that is what he's doing. there is a military dimension to that. i do not believe that putin has an intent of attacking a nato ally in the conventional sense because i think it is very clear that the price, the cost imposed on putin of doing that will exceed what he has to gain, the formula for deterrence in europe. barbara: but as you pointed out, after crimea, georgia, eastern ukraine, do you think he has given up on that type of action, or do you think he has further intentions to engage in that strategy again, somewhere in eastern europe. give us your assessment on where you are watching for this. gen. dunford: first of all, putin did things in the united states in the context of the 2016 election to try to undermine our democracy, and is conducting cyber operations
every day in europe. in many cases, it is ongoing. there is no indication that putin will back off the types of actions he has embarked upon cents 2015 in georgia. 2015 in georgia. can i add crimea? many analysts say crimea, there was no ally military solution to that? not that -- not a lot of way to get them out of there. gen. dunford: there has to be a political decision, but i will not speculate of what we might not have been able to do in crimea. you are talking nato, article five, and a coherent response. crimea is not the case. in our support, the military dimension of our support for the
ukraine as a whole is to help its defensive capabilities and assist so it can stand on its own. we don't have an alliance commitment to the ukraine. you did not have analyzed -- we did not have analyzed -- an alliance commitment in the case of crimea. barbara: you have mentioned cyber several times. cyber, when you look at the russians, and we will get to the chinese as well, but cyber is a full military domain. a full military issue i presume you spend a lot of time thinking about that. gen. dunford: we do. we recognize it as a domain. i look at the path of capability development we had been on and i can remember having discussions about how we would move ahead to develop capabilities. we have now developed, in the last four or five years, 133 cyber mission teams that are out there every day doing what must be done. our own cyber capabilities have
developed quite a bit, but putin has recognized that is one of the areas. earlier when i talked about perceived vulnerabilities, he believes in investments in cyber. it will be a high return for him. barbara: what can he do in the cyber world? to the u.s.? gen. dunford: number one, he can attempt to undermine democracy. we cannot think about cyber in isolation. it is one of the tools as a part of a broader campaign. certainly, cyber was an element in putin's efforts to undermine our democracy in 2016 and cyber can inhibit our weapons capability, and so forth. there are a lot of things that can be done. it can be used to steal technology. there is an espionage perspective as well as a destructive capability. and clearly, we know the vulnerabilities to our civilian infrastructure, the cyber attacks in the united states. gen. dunford: barbara: -- -- barbara: you have specifically
twice said, putin, cyber, the elections, and attributed it to him. we know there have been sanctions against russian entities and russian entities were identified as being potentially involved in the activity regarding the u.s. elections, but you have now twice said specifically that it has been putin. you are not someone who says anything casually. so in your mind, putin was involved? gen. dunford: look at the intelligence community, they came out some time ago and said there was no question that russia attempted to interfere with our democratic process in 2016. barbara: but? respectfully, that is russia. you have said putin. gen. dunford: russia is an autocratic form of government. there is very little that russia does that putin isn't aware of. particularly something as significant as trying to undermine democracy and the united states of america.
barbara: ok. now, great power competition, the russians. what is your assessment? do you now view them, in your world in the u.s. military, are they an adversary? barbara: -- gen. dunford: no, they are a competitor is how i would characterize them. barbara: you speak many times with a general. i know you're not able to talk about your private and confidential conversations with your russian counterpart, -- why you shed light him, why does he want to talk to you? gen. dunford: let me start with military to military relationships. even when countries are having difficulty, military to military relationships are important to
mitigate the risk of miscalculation and to manage a crisis if a crisis occurs. we understand the consequences of miscalculation. we understand that we need to communicate in the event of a crisis to keep it from escalating, and and we think the relationship is important. even in the cold war, we had direct linkages to moscow, given the consequences of the war between the united states with moscow. in the case of my relationship with the general, we are both conducting operations in syria and de-conflicting our operations in syria has been important to advance the campaign. , weave used the dialogue have not shared the details of
those conversations because we have successfully kept our relationship from being politicized because we both know the consequences of not having effective communications. we have tried to protect this communication link for the reasons i spoke about. but syria has also been one of the incidents. because of the path of russian capability development i spoke about, the pattern of russia n operations is as close as it has been to the 1980's in a long time. in other words, how many ships they have, how many planes they have, we find ourselves in close proximity to russian ships and airplanes. one of the other things we do in military to military dialogue is we make sure we have a framework in which to manage our interactions in the air and at sea in a safe and professional manner. about 18 or 19 months ago, we had a spike of unsafe and unprofessional incidents. we had good conversations followed up by making sure we managed our interactions in the air and at sea in a safe,
professional way. summarizing, the relationship between two states like russia and the united states is important to mitigate the risk of miscalculation. it has been important to ensure we don't have a miscalculation just in our day-to-day interactions with our airmen and sailors out there everyday. barbara: are the russians trying to get you to pull back u.s. presence in russia? we have six b-52's in the u.k. and equipment moving into poland with missile defense and they are always unhappy. are they trying to get to to pull back? gen. dunford: i'm not going to talk about that conversation. >> welcome back. barbara: is not enhanced our posture in europe.
this is a physical administration -- manifestation of our alliance. given russia's political objectives and what we open up with in terms of influence in europe, they would be much happier if there wasn't a physical manifestation. -- want toot meeting make our alliances. it is hard for them to talk about united states's lack of commitment to nato when sitting is that this commences -- physical manifestation. >> was moved to china if we can. go down the same path. competition power in the military arena, what do you see the chinese doing? what is their intention and capability? what do you take the most seriously from them at this time? gen. dunford: sure. look, very different countries,
clearly, and this would highlight some of those differences. the broad framework of what they are trying to do, in the case of china they established preeminence, having it be a global influence with a global attempt to modify the world order as we know it, both economically and from a security perspective. that is broadly what they are trying to do. in the case of china, the cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, a significant investment in missiles over the years. undersea capability trying to compete with our submarine space capabilities. modernization of the military, something that we embarked upon in the 1980's. when i visited last year, one of the most common questions i received was -- talk to us about unified command, to which it seemed to me i could learn from you, so please help me
understand unified command. the point being they are trying to develop a military capability again that would make it more difficult to push us away, if you will, from our ability to project power in the pacific. similar to russia, capabilities over all domains are designed to contest us in all domains. barbara: do they have an intention question mark beyond pushing out the u.s. in the pacific question mark -- pacific? gen. dunford: i'm not sure what you mean.
number one, they want preeminence in the pacific. number two, they want access to the global markets beyond the pacific. with those aspirations for global markets, we have seen the establishment of a military base and negotiations in several other countries where they are following economic initiatives. they have clear aspirations that go well beyond the pacific. barbara: do they have aspirations to challenge the united states militarily? gen. dunford: i think they have intentions today to challenge our ability to project power into the pacific and meet our alliances. barbara: when it comes to russia and china, your assessment, and i mean this sincerely, do they take the u.s. military seriously? they are not going to attack? neither of them appear to have the intention of attacking the u.s. military? do they take this great power competition? what is your assessment? do either of these countries take the u.s. effort seriously? gen. dunford: look, i don't think you can isolate the military dimension or the
broader issue of ensuring a free and open indo pacific. there is a military dimension it , certainly does what the department considers the most important responsibility, to to deter a nuclear attack. establishing a free and open pacific, there has to be coherent and open action coherently, politically, and in the security sphere. if you are asking me if the u.s. military alone can establish a free and open pacific, the answer is no. if you are asking me if the strategy in the pacific constitutes an important element of our ability to be free and open, i would say yes. barbara: you made a lot of news yesterday talking about china
and google. i wanted to give you the opportunity to lay that out one more time. you were talking on capitol hill about china, google, and other countries being aware when they deal with the chinese that they are essentially dealing with the chinese military. can you go back and lay out with your specificity the concerns over google, first, and your deeper concerns about american companies understanding what their involvement can be with the chinese military? barbara: sure. -- gen. dunford: sure. i'm going to answer it a different way, putting google aside for a moment, then coming back to it. when i look at the united states military and think about competitive advantage, why have we historically had a competitive advantage?
the partnership that the united states military has with industry in the united states, our ability to tap into the intellectual capital and human capital, if you will, of the american people, innovative ideas is pretty strong. that relationship is very important. xi jinping understands it as well. he calls it civil military fusion, breaking down the barrier between the military and industry in china. u.s. industry, high-tech u.s. industry, business in china. they are automatically going to be required to, leading to intellectual property finding its way to the chinese military distinction a difference between the parties, the government, and the military. so, my concern many think about
things like artificial intelligence, ventures to help develop artificial intelligence in china are going to do two things. they will have help from an authoritarian government to sort of control its own population. again, our country exist for the individual. china exists for the chinese communist party. the technology that is developed in the united states, why is it developed in the united states? because of our system of government. advancing the world, whether it is artificial intelligence, you name it. if we do want what we describe as the jazz, the united dates of america, to be the ones were actually putting forward an effort for what we have enjoyed since world war ii. it seems to me that the united states military is an important part of the global order remaining as it has been. in my judgment, in the case of google, their venture in china,
i think it is a reasonable assertion, even in an open venue like this to assert the benefit of that venture for artificial intelligence in china to one of many ventures that have indirectly benefited the chinese military and created a challenge for us to creating a competitive advantage. i think we need to have a debate about that. we ought not to think that it is just business in china. barbara: has google reached out to you at all? him him gen. dunford: i think i have a meeting next week. and possibly lunch today, someone might be here from google. [laughter] gen. dunford: this is not a
debate, it's not about versus google, it's about our chinese former government and all that goes with it. barbara: the people that i talked to know nothing compared to you talk to. you talked about china being deemed the state, devoting a lot to internal security in china. this may not be just about chinese external military programs, but about what they can do to maintain internal security increasingly. do you see the chinese devoting resources to internal security? gen. dunford: 6% of the people in china belong to the communist party.
the thing i was struck by is everything is cash. a bicycle, starbucks, the store, what china is able to do is identify patterns of behavior, watch people, determine who is reliable and not reliable. there is no question in my mind that china will leverage technology to assist the percentage of the population that controls the other 94%. including the other 94%. barbara: we are going to start in with some questions. it's washington, as everyone in this room knows, make it a question, please. to the best of your ability. general dunford, bear with us.
we are looking from a bright light into a dark room. can someone point out to me where the microphones are, please? ok, the other one is on the other side? back there. ok, great. if you could call on this gentleman right here? if you would identify yourself? >> thank you for doing this, general. because alliances are such a huge part of the national defense strategy, i wanted to ask if you supported at this time halting deliveries to turkey or under what circumstances you would recommend doing that? gen. dunford: looking five or 10 years down the road, i want to make sure that our turkish allies are close to us and we want to work that relationship very hard. in terms of visits to turkey, i'm not sure i've gone anyplace else close that many times. this issue is a tough issue and
we are having a tough time. i would just say that i provided settlement decisions. the presence of the most advanced fighter aircraft that we have, we are hopeful that we can find a way to this. barbara: let me go here to this person who has had their hands up for several minutes. >> my name is angelita. i have a question for -- actually, for you, sir. [laughter] my question is, that, um, the reality of nonpartisan and independence of the military, because right now i think the militaries getting a wake-up call because russia and china have both push to their elbows in that region.
starting from regional supremacy, they are starting with what i was hearing from you. my second question is that the leverage of vladimir putin and fusion thing is that they are jinping is that they are sort of visionaries and they have long-term strategies that they can implement. and that that is it related to the nonpartisan independence of the u.s. military. what is your vision actually for the u.s. military? gen. dunford: a vision for the u.s. military? >> for the defense strategy
areas gen. dunford: are we talking about domestic political conditions? >> geopolitics. gen. dunford: first of all it home because you give me a chance to address it, i have spoken quite a bit about the importance of the u.s. military being apolitical. we have emphasized that quite a bit. we have a history i think it goes back to george washington, marshall, those are probably the greatest examples. for me they are true north and how they managed the political space. although i am never complacent or taken for granted, the gallup polls routinely say that 78% of the american people trust the military and we wouldn't want it to be otherwise. with regards to the u.s. military dealing with china and russia, the advice that i
provide is to make sure that from a capability perspective, we demonstrate the ability to maintain this competitive advantage, meet our commitments and determine russia from provocation and aggression, the -- deterring china from provocation. importantly, the military dimension of a broader enforcement in the pacific and in the broader world order that we have all enjoyed is to make sure that we are prepared, small m, if you will, large diplomatic effort to maintain the rules, but there is a military dimension to it to make sure that from a capability perspective and a concept perspective we are prepared to support. is that the question you are asking i hope? barbara: let's stay on this side of the room first.
there are two gentleman. the gentleman i think who is in the blue blazer and behind him after he is done, a gentleman in a white shirt. we will have that microphone stay there for a minute. >> could at, georgetown rotc. you have mentioned a lot the u.s. lagging in our technological capabilities when it comes to ai. but my question is concerning manpower capability. currently i believe only 35% of america's youth are capable of serving in the u.s. military given the standards and i just wondered how the pentagon is working to bridge the gap and keep our soldiers and manpower on the ground? gen. dunford: it's an excellent question. i think about 29%, 30% are capable of meeting the standards for the u.s. military. it is very much a concern. although i can tell you from my direct observation that we are
recruiting and retaining a high-quality force today, as i is look at the services around the world, i never come back from a trip not incredibly impressed. there are certain areas where we are falling short of the mark. we have fallen short on recruiting and at least one service in recent years and we have been for some time. we are short literally a couple of thousand pilots across the services. the number of maintainers, it's a stiff competition for some individuals in our intelligence and high-tech fields and so forth. the reduced pool from which we can draw for the u.s. military and an all volunteer force is a concern of mine and there have been a number of initiatives to address that. interims of the health of our youth and so forth.
i certainly in a future life might the interested in trying to help in that regard. i do think it is a national issue. i hesitate at this point to call it a crisis, but it is certainly a national issue that should be addressed with some sense of urgency, to think that 70% of the youth of america cannot meet the standard, that ought to concern us. a great question, thanks. barbara: let's go to the gentleman in the back with his hand up. please? if you would identify yourself. >> name is eric and i have a question around china and its regional influence. the di s is the chinese capability in taiwan and in the short term, china would seek to reach regional hegemony and i'm wondering if the general would support increasing support for taiwan in defensive alliances in the region. and he could he comment on security commitments? thank you.
gen. dunford: that's a question, but it really is a policy question and i'm not going to be evasive, but the decision about what level of support we should provide to taiwan is at the end of the day a political decision to make. we have helped taiwan to defend itself. our policy is clear about a peaceful resolution to the situation in taiwan and china. i really probably wouldn't address whether or ought -- whether or not we ought to do more. if directed to do more, the u.s. military would do more, but that's an issue that's more about policy and politics than it is about a military dimension. there is a military dimension to deterrence, but i wouldn't talk about that much more than that. barbara: general jones? >> thank you. october of 1957, the soviet union launched sputnik one. some people are saying we are
approaching another sputnik moment with china on the issue of ig and morse pacific we secure ig. would you care to comment on how important that race is? and i think it is a two country race. and what you think about that as an important issue? gen. dunford: general jones, inside the pentagon we certainly look at that as a critical national security issue in the internet of things beyond the 5g and the vulnerabilities of our systems, our combat systems. but as importantly, something i have talked recently about my counterparts is, you know, our relationship to rely on trust. that trust in part is the assurance that the data that we exchange, the intelligence and information that we share can be done in a way where it's not compromised.
the issue of 5g addresses both potential vulnerabilities in the system due to how reliant we will be on it for the internet of things, our combat systems, but also exchanging information with our allies and partners. we very much believe that any future capability along the him lines of 5g has to be trusted and we are concerned that we are moving in a direction where if we don't get out in front in that regard, we will be able to trust 5g and be at a competitive disadvantage. barbara: does that mean that you would withdraw cooperation if you will with a country that is embracing that system? a military? gen. dunford: putting 5g aside, when we share information and
intelligence, it is done in accordance with strict protocols to protect the information. so, before we exchange information with an ally or partner, they have to make -- meet certain standards in the classified realm. sorry if i did make that clear. that's what i'm talking about. so, whether it is 5g or not, today and in the future our ability and willingness to exchange information and intelligence with a partner will be based on their ability to protect that information and the assurance of the systems we are using. barbara: do you think that 5g can be protected? gen. dunford: this is the nature of general jones question. it's in our national interest to dominate 5g. barbara: this gentleman in front, if you wouldn't mind, he has had his hand up for quite a bit. could you identify yourself, sir? >> i'm a member of the press. i am from the russian service, voice of america.
what worries you most in brush and military capabilities now? what is your main concern? in how they have progressed in the last 12 years, as you mentioned. second, how much do you know about the activity of russian military intelligence in the united states, which came to some maturity last year with the poisoning in british salisbury. what the military intelligence is doing now. gen. dunford: the second one is tougher to answer than the first one in terms of what concerns me most. putting the nuclear peace aside for a minute, talking about capabilities, i could highlight what i spoke earlier about, the proliferation of missiles. we could talk about, you know, increasing competence undersea. we could talk about the electromagnetic spectrum and anti-space capabilities. all of those things would be a
concern. but it's really the impact of those systems collectively that really is the issue. and it gets at them being able to put together in a way a challenge to our ability to meet our alliance commitment in europe or operate freely across what i described earlier as all the lanes when we get there. i would be hesitant to highlight one capability in isolation and say it's the one that concerns me the most. it's the one that integrates those capabilities to interdict the outcome, that is the issue and that is what our focus is in terms of a competitive advantage when i talk about a competitive advantage. what i'm talking about at the operational level is the ability to project power when necessary and operate freely. and when i say freely i mean the ability to attend -- establish superiority to do what must be done in any time and place. regarding salisbury, i'm not sure how you want me to comment. i think it's very clear that russian intelligence was involved in salisbury. i think it's clear that the intern national community can conclude that the u.s. held russia accountable for what took place in salisbury.
help me out if i'm not answering your question. >> [inaudible] gen. dunford: i think i would be out of my lane of expertise of i spoke about inside the united states. i certainly have an awareness about it, but the director of the fbi would be the best person to talk to about the nature of the threat and what we are doing to disrupt it. i guess i can say that there certainly is a threat in the united states. barbara: from russian intelligence? gen. dunford: sure. that shouldn't be news either, barbara. [laughter] barbara: no, just wondering one less time if you would like to expand a little bit, maybe. gen. dunford: no, i think the
director is the right individual to talk to about it. >> i am a room order from radio free asia. two days ago the pentagon and the south korean governments declared military exercises. do you think this will lead to degradation of the process? second question about counter operations in south korea around him illicit ship to ship transport in north korea. gen. dunford: with regards to the first question, i'm glad you asked it. the first had to do with the re-scoping of traditional exercises that we do on the korean peninsula.
those exercises historically have been done for two reasons. one is deterrence and the second is to develop the capability of our forces on the korean peninsula to do what they describe as fight with high-level readiness. i am absolutely confident, absolutely confident, having received a message from general abrams on the pencil yesterday, as the exercise is ongoing in the peninsula, that what we have done with the exercises will allow him to maintain readiness. there are a few aspects to that. number one, the squadron level and below with combined exercises and so forth, there has been no impact. the training of our units hasn't changed at all in the peninsula and in most cases what we have done is leverage command post
exercises and so forth to make sure that staff orientation takes place. we have high personnel turnover in the summertime in the u.s. and in the republic of korea, january 10 -- january february timeframe has always been designed to make sure that we quickly bring the new people up to speed and maintain a high level of readiness and i think that the exercises that we have put in place right now are focused not so much on using the exercise as a way to determine if we are ready, but rather a series of training events focused on making sure we are proficient in the mission essential task at the various levels of command on the peninsula. with regard to ship to ship transfers, that is one of the more important elements of the u.s. military support for the broader diplomatic effort in the peninsula. we have been after that now for many months. clearly you know, the north koreans have found ways to work around our enforcement efforts and we are in fact in the process of a constant cycle of adaptation to make sure that we are staying in front of that adaptation and we do the best we can to enforce the united nations security council resolutions as they pertain to refined petroleum products.
that's kind of where we are. barbara: i going to grant myself the last question, i wanted to ask you about north korea. what is your current assessment about north korea's intentions and, way ahead, on their missile launch satellite launch and warhead test programs? what is your assessment about what you think they are looking at doing? gen. dunford: i won't make news in this regard. i don't have any unique insights to share with you about whether they will test in the future or continue a path of nuclear development in the near future. we all know what he promised president trump most recently in vietnam, that they would not do those things.
then we talk about what that means to me. our new mission from february of 2017 has involved several things. way wepporting in any can, the diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the peninsula. number two, the traditional mission of deterring provocation in accordance with our alliance structure and then preparing ourselves to respond in the event that the deterrence fails. those missions have remained the same. to your question about the north nothingttempt, this has to do with how we as acute those three elements of our mission. barbara: can you say anything about how you currently assess its? in other words, are you ready to believe kim jong-un's promise? do you have to assume that there is potential he could resume?
>> my job is to be the glass half and guy when it comes to north korean capabilities. that is the operative word, capability. gen. dunford: i see that kim jong-un still has ballistic missile capabilities. i see that kim jong-un still has nuclear capability. i still see potential. it is as of yet, i demonstrated. theink it is incumbent upon united states military should be able to defend our homeland and allies. barbara: we thank you. we are at the end of our time. fascinating as always. i think everybody in this room is incredibly appreciative of your spending so much time here. we will let general dunford go to the atlantic council and ask sot everybody remain seated that the general can make his way out of the room. we will thank you so much for your time.
growth president david mcintosh on the 2020 presidential campaign, also on the program, jonathan metzl, author of "dying of whiteness" and how it is killing americans -- american heartland. ♪ announcer: good morning. expanding the supreme court, becoming a kit -- key litmus test in the presidential primary field. the president and the republicans have dismissed the idea. this morning we want your take on it. democrats (202) 748-8000, republicans (202) 748-8001, independence (202) 748-8002. progressive groups and high-profile democrats are calling for democrats in the