tv This Week in Defense CBS March 21, 2010 11:00am-11:30am EDT
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> next on this week in defense news, how iraq is helping maintain a cutting edge military. >> good morning. welcome to this week in defense news. i'm vago muradian. the energy department is leading efforts to craft a strategy to ensure u.s. access to minerals vital to weapons. we will talk to one ceo to talk about the global supply. first, on the 7th anniversary of the u.s. led invasion in iraq, we talk about the drawdown and the staggering demands of the growing military campaign in afghanistan. by the end of next year, all u.s. forces now numbering 95,000 the gear must withdrawal from iraq. we will talk to two men
critical to overseeing the operation. we have jim pills, the general command. he is helping to decide what to keep and what to give to allies and what to give away. later, john johns, the assistant secretary of defense will talk about the maintenance operation for maintaining order in the country after u.s. leaves. welcome to the show. >> thank you. >> you have a job of withdrawalling all of the gear. what have you pulled out? how much have you pulled out? how much more do you have to go? will you make your deadline? >> a complicated question. the answer to the last part is yes. we will make our deadline. our command headed by general
dunwoody set up the task force in control of the central command. when the general says a piece of gear can be brought out of iraq, it goes through a vetting process that many folks get to look at to see if it is needed in iraq in another unit or another command or can it be given back to the u.s. for other troops. this process is complicated, but it is going well. we are ahead of schedule in all classes of supply. as you well know, the united states forces in iraq have closed many bases. >> some of these are transitioning to iraqi use. some are being dismantled entirely. when it comes to the raw gear,
you know, how far along are we? are we 1/2 way done? >> i will take that by containers. we have 60,000 containers of stuff over there. we are about halfway through getting those out. that being said, there are still containers moving north. we have to support our troops. >> nearly 100,000 are still over there. >> right. we are also pulling out wheeled vehicles that are not needed. we are ahead of schedule on that. if i had to say, i would guess about 1/3rd of the way through on the wheeled vehicles. boots on the ground, 95,000. going to 50,000 in august. by december of 2011, down to zero. >> can you give us an idea of what it is we are bringing home specifically and what we will have to throw away and what is
being turned over? >> basically, three types of equipment over there. military equipment, standard equipment, units brought over there for many rotations. a lot of that has been left there and provided. green suit equipment. all of that will come back. the second category is the non standard equipment. the equipment that is good now. we will bring most of that back. there are probably 3,500 non standard pieces of equipment of various numbers. 1740 of those, about half, we will keep. there is the contractor equipment. it has a lot of equipment. that equipment will be disposed of by the contractor after we have a chance to say whether we want it or not. >> how much of this stuff is
sort of leaking out or we are losing track of in the process? >> that is a great question. to answer your question is, i hope none. hope is not a method. one mission my boss gave me for this task force was giving accountability for all of the equipment in iraq. we set up a process. i will not go into details, but units bring their stuff that they have on their property books to central locations. we bring it to record and do a good triage and disposition and instruction process on keeping it or disposing it or offering it up to partners or give it to sell. >> for disposal. >> yes, sir. >> of all of the equipment we are bringing back, obviously the equipment flowed there in a stair-step process. nothing surged over there quickly. when the gear comes back, it will go to facilities across the country. are those facilities able to
handle the influx of equipment? >> to answer your question, yes. in all but one case. i'll get to that. there are not a lot of track vehicles. the army depot has been taking care of vehicles since 2004 on a regular pace. the wheeled vehicles at red river have been coming back at a regular pace. the communications gear has been coming back to toby has come back on a regular pace. what i mentioned is the non standard equipment. we will send that to army depot. we will triage that and figure out if we can maintain it and store it for future use. >> let me ask you, what are the biggest lessons learned and what are the biggest lessons learned about the proper role of civilian contractors? >> i left out a point.
about 135,000 contractors on the ground. you have the local, nationals and third country nationals and u.s. contractors over there. we cannot do as we do as an army and i would venture to say department of defense without that. we learned we were not prepared with the necessary oversight for the massive amount of contracts that we have over there. we have up ended our contract training and numbers of folks that are trained. my last data point is we are about 84% fulfilled of that requirement. >> essentially, the point is you were not as good as managing as you are now? >> correct. >> what are the big lessons learned from iraq that are very valuable for you as you go to a more challenging place like afghanistan? >> you said that very well. it is different than iraq. the infrastructure is different. the population is different.
it is just hard government business to perform logistics in afghanistan. that being said, the property accountability piece that i mentioned earlier is being set up in afghanistan so we don't go through this process again when we pull out of afghanistan. our contracting officer representative per formation has increased tremendously. we have a very much more decentralized operation in afghanistan than iraq. we need more contract oversight. our soldiers and civilians are getting training. in fact, we are doing a good job. >> in the 30 or so seconds we have left, all of this is predicated on a benign environment as we pull out. what happens? >> all of this is based on operations. when the general says we go, we go. when general webster in iraq and kuwait says it is time to go, we will go.
we in the logistics world take our cue from the operators. as they say go, we go. >> are you not worried about a vietnam-style scene where we are holding equipment back? >> i guarantee that will not happen. >> thank you. we love to have you back especially as the drawdown continues. >> you are watching this week in defense news.
providing much maintenance. what happens when the u.s. leaves the country by the end of next year. we have joining us this morning, the director of iraq security forces. thank you for joining us. >> good morning. >> since the beginning of the iraq war, the united states has gotten the brunt of supporting the iraqi forces. what are iraq's capabilities today and where do they need to be by the time you hand over to them? >> i would consider it as being maturing iraqi security forces across the board. they are in a status of development. we have been putting a lot of key pieces of the puzzle together. everything from unit level to division level and field workshops and medium level workshops at the region level. national level ability as well
at taji with the base workshop as well as the navy. all the way from first line in the iraqi system all the way up to fourth line national level. those abilities are maturing much we have done a very good job at building capacity for the iraqi security forces to execute logistics. i think there is risk in some areas. we are targeting the risk areas with the objective of achieving ability by the end of mission. >> what are some of the specific things are you doing to build up the -- you are doing to build up the iraqi ability in general? >> there is a lot of training going on at the field level workshops and medium level workshops to make sure the ability there is adequate to
support the level of maintenance. we are continuing to develop the taji for small arms and tracks. that is coming along very well. we are also building the ship maintenance ability at um kasar. we are putting key spares packages in place. we are also advising the air force in developing the cls contracts so they have the ability to maintain and support the complex weapon systems. the same is true with the ground systems. the m-1 and putting cls packages in place there. this is a full spectrum attack that is targeted at every level of the iraqi security forces. >> will some american personnel, whether they are military people or department of defense people or contractors have to stay behind 2011 to help with the weapon
systems that are very sophisticated? particularly for the iraqis, they have bifurcated equipment as well as a lot of american equipment? >> right. of course. our objective, however, is to extend beyond 2011. any ability required beyond that would be at the request of the iraqi government. our plan is targeted at developing the minimum ability so when we depart the country in 2011, that ability, in fact, exists for their ability to sustain their readiness. there is a chance, however, with the more complex weapon systems as you indicated, with m-1 and a-1 and the aviation assets and some ships, that there is residual ability that is required beyond that. that would be the iraqis choice to ask us to help them with
that. >> what about depot level facilities? will they have to build those facilities to perform maintenance on the equipment? >> they have asked for that. that equipment requires maintenance and heavy overhaul. we established an ability at taji and we will establish it at um kasar. that ability is developing. the ability to use that, however, is what we are working on right now. the capacity exists for them to execute it. the capability for them to execute it is the focus of our efforts. >> national economic development is a key priority for the success of iraq after
u.s. forces depart. u.s. industry and contractors work closely in the balkins for example to erect a national security system. given that we are likely to hand out military equipment to allies, do they become a r egional maintenance hub? >> i'm not sure that about. the economy of economic development -- the question of economic development is important to execute maintenance. that will develop with their economic security. this is supporting a logistic system of this complexity is like building a watch. you put the gears in place one at a time and make sure they are functional. trying to turn the whole watch is an issue of high complexity. what makes these gears turn is
money. these things, the logistics system and the ability to function is connected to the iraqi's ability to resource that system. >> sir, thank you very much. we look forward to having you on again. best of luck in the mission. china controls the market of rare minerals. find out what that means for the u.s. pentagon next.
>> china controls 90% of the rare mineral in the globe. the pentagon studied the problem for years, but alarms rang last year after china quadrupled the price for rare minerals. the obama administration developed a strategic plan to rare earth minerals. we have the ceo of molly corps. thank you for joining us, mark. >> thank you for having us here today. >> this is a critical issue. it is not something that developed overnight. the united states used to be a leader in the market.
walk us through the market and how we were and china ended up and why are the minerals critical? >> molly corp has been in business for 57 years. we were founded in 1948 and produced in 1952. we were the largest and almost single producer in the world until china discovered rare minerals in their country in the late '70s and '80s. china has in a unique position and they began to pull those products or pull the ores out of the ground and process those products to the world. they flooded the market and lowered the prices. that caused us to slow down production in mountain pass, california. that brings up the issue of
market share. china recognized this set of minerals as being strategic and forming the foundation of the industrial base within their country. they have exploited that to the maximum extent. i have to admit, they have done a tremendous job. >> are there any alternatives to the rare earths? if china tops tomorrow, are they easily substituted? >> they are not. many are not substitutable at all. that is what presents the problem. i don't think china will shutoff all of the trade between the u.s. and themselves for rare earths. we have seen the number of exports that china allows from their country is decreasing by 6% per year. >> that is what is driving the global price up? >> yes. the demand is surging. the rest of the world is getting fewer from china every
year. >> the deposits -- where are the deposits? >> there is one other major world class deposit that we are aware of in the world. that is in western australia. >> which china has tried to buy. >> they were not successful. >> the energy department this week is looking at building a strategic plan for this. i know it is a self serving question as the ceo of the company that produces this, but what does the government have to keep in mind? what is the outcome you would like to see? >> we think two things the current administration needs to keep in mind. the department of defense. the department of defense uses rare earths in everything electronic that they use. all of those rare earths and electronic pieces of equipment are being supplied 100% by china right now. if, in the worst-case scenario, that volume was shutoff, that will create a problem.
probably not just for the united states department of defense, but for every other country in the world and their department of defense as well. the second area that we like to focus on is the administration that does believe in the green or clean technology. they have a department of energy that is putting a lot of money into hybrid and electric vehicles and wind turbines. all of these ways to lower dependence on foreign oil. the problem with that, without the rare earth elements in the supply chain, those technologies will not be possible. >> so the national strategic issue? >> it is. you have to have the full supply chain to implement these policies. >> you have a facility. you are producing 2,000-tons a year. you would like to expand to 20,000-tons a year. what is entailed in that? aside from financially.
>> we are finalizing the engineering for that facility right now. we took seven years to develop process technologies that we want to bring about at the mountain pass facility. that is why we want to spend so much money at the facility. the process technology allows us to be one of the greenest operating minds in the united states. we will use less than half the ore that we used to produce the same amount for our customers. we will use 96% less fresh feed water for our customers. >> in what year? >> by 2012. >> thank you for joining us. coming up in my notebook, why the government needs to do more than just study how they get their hands on minerals.
>> the obama administration this week tapped the energy department to head efforts to develop a strategy for rare earth minerals. they are vital for everything from weapons to cell phones. the secretary of energy and international affairs said it is time we pulled together a strategic vision on this. no argument there. china controls 98% of the world market for the rare minerals. this could fuel concerns in the defense circles. the pentagon will play a key role and has spent the last few years studying if china cuts off supplies. such thinking should not be limited to minerals. it should be expanded to materials. u.s. leaders must understand the implications of the supply and engineering chains. they must do so not to forge a more protectionist future, but figure out the risks and