tv British Prime Ministers Questions CSPAN December 10, 2015 7:00am-7:31am EST
they go to bed at night, who is going to be coming in the window . including introduction of significant fighting ground force, hypothetically international but including u.s. forces. even in the absence of capable motivated ground forces, while we certainly have the capability to furnish a u.s. component, we have not recommended this course of action for several reasons. in the near term it would be a significant undertaking that as much as we may wish otherwise we would embark upon largely by yourselves and it would be our comparative advantage of special forces mobility and fire power instead fighting on the enemy's terms, in medium term we could
tell turn those fighting isil or incline to resist their rule into fighting us instead. as chairman dunford testified last week, quote, isil would love nothing more than a large presence of u.s. forces on the ground in iraq and syria so that they could have a call to jihad. and lastly, in the long-term there could still remain the problem of securing and governing the territory, these must be done by local forces. so in the end, while we can enable them we cannot substitute for them. next momentum on the ground as i've describedscribed in both sd iraq by coalition air strikes. additional strike aircraft in turkey along with improved intelligence allowed us in november to significantly increase our air strikes against isil to the highest level since
the start of operations in august 2014. moreover we have intensified campaign in oil enterprise a critical killer in addition to destroy wells and processing facilities, we've destroyed nearly 400 of isil's oil tanker trucks reducing source of daily revenues. there's more to come too. we are also improving capability to eliminate isil's leadership. since i last appeared before this committee in late october, we have removed two more key isil figures from the battlefield namely jihadi john, and an isil executioner.
these strikes serve notice to isil that no target is beyond our reach. as our military campaigns intensifies in the ground and in the air, it's developing more strategic options in the cyber domain. these then are just nine areas of the adaptingses we have made over the past six weeks to accelerate this campaign and to see momentum build. president obama is committed to doing what it takes as opportunity arises and as the enemy adapts until isil is defeated in a lasting way. the president has consistently supported the recommendations from me and general dunford and i know he's prepared for us to bring him more and we will. at the same time that we are constantly looking to do more in the fight, in this fight t world must do the same. the international community
including our allies and partners has to step up before another attack like paris, france was galvanized by the attack on its capital and intensified its role, britain has increased air campaign in syria, italy has deployed more elite unit to assist in iraq. germany is making additional contributions and the netherlands is actively considering doing more as well. but we all, let me repeat that, all must do more, turkey must do more to control its often porous border and saudi arabia join campaign in early days, only the air part, but since been preoccupied by the conflict in yemen both in the air and on the ground. and just this past week, i personally reached out to my
counterparts in 40 countries around the world in the coalition and asked them to contribute more and in many case contribute much more to enhancing the fight against isil. the types of things i requested from partners include specials operation forces, weapons and ammunition and training assistance and other items. meanwhile, as the chairman noted, russia, which is publicly commit idea to defeating isil has instead largely attacked opposition forces. it's time for russia to focus on the right side of this fight. before i conclude, i would like to respectfully respect the committee's attention to matters that bear upon our security and responsibilities. first, over a month ago, i submitted a request to the four congressional defense committees
including this one to releaseholds on the final that is $116 million. we need these funds to provide and transport ammunition, weapons and other equipment to further enable to progress being made against isil and syria like partners by the syrian-arab coalition. all four committees fail today ask on that request. i ask you to release these holds urgently. we should not be impeding the very momentum we are trying to build. next is the necessity to fill key vacancies in leadership positions. i have appeared before this committee as noted six times over the last ten months, four times on the middle east and twice in the last six weeks on isil. only three have been
confirmation hearing for dod civilian leaders. dod currently has 16 nominees awaiting the constitutional advise and consent of the senate. 12 of these 16 are still awaiting even a hearing including our nominees to be secretary of the army, the undersecretaries of each of our three military departments, army, navy and air force and the undersecretaries of both intelligence and personnel and readiness. these positions should be filled by confirmed nominees specially in a time of conflict. so i welcome that the process is now moving and i urge it to move quickly for all of our civilian nominees and senior nominations that will be made early next year. finally, as i conclude, i want to commend this committee on last month's budget deal, which is the kind of deal i call for back in march. it was a consequential agreement
for the nation's security. as current funding for the government is set to expire, it is vital that the two houses now conclude work on funding all of the government consistent with the budget deal. now is not the time for more gridlock. i thank this committee in advance for your efforts because funding this budget deal is what our national security demands and it sends the right message to our troops, our allies and our enemies in this time of broad global national security challenges and specially in this war. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, in response mr. secretary n response to your last two points, one on the funding, we just received the request last week but you know it's as a result of the absolute failure of the expenditure of what was judged then to be $43 million
and four or five people were trained. we don't want to approve of something like that again. if you want that kind of funding we want to know what the plan is and we don't want to see repetition, well, we have four or five less. we have an obligation to the taxpayers. on the nominees there's four pending before the united states senate and there's four more who will be having hearings this afternoon which takes care of half of yours and i'm not going to waste the time and the committee to go back and forth about threats of vetoes that -- and the view of the majority of this committee were totally unjustified on the part of the president including the failure still, still despite your appearance in my office with the president's countererertism person that you are going to send me a plan, you were going to send this committee a plan on the closure of guantanamo.
we still haven't gotten a plan. so if you're a little bit concerned about lack of movement, i've been concerned about the movement on guantanamo in the last seven years. we will be having a hearing this afternoon on -- on the four additional ones. so -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that. >> mr. secretary on the first of december congressman asked general dunford, have we currently contained isil, general dunford, we have not contained isil. mr. secretary, do you agree with general dunford? >> i agree with what general dunford said, yes. >> so if we have not -- we have not contained isil, how are we to know -- believe that we are
succeeding against isil? >> i think that we are building momentum against isil, i'm going to be very careful about describing, describe it had trajectory of that success all around iraq and syria. some actions we're taking in libya. it's not my principal responsibility but i met with director of the fbi t director of national intelligence and other initials to talk about what we could do more to strengthen the defense of the home lan as the department of defense, but as our principal responsibility, i described the action that is we have taken and i think they are building momentum. >> thank you, how long do you think it'll be before we take mosul and raqaa?
>> it's hard to say because it depends on the iraqi security forces in building themselves into a more capable combat force. with respect to ramadi -- >> raqaa. >> raqaqqa, there, you noted this, mr. chairman, the syrian kurds have done an excellent job of clearing their territory. >> i'm not going to go in raqaa and you and i know that. >> they're not going to go to the raqaa. >> i guess the point is with attacks on homeland, the united states of america, we have not contained isil and we have no time align, at least the end of next year and there's no plan, no strategy to retake raqaa.
it's pretty obvious to all that as long as we have caliphate base, they're able to orchestrate attacks such as successfully achieved in the last several weeks, whether it be the russian airlines or san bernardino. here we are with a -- you described measure that is are probably very helpful but with no timeline of which to take out the caliphate from which there are many things happening developing chemical weapons. and this is why i'm puzzled this morning. the former head of navy said we ought to have troops on the ground and i frankly do not understand the logic in your
statement about, well, you certainly have the capability to furnish a u.s. component in such a ground force, we do not recommend it because it would be a significant undertaking, i agree. we would have to do it largely by yourselves, i do not agree. somehow that would encourage them. what encourages them, mr. mr. secretary, is success and they have a pretty serious record here of success just in the last several -- couple of months since you were here. so i do not understand why in the world you wouldn't want as general architect and others
military leaders including this morning former chief staff of the united states army a small component of american forces with an international force which could be if the united states had the credibility, could be gathered and then go in and take out this caliphate. as long as the caliphate, i know of no expert who doesn't believe that as long as this caliphate exists in raqaa they are going to be able to whacker strait -- orchestrate attacks, if we went in with a large arab force, the turks and egyptians even and other sunni nations and go in there to take them out, there's 20 to 30,000 of them, they're not giants, but finally someone has to convince me that air
power alone, special operations forces are going to succeed in the short-term in order to prevent further things such as san bernardino, i would love to hear your response. >> a couple of things, mr. chairman, first of all to your main point about more american forces and i would would say special forces but others as well that are not special forces. >> i was talking about a multinational force. >> there, mr. chairman, as i indicated i, too, wish that particularly the sunni arab nations of the gulf would do more and going way back -- >> they're willing to do so. >> i've had lengthy -- >> and so have i. >> i have to say that i have consistently emphasized to them that they have a unique role
here and also in so far as their concern about iran which is another concern they have, and by the way, that we have also, totally different but serious subject also that what i've emphasized to them is that we don't like it but the iranians are in the game on the ground and i very much would like and we would very much welcome, repeatedly said this, working with those countries on the ground because we believe, as you noted, that they -- would have a distinctive advantage in a ground fight. withrespect to europeans, they l do more in their capacities. in general, i am quite concerned
with the level of investment that europe is making in its militaries and alliance and partnership therefore with the united states. there's much more that their economies enable them to do and their history as standing up for the same kind of civilized value that s that we stand up really require of them. i've asked for more. i would like there to be still more. and so in that sense, i completely -- i'm with you. i simply on the basis of urgent unless -- have less high hopes, perhaps that they would assemble.
we would certainly welcome that. with that, i also -- >> could i just say that i ask you for a strategy that you can tell us when we're going to take mosil and raqaa, frankly, i have not seen that. general, did you want to add anything? >> i would add three points, i agree that defending our homeland is our top priority. >> that's helpful. >> taking the fight to the caliphate is what is going on today in iraq and syria. the combination of increasing the momentum with the movements in iraq as well as in ramadi and partnering -- >> again, general there's no timeline for mosul and raqaa which is the basis of the caliphate. >> the fight on the ground define it is progress that we will make against the caliphate. we have put significant pressure on northern syria, we have taken -- with syrian air coalition
partners have taken significant ground in the north and the east of syria. they are using the equipment that we have provided to put pressure on isil's main lines of communication between raqaa and mosel to provide a time line that the enemy on the ground gets a vote but does not have freedom of maneuver, they do not have tactical freedom of maneuver. >> my time is long ago expired, senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, we all come to the conclusion we need american forces on the ground. the question very generically.
we send in specialized teams of u.s. personnel and air power and together with local forces are able to disrupt and defeat taliban. we are confronted with instability and that the constraining factor right now is the local indigenous forces on the ground. i am told there's about 100 new syrian fighters that are on the ground and potential, can you elaborate on those comments.
>> that was a circumstances in 2001 and 2002 where we were actively head over the previous decade or so built up in order to fight the soviets and they succeeded from expelling the soviets from afghanistan. we could quickly link up with again and by providing them, enabling exactly in this manner, they would advance d that would cause the taliban to expose their positions and we can cream them from the air. that was a perfect example, ideal. we would like to replicate that.
we are having to build those forces and they don't exist in the same way that they did in the northern alliance. with respect to the new syrian forces and it gets back to the funding issue, we did change our approach to training and equipping syrian forces. our early experience there was disappointing. i said that. i told you i was going to be honest about things. i didn't work very well because we were trying to build units from scratch. the new approach, by the way, we are asking you to fund. we are providing, i'm willing to send a team today to brief you further but we really need this agility. i plead with you to take the briefings or whatever. we have briefing to requesting this money. it's different from the old program. we learned our lesson and we are doing something different, which is this, we are taking units
that have already formed and have undertaken to combat isil and instead of trying to recruit a brand new force and put them including by being on the ground with them but specially equipping them and providing them with air power ample -- amplifying the air power, i hope this gets to the question of raqaa, remember these are syrian arabs, not kurds, the chairman rightly noted, that they and their success will build so to speak a snowball that accumulates fighters as they go. as there are more of them, we will do more to fallen behind them with the objective of them
taking raqaa which would be a very important victory in the heart of -- of isil territory. >> thank you, general, quickly. the command arrangements. general is the joint commander with operational control both in iraq and syria. are you satisfied, is general dunford satisfy that had you have the best framework for command now to integrate all of the dod elements and elements that you need? >> yes, sir t joint task force command structure in baghdad ha covers both iraq and syria is more than adequate to cover military maneuver that's required and orchestrate the forces that are required and has the support of central command headquarters as an oversight and supporting headquarters. >> and they have the flexibility to make critical decisions without sort of second-guessing
up and down the line? >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i appreciate your remarks, there's a great deal of frustration, secretary, carter and concern that we are drifting and reacting and don't have the kind of -- that will lead to success, number one, number two, i understand now the president says he wants an authorization of force but because of the difficulties, i think so, that we have seen so far, we are going to have to know what you're going to do, how it's going to be successful. that is not clear. it's not clear to the american people, t not clear to congress. it's not clear to our european allies, our allies in the middle east or our enemies. that's a problem we've got. it's just very real. secondly, i think that secretary gates was correct to say that we
need an overarching strategy for this whole deal with islamic extremism and maybe 20, 30, 50 years. and we use it had word containment to deal with that, however, that does not mean that in the long-term strategy of containment of extremism that we don't have to act decisively and militarily now. and i just think, and i shared with you, that i believe the defense department is underestimating the significance of the refugee crisis, the impact it's having in europe, the impact it's having in the united states, what's happening from all this order and the flee of human beings and the deaths and the humanitarian disaster out there. it seems to me, does it not to you, that a prompt decisive action that create in syria
where people don't have to flee their home country, can be kept safe there, would be positive as a matter of humanity and as a military possibility. >> thank you, senator, i'll begin including the safe zoaps and perhaps asking the vice chairman to add on that swil. i will just note that we have -- i'm not a lawyer but i'm told and i'm glad, otherwise there will be a property, we have the legal authority to do what we want to do and the imf that the president submitted allows us to do what we need in this campaign. >> just don't blame the congress for not rubber stamping it immediately. >> it's okay. i didn't mention it for just that reason.
you're right and i associate myself with you about acts decisively. i do recognize that there maybe decades of combating radical iesm in general but we need to go after isil and parent tumor now and urgently, and so i associate myself with that -- that point of view. refugees is a tragic matter and by the way, a reminder that only half of the refugees are from syria. they're also from libya, afghanistan and throughout africa. ..