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tv   Defense Secretary Mattis Secretary of State Tillerson Testify on War...  CSPAN  November 1, 2017 2:38am-4:42am EDT

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military force. this portion of the hearing is two hours long.
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[apple pound -- devil pound -- [gavel pound] >> we're glad to be back in session. senator flake, if you will continue. senator flake: thank you mr. chairman. we talked before the break about an aumf.e need i mentioned how few people were actually here. than 100use, fewer members of the house were there was passed.1 aumf 23ody on this panel but only members of the senate were here to vote. simply helps.
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we have to have a situation where the congress is more involved here. newderstand, say that a aumf would be welcomed but not required. just for the benefit of everybody here, no administration would ever aumfde that you need an because the absence of it would suggest that what we have been doing for 16 years would be illegal. certain activities we have undertaken. i think we all understand the administration will say that no aumf or no new authorities are needed by whether or not they are needed to provide a legal basis, they are certainly needed politically and we cannot continue to go on in a situation 70% of the house and the senate has never voted on an aumf and has no reservation at all to criticize whatever
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administration is in power and their use of military force not vote on it. we cannot continue to go your after year after year without doing that. with regards, i understand you say that his title x authority. you express concern about not having authorities that expire. so as to not tip of the enemy we .ight leave explain title x authority with regard to, that is part of the nva that we gratefully, one authorization bill we pass every year, but what if we were not going to pass that next her? if we failed in our duty to do that. that do?d >> i believe we would still have title x authority over the u.s. mean, wee would not, i would have trouble getting probably appropriations if we did not have the authorization the u.s.nk that under
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code, we still exist as a military so i would have to turn to my general counsel to give you a better answer. ask you mentioned in your remarks we still in congress of the power of the purse and that maybe should be sufficient. there was one member of our body who said when he was briefed with what was going on in knight chair, he said congress -- in we would need to decide whether or not we want to authorize this operation through the appropriations process. is, for us authorize there that ought to be a hit rate here, that only the appropriations committee in this body has authority to look at what we're doing and decide whether or not appropriate authority exists enter the
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appropriations process give that authority. i would suggest this committee ought to stand up and say, that is not enough. let's pass a new aumf. that i hope senator kaine will go into the aumf that we have proffered that is gaining momentum and certainly support and i hope above all else that we can come to a point where we speak with one voice overseas whether it is with use of military or use voice and under the current situation with a 16-year-old aumf i would suggest that we do not. that our adversaries, our allies, and our troops need to know that we do. thank you mr. chairman. >> when you say title x you are talking about the training request program? >> that is correct, german. basically we have the authority under title x to carry out these kind of partnering activities.
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yes, sir. >> if the resident directed, guess so. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman. thank you very much both of you. you are both patriots and thank you for your service to the country. i wanted to get back to this titleon of exploring this x authority but i wanted to build upon a question preview that senator cardin referenced. that is on the existing authorities in north korea. has talked about our military options should we choose to use them in north make and i just wanted to sure we understand the range of authority the president has today with respect to potential military operations in the korean peninsula. absentou both agree that
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a strike against the united oftes or the imminent threat a strike against the united states, the administration would need congressional authorization to engage in military activity against north korea? oni think it depends circumstances. it is a fact-based decision. i think clearly today, we are there under article two authority and article two is really if you look at it historically, it has been grounded and kind of two criteria. one is to protect united states persons, property, and national security interests. it has been used for circumstances that do not rise to the level of a declaration of war. i think that is the circumstance we have in the and insulin today in korea. inin the peninsula today
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korea. so it is an imminent threat as to whether the president wants to exercise his authority and without the further congressional authorization. it will be fact-based and all of consideredhave to be . >> secretary mattis? sec. mattis: i believe under article two we have the responsibility to protect the country. i can imagine him not consulting or consulting as he is doing something along the lines for example of what we did at the airfield here in syria when we struck. notified immediately, this is after chemical weapons use that aside was using. in this case of north korea, it , ord be a direct, imminent attack on the united states and i think article to would apply.
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>> we could all split hairs as to what the definition of "imminent" would be. at with the possession of nuclear weapon capable of reaching the united states fulfill the definition of "imminent threat to the united states." with the simple possession of a weapon capable of doing great damage to the united states qualify as an imminent threat. already reluctant to get into hypotheticals. sitting in an underground ready to be used could be sitting upright until it's about to be launched. again, it would have to be about fact-based and giving consideration to the circumstances, imminent threat. >> i fully agree with secretary tillerson.
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this is an area that a number of facts would have to bear on the problem. or to give you a complete answer. both for your answers. i think the primary factor is whether there is an attack or an imminent attack. i think other than those two facts, you need to come to congress for authorization but i appreciate your answers. i want to drill down you are using that authority and today you have properly notified congress. concerns that our constituents may have what it looks as if a training mission is something more than training. local forces and women.u.s. men and
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to many folks it did not look like a training mission. we were helping them take pretty mission -- pretty critical components. how do you address components that a training mission can very easily morph into something that than much more operational are unauthorized by congress? >> it is a great question. when you look at why president obama centric's there. why did president trump send troops there, it is because as the physical caliphate is collapsing, the enemy is trying to move somewhere in so those troops are there, most of them providing intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance and feeling support.
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tothis case, we are trying build up the internal defenses. have carried the burden for this. case, since april i believe and we will get the specific numbers once the investigation comes in, over two dozen patrols in the area with no enemy contact. that is not a complete answer. i need to wait until i get the investigation. reference the falling apart of the caliphate and that suggests this might not be a authority mission and if that is the case -- who i misled you there.
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this is a title x and we are that-- trying to prepare so they can defend their own population. .our member boko haram nearby a real problem up in that region and we are trying to get the in a position where they can defend in a very complex environment. this is tough training. >> into senator young. a secretary mattis, you said new amu wouldf send a new message of resolve to our troops and our enemies. it seems there is a logical argument that they don't --ly or now have a highly
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2001 was in response to 9/11. and -- it was invoked here today in 2014 performance -- group sworet allegiance to al qaeda and by that same logic if isis broke with al qaeda, why would the 2001 amuf apply? >> we have seen these groups come back together. got are keenly aware this
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certain legal issues on our side. we have seen it and read their mail. if you look at the photographs, we have some intelligence that .hows who is leading in the same group in the same area seems to be spawning from a disavowal is, something of interest, but not necessarily compelling.
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-- they sworn allegiance and are covered by the a.m. u.s. --amuf. to lay out helpful what multifactor analysis is legally. -- we shouldn't engage in another fight without resolving this issue upfront, treating hostile forces as hostile. when asked about that i think what we have to do is have a repeatable policy.
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there is no confusion about their future, not an enemy's minds, certainly not our own. statements? >>se i do, center. >> why do you think it is important upfront that there's no confusion? >> senator, when we release people and find them back on the , we did not let them and we help them in prison camp until the war was over. i think that is a rather straightforward proposition. pass,if this bodywork to eliminatesupport to the detainment of enemy
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combatants until the end of hostilities? yesor those taken overseas, sir. >> another legal point, i would argue that you invoke litigation risks. the further we get away from a 2002, theom 2001 and more the -- in that time in which a previous congress working with a current -- previous commander-in-chief muf, whose litigation .isk is only going to grow
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andetary tillerson secretary mattis, both of you over the course of this hearing have indicated that there are three essential elements for a new amuf. i think they are distilled down to no lapse in authorities, no time constraints and geographic restrictions. thank you. >> i know for the record that the amuf i introduced on march 2 needs all those criteria so i think it certainly satisfies that. i'm going to pivot to a different topic. secretary mattis, in testimony before the senate armed services 2017, statedch 19,
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in his written text money -- his written testimony the shortfall support operations and offers threat indications and warnings. secretary mattis, can you these the operational impacts of those shortfalls and what we can do to help? they are insufficient basically worldwide. they would all say they have shortfalls. as you know, we have been under resolutions for the last several years.
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that forced again was in an area woulda reasonable person say contact is not likely to be imminent and so you look at how you prioritize it. there is a finite amount of assets and we deal amount like gold coins. >> thank you for your service. forhank you chairman corker this important hearing. i think it is important that we as a committee come together in a bipartisan way and provide you with an updated authorization for the work your men and women are doing around the world. i think the tragedy for american soldiers helps focus us on the
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fact we have citizens and senators who are unclear on exactly where in the world we .re engaged list you gave of roughly 19 countries, it is striking a majority of them are on the continent of africa in a region that is not familiar to many senators and americans. i will assert that i believe it to be in our national interest ,o have a renewed, clearer strengthen authorization. i think the risks presented of potentially motioning our adversaries and undermining confidence of our coalition partners. at the same time, it just defies a sense of our role to accept
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2001 amuf fewer than a third of the serving congress voted for. path hard to trace the from 2001 from al qaeda in afghanistan to young men and serving a year who are -- in niger who are serving. we must authorize an unlimited war that has no limits of geography, time or oversight mechanism. i commend my colleagues who put together a strong draft in an attempt to tackle this and i think both sides are going to have to make concessions.
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i think that strengthens our country and shows democracy at work, but it also means we will have to take some risks. talk to me about how we make sure that our citizens and senators know where we are fighting beyond the current system of notification. what do you think is the appropriate level of public transparency for military deployment outside of areas with active hostility? is it helpful and important and how do we strengthen i accountability? senator, i would say my department's case, we submitted 901 reports to the senate.
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we will be submitting seven reports per day. under the war powers resolution notification that comes in, niger has been reported every six months by the previous administration as well as our administration. the most recent reported in about 6045. we have probably got wanted 54 more there with the money you to -- will provide more opportunities for our troops in that region so i think the most important thing is we look at inside a mass of reports that pour into you everyday literally and make sure that maybe pier 1 issues and you
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would decide that we are highlighting that information to include any briefings that filled in any gaps. >> thank you. i think what you put your finger on is a big concerning and that is the level of transparency and understanding of where our forces are employed and what role they are deployed and the expectation for the likelihood of combat engagements, but also think when i consider the current a.m. u.s. , quite frankly maybe the intent recognize this was a completely different situation that we faced. this was not a sovereign state actor that we can do a war declaration against.
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or declarations don't have timelines, but we did tell the japanese -- we have done that. we see what happened. anything that signals our intentions, this enemy takes advantage of it. overreciate the issue congressional control and oversight. on the other hand, article one gave congress the right to declare war. commandero gave the the right to conduct military affairs. consensusfight war by , with a collective approach. there has to be one commander-in-chief to fight the
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war. someone has to make the decisions to win. the separations and the reason there is not a declaration of war here is the circumstances don't give rise to a declaration then puts in another motion of authorizations . i think authorities have been property used. secretary mattis i think would welcome a strong statement from the congress and in many respects congress can express its will now and say this authorization is still valid and a serving the purposes of this war against this very unique enemy that we will fight for we don't know how long. that is the nature of this fight we are in. >> i would like to thank both of you.
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i will just comment and closing. having spent time in west africa, i'm concerned about the ways in which associated forces --ped and change in the way who we're fighting and how it's possible for something like boko from two split into two and now become to enemies, but without a ,ignificant amount of direction this is a different kind of fight we have been in as a nation before and i think our constituents expect some sort of tragedy and projection or cost. i look forward to working on i will sayou both before turning to senator
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.sakson, a few exceptions here i really haven't heard a member questions orraise criticize efforts that are underway against isis, al qaeda, boko haram so i know everyone is concerned. oneow when this began, no -- i understand and will like for us to strive for balance, but in fairness, there may be another number that expresses that in a moment, but i have not heard a member go down to the senate floor and criticize the bush administration as it relates to al qaeda. the bush administration, the obama ministration or this administration relative to the activity, it does seem to me the
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senate and house do support the -- mys that are underway >> thank you very much. -- i want to mention dustin who was one of the four troops who lost his life. i want to thank you when i was whosethis lady came up son is in the united states army, so we are seeing she talks about how proud she was in the leadership we have in this country so i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart but also tell you what the streets are telling me. the senator and i go way back.
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we saw some of the horrible things happening and i appreciate on one hand what senator cowan said. i think that underscores the reason he can't write restrictions or be invitetive where you tools of the use or anything like that and do so without risking the life of your own troops. . was in the military it was a long time ago. we had muskets accident. limitations on the to serve and what you do. when we are writing an amuf to restrict our soldiers, we are
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potentially affecting the rules of engagement they have on the ground in a country where they have no rules. aware ofe have to be people working for us. people working for us are our soldiers and personnel. they operate on rules of engagement were they are limited to what they can do to carry out their mission in those limitations are somewhat affected by the a in u.s.. i want to bring that point out. we are not just dealing with limitations. to save ourpeople country day in and day out. it is a very dangerous place. >> in terms of geography or time , i think people run on hope and
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if the enemy hopes we are going to quit on a certain day or no we won't deal with him if they step over a certain border, then the enemy is going to do exactly that. >> i read your comment about it rock 'n roll band. i went to the university of georgia and founded a lot of bands. one of the best is widespread panic. is from thetion of any limitation
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whatsoever, i take it if we were to write a new amuf it ought to go and enforce the one put in today. have anynot afford to in terms of our authority. >> you don't think virtually any limitation? >> again, no this is the nature of the enemy we are confronted with. >> i think we have seen how quickly this in many -- enemy can collective health. theaw this happened and level of speed in a rock -- iraq. serious problem
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that all of us recognize. earlyin college in the 60's. john kennedy was the president of the united states. it was a time when russia put missiles on cuba. .ou talk about huge issue roomeverybody in this wasn't -- present kenny -- present kennedy did a great thing. we got to the point where wheree have the evidence and it was clear missiles had been installed. innedy had done everything
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locked himself away and finally his brother bobby said it is time to draw a line. they used an embargo on an redline in the sense of speed and i know north korea is not an island. what i'm saying is it was a wayethal, but provocative to force them to come into the game. we're getting close to my mind to that point is the last thing i would want you to do is talk about it. thate getting close to time in our country of an example of how you go to the lifestep without risking a
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by drawing a line in the senate someone has to cross. i thought it was a great example of leadership. thank you. >> thank you. and thank you both for your service. during the last congress, and again this past january, the -- thising first use of bill would ensure that no present can launch a first use nuclear attack against any target anywhere without a declaration of war from congress. under existing laws, the president possesses unilateral authority to use a first use nuclear strike on anywhere anyone around the world, even in the absence of a nuclear attack against us or our allies. there's no question that since
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the dawn of nuclear age, it has been essential for the president to have their authority to respond to nuclear attacks, but in my view, no one person have the power to launch a first use nuclear strike without congressional approval. under article two of the constitution, the president has authority to repel sudden attacks as soon as our military and intelligence agencies informed him of such an attack. theing in our bill changes president's ability to use nuclear weapons against anyone who is carrying out a nuclear attack, but we propose a common sense step to check any president's authority to launch a first use nuclear strike by prohibiting such a strike unless explicitly authorized by a congressional declaration of war. since the dawn of the nuclear
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age seven decades ago, we have been relying on cooler heads and to stall thetrine unthinkable, but too often those measures seem less reassuring than ever. you think that the president has the authority to launch a first use nuclear strike without congressional approval? first, i would not say ad hoc. constructionsrous and the decision-making and i prefer not to talk about a hypothetical that we have never confronted since we in the have never hadii something like that come up. >> you contemplated circumstance in which the president could
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launch nuclear weapons against another country or that country has not launched nuclear weapons against us? we saw they were preparing it, iso and it was in could imagine it is not the only tool in the toolkit to try to address something like that and believe congressional oversight is not quite operational control. i think we have to have trust and faith in the system that we have that has proven effective for decades. again, we are in a circumstance now where the to preventative war which means the united states launching new philip is essentially against north korea , buts we did in iraq
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to disarm saddam of nuclear weapons. that was at least a sensible justification that dick cheney gave two days before the war. >> the question again please question mark >> coming back to this question of whether or not there is a scenario under which a person -- first right -- first strike of using nuclear weapons could be used by the president of the united states without consulting any member of the united states congress, much less the entire congress? >> again, it is a hypothetical. i think if there was an imminent strike and it was the only way
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, there may be , butrent pools to stop it he has the responsibility to protect the country. >> i think it is an important subject. think it is comparative for you and the secretary of state and others to give us the classless -- classified briefing as to what those circumstances as to when you think they would need to be used without consulting the congress at all. >> i have a record of never being reluctant to come up in
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but i am often reluctant to speak hypotheticals, but i partly to terms in case what happens with something like that. >> in my opinion, no human being should have the authority to use nuclear weapons if there has not been an attack. we have the most powerful military in the world. if there is a threat that is conventional, then we have a conventional response. i think there has to be a process by which the united states in which congress is consulted. this is not something in my opinion which is any longer hypothetical. it is something that president
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trump contemplates, although i will add we introduced the legislation when hillary clinton was ahead by seven points last september. what would be the process right now to use nuclear weapons? can you walk us through what -- what that would have to be question mark -- could you walk us through question mark >> we will walk through at another hearing. crs andmet with understand there has not been .earing on this topic we plan to have a hearing to walk through. how the process works, there are multiple scenarios that come into play and i think a full hearing would be much better than a one letter response. >> thank you.
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>> senator rich? >> thank you. i've been here nine years and i've sat through dozens and dozens of debates, arguments, on amuf andtnesses 2001-2002redo the replacement and do a new one. i'm struck with a number of things after all the time. number one, everybody wants to do something. areparties on both sides working in good faith. it is certainly not a partisan exercise. their people on both sides working to do this. the second thing that has struck me as i've seen dozens of iterations of what a new resolution would look like and highroblem is we get
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centered on the details and after listening to all this, i'm a little pessimistic about whether we can actually do something new. andold system is in place , none of us respect 2001-2002,e original but we vote every year on this. at times, we vote multiple times. fightingcould stop isis if we wanted to. restrictionsme put on what the money cannot be used for and we are pretty successful in that regard. know thatm is we both the will is different than what we like to see in a perfect world. i agree with you that we did not
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vote on directly, but all of us every single year -- in any event, the founding fathers had a really good idea. they said the first branch of government should decide when we're going to war. because we area not made up of the military branch. the military branch is the one for likely to kill -- pulled it trigger. that congresss would not run the war as has been pointed out. you can't have politicians running a war. you need a commander-in-chief and that was really good idea. the difficulty today is things have changed since the time that was done. war fighting has changed and on top of that, those guys could not have thought the war we're fighting is against nonstate actors all of the world with the common idea of what they want to
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accomplish. .t is so different today i think you have the constitutional provisions which are pretty clear. we have the powers act and we are moving forward, but we don't seem to be heading towards a resolution. i like to get your thoughts on an issue that has only been touched on. we talk a lot about terrorism because that is where the fight is. is the to me that biggest issue that we have if you are going to describe anything. what happens when someone knocks on the door and north korea has just launched? what do you want us to do? ,here is no time for an amuf
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get lawyers involved. someone has to make that decision. i appreciate the chairman's thoughts that we should have a separate hearing on this particular issue, but i like to get your thoughts -- i know lawyers are on both sides of this. i would like to get your thoughts under the scenario i just talked about. as far as the tears and then, we deal with that regularly. tell me tell me about north korea. what happens when someone next on the president's door and says, they launched. sec. mattis: the first step would be our ballistic missile defense forces at sea and in alaska and california, the radars would be feeding in and
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would do what they are designed to do as we make every effort to take them out. the response, if that is what you are referring to, after the immediate defense, would of course depend on the president and laying out options, a wide array of options, and in alliance with our allies as well, i might add, because many of them have roles to play here. theould take the action president directed, and i am sure the congress would be intimately involved. >> and of course, under the scenario i have outlined, this is a matter of minutes, not days or hours. the president will be woken up or whatever, but our commands come we have rehearsed this. i would tell you we have
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reversed this routinely. i would leave it at that in this open session. risch: secretary tillerson, do you have anything to add? sec. tillerson: we do have defensive mechanisms in place. there are be some judgment made as to the effectiveness of those comments of judgment over whether a necessary and proportionate response is required. one of the strengths of the last 70 years has been the deterrence, the fact that no president, republican or thecrat, has ever forsworn first strike capability. that has saved us for 70 years. any consideration of foregoing in adoes change i think very material way the strength of that deterrence. sen. risch: i agree mr. secretary. it also seems to me that the enemy we are dealing with here
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with north korea, that deterrence issue does not seem to be phasing them because either a man would have to be absolutely crazy or incredibly stupid to not know what was going to happen after that. thank you mr. chairman. sen. corker: i think in that scenario it is a 15 to 20 minutes before a response take place. -- itary mattis, you know know you have set on several occasions that you think it would be great if congress spoke with one voice on this issue and showed support. i hope we are going to have an outcome here that does that. but does anybody get any sense anywhere in the world that the united states and the people within the united states are somehow divided over fighting isis, al qaeda, and groups that spin off?
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chairman, there have been time with allies -- when allies and even adv been convinced we should give up in certain theaters. but there are certain aspects, as far as our into the -- sen. corker: you are speaking more to what happened in iraq. what are you speaking to you say them of being concerned? sec. mattis: announcing the pullout from iraq. obviously that was one of the reasons isis had a chance to grow. we were talking about pulling out of afghanistan. we had a total of 50 nations in the field fighting the enemy. as we were pulling out, we have now dropped to 39. that is turning around, those allies are coming back on board, having troops based on the rollout of our salvation of strategy. bothan see what happens as
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-- when we started pulling out of afghanistan, people thought maybe the taliban will want to make peace then. some of us doubted that, but in fact they accelerated their campaign. you see the enemy's response, you see allies, 11 of them, leaving the field when they saw us, saying we were going to leave. so yes, it does have an effect. but i don't think it is that the enemy believes the americans are suddenly willing to vote for the things are enemy exists for the believes in, but they at times question whether we have the will to stand the strain. sen. corker: thank you very much. mccain. >> the recent deaths of four
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american troops in niger and in recent death of a green beret raiselly on a -- in mali questions on the military campaign against terrorism. it is time for congress to have a public debate and vote about an authorization for u.s. military action against nonstate terrorist groups. many of us believe where legally required to do so. others believe it is not required, we would be wise to do so. secretary mattis has testified on this at earlier occasions, as well as general dunford. our troops and the american public deserves an open debate on the extent of military operations, if not in your 17, then your 30, 40, 50. i want to -- that year 30, 40, 50. i want to introduce this
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document regarding high risk activities in africa. it designates 14 nations, father which have -- five of which have -- and this is from the obama administration, this plan a scopents for counterterrorism and africa far greater than what is briefed to congress and significant greater than what the american public understands. >> senator flake and i have -- and to finally engage us in our response ability. you signed a letter to congress opposing the proposal. i will introduce that for the record as well. i think we can stipulate this administration, what the two preceding administrations, believe the 2001 authorization gives it broad power in this area and would rather not have any congressional revision. but we have a job to do.
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let me ask you about your reasoning. your first objection to the letter is that "the legislation would arbitrarily terminate authorization five years after date of enactment." this is inconsistent with the conditions based approach in the president's south asia strategy. such a provision could also unintentionally bolton enemies bolden unintentionally our enemies. the congress still manages to pass the next in the a that's .he next -- the next ndaa other legislation commonly has an expiration date and a need for congressional reauthorization. do either of you view the annual oriration of the ndaa defense appropriations as
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congress arbitrarily terminating support for the military? sec. mattis: no sir. we have several hundred years that this work commodity imperfectly with continuing resolution, but i suggest the aumf is substantially different. sen. kaine: the you have any evidence the annual expiration unintentionally emboldens our enemies? sec. mattis: the continuing resolution is certainly inhibited our ability to adjust the military to the modern threat. sen. kaine: do you think the enemies are emboldened by thinking we won't pass an appropriation? sec. mattis: i don't think they understand those kinds of intricacy, whereas an aumf is a statement of purpose. sen. kaine: you count on being and to get the next ndaa appropriations bill passed because you have confidence in your quest and in congress -- in your request and in congress.
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is that correct quest mark -- correct? sec. mattis: that is correct. my reservation is that, for example, i have several dozen people who have been waiting sometime for hearings in order to give me civilian oversight of the department of defense we need and respond appropriately in keeping congress informed. i can't seem to get floor votes on some, and certainly hearings for others. ofhink it is the speed relevance for something like this we would want to make certain that where you get into what could be construed as not just the oversight, but the management or direction of this as a degree of continuity that destroys the enemy confidence that they can outlast. sen. kaine: if you deemed advisable at the end of five years we should continue the
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battle against these authorizations, do you doubt your ability to make the case to congress, or do you doubt the ability of congress to take seriously the need to defend the nation against terrorist organizations? sir, i am not in the political realm. i believe i play a political role of here, but -- sen. kaine: you don't doubt the will of congress to battle terrorist? sec. mattis: this war is so nontraditional -- sen. kaine: i understand that, but you don't doubt the will of congress to defend the nation against nonstate terrorist groups, do you? sen. kaine: -- sec. mattis: no i do not. sen. kaine: the resolution includes a definition of associated persons or forces inconsistent and could result in unnecessary uncertainty. the definition says associated persons or forces or individual entities other than a sovereign
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state that are part of or substantially support al qaeda, the taliban, or isis, and are engaged in hostilities against the u.s. armed forces and other personnel. i will leave that for the record. i think it is crystal clear and there is no uncertainty about it. the third and final objection in jointetter is that the resolution would create a cumbersome congressional review process for use of force against new associated forces or countries. the minister should object to having to identify to congress the objectives we are targeting with military force? sec. mattis: i believe that under article two of the constitution, the president has the authority to declare a threat to the united states as the elected commander-in-chief. sen. kaine: does the minister should object to notify in congress of the associated forces against which you are taking action quest mark sec. mattis: we had -- taking action? sec. mattis: we have been very
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forthcoming. sen. kaine: and the countries in which action is taking place quest mark -- place? if i could just conclude, mr. chair, based on the answers -- and it is tough to do it so quickly, i have a hard time understanding the opposition your than that don't want congressional oversight. there's an option to extend just in the patriot-- act and the ndaa. the act is extremely clear. the process for countries is not
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the geographic limitation. it is a notification for congress to take steps under the normal rules of the constitution. to rebut, i recognize the administration feels like it doesn't want any more authority, but to quote my colleague, we are more than a feedback loop. this state constitutional power. -- this is a constitutional power. which not be putting troops into harm's way with congress standing back and try not to have our fingerprints on this when it is mutating all over the globe. i think it is a forever war, and i worry you bleat about handing the power over two presidents to do this without the need to come to congress at all. sen. corker: you did a good job. i do want to say that what the senator said is true. you do just have to notify the countries. you just have to notify the additional groups. that part is not cumbersome.
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isould ask what the problem with the associated forces. it does appear to be very broad, and i would like if it takes a classified response, we would be glad to take it. but i don't understand what the problem is with associated -- i would i think ask, and i hope that you send me response to that. senator paul. it shouldn't surprise any of us that administrations say they believe in unlimited article two power to execute war. what should surprise and worry us is it seems like they also argue that they have virtually unlimited power to initiate and executed war. that is where the real problem comes. i am pretty much like everyone else. i don't want to have you restrained the rules of engagement. i want to engage and kill the enemy.
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but initiation of the war was given to us. madison wrote the executive branch is the branch most prone to war, and therefore with studied care, we give that power to the legislature. while some would argue we could not appropriate money, that becomes very difficult. given in vietnam, no one would cut off the money because no one wanted to be accused of not giving money to soldiers in the field. the only chance of preventing war is not to initiate the war. the problem we have you coming to us and saying, you will not even tell us we will not have preemptive war with north korea. this sends a signal much is that we are willing to do first strike, but what signal does it send to enemies of other nuclear powers, of russia, china, pakistan, india? that we are reserving the right when we don't like the weapon you have, we may just take you out. pakistan and india are pointed at each other. israel is pointed at saudi arabia, iran.
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if we are going to assert that we will take preemptive war against a nuclear power, i think that is very troublesome. but if we want to fix it, we should fix it. takemplain administrations that power, we should reassert our power. it has been generation after generation of congress act usa -- congress acquiescing in this. if it doesn't limit the authority of the executive, i'm not sure we are better. the executive branch thinks it is too restrictive. i think we will still authorize war and 34 countries, at least seven for certain, but probably 30 some. when we look at this and what to ask whether or not there should be limitations, whether or not we are prepared to be involved in perpetual war or to let any president involve us in perpetual war, we have to think about this. the war started in the first generation after mohammed. fighting.en
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they still were member the battle. the she has -- the shias stillborn that battle -- still mourn that battle. it is specifically going after the enemies who attacked us. nobody in niger has anything to do with 9/11 other than this ideology of radical islam. i don't think we gave the executive branch blanket authority to go to war anywhere they want against people who they say are part of radical islam. ultimately there is going to have to be diplomacy in this as well. how are we ever going to end the war? is there ever an end to this war? the crux of the argument is over who has the power. do you say you have got it -- you to say you have got it. dick cheney what said it would be unconstitutional to challenge
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article to authority, which he meant to be unlimited. the constitution was very clear. we are supposed to initiate war. doesn't matter whether it is a state or nonstate war. initiation of war comes from congress. i believe that strongly. we have the ability to our search our power, and we should resist with the administration, any one, republican or democrat, tells us they believe the have the ability to have primitive were anywhere, anytime, and the ability to fight a war against an ideology wherever they perceive it to be. i think it is very dangerous, and this should be a wake-up call to all of us if we can come together. i would say, just passing aumf is not enough for me because it should give us some hope of someday coming to an end, and someday there will be in and to the war. i see no end to this war historically. i think the war and the answers are going to come from within islam. i think islam is ultimately going to have to step out.
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i think we are a target everywhere we go. we went to yemen, and you guys just did it on your own. you are in a new war theater now, involved with saudi arabia. you have 70 million people on the point of starvation in yemen , and we are -- 17 million people at the point of starvation in yemen, and we are aiding saudi arabia. they killed when hundred 50 people at a funeral procession. when we went in there, unavoidably -- and i don't blame our soldiers, i blame the people in charge -- women and children were killed in that village. you say, we didn't try to do that. sure. what do you think they tell about us and the surrounding communities? what do you think they say about the time the americans came in the night and women, children, and whole villages were wright? they will -- were wiped out? they will repeat that i oral tradition. they will remember that.
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i don't think we kill more than we create in the process. there's going to have to be another way to involve diplomacy and discussion. it doesn't mean we can't resist the enemy and we shouldn't, but it shouldn't be your power. i'm here to say very forcefully it is not your power. the only way we will ever change that is if we as a body stand up and say, enough is enough. we will reassert the power of congress to determine these things. my admonition is to do that. i am alarmed to find out that article can basically has us involved in civil wars in africa. nd ofn call it any ki euphemism we want, but it sounds like you have conflict going on there. we have troops in africa and we should just blindly say we were given this authority under article 10 to be anywhere anytime. 10 orlarmed that section article 10 sounds like you
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believe you can be anywhere, anytime, whether there is a war going on are not, and you can say it is train and equip. i suspect there is more going on in niger then train and equip. i don't think the result million question there other than i hope that we as a body will pull together and stand up and resist, not because you are bad people. your good people. you surge your country. you are good- people. you serve your country. we haven't been checking and balancing the executive branch for 60 some years, maybe longer, so we need to stand up. that is my admonition to our body. i don't think i will change your mind, but it is an admonition we should have a full throated debate. thank you. sen. corker: thank you very much. my guess is under title 50 authorities, there is a great deal under way that the american people, nor us, are aware of. senator merkley. you mr.kley: thank
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secretary, and bank both of you secretaries -- and thank both of you secretaries. secretary tillerson, i believe you say to the retention of the digital for first use of nuclear weapons has been a foundational doctrine that is helped keep the peace over the last 70 years. i catch that right? sec. tillerson: yes senator. sen. merkley: i would say maybe not. it has been assured retaliation that has kept that piece. there is a significant -- that peace. there is a significant difference between the two. i believe i heard what you refer to that we hadn't considered the use of nuclear weapons after world war ii. did i hear that right? sec. mattis: senator, i said that we have not initiated the use of nuclear weapons since world war ii.
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sen. merkley: but we have had serious conversations about the potential of using a nuclear weapon as a first use weapon both in vietnam and korea. mr. chairman, i would like to submit for the record a cia --ument that goes through analyzing in6 -- the context of a debate about using nuclear weapons the issues come up should we choose to do so. they noted some of the fallings of -- the following things. they said nato would be badly shaken. they said once the taboo had been broken, there would be no barrier to add weapons. there will be great agitation. there would be momentum for nuclear proliferation. there will be fundamental
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revulsion of the united states and combination of the united states. that no british government would fail to condemn the u.s. there will be pressure for nuclear disarmament. these are the things they talked about would be consequences. are these all concerns that you all would share if the u.s. was to utilize a nuclear weapon against north korea or another circumstance where it is essentially conventional setting? sec. mattis: are you asking -- sec. tillerson: are you asking with respect to a first strike or under any circumstance quest mark -- circumstance? sen. merkley: first strike. sec. tillerson: i would need to study it and give it greater thought. sen. merkley: secretary mattis. sec. mattis: i would have to study it sir. i would just tell you we have discussing this sort of thing and any kind of actionable way. sen. merkley: thank you.
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i am very pleased to hear that. i was very struck when i read this. it said that all of these things would probably stand up today if we were discussing them, the impact on our allies and so forth. it is almost like it could be a list for today's conversation. aumf, myo the 2001 colleague from kentucky -- and please correct me if i get this wrong -- noted that most rational people, looking at the 2001 aumf, would not see a connection to the uses in which it is being employed today. i have it here in my hand. , secretary tillerson, you noted that you weren't sure of the motivations behind that aumf, but it is so clearly laid out. targetedy specifically
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to use all necessary and appropriate force against nations, organizations, or persons planning or authorizing or committing or aiding terrorist attacks that occur, completely about those 2001 attacks. the thing i think we are all struggling with as a committee, and our role in this constitutional balance, is between a vision of the past in which our constitution was framed around a declaration of war and an executive who committed forces in such wars and the modern battlefield of the world in which there are terrorist groups scattered about , and whether what you are asking for, which sounds like permanent worldwide ability for the executive on its own to take and that isslam, quite a different vision than the one laid out in our
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constitution. -- i describing it fairly because i did hear no timeline, no geographic constraints, no restriction on type of operations -- that sounds a whole lot like a permanent transition of power to the executive that really takes congress out of the picture once such an aumf is -- sec. mattis: senator, that statement from the authorization goes on to say in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the united states by such nations, organizations, or persons. i think you bring up a very worldpoint because the the constitution was written in obviously has been thrown aside by these very powerful transnational groups that we see right now.
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however we deal with this, to keep congress's legitimate, strong, constitutional power in place, has got to recognize that traditional forms of warfare are no longer used. there are ways to do this. there's many variations that have been offered for aumf that could address this or in some ways will not address it, but i think we do have to recognize that congress was very blunt that it was to prevent future acts of terrorism. "by such nations and organizations that had been involved in planning, authorizing, and assisting the terrorist attacks on september 11." but often i hear that this has been reinterpreted to involve any associated forces. there is no wording in this of associated forces. it is often, i find in just
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academic in this -- academic discussions, people believe these words existed here. understand organizations change names and fracture and move on, but we are quite distant in purpose and time from these groups which attacked us in 2001. the challenge here is, if one it takes associated forces as an added on or application to this, the question becomes, isn't almost anything associated in the world? and where is that line? that is the challenge to figure out what is that line. that is what we are struggling with. willing tonot concede the line should be wiped out with no geographic limits, no time limits.
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sen. corker: thank you very much. sen. gardner: thank you very much for your leadership and commitment to our country. one of the advantages of congress passing the aumf is to show the result and unity of congress. what does that look like? a united congress? what does the united aumf look like? sec. mattis: i am not 100%, but it would have to show a bipartisan embrace of the definition of the threat. then at least sufficient congressional support for what to do about that threat, that we would see america standing up saying that is where we stand. sen. gardner: has there been any
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material change that president obama had not already defined that way? same authority the same reasoning. sec. mattis: there have been some changes in the application, that sort of thing. but i cannot think of any change in the authorities that we are -- we think are operating under. sen. gardner: have there been any additional grant of authority since president obama left office? sec. mattis: i do not believe so, sir. sen. gardner: if you move from a title ten type of action to an authorization, what would that look like? sec. mattis: i think it would have to be an authorization that defines this enemy sufficiently, that it does not restrict our operations in the field, and it
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sets a condition under which we are to fight for an objective. sen. gardner: we are in the philippines under title x, is that correct? we have special operators in the philippines? sec. mattis: yes, sir. sen. gardner: are they under title x? sec. mattis: i know we have had them there under the title x. the difference is that now with the fight going on in murali, we reported them under other authorities as well, aumf. i am not positive about that. sen. gardner: is that a determination by you? is there a cold break between the title x action and the other? sec. mattis: if they are sent into direct combat, which they
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are not in the philippines, we are supporting, that would cause a war powers resolution to notify you of that. i think we notify you of the troops there under our normal maintaining your knowledge of where we have troops deployed, not in a combat role. sen. gardner: quickly, because i want to move on to north korea. what is the most significant rule of engagement change that we have seen in our fight against isis from previous administration to this one? sec. mattis: i believe it would be in afghanistan, where we have authorized troops there not to have a requirement of proximity to the enemy. wherever we see them, we can attack them. they are declared hostile. there is no need for them to be in self-defense mode to call air
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support. sen. gardner: they knew that, correct? our enemy knew that. that is your point on warfare. we have made significant progress in the fight against terrorism because of the change of the rule of engagement, correct? sec. mattis: and the tacticts we have employed, yes, sir. sen. gardner: you said north korea was the most eminent security threat. you still agree with that? sec. mattis: yes, sir. sec. tillerson: yes, sir. sen. gardner: i heard comments about first strike and nuclear capabilities. kim jong-un has not given up his first strike capabilities, correct? sec. tillerson: it is unclear what his striking capabilities are from a nuclear perspective. sen. gardner: should he have a nuclear weapon, has he given up a first strike possibility? sec. tillerson: not to my knowledge. sec. mattis: no, sir. sen. gardner: any change between
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this administration and the previous administration? so, that is all the same? sec. mattis: yes, sir. sec. tillerson: as far as i am aware, nothing has changed. sen. gardner: thank you. an additional question on north korea. you have said that if there was an action going into north korea under article two, the president would act if need be, is that correct? sec. tillerson: i would think an aumf declaration of war would depend on the circumstances the i'd have to see circumstances surrounding the requirement to engage in conflict. sen. gardner: thank you. i know you have made in the past week, announced several new
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sanctions against chinese entities. are there more forthcoming in the sanctions? sec. tillerson: there are additional sanctioning targets. sen. gardner: a couple brief questions for you. secretary mattis, do you believe the iraqi security forces use of u.s. armor is legal under the iraqi constitution? as it relates to what is taking place right now with kurdistan? sec. mattis: right now, we have a pause in the activity on both sides as a result of the referendum. i think we are talking our way through it right now. sen. gardner: i would like to have an answer on iraqi forces use of u.s. armor and whether that is legal under the iraqi constitution and whether iranian involvement in the current situation can create current implications under u.s. law is relates to that equipment. that is one question i would like an answer to. the second question relates to
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reauthorization. is the department of defense asking for section 702 to be reauthorized as part of the defense authorization act? sec. mattis: i need to talk with the president about that, sir. sen. corker: i do think as we move through this, the law fair issue you brought up was a big significant problem. the enemies were aware it existed and took advantage of it. i think that was a good line of questioning. senator booker? sen. booker: thank you for being here, and i appreciate your service to our country. secretary mattis, a lot of dod funding in the program. to my understanding there is a new air force facility, correct?
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sec. mattis: that is correct. sen. booker: and we're seeing a lot of talk now about continued military operations in the region, continued investment of u.s. troops as well as resources. is that correct? sec. mattis: we have been operating in niger a little over 20 years now. sen. booker: my point is there has been a significant increase. sec. mattis: there has been recently, as we try to build them up to take care of their own security. sen. booker: at the same time, we are seeing a proposed budget from the administration for food in peace programs being cut. it is now being cut for all bilateral aid to niger. is that correct? to your knowledge? sec. mattis: i will have to go back and look at the figures. sen. booker: those figures are
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correct. in the proposed budget. a massive ratcheting up of our military operations. and a proposed decrease. i bring that up to you because -- i think i have heard you talk to this, but i would like you to speak to it now. we are seeing in a lot of these states in africa, very different conditions often than we have seen in other places we are involved in train and equip programs or fighting in the sense of what is happening in a lot of these countries. western to nigeria for a second. nigerian military forces have conducted significant crimes, i would say, massacres of shia muslims. over 350 people were killed.
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a nigerian air force bombed a displaced persons camp, killing 236 refugees. injuring thousands more. 2014, accused of killing 600 unarmed refugees. there has been very little progress or accountability for these incidents. i guess i say to this because we seem to be involved places like nigeria. you know that as we decrease efforts and stabilizing democracies, creating an environment where there is stability, and we are involved in partnering with militaries that are responsible for atrocities. that creates an environment for more terrorism. do you disagree with that statement? sec. mattis: senator, what we tried to do is maintain our diplomatic engagement, our development support, at the same time provide sufficient security
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which is by training them how to do their own security behind which the development can occur to remove the root causes. anywhere you see u.s. troops will find them schooling local troops, part of our training. below law of armed conflict is military ethics. we are the good guys in trying to get this across. sen. booker: i do not take issue with that at all. would i take issue with is you are saying we are trying to maintain our efforts of diplomacy and food support because that is not reflected in budget numbers. let me continue to the point i was trying to make. there is a lot of extensive research which i am sure you are aware that in addition to socioeconomic status, excessive force by police and military forces engenders deep grievances which lead to radicalization. and the heavy-handed responses from military drives recruitment
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and violent extremism and organizations that often lead to terrorist activity. you are aware of that research. sec. mattis: i am not aware of what we have done in may of 2014 276 nigerian when girls were kidnapped. i do not find the connection between our activities and the kidnapping of hundreds of girls. sen. booker: i was not making that connection. i am simply making the point that senator paul made about yemen. when we are engaged in counterterrorism activities, partnering with military operations like what we are seeing in saudi arabia and nigerian forces. and they are conducting operations in a way in which civilians are killed, atrocities are accomplished. in your opinion does that in any way often drive the creation or the condition of radicalization?
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sec. mattis: i understand. it certainly could. i assure you what we're trying to do is to keep that from happening. in this case, the united nations recognized government in yemen is fighting inside a civil war. they are trying to restore that government. if we do not get it restored, that will set the conditions for the very kind of growth of terrorist groups that you mentioned. sen. booker: in somalia, the language of your current notification also advises accompanying regional forces. is that a change that means we could be accompanying regional forces as a combat role for troops in somalia? sec. mattis: yes, sir. however, our mission there is still to train and advise and
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assist them by accompanying them helping them carry out their own security. we are not taking over the fighting from somalia or the africa union forces. a.u. forces. sen. booker: i have run out of time. i just want to say there are a bunch of questions on the activities in africa that i would love to get answers to. i will also say that it strains my understanding of what an authorization of military force -- i do not want to tell you what i was doing 16 years ago. it's strange to me this idea that somehow that authorization is being used in indonesia, where there is terrorist activity in the philippines. niger, somalia -- i can go through, which are still relying for all these activities, there has been no conversation to see
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that we are achieving u.s. aims or engaging in a way that is making this world a much more complex place. i really do agree with a lot of my colleagues that we should be having this debate openly and more in congress. sen. barrasso: thank you, mr. chairman. as we were discussing, you just not back from korea, right before this time today. you were at the dmz and said north korea accelerated the threat it poses. today north korea announced it will be launching more satellites into space. are these satellite launches just another way for them to test ballistic missiles under the guise of a space program? sec. mattis: the application of technology is by-and-large the same.
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sen. barrasso: i am very concerned about the christians, the disputed territories that are being impacted by this. there have been media reports of of 700 to 1000 christian families being forced to flee their homes. many of these iraqi christians recently were able to return home to their villages after isis forced them out of the area. could you spend some time explaining what you are hearing from christian leaders in these communities and what is the u.s. doing to ensure that other minorities are being protected? sec. tillerson: the good news is they are trying to get back to their homes, their villages that they fled. many of their villages have been spared because the fighting did not occur there. we have been in direct contact with christian leaders in those
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communities who are concerned that this conflict between kurdish forces and iraqi central government forces not be fought out in their villages. and as a result they have pulled their forces out. the prime minister has assured -- insured his forces will stay out of those villages. kurdish forces have pulled out as well. we have direct engagement with local leaders of those communities and christian leaders that are trying to bring those populations back. sen. barrasso: thank you. earlier this month they were violent security clashes in northern iraq. the media reports indicated that the iraqi government had moved forces into the disputed areas in the region of kurdistan. i'm wondering what impact the fighting has on our impacts against the coalition against
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isis in terms of the ability to move military equipment and applies to allied forces in iraq and syria? sec. mattis: senator, the fighting has disrupted and delayed some of those movements of equipment. but i would point out that the iraqi forces moved into areas short of the 2004 greenline. as a result, although there were some firefights around their, -- there, secretary tillerson has been engaged diplomatically. we always lead diplomatically on all of our efforts. and those have been successful. and the prime minister has an in effect been able to hold things in control and make sure none of the militias are creating more problems as the kurds sort out their situation. sen. barrasso: in terms of moving first diplomatically,
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turn to pakistan. august 21, president trump gave a primetime address addresses his strategy for afghanistan. he said a pillar of that strategy was to change the approach in how to deal with pakistan. you briefly discussed this issue while you were traveling the region last week. you said you have given certain expectations that we have of their government. you went on to say that you are attempting to put in place a mechanism of cooperation through information sharing and action to begin to deny organizations the ability to launch attacks. can you talk about what is the change in the approach to pakistan and maybe some of the expectations you articulated for the pakistani government that you can share in terms of what this cooperation is going to look like? sec. tillerson: i can share some broad contours. if there is interest in more detail we might need to do that in a closed hearing.
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the conversation with the pakistani government is for them to recognize that they will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of a successful peace process in afghanistan. pakistan lives with two very unstable borders, one with afghanistan and the other with india. our message to them is you have to begin to create greater stability insider country and that means denying safe haven to any of these organizations that launch attacks from your territory. so we are going to enter into an effort to have greater sharing of certain intelligence information. the pakistanis have indicated that if we provide the information, they will act. we will have to test that and give them an opportunity. to do so. so what will change is that pakistan will find it in their interest to begin to disassociate these long-standing relationships that have developed over time with certain terrorist organizations. the taliban, inside pakistan, which may have served their purpose for stability once upon
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a time, but they no longer serve that purpose. and it is up to pakistan i think to think about their longer-term stability and their future by changing that relationship with these organizations. sen. barrasso: thank you very much. i am very grateful for your leadership and your service. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you secretary tillerson and secretary mattis for being here and for your service and your stamina. frankly, that we are still here. over the past several years, as has been pointed out, the range of threats that we face from terrorist groups and state actors has become increasingly diverse, fragmented and geographically expansive. and militants that we defeat in one country have spread their ideology and violence to other areas. similarly, state actors like iran and russia are increasingly expanding their reach beyond
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their borders, particularly in the middle east and africa where our troops are present. so i am concerned, as many on this committee are, that without an adequate understanding of the parameters that the administration is using to justify the use of force, that our strategies will remain ambiguous and our troops will have few limits to where they will be asked to go and what there would be asked to do. i have to say that i believe in the importance of u.s. engagement in the world. i am not an isolationist. i do not think we should withdraw from everywhere. but i want to make sure as senator booker said that we are actually achieving the aims we set out to achieve when we put troops in a particular area. secretary tillerson, as you point out, the american people and our soldiers have a right to know where they are being asked to go and to do, what the expectations are and what the end game is.
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and i think one of the places where it is not at all clear to me what the endgame is and that we have a strategy for that end game is in syria. the conflict there is one of the things that has allowed terrorist groups and isis to metastasize in the way they have. so as we look at the liberation of raqqa, what is our endgame? thefighting isis along middle euphrates river? do we intend to continue down the euphrates? will the assad regime or the russians do that? it is not at all clear. we have not just the terrorists we're fighting there, but also the state actors. , who areyria, iran playing a role that is couple getting the situation. i guess this is for you, secretary mattis.
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sec. mattis: senator, it is the most complex battlefield i think i have ever experienced. i would tell you right now that aspects,r operational which are by, with and through partner allied forces. that is why you see us helping others to fight and put them in it position to resupply them. basically i believe we lost one soldier killed taking raqqa. the kurds lost over 600. you see it written, the g rimmest possible statistic. what we'll do is knowing they moved their external operations elements, as we gather strength from the arab tribes we'll certainly continue to move against isis -- move against isis. because this thing isn't over until it's over. at the same time, the regime,
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the pro-regime forces, iranian-supported elements, lebanese hezbollah and russian forces are moving in the same direction. we do de-confliction with them at several levels. so we'll continue to move against them. the iraqis will move against them from their side of the border, even as the kurdish referendum issue has been a distraction further north, they are continuing to move. so we're still on the move. we're still deconflicting. and secretary tillerson is coordinating the larger issue of the end state diplomatically. sen. shaheen: so is the expectation as we drive isis out that we'll leave remaining sections of syria to assad, to the russians, to iran?
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because it's not at all clear once we are gone what will happen in those territories. mr. tillerson: that's where this de-escalation zones. so civil war does not re-erupt. in order for that to happen that means the regime hold its position and not try to overrun or retake areas that were liberated by others. we've successfully put one de-escalation zone southwest o syria in conjunction with jordan and syria. that de-escalation zone went into effect january 9. there'll been no aerial bombings in that area since and we have had success moving iranian presence as well as lebanese hezbollah presence out of those areas. we're working to create addition de-escalation zones. these are not demarcation zones, these are not intended to divide the country. they are merely intended to
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de-escalate so we can get representatives to the geneva process pursuant to u.n. security council resolution 2254 which has a very prescribed process for how syria will work its way toward new elections over the next few years. sen. shaheen: sorry to interrupt, i would like to pursue this discussion in a classified session. what i did want to follow up on secretaryt you made mattis, where you say we always lead with diplomacy. i would like to think we always lead with diplomacy, but given the current reorganization at the state department, the current cuts to the budget at the state department that were requested by this administration, the number of personnel, the amount of years of expertise of people who have left the state department, i guess i question whether in fact we are leading with diplomacy and putting our best foot forward. so, i don't know, mr. secretary. can you explain to me why this
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is a good time to let go of those personnel, to cut back on the budget of the state department? mr. mattis: we have let no one go, senator. some people have retired, some people have decided to leave on their own. there have been no layoffs, no terminations. quite frankly, senator, i have to speak on behalf of the professional men and women at the state department. foreign service officers and others who have many years of experience who have stepped up in open positions that are still open because we're waiting for confirmations, doing a superb job representing the american people's interests. and our diplomacy has not stopped, it is not hampered, it has not slowed. these people are engaged with our counterparts in leading this diplomatic effort. i'm proud of them. they're doing a great job. and we need some more help, some leadership help, but we haven't depleet our ranks of expertise by any stretch of the imagination and quite frankly on
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their behalf i want to defend their expertise to you. sen. shaheen: i certainly wasn't attacking the men and women of the state department. i think they do in job. -- do an excellent job. my concern is we have seen people with experience at the state department who have left because of the direction they're seeing it go. that is what i want to speak to. but i share your support for the work they're doing. thank you. sen. portman: general mattis, secretary tillerson, in an increasingly dangerous and volatile world i'm glad you are where you are. we've got a lot of challenges. i think the current aumf covers the fight against isis even though as was stated earlier, 15 years ago there was no isis as such. however, i also believe having a new aumf has benefits. i think it can be worthwhile in providing greater clarity and guidance, including to our military commanders and your
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diplomats, mr. secretary. i think it can help you establish a firmer base of political support for overseas operations. i think it can send a clear signal for from the united states congress and this administration to friend and foe alike, so i'm interested. but i'm only interested in the right aumf. it has to be helpful in empowering those who are undertaking this incredibly important task during a time of such danger. i guess my question to you would be, i understand, looking at your testimony, having been here earlier, you have laid out what you think the guiding principles ought to be, but are there authorities or guidance you now lack that a new aumf could provide? sec. mattis: on the military side, senator, i would just say no as it stands right now and again when i spoke, i just thought that we need to incorporate those things i brought up.
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i'm not telling the senate had to do his job. we will carry out our orders to the commander in chief. but i think those factors of conditions-based and the timelines, anything that we do we have to recognize has an impact on both our operations and on the enemy's view and we have to take that into account. that's a reality. and i'm not saying that there's some prescriptive one way to solve these. sen. portman: secretary? mr. tillerson: i don't think there's anything we lack. we think the current authorizations we have are sufficient to allow us to pursue this enemy wherever they choose to fight us. again, i think this is all about fighting them over there. so they don't come here to attack us on the homeland again.
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sen. portman: the threat has evolved and it will continue to evolve. geographic limitations as an example would make no sense, i assume given the fact we are seeing a metastasizing of the threat through countries we would never imagine would be part of isis or former al qaeda. let me ask a broader question, and this is a tough one. but i have as with many of my colleagues been frustrated with regards to syria. you called it a complex battlefield. i know the president and our administration has focused on defeating isis as is appropriate. but there's a broader issue here, which is how did isis evolve in the first place? and how do we deal with the underlying problems and chaos in that region, the instability that fueled the rise of isis in the first place? and i guess my question to you is, let's say we continue to be successful with isis.
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you talked about raqqa earlier and he talked about some of the military success we've had on the ground. as we do that, i would think our coalition partners and us are going to see the limitations of a military approach because you'll continue to have sectarian divisions, competing interests, worsening humanitarian crisis. and i just want to be sure if we're doing a new aumf we're covering that. in other words, this is not just to give you the authority to use military force but to get at the causes so we don't have to go back again. i guess, secretary tillerson to ask you first, as an example, do you think there could be a lasting peace there as long as assad is in power? and does the current aumf give you the ability, general mattis, to be able to deal with that issue if you think that has to be resolved? that might be one example. sec. tillerson: the current aumf only authorizes our fight against isis in syria, as i
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indicated in my remarks. we're not there to fight the regime. there's no authority beyond the fight against isis. therefore we have to pursue a holere syria that is kept w and in fact. and a process which the u.n. security council process does provide a process by which in our view the assad regime will step down from power. how that occurs will be part of that process. that's what we continued to indicate. that's a view that's widely held by others in the region as well. it's a view that is widely held by our allies in europe and broadly by the coalition. so what we want to do is create conditions so geneva has an opportunity to succeed. sen. portman: how does this play into the potential newamuf? secretary mattis, if you could focus on the military side of this thing. in order to secure the peace
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after isis is defeated if we are successful, what would you like see that would be broader and give you the ability to do what has to be done? sec. mattis: i think the aumf has to address the two basic brands of terrorism we have seen strike at civilized people everywhere and determine what it takes to define that problem in sufficient detail and to appoint we arere in the congress in agreement if you go forward along those lines so that we speak with one voice on the threat. if we spend time basically defining the threat, in sufficient rigor, i think much of the response to that threat will be understandable and supportable across the political spectrum. sen. portman: again, i know this is a sensitive topic, but do you think a broader aumf is needed to deal with underlying issues, not just the immediate elimination of the isis threat in syria but some of the factors
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that have led to the rise of isis? sec. mattis: it could do that, if properly constructed it could do that. sec. tillerson: i think it's a question of, after we are successful, as we're having success now, how do you stabilize these areas? and do we -- is there any military role for that stableization? i'm not -- i'd have to think about it further as to whether it's a military role or whether it's really, we equip -- which is what we're doing today, we equip local capacity to maintain the security of their communities and as i said, as the prime minister noted, armies are not good at serving in a police role. they are not trained for that. we have to train security forces that are able to provide a policing function to maintain stability and security for these communities which helps tamp down the conditions that give rise then to this violent extremism again.
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sen. portman: no question. i guess -- i'm out of time. i appreciate your indulgence in ,llowing me to go a little over mr. chairman. i do think this is a discussion we can have as part of this potential new aumf. what is the broader strategy here we ought to be pursuing to avoid get back in the fight again. thank you, mr. chairman. sen corker: before i turn to senator cardin for his closing note, you're not asking for an authority to go against assad? sec. tillerson: no, senator. sen corker: and if you felt you needed to go against assad you'd come to congress because we'd be then going against a country, is that correct? sec. tillerson: that's correct. sen cardin: i first want to
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thank both of our witnesses for their dissipation in this hearing. and a service to our country. there may bh disagreements about what the aumf covers currently and what congress should include in a more up to date aumf. that's a healthy debate we're having. there's no debate about our resolve to go after terrorists who are attacking our interests and our allies. we want you to have the ability to root them out and destroy them. there's no disagreement about that. i just would sort of conclude on this, and that is i think there's a real willingness of all of us to work together to modernize the aumf. we're going to try to be able to do that. but i particularly want to thank you for the direct answers to our questions. i think you were very clear in responding to the questions that have been asked by the members of this committee, and that's very encouraging. because this hearing, i think, has been extremely helpful to us to try to sort out how we can best represent the national security interests of this country.
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sen corker: i want to thank you both for coming, for your service to our country, for the concrete answers you gave. obviously the next logical step is for us to mark up an aumf and i would just ask while you're here that you agree to work with us promptly and the work period is short, we've got other issues to deal with. if you would both use your resources to respond quickly to questions we might have legally and otherwise relative to an aumf. sec. tillerson: will do. sec. mattis: absolutely. sen corker: thank you so much. there'll be additional questions, we'll take those through close of business on wednesday if you could answer those promptly, given your other duties. we appreciate it. i can't can not thank you enough for your service and the time you spent with us today. with that, the meeting is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute,
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which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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