tv CENTCOM AFRICOM 2019 Budget Request CSPAN March 13, 2018 8:02pm-10:09pm EDT
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>> at a senate hearing, military commanders talked about defense spending in the presence 2019 budget request. they also answered questions about military operations in the middle east, the iran nuclear deal and china's growing presence in after. senator inhofe chairs this arms services committee hearing. >> the committee will come to order. we welcome our witnesses and thank each of you for your great service.
in advance of the hearing, chairman mccain asked that i submit a statement for the record on his behalf. i will quote that statement. as we turn our attention to the central challenge of great power of competition the national defense strategy challenged us to think about our efforts in the middle east in new and different ways with all of the recent success, we must work to consolidate our gains and move forward with the strategy to ensure security. we look to provide the policies needed for this new approach. both middle east and africa were at the threat of violent extremism and increasing dramatically. over the past year we have seen remarkable progress in the fight against isis. military victories in mosul and beyond have helped dismantle the caliphate isis
once claimed in the middle east. the same time, significant challenges remain in the region. the syrian civil war grows on. according to the region of north korea we face serious questions about the kurds many of whom have fought by our side. for africa, let me make it one statement that i think is significant for us to keep in mind for the purpose of this hearing. general, it is my understanding that the investigation into the october 2017 ambush in nigeria by isis affiliated fighters killed four u.s. soldiers is completed. i understand its pending
review by the chairman of the joint chief of staff, general dunford and james mattis. after his approval they will immediately be offered a brief to the family of the four soldiers, if they desire prior to any in-depth briefing to congress. honestly we want the families to have an opportunity to know what happened to the luckless. accordingly, i understand you are not able to comment on the investigation during this hearing. at the conclusion of the briefs to the family i know you will provide a thorough briefing and recommendations. we do have, i want to talk about africa and africa. our troops have an important mission to train and assist regional partners to be capable of handling security threats before they become crises. our engagements in africa are critical not only to reaching those stability but our own
national security that lacks dedicated troops, resources, sufficient basing and strategic access. senator reid -- >> i want to thank our witnesses for appearing here today. also for your service and the service of the men and women you command. thank you very much and thank them please. leading a command in a very challenging time and we are in the 16th engagement in afghanistan, for example. early last year the commander testified that we are facing a stalemate. since that time the administration has a new south asian strategy with negotiated settlement and move to support the military elements of strategy. despite these shifts, 2017 continue to be plagued by widespread violence and instability as the taliban expanded the control and conducted a number of
widespread attacks against civilian and military targets. isis remains resilient despite significant pressure. while the administration is clearly at a military strategy, battlefield victories are hollow without economic progress. the trump administration has yet to articulate the governance or economic aspects of the strategy much less the staffing required to implement it. in iraq in syria, the physical caliphate is a significant victory and i commend the administration in your leadership and colleagues too. our rack partners on the ground have done so much. additionally, the underlying
issues remain unaddressed. we need strong u.s. diplomatic leadership to bring about the necessary political accommodations that will give sunni communities a stake in their future and to bring the international community together to assist communities recovery from isis. as some experts have stated, the seeds of uncertainty are sown. in iraq alone, the cost of reconstruction is expected to be at least $88 billion in the community has pledged less than one third of that amount. i'm deeply concerned the administrations modernization of our diplomatic corps undermines our ability to stabilize areas once held by isis as well as the broader region. it is notable that the areas of responsibility remain vacant. this is not a question of congressional action. no nominations have been
forthcoming. i'm sure our colleagues would rapidly move to consider nominees for these very important positions. military power alone will not be enough to address the challenges we face in these compensated regions. we must have the people in place to ensure our long-term security objectives are met. they risk a crisis and by all accounts the jp away is working as intended and iran is meeting its amendments. let there be no doubt, they continue to be a state sponsor of terror and they continue to violate human rights and failure to stabilize the region. the jcp oa was not intended to address all of iran's bad behavior. if they behave this way without a nuclear weapon imagine how much worse it would be with a nuclear weapon.
withdrawing would be a devastating blow but also for our efforts to diplomatically address north korea and constrain address of behavior by our adversaries. i'm interested in hearing whether you believe that remaining deal is in the best interest of the nation. in africa the importance of relationships is paramount. they seek to engage through our partners and our shared security goals. i recently traveled to east africa where i saw firsthand the ongoing efforts to disrupt violent extremists in various places. i also saw the challenges from competitors such as china and russia who were actively seeking investments in involvement across continent. despite some battlefield success against al-shabaab and boko haram, many governments have struggled security gains. as we turn our attention to
the national defense strategy, we must be mindful not to focus exclusively on these issues at the expense of other threats such as terrorist organizations, rogue regimes and other nonstate actors. thinking mr. chairman and thank you general, for your service. >> thank you senator reid. we will now have open statements by our two guests and your entire statement will be made part of the record. >> senator inhofe, ranking member read, distinguish members, good morning and thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss the current posture in state of readiness of the united states central command. i am pleased to be here today with my fellow combat commander and fellow minnesotan. i come before you on behalf of over 80000 members of the
command. u.s. military, command and coalition members from 71 nations in the most complex area of the globe they serve and sacrifice on a daily basis. in many cases for the benefit of not only american strategic interest but also the world. our people are the very best at what they do and they and especially their families deserve our admiration and gratitude. it is my sincere honor to lead and be a member of such a fine team of dedicated professionals. since i last appeared before the committee, we have made considerable military progress across the region. however, as we consolidate our gains in places like iraq, syria, lebanon and yemen, we remain clear i'd about the challenges of the region and what they present last year we have achieved incredible success in iraq and syria. the iraqi security forces in the syrian democratic forces are operating at the most effective levels and have liberated over the 98% of the territory previously held by isis. the destruction of the isis
physical caliphate is within our grasp and thousands of displaced persons are returning home and beginning the long task of rebuilding. now we must consolidate gains by investing in the security forces, relationships and capabilities that will hold the territory and keep isis from returning. based upon that progress there conducting an operational alignment and rebalancing effort to achieve three goals. the first goal is to complete a major combat operation in iraq and syria, to bring the defeat isis campaign to a responsible) military success in the campaign presents us an opportunity to reposition forces from iraq and syria through afghanistan in a manner that keeps the pressure on isis but also sets us up to break the stalemate in afghanistan. we retain capability to
continue our efforts against isis despite increasingly complex situation across syria and especially in the northwest province. our partners on the ground in syria have gotten us a long way in syria toward our objectives and we must think with them through the completion of this fight. iraqi security forces are rapidly securing gains and preparing to support elections later this spring. the second goal is to prioritize the implementation of the south asia strategy in afghanistan, reaffirming our commitment to afghanistan by reinforcing the to complement three military missions, a nato-led assist mission and the counterterrorism mission. with our support, the afghan national security forces are well postured to begin operations to seize the initiative to expand population control and secure credible elections. part and parcel to this effort is our regional approach to engage all countries with a stake in afghanistan stability. especially pakistan where we seek a more productive and trustful relationship that benefits our mutual objective
and the region. we also to make sure we've aligned our military with our international activities to neutralize, counterbalance and shape this the engine destabilizing impact of a rant. make no mistake their activities across the region pose a long-term threat to stability in this part of the world. the recently published national defense strategy rightly identifies the resurgence of great power competition as a principal national security challenge and we see the effects of the competition throughout the region. russia's support of the asad regime is not only prop them up but has also added complexity to the defeat isis campaign. moscow closed engine plays both arsonist and firefighter, fueling tensions against the regime, he ran, turkey, the syrian democratic forces of the united states and other coalition partners and serves as a supposedly arbiter to resolve disputes. today russia's manipulative
did behavior has placed our campaign progress at risk with activities that are not focused on the defeat of isis rather preserving their influence and control over the outcome of the situation. china is pursuing long-term steady growth in the region through its one belt one road policy. it is also improving military posture and force projection by connecting ports with its first overseas military base in djibouti adjacent to the critical straight. both china and russia, not only do they seek to fill in gaps in u.s. influence with increasing defense cooperation and sales of their equipment to regional partners but also multidimensional ties to iran. against this backdrop is the enduring issue of the region, social, economic and clinical challenges, high unemployment, falling oil prices, a youth
voltage, and large numbers of refugees and long-standing border complex. we stand ready with all of our partners to defend u.s. interest against these and other threats. our strategic approach of preparing the environment, pursuing opportunities and prevailing wherever we can is working. we are postured for purpose, proactive in pursuing opportunities and resolve to win. i would like to close by sharing three dynamics that we feel are essential to prevailing in this region. in the conduct of our campaign in iraq, syria and afghanistan, lebanon and egypt, we have adopted a by, with and through approach that produces a heavy reliance on partner forces spread while this does present its own challenges and can be more time-consuming, importantly provides local solutions to local problems. this approach is not without risk as we are seeing unfold in northern syria today. it is proving very effective and will pay significant dividends going forward.
second, successful pursuit of u.s. objectives in this region come only from an integrative approach aligned with interorganizational partners. defense of the nation is a team sport. this applies not just within the command but with our fellow combatant commands, the central regions country team, other departments agencies and organizations of the u.s. government and most importantly, our coalition partners who have provided unwavering support for nearly two decades of persistent conflicts. as a national defense strategy captures clearly, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones will be key to our future success. finally, we cannot do what we do on a daily basis without the support of congress and by extension, the america people. we sincerely appreciate this committees continued strong support for operations, authorities and resources and especially for your support to the services, and the other defense agencies that we rely upon for our military wherewithal. your support will remain important as we contend with potentially are generational
struggles to defend our homeland from the threats outlined in our national defense strategy. thank you again and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. >> senator inhofe, ranking member read, distinguish members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to update you on the efforts of the united states africa command. i'm also honored to be here today with the general and discuss many of the concerns we share between the two groups including countering violencviolent extremist organization protector member this soldier and sailor we lost during operation of this past year. i also want to share my respect for the loss of our africa partner forces who, during their effort in the fight against extremism gave the ultimate sacrifice this past year as well. we honor their commitment, service and dedication to duty and offers sincere condolences to the fallen comrades and
those of her african partners. senator inhofe i have completed my review of the major investigation and forwarded to the secretary of defense to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. once he completes his review and after the families have been briefed i intend to provide a comprehensive and detailed account of the investigation to you as soon as practical. this morning i would like to talk to about afghan strategy for the comment and update you on our priority regional efforts. u.s. interest in africa are reflected in our mission statement. they strengthen security forces, counter transnational threats and conduct crisis response in order to advance u.s. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity in africa. our mission statement deliberately highlights the importance of with partners. following up on this point, very few, if any of the challenges on the african continent can be resolved to
the use of exclusive military force. accordingly, the first strategic tenant underscores our military activities and are designed to support and enable u.s. diplomatic efforts. we can create time and space for governments to establish effective and accountable governance while fostering conditions for economies to develop. our second theme describes our strategic approach, by with and through. this and the sizes our main effort to build the capacity of african partner defense forces to credibly provide for their own security. while african nations have enormous potential, they are often challenged by instability and exploitation stemming from the disruption caused by violent extremist organizations. these groups take advantage of vast ungoverned spaces and recruit from populations lacking economic activities.
we approach these security threats through our third strategic principle of keeping pressure on the networks such as al-shabaab, isis, al qaeda and boko haram and their destabilizing influence. we remain ready to respond and protect u.s. personnel and facilities on the continent. these strategic themes are aligned with the national level guidance. in accordance with the recently released national defense strategy and in the context of changes in the operating environment, we are updating our strategy and campaign plan to reflect the guidance provided by the signature of defense. turning now to regional efforts, i would like to describe for you some of the challenges we face each day on the continent. in east africa, the contributions are part of an
international commitment to help small you implement the recently design national security architecture. al-shabaab remains a threat to somalia and the region as demonstrated by their october 2017 bombing in mogadishu which killed 500 people. the challenges facing the government of small you are enormous. they continue to slowly make progress with the long way to go before they are prepared to secure their own territory. with international partners and organizations including the african union and the european union, afrikaans kinetic and capacity building efforts to assist the federal government of somalia with the implication of their comprehensive approach to security sector reform. >> in north africa, libya remains politically and militarily divided with infections vying for power and of potential elections later this year. in close cooperation with the u.s. nbc libyan external office located in tunis and as
part of the international effort, they support diplomatic objectives for political reconciliation. we look to continue to work with the government of national cord and maintain pressure on the terrorist networks in that country. the broadest part of africa from the atlantic ocean to the red sea, they support national efforts in the western area and the nearby lake chad basin region of west africa. we provide training, advice and assistance to the g5 countries and multinational joint task force in order to help them contain violent extremism and secure their borders. in conclusion, the continued progress on the continent with our partners reflects dedicated commitment by men and women. they have built strong and
trusting relationship with the u.s. agency and international community in order to foster the relationship. on behalf of them, civilian employees in african command, thank you for this opportunity to be with you and i look forward to your question. >> thank you. less than a month ago, senators ernst, and sullivan spent quite a bit of time in the south china sea seeing and witnessing firsthand what china is doing there. they talk about reclaiming land and i suggest it's not reclaiming land because there's no land to reclaim. it's creating land. while they been doing this for some time, it's kind of gone unnoticed. there up now to over 3000 acres that they have created, all staffed with nothing but military staff. so obviously, it concerns a lot of people. there's a lot of people in the
region, a lot of allies in the region look at china as someone more significant than we are because they don't see that type of thing from us. i know this is not yours, but recently, you stated in your opening statement that the request for presence in djibouti, this is very much a concern. it's where we have our marines for quite some time, it's an area that has control over the interest in the red sea and the suez canal. i'm very much concerned about this and you are too. you said at the house armed services last week, you said of the chinese took over that port then it could be significant. if china is successful in taking over them, could they use their control to threaten u.s. access and our broader freedom of navigation interest in that region.
>> senator, thank you very much for the question. although i'm not an expert on port operations, i can tell you a few things that may land some context to the question. within the confines of the port there are five activities, two of which are run by the chinese, and obviously they are chinese naval port for the facility and then they have control over what's called a multipurpose port which essentially offloads containers. there are three other pieces to the port, one of which is a fuel. then there's this container. which has been discussed about the solution take over the past couple weeks, and then there's what's called an old port were ours ships also birth in order to pick up supplies and the like. the divisions annulled the contract that they had with the dubai ports world and they essentially took control of
that port. in discussions with our key leadership in the area with the secretary of state who was there this past week they indicated they will run that port for the next six months and then determine where they will go in terms of sale or whether they will keep control of that port. the container port, as i described basically, all of the containers that come through their weathered spare parts or provisions, anything that comes through that port is used quite a bit. we also use the fuel port quite a bit between october of 16 and october 17. there were 115 ships that came in to refuel. the fuel also goes to the base to refuel. >> so that is a significant area. >> it is. >> i'm running out of time, but that's what i want to get into the record. one of the areas, it was
admiral harris who called this to our attention, and some of the areas where we've done this program which i've always been very fond of, they are seeing that china is going after our program, in that area, are you seeing any of this in africa on the continent of africa because we have worked extensively on the program down there. >> it's unclear, it's difficult to get data in terms of china in this program and after. on average, the national university in china graduates about 100 or so foreign students. year : :
it appears that we don't have a policy as to our position within the syrian current and also a longer-term policy are we going to have a de facto partition in the country with the sdf syrian defense forces guarding that portion? can you get clarity on the problem? >> we have not operated in the province this is an area we don't operate and have no intention of operating. we are concerned certainly that we have the activities and afrin are a distraction defeat isis
activities right now and there has been an impact. we are addressing that and we have innovative partners and people on the ground that are working to ensure we keep the focus on isis but i am concerned about the long-term aspects. >> we gradually leave our efforts in order to to protect their fellow kurdish forces. >> we have seen not already senator. >> general waldhauser thank you for your hospitality. one of the impressions that i have received there is keeping some of these forces and special operations particularly in working with amazon and a forces.
in building capacity in every way, shape or form and i pointed out in my opening statement that the sheer lack of state department presence ambassadors in somalia ambassadors in libya ambassadors in egypt, is that impairing your ability to get the job done? >> thank you senator and thank you for your team for taking the time to come for oar. with regard to somalia we do two things. one is extending peace which we have the authority to strike al-shabaab targets and we have done that robustly in the last few months. additionally we have a niche in doping capacity. i would say in the international community plays a big part in that. the key is as we talk about amazon transitioning around the 20 to 21 timeframe the symbolic
symbolic -- somalia and security forces to be in a place where they can conduct their own security operations. with regards to the country team or country team, we are very tight with them but as you know they have a facility in mogadishu which they have moved into in the last week or so. we worked closely with them and they did a great job working with the president. the bottom line is the federal government in somalia needs a lot of help in mentoring and coaching as the department moves forward. >> i would concur and we do have a courageous team of diplomats on the ground in mogadishu. we are going to have the impact we need in a short trade of time. i don't see that happening on the civilian side and if your resources are shift to other priorities in the national defense strategy includes competition with russia and
china giving both of you maybe not economy force operations but certainly a very different priority. thank you all for your service and our thanks to the men and women that you lead. >> thank you senator. senator ernst. >> thank you mr. chairman gentlemen thank you for being here today. general votel i will start with you. general when i was in afghanistan a few months ago i visited a military and diplomatic leaders in capitol kandahar in bagram and it seems as though the taliban is transitioning from ideologically inspired group into a -- which is using ideology as a veil. it is focused on destroying processing facilities and their
yields as opposed to just simply destroying the poppy fields. are the strategies used in the past and if so how are they different? these streams that are fueling the taliban right now this is a lesson learned from iraq and syria where we got serious about going after the hunting streams that supported isis and we started to see an immediate impact. i do agree with you they are well-resourced by at the narco-trafficking that takes place. our efforts are not only targeting their production
storage locations for working with regional partners to help limit the flow of that product out of the region. do you think it's very called him a narco-terror group? >> the absolute and they take on many characteristics of a mob, mafia type of group. this is not a popular insurgency and it's important for people understand over 90% of the people in afghanistan do not want the taliban to be in charge of their country. >> as we fight and try to eradicate their funding do you believe where adequately funded? >> i do. i think we have the necessary resources to pursue the strategy that has been made out for us.
>> if we are successful in destroying their narcotics industry and their funding sources what development do we need to see in afghanistan to make sure their people are self sufficient? >> i think the key strategy, the big idea is to force the taliban to reconciliation the way to do that is by focusing military pressure, focusing political pressure working with regional partners such as pakistan and social pressure. this of course is ensuring the government of afghanistan continues to make the necessary reforms that president gandhi has already committed to and that he is moving out on as we speak. this includes not only addressing the endemic problems of corruption but also ensuring fair elections are conducted in the country and they are
addressing the leadership challenges that they have. they are doing these things right now and this will help no confidence in the government of afghanistan for the people. >> i do appreciate that. i'm going to focus in a little bit more on the afghan special operations. we have had a lot of u.s. effort in afghanistan building afghan air force and increasing the size of their afghan special operations units. how will the integration of the half grand air force and doubling the size of a special ops unit change the conditions on the ground as we see them today? >> a key part of our approach is to build on what is working in afghanistan and certainly afghan special operations forces and the air force have been very good programs. essentially what we are focused on by doubling the afghan special operations forces by building out the air force is to
really provide the government of afghanistan with a very good offensive capability that can really focus on gaining control of the population in the areas we need to for the government to exert there -- that we look at the special operations forces as their principle offensive capability and the army plays a role and we are working to get the police to become more confident in their policing functions that are important in the urban populated areas. >> i appreciate that. when i was in afghanistan i was able to visit and they are truly excited about being able to sport their own country so thank you gentleman very much. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for your service and for being here today. general waldhauser eye and a
number of other senators have the opportunity to meet with two women who had been kidnapped by boko haram. they had horrific stories to tell us about seeing family members murdered before their eyes, about being forced into marriage on an ongoing basis. i asked them what they would like americans to know about what happened in nigeria. several hundred were kidnapped years ago but this happens to girls on a daily basis in nigeria. the translator who was with the
organization said that this is a strategy by boko haram to impregnate women to grow a whole next generation with that extremist ideology. i know in your statement he talked about nigeria's capability but in fact they have not been able to address the mass kidnapping of girls in nigeria. is that your understanding and what are we doing to try and support efforts to address what boko haram is doing? >> thank you senator shaheen. it's good to see you again. obviously boko haram is one of the most deplorable operations of the planet. 2009 they kill depending on what you've read well over 20,000 people. with regard almost four years
ago this month 276 were taken away. uncovering 19th a hundred and 50 miles north and based on the location and several sources we believe to be isis west africa. isis west africa one time was part of boko haram. one of the things i will tell you is that we have been asked to provide assistance to the government to nigeria to help fund these girls. we can talk more about than a closed session but we are providing assistance in terms of intelligence support planning and the like that they have asked us for. they are trying to find a negotiated solution. it's very precarious.
>> when we passed the ndaa and 2017 we created a new authority under section 35 that allow the secretary of defense to transfer up to 75 million to usaid and the department of state to implement foreign assistance programs. are these programs help less we are looking at the challenges facing women and girls in places like nigeria where they are reintegrated into their societies and their challenges with doing that and can you tell me if the secretary of defense has requested any of those dollars? >> the 385 program is a new one this year so we have had to work her way through several to see how we can apply it and so on. currently have two proposals that we are put through osd. one has to do with defections inside of nature where we would
work with the state department to follow through on her two babies. that is one we put forward to the second one we put forward as a nigeria in the basin where we are trying to get some the people there to court. the state department can help us there and they run -- so we have two nominations in and we are hopeful we can do something that can complement their overall connecticut effort in the development. >> i think if this committee can be helpful with that i hope you'll let us know. senator votel i only have a few seconds left and i wonder if you could tell us what happened in nigeria when our forces engage with russia through regime forces. appears that those were russian contractors. is this a new mechanism that russia is using to engage
contractors to serve as mercenaries on the ground? >> senator thank you. i can't speculate on what russia's intentions might be but in this particular situation this was in my view a very clear situation of u.s. coalition forces with their partners on the ground defending themselves. we were attacked in this particular case. my view is that our forces responded properly in this case immediately identified what was happening. they immediately got on the net with the russians and were talking with them before, during and after the event and very effectively brought together the right capability. i think our people responded extraordinarily well. i don't know if this is some kind of change in how they are approaching this. we'll just tell tell you that we
remained extraordinarily vigilant and we retain the sufficient capabilities to protect ourselves and our partners on the ground. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. senator graham. >> general votel is there any credible opposition to assad in syria? >> senator mission is -- my question is there any credible opposition to assad in syria? >> the only opposition is in the gunta area and the area to control some terrain so they do pose a threat to the regime. >> who is winning in syria? >> again from the civil war standpoint --.
>> do you see any likelihood that the regime can topple assad in the next year? >> that is not my assessment, senator. >> is i ran helping assad's? >> i ran has been a-of the other regime for a a while. is russia helping assad's? >> they are a key enabler of the regime. >> is a too strong to say with russia and iran's help assad could win the civil war in syria? >> i don't think that is too strong of a statement. they have provided him the wherewithal at this point. is it still our policy --. >> i don't know that is a particular policy at this point. >> if you don't know i doubt that anybody knows because it's your job to take care of this part of the world. what does it mean if i ran and
russia are in serious. would it lead us to the region and? >> it means that we will contend with the influence of i ran in this particular area and. >> what does it mean to israel? >> from an iranian standpoint that means i ran could be in a position where they support hezbollah better. >> they are actually doing that as we speak. >> we have certainly seen activities. >> what would it mean for jordan and? >> again they are unstable regimes to our north that pose threats to them as well. >> thank you for your clarity and your honesty. it is not your mission and syria to deal with the iranian assad russian problem. that is not in your things to do, right? >> that is correct senator. >> do you think it should he?
>> at this point if that was the decision made by the coalition leadership the u.s. coalition leadership we would pursue that. >> we have ruled out detainees in syria and -- i think you are fern to 400 or so foreign terrorist fighters. >> these are the people that were captured as we liberate raqqa and that area. >> do you think we have a credible plan? >> we actually do have a plan to detain them on the ground and we are working with our partners in the government to work to get them back to their country so they can be prosecuted.
>> we are working on them proving the capacity of the syrian forces. >> journal waldhauser it is made up of how many country's? >> five. >> would you characterize them as failed states? >> i don't think they are failed states but they are certainly fragile states. >> if the trends continue what they become failed states? >> is it working? >> the g5 program is just begun and we have 5000 individuals covering a large territory. >> 5000 people are covering five countries, the border areas. that doesn't sound like enough.
does it become a region of failed states and if so why? >> it does matter because the groups in the area a system to like some of these have aspirations to conduct things regionally as well as in europe and it's very important that we contain or work with their partners. if we have a failed state and if these groups took over the failed state and you have the situation where it's vast wastelands where people plan attacks against the united states. >> is libya a failed state, a fractured state? >> it's difficult to characterize libya. salomé who is the representative has a plan to work through restructuring of the political committees and potentially a vote this year but the bottom line is unless the security is there unless a fair election can
take place analysis individuals who are part of the process fluid or he to the outcome of the election it will serve her purpose at this point. >> senator warren -- thank you for your work. for nearly three years of saudi arabia led coalition has been led to counter iranians that they could be malicious. the united states military system providing intelligence midair refueling and the additions to the saudis. as i understand it operations are governed by something called the bilateral acquisition and cross servicing agreement. the united states has one with saudi arabia and the uae. i've read over the documents and they there are areas that don't seem to cover. the centcom track is the
munitions they are refueling. in other words where u.s. refueled aircraft is going. >> we do not. >> recently reported on the saudi coalition airstrike in late february it killed five -- and wounded 14 including children. according to witnesses interviewed by the coalition conducted two additional airstrikes that hit paramedics who were trying to save civilians. general votel we received reports from critical -- credible media that is centcom able to tell whether u.s. fuel for u.s. munitions were used as part of that strike? >> senator i don't believe we are.
>> the reason i ask about this is the gamman a people are suffering and this is a humanitarian crisis. that's why i cosponsored the sanders leave resolution that directed president trump to solve our involvement in saudi military operations unless congress provides a specific authorization. the bill would allow our counterterrorism operations and its affiliates to continue but it would ensure the united states is not giving the saudis a blank check and worsened the humanitarian crisis. i know i ran sanctions against yemen are destabilizing and making the conflict worse and that's unacceptable but we need to be clear about this. saudis arabia is receiving american weapons and that means we have a responsibility here.
that means we need to hold their partners and their allies accountable for how these resources are used. one other question i've would like to turn to if i can and that is earlier this year secretary of state tillerson implied that u.s. troops would stay in syria indefinitely. in addition to our forces hezbollah russian forces iran's revolutionary guard corps and turkish troops are operating on the ground and we have had several use forces. with remaining time i have just one question. general how is centcom de-conflicting between the areas they are operating on the ground and what is your strategy for de-escalation if the confrontation occurs? >> senator thank you for the question. first off the way where de-conflicting is through direct
communications. we have a direct medication line with the russian federation forces on the ground i would characterize their conversations with them as militarily professional. it takes place several times a day and they have been going on for a couple of years but i do think this has been a very effective way of ensuring that we can deconflicted and prevent things from happening in ground space and airspace. we also have the same thing with the turkish partners to the north. in areas where we are in close proximity again we have very good communications with them and we are able to de-conflict. we are able to ensure they have situational awareness and they understand what we are doing and with our partners on the ground and this direct communication really allows us to ensure that we can minimize the opportunities for escalation or
comment. he is nominated over 150 different nations over the last 20 plus years. and the amount of interest that of those countries having relationships with our country. right now as i understand if you need resources and you do in the area of the world things are not getting quieter, they are getting more intense you basically borrow from other operations in and around for the resources you that you need. would you explain how it actually receives the resources that it needs right now? >> there are two or three ways that we receive forces and we do not have assigned forces but we have allocated forces. so the special-purpose search
mission has to do with protection of u.s. citizens and property on the continent we are allocated in that organization. we have a special asi unit but s got a lot of ground to cover on the continent. we also have a force in east africa that is a company sized unit and that's also tied to the issue of the u.s. citizens. we have special operations command which has a large part of what we do in the forces that come to do the train and advise and assist and we have the forces that come from the army for example to train units they trained for about six weeks in nigeria so although we don't have assigned forces, we have allocated forces and compete for the global force management process which the joint staff
runs on behalf of the secretary. >> in that regard i think we are the same as the other combatant commands we have a staff of the same size relatively speaking. we are located in the germany, but in terms of the great interagency partners as well as military force, but the staff per se is one like the others. you may be referring to the components, so in some cases they are dual headed and it's headed to europe and africa [inaudible]
and we work with the general and his team all the time if we have committed publications that require a little bit more we will schedule those and organize those around the period we can gain access for example, so it is extremely large and it's virtually impossible to cover the whole thing all the time but we have to be smart, innovative and have relationships with our fellow combatant commanders. >> are we placing the appropriate emphasis and right now we know there are hot spot. this is a developing part of the world that are paying a great deal of attention to china. are we giving the same? >> all the countries on the continent for the most part want
to be associated with the united states. we have to remain engaged for a host of reasons i think that you will understand and a little goes a long way because at the end of the day we try to develop capacity for their security forces to take care of their security problems. >> my time is expired and i thank you for your service to the country. >> i want to have a personal discussion with you in the next few days because i don't agree in the way that this was set up. there were dedicated to assess at this time.
>> thank you both gentlemen for being here today and for your service. i would like to talk a little bit about nigeria into the questions my colleague asked you about. at that time it looked as if the situation was deteriorating. my question to you is where are we in relation and as the is the situation getting better? >> isis and west africa is a group that is of more concern to us. they have ties to the core and they indicated their desire to
go outside of the region to conduct activities on u.s. interests in the area and certainly they are more of a concern at this particular time. in the region we apply assistance to the countries around cameroon and nigeria and we've made progress in the last year or so with regards to our ability to share intelligence and assist them in planning and assist in training. they believe that it is in nigeria. what can we do to convince them otherwise based on the testimony it seems they do want to operate across a broad region.
they have all kind of issues throughout the country so the ability to have the margi the lh resources that can do all these things is different so sometimes if it appears over the period of months the trend lin trendline n a negative way if you will have it's been acting, these countries may decide to move their access to other places because their interest and security concerns may not be on top of ththe top of the list one internal issues going on. >> you mentioned a dangerous part of the world that we are focused on and it's always been my understanding in the briefings i have related to the
operations. the foreign fighters coming to the northern area. >> having the relationship to them is important because it could have an impact and i know that yesterday the secretary indicated the united states is considering removing chadha from the travel ban. i have been concerned about some of the rhetoric that we have seen a and we can damage the standing and working in that part of the world. i would like your impact and
help those dealing with what could be very serious issues arising out of the african continent. we continue to work with all of them and show our commitment and demonstrate the desire to help them build capacity. >> it demonstrates the commitment a few months ago there was a storm in various aircraft hangars with a small air force but few aircraft hangars were destroyed and we were able to repair them. they would replace the hangars that have been destroyed and that is a small way to demonstrate the commitment to let them know we are behind them and have the desire for the capacity to be found.
>> the national defense strategy describes the threats to the prosperity and security as the emergence of the competition by the revisionist powers. these include russia and china, two countries we see more and more activity. china opened the new naval base while russia has been courting from both sides the conflict of libya announcing new investments in zimbabwe. these russian and chinese efforts are self-interested as these countries are doing very little to counter them. of threats across the region. groups such as boca ahram continue to operate freely. what is your assessment of the russian and chinese activities
in africa as we shift the national defense strategy of to make sure the terrorist activities do not find their way to the country? >> i will talk about russia very briefly that has to do with intelligence exchanges with arms sales and partnership sent you mentioned zimbabwe they had some activities and they have an investment and they are also interested in arms sales so they are trying to open their markets to show the u.s. perhaps isn't a good partner or someone willing to work with them. my concern is what they are trying to do in the northern part in tunisia, algeria and the
mediterranean on the southern part of nato they've got interest as you said they talk about supporting the agreement. they have a lot of investments that they are interested in and gives them the ability to diversify imports and exports and that has been well documented so they have a big part but there are areas we can work with china. we have a situation they are based just on idle or so from ours, so there are interests that have to do with humanitarian and peacekeeping with regards to the airlines air flights and range usage we have to find a way to communicate that with them and so on the one
hand, we are aware of the great power competition but we have a situation where they are a neither of us and with regards to the future and what the withe national defense strategy says if you look at what is described we are told to conduct the strategy in which a develop relationships and work to continue the struggle so although a lot of it is china, russia, north korea part tells us to continue what we have been doing to include building partnership capacity to defeat the terrorist organizations. >> that is the unique part where they have an overseas base right next to ours so there's japan
located there as well in terms of the exercise this is a small level operation but i think that is a unique situation of what we do has to be informed by the overall global strategy that the unique situation that we have with those individuals being next-door and participating in peacekeeping operations have to find a way to work with them as well. >> naming the conflicts and the extraordinary capacity i will ask any questions.
but relations have been deeply valued as a key partner in the fight against isis for a long period of time and we do recognize they have legitimate concerns with security along the border from terrorism and of course this has led to tension between us largely diplomatically at this particular point. russia does play a role to instigate tension and then to be an arbiter in that. this is what happens and what plays out on a regular basis.
so we have to take a look at the long-term relationships and make sure we are focused on that and stay as strong as we can. i am concerned about this role that russia plays and how it impacts all of our relationshi relationships. i want to follow-u follow up one of questions. what would be the implications and the impact if they stopped refueling the forces? >> right now the provision of those things gives us placement and access and influence and what i would highlight to you is
we have been sharing our own experiences. >> that you testified earlier that when we refuel we don't have any control over what it does next. the argument is this allows us to main control are we maintaining a level of control? >> it is by working to demonstrate how we do the process. it's related to the ballistic missile threat we have seen very good progress in this area. recently saudi arabia has followed many of the things we have done in terms of ho how hoe stand up architectures to investigate civilian casualties. these are problems that we have on occasion. against this move to limit or cut off aid, it might be worse.
>> it is better from my perspective for us to stay engaged and continue to influence. they want this type of support. how about for the people of yemen backs it does give us the opportunity to address these concerns. in the inspections and what they are doing what would the implications if the united states abruptly terminated the agreement and what would iran do? >> i can't speculate on what they would do. one of the implications for the region and i think there would be some concern about how we intend to address that
particular threat if it wasn't t addressed through the gc poa. it's maintaining the capabilities in the region. would they be free to pursue a nuclear weapon within a matter of this? >> theoretically, they would be able to do that. >> if they had a nuclear weapon we would have the two weapons states instead of the other one being north korea. >> this could certainly be the case again we are speculating and that would be the producti production. >> would that be to maintain the agreement for the near-term? >> there may be a different point of view when it is at the end of the term is that correct? >> that could be.
>> thank you. turning to pakistan by the bacon and you have one of the most complicated job jobs in the wori think you can go from one area to the other and i haven't even mentioned a serious. is pakistan still supporting the terrorist activity in afghanistan and has the recent get tough policy influenced their behavior? >> it has through some of the public communications i think it has helped gain their attention and as i mentioned previously we have seen some positive indicators as a result. i cannot tell you that we have seen decisive changes in the areas we are working, but i would remain very engaged. >> that there appears to be a surge of attacks.
having support from other actors in the region is an aspect of the telegrams success. we have isis that does hav dot a different approach as well. >> they are still providing sanctuaries on the sites that thesite but theyare on in that . >> strategy that we have is appropriate to keep them focused on our objectives and our mutual objectives so we are pursuing this in the right way and some of the positive indicators we've begun to see although it hasn't led to the decisive changes are
things we have to pay attention to as we move forward. >> thank you for your service. i know that there is an answer i am probably missing but why is it not located in africa backs >> this is the tenth year of the command that stood up and there've been several attempts to move it to the continent. ais the congress not helping you or -- >> there is a financial aspect but then the second if you move to the country but does that mean to the surrounding countries or other partners but
skepticism so it surfaces every once and a while but to my knowledge there is no effort at the moment to move. >> the reason is perceived colonial is on and i was on our side back when he set this up ten years ago and lost that battle. >> maybe we showed a brief look at that. it's probably a longer conversation.
it's not 100% clear that the mission of the troops are no one wants to get back to a situation like we had with the marines in lebanon three or four decades ago where the mission was put on quote president. what is the mission and are they focused on countering the track which is probably the biggest threat that we have here. >> our mission is strictly focused on defeating isis. >> what is the biggest frat? >> all of the instability that has taken place and that is preventing the country from moving forward.
iran is an aspect of this but so is russia and the regime itself. our mission of course has been focused on isis, so we still have isis that we are interesting anaddressingand tha. i want to teli waited till yearo not have a specific task to do something against iran in this area, our strong relations with the forces and strong relationships with the iraqi forces put us in a position that we can through the stronger relationships have influence and encourage them to conduct operations and do things that are in the interest of companies as opposed to other parties in the area. >> time is running out. we know now that during the
2004, 2005 timeframe they were supplying the militia of some of the most sophisticated and deadly ied's on the battlefield but ended up maiming and killing thousands of troops. they have that on their hands that is a fact. if there is any threat posed by any proxies, do the troops have the full authority to respond to defend themselves and kill these threats given that they have a history of killing the troops is there a rule of engagement?
channels to. at this particular point holding them accountable to what they have agreed to particularly through the offices of the united nations and others here it's a very important way of approaching this. >> so far they have not been responding to whatever political or diplomatic steps have been taken. there need to be some responsese is to protect people in that area from the war crimes that are being perpetrated. would you agree? the
>> it certainly needs to be addressed. >> others may have raised this before. in the diplomatic capacity and the state department is it an obstacle to effectively use diplomacy? >> i can't comment on the broad aspects of the department of state, but what i can comment on is the teams we work with that are in the region there are extraordinarily good relationships that have ambassadors. the relationships are very good. we have good coordination with them on our day-to-day activities, so i think that our
relationship certainly on the military standpoint remains very strong with our diplomatic partners across the region. >> six out of the 18. does that reflect th this refleo the department of state? >> that is a more appropriate question for them. >> thank you for your helpful and forthright answers. >> i would add my voice to what is happening in this area did have. he was wearing a hat that i would have figured it out if he were not. he wanted to ask a question and often it's things like that the
question was what are we going to do and how can anybody stand by and watch what's happening to those children? i thought that was a very touching moment but also indicative of how much normal americans pay attention not just to the humanitarian crisis but the strategic disaster. for now i want to turn my attention to another civil war in which iran is meddling. much was combined into the terrain and no long-range missiles are being fired at the international airport outside. it seems that a dangerous escalation in the fighting visit out >> how greaalready getting misst can range in riyadh? >> vitter getting them from ir
iran. >> i think they have a very sophisticated network of doing this and they can move in by components and maritime and land and then reassembled. >> so this might be a discussion that is best handled in the classified setting that as you pointed out we have seen the threats that have gone as far as the international airport outside of the re- audi. >> it is a dangerous threat to them and us we have 100,000 u.s. citizen to live and work.
>> can you tell us more about the support we are providing to the coalition finding? against al qaeda and isis we are authorized to help defend their border so we have done that and we are doing that through intelligence sharing and logistical support and military advice that we provide to them and we are focused on the ballistic missile threat and the maritime threat that plays out from the red sea to the west of
yemen. >> there's been open-source reporting about the construction of the union headquarters in 2012 that open source reporting states they installed microphones and copy the data from servers and swept its headquarters to remove the listening devices. the victimized headquarters think twice about the generosity if you will. given this espionage against fat. >> we haven't seen any reluctance to refuse. i think that the assistance with
the building and the like is something that is welcome but the agreements and arrangements need to be scrutinized. the security is such that we can operate freely. we need the ability to operate freely. >> thank you for your service and appearance today. >> thank you mr. chair and to the witnesses. we had a good session talking about syria and turkey. they've been partners in the
united states or maybe put it intinthe reverse we've been supb fighting partners to drive isis back and we help them significantly but the relationship has been a tough spot with the nato ally. now through the great work of your team and coalition part or state may battlefield success in northern syria what do you see as steps forward that can hopefully relay some of the concerns and maintain their ability as an ally to provide the support we need? >> our intention, and again we do recognize their concerns here
and have certainly kept that in the forefront of our mind has been to try to be as transparent and clear on the things we are doing with our partners on the ground which is about half and half. they've proven to be effective against isis so as we move into the liberated areas where we are not consolidated to move into the stability phase to the villagers and into their homes we have to continue to work closely with the state department partners here to work through this. it is an extraordinarily complex situation that's all over the
place frankly. this is going to take a lot of close work on the ground but the important piece is to make sure we have good communication back and forth and have a mechanism to reduce the tension and prevent the situation from escalating into conflict that will make it extraordinarily difficult to resolve if we are instigating conflict among ourselves. >> what matters ultimately of the political theme in the protection of the interest shows national leaders fail to understand the relationship even when the armed forces achieved v. success they seldom rescue a
bad strategy. i'm very puzzled about the strategy right now. we have asked the administration to come up in a classified session to talk about the strategy because the battlefield success has been very notable but we need to stay to check iran after they push against the opposition we came in a couple of days later with a missile strike again. we are seeing activity but not yet read into a strategy and i don't know that this is the place for a discussion that might be better to do that in a closed session. is it just about keeping it from
reoccurring or to check the prisons in visit to push against the military as we did the strikes last april and the recent missile strike that occurred last month, we are puzzled about it. >> our mission has been focused on isis comes with the coalitions have been addressing this threat that everybody agrees has to be dealt with and that's what we have been doing. by pursuing consolidation operations, what we are hoping to do is create a platform upon which the international community can move forward under the geneva process and address the broad underlining issues that are very apparent across the area and that cannot be the
result of the fighting but talking through the diplomatic means under the united nations. our focus on addressing this comment thread everybody agrees is one of the preliminary steps that has to take place and certainly continuing to keep them from rising and two allow them to become stabilized and get people back in their home and reduce the refugee problem contributes to hopefully creating an environment that the community can step forward into to pursue a diplomatic solution to these problems in the united nations. >> thank you for your decades of service and i would like to make an earlier comment for a message sent to your troops for the outstanding success we had over the last year but i want you to
know those of us are on record we are very grateful for that. recently for servicemen were killed and one of the staff sergeants was a constituent of mine. when do you expect the investigation to be complete? stay mcveigh did an exhaustive assessment indicate the investigation to me at the end of january for about three weeks and i turn it over to the chair and for him to pass over to the secretary. as soon as he is done with his review of families will be briefed. we want to continue to do that. as soon as it is practical people come to the committee and
brief you myself and we will answer all of your questions at this time. >> i would like you to address briefly the most recent prioritized and i quote power competition which is a primary effort and directs the resource sustainable approach to counterterrorism. what does that mean in parallel to that we have a competition for influence with china and all the money they are putting behind it or does the change mean to your mission and are you resourced to accomplish it? >> w >> we've got a resurgent power like russia that isn't just a
european problem an, it is a gll problem. they have influence globally so there is certainly acting out in the area of responsibility that i have comes the first thing the national defense strategy and military strategy that has been modified will recognize the aspect not just the areas that they reside. what it means for us in the region as we look to shift to other areas of the globe in accordance with the national defense strategies what it means is that will put a premium on the approach and having strong
relationships with the people we've always had relationships with also fostering new relationships. >> we have remained very dedicated so we are focused on sustaining these relationships and working with our partners becoming more interdependent so that's what it means for me. i'm looking forward to meeting within her to talk specifically about what the national defense strategy means and how we are going to approach it in this region. i know you've talked in the committee hearing already but i would like for you to address what that means specifically. >> one of the things it has done is put a spotlight on the activities of the continent that has been ongoing for quite some time but now with this strategy
and notoriety it gives an opportunity to have a discussion and bring to awareness what they are doing and how that impacts us. but trustingly on the future we are specifically told to continue the fight with and through approach and to work with partners and build capacity and continue the fight against the counterterrorism forces so the strategy frames the overall posture and the prioritization but also tells us to essentially continue to build capacity so they can take care of problems themselves and continue to degrade and disrupt the fight so that they stay localized and don't get out of the region. >> for both of you, some of my
colleagues have already asked you about basically what i see as the hobbling out of the state department and the time that we need to maintain the capacity. i just want to ask what you acknowledge that the 25% cut in the state department and 12.5% cut from fiscal year 27 team wouldn't be helpful to your mission. continuing to support further activity is essential to the things we do. >> i would think that a 25% cut would make it harder for you to work with your part verse. i think that goes without saying and you have to be very tactful in your responses. bulet me get to some of the
questions. the president's strategy was announced nearly seven months ago and stated new permissions granted within the strategy for afghanistan mean is the campaign is under the path to win so the afghan government is in control of only 18% of the districts in the country and we are now in the 17th year of the con at in afghanistan and the director stated it's likely to deteriorate.
it's able to control 64% of the population so our strategy is the additional authorities to break the stalemate to seize the initiative to expand. a number of years ago when i went to afghanistan we were training the troops to be able to support their own military efforts to defense that was many years ago and at that time we were told that we were on the right track and here we are 17 years later so it remains to be seen.
it caused the worst humanitarian crisis that continues to support the saudi led coalition with the situation on the ground continues to be a stalemate. the testimony mentions the challenge and the threat of iran, the proxy war are growing to the crisis in the path to the hostilities concluding how long you expect the facilities to go on and are there ways to deal with the crisis before the full cessation of the facilities? >> i think that there are diplomats and other international parties that are trying to pursue the diplomatic solution and get to some kind of a peace process that's been difficult to do at this particular point. first off what is happening in yemen there is a disaster taking
place but there's also a security disaster taking place. the efforts are being undertaken by others here and they are perpetuating the situation with support that threatens to widen the complex so to recognize at the heart of the problems, the humanitarian security and political are enabled by iran. >> what is the opportunity for the leadership to continue their battle? >> we are not parties to this,
but what we can do is help them, advising them and share the lessons learned on how to apply the capabilities and apply the partnerships that they have in conjunction. givinduring my last visit to sai arabia one of the things i had an opportunity to do is talk about how they are helping with the humanitarian aid or disaster situation and i share with you they have a much more aggressive program in this area than even i realized. they are not only coming into the portable data they are exploring other reports and bringing aid to airports in the central part of the country and using their own ground round to do this. and many ways they are pushing a booin the effort. it's not perfect, the situation is extraordinarily challenging
but they recognize this and i do believe they are trying to take efforts to support this wherever they can. we are very much a part of what they are doing a. i'm deeply troubled by an incident that happened in afghanistan in which the american troops were killed by their own aircraft including beethedefending mode and kickedf the air force special operations unit and then assigned to the green berets and a lack of understanding of the unit on the ground about what they could see are you familiar and what can you tell me about how something
like this can actually have been been? >> i don't recall all of the specific details today. what i can tell you is in all of these instances, we do exhaustive reviews and investigations to determine the cause of what happened and then we make efforts to try to apply the lessons learned to limit t the. things like this do occur by ensuring that we have the right people into training. >> do you think they are appropriate for the close air
support? >> they've been very effective in th that role that they playen afghanistan and other places. >> were any changes made as a result of the incident? for a thorough response to the actions. >> i've asked that have not yet received it. can i have your commitment that he will help myou will help me s information? >> israel intercepted resulting in the response striking what it described as the command center from which they launched the drone and the fighter jet
involved was down and they are described as a part of the military entrenchment in syria. it is its entrenching itself in the country? >> i am extraordinarily concerned. they use that relationship to threaten iran and israel so i am extraordinarily concerned about that. >> does this reflect a change to the engagement? >> i can't speak for what the rules of engagement are. it was foolhardy for them to do this given the capabilities that
they have. >> they came out of africa whether it was the bombing of the embassy or other terrorist attacks i am very concerned about what is happening in africa and even front page more than 650,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished in somalia and ethiopia and it's causing 12 million people to rely on food aid. the two then provide for food is
creating more terrorism and you add to that what is happening in the efforts to trafficking females and destroy the whole communities. i am concerned about the direction of the terrorism at its growth throughout africa. can you give me guidance on how to change the impact of the. >> those numbers are sometimes the order of the day. this year it's good to be the 5 million peoplwith5 million pes just in this region. we have seen from the grasslands receive and become almost a decade or so.
this has a significant impact on those who have to fight if you will for the grasslands water holes into the light, so these challenges put pressure on the organization that puts pressure just for their own livelihood. these are areas that are of concern to us and why we are trying to work so closely with those countries so they can maintain security and at a minimum keep the challenges inside of this particular boundaries and sometimes they can overwhelm you. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> we don't have any more members and hopefully we won't for clarification first i didn't
want to be discourteous about the one introduction that i have but i think it's important because this is something that can be changed. we are all aware that prior to ten years ago the continent was divided into three different command is. it's completely surround us when we decided to have them still under construction we have both allocated and assigned troops in you, and allocated and assigned troops in centcom but only allocated. that's the difference and that should still be open to discussion because we have seen
problems and troops from other places, so it is my intention to to put that into focus to see if we have the right blend or if in fact we should have assigned troops. of those who don't do this on a daily basis it may not seem like a big deal, but it's something that you might be able to comment on you may no the name e assigned forces. >> i think we are in total agreement on that. any other comments were part or thoughts? [inaudible conversations]