tv Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at CSIS CSPAN April 29, 2019 1:04pm-2:08pm EDT
live coverage from the house veterans affairs committee will start 7:00 p.m. eastern, that will also be on c-span3, reminder that you can follow all of our coverage at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, attorney general william barr will testify before the senate judiciary committee on the mueller report and on thursday at 9:00 a.m. eastern he will testify before the house judiciary committee live on c-span3, c-span.org and listen on the free c-span radio app. >> up next former defense secretary and cia director leon pinetta talks about military and civilian leaders and the role it plays in democracy and also talked about importance of u.s. global leadership, that was hosted by center of strategic and international studies.
>> everybody, welcome, we are delighted to have you here. you are in for a treat. we have an opportunity of 75 minutes or so of secretary pineta and i've had the privilege of working with him as a student for, oh, 25 years, every opportunity has been rich, i've learned so much from this and we are going to collectively learn today and so i want to welcome him and say to all of you i'm glad you're here, congratulations, you're going to have fun today. this is going to be very interesting. when we have public events we always -- we are responsible for your safety, so we take it seriously and if we hear an
announcement i'd ask you to follow directions. we have both of of the exits, go down and left-hand turn and go over to national geographic, they have a great show right now of the queens of egypt. i will pay for everybody's ticket if we have to do it. you'll have enjoy it. we've never had to do this, but please be careful if we do hear announcement we will have everybody get out and take care of secretary first but please follow us and allison will carry -- i just want to say how fortunate we are to have him here. i remember the old joke, california was the land of fruits and nuts, well, welcome to washington.
we have stolen that flag. but i think what we are going to hear today is a very rich discussion about how to we get there this, america needs good government, the government of solving problems and no one is better in background and disposition to help us understand that than secretary leon pineta, allison take it from here. let's get it started. >> i'm a senior fellow at international security's program and extremely honored to have secretary pineta here today, he needs no introduction to all of you, partial reading of resume, congressman of california, chief of staff of the white house for president clinton and then, of course, director of the cia and then later my boss as secretary
of defense, so we are pleased to have him. i hope that everyone understand that is we will get to q&a at end and we find csis, we are able to get more questions if we do it by cards. everyone got cards when they came in and signed it, write your questions and folks are going to walk around and collect them and hopefully that will get more people of asking questions there. i thought we could start broadly by putting the american civil military relationship in context. what do you see as major challenges and imperatives facing the nation today and what do challenges mean for dod and the military relationship? >> well, thank you for the question and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for being here and i want to express my thanks to john who has been great leader here at csis and we are
all pleased that he's continuing to provide that leadership for csis. i want to thank you alice and all of the staff for all the great work that you do but we wish you were kind of discussing this civil military relations and i think it gives us an opportunity to look at the strengths of america's military capability but to also look at the dangers that are out there that can potentially threaten our strength. we are without question the world's most powerful military
on the face of the earth and with that for several important reasons, one is obviously the quality of the force, our capability, our first in the world really in terms of the capabilities we develop, and the technology, the fact that we are on the cutting edge of technology in research. secondly because of the outstanding quality of the men and women in uniform in this country. they are without question the best trained, the best equipped and have the best leadership of
any fighting force in the world and i was proud of secretary of defense to be able to have the men -- young men and women in this country be willing to put their lives on the line in order to protect our security, but thirdly, military relationship is unique to democracy, to our democracy and george washington made that happen when he resigned his commission in order to become president of the united states and making very clear that the differences betweens civilian leadership and the military, that portrait hangs in the capitol and one that i saw often as member of congress that he did that.
i remember president of afghanistan, once asked me, what is the secret to our military success and i remember because he thought it was kind of george washington of afghanistan, i said because of george washington and george washington defined the fact that civilian leadership is critical in this country and that it's important to have that civil military relationship and we have that and forcely -- because that relationship works well, works well. it isn't -- it isn't one that i think kind of define the strict lines between what the military civilians do in providing objectives and the military
provides the option to deal with it, but the reality is we moved beyond that. it is very much a deliberative process now between the civilian side and the military side and in many ways it's important because it's the relationship of trust, with dialogue that has to take place, the military, these days have to understand the political environment that we are dealing with and at the same time the civilian have to understand what war is all about and what the consequences of war are all about so really requires that mix of capabilities, working together in deliberative process to decide, you know, what kind of strategy, what kind of goals we want to achieve and
how we achieve those goals and the reality is that it has workd well in terms of protecting national security and protecting our nation. but there are dangerous that are lurking out there that can undermine those strengths that i just talked about. one is that we are living at a time when there are a large number of what i call flash points in the world, probably more flash points since the end of world war ii, that in many ways are there and yet my fear is we are not paying enough attention to the potential of any one of these flash points turning into a major confrontation.
i commented that it reminds me a lot of the period before world war i and there were some of the same factors, territorial disputes, alliance that is -- alliances that were not working as well as they should, terrorism and frankly failed statesmanship, failed leadership in dealing with that and thinking that somehow none of those flash points will suddenly turn into world war i. today we have a series of those flash points, terrorism still a very real threat. we just saw what happened in sri lanka. isis remains a real threat along with al-qaeda, along with boko haram, along with al shabab, these are real threats to security. secondly, failed states in the middle east, we see what
happened in syria, we see what happened with libya, with yemen, these become the breeding grounds for terrorism in the future as well and in civility in the middle east. we have rogue nations, north korea, iran representing threats to civility. we have russia, much more aggressive russia with putin seeking not only control of crimea, ukraine, flying forces to syria and conducting probably one of the most bold, sweeping cyber-attacks on our own election process in this country. china asserting its militarization at the south china sea developing its capabilities and frankly filling a lot of the vacuums that the
united states has made through its initiative. and cyber, cyber is the battlefield of the future and has the potential to literally destroy our country. we don't have to use f35, you don't have to send b-2 bomber, you don't have to put boots on the ground, you can simply sit at a computer and sophisticated virus that can literally paralyze computer systems, electric grid, financial systems, government systems, banking systems, anything that runs by a computer. that's a reality. secondly, we are a country that is witnessing some important changes to the world.
populism, nationalism, authoritarian governments that are impacting on democracy that are suffering from job losses and inequality and migrant surges and the inability of alliances in leadership to be able to adapt in order to respond to those challenges. that represents a new threat to the stability of the world and thirdly, i think the fact that the united states is viewed as withdrawing from a leadership role in a very dangerous world, we have the united states since world war ii has represented the most important nation in terms of providing more leadership and we play that role working with our allies throughout the world
and it's worked well and yet today there's sense that somehow we are abandoning our responsibilities to provide the world leadership. ronald reagan defined world leadership in speech of normandy, ronald reagan said the united states of america, we define world leadership by the united states because we've learned the lessons from two world wars, that's what he said. we've also learned that isolationism never was and never will be an adequate response for the united states. so he defined the importance of the united states leadership and i believe that it's still important, relevant and the failure to assert that kind of leadership at a time when we are facing these dangerous threats creates serious concern about
ability and lastly, there are some things that are happening with regards to management here in this country that concern me. it's very difficult to have civilian leadership at the pentagon be on an acting basis, to have an acting secretary not only there but at dhs and elsewhere because the reality is that even though the bureaucracy will continue to do its job, will continue to do the work, when you have an acting leader as opposed to have secretary of defense make no mistake about it, the impact on the morale of the institution and of the troops because there's a sense that an acting secretary is only temporary and not controlled by
the senate. so that's a problem. i'm concerned about president and some of the things that he does that's politicized the military, military urging troops to lobby to congress using the military, deploying the military to border areas as part of a political statement to this country. and then lastly, using funds that are corporated for -- for military and using funds to build a wall. all of that impact on the management and that relationship between civil and military authority, in the end i think the key is that i believe in the
importance of american leadership. i believe that we have learned from lessons in the past. i believe that we have to remind ourself, the greatest country on earth, support leadership in the world, values of recognizing equality and freedom and liberty and dignity of every individual and the importance, all of those things are the things that make us who we are, but also it's the importance of recognizing that we have to provide leadership, leadership is critical to everything we've talked about. i tell the students that we govern by leadership or crisis. if leadership is there and risk associated with leadership, then we can avoid crisis. but if leadership is not there, we will inevitable govern by
crisis and my biggest concern today is we are largely a country that is governing by crisis and that undermines trust in our very institutions and very democracy. so ultimately i think the choice is not between the the patriotism and if we choose leadership, ultimately, it will not only benefit military relations but benefit our democracy. >> you said a lot just now that i want to dive deeper into before we get at your experience as secretary of defense. i want to know what perspective you brought into the role on working with the military. i alluded earlier to the fact that you have a broader
perspective on the civil military relationship than anyone else in the country. you were at the hill, you were at the white house, you were at the agency and before that you served in uniform. i'm curious, the first thing you walked into, what did you think you wanted to do and build new relationship with armed forces, with the chairman, with other uniformed colleagues you were going to work with? >> well, based on my own military experience in vietnam era, there's no question that a lot of it was so tight that i was intelligence officer in the army, i never talked to the navy, i never talked to the airport, talked to the army, unthinkable to basically reach out to the navy or anybody else for that matter and to those, there were those kind process, i
think it's a result of goldwater , emphasize the importance of joint command and the ability of our own forces to really work together in combat and command that we have around the world and it is really a relationship between the services focusing on the mission and how we best achieve the mission by utilizing in doing that and then as director of the cia, i personally saw the ability of our intelligence, officers and the military work together, great example of how
our intelligence capabilities and all the work we did to try to determine where bin laden was located and then going to the military, special forces, who basically then designed, you know, kind of the military proposals for if we have to go after this compound, how are we going to do it. just to share with you, at the time, looking at three options. one was to just take a b-2 bomber and blow the hell out of a place which had a certain attraction but the problem was the amount of fire power that it would take to do that would probably wipe out several villages so the reagan decision
was maybe we ought not to go there. we looked at drone strikes for an individual was walking in circumstance unless the compound but we were worried that there was some unpredictability with regards to the drone strike capability and also that we would never know whether it was bin laden and lastly the commander raid, taking seals, two teams of seals into pakistan at night, 150 miles, repelling them into the compound and then going after bin laden and that ultimately was the decision that the president of the united states made that we ought to proceed with that approach. what i witnessed during the whole mission was the ability of intelligence in the military to
work together on a common mission, to bring their best qualities, to bring their best expertise, discuss these things but ultimately work together and when i became secretary of defense, i thought it was really important to continue that team approach. yes, we have civilian leadership at the pentagon and the secretary serve by a slew of leaders at the defense department that provide both policy guidance as well as foreign policy guidance. we had areas that looked at every major crisis area in the world and provided backup on each of those but i also thought it was extremely important to work with the military leadership, with the chairman,
martin as chairman of joint chiefs and all of my military chiefs at the same time. i felt that the key was to ensure that we operated as a team not separate area, not civilian area, not military area but one team and actually the example where that paid off a great deal is when congress had enacted a budget cut of about $480 billion in the defense budget and i was handed that number. my approach on that was usually it's an opportunity to try to define what our defense strategy should be for the future, but to do that i did not just rely on civilians, i wanted the military to be involved in that process, and they were, and the result
was that working with the military, working with our civilian core, we were able to develop, what are the areas we have to focus on in terms of defense strategy for the 21st century and i -- i had an approach that had not been really used that i used in all of my position which was the importance of a general staff meeting each day and the reason i like having that staff meeting, put everybody in the same place in terms of what was happening, what's happening on capitol hill, what's happening with regards to the crisis that we are confronting around the world, what's happening with regards to forces, what's happening with regard to legislation that we have to deal with, what's happening with
appropriation, what's happening with regards to the white house and where they're at and to share those thoughts and at the table chairman of the joint chiefs, the deputy was usually there, so we had the military leadership, the civilian leadership and all of them were part of that information base that i was sharing and i think it's the sense that was critical to our ability to be able to then accomplish the mission that we were involved in. >> segue to my next question about control in the military which is one of the major areas of focus for civil military relations in the united states which is interesting because we don't worry about coups around here but we do worry about the quality of control, philosophy of delegating more decisions down to commanders which was frameled as -- framed as obama
era reversal tactical decisions, last fall the commission expressed concerned about losing control over inherent political implications like forced management. what do you think the ideal provision of the labor between civilians and the military, between the white house and dod, between ofc and joint staff and the combatant command, where should we draw the line? >> well, my approach is that as a civilian leader at the pentagon or wherever i was located, i thought and as a matter of fact, when i became chief of staff to bill clinton i felt the same way that it was important for me to know what the hell is going on and to be involved in that process and
that we want to get the best advice, the best guidance you can from those that have knowledge and expertise and i would give the best military advice from my military leaders and joint chiefs and then we would proceed to the white house and normally i felt it was important for the secretary and the chairman to be working off the same book so that we took the time at the pentagon to sit down and talk through approaches to the crises that we were dealing with and how best to do that and when we went over to the white house, we -- we were unified, we were not in
different places which doesn't mean that the chairman wasn't -- you could speak independently and present his views, but i knew where he was going and he knew where i was going. and when the president made a decision as to what options we would use, then the military obviously would implement that decision and i believe that the military ought to have some autonomy in the ability to do that, but having said that, i also thought it was absolutely essential that the military let me know what the hell is going on and if there was a mission and they are running into problem, you know, and they've got to respond and i understand that, but i want to know just exactly what happened and how they responded, so that i was
aware of that and i could brief the white house on what was happening. so i think you can have a relationship in which, you know, you delegate authority. i think delegation of authority is important because people implement mission often times have to confront situations where they can't stop and call the white house or call me and say, what do we do now, because of the nature of the mission. so i think -- i believe and i trust in people who are capable to be able to do that, but i also want to know what's going on. you have to know what's going on and so i expect that commander to let us -- let me know and we did that at the pentagon, we would go into skiff and basically i would talk directly with those commanders and ask them questions, they would give
me that information and in turn i would then provide that information to national security and to the president so that he knew what was going on and then, you know, you have to respond to questions from the president and national security adviser but at least you're talking about the same fact, you're not talking about some perception of what may or may not have been the case, so i guess what i would say is that the white house -- the white house should operate on the basis of getting the best advice to the president of the united states from the pentagon. white house shouldn't run the pentagon. the white house for that matter shouldn't run other departments. if you appoint the secretaries, if you appoint good people to those departments, then you ought to delegate the
responsibilities to them to basically run their department, but then what you want from that secretary is the best guidance that person can provide in order to help the president make the decision that needs to be made. the worst thing that could happen if the white house tries to run the pentagon, tries to get involved in the decisions before they've gone up to the process of the pentagon, and i fought against that, bob gates fought against that because that's not -- you can't work that way. it just -- it interferes with the process. so bottom line here is, you need to have responsibility as civilian leader, you need to ultimate responsibility for what goes on in the department of defense, the decisions that are
made and the implementation of those decisions, but you just as the president delegates authority to me, secretary of defense, i in turn delegate authority to my military leadership to implement those things, but we all need to know what's going on, and there was no excuse for anyone trying to hide serious mistakes that have been made. i made very clear to the people at the pentagon that i will be honest with them, that i expect them to be honest with me and if i find that they're not honest with me, then that is a serious, serious moment in terms of whether or not they will retain their job. >> speaking of transparency then, this administration and dod under pressure right now because it's been over 300 days
since political official appeared on camera in briefing room and then there are other examples of dod transparency, engaging with the press less often, the defense manpower data has been reduced, took away the deployment numbers from afghanistan and syria and iraq, what do you think? do you think that dod is making needed adjustments for operational security or do you think that this is, you know, this is a problem, that the american public and congress need this kind of information and need this sort of access particularly civilian leaders understand what the dod is up to. what are your thoughts on that? >> well, this is a democracy, for god sake.
the defense department has a responsibility to be transparent with the american people and to congress about the decisions that are being made and about the crises that they are having to deal with and how the funds are being used. my -- in my experience, my predecessor provided briefings to the press, bob gates provided briefing to the press with chairman of joint chiefs. i continued that tradition on a regular basis, going down to the briefing room with the chairman and joint chiefs and summarized some of the more serious issues that we were working on. we were involved in a war in iraq and afghanistan. we were doing counterterrorism operations.
i think it's important obviously to make clear to the public what we are doing, look, obviously there are classified areas that you're not going to share but at the same time i think the public is entitled to know what is taking place. the men and women in uniform that you're putting on the line, we are putting their lives on the line. i think the american people need to understand the sacrifices that are being made and the decisions that are being made that impact national security and to somehow try to avoid being transparent with the american people, i think undermines support for the very department and for the very mission that the department has to implement, so i am a believer in transparency, a believer that, you know, we deal with the press because it's the press
that then presents that information to the american people, so i would do briefings, i would take the press with me on the airplane, i would do briefings on the plane, i would do briefings going to afghanistan or to iraq or to wherever we were going, we did press conferences with the leadership of those countries and responded to questions and provided that information, so i -- i think it's wrong not to provide those prez briefings and to go over 300 days and not do that, i think it's a serious mistake and you know what, they are hurting themselves. they are hurting themselves because the reality is most decisions you will have to go to congress, you will have to
sometimes redeploy funds in order to conduct certain mission, we are going to have to work with the chairman and the ranking member, the armed service's committee, they have to know what's going on and if you're blind-siding them, that will undermine the support for what you're trying to do. first thing they are going say is, what the hell are you doing, i have no knowledge of that. and now you're coming in here and asking me to basically reassign money from other areas in order to help you do something i'm not aware of, i mean, john m cane would scheme -- scream at me me and throw me out of the room. it is to your benefit to be able to provide that information not only to the press but frankly regular briefings to the hill.
i thought it was important to meet with both john mccain and ranking member and sit down and walk-through the issues i was dealing with. i did the same thing on the house side. we're a democracy. pentagon is not some kind of on your own independent agency that can do whatever the hell they want without responding to the congress and to the american people and being accountable to the congress and to the american people, so i think it's a bad mistake not to be transparent because it'll only hurt your ability to do their job by not keeping the american people informed. >> i could not agree more. folks, i mentioned earlier the cards that you had in order to ask questions, i think folks will be walking around collecting them. i will ask secretary one more of
my questions and then we will get to yours, so one of the reasons that -- i don't know if anyone has openly said this about pentagon, one of the things that you hear that dod is dodging the press more right now because they don't want to get pulled in political fights, they don't want to be turned in political flip-flops, democrats and republicans are increasingly oppositional in politics, inflexible about partisan identities, phenomena will affect military either by sowing divisions or driving politicians to seek loyalty on a partisan basis. president trump has been criticized for doing exactly that, treating military as political constituency. you have said that the military belongs to the country, not the president or any politician, what can politicians do to reverse and repair this trend in
attempt to go pull the military into politics, how can you fix this? >> well, you know, look, we talked about the series that were threatening our country, probably one of the greatest national security threats to our country is dysfunction in this town. i spent over 50 years in public life. i've seen washington at its best and i've seen washington at its worst. the fact is i've seen washington work. when i came back as legislative assistant after i got out of the army, i worked for the republican whip from california,
tom, who served and he came out of the progressive era of california, johnson era, but there were other republicans like him, clifford, hugh scott, margaret smith, they worked with their democratic counterparts, jackson, nick russell, fulbright and they worked together and had political differences, of course, they did. when it came to major legislation, when it came to major issues they worked together and produced landmark legislation for this country and when i got elected to congress in 1976, o'neil was the speaker.
he was democrat, had great relationship with bob michaels who was the minority leader and did they have political differences, fighting for elections, of course, but when it came to major issues, whether it was democratic president or whether it was a republican president, they worked together, they worked together on the budget. passing very tough budget deals. it was bipartisan. we did social security reform, we did immigration reform, we did tax reform, by working together. republicans and democrats because these are issues affecting the country and people
elect you not to just come back here and sit on your butts and worry about political survival, they elect you to govern. and governing when i was in the congress, governing was good politics, you governed the country, it was good politics. i'm not so sure that today they think governing is good politics. they think stopping the other side is good politics. they think confronting the other side, blaming the other side, i've never seen washington as partisan as it is today and there is no relationship between president and congress in terms of working together in dealing with these issues and so we are paying a price to them, we are paying a price to them, we
aren't dealing with the budget, we are not dealing with infrastructure, funding infrastructure and providing that important base that we need for our economy, we are not dealing with immigration reform, we are going through this bologna on immigration and we have done it for the last 10 years and what you need is comprehensive immigration reform. that requires both sides to come together and make it happen, and the same thing is true on health care, everyone wants to provide quality health care to the american people, it's going to require both sides to work together to make that happen, so the failure of the parties to work together to deal with that and be partisan about those
issues undermines in many ways the most important thing in our democracy, we elect people to solve problems, that's what our forefathers had in mind. we the people elect people to come back to this town, we elect the president to solve problems and not to blame each other and not to walk away, not to find excuses for why you're not dealing with them, but to solve these issues. the same thing is important when it comes to defense, national defense. both parties and the president ought to be working together to support our national defense, and the last thing we want to do is politicize the military. the military does belong to the country, doesn't belong to the president, doesn't belong to a political party.
it belongs to the country, somehow we have got to get back to that kind of leadership and i was telling a group this morning, look, i'm not so sure this is going to change from the top down, i wish it would, but i don't think so. i think the only hope i have is that it might change bottom up. my youngest son just got elected a couple of elections ago to my old seat in the congress and saw the relationships between democrats and republicans, used to go out to dinner, we used to go to sports events together and we used to have great relationships, he saw that. and he wants to see congress that's willing to work to solve issues. he's a veteran.
he served in afghanistan. he's now formed the veterans caucus with republican counterpart to try to see if they can work on issues together, solution's caucus there, members democrats and republicans that are trying to work together. it's tough because that place is so partisan. but i think there's a beginning, younger people is getting elected, they don't want to come back, they want to try and get things done. i guess i'm hopeful that ultimately as the younger leadership comes up that we can again restore the bipartisanship you absolutely have to have in order to be able to solve problems in our democracy and if we don't do that, if we don't solve these issues, let me tell you something, regardless of how much we are spending on defense, regardless of what we are trying to do abroad, we will be weakening the united states of
america by failing to deal with the important issues facing this country. >> okay. well, i want to give the audience high marks for interesting questions on these cards. i will try to get through them. >> all right. >> the first one in my stack, as secretary you were responsible for opening frontline combat role to women, what are your thoughts on requiring women to register for the draft and would that be a positive step for the broader conversation on mandatory national service? >> i think women should register to draft. i think i am a believer that in this country anybody who is qualified to serve should be able to serve in the military. that's what our democracy is all about.
i'm often asked what got me in public service and first of all, my italian immigrant parents said it was important to give something back to this country because of what this country has given them and secondly, i served 2 years in the army and that teaches you a lot about people from across the country, draft, across the country coming together in order to accomplish a mission and recognizing the duty the country is all about. a young president said it's not what your country can do for your country but what you can do for your country. i believe that -- that young people and all americans for that matter have a duty to country. our democracy depends on that. my wife and i had public policy
and what we try to do is inspire young people to public service and i made clear to them, i don't give a damn whether you're republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, you owe something back to this country, and that's -- that's the reason i opened up opportunity for women, for regardless -- individuals regardless of their gender being able to come and serve our country and they do a great job, they put their lives on the line, you ask anybody, these people are serving this country well and i also believe very frankly that all young people ought to give 2 years of their life to some kind of national service for this country. i don't care whether it's education or conservation or health care or education, whatever it is, the military, give 2 years of your life back
to this country. serve this country and then, you know, we can provide the gi bill with benefits and rather than trying to figure out how we forgive student loans, give free education, you know, these people serve we ought to be willing to provide gi benefits to allow them to get a good education. that's the way to do it. it's in return for service to the country and i will tell you something, if you get young people and we see it now, i mean, we've got some national service out there that's important, young people are brought in to national service system and are able to work with others and are able to learn what discipline is all about and what service is all about, i can't tell you how important that is to the future of our country, because if we don't
provide that inspiration to do the service, let me tell you something, people will continue to take our democracy for granted, and the most important thing is to make people understand that they can make a difference by being involved in our democracy. they can make a difference. i'm often asked in my 50 years of public life, you know, what was your rewarded for that, i said the rewarded is that you're able to make a difference in people's lives. my father -- i used to ask my father why he came from italy to come to this country, my father would say, the reason that we did it is because your mother and i believed that we could give children a better life in this country. giving children better life is what the american dream is all about but that dream doesn't just happen.
you have to work for it. you have to work for it, you have to sacrifice for it, you have to commit yourself to making that happen and if we have young people serve this country, then they will understand the importance of the american dream and making people's lives better. >> well, another avenue to service is, of course, the foreign service and we have a couple of questions here addressing concern of the health of the state department not only under current political leadership but longer-term basis, predecessor talked a lot about state department, where do you think we are now in the state dod relationship and then also, you know, what can be done for and with the state department in its role in national security?
>> well, look, it's absolutely critical. you cannot deal with these flash points in the world simply on a military basis. you've got to have a strong diplomatic arm that's able to engage on these issues. .. .. >> i guess i would kind of take huntington's approach and say that the way it works today and the way it should work today is that the first thing you do is identify the crisis that you are dealing with. if you are at the white house or
at the pentagon or the state department, identify the crisis and then identify what are the options to deal with it. those options are usually in two directions. one, can you resolve the crisis fanatically connect if you can't resolve it diplomatically what are the military options? that is usually the process you go through. so, diplomacy plays a very critical role in determining whether or not we can avoid military limitation and the expertise that we build into the state department to provide that expertise and that knowledge of the country and that knowledge of the leadership is critical to our ability to deal with countries involved in a crisis
and understand what is going on. when we undercut the state department and we have depleted the state department of that experience and we are still in a situation where, i think, a large number of investors have not been appointed yet to her present our country and they are the diplomatic face of the united states in all these countries and frankly, when i was secretary of defense i visited every ambassador to talk with that investor about what was going on in that particular country. it's the eyes and ears of the united states having that capability and part of our strength and part of leadership in the world.
if you don't give a damn about leadership in the world and it's all about letting other people do their own thing and i guess you don't give a damn. about what happens with the state department. but if you care about american leadership and about the ability to maintain the alliances you have to maintain in order to deal with those problems you need diplomacy and diplomats. they are as important as your military commanders and probably more so. if they do their role right you can find a way to resolve issues in the world. so, it goes to the strength of the united states. we are a strong military power and have a strong economy and no question that we are a strong nation but to then take that strength and be able to convert it into the opportunity to provide necessary leadership so
you can build those alliances based on the same values -- what makes a strong as a country are our values. who we are. and all of that is part of our strength and going to our allies in building the alliances we need in order to deal with those flashpoints that i talked about. that is critical. we need to build alliances and obviously strengthen nato and build an alliance with the other countries in asia and need to build alliances throughout latin and central america and build alliances with our moderate friends in the middle east and israel and the ability to create those alliances is not easy and requires u.s. leadership and to provide that leadership in helping fill those alliances to
along with our military commanders working together and that is what that was what will provide security for the united states in the future but if we undercut one of those capabilities if we weaken it than we are beginning our ability to provide that necessary leadership. >> secretary panetta, many more questions i could talk to you all day but we have expired our time and room i want to thank you so much for coming today and joining us. we really appreciated you flying all the way out to this coast again and we hope to see you again soon. >> thank you all. thank you all very much. [applause]
>> former vice president and democratic senator joe biden kicks off his presidential campaign today with a rally in pittsburgh. watch live coverage at 3:30 p.m. eastern on our companion network c-span3. also, later today the hearing on military veterans suicide prevention. live coverage from the house veterans affairs committee will start at 7:00 p.m. eastern that will also be on c-span3 and reminder to follow all our coverage at c-span .org or listen with free c-span radio app. wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern.
reporters without borders washington post cohosted the 2019 oral press freedom index, a report that examines press freedom around the world and journalists and foreign diplomats trust the findings during the hour-long event. >> in morning. welcome to "the washington post". i'm fred ryan publisher and it's my pleasure to welcome you to thank you for joining us this morning to this important discussion on press freedom around the world. every year reporters without borders the world's largest nongovernmental organization devoted to protecting the rights of journalists compiles the world press freedom index. as you know, this is reported the massive undertaking that presents exhaustive research into the media environment of 180 different countries. among the index and many valuable features is its