tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 29, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
integrates the various sectarian groups that military efforts will be probably ineffectual? >> yeah, absolutely. i think we can be a little bit encouraged by a body. i had some people who just returned from baghdad meeting with government and military officials. abadi is moving in the right direction. that's good news. but let's be honest here. what maliki's malfeasance and nefarious character and the way he undermined political inclusion despite his rhetoric in iraq particularly after we pulled out of there was tragic. the sunni tribes are key as fox pointed out. and right now, while some of them are fighting against isis,
most of them are not. and the harsh reality is to get them to move, actually to take isis on they will have to be convinced that there is reckoning for a long-term political inclusion in this new government. it is a major issue for us. the province will be largely sunni tribes with some iraqi army assisting to retake that river valley. peshmerga will not participate. sunni tribes will also be needed to participate in a counteroffensive to retake mosul. while they will not be the main force, they'll need to be a supporting force because of the tribes that are up in that region. so yes, it's key, and i think we've known that from the outset. >> so in effect, the politics will drive the military
operations. without effective political reconciliation or signals from baghdad, our military efforts, as strenuous as we may mount are not -- won't be particularly successful. >> yeah, i just -- it would be hard to visualize a scenario with a successful counteroffensive to retake the territory that's been lost without significant sunni tribe participation in that. >> let me switch again to admiral fallon. thank you once again, sir, for making yourself available. one of the points that was raised in the course of the testimony was the radical islam. one of the complicating factors is within this radical islam you have sunni radicals,
jihadists, then you have shia radicals. and they have a mutual animosity, which is -- might be argued is even greater than animosity towards other groups. sunni believes shia -- how do you reconcile that in terms of our operations in the middle east? particularly in terms of iran. right now iranian forces are -- shia militias, let me say, are paralleling our activities in iraq in terms of going after isil. that complicates an already complicated situation. any comments you have? >> piece of cake. >> yeah. >> we wish. i think reality here senator, is that these things are really complex. there are a host of issues and interests in every one of these conflicts. you pick the country pick the
region, and i think that we might consider a couple of things. first of all, that in these really particularly vexing things that have so many aspects, we probably ought to step back and take a look at, again, our long-term large interests. so iran. iran has been a problem for us for decades. it's exacerbated by the fact we've had no interaction to speak of until very recently for these many decades. we find their activities extremely distasteful. we basically detest many of the things they've done and continue to do. they promote a brand of radicalism that has spread well beyond their borders. and we've been at our wits end
to try to figure out what to do. my thought here is sooner or later we're going to have to seriously sit down, as i think we're trying to start, and have a dialogue with these guys. we're not going to -- we could, one option would be to invade iran. that's been proposed before. at what costs? i mean, anybody here want to push that idea forward in a meaningful way? i doubt it. so at some time we're going to have to figure out how to come to grips with this. so how do you do that? you recognize that everybody's got a dog in the fight. they all want something. and we ought to i think, decide what things we might accept, some role for them in the region, i would think. but some things we're not going to accept. we don't want any part of the nuclear weapons program that they seem to be embarked on.
but their time i think is being stressed right now. certainly the economic conditions. there has been apparently a pretty notable effect of sanctions working against them. and of course the people that usually take the brunt of this are the common folk not the leaders. but nonetheless, they've had a dramatic impact on that country. i think the price of oil clearly is a detriment to them. and frankly, they haven't been particularly successful in other places where their surrogates are engaged in the region. i think that we can't expect that we're going to have one solution that's going to solve all these problems. so back to the first thing's first. let's decide what we want for long term. can we accept iran playing some kind of role in this region? if so, how do we get from where we are today to there? at the tactical level, allowing them to get away with
instigations and things like they've done in the past in iraq and afghanistan, other places, we shouldn't permit. tactically, i think we act to block those things when we can. the fact that you've got sunnis and shias at each other's throats in many places here, something that we're not going to go in and say, okay guys, sit down, stop this we're not going to solve it. but i think we act strategically in trying to decide where we want our place to be in the region, and then we work hard against those things at the tactical level that are a real problem. so iraq today is a real problem. to let it just go isn't going to be acceptable. we're going to have to continue to do what we're going to try to take back the territory that they've lost. >> thank you. >> senator ernst. >> thank you, madam chair. gentlemen, thank you for being here today. i certainly appreciate your service on this panel today as
well as your many years of service to the united states. we are very grateful for that. i do agree that we have to have a national security strategy, and this is very important. what we have seen all of you have mentioned, that with sequestration, our effects globally have been diminished. and we are reacting in a knee-jerk way to threats as they come visible. so we don't have an overarching strategy anywhere today. and i think that's a great detriment to all of the citizens here in the united states. but what i'd like to focus on is with what we have seen in iraq i served in iraq from 2003 to 2004 at a very low company level. but we invested so much effort in that region. and we withdrew from that region
before many of our military leaders believed we should withdraw. and i do believe we are seeing that in afghanistan now also. these are areas, especially when it comes to afghanistan, it's not talked about so much in the media anymore. again, we seem to focus just on one issue at a time rather than looking at threats globally. with afghanistan, we see we have a proposed timeline for withdrawal. general keane, you stated perhaps we won't be ready by 2016 to withdraw our troops. i just sent on saturday -- was at a sendoff ceremony for the 361st medical logistics company. they're deploying to afghanistan. their mission is to assist in the withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. how long, general keane, do you believe that it will take for us realistically -- forget the
timeline that's proposed right now -- for the afghan national security forces to fill a role and be able to sustain and keep open those lines of communication to maintain security within afghanistan? are we repeating what's happening in iraq? >> yeah, that's a tough question. listen, i'm very empathetic to the american people's frustration and maybe many of you here in the room today as well. look, we've been at this thing for 13 years. in 13 years, given the united states, you would think we'd be able to resolve this on favor terms to ourselves and national interest. it hasn't happened. policy decisions drove the 13-year war. it was policy that put iraq on a diet. we never got back to it in 2009 when the current president made a decision to increase the
forces in afghanistan. but here's the problem we got, senator. when we increase those forces in afghanistan, the so-called afghanistan surge, mccrystal and petraeus got 65% less than what they needed to do the job. as a result of that, we were never able to apply the surge forces in the eastern part of afghanistan as we did so successfully in the south. another policy decision pulled those forces out over the objection of then general petraeus serving in afghanistan in our judgment prematurely. no application of surge forces whatsoever dealt with the haqqani network in the east. the facts are the haqqani network is in those safe havens in the east. they're embed in there. the afghan national security forces, this is my judgment does not have the capability currently to be able to deal with that harsh reality. what makes this so serious,
strategically inside afghanistan is kabul's presence to the haqqani network. everything gets lit up in kabul is done by the haqqani network. and they're in the environment right now with support infrastructure surrounding kabul. the only thing we can do to change that dimension is, one, increase the capacity of the afghan national security forces and by god we've got to hold them at 352. anybody coming to you and telling you that we should put the afghan national security forces on a decline after 2016 is absolutely foolish and irresponsible in that recommendation. so we have to hold to that line. and this congress has got to fund it. it's got to probably fund it for at least four or five more years after we pull out of there. otherwise, we really don't have a chance. secondly, we have got to step up to what two presidents have
failed to do and that is deal with these sanctuaries in pakistan from which intelligence, support, and training for operations inside afghanistan comes. this is afghan taliban sanctuaries in pakistan. specifically, the haqqani network should be targeted just like al qaeda. we -- in targeting them we will disrupt it disrupt their command and control, and disrupt their operations. then we begin to have a chance. secondly, we cannot pull out our counterterrorism forces in 2016. these are the guys that chased down high-value targets. when we did that in iraq in 2011, it was a disaster. when al qaeda began to rise because we pulled out the intelligence capability to see it, we didn't have -- we couldn't see it and we couldn't hit it. if we do that in afghanistan, i think it's a death knell for afghanistan. yes, 13 years is a very long
time to be there but to squander those gains in the face of what we're dealing with makes no sense to me. i don't know how long we would need to keep those troops there. right now the plan is to pull them out after 2016. we are talking likely a number around 10,000 troops most of them would be in the train assist and advise role, which means they're not in combat. a very small portion of them would be in combat. and that is our direct action forces. i think if we educate and explain to the american people what this really is, i think they could possibly support it and i would hope the congress of the united states would support it. what drives their departure should be conditions on the ground and commanders' assessment as well. >> thank you. i do agree. and many sacrifices have been made there and i think that we
are falling into those same mistakes. i would rather see us fully engaged and defeat these threats rather than half step which is why we need an all-encompassing national security. thank you, gentlemen, very much. thank you, madam chair. >> senator cain. >> thank you madam chair and thank you to the witnesses for excellent testimony. i heard a lot i agreed with, a lot i disagree. that's why you're here, to provoke our thinking. it seems there are two very solid points of agreement among the three sets of testimony. first, that we are taking a fragmented, reactive approach to global challenges now. and second that that fragmented approach may be driven or at least exacerbated by budgetary dysfunction and decision -- indecision here in washington. you know ideally, we would have a strategy and then we would build a budget to support the strategy. secondarily, we would allow
budget to drive strategy, but we've been letting budgetary indecision drive strategy, which is by far the worst thing to do. so i appreciate your comments about both. i agree with you. i think our approach is a fragmented one, and i think it's exacerbated by budgetary in indecision. we had an overarching national security strategy beginning with president truman deciding to support greece after world war ii, the truman doctrine. it explained a lot of what we did, even things like the creation of the peace corps or the race to the moon. it was a unified strategy. when the soviet union collapsed, we went to a reactive case by case. after 9/11 we had a strategy again, which was the war on terror. over time, that strategy was not a big enough strategy for a nation like us. i think we've devolved back into the case-by-case approach that is reactive and that is hard for our allies and even our citizens
to understand. it seems like in the world now, if you look at an analogy to the post world war ii it's not a bipolar competition. it's a tripolar one. there are the democracies of the world led by the united states, but other democracies, i.ndia european nations, south american nations. there are many democracies, and we're the leader. they're the authoritarian nations with russia and china chief among them but north korea and iran in that category. and then there's the jihadists. the jihadists, some are nations but many are nonstate actors. that's a new challenge. so the competition today is between democracy, authoritarian regimes, and nonstate jihadism. that makes the challenge of forging a strategy critical. it's difficult, but it's critical, and you've raised important questions for us to grapple with. one of the things i'd like to ask you is in tackling the jihadism threat we have, each of you have been active in battling this threat using military
means, but i think we all understand that part of the jihadism accelerant is disaffected young people and the allure of young people into kind of a neolistic jihadist element because of the lack of opportunities. what should we be doing to try to counter the radicalization of young people in the region? how can we assist regional actors and others in doing that so we can shut off the allure and the foreign fighters that are flocking to groups like isil? >> senator i think what you have to look at is a definition of the problem that is so rigorous that some of the solutions start coming forward. for example, there are two basic brands of jihadist terrorists. one comes out of tehran. we know it has lebanese
hezbollah. declared war on us back in '83, blew up the marine barracks. we've seen them continue to march on basically unchecked by our counterterrorism efforts. the other brand comes from the sueny. we know it as al qaeda and associated movements. so as we define these we don't lump them together. we don't give them any inadvertent support by giving them a cloak of legitimacy. then we determine if this is not in our best interest and what is feeding it is not in our best interest, political islam, then how do we support the counterveilcounter countervailing forces? president al sissi's speech where he says, this has got to end, he's talking to his own clerics now. we've got to quit doing this to the world and dressing it up in the guise of islam. there are people out there, united arab emirates what we in the military call little sparta because they always stuck with
us through everything. jordan. there are countervailing people in the region, leaders in the region, thought leaders in the region and we should be fully in support of them. but if we don't define this threat, break it out and come up with a strategy that supports exactly what you're talking about, then we'll continue to be spectators as this mutates and grows. >> let me ask you this. i think you all are on the same page on another item which is do you all agree that it is a mistake to use a calendar to determine the end date of our afghanistani involvement rather than an assessment of the conditions on the ground in afghanistan? are you all on the same position? >> yes, sir. >> yeah, i -- i'd like to -- certainly that's the case. but i think we need a little clarity and definition again just like jim tried to draw
between the iranian-inspired revolutionary -- >> versus the sunni. >> versus disaffected bubbas here who are looking for help. so we talk about withdraw from afghanistan. i saw this at least from my view, we got into the same situation in iraq a few years ago. so it's this idea we're in or we're out. we're going to withdraw or we're not going to withdraw. i think the reality is our best interests are served not by withdrawing from many places in this world but for continuing engagement. so what we ought to be talking about is what's already, i believe, put in place. our major combat activities have been ceased. however, we ought to be continually engaged with them in assisting them and training and supporting them and in some
areas using special forces in areas that we have capabilities and they do not when we see things that challenge our interests. so i think we just need to be clear about this. it isn't just we're in or we're out. we ought to be in, in my opinion, to do certain things to continue to help this government to move along. those things are not going to be successful on their own but if taken in concert with economic steps and political steps, we may have a chance to actually see a long-term good outcome here. it's this clarity in talk. just stop the, you know, blah, blah blah. everybody gets confused. we end up with nothing. the media just fuels this because they'll pick on the specific word somewhere. >> thank you. >> senator graham. >> thank you. i've really enjoyed this and got an lot out of it. it's given me a lot to think about, quite frankly. i just regret to our media friends who are here, thank you
for coming. maybe if we had tom brady, we'd fill up the room. but that's the world we live in. we're talking about consequential things and we have a couple reporters in the room. at the end of the day, let's talk about the things we agree on. somebody will be dealing with this long after most of us are gone. but over time, we win, they lose, right? >> if we can come up with a strategy for -- >> let me tell you why i think they lose. what they're selling, very few people actually want to buy. the ace in the hole for us, ladies and gentlemen, is the radical islamic view of life is not embraced by most people in the religion. we just need to provide them the capacity to fight back over there so we can be protected here. does that make sense? now, how do to you that? sequestration, do you all agree that it should be if not repealed replaced?
all agree? if we don't replace sequestration, our capability to deal with a national security threat as described is greatly diminished. is that correct? >> yes. >> the enemies on the rise and our capabilities are going down. is that a correct assessment? o would you agree our nato allies are on a path to decrease their capabilities not increase it? we have america cutting her budget. we have our nato allies reducing theirs. -- budgets to help us as partners. is that a formula for disaster? >> pretty close. >> okay. the 150 account. general mattis, you said if we cut state department funding and our developmental accounts you better -- you'll need more ammunition. do you still agree with that? >> i do, sir. we need a comprehensive approach. >> do you agree with that? >> can i give you an example?
>> sure please. >> back when i was at sincom, one of my frustrations was an inability to delegate enough time to engage in central asia. what i saw back in those times here, about a half dozen years ago, was that we had people who were looking for something other than what they had. they were concerned about being in a squeeze between a resurgent russia and china. and we were kind of a lifeline. and we had almost no engagement because we didn't have the resources, the interest, the time to devote to things like telling people what things are like in america. we used to have these store front shops that used diplomatic engagement. that's all disappeared. >> i couldn't agree with you more, but africa we have a very light military footprint in africa. is that correct? >> very much so. >> it's a con innocent very much up in the air in terms of how it
will turn out in the 21st century. i just want the members of the committee to know i'm the chairman of the foreign operations account. and if you think sequestration is bad for the military you ought to see what it does to our capability to engage the world peacefully. it absolutely destroys it. which is insane. we're on the verge of eradicating malaria. we're making great progress in a.i.d.s. and malaria and polio and all this stuff does matter in my view. iraq, general mattis, how many marines did we have in the second battle of fallujah to retake fallujah? do you remember? >> in the second battle sir it probably would have been somewhere around -- including the supporting elements, probably around 10,000. >> so we had army personnel assisting there. >> absolutely. they were significant -- >> so fallujah is one-tenth the size of mosul. is that right? how in the world do we go into
mosul -- if the past is any indication of the future, if we had 10,000 marines, and i think it was about 9,000, actually engaged in having the iraqi security forces liberate fallujah from al qaeda and iraq which i think is weaker than isil, how in the world do we do this in mosul without a larger american component? can you envision that being successful without more american help general keane? >> i don't know for sure. i mean, as i said in my remarks we are advising, training and assisting an indigenous force. we made a policy decision not to make ground combat force to do that. i agree with that decision. >> you said we need brigades on the ready in kuwait. >> i -- >> you said we needed people on the front lines embedded in iraqi units. is that correct?
>> absolutely. >> what number does that come out to in your mind? >> well i think we get very close to a number in train and assist and advising something close to 10000. >> okay. >> not the few hundred we're currently doing. i'm talking about front line advisers with companies and battalions. >> i got you. i got 30 seconds left. 3,000 on the ground a day. we need 10000 in your view. i think that's correct. if we lose in mosul if we take isil on and lose, that's a bad day for all of us. do you agree? you got to take these guys on and win do you agree? don't take them on if you can't win. syria, how many of you support a no-fly zone, a buffer zone to allow -- >> i do. >> general mattis? no? >> not until we figure out what we want the end state to look like. >> admiral? >> i've been a part of a ten-year effort in iraq that ended up being basically wasted. >> okay. let me ask this simple question.
one of the reasons that isil was defeated in kobani, and i want to tip my hat to the kurds and our coalition forces, is you had the kurds fighting isil on the ground and american air power. what happens if we send the free syrian army trained up into syria to fight isil and we don't neutralize assad's air power. do you not believe that he will engage the free syrian army through the air? how do they survive if he does that? >> well w the facts are he's engaging the free syrian army right now. the free syrian army today on the ground -- you know what's so frustrating about this? when the moderate rebels took on assad's regime back in 2010, do you remember this? they had the momentum. there were many predicting the regime was about to fall. what happened? this is what happened. the iranians jumped in with
5,000 hezbollah out of lebanon. they jumped in with 3,000 with their top leader on the ground and russian airplanes flying in with military supplies every single day. the free syrian army came to us the momentum shifted, and they said, what? many of you were on that cart when they came through town here. even i was on it. as probably my two colleagues. what do they want? they wanted simply this. we need arms to be able to stop anti-aircraft systems and tank systems to shoot down those airplanes. we don't need your troops. we don't need your air power. let us fight this war ourselves. we think we can win it. we said no. we have never recovered from that decision. that decision was revisited again with strong feelings by petraeus, clinton panetta, and dempsey in 2012. took it to the white house said this is what we got to do. petraeus vetted that force as a
cia director. the president said no. we have never recovered from that decision. >> i think we may have missed the opportunity to work with the free syrian army. they've been ground down between al nusra and isis on one side assad on the other. we're going to have to really look at what options we have sir. >> the only comment i'd make is that we can sit here and wring our hands and bemoan the past in lots of situations. we need to deal with the present. so for now, forget the past except for lessons learned for new strategies. but we need to figure out what it's going to take now to move forward. >> let me tell you what i think the present is. syria and iraq are great platforms to attack the united states. and if we keep screwing around with this and these guys get stronger and in a year from now they're still in place, we're going to get hit. it's time to put these guys on the run. with a regional force that we complement because let me tell you about the end game general mattis. the end game is america's going to get attacked if we don't deal with the threat in iraq and
syria. do you agree with that? >> 100% sir. >> thank you. >> senator donnelly. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to thank all of you for your extraordinary service. we are so much in your debt. and america has already been attacked in that we have lost a number of our young people already to isil. tragically in my home state. and this is -- they've said their a caliphate, which means they either grow or they go. and in iraq i would like to get your best ideas general keane. you were really influential in working with the sunni community there and trying to push back before. how do we coordinate with them, work with them to push isis out of kooirkiraq and then to get them
in syria? and i'd obviously like to hear from general mattis and admiral fallon on this as well. >> when you think about the sunnis, they're not a homogenous organization. many of them are part of the former sa erer saddam hussein elements. the rest of them are by and large reconcilable. what happened before in iraq in forms of this when they pushed back against al qaeda beginning in anbar province and moved into other places where sunnis lived. they know they have made a bed with strange fellows here. they know it's not in their interest to support the long-term objective of isis, which isis wants to govern the populations it controls and
impose seventh century talibanism on it. right now in mosul this is what life is like. all universities and school systems are shut down. the only schools that are operating are the ones indoctrinating radical islamist beliefs and a medical school that they're forcing students into to become doctors to take care of their wounded. second they do not run government services very well. garbage is on the streets. other services aren't provided. the people in mosul are not recreating at all. they're not even socializing with extended family members who don't live in their immediate vicinity. life as they knew it teeming marketplaces, a thriving community, is gone. >> so how would you push them out? i apologize if you already answered this. >> we know that exists. we know that isis and
reconcilable sunnis are on a collision course. what we have to do is incentivize them more than what we are now. one of the things we can do obviously a body is key to this as admiral fallon laid out >> andout, and i strongly support that. secondly, we need to go into anbar province to train and arm the sunni tribes. but we have to take another step with that. we got to be willing to be on the ground with them when they take the fight to isis. we need advisers with them. we need people to help coordinate fire support and close air support with them. that will incentivize them. we need to help accelerate that timetable for them. the thing we have working for us, again to emphasize this, is isis itself. here's the problem we have. the political leadership in iraq does not want to wait because the pressure they have on them
from the people in mosul and the conditions i'm describing to you are very real. and they are accountable to those conditions. they want to go faster. the united states is pulling back and saying we're not ready. the military in iraq wants to go faster because it's answering to its national leadership. we're not ready to do this yet. i'm not certain we're going to be ready to do it by the summer. and the reason is we're not applying enough resources to it, senator. >> i was just going to ask you, are we not ready because we don't have the ability or because we don't have the plan to do what's necessary? >> mostly i believe -- listen, we can craft a counteroffensive plan to take back mosul and also to take back anbar province. we know how to do that. tacking up the two great biblical river valleys. most of this is about resources. and dealing with what most of us
believe is a relatively weak indigenous hand on the ground we're playing. if you have a weak hand, we should be strengthening that hand. not with the minimum amount of resources but with all the resources it takes to strengthen that hand. and we're not doing that. >> here's my fear. that this is a hot bed. this is where they're communicating with people in our country to attack us in syria and in iraq and with isis. and if we have resources they ought to be used in this area. it seems to me we either eliminate them or there's going to be a catastrophe in our own country. i would like to hear what you think about how we start to go on the move in syria as well. general mattis? >> senator, the first thing we don't lack military capability. it's been -- sequestration has stressed it. what we lack is the political will and the definition of the political end state. if we figure out whose side
we're on here then when you look at what maliki did to trust with those tribes, i think the new prime minister has probably got a 50/50 chance of restoring that trust. it's hard putting in the sunni minister of defense was a great step, i think. but we're going to have to decide what the end state is and commit resources we've not committed yet. >> i'm out of time but i want to thank all of you for coming here today, for continuing your service. because the people of our country continue to need your help. thank you very much. >> senator sullivan. >> i also want to thank you gentlemen for being here today, your great service, tremendous service to our country. so i think there's broad agreement that seems certainly among the three of you, i think among all the panelists here on the importance of a comprehensive strategy that
integrates all elements of american power, all of our resources. we've talked about economic, we've talked about diplomatic, we've talked about finance, certainly we are focused on military. one instrument of american power that we haven't really discussed, hasn't come up in the conversations yet, and maybe it's because ten years ago it didn't exist as an instrument of power is american energy. as you know, we are once again on the verge if we haven't already gotten there on being the world's energy superpower. a position that we used to occupy several decades ago. and now we're back. oil, gas, renewables. and from the perspective of dealing with long-term national security threats, whether it's iran russia, china whether
it's isis. i just want to start with two more questions for you, general keane. how critical and beneficial do you think it is in dealing with these longer-term threats that we now have a tremendous resource in america, which is energy, that not only for our own citizens but that we can be exporting to our allies. and do you think it undermines america's security when we undertake policies as the current administration does on a regular basis. this weekend is another example where we undermine policies that enable us to responsibly develop our own energy resources that can benefit us as a nation and our national security. >> well certainly energy independence from the united states and the rapid growth of
second place most recently is an added measure of our national security. and i'm delighted to see it. my own view of it -- i'm not an energy expert -- is certainly we should do whatever we can to ensure that independence. i'm convinced we can still protect the environment while we're doing it. its relationship to the world is significant. you hit on it. europeans are tied like an umbilical cord to putin and russia because of the energy independence. we can help with that if we change our policies in terms of particularly exporting natural gas, as you know. but also we have to be realistic. radical islam and what is taking place in these countries laid out on this map is a fundamental
geopolitical movement. they're operating in countries where there are not democracies and where there are significant conditions that are providing a ground swell for this kind of activity. they would be doing that regardless of saudi oil or not. we've got to understand that. so if we pull the plug on any dependence on the middle east and oil, which we're on the way to doing it doesn't change the harsh reality of iran's march to regional domination and radical islamists' march to geopolitical control of muslim countries. that's still there, and that threat to europe and the united states, the result of it would exist regardless. >> thank you. i'd like to move from the strategic to the tactical. i've had the honor the last 18 months serving as the commanding officer in the marine corps forces reserves. in fact, i was just out with
some of my marines in ft. lewis washington this past weekend. general mattis, they send their greetings. as you know, that mission is -- of the anglico units -- is to deploy in small units, call in air strikes, other supporting arms. general mattis, this question is for you. to make progress on the ground against isil is there any scenario that you could see that would not include integrated supporting arms fire power and are there foreign forces that can do that or is that something that is an area that is pretty much needed to have american troops whether anglico units or special forces units doing that kind of mission. >> senator there are other
forces. the australians canadians, french, british that can do the close-air coordination integration, but no one has the capacity or probably the frequency of training that permits us to do it best. i would only suggest as you look at this and the kind of forces that can work with allies, this committee should prioritize them, whether they be the army green berets, the marines anglico, and even to the point of looking at our army brigades today, our marine battalions differently than we looked at them as just conventional war fighters ten years ago. they have capabilities to do much of this and to give a kind of steal the spine of the allied forces if we have the political will to put them in. >> great. thank you very much. >> senator herono. >> thank you very much madam chair. i want to thank all three of you for your very substantive and
provocative testimony. general keane you described life in mosul where schools are just set up to radicalize the population where just every day life has changed. one wonders how long isil can so-called govern in this way. so you're indicating that we need to be -- we the united states -- should have people on the ground, not boots on the ground, when the people in iraq finally get to the point where they want to fight isil. now, the question becomes then, when is that time? we'll just say that is perhaps a major role for our intelligence community to inform us as to when that critical point is that we need to be there to help the people fight back. and i'd also like to ask that question of general keane. you noted the importance of our
intelligence community and establishing priorities. >> yeah, listen that's a very tough question senator. the only thing i can in helping you with that is just look back a little bit. we had an insurgency begin in iraq in the spring and summer of 2003. led by saddam hussein and he is people. the al qaeda fell in on that very quickly. and then in 2006, some 2 1/2, 3 years later, sunni tribes who were aligned with them initially began to push back. and much of it was literally driven by women frankly, because the women were putting pressure on the tribal leaders that they did not want their children and their grandchildren to live like this for generations to come with seventh
century talibanism under the foot of what al qaeda was doing, controlling every aspect of their life from diet to costume behavior, sharia law, et cetera. that frustration is already there. i do believe that given the fact that particularly in anbar province, this has existed before. the accelerant will be faster and not take three years. i'm going to make an assumption that our intelligence community with the use of informants and others are monitoring what is taking place and we have some sense of what the conditions are and more importantly what the attitude and behavior are of the people themselves. but let's also be honest that there's just so much those people in mosul will be able to do against a well-armed and well-equipped force as isis is
in mosul and in its suburbs. to eject them out of there will take a conventional military force to do that supported by air power and some pretty good intelligence on where people are. the attitude in support of the people will be a factor, but i don't believe in and of itself it will be decisive. what will be decisive is the use of military force to defeat that military organization that's there. >> and the conventional military force should be the iraqi military themselves with possible air support from us. >> very much so. peshmerga, as you know, who's the militia from kurdistan who have the will to fight and the skill, they don't have all the weapons they need. and by the way, the iraqi army probably sr. in a little bit better shape based on recent reports i just got this weekend
from people who returned than many of the media reports are suggesting. but secondly and thirdly would be the sunni tribes. now, the shia militia are part of this. they have strengthened the iraqi army very considerably. the best fighters in the shia militia are iranian-backed shia militia. >> general, i'm sorry to cut you off. >> go ahead. i'll stop. >> i have a couple of other questions, particularly with reference to the rebalance to the asia pacific. general mattis, i think you end kated in your testimony the importance of the navy and clearly admiral fallon you have familiarity with what's going on in the asia pacific area because of your previous position. so the navy is intending to put 60% of our ships in the asia pacific area. for the two of you i'd like to know, how is this viewed by china?
how is this kind of resource placement due to our rebalance seen by our allies and by our enemies? briefly, if you could please comment. >> senator, i think very briefly this is a little bit speculative now. i think 60% of too few is probably still too few. but i think that anything we can do to reassure our allies of their economic territorial future is not going to be under the veto of the chinese would be welcome out in the pacific. >> and admiral fallon. >> aloha senator. >> aloha. >> i think this whole discussion of the pivot has been distorted and not handled particularly well at all. so just a couple of facts. so 60% versus 50%, which is what we in the navy, just stick to the navy now, the navy was
pretty well split 50/50 during the cold war. as soon as the cold war ended internal navy leadership started to press to rebalance way before this became a recent political slogan. and because it made sense, because of the vast size of the pacific and so forth. but that 10%, if you just take one denomination aircraft carriers, that's one aircraft carrier based on today's fleet. and by the way, that carrier is already in the pacific. so much of this is just chatter, pretty mindless. again take another measure the entire fleet of 280 ships 10% of that is 28, so what are we really talking about? not a whole lot. but the perceptions are all over the place. and depending who you are and what country you are in, in asia, if you're chinese, you use this as a great example. see, we knew you were coming -- and another blah, blah blah and justification in some respects
for them to push to increase their military capabilities. so i think it is overblown. the reality is we need to be engaged in the far east in the asia pacific. and given the size and scope of the place, it makes all the sense in the world to have our fleet tilted that way, given the realities in the world. we need to work very closely with our long-term allies out there. the japanese, the australians and others and those that support us. at the same time we have got to work this difficult task of trying to figure out how we collaborate in ways that make sense with the chinese for the long-term. it is a huge country huge impact, blah, blah, blah you know the impact in this country. we don't need another cold war. we don't need to have another road to conflict with these guys. we have very interesting deep relationships in every aspect
except the military to military. that's where the emphasis needs to be. i think our leadership particularly the military leadership in our country is working this right now and we need to continue it. >> thank you very much. my time is up. >> senator tillis. >> gentlemen, thank you for your leadership and your extraordinary record of service. general mattis you made a comment that we seem to be at about a low point with our middle east policy, or effectiveness over the last four decades. can you point to anything say over the last six or eight years, that you think is something positive that we have done that we should build on and in the context of the number of things you've said that are not working? >> yes, sir, i can. we have been somewhat in a strategy free environment for quite some time. it didn't start with this administration. and so we have been wandering. we have policies that go on and come off, but i think if you're to look at the fact that malachi was pushed out of office with our full support, there inside
baghdad, i think that was a positive step. we cannot get iraq to fight this enemy when they have a prime minister who basically declared kurds and sunni persona non non grata in their own country. i think the president going to saudi arabia as we speak is certainly a positive point. you know, i'd have to think more, senator, but i'll take it for the record. if i think of something more, i'll get back to you. >> general, keane keane, you mentioned the need to equate, i think radical islamists to nazis and communists of the past why do you think it is important to use those words and why do you think it is dangerous not to? >> well i use it because it is
something we cope with in the past rather successfully. and they were ideologies themselves, you know that another generation had to deal with. we built -- we beat naziism with brute force. and i think communist ideology to express it simplistically is more sophisticated, but i think we beat it with better ideas. and i think it is the combination of both of those that we need to deal with radical islam. we obviously need to use force, but that alone will not solve this problem. and the ideology also has to be dealt with. after all, what they are running from, and why they do not want the united states and the region it is not because just because of our guns it is because of our ideas. it is the democracy and capitalism that is an anathema to them and they don't want our
ideas polluting those governments that they're attempting to overthrow so that they move in a direction of those ideas. so that's why i use that, because we want to run from the ideological aspect of this thing, and you have to face it. and you have to explain it. and you have to undermine it and you have to counter it. >> admiral fallon. >> senator i think that one of the problems today with this radical jihadist stuff is that we give it unmerited credibility. i don't view this problem in the same context as i view, for example, the need to make sure this country is fundamentally sound, and it is political, economic and other aspects going forward for our future. nor do i think it is in the same relative merit as our long-term relationship with china. and the extent to which we hype
everything that seems to happen with these characters i think is one of the reasons why they're attractive to the disenfranchise than to the folks struggling in other countries that see this as a chance to gain glory and go help out the crusade. so i think we would be well served to try to tamp this stuff down. this army, if you would in iraq and syria, is certainly not the 82nd airborne or first marine division by any means. it is a pickup band of jihadists that share blah blah, blah we have gone through that. they're not in the same league with our capabilities. and i think the extent to which we continue to hype them is really counterproductive to what we're doing or what we should be doing. >> thank you. there has been a lot of discussion in the middle east some of you touched in your opening statements on russia's
incursions. what more attention should we focus on and what should we expect if you had a crystal ball to see and in the ukraine and other areas in that region if we don't act? what specific steps should we be taking beyond what we have done to send the message. we talked about economic actions, but other actions to send the message to the russians that what they're doing is unacceptable and that we're better positioned to react to them. >> well, i said -- mentioned some of those in my remarks. i think we have to admit that to ourselves that our diplomatic efforts using sanctions as a mainstream have certainly not dissuaded putin from what he's attempting to achieve. what i think is a new political order in eastern europe post
cold war. you know whether he's a strategic thinker or tactical thinker and he's impulsive and he reacts to sort of current events, i think it is beside the point. i don't think we should waste a lot of time about that. the fact of the matter is he is acting. and he is taking advantage of the situation. it is a huge opportunity for him. he senses that europe has feckless leadership and is probably not going to respond and he also puts the united states in that category. and he's advantaging himself as a result of it. what do we have to do? we have to convince him we're serious, that nato really matters to us, that eastern europe does really matter to us. otherwise, i think he keeps coming. and certainly we want to avoid a military conflict with him. there are steps we can prudently take to do that. one is what was discussed before about helping with energy.
and removing some of the energy dependence that the europeans have on him. but secondly, listen, the threat has shifted. so we have a threat in eastern europe on nato's eastern flank. let's shift nato forces to that area. not just temporarily in and out, but let's put some permanent bases there and demonstrate to him that article 5 really does matter. i'm absolutely convinced in his conference room he has people sitting around the table with him saying do we really believe that angela merkel will respond to a threat we imposed with this guy's soldiers in estonia? and they're answering that question. but we don't want that question on a table. we want to take that question off the table. and i think we can do that. whether we put the missile defense back into where we took it out at the beginning of this administration, i think that needs to be relooked.
i'm not confident that that was all right to begin with, dealing with what that threat was. it was the iranian ballistic missile threat. so i think that needs to be looked at in terms of where we place it. but certainly it is a disgrace that we have been able to provide arms to the ukrainians who want to push back and have a history of courageous military interaction to protect their own people. they're not asking for anything else. they're not asking for our troops. not asking for air power. all they wanted was some weapons and we stiffed them on it. makes no sense to me whatsoever what a message that says to putin. not surprising. he's on the move again in eastern ukraine. our diplomatic efforts have not worked because they don't have anything behind it. we need to put -- we need to put some things on the table that will strengthen our diplomatic efforts and we haven't been doing that.
>> thank you. madam chair? >> senator manchin. >> thank you very much. let me thank all three of you for your service, but more importantly for the testimony you have given today. been very frank and direct. i think that what general fallon said -- admiral fallon is we have to deal with the future and what we're doing today and what we it do in the future. hindsight being 20/20, look at the all volunteer military we have today i ran into an awful lot of people in our state of west virginia who served because they were drafted or because they enlisted but they were serving. today that's less likely with the volunteer. and they all believe that if we had had some intermingling of a voluntary, versus a draft, that we wouldn't have had a 13-year war, we would have had better decisions, better direction if you will because the people would have demanded it. hindsight being 20/20, i get this question asked a lot we took out saddam hussein in iraq.
should we have entered iraq declared war on iraq, we went in and took him out. is iraq better safer than it was before? gadhafi, we took gadhafi out. is libya in better shape than it was before and now we're in the throes of syria. do we take out assad and what would that leave in syria? also, we're going to be dealing with the fact, do we sign on with the sanctions of iran, double down, do we give the president the ability to negotiate up to march 24th, then double down. and you all have been forth right with some of your comments. and i would love to know what you think about, first of all, iraq, should we or should we have not? should we in syria and how much effect do you think we'll have trying to find people that will fight isil and turn and fight assad in our commitment as i'm understanding, the saudis and turks and everybody else want us to commit to fighting and taking out assad if they help us fight and take out isil.
with that, i'll open the door and see where you all go with it. we'll just start down the road down there. i'll start with you, admiral fallon first. >> senator, i would not go back and speculate on the merits of how good or how bad each of those decisions were based on where we are, except to say that -- >> the reason i asked that, sir, is because we have to make a decision -- seriously close to making the same decision you learn from whatever you've done. >> i think the lesson i would take is, okay, we made a decision and where are we now. >> gotcha. >> and what are the chances that we're going to be in a different place if we take a similar decision, whatever. i would like to go back if i could just to your opening comment. i think it is the most important thing to me, maybe not most important thing that concerns me the most for the long-term as i look at our country and our ability to address national
security issues and the future health of this nation. that is the very very small percentage of this population that is in any way, shape or form actively engaged with the uniform services. so we had a lot of rhetoric in the last half dozen years or so about this. but as we go forward what i see that really concerns me is that there is a growing gap between the few that are actively engaged in this and i get the feeling that a lot of people kind of think, that's just -- it is a job. this is their job. they're going to go fight this thing. so is that what we really want to have in this country? and you think we're going to make better decisions if we have that view, that we have this paid professional army that goes off and takes care of business while everybody else does their own thing. that's a huge problem and we ignored it at our peril. thank you. >> general keane? >> yeah.
starting with the all volunteer force. i serve as jim and fox did also in a draft military. and transition to a volunteer force post vietnam. and as a result of that, i think by anybody's judgment, that force is probably the best this country has ever put together. and there's nothing quite like it anyplace else in the world. i attribute that to a couple of reasons. the force looks like america. and in its diversity ethnicity et cetera. and, two they want to be there and they want to accept the burden and responsibility that goes with it. in the draft military we had so many people there that didn't want to be there. it was frustrating to deal with them. we did a lot of social
rehabilitation for people i don't think that's had a loebl power is about. the skills of the military needed today, it is a prerequisite we have the kind of people in the organization that are willing to make the sacrifice. i accept what fox is saying. i have similar concerns. 1% are involved. and we have grown apart for the american people as a result of a volunteer force. but nonetheless, i don't think going back to revisit the draft and consubscription is the answer to that. secondly on iraq and syria iraq itself, i was a four star at the time. i didn't think we should -- i was shocked that in the first week of december, 2001, we made a decision to go to war in iraq. just after we toppled the taliban, i was asking the
question why. and when. et cetera. i could see the need for it certainly at some point because of the wmd issue. but i -- my view at that time was to stay on top of the al qaeda, which was the reason we were in afghanistan and run these guys into every hole that they're in until we get rid of them. that's kind of where i was. and if that meant dealing with pakistan and every system, so what. after what took place here that was my motivation. in syria listen syria is a complex a thing as we had on our plate. and you can be on any side of this issue and make reasonable sense. the only thing that concerns me about this and i respect jim when he said i want to know what the political end state is, i think what we try to achieve in syria is assad goes some form of that government stays, in partnership with moderate forces
to help run that country. so you're looking towards a political solution, but i just know we're on a collision course that right now, in syria with isis expanding control and dominance inside the country, at the same time we're trying to push back on them with a ground force that is being pounded by the assad regime. and if we continue to let that happen, the free syrian army and the force that we're trying to support is going to go away. and that's the reality of it. do you do something about that? do you try to make some attempts to do that? dealing with all of the geopolitical complications that that entails? my answer to that is yes. i think we should try. and, listen, it is hard. i'm not suggesting it is not. but like most human endeavors, it is not hopeless either. >> madam chair may i indulge and ask general mattis if he would on volunteer versus the --
>> sir i think the volunteer force has been good for the military. it has been bad for the country. i would only add on the decision to invade a country to go into -- i don't know what our policy is on syria. i don't know what the political end state is that people want to accomplish. if you wand near a war without knowing that you're probably going to get lost on your way to somewhere. i would just tell you that the -- we should never go into these countries unless we have a reasonable chance of a better outcome and war is fundamentally unpredictable, that means a long-term commitment with a clear political end state and a fully resourced sound strategy to get there. and otherwise, don't go in and look at libya in your rear view mirror anywhere else and wonder what you've done. >> thank you. >> senator, i don't want to leave this with the impression that i endorse the return to consubscription, i don't at all. but i think that we ought to be seriously considering how we
motivate people for service in this country, not just in the military, but on a range of things, but the way we're headed now causes me -- >> i keep thinking there will be a blend between the volunteer we have now with a pool of draft, if you will, or -- >> if we had an atmosphere in which we encourage service, i think we have no difficulty filling the ranks of the armed forces of people that would volunteer if that was the mind set of the majority of the people in this country. >> people said if we had a -- if we had all volunteer army during vietnam, we still would be in vietnam. >> senator king. >> thank you, madam chair. somebody asked me in maine recently what my job consisted of. i thought for a minute and said it is applied history with a minor in communications. and your testimony today has been ample evidence that this is really all about history. and i've got a lot of favorite
quotes from mark twain, but my all time favorite is that history doesn't always repeat itself, but it usually rhymes. and that's what we're talking about here today. talking about history would you all agree and i don't need lengthy answers that leaving afghanistan prematurely would be a major strategic mistake for this country? >> yes sir. >> yes. >> admiral fallon you agree? to me it is -- given all the progress, i don't think the american people realize the amount of progress that has been made in afghanistan in terms of the lives of the people, it is fumbling the ball on the 5 yard line. and a modest additional commitment in terms of people and treasure would maintain those benefits and i think general keane, you testified without that it is lost. >> i think one of our problems is legacy in afghanistan is that we already have done this twice been there and bailed out.
and there is a lot of concern that we could do it again. >> well particularly when we finally have a leiter in the country we can work with and has some hope of real political leadership in the country. second question i couldn't help but hear echoes, general keane particularly, in your testimony, we're talking about isis, talking about radical islam and the -- all the language could be applied to the communists in the '40s and '50s. radical ideology bent on world domination, putting america out of business, all of those kinds of things. the strategy then was essentially containment. we never invaded russia. we didn't have direct military confrontation, but the strategy was containment until it imploded because its ideas weren't as good as ours. isn't there a guide for a strategy with regard to this threat that we're facing today? >> well, i definitely agree with the -- what a broad strategy and
the political and military alliances that we formed to deal with it. but the facts are this movement has attacked us and it is crushing our interests in the region as well by physical means. so that has changed the dimension of it quite a bit. >> senator, i think in a globalized world today we're -- we're perhaps one airline seat away from somebody exporting this right into paris or wherever else. we have to be very, very careful thinking that we can contain this without having ramifications on our economy, on our friends. for example, we may be energy independent in north america or will be very soon but the global price of oil on a globally traded commodity will be sent out of the middle east. the world's economy would immediately impact from maine to california but if it got the oil cut off there the fact that
we are oil independent energy independent would not change. the idea we could contain this in that region and let all hell break loose there, you know, i don't think that would work in this case. even though i do agree with you that the internal contradictions inside communism and internal contradictions inside jihadist thinking will rot them from the inside out, just like the communists. >> i think you're right. where the historic parallel breaks down is the nonstate actor piece of this and also communications and i think you mentioned seventh century. i don't know what century it is. the danger in now is we're dealing with 21st century weapons. intelligence is one of the key elements in this battle, perhaps more so than ever. let me conclude with a couple of
questions about iran. what are -- we're engaged in this negotiation that is going to come to some kind of conclusion we believe in the next two or three months. i don't think there is much likelihood in an additional extension. what if the negotiations fail? what are the next steps if we end up with no deal or a deal that is just not acceptable in terms of containing iran's ambitions. >> senator, we have to limit their ability to enrich fuel that's critical. we have to have a rigorous inspection regime that ensures that we have confidence in it, knowing the denial and deceit they used to hide this weapons program in the past. if it fails, i think we would have to re-energize and elevate the economic sanctions perhaps even to the point of a blockade. and then we should move strongly
against the situation with lebanese hezbollah and syria. i think defeat of iranian interests in that area could reverberate right back into tehran and the iranian people would be in a position like with the green revolution, perhaps to come out in the streets. but the oppressive powers are strong. and the -- the alternative to the economic and some of these peripheral efforts working would be -- would probably end up being war. >> it was -- it was interesting, i was just in the middle east last weekend, and talking with people in the gulf states, interesting to me in history we know we're dealing in some ways with an ancient civil war between sunnis and shiites. but in the gulf states, they're very worried about iran's expansionism, even outside of the nuclear area. and we're now talking about an ancient civil war between persians and arabs. i think many people don't
realize that iranians are in the arabs and that this is -- this goes back to darius. you've got -- in some ways you have people trying to re-create the ottoman empire and others trying to re-create the persian empire. here we are trying to toging to wind our way through 2,000-year-old disputes. that's not really a question, but general keane, your thoughts. >> well, i think -- i think our behavior with iran through the years has been pretty atrocious. they bombed our marine barracks as jim mentioned using proxies. took down our embassy in lebanon. took down the annex took down the kuwait embassy. they took down air force barracks in khobar towers. general lloyd believes iranian trained militia by battalion commanders from hezbollah are responsible for killing close to 2,000 of the 4400 americans
killed in iraq. they developed an ied exclusively to be used only against americans not against iraqi military, not against iraqi people. these are the things that we have already accept eded. >> going to make the point it is a nonpartisan nonresponse. bipartisan nonresponse. >> it is a bipartisan nonresponse. so here we go into negotiations by a regime that the stated objective is to dominate the region. they're beginning to do that and they want nuclear weapons to guarantee their preservation and also to help in the geopolitical objectives. the beginning of the negotiations, we have already given up too much. we're already behind. the only negotiation that should
have been done was dismantle the program and take off the sanctions. that's not where we are. so i -- i believe if it fails, we go back to tough crippling, economic sanctions, bring in the national security agency, have the director there lay down in front of them, what they could do to get after iran to change its behavior. we're on a collision course with them. i don't agree with fox that we can sit down and have more dialogue with these guys and somehow we'll work towards mutual interests in the region when their stated interests are truly regional domination and we have already given up too much to them as we speak. >> thank you. i want to thank the gentleman. this has been one of the most informative, provocative and i think helpful hearings i've participated in since i've been here. thank you very much for your direct and honest testimony. thank you, madam chair. >> i couldn't agree more with
what senator king just said and appreciate all of you. i think we have got to a couple of second round questions and i appreciate all of you staying here. i wanted to follow up, general mattis, on testimony that you gave about our detention policy. you said we observed the perplexing lack of detention -- detainee policy that resulted in the return of release prisoners to the battlefield. we should not engage in another fight without resolving this issue up front treating hostile forces as hostile. could you let -- help us understand what are the consequences of a lack of detention policy in terms of our national security and as i count it, we know we have confirmed at least 107 terrorists that were formally detained at guantanamo have now been confirmed to have re-engaged in terrorist activity and an additional 77 are suspected of doing so. so what are the implications of this lack of attention policy, why does it matter to us and
what does it impact to us as it relates to interrogation policy? >> the implication first and foremost is that we go into a fight and we're not even certain of ourselves enough to hold as prisoners the people we have taken in the fight. in 1944, we didn't take ramos troops in pow camps in texas and let them go back and get another shot at normandy. we kept them until the war is over. we didn't start this war. if an enemy wants to fight or be a truck driver we didn't say his radio operate irersors could be released. -- if the president, the commander in chief sent us out there. if taken prisoner, you'll be prisoner until the war is over. this is not war fighting 301 or advanced -- this is 101, ma'am.
biggest concern i have being in the infantry in many years, if our troops find that they are taking someone prisoner a second time, and they have just scraped one of their buddies off the pavement and zipped him into a bag, we will be undercut if the integrity of our war effort does not take the people off the battlefield permanently if taken prisoner. in other words, they will take things into their own hands under the pressures of warfare. so i think that what we have to do is have a repeatable detainee policy so when we take them we hold them and there is no confusion about their future. not among the enemies not among our own, i would go by the geneva convention and maintain them with red cross oversight.
until the war is over. >> thank you, general. let me say, general keane, i fully agree with what you've said about providing defensive arms to ukraine. i think that it absolutely is a disgrace. and i can't understand why this administration has not provided these arms so they can defend themselves against russian aggression. i think we're sending the wrong message there. i think the other consideration for all of us in this is in signing the budapest memorandum why would any nation again give up its nuclear weapons when we won't provide basic defensive arms when they are faced with aggression on their own territory. i would like you to comment on, you know what are the implications of that as we ask, for example, other nations to give up their nuclear weapons. i don't understand why they would do it when they see our behavior here. >> i totally agree. we went back on an agreement.
we went back on our word. i believe that's one of the reasons that putin is looking at nato itself and he's saying to himself, is this still the organization that helped force the collapse of the soviet union back in '91 or is -- has this organization lost its moral fiber. so i think when we break agreements like that, even though ukraine was not a member of nato clearly the deal that was made was in their interests as well as the world's interests. and we foreclosed on it and shame on us for doing that. i do believe it has significant implications, not just to other countries who we believe are our friends, but because it does embolden and encourage vladimir putin. common sense tells you it does and his behavior underscores
that. >> wanted to follow up on the discussion on iran. and looking at their behavior, i think general keane, you said we're already behind on this deal in terms of what we agreed to. so as we look at this negotiations that are going on, what does a good deal look like? and given the implications of this for our national security i firmly believe that congress should have a say in that agreement and what is a result. but what is a good deal look like? one that we can ensure that they can't immediately gear up their nuclear weapons program again and, finally i don't see in any of the negotiations any resolution whatsoever to their missile program, their seeking ibm -- icbm capability that could hit our east coast. and also their activities as a larger state sponsor of
terrorism. can you help us understand what should we be looking for and what about the two other issues i think are very important to us as well in terms of their activities? >> well, as i said i don't think there is a good deal here at all. because what we're arguing over is the technology that will drive the time to develop a weapon. so our negotiators are trying to pull out some of the technologies to extend the amount of time it will take to develop a weapon. but we have been in this dance step before with the iranians going back 15 years in these negotiations. and it is always two steps forward and one step back and that's where we are. i have absolutely no confidence that if we made a deal at the iranians will not undermine that and move fast-forward to be able to develop a nuclear weapon much faster than what we think.
i think history is on the side of that argument frankly. so i am not optimistic at all about this. i will give the administration credit for well intentioned motivations. i don't want to get into that. and i can't because you have to get into people's heads. but the fact of the matter is we should be very concerned about a bad deal here. i believe we're on the path -- on the path to it. let's be honest with ourselves. this regime is -- the supreme leader is not giving up on having a nuclear weapon. anybody that thinks that is incredibly delusional and naive. he is on a path to it. he will achieve it. he has got in charge now not ahmadinejad, you know who most people had no respect for even inside his own country, he's got a sophisticated leader working this very well to achieve his
objectives, geopolitically. i believe he's on the path. i'm not confident at all. and the only deal that makes any sense to me is this program and pull the sanctions but wear're not there. this administration will not do that. we're already past that. >> i wanted to -- >> madam chair i think the economic sanctions that drove them to the negotiating table work better than i ever anticipated, and the administration had to try. it gave us credibility with the international community, wasn't a rush to war. it also puts you in a position to define what a good deal is goes to the heart of the question. i think it is a rigorous inspection regime that gives us confident confidence they will not have a breakout capability and no ability to enrich uranium beyond peaceful purposes at all. now, if that cannot be achieved we have a bad deal.
>> admiral fallon? >> somebody made the point earlier that history doesn't exactly repeat itself. but during the cold war, we were squared off against the communist yolg that was based in the soviet union that was die metically opposed to everything we believed and the political and economic and individual freedoms that we held very dear to ourselves and yet we recognize we had an interest to try to ensure that we didn't get plunged into yet another conflict with staggering potential consequences on the negative. we ended up negotiating with the soviets. we didn't trust them. they didn't trust us. and but we thought that there
were some longer term higher on jesktives that needed to be achieved. i think we're not in a dissimilar situation here. we're not the soviet union, we shouldn't give them the credibility. it is the problem we just can't keep ignoring. if we come up with an agreement that the negotiators feel is reasonable, then the key thing is going to be an ability to verify the key aspects of that to the best of our ability. i think that's what's really important. >> senator reed. >> thank you. i will echo senator king's remark. this has been useful and thank you, gentlemen. one thought i had listening to senator king's question was the history always sort of drives us. and the cold war are, we had an existential enemy, the soviet union. they were engaged in a lot of
provocative activity. they invaded hungary in the '50s and attempting to establish offensive nuclear missiles, 90 miles from our shore. and yet we continue to negotiate with them. i think admiral fallon pointed out we did it with the skepticism we all have towards the iranians. no one trusted khrushchev that much and trusted his successes, et cetera. but i think it is important as has been trusted by all of you that we follow through on these negotiations with the iranians until we get to a conclusion. general mattis made an excellent point. we positioned ourselves where we're on the high road. we have international support and if they cannot make that standard, we're in a much stronger position to move collectively. i had think that's important to note. let me ask a question which goes to this notion of what i think you said, general mattis,
we have to be clear when we start something, you know where it is going to go. which sense you raised the issue of escalation, the negotiation if we take a step, it will -- it is a solution. we solved the problem. when in fact many -- in every situation i can think of the first step will prompt a counterresponse. the other side will prompt a counterresponse. with respect to ukraines, simple question if we give defensive weapons to the ukrainians, something being considered what do you think we do, pull the troops out and say, okay you saw me and i fold? or something else? and will we get into an escalate escalating position? >> senator reed every action has a reaction.
it is a fundamentally unpredictable situation. but we have to look ahead. i think that in light of the worsening economic situation putin's ability to act independently with some of the things he's been doing will start becoming circumscribe. they can take a more stoic view of this in russia as i understand. i believe it may very well lead to a higher level of violence. at the same time, i think that it could become akin to no napoleon's bleeding ulcer in spain. it could become the fulcrum on which his foreign policy is now hammered back in line with the international order of respect for state boundaries and that sort of thing as he starts having higher physical cost, more debt from this sort of
thing. it is going to be a tragedy so lack as russia decides to keep doing what they're doing and we'll help the ukrainians who want to deaf themselves. >> i think the putin strategy is quite clever and maybe even brilliant when you think about it. he's using soldiers in the sky as special operation forces, come in in civilian clonings, create an uprising that is not even there. and appeal for more military stance. so he's trumped up everything and puts the onus on us that it
is up to us to escalate. it is an interesting phenomenon and i think we'll continue to see it again and again. so one is we need to deal with this strategy that he's using and what should we do about it? and number two, putin has done all of the escalation himself. he's the one that brought paramilitary forces in. he's the one that brought convectional military forces in. he brought multiple armor and mechanized divisions and put them on 9 border and rushed them across the border. it is his forces that shot down an airliner, his weapons systems at least. all the escalation has been done
by him. i believe providing some assistance to the ukrainians as much as that would be material expense, because i always believe that conflict is a test of will and the ultimate objective of war is to break your opponent's will. i give arms and assistance to the ukrainians, not just for the physical capability that enhances them but also to demonstrate we're behind them, they have this natural fortitude knowing their history to stand up to it. that's where i am on that. i'm not concerned about de-escalation because putin has done that already. >> we think about russia, i
think it is a great example of a place with we ought to be thinking more strategically and not be channeling ourselves into he did this so we have to do this. this guy took vaepg ofng of an interesting situation. what else might we do to get this guy's attention. this country has significant internal problems birth rates and step and the longevity the one trick pony. we have a foomphenomenal new energy cart in our national cape bimts here. how we might think about using that that might get this guy's attention to get him to back it
off. he thought he was clever, he said let's make a deal and the chinese, hey you know that's a way to play off the americans, so we might think about coming around and working things with the chinese. we stand up for things that we think are important, but i don't think the only solution here is to throw troops at it. we may this is it in our best interest to give support to the ukrainians. i think we ought to be thinking bigger when it comes to ss to russia. >> thank you, all. i was hear to all of your opening statements. there is a finer group of statements we have had here in the long time.
we are on a path that is not going to be successful the path we're on. i want to thank you for your honest statements about that. i'm more hopeful than some. i think we can make some progress here. i think you acknowledged that it is important that our act gets its october something and be more effective. that's a critical part of it. i don't take that to be a statement that we should not seek to be offensive as soon as possible. even right now. it seems to me you talked about will. i've seen a reason article by major general scale ss who talks
about will and the menacing hope showing isis and isil that they will not be perspective. >> well i think i understand what you're saying. i certainly agree with the policy that we should use local ground indinl us ingenous forces to row take lost territory. there has been some modest retaking already. nowhere near what needs to be
done to return to iraq. that will only take place we a counteroffensive campaign up those two river valleys, one to the west and one to the north to retake mosul and fallujah and anbar province. all that said i do think it is prudent to do that with those indigenous forces, but to be robustly assisted, not in a way we're planning to do now with front line advisers who will be down where the fighting takes place that which means they're at rick. not in direct combat but they're in combat units they'll be fighting. that's a given. >> that's what you think has got to be done? >> yes. can we retake anbar and mosul province? now? can we do that?
yes. yes, we can do that. but here is the problem with that. one is i have great difficulty looking u.s. soldiers in the face again and doing that. policy decisions squandered the gains. two, it is not just the issue of retaking mosul and fallujah. it is the issue of being able to hold it. isis will not stand down after we drive them out of there. we have known enough about this war in iraq and afghanistan. you drive an enemy out that's one thing. and then we have to make certain we hold it and prevent that enemy from coming back. and sao that's why i believe it is the right thing to try to use the local forces even though we know that's not a stronger hand as we would like, strengthen that hand woit introducing
ground combat forces and then put emphasis on once we clear it out, holding that is there. that will be the challenge. because isis will come back and undermine it. that's why i don't think combat forces now is the right answer. u.s. combat forces. if we -- if we have any lack of confidence we'll be able to retake that lost territory and still believe it is strategically important for us in iraq to do that, then i would have combat brigades on reserve in kuwait as a backup to accomplish the mission if the mission does fail. that would be coalition brigades as well. >> the three of you commended centcom. it strikes me, let's compare this to libya. we have a different situation.
we stood shoulder to shoulder with the iraqis. we lost thousands of american troops in this effort. to me, to say we won't embed a few soldiers, not on the front of the advance at this point to preserve what i think you agree is possible and to oust i isil be with a closele mistake. general mattis do you feel a special strategic bond with the iraqis that we work with for over a decade? >> senator i do. however in giving you strategic advice, i try to divorce myself from -- we have to be very pragmatic about this. i would tell you the military the senior military offers we
all explained the testifies we would achieve were, and this is a quote reversen. the capability was too nascent to pull everybody out at the same indictment. what we have to look at now when we play the ball is where it lies. i believe we should epp embed our ford air controller and those that can help build the operations. we have to put them together. >> that could prevent gain? doing that would, in your professional opinion allow us to seek gains occur from that. >> because you're integrateing the air and ground effort at the point of context. you could see a different
designificance process so, yes it would. . >> i share the view it was a colossal era in 2011 to completely withdraw. this was predict as senator mccain and others predicted. >> senator blumenthal. >> thanks madam chairwoman. i wanted to join in my thanking senator mccain. i think your insights and experience reflect your -- each of your extraordinary service to our nation and i think for what you've done to make sure we're strong and that our security is as robust as possible. i agree with the point that's been made fairly repeatedly that we should be doing more to
ashift ukraine. congress agrees as well because we past and the president signed the see the ukraine act which has not been implemented. my question to each of you, because this act is very broad in what it thordzs by way of weaponry and defensive services and training using that $350 million, do you think would be most helpful to the you jane kan s -- ukrainians. you made reference to the russian troops zpised as civilians. what specifically can we provide. anti-tank missiles more body
armor, it you be more specific as to what you would advice the president to abide by? >> i cannot. i'm not familiar enough with the specifics on the battlefield. if they're being fired from counter artillery rifle would be necessary but i can't answer that. >> they want more intelligence than what they currently have and i believe we have begun to help them with some of that. they do want anti-tank weapons and those are shoulder fired missiles essentially. and they also want heavy crew serve weapons. one problem we have here is
under the previous regime in crew jane because of the significant amount of corruption that took place in all the agencies of government, what took place military is outrageous in terms of the rip-off of funding and the capability that is they used to have a no longer have. they're a mere shadow of their former self, to be frank about it. so while i know some of their desires, i don't know the entire list of what they want. >> nor do i, senator. i have no idea what the laundry list is what really makes sense. i would just caution that, again, whatever we decide to do here will be effective or not, in large measure p. based on what the people in ukraine do and what they do is going to be
based on the confidence them for leadership. it's been abyssmal up to now. but absent that, we could dump stuff in there all day long and we're probably not going to be successful. so understanding what's really gone on in that country at the political level is really essentially prerequisite to any of this stuff. >> admiral i would like to ask you, on a different area, and the premise of my question is that you've done a fair amount of work on climate change and environmental issues s but in light of your experience -- and i would open this question to others as well how big a threat to our national security is potentially what we see happening in climate disruption the impacts on -- on the availability of sea lanes and
water resources in the middle east is a east, and food resource in africa africa. to what extent is climate disruption a national security threat? >> i think it's a very, very important national security issue. it's one that we understand very little about, in my opinion. ramifications of the continuation of the current trends provide all kinds of interesting scenarios. and what the russians. what putin may have in mind for us he as going to have some significant options pretty soon when the arctic continues to lose its ice pack and become basically accessible 12 months of the year gives them very, very interesting opportunities to move things around and act in
ways that they were significantly inhibited in in the past. the trends of pretty cleer that we're is coming up land will disappear, and the implications for us in this country more importantly probably. and the further myothat that -- so all these problems we deal with almost every single one has its root at a very basic level. it's what people feel very close to them. so if they feel threatened their livelihoods, their families and their ability, then things start to get unraveled. that's the potential that i
think we face, i don't want to lie awake at night wringing my hands, but there are things we could be doing to try to reverse the trends that appear to be moving on pretty strongly. that's another topic for hours of discussion but it gets back to one of my points about credibility. our credibility as a country as the world grapples with these things that apply to all of us i think that u.s. leadership all tore paramount ought to be in the four front, and at times we're not there. always trying to get into this and push on another hand, the
world needs or leadership and involvement. >> thank you for that answer and for all of you for being here. >> thank you all very much. i know you've been here a long morning, so we very much appreciate that. i have just one fundamental question for each of you. i had a chance to hear your opening statements, but not -- was not here for most of the questioning, so i don't think anybody has covered this aspect of my question. you all are probably aware that d.o.d. recently released a study entitled improving strategic competent, lesson from 13 years of war and there have been
fairly high-profile articles that have addressed this question as well. one of the conclusions from the studies is that the types of war that the u.s. has fought since world war ii/changed no longer conventional combats of wars against state actors. by joint forces against nonstatement actors. one of the statements says, and i quote, that the join force in the u.s. government as a whole have displayed an ongoing am bifflens and a lack of proficiency in the noncombat and unconventional aspects of war and conflict against non-state actors. the report goes on to state seven lessons in its review. the first two seemed particularly relevant to today's discussion. one is that the u.s. government
displays a persistent weakness in formulating national security strategies, and that this weakness is due in part to the lack of an effective civilian/military process for effective national security policymaking. i wonder if each of you could comment on whether you agree with this conclusion and whether this is something that can be addressed by changing personalities, or do we really need to improve our process for national security decisionmaking? and if you have thoughts about how to do that admiral fallon? >> sure, i'll throw myself in front of this train. i agree with it and i think that my observation of several changes in washington. to get this old, you see a lot of transitions. one of the weaknesses i believe, is the belief that an
effective national security policy can be created after after things settle down and people get in their places. it all sounds nice, let's get a secretary of state and defense in there, but my experience is it's too late. there's no way you'll be able to come up with that i have seen to come up with comprehensive long-term thoughtful, effective policies once this gun goes off. the reality is something happens every single day. so all these pressures make it virtually impossible to think strategically, in my observation, once you get in the game. so prerequisite to this is very thoughtful process in advance, using whatever resource are available. a lot of smart people around this country and the world that
can inform some pretty good decisions. again, can't solve everything, but pick a few big ones and decide they're the ones you're going to focus on. that would be my advice, and go for it. >> there's a couple things that aren't correct. first of all the most predominant warfare since war started has been unconventional warfare. interesting enough the prosecute owes usually lose far more than they win. that's best documented if you want to see the best reference by max boots' sort of history of all of this, he's out of the council on foreign relations and prolific, articulate, thoughtful writer. in terms of your comment did dealing with this kind of experience that we're facing
today, i agree that we have not taken a whole of government approach in dealing with some of the challenges we face. what i observed in countless visits over the 13-year experience, you know, in iraq and afghanistan, that much of is the nonkinetic things that needed to be done in dealing with an unconventional enemy defaulted not to other parts of our government, but largely to the united states military. even though, while they're intelligent and have enormous personal attributes and skill sets that they can apply against anything to be successful it's not something they were trained and necessarily had experience in, but they became very good at it. we would always be looking around, where is the rest of our government here to help us do some of these things. so in that regard, i do