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tv   Pacific Commander To Early to Tell If U.S. Can Rely on China to Deal...  CSPAN  April 28, 2017 2:00pm-4:20pm EDT

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schneider. felix frankfurter, walter lipman, oliver wendell holmes jr. and herbert hoover, who meat regularly in the early 1900s to debate politics and the future of the country. >> i think everybody associated with this house, frankfurter, lipman, race wasn't a salient issue. they cared about the rights of workers, and it took oliver wendell holmes jr. in a 1923 case known as moore v. dempsey which found for the first time that the mob dominated criminal trials of southern blacks, violated the due process clause. that's the first time the supreme court struck down a state criminal conviction under the due process clause. that was a huge moment in putting fair criminal trials on the liberal agenda and linking the idea of fair criminal trials with race. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a."
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admiral harry harris, the head of u.s. pacific command, testified on capitol hill yesterday about tensions on the korean peninsula. he went before the senate armed services committee to offer his assessment of where the u.s. stands militarily.
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well, good morning. senate armed services committee meets this morning to receive testimony on the posture of u.s. pacific command and u.s. forces in korea. admiral harris, i appreciate your appearance before the committee during this tense period in your area of responsibility. ery i want to express the appreciation of this committee for those who defend our nation every day. america's interests in the asia pacific region are deep and enduring. that's why for the past 70 years we have worked with our allies to propose a rules-based order based on the principles of free peoples and free markets, open seas and open skies and the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes. these ideas have produced unpress denltded peace and prosperity in the asia pacific. but now the challenge so this rules-based order amounting and they threaten not just the nations of the asia pacific
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region but the united states, as well. the most immediate threat is a situation on the korean peninsula. kim jong-un's regime has thrown its full weight behind its quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. unfortunately, the regime is making real progress. a north korean missile with a nuclear pay load, capable of striking an american city is no longer a distant hypothetical. but an imminent danger, one that poses a real and rising risk of conflict. indeed, as admiral harris said yesterday in testimony before the house, north korea already has the conventional capability to strike u.s. territory.
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are required in northeast asia to counter the threat from north korea. for years, the united states has looked at china, north korea's long-term patron and sole strategic ally to bring the regime to the negotiating table and achieve progress toward a denuke rised korean peninsula. we have done so for the reason that china is the only country that may have the influence to truly curb north korea's destabilizing behavior. but china has repeatedly refused
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exercise that influence. i welcome the trump administration's outreach to china on the issue of north korea. but as these discussions continue, the united states should be clear that while we earnestly seek china's cooperation on north korea, we do not seek such cooperation at the expense of our other vital interests. we must not and will not bargain over our alliances or over fundamental principles of the rules-based order. as its behavior toward south korea indicates, over the last several years, china has acted less and less like a responsible stakeholder of the rules-based order in the region and more like a bully. it is economically coerced its neighbors, increased its provocations in the east china see and militarized the south china sea. meanwhile, with a rebalanced policy, too heavy on rhetoric and too light on action, years
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of senseless defense cuts and now the disastrous decision to withdraw from the trans-pacific partnership, u.s. policy has failed to adapt to the scale and velocity of china's valchalleng. that failure as called into question the credibility of america's security commitments in the region. this committee has grown increasingly concerned about the erosion of america's conventional military overmatch as states like china and north korea develop advanced capabilities to counter our ability to project military power. while america's military remains the most powerful on earth, we must adapt to the new realities we face. we must think differently about forward basing and posture, logistics and mother-in-lawization and our joint force for the renewed reality of great power competition. specifically on the issue of
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munitions, this committee has heard testimony each year about the qualitative and quantitative shortfalls we have in our munitions, but we have seen little action from the services to finally turn the corner and address this issue with serious -- with the seriousness it requires. admiral harris, i'm interested in your views on munitions requirements and what it will take to meet them. the new administration has an important opportunity to charter different and better course. at our hearing earlier this week, our panel of experts, witnesses, agreed there was a strong merit for a, quote, asia pacific stability initiative. this initiative could enhance u.s. military power through targeted funding to realign our force posture in the region, improve operationally relevant infrastructure, fund additional exercises, preposition equipment and build capacity with our allies and partners. admiral harris, i'm eager to hear your thoughts on this kind of an initiative.
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and admiral, i think there is some symbolism in your appearance today, and the information that the chinese are now building their own aircraft carrier. i'm sure that as an old naval aviator that has some interest for you. senator reid. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to thank you, admiral harris, for being here today. and we understand how difficult this time must be for you and for general brooks and all the men and women that you lead. and we want to express our great appreciation for efforts. it's clear to me especially after a thoughtful discussion we had on tuesday with our outside panel, there is no set of options that lead to a quick and certain strategy on north korea. while i believe that we should pursue and exhaust every diplomatic option to bring the north korean regime to the negotiating table, those options are somewhat limited.
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china provides the lifeline for north korea and china, for its own national security interest, seems unwilling to exert the type of russia that is needed to convince the regime that denukization is the only path forward. even if it china were willing to exert that type of pressure, it seems that kim jong-un is so determined to pursue his nuclear program, he's willing to risk impoverishing and starving his own population to achieve his dream of becoming a nuclear-capable state. there are military options, but they are risky. a comprehensive strike on nuclear facilities may precipitate a catastrophic retaliation against a civilian population of seoul, or against our bases and service members in south korea or japan. a surgical strike may not deter the north korean regime and runs the risking of emboldening kim jong-un. there is the stockpile of weapons and road mobile missile
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raunchs. north korea's nuclear missile program is an immediate and national security threat. admiral harris, i ask you tell us how you are preparing for every contingency on the peninsula. while north korea is an immediate national security threat, we must not lose sight of the long-term threat that china poses to the rules-based order. whether it be economic coercion of its neighbors or undermining the freedom of navigation we all depend upon, china has not demonstrated a willingness to rise as a responsible global leader. therefore, i believe it is critical that we empower and engage countries in southeast asia and south asia to protect their own waterways and provide them with economic alternatives to maintain regional stability. preserve u.s. standing in asia and allow the economic growth and stability that has characterized the recently for the last 50 years to continue. again, thank you, admiral, for your service. and thank you, mr. chairman. >> admiral? >> thank you, chairman mccain
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and senator reid and distinguished members. it is an honor for me to appear before this committee. there are many things to talk about since my last testimony 14 months ago. and i regret that i'm not here with my testimony battle buddy, general vince brooks, but i think you would all agree that he's where he's needed most right now on the korean peninsula. mr. chairman, i request in my written posture statement be submitted for the record. as a paycom commander, i have the extraordinary privilege of leading about 375,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and dod civilians serving our nation in over half the globe. these dedicated patriots are doing an amazing job and america remains the security partner of choice in the region. that's important, because i believe that america's future in economic prosperity are inextricably linked to thein dough asia pacific, a region that's poised where opportunity meets the four considerable challenges of north korea,
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china, russia and isis. it's clear to me that isis is a threat that must be destroyed now. but as we eliminate isis in the middle east, and north africa, some of the fighters will likely repatriate to their home countries in the indo asia pacific. we must continue to work with like-minded nations to eradicate isis before it grows in the paycom area of responsibility. then there is north korea, which remains the most immediate threat to the security of the united states and our allies in japan and korea. north korea has vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability with nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, which it claims are intended to target the united states, south korea, japan and just earlier this week, australia. make no mistake, kim jong-un is making progress on his quest for nuclear weapons in a means to deliver them intercontinentally. all nations need to take this threat seriously, because north
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korea's missiles point in all directions. north korea's capabilities are not yet an extensional threat to america, but if left unchecked, it will eventually match the capability to hostile rhetoric. i know that there is some debate about north korea's intent and the miniaturization advancements made by pyongyang, and i won't add that speculation. regardless, my job is to provide military options to the president. and because paycom must be ready to fight tonight, i must assume that kim jong-un's nuclear claims are true. i know his aspirations certainly are. that's why general brooks and i are doing everything possible to defend the american homeland and our allies and the republic of korea and japan. that's why the rock u.s. alliance deployed t.h.a.d., which would be operational in the coming days and able to better defend south korea
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against a north korea threat. that's why the u.s.s. carl vincent is back on patrol in northeast asia. that's why we must continue to debut america's newest and best military platforms in the indo asia pacific. that's why we want to continue to emphasize trilateral cooperation between the united states, south korea and japan. a partnership with a purpose, if there ever was one. and that's why we continue to call on china to exert its considerable influence to stop pyongyang's unprecedented weapons testing. while recent actions by beijing are encouraging, the fact remains that china is as responsible for where north korea is as north korea itself. in confronting the reckless northeasternan regime, it's critical we're guided by a strong sense of resolve, both privately and publicly, both diplomatically and militarily. as president trump and secretary matris have made clear, all options are on the table. we want to bring kim jong-un to
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his senses and not to his knees. we're also challenged in the indo asia pacific by an aggressive china. china continues a methodical strategy to control the south china sea. i testified last year that china was militarized in this critical international waterway and the air space above it by building air and naval bases on seven chinese man made islands. despite subsequent chinese assurances at the highest levels that they would not military eyes these bases, today they support long-range weapons and placements, fighter aircraft hangars, red arrow towers and barracks for their troops. china's militarization of the south china sea is real. i'm also not taking my eyes off of russia. which just last week flew bomber missions near alaska, on successive days for the first time since 2014. russia continues to modernize its military and exercises, its
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considerable conventional and nuclear forces in the pacific. so despite the region's four significant challenges, since my last report to you, we have strengthened america's network of alliances and partnerships. working with like-minded partners on shared security threats like north korea and isis is a key component of our regional strategy. our five bilateral defense treaty alliances, australia, japan, the republic of korea, the philippines and thailand anchor our joint force efforts in the indo asia pacific. we also advanced important partnerships with india and indonesia, singapore, see langa, vietnam and others. all with a goal toward reinforcing peace and stability and prosperity throughout the region for decades. but there's more work to do. we must be ready to confront all challenges from a position of strength and with credible combat power. so i ask this committee to
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support continued investment to improve military capabilities. i need weapons systems of increased lethality, precision, speed and range that are note worked and cost effective. in restricting ourselves with funding uncertainties reduces war fighting readiness, so i urge congress to repeal sequestration and approve the proposed defense department budget. finally, i would like to thank chairman mccain and the committee. this effort will reassure our regional partners and send a strong signal to potential adversaries of our persistent commitment to the region. as always, i thank the congress for your enduring support to the men and women of paycom and to our families who care for us. thank you very much and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, admiral. and thank you for the outstanding job and your outstanding leadership that you are exhibiting in these very difficult and challenging times.
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admiral, would you say that it's an accurate statement to say that the crisis on the korean peninsula now is reminiscent -- it reminds one of a gradual cuban missile crisis? >> sir, i'll just say that i think the crisis on the korean peninsula is the -- is real. it's the worst i've seen. i'm not a student of the cuban missile crisis, but what i know of it, it seems that we are faced with a threat and a leader who is intent on achieving his goal, and -- of nuclear capability against the united states. >> and that leader does not always behave in a rational fashion, is that correct? >> that's correct, sir. i believe that, you know --
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ascribe terms like rational or irrational to kim jong-un is probably not helpful, because he is what he is, and we have to deal with kim jong-un that is. and i believe that -- he does have some kind of calculus that ends up in decisions. so he takes information and makes a decision. and those decisions are often brutal. those decisions are often brutal and the decisions are there to keep him and his family in power in north korea. >> and it's clear that his goal is a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver to to america is there any doubt -- >> there is no doubt in my mind, chairman. >> there is some question given the difficulty of getting real reliability intelligence as to how close he is to reaching that goal? >> there is some doubt or
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questions within the intelligence community whether he has that capability today, or whether he will soon have that capability. but i have to assume that he has it as do my fellow combatant commanders. lori robinson and john heighten. we have to assume that the capability is real. we know his intentions are. and he's moving toward them. >> so it's not a matter of whether it's a matter of when? >> clearly a matter of when. as i said yesterday, kju is not a leader who is afraid to fail in public. so, i talked about thomas edison he tried a thousand times before he got the light bulb to work. kju is going to continue to work until he gets his icbm's to work. >> what does thaad do for us and south korea? >> i think the point that kju's rhetoric and he's threatened the united states and cities by name.
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this week he threatened australia by name. i think his rhetoric, if you were to project it on a graph, it's going in one direction and his capability is approaching the line of his rhetoric. where those lines cross, i believe we are then at an inflection point and we wake up to a new world. >> what does thaad do for us? >> thaad enables us and our south korean allies to defend south korea or a big portion of south korea against the threat from north korea. it's aimed at north korea, the systems, and it posed no threat to -- >> isn't it incredibly difficult to counter the 4,000 artillery pieces the north koreans have on the dmz which could attack a city of 26 million people? >> it is, sir.
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and thaad is not designed to counter those kinds of basic weapons. >> what is designed to do that, anything? >> we do not have those kinds of weapons that can counter those rockets once they're launched. >> and they can launch -- they have the capability of a launch of those rockets? >> at this very moment, they have that capability, sir. >> what do you make of china's reaction to our placement of thaad, a purely defensive system? does that give you an idea of china's real intentions about north korea? >> i've said before, chairman, i believe it's preposterous that china would criticize south korea or the united states for placing a purely defensive missile system against the north
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korean threat when the north korean threat owes its survival, if you will, to china. and i believe that china, rather than criticize the united states or south korea for defending ourselves, should rather put that energy toward convincing kim jong-un to stop his nuclear ambitions. >> so we should be a bit skeptical about our ability to persuade the chinese to break kim jong-un's quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them? >> i have been skeptical up to the recent discussions between the president trump and president xi. so i think that we're seeing more activity proactive, positive activity from china in this case than we've seen in a long time.
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i remain cautiously optimistic, but certainly hopeful. >> you wouldn't rely on it? >> it's too early to tell, sir. it's only been a month or so. >> but i mean you wouldn't rely it at this time. >> i wouldn't bet my farm on it. >> thank you, admiral, senator, reed. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you admiral harris. i understand yesterday you in response to house questions took responsibility for the miscommunication regarding the carl vincent carrier group. first of all, i commend you for standing up and being responsible. that's what naval officers do. but i think we've got to take significant steps to avoid such confusion in the future. it was quite detrimental not only here, but as you know in south korea particularly where there was a great deal of concern and some reporters felt they had been misled.
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i urge you to insure that such a miscoordination or miscommunication doesn't happen in the future. >> as i said yesterday, i'm accountable and responsible for the communications that came out of the evolution. i'm sorry it happened. and all i can say i will do better in the future. >> yes, sir. let me raise an issue that is linked to our diplomacy. we're asking china to take a much more assertive role in urging north korea to cease and desist. your view in terms of what concessions we should make, if any, to the chinese to get them to cooperate, as both the chairman and i pointed out and you pointed out, they are posing significant challenges to the rule of law in the pacific.
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and we can't ignore that. your comments on this issue. >> senator, i believe that great powers can walk and chew gum at the same time. by that i mean that i think we can complement and be grateful for china's efforts in north korea, even as we criticize them, rightfully so, and hold them accountable for actions that run counter to the international rules and norms else where. in this case, the south china sea. i think we can do both and we should do both. i think china, as a great power can handle that criticism on the one hand while they're dealing with this important critical international security issue on the other. >> thank you. obviously, we're trying to approach the north korean issue with a comprehensive strategy, diplomacy, military action,
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military preparedness certainly. one aspect is information warfare. my sense, and i'm not the expert, you are, but kim jong-un is paranoid about his own people and what information they're getting. do you think we're making a sufficient effort to get information into north korea through various means so that we can begin to bypass the dear leader and go to the people and that could create pressures on him to forestall his nuclear ambition. >> i believe we're making an effort. i'm not with the totality of that effort. but i do believe that people in north korea revere kim jong-un. and i believe that the idea that somehow we could -- or that somehow they could rise up
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against kim jong-un, if the situation in north korea became so dire, i think that might be a hollow hope. i believe they consider him a god king and they truly revere him as their leader. that's just based on what i've read in the press and reports of reporters who see the north korean people start to cry, all of this, all emotional when he comes out on stage. they seem to be real tears. i think that he has a hold on his people that they're not going to rise up from beneath and topple him. >> you know, again, i think your perception is much closer to the situation on the ground. but anything we can do to either raise questions, i don't think they'll prompt an uprising immediately. not only questions among the
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population, but questions among the dear leader, kim jong-un, that his people are being sort of influenced or there might be elements within the country that are thinking and embracing other ideas. could be some leverage, and i think we have to pursue aggressively this operations -- >> i must agree with you there. >> just one other issue. you know, we have been -- china has refused arbitration to acknowledge the decision of the arbitration clause and the law of the sea with the philippines, et cetera. we do have a successful example of working together with respect, and that might be a model, maybe just rhetorically, we could use with the chinese and see if we could move them towards a more cooperative aspect with the philippines. >> i agree with you there. >> thank you. >> there are several good
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examples just in the endo asia pacific where arbitration has worked. both parties have given a little and gotten a lot. and the overall picture in the region has been one of increased stability, rather than decreased stability. >> thank you, very much, admiral. >> admiral, i think these -- what's happened in the last few days has served as a wake up call to the american people. of course we had our hearing on tuesday with some four pretty smart people, came to the same conclusion. we have you today and we have what happened yesterday at the white house, as well as other places in the house. we actually talked about this, and it's been obvious to those of us at this table, that over a period of time north korea is going all the way arguably back to the scud times of the middle
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70s progressing up and ultimately coming up to the statement that he makes that declares that north korea, this is kim jong-un, declares that it's his quote, final stages in preparations to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. i think people now realize it's an imminent threat. i know that you deal with it in military circles and you're dealing with people who know what threat is. those of us around this table are deal ing with the general public, many of whom do not understand that. we had the hearing on tuesday, they agreed that north korea currently represents the single most imminent, they used imminent threat. victor cha testified, he said the pace of north korea's development shows that it wants to be able to not just field one
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missile that could reach the united states, but a whole slue of them. the panel all agreed on that. we're talking about serious things here. you just now in response to a question or comment by the chairman said it's not a matter of if but a matter of when. we know -- i think it's our job and incumbent upon the military as well as us to let the american people know the nature of the threat that's out there. last year, i led a group to your area. we talked about some of the things that were taking place at that time. and we came back, we had that hearing that you've referred to. in the hearing you are asked the question as to what are your needs there in terms of resourcing yourself adequately to meet the threat. let's keep in mind that was a year ago. and with the threats, it's been
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enhanced since that time. what would those needs be today as opposed to what we thought they were a year ago? >> sir, last year i commented that i had the forces to fight tonight, to respond tonight, to any threat from north korea or anywhere else for that matter. i still believe that today. i have the forces in place to fight tonight, if necessary. what i'm concerned about are those follow on forces and how -- the forces themselves and also how the follow on forces would get to the region, in terms of air lift and sea lift. so i'm worried about that. i'm also worried about things like small diameter bombs and other kinds of munitions. anti-air warfare weapons for our fighter aircraft. adequate numbers of aim 9 d and aim 920 missiles. i worry about the shortage of
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the anti-ship missiles. whether it's a long-range anti-surface missiles, more tomahawk, whatever. but a long range anti-service missile. i would like to see a fifth ssn in guam. more than the fifth ssn in guam, our nation is facing a significant shortage in terms of submarine numbers. so as a combatant commander, i only get 50% of the submarines i think i need. but that's based on a 52 submarine force. by the end of the 2020s, the navy projects that submarine force, attack submarine force, will go down to 42. my requirements won't go down but the pool from what they'll be sourced is going to drop dramatically. i worry about that significantly
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as i look at the threat from north korea, potential threat from china and from russia. >> we're going to be depending on you to advise us in not generalities but priorities. we'll get into that. i am also encouraged that our allies are more dependable than what they have been in the past. is it your impression they see this as the threat that's out there as we do? does this open the door for maybe even more allies coming in our direction? >> i believe it does. if we define allies, you know, as partners like you're talking -- now, we only have five treaty, defense treaty allies in the world and they're all in the endo asia pacific. we have other countries that are close to us that are partners with us, singapore comes to mind, for example. you know, malaysia, indonesia, india, vietnam, these are
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countries that i think are -- seek the united states as a security partner of choice. >> i appreciate that very much. my time is expired but i would like to ask one more question. you made the statement we should cease to be cautious about the language we use to describe these activities. can you define that a little bit for us? >> i'm not sure in what context -- >> okay that was a quote. i'll do that for the record and give you the context. it's something a lot of us didn't understand, thank you very much. >> yes, sir. >> admiral, thank you for your service and you are certainly in the center of the action. let me just reiterate here what you've said. you said that the korean leader is intent on accomplishing his goals as a nuclearized nation.
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his goal is a nuclear warhead, these are my words, but i think it's what you meant, married to an icbm that would have the capability of getting to the u.s. and you said it's not, in your opinion, not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. is that a correct interpretation of what you've said? >> it is correct, sir. >> okay. and you also offered your opinion that you would not bet that china can basically deter the dprk? is that correct? >> to be clear, i felt in the past that china, though it has the capability to influence and affect north korea in behavior
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for a number of reasons, it had chosen not to exert the full range of its influence. and i think we're in a different place now. i think the jury is out, it's early days. we'll have to see if china has changed its view of its willingness to influence kju. >> based on their previous activity, there's no indication that you think that that's going to occur, although you're hopeful? >> right, sir. past performance is no indicator of future productivity. up to a month or two ago i would agree with that statement, completely. after all, i made the statement. from a month ago forward, i mean, we're seeing some positive behavior from china. and i'm encouraged by that. so i think we should let this thing play out a little bit and see where it goes. part of that, though, kim jong-un and the north korean
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regime, you know, they can't do something precipitive in the intervening period to test us. so we have to be careful and sensitive to that as well. >> precisely. so up to this point, has china done anything that would give you an indication that they are going to be helpful to the u.s. in getting the leader to back off of his intent to nuclearize an icbm? >> sir, i don't know for a fact what china has done in the last month or so. i know that they are active in working the problems. but i don't know the specifics of what they've done. all i see are the activities that kim jong-un has done, you
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know, in the last month or so. >> and that is still on his march to a nuclearized icbm? >> i think it is. though in the last month he has not tested a nuclear weapon, so he's tested five this century and he hasn't tested a sixth. he has not launched an icbm in the last month. or ever. so i don't know if that is -- if there's a cause and effect, or whether it just didn't fit his schedule. >> right. >> so, again, it's early days on this. so i think we would be best served to see if this has a positive outcome or not and let the president xi and, you know, work this issue as he and the president had agreed they would. >> sure. but if china doesn't deter him, there's only one deterrence
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left, and that's the u.s. kinetic action, is that what it looks like? >> i don't know want to say that there's only that option left. i think if china's efforts fails, then we're back to where we were, status quo ante if you will, to try to throw some latin in there. at that point, then as the president has said, all options are on the table. i think he means just that. all options are on the table. so my job in that framework is to provide military options, but there are other options, i'm sure. and i would leave it to those experts to come up with those options. my options are hard power options. >> your hard power options, you need additional materiel? >> i need additional materiel in
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the long run but that's not to suggest the hard power options that the u.s. military can provide the president would not be effective tonight, and they would be effective tonight if called upon to execute. >> final question, there was a report in "the washington post," i think it was david ignatius, several weeks ago. in essence, saying that the failures of the north korean launches are directly attributable to the u.s., is that anything that you want to talk about here? >> no, sir, it's not anything i want to talk about here. >> okay. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral harris, thank you for being here, as pacom commander, did you participate
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in authoring the 2016 force structure assessment? >> i participated in the run up to that. >> okay, the assessment called for 355 ship navy. in that regard i want to follow up on a line of questions and drill down on that. actually, what the fsa said is that in a perfect world unconstrained by the budget, the requirement is 653 ships fleet wide. but by accepting risk and understanding the financial restrictions that we have, the requirement is 355 ships. i want to help you get the ships you need. i want to help the navy get the ships they need. and so when i'm told 355 ships is a requirement, i believe
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that. now, you mentioned to senator inhofe that you don't have enough submarines -- you also mentioned ammunition there. let's talk about ships. how many submarines do you have now and how many do you need? >> sir, i prefer to give you those in a different setting. >> okay. >> precise numbers. but i will say i only have half -- i only get half of what i need. >> okay. >> i have a stated requirement that's based on steady state things we do with our submarines today. then i have a requirement that's based on war fighting. in our war plans, they say these war plans state a requirement for x number of submarines in y number of days. those are two kinds of metrics. you've got a number of submarines that you need to
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fight the war, if it happens. then you've got a number of submarines i need today to do the day-to-day operations in the region. in today's numbers, i get about half of what my formally stated requirement is. >> you get half of 52? >> no, sir i get half of my requirement. 52 is the total number of submarines that the navy -- attack submarines the navy has. my number of requirements is irrespective of the number of submarines the navy has. but the number of submarines i get are based on the number of submarines the navy has. it's not just me all these combatant commanders have these. >> if the navy gets its 355 ships and you get your portion of it, what will you be capable of doing that you can't do now? >> the first thing is my steady state requirements in order to do the things that we do today
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in this -- in the climate that we're in would be much better. my fight tonight forces that i have to have ready to respond to a north korean aggression or chinese coercion or something like that, those forces will be more robust. most importantly, the follow on and search forces will be available on shorter timelines today those follow on forces are delayed by any number of reasons. and that delay is felt in terms of increased risk, longer timelines, and increased deaths of americans. and if i have the number of ships that the navy is asking for and the number of jets that
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air force is asking for and on and on, then both my ready to fight tonight forces will be richer, the timelines to get follow on forces will be shortened, and the density of those follow on forces will be thicker. >> let me just say, i think at some point it's going to be helpful to this committee if you're a little more specific about those details. let me just follow up on something that chairman mccain asked about. the threats that we have from north korea now, there's the intercontinental ballistic missile, there's a better chance than not that we could shoot that down if that happened. there are these 4,000 short range missiles. and your testimony is that there is essentially no defense from the south for those short range missiles? >> those are mostly artillery --
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>> artillery, okay and there's no defense -- >> right. i mean, you're trying to shoot down an artillery round. >> okay. and then the chairman asked you -- i don't think i understood the answer. what does thaad get us? >> thaad allows us an intercept capability to shoot down at the high altitude level ballistic missiles that go from north korea to south korea. it's a terminal high altitude aerial defense system aimed at ballistic missiles from north korea against south korea. you know, that's a short distance across the earth, but the missiles have to -- the missiles have a high atmospheric altitude. and so that's what thaad gives you. thaad is part of a system, you know, that the south koreans have. thaad, they have patriot, and they have the like.
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so that's what those systems are designed for, to give an umbrella, if you will, to protect south korea. >> it seems to me the chairman's point is the dramatic point. and that is that there's the short range artillery and we have no defense. >> right. >> should north korea decide to unleash. >> i think we should develop that capability. >> thank you. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and admiral harris, thank you very much for your service to the country and for your leadership at this challenging time. one of the things that we heard from a panel of private sector, but some former officials on north korea on tuesday was that the only impetus to encourage china to engage with north korea
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in the way that we would like in order to help us get them to back down on their nuclear program would be if we initiate their nuclear program would be if we initiated much more extensive sanctions on china with respect to their financial system, or if they believed that there was imminent threat of war on the korean peninsula. is that an accurate analysis based on your experience in the region? >> senator, i think it is an accurate analysis. i think there is some room in the sanctions regime, but there's not a lot left in there. but there are some. we should apply all of those we can before we're left with only the other choice. >> and again, to be clear, they were suggesting the sanctions should be on china, on their financial system. >> there are many -- there are some areas in the sanctions regime that we have not yet explored. and i think we should explore those before we do the kinetics.
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>> thank you. everyone has acknowledged, obviously, that north korea is working towards a nuclear weapon. and that's one of the things that's changed in north korea. have we seen an escalation of rhetoric from kim jong un, or are we seeing very much the same kinds of rhetoric but we're paying more attention to it today because of the nuclear threat? >> i think we're seeing increased rhetoric. just this week he threatened australia. this week he said he was going to syink the "carl vinson" witha single shot, which is ridiculous but he said it. so he is increasing his rhetoric. at the same time, he's continuing his aggressive weapons development. so i think they're both going hand in hand. he had that parade last week, which showed off all the weapons systems and stuff like that. so i think all of that in combination lets me know and
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should let us all know that he is intent on his objective, and he's moving toward that objective apace. >> and how much of a concern is it that at a time when we're trying to get china to work with us on north korea, we're also very concerned about what they're doing in the south china sea, they're increasing effort to expand control of the seas in southeast asia. how much of a difficulty does that present for us as we're trying to work with them? >> as i said earlier, i don't think that it poses too much of a difficulty for a nation like the united states. you know, we should be able to compliment and applaud china's efforts on the one hand, and then be willing to criticize them for the bad things they do on the other. and i think from china's perspective, they can receive that criticism and continue to
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do the thing that benefits not just us but benefits them. i mean, a nuclear north korea or the u.s. response to a nuclear north korea, as you said, affects china almost as much as it would affect north korea. so i think it's in their best interests to do this and, you know, listen to what the international community, not just the united states but the international community is saying about this. >> so i appreciate that you've taken responsibility for the "carl vinson," and i understand as the commander you would do that. but how concerned, as we're thinking about the messages that we send to north korea, to china, to both our allies and enemies, how concerned should we be about that kind of a mixed message? and yesterday, one of the things that obviously got a lot of attention was the briefing at
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the white house of all of the senators, which i assume north korea watched very closely, as did most people. so how should we think about being consistent about the messages that we're sending to the region? >> and i agree with you, i think we should be consistent. the messaging as my fault, not simply because i'm the commander, but it was my fault. and so i take the responsibility for it. what i said at the time was that we were going to pull the if carl v"carl vinson" out of singapore, truncate the exercise in australia, cancel the port visit, and then send it to northeast asia. i didn't specify a time in there. there was a lot of press report on that that implied that it was
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now, now, now. and i could have stepped in and corrected that, and i did not. and i feel responsible for that, and i'm remiss for not doing that. but that's all on me. the messaging on this comes out of pacific command. so i regret that it happened. i'll try to do better. but it is on me. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, admiral harris, for being here today. some believe that our nuclear forces exist only to deter nuclear attack on the homeland here in the united states. but i think the recent events on the korean peninsula demonstrate the value of our extended deterrence commitments and the rule that our nuclear forces play in assuring our allies of our resolve as well. can you talk about the value that our allies place on our nuclear umbrella and the importance of modernizing our
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nuclear force so that we can continue to deter our adversaries and also to reassure our allies? >> ma'am, i think our allies are as dependent on our nuclear umbrella as we are. and i think that the shows of force that we provide against our adversaries are important. we have the "u.s.s. michigan," a guided missile submarine, is in south korea right now. and i think that sends a powerful signal of solidarity with our south korean ally and at the same time it shows the north koreans that we are serious about the defense commitment, our defense commitment to our ally on the peninsula. i think that the modernization, modernizing of our nuclear
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deterrent is absolutely critical to our nation, for our survival. and that means the follow-on ohio class submarines, that means the long range strike bomber, and an upgraded ground-based icbms. i think the three together, the triad, is a proven success story. we shouldn't experiment with some other formula. it has work so far. and i think it will work well into the future. but we must commit as a nation to modernizing that force. >> thank you, sir. if we're going to have that message of deterrence and assurance, we need to stick to that modernization plan, then, correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> last year, general scott berati, who was then the commander of the united states forces in korea, he stated that the isr was his top readiness challenge. and he said, quote, the united
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states forces korea requires increased multidiscipline persistent isr capabilities to maintain situational awareness and provide adequate decision space for the usfk, paycom, and national senior leaders. can you discuss how the isr enables your operations in the pacom region and also in relation to the korean peninsula specifically? >> yes, ma'am. and i'll try to stay on the right side of the classification here without getting into too many specifics. but isr, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, is the term that we apply to our ability to watch our adversaries. and we want to watch them all the time. but there's not enough isr to go around, to meet all of the requirements of all of the commanders. so i've stated my requirements, this is like the submarine discussion, central command, who is fighting the fighting tod to
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the middle east, they have their requirements for isr also. so it comes out of a pool. and all the services contribute to the pool in different ways. and so i don't have what i need. i don't have the ability to persistently watch my adversaries all over the indo-asia pacific around the globe 24/7. and i need it 24/7. i need it, whatever 60 times 24 hours is, i need it that minute by minute, and i don't have that. and that's what general scaperoti was getting at. i'm convinced that today, even though he's the european commander, i would like more isr as well. >> can you give us some idea of what percentage of the requirements that you have fulfilled? half, two-thirds? >> no, probably a tenth of my
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requirements are fulfilled. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, admiral harris, for your testimony today. admiral harris, you referenced in your written testimony that nine out of ten mega cities in the world are in the pacific command's area of responsibility, and certainly given our conversation here today, seoul is in the front and center of what we're talking about. it is my understanding that the number of mega cities in the world is expected to expand in the coming years. and i expect that growth will continue in the indo-asian pacific theater as well. and i'm concerned, as well as i know a number of other folks, that our military isn't adequately prepared for operations in mega cities. so whether it's to fight or whether it's to assist in humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions. so i would like your opinion, admiral, on how we should conduct training, and do you believe that additional training, particularly with the army and marine corps, should
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focus on operations within mega cities. >> thanks. just to be clear, that nine of ten, i stole a city from jove hotel. one of those cities is in karachi, pakistan, right next to mine. so i believe the army and the marine corps is getting after this issue of fighting in heavily urban terrains. and i believe that they need to continue to do that for the reasons you've outlined, but also we're working with our allies and friend in the region to improve their capability at the same time that we work to improve our capability to fight in those dense urban environments. >> as you know, admiral harris, china's one belt, one road strategy, seeks to secure its control over the continental maritime interests with the hopes of dominating eurasia.
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current china's economy budget is four times greater than those of india. i want to talk a little bit about india and its importance to us. however, india is ambitious and a growing country both in population and in its economy. china and india naturally have competing interests at stake on the continent and the joint maritime domain. india has expressed concerns over china's recent expansion into the south china sea and perceived strategic goals in our region, also given the fact that india is a democracy, certainly shares many values with us here in the united states. i would be curious as to how you view india's role in the future in the india pacific regional, and what we should be doing to strengthen that relationship, and if there's anything in particular that you would like to see expanded so we can work more closely with our friends in
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india. >> thanks, senator. i made india a formal line of effort at the pacific command, because i believe it presents a tremendous opportunity for the united states writ large and for pacom in particular in the mil to mil space. we share democratic values with india. we're the world's two largest democracies. we share cultural values with indian-americans that live and work and lead in our country. and i think that in the mil to mil space, we are in a very good place and getting better. india is purchasing a lot of american equipment. the world's second largest c-17 fleet, for example, is indian. the indians have p-8 poseidon aircraft, u.s. helicopters, howitzers and on and on. i think there's a lot of
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opportunity there. and i think we should continue to work that. we are heavily involved, i say "we," the navy is heavily involved in working with the indians on the development of their aircraft carrier, their indigenous aircraft carrier. and that's an exciting program. and i think that india's geostrategic interests align perfectly with ours in terms of being concerned about china, in terms of the interaction or the intersection, rather, of china and india, including along their long land border, but especially in the indian ocean, especially in the approaches to the indian ocean, the islands and the like. i welcome an improved relationship with india. they've invited me twice in the last years to speak at their
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razina dialogue, which i've accepted, and i want to continue to improve and grow the relationship between our two countries. >> thank you, admiral. >> admiral, welcome back. thanks to you and all the men and women you lead in pacific command. i want to talk today about relative strength of missile forces in the indo-pacific, ginn the vast distances in that theater, missiles are a critical component of any country's security, including ours. how many of china's land-based missile forces do you estimate have a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers? >> in an unclassified venue, senator, over 90%. over 90% follow in that range. >> and how many missiles do you have that fall into that range? >> i have none, sir. >> you have none? >> right. >> why do you have none? >> because that range, 500 to
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505 5500 kilometers, is defined in the intermediate nuclear force treaty, which prohibits nuclear and cruise missiles and icbms -- nuclear and conventional cruise and icbms or ballistic missiles in that range. and we adhere to the imf treaty religiously, as we should, it's a treaty we signed on for. china is not a signatory to the treaty, so they're not obliged to follow that treaty, and whether we legitimately in my opinion criticize china for developing weapons that contravene the treaty, because they did not sign onto it. >> the only two parties to the treaty are russia and the united states? >> that is correct. and there are successor states to the soviet union that the treaty applies. but it's really us and russia are the signatories to the treaty. general silva just testified recently that russia has
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violated the treaty in the conventional sense, and with a conventional cruise missile. at the end of the day, what you have is you have a treaty that binds theoretically two countries, one of which violates it without being held to account. the other adheres to it rigidly, as it should. and then all the other countries in the world are not obliged to follow the treaty, and they don't. and those countries that are of concern, of course, are china and my region, and iran in general silva's. >> since you mentioned general silva, he spoke to the house armed services committee last month. he said the russians have deployed a land based cruise missile which violates the intent and spirit of the treaty and do not intend to return to compliance. is that what you were referring to? >> it was.
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>> and do you agree with that cemen assessment? >> i do. >> and the treaty was as a result of the buildup in the late '70s and our own forces and nato in 1983. it was geared towards the european theater; is that correct? >> it was geared toward the soviet union, senator, in a bipolar world. this was at the height of the cold war. now we're in a multipolar world where we have a lot of countries that are developing these weapons, including china, that i worry about. and i worry about their df-21 and df-26 missile programs, their anticarrier ballistic missile programs, if you will. imf doesn't address missiles launched from ships or airplanes. but it focuses on those land-based systems. i think there's goodness in the imf treaty. anything you can do to limit nuclear weapons writ large is a general good, probably. but the aspects of the imf
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treaty that limit our ability to counter chinese and other countries' crews missiles, land-based missiles, i think is problematic. >> and as you say, since the united states and russia are the only two parties to the treaty, and you and general silva and other government officials have said that russia is violating the treaty, that means the united states is the only country in the world, the only country in the world that unilaterally refuses to build missiles that have a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers? >> that is correct. >> do you think that we should consider renegotiating or withdrawing from the treaty or declaring russia in material breach? >> i would never advocate unilateral withdrawing from the treaty, because of the nuclear limitation part of it. but i do think we should look at renegotiating the treaty. we should consider that, because
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as you say, there's only two countries that signed onto it, and one of them doesn't follow it. and so, you know, that becomes a unilateral limitation on us. >> so one final question, then. there's three scenarios. one is, russia comes back into compliance, the united states and russia comply. two is, we somehow withdraw from or abrogate or declare russia in material breach, so we are no longer unilaterally controlled, or we can continue the status quo, where we unilaterally are the only country that refuses to develop those missiles. surely, whatever you think of one and two, we can't accept three going forward, can we? >> right. >> thank you. >> senator. senator warren. >> thank you. and thank you for being here, admiral harris. in your posture statement last year, you described the asia-pacific rebalance as, quote, a strategic whole of
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government effort that guides and reenforces our military efforts, intergating with diplomatic and economic initiatives. do you still agree with that, admiral? >> i do, ma'am. we labeled it the rebalance in the previous administration. in the early days of the previous admission, we labeled it the pivot. >> yes. >> i think the labeling of whatever it is we do is less important than the whatever it is we do. >> and that's actually the part i wanted to focus on, because i agree with you on this. and i just have a simple question right here, and that is, whether or not funding cuts to agencies that conduct diplomacy and development and perform other civilian functions would make your job easier or more difficult? >> i believe it would make it more difficult. i'm reminded of what a famous french foreign minister,
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tallyrand, the head of the french army, he said, when my profession fails, yours must come to the rescue. i think we're not in a good place if we're that bifurcated. also i believe if the state department fails earlier because of funding, they will have to, quote unquote, come to the rescue sooner. and i would rather, you know, push that off to the right rather than bring it to the left. >> that's a very powerful point. i just want to note for the record that the trump administration in its budget blueprint calls for about a 29% cut to the state department and significant cuts to other agencies with international responsibilities. obviously there is a strong military component to the asia-pacific and keeping us safe there. but as you say, it takes a lot more in this vital region to keep us safe. so i want to shift if i can to north korea. we're dealing here with a real
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threat from dangerous, unstable, nuclear-armed state. and despite tough sanctions, north korea continues to be provocative. i'm concerned that this is a brewing crisis that would escalate without warning. we went over to the white house yesterday and the administration said again that the time for strategic patience is over. now, i think it's still not clear precisely what their new strategy is. by all accounts, north korea is continuing its efforts to develop a nuclear armed interballistic missile system that could reach the continental u.s. coastline and in recent days, administration officials have talked about shooting down a north korean ballistic missile test. so admiral, could you talk a little bit about the strategic considerations that we must take into account before taking such an action? what are the upsides and downsides to shooting down one of their test missiles here?
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>> there's a capability issue. there's a geometry issue of where that missile is going, and all that. so if they're launching a test missile that we think is going to land in korea or japan, i think we're obligated to do what we can. >> i understand that. but shooting down a test missile in general, what i understand, i've been trying to read about this, experts on north korea's war plans say that kim jong un would likely respond to u.s. military action with massive escalation against south korea, japan, perhaps even the united states, if we shot down a test missile. so i'm just asking, do you agree with that assessment? and if so, how is it that the administration should take this dynamic into account as it formulates its north korea
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policy? >> a lot of what you're asking, senator, is being deliberated in the administration now. and, you know, i'm in a difficult position when asked to comment on ongoing process deliberations. i'm going to defer on that. but i will say that there are -- if we don't maintain credible comment power to confront kim jong un's testing and his development goals, then we're going to be in a position to be blackmailed by kju. i think these probably a worse place to be. and i think that we'll all agree that everything that's been done up to this point has not worked in deterring kim jong un. so all of the military capabilities that we have, all of our alliance, and all of
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that, have not deterred kim jong un's desires to achieve a nuclear weapon that can reach the united states. so we must stop that somehow. so those options i think are on the table. all of those options are on the table. >> the "somehow," though, is the question. and i see that i'm out of time, so i'll quit here and we can continue this conversation later. but that's precisely the question we're trying to ask about and why it is i'm asking the question about what the up sides and down sides are, if we take action on one of these testing missiles and it escalates and this gives him provocation to invade south korea, bomb japan or otherwise. >> i think he has -- he can manufacture whatever provocation he wants to attack south korea or japan or us. you know, i think that the
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manufacturer of provocations resides with him. >> i appreciate that. but i have to say on this one, admiral, i think that we need the administration to be clearer about what they have in mind here. you rightly say this is under discussion. but what that means to me at this point is that no one knows exactly what it is that we plan to do here. and if no one knows here in the united states, if the american people don't know, if kim jong un doesn't have some idea of what the response will be if he continues this testing, i think it's difficult for it to have any kind of deterrent effect. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator ernst, please. >> thank you, mr. chair. admiral, thank you very much for being here today. i know the region is in a really precarious time and situation. but we do appreciate you taking time out to be with us.
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in a february speech you warned the audience of the perils of linear thinking, saying instead that we need to think exponentially in order to develop strategies and technologies that give us an asymmetric advantage over regional threats. and i absolutely 100% agree with you. as chair of the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, i am very, very frustrated with the oftentimes slow and very, very expensive nature of our defense acquisitions. you've even said this, you said that lady gaga was able to use over 300 drones during her super bowl halftime show, and why is it that she has that technological advantage and we can't capitalize on that. how important is it that we are able to rapidly develop things like directed energy weapons and swarming microdrones, and more importantly, if we had these technologies today, would we have more and better options in
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order to manage threats that are posed by north korea and china? >> so i think, senator, that innovation is -- in general is one of those asymmetric advantages that america enjoys over every adversary. but we're in a place now where our adversaries recognize that. and they're trying to close the innovation gap. and they do it a number of ways. they send their best and brightest students to american universities, and then they get educated and take it back home. they do it illegally, they steal our secrets, they steal our industrial processes, and they shorten their acquisition timelines dramatically. so they can field things at a rate faster than we can. and we're often encumbered, rightly so, by law, regulation, and policy.
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and i think that we should look at trying to figure out how to shorten that process. the law is important, obviously. regulations are important. policy is important. but when the three in combination allow us to be overtaken in technological development by those countries that would do us harm, we should step back and look at that and ask ourselves is this the right way forward. i'm pleased with things like the diux effort that's been undertaken by the department, the special capabilities office that resides in osd to try to go flash to bang quicker, and things like that. >> thank you. and i do agree, i think it's important that we are able to move rapidly. and you're absolutely correct about the regulations and the laws. great, they were there for a purpose, but we do have to go
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back i think and scrutinize some of those regulations to make sure that we are able to move as rapidly as some of our near peer competitors or even those that are not near peer competitors with off the shelf technology. you mentioned isis in some of your comments and in your testimony, of course. active engagement between the united states and our partner countries is very critical to maintaining the stability in that region, not just with state actors like north korea, but also with engaging those partners in the fight against isis. if you could, could you speak to the importance of engaging some of those partners and how we are moving forward in that fight against isis? >> sure. so is the indo-asia pacific, the countries we work closest with in the isis fight are malaysia, the philippines, indonesia, and bangladesh. that's us, australia, and new
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zealand involved in the over the to work with those countries to help them fight that threat themselves. and the entity that does that for me is special operations command pacific. and they are -- major general fenton and his team are actively engaged in providing advice and assistance to those countries, most principally right now in the philippines, the southern philippines. i'm encouraged by the work they're doing. i think it's god's work. and i'm pleased with where we are in that fight. >> thank you, admiral. thank you, mr. chair. >> senator her ono has graciously yielded. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and my colleague, senator hirono from hawaii, i very much appreciate letting me jump ahead. alaska, why we have a lot invested in this, as you know,
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admiral, given the fact that our citizens are impacted sooner than anyone else with regard to the intercontinental ballistic missile threat, i want to begin by thanking you again for your service, admiral. would you agree that we're clearly in a more direct threat faced with regard to the north korean challenge to our citizens? >> i agree, senator. >> and we were all at the white house, describing a strategy, integrated strategy that the administration is putting together with regard to very focused initially on enhanced diplomacy. do you also believe the threat of military force or at least keeping it on the table actually enhances our diplomatic efforts? >> it does. i believe that the best enhancement to diplomacy is a strong military capability. >> you mentioned the unprecedented weapons testing. i have a chart that i want you
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to take a look at, and also not if, but when north korea will have a capacity to range the continental united states, alaska and hawaii would be ranged earlier with the icbm, chart shows that kim jong un has actually conducted more tests than his father and grandfather combined. do you see that abating at all? >> i do not see it abating at all, if the trajectory remains as you have depicted on the graphic. >> and he's learning even when he fails. >> right. he's not afraid to fail in public. >> so one thing just for my colleagues here, we're going to be working on a bipartisan enhanced myst ed missile defens homeland missile defense bill. hopefully we'll be able to get a number of members of this committee to be co-sponsors of that. admiral, i next want to turn to the south china sea and the issue of freedom of navigation
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operations. earlier you had mentioned that the high level assurances that the chinese weren't doing that, standing next to the president, in the rose garden, president xi stated, quote, china does not intend to pursue the militarization of these islands. so what do you make of that statement by the president of china? >> i wanted to believe him. but -- >> since he made that, i think it was a year and a half ago, what's happened? >> they have militarized the south china sea, sir. >> so despite the fact that the president was standing next to our president, that was not an accurate statement? >> the reality is that china has militarized the south china sea. and i think you have -- maybe it's in the other graphic, but if you look at a graphic of fiber cross reef, you'll see a 10,000-foot runways, weapons,
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barracks for troops. clearly that facility which is 700 acres, a military facility, with all that capability, doesn't exist -- does not exist to rescue the odd fisherman that gets lost out there. >> this committee has been interested in our policies and execution with regard to freedom of navigation operations in the south china sea. the trump administration is developing its own policies. i was supportive of secretary carter's pronouncements of flying, sailing, and operating anywhere international law allows, but the execution of that was done rather meekly. could you give us a sense, as the new administration is developing these policies, what principals they should be looking at, the important role of whether we're doing it under innocent massapassage or not, a
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also when you look at this last graph, this last chart, you see that the scarborough shoal has not been militarized yet, but it's very strategic. and what would happen if that became militarized by china. and what should we do to stop that militarization? should we draw a red line at that important geographic point in the south china sea? just give us a sense on those issues, innocent passages, allies, scarborough shoal, what we should be looking at, what the new trump administration should be looking at in terms of their foreign ops policy in the south china sea. >> senator, i've made clear to this committee and other testimonies to other committees that i'm a supporter of freedom of navigation operations. i think we should do them not to send a signal about territoriality or sovereignty or anything like that. we should send a signal that we
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do in fact operate wherever international law allows. freedom of navigation laws exist just for that reason, to exercise freedom of navigation, and the freedom of navigation that's exercised or could be exercised by all countries in the world. so one of the beneficiaries of our freedom of navigation operations in the south china sea would be china, for example, in other waters. and that's the right of all nations to operate in accordance with international law. so i believe we should continue to do those. there is a whole range of them. whether you challenge what is considered an illegal baseline claim, whether you do innocent passage and don't notify a country who maintains that you must notify them before you do an innocent passage, or you can go within 12-mile territorial
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limit of an island or feature or whatever that doesn't deserve one under international law. so there's any number of ways to conduct freedom of navigation operations. and we should not limit ourselves to any of those. with regard scarborough shoal, i think it's an important part of this region for the reasons depicted on that chart. it would give china a, quote unquote, trifecta of bases in the south china sea, with the paracels to the northwest, the spratly islands to the south, and scarborough shoal would give them a key base in the northeast. they have not done that yet. i hesitate to draw red lines. i think red lines are problematic for a number of reasons. but we should communicate
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clearly with china that we do not want them to militarize, to reclaim and then militarize the scarborough shoal. >> thank you, admiral. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator hirono, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. aloha, admiral harris, always good to see you. thank you for your service. there is a lot of focus of course on the ongoing and heightened threat from north korea and in light of that, of course, i want to assure that hawaii is adequately protected. pmrf is a national treasure that cannot be replicated anywhere else with its undersea and missile testing ranges. there has been discussion about operationalizing asias ashore at pmrf. is hawaii adequately protected at this time given the missile defense we have in place? and going forward, as north
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korea's capabilities have advanced, what will be needed to defend the u.s. and in particular hawaii from korean advancements, north korean advancements? >> thanks, senator. i believe that the facility on could y kawai is a national treasure. i've gone on record as supporting the idea that we should acquire a radar that gives hawaii the ability to see space, if you will, in the face of potential ballistic missile attacks. we have the sbx, that's the x band radar that sits on a self pro tpelled oil platform that h to be sustained and refurbished and all of that. and i think a land-based permanent facility to do that,
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defensive radar is necessary. i believe today general robinson will tell you that hawaii is adequately defended. i think in the future, as north korea continues its weapons development program, that we need to look at all ways to improve the defense of hawaii, including ground based interceptors. i think we should study putting ground based interceptors in hawaii. i'm not smart enough to know if we should or not, but i think we should study it, and i think that would be the complement to the defense of hawaii. >> do you have a sense of the time frame to move from a radar capability that you say we need to develop right now and going to ground-based? >> no, ma'am, i do not have an idea. >> thank you. congress has called for headquarters reductions in recent years. while i agree with reducing redundancy where it makes sense and eliminating waste, i am not a fan of salami sliced
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percentage cuts across entities. i'm a strong advocate of taking a look at each headquarters operations, the personnel mix, the evolving threats, the challenges it faces, as well as the growth of a particular headquarters before recommending any cuts. as you mentioned in your testimony, pacom has been in its arr for four of the five challenges which drive u.s. defense planning and budgeting. so that's in your arr. can you talk about pacom headquarters in terms of staffing levels over the last 20 years ago, reductions you have taken or are about to be applied in light of the challenges you face, including a hostile north korea, a rising china, russia, and isis, in your aor, and how will actuarially proposed satisfying reductions impact pacom's ability to succeed with all the challenges you face? >> yes, ma'am. so over the past 40 years, pacom
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has averaged less than 800 personnel. that's officers, enlisted personnel, and dod civilians. and we've been pretty consistent over 40 years at that level. and pacom is the largest geographic combatant command with one of the smallest staffs. that said, i think that, you know, we all should seek efficiencies where we can. but i'm not supportive of the idea of salami slicing either. so across that 40 years of staff, manning levels at pacom, the threat has increased, because in that intervening 40 years, now we don't have a bipolar role anymore. we have the threats i talked about in my testimony.
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china, russia, north korea, and isis. so i continue to -- and my staff, we continue to work closely with osd, office of the secretary of defense, and the joint staff on our manning levels. >> and i would like to -- i would like for us to be very cognizant of the kind of impacts across the board types of cuts will have. you've already mentioned, if you don't mind, mr. chairman, i would like to get to one more question. you have already mentioned the support that you have for the afsi. in your written testimony you state you have concerns about some of the changes made to security cooperation authorities in the 27 nda. i just wanted to give you an opportunity to tell us how these changes could impact the dod counternarcotic and transnational crime programs in the pacom aor. >> it could potentially, depending on how the cuts are
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effected, it could dramatically affect the joint task force which goes after counternarcotics programs. i'm also interested in programs which i think is one of the best foreign assistance programs out there. that's where we bring bright, up and coming, mid-grade officers to the united states for senior military education for a year at a time with their families. and they get immersed in american culture, ideas, and living in an environment where we practice daily civilian control of the military. so i think it's important that we fund these programs. and i'm concerned if those programs were to be cut. >> thank you for that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> on behalf of chairman mccain, senator? >> thank you, sir. admiral, thank you for your service to our country.
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i think the first time we met was in hawaii. i was on senator inhofe's codo with him, and your briefing to our codel that day was alarming and eye opening with regard to the breadth, the scope, the size of the area which your team was responsible for the security not just of our forces but in conjunction with our allies as well. one item that caught our attention at that time was simple the time frame in which to respond to adversarial activity. i would like to talk about some of the newer technologies that are being employed or that may be very well employed in the near future. in particular, i mean, when we talk about the unique problem set that you've got there, the trifecta of land based areas from which to operate extreme distances, some of the most challenging and contested environments to operate, and i believe the deterrence value of long range strike to hold
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targets at risk, targets are quickly becoming harder and harder to access. what are your thoughts on the possibility of a conventional warhead variant of the proposed long range standoff weapon? >> so senator, i think that we're going to have to look at that in terms of imf, because currently, you know, that's the law, that's the treaty we follow. if you're talking the land-based capability. we're not limited in air and -- >> thinking about the air launch -- >> i think we should explore all of that. the more capability against the threats we face is what is needed in the pacific command. >> what about with regard to hypersonics? right now i think in open source documents, there's some pretty clear evidence that both russia and china have been looking at
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hypersonics, the ability to deliver weapons at mach 5.0. >> i would be careful when talking about hypersonics in an open hearing. but i'm concerned about chinese and russian hypersonic weapons development. and i've expressed those concerns in the right places. >> is this an area where perhaps our own technology development needs to be reviewed in terms of our ability to respond to -- >> i think that -- >> -- possible threats? >> -- we must improve our ability to defend against and conduct -- defend against hyper sonic weapons and develop our own hypersonic weapons. but we'll run up against treaty restrictions. >> we've been talking about some unique types of new weapons
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developments, both ours and theirs. at the same time we talk about readiness, it seems we sometimes get caught up and we assume that we're simply being able to maintain the readiness that's necessary. i would like to give you an opportunity to talk about our lack of readiness in some areas. in particular, i'm thinking, right now, as an example, every time we get together with a team of experts such as yourself, we hear perhaps horror stories about the inability to even take care of some of our existing assets. in particular, the "uss boise" is sitting at port, not in depot but at port, here is a nuclear powered submarine which is not operational at this time. and i understand there are two other boats in the same category. could you perhaps give -- can you give us any anecdotal or additional information on other areas in which you've seen or been frustrated by our inability to maintain the readiness necessary for you to do your
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mission? >> so that's one of the issues that fall into the service chiefs' bailiwicks, if you will. their responsibility is to manage and equip the force for use by the combatant commanders in meeting their responsibilities. i too share your concerns, when i look across the enterprise, not just the navy but across the enterprise, at shortfalls in follow-on force, in surge force readiness. >> are you prepared to give us any examples? >> no, sir, not in this hearing. >> thank you, sir. once again, thank you for your service, sir. >> yes, sir. thank you. >> on behalf of the chairman, let me recognize senator donnelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and admiral, thank you so much for your service to the country. when we were home here in the senate, working in our states, was when this developed with the
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aircraft carrier. and so based on the words of the president and secretary mattis, i spent that time in meeting after meeting with people in indiana, telling them how serious we take this north korea situation and telling them we take it so serious that we have our aircraft carrier the "carl vinson," heading to north korea right now. it turned out that was wrong. i felt misled and i think my constituents were misled as well. and what i don't understand is that when those comments were made, how nobody said anything, that hey, this is wrong, this is not correct. and so my question is, how do we make sure this doesn't happen again? and i know other members asked about this as well, but i don't want to be in a position of having the people in my state think one thing and the reality is something else when we all take a pledge that we'll speak
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truth to power, that if we see something that's not correct, we'll tell people, we'll let them know. and, you know, i have great concern about that. >> sir, i can't say i'm sorry enough -- >> no, i'm not asking you to say you're sorry. >> i'm accountable and responsible for the messaging that came out of that "carl vinson" issue. at the end of the day, what we said was the "carl vinson" was leaving singapore, cancelling its port visit, and heading to northeast asia. that's where it is today, it's in striking range of north korea if the president were to call on it. that messaging is not done well and that messaging was on me. >> actually we heard the president and secretary mattis say the exercise is being cancelled, it's heading to north korea right now. to say -- you know, some day i'm going to the cemetery, i hope it's not next week, hope it's
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not next year, but at some point i'm going to the cemetery. so if i say i'm going to the cemetery, that's technically correct. i just want to make sure that the information i give to the people in my state is accurate. and if you can make sure, if you see something that you look at and you go, look, this really seems sideways, that it be communicated right away so that the people of this country actually know what's going on, and our allies know what's going on. have you seen any sanctions against north korea that have worked or that have slowed down kim jong un's efforts? >> none. >> none? have you seen in the last month, for the last couple of months, that kim jong un slowed down his efforts to achieve his goals of mating up the nuclear warhead with missiles? >> i haven't seen anything in the last -- since i've been at pacific command.
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in the last month, though, since president trump and president xi got together, and president xi and china seemed to be more willing to exercise their influence on north korea, north korea hasn't done any of the testing that senator sullivan showed on his graph, the bad testing, the nuclear test or icbm testing. and i think it's early days yet, to draw a direct relation. i think we'll have to wait and see and give president xi and china a chance, assuming in that interim period kim jong un doesn't do a nuclear test or icbm test or something like that. >> what is your understanding, and by that i mean pacom's understanding, the china's biggest influence, pushing back against north korea, where north korea will pay attention? >> where china's --
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>> where china's biggest strength to slow down north korea's efforts is. >> i think their biggest strength in doing that is economic. 80% of north korea's economy is china-based. 80%. so i think china has a powerful lever to apply on north korea. and from china's perspective, you know, they're concerned about two things. they're concerned about a unified korean peninsula that's aligned with the united states, and they're worried about refugees, should north korea collapse precipitously. >> the time went by so fast. i have a million more questions for you but i'll only ask one more. and that is, the rules of engagement for our ships, are any of our ships sailing solo right now, near korean waters, north korean waters, and if so, do we have a plan that if they are intercepted or engaged, that we have air cover for them immediately, that we have
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fellow ships coming by immediately so they're protected and we don't have another "pueblo" type situation? >> that's a great question. all of our ships that are operating in the sea of japan, east sea area, operate under standing rules of engagement. and they have what they need, in my opinion and belief, to defend of themselves. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> on behalf of chairman mccain, senator perdue, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral, thank you, and thank you for all the men and women in your theater. you know, since the barbary pirates, the united states has dealt with our foreign policy and national interests from a position of strength. i'm very concerned as we sit here today that we're in the middle of a paradigm shift relative to the other super powers. in your mind, since 2000, china has spent or is spending today approximately six times more on their military, and these are
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constant dollars, 2016 dollars. is that directionally correct, in your mind, about six times compared to just 15 years ago? >> probably, sir. but i don't have the data. but i've seen that, you know, the curve. >> yes, sir. >> and the curve is dramatic in the amount of defense spending that they're doing, based on just what they tell us, and they're probably spending higher. >> that's what i want to get to. the stockholm international peace research institute, their numbers, and i believe that china is spending more than even these numbers reveal, that's a 11% compound annual growth rate just since 2000. here's the real problem. in 2017, they're going to spend about $240 billion, but adjusted for person, in real terms, apples to apples in the united states, that's $826 billion compared to our $630 billion. directionally, would you think that's reasonable, to look at it that way?
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>> i think it would be. we've looked at purchasing power and parity in a general sense with regards to china. and they reached that purchasing power parity point already with regard and in comparison with the united states. >> i lived over there, and i've manufactured over there, i've sold over there. when you adjust the currency and the ability they have to buy their weapons and their systems cheaper than we are, and i look at the developments just this year of -- you know, you educating me a year or so ago about the df-26, the carrier killer, the first aircraft coming on line this year, the fact that 95% of their missiles violate the i had chlimf treaty you say today, sir, china is on parity with the united states capability within the pacific region? >> i would not, in terms of our asymmetric advantages and the quality of our equipment and our
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people. that said, quantity has a quality all its own. and they are swiftly moving to exceed the united states in terms of numbers of ships and submarines and terms of numbers of ships and submarines and aircraft and the like. so we have to continue to work and resource that -- those asymmetric advantages we have. and certainly china is trying to close that gap. and in every regime. >> so within next five years, if you continue that trajectory, there is every reason to believe when a purchasing power parity basis, they will actually double the amount of investment we have in the military. what i'm concerned about is this. independent of the money, i believe we have a supply chain war. you talked about it today. it takes us much longer, much more expensive, many more relations to go through. tell us what we can do to help you as a combatant commander compete in the supply chain war. you said i don't have what i need today against the current threats. we know their threats are only
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going to increase geometrically over the next five to ten years. i believe they have a 2025 strategy. and i'm very concerned. you have talked about that as well. tell us what we can do to help you, sir. >> senator, i think that the -- the best thing that the congress can do to help me today is in sequestration and give us a budget. >> when you look at the china strategy in the southeast asia region, particularly in the south china sea, it's pretty easy. you said they militarized it. i agree with that. what are their intentions for that outer ring of islands? it looks like the next level of national interest. i'm talking about guam to palau, in that area.
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have you seen any indications now they have sights on those, as well? >> not indications like what we're seeing in the south china sea where they're doing activities and that kind of stuff. island building. but they are working to influence countries in that region. small island nations. economically to bring them in line with their world view. >> two last questions real quick. are you concerned about the recent reorganization. and also the russia/china cooperation? it's at a higher level now than it's been in 30 years. are you concerned about those two developments with regard to pla? >> i am concerned about the former, which is the pla's reorganization and a joint theater command. so we went through a period of joint -- integration, if you will, as a result of the goldwater nichols act in the late '80s, mid '80s. and since then, i think we have become a much more effective joint fighting force across our military. and i think china is learning from that. they watch and they study. and they're going to this
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theater joint combined -- command structure. and i think that will make them better. it certainly made us better. and i worry about that. and then your second -- >> the russia/china cooperation. the military cooperation. >> i think that's more temporary. more -- -- because they need each other right now more than anything else. and i would be concerned about -- i would not be concerned about a long-term alliance with russia and china if history is a guide. so -- >> thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> on behalf of the chairman, senator blumenthal, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, sir, for being with us again. and thank you to you and the men and women under your command for their extraordinary service to our nation. when you were here last year, you told me that you were concerned about russian and chinese undersea warfare capabilities, specifically their
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modernized submarines. and you noted, number one, the russians took no break from developing submarine capability following the cold war. and they have ballistic missile submarines now in their force fleet in the pacific. number two, the chinese are building a new class of such submarines that may have the capability to threaten of us. and you also told us that your submarine requirement in patcom still has not been met. and your testimony this year, you mentioned a second ballistic missile submarine in the pacific, and the russians' plan to build and send six new attack submarines to the pacific by 2021. and you state, i'm quoting, potential adversary submarine activity has tripled from 2018 levels, tripled, requiring a
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corresponding increase of u.s. activity to maintain undersea superiority, end quote. you, i think, support the navy's 2016 force structure assessment, which calls for an increase from 48 to 66 attack submarines as part of a larger 355 ship navy. in february, acting secretary of the navy, sean stackly, submitted to secretary mattis an accelerated fleet plan, which supports three additional virginia submarines. one more in fy-'21, fy-'22 and fy-'23 respectively. but you support this accelerated plan, and do you believe that it will give you -- our nation -- the necessary capability to address these looming and
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increasing threats from both russia and china in the pacific? >> sure, sir. i'm completely supportive of the plan. and i'm completely supportive of the effort to move to the left, construction of these virginia class submarines. they were clearly increase -- our nation's capability, and if assigned a paycom, paycom's capability. but three or four inadequate in the grand scheme, based simply on my requirements, which have to be adjudicated, whether requirements of all of the other combatant commandant commands. >> can you give us an assessment of our adversaries' anti submarine warfare capability? >> yeah. so today the u.s. reigns supreme in the realm in anti submarine warfare. but our adversaries, particularly china and russia, are closing that gap. because they understand that the gap exists, and they're working to reduce our asymmetric advantage. i think that we have to continue to keep that advantage. and, you know, i don't want it
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to be a fair fight if we have to go into a fight with these folks. and that means that we have to continue to resource the development and the continued development of our under sea capability and submarine warfare capabilities. >> does north korea have significant anti submarine warfare capability? >> they do not. >> and are they developing that capability? >> they're working on it. they're trying. i mean, they have submarines. they have a lot of them, smaller submarines. they're diesels. and they have an ssb, which is a ballistic missile capable diesel submarine. and so they recognize the advantages and what the
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submarine gives them in terms of war fighting. but they're a long way from developing a submarine force that's comparable to any other country that we were talking about in the region. >> on the f-35 in your testimony, you note, quote, the forward stationing deployment of the fifth generation air frames the region continues to be a priority for your command. do you continue to believe that the f-35 is necessary in that part of the world for the defense of our allies. japan is going to be acquiring them and others. >> senator, i believe that the f-35 is critical most in paycom than any other region of the world, because of the threat
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that we face and what the f-35 brings to the fight. and the f-22 is also the -- from hawaii and alaska. and so those fifth-generation fighters will allow us to get inside the a2ad area, the now area defense capabilities of our adversaries, particularly china and the region. we're going to need fifth-generation fighters to get in there. and they provide that. >> thank you very much, admiral. thanks for your great work at paycom and throughout your career. thank you. >> thank you. on behalf of the chairman, senator graham, please. >> thank you, admiral. i want to echo that, too. thank you for your service and all those that are with you here today in your command. is china's activity in the south china sea in terms of militarizing the region getting better or worse or about the same? >> i'm not sure what better means. but they are militarizing more now than they were last year. >> i would say that it's worse. >> and from our perspective, that is worse.
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>> did they understand that we're serious about that's a bad thing? >> i believe they are. >> and they apparently don't care. >> to date. >> all right. so how do we make them care? >> i think we have to demonstrate credible combat power on the one hand and powerful diplomacy on the other. >> okay. is it fair to say that unless something changes, north korea's likely to have an icbm with a nuclear warhead that can reach america by 2020? >> i don't want to put a time line on that, sir, in this hearing. but it is safe to say they will have one soon. they will match rhetoric to capabilities. >> okay, great. >> i beg your pardon? >> what's the purpose of having that missile? >> one, they want to be recognized as a nuclear power. and two, they want to ensure their survival. >> okay. in their mind, it's an insurance
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policy. >> partly. >> okay. from an american point of view, what kind of threat does that present to us? >> it presents today, even though -- i don't believe they have the full capability today. they threaten the 28,000 american troops in south korea, plus families. 55,000 american troops. plus their families in japan. our south korean and japanese allies. >> what about the homeland? what kind of threat do you see? >> depending on the nuclear weapon, depending on the missile, they could reach the eastern seaboard. they could reach us right here in this building.
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>> is it fair to say that's what they want to do in the western part of the united states, california is probably easier target? initially? >> i believe they want to be able to threaten the united states. >> well, what kind of threat would that be to us? that would be a bad thing, right? >> that would be a terrible thing, sir. >> okay. so do you believe it should be the policy of the united states never to let that happen? >> i beg your pardon? >> it should be the policy of the united states to never allow north korea to develop an icbm with a warhead that could hit america? >> i believe that's correct. >> okay. do you believe that the only way they'll change that policy, their desire is if they believe that the regime could be taken down by us if they continue to develop an icbm? without credible military threat in the mind of north koreans, they're going to plow ahead. >> i believe that generally, but i believe that china might be
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able to exert its influence. >> do you believe china could change north korea's behavior, absent a belief by north korea that we would use military force to stop their icbm program? >> i do not. >> okay. do you believe that china would act stronger and more bold if they believed credible military force was on the table to stop north korea? >> i do. >> so it seems to me that the policy of the united states, given the admiral's advice, and you are really good at what you do, that we should all agree that it's not good for america for north korea to have an icbm to have a warhead attached and it's really not good for china, is it? >> i believe it's not good for china. >> why don't they believe that? >> because they have their own calculus. their own -- >> do you think they're beginning to reshape their calculus in light of the -- our reaction to north korea? >> i hope so. but it's early days. >> okay. in terms of china leverage on north korea, you said it was substantial. >> their leverage is potentially -- >> substantial. >> the best way to avoid a military conflict with north korea over their missile program is for china to wake up north korea to the reality of what threat that presents to north korea and china. is that fair to say? >> that is fair to say. >> is it also fair to say that we do not have any intentions of invading north korea at all? i mean, that's not -- nobody has told you, get ready to invade north korea. >> that is not fair to say, sir. i believe the president has said that all options are on the
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table. >> yeah, but i mean, we're not going to just go in and take north korea down. >> sir, i'm -- i don't want to get into what we could or couldn't do. >> okay. well, north korea thinks we're going to invade at any moment. do you think that's part of our national security strategy? is without provocation, to attack north korea? >> i think north korea has provided provocation already in terms -- >> but without provocation, it's not our policy to attack north korea. >> they have provoked us already. >> yeah, but i said if they stopped it, they don't have anything to worry about. that's all i'm saying. >> that's a decision -- >> okay. so north korea is listening. none of us want to invade your country. >> they are. >> okay, well, good. so here's the point. all of this military force going that way is to deter them from being able to hit us. and protect our allies, right? >> right. >> we're trying to deter them from hurting us. we're not sending a bunch of people over there to invade
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their country without provocation. is that fair to say? >> right. >> good. i hope they understand that and i hope china understands that. thank you >> yes, sir. >> on behalf of the chairman, senator mikulski, please. >> thank you. last year, general scaparrotti testified at this hearing that north korea has one of the largest chemical and biological weapon stockpiles and research programs in the world. do you agree with that investment? >> i do. and do you believe that the facts that we know about the death of the half brother to kim jong-un was likely assassinated with vx nerve agent? >> yeah. i do, senator. that's just based on open source reporting. >> right. so i'm -- we haven't confirmed that it was used. >> i beg your pardon? >> we have not independently confirmed that it was used. >> i have not seen reporting to reflect that. >> so do we -- do you know enough about the delivery capabilities of chemical and biological weapons at this point to adequately be prepared to defend our allies and our american soldiers and families in the surrounding vicinities?
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>> i don't know enough about all of their capabilities, and including those that we saw or probably saw in malaysia. so i think that's part of the readiness calculus that we have to go through when we consider the threat from north korea. >> do you have the appropriate cvrn, which is an acronym for the record that is our defense? equipment necessary for chemical and biological attacks? >> i believe that general brooks does have that for the forces that are in korea now. >> okay. what about in japan? >> i can't speak to that. >> okay. i would love a followup on that. >> yes, ma'am. >> i think, you know, we do stuff in fort leonard wood in missouri. it's our biological defense center. and i'm concerned if they are using nerve agents to kill family members, they certainly are not going to hesitate to use nerve agents to kill american soldiers and our south korean allies and innocent citizens. so i would like a followup on that. >> you bet. >> do you think we should deploy thad to japan? >> i believe that's a decision japan has to make. i believe japan should have some kind of system like that. but whether it's that or aegis assure or something else, they have to make that decision. >> as you know, i had the opportunity to take a exhausting tour of all of our anti ballistic missile systems last
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year, and you kindly hosted us when we were at paycom. but had a chance to be in south korea, understand that thad was going in, and also obviously in guam to observe the thad. i just want to make sure we know what the needs are in terms of that, in light of what north korea is up to. >> so we work with japan, and described the capability that thad would provide. that would give them also aegis assure and potentially other systems. so that will be a japanese decision. it would be -- >> we are indicating to them we would be cooperative in trying to deploy thad to japan. >> right. >> okay. >> we -- to be clear on that, i have not reached an agreement with japan on deploying thad. >> right. >> but that's a different issue than your initial question, which was should japan buy thad. >> right. >> so you know, if they buy it, then it's theirs, and relieves me the burden of having to deploy it, and the joint force.
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>> right. >> so i think that whole decision, whether they buy thad or aegis assure or assess to support them or whatever, that's a decision yet to be made. >> it seems to me that the discussion that we're trying to have about pressure on china to do the right thing, especially in light of what i learned from you in terms of china's activities and militarization in south china sea that the more
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talk we have publicly about thad, more places, i think the more it behooves what i think is our policy right now as it relates to north korea. very quickly, i don't think anybody has touched on what i have been really confused by, and worried by in light of how important the philippines is to the united states' military. could you assess the current situation of the u.s./philippines relations? because i know what strategic importance those islands have to
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your capability of defending the united states of america. >> so, ma'am, i believe that we're in a reasonably good place in the mill to mill space with our forces of the philippines. afp, if you will. we have a range of activities we continue to do with the afp, including billikitan, an exercise that is next may. the cooperation agreement, the five or -- five philippine bases that we have agreed to -- with the government in the philippines to improve for -- in some cases for us to use. that is preceding a pace. most importantly, our special operations command folks are active in southern -- in the southern philippines to combat terrorism. in conjunction with and in support of the armed forces of the philippines. so our guys are doing the advising and assisting, but not the direct action. that's the responsibility of their own forces of the philippines there and i think that's working. >> so in terms of not having a negative relationship in the
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mill to mill. >> yes. >> that's reassuring. he kind of goes in the category of kim jong-un in terms of what the hell, right? >> we are in a good place in the mill to mill space with the philippines. >> right. okay. thank you. >> senator king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, sir, parenthetically, your exchange with senator ernst, silicon valley and those innovative industries located in other parts of the country. we had testimony here a couple of months ago that silicon valley essentially won't deal with a defense department, because of the -- i was -- i would call it byzantine, but that would be an insult to the byzantine empire. the cumbersome and slow process in our procurement. that is an urgent national priority, in my opinion. and i just wanted to echo that conversation.
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the second point i think that's important, all the discussion we have had in the last few days about north korea in the last few weeks and months have focused on the icbm and threat to the homeland via a missile. the other problem that i think deserves attention is that north korea is a serial proliferator. of nuclear technology. and i think as serious a threat as an icbm is a nuclear weapon, a nuclear warhead in the hold of a tramp steamer sponsored by isis headed into miami or the port of baltimore. so that to me is an imminent threat that is almost as dangerous as the icbm threat. so that's got to be part of this calculation. here's my question. historically, the regimes in north korea have gone through these cycles of provocation and
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rising tension. and then there's been some negotiation and concessions. if this is part of that pattern, what does kim jong-un want? >> yeah. >> so senator, i don't think it's any longer a part of -- the pattern of his grandfather and his father. so as you correctly stated, in the past, they have gone into this provocation cycle i've talked about a lot in hawaii, where there's a provocation, there's a negotiation and there's a concession. peaceful for a while, and then the cycle starts again. i think kim jong-un has elevated that to a cycle of provocation, provocation and provocation.
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and what he is seeking is his own independent nuclear deterrent in order to threaten the united states i don't think it's any longer a part of the pattern of his grandfather and his father. so as you correctly stated, in the past, they've gone to this provocation cycle. i've talked about it a lot in hawaii where there's a provocation, there's a negotiation and there's a concession. peace for a while and then the cycle starts again. i think kim jong-un has elevated that to a cycle of provocation, provocation, provocation. what he is seeking is his own independent nuclear deterrent in order to threaten the united states and to insure the continuance of his regime. >> to follow up on senator graham's questions, we go back to history, this situation ha we're in now has often been analogized recently to the cuban missile crisis. part of the settlement in that case was we had a military force
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and threat of military force. we had the blockade but ultimately there was an agreement not to invade cuba. and that was part of the agreement that ended up with the missiles coming out. is this a moment, if regime preservation is his goal, is there a moment where we could enter into those kinds of negotiations and talk about a treaty? >> i don't want to, you know, to limit the president's options as he decides which course of action to take. i'll say that in the cuban missile crisis was credible combat power that allowed diplomacy to act. >> i completely agree. >> i believe that my part of this problem set is to provide that credible combat power in the face of north korean provocation. >> i totally accept that. i understand that the vinson has to be there and all the other cape bes that we have and that's part of this process but i'm talking about how do we eventually get out of this, and that involves some discussion of what is it that is necessary to end this. china's a little puzzing to me because we've always talked about economic pressure, and china, i agree, has total pressure ability with regard to north korea. there's no law that says that the missiles that he's developing and the nuclear weapons only can go south and east. he's as close to beijing as he is to tokyo. and if i were china, i would not want a nuclear armed guy right on my boarder who could threaten me. and it seems to me ha china really has to start to think about the threat that this, if he achieves this, suddenly, he
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can threaten anybody within a thousand miles. >> yeah, i agree with you there. >> finally, we talked about the vulnerability of seoul. i think -- as a talk to people in maine, they're surprised to learn that seoul is about 30 miles from the north korean border from the dmz and enormous threat from just artillery. and we talked about that we don't have any defense for that now. do the technologies that have been developed in conjunction with the israelis, david sling and iron dome, have any relevance in this case? >> i don't know. i'm not smart enough on that. i'll have to get back to you on that. >> i appreciate that. that is a technology that's been
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effective in defending israel from short range rockets and perhaps it would be something that would change the military calculus. >> yeah, and i'll get back to you, sir. >> thank you, admiral. >> well, thank you, admiral. and i think that what we're talking about that the north koreans have is rockets which are -- would not lend itself to iron dome defenses. these are very difficult and challenging times, and it's very fortuitous that you are here before this committee particularly after the briefing that we had yesterday at the white house. you've been able to give us some of the details that only a military commander can provide us with, and will help us to make judgments. i don't think any of us are predicting conflict, and i think it would be wrong for us to do that. but i also believe that we should make every preparation and although it would be
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military activity would be a last resort, it's something that we can't completely rule out. but i emphasize it would be absolutely, i know that this president's last resort. but you're the tip of the spear, admiral. and so the fact that you will have men and women ready if called upon and the testimony you've given today is reassuring to this member, and i believe to the other members of the committee. and i know how much you look forward to coming back and testifying before this committee. i know it's one of the highlights of your time as commander in the pacific, but this testimony today was
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extremely important, and i thank you for taking the time and speaking in a very enformative and articulate fashion. senator reed, did you want -- >> mr. chairman, i concur and i just once again, admiral, thank you and make sure you thank the men and women under your command.

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