tv Commander of U.S. Southern Command Testifies on Defense Strategy CSPAN July 19, 2019 2:04pm-3:15pm EDT
about training for the mission, spacecraft problems and the july 20th moon landing. >> and they're all cheering and you get this weird feeling, it's chilling that it soaks in through the room and i get it and say, my god, we're actually on the moon. >> explore our nation's past on american history tv. all weekend every weekend. only on c-span3. next week on c-span 3 robert mueller will testify before the house judiciary committee and the house intelligence committee. the judiciary committee hearing will get under way at 8:30 a.m. eastern and the intelligence committee hearing begins at noon eastern. both are live here on c-span3 and on line at c-span.org and listen free with the radio app. navy admiral craig faller head of the u.s. southern command
testified before a senate armed services committee recently. he was asked about drug interdiction efforts, the humanitarian situation in venezuela, russia's influence in the region and a number of other topics. >> hey, the welcome, everybody. the emerging threat and capabilities subcommittee meets today to receive testimony from admiral craig faller, commander of u.s. southern command or as we call it southcom. our focus on the security situation in this theater as well as southcom's efforts to implement the national defense strategy. welcome to the admiral. thank you very much for being here, sir.
i appreciate it. today's hearing is a continuation of the subcommittee's efforts to provide oversight over national defense strategy implementation. this is an important component of our efforts to ensure our military's appropriately resourced, equipped and postured to dividend the nation against a growing array of threats. while much attention has been on countering china and russia in their traditional spheres of influence in europe and across the indo--pacific region this subcommittee has been particularly focused on how those nations are increasingly challenging u.s. national security interests not just within their own geographic boundaries but elsewhere around the world. last year the subcommittee held a hearing with leading experts to discuss china's expanding presence in africa and the implications for our interests and those of our partners. it was made clear during the hearing that china is undertaking a comprehensive and long-term approach to bolstering its global access and influence. oftentimes with a goal of
undermining the united states of america. the situation in the western hemisphere is no different. admiral faller, you highlighted in testimony earlier this year that china has accelerated expansion of its belt and road initiative in the western hemisphere at a pace that may one day overshadow its expansion in southeast asia and africa. china's strategic engagement in the southcom region bolsters their network at the expense of u.s. security interests and regional stability. china's efforts to back oppressive governments such as the maduro regime in venezuela and to pump loans into local economies at unpayable interest rates reveal china's interest in spreading influence and consolidating power. as a result, latin america has become a fixture for china's ambitions utilizing economic coercion to grow support for chinese foreign policy objectives including --
and the exclusion of the u.s. and canada from regional discourse. trade and economic ties between the united states and latin america are changing with china recently surpassing the united states as the main destination for exports from several latin-american countries. china is also deepening military and technological ties in the region. for example, we have seen deepen cooperation in brazil, venezuela and argentina. china has increased arm sales in a manner that violates u.s. and eu restrictions and behinders our ability to integrate with our partners. meanwhile russia is working to expand its influence in the region. the putin regime seeks to erode u.s. influence in the south com area of responsibility and doubled down on its efforts to prop up corrupt authoritarian regimes in venezuela, cuba and
nicaragua through economic and military assistance. for many years putin has viewed latin america as a natural link in the chain making up a mul multipolar world and recent port visits by russian navy vessels and the deployment of a long-range bomber to the region highlight russia's efforts to strengthen its global reach in a new age of great power competition. in fact, just a couple of weeks ago, the admiral gorescov was docked in havana harbor. finally drivers of migration including violence, corruption and poverty play significant strain on regional governments and can engender regional instability impacting not only the southern border of the united states but providing additional flash points for china and russia to exploit at the expense of american soft power. all of this demonstrates clearly that the western hemisphere should be viewed as an important front in our efforts to compete with china and russia and implement the nds.
i look forward to your input and your candid assessment of the evolving security dynamics in this region. describing how the nds information is important and how you'll allocate southcom's limited resource as well as identify they challenges that may impair your ability to accomplish our mission and thank you, again, admiral, for joining us today and look forward to the discussion. i'll turn it over to north peters, our ranking member for your opening statement. >> well, thank you for holding this hearing at a very critical time. events in latin america are often overshadowed by the crisis in the middle east and asia but stability in southcom ar is critical to our national security. i want to thank our witness, admiral faller for his service and for appearing here today to testify on the implementation of the national defense strategy in the southern command area of responsibility. it's clear that russia and china
have significantly increased their presence and their influence in the southcom aor and chinese investment has reached unprecedented levels and beijing has enveloped billions of dollars in latin america as part of its belt and road initiative. china often engages in predatory lending practices that create debt traps for small countries and allow beijing to yield outsized influence in these countries. the projects are often economically unsustainable and many countries throughout the world have found themselves billions of dollars in debt with no way to repay beijing. russia's economic influence in latin america is much smaller than china's. but its intentions are much more pernicious. russia's propaganda machine as been active in latin america with efforts to raise doubts about the democratic process and to sow discord in the region. russia's state controlled spanish language television
station spreads misinformation throughout the region and seeks to undermine u.s. influence in the region. russia has also used cyberattacks to attack democratic institutions. the center for strategy and international studies reported, for example, there have been 50,000 cyberattacks against colombia's national voter registry during the 2018 legislative elections. we have seen russia covertly deploy kremlin lynn linked paramilitary groups to latin america. repeating the pattern of using these forces to advance their strategic interest abrood without having to admit they deployed any military personnel to a specific country. russia's intervention in venezuela have propped up the disastrous maduro regime and helped deny the transition to the power of interim pride guaido. to use all of the tools in its playbook to undermine the appeal of the democratic process and keep russian aligned regimes in
power. and while russia and chinese influence in latin america is destabilizing to the region, i think it's also important to spend a few minutes on the most pressing threat to democracy in the western helms steer and that is corruption. corruption is the root cause of mass migration, instability and impunity in central america and the trafficking of elicit narcotics into our country. unless our strategy focuses on solving the root causes of corruption no amount of assistance dollars will be effective. that's why i'm concerned that the trump administration has recently decided to cut off all nondefense u.s. aid and state assistance to guatemala, honduras and el salvador. president trump's stated rationale to punish them for the mike grant crisis is ill-considered and totally counterproductive to reducing forced migration numbers.
unless we support civil societies in these countries and help improve the economic conditions, we will never get a handle on the elicit drugs that flow through their northern try anging countries and into the united states. one final note and i think it's critical for us to discuss is that corruption in central and southern -- south america not only destabilizes the region but also provides china and russia with a foothold into these countries, as well. krument governments are more likely to take loans from china allow them to skim millions of or billions off the top and leave their treasuries empty. russia is able to sell arms to corrupt governments that oppress their civilian populations and violate their human rights. we -- the more we focus on combating corruption, the more successful we will be in implementing the national defense strategy in the region. and i thank the chair again for holding this hearing and look toward to the discussion. >> thank you, ranking member peter, thank you for those
opening comments. admiral faller, we'll begin with your opening tame and move into questioning. thank you. >> chairman ernst, thank you member peter, senators, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. and for the steadfast support you provide the men and women of the united states southern command day in and day out. i'd like to introduce my command senior enlisted sergeant major brake zigfus eyes and ears with me unabashedly from the great state of iowa. as i mentioned in my statement my written statement i've been in command of southcopperfield for seven months and traveled throughout central america, south america and the caribbean to get a firsthand view of the opportunities and challenges that you both illuminated. these opportunities and challenges directly impact the security of this hemisphere. our neighborhood. criminal organizations, narco trafficking, illegal immigration, violent extremity
miss, corruption, all enabled by weak governance are principal among those. the aha for me has been the degree to which the external state actor, china, russia and iran have expanded their access and influence right here in our neighborhood or as general neller put it, inside our interior lines. the national defense strategy makes clear great power competition is re-emerged as the number one security challenge facing our nation. china, russia and others want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian models. they're blurring the lines of what constitutes a military threat through economic coercion, the systemic stealing of technology, influence campaigns and militia cyberactivity. they're contesting our military advantage in all the traditional domains we fight around the globe, land, air, sea, space, cyber and information.
plus, one more very important domain, values like democracy, sovereignty, the rule of law and human rights. competition is happening globally and right here in our neighborhood, the western hemisphere. we see this most acutely in venezuela where the security crisis created by maduro is compounded every single security crisis we face in this hemisphere. where russia in their own words is predicting their loyal friend, to quote, by propping up the corrupt illegitimate maduro regime with loans and technical and military support where china as venezuela's longest -- largest single state credit saddled the people with more than 60 billion in debt and is exporting surveillance technology used to oppress the venezuelan people. iran restarted direct flights from tehran to caracas and cuba these actors engage in activities that are profoundly
healthy to regional stability and counter to u.s. interests. how do we counter the threats and seize the opportunities in this hemisphere? how do we counter the threats posed by external state actors in venezuela and across the region? the best way to outcompete is by focusing our strengths, the strong enduring ties we have with our neighbors and from a defense perspective these strong relations are grounded this shared professionalism. we work with each from a foundation of mutual respect, human rights and shared interests in regional cooperation. we reinforce and build on it through training, education, intelligence and information sharing and exercises. security cooperation is our best tool to continue building these strong partnerships and turn the challenges in our hemisphere into opportunities. working to the, training and exercising shoulder to shoulder with american military professionals is our competitive edge and no one can match our
system. we also need the right focused and consistent military presence day in and day out to go along with the training and education. we cannot achieve positive results and influence outcomes without being on the playing field. i'll point to two examples of the positive impact of our presence this happening as i speak. our strategic bomber force and f-16 fighter aircraft in the south carolina international guard are training with the very capable colombian air force. this mission takes place in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of colombia's air force and builds interoperability and readiness for the united states and our capable partners while demonstrating our shared resolve in the face of regional and global challenges. nearby the united states naval ship comfort is in lima, peru to help our neighbors impacted by the man-made crisis in venezuela. comfort shows the very best of the united states of america. and the strong partnerships we have in the world.
it's part of our promise to our neighbors in this hemisphere to be a steadfast, reliable and trusted partner. we appreciate the continued support of congress. this committee and helping us fulfill that promise. the southcom team our military and civilian members and our families appreciate the support of congress and we will continue to honor the trust you place in us and our fellow citizens have placed in us, i look forward to your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you, admiral. i'll go ahead and start with just a couple of questions and we'll go back and forth and in order of arrival and with that we'll go ahead and get started. feel free to take as much time as necessary, admiral, to discuss the challenges and opportunities that you have in southcom. so just to start, the national defense strategy clearly identifies great power competition between the united states and china and russia as the most pressing threat to
national security. given their expanding presence in your ao, the nds has particular relevance to your area of responsibility, so if you could explain what is the role of the u.s. military as we're competing with china and russia in the western hemisphere what more can we be doing? >> our focus is to build strong partnerships with very capable, 27 of 31 nations are democracies so we focus on partnerships and that's the best way to outcompete china. our partners want to work with us. they want the advantage of united states education, training, exclusives and military equipment, it's the best in the world and so it's up to us to deliver that in a way that's relevant and returns on investment. that is our focus. colombia and brazil are two good
examples where we spent a lot of time and traveled to colombia on multiple occasions, it begins with intelligence sharing and education, frankly, at a person-to-person level and we enhance each other's situation ago awareness, strengthen our understanding of the opportunities and challenges and work on education, both in their schools and in ours and i've had the opportunity to go down and speak at their institutions and so that's the foundation. that counters russia and china best because, frankly, they can't compete with our system. they're trying. they're in the area. everywhere i go the chief defense say the chinese have come and offered us, you know, free education, unlimited travel, opportunity to go to their schools and have taken and replicated our model and stood up spanish language training in beijing, and the message i get from our capable partners is we
don't want to train with them. we want to continue so the best way to be consistent to offer the level of service and demand that the partners can meet so we operate at their speed and then also ensure that there's something we give back and when you meet a new chief of defense, for example, the new chief of defense in el salvador and new minister of defense, both graduates of u.s. service schools, in fact, the chief defense i think has been to five u.s. schools and the minister of defense graduated of the naval war college of newport and committed to working with us and not with others and that's the way we move forward. >> thank you very much. and just to go a little bit further with that, i do firmly believe in those mill to mill opportunities whether through training exercises or through educational opportunities. now, we've spoken, maybe you can expand a little bit on the lack of opportunity maybe that we have been able to extend to
other military members in attending our military schools. if you could talk a little bit about what some of those challenges are, whether it's funding or otherwise, it would be good to hear about that. >> the opportunity to expand our offerings of education in our military schools and training in our schools and there is a difference, but both to get after technical skills and then some of the professional military is a single best investment we could make long term to our partnership's graduates of our school system go back with an understand of u.s. doctrine, tactic, techniques and really become lifelong friends. the chief of defense in argentina, for example, is an honor grad of the army war college, very proud of it and was just admitted into the army war college hall of fame and that factor is known by the political leadership in argentina and valued and i find him to be one of my best
strategic partners. our levels of funding that have been provided and principal source of funding for education, state department funded, that's basically been flat lined for as long -- back as i can do the math. so then your dollars in current year dollars of flat accounts getting us less school seats over time because the schools cost more, what we are able to contribute within the rules so i've advocated and former defense secretaries have, as well that we would be well served to look at an increase in the overall account for the entire of department of defense is somewhere just north of 100 million and for southcom it's about 11 million. i think i could absorb 18 million, a modest increase and when you look at the kind of moneys we're smepding in other areas this is low amount of money for a high dividend high payoff so i would advocate that scenario. we could expand.
i'm glad we're not like these others and i won't dignify by naming names of countries that come in and offer no strings attached training. i'm glad we have vetting and emphasize human right, the right thing to do. it should be a high bar to go to our schools and should get a return on investment from it. so i think we do the right things with the way we screen and invest and look at the long-term return on investment for both our forces. that's an area i think we do well to expand, senator. >> very good. dollars well spent. thank you very much. ranking member peters. >> admiral faller, thank you for being here. i think it's clear from the discussion that we had earlier in my office as well as in your testimony that you provided here at the opening is that you agree that corruption, lack of economic opportunity, violence and the failure of democratic governance in the northern triangle is a significant cause for some of the mass migration
we're seeing out of these countries as well as the drug trade through these countries. is that an accurate statement? >> senator, the connection between weak governance, corruption, tran actional criminal organizations and then even the opportunity for china and russia as you articulated is significant and i consider that the number one security threat that we face here in this hemisphere because that same corruption breeds criminal activity, could breed terror activity and certainly breeds the kind of dirty deals that other external state actors come in and thrive on. >> authorized to deal with that breakdown of governance, probably makes sense to have a whole government approach in dealing with it and that means not just the military operations that you're engaged in but also ngo activities that are working on civil society instructors. i know you've had experience working with some of the ngos particularly in the northern
triangle. are they helpful? do you think that's part of the approach we need to take in order to stabilize those countries? >> strong institutions and the strong defense institutions in these countries contribute to the whole government solution and that's where we focus. we have a program called defense institution building which gets after that through our perry center in washington, d.c. so as that plays into a whole government strategy across what we call the dime, diplomacy. that's the best solution long term and when we play into that, ngos the best way to get that. >> programs like usaid in those countries are critically important for us and in our work to stabilize those areas and hopefully prevent mass migration and some of the drug trafficking that comes out of those countries? >> the integration of all
elements of ow powers -- i have a deputy, si civilian deputy a full ambassador from state department. she has former usaid experience and have a senior executive from usaid that sits to my immediate left at every meeting as one of my most senior reps so we can figure out how best to integrate it. >> so the trump administration recently cut off all nondefense aid to the countries in the northern triangle because i know you're aware of guatemala, honduras and el salvador. did the administration consult you as to whether or not that made sense? >> the pressure that's being applied to the governments i would offer as good and the decision to cut off as a policy decision and i'm not normally part of policy decisions, senator, but i advocated and articulated to the defense leadership the important contributions that professional militaries from honduras,
guatemala and el salvador have made particularly in the counter narcotics fight that they're getting after it in a way that's paying dividends and why we were able to continue our mill-to-mill engagement. >> the leahy law bars assistance to security forces that committed gross human rights violations as you're aware. would it make sense to add corruption to the list that would cut off security assistance, particularly of corruption that enables drug and human trafficking? >> senator, i don't know that i would have thought through enough how corruption might play into leahy law. i think leahy law is extremely effective. it's demanding, right think so and it produces units that we can trust and that we can look at and know are doing the right thing with respect to human rights. >> admiral faller, in "the financial times" interview from june 26th, 2019, president putin
said, quote, there are no russian troops in venezuela and characterized the personnel there as just specialists and instructors to train local forces. yet, multiple press outlets have reported that paramilitary forces linked to the vogger ne these are the same forces as i know you are aware conducted missions on behalf on kremlin's behalf in ukraine, syria and other countries in africa. how would you characterize those actions? is it just regular training as mr. putin alleges or something more nefarious. >> senator, we consistently have seen the way russia manipulates media around the world. at one point in february for my full senate armed services committee hearing about a week before the hearing i was here doing prehearing office calls and came out of senator rubio's office to the news that russian state tv was reporting my
presence on the colombian/venezuela border including a picture of someone who wasn't me and b roll pictures of an invasion and states russia's approach to accuracy. there are russian troops. there are russian defense contractors. their presence is in the hundreds in venezuela. they are supporting the maduro regime. they are keeping russian gear operable. they are conducting a full range of activities you would expect a foreign power to do to prop up their puppet regime. >> thank you, admiral. >> senator hawley. >> admiral, thank you for being here. is it fair to say one key russian and chinese objective is to reduce the united states influence and access? >> senator, i think it is. i would differentiate slightly. i think for russia that would
characterize as almost wounded bear or wanting power. their principal objection is to make the u.s. look bad and do anything that would blunt a u.s. advantage, even if that advantage is for the international good of the people as it is in venezuela. for china they have legitimate economic interests around the world and i know we're working hard as a nation to figure out how those legitimate international interests can actually be played using the rule of law. so they have an economic interest primarily but make no question that my research, my study, the 56 ports that they're working on, the extensive i.t. infrastructure and extensive work they're doing cyber, the space access they're working on, all these that would be characterized i think by russia or excuse me, chinese state officials as soft power, they have hard aims. and as i said in earlier testimony this year, they're
setting the stage for future access and influence that would have clearly military dimension. >> so just on this last point about china with their ports and cyber and development, you see that as part of a larger strategic plan on china's part to ramp up their influence in the region and also to diminish ours, is that fair to say. >> china has global aims that extend beyond economic and i think we've got to continue to outcompete china globally including in this neighborhood. >> thank you tore that answer. give us a sense of what you think in your judgment that looks like. what does it look like for us to outcompete them and what do we need to be doing to meet and turn back their strategic aims here? >> there are a lot of security challenges around the world as has been outlined. north korea, iran, russian, china, south china sea, we have to make sure that we look at those globally and we are as a department. we have to make sure that they're resourced globally and
resourced to a sufficient level so that china doesn't come in and fill that vacuum when we're not there and so at a point you can't do that just via schoolhouse and carlisle, pennsylvania and newport, rhode island or any one of our work colleges, institute for security at the perry center in washington. we have to be in the region, be present. that means u.s. navy ship, coast guard cutter, special operations forces, small numbers. we have in some cases adequate numbers now, but if we took reductions and we might have to for the global fight, that would have a disproportionate impact i think in the long-termable to work with our partner. >> are there capability gaps you have currently you're concerned about that we should be doing something about. >> i am concerned. the combat ship is an excellent platform the maeve is bringing
online and had some growing pains. i'm confident we'll come out of those. the sergeant major and i spent several hour there is recently. it's a capability we need. we don't have it. we're -- the navy is committed to deploying one in october and the u.s. won't get a name but a ship in october and we look forward to that so we don't have a navy combatant now and so that's a capability gap. intelligence surveillance reconnaissance as sets are a challenge worldwide. we need those for monitoring the situation in venezuela. also for the global counternarc cotic fight. that's our number one asset to detect that flow so we are short of asset, yes, senator. >> thank you for that. that's very helpful. let me ask you about our mill-to-mill contacts which you've discussed. they seem to be in your region relatively narrow focused and at the small unit level. i'm wondering, do you feel our training events with our partner
nations are focused at the right level and are they having the effect that you think they should be? >> we are -- we do know cuss at the unit level and basic blocking tackling rightly start there is but also have some high-end exercise with our very capable partners so we just completed unitos, the largest the united states has, 60 years, the 60th year our very capable chilean partners led it and hosted it an were in command of that exercise. 12 nations in that exercise from around the globe, observers from the uk and others and ships from ecuador and very capable high-end exercise. at the same time we had our forces commando so 19 special operation forces squads working together as a team in the competition. also in chile, simultaneously operating so we do have high-end exercises. i think there's more we can do to increase the level and
complexity of those and bring more partners in and that's one thing we're focused on if there's additional resources for exercises. >> can i ask one more question? the last question, just on unitos. can you tell us 1700 personnel i understand -- over 1700 participated. 12 nations. can you describe the degree of trust among the member nations that participated, alignment of priorities, things you feel came out of in that you would report on to us? >> i attended the opening ceremony and had a chance to sit in to the prevail brief in the hangar of a chilean frigate and went down the line, met the lieutenant and the addresser force 03 lieutenant leading the opposition force, the commander of the chilean sub that would try to sink the high-end american destroyer that michael murphy named after one of our medal of honor winners and you saw a band of brothers standing
there on the flight deck. it would make any one of us proud and that's exercise money. train dollars that's well spent and that exercise covered everything from hadr to response to a terrorist activity and it was intense. >> thank you, madam chair. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, admiral faller, for being here today. you mentioned the shortfall in the global counternarc cotics effort and as i'm sure you're aware the opioid crisis was ton for more than 47,000 deaths in 2017 in the u.s. and much of that -- those substances come in through mexico, heroin grown in south american countries, particularly colombia trafficked to the u.s. by air and sea and it has a real impact on the entire country as you know and new hampshire we have the second highest opioid-related overdose deaths in the nation.
so can you talk a little about what you're doing to coordinate with state, governments in the u.s. on this effort? >> the drug crisis is a national security crisis. senator, it's that easy to get drugs in and the other elicit commodities that come along with the same networks, it's a significant focus of ours and as i mentioned in a previous question there are insufficient resources dedicated that we're working as hard as we can with the coast guard, a premier agency and working hard and dedicated twice the number of cutters to the effort than what they commit thin their annual global plan and our navy stepped up to commit more. joint interagency task force south and key west is a premier center and with about 1.5% of the budget, gets about 90% of the drugs headed into the country.
cocaine which is principally coming from colombia, so we're working as hard as we can with our partners across the u.s. int interagency, principally in the joint interagency task force south and in the committees here in washington, d.c. to look at ways to be more effective and to put more resources and intelligence and thought into the interdiction problem. it's also a supply problem and a demand problem. and in that regard, i'd have to say that colombia has stepped up in a significant way and while the statistics that you cite, what has been published and made public for 2018 since the president there has taken over, significant increase in eradication, manual eradication. in colombian partner interdiction and increase in the colombian forces contact with
the narco traffickers and the terrorist groups that deal in this and so working with our partners both in the u.s. int interagency and our other host nation partners, 40% of our interdictions right now are by these partner nations that we train and work with colombia and i mentioned already the very capable forces of el salvador, honduras and guatemala. i would have to add in there panama and costa rica have stepped up but more can be done and when we are certainly dedicated to that because there is still way too much drugs that are getting through and getting to this country, senator. >> well, thank you very much. i want to switch subjects now. i'm looking at contract award document from the defense logistics agency for february of 2018. and one of the projects described here is for a contingency mass migration station at guantanamo bay and
$23 million fixed price contract for construction of that mass migration complex. it includes site shaping for tent, concrete pads for camp headquarters and goes on to talk about mass notification system, various infrastructure requirements. are you aware of this contract and do you -- have you been part of any suggests about what that mass migration complex is going to be used for? is it going to be used for movement of my grants from our southern border to guantanamo bay? >> senator, one of our missions is to be able to handle any kind of mass migration event. that's a southcom mission and we have experienced that in the past with migrants from cuba and haiti. part of the naval station, there's a field that part of the naval station at guantanamo bay is an unimproved field that could be subject to any kind of weather conditions, mud and so
to get that field to a standard so if we had a mass migration as i mentioned from cuba or haiti, we could keep the migrants on cement pads instead of the mud and have power and water for sanitation ready to go. we didn't currently have adequate facilities for the numbers that we would estimate this nose so i've been down to look at the progress that was there at the start of the work, work is ongoing. we're supervising it. we also run an annual training drill. we actually send our army south soldiers there to walk through the command and control and int interagency coordination that have been required so i'm very much involved in the details that is for projected future mass migration event. there has been no discussion or no order given to me to prepare that site for any kind of southwest border flow. >> are you aware of any discussions that have been held that you may not have been given
a direct order but have you been part of or do you know of any discussions that have been held to move southern border migrants there. >> no, senator, nobody has had a discussion with me to that effect. >> thank you, thank you. >> senator hirono. >> thank you, madam chair. i'd like to follow up on the questions that senator shaheen just asked. so she referred to a $23 million -- >> over 23. it's almost 24. >> $24 million contract to house mass migration, people as a result of mass migration. so what is that money for? is it just, what, to -- i don't understand. isn't it going to go to put some buildings up in this field that you're talking about at guantanamo bay? >> senator, we currently have a migration operation for principally for cuban migrants and there are a small flow of
migrants that come from cuba. >> this money is for mass migration. >> so that -- >> also it didn't say we're talking about cuba or haiti. >> it's inadequate to hole any more than a few hundred. so the worst case plans based on historical analysis or some kind of future event could be a weather-related event, would call for larger infrastructure footprint that could hold into the tens of thousands and so that's that's what that is based on. electrical infrastructure, sewage, water, power, concrete pad. some sanitation buildings. it's a very spartan camp, though. >> are you saying that this money is not for the purposes of moving some of the migrants from the northern triangle countries to guantanamo bay. >> that's correct, senator. not for. >> so in any news reports that say that there is a potential for housing these people at guantanamo bay would be
mistaken? >> i've seen the same news report, senator, but the program money and the project we're overseeing and the mission we have is for mass migratimigrati >> you haven't gotten any order or, well, there's no direct order, no discussion about sending people from the northern triangle to guantanamo bay, but if such an event occurs, or such a discussions occur would you let this committee know? >> senator, i assure you i would if there was a discussion or an order that i had with that respect. >> okay, because, of course, you know, with thousands and thousands of people coming from the northern triangle our facilities are bursting at the seams and there's no question that there's acknowledgement that some of our defense assets might be put to use to house these people. so i think it's a matter of great concern for us.
so page 1 of your testimony, you talk about the impact of interstate competition with china and russia who are capitalizing on the instability within your aor. so china as you know is a primarily threat in the indo--pacific aor with ar increasingly turning to other countries including -- what impact has china's activities on southern command had with your relationships with partner nations because, you know, china is very busy, china inserts themselves into having influence with our partner countries this that area so is it making it harder for you to retain these important relationships with our partner countries? >> our partners still want and view us as a partner of choice and our schools, education, everything is preferred.
i think the challenge comes in if we don't have the speed, the quantity or for some reason we're not there to be able to provide the partnership and so from that respect when a nation, i'll give you one example, senator, i'm sitting with -- having my third cup of tea with one of the leaders from a capable caribbean partner nation and i don't start out asking about china. i start asking about the things that are mutual threats, how they perceive them, i have a lot to learn in my tour. but we get to china, whether they bring it up, i'll bring it up and then i'll be blunt and ask what's china providing for you in this particular chief of defense said they gifted me $23 million last year. i said, what did you do? just $23 million. here's cash. i looked at my security cooperation card and i think my
total sum of assistance was 1.5 which i felt was pretty adequate but and so we're not going to compete in volume. we have to compete in quality and speed did something with it. i get it. it's hard to turn down cash. that's the challenge we're competing with. some of the partners are turning it down. >> one wonders for how long they can turn down what might basically be free money. is china and russia also involved in the northern triangle countries? >> it's different per country. i try to always break them apart and go country by country.
previous leadership in el salvador had a little bit different view about china and changed directions. i think the new leadership is much more pro u.s. in really wanting to partner. i mentioned their chief of defense and minister of defense. that's including both russia and china. and i see the same in honduras and guatemala. from a policy perspective they stuck by taiwan and the u.s., guatemala and honduras have. i think it's different. russia and china are in there and they try to make inroads. >> it sound as though it's that kind of competition. your presence, whatever we can do to shore up our relationship is a constant thing for you. so keep doing it.
>> we talked a little bit about argentina during your office call and some of the deep space tracking facilities that are there. if you could in an unclassified setting, in this room, can you elaborate on the assessed purpose of that facility and the threat that it is posing to our military and to other assets that we have here. >> china's working in space around the globe and across all elements of space. i think our focus on space is exactly right. they're looking for access points. they found them in south america and argentina's principally one and that's the extent to what china is doing and the degree of military activity at that site is extremely concerning to the
security of the united states. >> and can you expound on what is the impact to the united states. >> that china has the ability to have a more global view of all space activities and that could run the gamut of offense and defense. beyond that we'd have to go to a different setting, senator. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> there was the 1994 bombing of a jewish center in argentina and hezbollah fund-raising activities across the region. how would you characterize that?
we're sitting. >> and in your estimation, then, these elements that exist in this hemisphere, are they capable of hindering u.s. objectives? >> we've seen what iran is doing day in and day out, senator, in the arabian gulf, in yemen, in saudi arabia, in the uae, what they've done here in the past and so i -- i don't put much stock in their good intentions going forward, and so i think we've got our eye on this one as best we can with the resources we have. >> thank you, admiral. i'll yield back my time. senator peters. >> thank you, thank you, madam chair. i'm going to pick up on a question the chair asked you about. you talked about the space domain. the other domain we need to be focused on is cyber, in particular, chinese activities around the world in that area. can you explain what the chinese may or may not be doing in latin
america to expand their cyber capabilities? >> start with the crisis in venezuela, so the maduro-made crisis there, pushed out over 4 million migrants, unfortunately, it's affecting their region, is being aided, abetted, by russia, cuba, to a lesser extent, a significant one china. the debt i mentioned in my opening statement, china is also, i mentioned this as well, involved in enabling cyber for the maduro regime. we look broadly beyond that. the attractiveness of i.t. infrastructure and the safe city/smart city concept where i.t. infrastructure can provide surveillance opportunities for security forces as being actively pursued by a number of important partners in the region. we've been very actively
involved with our interagency partners to explain the risks, on a security force level, the partners get it and they've been able in some cases to articulate that to their leadership to slow or stop some projects, but they turn to us and say, what's our alternative. they, just like was mentioned about the money, senator hirono mentioned at some point you do need resources. they all say, hey, we need i.t. infrastructure. what's the alternative we can provide? on a mil-to-mil level, we're working on packaging with cybercom. some of our first ever security cooperation packages with partners we asked, almost everywhere we go, the partners want to do more in this area and made visits to do some assessments and with support of congress, we're going to come forward with some 333 packages
that will do training, education, and cyber infrastructure, in a mil-to-mil realm. that's got to be our response and that's another reason why we need to, when i talk more broadly about being there and being consistent, that's one of the areas we're going to look moving forward and that will help both of us on cyber defense. china is there in a big way, senator. >> china is -- uses cyber not just to deal with security issues, surveillance issues to prevent crime but also to keep track of their population and some would argue to manipulate the population and get them more compliant with -- with the regime. do you think latin american governments are also moving in that direction with the assistance of the chinese? >> senator, when i talk to our partners about u.s. versus china, i say, look, i'm not here to bash china.
i'm not here to even ask you to make a choice. i'm here to talk about what's important to you and what's important to us and i think i know where you come from where you honor and respect democracy, rule of law, human rights and sovereignty. i look at those four representative variables and i look at the competition that you might to do business with. these other external state actors and i know where we stand. we're not the perfect people, but we work really hard at being good in this country, particularly in our military. we make mistakes, but they're usually mistakes of, you know, honest mistakes. i know where i stand on those four variables and where the competition stands on those four variable. when you buy into a product, are you prepared to buy in what might come with what kind of rule of law, what kind of respect for human rights? i don't see currently an
indication that people are buying into that in a way that's corrupting them or causing them to stray from their commitment to us and their commitment to professionalism on a mil-to-mil level. it concerns me when you look long-term, and you leverage yourself and you look down the list, democracy, human rights, rule of law. >> senator shaheen? >> thank you. admiral, as i'm sure you're aware in 2017 president trump signed into law the women peace and security act which mandates we prioritize women in conflict negotiations and security structures and peace negotiations. can you talk about how southcom is implementing that law and how you see it helping you to accomplish your mission? >> master chief staceyorin is my gender adviser, alter ego to the command major sergeant here.
she's out actually on a field trip working on this. when we look at professionalism, what it takes to be a professional force, i think that's principally why people want to partner with us. we're professional. professional forces are legitimate. professional forces respect human rights, rule of law. they also respect talent and allowing equal opportunity to come in and compete irrespective of who you are, what you do and whether you're a female or male. that's what our approach is and how we talk about it. so my commanders conferences that i have, we have a big one coming up in august in brazil for all the south american countries. that will be a focus point of the discussion with our counterparts and how they work that and how we work with them and we've actually had requests from some of our partners to say how did you, united states, work through the integration putting
women on the team, on combat ships at sea? that's one of projects we're taking on with one of our partner nations. so they're receptive to it. they appreciate the act because it came with resources that help us to sponsor training courses. we hosted a first course where we're training the trainers. i kicked the course off, the afternoon of my first day in command, actually, and we're looking how to move this forward in practical ways that deliver combat capability. i actually think it does. i know it does. delivers combat capability. >> well, i think it's also important to point out that there's a growing body of evidence that shows what a difference it makes to have women at the table in conflict resolution and in peace negotiations where we know if women are part of those negotiations, they are 30%, more than 30%, likely to last for longer than 15 years. so i think for all kinds of
reasons including the ones you cite, it's important for us to see this law implemented. thank you very much. thank you, madam chair. >> senator hirono. >> thank you. the joint interagency task force south helps detect, monitor, and stop drug trafficking. last year only 6% of known drug movements for interdicted. can you clarify for me, you mentioned in your response 40% of interdictions are by our partner countries. that's 40% of the 6% of the drugs that are interdicted. when president trump declared a national emergency to fund his border wall, he announced he would pull $2.5 billion from the department of defense's drug interdiction program. that's the program that we're talking about. so how are the funds in this program used to address drug trafficking and if the funds are diverted to build a border wall,
how would this impact your ability to complete your drug interdiction efforts? >> senator, the joint energy task force south as you mentioned currently led by coast guard two star is key to this effort. they're doing a great job with about 1.5% of the overall counternarcotics funds for the entire u.s. government to get about 80%, 90% of all the cocaine. still, it's not enough. as you cite. 6%. the -- you know, the policy decision on how the -- how the border security's done is not something that i'm involved in. we've not had any cut in our funding for the counternarcotic fight, so however that money is flowed, we have received the money that we've needed and do need to fight the fight that we're in. we do need more assets. that does cost money, but the principal problem we face has not been a shortage of the counternarcotics money.
we appreciate congress' support in that. thank you. >> clarify me for that this $2.5 billion, you're not going to miss it if it goes away. >> if it went away, if we lost the money from counternarcotics, we'd miss it. >> yes. >> i guess it was a long answer to we've not had a cut in our counter narcotics funding. >> well, it may happen. the way things are going. so considering, you know, since the president is talking about diverting this money for a wall, which, by the way, that's not going to help in terms of your drug interdiction efforts because most of your drugs come through the regular ports of -- points of entry, not where a wall will be. you noted in your testimony on page 2 that this area, your arr, is the largest source of illicit drugs and illegal migrants to the united states. you know further on that you're working with partners to address
share challenges and threats in this area including weak governance, corruption, transnational criminal organizations and the flow of illicit drugs. and you say that you're looking forward to discussing the nature of this activity and detail how you're working with the partners to address those issues. can you give me an example of how you're working with your partners to go after all of these -- the weak governors, corruption, the litany of that -- >> it's a team effort and it is a big list, senator, as you point out. our principal partner within the department of defense is northcom. the general and i are in constant communication about how we ensure there's no seam between the guatemalan/mexico border and how we view and track these challenges. so at its heart, these are intelligence-driven challenges. so what are the drivers of the
migration? what are the key criminal organizations that are involved in the illicit trafficking, whether it's people, arms, drugs, that pray on the weak governance, and so sharing intelligence with our partners, building their capacity to understand their own environment, and then taking that intelligence and building it into packages that we passed to partner nation, law enforcement, our own law enforcement, is key because most of these challenges involve action by other government entities working very closely with homeland security to pass information that we know it, when we know it, about migrant caravans or illicit drugs. >> and really, admiral, to make an impact, you have to have a long-term commitment to addressing these issues, corruption, as i said, the entire litany. doesn't help when you have $450 million that's taken away from particularly the northern triangle countries. it does not help.
i think you have to kind of acknowledge that. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. i appreciate the subcommittee's participation in today's activities. admiral faller, thank you very much for being here and representing our men and women of southcom so aptly. we truly do appreciate your service to our nation. thank you, sir, major zickafoos, for being here as well. to you and your team, we appreciate the great input that you have provided for all of us. with that, this hearing is closed.
rice university in houston. >> we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. >> then at 4:00 p.m. eastern, the smithsonian national air and space museum hosts a discussion with space suit testers and designers. >> take all the systems of spacecraft, provide your pressure, give you your oxygen to breathe. you have to scrub out your carbon die oxidedioxide. you you want the person to stay alive, be safe and get their work done. >> the 1970 film "moonwalk one." >> two minutes, 10 seconds and counting. oxidize the tanks on second and
third stages. now have pressurized. the third stage completely pressurized. t-minus 60. 55 seconds and counting. neil armstrong reported back when he received the good wishes, thank you very much, we know it will be a good flight. >> sunday on oral histories at 8:00 a.m. eastern apollo 11 flight director gene krants talks about the moon landing. >> they're all cheering and you get this weird feeling. it's chilling that it soaks in through the room and i get it and say, my god, we're actually on the moon. >> explore our nation's past on american history tv, all weekend every weekend only on c-span 3. >> next week on c-span 3 former
special counsel robert mueller will testify before both the house judiciary committee and the house intelligence committee. the judiciary committee hearing will get underway at 8:30 a.m. eastern and the intelligence committee hearing begins at noon eastern. both are live on c-span 3. you can listen with the free c-span radio app. in c-span 3's presidential leadership surveys wood row wilson drops from sixth to 11th place and bill clinton rises from 21st to the 15th spot. where does your favorite president rank. learn more about their lives in c-span's "the presidents." it's great vacation reading. the house energy and commerce