tv General Joseph Dunford Discusses U.S. National Security Priorities CSPAN February 24, 2017 3:55am-4:56am EST
busiest congress we have had in decades. >> live, tuesday, 9:00 a.m. eastern. listen live on the pre-c-span radio app. today, general joseph dunford, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff talked about current global threats including isis, north korea, and russia. he also talked to the audience about his current drive -- his current job which is to give the president all options. michael: good morning. i am michael. i have the honor of welcoming the 19th chairman general joseph dunford for conversation that will begin and include you between 10:00 and 11:00. happy spring to all of you and the 70 degree day in washington. a lot has been going on in the world. that begin with the fact that just approve how nice the guy is, even though i am a georgia guy, he is not taunted me about the super bowl reaction yet.
gen. dunford: i was waiting for a larger audience. [laughter] michael: why would i waste that -- [laughter] gen. dunford: why would i waste that? michael: he is a native of boston, as you might have guessed. and he joined the marine corps after his graduation parade -- he is a marine infantry officer by background and profession. he commanded all different levels throughout his career, including the first marine expeditionary force. he has commandant of the marine corps, commander in afghanistan, and 19th chairman of the joint chief of staff. i could go on but a lot of you would rather hear from general dunford. before we get
michael: one of the things i have benefited from as an analyst and try to make sense of the world is your framework for thinking about threats, the 4+ one frame and most of you know it is a straightforward, simple frame that there are four major countries we have 20 about, russia, china, north korea and iran. there's one transnational threats, which is a combination of devices, al qaeda and whatever term you want to use. -- combination of isis, al qaeda, and what of the turbulent to use. you have been meeting with the russians recently, chief of general staff, dealing with these four, plus one sets of problems for 1.5 years as chairman. can you describe how those for threats, plus the one, have evolved and how you take a stop to them?
gen. dunford: first, let me give you background and what that framework isn't what it isn't. last year, just like in every endeavor coming into benchmark something. last year, as we were trying to decide what our priorities it the moving forward for joint force development and process the risk we currently had in meeting our national security objectives, we came upon looking at the four threat to talked about, russia, china, north korea, iran. we do not look at that as a predicted fool. in other words, not to imply we would fight against them, but what we believe there's if we prepare the joint force to deal with one or a combination of those challenges, we would have the right amount of capability and capacity to deal with what would be unexpected. i tell people to there is one of the i have learned in four years of active duty, it is humility and ability to predict the future. what we deal with in the future is probably not one of the four plus one, but when you look at the capabilities represented by
those four plus one, in particularly, today's violent extremism, gives you the full spectrum of challenges we may face. what i tell her folks is what you have to buy into the assumption that if we build a different force, benchmarked against the four plus one framework, we will have in it inherent capability response and flexibility to deal, so it is important to stipulate that. what to receive when we look at russia? resolve russia modernizing a nuclear enterprise, full range of maritime capabilities, modern capabilities, cyber capabilities, and within the marathon category, improvements oversee. we also see operation of patterns that we have not seen since i was a captain of a ship in the mid-1980's. in terms of where russia is a point to and the nature of the deployments. the other thing we see when we look at russia is i believe that we do have a competitive
conventional advantage against russia. i think russian knows that, particularly if you look at the political, military and economic capability of nato. they operate below what i call the threshold of conflict. i describe it as adversarial competition that nasa military dimension that falls short of conflicts, where the employee unconventional -- application that military dimension that falls short of conflicts, or the employee unconventional and political influence to master their objectives. at the end of the day, but basic seek to do is undermine the credibility of our ability to meet our alliance commitments with nato and the creation of it, which is being objectively look at russian activity. in further term, when we look at many of the capability developments, the implications of those developments are that it would limit our ability to
move to europe and then operate within europe and the nato response. similarly, when we look at china, we see the same types of capabilities. certnl tckg ine vemes aitor aq tn ss, t ilsethfu rgef palies manyf emritetoee fm vi io at spif de operang frlyn e cic ear ri aris coinnc clrlwi in,imar cabiti wh isccs inhirae,bvus me cud t saitss ppedo rerolyik cha d ssn p ilie d stectlinor re wsenocoinio ofotinrctint baisc sse pali ananfft p aucar waeaonhabaisc miilinor kea n oy reensoh koa d e gi, t w pren ahrt t hola.
en lk t platnsthfit e th wne tbanc pali a wcaotfford tool ionar a n thotr,o r e orlu ongis borrae chleeso cle e cuenchleesgast olt extris thotr in a c peapsce rendth qutis wn lo a the alng, chf os lle colehis ou r d e stenry viuay,ndheonic inlv wh ulben e nd e ac aspe,ndur gialcuinacssha cl r ogph coatt mpio, sh mmdsani nn igi ancoli tt ulbe naow fus ion gi. itou he gial
platnsnd ltuniol. lo athfo ps e,t wn lk t fr pl o, hpss okt cabiti a wree e toy d okt pali vepmt d r ceat e d t d, iabt sunghaweaiaia coetivth tt ul louso vae r testanth iwh w e e amorfo chael:erhefu wagog floupn up othe su a thatanlo fwa t adg he sren e ivegofskg u me qutis. fo iskbo rsian e umadniraon erngoly,hi ihi cplat a mticed isesi nto t e an trefi wt thk i arla wk omhe muchonree,ic esenpee,ecta tt, sndli t unedtas an fd ti cmien ge dfo: i think it is pretty clear that the vice
president, secretary mattis have all confirmed their commitment to nato. in terms of where i spend my time, we are at least once a quarter meeting with all my counterparts as a group. throughout the rest of the year, probably 40%, 50% of my time is with allied partners, a large chunk of nato. equally important, the messages that were delivered -- and this is what should not be lost in translation -- yes, we are committed to nato. two other points, one is burden sharing and our administration is asking for a more equitable sharing, particularly meeting commitments that we made in warsaw and then the third area, which is also important, something we work on pretty hard, even before the transition of administrations,
is to make sure nato continues to transform to be relevant to security challenges we confront today and tomorrow, as opposed to those we challenge yesterday. in nato terms, we talked about it as 360 degrees, anyway not only made the challenges -- that not only doing we meet the challenges that nato may face, but other destabilizing activities that we may know of with consequences in europe. michael: i wanted to ask you about the trump administration's russian policy and i say this at some appreciation that president trump is trying to improve the tenure of u.s.-russian relations, even though that will be hard and the predecessors had the same ambition. i have body taken a number of snapshots into the policy. mr. trump wants to get along with president putin and we have the back story what happened last year election and
other comments. you and ambassador haley said they would we know lifting of sanctions on russia and we had a clear statement on that. i think we heard something similar from secretary tillerson last week. secretary matus has -- mattis has said there be no military to military cooperation, but he said that the same time that your meeting with the general, trying to establish military contact, i think and how this fits together but i would rather hear it in your words, recognizing it is a work in progress and in fairness to any administration, one month in his head, but the cohesive russian policy. gen. dunford: i will talk to the military dimension relationship with russia. first of all, for those who do not know, there is a wall in prison another prevents us from having military to military cooperation. the legislation prevents that.
i started many months ago, so do understand my meeting with my russian counterpart last week, was not in the context of any kind of change in policy and had nothing to do with the administration. it would be hard for conspiracy theorists to believe this, but the day i met with him, secretary tillerson was meeting with the secretary, and general mattis was meeting. we had fun it's a maker some time, and a variety of reasons. i had an opportunity to meet in january. i had to cancel the meeting because it was the day that the president came to the pentagon for the first time, so i canceled the meeting in january and we rescheduled it for last week. my purpose in meeting my russian counterpart was to make sure that we mitigated the risk and miscalculation and we opened the communication in event of a crisis. in a minimum, our military to
military relationship should be able to do that. from my perspective, we should have communications with every nation. it runs the range from what i described from mitigating the risk, location, which could be useful come all the way up to relationships for the ability to integrate and respond to mutual challenges. in the case for russia, it is in the former category, which is i wanted to make sure we mitigated the risk and open lines of purification. the only other area where i think we have some discussions are to say where are there areas of mutual interest where our actions can address this mutual interest? i would not use the word cooperation. that is not something we discussed last week or something that was directed to do. i would in the context of syria, an example, talk about the complexion --
deconfliction. on the ground in syria, we have communications with the russians in the primary purpose is to protect her eminent folks on the ground and make sure we have a safety channel open to deconflict in a crowded area. when of the areas that we look at is making sure that the current safety channel that we have with the russians, the current communications link that we have between our air operations center in russian operation center in syria is robust enough to mitigate again risk to the safety of our people on the ground. that is kind of where we are with russia. i think it is important for people not to read into the military to military communications anymore than what i have just described. that is what it is. what is most important is i am
restricted by law from cooperating with the russians at the military level, which is completely different from a communications channel to do the things i just described. michael: i will have to question about syria and china before opening things up for it one of the things we see in reports, russians buzzing that nato aircraft and ships. i have hoped that some of this might decline and the trump administration was hopeful, presumably, that president trump would be friendlier and hey did not need to be quite as provocative. where you able to raise that issue? is that something you're comfortable talking about? gen. dunford: in my russian counterpart conversation, we both agree not to share publicly the content of those conversations because we did not want our conversation to be politicized and limit our ability to do when i spoke about, so that is important. however, you do have instruments of sea and air meetings with the russians
every year to talk about what you talked about, mike. i did reemphasize the need for those ongoing dialogue -- for hat ongoing i want to be robust. this year, naval forces in europe convenes and we meet with the russians to talk about these incidents and to ensure that there is professionals to conduct. yes, i did emphasize that, and that emphasized to make sure that the process we have in place in the dialogue we have this or now is robust and effective in dealing with those incidents, which you find unacceptable. michael: moving to syria, if i could come i'm sure everybody here, like i, part b austin music by in the sneak preview would give us of the 30 day review. is my first question. i think i know what you are going to say. i'm interested in the bigger question.
we heard president trump talk a lot about the need to intensify the fight against isis and iraq, syria and perhaps elsewhere, and the famous 30 day review is something he promised for a long time and you're working hard now. for those of us, and those of you who are fought in the 21st century in the middle east, what lesson stands out -- one lesson stands out to me. which is above any military effects in the star military foundation may not be permanent. after the surge in iraq and we had successful military -- we had military success, but they would eliminate the progress because of which the way in which the intentions proved up again and the sunnis essentially tolerated the arrival of isis. my question is, after this 30 day review, which is an understandable first up, what comes next to come up with more political military strategies, so that any successes durable? doing a to bring in secretary tillerson and others to think about strategies to and the
syrian civil war and not just make progress against isis? gen. dunford: first, that is a great way to ask a question because this plan is a political military plan. it is not a military plan. even in so far in the development of the plan, we would have been engaged at every level at the state department, secretary mattis would have been speaking, secretary tillerson, the intelligence community in the process, treasury department represented, so this is a military plan and you correctly point out, and all this participated in these conflicts and realize anything we do underground has to be in the context of political objectives or it will not be successful. what i would tell you, and i cannot address the option. we are in the business of providing the options and that means the entire thing, so we are not in the business of
providing integrated options to deal with the challenge that is articulated. how this is framed, not only would the government approach, but let's talk about showing it is about a trans regional threat. we're talking about isis in this, but it is also al qaeda and other groups that present a trans original track. when we go to the president with options, it will be in the essence in the would highlight that from my perspective, the three things that make it a trans regional threat, there is the flow of foreign fighters, and we estimate over 120 countries that provided 45,000 foreign fighters to syria and iraq, so that is one element that makes them transitional threat. the flow of resources is also an area that makes it a characteristic that makes it a trans regional threat, and the third area is the narrative create our plan --
narrative. our plan to be successful needs to, number one, cut the connective tissue between regional groups that form a trans regional threat, so you cut the connective tissue, and those of the characteristics i just described. and then working in combination with the horse and coalition forces drive the threat down to where law enforcement can deal with that threat. first and foremost, there is capability of planning and directing operations. i think unapologetically, that is our priority, to protect the homeland in our american people, but that is not inconsistent with helping her allies and partners to do the same. michael: one more follow-up on syria and my final question on china. as people have started to think about political elements of a serious strategy, the president has talked about estate son, secretary clinton has talked about the safe zone.
how do you create a citizen of protected and we have the looming issue where president obama and others were very, very adamant that he had to go and we have not figured out a way to push them out and he seems he is in the stronger position than before. does this require some type of strategy option or consist of not just the stick that military campaign but even thinking about the timeless regions in the east, north, negotiated the russia, assad, and it would allow them to the vendor some sense, like a rocky cruiser to stand -- kurdistan. gen. dunford: when you bring up is an important point and it is we provide options for the president. we need to think about how to the back some about support the political process in geneva that will address long-term stability in syria.
the grievances of the civil war have to be addressed, the humanitarian assistant that needs to be brought me is to be addressed, and the multiple divergent stakeholders need to be addressed. i think we all know, it is about as complex and environment as you can be. you have iran, russia, the syrian regime, turkish concerns, kurdish concerns, arab concerns, shia and sunni concerns, so all caps -- what you are getting at is we do need to have the vision of how our military actions set conditions on the ground that actually then become a platform from which secretary tillerson goes to geneva to come up with a political solution. again, i think this. bulls have to be addressed in the cannot agree more. michael: my last -- so those issues have to be addressed and i cannot agree more. michael: my last question is
about china. china has been a concern about president trump across all aspects. even though it has been unsettling to watch the process sometimes, i have to say the issues the president has raised are legitimate. china's behavior in the south china sea, so i wanted to put two things on the table and ask you to speak to china. in his confirmation hearing, not yet secretary of state tillerson, talked about how he had to prevent china from further militarizing the islands that it had larger created a reclaimed in the south china sea and that was a strong statement. that has me thinking, what do you do that, short of war? and then secretary mattis went to the region on his first triple overseas as secretary of defense, trip seen as successful by most people, and he talked about the south china sea himself and said, i believe we can handle that largely accrued diplomatic needs. i am trying to recognize what secretary tillerson said when he made that statement and put
the pieces together and understand what kind of military enablers we have to provide the president so that he can successfully handled the south tennessee diplomatically and not have to revert to the kind of means that some people believe to include, mr. tillerson. gen. dunford: i did not see in the consistency between let mr. tillerson said before he became secretary of state. i think most people know that there are a number of claims in the south china sea and we are not one of the claimants to that territory in the south china sea. we have, for a long time, so the right way to handle that was through the framework of international law and specifically related to one of the territories in the south china sea. i think what secretary mattis was saying, which is these
territories, which are contested and need to be addressed politically and when secretary tillerson said something needed to be done, i did not immediately jumped to a military solution. i think separate from the south china sea, we had to talk probably about the purpose of u.s. military posture in the pacific and that strategic level. it is that the more, nothing less than whatever interest are meeting the alliance commitment in the region. and setting the conditions guys to hot -- for us to have, what you talk about with the specific pacific nation, very strong social interest in the region, said conditions that we set with the military designed to advance those interest, so it is not designed specifically for the south china sea. one of which is the peaceful
resolution of territorial disputes. in the meantime, the second thing we do more specifically is exercise our right of navigation and the communities right and navigation wherever international law allows to make it clear that that is the regime that we recognize in the pacific. michael: one more question in a broad, sweeping conclusion. your four plus one framework is very helpful. as you say, it covers a lot of, not just those particular threats, but others, but if there are below more threat that major list of the top six pages not include, what might it have been? i think of famously saying that the debt was a national security threat. i think of people talking about rising oceans, climate change,
and the encroachment of those kinds of issues onto many cultural regions. we think of burgeoning populations around the world and we think about pakistan, not an enemy, mostly a friend, but complex country with nuclear weapons and the complex relationship with this in the afghanistan theater, or you commended. i wonder, if there was -- what obvious next threat, if you had a list of six top threats -- gen. dunford: your question had the answer. in the words that secretary mattis used, solvency, and i think that probably aligns with what i said, we all recognize the economic print of our nation is the foundation we have to build military capability and advanced security, so just thinking about it in national security context, are capabilities, that is what we can do, how much do we have to do with to
strengthen our economy in the stability of the budgets that we have, so i think that probably is the word and if baghdad rumor thing, that would do that. michael: thank you. please electric for microphone, identify yourself before asking the question. i will start with that sentiment. guess? >> good morning, tony from "inside. the sent" -- tony from inside dissent. general, secretary mattis said we need ow much you think the military en. dunford: gen. dunford: -- how much do you think the millry needswill grow what will it look to grow? like? when secretarymattis -- gen. dunford: when secretary mattis talked about that, he talked about a new defense strategy, which is his responsibility.
what is important is to get the strategy base in place first, and only then can we talk about of force. i would trade today that we have an actual military strategy, requirements that we are meeting today. we had continuous plans against which we benchmarked the capability and the force, and we do have, as they have made clear testimony, we do have certain areas where we feel like the forces that adequate incapacity or size. what is really important, before i would talk about growth with specificity is we give general mattis the chance, from which will flow the concert, the size of the force and capabilities of the forced to meet that strategy, and then we will make some specific recommendations as to what priorities we have to have been growing the force and defense strategy.
michael: right here, please. >> thanks, i am barber from the atlantic council. i would like to draw your a little bit more on iran. have you seen any change in the behavior in the persian gulf since general flynn put them "on notice," and i think the u.s. has the uss cole now off the coast of yemen, and what is your view of designating the irgc as the terrorist organization, given that they are already and is it a necessary move? gen. dunford: i will answer the first part and i will not answer the second but i will to you are. no, i have not detected a change in iran's behavior. one thing i say, and i do not see it differently is from my
perspective, the major export of iran is a lot more influence across the region. they have an aggressive proxy that we see in yemen, influence and syria, and applied it influence in lebanon, as well as iraq and the rest of the region. i have not seen a change, certainly in the past month, a pattern of behavior that has manifested itself over many years. as to what economic or political measures might be taken to moderate iran's behavior, i'll leave that to others. my name is the military dimension. within the united states central command, our military posture is there to make sure we have freedom of navigation and that we deter the conflict and crisis in the region and we advance our interests to conclude our interests to deal with extremism of all the forms. michael: in the fifth row. >> thank you. i am theodora with the
commonwealth of virginia program. i appreciate your comments and a commitment to our nato partners. i have a question about that relative to his or support unequivocal and that there needs to be focused on meeting the 2% threshold of gdp. however, according to the wall summit declaration, such in 14 -- section 14, the third bullet point over the third bullet point, relative to our partner states that do not meet that 2% threshold, it is said that they should move toward the 2% guideline within a decade, so we are hearing a lot in the narrative of burden sharing that they need to meet the 2% threshold, but there is no mention of they have a decade with them, which to do so, and that the point in time that the
alliance is looking to expand and bring on a smaller state, such as montenegro, and their economies are not necessarily in the highest standing, are we creating problems in terms of adding to the russian threat narrative i taking on these smaller countries that cannot necessarily meet their 2% gdp currently? should we look for alternate arrangements, some type of liaison office so we are not poking the russian there, or are we committed to need it within the 10 years that we give them under section 14? gen. dunford: first of all, with regard to recommend to nato, i think administration over the past month has made it clear that we will meet our to five commitments and the full responsibility we have is a member of the alliance. the minister should has been equally clear that they want to make sure all members of the alliance, barely carried the burden of defense. i think general mattis had a pretty good night over there,
saying that he can hear more from the children of european then do european nations do. he does which is in the side. i am well aware without having spent this much time on the language as you have, although i have read it, that it was aspiration and the goal that was laid out for nato. i think what we have seen with the trump administration now is increased pressure, recognizing the challenges. this is all about transforming nato to be relevant and make the security challenges we confront today the recognition that in order to remain viable and credible, in europe, you need to make sure nato meets its requirements for defense spending. i will speak certainly will try to say what the president meant
to say. i will not do that, but i would say that what you read is not inconsistent with what i heard from the vice president secretary of state, or anything else. president trump has said that his expectation is that nato nations carry their fair share of burden in the alliance and alternate nations today inside the alliance would be the 29th. all 28 nations in the alliance carry a fair share of the burden. united states's fans 2% over will represent the largest contributor to nato. i think it is fair to say that with the backbone of the alliance from security perspective, that the good president trump has said come we have all taken artists and could step up and contribute more to our common defense. michael: tony? against the wall. >> tony with bloomberg news
three to what extent does this plan for iraq assume an enduring u.s. troop presence? what we have been south korea, albeit a smaller number, will the u.s. maintain effort and there for perpetuity? gen. dunford: i will disappoint you can just go back and say that we are in the business to providing options to the president, and that is what we are doing. with regard to specificity as to what we will do and what are posture will be, i'm not in position to talk about it. >> has the iraqi government signaled -- do they think there is a need for an enduring u.s. troop presence? gen. dunford: we have, as has made a, begin a dialogue about the long-term commitment to groom the capacity, maintained expressly of iraqi security forces, but again, we will bring options to the president
and he will have the opportunity to choose those options and that will involve iraqi government, but yes, they have begun to speak about the international community continuing to the port that capacity building in native terms, but no decisions remain. michael: thank you, gentleman in the blue. > lucas tomlinson, fox news. for americans watching at home, can they expect more u.s. troops ago to syria to defeat isis? gen. dunford: the same answer to a different question. i am in the business of providing the president with options somewhere prepared to do that. we have been given a task to go to the president with options to accelerate the defeat and specifically, any other violent extremist groups, so we'll go
with a full range of options from which to choose. michael: that includes more u.s. troops? gen. dunford: i'll go to the president with options. michael: we would go over to the first row, the woman and purple. -- the woman in purple. >> thank you, i am a social anthropologist by trading, so i will ask a different question. i'll give you a challenge. apple computer has the best saying, which is if you don't know then run together. against the pentagon 20 years ago and my sentence still holds that asking the question shows her ignorance. i think we have to reward curiosity and you have to give people permission. if you put on the wall, i want you to ask every person you don't know, and we learn together, you would increase the speed of learning and in a
world that is changing so fast, this might be worth it. there are good models. gen. dunford: then we just say something that would set that tone and i would say this sincerely, so 40 years ago, in my level of confidence now, all answers are right appear in my level experience was right down here. today, my level of experience is a p a, and my confidence with answers is actually an inverse relationship are now. intermediate rate -- immediately following this, mike has been nice enough to get experts on russia together so i can talk to them. i spend a fair amount of my time asking other people questions because most of the problems we are dealing with today to not lend themselves to simple solutions. the only people with simple solutions to complex problems are people at the
accountability. if you are responsible for something coming up to take into account all aspects of the problem. i take your point, that is a tone we need to set, intellectual curiosity should be viewed as a strength and rewarded. i cannot agree more, and i like to think in one of the areas i am responsible for, military education, and i like to think that we have instilled that in our schools. i will take a challenge and your question as an opportunity to ask those questions about whether or not we really are taking that to heart. i cannot agree with you more. we need to be a learning organization. michael: back row, standing. >> thank you. i am from tv. there are few reports in the wall street journal that mentioned that trump administration has asked egypt to host the combined air force
that would work with israel. how true is that? gen. dunford: i cannot comment on that. i do not know anything about it. i'm not going to respond because i am not hiding information. i do not know anything about that. michael: gentleman in the gold tie. after that, we'll go to pete and the worker way back this week. >> thank you. general, talking about the new plan to defeat isis, should we expect major alterations in the u.s. strategy? for example, should be expect production or emulation of u.s. support, military support, to the kurds were syrian opposition? gen. dunford: i'm not trying to be the basic, but i find myself answering this question, similar to previous questions,
this is an incredibly complex environment. everything we do or failed to do will have second and third effects. but we are trying to do in outlining options for the president is the outline the options that exist are dealing with the isis threat, the most immediate, most strain of extremism i know that we are dealing with right now, but also to clearly outline for him to the consequences, the opportunity, the risk associated with each one of the options that we presented. i think it is fair to say that we will provide a full range of options and will be provide them options, we will talk about the importance of our turkish ally and making sure our plans are consistent in maintaining a strong alliance with turkey. we will talk about the implications of the curtis challenge in the region, which you know, is not isolated to one kurdish group but many kurdish groups. we will talk about the
complexity of dealing with turkish groups with iranian interests in the region, presence of brush and all those things. yes, we will address those issues, but i'm not prepared to save if there will be a change because the decider is the president of the united states. those of us that work for him, including the secretary of defense, treasury, and others in the cabinet, are tasked with coming up with an integrated rick perry medical plan that in the context of the threat, but also in the context of our long-term interests in the region, provides the best way to balance those two, the need to immediately address the threat to our homeland and allies from isis, and at the same time, do things in the region that make sense in the broader context to advance our region, stability and what we don't want to do is bring him options, and options like this would not be feasible or acceptable to agree to not want to bring options that would
solve one problem only to create a second problem, and we are tasked with that. when i have said people is if you would take websters and rewrite it and take the word wicked and say, describe the word wicked, you would have to look at the probably deal with right now in terms of the various perspectives that have to be addressed to stop the problem prices in the middle east. i can type in a very thoughtful way, we are wrestling with those issues. at the end of the day, we cannot be paralyzed by tough choices. we have to frame those choices to the present and articulate the consequences of those choices and give him the chance to select one of those and do it he is tasked to do, which is to bring something that will accelerate the campaign. michael: i will follow-up on that before got to pete and you may or may not want to answer, but i am trying to understand where we are at this juncture. president obama to three months to consider the proposal of
general mcchrystal for different options for afghanistan. we were already there and that was a big decision argument but he still took three months and was criticized for that. i tend to think he had the good reason because it was a hard problem. is it there that president trump took a lot of criticism in the late fall for not taking his daily briefing? is he going to use perhaps some of these conversations with you to sort of learn about the region? in other words, is the presentation of options another way to do a deep dive on syria that he has not had a chance to do yet? gen. dunford: i'm glad you asked that because this response to the executive orders that the beginning or at the dialogue that we have had with the president great we have rd, since the president has been the president, made changes in the campaign. you make them every day, it is a dynamic environment, and some do not require his authority and some do. i viewed the development of options now as an opportunity to integrate all of the
government so that -- part of it is said in common baseline of understanding for this problem and in the process of responding to the executive order, i think that is one of the positive outcomes of doing it. you would expect any new administration to do that. one thing i would say is i would not at all compare this to general mcchrystal afghanistan decision on troop levels. this is an opportunity for the administration to look at an enduring challenge to reflect back on what we have been doing over the last couple of years to think about this problem in the broader context and then to move forward and do things in a way that accelerates our progress against extremism. what is the most important thing we're trying to do? mitigate the threat to the american homeland and people and their allies and partners.
at the same time, move forward. i viewed this as an ongoing -- look, it is my responsibility. we would be failing if it wasn't. solving the problem of isis should be an ongoing dialogue to adapt to a very dynamic threat in a very dynamic political military environment. michael: thank you. pete? >> thank you for coming. i am retired from brookings. you in the military for the last 20 years have had a huge burden fighting constant wars, but it has only been born by less than half percent, half of 1% of the country. 99.5% of us are not doing anything other than paying taxes, so are you worried about that? are you concerned that such a small percentage of the american public is engaged with who is supporting the military? should there be something like national service so that other young people feel connected to the country and serving
national interest? gen. dunford: first thing i would say, and i'm not pandering for the crowd, but i would say yes, there is less than 1% of american people serving in uniform, but there are not less the 1% of the american people involved in trying to advance our national interests overseas. when you look at the sacrifice of the counterparts in the state department, i do not think we have to lose sight that they are an integral part of this. frankly, ids as in support of them, particularly those in the state department. my concern with the percentage of american people that serve in uniform is less about the percentage of people who served in the military than it is about the american peopl phosphorus awareness of the service and suck up -- people's awareness of our service and to serve. we need to recruit the highest quality men and women we can in the u.s. military, so in the awareness of serving in uniform
and appreciation for the value of serving in uniform, people curing that as an honorable thing to do and something that is recognized and appreciated by the nation is much more important to me than percentage. what i want is young men and women across the country, whether they want to pursue a career in the force or as a civilian member, would have the consciousness to have that in that part of their mind in making decisions about whether they will serve for years or 20 or 30 years. that is one of the things that i have asked our team leadership to do, to stay engaged across the country so that we do continue. i am proud to tell you and i say this with no hesitation, i am proud to tell you today, yes, it is a small percentage but i am proud of the quality of the men and women we have in uniform are now and i think equally concerned and focused
on making sure we maintain the quality in the future, what should be my largest concern about that less than 1%. there are a number of initiatives that talk about national service. ironically, you mentioned stanley mcchrystal. he is engaged in one of them. very admirable idea and am fully supportive of people -- i grew up in a generation of people that viewed service as something you should do, responsibility and i never intended to make it a career, but when i grew up, i was faced with the, you need to do something for people other than yourself, so the idea contributing to our nation in whatever capacity your skills make able to do that is a good thing. michael: in the fourth row. >> thanks for coming. caroline, defense one. i wanted to follow up on
something you said earlier that there have argued been changes in the campaign against the islamic state in terrorism. that doesn't quite reconcile with some messages we have carried out of the coalition that won the for the 30 day review is when we would see changes, so can you talk a little bit more about what those types of changes are and if they're coming down from the new administration? gen. dunford: yes, i'm glad you gave me a chance to clarify. but i was referring to was interacting in syria and, it is a dynamic environment. every day, there are a testament's. some are made at the lowest tactical level they stomped the judgment of commanders and authority they have. other decisions are made by the secretary of defense, others by the president. i think since secretary mattis has been there, we have a process where the general will ask for capability to deploy, we go to the secretary, and we
will to put the capability. we have done that three or four times since secretary mattis has been secretary of defense, so we rotate forces on a routine basis, change the force disposition, change medications. those things are done every day, so i was not referring to the broader strategic sector of the campaign so much as articulating the tactical and operational level. if you stay still in this environment, you are not competitive and that is what i was alluding to. michael: question in the back, gentleman in the brown jacket in the middle. time for maybe one more after that. i think. >> in south china sea, and china's defense minister says that we wish the united states could honestly respect the sovereignty and security concerns of our countries in
the region and influencer country in the region in the south china sea, so could you comment on that? second question, and when it to see a relationship to the united states and china in donald trump's gen. dunford: first question, whether with his we do respect sovereignty in the region and that is access to global commons, that is the airspace and see that is available to all and that is what it is designed to do and that is exercise and operate the sale, whatever international law allows for that is what we are doing and we demonstrate that routinely to maintain the sanctity of that framework, which has served us so well for 70 decades in the pacific trade
with regard to our military to military relationships with china, i think positive military to military relationships are important. i had spoken to my chinese counterpart and conducted a video teleconference and i expect it will have a face-to-face visit in the near future. i met with the deputy and i'm sure we will have a chance to meet my counterpart in the near future. our military to military relationships are informed by our national objectives into the nature of our military to military relationship with china right now and it will be consistent with our political relationship with china. at a minimum, open lines of medication to mitigate the risk calculation and address the incidence we have seen, much like we talked about with russia, and what i want to do as a military leader is all i can do to mitigate the risk of tactical actions have an adverse, strategic consequences, and that is up for work when which we begin
develop relationships with china. as an aside, we completed an exercise in taiwan, and the china and india, and other nations, were in the exercise there. in one area we agree on in the pacific is sponsored humanitarian assistance, so that is an area we can always find common ground with our friends in the region. michael: one more question, the woman with red hair. right there. kim. >> kim dozier with the daily beast. several times coming up effort to filing extremism is something you fight, but i have not heard you use the phrase radical islam or islamic terrorism. is that something that you would see the military adopt in a trump administration? gen. dunford: when i use that term, there is a sunni brand of violent extremism that we have
seen, a shia brand of violent extremism. you ought not to read into my use of the word violent extremism other than really trying to articulate exactly the point i am making now that it involves al qaeda, it involves hezbollah, it involves isis, and other groups that present a trans-regional threat. if you talked about it -- specific group, i can give you a more accurate descriptor. i was using the term violent extremism to refer to all of those groups as a result of extremists, those are individuals who take up arms to advance political and/or religious objectives and use violence. that's what i was implying. michael:michael: as we conclude, speaking of nicknames and such, we want to thank everyone for avoiding inside white house drama questions,
but i'm going to try 1 -- -- we know that president trump likes the nickname mad dog mattis. does the president know that your nickname is fighting joe? gen. dunford: the only one who uses that expression is my wife. ichael: thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2017]