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tv   Campaign 2018 Defense Budget  CSPAN  November 20, 2018 10:05am-11:35am EST

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michael: good morning. welcome. thank you for joining us to talk about the u.s. defense budget in the aftermath of big changes, including the midterm elections, but also rethinking within the
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administration about how much of a want to spend on the military. we have a fantastic panel to discuss this today and we will have a logical flow in how we do it. we begin with our discussion here, before we go to you for questions, with elaine kamarck, the far left, who is one of the people who helped redefine the democratic party is not being far left. she is one of the people who helped to bring the trenches -- such as movement to power, allowed gore reinventing government effort, and is now at brookings and at the kennedy school at harvard. an we will ask her to talkd about the politics of where we stand on both sides of the aisle, after the elections, after the first two years of the trump presidency. and with the 2020 presidential campaign only moments away. i'm sure we are enjoying our peace and quiet before the campaign begins, because we all know what is coming and it is not far away. next is maya macguineas, the
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conscience, the physical conscience of washington and sort of what is left of it. i used to have some company back in the day, when we had the great -- of the world into some other people, bob rice shower, so many people have retired or gone out the better places and we still have some greats, like alice, carrying the water a bit, but maya macguineas has become responsible for the federal budget, the most important voice on remembering the importance of a fiscal discipline at a time when neither party is really listening. but we probably cannot afford not to listen forever, especially if interest rates rise. the big debt will hurt someday and probably heard our kids and grandkids even more, so she will help with the defense budget debate in this broader fiscal perspective. , theis jim miller undersecretary of defense for policy in the obama administration. i see my friend dave mosher in the back, ways to do studies for jim miller 25 or 30 years ago at the congressional budget office when jim was on the armed
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services committee staff. he has had a long career in government, worked on a lot of issues. one thing i am an admirer, is because of his understanding of technology. so a lot of times the undersecretary's of defense for policy know the world very well, and all of its hotspots and strategic 10 challenges -- and strategic challenges. he is on the defense science board. and you will see from his bio, that he was on the stanford a tennis team. some people know that he was on the stanford tennis team at the same time as john mcenroe, but many people do not know that they were teammates in intramural basketball, three-they. that was during the same time that john mcenroe was heading for number one in the world, i have no idea why he subjected his body to the punishment, but maybe it is because jim miller could protect him and get the rebounds after john mcenroe missed his shots. but is a little bit of biographical perspective on jim miller. and finally frank rose, now a
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senior fellow at brookings. he was recently in the state department for president obama as the assistant secretary for, arms control verification and compliance. and do not forget the last part, edgese frank has a hard come even though he is a nice arms controller at one level, he is a tough am a strategic thinker at another. and so he will, with contemplating changes in our new so defense -- in our missile defense portfolio, be sure to emphasize the importance of a robust defense capability, not just trying to maintain fiscal discipline and arms-control pursuits. in other words, we have a panel of open-minded people who wrestled with these questions for a long time and i will begin in a second with my first question to you lane, which will be simply, how have things changed in the last few weeks, and how should both parties be thinking about the fence as they fashioned bigger, broader messages to the new congress? and for the looming 2020 campaign. but before i do that, i will go
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through one list of numbers to try to structure the conversation a little. i will use very round numbers. people of here can correct me and be born -- be more precise if they wish, but i think it is important to remember what we are talking about an overall perspective. the u.s. girth the mystic product in 2019 i believe will reach $29 trillion, but that is a good number to keep in mind. it will get there, but it will be borderline. $20 trillion gross domestic product. plus trillion dollar budget, maybe $4.4 trillion for overall federal spending. federal revenue, substantially less. so if federal spending is a little more than $4 trillion, revenue is a little more than $3 trillion, it we still have a trillion dollar deficit in the u.s. and it is heading upwards. and within a $4 trillion of federal spending, what you could
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define as the entire national security to prize is about $1 trillion, but i am counting in that not just the national defense budget, but also veterans affairs, homeland security, security assistance, everything that could be broadly defined as relating to national security. but what is called the national security budget, the department of defense and the nuclear activities at the department of energy, that is not $716 billion. trillion.g 70% of $1 and that is the part we are here to talk about. should that part keep growing, as general dunford and secretary mattis and last week's independent national defense strategy commission have argued? and as last year's trout budget argued. should it now because, which seems to be were president trump and john bolton and others within the administration are today. should it plateau? should it go somewhere else?
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that is ultimately where we want to get in the conversation and we look forward to the second half of the discussion and your questions as well. elaine, if you could help us frame this politically in the aftermath of what we have just seen. elaine: thank you, michael. nice to be on this panel with everybody else. i suspect as the panel goes on, i will have less to say as we get into the details here, but let me start by saying that obviously you know the headlines -- the democrats took over the house. one interesting thing about the election was that i have ever sat through in election where the lead grew so steadily and it took a solid week for us to realize taht this was -- that this was a major wave. although on election night, and some of us who rushed to publish election night now are saying we were way too cautious. this was a big victory for the democrats, they have a lot of new seats in the house.
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let me talk a little bit about some of the things that will change in the house. ise big one of course, compass minerals adam smith from -- congressman adam smith from washington state will not become head of house armed services committee. and he does have a reputation as a budget hawk. he has told us back in the spring to prepare for a lean future, ok? so i think that we need to see what he is going to do in terms of overall spending. um, one of the issues batting around is going to be the space force and how big or how small it should be. um, i think that the budget issues are going to be very much front and center with a new leadership in the house armed services. he will be buttressed by some new stars. so let's talk about some of the stars. one interesting thing about them is that several of them are women veterans. so a lot is be made about the
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diversity, the first native american woman, etc, but we also have nikki cheryl, a navy helicopter pilot. as was my son. we also have chrissy houlihan, former air force. you lane gloria, a navy warfare officer. and they are going to be really interesting for a couple of reasons. first of all, i think the press is very interested in women vets. this is really the first generation where we have a lot of women veterans. and there were some others, amy degrasse, who lost in kentucky but who got quite a lot of attention. mcgrathourse, the sally in arizona, who may end up in the senate, even though she seems to have lost. i'm sorry, it is not sally mcgrath, what am i talking about? you stillha mcsally,
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may end up in the senate even though she looks like she has lost her race to kyrsten sinema. so there is going to be a lot of women officers in the u.s. congress. and the question is, what in t effect will they have. there is not much evidence on this, because the number of veterans in congress has been decreasing from a high of 71% around 19% now. and this does not seem to have changed very much with this election. but we do know a couple of things that they might do. maybe right off of the bat, i think they are going to question president trump's putting troops on the mexican border. ok. already today, it has been announced some of them are going home for thanksgiving. and has been called a stunt, ok. and i think that that is going
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to be front and center and you can probably see many of these new veterans taking the lead on that. so something that is not quite as obvious, and something that congresswoman elect nikki cheryl talked about, his gun control. she has a very -- is gun control. she has a very powerful speech where she takes her audience through all the different weapons she was trained on, that she can clean and shoot with, then she talks about being a prosecutor. and how is a prosecutor in new jersey she spent a lot of time trying to get those same weapons off of the streets. so i think that you will see some very powerful voices coming from veterans, when it comes to gun control, arguing that weapons of war are not what we should have on the streets. finally, i think that you are going to see there is a little bit of evidence from a political
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scientist named danielle lipton at colgate, who studied the voting patterns of veterans in congress. saidne of the things she made them distinctive, regardless of their political party, is that they were more interested and more active on congressional oversight when we were deployed. somewhere in the world. and i think that that is very, very interesting, particularly with this new crowd coming in who are afghan vets, and given how long we have been deployed, especially in afghanistan, i think that you will see much more serious oversight than perhaps we have seen in the last several years, over the nitty-gritty. why we are deployed, what we are doing their, etc. and finally, i think we know from some of these veterans and their campaigns, and from some
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behavior of other vets, that they will not be shy about standing up to donald trump when he does some of the more outrageous things he does, like insulting military leaders. admiralssault lately on mccreevy, right, sorry, who led the operation against osama bin have, his assaults here really hit people the wrong way and i think that with more veterans in congress you will see them standing up to the president and disciplining him. and every time he takes on someone, whether it is john mccain, as he was fond of doing, admiral mick raven, whoever it is, i think you will see these veterans up front and center. so that is where, it is always difficult -- in conclusion, it
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is always difficult to say that some group or another is going to have this effect. of coarse, many people are talking about this with all the women in congress. but, and party affiliation, party loyalty does tend to trump most things. but i do think the experience that this new group is bringing to congress is going to be invaluable. and i think that their sense of loyalty to mission and public service is going to really help uplift the tone of congress, which has not been as we may have seen, very uplifting in the last couple years. michael: before we go to maia, i want to ask a follow-up and maya want to comment on this, you mentioned adam smith is a relative fiscal budget hawk. but my question i guess is, do you really think the democratic party, in the congressional leadership or upcoming presidential campaigns, is
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likely to want to cut the defense budget a lot, because it strikes me that if the democrats made that argument they would risk giving a big issue to donald trump, which he could say i am the guy who fixed the military and i had general mattis do it, and it seems like democrats are more likely to fixate on the issues like the border, tone of discourse, but do you think that most immigrants are likely to maybe, you know, try to curb the defense budget growth or shrink it, but not really engage in a big debate about big cuts? i cannot see them engaging in a big debate on big cuts. as we look at the composition of the democratic caucus right now, with a little bit of change to come, but it looks like if you -- there is about 90 progressives in the progressive caucus, so they might he inclined to use -- be inclined to do some cutting. but it looks like you have about
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95 in the new democratic 20lition, and about another among the blue dog democrats. the blue dog democrats are the most conservative democrats. they tend to come from southern states. there were pickups in that group. so i think that the balance of power within the caucus will probably keep the democrats from doing any large-scale cuts. and focus them more on things like the wisdom of the deployment at the border, which they have called a stunt. and also with all of the new women in congress, i think you might have emphasis on family issues, which relate to readiness. which is military family issues. and i think you might see more of a shift in that direction. but no, i do not think there will be big moves to cut. michael: ok, maya, on that
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question, and how should we think about the fence in this fiscal mess we have -- about defense in this fiscal mess we have gotten ourselves into. is nice to be here at brookings institution, one of my favorite think tanks in town. i will start by saying, if there is one thing i love it is spreadsheets. i really love spreadsheets. and yesterday my 12-year-old daughter did not have school and it she went to the office with her father with the purpose to learn how to use a spreadsheet. i was like, can i come? how did it go? i have a coffee mug that says i love spreadsheets. and my policy director has a monthly that says, i love spreadsheets more. so that is the starting point. so i do not look at security policy as a spreadsheet exercise, this is something that you clearly want in terms of getting the right policies, setting national priorities,
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looking forward and figuring out what the most effective ways to meet those objectives are. so i do not come into this as saying, because i am a budget expert i should have an opinion about how security policy should work. we haveo know is that incredible fiscal challenges facing the country. and that means we have to take budgeting more seriously. and defense is a huge part of the budget. so let me start with the fiscal situation. as mica said, we are on the precipice of having trillion dollar deficits a year. what is stunning about that is that is not just a number, it is relative to gdp. thosere very largese -- ehos are very large and unusual to have them when our economy is doing as well as it is. that comes on top of a time when the national debt, relative to the economy, is the highest it has ever been in this country since right after world war ii.
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and we had just fought a world war, said that is why it was so high and it came down very quickly after that, as the economy grew and spending trunk. right now the debt is -- shrunk. right now, the debt is projected to grow faster than the economy every year forever. so there is no way to overemphasize the fiscal situation we face, it is not only challenging, but it is a characteristic and i would say inappropriate for a time of strong economic growth. what you want to do is have a budget that is manageable over a business cycles, deficits shrinking, or at surplus during economic strength, so you are prepared during times of weakness. and in all likelihood, we will have a recession in the next couple years, just because of the length of the business cycle. it is unlikely we will be able to go for much longer. second thing i would point out is that many leaders in the national security field have pointed out that one of, if not the single biggest threat facing our country, security threat, is
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. our debt situation so there in many reasons one cares about the debt. high levels of debt, slow economic growth, at a time when we need to worry about economic growth because of the aging of the population. high levels of debt means interest payments in the budget are pushing other things out. right now, interest payments are the single fastest growing part of the budget and that means we are pressure on all other parts. and high levels of debt the view unprepared for the next recession, so that is where we are now, so when he recession comes we will not have the same tools to fight it that we normally would. and that means we are vulnerable, depending on what else is going on with the global environment, we do not have the tools to fight our own recession and national security priorities. borrowp in mind, we roughly half of what we borrow from overseas. regularly, not from people where our security interests are completely aligned, so that
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seems like another vulnerability that has not gotten sufficient attention. if you look at the notion that we are approaching a trade war with china, it seems to me that that leaves us boehner, given that we borrow a significant amount of our funding from china, and in that gives them a lever that affects us economically and throughout our security agenda as well. so i would say that, not that i have any idea with the right level of defense spending is, i would leave that to the experts, and i think there are some things that are luxuries in a budget and is something that our valueable, but national security as a public interest holds its own space and we need to get that level right. but we do need to budget, and we do not budget in the country anymore. what we do is we say, we want to spend it something, or if we want to cut taxes, we are going to borrow to do so. and over the past two years, we have had a massive tax cut, over $1.5 trillion that made the deficit situation much worse,
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and we borrowed for that. and right after that, we had a huge is spending increase. we will talk about this, probably, but we had spending caps that were arguably way too low and have cramped security spending, but instead of lifting the caps and offsetting the cost with other savings, on the revenue side or the spending side, we lifted them. and this is the question about the republican and democratic part, we have what is basically the only kind of bipartisan agreement we seem to be able to get in town these days, which is one side, republicans saying we want more security spending, and democrats saying we want more domestic discretionary spending, and both saying, let's do that and i will not pay for mine, you will not pay for years, and-- yours, and that a lot of backslapping on the spending deal with little discussion on how, if you extend the spending caps, that will rival the tax cut in terms of the size and
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additions to the debt. so the spending increase was massive. so the point i would make is, if -- and this is the basic point of budgeting -- is that if in the defense budget we decided something is worth doing, then we decide it is worth paying for. but what we have to stop is the notion that we can have at all, because we do not have to pay for it. we will hand in the bill to the future and that makes everything seem worthwhile, because if it is free there is not nearly the same kind of trade-off you go through to evaluate whether this is right and it applies to all parts of the budget. so what i will argue for is a return to actual budgeting, which the country has stopped doing. not only do we often run without budgets in place, which for the biggest entity in the world is unforgivable, the notion that budgets are about picking national priorities, determining the best way to achieve them, and ultimately figuring out how to finance them have to come back to the first printable of budgeting. despicable of budgeting.
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michael: i will ask you a follow-up, which is you have been very polite and kind and gracious to let the defense crowd do what we think is right, and then -- we do not live in a world where i decide the defense budget. michael: but reading this independent commission that secretary angelman chaired, they said we should keep growing at 3%-5% in the defense budget and things like entitlements and tax reform should be what gets us to fiscal discipline. and with all due respect to secretary edelman, isn't that too fast of an argument in a world where it is easy for democrats to say, let's do more tax reform that increases revenue, easy for republicans to say let's reform entitlements, but these things are hard to do in practice. and even if we did them both, we would not be closing a trillion dollar and will deficit. so isn't there a counter under defense -- a need for
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to look for where it could tighten its belt? maya: it is true -- announcer: we will take you you live to a session of the house here on c-span. >> the house will come to order. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer ll be -- the will be offered by the guest chaplain, rabbi arnold e.
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resnicoff. the chaplain: we pray, reflect, meditate in different ways but unite in condemnation when hatred rears its ugly head. on this date in 1945, we helped convene a court in nor -- normburg proclaiming some actions so inhuman that it is crimes against humanity itself. we condemned the false belief that any humans are less than human. life unworthy of life. such thinking leads to slaughter even here at home. children in their churches hated for the color of their skin, beatings, killings, lynchings that stained our landscape and our history with what poets called the strange and bitter fruit of bodies hanging from the trees. d last month in a pittsburgh synagogue men and women
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murdered because the shooter thought all jews should die. god, we know that thoughts and prayers still matter when they're linked to action. grounded in our nation's founding vision that all are created equal with rights to liberty and life, rights and dreams we must forever honor, cherish, and protect. and may we say amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-a of house resolution 1142, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. please stand, face the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honor honor -- the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir. pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on november 16, 2018, at 3:09 p.m. that the senate agreed to relative to the death of the huddleston, ter d. senate resolution 700. that senate agrees to the house of representatives amendment to the bill senate 2152, that the senate agreed to senate concurrent resolution 51, that the senate passed senate 3209, that the senate passed 3 -- senate 3237, that the senate passed senate 3321, that the senate passed senate 3414, that the senate passed senate 3442, that the senate passed with
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amendments h.r. 4407, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 606, that the senate without an amendment h.r. 1209, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 2979, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 32 30, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 4890, that the senate without an amendment h.r. 4913, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 4946, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 4960, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5349, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5504, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5737, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5784, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5868, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 5935, that the senate passed without an amendment h.r. 6116,
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appointments, united states-china economic security and review commission, national security commission on artificial intelligence, cyberspace soler yum commission. with best wishes, signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. 2152, an act te to amend title 18, united states code, to provide for assistance for victims of child pornography and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-b of house resolution 1142, the house stands adjourned until friday, november 23, at 9:30 a.m.
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>> quality over quantity. still need to prioritize within the defense budget, whether it or 733.or 700, my final point would be the numbers we are talking about for defense are in the range of 3% or 4% of gdp. and when you include other operations, closer to 4%. the nation can afford 4% of gdp for defense, it needs to spend it wisely and focus it on the great power competition that the strategy has said we will. and it needs to make the hard choices that truly are difficult to make, but involves reduced structure, more quality versus the focus on quantity. michael: uh, one question is going to be -- let me do it in two chunks. are you comfortable with the
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possibility of a $700 billion national defense budget in 2020? the number we are starting to hear from omb and a national security advisor, it would be about $33 billion less for that year than was expected. again, we are at $716 billion in this fiscal year, which has already begun as of october 1 and the expectation as many know, others may not, is that we would be a $733 billion, that is the combination of the base defense budget, overseas contingency operation and nuclear activities. and now we are hearing talk that we would be around $700 billion. you may not love the number, but is that when you think you can live with? jim: i can live with the number, i do not love it. the test will be, if you look at the difference between the 733 budget, $733 billion and $700 billion, did the difference come out of core structure, not readiness or future capabilities? so if the answer is to do a cut
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across all accounts, that is not strategy. if you are going to have a strategy driven budget, including the lower number for defense, you should be emphasizing the capabilities of that support and the quality of forces that support the strategy, which is rightly focusing more on great power come petition. michael: so the alaska follows naturally, but just to get it on the table, there are some numbers out there, a hundred 51 ships, which i think is a growth of 70 with the fleet today. and the air force would like, secretary wilson announced a desire for 386 operational squadrons between the active and reserves, which would be up from 312 today. and the army wants to grow more modestly to more than 500,000 active soldiers, relative to 480,000 today. so those are the kind of numbers that should be challenged and three thought if we have to make
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tough choices. jim: exactly. michael: frank, you have been patient. i know you have a lot to say. pick up where we have left off in terms of the strategic portfolio. frank: michael, thanks so much. it is great to be on stage with these other panelists, including elaine. i was actually her intern 25 years ago, so for all of you interns out there, there is hope. [laughter] frank: i want to focus on the strategic capabilities portfolio, because in the upcoming congress i think that there is going to be quite a bit of friction between the democrats and the house in the administration -- the administrationand on these issues. let me focus on three issues -- nuclear, space security and missile defense. starting with nuclear modernization. believe it or not, t during the obama administrationhere -- believe it or not, during the
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obama administration there was bipartisan consensus on the need to modernize our nuclear delivery vehicles and infrastructure. despite the fact that many on the republican party had accused the obama administration of not paying enough attention to nuclear issues, obama was able to do what the bush administration was not able to do, create a bipartisan consensus in favor of modernization. attached to also arms control. i would argue the new start treaty in 2010 was very, very critical in building that bipartisan support for the modernization. new start had the treaty, i think it would've been difficult to bring on board many congressional democrats. and jim played a big role in the negotiations on the new start
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treaty. and i really commend him for his work. jim: thank you. frank: however, that consensus is beginning to fray for couple reasons. one, of the potential price tag of the modernization program. i have seen dave mosher in the back there. and david and his colleagues at cbo came out with a report earlier this year, saying the modernization will cost $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years. that is a lot of money. and when you compare that with all the other challenges, i think that there are legitimate questions about whether we can afford it. the 2018 nuclear posture review, the trump administration included a number of new low yield capabilities. and that has gotten a lot of pushback from some congressional democrats.
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and thirdly, and i think that this is a really important point, is there is a view amongst many democrats that the trump administration is hostile toward arms control. their decision to move out of the iran nuclear deal, and the recent announcement that the united oftes intended to get out intermediate nuclear forces treaty, and the potential for not extending the new start treaty. my personal opinion, having spoken to people and having worked on the house armed services committee, is if you neustar is not extended, i think the trump administration is going to have a very difficult time maintaining that consensus for strategic modernization.
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if the administration is smart, i think there is a deal to be had. and that deal would be as follows -- the administration would move forward with extension of the new start treaty. and in exchange, democrats would support the strategic modernization program. now, shifting to space security, there is no doubt that russia and china are developing a full range of anti-satellite capabilities designed to deny the united states access to space derived information. indeed, in the obama administration we began a major initiativet enhance -- to enhance the resiliency of our space systems in order to deal with this threat. we have heard a lot about the space force. honestly, the space force is not
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as crazy as it sounds. i do not think it is necessarily the right solution to the problem we face. however, i think it is a legitimate issue to discuss. and it really should not be a partisan issue. unfortunately, president trump has made a partisan issue. where did he an ounce of the decision to establish the space force? at a campaign rally. and right after that, his reelection committee sent a fundraiser email out on the space force. he is taking what should be a nonpartisan issue and he has turned it into a partisan issue, and i think that is going to present challenges when the space force is debated next year. and finally on missile defense, i think one of the biggest questions in the national security community right now is,
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when is the missile defense review going to be released? the world wonders. we do not know if or when it will be released, but i think there are two issues that we need to watch to see how the administration handles them, because i think it will have political implications. first, how do we use missile defense to address russian and chinese strategic capabilities. in the previous several administrations, both democrat and republican, there has been a consistent message that u.s. missile defenses are not designed or aimed at dealing with russia or china's strategic deterrent. however, we have seen a number of analysts and some in the administration start to question
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whether that is the right approach, or whether the united states should assume a "damage limitation" strategy. that is a question we will need to look at closely. space-basedssue is, missile defense interceptors. over the last year, we have seen a number of senior administration officials, including the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, saying the united states needs to develop a space-based layer of its missile defense capabilities for intercept. s. i do not know how much support there is for space-based missile defense amongst the democratic caucus. armed was on the house services committee from 2007-2009, there was not a lot. and my gut tells me that there
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will not be a lot of support for space-based missile defenses amongst the current or incoming caucus. so those are a couple of issues to watch, but fundamentally, if you ask me where the friction oints will be -- points will be for the upcoming congress, i think it will be in this area of strategic capabilities. nuclear modernization and arms control, missile defense and space security. michael: two follow-ups. and then i will go to the audience, because i managed to get my questions in. and if the panelists want to comment on the others' remarks, i hope that you will leave those in. first of all, space-based missile defense, that has been around as an idea since ronald reagan's 1983 speech, if not sooner. and the technology is better than it was then, but is it realistic to talk about that now? withinsecond question,
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that $1.2 trillion nuclear modernization agenda, are all things really created equal? are there some areas we could prioritize, for example, the idea of creating more capacity at the department of energy nuclear security energy, to be able to produce 80 plutonium -- a year, when last i saw we were confident that the ones we have would hold up for decades to come? frank: on space-based missile defense, this has been a controversial issue for a very long time. i would argue that there are a lot of technical, as well as fiscal challenges to moving forward with space-based interceptors. area where i think there could be consensus is that is improving space-based sensors. giving us the ability to better track incoming missiles. indeed, the bush administration and the obama administration had
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programs designed to improve our space-based tracking capabilities. with regards to the modernization program in the rack and stacking, what i would say is this -- i support the triad, but as i have said publicly on numerous occasions, it is going to be really is texas -- really expensive. and we will probably need to make a trade-off. from my perspective, number one priority would be the submarine, followed by the bomber, and the long-range standoff nuclear cruise missile. and last of my list would be the ground-based to teach it iferrent, or the internet -- i was going to take risk, that would be where i take my risk. michael: jim, any comments?
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jim: i would add, nuclear command control needs substantial investment, so it is resilient, survivable and supports our capabilities. and second, as you look at where to go with icbms, the potential for goosing the middleman, those forces overtime, it buys them additional time and the first investment. and i believe looking at the possibility of deploying a small number of silo-based single warheads, those lighter ones that are less expensive, and having them about research and development program makes sense, because what we want to do is ensure that we have a survivable leg in rc base, and a hedge against that, with any problems with the land-based and air based legs. and on space i want to add one thing, if i may, to any technical or fiscal concerns, which i think both are far left from where were they were.
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two minor points with the interceptors. one is, you blow space -- out of the water. for russiaves to -- or china to go after the interceptors, whether through kinetic, or ciber are overwhelming, because otherwise we have space superiority. and second, if those interceptors are effective vis-a-vis russia or china, or have the possibility of being so, it is an invitation to a nuclear arms race. frank: can i come back to jim on that? i think he is absolutely correct. what i have said and what i've written is that be assured, russia and china will do whatever is necessary to maintain an assured second strike capability against the united states. and if we do move forward with the space-based interceptors, i
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am very confident that they will have countermeasures. michael: and i will add one technical think, do not forget, to be effective as an interceptor you typically have to be in lower orbit, which means you cannot stay stationary relative to the points on earth, which means you need more satellites in space to have one in the right place. so you have an absentee ratio problem, which adds to the cost. we will start in the second row. both gentlemen, and then we will have sandy, then go to the panel. starting on the far side by the wall. please identify yourself before asking a question. >> tony, inside defense. for being with us i wanted to ask -- thank you for being with us. i wanted to ask about the audit the pentagon completed. how should we think about that politically, fiscally, and then sort of in terms of managing the department -- was it worthwhile, worthwhile to keep doing it?
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they did not find the pot of gold that some critics wanted to weaponize, or thought they would find. harlan, please. >> my question is to mike and jim. the commission on national defense strategy is a polite, but scathing critique of the national defense strategy, calling into account the fact that there is no operational concept for deterring or defeating russia or china in a war, which basically says this is not a good idea, in the absence of civilian control of the military, which you may agree with or not a great. but if you take that report seriously, and the expansion and growth of the services, you need to budget closer to $800 billion a year, than $700 billion a year. and i would argue that we are heading toward a hollow force. if you look at the readiness of the forces,, it is in great decline training accidents are
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higher than deaths in combat. so i agree with jim in terms of partners asian, but the department has always been bad in doing that. and so had we discipline the department and -- in the process, because if we are looking toward something we need a smaller ready force. but getting there is going to be increasingly difficult, especially in terms of the blended retirement plan that is now in place. uncontrolledrnal, cost growth of about 3% to 5% from people to weapons. so how do we make sure that we have a force that balances capacity and capability? is growinglow force quite quickly. michael: sandy. >> thank you. csis. military installations and infrastructure have long been built -- bill payers, which ipmmanders can easily d
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into to find a training. how should feature budgets and the process solve that problem, and in particular reduce the risk of mortgaging installations and infrastructure for the future? michael: i think we will take a fourth question, if anybody has a question in broader terms that could be directed toward elaine and maya, so if we can get a hand on that. the gentleman in the fifth throw. >> good morning, jamie gets. -- gatz. in world war ii, afterward were two we had the arms race and we basically forced to rush into bankruptcy. is there a risk of that happening here? michael: i do not know if that is a good question for you. let's go from elaine kamarck downward. elaine: i am not sure i can answer that question, but just to go back to what the political impact is, nancy pelosi talked
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about her new members, some of them, as majority makers. majority makers tend to be people from marginal districts. tha is one of the reasonst -- that is one of the reasons we took so long to see the actual majority in the house. you want to look at those people district by district. look at the jason crowes of the world, conor lambs of the world. look at their districts, because those are the people that the new leadership of the congress, and i expect it will be nancy pelosi, they need to protect those people and keep those people. that means that-- and i think michael has the right idea, the same as mine -- that means the correct strategy for the new congress is to be critical, do oversight, but not make any far left broadsides against the
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military establishment. i think that is -- what it will do is it might make a solid blue districts happy, but it will put into jeopardy those 30 or 40 seats where, as we have seen, the results were so narrow that we have taken more than a week to figure out actually what the majority in congress is. so i think that when you think about this going forward, you are going to put yourself in the shoes of the leadership. and the leaders are going to be careful to structure decisions around areas where they can gain political points, like wasting the money, not to mention manpower, the silly build up at the border. they will get points there. but i do not think that you will see the democratic leadership taking them down a road where
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they are massively critical of a lot of things the pentagon is doing or wants to do. michael: and maybe maya, do you want to go into the audit question, for the fiscal question, or both? maya: one thing is how we think about what we should be spending on our defense budget. you mentioned the share of gdp, as a share of a budget, over all defense spending relative to the economy is more on the low side. so that would make the argument, we can afford to be spending more, or spending more on other priorities. i am not convinced that is the right metric, in that as the economy grows it is not clear we need to increase at the same ratio are spending on national security. it depends on how much is centralized, a lot of different questions informed that decision. i do think that one of the useful things the administration has focused on, because defense is a shared gdp as these will
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metric of what we can afford, is looking at allies and what they are spending and i think that has been a helpful thing to think about and put forward. audit,se i would love an there is no world i would not love the idea of auditing more, more accountability. really accountto how the dollars are spent and every we can do to make it work better is something i think is long overdue, very important and we should learn what we do not learn each time and try to make a better. similarly, that is the question of how you do not steal from other parts of the budget. one of the biggest budget gimmicks we have had has been the overseas contingency -- so we have cleft that up to compensate for what is going on, when we have spending caps in place and we have had like a three card monte, that is what that has provided us for way too
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long and we need to be much more specific about how the dollars are spent so you do not have spending cuts, you are spending certain initiatives and that is where the money exactly spent. one of the interesting things that got me thinking is the question about the cold war, war -- it seems like it would be a bad idea for us in so many ways to engage in cold war mindset. our fiscal situation does not look to be strong enough -- i was not clear who you thought would win or lose, but i'm not confident the u.s. would farewell. i think with globalization and intertwined economies the notion that you can outspend your arrival to lead them to a bankrupt situation when we are so intertwined with the economies of those other countries, that would come back and hurt us. in a globalized environment, thinking about the interplay between national security and economics is also true on a global stage. that is clearly not the right
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model for trying to stay strong vis-a-vis other countries could thank you. jim? jim: i will try to give an answer in reverse order. there is zero prospect the united states will outspend china in the way we outspent the soviet union. china's gdp is on a path to surpass the united states. the defense budget has increased by 10% per year. as secretary mattis has said, we will have to use our brains if we are going to be successful in competing effectively and ensuring stability vis-a-vis china and russia. part of that is to be more effective in efficiencies in the department. having an effective audit is a platform for that. my recommendation is to keep working on department of
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defense, as a matter of public responsibility and public trust. it has to continue to be a priority. what that leaves is the reality of hard choices, whether it is $733 billion next year, that is the future. there are hard choices. yourn, i agree with assessment that it is not in the nature of a bureaucracy to want to make those hard choices. that will rest heavily on the secretary of defense and on the white house. see whether they put their money where their strategy is. it can all be addition. there's is not enough budget to make it all addition. if you try to do that, you will seen thath -- we have
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the last couple times in the several decades. it is not a good approach. spending on installations and infrastructure fall in the same category, and for all of these issues that involve trade-offs, congress should play a vital role. the fact that you have a republican-controlled on one side and democrat on the other, that would increase the likelihood those issues get discussed. they to start, as chairman mccain did, start at the level of strategy and look to the implications. frank: on your question about whether we can spend our way out of this, my answer is no. i do not think the russians or chinese will play that game. if you look at the russian and chinese security strategy, what has it been focusing on? developing asymmetric capabilities that can undermine
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u.s. strategic advantages, especially in the information security domain. what we have seen is that both the russians and the chinese are investing heavily in offensive capabilities, and anti-satellite capabilities. again, the objective is to deny the united states the advantages it derives from information. i do not think the russians or the chinese will play that game. they will look for our achille'' heel and try to exploit that. michael: that is a great point. a couple times people have mentioned percent of gdp. let me frame a couple more facts and figures people might find useful as they think through
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their own view on the defense budget. we are at about 3.5% of gdp. that is not the v.a., not theland security but department of defense, including contingencies and the nuclear activities of the department of energy. about 3.5%. in the cold war, we were between 5% and 10%, always well above where we are now. today's budget, when you just for inflation is substantially above the cold war average. that is because our economy is much bigger and we can afford it , so it is only 3.5% of gdp. that is still pretty hefty compared to most countries in the world. it is similar to what russia spends out of its much smaller gdp. by the best that's the mets -- by the best estimates we have, it is about tries what china spends -- it is about twice what china spends. china is going 10% per year. it appears to be heading at
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somewhere between 1.7% and 2.7% gdp. i'm not trying to minimize the chinese buildup, that i think it emphasizes frank's point. they are not trying to compete with us in every domain and they do not have to to make our lives complicated, especially in the western pacific. this leads to the question of what to our allies spent. nato's goal is to percent of gdp. usother nato nation besides meets that all. the nato average is 1.5%. south korea is that 2.5%, australia is at 2%, japan is at 1%. no one is asking them to spend more because the neighbors feared japanese re-militarization and we feel destabilization. everyone is happy with the 1%. the shinzo abe a buildup is no buildup at all.
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that may be more statistics than you wanted, but as we try to frame what is the right reference point, i thought i would put those on the table. without further ado, michael, over to you. gordon, "walll street journal." this national defense strategy that has been promulgated is not the most detailed document. the commission that studied the national defense strategy and air assessment pointed out that the classified version also contains a lot of assumptions that they thought were not well defended and there were gaps in some of the logic, perhaps because it was done quickly. just listening to this group, what i hear you saying is you like the basic national defense strategy, but maybe the debate is over how best to execute it. should you have more things or more technology. what i'm wondering, my question
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is, given the gap between , whiches and the threat does not seem like a good way to close that gap, should there be a more fundamental discussion about whether we have the strategy right and is congress capable of conducting that kind of discussion should there be a look at nuclear versus conventional or as michael out, keepingts stuff overseas as opposed to keeping stuff here. should there be a deeper look at these kind of things or is the debate -- we accept what mattis said, we will debate whether we should put the money in ships or into cyber or by this missile or that missile? what is your take on that? michael: excellent. we will get a couple more for this round. we go to the gentleman in the
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fourth row. >> this deals with the compensation of modern mating -- the accommodation of modernizing forces. if the navy has ships, primarily surface ships, what happens to the columbia missile some rain, which would eat up the shipbuilding budget. john grady, naval institute. michael: and then watch arose back. >> rob levens, bloomberg. national defense is not a fiscal decision, it is about the priorities for the nation. i wonder your thought, we are now in separate countries in combat, maybe a few more. there were a few classified contingencies that just propped up. ,he lack of fiscal constraints we are funding these things on a credit card, allows the national security decision-makers to get
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us involved in places that were there physical restraints or think -- were there fi scal restraints or things like a draft, that might change -- might restrain us. our lack of restraint on the means expands the available ends we can pursue. .aya: that is a great question you've hit the nail on the head. if you make the cost of something free, of course it is worth it. we are building a tool called is it worth it or you look up what we are spending on, whether his education, the environment, you see in terms of where you are and how much you pay in taxes, how much it is costing you and your family, getting a sense of what the costs are. one of the problems with deficit financing is that it does not allow us to go through the necessary exercise of is it worth it?
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if everything has to beat the hurdle race of zero, of course it is going to be worth it. that is a huge problem we have in budgeting. i will expand my thinking on security issue. one of my problems with how we budget is we have always done it in a way that is compartmentalized. we think about this category and this category. if you look at what is going on in our country, and i'm fascinated by the idea that so many of our threats come from asymmetrical warfare, the national debt reflects how broken our government is. it reflects out unwilling we are to focus on long-term issues, hard choices, policy or politics , a number of things that are symbolic of what is broken in our government. part of that is we cannot look at where our threats are. our threats are external and internal in terms of massive
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decisions and distrust and dysfunction. when we go to the question of what is security for this country mean in the budget, it is not just going to be defense. it is how you build an economy where a middle class is more content or people are less polarized politically. i think whatever you are thinking about budgeting, it is not a spreadsheet. as much as obese comfortable if it were, -- as much as i would be comfortable if it were, it is thinking about what national priorities are. part of that is looking forward to what threats we face. i would point out there are threats coming from within which have been prompted from outside sources. we are seeing a huge ripple affect. michael: elaine, do you want to comment? want to comment on the gentleman from the wall street journal's question. one of the things i think we will see is how does the republican leadership
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internalize the lessons from the selection? -- this election? do they engage in the big debates you referenced or they decide to continue on a path that is characterized them for the last couple years as basically opposition, opposition, opposition. we do not know the answers. i think that is the election results get ported over -- get poured over and they look at how decimated they were in the suburbs and the weakness that was apparent throughout the country in rural areas and republican strongholds, they may decide to adopt a different strategy than we have seen. we do not know yet. michael: thank you. frank, and then jim to bat cleanup. frank: let me respond to michael's question and then hit the shipbuilding issue.
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michael, i think you are fundamentally correct. we have a mismatch between strategy and resources. i think the united states government as a whole needs to have a fundamental rethink of some of these long-standing strategies that have been in place. i do not know if congress is capable of conducting that debate. personally, i believe you will need presidential leadership, like president eisenhower used with the solarium project in the 1950's. i believe congress approved and year, theed this defense authorization bill, calling for a solarium like to mission for cyber. that is what i think we will need. i also believe we cannot do this on our own.
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with this administration on a lot of issues. i think they are fundamentally correct in their assumption that we have returned to an era of great power competition. we are in competition with russia and china for the future of the international order. therefore, that, in my view, makes our allies even more important. we have a lot of asymmetric on her abilities like outer space in cyber. one of our asymmetric advantages is our system of alliances around the world. unfortunately, this administration has not taken , leading us that into a different direction with our allies. that needs to be fixed. with regards to your question
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about the shipbuilding budget, i agree. there is not enough resources currently in the budget to do the columbia class plus all of these additional ships. priorities need to be taken. guide, being a strategic the columbia summary should be -- submarine should be one of our top national priorities. thatm mentioned earlier, is the backbone of the u.s. strategic detergent. for the generalist watching, what does the columbia give us? frank: the columbia summary is that -- the columbia submarine is the replacement class for our current ballistic missile submarines which provide is our second strike nuclear capability.
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it is the backbone of our strategic nuclear force and will likely be the backbone of that force for the next 70 to 80 years. the older summaries are getting old and you cannot put summary and's to see forever. jim: i will just follow up on the columbia point. in my view the navy does not get to come to the table and say sorry, we ran out of money, so we do not do -- we do not need to give the nation a secure capability. if not, the secretary of defense funding issure provided. congress should start at that level of strategy. whether they are all well in that at this moment is beside the point. they can ask outside witnesses and have commissions. when they do, one of the key questions will be -- there is
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not an operational concept for success. let me be clear about something. anyone who thinks the operational concept for success with respect to russia is putting troops in moscow or putting troops in beijing with china is a lunatic. what is the operational concept? it should be not that we want to devastate other country. we want to avoid a war with both countries. we need to do turn them and think about strategic stability in addition to the military capabilities we provide. that is important to think about the nuclear balance. it means that with our allies in each of those regions, we want to be able to frustrate their names if they undertake ifression -- their aims they undertake aggression and impose costs on them. that does not have to be an infinite bill. it requires clear prioritization and will require a massive
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investment in the resilience of both hours our -- of both our spaceports is. -- our space forces. mundane will add one point. for structure we need to think harder about how to grow it. we have to ask how to we get by with the current force structure or something like it. when the forces so tired, when it is working so hard. i think we will have to ask the service chiefs to prioritize giving their people and equipment easier but time when they can figure out a way to do it. within dod there is a culture of machismo that says left always work hard and be tired. there's a time when you have to take the strain off. i would submit two specific ideas. the rotations we are making with army soldiers into poland and korea, and the latter case
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long-standing policy but with poland newer policy, i think we need to think about doing those with permanently stationed brigades. we do not have to think about rotating just up one in place. maybe you would agree with me on poland but not korea or vice versa, but i think that idea needs to be on the table. the navy has not had a carrier in the persian gulf since early this year. historically, that is the sort of thing that if you would say to naval personnel were strategists, they would have been horrified. the middle east was a mess before we took the carrier out, that it is still a mess, but there is no big iranian aggression, i would cement that we can be more unpredictable and how we do deployments. that may provide a way to get by with a slightly smaller fleet. that is just my soapbox for the final round. we have time for two or three questions.
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i have not yet call and a woman. my daughters will give me a hard time. right here. the third row. .ey with jane's the army is undergoing a massive reorganization and modernization. what type of appetite do you think you will see from house or senate leaders as they examine these cuts and will army leadership be held to account? how are these programs going to deter or be used operationally in combat with china or russia if it comes to that? michael: one here in the second row? and i guess the last one will be in the back. >> i am daniel, i'm a graduate student at johns hopkins. since nuclear weapons have been brought up and since we have fought a number of wars over the last decades, how relevant our
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nuclear weapons? can there be a downgrade on the stockpile we do have, is that an area where cost can be cut? michael: and finally in the back. >> i would love to take a crack at the question just asked. i will resist your. jim, you mentioned the nation .an afford 3% to 4% of gdp i would submit when talking about a gdp of between $1 trillion, there's a significant difference between 3% and 4%. that is not trivial. i want to get back to the question a few others asked earlier regarding the emphasis on the return of great power competition and the implication that shedding structure not relevant to those high-end fights is something that should be done. jim, you got into what some of the trade-offs might be.
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fewer army infantry brigades. fewer server ships. ships.r surface not as many air force squadrons. the f-16 immediately comes to mind. how do you convince congress to make these cuts? the previous administration went to congress with proposals such as shedding the a 10. some of these legacy for structure has political constituencies that say technology department does not have. how do you deal with that? michael: we will go down the panel with responses to each question and any final concluding thoughts and then will wrap up. frank we will start with you. frank: since the end of the cold war, u.s. administrations in both parties have sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our defense strategy.
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china,nately, russia, and others have not followed us. i am one of these people who believe if we can do it in a way that is consistent with our security policy, we should reduce the role of nuclear weapons. unfortunately, as i mentioned previously, others have not. i think we are stuck with nuclear weapons. they are not going away anytime soon. therefore, it is critical that the united states maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that 10 deter deters -- that can threats against the united states and our allies. that is the good -- that is key. as much as we talk about wanting to eventually a limited nuclear
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weapons, that needs to be closely connected to the security environment. if anything, the security environment has gotten worse over the last 25 years. let me leave you with this one last point. that is that when you talk about nuclear modernization, do not forget the important role that arms control has played in advancing nuclear modernization. had it not been for the new start treaty, i am not necessarily convinced we would have been able to put the bipartisan consensus that theently exists in favor of nuclear modernization of our delivery systems, of the doe infrastructure, and our nuclear command-and-control. that thed be a lesson trump administration would be
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wise to pay attention to. michael: jim, over to you. jim: i will pile on on nukes. the fact that no nuclear weapons have been used in anger since 1945 is the success of our nuclear policy, not a failure of our nuclear policy. that said, i firmly agree with frank that nations should continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our military strategy and policy that we should aim toward a no first use or sole purpose. the obama administration made a decision not to go toward that in 2010. it should still be an objective to reduce the role and in my view there is still substantial room for reductions in numbers while sustaining a robust triad to deter nuclear attacks. on the question of conventional forces of all varieties, more is better.
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stipulating, better is more better. quality is more important than quantity when you get into a strategic competition and the potential for battle and the selection of the capabilities that are able to survive first strike, whether nuclear or nonnuclear cap command and control that is resilient and can provide a punishing response to deny the aims of the adversary and impose unacceptable costs. that should be the principal focus of the u.s. military and i would put those nonnuclear capabilities as a high priority. we do not want to be in a position where we feel we need to go nuclear to prevent progression. we want to be able to deter aggression through nonnuclear means. that investment is doable. it involves a lot of resources going to space and cyber resilience and it will involve a new operating concept for how we think about conflict. converse --le and
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and congress should play a fundamental role. i am hopeful that many in the group today it will help them serve that role. michael: thank you. maya? our fiscal situation is that a worrisome level. it is projected, if we do to get significantly worse. one of the points that anchor this discussion is the spending levels we are talking about in defense for next year, whether it is $700 billion or $733 billion are ignoring the facts that we have spending caps that will be in place. we increase spending for two years. yearpending levels next are going back to $576 billion for defense. all of the top we've been hearing about in the budget is the president has asked for a 5% cut.
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that 5% cut follows on a 14% increase that just happened that was not paid for. the point i would make is that we want to get out of the habit of making this worse, we are going to find a way to offset the difference between where the $700 billion and the $733 billion. that difference is as large as the overall tax cuts, which in my mind was one of the most fiscally reckless things we have seen. if we are about to double down on that by increasing spending caps, we need to recognize how much we're willing to face up to the budget. i do not know the right number is 576, my guess is it is not. it withe have to pair our willingness to offset the hole, not digging the wherein any deeper. michael: that 576 number in the
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budget control act, we gave ourselves a reprieve for the current fiscal year and the last one. that will expire. the budget we are talking about the president will submit to congress in february for 2020, would have to be reduced within the confines of the budget control act unless there is a new data jail free card. 576 would be without the contingency costs. when you add in 700 -- $70 billion for contingencies, we are talking about roughly 600 and $50 billion. maya: we have done this -- $650 billion. this last time we did not try to it all. the question is when we let these caps, how much did it come from the budget. that was the original intention of the sequester. elaine: i think it bears
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discussing that as we listen to all of the discussion here, we need smarter processes. we need to be smarter about what we are spending. i would posit to you the following history. congress has been dumbing itself down. congress is not getting smarter because what they have done in the last couple decades is twofold. there's been a shift in their spending from committee staff to staff at home. they have moved their staff out to their districts. there is a lot of data on this. the second thing they have done is they have -- in an effort which is kind of amusing, because the total cost of congressional support is a quarter of a drop in the bucket of the money we're spending here. cbo and all the support agencies that help congress analyze the questions
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we've been talking about, they have been reducing staff. senator mike lee from utah has been very good on this topic. his colleagues need to listen to them. congress needs help. all of the things that smart people in the audience and the experts have been talking about, this is going to be brand stuff -- brand-new stuff to the new members of congress and secondly congress has been cheating itself at making itself unable to make the kinds of hard choices we are talking about here. the best thing that might happen , thet $716 billion smartest thing that might happen here is $100 million for getting congress the kind of intellectual help and expertise that it has not had for many years. i think you see that in some of the ways congress is taking
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these issues and pushing them to the side. tohael: happy thanksgiving all of you and your families and the families of the military around the world. i'm sure you want to join them in packing the panel as well. -- in thanking the panel as well. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> before heading to mar-a-lago for thanksgiving, president trump will participate in the turkey pardoning ceremony today in the rose garden. scheduled for 1:05 eastern, you can watch it live on c-span. c-span's weekly podcast. this week, part one of a two-part interview with three national known presidential historians. douglas brinkley and richard norton smith, who share historical context for the trump
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presidency. >> i see him as an andrew johnson like president. meeting someone who has impeachment swirling around them and to is not able to heal a racial divide in the country. >> there is a real animosity between the press and the president as early as john adams. he is the person who is pushing for the sedition act of 1798. tries to act does is prevent criticism of the government and a president. c-span's "the weekly" on the free c-span radio app under b or wherevera you go for podcasts. up next, a look at the impact of religious voters on the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential campaign.


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