tes. you're right this is a crime and its prevalence suggests we are not doing everything we can to root out that crime so if i'm confirmed, you can count that i am attentive to this issue of retaliation and determined to do something bit. i'll look forward to working with you if i am confirmed. >> thank you very much. >> it is now 12:00 east coast time. you are listening to the confirmation hearings of ashton carter nominee for the next secretary of defense. he has been on the hot seat for two and a half hours. his testimony began shortly after 9:00. we are going to take a break and we will be right back as the testimony continues and so will we.
>> i could say good afternoon now, you are listening to the live continuing testimony of dr. ashton carter before the senate armed services committee testifying since 9:30. among the things he has said so far, that if confirmed he promised president obama that he will provide the best and candid advice going on to say that he pledged to protect our friends and allies in a turbulent and dangerous world. also during his testimony he has been talking an awful lot about the budget. he says that the military cannot continue the way it is with sequester in place. explain sequester and why it is
such a sticking point for the military. >> well, sequester orders the military to cut a specific budgets and project that is they had just off the top without any thought about prioritizing them and a lot of them have to do with western necessarily. it's going to force the army to down size, take a tremendous number of resources and have them leave service. he did say not every dollar is spent as it should. >> the government is not spending the money the way it should so across the board were cuts. inside that there is the debate that says get rid of sequester and we can cut the budget but not necessarily in the way you want to us cut the budget. >> it was a deal politically made back in 2012 for this moment right now what they thought would be a republican congress that could then reset and control this budget. it took $50 billion off the top on a year over year base which got that $500 billion a year
savings, but it's not smart. it shows the world we weren't thinking our way through prioritizedding our defensive spending. >> the house and senate how would be forced to come up with the tea party in position to say ok let's allow the pentagon to spend the money the way it wants to and cut the money the way it wants to. is that a political something they can do? >> you saw carter asked about if i'm making something in west virginia that you don't need in the pentagon, i'm not going to make you buy it. there's significant savings that can come there. congress does use the defendants democratic as a jobs bill and use it to spend money on thins the defense department doesn't need. perhaps this is the time and place those things will stop. >> i asked this question, how is he doing so far? >> i think he's doing
spectacular. he's drawn a line between himself and administration in some areas but has been vermetteed tical chain of command, discipline. i think so far so good. i don't think the senators are seeing any problem with him. >> explain to our audience why we don't see members of the military behind him if he is to be the secretary of defense. >> right now he's just a civilian. he doesn't have that staff. he has nobody from the military in theory supporting him. if somebody did show up behind him, it could be perceived as going outside of the chain of command. he's the nominee not the secretary of defense right now. as right now he's an outsider looking in. once confirmed he'll be surrounded. >> lots of questions on the asian pivot. describe what that is and what the government wants to do with regard to asia. >> there's a strategic thought by the government that asia will become an important part of the world from a security perspective in terms of climate
change and affecting islands in the pacific and how there will be many displaced. we've got to have a navy in place to deal with that problem there. you have security of shipping lanes that are happening in the south cline in a sea that china and japan are worried about. the security problem hasn't shown up, it is not the same security problem as the middle east. >> two areas that didn't come up were the cyber threat that the united states now faces which is now under the military umbrella, but also the use of unmanned aircraft, drones and the fact that there are now military discussions taking place about robots. >> let's take one at a time. the cyber threat, when you think about it, the united states has some superiority in air sea space when it comes to our military capability. we don't have that in cyber.
we have peers. we have other countries that have similar exhibits. that's a real concern for the pentagon and technology. we were talking about drones and unhand aircraft carriers. the threat for the aircraft carrier is that across missile can come from 500 miles away. >> we are going to take you back to washington right now. you are listening to the testimony of dr. ashton carter. he is being not grilled but poll lightly questioned by members of the senate. we take you back live. >> thank you for your strong testimony today. the chair and the ranking member in their opening comments put the issues on the table and i want to just focus on two of them the elimination of isil and afghanistan. senator donnelly asked if the elimination of isil should be the goal.
we all had the experience as foreign relations of visiting with king abdullah at a very emotional and differ time. he said to us, look, we need you desperately, however this is a fight that's the region's fight. if we're not willing to stand up against extremism in the region, there's no amount of outside forces as powerful as they can be who will be able to beat this fight. he really took ownership of it in a way i thought was pretty courageous. do you think it is possible for the united states military to eliminate isil on our own or even with other western nations if the region doesn't go all in to combat the home-grown jihaddism that is exemplified in its motor brutal form by isil? >> we have to have regional partners, because we have to make sure that the defeat
inflicted upon isil is a lasting defeat and for that, there needs to be conditions created in the -- where isil is now occupying territory that don't make it a breeding ground for victory for that kind of malignant and vicious kind of terrorism. the united states involvement is i believe essential. it's not sufficient to have lasting victory. >> i would share essential not sufficient. it is still my hope that the white house will send to and you say draft authorization for use of military force. i think after the president's comments and state of the union that seems more likely. i don't think this is a war that can be waged in perpetuity
without congress weighing in. if we're asking people to risk their lives in mission congress is going to vote and authorize it. if we have that debate about the american role, one thing that is notable if in fact the region has to go all in against the isil threat, so far 80% of the airstrikes carried out against isil have been u.s. i think areas threatened by isil other than being associated with the coalition i don't think have stepped forward and been willing to show that they're going owl in against this threat. i think that's going to be the subject of significant debate if we get into a discussion on authorization. second on afghanistan, i completely agree with senator mccain, the chairman's point in his opening. i really hope we have a
conditions-based strategy and not calendar-based strategy. it's ok to have a plan and up indicated a plan, you can adjust the plan based on the current reality. senator mccain and i were in afghanistan in october. it seemed after discussions, the white house did adjust the plan already. there was ideas about the way u.s. forces would be used in calendar year 2015, that after hearing from general campbell and others, i think the white house adjusted the authorities granted to u.s. troops during this calendar year. i think that was a conditions based decision, which is good. i worry for the same reason that you do, we've had expensive blood and treasure achieved in afghanistan. the nation's life expectancy has gone from 44 to 61 in 10 years. my back of the envelope map
30 million people living longer, that's 510 million years of human life. for as painful as it's been, as expensive as it's been, why would we want to go backward? i think in afghanistan what we heard when we were there is also a little bit ole iraq worry wow, they've taken their eye off the ball before because of things in iraq and pulled resources away, and that this is the perception in afghanistan maybe this is getting ready to happen again as significant a threat as isil is and we need to be at it, in afghanistan they are nervous that the isil threat will pull our attention away and we could lose these gains. i hope occur capacity as you dig into the plan and daily conditions, that we'll make the right decision about how to keep the progress that we gained in afghanistan and we won't let a day on the calendar be a determiner of our policy. thank you mr. chairman.
>> do you want to respond to that doctor? >> 2,106 americans service members have lost their lives in afghanistan. afghanistan was the place from which the 9/11 attacks emanated. i think finishing the job there is very important. i've been part of that war in my previous time in the department. it was what i woke up to every morning, so i'm very committed to success there. we have adjusted what we've been doing continuously as we went along, so i don't have anything to add to what you said, except to remind that the afghan security forces are what we increasingly have trained to provide security on afghan
territory. they are going to need support after 2016. in the president's budget, about which i'll appear before you in a few weeks, i understand that there is with if my memory serves, $3.8 billion requested for the afghan security forces. that carries through the end of 2016, and then a question will arise are we going to stick with them the afghan security forces. it's not just about troops, american troops, it's about the overall commitment so that the afghan security forces can keep the peace there after 2016. >> senator graham. >> thank you. the idea of jhoulys man introducing you is a risky proposition, but we'll see how that turns out. bottom line, do you agree with the following statement the
only reason 3,000 americans died on 9/11 is that the radical islamists who attacked us could not find a way to kill more of us? >> that's probably true. >> if they could, they would. >> that's my guess. >> i don't think it's a guess. i think it's a fact. do you think isil represents a threat to our homeland? >> i do. i do. >> well, they say they want to attack us. there's no reason to believe they're kidding right? >> i agree. >> the head of isil was in camp and said i'll see you in new york when he was reds. everything they said they'd do they have done and one of the things they want to do is hit us. i couldn't agree more with senator mccain about a region alibi in. it's not just about the region. the reason i'm worried about isil is because i think they want to hit us. they've got the best platform since 9/11 in syrian iraq to
attack the united states, hold large territory they're rich, they have a lot of crazy people under their control and they mean it when they say they want to hit us and i want to make sure they don't. do you think al-nusra wants to hit us? >> i do. they recruited a suicide bomber from syria in florida. he came back to come to florida before he actually became a suicide bomber. they're trying to hit us, too. do you think a.q.a.p. wants to hit us? >> very definitely. >> very definitely. they're the people who hit us in paris. do you think the iranians have to believe that a military option's on the table during these nuclear negotiations? >> absolutely. >> if they don't we're making a huge mistake right? >> absolutely. >> do you think the russians are being provocative at a time the word is already in eight i don't say? >> yes. >> do you think that a cyber pearl harbor is a potential threat we face?
>> absolutely. >> and we're not ready for it. >> i agree with that, also. >> do you think china is intimidating their neighbors? >> certainly trying to. >> can you tell me in light of all this, why in the hell would the congress be devastating the military budget? can you sprain that to me. >> no, i can't. no, i can't. i'm, as i long standing, i'm against sequester. >> i left out a bunch of threats, because i just have five minutes. canada's in good shape by the way, so we appreciate canada being a good neighbor. in 2017, the plan on the table now is to have a thousand troops left in afghanistan kabul-based. do you agree given the conditions that exist in the region the likelihood of a reemergence of ago died and other groups on the
pakistan-afghan border, we would be wide troops outside of kabul. >> that is not the plan now senator. >> can you please tell me why i am wrong, it is the plan to go down to 1,000 by 2017, they increased the number of troops in 2015, but it is the plan and if you're going to be secretary of defense you need to understand the plan. the plan is to go to 1,000. i think that is beyond unwise, that will destroy our ability to dosee, hear and the listen to the emerging threatology the pakistan-afghanistan border. >> i think you're correct about the plan. >> that plan needs to change. if it doesn't, we are incredibly stupid as a nation. i want to withdraw from
afghanistan responsibly. i want lines of defenses over there so they don't come here. doesn't that make sense? >> it does make sense. >> i am glad afghans living longer that afghan girls are going to school. i'm proud of what we accomplished, but i'm worried about americans living at home. the reason i want to continue to invest in afghanistan dial with isil al-nusra and all the other groups is because they're trying to hit us. do you agree that the only way you can detour radical islam you have to prevent the attack before it occurs. >> i can't give a simple answer to that. >> they don't mind dying. >> you need to prevent -- i think that a comprehensive counter terrorism strategy begins foremost with defenses, but has other dimensions, as well in terms of removing the conditions that create safe havens and some of the ability for recruiting of terrorists, so
it's a complex issue, but protecting ourselves needs to come first. >> you are listening to our continuing coverage of the confirmation hearings of dr. ashton carter. he is testifying before the senate armed services committee. listening along with me is major mike lyons in the studio and in washington just outside of that committee hearing is retired air force colonel cedric layton, former member of the joint chiefs of staff as we wrap up our coverage, how crucial is this moment that we are watching right now in the history of this country? >> i think of it is incredibly crucial, del. every time there is a change in the leadership of the department of defense, it is the biggest organization in government, and because of america's role in the world, it is probably the fundamental expression of american power. every time the leadership changes, it's an essential
component to that leadership and when that leadership changes it becomes a very important area that we need to look at. >> as we listen to the testimony, one thing that seems to be emerging is that there is a sense among the senators that the word is more dangerous. do you concur? >> i do, absolutely. it is very clear just like dr. carter, i can say that when i started my military career, the proposition was a simple proposition. you had one basic adversary named the soviet union and the communist system and now you have multiple adversaries sometimes with very nuanced differences between themselves. this is a different world with economic challenges, and there's a completely different way in which we are dealing with the military component.
and it is military component and military aspect that we weren't used to dealing with before 9/11 and we have been forced to deal with that, and the -- what you're seeing here is the u.s. in transition, when it comes to the way we exercise our power how we deploy our power how we choose to use our power that is all in transition as we confront these new threats so it is a signal moment and it is clear that in our life times things ever changed fundamentally for the united states and its place in the world. >> we thank you for being with us as always. mike lyons, we are a generation that was weaned on the words of truman's farewell address to the nation be wear the military industrial complex. are those words a thing of history? >> they're coming true. eisenhower actually gave it. >> eisenhower. >> we've got to be careful of
how politicians use the military in that budget as a jobs program. the priority for the department of defense we've got maybe a tipping point or pivot moment here where we've got a different leader. it's going to come down to the president, to whether he can be persuaded on a numerous amount of threats that exists for the united states right now. >> i am reminded of the words out of world war i the war to end all wars. is the world a more dangerous place than then? >> i do think that the united states has a level of safety surrounded by our borders, by our oceans and the like. from that perspective we are however there are more dangerous that's out there that can come back if not addressed. >> how crucial is this moment in history as we watch this
confirmation hearing right now? >> i'm not willing to call it pivotal yet. it depends what happens two years from now. the president has a very short time frame, one budget to deal with. the question is again, how much of an impact will he have both inside the building to the troops and soldiers there and how much force will he create around the world. >> i want to go to libby casey for final thoughts but as we watch this transformation take place, this transfer take place are we getting now to where the person in charge of the pentagon needs to be more scan stand as we go from administration to adds. >> it might be. there is a place we've got to have continue newt there. we saw with secretary gates last time this is not some job where you can be the political appointee and take over it. in some ways, ashton carter has
prepared his whole life from this job. >> we go to libby casey in washington. you have been listening to the testimony of dr. ashton carter did he make news today and i'm assuming as well that he might have when he said the two most dangerous places or threats to the united states are isil and iran. >> absolutely. he had an opportunity to be very clear about that, and he minced no words. isil and iran are top of the list. he talked about a range of concerns. what are senators worried about cyber security, energy security are on the minds of many members of this senate panel. we also do see some of the tension that is with the emerging between the republicans and the white house in terms of question of however the u.s. should go when it comes to battling isil. we heard from ashton carter a
clear distinction of what should be done in iraq versus syria. he said it is the same enemy isil in is both places, but we have to have the iraqi security forces take the lead and work out how rebel forces in syria can be trained and activated and what other force can be there long-material. we are getting a sense of where the republicans are coming from as well as the dems and how ashton carter will walk that line between what the administration wants what congress wants and also what those who will be working under him will want. he'll have to be the go-between the white house and defense department. that was a hard line for chuck hagel to walk. we are getting a clear signal that he will be confirmed as kelly called him soon to be secretary, then corrected herself. this does look to be smooth sailing. >> libby casey, thank you for being with us today.
you've been listening to the testimony of ashton carter before the senate armed services committee. he said if confirmed he promised president obama that he will provide the best and candid advice saying that he pledge to say protect our friends and allies and he believe that is they are in a turbulent and dangerous world and that he would be a stickler for the chain of command. he also said that he hopes that he and congress can find a way out of what he is calling the wilderness of sequester, talking about the many budget battles that lie ahead. when pressed by members of the committee on the president's strategy in the middle east, he said he thinks that with isil it is important once they are defeated they stay defeated. you heard libby casey say if news was made, he believes that the biggest threat to the u.s. is isil and iran. he will probably be confirmed. you're watching aljazeera america.