tv [untitled] April 19, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
marines. but fortunately, away from the guard, that's active duty. i see a threat to the guard. if there was sequestration, a concern i have or reduction in the size of our army guard that's already been an impact on the air guard, which i think is not good, but the cuts, how large will these be? 50,000 reduction? 100,000 reduction? what could our governors, the national guard families see coming their way? >> well, in our job as chiefs, the joint chiefs, is to keep the force in balance and have enough of it ready to go tonight, a different amount of it ready to go in 30 days, six months, or a year. and that's how we balance the force against requirements. the reason the army -- and i was the chief at the time -- didn't take any of the -- of this reduction out of the guard is because we had grown the active force over the past ten years by about 65,000.
we have not grown the guard. so we had about 8,000. so when we absorbed the cuts, we didn't take many of those cuts off of the guard because we hadn't grown the guard. we wanted the guard to be about the size it was. if you're asking me would a further reduction or budget authority result in an effect on the army national guard, yes, i can't tell you today how deeply, because it would depend on the depth of the cut. but if we have to make more cuts and if our responsibility remains keeping a force in balance, it will affect both active guard and reserve. >> thank you very much for your concern. but i just see cuts of dramatic effect affecting american families and our security. thank you. >> thank you very much for your answers on the sequestration. i think this is one of the most difficult issues facing our defense.
and we understand that defense has to get on the table, and we have been there. these cuts that we're going through right now are enormous. and the fact that events accounts for 20% of the budget and we've taken 50% of the savings out of defense is something that cannot be overlooked. and what we really need to understand is we cannot solve our nation's financial difficulties on the backs of the military. and the thing that we really need to keep in mind is if we eliminated the whole discretionary budget -- defense, all discretionary spending -- we would still be running a half trillion-dollar deficit. so what we really need to do is fix the mandatory spending side of the budget. mr. kissell.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today and your service. we've talked about the differences between syria and libya. we've talked about the trying to identify the different influences of the different folks within syria and in how tough it is to predict an outcome and where this might go. so i'm going to put you a little bit on the spot, mr. secretary. we've seen sometimes that democracy, when you give people the choice, they don't always choose necessarily what we would like for them to choose. so democracy can be unpredictable as we're seeing in some of the results of arab spring heading in different directions as it plays itself out. scenarios of syria as you've indicated is not a matter of if but when this regime falls. what do we anticipate, maybe best case, worst case, outcome being? what kind of government?
what kind of relationships within syria? what would be some of the things we could look for? >> congressman, at some point you probably ought to sit down with our intelligence analysis to really kind of discuss some of those possible options. but i'll give you some sense that, you know, this can happen in a good way, it can happen in a bad way. if assad regime -- if we can do this pursuant to the noncease-fire and the reforms that he's suggesting and it's done in a politically careful way in terms of implementing the reforms that have to be done, and you can have assad move out and try to develop, you know, a government that would be able to take its place that would be, you know, then subject to hopefully a vote of the people and implement the kind of democratic reforms that
ultimately the people deserve, that would be the best way for it to play out. and it could be done in a way that recognizes that there are divided populations in syria but that all of them would be brought into that kind of government. that would be the best way for this to move forward. the worst way is that, you know, suddenly it comes down -- various tribe, the various segments of that population that are there begin to assert themselves, and you have the beginnings of some kind of civil war that takes place within there to try to assert who should take charge. and that would probably be the worst development. somewhere in between, you know, hopefully you could get some of the reforms that need to be taking place, but, you know, it could take us in a better direction. so there's a range of possibilities that are there. but i think the bottom line is
that anything -- anything that takes the assad regime down is a step in the right direction right now. what the international community has to assure is that if that happens it happens in the context of legitimate reforms that keep that country together and that serve the syrian people. >> thank you, mr. secretary. general dempsey, we mentioned that the relationship between right now the government and the military is strong. is there a basis for that relationship being strong in terms of maybe just the generals looking -- saying we're going to stay with whatever we think is going to come out on top -- is there a situation scenario where that might change and the military might withdraw some of that support and make some other things possible? >> yeah, i think there are conditions. i mean, i'd like to think the
military leaders in syria would recognize that using the kind of violence they're using against their own citizens is a fool's errand and that at some point that will, in fact, jeopardize them as an institution. by the way, that could be one of the reasons they're beginning to hold on tighter now, is that they have used this violence, and if now they return to garrison, allow a referendum to cur, change government, i think they will feel themselves to be at great risk. so when i say "we," i was going to say what we need to do, but this is best solved by the regional actors with our support. there is a scenario where at the end of this those that are a raid around assad become the oppressed and as the secretary described we end up in a situation that's a prolonged civil war. so yes, i think there is reason
to believe that the military could come to understand that they're on a path through their own destruction as an institution, but i think that case has to be made by regional players, less so by us. >> thank you, gentlemen. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. forbes. mr. turner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dempsey, i want to thank you this week for your strong statements on the issues of addressing sexual assault in the military. i think your leadership is well needed, and i appreciate your strong statements and your strong action. we had a meeting yesterday with general amos. we understand that, general dempsey, he is echoing your strong commitment. we appreciate the efforts of both of you. it makes a big difference for our men and women who are serving. general, you just said that the world is becoming increasingly unstable, and mr. secretary, you have recently said, you know, every day we're within an inch of war. i think as we look to the issue of syria, we know that russia and china have blocked two united nations security council
resolutions with respect to syria. and certainly i think that takes us to an issue when we look to the world and instability of a question with regard to russia and china. with regard to russia, we've seen public reports that they continue to arm the syrian military, have sent russian advisers to syria and have deployed naval forces off the syrian coast. so my first question is, mr. secretary, how would you say that russia is supporting syria's military today? and then secondly, i want to switch to china, which unavoidably takes us to the issue of north korea. north korea's recent ballistic missile launch failed. many people sighed with relief, but i think that's probably misplaced relief, and that we know that north korea continues its quest for missile technology and most recently in the observance of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the dictatorship brought forward their new road mobile missile. secretary gates previously
indicated that north korea is becoming a direct threat to the united states. i recently wrote to secretary clinton and general clapper, and i asked that my letter be made a part of the record. my concern of what appears to be china is support for the new north korean missile that was unveiled. >> that's without objection. so ordered. >> thank you. specifically, a transporter launcher system for the new missile that appears to be of chinese origin. so my second question, mr. secretary, is can you tell me of your concerns of china supporting north korea's missiles? and is north korea a direct threat to the united states, you know, something we're witnessing and have to be concerned with china and their involvement? >> look, there's no question that north korea's capabilities with regards to icbms and, you know, their developing nuclear
capability represent a threat to the united states. and for that reason we take north korea and their provocative actions very seriously. regardless of the success or failure of that effort at the launch, and it was a huge failure, the fact is it was a provocation. and taking that step was condemned and should have been condemned. and our hope is that they don't take any additional provocative actions. the history is they usually turn somewhere else to try to do something provocative, and we hope they don't do that. we're prepared from the defense department's point of view to deal with any contingency. but there is growing concern about, you know, the mobile capabilities that were on display in the parade recently in north korea. now, you know, i have to tell you we need, frankly, to get
better intelligence as to exactly what those capabilities are, exactly, you know, what's real and what's not real here, in order to determine exactly what that threat represents. but i think the bottom line is if they, in fact, have a mobile capability to be able to have icbms deployed in that manner, that that increases the threat coming from north korea. >> and before the time is expired, the concern then is, you know, chinese involvement with north korea being able to make these advances, support for systems, and of course russia's involvement with syria. >> yeah. we've made very clear to china that china has a responsibility here to make sure that north korea -- if they want to -- if they want to improve situation with their people, if they want to become a part of the international family, if they, in fact, want to deal with the terrible issues that are confronting north korea, there's a way to do that. and china ought to be urging
them to engage in those kinds of, you know, diplomatic negotiations. we thought we had -- we thought we were making some progress and suddenly we're back at provocation. >> the concern obviously is that beyond diplomacy, if the equipment itself has, you know, trade and technology exchanges -- >> i'm sure there's been some help coming from china. i don't know, you know, the exact extent of that. i think we'd have to deal with it in another context in terms of the sensitivity of that information. but clearly there's been assistance along those lines. with regards to russia, russia has a long history of having provided military assistance and economic assistance to syria. the good news is that russia is now working with us to try to get a cease-fire and hopefully put that in place, and they are, i think, at least working with the international community right now. but the reality is that russia could have a much more significant impact on syria and
on assad if they were willing to assert that. >> thank you. >> thank you. ms. spear. >> thank you, mr. secretary and general. let me ask secretary panetta what -- violence has not abated, the initiatives by u.n. special envoy annan have been undertaken, but when do we determine that they are not successful and move on to plan b? >> i think that's what secretary clinton is dealing with in paris as we speak, which is to look at that situation to determine what the next steps are with regards to the annan initiative. i think there's an effort to obviously try to deploy monitors that can go in and determine whether or not those violations are taking place, and there is also consideration of perhaps a peacekeeper initiative to try to back up the annan initiative
with peace keepers. what the final decisions are going to rest with the international community. >> in terms of arms flowing to syria from iran, do we have credible estimates on what is flowing from iran into syria? >> i think to discuss that in depth we really ought to do it in the context of an intelligence briefing. >> all right. general dempsey, i'm concerned about the report that nato's assessment of the libya air campaign found that there were numerous problems with cooperation when it came to sharing target information and sharing anl lalytical capabilit. how are we incorporating the lessons learn in libya into our current actions in syria? >> yeah. i was actually encouraged that the lessons learned were credible and transparent,
because i was a bit afraid that there was going to be this euphoria about libya as a template for future actions that would have taken us down a path that probably would be ill-advised. so i'm alert to that. i'm going to -- i'm actually going to brussels next week to meet with my nato people. on the agenda is unified actions. we have to be candid with each other about what they can reasonably expect us to provide, what they need to provide in terms of isr, the analysis, fusion of intelligence and operations, and investments that they need to make in order to close some gaps that heretofore they've relied almost exclusively on us to provide. so i actually see this as a positive thing. general, what do you think are the greatest risks if the united states intervenes? >> in syria? >> yes.
>> first of all, you know, on occasion i've been portrayed as saying this would just be too hard so let's not do it. i want to assure you that's not the case. if asked to do something, we absolutely have the capability. but in terms of my concerns and how they would translate into military advice, is i have to be very clear about the military objectives that i was being asked to achieve, and i would have to be -- i'd have to be clear about how those military objectives were contributing to some outcome that we would all -- we would all understand and probably agree upon. so what is the outcome? if it's just stopping the violence, that's one outcome, or if p it's just changing the regime, that's another outcome. but the point is i can build from that outcome. i can build military options. my other responsibility is to balance the risk to the mission. you know, what would be the cost
of doing this in lives and equipment and the risks to the force, because it's a zero-sum game. we're deployed all over the world. and if p i am asked to do something in syria, if the secretary turns to me and says i need this option developed, then my responsibility is to assure that i understand the military objective, i build an option that will deliver it, and that i articulate the risk not just to the mission we're talking about but to our global responsibilities. and it's all an integrated part of my advice. >> all right. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. witman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary panetta, general dempsey, thank you all so much for joining us and thank you for your service to our nation. secretary panetta, i'll begin with you. i want to follow up on your scenarios of looking at u.s. engagement in syria. and you spoke about engaging the international community, looking at nato partners and making a
decision about that particular engagement. do you envision a scenario where the u.s. would act unilaterally? and do you also look at a situation where in any scenario would the u.s. look at a broader combat perspective on that? in other words, would we have boots on the ground moving into a peacekeeping operation in that scenario? so i want to kind of get your perspective on that. >> yeah. at this point in time, congressman, a decision is that we will not have any boots on the ground and that that we will not act unilaterally in that part of the world. >> okay. very good. just wanted to make sure we were looking at those particular scenarios. general dempsey, to get your perspective, we see what's happening in syria. we also see arab spring. that's unfolded in the middle east over the past 18 months. as you look at that scenario, are you concerned about the
continue wa continu wall expaengs of this effort by assad in this area, moving into maybe other areas of the middle east -- turkey, lebanon, iraq? -- if this effort in syria continues? >> i don't see -- yes, speaking as the principal military adviser to this body and the president and national security adviser, i don't see the assad model spreading. i think quite the opposite. i think the model is that previously suppressed populations seeing what's happening around them are beginning to rebel against the traditional strongmen who in many cases have been from the minority side of the demographic equation. and that's why i agree with the
secretary, that change in syria is inevitable. i just don't know -- i don't know how long it will take for it to occur, but it will occur, and i have concerns about that, because i think long term it's, you know, i think we're all eager to see these populations that have long not been reaping the benefits of the resources in their country, have been suppressed politically and in some cases suppressed in terms of their religious freedoms and certainly women's rights. i think that -- that long term this will become a stabilizing influence, but i think getting from here to there is going to be a wild ride. and so i think we're in for 10 or 15 years of instability in a region that has already been characterized by instability. >> i see. let me ask you, too, on this line. general allen was here testifying before us last month, talking about operations in afghanistan, and i want to get
both secretary panetta and general dempsey your perspective. his comments were this -- he said that he saw the use of u.s. power extending past 2013. i wanted to get your perspective on that and understand, do you agree with general allen? are you looking to him as far as his guidance, his thought about how we utilize our current force there's as we're drawing down? what's necessary past 2013? because i think all of these parts of what happens not only in the middle east but also there in afghanistan and obviously our efforts there in iraq are all intertwined. so i wanted to get your perspective on that. >> congressman, you bet we are listening to general allen. he's the best. he's exercised tremendous leadership out there and tremendous dedication, and he's put together, more importantly, a very good plan. for the future with regards to
afghanistan. as i pointed out, 2011 was a turning point. we have seen the taliban weaken. they have not organized an effort to regain any area that they've lost. they've engaged in these sporadic hits, but, you know -- and we expected that they'll, you know, they'll continue. they're resilient, but they have been weakened. more importantly, the afghan people themselves have rejected them pep more importantly than that the afghan army is beginning to operate on its own. these events that took place in kabul over the weekend told us, told general allen, that the afghan army, the afghan police, are, in fact, becoming an effective force to achieve security in afghanistan. and more importantly, the transitions are working. we've got two tranches of transitions that voe kurred. 50% of the population is now under afghan security and control. the third tranche will take place this year will put 75% of
the people under afghan security and control. so the plan and the strategy that general allen has developed and that nato supports is to proceed with that plan to take us through 2013, and be able to complete the final transitions, and then draw down the end of 2014. and then beyond that, to have an enduring presence there that represents a continuing effort to provide support to the afghans on counterterrorism, on training advise and assist in other areas. >> thank you. mr. larsen? >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thanks for being here. general dempsey, earlier, before votes, you were answering questions about the chemical and biological weapons in syria. and i don't want to recharacterize your comments. so i'll, also i thought i heard,
and then can you recharacterize more accurately. did you say that you thought we had, you know, sufficient transparency into the security and location of the syrian chemical and biological weapons caches? >> i did. to recharacterize it, i believe we have sufficient intelligence on their facilities related to chemical and biological weapons in consultation with our close allies in the region. >> okay. thanks. and then the second part of that question is, it's kind of the so what question, and that is, so what if we do? does that mean we're in a position to do something about it, if -- if the circumstances arises where we need to do something about it? and are we willing to do that? and then who makes that call? >> well, ultimately -- well, let me start where you began, which is the so what of it.
well, as we watch these facilities and monitor -- i mean, if you're talking about what are our vital national interests in that particular country, it seems to me that the proliferation or the potential proliferation of chemical and biological wednesday, that is to say weapons of mass destruction, would be -- right at the top of the list. >> i'd agree with that. to be more clear in terms of the discussions we're having today about syria, and the resistance and the violence in syria, if syria was going to use -- if we thought syria was going to use these weapons, what would we do? >> let me again because of the classification of this, let me assure you that we have planning that is updated constantly on actions we could take in the event that those weapons -- by the way, the planning is being done with our, again, our allies in the region. >> i just wanted to assure you
on that last point that we have made plans to try to deal with any contingency involving those areas, because that, we think that does represent the most serious concern with regards to our security. >> yeah. and understand the classification here. this is important and we can explore this later in a different venue. so i want to change the focus a little bit. asking me about afghanistan, china, and i want to ask about the story in yemen. about two years ago the current cia director was sitting about where you were sitting as a centcom telling us that, that we did understand there's a difference between a civil war and what is a counterterrorism security interest that the u.s. was trying to salve portative of in yemen. and the arab spring, but i don't
know that a lot has changed in terms of u.s. staying out of a civil war versus the u.s. continuing to pursue a counterterrorism strategy in yemen. the story this morning about, whether the story is true or not. let's assume it's just a story. we're reading it, that the cia is looking at changing their strategy and how they conduct joint strikes and where they go causes me to question whether or not -- is a cia tail wagging the d.o.d. or state department dog on this issue? i'll put it out to you. we need to have that answer, and you can't leave today until you answer that. >> thank you. i mean, first of all, with regards to the story in the paper, i think those involved classify it operations, and i guess i would urge you to try to get you know, what's behind that based on, on that kind of
classified briefing. >> right. >> with regards to the larger issue. >> right. >> and i -- you know, i understand the implications of what you're asking. from d.o.d.'s perspective and i think it's frankly true for intelligence, our target there represents those terrorists or those al qaeda terrorists that involve a threat to this country. and there are very specific targets. this is not broad-based. we're not becoming part of any kind of civil war disputes in that country. we are very precise and very targeted and will remain pursuant to those kinds of operations. >> that's great from the d.o.d. perspective i guess clarity about their -- if they're changing their view about yemen or not over the last couple of years? >> just, again, you know, without going into specific details here, the position of the administration is that our