tv [untitled] April 24, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT
require specific statutory authority by congress before we took military action on syria? >> again under the constitution as i indicated the commander in chief has the authority to take action that involves the vital interest of this country. but then pursuant to the war powers act we would have to take steps to get congressional approval. that's the process that we would follow. >> you'd have to take steps to get that approval, but would the approval be required before you would take military action against syria? >> as i understand the constitution and the power of the president, the president could in fact deploy forces if he had to and if our vital interests were at stake, but that ultimately under the war powers act we would have to come here for your support. >> so you get the support of congress after you began military operations? >> in that particular situation, yes. >> then just one last thing and make sure i'm stating this correctly, it's your position
that the administration's position would be that we'd have to get a consensus of permission from the international community before we'd act, but that we wouldn't have to get specific statutory authority from congress before we would act? >> i think in that situation if the international action is taken pursuant to a security council resolution or under our treaty obligations with regards to nato, that obviously we would participate with the international community. but then ultimately the congress of the united states pursuant to its powers of the purse would be able to determine whether or not that action is appropriate or not. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mrs. davis. >> thank you, mr. secretary and general dempsey. we certainly appreciate your being here and your dedicated service. i wanted to ask you more about the opposition groups. i think you've been quite clear that it's a diverse group and
probably a little hard to read them in many ways. but are there -- is there one particular or several issues that you see them either fragmenting or coalescing. and particularly as it would relate to trying to broker any kind of an agreement with the assad regime short of eliminating it. >> as i've indicated, there are a number of groups that are involved in the opposition. it has not always been easy to get those groups to be able to coalesce. there are some outside syrian groups that are making an effort to do that. there has been better progress by other countries that have tried to one way or another provide assistance to try to urge those groups to coalesce and there's been a little more progress in that front. but it's still a difficult
challenge. is that fair? >> what i would add, congresswoman, it threads back to an earlier question about why does it seem to difficult to get the countries in the region to coalesce around a single unifying idea here. it's because i think they're extraordinarily cautious about what comes next and to thread these two themes together, you know, a different regime or a different governance model in syria will affect the relationship of ankara, damascus, cairo, riyadh, teheran, baghdad. it will. that's not to predict some negative out come, but it will change. i think what they're -- you know, what they're circling around here is can they, can they get a clear idea of what might happen on the other end of this. these two thoughts are linked, i think. >> yeah. in thinking as well about some of the efforts that we have undergone there in terms of
humanitarian missions. how are we protecting those? if at all. what is happening in that arena and to what extent do we think it's going to have a positive effect or helping to mobilize others and/or bring the opposition groups together in any way? what effect does it have? >> the humanitarian assistance obviously is the state department is directing most of that assistance, but it's going through programs like the world food program i think it's about 10.5 million that's being dispersed in food rations. the u.n. high commissioner for refugees is providing medical services and supplies and food and water, blankets, hygiene kits, heaters at about $8.5 million. the international committee on the red cross is providing relief supplies under their authorities at about $3 million
and there are some ngos that are providing some additional assistance as well. most of that -- i think it's fair to say, congresswoman, that a lot of it is probably being done in the refugee areas where a lot of the refugees have gathered. we have an extensive number of refugees both on the turkish and jordanian borders that have located there. >> so less though in cities, less though in areas where it needs to be protect ds as it's been. >> i think that's correct. >> it's going to the population. is there any perception through those efforts that we are there to help the people of syria? that we have ongoing efforts? >> i think it has been made clear that we're trying to do whatever we can to provide that help. we are maybing efforts to try to do some outreach into syria itself to try to assist those that have been harmed and see what we can do to provide assistance there as well. it's a much more difficult
challenge. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. wilson. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. secretary. general dempsey. thank you for your service. i appreciate it as a veteran and also as a very grateful parent of a son serving in the military. in the context of the instability that you're reviewing, i'm very concerned about the sequestration of the defense budget which would be a reduction of 8% to 12% beginning next january. you both have correctly warned of hollowing out of military, but people are still confused because they've heard and seen $100 billion cut of $487 billion cut and now a pending $600 billion cut. it's just total confusion. what message do you have to the american people -- what do you want them to know about the effect of sequestration, mr. secretary and general.
>> congressman, i've tried to make clear time and time and time again that sequestration and the cuts involved in sequestration would be a disaster for the defense department. and would truly hollow out our force and weaken our national defense. we're already cutting close to a half a trillion dollars pursuant to the budget control act. we made those proposals. they're a part of our budget. and we're doing that over ten years. and that's been difficult. it's been a difficult challenge to try to do it pursuant to a strategy and do it in a way that protects our national defense. sequester which is a whole other set of cuts that are out there that are supposed to take effect in january represent a $500 to $600 billion across the board meat ax approach to the budget that would impact every area of the defense budget regardless of policy, regardless of strategy and blindly strike at every area of the defense budget. so for that reason, obviously,
we've urged the congress, we've urged whoever we can to work together to make sure that doesn't happen. >> and i would add congressman, in terms of what message to the american people. so i think first and foremost that the military is not oblivious to the economic ills of the nation. and have done our best to contribute as part of the equation of national power, which includes economic, diplomatic and military power. all three have to be in balance. and therefore we have stepped up to the plate and done our best to make better use of our resources. secondly, that we adjusted our strategy after the lessons of ten years of war and our projection on what the nation would need in 2020. we mapped the 1317 budget to it absorbing the $487 billion cut. and that if we have to absorb more cuts we've got to kwo back
to the drawing board and adjust our strategy. what i'm saying to you today is that the strategy that we would have to adjust to would in my view not meet the needs of the nation in 2020 because the world is not getting anymore stable. it's getting increasingly unstable for all the reasons we're talking about here today. so i think we've done as much as we can do given what i know about the future we're about to confront. >> and i particularly appreciate your pointing out this is not a peace dividend. the world is so dangerous. so thank you for emphasizing that. additionally, general, i'm very concerned about the national guard. this year the administration has been proposing a reduction in 100,000 personnel in ground forces in the army and marines. but fortunately in a way for the guard that's active duty. but i see a threat to the guard
there this was sequestration a concern i have are reduction in the size of our army guard that's already been an impact on the air guard. i think it's not good. but the cuts, how large will these be? $50,000 reduction, $100,000 reduction? what could our governors, our tags, 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 am of it ready to go in 30 days, six month ors a year. 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 had not grown the guard. so we had a bit, about 8,000. 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 in our 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. if we have to -- if we have to make more cuts and if our responsibility remains keeping the force in balance, it will affect both active guard and reserve. >> thank you very much for your concern. i just see cuts of dramatic effect, affecting the 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 be on the table and we have been there. these cuts that we're going through right now are enormous.
and the fact that the defense 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 syrian and libya. we've talked about the trying to identify the different influences of the different folks within syria and how tough it is to predict an outcome and where this might go. 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 for syria as you indicated it's 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 discussion 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 the assad regime -- if they -- if we 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 a government that would be able to take its place that would be, i don't 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 the various tribes, 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. that would probably be the worst development. somewhere in between, you know, hopefully you could get some of the reforms that need to be taken place. you know, it, it could take us in a better direction. 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 reforming that keep that country together and that seven the syrian people. >> thank you, mr. secretary. general dempsey, we mention that had 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 whoever 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? >> i think there are conditions. 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 income jeopardize them as an institution. that could be one of the reasons they're beginning to hold on tighter now is they have used this violence if now they return to allow a referendum to occur and change government, i think they will feel themselves to be at great risk. i think when i say, we, i was going to say what we need to do, but this is best solve bid the regional actors with our support because, you know, there is a scenario where at the end of this the -- those that are a raid around assad become the oppressed and as the secretary described it, we end up in a situation that's a prolonged civil war. so, yes, i think there is -- there is reason to believe that the military could come to understand that they're on a path to 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 for this week for your strong statements on the issues of addressing sexual assault in the military. i think your leadership is well needed and 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 your commit. . it makes a big difference for the men and and women who are serving. mr. secretary you say every day we're within an inch of war. as we look to the issue of syria, we no that russia and china have blocked two united nations security council resolutions with respect to syria and certainly i think that takes to us 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 advisors to syria and have deployed naval forces off the syrian coast. my first question is mr. secretary, how would you say that russia is supporting syrian's military today? secondly, i want to switch to china. which unavoidably takes to us the issue of north korea. north korea's recent ballistic missile launch failed mchl people sighed with relief. 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 forth a new missile. secretary gates previously ated that north korea is becoming a direct threat to the united states.
i recently wrote to secretary clinton and general clapper over my concern what appears china's support for the new north korean missile. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. specifically a transported launcher system for the new missile that a appears to be of chinese origin. my second question, mr. secretary, could you tell me of your concerns of china supporting north korea's missiles. and is north korea a direct threat to the united states something we are witnessing and have to be concerned with with china and their involvement? >> there -- look, there's no question that north korea's capabilities with regards to icbms and they're developing nuclear capability represent a threat to the united states. 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 do something provocative. we hope they don't do that. we're prepared from the defense department's point of view to deal with any contingency. there is growing concern about the mobile capabilities that were on display in the parade recently in north korea. i have to tell you we need frankly to get better intelligence as to exactly what those capabilities are. exactly 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 -- to have an icbm deployed in that manner that that increases the threat coming from north korea. >> before the time has expired, the concern then is chinese involvement with north korea being able to make these advances to support for the systems and then of course russia's involvement with syria. >> we made very clear to china that china has a responsibility here to make sure that north korea, if they want -- if they want to improve the 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 confronting north korea, there's a way to do that and china ought to be urging them to engage in those kinds of diplomatic negotiations. we thought we -- we thought we were making some progress.
suddenly we're back at provocation. >> the concern is beyond just the diplomacy if equipment itself has trade and technology exchanges. >> i'm sure there's been some help coming from china. i don't know the exact extent of that. i think we'd have to deal with it within another context in terms of the sensitivity of that information. 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. miss speier.
>> thank you, mr. secretary and general. let me ask secretary panetta, what violence has not abated. the initiatives by the u.n. special envoy annan have been undertaken 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 try to obviously 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 peacekeepers. what the final decisions are, 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 and 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 analytical capabilities. how are we incorporating the lessons learned from libya in our current actions in syria? >> i actually was 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 actually going to brussels next week to meet with nato. one of the agenda items is in fact, operation unified protection. what we've got to do is we've got to be candid with each other. i can assure you i will be about what they can reasonably expect us to provide. what nay need to provide in terms och isr, the analysis, fusion of intelligence and operations. and investments that hay need to make in order to close some gaps that here to for they've relied almost exclusively on us to provide. 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 vices i have to be very clear about the military objectives that i was being asked to achieve, and 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. if it's changing the regime, that's another outcome. 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 the lives and equipment and the risk to the force because it's a zero sum game. we're deployed all over the
world. and if 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 i articulate the risk not just to the mission we're talking about, but to our global responsibilities. it's all an integrated part of my advice. >> all right. i yield back. thank you. >> thank you all so much for joining us and thank you for your service to our nation. secretary pa net tark i'll begin with you. i want to follow up on your scenarios of looking at u.s. engagement in syria. you spoke about engaging is 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?
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, will we have boot on the ground moving into a peacekeeping situation in that scenario. i want to get your perspective on that. >> at this point in time, congressman, a decision is that we will not have any boots on the ground. and that we will not act unilaterally in that part of the world. >> very good. i wanted to make sure we were looking at those particular scenarios. general dempsey, we see what's happening in sthar owe. we also see arab spring that's unfolded in the mideast over the past 18 months. as you look at that scenario, are you concerned about the continual expansion of this effort by assad in syria maybe moving to other areas in the