tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN February 12, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EST
much for the question. wendy spent a lot of time talking about that very issue that you raised in your question, and as we thought through all the transition assistant kind of challenges that a service member faces when they're transitioning out we took all of that into consideration, and i'm going to ask commissioner chris kearney to talk to the specifics of that. >> thank you mr. chairman. once again, the colleague to my right, when we took into consideration retirement and we did know harm of one of the mandates given to us.
the senator also mentioned something very important that we don't try to balance the banks on the back of the missionary. some of the programs we could talk about this in further committees later on if you want to, but when we talk about ramp programs programs, we don't transition to something that might cost a little more to retiree or service member, that it would be built up over 15 years, for example. one of the things that we thought was vitally important in all the things we recommend is a good sense of financial literacy. so if our recommendations are adopted, there would be a very robust financial literacy component for all the troops, and that starts at their -- when they are in boot camp or basic
training at various parts of their career, so they can make good financial decisions going forward. what the federal government does often impacts them, and that cannot always be accounted for. promises have been made and sometimes promises have been -- i don't want to say broken but perhaps bent a little bit. but when you do the financial planning, when you enable the service member to have the tools at their disposal to make good financial decisions, the impact of the bending of the promise by the government may be reduced somewhat. so i have a son who is a lance corporal in the marine corps, and he's making a little bit of money and he came to me on his last leave and said dad, what do you know about ford f-250s? i said, i don't know much, but i know you can't afford one. but a lot of kids are making those decisions. they're going ahead and buying
that expensive vehicle so they don't have the money necessary later on. we want to have a robust as i said before, financial training system so they understand the value of money they understand the value of money later in their careers so when they hit the 12-year mark and they are making that decision do i want to stay in and continue on or do i want to go off, the money is there to make a good financial decision for them. so to try to reduce the impact of maybe a bent promise, we want to empower the service member with the ability to make good financial decisions to kind of reduce some of that. >> i would only add also that the specific thing you said, sir, about somebody who served 20 and is retired is grandfathered in the current system. they will not be part of this system. now, in the area of benefits that may fluctuate and change, that might affect him.
co-pays, but that's done over a period of 15-year ramp medical co-pays, but that 20-year person is grandfathered in the current system and it would not change. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just would say i hope when we're all done with this that the thought of bending the promises is one that we try to get away from. >> well that was certainly our intent, senator. >> i think you should see the recommendations, too, senator, is a continuation of what congress has done for the last 13 years. our goal is to improve the quality of paying benefits for our military. that was a primary objective of the commission, and we sent a group of holistic recommendations to you that we do think accomplish that objective. >> senator, we really honest to god, tried to keep the faith. >> senator let me just say i think in summarizing what my colleagues have said is that
everything we did was totally done to protect the interests of the service members. i wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that we are implying that we were actually cutting benefits of the service members. it was quite the contrary. even though we yield savings as a result of the approach that we took in reforming the structure of those programs there is absolutely no interest on our part to reduce the benefits of the service members. in fact, it was to support those and improve those benefits, and i'd just like to make that point. >> senator cain? >> thank you for your service. this is a difficult topic, maybe a thankless one. i had a chance to review the recommendations and i saw a lot of positives. i think the focus on financial literacy the transition from
military to civilian life, these are very far-reaching recommendations. i appreciate your work. i'm going to make an editorial comment that has nothing to do with any of you. you all asked to serve on this, you said yes, and you did a good job. when i walk in and it's a panel and we're supposed to talk about military compensation, there is not one woman sitting here, it's just like, wow. i mean really? one of the first things that happened when i got into the senate is the order came down from then-secretary panetta to open up the combat bill for women. we've got so many women serving in the armed services now and the role of military families and their thought about these things are critical. i have a youngster in the marine corps, too. and as he's talking to his guys, they're often talking about what their own families are saying to them about things like come saer comissaries, exchanges, health care, salary. we sent the signal, and you didn't form the committee as a
member, it was probably us or the executive, but i have to say it seems so obvious that if we are really trying to have a military open to women -- >> it was you. >> then i'll make it as a point of obviously not critical to any of you who said yes, but i'm stunned at it. >> senator, i would invite you to actually meet the women who serve on the staff. they are sharp tightbrilliant. but it's no substitution for sitting at the -- we always have panels in the community that look just like this where the folks backing up the panel members are smart, talented incredibly competent women. i just want to see women at the table. >> you're raising the caucus, senator. >> let me ask about collaboration opportunities. i don't think this was gotten into significantly when i was gone, but what are the collaboration opportunities that
we can harvest between the d.o.d. health system and the va? looking down the road, there have to be economies to scale on the cost side but there also has to be improvements in the quality of care on both ends of the spectrum if we do additional collaboration. did you get into that at all or what thoughts would you have for us? >> senator kaine thank you for the question. we spent a lot of time talking about va/d.o.d. collaboration. it was mentioned here by one of my colleagues that as we talked about the formulary issues, we talked about shared services we talked about a need to do better standardization, helped standardize policies, and we've actually had conversations with the secretary of va about that and we talked to the department of defense about that. i'm going to ask commissioner boyer to talk a little bit about some of the additional specifics
here as to how we respond to the challenge of that, and then what we did about it within our recommendations. commissioner boyer. >> senator, earlier we talked about the real empowerment of the joint executive committee. it really lies to the heart of ensuring that two departments of government work together seamlessly. so as that soldier/sailor/imminent marine transitions to the va they shouldn't feel it. as soon as they come over, they should feel their medical record is there and that doctor that just took over my care, there is true continuity of my care. that joint executive committee that has authority doesn't have the power to implement so they can just create a lot of paper. so we're recommending that you actually give the joint executive committee not only to create parody between the dod and va with whom lead that
committee but also give it the power to actually implement and implement what. so the recommendations of blending the anti-narcotics, pain medications, let them set the classification of the drugs and how it should be blended. extremely important and john crowley spoke to that earlier. the other would be on capital projects. a lot of -- whether it's building of military hospitals or va hospital in close proximity or outpatient or super clinics, have some resource sharing. a lot of sharing initiatives you find when you go around, there are a lot of local agreements. it's based on personality driven. but there are a lot of things that are effective from those crucibels and that joint executive committee could centralize rather than be decentralized.
with regard the medical information, that's an i.t. issue. the executive committee can really drive how the electronic health record is developed through its evolutionary process between the evolution of vista and this new electronic record and how we deal with the civilian providers who are dealing with the non-civilian-based care of the va, and if you adopt what we're recommending with this choice of civilian plans, you have doctors out there providing that care. and that electronic record, you need to make sure it's operable between your doctor back at home and that doctor from the mtf. but guess what? when they transition, then, over, you have to make sure it's operable in the va, too. >> my sense is with secretary mcdonald that he's a guy who understands collaboration. so there is a collaboration
moment that is coinciding with the issuance of these rems recommendations and we ought to do what we can about it. >> when we met with the deputy secretary, they had met with us previously and they had also issued a policy paper -- i haven't had a chance to talk to general crowley about it, but they're asking that doctors of whom they default to the prescription that dod doctor had written. now, it's kind of nice to put it on paper. i would feel much more comfortable if it were something that the joint executive committee looked at and gave it the implementation of authority to make sure that if you had a prescription on active duty a mental health drug when you go to dod to ensure that you're going to get that drug is extremely important. because there are a lot of social ills that occur if he
falls back. >> could i just add something? at the beginning, senator kaine chairman, invited us to speak our minds, which was dangerous in my case. i think this collaboration idea is not going to work. i don't think you're going to get where you want to go unless you start considering actually putting these two systems together. and because of the component, it going to be dod in charge of it. i would give this committee both authorizing and appropriating authority so they can't bakely basically rope and dope you. you have to have some pretty substantial change to get where you want. this is the 7th anniversary of the story of walter reid. i remember danny calling me up. what do we need to do? i spent a fair amount of time thinking about this. we have a good recommendation in there, you're going to improve collaboration. but unless and until you consider putting these two
systems together and changing senate rules so this committee authorize and appropriates. it seems to me unless you at least consider those two things, it it's going to be very difficult to get the kind of changes you want. >> senator tillis, we've always agreed with that, by the way. >> i want to go back to a question or follow-up on a question that senator mansion asked about the perception, and senator kerrey, i think you responded to it, the perception that we're losing people because we're not competitive with the market. it's year 10. i think you made the comment that we're at or above market. did i understand you to say that? could you expand on that? >> actually i did say it and i cannot expand on it. it came from the analysis we did on the commission, that we are at or above where we are in the private sector. it was congressional action that did it, and i think we need to maintain that status.
>> so the perception that people are leaving based on pair benefits may not be right. there might be other reasons that they're leaving lifestyle or others but not pay or benefits? >> you have technical individuals, and earlier doug was talking about one of the problems we've got is a lot of these new civilian companies that are forming up, and they'll pay for a security clearance. and they're apt to bid up what the military will. i think you'll find exceptions to it, but i think in the aggregate, the military pay is at or exceeds what is available in the civilian world. and the benefit package as well. and i'm for that. i don't regard -- general crowley talked about it earlier. i came into this commission believing that we have a real problem with pay and benefits, i don't believe we do. the problem has a lot more to do with retirement issues and i think it would be grossly unfair
to address military retirement without taking on the big ones which is social security and medicare. >> let me follow up, please with a question by having commissioner higgins talk. we did quite a bit of analysis and review around that, and i want him to talk specifically to what mr. maulding told us. >> i believe in a general sense retention today is probably as good as the military has ever seen it. having said that, there are select skills that have always been historically very difficult to maintain. some of the stories that you hear often are, let's say, nuclear-skilled individuals in the navy are always difficult to retain because once they acquire those skills they are very lucrative opportunities on the
outside. in recent years, during the war years, what emerged was the 10-year departure of special operators, and those people obviously acquired significant skills during their tenure in the military that now have very high values placed on them in the private sector. and the military responded to that with a significant bonus that i think turned the tide in that community. the navy has always struggled with additional bonuses in several of their high-demand skills, but i think as a general rule it is good.
>> the recommendations you've put forth, how they've been embraced by the community, i've heard it said we're providing more efficiency and more value. it sounds like there are winners and not a lot of losers. are there areas out there that there are concern among some of the stakeholder groups? >> mr. chairman, i think at this point the feedback that we have gotten from the msos, the bsos, stakeholders of that they are very receptive to what we've done at this point in time. it would be premature to say that they are 100% on board with this because they're still looking at the details of the report and the recommendation themselves. they have to do their analysis as well. i think the department of defense is doing the same kind of thing, although i think the general feedback at this point
from the joint staff is they totally understand the merits of the report, what we're recommending when they had stability of the programs. and the fact that we were able to achieve deficiencies by formative structures of those programs without taking away any benefits, in fact, adding benefits in most cases for our service members. >> i do want to thank senator kaine for his observation that it's always good to have women on the table as well as on the committee. i'm looking at kwouryour retirement plan, and i thank you all for your service, but i'm looking at the retirement plan which significantly increases the number of members who will receive benefits so i think that's very commendable. the plan does require
contributions, basically mandatory 3% deductions from the service members' pay, as well as depending on investment returns. can you share with me what the current service members think about a basic mandatory 3% contribution to tsp and what concerns you have about volatility in the market that will probably arise and what assumptions did you make regarding market volatility in coming out with your charts regarding retirement benefits.
>> thank you, and i think we were informed that service members felt very strongly that this is an increased benefit. this is kind of what they're wanting, this is what they're looking for. i think they told us through the survey responses that they really want choice. they want the flexibility of being involved in helping to design the compensation package that they prefer and then how they would receive pay. those things are very important to them and they mentioned that to us. i'm going to ask the commissioner to talk specifically to the other part of that question and those benefits. >> thank you, mr. chairman. well, senator, first of all, in the united states generally that 75% put into the plan stays in that plan. that already gives you
unindicatorun one indicator. another indicator is four out of ten without any kind of government matching or anything like that are putting their money into tsp. if you take those two figures and put them together, you're going to get an answer. what we've assumed is that the money would be invested in very very conservative kinds of funds. tsp, as you know, you can choose from a variety of funds, but there's one particular fund that would essentially follow
people's lifestyle. so when you're younger, you're probably willing to take more risk. as you get older, you get more conservative. but, again i think the record of tsp itself and the fact that the civilians stay in that the military voluntarily go in, tells you that they trust the fund managers and of course are making their own choices. i think we felt very comfortable with the recommendation in terms of market volatility. >> thank you. that's reassuring. i'm looking at one of your other charts chart 9, where pregnancy and childbirth and newborn care are the top two procedures done in the military, and if we move into the private sector insurance market, what kinds of effects do you think will occur as a result of that in terms of costs and other impacts? these are huge numbers for these
two procedures. >> senator, thank you for the question. commissioner boyer would you respond first to the question? >> i'm going to do a tag team with correlllyi in response to that. i think this chart will be surprising to a lot of people when they look at this. there is this sort of assumption that the medical providers at the mtf are providing procedures that really hone in the skills that make those doctors and nurses combat ready. >> uh-huh. >> when you look at a chart like this, you go well i suppose building the cohesion of the medical team that's an added plus. but with regard to the skill sets that are needed something is missing here. and so what i'm going to do is tag team with general correlli
here because there are two pieces to this. as we move to the selection of plans, we want the mtm to be part of the network. because the procedures that the mtf needs aren't these procedures that you see in the chart. and so the creation of the jointness and the essential medical capabilities, i'm going to pass it over to general correlli, if i could. >> i think it's absolutely critical you understand the concept of the emc's essential military capabilities, because that is built into what we're doing here. those are those things, simply stated, that transfer to the battlefield. when you get the surgeon generals in here and you show them this chart they're going to argue that, hey we get a lot of great training out of taking care of all those child-bearing issues and child care issues. all we're saying is you do but
if we could rearrange your workload to give you more of the kinds of things that you see in combat. i think it's absolutely essential, as you talk to the different interest groups there, as a retired person i'm looking at, how are you going to provide care for me in my golden years? if you get stuck on that, you will miss the essential piece of what we have to do in the medical area and that's care for our men and women when they're sent into harm's way and ensure that we have people who are trained to do that based on the kinds of wounds that they're going to get. >> thank you mr. chair. >> thank you. senator lee? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thanks to all of you who are appearing before us today and who have served in this commission to make recommendations that are so important. this is, of course something that's going to have a profound impact on the men and women who
are currently serving or who have previously served in our military. i hope that all americans, particularly those who are currently serk or who are vet-- serving or who are veterans can take the time to give these recommendations the thorough consideration that they deserve and they can become part of a debate, a debate we need to have to help figure out how we can provide better for the needs of those who have served us and served us in the past and simultaneously helped us maintain the strength and the viability of our military. i will ask this question to anyone who would like to answer it. did the commission find that the current lack of a retirement program similar to that recommended by the commission, that that is having the absence
of a plan like that right now is having an impact on recruiting and retention? currently we don't have a retirement system in place in the military that provides any benefits for those who serve for less than 20 years. is that impacting recruiting? >> senator lee, thank you for the question. when we looked, we took a very strategic approach at the design in the right kind of structure for the compensation programs that were really going to support an all-volunteer force for the future. and as we designed that program we took theinto account the structure of the program and how we might make a recommendation to modernize the current retirement program, and we wanted to make sure we knew was of interest to the service
members we needed to recruit and retain. we are certain they are the right set of recommendations here on having a blended retirement plan because it does two things. it actually supports the retention needs by the services and it also supports the recruiting challenges that the services would have. we believe that the recommendations that we've made will absolutely meet -- take care of all the recruiting and attention needs, and it's very important that they also support the current force profiles which is what the services were very interested in making sure that we provided them with the tools so that they could actually make those adjustments that continue to meet the recruitment and the retention needs for the service as we move
into the future. >> if we were to adopt something like this, you think it would help recruiting and retention? >> absolutely. >> let's talk about the commission's finding. let me quote this to make sure i get it right. the commission found that, quote, the current compensation system is fundamentally sound and does not require sweeping overhaul closed quote. but it also recommends that service members who need nutritional assistance be transitioned into the snap program, the program formerly known as food stamps. so let me just ask the question if service members are in need of snap benefits and if the report is contemplating that some or many of them will meet snap benefits that would, of course, be in addition to their regular compensation.
does that undermine your conclusion that the current compensation structure is adequate? >> when we talk about the current compensation structure, we're basically talking about the pay table itself. we didn't see a need to change the pay table because the pay table has supported the all-volunteer source for the last 42 years and specifically during the last 13 years of war. but we also recognize that because there are constant changes that are taking place here new generation and also just the requirements of the service members themselves with regard to the size of families and that kind of thing. there is an important service that the snap program served. we talked through that extensively. i'm going to ask commissioner carney if he would respond, and then very quickly, senator i
would like to add mr. higgins to follow up as well. >> i have just one final question to add to that as well. i would also be curious, if you were to limit fssa, how many service members would be enrolled in snap and if we have any kind of estimate what the increased cost would be. >> senator, right now the number of enrollees is somewhere between 2,000 and 22,000. that's the best information we received. on the ssa i think there are 285 people altogether in the military in fssa. there is also kind of a stigma attached to it as well. you have to go through your chain of command to get it, so does that impact your career somehow? a lot of things that make it probably less attractive and.
now, for overseas, it may still serve a purpose. the -- it need to exist for some of our military. it's something that's easy to get, it provides nutritional value for families that require it. so either phasing out or reducing the ffsa program is not a bad idea, because snap fills in the gap very nicely. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mccatskill, please. >> first i want to note that your recommendations were unanimous; is that correct? >> yes that's correct, senator. >> that's quite an extraordinary thing for all of us who sit on this side of the table. we don't see much that's unanimous, especially with the
makeup of this particular commission. and i'm familiar and have worked with many of you. i know it's bipartisan and you come from different perspectives. i know you probably came with different viewpoints in the beginning, and the fact you worked so hard and came up with this proposal that was adopted trying to milkize. and this might exactly be doing what we need to be doing. first of all, i think our country need to save more, and our military always sets the example for our country in terms of the values and the ethics that is embraced by our military. so i think the way this plan embraces saving is terrific. i think that if you're in the
military that your frpellow employees that get a match, i think, is appropriate. so the fact we would move to a match in the military makes a money and i think this part is terrific. if we're going to reduce at 40% and someone can retire at 38. then eventually shlgt r. during that period of time assuming somebody is retiring from 30 or 49 was there
anything made where somebody could access top. >> these are questions that the former comptrollers really love to have. >> well, i've missed -- we had great work when i first arrived in the senate, so i'm happy to her from you. >> thank you so much, chairman and senator. right now, as you well know, you retire at 20 and then you start getting a monthly payment. by definition the 40% you're speaking about you're going to get. in addition to that, once you retire you can get a lump sum payment if you choose to do so, or you may say, no i don't want that, i want to get it later on. so you in fact, have given the
individual much more choice than he or she has today. because you can choose the lump sum payment and you'll get that until social security kicks in, or you can say, no, i'm staying with my monthly payments. so you basically now are in much more control of your financial situation. now, one other point as well, and this was mentioned by my colleague commissioner carney and others. we put a huge premium on financial education. and we actually spoke to some of the foreign military to see how they do it as well. right now you take an 18-year-old, 19-year-old or 20-year-old, and you fire hose them for a few hours about financial management and it's in one ear and out the other.
so what we're proposing to do is to have regular sessions at key points in their careers. key promotions or something happens to your family life, you get married, you have children, whatever, so they can learn the nuances of financial management in a way that when they hit the 20 or if they leave sooner, they can make an informed choice about what they want to do with the money they're entitled to. so so to answer your question, it seems to me, at least, that you're putting the person in uniform to a great advantage because of the lump sum, because of the financial education that they don't currently have today. >> i know my time is almost up. i'll have questions in the record about if we should maybe
make them contingent before they're ready to pull out, whether that would make sense to the commission. the question about going just to fatd what are the advantages there, and are they substantive in policy, are they political? finally, the one i would really like to hear from you about and i want to recognize general correlli for the trailblazing he worked, especially in the suicide area i'm very familiar with how hard you worked at that both when you were very active and after your retirement. i'm really worried about the expensive recommendation you made which is another command, standing up a three-star. we've tried to work against quite so many flags. as you know gates did away in 2011 with the joint forces command. and i'm trying to think how this
new 300$300 million a year stand-up really adds to the expertise we have now. because we're still going to have surgeon generals in every branch, and i've got to be convinced that we need another group at pentagon. i have a great deal of affection for our generals and what goes with them but three stars are extensive, especially with everything that goes with them, and what are we going to gain when we add this new thing at the pentagon. i'm over my time so i don't know if the chairman wants that answered now or if you want to take it for the record. that's the only part i start out a little skeptical about. >> we are almost out of time but i would like to take the opportunity to respond to that. let me just say real quickly, the readiness in this command that was recommended, we really
deliberated on that. every recommendation that we made in this report was made with that in mind, the need for readiness and if there was a readiness implication to every recommendation we made. so when we imposed the readiness command, we did it in the context of understanding it is much bigger than the medical readiness component that it has oversight for. they are much larger in terms of an umbrella of things that fall underneath readiness. the medical readiness piece is only one component of that and we were basically wanting to make sure that if we're going to ensure success of the medical readiness, we must have proper oversight and that means having the right person in charge with the right kind of ranking to be able to actually go to the
budget meetings and to those decision-making venues and hold the present as the other service chiefs and be able to have some influence of the service generals. >> i will only tell you it is absolutely essential in this whole process changing the way we deliver medical care that we keep our mtfs a vital playing ground to include our corpsmen and medics so they are trained for the thing that civilian hospitals don't do and that's go to war. there will be a tendency, as we give dependents the opportunity to get their health care on the outside, there could be a tendency in future budget periods to draw down on what is left in that mtf with our eyes
covered, not realizing we may have to deploy the people in those mtfs far away to support those individuals who are in combat. to me that's an absolute essential piece of this entire thing, is to ensure that we do not allow that to atrophy should we enter into an extended period of time when those resources do not have to be deployed. every single one of our recommendations, i went through them and i understood where i sat before. without getting into great detail, i will tell you every single one of our recommendations impacts readiness in some way. and someone from a joint readiness standpoint -- and remember, this is what's critical -- we gain efficiencies in jointness. somebody from a joint readiness perspective has got to look at the entire readiness portfolio to include medical and ensure that we maintain that.
i'll end by saying that i think the 300 million is a very conservative, large number. we believe any of these resources exist currently that when we took down jigcom many of them were transported to many places, many at the pentagon and the resources of much of that and we couldn't totally put our hands on it, will be pulled out and you will see a much smaller bill than the 300 million that is cited in our report. >> thank you. senator graham, please. >> thank you all for a lot of hard work, and i think a very good product. to those who want to suggest alternatives, you're welcome. we'll take any new good idea to make this better. for those of you who think we're wrong, we'll accept criticism, but we're not going to play the
demagogue game because changes are necessary. congress is asking you to do your job. were we trying to get you to fix a broken system, and there is no adage of if it ain't broken, don't fix it, or were you trying to make the system better? what was your mandate in your own mind? >> senator graham? >> senator graham. thank you for that question. it was my understanding that we were to make recommendations for modernizing. >> so it wasn't your mandate for congress to just save money? >> absolutely not. that was not my understanding. >> it was your understanding that congress wanted you to look at a 70-year-old system and see if you could make it better right? >> correct. >> on the combat medicine point do you believe we have the best combat medicine at any time in the history of the modern military? >> after 50 years of war, we do
but not as we were going into this. i believe it's better and better. >> that's right, don't lose it. so if the court function of military health care is making sure the source is ready to fight that we have to make sure we're hanging onto that. we learned from the guard. 25% of the garden reserve were disqualified for employment. that is true because your brother is the dentist. we've overcome that so we don't want to go back to that system of having a health care system that doesn't make you ready to filt to having a health care that's hamg -- senator kerr rhee probably knows more about that than anything. those are my -- no one is
suggesting we're changing the retirement from 40% to 50% and i would think that the retirement committee recommended 40 to 50%. that is not true. this chart. who did your polling? >> that polling was done by true choice. it had to do with a survey that we had conducted. >> i can't imagine too many things that i do where 80% of the people feel better about something to do, something to have. you feel good about those numbers? >> we feel very good about it, unanimously. >> how about the retired community. do you have data about how they feel? >> not to propose changes.
>> well, the feedback we've gotten -- >> can you poll retired members and find out? >> we polled retired members as well as employed. >> what were the numbers on the retired community? >> let me supply those numbers, please. >> fair enough, but it seems like the people on jury like it and they would need to take control of that system. what is the retired source? what do they think about the proposed changes. the proposed changes are not grandfathered, correct? >> that's correct. >> at the end of the day your recommendations on health care are driven by the fact that we think we can provide better choice more efficient for the patient, more efficient for the department of defense and actually give more choice and
better coverage, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> and if we do nothing in terms of health care costs it is exploding in terms of dod's overall budget and somebody needs to deal withdod's overall budget and somebody needs to do something with it. >> that's correct. >> and you have to deal with retirement and health care to fight the war today and tomorrow's expense and that's a choice we don't want to make. >> that's correct. >> thank you all for your hard work. >> senator. >> thank you. thank you all for your service, not just on this commission but many many of you have serve this country in other ways. i have questions about retirement proposals, and at the end the commissary proposals. can we get chart three up maybe as way of providing an illustrative discussions. chairman, i will direct my questions to you and if you want to farm them out to experts,
that is fine. this shows on the left the current defined ben fingerprint system 20 and half pay on the right. you show your blended plan of a defined benefit, along with a tsp contribution and government match and continuation pay at 12 years. was there any consideration about trying to move to a pure defined contribution system? >> senator, you know, we have a defined benefit system now to move to a complete defined contribution system we believe would not give us all the retention benefits of the traditional military retirement. that's why we want to keep both the system and blend a system because we can take care of both our retention needs as well as the recruiting needs. >> does anybody else want to elaborate? so i understand that the --
trying to keep benefits roughly the same or in this example better as one goal, give services and personnel flexibility another goal retaining the force and maintaining the force as one goal, so the assessment of the commission is the 20 year defined benefit plan is important to retain that last skill, retaining personnel for this full 20 years? >> yes senator that's correct. >> any consideration of like a stair-step approach to the continuation pay rather than saying there's one at 12 years, for for another four years extension and having two or three periods within the retirement horizon encouraging people to enlist or officers to remain? >> senator the current program as it is today, compensation system we have special pays incentive pays and bonuses service members are being paid. we have those stepping stones
that service members benefit through those programs already. this would be that career retention piece that would take the service member now to a point of having 12 years plus a four year obligation that would get him to that 16th year, which means that they're close enough to retirement that that's the retention that will keep them there. there. >> the thinking is not many people leave after 12 and very very few leave after 16. >> that is correct. >> okay. under this proposal let's asa hypothetical, e 7 served three tours down range and had seven or eight years -- seven or eight years down range, three or 4 deployments, he would be leaving his contributions to his defined contribution plan and government match, is that right? >> if he elected to leave. >> if he didn't reenlist at
seven or eight years? >> yes. >> there's probably data to illustrate this. do we have any problem retaining this kind of mid-career senior nc orks nco, senior company grade officer, field grade officer in like the 6 to 9 year range? general. >> it depends on the military occupational specialty. it's one thing to retain an in infantry man who goes up a 60 pound rock and keep him in as a platoon sergeant or one with it skills that can find work in other areas. that's why it's absolutely essential the flexibility pay and services have the ability based on the military occupation specialty to apply different amounts on the military occupational specialty. i will tell you rather than
staur step stair step, the rand model tells us. i was told it was 27 28 days, if i can keep somebody under defined contribution under 50% past that magical mark i had a better than average opportunity to maintain them longer but our modeling for this particular plan told us that 10 to 12 year mark is absolutely critical. >> my time has almost expired. so my commissary question will probably wait for another day. >> you want to ask another question? >> sure. i'd be happy to. so i've been stationed at bases. fort campbell stands out in my mind that had a nice commissary but it had an even better warmest walmart supercenter outside the gates. there are bases around the world we need an on base commissary to provide the choice ours members have become accustomed too. was there any consideration of
assessing local sites around bases and forts about whether or not a commissary is actually needed on that location? >> senator cotton we spent quite a bit of time talking to service members, family members. installation commanders across the country on that. polling told us this same thing. we had people that were at different places on the -- how they perceive the value of the commissaries. overwhelming, though the support was that people believe that it was very important to retention to have the commissaries there. there are people that would tell us that they've got these -- the shops -- we talked to some of the -- the big shop warehouses if you will, stores the walmarts, others, about the benefits they would offer if they were to offer a benefit. quite honestly at the end of the day no one was willing to
stand behind their comments that they may have had about providing some savings to the service member. our intention here was to make sure we could protect the benefit of the service members and the service members believe this is a big savings to them and that they also believe it was a retention tool. that's the way we went about move g moving forward with our recommendation on commissaries. >> could i just add to that, mr. chairman, senator several of the big chains talked about issuing a card, you've probably heard that too they'll issue some card to the military. when we asked their representatives point-blank, would you do it? never got a straight answer. at the same time, we did hear -- now, look, there are some people that will order their food online, we know that. by and large, people want that. they want it because it's convenient, for a start. it's near them. it's military. they understand it.
it's responsive to their needs and so we lockoked at that and made our recommendations based on what the feedback. again, different folks have different requirements. pretty much overwhelmingly this is not something they wanted to go away. >> proclivity to use the commissary is based on a whole punch bunch of things. one is size of family. we had the snap issue before. there are arguments how much it saves. if you even cut the high number 31% in half, it's still a great savings to that e7 with four kids and a wife who made a decision to stay home and take care of the kids and to be an at-home mom. it is an unbelievable place for them to save the kind of money that they need as part of the benefit we provided them. >> thank you all again for your service and this important report. we look forward to working on it. having dealt with junior
enlisted men whether are new to the army and say the financial literacy proposals are critical as well having been a member of congress maybe we should add that to our orientation as well. >> thank you. on behalf of senator mccain we would like to add written statement statements from outside groups 30 days from today's hearing. any objection? and i would like to thank the witnesses for their excellent testimony and extraordinary contribution to this critical issue. thank you very much. the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
british elements during world war ii. and afterwards, former senior advisor for president obama, david axelrod on his 40 years in politics. on c-span3, saturday morning at 8:30 the 100th anniversary of the releases of a film "the birth of a nation" with the author showing a 1915 film followed by an historian jones. >> and washington portrait ss how art captured the spirit of the first president and how we can learn about him through paintings. see our schedule on c-span.org and let esnow what you think. you can call or e-mail us or tweet us at c-span #comments.
>> the political landscape has changed with the 114th congress. not only are there 43 new republicans and 15 new democrats in the house and 12 new republicans and one new democrat in the senate there's also 108 women in congress including the first african-american republican in the house and first veteran in the senate. keep track of the senate using congressional chronicle on c-span.org. it has lots of useful information including voting results about each statistic of congress, new congress, best access. c-span2, c-span radio and c-span.org. live now to capitol hill where the house foreign affairs committee is meeting this morning, holding a hearing on the threat posed by isis. witnesses include james jeffery former u.s. ambassador to iraq and dafna rand, former director for democracy and governance at the national security council.
on wednesday the president sent a draft to congress requesting a new authorized use of force against isis. the military has been using the 2001 authorization. relating the senate will be confirmation of ashton carter to be the new secretary of defense and would we plays chuck hagel and the debate will get under way at 10:30 eastern. mr. carter is expected to be confirm confirmed today. you can see all of this live on c-span2. the house will debate and vote on tax revisions. see coverage on the latest day in the house at 2:00 p.m. eastern. also this on the associated press, democrats have picked philadelphia as the site of their 2016 national convention. the democratic national academy says it will be held the week of july 25th. and the republicans will be in ohio and the democrats convention will come the week after republicans meet in cleveland.
if members would take their seats? we're going to begin this hearing and i'll ask all members to take their seats at this time. this morning the committee continues the focus on the growing threat of isis and of course the hearing takes on add ed significance as yesterday the president requested congress formally back military action against this jihadist organization, which has -- and organization which has beheaded americans and which has sold and raped thousands of women in syria. this is not a new threat for the
members of this committee. one year ago this committee took testimony from one of the few administration officials then sounding the isis alarm. that was ambassador brett mcguirk. he told us that group's mission, isis' mission was clear, as he said they wanted to carve out a zone of governing territory that would run from baghdad to syria to lebanon. of course, at that point in time we were seeing a situation where isis was just beginning to expand into towns in syria. members of this committee on both sides of the aisle called for air strikes against isis so they could not begin that process of expansion. unfortunately we went month after month, town after town isis, across syria and across iraq.
over the past 12 months, through a dozen hearings we've seen the isis threat only grow. now we have three american hostages dead including kayla mueller. not only have they been killed but isis has beheaded two japanese hostages and emoluated a downed jordanian pilot seen on tv. by now tens of thousands of those across syria, killing their husband, raping the wives and the daughters. this group occupies a vast territory. it holds an estimated 2 billion in assets. i don't think there's ever been in history a terrorist organization as well funded as this terror group. isis has used the virtual caliphate on the internet to recruit foreign fighters at an
unprecedented rate. 20,000 foreign fighters from 90 countries now make up the ranks of isis. according to intelligence estimates, this includes 3400 from the west and more than 150 americans on the ground fighting for isis today. over the past year, this committee has pressed the administration to intensify and accelerate its response. some pieces are being put together. but too slowly. of a 60 member coalition, 85% of all the air strikes are from u.s. fighter jets. this air campaign isn't pummelling the enemy, as it should. it is not intense enough. all of us were glad to see iraq prime minister malaki go. but with respect to reports of shiite militias wrecking havoc, the jury is still out on the body government's ability to field a competent and
ininclusive security force there. the training and equipment of iraqi force also continues to lag. we aren't likely to see the 12 iraqi brigades envisioned for several more months. sunni tribal fighters are becoming more supportedtive of the national force, but the question is will they be in it for the long haul? after six months of fighting, the committee is still deeply concerned to receive reports that the kurdish peshmerga are outgunned on the front lines, occasionally running out of ammunition on the front lines, underarmed and underequipped by the united states. this has to change. last fall, the united states authorized equipping the syrian opposition force. that's still not up and running and assad looks more comfort everyday. this has left key allies in the region distraught and questioning the administration's strategy, as many here do. despite these problems, kurdish
force on the ground and concentrated air support from coalition force in the air helped take back kobani. some 6,000 fighters there were killed killed, isis fight efforts. the kurds have shown tremendous bravery and they deserve more and timely delivered aid to their cause of fighting isis. jordan's tragedy is galvanizing the coalition. getting jordan to step up its role in the air campaign and commit thousands of troops to the border area with iraq is a show of force. last week the committee met with retired general john allen. the state department's lead to counter isis, and pledged our support to get jordan the equipment that it needs in this fight. the uae has also recommitted fighter planes to jordan. it is these arab force and voices that must be central in this fight. but they need to see and feel
american leadership. i am pleased that the president has formally requested that congress act on an authorization for use of military force against isis. now, he needs to make the case to the american people. and this committee. as we work to examine this proposal in depth. this won't be easy but i'm comforted by the fact that ranking member engle and i are united in our desire to see bipartisan backing behind a proposal that ensures that the commander in chief have the authority needed to decisively defeat the enemy. so mr. engle is joining us a little later. i'd like to now recognize the ranking member, mr. sherman of california, for his opening statement. i thank our witnesses for being with us as well. thank you. >> i think i'm the second ranking member, mr. chairman.
i view this as our first hearing on the president's hirschhorn for an authorization to use military force. i hope we focus on that hirschhorn, as the main duty of this committee, and that we have not only hearings but that we move to a mark-up and perhaps prior to moving to a mark-up, we move to a discussion where members can take five minutes to explain what they'd like to see in an ultimate resolution. we are all aware of the evil of isis. isis almost asks us to take military action against them. if they had a madison avenue marketing firm and tried to say what can we do to provoke americans, this is exactly what they would do. what's interesting is that the shiite alliance what i would
argue is at least an equal danger has done everything possible to avoid america taking military action. whether they will bargain in good faith in geneva i have no idea, i haven't seen it yet. they know going to genieva tampens down american concerns. of course, they were quite successful avoiding bombing of syria by the united states and ultimately willing to give up most of their chemical weapons to do so. of course, america calls out for the immediate destruction of isis. i think we'll see again in these hearings that to achieve that goal it would be extremely difficult and perhaps impossible and certainly involve tremendous american casualties. we can contain isis and work for its evental destruction and push things in the middle east to some degree without enormous
american casualties. if we think we can remake the middle east in our own image we are certain to in cur american casualties, and i'm not sure the middle east will ever be what we want it to be. mr. chairman, we had in this very room just yesterday hearings on iran. i think the shiite alliance led by iran and including many of the force in baghdad including the shiite militias of iraq and including haseing assad and hezbollah is more dangerous and deadly than isis. they have killed far more americans starting with the beirut marines back in the 1980s. they have carried on operations on virtually every continent. they are more capable of killing americans in the homeland than is isis. they have killed far more people in the middle east, assad alone has killed nearly 200,000.
and if we are going to focus on quote destroying isis, we shouldn't just focus on that. we need to ask what comes next. who fills the physical space, the ideology space and the cyberspace. al qaeda is well-positioned to fill the ideological space. they're an older organization, but they may also learn social media to the level of isis. and as to the physical space, we see a shiite alliance from te ha tehran to southern lebanon that would be emboldened by the destruction of isis. believe it or not, i don't have a longer statement, i didn't -- i expected to mr. engle to be here. i will look down the road to see if someone wants me to yield them a minute.
i see no one and i yield back to the chair. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we go for one minute to the chairman of the subcommittee northeast and north africa. >> thank you mr. chairman. we are deeply saddened by kayla's appalling murder by isis terrorists. she made it her mission to care about humanity in a region that seems to no longer value human life. our prayers go out to her family. the brutality of isil truly knows no bounds and this cancer continues to metastasize throughout this region. the president has finally given us a draft that will actually limit our involvement and i look forward to a ro busz debate on it. i firmly believe no matter what happens with this, it cannot happen without simultaneously addressing assad and iran and
the partnership with assad insures syria will continue to be a terrorist breeding ground for groups like isil and we will never be victorious that way. a big part of the administration's strategy is to train and equip the program that seeks to enhance the capability of moderate syrian opposition leaders, yet that program hasn't really started yet and said these fighters will be trained for defensive and not offensive action and we're not engaged assad directly only isil. i worry this policy is not going to be a victorious one. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we go to mr. keating of massachusetts, ranking member of the terrorism subcommittee. >> thank you mr. chairman. the confirmation of the death of american kayla mueller marks yet another tragic fatality at the hands of the terrorists. while it's undoubtedly true she would have gone on to personally enact great change that her
courage and empathy impacted far more lives than can ever be counted. my prayers are with her loved ones at this time as i think all of us in the committee feel very strongly about. along with kayla, our country has lost james foley, steven sotloff, peter kasich and we have lost others, our allies. kenji goto, yukawa, all of these people died tragically. going forward it will be important to contain a well developed and multifaceted strategy with the support of our trusted partners within an international coalition as we now turn to the question of new authorization for the use of military force these are the metrics i expect to be debated and continually reviewed and never forgotten. it's critical and clear we
consider this matter as the most serious of decisions all of united states make as a congress. thank you, mr. chairman. with that i yield back. in thank you. we go now for a minute to the center of terrorism and nonproliferation. nonproliferation. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there is not a comprehensive strategy to defeat isis. the training and equipment of moderate rebels whoever they may be has not even started but when it does start it will not be enough to make a difference. the rebels will probably end up fighting assad, not isis. the air strikes on isis have taken a toll but no one believes it is enough to defeat this group embedded in the local population. the effort to ton sunnis in iraq against isis has also not shown any significant progress. the kurdish force are the only group that has a record of battlefield successes against isis. they don't cut and run. for some reason we refuse to
give them adequate weapons they need to fight against isis we seem more concerned about baghdad and turkey and what they think about helping the kurds. my members intelligence authorization bill included a strategy to defeat isis as we give the president the power of war to go against isis it would be nice to know what the strategy is to win that war. what's the plan. i yield back. >> thank you. i will go to mr. deutche laterer when he joins the committee in his opening statement. in the interim we're pleased to be joined by a distinguished group of experts. ambassador james jeffery visit visiting on middle east policy and previously served as am ambassador to iraq and albania. dr. rick brennan a senior scientist at the rand corporation and prior to joining
rand served as a senior advisor to the u.s. military in iraq for five years. dr. dafna rand is the leon pennetta fellow and of security and previously she served on the staff of the national security council. she was a professional staff member on the select committee on intelligence as well. we welcome them all and without objection the witness's full prepared statement will be made part of the record and the members here will have five legislative calendar days to submit statements and any ex extraneous material for the record. ambassador, if we could start with you an ask you to summarize your remarks in five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. sherman, members of the committee. first of all, i think it's very important to note what we're doing today, as you said, considering an authorization for the use of military force.
it is fitting and just that the congress as well as the executive branch undertakes such grave decisions as this and i'm proud to be here today to provide whatever help i can. let me start with isis. they have already gotten a lot of help as the four of you have spoken. isis is a unique threat for all the reasons you laid out, mr. chairman, i won't repeat them again. we haven't seen anything quite like this before, particularly the old on military conventional military capabilities and appeal to the regional people. similarly, isis is a threat in a unique sense, because it's coming at a time of even more unusual disruption in the middle east. it reflects the longer term and dangers in that region. a state system under extraordinary stress with its legitimate massey questioned by the region's population and loyalty for these people.
it will require time and great effort for the governments of these people to free themselves from isis and of the thinking that is behind it, as mr. sherman discussed a few minutes ago. in the end, they have to do this. we can't. we can't tell them what their religion preaches and doesn't preach. we can't reach into the social structures of that part of the world. we tried that. it didn't work very well. there is a point here. we can't expect them, much as they want to help us to do all that much, because they're engaged in conflicts and struggles, ideological and sometimes physical within their own societies. thus it's the president's role to degrade and eventually destroy isis with america taking the lead is the correct mission. the campaign, which the u.s. and coalition of some 60 countries is implementing is basically sound. the campaign has had catastrophic success of late from the -- had considerable success of late from the push
back of isis and near success in the near future is actually quite possible. still, this campaign could well face tough sledding when the coalition begins major ground offensive operations and it hasn't done that yet. a lot of questions remain open. as representative ross la-lehtinen said, we have a lot of questions about syria. what we learned from vietnam forward is you cannot defeat an insurgent group if it has a refuge in a near country. you can't do anything about syria without a better policy towards assad. you don't knows who boots on the ground will dig these guys out of the places like fallujah and mosul. we don't know what the day after will look like. these are pretty tough questions. in sum, we should not assume time is on our side. given this extraordinary threat i urge the administration to
move faster, take more risks and apply more resources. if our commanders on the ground want it, and that's the question, they should have the weapon system this is a need. if they need more observers on the ground, need advisory teams with local force they should get that despite the higher risks and costs. likewise if our diplomats need top level u.s. pressure on various partners and players including iran we should follow their advice. in considering this authorization, i urge the congress to give the administration maximum flexibility in timing and the use of force. as one who spent four years in vietnam and iraq, i am totally opposed to any enduring ground offensive presence if that means long term counter-insurgency campaigns. we've tried them repeatedly. they haven't worked. if necessary to meet the president's very valid mission
of defeating isis we should not rule out operations, such as u.s. ground action to liberate najaf and fallujah in 2004. while i hope it doesn't come to that such a step could become necessary. we need actions that lead to us defeating isis. that could be seen as a victory against the u.s. and west as international international ardor and support for this around the world for this organization. chairman royce and ranking member engle and members of the committee. thank you for inviting me to speak to you about this important subject regarding the strategic threat of isis. my argument is straightforward and can be summarized in four key points. first, the key strategic threat we face today is not from isis.
al qaeda or any other group that's committing acts of violence or even genocide. rather, it this is radical islamist ideology that gives these groups pause. for this we need a grand strategy that apply sies all means of u.s. national power to address it. to understand the scale of the challenge, one can look at the rapid expansion of the number of sunni inspire edd jihad groups during the last 25 years. in 1988, only three groups existed. by 2010 the number of groups had expanded to 32. then as a result of the turbulence created by the arab spring, the number rapidly increased from 51 or to 51 by 2013. a 62% increase in just three years. it's also important to highlight that the islamist movement has a shia variant. the islamic republic of iran. the the logical interpretations
of the iayatollah khamenei continues to inspire actions against the united states, israel and sunni led nations around the region. iran continues to be the largest sponsor of state terrorism in the world. overall after the invasion of iraq iran engaged in what could be could a covert war against the united states, military and civilians operating in iraq. using their proxy militias working at the behest of the force. according to one military estimate iranian supported militias likely caused as much as 50% of u.s. casualties in iraq the eight years we were there. my second point, isis is much more than a terrorist group. it is a revolutionary insurgency organization that seeks to establish new social political and economic order without regard to internationally sanctioned state boundaries. its rapid success in iraq and
syria has caused an explosion of volunteers from around the world who have journeyed to fight in places such as syria iraq somalia, libya afghanistan and pakistan. by 2012 with eight years of experience fighting u.s. and iraqi military force and two years experience fighting syrian military and iranian proxy militia, isis has become an experienced and hardened military force. in january 2014 isis used the growing sunni alienation within iraq as an opportunity to seize control of fallujah, located just 50ed miles west of baghdad. following early success, isis began infiltration in iraq that set the stage for the june offensive. by august 2014, isis was in control of approximately 35,000 square miles of iraq and syria. a land mass that's approximately the size of the state of indiana. it had begun to establish structures to governance and now
calls itself the islamic state. my third point is that a number of factors contributed to the failure of the iraqi military in 2014. many of these were known in advance. one key factor was prime minister malaki's efforts to consolidate and control the iraqi military and security force and replacing competent officers with officers personally loyal to him. a second factor was the endemic corruption that permeates iraqi system and military establishment. finally, it's important to highlight from 2009 to 2011, the u.s. military had consistently reported that the iraq military had significant short falls in virtually all areas needed to conduct complex military operations without direct u.s. military assistance. in part, this was a reason that general lloyd austin and general madison and michael mullen recommended a residual force
remain in iraq. my fourth point, the u.s. initial response to isis was a necessary first step to blunt the assault. however, in my professional opinion as a career army infantry officer and career planner who spent five years in iraq between 2006 and 2011 as senior u.s. military advisor are insufficient to allow iraq to gain control of its territory and mosul. and defeat isis both either in iraq or syria. i believe in addition to what the u.s. military is doing today, the following would be required to achieve success, first, develop a more robust and advised system using conventional force. the force we have there now are insufficient to do so rapidly giving isis time to develop. seconds, enhance the size and scope of the command and control mission. third, employ u.s. special op rangeses force with attached
tactical air control parties and other coalition ground force down to the battalion level to enable them to assist in the conduct of an enhanced air campaign. finally, to deploy u.s. special operations force to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions in both iraq and syria. in conclusion, is there an understandable reluctance to once again put american ground force in iraq. but if the threat to the region and the united states is as grave, using the wording of the anf, as the president indicated in the proposal it is a mission that must be undertaken as ambassador jeffery said, we should not have constraints and we have to being willing to use grounds force if we're going to have success. >> thank you, dr. brennan. >> chairman and members of the esteemed committee. thank you for having this
hearing and inviting me to testify to time and topic. i'd like to discuss three key questions americans are asking today about the threat isis poses. the questions are pretty simple. they come down to what, why and how? what is isis they are asking? although isis has its roots in al qaeda off shoot in both its brutality and battlefield success successes it represents a new type of threat. i will mention a few characteristics because many have been articulated by members of this committee. first, the savagery is at the core of the ideology. while al qaeda justifies individual suicide bombing attacks against civilians through fatwas exexplanation the conditional necessity isis adapted an entirely new ideology. manipulates select stories from history and modern jihadi text to redefine jihad. it has generated a blanket justification for violence including against women and children. second, the group, as already
mentioned adopted a military doctrine not based on the typical terrorist logic of the weak fighting the powerful. instead, isis aspires to fight states and their militaries as a peer. it believes in the necessity of full-blown military campaigns and seek to control as much territory as possible. finally, isis is not bound by the same political concerns or need to appeal to the public. we just saw that with the horrific images of the jordanian pilot last week. with the violent approach that has little regard to political strategy, isis is now a decentralized diffused aspirational social movement that follows few orders and few chains of command. the second question americans are asking, why does this matter to us? to our interests, to our role in the world? after 14 years of deep u.s. military engagement in the broader military east americans have a right to a strong clear and convincing answer to this question. why should our resources and our
u.s. military be deployed in this fight? the best answer is that we are trying to degrade and destroy isis to achieve three specific national security objectives. to prevent isis attacks against the united states and our direct interests abroad. to degrade interest's ability to control populated areas from which it can recruit foreign fighters. and to protect the sovereignty of u.s. partners against isis. the third question is the most complicated. we will discuss it today. the question is how, how do we defeat isis or at least how do we degrade this threat enough to achieve the three basic goals i just enumerated. the overwhelm strategy to defeat and degrade isis will necessarily entail coercive and non-coercive tools of u.s. state craft. in other words, the use of u.s. military power is just one tool. it must be integrated with a set of other tools, particularly
multi-lateral and bilateral diplomacy. perhaps the greatest success we have seen against isis is this administration's ability to mobilize a diverse and significant international coalition. over 60 nations have not just committed to fighting the threat in words but they are acting. they are participating in the air strikes, countering isis' financing, stopping this flow of foreign fighters and responding to the humanitarian catastrophe. the use of military force is therefore a necessary but not sufficient part of the strategy. the draft language offered by the president yesterday in my view suggested a carefully tailored strategy based on the advice and council of military leaders that is working so far in the past five months. what have we seen in the past five months effectively degrading isis' capabilities in iraq and syria. we have seen evidence in september we are making significant success by using a combination of air strikes by the coalition coordinated with
force on the ground. through this partnership approach we eliminated 6,000 in iraq and a thousand in syria and diminishing supply lines and manpower and decreased the group's momentum. we have three main military partners on the ground. the iraqi security force, the kurdish fighters mentioned associated with the krg, and then we have our syrian opposition force which include both arab and kurdish factions. these groups are committed to fighting isis and have deep connections with the local populations in the region. their best place to understand the sociopolitical contacts that allowed isis to ink cu bait itself and thrive in the areas in the first place. in conclusion i believe a limited taylor use of u.s. military force in this operation reflects a larger strategy one that has been working, a strategy that prioritizing the role of the partners on the ground ultimately defeating isis and filling in the vacuums left behind upon isis' retreat.
the limited tailored approach suggests to the war-weary american public and muslim world we are not interested in another decade long u.s. presence on the ground in the heart of the middle east. degrading isis and reducing the threat it proposes simply does not require that kind of approach. in conclusion force is one element of our strategy and we should use it wisely and ju dishly effective. it is insufficient to sustain in a long term manner. even as congress is focused on the appropriate use of force it must not lose sight of the long range strategy and work necessary. i look forward to talking about the northern military objectives that differ across three distinct theaters iraq syria and a broader con treastrast to diminish globally.
>> you raysise the question. isis has taken mosul. who is going to dig them out of there. this committee raised the issue before they got to mosul we should have used air power while they were on the open desert to decimate that force but that wasn't done at that time. so, as of this morning, the pesh peshmerga force had surrounded isil on three sides working to cut isis' ability to maneuver in the area. the greatest problem is the area south of mosul where iraqi government force and where the sunni tribes are struggling to gain control of saladan province. when we look at the authorization just sent down to the committee, we're the committee of jurisdiction, from the white house they sent to congress an authorization that
would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in limited circumstances. we go through some of the lists the use of special operations force to take military action against isil leadership. for intelligence collection and sharing and missions to enable kinetic strike in other words, on the ground, in order to call in air strikes. i guess there's about 3,000 special forces involved in that right now. where the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance of partner force. i want to get to this question of assistance for our partner force, because i am concerned about the situation that the kurds face. we've had numerous meetings with them in which they have called repeatedly for anti-tank weapons that they could use for artillery, for long range mortar armor.
mrk that has not been done. so as they surround mosul this gets to the question of what kind of leadership on the ground would be given what kind of weaponry would be given and what kind of air strikes would be called in by our spotters on the ground and maybe we can open with that, ambassador, would you like to give us your thoughts on some of this? >> certainly mr. chairman. it's to some degree two separate questions. arming the kurds is an important issue. and there are two elements to it. one is what they need and secondly, the political ramifications in the longer term because there will be an iraq and there will be a lot of problems in the middle east after we defeat isis. one of the problems is keeping iraq together. so the administration's position, and it makes sense, it was a position we had when i was there, is to give these weapons
through the iraqi government, at least with a pro forma check to the kurds. we just have to try a lot harder to ensure weapons go to the kurds. it's easier for what i call defensive weapons, m-wrap and humvee armored vehicles basically for counter-insurgency anti-mine equipment, night vision goggles armor and all of that thing. the question is long range artillery you mentioned and armor. that cannot only be used in an urban situation against isis, also can be used in a conflict with baghdad. that's a tricky question. for the moment i would focus on giving them better equipment to do what they're doing now to ensure they have the ammunition, they have the armor to move around the battlefield. i'm not sure giving them artillery and tanks is such a good idea, assuming they can hold the ground now, and they
have been, including in a quite difficult attack in kirkuk last week. in terms of the kurds, the measure peshmerga taking mosul, part of mosul was always considered kurdish in the sense there was a kurdish element to the population in east mosul. and they may be willing to fight in or near that. i'm not so sure they would be willing to take heavy casualties and they would take heavy casualties to fight and take over. >> they're taking heavy casualties now taking it against artillery when they don't have artillery to match. only 25 of the 250 m-wraps we sent through baghdad got through. i'm just pointing out the weaponry is not getting through to the kurds. i think on both sides of the aisle here, the fighting is going to be done. by kurdish, by jordanian, by sunni tribe arab
troops and kurdish troops on the ground. if we are not giving them the assistance they need, you know, this allows isis not to be rolled back. we need to see them decisively rolled back. let me go to dr. brennan just for a minute in terms of some of your thoughts on this. i know that you've written about peshmerga and coalition ground force, the this necessity to help them on the ground. would you like to elaborate? >> thank you, mr. chairman. my view is that in order to assist these organizations, whether they be the peshmerga or coalition force that we bring on the ground we have got to put u.s. force with them. that is a perfect mission that we have the united states army special forces. i would be putting eight teams down at the battalion level to
help them plan intelligence to help them organize and to allow them to bring in the type of air support that's necessary at the precision level. the problem you will have as you go into cities, there will be a great reluctance to use air support in there because of potential for collateral damage. having our troops on the ground gives a sense of competence of them bringing those weapons where needed. not putting our boots on the ground to do that would be extremely difficult to win this battle. you have about 3,000 special forces now on the ground in theater. they are calling in air strikes right now. you're saying as you get into these cities they need to be forward deployed in order to make certain that the isil targets are the targets that are hit. >> exactly. they need to be engaged with all the coalition military so we have an integrated air campaign enhanced air campaign something much greater than we have right now. >> my time is expired.
i'll go to mr. engle the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and thank -- i want to thank our witnesses for their testimony. our hearing today takes place in the wake of president obama sending his hirschhorn for the use of force to the congress yesterday. the aumf lands squarely in the jurisdiction of this committee and i look forward to working with chairman royce and all our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the overall strategy to defeat i since the days and weeks ahead. we're obviously trying to deal with the appalling humanitarian situation including the 3 million syrians and hundreds of thousands of iraqis driven from their homes as well as the spillover effect in jordan turkey lebanon and egypt. we worked to cut off isis' funding stream cracking down on their efforts to smuggle oil and kidnap for ransom and i'm working on legislation to
provide cultural properties so a an organize like isis cannot steel a country's heritage and work working on foreign fighters that when we remove an extremist on the battlefield there isn't another from england and the u.s. waiting to take its place and the violent ideology preached in isis propaganda. coalition military operations are making some progress under the cover of coalition air strikes, seeing some reversals in isis gains. as the chairman spoke about, we continue to advise and assist the iraqi security force and kurdish peshmerga. i share the chairman's thoughts on the peshmerga and the kurds. isis has been driven out of kobani and we continue to prepare and train and equip syrian opposition although this effort is slow moving and long long overdue in my opinion.
the coalition is working on a multi-laerl multi-lateral effort the way it should. when questions arrive, we're trying to meet concerns. we're able to bring the uae back into this effort as one of our most reliable allies in the region and why jordan doubled down on its commitment after the aftermath of the horrific murder of its pilot. i want to start by talking about the aumf. the president put his language, as a starting point on the aumf. so i'd like to hear from our witnesses what their thoughts are, should this aumf be limited to a certain gi graph ing area should it limit u.s. -- limit u.s. combat troops on the ground? should we consider a sunset clause for an aumf? why don't we start with
ambassador jeffery? >> i would urge the committee to give as much latitude as possible to the administration particularly on timing. i'm very concerned about the three years, because having been in the administration it's going to be very difficult as they come in the next administration comes into office and they're just getting their people confirmed in may or june of 2017 to have to think about a resolution, while also thinking about what their overall strategy is going to be. if there has to be a time limit on it i understand why people would want it, i would urge a broader one. i'm also a bit concerned about the enduring offensive ground operations because that can be interpreted to mean no ground operations. certainly, the kind of operations by special forces advisory teams and such that dr. brennan has talked about are very feasible and the normal
procedure in such campaigns. we've used them many times before. if the commanders on the ground need them, i think they should. i would not rule out using american ground troops to take territory if that's necessary to defeat isis. what i would rule out myself but that's a political decision, is long term american presence on the ground, as we saw in iraq, in afghanistan, in vietnam. it does not work, mr. engle. >> isn't enduring people on the other side worry that enduring might be allowing troops for a longer period of time that people would like. you've got people on both sides of te divide worrying about the nebulous term enduring? >> it's a bad idea to have enduring ground troop presence almost anywhere in the middle east. we have traditionally not done that before 2001/2003.
that's a good rule to get back to generally, with exceptions. advisory teams air power, perhaps, in the long term but you don't want to keep a large groundteams, air power, but you don't want to keep a launch on ground presence because that's perceived as a threat. >> the other point i'd like to make is that limiting the president of the united states to not allowing him to have enduring ground operations sends a cig issal not only to our friends, but to our enemies. we have to go into this if this is a grave threat to the u.s. national security, i believe the congress ought to authorize a president to do what's necessary and more importantly while there may be no plans of doing an operation, we don't know where the war is going to evolve in six months and we have to have the flexibility of the president and commanders on the
ground and i see this with somebody who's been with troops on the ground to say the lawyers are going to be wrestling with this every day, trying to understand what the enduring offensive operation, defensive, it is then going to cause so many problems that i think it would be a mistake to keep a clause like this in the amf. >> thank you dr. ryan. >> overall i think the aumf strikes the right tone in terms of balancing between the flexibility requirement and reflecting the strategy. that's working in a preliminary way. the most important clause here i think is the sunset provision because as my colleagues mentioned, so much is dhanging and is fluid on the battlefield that the question of how extensive the forces need to be the question of the geography, the question of what is an affiliate or associate of isis these are questions that in two, three year, we will have to reevaluate, so i see that as the
most important limitation on the use of force because it demands a reevaluation that congress will require based on reporting requirements in here. the only financial question i'd add is the geographical scope in terms of the global authorization for the use of force. that might need to be clarified. >> thank you. >> we go now to florida. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. the obama administration states that the training of syria and moderate fighters is is a large part of our strat squiegystrategy, but as of yet, we have not seen much evidence of this success. robert ford said in our middle east subcommittee that the administration doesn't bother to koord coordinate or discuss strategy with syria's moderate fighters at all and won't strike isil
near aleppoaleppo. if this force does eventually get up and running what should its mission be and who will set up the strategy? the united states or the coalition partners? can these forces fight against assad and isil sim ul tan yously and jeffrey you testified that iran's policies almost drove iraq apart between 2012 and 2014 and also that we won't be able to defeat isil over the long-term without a more forceful u.s. policy. what can you tell us about iran's goal and the activities in iraq and the region and how does this impact our fight against isil? do you suspect we are not going after assad because we are negotiating with iran on nukes and lastly, when iran violates iraqi air space, did or will prime minister abadi the u.s.
and our coalition turn a blind eye because it's not convenient? >> thank you. first of all i agree with you that we need to do much more to explain how syria fits into this whole equation. the campaign is correct in putting the pyrety on iraq because there, we have allies. there, we have, we're engaged in syria is along the turn of question but that doesn't mean you can not now answer questions. our allies in the region, most of them want us to do more against assad. assad contributed to the creation of isis. assad is a live with iran. as my colleague dr. brennan said, we're dealing not just with one one extreme violent
movement. one is the side of the iranian establishment, the religious establishment. it's both a country and a cause and a poster boy for the cause is -- who's done a great deal to drive iraq into this disunity that isis was able to exploit in 2014 by allowing in some cases, encouraging maliki and other members of the shia governing coalition to oppress the sunnis and disagree with the kurds such as the country was not holding together well, thus, isis came on the seen and we saw what happened. we have to deal with all of these problems. we have a lot of friends in the region. i can't say that the administration doesn't do more against iran or syria because of the negotiations. i hope that isn't the case. but i think that we need to separate the two out. that negotiation on nuclear weapons has to rock has to rest on its own merits, whatever they
may be. and our policy towards providing security in this region with our allies has to be moved forward without consideration of other exterior questions. >> thank you so much. the other witnesses. >> we need to approach this region, develop a regional strategy to address this. as jeffrey said, we've got a lot of partners in the region that are being threatened by what's taking place. if you look at the rapid expansion of what's what ra won da has done recently, currently, they have hezbollah and lebanon the large number of shia militias in iraq perhaps as many as 5 to 10,000 and when we look at the success in iraq, a lot of the success is being done by the shia-led militias and iran inside iraq that will tend
to distort iraqi politics in the long run. you've got the -- in yemen and assad in syria. you herbalsyly have the creation of a shia crescent threatening our allies in the region and it's no wonder these allies when we ask them to join us, come to us and are concerned because they see iran as a primary threat. we have to come together and develop a strategy that takes consideration of our ally's concerns and moves on from there, rather than just trying to look solely at the issue of isis. isis in iraq has got to be first priority. >> thank you. sor rry i ran out of time. thank you. >> the ranking member of the subcommittee on terrorism. mr. brad sherman of california. >> mr. chairman, i've now become the ranking member on asia. >> congratulations on the promotion. >> for purposes, but i believe
isis is a lesser threat. ground troops, if necessary to take territory will be necessary to hold the territory. the peshmerga are not going to be welcomed in sunni arab areas and the iraqi army we saw what they did. it was the greatest transfer of weaponry to a terrorist organization in history. the shiite the iraqi government, has some effective fighting units. they are the shiite militias that have engaged in murderous ethnic cleansing of sunnis under reported in the american press and so, it's so i don't see who we have that will be a ground force to take sunni areas. i do know that i don't want to
vote to have american soldiers going house to house in mosul in a bloody hand to hand combat role because no other ground forces are available. as to the aumf we've got the texts the president sent over, leave leaves in place the 2001 aumf. in effect, republishes reaffirms it. what is that that we would be reaffirming 15 years later? unlimited in time. unlimited in what weapons or tactics or ground forces it authorized over 100,000 forces soldiers in afghanistan. last decade, it would authorize 100,000 u.s. soldiers to be deployed on the ground next decade and of course unlimited in geography. so, if we repeal that, it's hard to say that the president doesn't have enough authority to do all the things many of us
hope he does not do. and then as to the timing issue it would if congress is doing its job and there's a three-year aumf, after two years we passed something else rather than wait waiting for two days while we have soldiers in the field wondering whether congress will pass the bill. but i want to focus with my time economics. this is the richest terrorist organization in history. they got a huge quantity of iraqi currency. i don't know if our witnesses -- you know, you're blue money is has got to be void because you've got to change it for purple money. this inconveneiences