tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 12, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EST
explain that withdrawal based on an artificial deadline risks losing the gains we have made there. the taliban continue to threaten our allies. the next secretary of defense must do all he can to declare a policy of making it a real one. past drawdowns and failures to modernize have time -- time -- to invest in the so it's time to p invest in the platforms and capabilities that will be needed to effectively address china as i military buildups. the joint chiefs when he provides his best military advice to the president, especially when that advice is ignored in the white house. here in the senate, i'll do all i can to support the next secretary. that starts today. i intend to support ash carter's nomination but my support is
conditioned on this question: the incoming secretary needs to have the courage to speak truth to power -- to congress, yes but also to his commander in chief. half. mr. durbin: mr. president? speaking in morning business, i rise to express my support for the president's nominee dr. ashton carter to serve as our nation's 25th secretary of defense. a few words of thanks first for chuck hagel our former colleague in the senate who served as secretary of defense. he's a friend. he's had a long career in public service. he's a veteran from vietnam and the people of nebraska rewarded him by asking him to represent them in the united states senate. as our nation's first person 6 enlisted rank he had a unique ground level view on matters of war and peace and a strong, strong commitment to our troops. i thank chuck hagel for his service. dr. ashton carter has an impressive distinguished record of service as well in
government. an advisor scholar. he has what it takes to be a great secretary of defense. his credentials as one of our nation's top security policy experts are well established. a bachelors degree in physics and medieval history from yale. a doctor in theoretical physics from oxford. he served as faculty chair at harvard and is the author of 11 books. as singularly impressive as this is dr. carter is very much a doer. he served no fewer than 11 secretaries of defense from leon panetta to chuck hagel included. he's four times been awarded the distinguished service medal as well as the intelligence medal. as assistant secretary under the clinton administration he was instrumental in removing nuclear stockpiles from the states of ukraine, kazakhstan and belarus. as under secretary for defense for acquisition and low gist tisks he was renowned to break
logjams to get our troops what they needed. we talked about this at some length when we met in my office a few weeks ago. how can we continue, i asked him, to reform d.o.d. so it will be able to rise to the occasion of today's challenges. as part of the discussion i was pleased to hear his appreciation for the department of defense's organic industrial base, especially one near and dear to my heart the arsenal in illinois. he recalled his experience in afghanistan as ash carter tried to bring troops body armor they needed and recalled working with great employees the dedicated employees at the rock ield arsenal as they -- island arsenal as they delivered the equipment to our troops and rolled it off assembly lines in record times. i'm confident he can provide the president with the best policy advice to deal with our nation's challenges. he has my full support. while i'm pleased the senate is moving and moving quickly on ash
carter i'm troubled that my colleagues across the aisle are delaying consideration of loretta lynch the president's nominee for attorney general of the united states. it's been 95 days since the president announced the nomination. this is longer than any other attorney general nominee has had to wait in recent memory. by way of comparison, the democratic-controlled senate confirmed michael mukasey as attorney general in 50 days. eric holder, 64 days. i sat through the hearings with loretta lynch and i hirched to the -- listened to the questions particularly from the republican side. i listened to the questions on the republican side and came to the inescapable conclusion that the republican senators were going to refuse any effort to renominate eric holder for attorney general. that's all they had to say. their grievance was with the city attorney general who has announced he's leaving as soon as his successor is chosen.
i listened carefully for any criticism of loretta lynch and i didn't hear it. then they had public witnesses a panel that has majority republican-chosen witnesses and democratic witnesses and early on i believe senator leahy asked the question of all the witnesses there, how many of you who were at this public panel oppose the nomination of loretta lynch for attorney general? not one. not one republican, not one democrat. there's no opposition to loretta lynch. why are they holding up this important appointment by president obama? why don't we consider that this afternoon? it can be done, and it should be done very quickly. nobody's questioned her records as a federal prosecutor. she's twice before been unanimously confirmed to serve as u.s. attorney for the eastern district for new york. she has been vetted and examined and questioned to a fare-thee-well. she testified before the senate judiciary committee for nearly
eight hours answering every question and including 600 written questions that were sent to her. it's time to move forward and confirm this obviously well-qualified and historic nominee. the senate judiciary committee will have the opportunity to report ms. lynch out this week. we have the opportunity to confirm her immediately. there is no reason for further delay. what are the senate republicans trying to prove by holding up an obviously qualified nominee for a critically important agency like our department of justice? i hope that the spirit of bipartisanship shown in that committee can be shown on [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> thursday, the senate armed services committee held a hearing about the situation in afghanistan. the committee heard testimony from afghanistan operations commander, general john campbell, who provided the white house with options for flexibility on the pace of troop withdrawals. this hear something two hours and 10 minutes.
>> good morning. the committee meets today to receive testimony on afghanistan and i want to thank general campbell the commander of the resolute support mission and u.s. forces afghanistan, for appearing before us today, about security conditions on the ground, the development of the afghan national security forces and the way forward. general, we've been blessed by a series of great military leaders of our forces and allied forces in afghanistan. and you are a worthy successor to those outstanding leaders, in my view. according to a recent media report, the troop drawdown in afghanistan is now, quote, under white house review. but as the white house deliberates, the current plan is set to reduce the number of u.s. troops in afghanistan to about 5,500, beginning in the middle of this year's fighting
season. the plan was first announced by president obama in may of 2014, before it was known that the afghan presidential transition would require almost six months to conclude, before the appearance of isis on the afghan battlefield and before pakistan military operations sent 200,000 refugees from -- into afghanistan. these unforeseen circumstances illustrate the major liabilities of a calendar-based approach and highlight had the need for a conditions-based approach. like our national military strategy written in 2012, president obama's calendar-based troop drawdown plan for afghanistan no longer accurately reflects the facts and conditions on the ground. like the president's policy against isil, the president's afghanistan policy lacks of
strategic disconnect, providing a list of goals or preferences, but precluding the means necessary to achieve them. perhaps it is time for the president to exercise strategic patience, as our witnesses yesterday unanimously agreed. former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, james cunningham, having just served in kabul and left in december, said, quote, i think that under the circumstances, the timeline is probably too short and the rate of withdrawal is too steep. former ambassador to both iraq and afghanistan, ryan crocker, said, i hope we will take the right decisions on force levels going forward based on conditions, not on calendars. former commander of special operations command and the first navy s.e.a.l. to achieve the rank of four stars said, actual war is too dynamic to accommodate fixed models. so i would urge strategic and
operational flexibility as we move forward in afghanistan. at a force size of 4,500, our force in afghanistan will be reduced to kabul. presently in only one location, one that retreats from the north, east and south of afghanistan, we'll relinquish the area to the drug runners, yield to iranian influence and abandon kandahar to the taliban. the lack of presence creates a vacuum and week of seen what fills that vacuum in syria and iraq. the ungoverned spaces will allow terrorists to foe meant the same disaster in afghanistan as we have seen in iraq, growing instability terrorist safe havegness and direct threats to the united states -- havens and direct threats to the united states. i think our former national counterterrorism director put it into perspective, how we should look at afghanistan.
i quote, should the american people think this is hopeless? the last 13 years have shown us that the counterterrorism fight and protecting the homeland in this region is not hopeless. we've been very, successful at stopping attacks from the region. and i would flip it around. from a homeland security perspective, i think it is close to hopeless to think we can have that same success without some ongoing presence in the region. reducing to a quote, norm allem about asy presence, at the end -- normal embassy presence at the end of 2016 and announcing it to the enemy, gives terrorists breathing room to plot against the west. as ambassador crocker put it, quote, by fixing a date to draw down to a certain number, and then to draw down to basically an office and an embassy simply tells our adversaries how long they have to hold out before they have the field to themselves. by the way i know of no man more respected than ambassador
ryan crocker. if we've learned anything from iraq, it should be that wars do not end just because politicians say so. we cannot let the taliban al qaeda and isis conquer afghanistan. failure in this manner would destabilize the region especially by undermining the security of a nuclear-armed pakistan. i want to thank general campbell for testifying today. i thank him for his leadership. i look forward to hearing his assessment of conditions on the ground, development of afghan forces and the plan for the way forward. senator reid. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. let me join you in welcoming general campbell. thank you, general, for your service to the nation. beginning in the 504 and continuing today. since you took command of the u.s. forces in afghanistan last august, afghanistan has entered what ambassador cunningham yesterday called a pivotal period. the emergence of a national
unity government under the leaders has had an immediate impact on security in afghanistan, with the signing of the bilateral security agreement and the nato status of forces agreement. 2/3 of thing afghans polled want u.s. and coalition troops to stay to train the afghan security forces. your challenge is to successfully lead the u.s. and coalition effort to train, advise and assist afghan security forces and conduct counterterrorism operations. even as u.s. and coalition forces have gone down to postcombat levels in afghanistan. we would be interested in your assessment whether you currently have the forces you feel you need to carry out these two missions. we're also seeking your best military judgment this morning on what further reductions, if any, you would recommend for u.s. forces in afghanistan and under what condition. at yesterday's hearing, referring again to ambassador crocker, he warned that the consequences of disengagement can be as great or greater than
the consequences of engagement. or intervention in the first place. i share the concern of many on this committee that any future reductions in u.s. force levels in afghanistan should be based on the security conditions at the time of the proposed reductions, taking into account the capabilities of the afghan security forces and the status of the counterterrorism fight. we would also be interested in your views on the full range of challenges you face, including the progress that the afghan security forces in building key enablers such as logistics, special praise operations forces intelligence and airlift, the afghan-pakistan security relationship, including border coordination and counterterrorism effort, and the reports of a growing isis presence in afghanistan. again, thank you, sir, for your service to the nation. >> general campbell. >> chairman mccain, ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before you today. i'm honored to lead and represent the service men and
women of the united states forces afghanistan. i'd like to begin by thanking the committee for your steadfast support of our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our marines, and our civilians. due to your leadership and your commitment, they're the best trained and best equipped force our nation has ever deployed. their outstanding performance bears testimony to your backing and the backing of the american people. i'd like to pay tribute to our military families, they're the unsung heroes of the last 13-plus years of conflict. in many ways, our frequent absences from home are harder on them than on us. without their love, strength and support, we couldn't succeed. i'd also like to recognize the over 2,200 service men and women who have been killed in action in afghanistan and the over 20,000-plus who have been wounded. each day we strive to bring meaning to their sacrifices. we honor their memories and their loved ones by continuing
to build a secure and stable afghanistan. and by protecting our own homeland. over 13 years have passed since the attacks and we haven't forget -- since the 9/11 attacks and we haven't forgotten why we came to afghanistan and why we remain. since 2001 the extraordinary efforts and courage of our forces have ensured that another terrorist attack originating from afghanistan and directed against the u.s. homeland has not occurred. it's been seven months since i appeared before this committee and much has changed since then. afghanistan, the region, the enemy, and our coalition have undergone tremendous transitions. and most of these have been extraordinarily positive for us . i'd like to emphasize a few of these today in order to place our current campaign in context. and to reaffirm that the conditions exist for us to achieve our strategic objectives. in september afghanistan completed the first peaceful democratic transition in history. although prolonged this transition was still a monumental achievement. it represented the afghans'
commitment to a democratic, open society. the difference between a new national unity government and its predecessor is night and day. the president and -- have embraced the international community. our coalition and the afghan security forces. our partnership is strong. we now have a ratified bilateral security agreement and a nato status of forces agreement. which grant us the necessary authorities to continue our mission. dynamics within the region continue to evolve as well. the president has made regional engagement a top priority in order to address the shared security and economic interests for afghanistan. nowhere is this more evident than in the pakistan-afghan relationship. the pakistan taliban's murderous attack on 16 december may prove to be their 9/11 and a game changer for our future. senior pakistani officials recognize they can no longer
make the distinction between good and bad terrorists. in the wake of this tragedy, the blame game between both countries has stopped. i've witnessed firsthand substantive changes in the interactions between the afghan and pakistan military leadership in just the last couple of months. they're now talking. positive exchanges between core commanders recently occurred in kandahar, in jalalabad. last week six afghan army cadets are now attending the pakistan military academy and this wasn't happening before. we're doing everything we can to promote their closer cooperation. particularly to address extremist sanctuaries on both sides of the border. we must temper our expectations, i remain optimistic that both countries are working towards a more productive relationship. the enemy remains in a state of flux too. the taliban failed to achieve any of their stated objectives in 2014. constantly pressured by the n.s.f., suffering from dissention within their own
ranks, and lacking popular support, they turned to high profile terrorist attacks particularly against soft targets inside of kabul. the desperate attempt to remain vell rant rsh relevant are failing to win over the afghan population. they're killing innocent civilians and fellow afghans. it's time for them to lay down their arms and rebuild the afghan nation. the possible rise of isil is also a new development. thus far we believe that the nation's presence in afghanistan represents more of a rebranding of a few marginalized taliban, but we're still taking this potential threat with its dangerous rhetoric and ideology very, very seriously. we're working closely with the n.s.f. to evaluate and understand the dynamic nature of this fledgling network. the potential emergence of isil represents an additional opportunity to bring the afghans and the pakistanis together to confront this common threat. and we will continue to engage
with leaders from both countries on ways we can collaborate to meet this challenge. we're all driven to prevent them from establishing a meaningful foot hold in central asia. u.s. forces afghanistan and our coalition have undergone tremendous changes as well since i assumed command. on 1 january, u.s. forces afghanistan formally ended its command mission and we commence with our new mission, operation freedom sentinel. we've also ended all detainee operations. simultaneously troops from over 40 nations, which comprised the new nato mission, resolute support began executing their trained advise and assist mission in order to build the capabilities and long-term sustainability of the ansf. they also assumed full security responsibilities, they're ready and it's time. the ansf were challenged and test tested but they held their own against a determined enemy.
on a battlefield the n.s.f. fought and demonstrated their increasing capabilities. today the government of islamic republic of afghanistan remains firmly in control of 34 capitals and all of its major cities. the n.s.f. successfully promoted or protected eight million afghans who courageously defied insurgent intimidation and voted in two rounds of elections. the n.s.f.'s professionalism and their nonpartisanship enabled them to remain cohesive in the face of an extended political impasse after the elections. all portions of the afghan security forces continue to respect and obey afghan authority. the n.s.f. special forces in particular have proven to be the most proficient in the entire region. they're consistently executing unilateral direct action missions against insurgent leaders and facilitators. they're leveraging their own intelligence, using their own
special wing helicopters to carry out long range things in low illule nation. this is a remarkable capability for any military. afghan continues to be a dangerous place. casualty rates for all the a.s.f. increased in 2014. roughly 5% to 7% higher. however this must be viewed in light of the fact that their operational tempo was four times greater in 2014 than it was in 2013. and that over 100,000 coalition forces norp longer on the battlefield -- were no longer on the battlefield. even considering these higher casualties the a.s.f. attrition rates, which account for all loss to the force have not impacted combat readiness too severely. the army and the police recruiting has not been a problem. afghan youths continue to join the ranks and the a.s.f. security forces are widely respected and viewed as an
honorable, patriotic profession. the afghan national army remains the most trusted institution in the country. and the afghan shield and sword of an exceptionally proud people and a fledgling nation. after watching the s.a.f. respond to a variety of challenges, i don't believe the insurgents represent an exiss tension threat to the government of afghan. however, the a.s.f. still need a great deal of help in developing the systems and processes necessary to run a modern, professional army and police force. they also need sustained support in addressing their capability ga gaps in aviation, intelligence and special operations. to address these gaps, our trained advise and assist mission and mentorship will be vital. our advisors at the security ministries, army corps and police zones are now our main earth. although clearly challenges exist -- effort. although clear challenges exist, i believe that the n.s.f. capabilities or capacity and the morale will be sufficient.
backstop by our advisory efforts and enable our support. this will allow afghanistan long-term security at the end of the resolute support mission. the afghan president recently remarksed, and i quote compelled by tragedy and cremeanted by mutual sacrifice, the partnership between afghanistan, nato and the u.s. has entered a new phase end quote. i believe we're at a critical inflexion point in our campaign. many challenges remain before us, as the new afghan government forms. it's still finding its footing. and it must do so while contending with the security threat corruption and economic challenges. yet the myriad of challenges and transitions over the last seven months offer us a tremendous opening. the administration offers us an extraordinary opportunity to develop a meaningful strategic partnership that will stabilize afghanistan and in turn offer greater security for the region and the u.s. homeland. there's a new spirit of
cooperation in kabul. something we didn't have before. i firmly believe that our concurrent c.t. and t.a. efforts will reinforce and deepen our strategic partnership and shape conditions for a favorable outcome to this conflict. we could offer no greater tribute to the american people, our fallen and their loved ones, than by finishing this mission well. if i could, i think the members have charts at your tables there. i'd like to show you a couple statistics. i'm asked, what does progress mean? have we had success? has it been worth it? i just offer you these two slides. a layout in 2001 and 2014. in every measurable statistic, from roadways, cell phone uses, schools, teachers, females in schools, literacy rate, on and on and on, continues to go up. the one that's quite striking is the life expectancy on the bottom right there. in 2001 it was 4 years.
today it stands -- 43 years. today it stands at 64 years. that's 741 million life years of hope that the coalition, the american people, have provided to the afghan people. the bottom two charts show kabul then and now, 2001 and 2014. on the right is present-day kabul. the fifth fast of the growing city in the world. that's bro pro-gress. that's success. and that can only happen with a coalition of the security that is provided. finally, let me conclude by stating that u.s. forces afghanistan is currently involved with a winter review of the campaign. this review is looking at all of our lines of effort in afghanistan, not just the military. as i stated, the afghan president is a credible and effective partner. he's asked for nato and the united states to provide some flexibility in our planning to account for the fact that his
government remains in transition. i have provided options on adjusting our force sponsor through my chain of command. shoot is how long we stay engaged on a regional level in 2015. once again, i expressed my profound gratitude to all the committee members for your unfailing support of our mission and our troops in afghanistan. i'm humbled and i'm privileged to lead the men and women of their caliber and their courage. every day they make us all proud. liked for to your questions. thank you. >> thank you very much, general. in an address to the nation on 27 may 2014, president obama said about afghanistan quote, we will bring america's longest war to a responsible end and then announce calendar dates for our withdrawal. the beginning of 2015, we'll have approximately 9,800. by the end of 2015 we'll have redulesed that presence by roughly half and we will have consolidated our troops in kabul and on bagram. we will have consolidated our
troops in kabul and in bagram. one year later, by the end of 2016, our military will draw down to a norm allem about asy presence in kabul -- normal embassy presence in kabul with a security assistance component, and i'm not making this part of his statement up, just as we've done in iraq. general, we're worried about it being just as we've done in iraq. so, i guess the fundamental question i have for you, in light of the fact that there was a six-month transition the government of afghanistan, isis is now locating there, other things have happened since the president made this statement. do you believe that our troop presence in afghanistan should be adjusted, the schedule should be adjusted, in light of ensuing events since the president made his statement on 27 may 2014? >> sir, thank you for the question. as i mentioned in the oral
statement, i have provided options to my chain of command to take a look at, as we do this update, for additional options. >> you provided those options. do you favor those options? >> absolutely. >> thank you. are you worried about a lack of u.s. military presence in kandahar the spiritual home of the taliban, including i.s.r., air power capability and advisors there? >> sir, currently with the forces that we have in kandahar, i'm comfortable where we are through 2015. they provide us the opportunity to continue to do our mission of train advise and assist. down in kandahar, that's what the 205th corps the police with the special operating forces and the air force, and we have the requisite i.s.r. to be able to continue that mission through 2015. >> those options that you've provided to the president does
that mean that the options that you support would not draw down to a norm allem about asy presence -- normal embassy presence in kabul? >> the option i presented to >> there are several options laid out to make sure we can continue with our mission. this is a very first season completely on their own. they had done quite well but this is the first one at the current force levels we are at. as you mentioned, the current land brings us down to kabul by the end of 2015. as we look at that again, we're asking -- the president has asked for some flexibility and in my options, i believe i have provided options for the afghanistan president and for my
senior leadership that would allow us the flexibility to continue to get after the mission. >> a group of us met with the afghan president and he was very strong and adamant that this current lan will -- plan will put the nation in danger and i hope that our leadership will pay attention to him when he comes or a visit here i believe in march. senator reid. >> thank you, general. you have two distinct missions. one is train advise, and support afghan national security forces and the other is to counterterrorist missions. those two missions might have -- require different footprints and terms of where you are located in the country. is that being considered by you and your recommendations to the president? that sort of dichotomy between two missions?
and does that shape your recommendation in terms of what locations and must hold simply for counterterrorism, others you might hold for training? that is accurate? >> they are complementary missions. they can't lament each other and lead toward protection. got to take a holistic look at both of those as we provide options to be senior leadership. we have not shown great flexibility in the past. and the october time frame come it can board for some flexibility and the president granted some great flexibility that enabled us to continue with the mission. >> there is another aspect of the counterterrorism was alluded to by our panel yesterday. that is regional threats, not just solely located within afghanistan itself. is that something you are
considering in terms of the recommendation to be president? >> both u.s. forces in afghanistan central command, my headquarters, the afghanistan president, take a look at this regional approach all the time. as a mentioned up front, what is different in the last six month as we reach out the afghan president has had, especially to intel. i have seen change in the attitude, military to military talking together. this had not happened since about 2011. that is quite good. i think of they continue to work that very hard and understanding of a common enemy duvets, they have to get rid of the sanctuary on both sides. that will lead to a positive outcome. we do look at it regionally. >> the afghan national police. the responsibility to train and
also to create a justice system overlaps not only with yourself but with many other u.s. agencies. you have talked in general terms about the afghan national army and special operations forces but what about the police? ultimately, it will be the police and the villages that make sure the country is stable. >> there are about 157,000 police. a little bit different trade and equipped than the army. however, they do some of the same missions the army has to go through. when they worked together, the army has this cross pillar coronation. changes in leadership, having confidence, holding people accountable, working together, the taliban cannot defeat them. they do not have the humvees
the intel fusion. none of that. the police continue to work that very hard and they are working through a holistic review of an optimization police on the army and police presence. he leadership has looked to changes of police and how they are organized and how they work more towards their community. i know that is where they want to get to. we do advise at both levels and we continue to work that very hard. >> there are requirements that the government of afghanistan has asked us to fulfill. are there any outstanding requests we have to government of afghanistan that they must the bill -- must fulfill that will ensure our mission is success? >> in terms of troops, equipment? >> troops, equipment, reform of their systems. it is a partnership and we are focusing on what they are asking
of us. i know come under the previous presidency, there was a long list of things we asked and we are not particularly successful in getting at. you seem to apply quite accurately that the president ghani there is a new sense of cooperation. are there some significant issues out there they must deal with enemy west -- and we must be aware with? >> they continue to work very hard with the corruption peace. they continue to work at that. they have embraced the international community. every event i have seen the afghan president the first thing he does is think the american people and the international community for the sacrifices. they are working very hard and president gandhi -- ghani.
we would be in a different place if he had been edited -- in a different position the last couple of years. he gets on that. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you, general. thank you for the time you spend with us personally on these issues. senator reid brought up about the police versus the army. give us a general idea of the size of these. the army is much larger but tell me, is it 10 to one? >> the army is -- 157,000 for the police. there is an additional 30,000 that are the afghan local police. >> i took a very -- a very personal interest in the
training of the afghan and one reason is the oklahoma played a significant role not just in 2003 but also in 2006 and 2007. i watched what they were doing and i was there when they opened up the kabul military training center. i even commented it reminded me of something very state of the art. kabul is the fastest growing city. how is the training center? does it remain as effective or is it growing? >> it continues to be a bright spot come a training place that embraces the last several years of what we have put into it. each have their own regional training centers. his special operating forces have the equivalent --they are very good.
i told the core commander i wanted to look at his training. he took me out there, walked through the medical training, their marksmanship training, through their protocol. all of those unannounced. it was pretty remarkable. i came away refreshed. all of that training is afghan led. i go confident they continue to do that. >> i was really impressed in those early years because you are -- we were participating and not in a personal way. then the expressions on the basis of the afghans. i thought they wanted to drink they were proud of their competence, particularly at the training center. i never dreamed at that time we would be back here 12 years later talking about it. this has been asked before but for a different reason. let me reflect.
we have the administration talking about 5500 and then ghani wanting us to re-examine that and just yesterday or the day before, we agreed. what concerns me if we are at 10,000 now and we had general mattis told this committee that we should be looking at approximately a recommendation at 20,000 and you are readjusting from 10,000, is that implying that somehow we are going to make an adjustment from the 5000 500 that is not going to be up anywhere close to what general mattis said we needed? >> none of the option recommended increase like that. most of the options i and discussing with my senior leadership includes allowing more flexibility. >> does it bother you that we are talking publicly about what
we are going to be doing, when we will withdraw, when we will downsize? obviously, they know everything we know. does that concern you? >> i think the general blood at best. he said -- put it best. he said he helped there would be more ambiguity. we are where we are. >> but do we have to continue being where we are? when it we go and start making our own plans exclusively looking after our own defense? the last thing i want to mention , when he talked about having to do something on the size of the force, right now, we have iraq, afghanistan, syria africa, jordan. just yesterday it we introduce legislation to try to get more of our help to our very great ally, those in the ukraine.
do you look at the overall picture and talk to the rest of them as to what our capacity is with all of these things going on and is that factored into any recommendation you will have in terms of changing our structure in afghanistan? >> when i look at the actions i present to my senior leadership, i'm cognizant of what is going on in the world. the requirements the joint staff has to deal with. i particularly focus on afghanistan, the impact it has. >> i know that you will make a recommendation that will factor into that. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it very much. general, what should the role of
afghanistan's neighbors particularly pakistan the and the right -- reconciliation process? do you have a role -- concern about the role they are playing? what you see our biggest challenges the? >> president donnie -- ghani said this several times. he wants to take charge of this. this is important for him. he knows it will take some time. he is reached out to pakistan, the chief of the army there and said, i need some help. i think that dialogue continues to go between them. i was in pakistan last week having these conversations. they continue to dialogue. neither one wants to let the other down. i think pakistan, for years, has been an issue. we always said you cannot talk about afghanistan unless pakistan is enough equation.
the general is living in a different direction we have seen in the past. -- moving in a different direction than we have seen in the past. i think there is very good dialogue to move forward. his leadership will make a difference as he works with some internal issues he has in pakistan. if you are in afghanistan from leaving everything that comes at a packet -- comes -- if you are in afghanistan, you think everything that comes at a pakistan is that. we have an opportunity, if we work hard, to make this reconciliation peace a potential reality. >> are there challenges with regard to the border? >> as far as cross-border? there always are. along tokunar, there is
nothing that says this is the border. people have families right across the border. there is more cooperation now between the afghan border police and the frontier corps on the pakistan side. about two weeks ago, the corps met. they talked about border issues. lastly, -- last week some of the border policeman went to pakistan for a week and four different -- toured different spots. we used to have u.s., afghan pakistan. i was up there probably four weeks ago with the chief of the army. they will be a coronation center at a key point on the border. we'll put another one just south
of kandahar. i think we are working very hard. >> i'm grateful for the work you have done to protect women's rights and educate girls. what are we doing now to ensure that progress on women's rights will be protected as we transition into a more advisory capacity and is the afghanistan government capable of sustaining the progress you have made? >> figure for the question. they work this very hard. i have a gender advisor that works with the senior people in the afghan government. we continue to see change in the number of women that join the police, joined the army. they get some very tough goals to try to get to overtime but they are working very hard for that. the police are doing better than the army but they understand how important it is. president ghani has made this one of his priorities. he spoke about this to the senior leadership and meetings i have been in.
he is also trying to incorporate more civilian and women into the ministries. moi is a little better than mod. they have about 10% over the next couple of years, it'll be tough based on the culture. all of them that i have talked to want to get after this. i believe they are genuine. >> what is the status of terrorist attacks specifically against schools with girls? >> i do not have those. >> is at rising, falling, the same? >> i would say it is probably the same. wherever there are soft targets the taliban insurgents can go after that and they will do that. it gives them more of a strategic impact because the media will pick up on that just like they did this tragic incident on the 16th of december. they had a military school and killed all those children. the afghan people understand
they want their kids to go to school, have this education, but i have not seen a spike in those numbers. >> thank you. >> senator. >> thank you. just on that question, to follow-up, if the taliban is victorious, it will be devastating for the rights of women in afghanistan. >> absolutely. >> general campbell, ambassador cunningham told us yesterday, as did all of the panelists, that the rate of withdrawal is too high. i tend to agree with that. i think it is very difficult for anybody to dispute if you analyze it. i believe our congress in a bipartisan way is open to having a more robust assistance to the
afghan forces. i feel it in talking to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. i think the american people are willing to stay the course and help and not an out front way but a supportive way. more than a lot of people think of we articulate that come i think it is important for the president to articulate that. i think it is important for you to be clear to him and the defense department to be clear to alter the present course we are on. i am really pleased that you have gone even further than our panelist yesterday in saying this is not a hopeless case. a lot of progress has been made. we just do not want to let it slip away. i do not see this in any way that we are starting a new war. we are partners with afghanistan for 13 plus years.
we have stood shoulder to shoulder. we have lost over 2000 soldiers. it needs to end successfully. i just hope that somehow, we do not make the mistake that senator mccain has so wisely warned us of in afghanistan to rush out when just a little more presence and support would be there. i encourage you to speak out on that. i assume your advice calls for a stronger presence. i appreciate the optimism that you have. you said there is a new spirit there. it does appear that president ghani is much more in tune with the challenges. a lot of progress is made, but some i have to tell you we have heard that before. we have been hearing this for a long time there is a new spirit
there. i think there is truth to it, but isn't it true that in a combat situation that it just a few u.s. forces with communication ability can embolden and encourage them to remarkable degrees and help them to be successful in a way that if they are out under attack and they do not have that kind of support and confidence, they are not as effective finders? i have heard of low ranking and high-ranking officers say that is true. >> our men and women are incredibly gifted. they are bright, intelligent. one other forces are around them, they learned throughout moses. any -- through osmosis. they continue to get better. >> and experienced offer --
officer in iraq last week said iraqis will fight and they fight so much better if just a few americans are embedded. it creates a confidence that goes when beyond the numbers. do you agree with that? >> i have spent 19 months in iraq, three different doors in afghanistan. the afghanistan fighters, there is no doubt with the proper leadership, they will continue to fight will stop the difference between afghanistan and iraq is the afghans having nationalistic pride about it. i am not sunni, i am an afghan. they had this ride and they are -- bride -- pride. they can carry the day with the right leadership. >> we are moving to know troops
outside the capital, it appears to a normal state department relationship with the afghan government soon. that is in two years. i just think that is taking a risk. i hope that you will make clear your views from a military point of view. the american people i think will support it. i think we can have bipartisan support for a more realistic approach to the drawdown in afghanistan. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator. >> thank you. thank you, general campbell. i appreciate the time we spent together yesterday going over a challenging problem and that is how we do the requisite oversight of what we are doing in afghanistan and how as we pull into the back and allow the afghan forces to take the lead, how you protect data that could
make them more vulnerable once they are in the lead and once we are in a supportive role. i understand the attention there. i just wanted to put on the record that i think you have worked very hard to reverse some of the confusion that existed around the special -- inspector general's support as to what should and should not be classified. you have taken steps to declassify a lot of that information. the commitment you made it to continue to work on what you bill strongly about in terms of unit data and some of the other data that could put people at risk if it continued to be unclassified. i want to thank you for your attention to that. i think you understand that the oversight is important and i think you also are very cognizant of the risks associated with some of that data of getting into the wrong hands. i appreciate your help on that.
i want to express my sympathy for the death of kayla mueller and the other contractors. this has been a theme of mine for years. that is how do we manage the contract in force in theater how do we oversee the contracting force in the editor, and how do we protect the contracting force in theater? i am worried about that. last year's national defense authorization, there was a prohibition against funding any project we cannot inspect because of security reasons. i want to get your take on where we are in terms of protection of the contracting force. we have contractors that will have to make some of these systems because afghanistan is not ready. they do not have the technical capability of maintaining some of what we have equipped them with.
contractors will be a reality in that for a long time. i think we need to discuss that protection not just that but also contact her protection. >> thank you very much for the question. i concur with you that the protection of our service men and women and the civilians in afghanistan is up most on my mind. we do what we can to give them the right resources give them the guardian angels to provide that protection and support. without going into our techniques and tactics of how we would do that, i would just tell you that this is up most on my mind. we continue to watch that closely. as we downsize, we cannot say we are taking the military out on the we have to add another contractor. we have to take a holistic look at what the requirement is and there are some places that would
say we will not put in military or contractors. we have to mitigate that a different way. we look at that very hard. it was an unfortunate incident two weeks ago with kaya where we did have three of our contractors killed. we continue to learn lessons from that. we want to continue to keep them going down. a lot of that is because of the procedures we put in place. we continue to look at that very hard. >> it he gets big briefly. president bush was the first one who spoke out about the propaganda tool. it continues to be a recruiting tool. can you speak to the issue of at gitmo and terms of the biggest threat we face and that is the recruitment worldwide of terrorists to join the fight
particularly the fight that isis is conducting in a barbaric fashion that has nothing to do with conventional warfare. >> thank you. i think there is a lot of things out there that would incite people to attack americans alread that are preconceived. i cannot tell you how much gitmo does or does not do that. my experience tells me there are people who want to do harm to people in afghanistan and united states. any number of things can make them do that but many of them are preconceived. what i have to do is continue to work hard on my force protection inside of afghanistan and worry about that. i do not go out and look at different pieces and how they recruit. >> i want to thank you, general,
for your tremendous service to the country and for your family and all of those that serve underneath you. i think we are very fortunate to have your leadership. i wanted to follow-up to understand just in terms of where we are in the current plan . in the consequences of it, just so we understand, if we keep the current timeline that was proposed by the administration and they do not adopt some of the options you have proposed to them what does that mean in terms of why the withdrawal would have to start in terms of the fighting season? logistically, what would that mean for you? >> we would never use the term of withdrawal. we are in a transition.
the current state as we have 9800 u.s. 12.9 with the total nato force. we are centered in kabul and baghram. we have several special operating caps on -- camps outside of kabul and other places in the country. we would have to go to a kabul center by the end of the year. >> would that require you to move out of places during the fighting season? >> part of that is physics. >> manning logistically. that would have to be done while you're in the middle of the fighting season? >> we would do scope and try to mitigate that as much as we could. just based on physics -- >> that is something we hope the
president will take into consideration because it is an important matter of physics. we would not normally take to have to do this in a fighting season. is that true? >> we like to have every opportunity to make sure we provide the right rating to the afghans. we are doing everything right now in the winter campaign to get them ready. we are advisory -- by saying -- advising. we do advise at the battalion level with a special operating forces. it would have an impact and we would continue to work through that. >> general last march, you testified before the readiness subcommittee and you had called -- a game changer.
it is ugly, it is loud, but when it comes in, it makes a difference so it would be a game changer. do you still believe that? >> i currently do not have any a tens in afghanistan? the comment i made in march i would still stand by. >> you would agree certainly that thea 10 is our best life form. >> the air force does an incredible job. they are not doing that with a 10's today. i appreciate them supplying me with the best they have. the air force picks the platform to do that. >> let me ask you about no
contracting with the enemy. that is legislation senator brown and i had pushed before the committee and now it has been expanded to authorities beyond the department of defense , state departments. how has that worked in afghanistan? we had money going to your enemy, going to people who were misusing our funds to work against our interest. how is that on the task force been working? >> probably about 780 plus different contractors since 2010 we have taken a look at, embedded those in 100. and has denied insurgents $9.8
billion. that has been a game tender. we continue to work that -- game changer. we can reach back quickly with that. based on that success, nato has already adopted that methodology. >> thank you. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for meeting make -- with me yesterday, general. i believe there is more flexibility needed to do what is needed. to look at the situation on the ground and determine the decisions we make. you mentioned before, kabul cen tric that we might come if we found ourselves in a situation, what would that do in these
areas if we wound up in that situation? >> the plan is that when we go kabul center, we would work in the course through rta. that they have the capacity to sustain a fight there. we would continue the ta inside kabul at the ministry level. >> when you look at the numbers we need and there is obviously no exact number as you go month to month and take a look coming determine what you need, what are your best ballpark, where we need to be in 2016, 2017? >> i provided those options to my senior leadership. i would rather discuss that in a classified session. >> that would be fine. as you look at helmet and nor
istan, what is or definition of success in those areas say at the beginning of 2017? >> the afghan security forces have sufficiently contained the insurgency. the governors are providing the necessary governance to the people of that particular province. without going into great detail, i see great work happening today. i was there thursday. i will discuss more in a classified hearing what we get --what to do. >> when you look at the taliban and their goals, what are the things that give them hope and how do we eliminate those things? >> president ghani has said 70%
of the taliban want to come back and get into the peace process. they are tired of the fight. a lot of their leadership is disenfranchised. i think now with a new national government that almost 85% of the people in that country, there is no reason the taliban cannot come to the table and talk and be part of the political process. the president has reached out to him to do that. there'll always be a small portion of is an irreconcilable. i think president ghani continues to work this very hard. they are engaging in many of the tribal elders, showing them the government can provide to the people and that i think is what the taliban once. they want a government -- wants.
>> i want to thank you and your team because, when i was there last year, it was a question -- no question from the military as to whether the afghans would hold. there was concern. from everything we have seen, the way it was laid out, we have hit our metrics and more. would you agree with where we are and the metrics we have laid out? >> i would. not be metrics but the metrics we work with. from the numbers to the level the army is training, they had taken over all of the training. there is a difference of the motivation from the leadership they understand it and not have as many of the coalition forces and they have to take this on and they want to take this on.
i have talked before about their special operating capabilities being white good. -- quite good. guys getting out the back, they have little devices, talking to another and telling them they have an insurgent coming. it is a remarkable capability they have. they do not stand a chance with that capability. they continue to get better. >> thank you for your hard work on the pakistan peace. i know how hard you're working on it and as he continued to get that in a better place, i think the whole area becomes a better place. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and
thank you general for being here. i appreciate your service and the conversation you had with me yesterday. to follow up on the comment on the taliban, these think they will make significant movements to reassert control to territories and how important what the mission be there to counter that? >> the taliban are a resilient force. they have the issues but they continue. some of the remote areas outside the cities it is very hard to have the afghan security forces. they go after small targets whether it is local police away from the village, they see that, they attack that. there are reports they will take over a district center. when i was there, they would
take over a district center and the security forces would not be of her to take that back. today, all of the district centers are owned by afghanistan. the insurgents were to attack the difference today is that the police and army would get back back in six hours. -- get that back in six hours. our ct capability is the best and the road. -- in the world. we continue to have that as one of our missions. i can give you more information in a classified peace. >> the believe al qaeda will see increased pressure? >> i think you have to continue to keep the pressure on aq. over the last several years and
four or five months ago particular, the pressure we have had on al qaeda has been quite good. part of that is based on what pakistan has done, the big operation they have had going on since june. it has forced people into afghanistan. our ct capability is quite good. >> we spoke about the capability gap of the afghan forces. do you feel that that is going to have an adverse operational impact on them? >> i think we will continue to work that and close that gap. the places they had gaps, it is hard for the u.s. army, the afghan army. we have built and programs over the last several years. in some places, we provided them too much. you provided them a program that they are not going to get to. now, we come back and say, how can we adjust this?
what will work best afghanistan? that is what i see now. it is very hard for us to do that for any army. the way they distribute equipment is tough but they understand how important it is so we continue to work that intelligence. i see them work in the intelligence room very well. they are in stovepipes. today, they have many fusion cells that bring them together like we have done in the past. that will give them a greater capability. therefore's continues to grow. -- their air force continues to grow. it will allow us to be able to continue to transition out. what president ghani has told me is our greatest legacy will be the systems and processes we provide afghanistan. >> are there some missions they
just will not be able to do? >> i think there is some areas we have to continue to work with the afghans to make sure they have the confidence. i have no doubt they have the capability to do all of the missions required but sometimes come it is the leadership, the confidence the leadership brings to be able to do that. they have had many people around for years and years. president ghani retired 48 generals yesterday. when he first took over, he retired 15. that opens it up for some of these young, bright, energetic officers they have in the afghan army that have been trained in the u.s., the u.k. germany, to assume leadership positions. president ghani is enabling the ability to do that. they hold them accountable. leadership makes a difference. >> and i correct in saying it is
an all volunteer army? what the retirement of these generals, that should encourage more enthusiasm within the ranks as well? >> i think we will see there is hope to continue to move up. they see there is room to move and it will continue to energize some of the long -- young lieutenant colonels. it is an all volunteer army like ours. they do not have issues with recruiting. the issues they have are they have only been recruiting in the winter. we want to get them to recruit on a sustainable basis the entire year. we are working through that now. >> thank you very much. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you for your service and for being here today. i am struck by the tables that are provided in your testimony about both the changes in
afghanistan society as a result of the last 13 years. i think most of us as politicians would love afghans express confidence in their new government. 64% believe it is unlikely that the taliban will return to power. 55% believe their country is headed in the right direction. do you have a sense of what would happen to the way afghans feel about the progress in their country is the united states withdrew all of our>> the afghans i talked to continue to express appreciation for the sacrifices of our men and women, express appreciation for what the coalition especially the unitedlast 13 years.
the difference between iraq and afghanistan is that afghanistan people and the government do not want the coalition to leave. to the average afghan, if they see us continue to go at that pace, it would lower their more i'll, give them a -- ormo rale. the afghan senior leadership continues to tell the afghan people there are ways to mitigate, we continue to get better, we appreciate the support, but this will be an afghan side. there is a balance. they absolutely do understand the sacrifices we have provided and there is a difference between this leadership we have today and the leadership a couple months ago. >> you talked about the efforts of president ghani and ceo abdullah to reach out to the
taliban and try to begin some sort of negotiations. can you give us any insight into how far along that is? >> i would rather discuss that in a classified setting. >> to what extent are the taliban -- do we see signs their influence about what is happening with isil and the new reports that isil has begun to infiltrate the taliban? >> the taliban and isil are like this. they want to fight each other. you do have some taliban and that phyllis and franchised -- from the taliban that feel this and franchised. they see isis as another way to gain resources. you do have some of them breaking off and claiming
president ghani has talked to the afghan people about it. he has talked to the afghan security forces about it. i have made it a party information requirement for my forces so we continue to work hard with our afghan partners to make sure we understand this network. >> a final question. most of the discussion has been about how the national security forces are doing. and you comment on what is happening with local police efforts and to what extent they are professionalizing their operations? >> i can talk more about kabul. about 14,000 police there. they continue to work hard on the training, on trying to do more community policing. these high profile attacks inside of kabul --what you did hear about and the late december time frame is very tough.
it is death to stop two people from having suicide vests. what you do not hear about are all of the number of attacks the number of people that have been arrested by the afghan police inside of kabul that did not result in hapa. that number compared is quite high. one of the things we can work better is to make sure afghanistan publicizes this. the police do quite well because of their ability to work with the afghan people to get after these threats. i think they continue to progress. not only did the afghan police or the city, but the forensics. i visited a lab where they do
fingerprints, take a look at rifle rounds. they have gotten quite good at their technology on forensics. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chair. general, thank you so much for joining us here today. i know i do not need to say anything to boost your self-esteem but i do want you to know how widely respected you are amongst the men and women that have served under your leadership. we greatly appreciate that and thank you very much for your service. all of us on the panel appreciate you being here. you are in a very difficult position at a very tentative time as we move forward in this transition. one thing that has been of great concern to me is ensuring that as our united states armed services are moving or transitioning out of the more
leadership type positions that we do have the afghan capability to back it up. logistics is always a great concern of mine. i did ask the panel yesterday some thoughts on what just ask -- on logistics and a great comment that came from admiral olson is that is -- do they have those capabilities without that united states support? >> thank you for your service as
well. we continue to work the logistical piece. we identify this as a gap. maintenance in the u.s. army, we continue to have contractors in many places. a lot of that in the aviation realm. we do have that in afghanistan. we work hard to build the mechanics, the right level of personnel to build the equipment. that will take time and we continue to build that capacity for the afghans. i think they will continue to have a small portion that will need contractors to work some of the very tough uses of equipment. i think they continue to grow that capacity. i saw some training in the maintenance area and went into one of the maintenance bays. they had several mechanics working. these are men working on these
vehicles. they were doing quite well. their issue was not getting the right parts. as we did a deep dive on that, the issue is how they distribute departs from the warehouses, get them down to the corps. we are working that very hard. i went into a warehouses inside kabul. they had all of the things they needed in their. i told president ghani, we have to get the commanders in there. the culture inside of afghanistan, they get this in there, hold on to it. they understand the impact it will have on the fight. i think the senior leadership has moved that well in the recent weeks and are using the wintertime to make sure that all classes continue to move out to where the units need to build for the fighting season.
>> a we see the afghans are picking up more of the maintenance. i am pleased to hear that. i have been very concerned about that particular piece of it. will we see a transition and a way her -- away from american contractors to more national contractors of the not region? one thing president ghani had made clear with his meeting with us was that if there were not united states troops there, he would like to see more u.s. contractors. do you have a feel for if it would be our contractors serving or would it be more of a local force? >> you probably have 34,000 contractors.
10,000 are probably afghan contractors. they continue to try to work that number. that will go down significantly this year and we continue to try to make sure we have afghans tied into this. we build that to make sure they can sustain that over time. >> thank you very much. >> senator cain. >> thank you for your great service. i'm incredibly heartened by the progress. we just have to tell this story. this is something americans should be proud of. we should thank those his serve in afghanistan because this progress has been hard one. just two items -- the increase in life expectancy is virtually unheard of. you can look across human history, you will not see the life expectancy increase of that
kind in such a shortperiod of time. they have gone from 0% to 28 percent in 15 years. that is impressive. i agree with a bipartisan consensus on this panel. back to maintain this progress. i think it is ok to have a plan but he do adjusted based on reality. you encourage the white house to make some adjustment in terms of the authorities. it is important afghanistan and
because there is a powerful there did about the success in afghanistan that we need to apply around the globe. there is a contrasting narrative to iraq and afghanistan. iraq did not want to stay. we did not stay. they then run a government of national disunity. the situation in iraq went to hell in a handbasket. u.s. and others are playing a leadership role. 77% think that the coalition staying and helping is a good thing. these are places to -- people who chased the soviet union out of the country. they want the u.s. to stay. we are the partner of choice. you see that it's an interesting places in the world today.
india, what has had a tradition of nonalignment now does more military exercises with the united states than with any other nation. they are seeing us whether it's training or any other platform. they are now viewing the u.s. military as their partner of choice. i think success in afghanistan we have to make it conditions based. we have to stay and harvest the value of success because we are showing that the united states is the partner of choice. a couple concerns, i was in afghanistan in 2006, my guard men and women and the then ambassador said you have let iraq take your eye off the ball in afghanistan.
iraq pulls our attention away. at that point we were worried about the same thing happening. i have been calling on congress since june, we need to be in this battle against isil, but i am nervous and i think we do need to use history as our guide and not let the battle against isil deflect any attention from afghanistan and our continued need to harvest and accelerate the gains. that is just and from editorial comment. we're trying to make sure we will not take our eye off the ball. you indicated that you don't think the taliban and an x essential threat. -- an x essential -- existential
threat to the government. it can exacerbate sectarian divisions as people think one group gets more than the other talk about the administration's attack onit can corruption. >> i do agree that corruption could change the entire dynamic. he ran and dr. bella ran on the idea that they would have to get after corruption. one of the first things he did was reopen the kabul bank case. they help to people -- held people accountable there. he has taken corruption into that. i think he and the doctor, that is everything they do as they select new leadership and select new companies, on and on they take corruption in hand. how bad that has been and how that impacts the nations for the
next several years he has told me in private that he works 20% interest security and 40% on the economy and i know as part of that, the corruption piece comes on both sides. but he worked hard to make sure that they pick people who were not corrupt and dr. bula does the same thing. they want to remain apolitical they want to make sure anyone who's corrupt is outside of their leadership. they want to make sure they can do everything he can to get rid of corruption. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> center cotton.
-- senator cotton. >> thank you for your brave service. i and all people are very grateful for what it you have done. you're the little over 10,000 troops in afghanistan, correct? >> that is correct, the requirements for the nato mission is about 12,000. >> most americans who did not serve it drove the military and see it and experience it through movies and television, if you look at the recent movie "american sniper," chris kyle is giving overwatch to marines kicking down doors is what they have in mind when they think about our operations in iraq and afghanistan, do you have many or any infantryman or others conducting those operations in afghanistan today? >> i have men and women that continued to provide drone force protection.
we do not plan offenses combat operations at all. i have to make sure the men and women are on the count that -- combat outpost that they have the ability to provide their own protection. they do have to have a ground offensive. >> it is fair to say you have more troops providing things like ariel support -- aerial support, brigade division, things like that? >> as opposed to --? >> dismounted or combat patrols. >> we have the ability to provide force protection and at the same time provide the requisite expertise to do the isr mission.
that ties hand in hand with force protection. isr is a great force protection enabler. >> i think the distinction between the type of it from -- and for tremendous typically see in hollywood movies, it is important for those, that they see the difference, that what a lot of what our troops are doing is supporting the afghan security forces. that helps build public support for our continued mission. this is not the kind of war we are fighting that we were a decade ago. that is something we should all be mindful of as we try to marshal more public support. a related point if you could speak roughly, when would be 2015 fighting season end in afghanistan? when do the conditions become too harsh? >> it depends on the season, the
winter season has been very mild. the passes have not closed down between pakistan and afghanistan and many would say today that it is a continuous season. we would look at it as fighting season. the afghans continue to talk in those terms. fighting season is tied around the weather. from the april time frame to the september sign -- timeframe are the traditional months we have seen increase in enemy activity and operations. >> how does that impact the timing of your decision point to recommend that we keep the current troop levels or are able to reduce troop levels further? is there a point at the calendar when you can no longer wait? >> as i talked about earlier there is a point in physics when i have to start the scoping retrograde equipment to get to a
number at a certain point in time. we would call those decision points and i feel comfortable where we are right now that we have flexibility in that plan as we move forward, there will come a point in time. when we have to make a decision by x. >> i will encourage you and the defense nominee to speak out using your best military judgment. you'll find there are a lot of members in this institution, the senate and house of representatives, who would support you and the president's decision to keep at least 10,000 troops in afghanistan because it is in our vital interest. i know the risks -- i know that you know the risks we face in leaving too early, this is not your first rodeo. and they are embodied in the pictures that you have over there. those are great gains and we
should be proud of the effort our troops put into it. i worry about an american city going dark because of a terrorist attack that is launched from afghanistan, the land from which al qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and it is the singular achievement on the war on tire -- terror that we have expelled al qaeda from that area and that they do not return. it is critical to make sure that does not happen. >> thank you mr. chairman, i want to joint my colleagues in thanking you for your extraordinary service to our nation and your dedicated and diligent work in afghanistan over a number of tours following the very worthwhile look -- work done by your predecessors. i want to cover some of the points that you and i discussed a little bit yesterday when you
were kind enough to visit my office. first of all, on the relationship with afghanistan the source of the improvised explosive devices, ied's, that so ravaged our troops in such large numbers and yesterday in the hearing we had with ambassador cunningham and former ambassador crocker, they indicated -- or more precisely, ambassador cunningham indicated that ied's continue to be a problem. would you agree they are a continuing military threat to the afghanistan forces as well as our own? >> thank you for the question. i would tell you that ied's have become the weapon of choice not only in afghanistan, but any insurgency or terror attack.
something that started years ago has been picked up and continues to move, is not only afghanistan but will continue to be a threat to both coalition and afghan security forces. we do work very hard at the counter ied capability of our afghan forces. i can get you the statistics, but the number of ied's continues to get better and better. as they are continued to be trained, it gets better and better. that is noteworthy. >> would you agree that the primary source of those ingredients continues to be pakistan and that they have done less than they could and should to stop the flow of those bomb making ingredients across the border? >> there is ample material inside of afghanistan to build ied's, there are reports of what
it takes coming in from afghanistan, i have talked to general hill as well. they have been impacted by the threat of ied's on their own forces and civilians, they understand they have to go after that as well, the afghanistan would tell you that some of the parts and materials have come from pakistan, yes or. -- yes sir. >> that is perhaps an area where the coalition forces can even impose greater cooperation with pakistan? >> absolutely. one of the things that pakistan has done for our afghan forces, i don't think it is scheduled yet but the general has reached out to the chief of the army in afghanistan and offered up counter ied training inside afghanistan for the afghan forces. >> you and i spoke about the possibility of purchasing
helicopter parts and components for the m i-17's that afghanistan now has, purchased by the russians, financed with taxpayer funds, from other sources either intra-europe or elsewhere, is that an effort you will pursue -- is that an effort that you will pursue? not only helicopters that parts and components for helicopters for the afghan forces. >> as you know pi 17 is a critical component for the air force, and to continue to keep them flying and in the fight it will be a continued focus. we want to make sure we do that within the authorities that i have to make sure that we acquire those parts in the right way. >> in the right way means, the
russian export agency that has sold the afghans so many helicopters with our money? >> we are trying to help the afghans work through their process to make sure they get their parts to build a sustainable capability in afghanistan so once we are gone they can do that themselves. >> one last question, i know that you have focused on the health care needs -- particularly the mental health care needs of the brave men and women under your command, i want to thank you for that effort. thank the united states armed forces for their increase focus and attention to that issue. thank you again for your service. >> thank you sir. >> senator rounds. >> thank you mr. chairman. general, thank you for your service, we appreciate the comments yesterday so far today
i have just a couple of questions. last year was the deadliest in the war, more than 5000 soldiers and police being killed. they were going out on more than four times as many operations as last year musso more casualties could be expected. how does the increase in the operations, up by more than four times, affect the complexity of training that still needs to be developed? >> are you referring to the capabilities for the medical these to reduce the number of casualties? >> you are losing soldiers right now, at the same time you are trying to train them up. when you lose them at this rate, how do you bring them in and get them set up? >> thank you for the question. probably a 5% to 7% increase.
most of those was actually on the afghan local police, they are outside on the far places of afghanistan designed to protect individual villages, they are not equipped with the same kind of heavy weapons and training of the other police. the taliban have recognized they are a threat because they are inside the villages and are against the taliban so they have gone after those key targets. the ability to recruit and train the afghan's has not been an issue both on the army side and the police side. the issue they need to work on is the number of females they continue to bring in, for the most part they don't have issues recruiting. we are trying to continue to lower the number of those who died of their woman's, we are increasing capabilities on the medevac.
-- died of their wounds, we are increasing capabilities on the medevac. they have combat lifesavers, the medics where insignias to recognize them as medics. they continue to put as many folks in the terrain as they can. they understand this is an issue for morale and leads toward readiness issues, everyone is working this very hard. i've talked personally to the surgeon general in a one-on-one session to make sure we can do everything we need to do to help them build that capability. i've talked to the chief officer and he is concerned and is concerned about the number of people they sent to school to make sure they get the medical training they can. >> is the coordination different between kabul and the local governments as well? is there a coordination between the central government and the local units of government when
it comes to this training? >> i will have to come back to that and take it for the record. i can talk as far as the military side, cannot talk to you of the civilian peace. i have looked at afghan hospitals inside of kabul to make sure they can take some of the military casualties. the military have their own hospitals, we just finished another one that is quite good, i couldn't tell you that kind of coordination between the. i know there are am oh you's or memoranda -- i know there are mo u's, or memorandums of understanding. they do bring in casualties to the military hospitals as well as work them there. if you are referring to that coordination, they do that. >> i yield back my time. >> thank you mr. chairman.
general, thank you, i am sorry i had other meetings, but i appreciate you being here. we hear an awful lot about what is going on and what happened in iraq and we fell backwards and lost mozul and you would think all the money we spent on training and equipping would have been put to better use. now we have afghanistan and will be back at the end of the year to 5500. briefly, what do you think it will take us to maintain a presence so we don't fall backwards in afghanistan and what you think will maintain to get iraq back to where it can sustain itself? >> the key for afghanistan is to continue to build on the capacity of afghan forces so they have the requisite skill sets to make sure they don't do what the iraq he army did which is fall apart.
they have leadership and training, i don't see that happening in afghanistan. >> but it seems like it takes our presence for that to happen. when our presence is gone, we should of seen maliki falling apart and not having anything as far as a contingency plan. back home in west virginia come a they want to know do we have to go back and do it all over? can we prevent that in afghanistan? >> i believe the afghan security forces are not going to let afghan go the way of iraq. they've told me that in the senior officials in the army and police tell me that, they believe that strongly and they have a government that wants to continue to work with national forces and to provide requisite resources for leadership to not go down that route. as i told you before they went through the election, people
thought they would fracture along ethnic lines and they did not and they are proud of that. i don't see that happening with continued training and continuing to build up the afghan forces, i do not see that happening. my other concern is the economy and i've always believed, and i've been there myself, their economy was about $4 billion, that was their economy as far as afghanistan. that went from $4 billion to $20 million based on american input of money and the war effort we put there. their economy is wrapped around us. that had continued to grow and was spiking up to 14.4% growth rate in 2012. then it fell to 1.5% growth rate growth. the production increased i-17
percent, it is important that opium traffic business makes up 1/5 of the afghan legitimate gross to mythic product. how will the country ever be a to stand up on its own. when the drug trade is so profitable, how can we divert them from the drug trade? if they don't have the war effort in the money we are pumping into it, where can they stabilize their economy? >> that is where leadership will make a difference and with the president there understanding the issues she has with the narcotics and the drug smuggling , going after that and providing the right leadership in the right resources will continue to help. he is going after this entire piece on the economy. he knows he cannot do it just within afghanistan, but years and years on the rolled, -- road
-- years and years down the road, they will get much better. he knows they will be dependent on the donor nations for the next several years, but he has reached out to the entire region to help him on the economic realm. when he first visited pakistan he talked about security, economics and intelligence and people to people. that is foremost on his mind and he has a background in the world bank. if there is anybody who can turn afghanistan around it will be president gotti but it will take considerable time. >> -- president ghani, but it will take considerable time. >> my time is just about up but i want to talk about the precious metals, china has been a player over there to harvest that.
my time is up but i would like to talk to you more in detail about that. >> senator tillis. >> thank you mr. chair and general campbell thank you for your distinguished service. to me, the positive humanitarian impact we have seen in afghanistan since 2001, i hope the media and american people understand the miraculous turnaround of this country. just to go back and note the life expectancy you're talking about from 43 years old to 64 years old am a schools we had fewer than 900,000 students, virtually none of them women, now we have 8 million, the numbers here are startling. to a certain extent, we all know that what we first and foremost have to do is implement a strategy in afghanistan to prevent terrorists from preparing themselves to launch attacks like they did on september 11. that should be the first
priority. i also think that those who have a precipitous drive to withdraw from afghanistan forget the tragic humanitarian crisis that would be created if we did that, and i hope we start weaving into the narrative, this is not just about national security but this is about a city that went from a city of ruin to a city of life. there is a lot of hope there and i think the afghani people are looking to the united states to let them continue to make the progress they are in a position to make. my question relates to -- chairman mccain reference one of our members talked about flexibility and you talked about some changes you recommended to leadership. are the changes you recommended substantially aligned with what president gotti is wanting in terms of the current strategy?
>> -- president ghani is wanting in terms of the current strategy? >> i think he would support the options i presented. >> how do you feel about how those options have been received by your leadership or the administration, and other words to what extent do you think they will be acted on and you will be given authority to act on the options you have recommended? >> we are in discussions and there is a process we go through , the bridging strategy that the president allowed the thousand bridging strategy to continue with the resident support
business i feel good very good about where we are at. >> are there fundamental shifts in certain areas based on the current strategy? >> i characterized as i said to this committee, when i got on the ground i would make continuous assessments and i've had six months on the ground to make those assessments where our forces are, where the threat is and what has changed in afghanistan and based on that, provided this flexibility that both president ghani has asked for and that will stay within where we need to be. >> the trajectories that you would create by looking at the taliban in 2001 and afghanistan and the current situation, do you believe that if we stay on
the current course that we can expect these positive trends to continue at their same pace? or will their progress going forth be impeded? >> in some arius we will continue to have the same pace or increased -- in some areas we will continue to have the same pace or increased. some may stay the same and others may go lower. >> any particular areas you think may be at risk, and any you're able to say are a clear risk at the current strategy? >> sir are you talking about -- >> more on the humanitarian side. >> i feel comfortable that the afghans have worked with many of the nations, to build their own capability and capacity. i would leave that to ambassador mckinley and his folks but i
think they have built the capacity in many of those areas and i would feel very comfortable that most of them would continue to stay where they are at continue to grow. >> i want to thank you and the men and women who have served over there and i hope they realize that is why the pictures are looking the way they are looking. >> senator graham. >> the charts that you provided are really just stunning returns on investment. the question for americans, what does it matter that young girls are going to school in afghanistan -- it matters a lot because you can't kill all the terrorists, but if you can allow young people to see a better future, they will be more resistant to the taliban. what is it matter you have access to clean water? it means you have something to live for.
-- go back to the taliban days that they lost capacity to contain and effete taliban -- defeat the taliban. >> i think if they cannot defeat them, that would be the only way. >> do you support afghan security forces for the softy able -- for the foreseeable future? >> it continues to be the right number and right distribution throughout the country. >> the cost would be what? >> we are working hard, it is about 4.1 billion this year work hard to save where we can and i think about $3.8 billion is what i came up with for 16. >> it is in our nation