tv Senator Tom Cotton on Russian Military Strategy in Europe CSPAN July 17, 2017 9:23pm-10:18pm EDT
washington journal at 7:00 a.m. tuesday morning. join the discussion. announcer: tonight on c-span, senator tom kotten on russian military strategy in europe. then representative frank pallone on access to prescription drugs. then we have this week in congress. to anr tom cotton spoke event on russian military strategy in europe. this is a 50 minute event. >> good morning, everyone. i may senior fellow here in the national security program. i run the missile defense project here. today's event is titled the
russian challenge in europe. this is a joint event between defense initiative group and the missile defense project that i run. at big events like this, we ask yourselves to familiarize yourselves with the surroundings in case you have to exit. there are stairs around here or take the exits to the back. they should not be any reason to do that. to kick things off, i will hand things over to andrew hunter to introduce our first speaker. andrew: good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us. i'm andrew hunter, director of the defense industrial initiatives group. this event is an collaboration between our two programs. for those who of wondered about the definition of collaboration, we are giving you a demonstration this morning.
it's my pleasure to introduce senator tom cotton to give us some great remarks and a preview. i am looking forward to the speech. senator cotton is the senator from arkansas. he serves on a number of important committees in the senate including near and dear to my heart, the armed services committee. he also serves on the intelligence and banking committees and chairs the economic policy subcommittee on the banking committee. he grew up inyell county in arkansas and attended harvard and harvard law school. we will not hold that against you. he served a clerkship in the court of appeals and was practicing law, but after the attacks on september 11 and he decided to change his career path and joined the united states army. he served five years as an infantry officer. in a short time coming he earned
an awe-inspiring number of awards including the bronze star, the combat infantry badge , and the ranger badge. after leaving the army, he spent a short amount of time in consulting work with mckinsey , ran and won a seat in the house of representatives and did such a good job and was chosen by the citizens of arkansas to serve as their senator. we appreciate you joining us on the podium. [applause] sen. cotton: thank you. thank you for the warm welcome and thank you for the kind introduction. i want to thank you for hosting us. before i get to the topic at hand, i want to express briefly what i know is everyone's best wishes for a speedy recovery to my friend john mccain.
i was as startled as any of you to learn about his hasty surgery over the weekend but also was grateful to hear about the prediction and full recovery. in the meantime, i guess this means i'm going to have to start raising twice as much hell in the senate as i normally do to make up for john mccain's absence. perhaps expressing best which is for senator mccain is a digression from the topic of russia. after all, he never overlooked the threat that russia poses to the west. unlike many western politicians for the last 17 years, senator mccain clearly saw the k the g and the b in vladimir putin's eyes. it was a mistake to think of the cold war was over. the soviet union layered aggressive ideology over the old russia problem but that problem remains with us today. as it always will be.
it is far from a coincidence i would suggest that an old kgb officer took power in russia less than a decade after the soviet empire expanded. therefore, the history of the soviet era and the u.s.russia relations remains vitally important today. we are approaching our 30 year anniversary of an important moment in that era, the ratification of the intermediate range nuclear forces treaty. 30 years on, it's still a remarkable achievement of president reagan's statecraft. not merely imposing numerical limits on weapons systems but eliminating an entire class of weapons, namely land-based weapons with a range of 500-5500 kilometers. those missiles pose unusually high risks in europe. they can be stockpiled and moved rapidly making them difficult to monitor. they cut warning time for launch down to just a few minutes.
in contrast to intercontinental missiles. it was deeply provocative when the soviet union deployed such missiles into eastern europe in the late 1970's. nato had no choice but to respond. president carter began the planning steps and president reagan carried them out, deploying american built missiles to europe in 1983. it's a decision that was protested widely in the united states and europe, protests that were funded in no small part by the kgb. for the next four years, the two sides jockeyed at the negotiating table until they finally reached an agreement. today, vladimir putin and russian strategic thinkers remain ambivalent about the treaty, in my opinion. on the one hand, russia benefits more from the inf treaty than does the united states.
after all, we don't worry about missile threats from canada or mexico. and the deployment of intermediate range missiles to cuba would plainly breach the understanding reached after the cuban missile crisis that the united states will not accept offensive weapons stationed on that island. russia, by contrast, is a vast land power of eurasia with potential rivals in close proximity. by eliminating these missiles from europe, russia gained security in the most likely theater of a general war from the superpower most capable of striking in its territory, the united states. on the other hand, the inf treaty only applies to the united states and russia so countries on the eurasian perimeter, and here i speak in particular of china, have complete freedom to deploy intermediate range missiles.
moreover, the lack of these missiles in russia's arsenal deprives russia of a potent tool to gain leverage as it always seeks to do. vladimir putin has resolved this ambivalence in a simple way -- cheating on the inf treaty. by state department accounts, russia has been testing a new cruise missile that could strike western europe since at least 2008, at least nine years. in fact, the obama administration repeatedly warned the kremlin to cease and desist. the state department formally declared russia in vilest of the treaty in 2014 and every year thereafter. yet, they never followed up in any meaningful way. so it's no surprise that according to media reports, russia has deployed two battalions of mobile
intermediate range cruise missiles. vladimir putin is therefore eating his cake and getting to have it, too. russia remains secure in the european theater by the absence of u.s. cruise missiles, while vladimir putin has to velti -- has developed a new missile that counteracts china, threatens the small countries on his periphery, and divides nato politically. the truth is, this is nothing new for russia weather in the soviet era or the vladimir putin era. the russians take a hard view of the treaties they signed. does the treaty serve their interest? if it does, they abide by it. if it doesn't, then they don't. the soviets on the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 1972, for instance, because it served their interest. u.s. technology was more advanced and if we developed an
effective missile defense system, their deterrent would not deter that much. that did not stop the russians from pushing their lock. r luck.r lock -- thei for years, but maintain a large base radar that plainly violated the abm treaty. u.s. protested until the soviet union finally agreed to dismantle that radar seven years after we first detected it. from their perspective, the treaty and is violation was a bargaining chip. to the russians, any treaty is just another point of leverage, especially against nato, not an inviolable commitment. i would suggest it's time we look at the inf treaty in the same way, beyond what our current commitments are couple -- commitments are, we should ask ourselves what should they be. what set of commitments will protect our national security and how should we adapt our current commitments to our
current needs? for the time being, it's probably best to try to preserve the inf treaty, but only if russia comes back into compliance verifiably. the only way to save the inf treaty is to show the russians that we will walk away from it if they don't come back in compliance. vladimir putin's calculus is simple -- he gains more than he loses by violating the treaty so we should reverse that calculus by making it more costly for the russians to violate the treaty than to uphold its commitments. that's why i have introduced intermediate range nuclear forces treaty preservation act which would direct the pentagon to take 4 immediate steps to apply pressure to russia. first, develop a new intermediate range cruise missile backed up with a $100 million investment.
under the treaty, we do not test, produce, or possess land-based intermediate range missiles, but we can conduct research on how to improve other missiles such as extending the range or adapting them for different environments. for instance, we could develop a land-based version of the tomahawk which we usually launch from navy ships. this kind of research stays well within the four corners of the inf treaty, but also prepares us and our allies in case the treaty becomes obsolete. i am pleased to say that the national defense authorization act recently voted out of the was services committee voted to include safety $5 million for this program. i understand some of my democratic colleagues plan to offer an amendment on the floor to remove this provision. i welcome, actually, i relish, this debate on the senate floor.
we will see how many of the democrats will discover their inner cold war warrior in her warrior in the last six months are willing to put their money where their mouth is. second, authorized $500 million of funding for developing new defense capabilities. to put it bluntly, russia is going to develop a new missile and we should develop new ways to shoot it down. this would neutralize the advantage russia seeks by violating the inf treaty. for instance, we could speed up our deployment of sea and land-based missile-defense sites. third, facilitate the transfer of cruise missile technology to our allies. as i've noted, only the united states and russia signed this treaty. no other country did. even if we cannot hold intermediate range missiles, that does not mean our allies cannot. it also does not mean we cannot help them. for instance, the polish
government has been acquiring air launched cruise missiles for some time. i suspect were so might be -- warsaw might be interested in ground launched cruise missiles as well. which i further suspect might make the kremlin less keen on ripping up the inf treaty. finally, we would present russia with a very simple choice -- you -- either you observe the inf treaty or we will not renew our commitment to other treaties. specifically, the legislation would prohibit further funding for two treaties that russia wants to preserve -- the first is an extension of the new start treaty which imposes greater limits on our strategic nuclear forces than on russia's. the second is the open skies treaty which russia needs more for overhead imagery intelligence than we do. if the russians will not keep their inf commitments, why should the united states
continue other treaties that benefit them? these proposals are sensible steps consistent with their treaty obligations and measured responses to russian provocations. we must remember, russia's violations of the inf treaty are not isolated, but rather, part of a pattern of provocative behavior whether it's annexing crimea, meddling in our elections, or insulting our diplomats in moscow, or harboring edward snowden, or buzzing american ships and aircraft or giving aid to the tele-ban, providing the missiles were used three years ago today to shoot a civilian aircraft out of the sky. russia is deliberately probing our defense is all over the grillo and looking for weak spots which is what every provocation must be met with a firm and unyielding response. put simply, we remain strategic
-- we remain in strategic competition with russia and intermediate range missiles are just one part of the central element of that competition. military modernization. russia has engaged at a breakneck pace of modernization under vladimir putin. it's essential we modernize our military if we hope to maintain over match against russia. perhaps you have heard our army generals say that nato is outgunned and out ranged in europe. what they are talking about are the very weapon systems that are banned from the inf treaty. even if we do remain in the inf treaty, we urgently need to modernize our military and especially the army which would do the brunt of any fighting in europe. this is why the report being released by c.s.i.s. today is so important and why i encourage everyone to read it carefully. of course, we also have to
remember that we are in strategic competition with countries besides russia. the inf treaty was the landmark agreement 30 years ago. the world we now inhabit is very different from that world. for one thing, it's not a to o power world anymore. when reagan and gorbachev shook hands over the inf treaty, china was beginning its free-market reforms, iran was locked in a world attrition, iraq and india and pakistan right nuclear power and two years before, hard as it may be to believe, north korea signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. thus, the time is coming to consider whether the united states should stay in the inf treaty even if russia came back into compliance. as i've noted, no other country is a party to the treaty. as a result, our troops and
our allies in the asia-pacific face an increasingly aggressive china with more than 90% of its missile forces falling into the intermediate range. the specific command and our allies lack a single ground-based intermediate range missile to keep china and check. the united states cannot afford to take a one-dimensional view of old treaties because of the threats we face which are no longer one-dimensional. what we certainly cannot afford is to stand by like chumps while vladimir putin treats on the inf -- cheats on the inf treaty openly and notoriously. russia, as it always does, consistently marshals strategic advantage against the united states with a series of provocations calculated to operate just below the threshold of retaliation. deploying an intermediate range cruise missile is perhaps the
most provocative step as yet because it would eventually allow russia to hold all of our bases, all of our troops and all of our allies in eurasia at risk. the time has come to put an end to this. if we cannot compel the bear to return to his den, we can lay path arounds in its the world. thank you all. [applause] >> thank you, senator. that was a great way to kick us off. i thought i would start with a couple of questions and then open it up for the audience from there. first of all, because the trump administration has a nuclear policy and a missile-defense policy review going on, why shouldn't congress just sort of sit back and wait until that's all done before moving forward with this legislation?
sen. cotton: what you would find in that review is similar to the proposals in our underlying legislation. second, these ideas do not come from me. this comes from military planners within the department of defense. third, these reviews are important and valid, but we are six months on and congress needs to take its proper constitutional role in addressing some of the real challenges we face from threats around the world. >> let me stick with the executive congressional relation for a moment -- last week, the white house issued a statement of administration policy with respect to the house ndaa. the inf treaty was mirrored in a couple of ways with respect to the material breach, declaration
, and in terms of a program you spoke about. surprisingly enough, the white house opposed those. i wonder if you might speak to that. do you think that will stick, how do you account for that, and you think that opposition is likely to last? sen. cotton: it was crafted by obama era bureaucrats. i cannot imagine that when we pass this legislation the president will oppose it and that h.r. mcmaster would recommend he would veto it. i suspect once secretary tillerson secretary mattis recognize the widespread support for these provisions that they were likewise reject the recommendation of those obama era bureaucrats. the program of record, material breach is short of calling this an abrogation of the treaty. it's an effort to bring russia back into compliance. i suspect wiser and tougher
heads will prevail in the administration. >> let me ask one more question and then open it up. you highlighted the question of russia politics on that kind of thing that's getting so much attention. earlier this year, you asked in an open senate intelligence committee hearing, the director of the cia, if there was some reason to believe that russia was using active measures or covert influence to weigh in on our discussions here at home about nuclear modernization and missile-defense. what was the impetus for that question? and is there some reason to believe that russia is involved in that big discussion as they have been involved in some of the other things? sen. cotton: have you heard the parable of the scorpion and the frog? >> go for it. sen. cotton: the scorpion asks the frog to take him across the river and the frog said you will sting me. halfway across the river, the scorpion stings him and it was in his nature.
it's in russia's nature to use deception, manipulation, subterfuge.and the kgb had efforts to manipulate western opinion in europe and the united states about the deployment of the intermediate range cruise missiles in 1983. there was much soviet money behind the mass protest in the united states and western europe at the time. i know of no reason to believe that russia is not doing the exact same thing right now to try to stop the modernization of our nuclear triad or to stop the deployment of advanced weapon systems. remember, russia is a country that now has a gdp of barely less than 10% of american gdp. it's smaller than the size of california or texas or new york, smaller than italy. two thirds the size of italy.
it's smaller than the combined gdp of the five largest country have to find ways to achieve strategic advantage that is not going to depend on marshaling vast resources. it's what they call active measure campaigns are what we call covert influence is one of the ways russia long attempted to achieve the advantage by molding western opinion and dividing nato countries between themselves. >> let's open it up to the floor. we will start with andrew to get us started. for other folks, just wait for the microphone and identify yourself and keep it in the form of a question. >> thank you for those remarks. you obviously illustrated in your speech made reference also to army leadership comments about the army being out ranged, and outgunned in europe and
increasingly so. the senate armed services committee went after modernization for the army. my question is, because there is so many things you can increase or seek to accelerate in the army modernization program, everything pretty much has been at a standstill for some time. how did you prioritize and what did you find to be the most compelling case to make to your colleagues for why specific forms of army modernization are needed now? sen. cotton: first off, i understand the point about readiness having to come before modernization. however, modernization is tomorrow's readiness. i can look at a mother or father in arkansas in the eye and tell
them the army would not put their son and daughter into combat without being fully prepared, trained, equipped. if a parent of an eight-year-old asks that, i cannot be sure i say the same thing. while readiness is urgent, modernization cannot be minimized. second, the army has a somewhat tougher take on modernization than the air force or the navy. that's not unique to this administration or this army leadership. it's relatively simple to explain why you need to modernize ships or aircraft or weapons or missiles. they are big. they exist in a comprehensible sense, you talk about the 350 five ship navy or the b 21 bombers. and a layman can get their head around. army systems are harder to get your head around. the nature of a brigade combat is harder for the laymen to get their hands around. the point we have made to her
-- to our colleagues is that the absence of greater investment on the front end and modernization, we will no longer have overmatched against countries like russia in the european theater. any kind of major mechanized war on land which i know everybody says we will never fight but we are fighting on land everywhere and fighting about land everywhere, it poses serious risks to our soldiers and national security. it's a harder case to make on layman's terms than the air force or army but it's certainly important. >> let's get a few more, let's start with sydney and i will get a few more. >> hi, sidney freberg. to address the elephant in the room, you talked about the importance of understanding that russia is a big competitor and they are relentless and they seek to influence our political
debates. there are lots of signs that this administration has been dangerously naive on that front. i don't see any proof of collusion in the campaign so far , but meeting with people not realizing there russian intelligence cutouts, being willing to say we can work with these people or form a cyber unit. even if it does not come to pass, it seems to suggest a lack of the appreciation of the danger that you suggest. how comfortable are you that this administration understands the danger that you describe? sen. cotton: some of your comments fall within the scope of our review on the senate intelligence committee or director mueller's investigation.
i will leave it to those to those matters and will not comment further on that. but i would dispute the premise of the question that the trump administration is somehow been soft on russia. if anything, the trump administration has been much tougher on russia. was it collusion when barack obama told dmitry medvedev that more flexibility to deal with missile defenses after the election, was it naivete when hillary clinton press the reset button with segei labradov after the ukraine invasion? telling the government of ukraine to do nothing provocative to the russians? by contrast, look at what this administers has done. at some of the people they have appointed to high office, weather is jim mattis for mike
pompeo or h.r. mcmaster or shortly after hamburg. i don't think anyone accuse ambassador belk or of being naive or confused about russia. look at what the donald trump campaigned on. we invest more in our defenses, expanded missile defenses, accelerated nuclear modernization, pumping more american oil and gas. none of those things look very good if you're sitting in the kremlin. none of those things are supported by hillary clinton or democrats in the campaign either. we have struck their main client in syria showing they cannot protect that client, starting to take a tougher line on iran, continuing and expanding the european reassurance initiative , which i hasten to add is regrettable that we had to start something called the reassurance initiative after eight years of the obama administration. i have to dispute the premise of the administration has not been
anything but tougher on russia when it comes to the real world. >> there's a question right here in front. >> hi, i worked in i.s.a. and i set up the process and let out the options which led to euro missiles and thus the imf. later on, in 1998, got to visit base.er ss20 were none deployed in east europe, they were deployed across the soviet union. i got to kick the tires of the replacement, the ss-25. thank it was aimed only at the u.s. and not europe.
i also studied lots of the russian ballistic missile programs. the cruise missile would be mounted on a transporter. i never found any evidence that the transporter was nuclear. do you know that this cruise missile is nuclear? in fact, i found opposite views on the in utility of nuclear weapons. sen. cotton: i don't want to comment on the intelligence about intelligence weapons systems that have been reported in the western media. i will say that the destabilizing nature of missiles in europe is not limited to nuclear missiles. it's also the case that any other kind of high expose of warhead can be inherently destabilizing europe as well. that's white russia in its soviet form wanted to eliminate the entire class of weapons, not just limit the number of those weapons. >> ok, who else?
i saw a few more up. two over here. let's start with the front row. >> hi, could you speak a little generally on your opinion on the army's current modernization efforts and if you think they have focus moving forward or should they focus more on? sen. cotton: they need to move faster and be clear about priorities. some of the priorities as i mentioned in my speech are currently prohibited by treaty obligations but we need to be prepared to move quickly should that treaty become obsolete in the meantime, we should do everything we can within the context of our obligations legality and survivability of our land-based systems whether that's active armor systems or increasing the size of cannons or what have you. in addition, we simply need to expand the strength of our
military, our army in particular. >> thank you, you spoke of assisting u.s. allies with developing weapons that the inf prohibits the u.s. from doing. wouldn't that be going around the treaty and ignoring the principle of it? sen. cotton: vladimir putin has violated the letter of it so if someone accuses the u.s. of violating the spirit come i am not that concerned about it. >> would it be a better step to possibly renegotiate the treaty given that it is 30 years old and times have changed? sen. cotton: we should certainly not renegotiate a treaty from a position of weakness where only counterparty to the treaty is violating the treaty and can dictate the terms they want to impose on us. that's why the right posture now is to put greater pressure on russia to come back into compliance with the treaty. should they not do that, we should not remain in a treaty where would become literally the only country on earth that
refrains from building a particular kind of weapons system. >> very good, i saw one over here, this gentleman and then one in the back. we will start here. >> i'm with politico. you referenced in your speech the fact that china which is not in the inf treaty has developed cruise missiles that would be in violation of the treaty. i am curious if you think there are steps the united states should take to respond to the threat of chinese cruise missiles outside of leaving the treaty? sen. cotton: it is difficult for the united states to faulty nation that's not committed by treaty for developing weapons systems that would be banned by the treaty. what the united states should do is take a firmer line with china
in all manners of interactions. put more pressure on china to stop its aggressive behavior in the asia-pacific. north korea's and the headlines a lot today. there is a lot of pressure we can bring to bear on china that if they don't help us with the north korea problem more, they will feel some pain. we should be much more active in the south china sea to prevent china from dominating it. the ndaa includes several measures to bolster the taiwan defenses or to push back on china's campaign of international isolation against taiwan. that would probably be the most pro-taiwan legislation since the taiwan relations act. those are just a few examples of things we can do to take a firmer hand with china which we
certainly should do. >> ok, right in back here. >> i am from the voice of america. in 2008, there was a promise made that ukraine would become a nato member. a lot has changed since then. 20% of it is still occupied. do you see any times seven this happening -- uc anytime soon this happening or are you worried about russia's attempts to destabilize the region and bolster western attitudes especially in its neighborhood? sen. cotton: at the moment, it's not obvious the path that georgia and ukraine were taken nato while they still have russian troops on their soil. our immediate objective should
be to bring enough pressure there on russia so that they leave those lands and give back crimea to ukraine and leave eastern ukraine and georgia. secretary tillerson out of the bilateral meeting in hamburg was clear that the tent -- that the pressure we put on russia was ineffective but will remain in place as long as there are russian troops on ukrainian soil. of course russia is trying to destabilize and divide the west. that's what they have been doing for decades. it's not just in the soviet area but the vladimir putin era which i would suggest it would have more historical continuity. they did it in 1983 may help fund the massive protests for the deployment of imf forces in europe and they are doing it today and the elections western europe in our elections here. they are doing it through snap military exercises were bellicose rhetoric. that's something what russia
doesn't that's why we have to meet these kind of provocations with a firm and unyielding response. >> ok, who else? i see one in the front and one in the middle. >> server, state department, you mentioned possibly dropping the inf if that's in the u.s. interest. is it possible to eliminate the imf and more or less started arms race in europe and reassure our allies and not create fractional is in question sen. cotton: what was the last part of your question? >> is it possible to eliminate the inf and reassure our allies and not create additional fractional is him in nato? sen. cotton: currently, the inf is breached by russia and the one situation we cannot tolerate is that russia remains in violation of the treaty while the united states remains the
only country in the world that refrains from building a potent weapons system. several generals have testified in congress that they see no reason to believe congress will come back into compliance. if the current state of affairs remains the same, i agree. it will put pressure on russia to come back into compliance. if they do not, or given the shifting nature of global strategic competition to law longer be a part of the treaty, we should withdraw. we have not reached that point yet but i assuming we will sooner rather than later. the europeans are always divided. they are divided in part because the russians use subterfuge and deception and espionage to keep in divided. some european countries strongly a prose -- strongly oppose the deployment of troops in the 1980's but it it turned out well. other european countries supported it. it's a matter -- it's for u.s.
diplomacy to maintain political unity among our nato allies when confronted with serious threats like russia deploying once again cruise missiles that can strike all of europe. >> i saw the gentle man in the middle over here -- >> how do you propose to pay for all this increased spending? either you increase taxes or you cut other commitments so there is spending elsewhere. you seem to be suggesting much increased spending for defense or is that incorrect? sen. cotton: on the specific points i have mentioned, we are talking about, depending on the magnitude of hundreds of millions of dollars, that will be offset through other defense accounts. on the broader points about military modernization, yes, we
are talking about tens of billions of dollars in the long-term hundreds of billions of dollars spread out over the coming decades. i would argue simply that our defense spending is not what drives our deficits. it's not what drives our long-term debt. if anything, it helps control long-term debt because it ensures the safety and security of americans around the world. we are a global power with global trading interests, therefore we have an interesting global order. our defense spending has never been a driver of our debt. in the long-term, it helps control it by keeping peace and stability throughout the world and help keep our economy growing and healthy and avoid the degradations of a general war. what really drives our deficits are long-term health and retirement programs and weak economic growth for the last 10 years. we can attack them from the
growth side by trying to get our economy growing and get more people back to work in the long term, we have to address the solvency of our health care and retirement programs. those provided important social safety net but it's rapidly running out of money in the near term. ultimately, our defense budget is not what drives our debt. anytime you try to balance the budget on the back of defense, you end up spending more than you would have in the long run because your adversary's catch up with you and you have to invest in a crash course of reinvesting in capabilities. >> you left off with the question of adversaries getting closer to our inabilities. you talked about the problem of overmatch. let me connect a couple of those things. there is a provision of your bill that provides for more missile defense including cruise missiles against inf noncompliance cruise missiles
and others as well and also a theater missile defense for europe. let me connect that with the other side which is army modernization. the army has this multi-domain battle thing which seems to be a lot about bringing the army up in a way to meet threats. but our air and missile defense systems are retarded by a lack of modernization for many years. can you speak about what we need to get from moving to a patriot today two people handling these things? sen. cotton: it's an important challenge. the army often goes through these cycles where things we will get to fight a war the way we like to fight it or be able to dictate the terms in which the war is fought. our enemies seem to have a way of refusing to take guidance on how they should be fighting. for many years in the cold war and after the persian gulf war, we're focused on heavy mechanized warfare and peer competitors. not much on counterinsurgency. we had to rapidly shift in the middle part of the last decade to learning more about how to do counterinsurgency effectively
and we did it pretty effectively in iraq and afghanistan especially during the surge. however, we have been 16 years in which we don't have an adversary with air power and we have complete air dominance. it's understandable that army commanders fighting a war where you have air dominance would often times be neglecting combined arms fire or air defense and planners would invest in those systems. in the last eight years especially, we see how rapidly the environment has shifted as china and russia both have increased the pace of military modernization especially the pace of military modernization designed to keep us from ever fighting a war against -- like we fought against iraq in 1981. congress needs to provide the money to address this. >> who else? right here in the front.
i just want to say that the army identifying the need for a 360 degree center for cruise missiles back in 1993, we still have that. >> my question is, should the united states consider adding other countries to the inf treaty to prevent russia from establishing proxies to develop their land-based missiles? sen. cotton: the prerequisite for any future of the inf treaty is for rush to compton to prompt a verifiable compliance. if that should happen, you put them back in the position that i mentioned in my speech that they are surrounded by countries that have the capability of striking russian territory with intermediate range missiles. they might have an interest in that scenario of working with the united states and the countries on its periphery to add other countries to the inf treaty. i don't think that's probable but the immediate prerequisite
for any kind of future is for russia to come back into compliance. >> we have probably time for two more and then we will take a quick break. there is one up here. right here. >> going back to the budget, do you have an opinion on the reform effort with moving money into the base budget, does that concern you at all? sen. cotton: the budget control act must be repealed. it was passed as congress is rushing out of town in the summer of 2011 to increase the debt ceiling. it was designed to constrain spending and it did briefly for a couple of years. that probably has as much to do with a new republican congress after trillion dollar deficits in the early obama era.
congress has proven itself on capable of adhering to the budget control act that was passed. in 2013, we had a continuing resolution. in september, a two-year budget in the fall, and on notice in december and another in december 2014. that's what happened in 2015 and 2016. it's the middle of july in a looks like we are heading toward a continuing resolution in september, some kind of two-year budget deal and a move that doesn't constrain spending and an omnibus bill in december and another one next year and then we will have the same two-year scenario playing out in 2019 and 2020. we should simply repeal it out right and congress should do its job and set priorities with taxpayer dollars on a year-to-year basis. after republican party, the party that has always stood for
strong national defense in an environment where the budget control act has been repealed cannot invest more in our defense capabilities, then bad for us. but the budget control act must be repealed. >> what will it take to get to that from where we are today out of this cycle of cr's to that repeal? sen. cotton: i believe you probably have the votes right now in the senate to repeal the budget control act. i suspect almost every democrat would vote to repeal it and at least half of my republican colleagues would as well. in the house of representatives, i think it's more divided among republicans.
also, deficit talkers don't believe in this. they don't think the democrats would willingly agree with domestic spending and shift that money into defense spending when they have the status quo working in their favorite which is draconian budget cuts on a 50/50 basis and to the defense budget which only accounts for 20% of their spending. the democrats are like to see it repealed as well because they want to see more spending on departments like housing and urban development and commerce and so on and so forth. i think you have the votes and with some work and the administration support, you can get this passed in the -- in the house as well. just because you can appeal that come it doesn't mean spending will go up. the congressional budget office has a lot of things. there were reductions in the rates of reimbursement to doctors using medicare and everywhere we had -- and every year we found a way to push this forward. we should do the same thing with the budget because the test the across-the-board cuts will not go into effect and there is no
reason to think the 115th congress will be in a different from previous congresses. one last question and we will take it right over here. >> thank you, the washington times. i'm curious what kind of timeline specifically you see for going forward with bringing russia into compliance or otherwise eliminating the treaty or considering other options before we have some kind of disaster on our hands. specifically, what might the consequences be if we don't move forward quickly question mark sen. cotton: the provisions in the national defense alteration act would be enacted into law later this year. it will pass over your -- it has passed on every year for over 50 years. you're talking about a matter of months not years. i would encourage the administration to take every
action it can as well to put more pressure on russia and bring it back into compliance. right now, we have many european partners who want to stick their head in the sand and pretend russia does not have the system because they don't want to face the consequences of making that announcement. paper tend russia that does not have a cruise missile that can strike their territory. leningrad will not eliminate the threat to their countries. bad news does not get better with time. we should face up to the challenge that the missile system poses to us and take steps to bring russia back to compliance or take the steps necessary to counteract and defeat them. >> senator, thank you for coming out today and think of her leadership on these issues. please join me in thanking the senator. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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