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tv   Defense Secretary Mattis Secretary of State Tillerson Testify on War...  CSPAN  November 4, 2017 11:31am-12:33pm EDT

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>> from hawaii president trump heads to japan where he will be meeting with prime minister shinzo abe. after that he has to south korea, then china with meetings with foreign counterparts. for the last leg, the president travels to vietnam where he will attend the asia-pacific economic whopper racial before heading to the philippines for the association of nations summit. look for the president's trip on c-span networks. earlier this week, defense secretary james mattis and rex before theestify senate foreign relations committee on authorization for use of military force and whether new authorization was required for ongoing missions against isis and the taliban. they told members that a new au
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mf should not have time restrictions or be geographically constrained. this hearing is just over three hours. >> stop endless war. stop endless war. stop endless war. [inaudible]
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>> foreign relations committee will come to order. two housekeeping issues. we have a number of people in the audience. some of whom sometimes like to express themselves.
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we thank you for being here. in the past, when there have been interruptions, on occasion i have been able to have people be arrested but we have stopped that. please don't do anything that causes you to have to be escorted out of the room because then the process continues, being arrested is unpleasant. i would hate to see you go through that process. we have a chance for two votes today. which is unfortunate. what we have talked before about doing is adjourning the hearing seven minutes until 6:00, everyone rushing down of voting on the tail end of the first vote and the beginning of the second book. there will be no speaking before the second vote. if we could hustle back and keep going. general mattis, excuse me, secretary mattis has a meeting. others want to complete our work in an appropriate way.
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with that. i like to thank secretary tillerson and secretary mattis for being with us today to share the administration's perspective on the authorization for use of military force. we are grateful to both of you for your service to our country and your willingness to come here again as we continue this discussion on behalf of the american people. 2001ight and debate of the aumf is something to which this committee has been engaged since i have helped to lead it since 2013. many of us from both parties have thought to craft or revise authority to address the threats of terrorism. when president obama submitted in 2015, are committing held a hearing and debated. there was no effort on the part of the white house to enact a
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new authorization. we have already held two committee hearings on this topic , a classified briefing with secretaries tillerson and mattis in august. we have been working to schedule this public hearing since that time. numbers of members both on and off the committee have raised questions of the executive authority with respect to warmaking. the use of nuclear weapons. from a diplomatic perspective, entering into and terminating agreements with other countries. as i've mentioned publicly, this is the beginning of a series of hearings where our committee will also examine those issues. today it is my hope we will remain focused on the topic at hand. and the 2002 aumf.
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de facto ability to initiate conflict has grown in an age of advanced technology. including unmanned drones and war from a distance where large numbers of boots on the ground are not necessary to conduct a significant military engagement. examples of significant military ,ctions by recent presidents relying solely on article two a the constitution included airstrikes in kosovo, regime change in libya, and the april missile strike against the assad regime in syria. the president identified the following 19 countries where u.s. military personnel were deployed and equipped for combat. yemen,stan, iraq, syria, nigeria,libya, kenya, sudan, theganda,
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democratic republic of congo, central africa republic, djibouti, turkey, egypt, cuba, and kosovo. as this month deadly attack in nigeria proves, those forces can find themselves in combat at any moment. as our men and women in uniform continue to meet threats i hope our witnesses can help us exam what the appropriate oversight role for congress is and how we can work together to make sure our nation's political leadership is meeting the responsibility to decide when and where our country uses military force. i stated previously, in this hearing we will focus primarily on the two current authorizations for the authorization for use of military force. the use of lethal force against isis, al qaeda and other terrorist groups remain
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necessary for the receivable and foreseeable future. against americans and our allies. likeresident just president obama believes he has the legal authority he needs under the 2001 aumf to fight isis, al qaeda and other terrorist groups. i agree. i agreed with the obama administration. i agree with this administration. they currently have that authority. it is clear that congress is united and in strong support of the fight against al qaeda, the taliban, isis and other terrorist groups. i believe congress as a whole would agree that the president should continue to act against these threats. and beenhas notified notified of troop deployments around the world including niger and has responded consistently by funding the department of defense and operations against isis and terrorists around the world.
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i also believe we should update congress'o reassert constitutional role. we cannot risk undermining the legal foundation of this critical fight. we must also be mindful that withoutn aumf significant bipartisan support could send the wrong message to allies and adversaries that we are not united and committed to victory. so far congress has been unable to bridge the gap between those who see a new aumf as an opportunity to limit the president and those who believe constraining the commander in chief in wartime is unwise. unfortunately the inability to reconcile this divide without threatening the existing authorization has allowed the status quo to preparvail.
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committee recognizes we have a special ability to speak with one voice on foreign policy. we have a great tradition of working together in a bipartisan way to advance national interest . it is my hope we will be able to do the same on this issue. i think both of our distinguished witnesses and the members of this committee for the seriousness with which they approach the topic. i hope that together we can have a productive discussion about a way forward. the distinguished ranking member, senator clark. >> i join you in welcoming our witnesses and join you in our strong desire for this committee to operate in a nonpartisan way. for the betterment of our national security. i thank you for conducting this hearing. this is one of the most important topics the united states senate and this committee could ever consider.
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under what circumstances and legal authorities should the united states send men and women into war? mr. chairman i am pleased you are reasserting prerogatives on this issue. i hope soon we will be considering -- we will be considering the repeal of the aumf from 9/11 and the iraq war and a new aumf tailored to the current threats. faces crisis around the world. plots to our worsening crisis with no history at and a newly manufactured crisis with iran. i'm deeply concerned about president trump's inclination to go to war rather than find diplomatic solutions to these crisis. it seems we have deployments everywhere in the world. in addition to iraq, afghanistan, and syria, south
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korea, japan, europe, u.s. forces have been engaged in , with capacitym building efforts. two weeks ago we learned that four servicemen were killed in niger in circumstances unclear. , and as many as 800 u.s. troops in niger. the loss of these courageous soldiers, sergeant but david johnson, staff sergeant justice and right, brian black, and jeremy johnson show the danger faced by men and women deployed around the world. whether they are deployed with the expectation of combat or not. our hearts are with the families of the soldiers. they serve their country courageously and their families deserve respect and appreciation that all men and women should receive after losing a loved
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one. during this hearing i will be asking the witnesses specific questions about the niger incident. the mission the soldiers were performing, legal authorities for their deployment. that is our responsibility. are unable toes answer these in open hearings, i am going to ask you return to provide this committee a classified hearing. i think the american people are now asking if the united states is fighting and dying in niger, where else are u.s. forces put in harms way? some information has been provided to congress on this issue including the june 27 notice to congress the chairman referred to. there has been inadequate explanation of what activities are being done and under what legal authority. that is this committee's responsibility to deal with the authorization. protecting the american people from terrorism, stemming from threats around the world is certainly important. i think there needs to be more public discussion and light on
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these activities. i do not think the american people want the united states conducting a global endless war under the radar, covert and beyond scrutiny. there have been developments since the committee's last conversation with the secretaries in august. in iraq andcontrol syria have been broken. with hundreds of isis fighters killed and more surrendering. the crisis with north korea has gotten worse. icbmskorea testing both with the ability to reach the united states and thermonuclear device amongst a bitter war of words between kim jong-un and president trump. third, president trump has threatened the use of military options for the crisis in venezuela. we cannot discuss the aspects of the authorization for use of military force in this meeting.
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security assistance in the senate, obligations about how they should be used. i will be asking you to brief us in a classified setting on the use of the 2001 aumf including for counterterrorism purposes. as i said at our hearing in june, the 9/11 and iraq aumf have become mere authorities of convenience for president to conduct military activities anywhere in the world. they should not be used as the legal justification for the administration's military activities around the world. i'm not convinced the evolving threat of isil to the united states and our allies this acetates more of our men and women to ground combat situations. not under the rubric of a 9/11 aumf rubric. i will repeat one more time for the record. that theaumf,
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president is authorized to use , committedry force or aided, the terrorist attacks on september 11, 2001, or harbor such persons in order to prevent teacher acts of international terrorism by such nations and purposes. as one who voted for that aumf when i was in congress in 2001, i never intended and all of us never intended it would still be used today to justify the use of military force against isis. one last point, if i might. i think it is very clear that under this authorization, there is no authorization for the use of military force against north korea unless there is an imminent attack upon the united states or on forces or allies in the region. i would be interested in hearing the secretary's believe as to
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what exists today for military operations against north korea. it is important for congress to authority over the use of force now. in this administration one wonders whether it has become the first and only response it has for dramatic increase in the defense budget while the foreign affairs budget has been slashed by 30%. the only tools left in the foreign toolbox will be the massive hammer applied everywhere for a lack of better options. we need to authorize and set limits on the use of that hammer. so doing, perhaps the administration will rediscover the value of diplomacy and the support for human rights to build a safer world for everyone. share thetnesses commitment to our national security and the importance of diplomacy and the use of our
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military. i look forward to their testimony. >> thank you, senator cardin. we thank both of you for being here today. we have tremendous respect, by almost every member of this committee, we were support -- we support your efforts around the world. if you could limit your comments to five minutes, you will have a lot of questions. any written materials you would like in the record will be done without objection. i guess we will start with you, secretary tillerson. we thank you for your extraordinary efforts on behalf of our country. sec. tillerson: thank you mr. chairman. corker, ranking member cardin, distinguished members, i appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today. desire to senate's understand the legal basis for military action is grounded in your constitutional role related to foreign policy and national security matters.
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i understand your sense of obligation to the american people well in this regard. in the 2001 authorization for use of military force, or aumf, congress authorized the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001 or harbored such organizations or persons." congress granted the president in order toity, " prevent future acts of terrorism against the united states by such nations, organizations or persons." statutoryumf provides authority for ongoing u.s. military operations against al qaeda, the taliban and associated forces including against the islamic state in
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iraq and syria, or isis. the administration relies on the 2001 aumf as a domestic legal authority for our own military actions against these entities as well as the military actions we take in conjunction with our partners in the coalition to defeat isis. provides amf domestic legal basis for our detention operations at guantanamo bay where the united states currently detains members of al qaeda, the taliban and associated forces. also authorizes the use of necessary and appropriate force to defend u.s. coalition and partner forces engaged in the campaign to defeat isis in iraq and syria. theyria, the efforts of u.s. led coalition are aimed at the defeat of isis. the united states does not seek to fight the syrian government
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or pro-syrian government forces. however, the united states will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend u.s. coalition or partner forces engaged in the campaign against isis. authority to use force against isis is further reinforced by the authorization for use of military force against iraq. or in plain terms, the 2002 aumf . in addition to authorities granted the president by statute, the president has the power under article two of the cuts addition to use military force in certain circumstances to advance u.s. national interest including to defend the united states against terrorist attacks. as an example, president reagan relied on his authority as commander-in-chief in 1986 when he ordered airstrikes against terrorist facilities and military installations in libya inlowing a terrorist attack
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libya in westmoreland which killed and wounded civilians and u.s. military personnel. united states has the legal authority to combat campaigns including isis and is not currently seeking any new or additional congressional authorization for the use of force. remains aumf cornerstone for ongoing u.s. military operations and continues to provide legal authority relied upon to defeat this threat. however, should congress decide legislation,w aumf i submit several recommendations the administration would consider necessary to a new aumf . first, a new aumf authorities must be in place prior to or simultaneous with the repeal of all the ones. failure to do so could cause operational paralysis and confusion in our military operations.
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diplomatically speaking, it could cause our allies in the global coalition to question our commitment to defeating isis. potential repeals of the 2001 an immediate and appropriate replacement would raise questions about the domestic legal basis for united states for range of military activities against the taliban, al qaeda and associated forces , as well against isis as detention operations at guantanamo bay. any new authorization should not be time constraint. legislation which would terminate the authorization to use force would be inconsistent with a conditions based approach and could unintentionally embolden our enemies with the goal of outlasting us. any oversight mechanism in a new aumf would have to allow the united states the freedom to quickly move against our enemies without being constrained by a feedback loop.
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must not be aumf geographically restricted as is the case under the current aumf, the administration would have to retain statutory authority to use force against an enemy that does not respect or limit itself based on geographic boundaries. as the fraudulent caliphate in iraq and syria has crumbled it has tried to gain footholds in new locations. as was discussed with the senate during a closed isis briefing in july, the united states has a limited military presence in the chad basis to support partners including france and their counterterrorism efforts in the region. this has been conveyed to you in multiple reports submitted to congress consistent with the war power resolution. the collapse of isis in iraq and yria means it will
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attempt to grow into new nations. to combat this threat cannot be constrained by geographic boundaries. otherwise isis may reestablish itself invulnerable spaces. the united states must retain proper authority to make sure nothing limits our ability to respond rapidly to terrorism threats to the united states. secretary mattis and i and the rest of the administration are completely aligned on this issue. need forrecognize the transparency with you as we respond to what will be a dynamic regional and global issue. we will continue to regularly update congress to make sure you and the american people understand our foreign-policy goals, military operations and national security objectives. i think the committee for supporting our efforts and look forward to your questions. >> thank you.
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secretary mattis, we thank you for being here. your extraordinary service not only a secretary but are many years in our military. we especially appreciate the fact that the two of you worked deal withonstantly to the issues in a unified voice. we very much appreciate that. if you would begin. you, chairman corker, ranking member cardin, members of the committee, it is appropriate we appear before you today to explain what we are perspective ins our counterterrorism campaign and wide. this has been a long 16 -- and why. this has been a long 16 years of a different form of warfare. specifically terrorism, aimed at innocence around the globe. traditional campaigns to protect our people must adapt to the reality of today's nontraditional transnational character.
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authorizations to use military force or aumf remain a sound basis for ongoing u.s. military operations against a mutating threat. in the aftermath of the deadly 9/11 attack and to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the united states, congress passed the 2001 aumf finding the president has and i quote, authority under the constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the united states. the 2002 aumf provides the president with authority to, and i quote again, defend the national security of the united states against the continuing threat posed by iraq, unquote. previous administrations have cited these statutory authorities to address the threat posed by terrorist groups in iraq and syria.
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as demonstrated by presidents from washington to lincoln, wilson, f.d.r. and their successors, it lies firmly within any president's constitutional authority and responsibility as the elected commander in chief, to designate who presents a threat to our country. to date this article 2 authority reinforced by the 2001 and 2002 aumf has been used to take action against al qaeda, the taliban, isis, and associated forces. following the december, 2011 pullout of our forces and -- from iraq and the outbreak of civil war in syria, al qaeda in iraq regained strength and rebranded itself as isis. in 2014, under its new name, isis unleashed mayhem in the heart of the middle east building its self-described caliphate and attracting allegiance of terror groups in southeast asia.
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whichswitch -- groups plan attacks around the globe, including in san bernardino, paris, london, and the philippines to name only a few. a statement of continued congressional support would be welcome, a new aumf is not legally required to address the continuing threat posed by al qaeda, the taliban and isis. article 2 of our constitution, the 2001 and 2002 aumf's provide sufficient legal authority for us to engage and defeat the current threat which we are doing by working by, with, and through our allies and partners. that said, any new congressional expression of unity, whether or not an aumf would present a strong statement to the world of america's determination, demonstrating as senator kaine stated, quote, an important
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message of resolve to the american public an our troops that we stand behind them in their mission, unquote. with that for background, i would like to note that to successfully prosecute the counterterrorism campaign, any debate on a new or revazed aumf needs to incorporate the following factors. first, the 2001 and 2002 aumf should not be repealed. after numerous court cases and debates there appears to now be a general consensus by all three branches of government that these two aumf's provide sufficient authority to prosecute against al qaeda, the taliban, and we believe isis. repealing the 2001 and 2002 aumf's would only cause unnecessary policy and legal uncertainty which could lead to additional litigation and public doubt. the uncertainty accompanying that situation could only signal to our enemies and friends that we are backing away from this fight.
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it would stall our operations, immediately reduce allied commitments and support and create significant opportunities for our enemies to seize the initiative. additionally, repealing the aumf's without new authority would deprive us of the ability to detain dangerous enemy combatants who could be released to fight again. second, any new aumf must not be time restricted. for example, president trump's south asia strategy is conditions based, not time based, because war is fundamentally unpredictable. we cannot put a firm timeline on conflict against an adaptive enemy who would hope we haven't the will to fight as long as necessary. instead, we must recognize that we are in an era of frequent skirmishing and we are more likely to end this fight sooner if we don't tell our adversary the day we intend to stop fighting. a conditions-based aumf would
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not lessen congress' authority. the power over the purse remains firmly vested in your hand. should the executive branch not present a persuasive case for continuing the campaign. lastly, any new aumf must not be geographically constrained. as has been stated, these are not traditional threats. this is a fight against a transnational enemy, one that does not respect international borders and does not place geographic limits on their areas of operations. so necessarily, to defend our country, we must be prepared to swiftly engage in this global enemy in conjunction with our allies and partners. regardless of the adaptations, we must make for the common defense, i recognize that it is incumbent upon the department of defense to keep congress fully informed to fulfill its constitutional role and i will continue to do so.
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accordingly, as our troops on the battlefield carry out the last 300 meters of foreign policy to protect our way of life, i ask congress for your continued support and commitment to ensure we retain the necessary authorities to take our own side in this fight. thank you. >> thank you very much. i'm going reserve my time for interjections and defer to our ranking member and then move down the line. for those of you who may have stepped in late, i know giving guidance to senators is a useless effort. but we're going to have a whole series of hearings. this one hopefully is mostly focused on the aumf but we'll have a series appearing, looking at our war making powers, whether it's north korea, nuclear issues. we have had members on the committee and off asked about these issues. know that, but i know you'll ask
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whatever you wish. mr. cardin: thank you. i want to thank senator king to our committee. it's not the first time he's attended our hearings and it's nice to have you here. i would ask consent that the statement from human rights first be made part of our record. mr. corker: without objection. mr. cardin: thank you. secretary mattis and tillerson, i think we all agree that we're not anxious to repeal the aumf authorization without a new authorization being enforced. that's been the game plan. i would point out that there is significant differences here about whether the 2001 authorization covers the military operation -- counterterrorism operations against isis. many of us believe that is not included in the 2001, but we do agree that congress needs to make sure that there is authorization to pursue our counterterrorism efforts.
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as i indicated in my opening statement, operational decisions on the use of the aumf or counterterrorism i understand would not be appropriate in an open setting. so my request, and i would ask that you respond to it, that you would be willing to return in a closed session in order that the committee of jurisdiction on the aumf has a better understanding of how the operational decisions are being made. >> certainly, senator. >> absolutely, sir. sen. cardin: i appreciate that. i understand the chairman's admonition of about north korea but i really want to put on the record, would you agree that there is no congressional authorization for the use of military force against north korea? i understand the president's authorities under article two, there's an eminent threat against the united states, he has certain powers. but as far as congressional authorization, there is no authorization, is that correct?
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>> that's my understanding, yes. >> i believe the president has article two authority only. sen. cardin: thank you. i want to get to what happened in niger and sort of understand where we are. because there is also limitations on the introduction of troops under the war powers act. limiting to 60 days. as i understand it, our troops in northern africa have been there much longer than 60 days. can you just explain very briefly what our mission was in niger when the tragedy occurred, and under what legal authority those troops were there? sec. mattis: i can. the troops are there under title
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10 in a train and advise role. the letter from the president, from president obama in 2013, to the pro temp of the senate and the speaker of the house talks to the total number of u.s. military deployed there in 2013 was 100 in furtherance of u.s. national security interests. as president obama's report to you. that continues to be the case. at this time. mr. cardin: the specific mission that they were participating in, as i understand it, went beyond that. am i wrong on that? sec. mattis: the mission of those troops on that patrol was a combined patrol, which means they were with niger troops and they were on a patrol where they were teaching them how do you what's called key leader engagement. i'd have to wait until i get the full investigation in to give you a more complete answer. but they are there with the niger troops to train and advise them consistent with the original intent they were sent there under the previous administration, continued to be the intent today.
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sen. cardin: so this is not 2001 authorization? sec. mattis: no, sir. this is under the title 10 and requires us to report to you under that authority. sen. cardin: i understand. thank you for that answer. i want to know how far we would go in pursuing military options in that region of the world. boko haram's a horrible group, doing terrible things. do you have the authority under the 2001 to pursue boko haram atrocities? sec. mattis: these troops were there under title 10. as far as boko haram goes, they have pledged allegiance to isis or al qaeda. and so either way, they have associated themselves with the very group that that authorization is targeted on.
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sen. cardin: so without any further authorization from congress, you believe you have authorization, if determination is made to deploy whatever force is necessary to go after boko haram, including ground troops? sec. mattis: if the president detects that there is a threat from them against us, our interests, i believe he would have the authority to designate that group, yes, sir. sen. cardin: yes. i understand the threat. but the threat is related to the 2001 threat is what you're saying. this is a group whose terrorist activities are endangering -- he could declare that to be associated group. mattis: he didn't. boko haram declared that they were. mr. cardin: but the president could authorize them as an affiliate group and then use the full force of our military, including ground troops, without further restrictions?
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mr. mattis: right now, senator, our troops are there under title 10. i don't want to speculate about that because that's not what they're doing right now. i'd have to go back and study it. but i believe a group that declares its allegiance to the -- either al qaeda or isis would then be part of al qaeda or isis, yes. sen. cardin: my question really is related to how far he could commit our military to these types of campaigns. when we were attacked on september 11, we recognized the need for a military response and we certainly understood that american troops are going to be called upon to protect our country. i'm not sure that congress envisioned that we would have the potential of ground troops in northern africa in combat missions. if i understand what you're saying, unless we modified this aumf, you would feel that you have adequate authorization to commit american ground troops in northern africa. sec. mattis: senator, if the president determined they're a threat to the united states and under the aumf, if they say they
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are allied with al qaeda or isis, yes, sir, i believe so. sen. cardin: thank you. sen. corker: senator johnson. sen. johnson: let me thank both secretaries for their service to the country. let me pick up on the point of ground troops. secretary mattis, in your testimony you talked about a 16-year global conflict. totally different than anything we've witnessed in the past. i remember when we had this discussion a couple years ago. with the advent of isis. trying to rewrite a new authorization of use for military force. there's a discussion about limiting ground troops. no ground troops. secretary tillerson, i think you said in your testimony, you talked about the caliphate is basically ended, is it not? or really darn close? sec. tillerson: we've liberated a large amount of area in iraq and syria but that fight is not over yet.
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sen. johnson: secretary mattis, is there any way we could have done what we've done so far at the caliphate without ground troops? mr. mattis: i don't believe so, senator. sen. johnson: yet two years ago we were debating in this committee replacing the authorization for use of military force with one that would have restricted president obama's and his replacement, the successor, his ability to -- his or her ability to use ground troops. that would have been a big mistake, wouldn't it have been? sec. mattis: senator, generally speaking, when you -- you don't tell the enemy in advance what you're not going to do. that's not a wise -- even if you don't choose to do it, there's no need to announce that to the enemy. and relieve them of that concern. mr. johnson: in the 2001 authorization, i personally don't think the 2001 applies to this situation. i really don't. when you read it. but by precedent, it does. but it doesn't restrict the president's use of force. it says to use all necessary appropriate force. it goes on to describe what those nations, what those
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organizations really are. in a real declaration of war against japan and germany, congress declared that the president is authorized and directed to employ the entire naval military force of the united states and the resources of the government to carry on the war against in this case, the government of germany. and to bring the conflict to successful termination, all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the congress of the united states. so both in 2001 authorization and the declarations of war against both germany and japan, there were no restrictions. we pledged all necessary resources of this country to the defeat of our enemy. in both your testimony you laid out three conditions. one thing i want to clear up, secretary mattis, you said we should not be -- we should not
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repeal the 2001-2002. later on you talked about without a new authorization. you're not -- there's no difference in your testimony, correct? you can repeal as long as you have something else in its place. mr. mattis: there are some lawyers who will say it's good to hold onto what you have, even if you pass a new one, that perhaps changes it in some way. mr. johnson: is there a slight difference between your two testimonies then? you would prefer keeping the 2001-2002 aumf in place? mr. mattis: i'd have to see what came out next. right now i'd say yes. we've been through a lot of difficulty trying to get the three branches of government aligned on this. mr. johnson: ok. i'm not disagreeing with you in any way, shape or form. you've both said that neither -- if there's a new aumf it should not be time restricted. you both said it should not be geographically restricted. i was waiting for the fourth. but neither one of you said this. there should be no operational restrictions. do you believe there should be operational restrictions as we
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contemplated a couple years ago, no ground troops or something of that type of restriction? secretary tillerson. sec. tillerson: no, i do not. i do not think we can restrict operations, given the way this particular enemy morphs, changes its tactics. as we saw with the emergence of isis, we start with what might be a fairly limited group of terrorists who then are able to overrun large territories in a mass army. essentially their own army of tens of thousands. that requires a very different use of force than trying to chase and defeat terrorists that are making their way through the jungles in smaller numbers. this is an enemy that changes its names, it moves across borders, it is a nonstate actor. and it has morphed. and changed over this 16 years. which i know is part of why this is such a vexing issue. because it does not fit a declaration of war.
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certainly it doesn't fit the criteria that congress has used in the past for declarations of war. sen. johnson: it's a totally different enemy than we faced in the past, but this has been a 16-year struggle. i don't think it's going to be over any time soon. secretary mattis, can you describe what has changed in the administration that's allowed to us defeat the caliphate in relatively short order compared to what had been happening the previous two years? sec. mattis: senator, what we did was we changed the tactics. we accelerated the number of partnered units that had american forces with them. not to do the fighting, but to call in air support. the change in tactics was one that -- where we could, we would surround the enemy first so they could not fall back and reinforce the next site, thus making it harder. and you saw the surround tactics
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used in mosul, in califar, in raqqa. those are the big changes, as we accelerated the campaign. but also lessened the chance that foreign fighters could escape to return home or to reinforce the next position. sen. johnson: would you say it's true we've allowed the commanders on the ground to make the decisions to defeat the enemy? rather than direct them here from washington, d.c.? sec. mattis: i've delegated authority to the appropriate levels, yes, sir. sen. johnson: both of you seemed to indicate that a continued congressional support would be welcome. if it was a statement of unity. but it has to be an authorization that does not restrict the military's ability to defeat our enemy, is that correct? sec. tillerson: that is correct. sec. mattis: i agree, senator. assuming strong and very robust
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feedback loops to the congress to keep you fully informed. mr. johnson: i have no further questions. thank you for your service. sen. corker: thank you. senator udall. sen. udall: thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you both for your service and thank you for being here today. secretary mattis, the existence of multiple local militia forces in iraq remains a major problem, as isil is driven out. kurdish aspirations of statehood may be just the tip of the iceberg. how many different groups are the department of defense advising and assisting in iraq? sec. mattis: we advise and assist iraqi security forces only in iraq and i would just mention that secretary tillerson just returned from there and this issue was brought up with the prime minister. do you want to say anything, mr. secretary? sec. tillerson: yes. the prime minister is asserting authority himself over other various militias, including popular mobilization forces, the
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p.m.f., which are by and large iraqi forces, they are iraqi citizens who are fighting under militia arrangements. including the peshmerga forces of kurdistan during the war to defeat isis, to liberate mosul. to liberate large parts of other provinces. these forces put themselves under the command of prime minister abadi. so there are multiple forces but i think as the secretary indicated, our support is through the iraqi forces, working with prime minister abadi and under his authorities. sen. udall: i'm glad you brought that up because it was reported that the iraqi prime minister was pretty blunt in his response about shi'a iranian backed militias in iraq saying they are already home and they're not going anywhere. and that maybe u.s. forces should leave.
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if u.s. forces are told to leave, will we depart iraq or will we stay uninvited as our forces are doing in syria, and under what legal authority will they remain? sec. tillerson: senator, the prime minister -- i never heard the prime minister say u.s. forces should leave. what he did clarify is that, as i said, many of the p.m.f. forces are iraqi shi'a forces. so they are iraqi citizens. my comment was regarding foreign fighters. foreign fighters that may have come to iraq. we know there are foreign fighters in syria. and my comments were that any foreign fighters, particularly those from iran, needed to leave iraq and go home. certainly p.m.f. iraqi citizens, this is their home. they will remain. but the iraqi prime minister has made it clear as to his expectations of how these forces will organize themselves, or put their arms down and just rejoin
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their villages as citizens. sen. udall: we've reached this new phase. i think this is a real possibility that i'm asking you about. if u.s. forces are told to leave, will we depart iraq or will we stay uninvited as our forces are doing in syria and under what legal authority? sec. tillerson: we will remain in iraq until isis is defeated and we are confident that isis has been defeated -- sen. udall: under what legal authority? sec. tillerson: under the 2001 and 2002 aumf's. having said that, we are there also at the invitation of the iraqi government. and prime minister abadi has given me no indication that he is in any particular hurry to have us depart. sen. udall: secretary mattis and secretary tillerson, do you agree with the assertion that this fragmentation of security forces will pose difficulties to
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the iraqi government, maintaining order in areas that the u.s. government recently regained control of? what is your advice to ensure that these areas do not see resumed sectarian violence now that the fight with isil is nearly over? and does this necessitate u.s. troops on the ground? sec. tillerson: senators, areas have been liberated. we are working with the coalition partners and with the united nations and other nongovernmental organizations to create stability around liberated cities in particular. as well as villages. and that means having the military forces, the armies, pull back out of the villages, allow our coalition to enter those villages, undertake demining of the villages, so that it's safe for people to return, and then begin the process of training local basically police forces. we have a number of coalition partners that have undertaken that activity.
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so as we are liberating areas, we are preparing security forces, local security forces, to transplant the military forces. prime minister abadi made this direct observation to me. he said, i have to get my armies out of the cities. they're not policemen. they're not trained to be policemen. and they're not equipped to be policemen. and i have to replace them with trained security forces to carry out police activities and provide security for the civilians as they return. there's a lot of work to do to stabilize these areas, but that is how we will lock in the military gains that have been achieved with the liberation. mr. udall: secretary mattis, do you have a comment on that issue? sec. mattis: it's the iraqi forces and, you know, operating under prime minister abadi that have liberated these areas. it's not any other armed groups.
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now, there are p.m.f. forces that are engaged with them. but he's insisted that they fall under the authority of his field commanders. that is being imperfectly done. i wouldn't say it's happening in all cases. but you have seen the successes enjoyed so far. and we are moving now against -- with iraqi forces to restore the border against syria. so you see it unfolding in that direction. the next step is exactly what the secretary of state has laid out. sen. udall: thank you both. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. corker: i think, senator flake, you're next. maybe we'll go with about three minutes of your questions and then come back and you can resume if that's ok. sen. flake: that's fine. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. i think that in the senate we aspire to be more than just one cog on a feedback loop. this is the body, with article one authority, to declare war
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and to authorize the use of military force. i understand the importance, in looking at your three items, that shouldn't put a new aumf in -- or shouldn't repeal the old one until a new one is in place. no time constraints. or not geographically limited and the aumf that senator kaine and i have introduced, it meets the conditions of one and three. but number two, with regard to time constraints, anybody want to hazard a guess of how many in this body right here in the senate foreign relations committee were in the senate when the 2001 aumf was passed? not one. not one member of this panel was in the senate when the 2001 aumf was passed or the 2002 for that matter. seven of us were in the house during that time and voted on it. but not one has had the opportunity to weigh in on it. 16 years later. i would argue that the concern about giving our adversaries
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notice that we have to vote on something may be an issue but it's overwhelmed in a big way by not having congress buy in and not having us have skin in the game. it simply allows us to criticize the administration, republican or democrat. if we don't like what they're doing. because we haven't weighed in. we haven't said our piece. we haven't voted on this. so i would simply say that any concern about having to come back, we have a five-year sunset on ours. five-year. that's pretty long. but congress needs to weigh in. we have to make sure that our adversaries and our allies and most importantly our troops know that we speak with one voice. and so i hope that as we go along, we can talk about the relative importance of signaling
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that we might leave or might not finish, and not having congress weigh in at all. to go for 16 years before we actually weigh in or have any skin in the game -- we, as i said, ought to aspire to be more than just a feedback loop. article one authority is more than that. so with that i'll hold back. sen. corker: thank you. if you will keep four minutes and 15 seconds on mr. flake's time. we'll recess for about 14 minutes i hope. thank you. you're welcome to come into the back or do whatever.
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