U.S. Senate, Committee On Armed Services:
REP. HOWARD "BUCK" MCKEON, R-CALIF. CHAIRMAN REP. MAC THORNBERRY, R-TEXAS
REP. WALTER B. JONES, R-N.C. REP. J. RANDY FORBES, R-VA. REP. JEFF MILLER, R-FLA. REP. JOE
WILSON, R-S.C. REP. FRANK A. LOBIONDO, R-N.J. REP. MICHAEL R. TURNER, R-OHIO REP. JOHN KLINE,
R-MINN. REP. MIKE D. ROGERS, R-ALA. REP. TRENT FRANKS, R-ARIZ. REP. BILL SHUSTER, R-PA. REP.
K. MICHAEL CONAWAY, R-TEXAS REP. DOUG LAMBORN, R-COLO REP. ROB WITTMAN, R-VA. REP.
DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF. REP. JOHN FLEMING, R-LA. REP. MIKE COFFMAN, R-COLO. REP. SCOTT
RIGELL, R-VA. REP. CHRIS GIBSON, R-N.Y. REP. VICKY HARTZLER, R-MO. REP. JOE HECK, R-NEV. REP.
JON RUNYAN, R-N.J. REP. AUSTIN SCOTT, R-GA. REP. STEVEN M. PALAZZO, R-MISS. REP. MARTHA
ROBY, R-ALA. REP. MO BROOKS, R-ALA. REP. ROB BISHOP, R-UTAH REP. RICH NUGENT, R-FLA. REP.
KRISTI NOEM, R-S.D. REP. PAUL COOK, R-CALIF. REP. JIM BRIDENSTINE, R-OKLA. REP. BRAD
WENSTRUP, R-OHIO REP. JACKIE WALORSKI, R-IND.
REP. ADAM SMITH, D-WASH. RANKING MEMBER REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ, D-CALIF. REP. MIKE
MCINTYRE, D-N.C. REP. ROBERT A. BRADY, D-PA. REP. ROBERT E. ANDREWS, D-N.J. REP. SUSAN A.
DAVIS, D-CALIF. REP. JIM LANGEVIN, D-R.I. REP. RICK LARSEN, D-WASH. REP. JIM COOPER, D-TENN.
DEL. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, D-GUAM REP. HANK JOHNSON, D-GA. REP. JOE COURTNEY, D-CONN.
REP. DAVE LOEBSACK, D-IOWA REP. NIKI TSONGAS, D-MASS. REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF. REP.
COLLEEN HANABUSA, D-HAWAII REP. JACKIE SPEIER, D-CALIF. REP. RON BARBER, D-ARIZ. REP. ANDRE
CARSON, D-IND. REP. CAROL SHEA-PORTER, D-N.H. REP. DANIEL MAFFEI, D-N.Y. REP. DEREK KILMER,
D-WASH. REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, D-TEXAS REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, D-ILL. REP. SCOTT PETERS, DCALIF.
REP. BILL ENYART, D-ILL. REP. PETE GALLEGO, D-TEXAS REP. MARC VEASEY, D-TEXAS
GENERAL C. ROBERT KEHLER (USAF), COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND
ADMIRAL SAMUEL LOCKLEAR (USN), COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
The committee will come to order. I'd like to welcome everyone to today's hearing on the Posture of U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Pacific Command. Unfortunately we still don't have a budget from the president. The sequestration has now taken effect. But this committee intends to move ahead with our annual posture hearings to ensure there are no gaps in the committee's oversight. With that in mind, I'd like to thank our two witnesses for agreeing to be the first to testify in our posture hearing lineup.
With us today we have General C. Robert Kehler, the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and Admiral Samuel L. Locklear, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command. General Kehler, I know you have many different hats that you wear, from missile defense, to cyber, to nuclear deterrents. I am deeply troubled about what -- what sequestration means to these areas of responsibility, which pose existential challenges to this nation. I also am very concerned by the direction the president wants to go in driving further U.S. nuclear reductions at the present time.
I understand the president has been considering a new nuclear guidance document that will seek to reduce our nuclear forces even further. If that is in fact the case, nothing has been shared with this committee. Furthermore, it's not clear to me why this is necessary. It certainly does nothing to deal with threats like North Korea, or Iran. And as for Russia, why would we believe we can trust Vladimir Putin to honor new arms control agreements, when he has shown a consistent willingness to violate current arms control agreements, when he denies visas to members of this body to travel to Russia, and when he uses adoptive children a props in his neonationalism?
I am especially concerned and suspicious when the president seems to be attempting to avoid the Senate, and the Congress in getting such an agreement. Without a formal ratified treaty, any agreement will inherently be nonbinding. We know the Russians will violate such an agreement, as they did when we tried this in the early 1990s. General Kehler understanding that you must support your chain of command, today I hope to explore further why additional reductions are in our best interest, especially since we no longer have a production capacity.
Admiral Locklear, it's been over a year since the president released the Defense Strategic Guidance, and outlined the rebalancing to Asia. I am concerned about recent developments in Asia and how PACOM is postured to respond to a crisis. North Korea's threats, and their nuclear and missile programs continue unabated. China's dangerous actions in the South and East China Seas pose a threat to our regional allies, and partners, to U.S. national security interests, and to the sea lines of communication that are vital to global economic stability.
This committee will continue to ask for more details on what the rebalancing means, and how we can hope to deliver on the new strategy in light of other operational demands, and lack of resources. I want to thank you both again for being with us here today. Mr. Smith?
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I too want to thank our witnesses, General Kehler, Admiral Locklear, appreciate you being here today, and appreciate your service to our country. I think the greatest challenge is the one that the chairman outlined; how do you continue to carry out your missions and your plans, in light of sequestration? We've built a strategy based on a certain budget, and now that budget is dramatically different. And it's not just sequestration, it is the lack of an appropriations bill for the first five months of this fiscal year and -- and perhaps longer depending on what happens in the next weeks ahead.
It is very difficult for you gentleman to do your job when you don't know exactly how much money you're going to have, and when that changes from month to month. We in Congress needs to pass appropriations bills for all discretionary spending, not just defense, to make it easier to govern, and make those decisions. In light of that I think the most interesting thing that we have to talk about this morning is, how that impacts the plans? Particularly in Asia, you know where we've made, you know much talk about the pivot to Asia the focus on its importance, which I think is perfectly appropriate.
It is a region of enormous importance that we should be focusing intently on, building as many positive relationships in that region as we can. I understand that Pacific Command is a very important piece of that, and I think in 2011, or 2012, I forget which, there were over 700 port calls that were done by our Navy throughout the Asian theater. That is a way to build relationships, and part of that effort to build the partnerships we need there. I want to know how that process is going, and how sequestration challenges it.
And then of course specifically the threat of North Korea, and the impact that that has on the region. In Strategic Command, there are also obviously a number of challenges, starting with our nuclear arsenal. You know what -- what is the purpose and mission of that arsenal? What do the numbers need to be, to meet the requirements that we have? I personally think that it is very appropriate, some, gosh over 20 years after the Cold War, to continue reexamine, you know, what size nuclear arsenal we need? When we're making difficult budget decisions, what are our most important national security objective? Are there ways to find savings within the nuclear arsenal? I believe that there are and I'm anxious to hear more about how we implement that.
And then of course, the incredible importance of missile defense. We've seen its impact in the Middle East. We know the threat that is rising from Iran and North Korea, how do we posture our forces and invest in missile defense technology to bet meet those threats, again, within the tight budget constraints that we have.
So I look forward to testimony and questions from the members. I thank you both for being here, for your service to our country and I thank the chairman for holding this meeting.
With that, I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If it's -- if it's permissible with you, I'd like to make my full statement a part of the record.
With objection, both of your full statements will be in the record.
Thank you, sir.
And good morning to you, Ranking Member Smith, distinguished members of the committee, I'm certainly honored to join with all of you today.
It's a privilege to begin my third year leading the outstanding men and women of the United States Strategic Command.
I'm also pleased to be here with Admiral Sam Locklear, a great colleague who's responsibilities as Commander of Pacific Command, cover some of the most critical areas and issues on the globe.
Pacific Command and Strategic Command are the closest of partners. Admiral Locklear and I collaborate frequently and I greatly value his leadership, vision and counsel.
Uncertainty and complexity continue to dominate the national security landscape, even as the United States transitions from a decade of active conflict in South West Asia.
Uncertainty and complexity make this transition unlike any we have experienced in the past. Many regions of the world remain volatile and increasing economic and information connections mean regional issues can quickly have global consequences. Events over the past year validate this perspective.
Since my last appearance before the committee, we have seen violent extremists continue to act against or threaten U.S. interests, citizens, allies, partners and our homeland.
Cyber activity has increased in both quantity and intensity with the potential for greater exploitation of U.S. intellectual property, institutions and critical infrastructure.
Iran's nuclear ambitions remain concerning. North Korea conducted a missile launch in violation of its obligations under multiple U.N. Security Counsel Resolutions and announced last month, it conducted another nuclear test.
Civil war continues in Syria, Russia and China continue to improve and demonstrate their strategic capabilities.
Fiscal uncertainty is adding additional unique challenges. Not only are the additional sequestration reductions steep, but the law allows little flexibility in how to apply them and we're also working from a Continuing Resolution while transitioning contingency needs to the base budget, this during a time when continued readiness is essential, modernization is overdue, violent extremists remain active, threats in space and cyberspace are increasing and the possibility of nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation persists.
As we confront these challenges, our enemies and potential enemies are watching. In this certain and complex world, STRATCOM remains focused on conducting the missions that are most critical to protect our core national security interests. My priorities support this focus.
Our fundamental purpose remains constant. With the other combatant commands, we must deter, detect and prevent attacks against the United States, assure our friends and allies of our security commitments to them and if directed, employ appropriate force to achieve national objectives should deterrents fail.
To do this, our men and women wield a range of complimentary capabilities to create the tailored effects the nation needs. Our primary objective is to prevent conflict by influencing in advance the perceptions, assessments and decisions of those who would consider threatening our vital national interests.
Ultimately, this requires the continuing credibility of America's military capability of America's military capabilities brought to bear in concert with other elements of national power.
While our heritage is nuclear and our nuclear vigilance will never waiver as long as those weapons exist. STRATCOM's activities today are far more diverse and versatile.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to report that STRATCOM is capable of executing its assigned mission responsibilities today. However, given the potential impact, fiscal uncertainty and declining resources could have on STRATCOM, I am concerned that I may not be able to say the same in six months or a year.
I am most concerned with the impact financial uncertainty is having on our people. Uniformed and non-uniformed members alike have managed the effects of sustained high stress combat deployment and operational tempos. They willingly take personal risks for their country but they are fearful of taking financial risk for their families.
Hiring restrictions, salary freezes and the likelihood of unpaid furloughs, are especially troubling to our civilians. Civilians comprise about 60 percent of the STRATCOM headquarters staff. They hold key leadership positions. They represent critical expertise and they represent much of the essential workforce which provides crucial functions like intelligence, maintenance and sustainment.
Because they are such dedicated patriots, I believe our military and civilian members will cope with the effects of financial uncertainty in the near term. But I worry that over time, our most experienced professionals will retire early and our best young people will to pursue most stable opportunities elsewhere. We are detecting hints of that now.
Beyond the human dimensions, sequestration will eventually impact the command's readiness and curtail growth in new areas like cyber defense. Even though the services are trying to give STRATCOM's missions as much priority treatment as possible within the law, we could not remain immune.
So while the immediate impact will vary by command, overall in STRATCOM, the effect is like an avalanche seemingly small initial impacts are going to grow. As time passes, we will see greater impacts to the nuclear deterrent, global strike missile warning and missile defense, situational awareness in both space and cyberspace, and to our support for war fighters around the globe.
In the longer term, continuing on this financial path will effect STRATCOM's modernization and long term sustainment needs, potentially eliminating or jeopardizing a number of important recapitalization efforts. Ultimately, reduced readiness and curtailed modernization damage the perceived credibility of our capabilities increasing the risk to achieving our primary deterrence and assurance objectives.
Mr. Chairman, STRATCOM's responsibilities have not changed., but the strategic and fiscal environment in which we must carry them out is much different than a year ago. I remain enormously proud of the superb men and women I am privileged to lead and convince we can meet our mission responsibilities today. But the pathway we're on, creates growing risks to our defense strategy and our ability to execute it.
I look forward to working with this committee and Congress on these difficult and complex challenges and I look forward to your questions.
Thank you very much.
Good morning Chairman, Ranking Member Smith, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify today and provide you with my perspectives from the U.S. Pacific Command.
For the past 12 months, I've had the great honor to lead over 328,000 service members and 38,000 civilian employees along with their families.
Our area of responsibility is diverse and extremely complex. Stretching from California to India, the Indo-Asia Pacific encompasses over half the Earth's surface and well over half its population.
The region is culturally, socially, economically, and geopolitically diverse. The nations of the Indo-Asia Pacific include five our nation's seven treaty allies, three of the largest and seven of the 10 smallest economies. The most populated nations in the world, including the largest Muslim majority nation, the largest democracy in the world's smallest Republic.
The Indo-Asia Pacific is the engine that drives the global economy. The open accessible sea lanes throughout the Asia Pacific annually enjoy over $8 trillion in bilateral trade with one-third of the world's bulk cargo and two-thirds of the oil shipments sailing to and from nine of the world's 10 largest economic ports which are in this part of the world.
By any meaningful measure, the Indo-Asia Pacific is also the world's most militarized region with seven of the 10 largest standing armies, the world's largest and most sophisticated Navies and five of the world's declared nuclear armed nations.
Now when taken all together, these aspects represent a region with a unique strategic complexity and a wide diverse group of challenges that can significantly stress the -- the overall security environment.
Effectively engaging in the Indo-Asia Pacific requires a committed and sustained effort and USPACOM as a military component of this commitment is focused in our efforts to deter aggression, assure our allies and our partners and to prevent should our national interests be threatened.
While the Indo-Asia Pacific today is relatively at peace, I am concerned by a number of security challenges that have the possibility to impact the security environment.
Examples include, climate change, where increasingly severe weather patterns and rising sea levels, along with inevitable earthquakes and tsunamis' and super-typhoons, and massive flooding threaten today and will continue to threaten populations in the future in this region.
Transnational (inaudible) straight threats will persist which include pandemics, pirates, terrorists, criminal organizations as well as drugs, human trafficking and of course, weapons of mass destruction.
Historic and emerging border and territorial disputes will no doubt continue.
Access and freedom of action in the shared domains of sea, air, space and cyberspace are being challenged.
Competition for water, food and energy will grow.
Instability on the Korean Peninsula will persist.
The rise of China and India as global economic powers and their emergence as regional military powers will continue.
And finally, recognition of the fact that no single organizational mechanism exists in the Indo-Asia Pacific to manage relationships and when needed, to provide a framework for conflict resolution.
Simply put, there is no Pacific NATO. The U.S. joint force has been heavily tasked in other AORs over the past decade and as a consequence, the USPACOM AOR in many key areas has been resource challenged and has assumed additional risk.
Our rebalance to the Pacific strategy has given us a new opportunity to begin to solve these challenges and reemphasize to our allies, and our partners that we are a committed Pacific nation. It also reflects a recognition that the future prosperity of the U.S. will be defined largely by events and developments in the Indo-Asia Pacific.
Over the past year, the rebalance has helped focus our planning and our resource decisions as they work closer with our allies and our partners to ensure a security environment favorable to U.S. interests.
However, the impacts of sequestration and the realities of continuing resolutions have created significant budget uncertainties, limited our flexibility to manage and have the potential to undermine our strategic rebalance momentum, as our ability to operate and maintain our force is at increased risk.
Nonetheless, USPACOM will continue to work with services to preserve, to the extent possible, our essential homeland defense and crisis response capabilities, capabilities which are resident in many of our four deployed forces.
The Pacific Ocean does not separate us from Asia; it connects us. We're connected by our economies, by our cultures, by our shared interest and by our security challenges. We have been resource- challenged and accepting risk in the Indo-Asia Pacific region for some time. But our rebalance strategy is in place and we are making good progress.
Let me assure you that USPACOM will continue to demonstrate to our allies, our partners and others the U.S.' resolve and commitment to peace and security in this important part of the world.
On behalf of our superb military and civilian members and their families who sacrifice everyday to ensure that our country is well defended, I'd like to thank each member of the committee for your support.
I look forward to your questions. Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much. You know, we -- we're cutting from our defense budget this year. Last year our number was $550 billion. This year, after sequestration, it's $501 billion. The ELCO (ph) number last year was $122 billion; this year, after sequestration, $88.5 billion.
So we're cutting, this year, out of our national security, our defense budget, over $80 billion. Very significant. I have an article before me that says that China, this year, plans to raise its defense budget by 10.7 percent, or $115.7 billion.
They're raising theirs $115, we're cutting ours over $80. I think that is something that all of us on this committee need to pay attention to, need to understand the significance of.
We will have the opportunity this week in the House to vote for a continuing resolution which will fund the government through the end of this fiscal year, 9/30. Wrapped in that budget, or in that C.R., will be a defense appropriations bill.
Now this committee last year completed our National Defense Authorization Act. We went through the process. We held the hearings such as we're holding here today. We passed a bill through this subcommittee, through this full committee and on the House on the floor with a very good vote.
The Senate, while it took them a little longer, did get their work done and did pass their bill in December of last year. We conferenced. We had a very short time to do it, but we came out with a bill. We passed it. It was signed by the president of the United States.
That bill has no effect unless the appropriations bill is passed. They, the appropriators, have also done their work. They held their hearings. They passed it on the floor, passed in the Senate. They have worked jointly to do this. They followed regular order. And because of that, it's part of this C.R. They're the only committee that's done that.
I think that we could probably find reasons to vote against that bill, but I think every member of this committee should understand the importance of getting that passed and the benefit it will have to at least take away some of sting of sequestration on our military by giving them the authority to spend money on more important areas than they're having to do if they become just part of a C.R. without the appropriation bill.
So I urge all members of this committee to really look at that and understand the responsibility we have in protecting the national defense of this nation.
Now General Kehler, Admiral Locklear, the sequestration deadline passed on Friday. You're still operating, at this point, under a continuing resolution. How are the current fiscal restraints you're operating under, how do they impact your plan to execute your missions today? Six months from now? A year from now?
I'd like you to please be specific. Has your ability to respond to a crisis been impacted? And what are not you able to do today or any longer because of these conditions you're operating under?
Mr. Chairman, I would make a couple of set-up points here. First, because of the nature of the combatant commands, I think that the immediate impacts of...
General, could you move that mic just a little closer?
Yes, sir. Is that better?
Sir, because the nature of the impact will be different from command to command, let me just describe that. And I think it's important that the committee knows this, I think it's important that any potential adversaries know this.
Strategic Command is capable of performing its full range of missions today. We're four days, I guess, past the time that sequestration began. And as I sit here and look for the coming months, I do not see a dramatic impact on our ability to accomplish our mission.
But as I said in our opening remarks, what will happen is that as the service chiefs have struggled with how to apply these various financial rules that they've been given, they have had to go to some places to take cuts that eventually are going to impact us. Flying hours, for example.
In the near term, what the Air Force is going to try to do is take their flying hours in the bomber force, for example, in such a way as to make sure that our crews that are nuclear certified will remain so for as long as possible. But eventually, those -- if unaddressed, those issues will persist. And then those impacts will begin to be felt in Strategic Command.
There are other impacts that are -- we've seen out of potential moves that the services have had to make. We could see eventually impact of the reduction of maintenance, or the deferral of maintenance, for example. Eventually that will impact the forces that are assigned to Strategic Command.
Again, I think the services are trying as best they can within the rules that they have to give us, in some of these critical places, some priority treatment. If, in fact, we have to continue with some curtailment of operations of censors, for example, eventually that will impact space situational awareness.
Those are the kinds of things that I can't sit here today, Mr. Chairman, and say, "Today we have -- we have had a dramatic impact on either our readiness or ability to perform our missions." I would be mischaracterizing where we stand today.
But I don't want to understate the impact of what is coming to us. And I believe that other commands would probably have a different assessment of where they stand today. I am concerned that as time passes that this, as I say, the best -- the best way that I can describe this is it's an avalanche. It begins very small, in Strategic Command, and then it begins to cascade as the momentum builds.
Those are the issues that we are most concerned about, because we can't see clearly yet the way forward. We know that some of these impacts are coming. I can't tell you exactly what those are going to be or when.
The other issue that I think is a big one for me, personally, is the issue of the impact that all of the uncertainty is having on our members, and particularly the civilians, as I said. I think that they're being asked to sacrifice much here and I think we need to be mindful of that.
We have an intern program that one of my predecessors started where we go to universities and we try to bring interns in with the hopes that they'll come to government service. We've been -- we've had some success with this, especially in those technical areas that STRATCOM is reliant on, we've had a number of those new government employees, college graduates, come to their supervisors in the last several months and question whether this is a future for them.
So I don't want to overstate that either, but I don't want to understate. I think there's a human dimension to this that we need to be mindful of and I can't characterize that as an impact on readiness, but we have -- our people are concerned about all of this.
The final thing that I would say is I can't characterize either the potential impact on investment because those decisions haven't been made. Again, the services are struggling with those kinds of impacts. What I can say, I believe, from STRATCOM's portfolio of capabilities is I am certain that everything that's in STRATCOM's portfolio will be on the table when we make those decisions.
So I'd like to be able to be more crisp today with specifics of the impact. I can't give you that. I just know that the readiness impacts are coming, if undressed. And I know that there's an impact in the way our people are -- the discomfort level with our people. I can't tell you yet what's happening with investment because I just don't know what the department's going to decide yet in terms of reprioritizing and all the things that go with that. If that helps you, sir.
We understand that the -- that the chiefs had a year to work on the $487 billion and to really plan where they would cut and the sequestration they were basically ordered not to plan. So we understand the -- how those decisions haven't been made yet and it's going to take some time to do that.
And we understand how each combatant commander has different -- it will impact him differently. So when we get through this whole process of listening to all of you, then we'll have a little bit better picture ourselves as we move forward into the subcommittee hearings and put our bill together.
Admiral, I don't want you to telegraph any weaknesses that we may have. So if you can understand that you know how to answer to question so that we get a general understanding, without knowing specifics, that we can discuss in open session like this.
Yes, sir. Well, thank you.
First, I think the Pacific Ocean is the largest object in the world. It's the largest thing on the Earth. You could take every land mass in the world and you could put them all together and fit them in the Pacific Ocean and still have room for an African continent and a North American continent.
And I think sometimes at least people here in my hometown, they don't recognize that. They don't recognize the vast distances. They don't see the impacts of American interest here. It doesn't -- it's not -- it doesn't show up. It -- they don't understand that all the goods and services, many of them come across this vast ocean through other economies that make our economy vibrant.
So one of the things that has enabled that over the last 70 years has been the presence of U.S. military forces in this part of the world that have provided really quite a remarkable presence and security that allowed the rise of these large nations, large democracies, in a peaceful way that has fueled our own economy and helped our quality of life, and will continue to do so for the first next -- for the future.
So with that -- in that context, there's -- there's three things that -- that I do as a combatant commander that have to look the impacts of resources. Because I'm the -- I'm the end user from the services as they push things out to me in this vast region.
The first thing I'd have to do is what is the impact on our ability to deter? And there are significant deterrence issues here. Today we're deterring a North Korea that you see through all the rhetoric and all the provocations that have occurred that this is not getting better. We are deterring to ensure that a security environment is consistent through the coming decades and not one that leads us to -- to any kind of conflict in this very militarized part of the world.
The second thing I do is I assure. Now we only have seven allies in the world -- seven treaty allies. Five of them are in my AOR. The other two are NATO and I think the RIO -- RIO is the other one. So they're -- really the five nations that are our allies are here. And we have -- our relationship with Thailand goes back 180 years. It's the first -- first ally we had.
And these alliances have underpinned our security and our strategy and our economic strategy I think in this part of the world for many decades. And so assuring those alliances that that the U.S. is committed to our commitment to the alliance and that they're committed to us as well takes presence. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes exercising. It takes relationship capacity building, those types of things.
And then the third thing that I worry most about is preventing. So let's say that all the good things we do to -- to try to ensure the security environment remain stable, yet somehow that fails. I'm accountable to you and to the American people and to the president to be able to say that I can defend U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in my half of the world.
It's 52 percent of the world in the PACOM AOR, so we rely very heavily on four deployed forces, four -- four station forces, the ability to rotate forces effectively that are well-trained into the theater in a way that allows me to accomplish those three things.
So what -- what are the near-term impacts? Well first, we'll start to see the readiness accounts be -- because that's the only place the service chiefs can go, really the only place they have the flexibility to find near-term savings, so they'll take that out of things like flying hour programs.
So the airplanes that I need to put on the carriers that need to come forward or that go into my -- to my fighter rotations in theater will not be trained and may not come. We will not deploy ships. We were just -- just sitting on my front porch in Hawaii two days ago and there was a -- there was a ship sitting there that was supposed to deploy early -- the first day of this month and it hasn't gone.
And it hasn't gone because the operating dollars to send it forward to do the three things that I just said for you to do will not be available. Similarly, you could apply that across all aspects of -- of -- whether my exercise programs have been truncated.
Just in my headquarters alone, one of the things, because I'm in Hawaii I have about a, you know, a staff that is required to be out and active in 35 nations to do -- to do the things that we've been asked to do. My travel budget, I immediately cut it by 50 percent. So we're 50 percent effective today because we had to cut that. And that's a small thing, but it gives you an indication of kind of the near-term impacts.
The long term will just -- as General Kehler said -- is going to be like an avalanche. It's going to compound. You know, the bad decision we make today just ends up in three or four more down the road because of the way our force is structured, because of the way we deploy our force from our homeland. And pulling those dollars out will ultimately result in less capacity for -- for my AOR.
It also will ultimately, if allowed to, undermine the rebalance. Now the rebalance strategy, I don't think -- I've never found anybody who disagreed with it. It was -- it was clear that the American people looked at it, I looked at it, I think all of you all did, and said, you know, for the next century for our children and our grandchildren, we have to get it right in the Asia Pacific.
And that after several decades of war in the Middle East that we -- where we have maybe prioritized our -- our efforts there, and we have to look at -- have to look more closely at the Asia Pacific. And a big piece of that is how we ensure and put our military in a -- in a footing in the -- in the -- in the Indo-Asia Pacific that does the three things that I talked about.
So we have a plan for rebalance. Since the last year when I saw you all a year ago, we've worked diligently to try to put things into place, but they're not all going to happen overnight. The road we're on will undermine that.
Thank you. Mr. Smith?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If I can follow up on that a little bit on that, Admiral, talking about our pivot to Asia and some of the efforts ongoing there, our relationship with China. The first thing, I do want to clarify.
The chairman said that the Chinese budget had gone up 10 percent, which is true, but I think it also sort of applied that it'd gone up by $115 billion. It didn't go up by that much. The best estimates are that the Chinese defense budget is somewhere between $120 billion and $180 billion, not over a trillion.
Granted, that's difficult to calculate, but let's round up and say it's $200 billion. That's still a little over $350 billion less than we're spending this year. So from a money standpoint, you know, we ought to be able to compete. It's a matter of how we make the decisions going forward.
Can you talk a little bit about the -- as part of the Asia pivot, there have been troop movements in the effort -- the ongoing effort to try to figure out our Marines on Okinawa working with the Japanese government, how many we're going to move to Guam, how many we're going to move elsewhere. What's the latest on that?
It's sort of been stalled by the fact that the Japanese, you know, want us to move from Futenma, but they have yet to actually put in place the other spot on Okinawa where we're supposed to move to, and that's sort of been making it difficult to make those decisions. So an update on that, and then also how are things going in Australia with our rotational placement there and how the Australian government and the Australian people are reacting to that.
And then just a little bit more about the importance of partnership building as part of our strategy, that it's not just a matter of us having, you know, this huge enormous presence, but it's a matter of building allies in the Asian theater that we can work with. How is that going? So I guess there's three pieces to that. One, our troop movements. Two, Australia in particular. And then three, other allies and how that's developing.
Let me start by talking about troop movements before I talk about Okinawa and Futenma specifically.
As a -- as an obvious signal of the rebalance already, I think I would like to comment that -- that the 1st Corps, which is a large Army unit up in the northwest which has been aligned to the Middle East for the better part of a decade, have now been realigned under PACOM and are under me and are now -- we're planning for their activities in the -- in the Pacific theater here. So I think that's significant.
III MEF, which has largely been out of the Pacific area for the last -- Marine Expeditionary Force -- for the last decade or so has now returned to the Pacific, and they -- they are out and about and doing their traditional role in deterring, assuring and preventing in their amphibious operations. So that's a good sign that we're making some headway in the rebalance.
On the issue of Okinawa, the -- the underlying reasons that we did this are still sound. The -- the agreements that we've had with the -- with the -- the government of Japan remains I think in -- in a forward progress mode at this point in time.
We plan -- as far as the troop movements, I think you've been briefed on the most recent ones, but that movement would entail about I think just a little under 5,000 returning to Guam, probably about '27 -- at some point in time around the time 2025, 2026 coming to Hawaii.
The -- the issue of the Futenma had been we disconnected that from the troop movements so that it -- because it was just slowing us down too much. But there is progress in that regard too. I believe that the -- the government of Japan will some time in the very near future pass the EIS statements to the Okinawans and then ask for them to move forward on -- on the permits to be able to begin their reconstruction of the Futenma facility.
So I think we're on track on that, and I believe that it's a rational -- the entire thing is a very rational strategy for the way I see the Pacific -- PACOM AOR and the proper positioning of our forces for the future, not necessarily for the past. I think it's a good step.
Australia figures in that equation well. We have finished our very successful first rotation of about 250 Marines. I visited them about a month and a half ago in Darwin. There's some magnificent training ranges there. We have very fine partners with -- and allies with the Australians.
The response from the -- the -- both the political and the local population has been very positive. They've been good citizens. We'll do another 250 rotation this year with the hopes that we would expand that to about a thousand next year.
Now keep in mind these are rotational forces that are only there for about five or six months out of the year. We're not building a base. We're not building any more U.S. bases in the -- in the Asia Pacific. We're using our partnership and capacity issues to -- to allow the Australians to assist us and help us here. It doesn't mean it's free, but it does mean that we're using that to a great degree.
And I think that these Marines will now, during the five or six months that they're not there in Australia training, they will be out and about. They'll provide me greater flexibility in contingency forces that are ready to respond to anything from a humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, to a -- to a contingency somewhere else. Now, the importance of partnership, and -- and partnership building is partnership capacity.
It is an important part of my theater campaign plan. I look out about five years. I look at all the countries, first of all the -- the five allies, and how we strengthen our ally's capacity to work with us, to -- to be able to -- to be seamless with us in our operations, and it varies along the allies about the maturity of that. And so we have to take that into consideration. But certainly my hope is that they are able to continue to do more, and that they're able to continue to contribute more across all spectrums of potential crisis, whether it's from a humanitarian disaster relief, of whether it's all the way up to a higher end contingency.
We are looking for -- we continue to look for partnerships beyond our alliances. As you know, we're looking for a long term strategic partnerships with India. So I've been to India and we begin this dialogue. India has a tremendous capability to -- to -- to be a security guarantor in their part of the world, in the Indian Ocean, and we welcome that. And we look for opportunities to -- so that we maintain our interoperability. And a lot of these things require the types of things in our budget that might look sometimes like, well you can do without that. But -- but, you know an exercise with a potential partner that -- that allows us to improve and help them improve their capacity, becomes important. And things like C.R. and sequestrations kill those first.
I think those pieces are going to be critical going forward. We're going to need as many partners -- and it's really a more effective way to operate. I know different theater, but in Africa we had a lot of success with partnership capacity, which has helped us deal with Somalia and Yemen in a much less costly, and I think more effective manner.
Thank you, Admiral, I appreciate the time.
I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you both for being here today. I just want to follow up on this -- this question about a C.R. versus appropriations bill, because we're going to have an opportunity later this week to vote on a Defense MILCON appropriation bill, and -- and with then just very limited time that I have, I -- I would appreciate each of you describing generally how big a difference it makes, whether you have the same amount of money to operate under a C.R. for the rest of the fiscal year, or the same amount of money to operate under a regular appropriations bill?
Is it a big deal to you? Is it medium? Is it -- is it not that much difference at all? General Kehler?
Congressman it is a big deal to us. In particular I think number one, it -- it helps put certainty back into the process. It -- it converts uncertainty to certainty. The second thing is that of course it -- it establishes, or at least we would hope that it establishes a different baseline instead of continuing to baseline fiscal '12 numbers, it would baseline a -- a different number in fiscal year '13. And of course, I think that that would be very helpful for us in -- in my small OM piece of the pie, it would also -- I'm -- I would believe anyway it would help the service chiefs quite a bit.
Yes, Sir it's a big deal. I was the programmer for the Navy in a previous job, so I had a chance to see how budgets were built, and POM processes work, and how all that happens. And on the surface it sounds like, well what are you complaining about, you have all the same money you had last year, so why don't you just get on with it? But money is not spent that way, it's not executed that way. It's executed through, as you know what y'all pass to us as a budget that has certain assumptions in it, and changes.
So when you look at a '12 budget compared to a '13 budget, there are some fundamental assumptions that the services chiefs have to make changes about, they -- as they move forward to rebalance, to change the nature of their force structure. And those things can't be accomplished. It's -- they end up, I think in the case of the Navy this year, they're -- they end up carrying excess bills on things that they thought they were going to be able to do in '13, that you haven't allowed them to do because there hasn't been enough appropriation to allow it.
And so there's -- there's unintended large bills they have to contend with that, if they had perfect fungibility on their budget, perfect discretion, then they -- we -- they'd be able to solve it, or maybe solve part of it, but they don't have that and I wouldn't advocate that they did, but it's -- I think it's what makes a difference.
Well, I -- like the chairman, I hope that we can do that. Because I'm afraid we've got a limited window to get a Defense appropriation bill done, or else we're going -- going to all be living under a C.R. for the rest of the year, and -- which -- which would not be good. General Kehler let me change the subject right quick and just ask you this question, which has always perplexed me. All of this talk about nuclear weapons, and we've got charts our staff has provided with the treaty limits and so forth, but nothing ever takes into account the tactical weapons.
As you do military planning, as you try to assess the effects of a blast from one nuclear weapon versus another, is there really a difference between a tactical nuclear weapon, and a strategic nuclear weapon as far as the -- the importance that you have to place on it is -- in -- in terms of -- of military consequences? Or is it more a political difference?
Congressman, it's more a political difference in what you call it, really. It's like calling a platform strategic, or tactical. It's really about effect. It's not about the platform, and it's not about the weapon. In most cases, and certainly if you're on the receiving end, I don't think you notice much difference from a nuclear weapon that somebody says is a tactical weapon, or one that somebody says is a strategic weapon. I think that we've used that as an accounting method over the years for arms control purposes, and I understand why we've done that.
We used to make a bigger distinction between strategic and tactical nuclear things, different decision processes, et cetera. But I think as a practical matter as we go forward, there's -- there's probably less utility in describing the weapons that way. In fact the nuclear posture review laid out some of that, and with the suggestion that -- that it's probably time as we go back and -- and chat again with -- with the Russians, for us to address what we have called historically nonstrategic, or tactical weapons. I think that's a prudent thing for us to do, and I think it's probably time for us to do it.
Great, that's helpful to me. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for -- all of you for being here. I think you've tried to clarify the shift, or the rebalancing to the Pacific as best you can, but I recently had -- was at a conference, and there was really quite a bit of skepticism about that, and the fact that this was really about containing China. Could you comment on that?
Yes, Congressman. I get the same question throughout my AOR, if I could -- over half the world, different countries I get almost the same question.
First the -- the rebalance is a strategy of collaboration, not one of containment. If we wanted to contain any country, we'd kind of know how to do that, and we wouldn't be doing what we're doing now. Now, to that degree I can't tell you whether another country feels contained by our activities, that's -- that's in the eyes of the beholder. But in the case of China, as I've communicated to them when they've asked me this as well, I said first of all you have to recognize that -- that the U.S. is a Pacific nation.
We have lots of national interests in this part of the world. We're going to stay here. We're here with our allies. We're concerned about a security environment that protects our interests. We recognize that China is on the rise, both economically, and as a regional power. And we think that we can accommodate China into those -- into the economic world, as well as the security world, and that they have the opportunity to come in as a net provider of security and that we're happy to allow that to happen, and we'll actually facilitate them coming in if necessary.
But they, as all others do, have choices that have to be made, and we're just hopeful that those choices will be ones that bring them in, in a productive way.
Have any of our allies in the region expressed some concern that they might have to choose between being -- their friends in the region? If in fact they -- they perceive it that way?
Right, well I think there's two concerns. One is, they all express that the last thing they want to see happen is for the U.S. and China to have an adversarial relationship. It's not in our best interest, not in China's best interest, and it's certainly not in theirs. And so they are pretty emphatic about that. The second thing is as you just said, they don't want to have to choose. I don't see a -- a reason for them to have to choose at this point in time, assuming that we all make the choice for peace and prosperity in a security environment that can ensure that.
If I could just go back to a second -- to the -- the discussion that we've had about building capacity. One of the things that we've tried to do, and I know you all have been actively involved in -- in more of a whole of government approach, and yet as we see with budget cuts, and constraints that we have, that that is certainly going to effect other agencies, other government agencies that are part of this, as well as other entities, private and -- and certainly our allies in the region.
What role then do -- do you play? Will we be -- be playing to enable that relationship to continue, given the budget constraints that probably will be falling on them tougher than yours?
Well, I think for some time, the benefit of the Pacific Command is that they've had a -- a view, not just at the military side, but -- but many of the other aspects of whole of government, just because of the size of the region and how hard it is to get around. I mean if you take a look at the -- just the number of your members that actually make it in the Pacific, it -- it's because it's so long, and so hard to get there it -- it makes it more difficult. So what I've done in my headquarters is I have expanded in there, the outreach I have to other -- to other agencies, and I have them actually in -- physically inside of my headquarters.
So it allows me a conduit into the other agencies that I use routinely to ensure that whatever assets and -- and things that I do are well synergized with other activities. So I have a very close relationship with our -- with our partnerships at State, with AID, with Energy, with the drug -- DEA, the FBI, the CIA, all these are present inside of my headquarters, and it's a team effort, not just a military one.
Do you see those being compromised at all in the coming year or so?
Well, as I speak to them, I think they're less uncertain about the impacts on them, than I am.
Would you recommend that -- that they have the same flexibility perhaps that you all are going to be having?
It would be a -- a -- flexibility is always good, I think, particularly if you're trying to rebalance.
Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General and Admiral, we want to first thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for the weight you both carry on your shoulders and thank you for the professionalism you both display in a very unstable policy world.
Chairman, I want to thank you for trying to bring some stability to national security and all you've done to do that.
And I want to first of all set our context. We're talking about sequestration, cuts that will be about $42.5 billion this year. But we need to realize that the administration has already come in here and voluntarily taken 19 times that amount of cuts already. Because we've cut about $800 billion over the last four years.
So if I could put those into a sequencing and, for measuring purposes, put them as 20 cuts, one of those cuts would come from sequestration, but 19 of them would've already been coming from the administration.
We fought against them because we said they do not leave us any bumps in the road. They don't leave us a situation, in case we have a downturn in the economy, or national crisis. Indeed, we spent more than this on relief for Hurricane Sandy.
But we are where we are and Admiral, the question I would have for you is this. Our Navy is currently at 286 ships. When we add the cuts already made to national security with the cuts under sequestration, this figure could fall to the 230 range. Yet the demand for Navy assets only continues to increase.
Admiral, in your best military judgment, is our Navy large enough today to meet the demand of both your COCOM and our international responsibilities in the coming decade? And what are the risks we're assuming if it's not?
Well, I'd like to make my comments from that of a Joint Commander's perspective, not necessarily from a person who's in the Navy because I think there's always a perception, well, you're a Navy guy, you're going to say the right thing.
The Navy and the Joint Force have consistently said that the U.S. Navy should be in the range of 306 to 313, somewhere in that number, and that number -- I think you can argue about the (inaudible) of that number. Today we're at about 285 ships.
But I think when you back it up into the larger context, it's really what is it you want your Navy to do. So there's always the comments, well, your Navy's larger than the 10 largest Navies in the world, so what are you worried about?
I say, if you put that in the context of having to defend your home shores with your Navy, whether it's off of Long Beach or whether it's off of Norfolk, that's pretty good.
But if you look at the world as a global common and you as a world leader in both economics, in social and military, and that you want to be able to influence what happens in that global common to the benefit of the American people and to secure our national interests there, then you start talking about size matters and the numbers matter. Because, you know, only one ship can be at one place at one time.
And they're much more powerful ships, they are, they're really great ships we have today. But when you're talking about 285 and what we've seen happen just in the last decade with the pressure that's from the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, to what's happening off the horn of Africa for anti-piracy, to my requirement to have to deter a shore and prevent, in a very -- in a -- when an area is becoming more complex, the numbers that we have in the Navy today are too small because my requirements are not being satisfied by the Navy today.
So in that context, it's probably -- 285 is not meeting the global demand for the world we find ourselves in today.
Admiral, can you give us a picture of -- let's just take our most important capabilities in Asia-Pacific's probably going to be our attack submarines.
Can you give us a picture kind of where we're going to line up numbers-wise in the next decade between the number of submarines the Chinese will have versus ours in the Pacific area? If we stay on the course we are on today.
Yes. Well, I won't give you exact numbers, I'll just give you relative. I think there's well over 300 very quiet or extremely quiet diesel submarines globally today. Some are by our -- owned by our friends and allies, others by not.
And then there's another subset -- another set of those that are nuclear capable ships that have much longer ranges, and that type of thing. The growth of the Chinese submarine force is a little bit puzzling to me in both its size and its sophistication. I believe the predictions are it's going to grow to about 70, high 70s or 80 -- in the numbers of 80.
That's the Chinese's decision on how big they want their submarine community to grow and I don't -- and I think as they get more global, that they're going to have to build a military that can be more global and protect their interests as well.
But that number of submarines in a very basically constricted space, it causes a little bit of questions.
Now to compare their submarines to ours is a little bit of an apples and oranges comparison, but the numbers in the Pacific will be, of submarines that we have, day-to-day to operate, will be less than that.
I'd just rather answer that off-line to give you the exact number.
That's great. Thank you.
Congressman, may I just pitch into this?
As a Joint Commander, we ask our Navy to do something else that's critically important. Fourteen of those ships are Trident ballistic missile submarines that form the most survivable part of our strategic deterrent.
And when we talk about deterrence and assurance, a great deal of what we must be mindful of is the extended deterrence that provides the assurance for our allies and our partners around the world.
I think, as we go forward, we need to be very mindful that those Trident submarines are going to reach the end of their service life at some point in time and part of the recapitalization that we are going to need to proceed with, even in tough financial times, will be the recapitalization of that ballistic missile submarine force.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your patience.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to discuss briefly some of the flexibility issue. This issue came up last week when we had a hearing with the Federal Aviation Administration.
And the majority of the House and the majority of the Senate voted for the situation we're in today, sequestration. We're trying to find a way out of it now.
But to underline the inflexibility of sequestration, the question came up at the FAA hearing based on the concept that a lot of people just think there's a line ahead of them (ph) for waste, fraud and abuse in every agency, including in STRATCOM and including in PACOM, including every agency in the federal government.
And FAA has to cut about $627 million out. But under sequestration, even if the -- if there's a line item of waste, fraud and abuse and it was $627 million, they could still only cut eight to 10 percent of that because of the strict rules of sequestration.
And that just underscores the inflexibility of the inflexibility of sequestration and underscores the importance, at least for step one, of providing some flexibility.
But I would also argue that that flexibility should apply to all agencies and not just to the Department of Defense. I've got folks who are making choices about housing vouchers in nonprofit housing authorities in my district. I've got folks who are making decisions about not delivering meals to seniors who are shut-ins in their homes through the Meals on Wheels program.
At least having some flexibility in other agencies, I mean, if it's good enough for the goose, it's good enough for the gander, in my view.
But I want to move, though, to another set of issues with regards to that. And General Kehler, you mentioned it more so in your oral testimony, and Admiral Locklear, you mentioned more of it in your written testimony. And that is the impact of the pay freeze that impacts your civilian employees, as well as the furloughs.
Can both of you, very briefly, a minute each, with General Kehler first and Admiral Locklear second, can you discuss in a little more detail the impact of the potential furlough and current pay freeze, as well as for post-pay freeze, is having on your civilian employees and their ability to do their job?
Sir, I would add to that a hiring freeze, as well, which we've had for quite some time. And also, a reduction. While we went through a contractor to civilian conversion, then we went through some civilian reductions over the last several years.
And so it's a combination of all of those things that have been impacting our civilians.
In terms of the furlough, though, the pay freeze and the furlough, I think as I said in my opening remarks, both of those are causing our civilians to question their future. And I think there's an intangible impact there. It will have a practical effect on some of our people. It will have an intangible effect on all of them.
And how to characterize that, we've been struggling with that a little bit, certainly in my headquarters. We believe that in my headquarters we can stagger the way the civilian furlough is applied to try to minimize mission impact.
But I can tell you there are some places out beyond STRATCOM headquarters where people sustain critical parts of our nuclear deterrent, for example, where it may not be possible to stagger the workforce furlough.
And for example, I know that the Navy was looking at how they will manage civilian furloughs in the strategic warfare centers on the Atlantic and the Pacific that support the Trident ballistic missile submarines. They tell me that when you get right down to it, there's a critical pathway for sustaining those...
You have 10 (ph) more seconds.
... there's a critical pathway and they may not be able to stagger furloughs. You may have to take block furloughs. Those are the kind of issues we're going to work our way through.
Well, first, I think what we are potentially going to do with our civilians in this is somewhat tragic.
I think, over time, in a low volunteer force, the line between our civil servants who serve in our defense department and our military have blurred to some degree. And we rely very, very heavily on these civil servants to do the types of things that you might historically have considered as core military.
But let me just give you a couple of examples. In the state of Hawaii alone, there's -- where my home is -- there's about 20,000 civilian employees. So on 21 April, I understand, when this takes effect, they will effectively take a 20 percent reduction in pay for the rest of this year.
Now I don't know about everybody in this room, but I don't think I could take a 20 percent cut in pay in a high-cost area where I have children in school and I have mortgages in a high-cost living area. And I don't know how I'd survive it. And yet we're going to ask them to do it. And chances are, many of them will, many of them may not.
In the area of things it'll have trickle-down effects. For instance in our (inaudible) schools of where -- which educate all of my children -- our -- our children that are overseas. Both of them are civilians -- government civilians so -- so that means that one- fifth of the teachers won't be teaching on any given day in those schools which are already probably pressurized to -- to be as efficient as possible.
Our hospital systems overseas are mostly government employees. So we're going to have a decrease in the hospital care immediately. So those are -- I could go -- I could just keep going on but that's the tip of the iceberg.
The time has expired.
Thank you very much and I'd just note that that same principle applies to a lot of other agencies outside the Department of Defense and services provided to people around this country.
There -- there is no question that this is going to spread pain across the whole of federal government of employees and I wish I had the ability to bring an appropriation bill for everything but I don't think we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good -- better. And we do have the opportunity to vote on an appropriation bill who -- which has gone through the process, unfortunate that the -- we never got a budget out of the Senate and -- and we've had to operate under these kind of conditions. But -- but we should really, again, be very mindful of this vote this week.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Am I the good, the better or the perfect or just the enemy?
You're the perfect, you now have four minutes and 50 seconds left.
There's always a penalty attached.
General Kehler, if -- if I could ask you what I think are about six pretty basic questions if I could please.
In your opinion, do you -- would you say that or believe that further nuclear reduction should be bilateral and verifiable rather than unilateral? Is there a significant advantage in that?
Sir, if -- if we're going to go beyond the New START levels of 1,550 then I think that should be bilateral.
Are you aware of any precedent that this nation has ever undertaken to negotiate a bilateral and verifiable agreement that did not take the form of a treaty?
And if you need time to look that up or needs to be more comfortable, I can do that.
Well, I'd like to take that for the record. And -- and why I'm hesitating, I'm not sure the agreement that was made between the United States and Russia with President Bush to go to 1,800 to 2,200 weapons. I just don't recall -- I -- I'll have to take that for the record, sir.
It -- I mean why do we need to have things that are verifiable? Is -- I mean, is verifiable there simply because we need to know if there's cheating involved?
It -- it's certainly -- there's an element of verification that gets to whether parties are cheating. I -- I think that's a piece of it.
Another piece, I think, is -- there's a transparency piece of verification. There are certainly -- and -- and an information exchange piece of verification, there are insights that -- that are -- are gained from verification but I think at its core, verification is -- is about ensuring that -- that we can place our trust in -- in a country that we've entered an agreement with.
Is -- is there kind of -- is there some kind of (inaudible) or is cheating more military significant at a lower force level?
I think that -- I get the question, sir, sometimes about cheating. I -- I think there are two answers from my perspective about cheating.
Number one, I think any -- any country that intentionally cheats, I think that's -- there's a significant concern about that. But then the second question is, does the cheating have a military effect. I think that's a different question and the answer is it depends.
So -- so if -- if a country were to break a key obligation under and arms control commitment, you know, like say one of the central limits of the New START Treaty, is that militarily significant?
It -- it can be, yes sir.
Is there a threshold level about that? I mean would ten missiles be significant, 50 -- how many would be required to make it significant?
Well, I -- I think -- I think we would have to take a hard look at the circumstances. I -- I -- so what I would say is, I mean you could -- you could take this to an extreme. Say if -- if 1,550 accountable warheads is what the treaty says and someone has 1,551, is that militarily significant? And -- and I -- I -- we could assess that.
What -- what if the concept was either developing or deploying a prohibited type of weapon?
I -- I -- I think...
Is that significant?
That can have -- that can have military significance. It's hard to talk about this in the abstract, though.
I -- I understand that. Thank you.
If you reduce your nuclear force by a third, is there any way that that is not militarily significant?
Sir, we -- we begin the conversations about how many weapons we need based on strategy and -- and national objectives.
And so -- and -- and then we take a hard look at the threat and the potential threat. Ultimately as we work our way through this, this turns into military tasks in the face of a threat and how many weapons we need is based on that.
And so if -- if -- without some changing circumstances that go with this without some changing conversation about the threat, it's hard, again, to look at does one-third make a difference? Does ten weapons make a difference, et cetera.
So the key element than in that decision is the threat itself?
If there is no reduction in our outside threat, that would still be a significant impact.
I think there are two -- two primary drivers of this. One is the potential threat or the nature of a potential threat. The other is the national guidance and the strategy that we are trying -- and the objectives we are trying to achieve. Those are both together.
I think in the long run though, my view is that if we are going to engage in anther conversation about reductions below New START, that should be done in a bilateral sense. That should be done with the Russians.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
Mr. Chairman, I'll yield back in addition (inaudible) two seconds, including the ones I took earlier.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank you to the witnesses for being here today.
Admiral, on page nine of your testimony, you clearly I think wanted to convey a point of highlighting the advances in undersea warfare in the Asia-Pacific area, which again, Mr. Forbes' (ph) question sort of alluded to.
You know, one question I hear all the time from other members is, you know, why do we need submarines and you know, aren't they Cold War relics?
Again, you're testimony again suggests that actually there's -- there's -- there's something changing out there and I just was wondering if you could sort of, you know, maybe elaborate a little bit more that your prior answers in terms of just how submarines fit into a modern security strategy.
Well, I would disagree with anyone that said that they are Cold War relics. The -- the modern submarine force of today, first is globally deployable. It's a highly proficient force and it does things well beyond what people would think from a Cold War perspective.
The are significant in intelligence and reconnaissance collection. They have long range strike capabilities when necessary. They have the ability to carry Special Forces or special operating forces into denied areas.
They have the ability to -- to -- to use the asymmetric advantage of stealth under the ocean and able to be force multiplier for our force and our nation that has global interests, particularly as you talk about maritime domain and insuring that we have proper access.
You know, there's -- there's always -- widely reported that 95 percent of everything that moves on the global economy moves on the ocean. That's true. What's not reported is that in the last decade or so, that number has quadrupled. And so whether it's energy or whether it's the things that need to be supplied to local stores in our country, it's -- it -- it is the -- the -- the global economy runs on the oceans.
And so to succeed (ph) that -- to -- to anyone at any time, is not in our best interest. Submarines have a significant play in making sure that we have freedom of access to our national interest.
Great, thank you. That was a very good statement that I think is helpful as we again, have to always deal with competing priorities here.
You know, on page 28 of your testimony, you talked about again the need for bilateral and multilateral communication collaboration as you said is really what the pivot to -- to Asia-Pacific is really about...
At the end of January, there was an incident in East China's sea where it was reported that Chinese (inaudible) locked actually weapons on Japanese vessels and there's obviously now this sort of competing dispute about whether it really happened or whether it did happen. And I mean, you know, to me, that's sort of where, you know, the -- the success of whether or not collaboration is going to work in terms of whether or not we've got systems here for making sure everybody's communicating well and understands what's going on out there.
And you know, the last thing in the world is that we want an incident like this to -- to escalate into something where we're going to be sort of involved and I just wonder if you could sort of comment, not necessarily about what actually happened there, but, you know, how do we get ahead of these kinds of -- because there's a lot of congestion out there is what we're hearing this morning to make sure that we don't sort of run into these incidents that spin out of control.
Well because I wasn't actually at the scene when it occurred, but it was reported by the Japanese forces and I think subsequently denied by the -- by the Chinese.
First that type of activity is highly escalatory by mature navies that's recognized as something that you -- you don't do unless you're directed to do it and it's because it's a -- a move towards greater hostilities.
I believe that if it had occurred, that the Japanese would have been able to detect it, their navy and their military is sophisticated enough to be able to -- to understand what was being done.
And I have been complimentary of the Japanese Command and Control and their ability to maintain a level of calm and as they work through this very difficult challenging security issue they're dealing with. And I think that is -- is indicative of the close alliance relationship we've had in building our -- our navies and our militaries together in that alliance to understand each other. And so I -- I think that kind of worked.
And we have very close -- I have very close communication with the Japanese leadership on -- on the military side of these issues and I'm quite comfortable with that.
Now, on the Chinese side, we're trying to create these avenues. We've been successful in the last couple of years, I think historically successful in being able to keep our mil-to-mil relationships going even through the periods of time when we disagree as a nation.
I mean, there'll be -- you don't have to -- to -- a superpower and a rising power that won't have competition and won't have friction.
The question is how do you manage that friction so that it's productive rather than -- than negative. So we're opening venues. We'll have a tremendous number of -- of high-level engagements. I've been to Beijing twice just in the last year to talk to my counterparts. I've had them come to Hawaii.
So we're improving in our dialogue. We need -- there's more to do -- much more to do, and much more to do I think at the tactical level, being able to have that near-term voice-to-voice communication, mil-to-mil with the Chinese that we quite frankly don't have yet but that we're working towards.
Thank you, Admiral.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Kehler, in your discussions with Representative Bishop, you were talking about threats and strategy, and basically that the process you were describing, it was in part determining what our requirements are for nuclear deterrent.
You are the requirement setter for our nuclear deterrent, and you look at yourself as a customer of our National Nuclear Security Administration. As you know, I'm very concerned about our plutonium capability and have been an advocate for the completion of the CMRR that was part of the administration's promises in the New START process.
We've heard of the proposal, as CMRR has been delayed, of an interim strategy, perhaps a modular approach. And we're very concerned about, you know, lack of details with what those interim strategies might be for satisfying our need for plutonium capability and what the modular approach might be.
So I'm assuming that you have the details of those proposals, and I have a series of questions about them. You know, one, do you have the details? And two, if you had to pick between what you're hearing about the modular approach and the interim strategy versus CMRR, which would you pick if you were only going to get one?
Well, let me start with we -- we have spent the last year -- I think as you know, when we came in front of your committee last year, I expressed some grave concerns about the plan that we had for the nuclear enterprise, the weapons complex and the weapons life extensions and other activities themselves. Because as I said at the time, the plan didn't close, as you well know.
We took the last year and we sat down as the Nuclear Weapons Council and we worked our way with the National Nuclear Security Administration through a strategic approach, through an implementation plan. We associated budget with that, and all of that is pending with the F.Y. '14 budget release, which I can't describe today.
What I don't know is what's going to happen to it now. Because I am far more comfortable with -- with the approach that I believe that we hammered out over the last year. I believe that the plan does close. It's not without risk, but I don't know what's going to happen to it given the fiscal uncertainty and fiscal year '14 in particular.
An element of that plan deals with the plutonium needs that we're going to have. And again, if you're asking me if I pick between one thing or the other, I think the practical matter is that one way or another, we are going to need to have an interim strategy for plutonium. Whatever we decide to do in the long term, we are going to need to do something on an interim basis.
So you -- are you saying you have sufficient enough details on the interim strategy, which perhaps includes a modular approach, to endorse that strategy with the Nuclear Weapons Council?
Well, I think -- again, I need to be a little careful here because the entire plan hasn't been released. But I have been comfortable with the proposal that -- that we've discussed regarding an interim plutonium. Now that's different than what do you do in the longer term...
Well, and that's my next question actually. So let me frame that, which will be part of what your answer is. There's the issue of, you know, which would you want, CMRR or the interim strategy, the pick. And that's a long-term strategy.
But the second aspect of that -- so there's two components. One, you know, do you think we could maintain in interim strategy in perpetuity versus the investment required for CMRR? But the second aspect is would you ever consider undertaking reductions in our hedge based upon just the interim strategy versus the long-term strategy of the CMRR?
Well, let me go back to the interim strategy. I -- again, I don't think we have a choice. I think that we have to do some kind of an interim strategy. The question then becomes, OK, what do we do next?
And I think that -- that that isn't quite solid in my mind yet, and I think that's going to be one of the open questions as we come forward. Again, assuming -- I don't know what to assume about the '14 budget at this point in time to tell you the absolute truth.
But having said that, I believe you have to do some kind of an interim strategy. I believe that that gets us through the time period that we're talking about. Certainly in the long run we would prefer to see a more permanent solution to the plutonium needs. And I think that will also -- I think there are a number of steps the impact a hedge strategy. That's one of them.
Great. Because you would agree that our ability to have a long-term ability for production -- in a production infrastructure should be a basis for us considering whether or not we reduce any of our hedge in case there isn't any issue with -- with the weapons that we have.
Sir, I think that's one consideration. I don't think that's the only consideration. And I think that there are some scenarios that you can unfold where an interim strategy will serve us even under some technical issues. So I -- but I think for the United States of America in the long term that -- that we want a permanent solution to the nuclear enterprise that includes a permanent solution to the plutonium (inaudible).
I appreciate that. I'm surprised, General, by last your answer.
Thank you. Ms. Hanabusa?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General. And of course aloha, Admiral. Admiral, in reviewing your testimony -- and this is -- this is a hearing on the posture of both of your commands -- I did not see a real specific reference to PMRF. And I wanted to give both of you the opportunity to testify about the importance of PMRF in both of your postures. Admiral?
Well, I mean, I think that -- for those of you who visit Hawaii and go to Kauai to see PMRF, I think it becomes readily apparent the importance of it, particularly as we pursue our technologies and our research and development and are able to demonstrate in an airspace our ability to do ballistic missile defense, to develop those technologies which are critical to our own homeland defense.
One of the problems we have is -- is finding a range in places where you can actually have the airspace and the -- and the outer space, if you call it, to be able to -- to -- to fly targets and to be able to do them. And PMRF is a relatively modest organization, but they carry a lot of weight in this. And I think you would see that any future strategy we have towards our ballistic missile defense will have a -- PMRF will play a central role in being able to test and evaluate those systems.
Thank you. General, would you like to add to that?
Congresswoman, I would just say that I completely agree, and I would add one other point. Although it isn't completely related to -- to Hawaii, the importance of the facilities on Kwajalein farther to the south and west are -- are equally important for those same reasons.
That's where we -- the entire Pacific Range Complex, that includes PMRF, it includes Kwajalein, it includes Vandenberg at the eastern end of it, it includes other assets, is critically important for us for missile defense purposes, for our ability to continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent and for lots of reasons, development of radar and other things. So all of those are important places.
Thank you. And for those that may not understand PMRF, it is the Pacific Missile Range Facility. Admiral, I think the -- the chair of the subcommittee on CPAR (ph) sort of got into it, and that is how many ships do you need?
We had a hearing earlier last week I believe where former SIGNAV Lehman (ph) testified, as well as Admiral Roughead also testified, and we had a range of numbers. Of course, we all know that Admiral -- I mean the Secretary Lehman (ph) is known for his 600 fleet under President Reagan, but he says 346 is his number. And Admiral Roughead said 325 to 345.
So when I asked him, well, what does that mean, they both kind of said it depends on our needs and that we are to understand that when we're talking about a fleet that there are support vessels and everything else associated with it.
If you were to pick a number that you believe would be necessary, what would that number be, and also what would the number be for you to accomplish what you feel is necessary for what I call your DAP (ph) in the Pacific?
Well, you can see you get competing numbers from almost any source you talk to. I would start by saying that the number we have today is insufficient. So from that -- start from that perspective.
But if you -- if you look at I think of Navy's and its -- and other aspects of our force, it really starts by how do you define your -- what it is you want to do. What is your national aspirations around the globe? And from a maritime perspective, the globe is actually getting not physically better but it's actually getting more challenges. When I was young junior officer, I never contemplated operating in the Horn of Africa. I probably didn't know where it was because we just didn't go there.
I would not contemplate -- wouldn't have contemplated that there was a potential for Arctic operations in my life, but you know, that's going to probably happen in the next generation of Naval officers that have to go and deal with this. I wouldn't have anticipated the rise of some of the militaries that we're seeing and the -- and the lack of transparency in some of them and what that would mean.
So, you know, the debate about how big the Navy has been one that's historic in our nation was really about how do we define ourselves. And if we think we're going to be a global maritime power and a maritime domain that's increasingly important, then we have to build a Navy that can stay out there and we can sustain it.
The one we have today I think is challenged to do that. And the exact numbers, like I said, it depends on what you want to do and where you want to do it at and what type of ships you want to do it with. But as you can see, just in my lifetime we've grown from a -- basically a sea-controlled environment to now a ballistic missile defense environment.
So many of the requirements that are driven in the PACOM AOR about -- about my service ships are equally as much about anti- submarine warfare and maritime security and patrol of the seas as equally about ballistic missile defense of our homeland and defense of our -- of our allies and the treaty allies we have.
So we really think -- I think we really do need to have that debate about, what is the right size for that? And I think the CNO is heading in that direction.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Kehler, good to see you again. I want to ask you if you agree with a statement made by Secretary Panetta last year before this committee in testimony, quote, "Reductions that have been made, at least in this administration have only been made as a part of the START Process, and not outside of that process, and I would expect that, that would be the same in the future", closed quote. Is that the right way to -- to do our reductions?
Congressman, yes I think so.
Thank you. Next, Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker, stated in 2006 that, quote "President Yeltsin committed a similar reduction in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, but considerable concern exists that the Russian commitments have not been entirely fulfilled", closed quote. Mr. Rademaker was discussing the president's nuclear initiatives behind which President George H.W. Bush and President Yeltsin entered into. But without the treaty process, and thus it had no legal effect.
In 2009, the Perry-Schlesinger Commission stated in its final report to Congress that Russia, quote "Is no longer in compliance with NIA commitments." Do you have any reason to believe that the Perry- Schlesinger Commission was wrong?
I don't although I can tell you from our perspective today in terms of New START, we believe that they are complying. That they -- they are above the ultimate numbers, so are we. We're working our way down, and we believe they're complying.
What about Secretary Rademaker's position that I just outlined?
You know sir, I'm going to have to take that for the record. I -- I really -- I'd like to know more about what he was really talking about.
Would you respond in writing...
... when you have a chance to do that? And lastly, what would you say our -- our most significant concerns with respect to modernization of our aging strategic deterrent enterprise?
I think that I have two primary concerns. Actually, I've got three primary concerns. One is the command and control area, to make sure that we have kept our nuclear command and control, which is more, and more, and more becoming national command and control capability, that we keep that such that that is the bedrock of -- of -- of our deterrent. I think that in the forces themselves, as I said earlier, I am -- I am committed to wanting to support the replacement for the Ohio ballistic missile submarines. I fully support a long range bomber that will eventually come along to supplement the B-2 and potentially take the place of the B-52 as time passes.
I support, even though it's not within my joint command, I get the use of the Air Force's aerial refueling tankers, and so I'm deeply committed, because I see the value of -- of those tankers every single day, and I know every combatant command would say the same thing, that they see the value of those tankers every day. And I certainly support the analysis of alternatives to look about what we might do with the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile beyond 2030, which is where the Air Force believes they can take it today. So, that -- that's part number two.
Part number three is the weapons themselves, and the nuclear enterprise that supports, and sustains those weapons. We're in a different era today. The era that we are in, is an era of -- of a moratorium on testing nuclear devices. And so we've got to maintain the science that underpins those weapons. We've got to make sure we are sustaining those weapons, and surveiling those weapons as they age, and then we've got life extension programs that we need to put in place.
And all of this comes at -- at a time of significant physical challenge as -- as you all well know, and we're going to have to make some tough choices I'm sure.
In -- in your opinion is that a limitation -- a prohibition on testing inhibiting your ability to -- to modernize?
No, sir not today, it is not.
Thank you, sir. That's all I have Mr. Chairman.
Thank you. Mr. Kilmer?
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Admiral at -- the end of your written remarks targets your concerns regarding the impacts of inadequate maintenance, and a potential bow-wave of maintenance down the road. I know that this is consistent with a letter that was sent out by the secretary of the Navy, which detailed cutbacks resulting from sequestration. I was out on Friday at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which is in my district in Washington State, and obviously the DOD civilians who were there, were concerned about furloughs, and the impacts to them personally, financially.
But the broader concern that was raised and I was very impressed with, the number of people who are concerned about the implications to national security to the real physical work done there are the shipyard at -- at the west coast hub of maintenance activity. Can you say a bit more about the immediate impacts of sequestration with regard to maintenance and the -- the mission in the Pacific? And the downstream impacts as well? And also if you could discuss for me the impacts of delayed maintenance on carriers and the national security implications as we shift our strategic focus to the Pacific?
Well certainly from my years of experience on ships, you know you -- you -- you have to applaud our Navy today for how ready it is, and how it's been able to sustain itself at even the size it is globally in a -- in a pretty intense environment. But to do that, is -- so far away from home, it requires a -- a consistent approach to how you maintain and keep these ships going. As you -- as you know they're not -- they are complex platforms with tremendous amounts of capability that require sophisticated maintenance, and upkeep.
And that we do in the most cost-effective way we can, using the great resources we have, like in the shipyard that -- that's in your district. And over time, we try to build a business model that allows us to keep our forces forward with the ones we have in the most efficient way we can. So when you put a burble (ph) in that it's, you know -- you cannot change the oil in your car at once, you can not change it twice, but then when it's at 100,000 miles you have an engine replacement.
We need to have these ships around for 30 to 35 years. The same for our airplanes across the Air Force, same for our submarines. So, built into them and the life expectancy that they have of many, many years, engines -- a requirement to do maintenance, this is particularly important as well in our carrier force. Our carrier force, I think continues to be one of the most important aspects of a peaceful maritime environment around the globe. And keeping the -- the size of the carrier force that we have today globally deployed, as very sophisticated platform requires continuous maintenance.
Of course it's amplified by the fact that they are nuclear vessels, so there must -- there's an aspect of us ensuring that -- that the maintenance is done safely and properly, and I believe that the -- if you look across the nuclear power program that the Navy has, it's a -- it's an unbelievable model of success, and safety. And we do that running the entire program with basically 19-year-olds to 25- year-olds. And to do that, it requires investment and ensuring that the systems are maintained properly, at the right time periodicity.
So as we interject this -- this unpredictability into our maintenance schedules and we start doing things near term, it just -- you don't -- it's pay me now, or pay me later, and that's the era I think we're entering into more under sequestration.
Congressman, could I add a piece to that? From another joint perspective, I think it's important to note that as we defer maintenance, we are beginning at a different starting point. We are coming out of 10 years worth of high operations tempo events. And so the stress on the platforms to begin with is higher than it has been at other places when we've tried to reset in the past. Or at the end of other conflicts. This is a force that, whether it's flying hours on aircraft, or steaming hours on ships, or vehicles that the Army has, we are starting at a far different place. And so the magnitude of deferred maintenance I think is going to be higher.
We also have some older platforms today, the -- the car oil change analogy is -- you know if your car already has 200,000 miles on it, you've got a different place to start.
Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentleman, thank you. I -- I always try to take a moment just to express my gratitude for people like yourselves that give your whole lives to the cause of human freedom. On behalf of my little 4-year- old twins, I -- I'm grateful because I think they have a better chance at life because of what people like you do. With that, my first question is directed to you General Kehler, I just want to thank you for your written testimony, in which you state and I'll quote you if I can, quote "Ballistic missile threats are likely to grow at least as rapidly as our defense -- defensive assets, giving us little margin for error in acquisition, and force management decisions."
"Sustained missile defense investments support deterrence, and assurance goals by significantly improving the protection of our homeland, our forward base forces, and our allies and partners", and I am in violent agreement with you. I think that that's well stated. And I have -- I wanted to -- to ask you about your concern with the potential threat posed to our critical infrastructure by a major EMP event, you know GMD, or something deliberate, or even in isolated cases, IEMI technology that seems to be at least on the North Korean radar, and as stated in STRATCOM's mission you now your -- your responsibility to put -- prepare for uncertainty and partner with other COCOMs, how is STRATCOM preparing? How does it perceive the uncertainty of a threat like -- like EMP?
Congressman, I think the entire electromagnetic spectrum needs to get more attention, and we have stood up, we -- we were given over the past several years a number of organizations that work various parts, either assessing potential threats whether it's EMP, or in some cases cyber threats to our systems, and our capabilities. We -- we have now some organizations that -- that do that. We have some other organizations that are looking hard at how to detect such electromagnetic spectrum issues, whether it's EMI, or EMP when it occurs.
We have some others that are doing some planning against how to deal with those threats as they emerge, and we have put all of those together now in one single organization, it's in many different places -- in one single organization to try to address these on behalf of STRATCOM and the other combatant commanders. I think we haven't paid nearly enough attention to this. I am concerned about the threat of electromagnetic pulse. There are some pretty good books that have been written here recently about this, a couple of novels that were written that -- that you turn a page looking for the happy ending and it never comes in the book.
And so I would tell you that we are still mindful of electromagnetic pulse. It is not a Cold War relic. It is something that we need to prepare some of our systems to deal with in the operational environment.
I think as we look particularly at anti-access/area-denial environments in the future, one of the ways that adversaries will try to take our U.S. advantages will be through the electromagnetic spectrum. Whether that's jamming, whether that's some kind of electromagnetic interference or whether it's through cyberspace or whether it's via electromagnetic pulse, we need to be prepared for that.
And I think that we need to -- we have a lot of work to do. I am not yet comfortable that we have gone anywhere near where the magnitude of this problem should take us.
Well, thank you, sir. I'm glad you're where you are.
Admiral Locklear, can you describe the capability, for this committee, some of us are perhaps more familiar with it than others, of the sea-based X-band radar and why it's important as a capability? And is it a capability that we need -- continue to need to defend United States and deployed forces?
And what is its special significance on issues like, perhaps, protecting us from road-mobile missile threats from a North Korea sometime in the future?
Well, the sea-based radar has been an important part of our ballistic missile defense architecture as we built it over the last decade or so. It's played a tremendous role in research and development. It's a great radar. It's on a mobile platform, so it has those attributes to it.
But it's not an end all to beat all, I mean, it's just a part of an architecture. So as we go forward in the future -- and it's an expensive part of the architecture, to maintain it at sea. So as we go forward in the future, we'll have to look at how it might -- we do, we're looking at that now -- how it might more effectively fit into that architecture over the long run, or whether it's eventually, at some point in time, replaced by something else.
Because the nature of the platform it's on just becomes more and more expensive every year to keep it, because it's kind of an unusual, unusual thing. But it has tremendous capability and we have and will continue to use it as necessary to ensure that we're properly defending our national interests.
Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm just reading some reports about North Korea and the fact that the U.N. is considering a new raft of sanctions against North Korea as the result of its testing of a nuclear device back in February. The blast from that device being about double the force of the last device that was tested back in 2009. And this device being miniaturized, as was described by the North Koreans.
So the thinking is that perhaps this miniaturized nuclear device that was successfully tested, coming behind the recent successful launch into space of a North Korean satellite, it raises the specter that there is now a nuclear device that can fit onto a missile, which can then be used to launch a nuclear strike.
And now, with this talk of new sanctions and there being an agreement, by the way, with the Chinese, the only ally of North Korea, being a party to this agreement for sanctions, we're looking at an unsafe area of the world, no doubt. A young leader who has never been told no, who has always gotten his way and who is just uneducated about military affairs, world affairs, how his country fits into the overall scheme of things.
And it's sobering to think that these kinds of things are happening throughout the world. But just using this as an example. And here we are going through senseless cuts to our ability to our ability to defend the nation and its interest, this sequestration. Something has to happen.
But tell me, what do you think -- how do things look as far as North Korea, which threatens to withdraw from its armistice agreement that has resulted in no hostilities over there, well, I won't say no hostilities, but has kept hostilities low? What do you see happening over in North Korea?
And I'll ask that first of General Kehler, and then if you would respond, Admiral.
Congressman, from my perspective in Strategic Command, all of the items that you described are deeply concerning. We have seen North Korea parade a long-range ICBM. There are, I think, valid questions about how far along that program is. We've seen other steps that you mentioned. And so all of that together is deeply, deeply troubling.
We have been involved with the review of our plans and our posture related to North Korea, particularly we've been working very hard with Pacific Command and Northern Command regarding our ballistic missile defense posture and our ballistic missile defense approach.
So as I said earlier, I am confident that STRATCOM can perform its deterrence and assurance mission today. And that we are capable of extending our deterrent umbrella over our key allies in Admiral Locklear's area of responsibility.
I am equally confident that we can meet a limited missile threat from North Korea with the ballistic missile defenses that we have in place.
All right. Well, given that, could I now, since I only have 20 seconds...
... could I go to Admiral?
Well, to your comments, I think you articulated what Kim Jong Un wants the world to believe. And so, the fact that he talks about it and demonstrates things and shows things, I think it causes us to have to take them -- at least be concerned about them.
But I think the important thing for the new leader to recognize is that, in the end, this will be unsuccessful. In the end, this is not in the best interest of the people of North Korea, where the average citizen gets about 800 calories a day. They spent more money on the missile launch in one day than they could have fed their entire nation for one day -- or for one month, on what they spent in one day to launch a missile.
And so, we're -- us and our Korean allies, we're postured to ensure we are monitoring carefully what's going on on the Korea peninsula. Obviously, our defensive forces are postured in case -- in case something really crazy were to happen.
But in the end, we have to, I think, number one, applaud the efforts of the U.N. Security Council as they continue to put pressure on this regime from all sides. And in the end, just assure Kim Jong Un that his strategy will not be successful.
Thank you. I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Kehler, I represent the Fourth District of Louisiana, which is the home of Barksdale Air Force Base and Global Strike Command. And I want to thank you both for appearing before us today.
I'm very much sold on the idea of nuclear deterrence and also on nuclear security. And I want to point out that in the F.Y. '13 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress added language addressed to the issue of nuclear weapons storage areas, WSAs, and quotes the 2008 SECDEF Task Force on DOD Nuclear Weapons Management, which concluded, and I quote, "the closure of a WSA at one of the bomber bases was a significant mistake with a negative operational impact," end quote.
As it stands now, with the closure of the Barksdale WSA in 2007, we have single point of failure in the ALCOM (ph) mission.
And just to kind of expand a little bit, as you know, if we have all of our ALCOMs (ph) in one location, and for whatever reason we have to gear up for battle at some point, or maybe a higher level of alert, then obviously other nations can monitor our bombers going and picking up the ALCOMs (ph) from another location.
It takes a little bit of the surprise effect away and certainly it's important that we keep, again, nuclear assurance.
So I just wanted to get your response. I know that a lot of this is driven by budget issues. We're talking about anywhere from $80 to $200 million going forward, if you include not just the standards that have to be brought to bear on the WSA site, but also the employment and other, I guess, device expenses.
So what is your response? Is this something that we're going to be able to stand up at some point, maybe when we get past sequestration?
Sir, I think that it's something for us to go look at as time passes. I think particularly as we go forward and we begin to see a long-range strike platform come into being, I think where and how we base that, how we would support the dual-capable nature of that platform.
Just like we do with the B-52s today, we made some decisions about how to support the dual-capable nature of those B-52s, I think there are many questions for us to ask and that we will have to answer as we go forward.
Today as you say, that would be a very expensive proposition to try to go back and -- and revisit. However, I can say that the commander of Global Strike Command and I have just met to discuss nuclear security and I know he has in his mind a -- a review of -- of that and the other storage areas because as we go forward, I think we -- we recognize there are some investments going to have to be made to keep up to date with security standards and -- and other things.
I can tell you we're, I -- I think security wise, we're in far better condition today than we were just a few years go. But I think as we go forward to make additional security enhancements, that will be an opportunity for us to come back and take a hard look.
And maybe to follow up and expand that a little bit more, does the Air Force and the Department of Defense remain committed to a nuclear triad as effect deterrents, you know, the -- the -- you -- you just mentioned the long-range strike fighter platform that will eventually replace the B-52. There may be some that are critical of that and certainly we follow that closely. B-52s at some point in time will be too old to fly.
Now there may be a century old before that happens and -- and as you know, General, they are doing an outstanding job as they are. But some day, they're just simply going to wear out.
Are we still committed to that nuclear triad and to the newer platform?
I am certainly committed to the nuclear triads, Strategic Command's position is that we are committed -- I've seen certainly I had heard Secretary Panetta say more than once that -- that the department was committed. I've seen some written commitment to that effect from Secretary Hagel. It was the recommendation of the nuclear posture review to sustain a triad that that would certainly be my -- my position going forward.
I think much like every other item that will be on the table as a result of fiscal issues, I suspect that that will get looked at again. But I can tell you my -- my view is we ought to continue with that.
Regarding the replacement, one of the enduring advantages of the United States is that we have the ability to project power and...
Thank you, the gentleman's time has expired.
... lots of reasons for that, the long-range air piece is a big part of that.
Thank you, Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, General Kehler and Admiral Locklear, for appearing before the committee today and I certainly appreciate your service and I also appreciate having the benefit of your insight and experience as we attempt to navigate a policy and -- and budgetary challenges.
General Kehler, if I could start with you, turning to one of my favorite subjects, cyber. General, with the -- the complex demands of -- of operating cyberspace, it certainly no surprise that U.S. Cyber Command has expressed a need to -- to increase the number of its cyber professionals as recently announced. However, I'm -- I'm also given to understand that the situation is not as simple as adding more people, that instead they'll be reallocated within the service components.
What progress has been made in acquiring these professionals? What training will they require? And how they'd be allocated across the services and what is STRATCOM's roles, specifically in shaping this force and in advocating for the resources needed?
Sir, let me start with the last piece first. The responsibilities to protect the Department of Defense's networks and to be prepared for activity in cyberspace, remain assigned to Strategic Command to include advocacy, to include our responsibility to make sure that the service are providing us with adequately trained and -- and resourced sufficient capacity and capability, if you will.
I delegate most of those responsibilities on a day-to-day basis to the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, General Alexander, who executes -- he's the execution arm if you will of this and of course, as you know, his command has been growing.
This is a growth area I believe for the department as we look to the future. I'll -- I'll get you the specifics for the record in terms of the number of people that we have added here in the near term. What we have finally done is we have come to grips with how to describe -- how we would grow the cyber capacity and capability if this was F-16 squadrons, we would -- we would know how to do that. We would have a model for how to do that.
We finally put something in place for cyberspace as well. So we can now come back into the resource allocation process and advocate for the amount of resources that we need. I think that part of it is going well, the question will be with budget reductions, is how successful we will be and I think that's an open question that we'll have to see how that goes as time passes.
But in my view, anyway, cyberspace is such an important part of -- of our national security and -- and our economic wellbeing and our ability to conduct business. As you know, the bulk of cyberspace exists in the civil domain. I think that having said that, though, it's use for national security purposes as critical and it is important that we do everything we can to grow the capacity and capability we need to make sure that we can operate there effectively.
Admiral, let me turn to you, can you discuss the role that cyber operations play in your activities, particularly in information operations programs and how they factor into your partnership activities in the Pacific. So you feel that your command is adequately resources in cyber in order to remain resilient in full spectrum conflict?
And then the second question I have for you, if you could probably start with this one first. I continue to be concerned about the capabilities of our spaces to withstand a cyber attack directed against outside supporting infrastructure, such as the eclectic grid, which is owned and operated by the private sector, but you don't have any responsibility or capability to -- to defend that -- that private network. You're -- you're -- but bases are dependent on them.
Your predecessor, Admiral Willard testified on this topic last March. Can you update us on the progress that has been made in evaluating the ability of our bases into PACOM AOR to operate and recover in the event of such an attack as well as any mitigation members that are underway?
Well, you know, cyber domain is the only manmade domain that we have, air time, space and others are given to us just when we created -- and sometimes we tend to think of cyber as only what shows up at the end of our -- our -- our computer device in our hand. But the reality is there's a large supporting infrastructure that supports cyber globally, not -- not the least of which is under -- under-seabed cables which are prolific throughout the world, it'd have to be understood where they are and how those are protected.
So to the question of what we've done in the last year to look at our ability to operate our cyber networks. Assuming that the infrastructure in those -- those cable networks, those things are -- are secure which is one of the things that I have to worry about.
And from the defense perspective, from my ability to operate as a -- and to operate the forces I have, I have -- I feel relatively secure that we can defend the networks that we actually would do war- fighting or contingency operations on. But we are working hard at it and cyber command's agreement to -- to grow and to provide experts and allow us to know how to do computer network defense, how to recognize computer network attack, these are all important and they're critically important to me and -- and to PACOM -- PACOM AOR.
I know my time expired...
... Admiral, if you could though write and respond what we've done to protect our (inaudible) resilient in our bases.
OK thank you
Excuse me, I didn't hear you but your time has expired, what -- what were you requesting?
They -- the Admiral didn't quite answer my question in terms of what's been done in terms of...
OK, would you please respond for the record?
Can I provide it in -- I'll provide you a written answer to it. Will that be adequate?
That would be adequate.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral Locklear, what transnational terrorist threats are the greatest concerns to you in the PACOM AOR and how are you engaging with our international partners to address the terrorism threat in South East Asia and how will the current fiscal constraints impact that engagement?
Right, well, if you look globally at the -- at terrorist threats and violent extremist organizations, they are increasingly kind of popping out in the Asia Pacific region. And whether they are in the south of the Philippines or in other areas, the -- the vastness of the region and the -- the way that it is structured, I think allows the opportunity for, if not monitored properly to -- to -- to be a proliferation area for -- for terrorists.
Now, but that's not the only threats. The -- the -- we know the Southeast Asia is a number one supplier of precursors for methamphetamines that are created in -- in drug labs inside this -- inside the United States. so we have a (inaudible) west that works for me and we do a large network of looking and interdicting and understanding networks that -- that provide these, what would appear to be innocuous chemicals that show up on -- on ships that show up in our ports and harbors that eventually show up in -- in garages and people's houses that are making illegal methamphetamines they are being -- now I think the -- they're probably one of the number one scourges of parts of our society.
So, this -- the next thing is that I would say is -- is fairly prolific in this region is -- is the human slave trade that has to be contended with.
I'm told that last year alone, the -- the human slave trade was worth about $30 billion globally -- $30 billion, that's as much as I think Nike, Google and Starbucks put together.
And so the -- looking not only at how do you stop that, but one of the networks that are benefiting by this type of unbelievable behavior that adds to the sense of lack of security in areas where we have a lot of national interest is a priority for us at -- at PACOM.
So those are the -- the -- the ways we look at it.
Now you can't -- the area's too big to interdict all this stuff. You -- you -- if you were taking interdiction mentality, you'd run out of resources in -- in -- in a very short period of time.
So what we have to do is we have to -- through our -- our partnership building, through our interagency processes where we go in with the FBI or we go in with AID or we go in with -- with the CIA or -- or other interagencies. And we work with these nations to let them, first of all understand what's happening to them. What they're -- what -- let them be able to sense what's happening and then for -- to help them, hopefully build partnership organizations or organizational structures inside their own militaries and their own governments that allow them to deal with this in an effective way. And I think we're having some great, great progress throughout -- throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Well, can you address the last piece, the current fiscal constraints, what's the going to do to your ability to have an impact on those three areas?
Well, I mean, just recently my NDIA West (ph) organization took about a 20 percent reduction in their operating costs, just in the -- just in this year.
So that's the organization that drives all of these discussions. It is predominantly a civilian-led, government civilian-led organization. So the ones that are left, they'll be working four days out of the week.
So it's -- it compounds the problems in ways that I think that aren't always apparent to the people talking about sequestration.
General Kehler, I've got about a minute and a half left.
We are seeing some increased threats to our space-based capabilities. What is STRATCOM doing to monitor our space capabilities against disruption of service and other threats? And how are we postured to respond to these threats?
Congressman, the last year we've done a lot to improve our plans and to address our resilience so that we can continue to deter such attacks. But you're right. We see the potential for those kinds of activities in space, or directed against space objects, growing as time passes.
Space is no longer an operational sanctuary, for the United States, certainly. And we are dealing with that through improved plans, our improved ability to monitor what's happening. And ultimately we need to transition from monitoring and building a catalogue of items that are there to getting to real-time situational awareness, like we would have in the air, for example.
So we still have a lot to do. There could be investment impacts there, as time passes. But how we process censor information about what's happening in space and how we maintain global awareness and situational awareness in space is going to be critical as we go to the future.
How we plan, then, to improve our resilience, I think, will be equally important.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Smith. And thank you, General and Admiral, for your time this morning.
I especially appreciate Admiral Locklear. I appreciate your opening comments and thank you for reminding the committee about the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and the strategic importance of the U.S. territory of Guam.
Admiral, I am particularly interested to hear your views on the rebalance of forces in the Pacific. Can you address some of your challenges regarding the distributed lay-down of Marines in the Pacific? How the current budget outlook may affect the timing of this plan?
And I do hope that PACOM continues to prioritize our investments and realignments in the Pacific.
Well, thank you. As I said earlier, I think we have a good plan. I think it's one that certainly makes sense in the context of where we want the Marines that laid down in the 21st century in the AOR.
Guam is a centerpiece of that. I mean, if Hawaii is kind of the front door to the Asia-Pacific, Guam is well into the heart of the living room. All it takes is just a quick look at the vastness of the region on a map and you can see why we would want to make sure that we optimize our capabilities, both in peace and in crisis, from Guam.
And that bringing this part of the Marines back there is a critical piece of that.
So the challenges to it are ensuring -- it's a little bit of a house of cards. You have to move one thing before you do the next. So ensuring that we can move ahead with the changes that we need to be funded in Okinawa, to be able to allow the movement of those Marines in a timeframe that allows us to have the infrastructure that's needed to be constructed on Guam.
And we've -- quite frankly, I think we've had some struggle in trying to get those funds released. And I'm hopeful that in the coming weeks and months, that that will be in our favor.
Thank you very much, Admiral.
I would also like to ask about bilateral and multilateral military training exercises in your AOR. I understand that the current budget will place constraints on training and joint exercises. But in a more ideal fiscal situation, what would you like to see with regard to multilateral training in the Pacific?
I fear that we have a lot of bilateral training exercises that could be better leveraged through our multilateral training.
And also if you could please address how you intend to provide effective training in a more cost efficient manner, given DOD's budget constraints?
Well, you know, after the World War II, we basically had a bilateral relationship structure, kind of a hub and spoke structure for U.S. -- with U.S. allies and U.S. partners. It served us quite well for many decades.
But the strategic landscape has shifted to some degree now and the importance of multilaterals, I think, is growing day by day. The importance of multilaterals is if you get a larger group of like- minded people working on problems that all matter to them, you build improved inter-operability between multilaterals instead of bilaterals.
You get a -- in a very vast and uncertain region, you get a much better intelligence and picture of what's going on if you have multiple countries participating in that. Because they all have a little bit different view than we may have from Hawaii or we may have from Washington.
So we are pursuing multilaterals. We're very supportive of (inaudible), the East Asia Summit, and those multilateral forums. Even with our own allies, we're pursuing more trilateral operations where we can before Japan, the U.S. and Korea. Japan, the U.S. and Australia. Just pick one. But we're moving in the direction of multilateralism.
And you can -- you really -- in fact, if you take the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, which is the largest maritime exercise in the world, it's a multi-national exercise. I think last year 22 nations participated. Russia came with ships for the first time. It was a great success. We invited the Chinese, the PLA, to send ships in 2014 and we're hopeful that they will come and participate.
But in those, we get to know each other better. We get to operate together. We get a common understanding. And when you have militaries that can operate and understand each other, it lowers your threshold of crisis, no matter how you cut it. It's a good thing for all of our security and our own national security.
Now how can we be more effective in our training? One is to ensure that the bilateral training we do is effective for the strengthening of the alliance. But that where we can leverage that bilateral training in the multilateral, that we take those opportunities. And we're doing that.
We also have to make sure that our range systems, that's where (ph) we've actually conduct our operations, our training operations, are unencumbered, remain unencumbered. Encroachment is one of the biggest problems we have everywhere in the world today, where sometimes it gets too hard to do operations because they're just too big of a population growth area or environmental concerns.
So our ranges in the Pacific Northwest are critical. Our ranges around Hawaii that we've already talked about are critical. The opportunity to find additional range space in your part of the world, I think will be important.
Thank you very much, Admiral, for your continued interest in our area. And thank you, General.
I yield back.
That's it. Thank you very much for your service. Please convey our thanks to those under your command, the men and women that are serving.
Thank you very much. This committee stands adjourned.
— USPACOM (posted April 9, 2013) —