U.S. Pacific Command

 

TRANSCRIPT: Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the U.S. Pacific Command & US Forces Korea

By Pacom Posted | April 17, 2015

Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2016 and the Future Years Defense Program

April 16, 2015 04:57PM ET

 

Subject: Pacific Command/U.S. Forces Korea Authorization Participants: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Witnesses: Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; and Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea

 

MCCAIN: Committee meets today to receive testimony on U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea. I'd like to thank both of our witnesses, Admiral Locklear and General Scaparrotti, for appearing before us today and for their many years of distinguished service.

 

In the past three months, this Committee has received testimony from many of America's most respected statesmen, thinkers, and former military commanders. These leaders have all told us that we are experiencing a more diverse and complex array of crises than at any time since the end of World War II.

 

As we confront immediate challenges in Europe and the Middle East, the United States cannot afford to neglect the Asia-Pacific region, which Secretary Carter has called, quote, "the defining region for our nation's future."

 

Put simply, if the 21st century is to be another American century, the United States must remain an Asia-Pacific power. Our national interests in the Asia-Pacific are deep and enduring. We seek to extend free trade, free markets, free navigation, and free commons, air, sea, space, and now cyber. We seek to maintain a balance of power that fosters the peaceful expansion of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and many other values that we share with increasing numbers of Asian citizens. And we seek to defend ourselves and our allies by maintaining the capability to prevent, deter, and if necessary, prevail in a conflict.

 

Achieving these objectives will require sustained American leadership. We must use all elements of our national power. In particular, I am hopeful that Congress will pass trade promotion authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This vital trade agreement will open new opportunities for trade and level the playing field for American businesses and workers, while sending a powerful strategic signal about America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific.

 

Yet we must remember that our soft power is the shadow cast by our hard power. That's why the United States must continue to sustain a favorable military balance in the region. The Department of Defense will need to update concepts of operations with emerging military technology to enable our military to operate in contested environments.

 

From projecting power over long distances and exploiting the undersea domain, to developing new precision-guided munitions and to investing in innovative ways to build the resiliency of our forward- deployed forces, we have a great deal of work to do if we aim to sustain our traditional military advantages in the Asia-Pacific region. None of these will be possible if we continue to live with mindless sequestration and a broken acquisition system.

 

As we build in posture forces to secure America's interests in the Asia-Pacific, we must remain clear-eyed about the implications of China's rise and its evolving foreign defense policy.

 

As Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told this Committee back in February, China has engaged in a rapid military modernization deliberately designed to counteract or thwart American military strengths.

 

I believe China can and should play a constructive role in the Pacific -- Asia-Pacific region. Unfortunately, in recent years, China has behaved less like a responsible stakeholder and more like a bully.

 

In the South China Sea, we have seen the latest example of a trend toward more assertive behavior. China's land reclamation and construction activities on multiple islands across the Spratly chain and the potential command and control surveillance and military capabilities it could bring to bear from these new land features are a challenge to the interests of the United States and the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Such unilateral efforts to change the status quo through force, intimidation, or coercion threaten the peace and stability that have extended prosperity across the Asia-Pacific for seven decades.

 

As I wrote in a letter together with my colleagues Senator Reed, Corker, and Menendez, the United States must work together with like- minded partners and allies to develop and employ a comprehensive strategy that aims to shape China's coercive peacetime behavior. This will not be easy and will likely have impacts on other areas of our bilateral relationship.

 

But if China continues to pursue a coercive and escalatory approach to the resolution of maritime disputes, the cost to regional security and prosperity as well as to American interests will only grow.

 

I'm also concerned by the recent assessment from Admiral Bill Gortney, the head of NORAD and Northern Command, that North Korea has an operational, road-mobile missile that could carry nuclear weapons to the United States.

 

General Scaparrotti, I look forward to hearing your assessment of this potential breakthrough and the implications of our -- to our national security, if the erratic and unpredictable regime of Kim Jong Un achieves the ability to carry out a nuclear strike against our homeland.

 

I thank the witnesses and look forward to their testimony.

 

Senator Reed?

 

REED: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me join you in welcoming Admiral Locklear and General Scaparrotti.

 

Thank you, gentlemen, for your service and sacrifice and that of your family. And particularly convey to your men and women under your commands our deep -- deepest appreciation for what they do every day.

 

On Tuesday we had an extremely insightful hearing on some of the challenges we face in the Asia-Pacific region. The consensus from the panel is that we face some very serious challenges, especially in light of China's increasing military budget and destabilizing activities in the region.REED: And one of the biggest challenges will be to continue to provide, as we have for 70 years, security, stability and free transit in the Pacific, particularly, as Senator McCain emphasized, with pending sequestration in the face of declining resources that we have. And I echo his call for the end of sequestration.

 

Admiral Locklear, we'd be very interested in your views about the land reclamation activities of China in the Spratlys and elsewhere. That is something, as the chairman has noted, that we both, along with Senator Menendez and Corker, objected to, or at least criticized.

 

What more, also, must we do to build a capacity of our partners in the region to help them with their maritime-domain awareness and to encourage all the regional actors to seek legal redress to problems, not to invoke lethal threats with respect to sovereignty and respect to stability in the region?

 

As the chairman indicated, Admiral Gortney's comments this weekend -- and I will quote him, as he said, "North Korea," quote, "has the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland." Quite disturbing.

 

And General Scaparrotti, would you, in your comments or questions, please let us know about the dimensions of this threat as it exists today and if it might evolve in the future?

 

Again, we thank you, because the North Koreans appear to be not only, unfortunately, well-armed but very difficult to predict their behaviors, and your views and insights would be extremely important.

 

Also, if you could comment on the possible deployment of a THAAD missile defense system and its contribution in defense of our allies, the Republic of South Korea.

 

We are considering all of these challenges, once again, under the constraint of serious budget limitations. And Admiral Locklear and General Scaparrotti, please indicate to us the impact of the sequestration on your operations. It would be very helpful, I think.

 

Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

MCCAIN: I thank the witnesses.

 

Admiral Locklear?

 

LOCKLEAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Reed and distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today with General Scaparrotti.

 

Before we begin, I'd like to ask my written statement be submitted for the record.

 

MCCAIN: Without objection.

 

LOCKLEAR: For more than three years, I've had the honor and privilege of leading the exceptional men and women, military and civilian, of the United States Pacific Command.

 

These volunteers are skilled professionals dedicated to the defense of our nation. They're serving as superb ambassadors to represent the values, the strengths that make our nation great.

 

I want to go on record to formally thank them for -- for their service and their families for their sacrifices.

 

In U.S. PACOM, we continue to strengthen alliances, our partnerships, maintain an assured presence in the region and demonstrate an intent and resolve to safeguard U.S. national interest.

 

When I spoke to you last year, I highlighted my concern for several issues that could challenge the security environment across the Indo-Asia Pacific.

 

Those challenges included responding to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, dealing with an increasingly dangerous and unpredictable North Korea, a challenge that General Scaparrotti and I remain aligned in addressing, a continued escalation of complex territorial disputes, increasing regional transnational threats and the complexity associated with China's continued rise.

 

In the past year, these challenges have not eased. They will not go away soon. But the Asia rebalance strategy has taken hold, and it's achieving intended goals.

 

However, the greatest challenge remains the continual physical uncertainty resulting from sequestration. If the Budget Control Act remains enforced, the greatest challenge in the Indo-Asia Pacific will be dealing with the consequences to the security of our national interest as we respond to a rapidly changing world.

 

I echo the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the service chiefs' testimony before Congress. Our nation is being forced into a resource-driven national-security strategy instead of one properly resourced and driven by our enduring interest.

 

In the Indo-Asia Pacific, we're accepting more risk, not less. Sequestration will force harmful reductions in force size, structure and readiness that will reduce my ability to manage crisis space, provide options to the president and diminishes United States prestige and credibility in the region and around the globe.

 

In the last year, the great -- at great expense to the readiness of the surge force's position in the continental United States, PACOM has been able to maintain its forward forces focused on protecting the homeland, deterring aggressors, such as North Korea, strengthening alliances and partnerships and developing the concepts and capabilities required remain dominant in a world that is growing in complexity with threats that continue to increase against a seemingly unending stream of constraints.

 

Without adequate resources, we will be forced to make difficult choices today that will have strategic consequences to our future.

 

I'd like to thank the committee for your continued interest and support. I look forward to your questions.

 

SCAPARROTTI: Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed and distinguished members of the committee, I'm honored to testify today as the commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea.

 

On behalf of the service members, civilians, contractors and their families, who serve our great nation in the Republic of Korea, one of our most important allies, thank you for your support.

 

I prepared brief opening remarks, but I would like to ask that my written posture statement be entered into the record.

 

Last year, I testified that the combined and joint forces of the United States and Republic of Korea were capable and ready to deter and, if necessary, respond to North Korean threats and actions.

 

Due to our accomplishments in 2014, I report to you that our strong alliance is more capable of addressing the rapidly evolving and increasing asymmetric North Korean threat.

 

In recent years, North Korea's aggressively developed and utilized asymmetric capabilities, such as cyber warfare, nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to advance its interest.

 

To put this in perspective over time, in 2012, my predecessor noted North Korea's advancements in cyber and nuclear capabilities during his opening statement to this committee.

 

A year later, North Korea conducted cyber attacks on South Korea's banks and broadcasting stations, and in 2014, they boldly projected their cyber capabilities against Sony Pictures in the United States in an effort to inflict economic damage and pressure and suppressed free speech.

 

This example represents a trend that is persistent across several North Korean asymmetric capabilities.

 

My top concern is that we will have little to no warning of a North Korean asymmetric provocation, which can start a cycle of action and counteraction leading to unintended escalation. This underscores the need for an alliance -- for the alliance to maintain a high level of readiness and vigilance.

 

Last year, the alliance took significant steps in improving its capabilities and capacities to deter aggression and to reduce its operational risk. But our work is not done.

 

In 2015, we will maintain this momentum by focusing on my top priority: sustaining and strengthening the alliance with an emphasis on our combined readiness.

 

This includes ensuring a rapid flow of ready forces into Korea and the early phases of hostilities and improving ISR capabilities and critical munitions.

 

Chairman, the return of sequestration would negatively impact these priorities, reduce readiness and delay deployment of the forces required to defend the Republic of Korea and U.S. interest. In crisis on the peninsula, this will result more military and civilian casualties for the Republic of Korea and the United States and potentially place the mission at risk.

 

The men and women serving on freedom's frontier, defending the Republic of Korea, remain thankful for this committee's unwavering support in prioritizing resources that enable us to defend our national interest in Asia while advancing universal values and international order.

 

I'm extremely proud of our service members, civilians and their families serving in the Republic of Korea, who never lose site of the fact that we are at freedom's frontier, defending one of our most important allies and vital American interests.

 

Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.

 

MCCAIN: Thank you very much.

 

General, I mentioned in my remarks Admiral Gortney said that North Korea has an operational road-mobile missile that could carry nuclear weapons to the United States. Do you agree with that assessment?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I -- I believe that they've had the time and the capability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead. They've stated that they have an intercontinental ballistic missile as a nuclear capability. They've paraded it. And I think as a commander, we must assume that they have that capability.

 

MCCAIN: Admiral?

 

LOCKLEAR: I would agree with that assessment. I mean, we haven't seen them effectively test it, but we -- you know, as commanders, all the indications are that we have to be prepared to defend the homeland from it, and we're taking actions to do that.

 

MCCAIN: Those actions are?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, first, we work -- in PACOM, we work very closely with NORTHCOM to ensure that the defensive capabilities of our ballistic missile systems are optimized. Forces forward in the theater that I and General Scaparrotti have command of are integral to that. Our ability in the region to partner with our Japanese allies and our South Korean allies to -- to bring the BMD capabilities to bear has been productive. And in addition, we've been in discussions about the potential deployment of additional THAAD battery, beyond the one that's in Guam but on the Korean Peninsula.

 

MCCAIN: General, this is rather disturbing, particularly given the unpredictability of this overweight young man in North Korea. Is that...

 

SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. That's...

 

MCCAIN: Is that -- is that a disturbing factor?

 

SCAPARROTTI: That's a disturbing factor, sir.

 

And I think -- you know, I believe that Kim Jong Un is unpredictable. He has a mind that he can intimidate. He does that with provocations. He's -- he's committed provocations this year.

 

So I think it's a great concern given the leadership there, as well.

 

MCCAIN: Let's talk about China and the reclamation.

 

Admiral, we, from time to time, put a picture up of the areas that are reclaimed by China out in the East China Sea -- or South China Sea, and the problem is our pictures don't keep up with their activities.

 

It's my information that they have now, in the last year, filled in some 600 acres of land and are constructing runways and possibly artillery and missile defense systems.MCCAIN: The Congressional Research Service -- Congressional Research Service on April 6 asked you to report on this issue. And I quote their report, saying, quote, "the publicly visible current U.S. strategy for dissuading China from continuing its land reclamation activities appears to focus primarily on having U.S. officials make statements expressing the U.S. view that China should stop these activities on the grounds that they are destabilizing and inconsistent with commitments China has made under the non-binding 2002 DOC."

 

Do you know anything else about our strategy concerning China's continued expanding and filling in these areas, which are international waters? And how great a threat do you -- do you -- does that appear to you, Admiral, as far as long-term threat to our commitment to freedom of the seas?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well, the -- the overall U.S. strategy I think is -- goes way beyond the military component of what I deal with each day, and so I only make recommendations on the military side. So I'd refer the policy decisions about how we deal...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MCCAIN: And your recommendations are?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, in general, where you find that the U.S. has a clear policy on how it feels about something, military solutions or diplomatic solutions become easier for that.

 

The policy we have in the South China Sea, as I understand it today, is as we take globally on territorial disputes, we don't take sides on those territorial disputes, that there's -- but that we do want them worked out in peaceful, non-coercive ways in legal matters.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MCCAIN: ... over time impede our ability to navigate through those areas?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well, I think that -- given the fact that my view of all the claimants in the South China Sea, and some of them -- they all own some of these land features and -- and -- and have different postures.

 

MCCAIN: We don't fill in areas of some 600 acres, either.

 

LOCKLEAR: No, sir. No, they don't. And so my assessment is that all the claimants, except for China, are just kind of doing what they agreed to in 2002, is they're just maintaining them while the legal process is -- would work out.

 

The Chinese, however, are doing much different than that. They're -- obviously, as you stated, it's been aggressive. I think it's been how fast they've been able to do it has been actually astonishing. They're building a network of outposts to enforce control over most of the South China Sea.

 

The Southeast Asian nations are increasingly worried that the PRC's new capabilities will allow China to take de facto control of the surrounding waters, places like Fiery Cross Reef, where they're putting in a runway. I mean, just in the last 10 months, it went from a barely noticeable feature to now having a -- a deep-water port on it and a -- and a potential runway.

 

This will allow the PRC to, number one, to improve their ability to put their maritime security force down there, which is the equivalent to a coast guard or a fisheries patrol, which is going to be the magnitude of -- of the size of the PRC's capabilities is if you take all the -- the -- the Southeast Asian countries' coast guards and put them together, it's still a smaller number than what China has been able to produce.

 

I have also observed that they've taken what would have been considered a couple of years ago gray-hulled warships and painted them white and turned them into maritime security craft.

 

So it has been astonishing. And to get -- we -- we portray this, I think, try to to the PRC, to China, and their response is generally, well, this is our sovereign territory and stay out of our business, which is for them to enforce their nine-dashed (ph) line claim.

 

So the implications are if this activity continues at pace, is that it -- those would give them de facto control, I think, in peacetime, of the -- much of the world's most important waterways where much of the world's economic energy is created. It would -- if they desired, it would in the future give them an opportunity to have outposts to put long-range detection radars in there, to place -- to put more warships. They could put warplanes to enforce potential down the road air defense zones.

 

So those are the kinds of areas where we have to think about. And it certainly complicates the security environment. So far, the ASEAN nations who have tried to work with China on this to develop a code of conduct, in my view has been not produced very much at all. In fact, you know, the ASEAN is an effective diplomatic organization, but it's not designed to handle these security issues that pop up.

 

So I think we've got to watch this situation very carefully.

 

REED: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

 

And General Scaparrotti, we have very complicated relations with the Chinese and particularly in the context of North Korea. To what degree do you have sort of a contingency plan to communicate with them if there's a provocation, a serious provocation by the North Koreans that would introduce the idea of -- of using force?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. Well, you know, as we, even in our exercises, one of the first priorities is communications with China if there's conflict on the peninsula. And so we exercise that in communications even in our exercises, and of course, it's very important for us to understand that and ensure that they understand our intent.

 

REED: Now that's one side of the equation. The other side of the equation is to the extent that they're facilitating some of these activities by the North Koreans, particularly cyber, do you have any sort of sense of that degree of facilitation?

 

And the general question is, you know, they have to appreciate the instability of this regime, the irrationality of the regime. They like the -- the buffer between South Korea. They like the -- because they're affecting our behavior and disturbing us. But they have to, I hope, realize is the danger of, you know, looking the other way. Is that...?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. And I think they do. My sense is, and those who have had conversations with them, I haven't talked to their military directly, but that they also are concerned and have some frustrations with the Kim regime.

 

I -- in terms of cyber, you specifically asked that question. You know, we know that -- that North Korea has some of their cyber activities take place in China. But I don't know and I haven't seen intelligence that'll lead me to believe that they've had a direct relationship with North Korea in their cyber development.

 

REED: And just finally, and then this spans not just the military capacity but diplomatic capacity, are there efforts to try to move the -- the -- the Chinese government to be more proactive in terms of -- with financial pressures, with diplomatic pressures, to -- to at least demonstrate to the North Korean regime that, you know, they can't do these things?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, there has been.

 

REED: Admiral Locklear, you described the situation in the south Pacific and the southeast Pacific as one where China is exerting itself (ph). The witnesses in the last panel suggested that in terms of the north Pacific, Korea and Japan, et cetera, we're fairly well positioned against potential operational threats. But that's not the case in the -- in the -- in the southern Pacific and the southeast Pacific, is that fair?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. It's a -- it's a large region. You know, as we talked about the beginning of the whole rebalance discussion was trying to move ourselves from what had been a post-Cold War to a kind of location in northeast Asia and to bring that to be more relevant to the security challenges throughout the region.

 

So a number of initiatives. One is that we, with our Filipino allies, have reinvigorated that alliance and are looking at -- at the capabilities to improve -- help them improve their minimum defense, but also to improve access to the region to ensure better security.

 

We've opened partnerships with nations in -- in Southeast Asia that we probably wouldn't have considered possible in the last couple decades -- Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, countries that have become increasingly important to the security of the region and to the global security environment.

 

REED: As the -- the Chinese are creating these artificial islands in the Pacific, there are a lot of real geographic islands that our allies control. Are we thinking about, in conjunction with our allies, positioning forces forward in effect using the islands as sort of a -- a way to deny, you know, oceans to the Chinese as they appear are trying to do to us?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I wouldn't go into the specifics of where we would -- where our planning would take us in this forum, sir. But I would say that, first what we're doing is we're ensuring that the -- the five alliances that we have there are set right for the security that -- the security environment we're going to see ourselves in in this century.

 

And we're encouraging -- and to their credit, most of them are spending money and spending money on defense assets. And are -- and they want the things that allow them to be able to be complementary to us. So we're -- we are working hard in that area.

 

REED: Final question, Admiral Locklear. Admiral Roughead was here on Tuesday and indicated that one of the clear advantages we have is our submarine fleet in the Pacific. In fact, he recommended doubling the number of deployed submarines. Is that your view also in terms of -- particularly with their aerial denial, their surface capabilities, is that your view also?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well, as I've said in this forum before, we have the best submarines in the world. We continue, I think, to -- to outpace the rest of the world in that capability. I -- in my AOR, they are essential to any operations that I have, both in peacetime and in crisis and contingency.

 

I have concern about the size of the submarine force as we go into this -- the middle of this century. And our -- and its ability to remain relevant globally. Plus we're going to have to -- to figure out this replacement of our strategic nuclear submarine force, which is the most survivable leg of our triad. And the importance of that as we -- as we see the -- the modernization of strategic nuclear capabilities in both countries like China and Russia.

 

REED: Just finally, the submarine appears to be the only weapon system that still can approach virtually to the shores of China and deliver, if necessary, weapons. Is that -- is that true?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, sir, I wouldn't say it's the only system.

 

REED: OK. That -- that's even more encouraging. Thank you so much.MCCAIN: Senator Inhofe?

 

INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Look, first of all, Admiral Locklear, let me thank you, again, for the hospitality you afforded us and our whole group when we were in Hawaii and we laid the wreath on the Memorial of the USS Oklahoma. That was -- you went out of your -- beyond your call of duty.

 

On that same trip, we went to South Korea. And at that time, I recall in some of our meetings there, they were talking about the use of a, what now, the -- banning the use of the cluster munition switch had been very effective. In fact, that's probably the place where they were -- because of the proximity between North Korea and South Korea, where they were most effectively used at that time.

 

Now we have a policy which is a self-imposed policy. I'm not criticizing it. I know the reasons for it. But we're being forced to discontinue that. And I'd like to ask you, what are we doing in the place to perform those functions, those missions that we were depending on upon the clusters?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. As you know, the cluster munitions, as you indicated, very important to our plans and particularly on the Peninsula, if there were crisis. There's presently work under way to replace our present munitions with those that will provide the same effects, but with less -- you know, with meeting their requirements -- meeting the requirements of the treaty and -- in essence, less than 1 percent dead rate.

 

INHOFE: Mm-hmm. You're talking about -- you've both talked about the increase in the casualties, as a result of some of the lack in the abilities to use some of the equipment we've used in the past. Is this something that could expose more risk and more casualties by not having this capability and not replacing it for something as effective?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Absolutely. It's a critical component of our planning on the Peninsula.

 

INHOFE: OK. Let me -- I know the both of you agree with this statement that was made by James Clapper, so we don't need to rehash all that, when we said looking back over, by now, more than half a century of intelligence would not experience a time when we've been beset by more crises and threats around the globe. I think both of you agree with that. You've stated that in the past. I'd like to get in -- in kind of the remainder of the time, Admiral Locklear, talking about the submarines thing. Senator Rounds and I were on the USS Carl Vinson last week, without having any details in this setting, they were very busy. We're now down to 10 submarines. Admiral Roughead said on Friday that we're going to have to be moving one or we should move one of those into the Pacific.

 

Now my question would be -- and Admiral Locklear, I think it was a year ago before HASC, you were quite outspoken in the fact that we should have 11 areas to carry out the mission. We still -- do you still feel that way?

 

LOCKLEAR: I do. Yes, sir. I do.

 

INHOFE: You'd like to get back to that, wouldn't you?

 

LOCKLEAR: I'd like to get back to it. I mean, we've -- I think the Navy is undergoing a bathtub -- I call a "bathtub of readiness" now because we delayed through the war years, we've delayed readiness -- maintenance on these nuclear aircraft carriers. So on one hand, they are magnificent machines. On the other hand, you have to take care of them correctly to make sure they're safe.

 

INHOFE: Yeah.

 

LOCKLEAR: And so, we'll be enduring that, I think, for the next five to six years before we get back to where we're at the level we need to be, I think, for kind of day-to-day operations in my AOR.

 

INHOFE: Mm-hmm. Well, of course maintenance and modernization are the first two things to go when you're faced with what we've been faced with. And I -- in the event that you do move one into -- into the Asia-Pacific area, where would it come from? What kind of a vacuum would be left behind in other AORs?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that decision would have to be made at the Secretary of Defense level. But we have -- you know, generally, we have 11 aircraft carriers. And out of that 11, we -- they generate a global presence of some number, kind of for day-to-day operations and another level that would be able to surge in times of crisis or in times of conflict.

 

I think that aircraft carriers are probably best suited for the types of missions that we do in the Asia-Pacific today. And where it would come from, I can't say. But my guess is it would probably come out of the Middle East, given that that's been the primary demand signal for a carrier presence in the last decade and a half.

 

INHOFE: Now in Senator Reid's -- in your final response to his last question, it came to my mind that -- the carrier capability. Well, that's very helpful. And I -- but I'd like to have, for the record, something in a little bit more detail, because some of us are not as familiar as we should be with that capability. In fact, I'm going down to Norfolk this weekend to try to become a little bit more informed on this. So if you could, for the record, try to come out with where we might have the capacity where we could afford to move something into the Pacific and then how busy everybody is at the present time? It'd be helpful.

 

LOCKLEAR: All right, sir.

 

MCCAIN: Senator Hirono.

 

HIRONO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service and, of course, the service of the men and women who serve under your commands. And Admiral Locklear, my very best to you in your future endeavors. Thank you very much for being PACOM commander.

 

Admiral Locklear, I know that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spent, as I understand it, a day with you. And so, are -- were the discussion that you had with -- reflective of the priorities you've laid out in your testimony today?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, ma'am.

 

HIRONO: You did mention that with everything that is going on in South and East China Seas and the provocation of North Korea, that we do need to strengthen our alliances with our partners and also establish new relationships.

 

And in this regard, despite historical differences, last December, the U.S., South Korea and Japan signed an information- sharing arrangement in what appears to have been a first step in what Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken calls, and I quote, "a profoundly positive trajectory," end quote.

 

Admiral, please discuss the relationships between South Korea and Japan and the challenges we faced in furthering a trilateral, U.S.- Japan-South Korea alliance?

 

LOCKLEAR: The challenges we face, from my perspective, are primarily political and social challenges. On the military side, the militaries, if allowed, are able to work together for -- I think, for the common good of the security in Northeast Asia, in particular.

 

The impediments what's happened, thus far, is because of the political pressure to not have true information-sharing agreements between Japan and Korea limit our ability to allow this to bring together in a trilateral way that optimizes the forces that they've invested in and we've invested in and particularly in critical areas such as ballistic missile defense, et cetera.

 

So I highly encourage both Korea and Japan to move forward at the highest level of governments with the types of agreements that allow us to optimize the military capability that this trilateral arrangement can bring.

 

HIRONO: So the information-sharing arrangement that was agreed to, you're saying that that is not enough? It's not what you would consider a true information-sharing arrangement?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, it is a good start. HIRONO: Again to you, Admiral. Many countries within the Indo- Asia Pacific region are increasing their defense capabilities. China is procuring submarines quickly, and we've heard all of this, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore and Australia have been shoring up their military capabilities. Malaysia and Indonesia have a couple of more submarines. And Vietnam recently announced the purchase of Russian- made submarines. How would the continued growth of the region's submarine fleet impact the balance of power within the South China Sea region? Does this cause us to adjust our strategies or our basing decisions, if growth continues on its current trajectory?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, the Indo-Asia Pacific Region or the PACOM region is the most militarized part of the world. And it's increasing in its militarization because most of the countries there have the resources now and the will and the desire to grow their militaries.

 

Those that have military capability to actually operate a submarine force are pursuing that because they understand the asymmetric advantages that it brings. They understand the ability for access in area denial capabilities that submarines bring. And they also recognize the significant deterrent value that submarines bring. So my numbers are -- roughly are, there's about 300 submarines in the world that aren't U.S. submarines, 200 of them are in the Indo-Asia Pacific.

 

Now some of those are owned by our partners and allies, but many of them are not. And so the increasing number of submarines that have increasing lethality, increasing quieting technology certainly does change the dynamic of how we have to operate in that -- in the area the type of tactics and procedures and operational concepts that we have to develop to ensure we remain dominant.

 

But I look at it as like a fact of life. It's going happen.

 

HIRONO: Mm-hmm.

 

LOCKLEAR: And we have to deal with it.

 

HIRONO: So in our dealing with it, though, especially with our partner, with our allies, does this require us to be very much more collaborative and to share information so that we're on the same page, so to speak, in that part of the world?

 

LOCKLEAR: It does. It not only requires us to share bilaterally more in a particularly difficult environment undersea and maritime domain, but it also requires them to be able to share with their other neighbors that have that capacity as well. And as you know, in the Indo-Asia Pacific, those multilateral organizations don't exist to facilitate that. So we're seeing the growth of that, but it's a work in progress.

 

HIRONO: Thank you.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.(UNKNOWN): Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen, for your service.

 

We have a memo here, talking about noteworthy challenges in the Pacific Area. And they list, of course, North Korea as the most dangerous and predictable challenge and I'm sure both of you agree with that. But also territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, natural disasters, including weather and disease, violent extremism, transnational crime, Russian intent and Chinese intent. Are there any of these gentlemen that would not involve a need to deliver our Marines quickly and effectively through amphibious ships, Admiral?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I think it's -- historically the Marine Corps is a cornerstone of the force structure that we have in the Asia-Pacific. I mean, its uniquely suited for large archipelagos, large sea spaces. It uses the sea as a -- as a -- highways to move around on. And it's -- I can't -- of all the ones you listed there, I can't think of one that the Marine Corps does not play as a part of the joint force in a significant way.

 

So, yes, they do play in all of those.

 

The question not whether or not they have enough lift, the answer to that's no. We don't have enough lift. And I've said this before, we've got to -- not only is it our -- the number of amphibious ships that we can build in our own shipyards, but we've got to look at connectors. We've got to look at the types of alternative platforms that'll allow us to operate in more unique security environments.

 

(UNKNOWN): Connectors. Connectors and alternatives.

 

LOCKLEAR: Connectors and alternatives. I mean, connectors are like joint high-speed vessels that move Marines and troops around faster. There's -- so it also gets into the whole issue of how do you -- in huge crisis, in large crisis, what is your military sea lift command? What is the condition of that?

 

(UNKNOWN): Well, I want the General to get a crack at this question, too. But -- but let's talk about that. We understand that we have a requirement for 50 amphibious ships. Is that correct?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I don't know that I would -- I heard the number 50. I think you'd have to go back to the Department of the Navy for them to calculate globally how many they need.

 

But when we've had a greater pressure on our amphibious force, particularly in - - when we have operations in the Middle East that now require us to -- to put Marine units in -- in position to be able to monitor things like embassy safety and for embassy extraction in various hotspots.

 

So all that's put a demand of signal that's pulled the amphibious...

 

(UNKNOWN): Very real contingency that happens.

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir.

 

(UNKNOWN): Well, OK, the information I have is that we have a requirement for 50 and we only have 30 amphibs in our inventory. And of those ships, approximately 15 to 20 are operationally available. Would you say that that is pretty close to being correct information, Admiral? 30 in the inventory and 15 to 20 operational?

 

LOCKLEAR: 30 is about my understanding of it.

 

(UNKNOWN): OK.

 

LOCKLEAR: In operation availability, depending on how they define it, I mean, my AOR I have an amphibious readiness group that's -- that's in west of the dateline all the time that's available on a much greater basis than that. But globally I would say that's probably about right.

 

(UNKNOWN): General, let's let you weigh in on this and how would the effectiveness of our Marines be diminished if there are insufficient amphibious ships to get them delivered effectively?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I would just say this, that they're very important to me in the peninsula for rapid response. And they're a critical part of all of our plans. Operating on the peninsula, it's the Marine Corps and their ability to -- to be lifted quickly to different places. They provide me agility. It's the quickest, kind of the most succinct way to put it.

 

I am very concerned about the -- the amount of lift available in order to support our plans and the maintenance of that lift, as well.

 

(UNKNOWN): Now so if we -- if we don't have enough amphibs, the connectors alone are not a solution, are they?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Well, sir, you know, we've looked at alternative methods of -- and -- and the use of alternate ships in order to help us with the delivery of Marines. I can be more specific, you know, in a -- in a response for the record as to how we look at our planning.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you very much and thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

MCCAIN: Senator Heinrich?

 

HEINRICH: Mr. Chairman, thank you.

 

Admiral Locklear, I want to start with a little bit on missile defense. And obviously the Asia-Pacific is of critical importance to the U.S., both economically and strategically. Yet the current security environment in your combatant command is increasingly complex. Countries in the region continue to invest in greater quantities of ballistic missiles with extended range and new capabilities.

 

While I think we should continue to invest in missile defense programs that have proven effective, I also think we should be investing in left of launch and other non-kinetic means of defense.

 

Given the vast number of incoming missiles that an adversary could use to potentially overwhelm U.S. missile defense systems, I want to get your thoughts on what steps are being taken in the realm of left of launch technologies like electronic warfare, cyber, that could blind, deceive, or destroy enemy sensors before they actually launch.

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, Senator, I agree very much with your assessment that -- that the ballistic missile defense threat grows because of the ability for them to -- for people to produce ballistic missiles at greater distances, that have greater distances and have greater accuracies and have multiple reentry vehicles and those types of things that complicate the problem.

 

And that you can't build enough interceptors to take them all out. You just can't -- you're in tail chase (ph) that you can't do.

 

That said, I think there is a good place for a good solid amount of ballistic missile defense. It's a deterrent. It buys decision space. it makes the decision for whoever's going to fire at you a lot harder for them to make. And when they do, it gives your troops that are in the way of them some confidence that at least they'll be able to get through the first few minutes of this thing before we have to take other action.

 

So we are working left of launch and -- and thinking differently about how we would -- how we would attack this particular problem. One of the things that is not just about EW and cyber. Those events are being worked. And I won't go into them in this particular forum, but they are being pursued.

 

But it's also more about thinking differently about how you employ your forces and at what trigger points would you do things like a dispersal of your force in a different way throughout the region? How would you do selective hardening of places that would -- and put in place things like rapid runway repair kits in the places where you have to have them?

 

Through this body, ya'll have allowed us to go forward with some of those initiatives in some of the places that we have in the Asia- Pacific. The hardening of some fuel heads and those types of things make -- can make a big difference. So left of launch is a priority for us.

 

HEINRICH: Let me ask a question that sort of overlays on that in terms of emerging technologies. What's your assessment at this point on the value of directed energy systems to support defeating missile threats?

 

And do you think that directed energy should be a priority for -- for the research and development community, given the advancements in the last couple of years?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, we've seen some progress. I think the Navy has some directed energy systems that are employed (ph) in operations routinely that have proven effective, at least in the tactical area.

 

I'm in favor of directed energy weapons if they get the job done, if the technology is there. I kind of live in the -- the here and now problem. And I project -- and hopefully project in the future what we -- we might need. Directed energy, if it solves -- if it's a good solid solution set for the types of threat we're facing, then we should pursue it.

 

HEINRICH: Speaking of -- of the here and now, are you -- are you familiar with CHAMP, the Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project?

 

LOCKLEAR: I am familiar with it.

 

HEINRICH: What -- what kind of value do you think that could bring to the theater?

 

LOCKLEAR: I think if it was properly tested and then fielded, that it would be something that would be of a -- of a -- of interest and benefit.

 

HEINRICH: Thank you very much. I'll yield back, Mr. Chair.

 

MCCAIN: Senator Fischer?

 

FISCHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Thank you, gentlemen, for being here today.

 

General, in your prepared remarks, you talk about North Korea's emphasis on asymmetric capabilities, especially its missiles and its cyber threats.

 

Can you elaborate on North Korea's ballistic missile and cyber programs and discuss what the command is doing to counter them? And then can you let us know how do you see their investment in these areas impacting your needs in the future?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Thank you, Senator.

 

Well, first of all, North Korea has focused its resources within its military on their asymmetric capabilities, which are -- are several. And probably the most important are the ballistic missile nuclear. We discussed the nuclear here. You know, we've seen a number of indicators of how they're advancing their nuclear capabilities. And then within their missile force, they have more than several hundred ballistic missiles. The predominance of those are close-range and short-range ballistic missiles that affect or influence the peninsula. But they've also deployed both mediate and intermediate range that influence the region. And of course the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile has an impact here on homeland security in the United States.

 

They have not slowed down at this. We've seen, as you've seen, this past year, they demonstrated their capabilities and conducted tests. They had more missile events or launches in '14 than they've had in the previous five years together, each of these being a -- you know, a violation of the -- of the U.N. SCRs.

 

We -- we have been taking steps both in, you know, material capability in terms of our ballistic missile defense to counter that, as well as work with the Republic of Korea and their ballistic missile defense. They just recently funded an upgrade to their Patriot-2 to PAC-3s, which is very important.

 

We're working with them closely in terms of interoperability. And we're also working with them on their material solutions, particularly, you know, their -- their air missile defense center and system that they've recently established. We're working closely on that.

 

And then, finally, as the Admiral just noted, you know, we look at the posture of our force, the preparation of our force and our plans, and all of those things. In the last couple of years it's been rather dynamic in order to change as our threat in North Korea changes.FISCHER: And as we talk about missile defense, how do you interpret China and their vocal opposition to placing a THAAD battery on that peninsula?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Well, personally (ph), I think -- you know, I think this is a -- a decision for South Korea, having to do with the defense of their country and from my perspective as a commander there, defense of our troops.

 

FISCHER: But do you think that they are narrowly focused on missile defense or do you think they're trying to maybe exert some greater influence over the Republic of Korea's defensive strategy as a whole?

 

SCAPARROTTI: I think it's a greater influence that the THAAD system, if employed, is focused on the defense of the Peninsula. That's what it is specialized to do. It doesn't have any influence beyond that.

 

FISCHER: So that would improve their defenses then again North Korea, correct?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Yes, ma'am, it would.

 

FISCHER: And do you think that South Korea and the United States would push against the Chinese reaction to that?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Well, ma'am, you know, this is -- the decision process is under way right now. And it is -- I can discuss from a military perspective. But you know, from a political and strategic perspective, I think both countries are taking that into consideration right now, in terms of the other impacts that have to do with the employment of Fed on the Peninsula?

 

FISCHER: And as we look at the North Koreans and their missiles, are they moving away from their more traditional conventional forces which they have, what is it, the fourth-largest in the world now? Are they moving away from that?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Ma'am, I wouldn't say they're moving away from it. I think they've changed their strategy that it is the fourth-largest military in the world. It's a very large conventional force that's postured forward along the DMZ. So it is -- it's still a very present and dangerous threat. But they're not resourcing it in the same way that they had in the past. So we've seen a reduction in their capability conventionally. FISCHER: Thank you, General.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

Admiral, we had some fascinating testimony two days ago on this subject. I commend the record to you. One of the pieces of testimony was the historical record of the confrontation between a rising power and an existing power.

 

Graham Allison from Harvard called it the Thucydides's trap, where in 12 of 16 instances in world history where you had a rapidly rising power confronting and established power ended in war, and there -- obviously, that's a daunting observation. There has never been a power that has risen as far and as fast as China in the last 25 years. Do you see military conflict with China in any way inevitable? But given the Thucydides's trap, how can we avoid it?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I don't think that conflict is inevitable. I think that the world we're in today is probably a different world than the ones we've been in before when a great power rose. The effects of globalization and economic globalization and the movement of people, the interconnectedness of banks, of industry of all these things that you know very well about, I think have made it imperative that we understand the rise of China and that we, to some degree, accommodate the rise of China to where we can to attempt to shape the rise of China.

 

I've said on many occasions that a China that would -- and a China with a military that would come forward as a net provider of security, rather than a net user of security would be beneficial to not only the region, but would be beneficial to us, as well. And I think that's an achievable goal. I think that it has to be looked at at how do we deal with China globally in global institutions from their role in the United Nations to how they're behaving and conducting themselves in other regions of the world and how we interact with them there.

 

I also think it will require us to have a pinpoint focused on how we see their influence in this region that we've been talking about today, which is primarily East -- Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. And to understand -- we have to try to understand what their side of the equation is. And to be honest with you, some of the things they've done are quite -- aren't really clear today.

 

So you know, we always get into a debate about whether we should continue mil-to-mil, if we're unhappy with the things they're doing -- mil-to-mil engagement. I am a proponent of continuing to take some risks there. Because there is benefit in us continuing to have dialog, to try to establish those types of frameworks that allow us to communicate with each other in crisis.

 

We've had some good work with the PRC lately of building some confidence-building measures that allow us to understand how to operate with each other in these constrained waterways so that we don't have a bunch of lieutenants and captains and commanders of ships out there making, you know, bad decisions that might escalate us to something that we didn't -- that escalate us into a Thucydides' trap. So we need to, I think, continue to keep engaging them. I think we need to be forthright about how we feel about these things and what the U.S. position is on behavior and when it doesn't match what our allies and our partners and our value systems support.

 

(UNKNOWN): Well, clearly, in recent years, the thrust of the Chinese has been economic. But in even more recent years, it's been military, as you have testified today. It's tremendous growth in subsurface, everything else. What do you make of these actions which, can only be characterized as aggressive, building islands off the shore and increased patrols in the South China Sea? What do you read into that, in terms of China's military or expansionist intentions?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well, I think it -- the Chinese communicate to us pretty clear what they're doing. They see themselves as a renewing power. They have the assets to build a military. They are building, particularly in the Army -- I mean, the Navy and the Air Force, because they understand the importance of protection of the global areas that -- and you're starting to see them operate global in different places, which they didn't operate years ago.

 

They've told us, over and over again, that they believe that the nine-dash line in the South China sea is their historic territorial waters. They have, as far as I understand, they've refused to participate in international legal venues. You know, the Filipinos have a case that they U.N. Law of the Sea Convention Tribunal now to challenging the nine-dash line. And as far as I know, the Chinese have refused to participate in that. And so, what they are doing is they're -- through what they articulate as peaceful means, they are building these land reclamations. They're establishing their position in the South China Sea, which opens their options for down the road, as this situation continues to unfold.

 

(UNKNOWN): I'm out of time. A one-word answer. Do you believe it would be beneficial to the United States to accede to the Law of the Sea Treaty?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

And gentlemen, thanks for your testimony and your service. Admiral Locklear, thank you for hosting me a couple weeks ago. Appreciate the time. Please send my regards to your staff. Three hours on a Saturday is well above and beyond the call of duty for anybody. So let them know how much I appreciate that.

 

You know, I've been critical of many aspects of the President's national security strategy, in part, because I think we've lacked credibility. When we say something that we're going to do as a country, we need to do it. And I think in certain areas of the world, we haven't done that. And I think it undermines our national security when we do that.

 

One area of the President's strategy that I have been supportive, both militarily and economically is the Chairman stated about TPP is the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. And I'm -- you know, I believe we need to make sure this rebalance and optimization of our military forces in the region is credible. We're saying that we're going to rebalance. We need to actually do it. Do you agree with that?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. I do. And I think that the rebalance goes far beyond just military, though.

 

(UNKNOWN): Right.

 

LOCKLEAR: I think we have to also get our economic house in order, as well. Otherwise all the military rebalancing we do will not have the effect that we want it to have.

 

(UNKNOWN): I agree with that. I appreciate the map, the AOR map. Wanted to talk briefly -- you know, Alaska is no longer in your AOR. But as we discussed, the troops and -- which are significant both in terms of Army BCTs and a very robust Air Force presence, those troops are still OPCON (ph) to you in the event of contingencies, aren't they?

 

LOCKLEAR: That's correct, sir.

 

(UNKNOWN): And how critical do you see these troops -- and General Scaparrotti, please comment -- in the region in terms of not only shaping, but also contingency forces, with regard to your op plans?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, Senator, the forces in our Alaska -- you know, if you take a look at the globe, they're as far west as -- or maybe even farther west, in some cases, than Hawaii is. So the response time that those forces would have into any significant contingency in Northeast Asia or Southeast Asia would -- is quite good and important.

 

That's why the (ph) force, I think, have been OPCON (ph), COCOM, to me for -- to -- PACOM for a long time. There's a variety of forces up there that are important to us. The fighter squadrons that are there, the BCTs that are there, including the ranges. The range complexes that we have in Alaska are very important, because that's where we get our high-end training for some of our hardest types of environments that our aviators may have to fly in.

 

(UNKNOWN): General Scaparrotti, how about you in terms of just the Korean contingency issues?

 

SCAPARROTTI: You know, I agree with Admiral Locklear. We rely on those forces as a part of our quick response, which we'll need in crisis. We also train with them regularly and we also send forces to train there, too. (UNKNOWN): Do you think if we remove one or two BCTs from Alaska, do you think that would show that we're committed to a rebalance or undermine our rebalance commitment? Again, this goes to credibility?

 

SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think that from a perspective of, you know, what the other outcomes were, that from a regional perspective, there would be questions about the loss of troops...

 

(UNKNOWN): And the credibility of our rebalance strategy?

 

SCAPARROTTI: I think you'd have to look at it holistically. I prefer not to take it from just one perspective here. But I think I'd have to understand the remainder of the changes that were taking place if, in fact, that were to happen.

 

(UNKNOWN): Admiral Locklear, do you think that would undermine our rebalance credibility -- two BCTs in the region leaving?LOCKLEAR: Well, yeah -- I would answer it in general terms. I think that any significant force structure moves out of my AOR in the middle of a rebalance would have to be understood and have to be explained because it would be counterintuitive to rebalance to move significant forces in other directions.

 

(UNKNOWN): I agree with that. And I think it's a really important issue as we look at the rebalance as a successful rebalance that's credible.

 

Can I turn to -- I want to also commend you for what you stated and Senator Wicker on the strategic lift issue. I think that that was certainly something I saw on my recent trip that was a concern.

 

We're moving forces to different parts of the region. But the strategic lift seems to be lacking, both Air Force and our capacity. But to get there we need to have a successful lay down.

 

Are you confident that the realignment of forces from Okinawa to Guam and Australia and other places is going to be on schedule in terms of cost and timelines that the department has laid out? I know that's something that this committee, as you know, has been very focused on.

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well you know in the last three years I've had a lot of time to take a look at this and to work through it. And my overall assessment is that we're on plan at this point in time.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

MCCASKILL (?): Admiral, in March the GAO published a report on operational contract support. And I'm nerdy enough about operational contracts that I pay close attention to this stuff.

 

As you know, we wasted billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan because we had not embraced training on contracting as a core capacity of our commands engaged in the contingency. And in that report it indicated that your command is the furthest behind in incorporating operational contract support in its joint training exercises and operation plans.

 

Now, I know that GAO noted that you have taken some recent positive steps to address this. But I'd like you to lay out, if you would, briefly the steps you're taking to include operational contract support in your command's joint training exercises.

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, thank you. Not to make excuses, but I think the reason that we're probably behind is because we haven't had the demand signal that was put on the commanders in the Middle East in the last several wars. And we haven't had that type of a massive rapid build up to support a war effort anywhere.

 

That said, we did recognize that after that report as a deficiency. And we're looking hard at where are those contracted decisions made. How does the commander have visibility to those contracting decisions during the execution of a crisis or an execution of a campaign? Because when a crisis occurs, stuff just starts coming. And that's good. That's what makes us strong.

 

But when it starts coming, at some point in time you have to decide what's enough and what's not enough. And then who's going to be the steward of it down the road, so we're trying to understand the command and control of those contractors and how much the leadership knows, and what they need to know and when.

 

MCCASKILL (?): Well, I think it's so critical that we never lose sight of this contracting oversight and planning and training as a core capacity because we're never going to go back to the day my father peeled potatoes in World War II.

 

We're not going to have our trained war fighters peeling potatoes ever again. And all we have to do is look at the long, ugly saga of all the LOGCAP contracts to realize what happens when contracting is not considered a huge priority. So I appreciate your attention to that.

 

On another note, I know that you are the primary Jammer provider in the Navy for DOD. Could you speak about the role of airborne electronic attacks, and how critical they are? And how critical is the asset of our really only electronic warfare capability that is provided by the Growler?

 

LOCKLEAR: I've been a huge supporter of Growler for my entire Navy career. The transition of the Prowler Squadron, which were so significant in many of our conflicts and provide us with what I thought was an asymmetric advantage in our airspace because of their capabilities. I was glad to see those capabilities and Jammer types of capabilities transition to a -- you know basically a fourth generation plus aircraft that can operate effectively in denied airspaces.

 

So in any campaign that I would envision that would be of a higher end warfare in my AOR, electronic warfare attack provides me battle space that I may have to go fight for. And those Growlers, and to some degree other higher end capabilities that we have are critical to allowing us to have that access.

 

MCCASKILL (?): Finally I want to touch on the stresses that we're feeling on remote piloted aircraft. As you know, Whiteman is the home to the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron. And those pilots and those sensor operators and those intelligence personnel, along with the airmen who are operating the Predator and the Reaper are very important.

 

We are putting incredibly high demands on these folks. I mean they're not getting normal rest. They are not getting time for training. We can't even rotate some of them into a training capacity because the demand is so high.

 

Could you briefly talk about what steps can be taken to alleviate what I think is a critical problem? I mean these guys are -- they are working round the clock and getting very little break. I don't know that we would do this to a traditional war fighter. But we're doing it to these RPAs.

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, the advent of the systems and in the past couple of decades, and the obvious benefit that they've brought to the battle space has put pressure, I think, on the Air Force to be able to produce the types of people and to be able to man them. But unfortunately the demand signal just goes up and up and up.

 

One of the asymmetric strengths of the United States is our ability to sense and understand what's going on. We have the best ISR in the world. But it's way overtaxed for the number of demands we have globally. And that's where it's showing is in the faces and the out working hours of these young people.

 

So we need to rationalize, number one, what are the platforms that we're going to invest in the future. And then build a structure of man, train and equip underneath it that's sustainable.

 

MCCASKILL (?): Yes. I particularly worry because I think we have a tendency to think of these as machines and don't realize the human component of this, and the stresses they have.

 

I mean these guys are manning these things for 10-12 hours and then going home to their families for supper and homework, and then getting up pretty quickly and going back at it. And it's a unique kind of role, and certainly nontraditional as we look at the history of our military.

 

And I just want you to share with your colleagues that talking to some of these folks you know it's clear to me that we need to be thinking about their wellbeing and whether or not we are over utilizing them, and what kind of stresses we're going to see in that personnel. Thank you.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

Thank you, Admiral Locklear and General Scaparroti for being here today, and for your men and women that serve as well. I appreciate it very much. As you know, the DOD is planning to transfer operational controller, OPCON, of South Korea forces to the South Korean government in the event of another conflict on the peninsula.

 

And this OPCON transfer has been discussed for many, many years. It was originally supposed to take place in 2007. It's been delayed many, many times in the past number of years. And it does appear to be currently indefinitely postponed.

 

So can you describe some of those challenges that we're being faced with, and that the South Koreans are facing in their efforts to create conditions which would allow us to successfully do the OPCON transfer...

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, ma'am...

 

(UNKNOWN): ... general?

 

SCAPARROTI: Thank you.

 

As you know, this past October the secretary of Defense and the MINDEF agreed upon a conditional approach to OPCON transition or OPCON transition. In the past it had been focused on a date with capabilities. So in short, I agreed with the change that we made to focus on capabilities and conditions as opposed to shooting for a date.

 

Three general conditions: The first is that South Korea develops the command and control capacity to be able to lead a combined and multinational force in high-intensity conflict. The second is that they have the capabilities to respond to the growing nuclear and missile threat in North Korea. And the third general condition is that this transition takes time -- take place at a time that is conducive to a transition.

 

Now, there's specific capabilities I mentioned that are listed in detail as a part of this -- a part of the agreement. I'll cover generally the main areas.

 

The first was C4, the command and control computers, in terms of their capability there, which I mentioned earlier; ballistic missile defense, generally in their capability there; the munitions that they have to have on hand for us to conduct a high intensity conflict.

 

And then finally, the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets necessary in an environment that is very challenging for ISR. And particularly with the assets and the asymmetric assets that North Korea's developing.

 

So in a nutshell, those are the things that are the challenges that we have as an alliance. And Republic of Korea's focused on enhancing.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you.

 

Admiral, do you have any thoughts? LOCKLEAR: No. I think the dynamic that's most changing in this -- the dialogue about OPCON transfer is the behavior of Kim Jong Un. And so that has to be brought in the calculation as well.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you. And, general, I do agree. Absolutely, it's capabilities versus calendar. We have to look at those capabilities.

 

So realistically, do you think moving forward with OPCON transfers that in the foreseeable future? And if it is, what are the benefits to us then of doing the OPCON transfer?

 

SCAPARROTI: Well, I think it is foreseeable. I don't think it's in the short term. And I think it's of benefit in terms of, you know, our presence in the alliance that we have with Republic of Korea I think is very important for regional security. It plays into global security as well because they've been a very good partner of ours for a number of years.SCAPARROTI: And they're developing a capability. And they've actually employed forces around the world. And they've deployed in support of us as well, in some of the conflicts that we've been involved in.

 

So I think in the long term, the alliance and its development in this regard is good for both countries.

 

(UNKNOWN): Very good. I do know the South Koreans were engaged at Tallil Air Force Base when my trucks were rolling through that area. And we do appreciate their support of those types of efforts.

 

I have very little time left. But I do want to thank you gentlemen for being here today, as well as the service of your men and women.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to the witnesses for your testimony today.

 

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the way you're doing these hearings. I now see the method in the madness to have the strategic hearing a couple of days ago.

 

We had a wonderful hearing with some strategic experts on this topic before we get to ask you questions actually makes this discussion work very well. And I appreciate the chair setting it up that way.

 

Three quick questions, Admiral Locklear: As our military lead in PACOM, describe why U.S. support for the Law of the Sea treaty is something you support. You gave the one-word answer to Senator King. And I'm asking the why question.

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I'll speak about it from the military side, or the sea side...

 

(UNKNOWN): Is there additional elements as well?

 

LOCKLEAR: There are additional elements in it I won't comment on because it's not my area to do. But first of all, it's widely accepted after a lot of years of deliberation by many, many countries, most countries in my AOR. It provides a framework that we -- that most countries will look at it, believe is useful for us determining who, particularly in these sea spaces and these EZs (ph) and things that aren't quite clear provides a proper framework for how to go about dealing with those disputes. So it's a rule of law, a rule of process that's a good thing.

 

By not being as -- to be honest with you, on the military side we've been directed by numerous presidents to comply with the Law of the Sea, at least as it reflects the way we interact with our -- with other countries and our partners. That said, when we're not a signatory, it reduces our overall credibility when we bring it up as a choice of how you might solve a dispute of any kind.

 

(UNKNOWN): Second question to the Thucydides Trap. You indicated that the U.S. should do what we can recently that is within our interest to accommodate the rise of China within the network of global institutions.

 

I think you laid out a pretty good rationale. The more they are engaged in the global institutions that can have a pro-stability effect.

 

One current matter that is pending before Congress is reforms to the IMF that would enable China to have more of a role, more voting power, but also more of a financial obligation in terms of the work of the IMF.

 

I don't want you to comment on you know IMF reform if that's not your lane and you don't have an opinion. But that is the kind of thing, wouldn't you agree, that we ought to be taking a look at.

 

If we're going to try to accommodate China's growing influence, having them more engaged and play more of a leadership role in global institutions. You mentioned the U.N. as one, but global institutions like the IMF is one way to accomplish that integration that can be ultimately a pro-stability move. Would you not agree?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, I absolutely agree. I mean you know if China's inevitable rise to be a world power in the many different venues, they inevitably have to participate in the part of those institutions. And they have to take some responsibility for these things.

 

(UNKNOWN): Kind of the common sense that you know the law firms that get founded by strong partners, they often run aground when the next generation of young, excited partners want leadership roles.

 

And you know law firms that don't make room for the young leaders as they come up find that they split away. And then they end up being harsh competitors. If they find a way to accommodate them in, it often holds it together. You know it just seems like that's kind of a basic analogy that we see a lot in human situations.

 

Well, I would hope that on both the Law of the Sea and IMF reform that we would take it seriously here. Because while they have nonmilitary dimensions, I think they do bear directly upon some of the military issues that we might have.

 

Last thing I'd like to just commend you on and ask you one final question. I like the fact that you in your written testimony, and I like the fact that some of our witnesses the other day talk about Indo-Asia-Pacific.

 

You know, India has had an interesting history militarily with the United States, and more generally with the Congress party kind of have a long nonaligned tradition that actually made them slant a little bit toward Russia in terms of purchasing material.

 

But now they are significantly engaged with the U.S. and U.S. companies. They do more military exercises with the United States than they do with any other nation. I think there is an opportunity under Prime Minister Modi. I know the chair has spent time with him, and others have too, to deepen that relationship.

 

Just as I conclude, could you share your thought on the U.S.- India military partnership at this moment?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Part of the rebalance was to develop a strategy for a longer term security relationship with India. We're doing that.

 

We have I think a tremendous opportunity here as the leadership changes in India and the world changes for them to be a growing partner with the United States. Not necessarily an aligned partner, but a growing partner.

 

I believe that some of the defense trade initiatives that we have with them will help bring us together in a more productive way for many years to come.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you very much.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you very much. And thank both of you for your work.

 

And we -- General Scaparroti, I do believe that the work in South Korea is important. And we've been able to draw down on numbers. And I know that the South Korean military is more effective in many ways than they have been.

 

But I think it is an important relationship. They've been good allies, as have the Japanese and others in the Pacific. And that long-term umbrella, relationship, partnership that we've had remains important I think to the world and to United States' interests.

 

So I appreciate the work that you're doing. I appreciate the importance of the Pacific. That's just undeniable, it seems to me.

 

Our strategic subcommittee has dealt a good bit with nuclear weapons, our relationship with Russia, the drawdown of our treaty -- under the treaty, our nuclear weapons system, Admiral Locklear.

 

But we don't talk enough about China's position. They built a nuclear weapons capability. And I assume they have the ability to surge that at any point they choose to. They have the finances and the technology and the capability of doing that. Is that correct?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. We've observed them pursuing a deliberate modernization of their nuclear forces, both those that are land-based and the ones that are subsurface based.

 

They now have I believe three operational submarines in the Pacific, ballistic missile submarines. That could grow I think to four or five in the future. And we know that they're pursuing missile systems to be -- missiles to be able to put on there that will extend their ability for a nuclear -- second strike nuclear attack is what they've explained -- how they explain it.

 

But it is growing. And I think that it will be a continued consideration for us as war planners.

 

(UNKNOWN): We in Congress and policymakers in Washington need to understand the reality of the -- a nuclear armed submarine. How many missiles would that -- those submarines, Chinese submarines be able to handle and launch? And how many warheads could they launch?

 

LOCKLEAR: To give you an accurate answer, let me respond to that for the record, if you don't mind, but multiple.

 

(UNKNOWN): Would it compete with our capabilities, or if you're able to say? If not, that's all right.

 

LOCKLEAR: I wouldn't say, sir.

 

(UNKNOWN): All right.

 

One of the strategies that China has used has been to create a zone outside the nation to make it difficult for our ships to inhabit and put them at risk. Is that continue -- is that part of the DF-21 missile plan? And do they have other plans that designed to make it more difficult for our ships to be within hundreds of miles of the shore?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, across the board the Chinese have improved their -- greatly improved their ability to build missiles of all kinds, cruise missiles, ballistic missile defense, air defense missiles. So they do have, I think, quite credible technology.

 

The DF-21 missiles you're talking about is missiles that they're fielding and testing and producing that could potentially, if employed properly and worked right, it would put U.S. forces at sea at risk at greater and greater distances. But it's one of those things that we are dealing with and trying to answer.

 

(UNKNOWN): I think you're correct. And I think the Navy's thinking clearly about that and in a wise way. What about the capabilities that we have? Army has some potential land-based missiles that could create also a zone around our interests, our country, our territories that could protect us. Has any thought been given as I believe Secretary Hagel mentioned of using some of those capabilities to -- from a land to provide a better safe zone around our bases and territories?

 

LOCKLEAR: I wouldn't know, senator, exactly what Secretary Hagel was talking about that time. But I'd be glad to get specifics and to answer it.

 

(UNKNOWN): All right. Well, thank you both for your service. And I believe we have a fabulously capable military, well led by talented leaders. And we thank you for that.

 

MCCAIN: Senator Donnelly?

 

DONNELLY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you both for your service.

 

Admiral Locklear, what would you say is -- and I apologize I haven't been here the entire time. When you look, the two biggest challenges you look at in your command.LOCKLEAR: Well, the biggest challenge off the bat is making sure that we can respond effectively to what I think is the most dangerous situation is North Korea peninsula. So I have a huge responsibility for helping NORTHCOM with the defense of homeland, defense of Hawaii, defense of Guam, and then follow-on forces and things that flow in to support general. And then follow-on forces things that flow in to support General Scaparroti on what could be a very short-line problem in Korea, North Korea. So that's kind of number one problem.

 

DONNELLY: OK.

 

LOCKLEAR: The second, I think, is just ensuring that the rebalance does what it needs to, to ensure that U.S. is properly positioned in the Asia-Pacific for the rest of this century. And under that fall a lot of things, ensuring that the alliances are as strong as they can be, building new partnerships and in some cases ensuring that the rise of China doesn't turn into a Thucydides Trap.

 

DONNELLY: General Scaparroti, as you look at Kim Jong Un, when you look at the decision-making process that he uses, and I don't know that the appropriate word is random. But would you say is there like a chain of command or a general structured way the decisions are made? Or is it pretty much you're not usually certain as to which way something's going to go with him?

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, sir. Thank you.

 

We don't know a lot about the decision-making process inside of that regime. If you look at just the three years he's been the leader, he's changed his senior leadership more than his father and his grandfather put together.

 

And so from one perspective, the use of curtain stick, the use of brutality in many cases in order to ensure absolute loyalty to him I think undercuts and leaves concern with me that one, he's got a group around him that will be frank with him, that won't only tell him what he wants to hear. So I think that's a dynamic within that decision- making process that gives me concern.

 

DONNELLY: And as you look at the way the decision making is going on right now, it appears there is somewhat of a move toward Russia, toward creating an additional strengthening and bonds between them. Do you think that provides any more stability for them? Or do you think it just makes them more dangerous?

 

SCAPARROTI: Well, I think you can see not only the outreach to Russia but others in the last year as an attempt by them to get around the sanctions which are having an effect, and to develop others that would provide trade and funds to them. Which you know their economy, they're very tight, particularly given the percentage of it that he puts into his military.

 

So I think that's his attempt there. We don't see a lot of return on those efforts at this point.

 

DONNELLY: When the North Koreans start to saber rattle and start to make a lot of noise, oft times your command brings a presence into the area there and helps to change the discussion. Do you have fears or concerns about any plans they might have to come after your fleet in particular?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well certainly we're talking in the context of the North Koreans you can't rule out any unpredictable types of activity. So we know that they also pursue a pretty significant missile program.

 

Whether how good it is sometimes we're not sure. But that's not just a ballistic missile capability, but a cruise missile capability. That would have to be considered when forces were put in the area.

 

But and they also have a submarine force that's, if it's operational could be quite unpredictable with mini subs and things like that. But they're generally locally contained, not far-reaching. So at this point in time I'm not really concerned about our ability to project power should we have to support a contingency in North Korea.

 

DONNELLY: General, what is the one thing in your command that you're most concerned about?

 

SCAPARROTI: Sir, I'm most concerned about a provocation, which North Korea commits two or three every year, and one of those provocations escalating into conflict.

 

DONNELLY: Thank you.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

 

(UNKNOWN): Admiral Locklear, General Scaparroti, thank you both for your time and for your service, and more importantly for the service of all of the men and women in uniform that you represent in your commands.

 

Admiral Locklear, do you believe that China's increasing aggression in the South China Sea reflects their calculations that the U.S. lacks the willpower and capability to challenge them in the South China Sea?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, you'd have to ask the Chinese if that's the way they feel about it. My guess is as they always do, I believe, they listen carefully to how the U.S. feels about things globally as well as in that region. And where they have a clear understanding of U.S. position they have a more -- a tendency to understand it and respect it.

 

(UNKNOWN): Do you think the balance of power is shifting to the point where they believe that they now have a military advantage over us in their regional waters inside the first island chain?

 

LOCKLEAR: I don't think they think they have a military advantage over us because they also recognize that we're a global power and that they're not a global power. I think that they believe that their ability to build and produce the military they have has provided additional decision space for them in their local region.

 

(UNKNOWN): One point you mentioned is the importance of clarity. Deterrence works best whenever the lines we draw are clear and strongly enforced.

 

I've read press reports recently that during Prime Minister Abe's visit to Washington later this month, the United States may make an explicit pledge to protect the Senkaku Islands, which are currently under administrative control of Japan, but China also claims them. Do you think that would be a wise step to take for the purpose of stability in the East Asian theater?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, my understanding is we have pretty much made it clear our position in the East China Sea as it relates to the Senkaku Islands. We still maintain we don't take a side on territorial disputes. So in the long run the issue of the sovereignty of Senkakus is for them to figure out.

 

But what we have said, and it's been said at numerous levels, is that the Senkakus Islands do fall within the administrative control of Japan, and do fall within the mutual defense treaty with Japan. And I believe that that alone has provided a level of stability to the issues in the East China Sea, Northeast Asia.

 

(UNKNOWN): The press reports -- I appreciate and understand and agree with the points you've made. The press reports I've seen have suggested that we would be reducing that to writing though. And writing in these matters I think can provide some more clarity than words.

 

Could you comment briefly on your military-to-military relations with Thailand at the time?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, we maintain military-to-military contact with Thailand. We do it at a lower level, post coup, or post -- post coup. We run a very good glide slope, a very positive glide slope. I think the -- prior to the coup the opportunities that we were pursuing together were quite good for the region.

 

Thailand is our oldest ally. In the end it's my expectation that we want to keep Thailand. We love the Thai people that were close to the American people. And we have similar value systems. And so it's important for that.

 

But post coup, we have truncated a number of military-to-military activities, reduced them in scope. And we're managing those through an interagency process where we go through and decide is this one that we want to continue or not.

 

What we're hopeful for is that the leadership, current leadership in Thailand will move actively and aggressively to restore you know rule of law, constitutional processes and civilian control of government.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you.

 

And General Scaparroti, Korea is in many ways a unique area of operations in the world calling for some unique capabilities. I want to speak briefly about cluster munitions. Our stated policy is as of Jan. 1, 2019 we will no longer use such munitions, and have a greater than 1 percent unexploded rate.

 

Can you describe the effect this policy will have on current operations and contingency planning? And also maybe the challenges it will face achieving that rate?

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, sir. The cluster munitions are an important part of the munitions inventory that I have because of the fact that they create for me.

 

There are plans right now, work being done for a replacement munitions that would meet the requirements of less than 1 percent dud rate. But I -- that's a requirement that we must meet, as you said, before 2019.

 

We would use other munitions, but the munitions that we have available just simply don't provide the effect of those today that I have in my inventory.

 

(UNKNOWN): OK. Gentlemen, thank you both again for your service and the service of all those you represent, and your families and theirs.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Locklear, General Scaparroti, thank you both for being here this morning.

 

Admiral Locklear, in your testimony you point out the significance of China's military modernization efforts. And earlier this week we heard from Admiral Roughead, some other experts on East Asia about China's modernization and how swiftly that has happened.

 

What do we need to do to respond to what's happening in China? And can you also talk about how, if we go back to level of funding that's required by sequestration, what that does to our efforts to make sure that we are technologically ahead of where the Chinese are?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I think first of all we need to continue to encourage the Chinese to be more transparent and to be more forward- leaning in how they respond to their neighbors, how they respond to the international community, to be a responsible leader in the region.

 

I mean, if they're going to have a military and they want to use it for security then they should be part of the global security environment. Participating with (inaudible) being at odds with them, and that's the choice they have to make.

 

We also have to make a choice to accept them into that environment. So that's something that we have to always consider.

 

And there may be some risks as we do it because we -- as they rise as a power, it will be collaborative on one hand and competitive on another. And though that kind of relationship resorts in friction, and it will always be friction. And in that friction, some of it may end up happening in the South China Sea or the East China Sea.

 

So, managing that friction and understanding how to manage it so it doesn't escalate into a large contingency is very, very important for all of us, particularly between the United States and China. So we're working that part of it.

 

(UNKNOWN): And before you answer the sequester question, how important is the effort to rebalance, I use that term in parenthesis, to Asia, that has been set out in doing those kinds of things with respect to China?LOCKLEAR: Right. Well, the rebalance is not about China. China is just one of many issues around why U.S. should be in Asia-Pacific, why we should have a security posture there.

 

But they are a big concern in that. And so the rebalance is -- and on the military side, ensuring that we have the right assets to be able to manage the situations, to be able to understand the environment and to be able to respond effectively are extremely critical. The readiness of those assets, the readiness of the men and women that man them are critical.

 

So in sequestration what happens is that in general you have less force structure that's less ready that's less technologically capable. So we get under fiscal pressure like we're in now, the first -- one of the first thing to go is technological advances because we got to keep what we got, right, because nobody wants to change.

 

So the things that we need to stay relative, not only in that part of the world, but globally in the technological arena in war fighting starts to get pushed off the table and get pushed to the right. And it gets pushed into timelines that make us start to lose our technological advantages in war fighting.

 

(UNKNOWN): One of the things we heard from former Adm. Roughead earlier this week was the importance of continuing the carrier launched UAVs, and that that program would become even more important as we look at what we need to do in the Asia-Pacific. Do you share that view? And how do you see that affecting what we need to do in that part of the world?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I think in general the -- whether they're launched off carriers or launched off anything else, in my particular area that unmanned vehicles, both air and surface and subsurface, are a significant part of the future. So, because any time you can take man out of the loop, you operate in denied environments so much easier. There's a lot of benefits to it.

 

So to the degree that the -- a UAV would be from a carrier, a carrier for me is just a very flexible airfield that can operate widely through the theater. So I would see huge benefits in being able to operate long-range ISR, long-range strike, if necessary, from those platforms.

 

(UNKNOWN): And Gen. Scaparroti, is this something that would be beneficial to you in the Korean theater?

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, ma'am. Absolutely.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, both of you, for what you're doing for the country. I wanted to ask about a follow-up, Adm. Locklear, on your written testimony where you said Iran has built its robust nuclear infrastructure and advanced its ballistic systems with materials that have passed through U.S. PACOM AOR.

 

Can you help us understand how are they getting these materials? And also could you describe for us what you understand is the cooperation between Iran and North Korea in particular on their missile programs?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I think it's pretty well known that there's been a movement of proliferation of activity from North Korea into Iran, in this case, of the types of technologies Iran was looking for. And I think that's been known through the interagency for some time.

 

(UNKNOWN): And do you think that's how they're advancing their ICBM program, with advice from North Korea?

 

LOCKLEAR: I would say I wouldn't discount that as a possibility.

 

(UNKNOWN): So in addition to that, you've also noted that North Korea continues to procure for its nuclear and ballistics missiles program, and from the region in a network of individuals and entities in the region.

 

And as you know, that violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 in terms of the ability of member states to directly or indirectly supply to North Korea these kinds of materials. And obviously there are many U.N. resolutions that apply to Iran as well.

 

But so as I look at that testimony, what more can we do to isolate North Korea in terms of those that are supplying the country of things that we don't want them to have, that are against United -- U.N. resolutions? And who do we need to be tougher on in the region in that regard?

 

SCAPARROTI: Well, I think that primarily in terms of proliferation security we have a proliferation security initiative that's global in nature and multinational. I think that's also an important key.

 

Because we have to bring in, we have to deal with other nations to help provide intelligence and also forces that may help us in interdiction, et cetera. We can continue our training in that regard, which we do.

 

In terms of the nations that I think we have to be concerned about, I'd prefer to answer that actually for the record in a classified document as opposed to here in the open forum if I could.

 

(UNKNOWN): Of course. Thank you, general. I appreciate that.

 

I also wanted to follow-up, Adm. Locklear. I note in your written testimony you mention Taiwan I believe once in passing.

 

In light of China's major military buildup, what's your assessment of the current balance of military capabilities in the Taiwan Strait between the PLA and Taiwan? And where does Taiwan have an advantage? And where does the PLA's advantage?

 

So what concerns are you hearing from the Taiwanese? And what platforms, weapons assistance and training has Taiwan requested from the United States that we haven't yet provided?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, we have a robust interaction from the PACOM headquarters with Taiwan. In fact, we have ongoing right now over there, their major annual exercise where we participate with them.

 

We send advisers, overseers and we go. And in fact we sent Gen. Thurman, who used to be Scaparroti's predecessor, who will be over there with them at my request, advising them and assisting them. And so that's important.

 

I think that in general over time the capabilities of the PLA -- the PRC will vastly eclipse what the Taiwanese could produce on their own. It's just a matter of magnitude of force size. If China -- the PRC stays on the course that it's on now.

 

We -- my task is to support the Taiwan Relations Act, and then to provide my advice up to the OSD and up to the president for him to decide on what we -- what kind of things we provide. I know that they have requested our assistance in submarine programs, and we're contemplating that at this point in time, but have not committed them one way or the other.

 

They are particularly interested in us helping them in cybersecurity areas that allow them to pursue asymmetric capabilities that will improve their defense. It'll improve their confidence that they can make decisions on their own and not be coerced.

 

(UNKNOWN): Thank you.

 

MCCAIN: Col. Graham?

 

GRAHAM: Thank you, captain.

 

Admiral, would you describe China's behavior toward their neighbors as provocative?

 

LOCKLEAR: I would call it aggressive. And I guess provocative would be in the eyes of the beholder. But from my view it's aggressive.

 

GRAHAM: From the eyes of the Japanese would you say it's provocative?

 

LOCKLEAR: I think they would say yes. GRAHAM: OK.

 

North Korea, general, would you say the regime on a good day is unstable?

 

SCAPARROTI: No, sir. I'd say -- I'd say that K.J.U.'s in control. We see no indicators of instability at this time.

 

GRAHAM: So you think we don't have to worry much about North Korea.

 

SCAPARROTI: Oh, no, sir. That's not...

 

GRAHAM: When I say unstable I mean unpredictable, provocative.

 

SCAPARROTI: Unpredictable, provocative, danger.

 

GRAHAM: Yes, that's what I meant.

 

SCAPARROTI: Willing to -- I think willing to be provocative as well.

 

GRAHAM: So, in your backyard you've got dangerous, provocative, unstable with nukes in North Korea, right?

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, sir, within short distance from the capital.

 

GRAHAM: The leader of North Korea seems to be like nuts. I don't know how else you describe the guy. But he seems nutty to me.

 

So, under sequestration, at the end of the day how are your ability to defend the Korean peninsula and our interests in that region be affected from an Army point of view?

 

SCAPARROTI: Well, from a holistic point of view, sequestration would, as Adm. Locklear just said, end up with a smaller force, a less ready force...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

GRAHAM: Well, if the Army goes down to 420,000, let's say that's the number they one day hit if we don't fix sequestration.

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, sir.

 

GRAHAM: How does your theater of operations fare in terms of threats and...

 

SCAPARROTI: Sir, in high-intensity conflict that you have on the Korean peninsula, I'd be very concerned about having a force that had enough depth, particularly for sustained operation.

 

GRAHAM: So, it would be seen as weakening our position in Asia, right?

 

SCAPARROTI: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Admiral, under sequestration the Navy would have approximately how many ships if it was fully implemented?

 

LOCKLEAR: Well, I'd have to refer that back to the Navy. I don't have the exact numbers.

 

GRAHAM: How many do you have in your...

 

LOCKLEAR: I have about 150 ships in my AOR that are sent (ph) from all the way from San Diego to the theater. Probably about 50 or so of those are west of the dateline at any given time.

 

So what would be impacted by the size of the Navy is their ability to rotate forces forward to augment the ones that are west of the dateline all the time, which is the problem we're having now with sustaining our numbers because the readiness bathtub (ph) we're in, even with the size we have today. So sequestration would just drive that further into the ground.

 

GRAHAM: It would be hard to pivot to Asia under sequestration.

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir.

 

GRAHAM: All right. So, the likelihood of an armed conflict between South Korea and North Korea how would you evaluate that on 1 to 10 scale, 1 being very unlikely, 10 being highly likely. Say in the next 10 years, general? SCAPARROTI: Well, sir, I think that -- I caveat by saying I think that if K.J.U. knows that if he were to conduct a conventional attack on South Korea it'd be the end. So I don't think that's his purpose. I think it's to maintain his regime.

 

But I think over a 10-year period it's above a 5. It's a 6 probably.

 

GRAHAM: And the more we reduce our forces, the less deterrent -- it may go up to 7.

 

SCAPARROTI: Sir, I think with less deterrence it becomes more likely that we have a conflict.

 

GRAHAM: OK.

 

Admiral, from your point of view, if we reduce our forces in your theater of operations to sequestration level, do you think that encourages China to be more provocative?

 

LOCKLEAR: Look. I think any signal that we send that we're less interested in the Asia-Pacific on the security side than we currently are would be an invitation for change in the region, and that China would be interested in pursuing.

 

GRAHAM: Do our allies in the region, are they beginning to hedge their bets? What's their view toward our footprint and where we're headed? LOCKLEAR: Yes. I don't think they're necessarily unsatisfied with our military footprint. I think what they're concerned about most is the growing divide between what they see as the economics in our gravity, which is predominantly Asia or more and more around China, and the securities in our gravity, which is around us.

 

So that creates a conundrum for them as they have to deal with strategic decision making. You know they want us as a security granter because they believe where we're -- I mean, they see us as a benevolent power. And they like how we operate. But they also see us as a diminished economic power in the region that they have to deal with that.

 

MCCAIN (?): Admiral and general, I would appreciate it if for the record you would give a written estimate to this committee as to the effects of sequestration on your ability to carry out your responsibilities. And please make it as detailed as you wish.

 

We're going to have this fight again on sequestration ongoing. And members of this committee are dedicated to the proposition that we have to repeal sequestration. And your testimony as to the effects of sequestration can affect that argument probably more effectively than anything that members on this side of the dais could accomplish.

 

So I would very much appreciate it if you would give us as detailed as possible short-term and long-term effects of sequestration on your ability to carry out your responsibilities.

 

Admiral, is this your last appearance before this committee?

 

LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir, it is.

 

MCCAIN (?): Well, I want to take the opportunity on behalf o fall of us on this committee and in the United States Senate thanking you for your outstanding service. I think you can be very proud of the many contributions that you've made to this nation's security. And you're one of the reasons why the leaders in uniform are so highly respected and regarded by the people of this nation. So I thank you, admiral.

 

This hearing is adjourned.

 

END

 

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Adm Loclear pacom SASC Hearing Transcript

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