Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subject: Hearing on the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea In Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program Chaired by: Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Witnesses: Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Time: 9:34 a.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014.
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SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody.
Today we receive testimony on the posture of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region. On behalf of the Committee, I'd like to welcome Admiral Sam Locklear, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and General Mike Scaparrotti, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, United Nations Command, and Combined Forces Command in Korea.
Gentlemen, the committee appreciates your long years of faithful service and the many sacrifices that you and your families that you're a part of make for our nation, and we greatly appreciate the service of the men and women, military and civilian, who serve with you in your commands. Please convey to them our admiration and appreciation for their selfless sacrifice and dedication. Last year General Thurmond was unable to testify at this hearing because of heightened testimony (sic) on the Korean peninsula. General Scaparrotti, we are glad you are able to make it this year.
Today's hearing is particularly timely as North Korea has again engaged in saber-rattling and dangerous rocket and missile launches, including one just a few weeks ago. Kim Jong Un's regime has so far followed the same destructive policies as its -- as its predecessors, pursuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with callous disregard for the well-being of its own people and the region. Even China, despite its long-standing relationship with North Korea, has joined in United Nations condemnation of North Korean's -- North Korean regime's dangerous behavior and has supported new sanctions. We look forward to hearing General Scaparrotti's views on recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and additional steps that might be taken to promote stability and peace.
At a time of increasing fiscal austerity within the Department of Defense, China has announced that it is increasing its official military budget for 2014 to almost $132 billion, which is a 12 percent increase over last year, making that country's military spending the second largest in the world after the United States. China's pursuit of new military capabilities raises concerns about its intentions, particularly in the context of the country's increasing willingness to assert its controversial claims of sovereignty in the South China and East China seas. China's belligerence and unwillingness to negotiate a maritime code of conduct with its ASEAN neighbors raises doubts about its representations that China is interested in a peaceful rise. We were dismayed by China's unilateral declaration of an air identification zone last year that did not follow proper consultations with its neighboring countries and that includes the airspace over the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan.
In addition, China's lack of regard for the intellectual property rights of the United States and other nations is a significant problem for the global community. China is the leading source of counterfeit parts, both in military systems and in the commercial sector. In addition, China appears to have engaged in a massive campaign to steal technology and other vital business information from American industry and from our government. China's apparent willingness to exploit cyberspace, to conduct corporate espionage and to steal trade and propriety information from U.S. companies should drive our government and businesses to come together to advance our own cybersecurity. We also have grave concerns that China's cyberactivities, particularly those targeting private companies that support mobilization and deployment, could be used to degrade our ability to respond during a contingency. Our committee will soon release a report on cyberintrusions affecting U.S. Transportation Command contractors.
The administration continues to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific to meet these challenges. Substantial realignments of U.S. military forces in South Korea and Japan are ongoing, as are initiatives to increase U.S. presence in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore and the Philippines. The U.S. relationship with Australia is as strong as ever, as evidenced by the continued plans for successive rotations of U.S. Marines to Darwin, Australia.
With respect to the planned realignment of U.S. Marines currently on Okinawa, the governor of Okinawa approved the landfill permit for the Futenma replacement facility at the end of last year. Nonetheless, I believe that moving forward with the construction of infrastructure facilities on Guam must await the final environmental impact statement and the actual record of decision. Once these actions are completed and we have been provided the final master plans, including cost estimates and a time schedule, we would be better able to judge the feasibility of the plans. So while I support the restationing of some Marines from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii, it needs to be done in a fiscally and operationally sound manner.
Of course, we must consider all of these challenges and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific against the backdrop of our current budget constraints.
Admiral Locklear and General Scaparrotti, we'd be interested in your assessments of the budget reductions on your ability to meet your mission requirements. Again, we very much appreciate both of you joining us this morning. We look forward to your testimony on these and other topics.
SENATOR JIM INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think we all know, and we've talked about this, that the world is getting more dangerous, and the Pacific is no exception.
North Korea's erratic leader continues to engage in provocative actions -- including military exercises, nuclear and missile tests, and the development of a road-mobile missile system. China declares unilateral Air Defense Identification Zones and makes provocative moves to blockade ships and claim sovereignty over vast tracks of the South China Sea.
Despite the growing danger, the massive cuts to the national security budget were making the jobs of Admiral Locklear and General Scaparrotti more difficult. While the Chinese defense budget grows at over 12 percent, Secretary Hagel tells his commands, quote, "American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted." And that's the first time in my life that we've heard something like that.
Our domain dominance has eroded due to the diversion of resources from defense to the president's domestic agenda over the last five years, and that has consequences in our security. Less capable and less dominant U.S. forces make it more difficult for our men and women in uniform to handle crises. And as we're seeing around the world today, a less capable U.S military makes it more likely that crises will erupt.
Those who advocate drastically slashing the defense budget and a total retreat from international engagement put the security of the homeland at risk. More aggressive adversaries and less capable United States military forces are a recipe for disaster. The dismantling of our national security over the last five years has led to the growth of extremists in Syria and Iraq, Iran, Putin's annexation of Crimea and has invited increased Chinese belligerence in the East and South China Seas.
A strategy of rebalance to the Pacific implies an increase in presence and resources -- that's just not true. It's not happening. I have specific questions to ask about that. I look forward to Admiral Locklear's frank assessment of how the rebalance is perceiving -- perceived in the region, and some specific questions about that. I'm concerned that the retreating tide of U.S. leadership and the defense capability will encourage Kim Jong Un to be more aggressive.
Gen. Scaparrotti, we need to hear from you how this readiness problem that grounds airplanes, ties up ships and cancels ground training will impact your combat capability. I don't remember a time in my life when I've seen this type of thing happening. And I remember so well when it all started. And it all started -- whether we don't like to talk about it or not -- back when the $800 billion -- people talk about entitlements now, but this wasn't entitlements. This was nondefense discretionary spending that took place. And now we're paying for it and have been paying for it for the last five years.
So it's a crisis we're in. You guys are the right ones to be there to try to meet these crises. And I appreciate the fact that you're willing to do that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Inhofe. Admiral.
ADMIRAL SAMUEL LOCKLEAR: Mr. Chairman, Senator Inhofe and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
For two years I've had the honor and privilege of leading the exceptional men and women, military and civilian, throughout the United States Pacific Command. They are not only skilled professionals dedicated to the defense of our great nation, but within Pacific Command they serve as superb ambassadors and truly represents the values and strengths that make our nation great. We continue to work to ensure that they are well-trained, well-equipped and well-led to meet the challenges we are facing in the 21st century. I want to publicly thank them and their families for their sacrifices.
When I spoke to you last year, I highlighted my concern for several issues that could challenge the security environment across the Pacific Command area of responsibility -- the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Those challenges included the potential for significant HADR, or humanitarian assistance disaster relief events; an increasingly dangerous and unpredictable North Korea; the continued escalation of complex territorial disputes; growing challenges to our freedom action in the shared domains of sea, air, space and cyberspace; growing regional transnational threats; and the significant challenges associated with China's emergence as a global economic power and a regional military power.
During the past year we have been witness to all of these challenges, and our forces have been very busy securing the peace and defending U.S. interests throughout over half the globe. We have done our very best to remain ready to respond to crisis and contingency. Although we have assumed greater risk, we have maintained focus on key aspects of the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, strengthening our alliances and partnerships, improving our posture and presence and developing the concepts and capabilities required by today's and tomorrow's security environment. And we have done this against the backdrop of continued physical and resource uncertainty and the resultant diminishing readiness and availability of our joint force.
I'd like to thank the committee for your continued interest and support, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Admiral.
GENERAL CURTIS SCAPARROTTI: Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe and distinguished members of the committee, I'm honored to testify today as the commander of 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 Korea, thank you for your support.
After six months in command, I'm confident that the combined and joint forces of the United States and the Republic of Korea are capable and ready to deter and, if necessary, respond to North Korean threats and actions. We know how real the North Korean threat is, as four years ago tomorrow North Korea fired a torpedo, sinking the South Korean ship Cheonan, killing 46 sailors. That terrible day is a constant reminder that standing at freedom's frontier with our Korean alloy -- ally, we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent against an unpredictable totalitarian regime.
The Kim Jong Un regime remains dangerous and has the capability, especially with an ever-increasing asymmetric threat, to attack South Korean with little or no warning. North Korea has the fourth-largest military in the world, with over 70 percent of its ground forces deployed along the DMZ. It's long-range artillery can strike targets in the Seoul metropolitan area where over 23 million South Koreans and almost 50,000 Americans live.
In violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, North Korea continues to develop nuclear arms and long-range missiles. Additionally, the regime is aggressively investing in cyberwarfare capabilities. North Korea brings risk to the world's greatest or fastest-growing economic region, which is responsible for 25 percent of the world's GDP and home to our largest trading partners.
Against this real threat, our nation is committed to the security of South Korea and to our national interests. Our presence and your support of our troops give meaning to this commitment. We are a key component of the nation's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. Together, the alliance's commitment to each other enables stability and prosperity, now and in the future.
In spirit of this commitment, we are working closely with the South Korean military to develop its capabilities and combined C4I systems and alliance countermissile defense strategy and the procurement of precision-guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems and ISR platforms. Readiness is my top overarching priority.
To ensure that we are focused on the right things at the right time, I've developed five priorities: first, sustain and strengthen the alliance; second, maintain the armistice to deter and defeat aggression and be ready to fight tonight; third, transform the alliance; fourth, sustain force and family readiness; and fifth, enhance the UNS-CFC-USFK team. An essential part of this is a positive command climate that focuses on the covenant between the leaders and the led in our mission together.
At the core of mission's success is the close relationship we share with our South Korea partners. We benefit from an important history forged on many battlefields, shared sacrifices and democratic principles. Over the past 60 years we have built one of the longest-standing alliances in modern history. We will continue to ensure a strong and effective deterrence posture so that Pyongyang never misjudges our role, our commitment or our capability to respond as an alliance.
I'm extremely proud of our joint force and their families serving in the Republic of Korea. I sincerely appreciate your continued support for them and for our crucial alliance.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, General.
Let's try seven minutes for our first round.
Admiral, let me start with you. As you noted in your written testimony, China's declaration in November of an air defense identification zone, an ADIZ, in the East China Sea, encompassing the Senkakus, immediately raised tensions.
Now while the declaration of that identification zone has not affected U.S. military operations in the area, there is a concern that China is attempting to change the status quo in the East China and South China seas by taking these kind of incremental steps to assert territorial claims.
So, Admiral, let me start by asking you this question. Has China's declaration of that identification zone changed the status quo between China and Japan with regard to their respective claims to the Senkakus?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: From my observation, first, it had not -- as you correctly stated, it has not changed our operations at all, and we don't recognize it or comply with it.
I have not seen any change in the activities of our allies the Japanese Self-Defense Force as they pursue operations in that area, based on the proclamation of the ADIZ by the Chinese.
SEN. LEVIN: And Admiral, what's your assessment of China's pursuit of anti-access and aerial -- area denial capabilities? And what are the implications of such capabilities on the ability of other nations, including the United States, to move freely in the international waters of the Western Pacific?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: We've known for some time that the PLA have been pursuing technologies and capabilities that would allow them to potentially control the access in the -- in the areas around their -- around their borders, particularly in the sea space. Those technologies specifically, I believe, are directed at what they perceive as potential U.S. vulnerabilities as we maintain our forces forward. So we have for many years built our security environment around aircraft carriers, forward bases with our allies. We rely
heavily on cyber and on space capabilities because we operate a long distance from home, and we rely on a long line of logistics support necessary to be in that far forward and to maintain a peaceful security environment.
So I would say that the A2AD capabilities that we observed are being pursued by the PLA go after, either directly or indirectly, what they perceive as potential U.S. vulnerabilities. So whether they ever intend to use them in the -- at -- with us or against us or against an ally, the concern also is that these technologies will proliferate and they will further complicate the global security environment.
SEN. LEVIN: OK. Admiral, what's your assessment of China's cyberactivities that are directed towards the United States? What can you tell us about their use of cyberspace to target U.S. defense contractors?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I -- in the cyberworld there's a lot of bad actors. It's not just China, but specifically, since we look at this, we've known for some time that there has been state-sponsored activity to try to look at and to try to get into defense contractors and then to work that backwards to try to either develop an advantage or to better understand any vulnerabilities that we may have.
So we watch this very carefully. We are becoming more and more aware of activities such as this on global scale. And I believe that the steps we're taking to build cyberforces that are capable to build on what I believe is our advantage in cyberspace -- I believe we have a considerable advantage, compared to rest -- the rest of the main actors in the world and that our advantage is only going to increase as we put these capabilities in place.
SEN. LEVIN: OK, Admiral, let me switch topics to the Futenma Replacement Facility, the FRF, on Okinawa. And there's now been some progress in that area. Do you believe 10 years is a reasonable timeline for the construction of that facilities, and do you believe that the government of Japan and the Marine Corps are committed to adequately maintaining the current Futenma air station until the FRF is completed?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, the facility as Camp Schwab that will ultimately replace Funtenma, we're happy with the decision that was made by the signing of the landfill permit. It was another step forward in making this a reality. By all estimations I have seen, 10 years is a reasonable amount of time. It could actually be done faster, and I believe that there are those who would like to see it done faster, particularly with our -- within the Japanese -- or Japanese government. I believe that it -- currently that the funding is in place to be able to ensure that Funtenma remains safe and adequately operated. And I can assure you it'd be a priority. We don't want to see that facility degrade to the point that it puts our operations at risk.
SEN. LEVIN: OK. Thank you.
General, let me ask you about this same issue of North Korea. Are the Chinese in your judgment unwilling or unable to exert pressure on the North Koreans to agree to preconditions to restart the six-party talks?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, based on those that I've talked to in the region, to include South Koreans and their contacts, I believe we've seen some results of China's pressure on North Korea in the -- in the muted rhetoric of Kim Jong Un in the past several months, particularly after the assassination of his uncle. So I believe they can put some pressure, and we probably seen a result of some of that. However, I think there is much more that they could do as most of North Korea's banking and much of their commerce comes through China. And to this point, they've been unwilling to take any more steps as far as I can tell.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Thank you.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This morning, in Stars and Stripes this morning, there was a good article. I ask now it'd be made a part of the record. And it talks about the -- what's happening to our capabilities in that -- in that area. Admiral Locklear, you're quoted here as saying the resources currently at your disposal are insufficient to meet operational requirements, and I appreciate that statement.
Admiral Locklear, it's my understanding that 50 percent of our -- the Navy's 300 ships were about 150 we're expecting to be in the Pacific theater initially. Was that right?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, we've had about 50 percent for -- historically for a number of years, and --
SEN. INHOFE: OK, I -- this didn't take a long answer here. As part of that rebalance now, they're talking about -- they would expect that to go up so that it'd be around 180 instead of 150. This -- the point I'm trying to get -- because of what's happening now and sequestration coming, it would be 60 percent of a smaller number coming out with the same number of ships available in that theater of 150. It -- do you follow me here?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I follow you. yes, sir.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. What about our partners over there, our allies, Japan and Korea and Australia? Do they -- do you think they understand that while they were expecting that we would have 150 ships and it ends up being -- increasing to 180, and yet it ends up being 150, is this something that they will understand, they will appreciate, or they -- do they believe that we have the kind of problems that we have?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I can't speak for how they feel about it, but my guess -- my expectation is that they are very watchful of how the U.S. defense budget will play out in the long run.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, you know, we've said that our friends won't trust us and our enemies won't fear us. This is in the Middle East. And I'm beginning to think that we're going to have the same situation in that theater also.
And Admiral, the Chinese ballistic-missile capable submarines that can hit the United States from the East Asian waters, which will begin patrols this year, in the Chinese defense budget is expected to grow by 12 percent.
I'm kind of reminiscent of the days that -- back in the '90s when were cutting down our military by about 40 percent. At that time, China was increasing by around 200 percent. That was over that decade in the '90s.
And I'm seeing some of the same things happen here -- the priorities of our country versus the priorities of China. I've always been concerned about China and their capabilities. And when the Secretary Hagel -- and I appreciated his statement -- he said: American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted. Does that concern you as much as it concerns me, Admiral?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think in the context of -- globally, that the Chinese military and the growth of the military won't be a global competitor with U.S. security for a number of decades, depending on how fast they spend and what they invest in. The biggest concern is in -- is regionally, where they have the ability to influence the outcome of events around some of our -- many of our partners and our allies by the defense capabilities that they're pursuing.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, and the quote that I read out of this morning's Stars and Stripes, was that an accurate quote?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I haven't read the article, but I believe that it is -- what you quoted is accurate.
SEN. INHOFE: Yes. Well, judging from our discussions in my office, I think that is an accurate quote. And I think people need to talk about it. General, we are looking now at a new Kim Jong. And I -- you and I talked in my office. My concern has been because of the -- that he is less predictable than his predecessor. Would you agree with that?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, I would.
SEN. INHOFE: And do you think by being less predictable, that that would translate into a greater threat?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, I do.
SEN. INHOFE: You know, I agree with that, because you don't really -- you can't tell. You know, sometimes we talk about the days of the Cold War when they had two superpowers and both of us were predictable. And the less predictable we are, the greater threat it is to us -- I think particularly now with the drawdowns that we're suffering and the limited capabilities that we're giving you to do a job.
So with this person there, I -- in your opinion, are sanctions, diplomatic pressure and appeasement with the shipments of food and oil that have been our policy tools likely to halt North Korea's further development and proliferation of nuclear weapons?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I think that it's an appropriate step in terms of our sanctions -- continued sanctions, but I don't believe that at present there'll be enough to convince him that he should denuclearize.
SEN. INHOFE: No, I don't think so either. And I think -- yeah, I agree with your statement. However, getting back to the unpredictability, this guy is -- I don't think he's deterred by that type of action.
We also talked in my office about another problem. I think the forces on the peninsula that would be needed to fight immediately are combat-ready. My concern is with the follow-on forces. I'd like to have you share with us whether you're as concerned about that today as I am.
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senators, as you stated, the forces on the theater have been -- have been fully resourced, despite the budget constraints that we've had. I'm happy with that and appreciative of it. But I am concerned --
SEN. INHOFE: (Inaudible) -- though, a follow-on force, did you?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: That's correct, sir. And I am concerned about the readiness of the follow-on forces. In our theater, given the indications and warnings, the nature of this theater and the -- and the threat that we face, I rely on rapid and ready forces to flow into the peninsula in crisis.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, it's because for your -- throughout your career you've been able to rely on that, and you're not now. Do you agree with General Amos when he said: We will have fewer forces arriving less trained, arriving later to the fight. This would delay the buildup of combat power, allow the enemy more time to build his defenses and would likely prolong combat operations all together. This is a formula for more American casualties. Do you agree with that?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: I do, Senator. Yes.
SEN. INHOFE: I do too. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Donnelly.
SENATOR JOE DONNELLY (D-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, General, thank you so much for your service. Admiral, what is the current status of China's hypersonic weapons projects?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Good question. Thank you.
Well, they have demonstrated the technology in tests that they -- were visible to the world earlier this year. How fast that they can actually put that into an operational capability is unknown, but it could take several years to do that.
SEN. DONNELLY: Do you think they currently have the ability to strike U.S. assets in the continental U.S.?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Say it again, sir? I'm --
SEN. DONNELLY: Do you think through the hypersonic weapons project that you mentioned, it will take several years to get it done? Do you think they presently have the ability to strike the continental U.S.?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think they have the ability to look at and to understand and to -- through satellite imagery and everything else -- to have views of the United States. Whether or not they have -- what they're going to ultimately do with hypersonic capability as it relates to their long-range deterrent, I don't know.
SEN. DONNELLY: How would you characterize China's attempts to disseminate technology to Iran and North Korea? Full speed ahead, or what would you say?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, in the case of North Korea, which General Scaparrotti and I spent a lot of time looking at, to some, you know, perspective, North Korea is an ally of China, and they're closely aligned from a military perspective and have been for a number of years. And I know that there has been some progress made as far as the Chinese supporting the sanctions. I can't tell you, you know, how much they are abiding by that, but my sense is, is that there is -- has been a close relationship on military capability and military equipment for some time, and probably will continue.
SEN. DONNELLY: How would you see the pace of Chinese cyberattacks this year coming up, 2014? You know the first quarter so far, the rest of the year, we saw an extraordinary mountain, 2013, and how would you compare the volume -- first the volume and then next would be the quality or the targets involved?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think after we made it fairly public that there was knowledge -- that we had knowledge of what was happening form the -- some of the factions in China, there was -- for some
period of time, there was a decrease, I understand. But there's still lots of cyberattacks that occur, as I said earlier, not only from China but other places in the world. And those number of attacks, as the cyberworld becomes more complicated, are on the rise.
SEN. DONNELLY: And General Scaparrotti, what is your estimate of North Korea's efforts in cyberattacks?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, North Korea is, along with their other asymmetric means, are investing in cybercapability. Presently, at this time, they've been known to use their cybercapability. Here a year ago, they had -- we believe it was North Korea -- they had the impact in South Korea's media and banking institutions. Presently, it is disruption of services, disruption of website capability, but it's -- but they're focused on it and their capabilities are gaining.
SEN. DONNELLY: And General, again, on another issue, can you provide us with just a current status of the relocation of forces to Camp Humphreys?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. Our relocation has begun. As you know, we are moving forces according to the Land Partnership Plan from the North, which we call area one, north of Seoul, and also from the Yonsang area, predominately. And they're moving to two hubs, one around Humphreys, one around Daegu.
Presently, we have not begun the initial movements. They'll begin this year. The majority of our forces will move in 2016. Word about that Humphreys were at 13 percent construction and about 67 or so percent underway. So the build is well underway, and we're on track to move the majority of our forces in 2016.
SEN. DONNELLY: Is there any viable short-term solutions to having enough adequate housing within a drive -- you know, a 30-minute drive to Camp Humphreys
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, we just -- just last week we had a housing industry seminar, in Seoul, in order to both inform and also gain information from private industry in Korea as to the capability to provide housing within the 30-minute area, which is our policy of Humphreys.
Our recent surveys tell us that there isn't the capacity right now. We were actually looking to see what the capacity (to ?) build is.
SEN. DONNELLY: Admiral, in regards to counterfeit parts, you know, so much is going on with China, have you seen any indication that they're trying to address that problem or trying to identify or help to -- help us to track these counterfeit parts?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I have not.
SEN. DONNELLY: General, in regards to the North Korean regime, do you believe Kim Jong Un is controlling the military in the country, or do you think he's a front for their military?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I believe that Kim Jong Un is clearly in charge. He has appointed himself as the supreme leader through the constitution, and the actions he's taken with respect to the change, particularly in the military terms of the leadership, is clear, and I believe he is in charge.
SEN. DONNELLY: In regards to that same topic, how much influence do the Chinese have on him? If they push, does he follow their lead, or is it still his call at the end of the day?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I believe they have the capacity to influence him. They're shown it in small ways. But I think -- from what I've seen, he also is an independent actor and will tend to go his own way, which is believe has frustrated China as well from just what I've read and know from others that have been there.
SEN. DONNELLY: Well, thank you both for your service. My time is up. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Donnelly.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General, thank you for your answer to Senator Inhofe's question about your ability to carry out your responsibilities. As you say, our -- your forces under your command are operationally ready, but we see more and more indications of fewer and fewer units of the United States Army that are operationally ready, and that must be a great -- of great concern for you in case of the unthinkable, and that is an outbreak of conflict. Is that correct?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, that's correct. And we -- and on the Korean Peninsula, the nature of the fight to -- is potentially high-intensity combat, and the time and space factors also present a tough problem for us. So the delivery of ready forces on a timeline is important.
SEN. MCCAIN: Admiral Locklear, would you agree that China's efforts are underway to change the balance of power in at least the western Pacific?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I would agree.
SEN. MCCAIN: And that may be carried out in a incremental fashion, such as the requirement for an ADIZ over the East China Sea, the acquisition of an aircraft carrier -- in other words, incremental steps that probably wouldn't sound too many alarm bells. Is that -- what do you think there is -- what do you think their strategy is to assert their influence and dominance on that part of the world?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Yes, sir. Well, their maritime strategy is pretty clear. I mean, they don't hide it from anybody. And they have certainly tailored their defense spending heavily in the maritime domain. And so it is an incremental strategy. It's not to be done I think all at one time. but my sense is that they look at their strategy, and they look at the current status and -- South China Sea, and I think they believe they're on their strategy.
SEN. MCCAIN: And fact that there has not been the -- at least the expectations of the unfortunately called "pivot" has not become a reality, that must be some factor in their impressions of us.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that -- first of all, I think in the long run, a relationship between the U.S. and China and even and mil-to-mil relationship in -- is in the best interest of everyone. But they watch very carefully U.S. You know, we guaranteed the security there for many years that helped their rise as well. And so they are very much interested in our alliances, the status of forces of those alliances, the status of forces that we have there, the capabilities of those forces.
And so yes, it does matter to them.
SEN. MCCAIN: And the announcement of 12.2 percent increase in defense spending by China -- certainly a contrast in our defense spending. And traditionally, much of their increases in defense spending have not been transparent, is that correct?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I believe that there is more defense expenditures than what they report annually.
SEN. MCCAIN: What is the likelihood, in your view -- and this is a very difficult question -- of a confrontation between China and Japan over the Senkakus?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, you know, I like to stay away from hypotheticals.
SEN. MCCAIN: Yeah, you do. I'm -- maybe you don't -- I don't -- ask you that, but certainly their -- many of their actions have been very provocative, would you agree with that?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I would agree that their actions have been provocative and in many cases an attempt to change the status quo.
SEN. MCCAIN: Does the littoral combat ship meet your operational requirements?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, the littoral combat ship, as you know, has a long history of why we built that ship, for what reason, and it has a shallow draft; it has speed; it was designed to operate in littorals; it was designed to have changeable payloads; it was designed to have a small crew; it was designed to be able to be forward-deployed and rotated. So the operational concept -- yes, it does. But it only meets a portion of what my requirements are.
SEN. MCCAIN: Is there a lesson learned in the recent reduction in the plans for acquisition of the LCS?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that if you talk about a Navy that's the size of 320 or (3)25 ships, which is what I would say would be an assessment some have made is necessary for the global environment you're in, you know, having 50 or 55 LCSs makes a lot of sense because there's a lot of places in the world where you can use them. But if you're talking about a budget that can only support a
Navy much smaller than that, then having that heavy of a reliance on LCS does not make that much sense. So I can understand why the reduction was made, but I'm still a supporter of the LCS and what it can do.
SEN. MCCAIN: General, what are we to make of all these recent firings of missiles, short-range missiles out to sea by the -- by the North Koreans?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Well, sir, I think Kim Jong Un had several reasons for those firings over time since 21 February. I think, first of all, there's a small contingent of that was a part of the normal winter training cycle. They've done that -- I say a small contingent because this has been very different than in the past. The remainder, I think, were demonstrations, both for his regime and for demonstration to the people of capability. The other was a demonstration for us, the reliance (sic), us and the ROKs, in terms of their capability to do that on short notice, with very little warning.
SEN. MCCAIN: And one is a rather formidable -- (inaudible) -- that they've been testing.
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, this was -- it consisted of Scuds and then also an experimental MRL that they tested as well.
SEN. MCCAIN: And how capable is that?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: That's a capable system. And it's one that can provide a good munition in rapid fire.
SEN. MCCAIN: I thank the witnesses, and thank you for your service.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator McCain.
SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank the gentlemen for your service.
Admiral, the Chinese strategy -- can you describe it? Is it a combination of the ability to project forces and aerial (sic) denial, or is it exclusive to one of those dimensions? Or is it something else?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that it's heavily reliant on an aerial (sic) denial or a counter-intervention strategy, which would be designed -- if there -- for -- to be able to keep someone else out and for them to have dominant influence. However, we are seeing a more global outreach, a more forward-deployed -- I mean, we just had --
we've had -- seen successful PLA operations in the Gulf of Aden in counterpiracy operations.
I believe, to their credit, they've got a significant force deployed today, a number of ships and airplanes in support of the -- of the lost Malaysian airliner. We're seeing longer deployments, longer out of area -- what we call out of area deployments by their submarines.
So I don't know that that's necessarily that should alarm us though because they're a global economic power. And as their -- as their economic interests grow their security interests will grow. And they're going to need a bigger Navy and bigger assets to go -- to go ensure that their security is maintained.
SEN. REED: At the point you raise, they have been very active in submarine construction. They've got a fairly expansive fleet -- both ballistic missile submarines and attack submarines. And they're building more. They've got old Russian submarines. And are you noticing sort of a surge in terms of their submarine capabilities ahead of sort of surface ships?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, certainly they have a credible submarine force today. They're in the process of modernizing that submarine force. And I think that they'll have -- in the next decade or so, they'll have a fairly well-modernized force of -- I'm not sure of the exact number, but probably 60 to 70 submarines, which is a lot of submarines for regional power.
SEN. REED: And they might represent the most sophisticated technological platforms that the Chinese have in terms of their seaborne platforms?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I would say that they are on par. They do have a good sophistication in their surface ships as well, their air defense systems are very capable. And certainly they have some very credible missile technology that's among the best in the world.
SEN. REED: And, General Scaparrotti, how would you evaluate the readiness of the Republic of Korea forces to fight in a joint effort with the U.S. forces on the ground -- under your command, obviously, as U.N. commander?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, I'd rate them very highly. They're a modern, capable force. Their officer corps is well-trained. A conscript army, but they have good training for their soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines as they come in. I've been out with all of their services in the six months I've been there. And they work
well together. You know, as an alliance, we work well together as well.
SEN. REED: Do you have informal contact with the Chinese counterparts and a perspective on what their attitude is towards the regime in Pyongyang today? Do you have that kind of -- sort of if not official, unofficial?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: No, I do not, Senator.
SEN. REED: So you don't have any sort of even informal contact?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Negative.
SEN. REED: OK. And what's your -- essentially your intel is coming from the intelligence community and the diplomatic community about what the attitude is of the Chinese towards the North Korea regime?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, and also from the ambassadors and officers that are members of the U.N. Command that I have as well. And that's a good source of information because some of those also have embassies or offices in North Korea.
SEN. REED: Mmm hmm. Would you comment upon what your perception is? I know you have limited information, but do you have a perception of what their attitude is? Are they supportive or upset about them or questioning the North Korean regime, or?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: What I understand is that they are frustrated, that they were surprised, for instance, by the execution of Kim -- of Jang Song Thaek. And they're attempting to ensure that KJU and the regime does not create instability on their border.
SEN. REED: OK. Admiral, let me turn to another issue too, and that's to these capabilities in Asia. The Marine Corps was engaged in counterinsurgency operations for more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq. They're now, with this pivot, coming back in. Can you comment about the capability to conduct amphibious operations in the Pacific?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Yes, Senator. Well, we have had a good return of our Marines back to the Asia-Pacific, particularly as the activities in the Middle East wind down, in Afghanistan. If -- under my command I have five amphibious readiness groups. I have four in, you know, in San Diego and one in Hawaii -- I mean, I'm sorry -- one in Sasebo, Japan.
But the reality is, is that to get Marines around effectively, they require all types of lift, they require the big amphibious ships, but they also require connectors.
I have asked for additional amphibious lift to be put into the Pacific, and that request is under consideration.
SEN. REED: But without that lift, you would be challenged to simply conduct a(n) opposed amphibious assault?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, the lift is the enabler that makes that happen. So we wouldn't be able to do as you -- as you suggest.
SEN. REED: Thank you, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Reed.
SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And General Scaparrotti, having observed your plans on -- in base relocation in Korea, tell us the number of troops you're looking to house here and whether or not families will be accompanying the soldiers.
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. As we -- as we relocate, predominantly to Humphreys -- I'll focus mostly on Humphreys; that's the largest base that we'll have there -- we will requote -- relocate forces, and they'll go from about 9,000 to approximately 24,000 in that area. And in terms of families, it would be about -- in terms of command-supported families in that area, about 2,700.
SEN. SESSIONS: So most of the soldiers will be deployed without families?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: That's correct. In Korea, say you know, Senator, we -- the predominance of our forces are on unaccompanied tours.
SEN. SESSIONS: Now what would be the total force strength in Korea?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Twenty-eight thousand, five hundred, sir.
SEN. SESSIONS: And this new basing would allow that to be -- to house them adequately? I think current housing is inadequate, and I
think the relocation is smart. And I think you could be leaner and more effective with this relocation. And are you on track -- fundamentally on track?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: I agree with you. And on- -- we're on track, fundamentally. We're not exactly on the timeline, primarily because of construction, about a -- three months' lag on that. But I think -- I think we'll be OK.
SEN. SESSIONS: Admiral Locklear, the -- and to both of you, we are facing real budget problems. There's just no doubt about it. Admiral Mullen told us the greatest threat to our national security is our debt. The latest projections from our own Congressional Budget Office indicate that in five years interest on our debt will surpass the defense budget and that in 10 years we'll be paying $880 billion in interest on our debt. So all of us have got to confront that fact.
I am uneasy and very troubled by the fact, it seems to me, that the Defense Department has disproportionately taken reductions. However, colleagues, it's not there are no further cuts in the future. Under the budget plan that we modified with the Murray-Ryan bill, our numbers for the base defense budget for FY '15 is 495.6 (billion dollars) -- 495 billion (dollars). The peak in fiscal year `12 was 530 (billion dollars). So we're down $35 billion in actual dollar spending from where we were at our peak, but that remains flat for two years and then begins to grow at the rate of about $13 billion a year.
So I'm worried about where we are. I'm worried on what kind of damage this may do to the military. But all of us got to be realistic that it's not going to -- you're not going to be able to expect that Congress is just going to blithely add a lot of new spending. It's just -- we don't have the money. And a fundamental threat that's impacting America now is debt. We'll have way above -- interest payment is the fastest-growing item in our budget. And it's just terribly dangerous to us.
Admiral Locklear, on the littoral combat ship, one of the things that we are worried about with regard to China is their sophisticated expansion of their submarine capability and even nuclear capable-submarines. That ship is designed and will be utilized in anti-submarine warfare, will it not?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: One of the three capabilities that was in the original design was as an antisubmarine warfare capability.
SEN. SESSIONS: And are we where we need to be in terms of technology to identify and monitor submarine activity?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I would say my assessment across the joint force is that we are where we need to be, and the places where we need to go we understand where those are.
SEN. SESSIONS: With regard to mines -- modern mines or threats to us, and could deny access to entire areas of the ocean, this ship has -- is designed to be capable to be an effective anti-mine ship, LCS.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: That's correct. And I believe that was the first mission capability that was going to be put into place.
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, you mentioned in a symposium recently that it's taken up to 17 years to get a new ship brought online. I know that's hard to believe but it historically seems to be about accurate. Is that a concern if we would design a new ship, the length of time and the cost of developing that ship?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I actually got that quote from Admiral Wayne Meyer, who is basically the father of Aegis, and he instructed me one day that from the time you think about a ship until you actually operate it, it's called a 17-year locus, he's told me. He said it takes 17 years by the time the bureaucracy works itself out. So we tried to -- in the Littoral Combat Ship we tried to cut that, and I think we cut it by a significant amount -- the Navy did -- but it wasn't without risk.
SEN. SESSIONS: And it was almost 17 because it was -- when I was on the Seapower Subcommittee when I came here 17 years ago, Admiral Vern Clark was proposing the LCS, and it's just now becoming to be produced. It's a fabulous ship and has great potential, as you indicated earlier, to take onboard all kinds of technological equipment that could be valuable in the future, and you'd want to continue to see them develop at the speed they are.
Well, I wanted to -- I'll submit some written questions perhaps about my concern about our allies in the Pacific, the strength -- growing strength of the Chinese nuclear capability and how that is
impacting our friends and allies who depend on us for a nuclear umbrella. And I believe as we discuss, colleagues, any kind of nuclear treaty, we can't just consider Russia. We'll also have to consider a rising nuclear capability of China.
Thank you very much.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Sessions.
SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being here and for your service to this country. Admiral Locklear, I know that this has come up before, but in your written testimony you highlight China's significant advances in submarine technology and its continued production of ballistic missile submarines, which will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent probably by the end of 2014, as you say.
Obviously the statement is very concerning, and I wonder -- the Department of Defense's submarine capabilities are going to be critical, as you've discussed, and the continued procurement of two Virginia-class submarines each year will be critical to mitigating the projected shortfall in submarines included in the Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan. Are you confident that the Virginia-class sub procurement plan and the proposed enhancements are what we need to meet the demands of our submarine force in this century?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I'm confident.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Can you -- can you elaborate a little bit on that, given the challenges we're facing from China?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, certainly we need to sustain the size of our submarine force. And I'd be an advocate of growing our submarine capability. We still maintain a significant advantage in undersea warfare and we need to continue to maintain that significant advantage.
The same applies to submarines that applies to ships or airplanes. Only one submarine can be in only one place at one time. So we have to size that force based on what the world is showing us today and into the future. We -- you know, the world gets a vote on how we have to respond, and submarines figure heavily into -- particularly in my AOR -- into scenarios from peace all the way to contingency.
As far as the upgrades that we're putting into our Virginia class submarines, I'm comfortable that the submarine community and the Navy have looked hard at their role and how they're going to be in the joint -- role in the joint force, and that they have calculated across a wide range of missions that submarines do, whether it's intelligence and reconnaissance, whether it's strike capabilities, whether it's special operations capabilities, that these have been figured into the future design of the Virginia class submarine.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
Did you want to add something, General Scaparotti?
GEN. SCAPAROTTI: No, thank you.
SEN. SHAHEEN: OK. You leaned forward, made me think you had a comment .
Robert Work testified before this committee last month at his confirmation hearing. And one of the things that was a concern to me, I think probably to Senators King and Ayotte at a very parochial level, is that he talked about the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base as being under pressure. And as we have looked at the projected population of expert shipyard employees, those with 30 or more years of experience, it's expected to decline by roughly 40 percent from -- by 2018.
And so I wonder if you could talk about how concerned you are about this, Admiral Locklear; what steps are being put in place to address attracting a new workforce to replace the folks who will be retiring; and especially given the challenges of budget cuts and uncertainty, how you expect we will address this coming challenge.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: When I was a young officer onboard one of my first ships, I was an engineering officer. And I happened to be in a shipyard -- a U.S. shipyard at that time having a shipped worked on. And we opened up the main engines of the ship, and the guy that was
sitting next to me was a shipyard worker probably about my age. And he was showing me the inside of this engine.
And he said, come down here, I want to show you something. And inside that engine, he had welded his name when he was a young apprentice in that shipyard. The ship was about 25, 30 years old at that time. And so I had a good visibility of the credibility of that kind of continuity of these people that really kind of understand the skill and craft of making very sophisticated ships and warships and submarines.
But I believe our industrial base is under pressure, particularly as our shipbuilding industry shrinks and we don't do a lot of commercial shipbuilding in this country. So we have really a national treasure, a national asset that has to be looked at from that perspective. To expect it to kind of compete out there in the open market with all the other -- globally is just not -- and particularly when we are, you know, by law required to build our ships in our own country, which is the right thing.
So we have to continually update that workforce. We have to attract it and then retain it. So I know that particularly the Navy, as secretary -- or as Mr Work talked about, has looked hard at this, but it has to be figured in the calculation of our national security strategy for the long run.
SEN. SHAHEEN: You know, obviously we are very proud, those of us who represent the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard -- and I'm sure it's true of others who represent the other shipyards in this country -- are very proud of the good work of the folks who have been there for many years and are very concerned about our actions here to make sure that we continue to support the level of activity that allows this country to maintain its security.
And -- as we -- as we look at the future and the potential cuts from sequestration kicking back in in 2015, it's certainly something that I hope all of us will work very carefully with you and the leadership of our military to address because if we allow those cuts to come back in, it's going to have clear implications for our future. Thank you very much.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Shaheen.
SENATOR ROGER WICKER (R-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral Locklear, I am deeply concerned about the administration's budget request that it may not provide the full range of equipment and ready forces necessary to our national security strategy in the Asia-Pacific. Deterrence is intrinsically linked to readiness. To provide deterrence, our military's capability must be tangible and demonstrable.
So what's -- tell us, first of all, in a general sense, what do you see as the U.S. security priorities in the Asia-Pacific region, and what is your assessment of the risk to your ability to execute our objectives in the Asia-Pacific if we do not provide you with ready and capable forces?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think our first priority is to support General Scaparrotti to ensure that peace and stability is maintained on the Korean Peninsula and that the Kim Jong Un regime is properly contained.
Second priority as -- I think is to ensure that our alliances, our historic alliances -- we only have seven treaties as a nation, and five of those are in my AOR, area of responsibility -- and that's to ensure that those alliances are maintained and that they're upgraded for the 21st century and that they have the right military equipment to support those alliances.
And then I would say the next is our growing list of partners and how we partner with them that are below the ally level but certainly are no less important to us as far as how we maintain peace and security.
And then I guess finally, it's just, you know, we've enjoyed stability in this region generally for the last, you know, number of
decades. And so U.S. military presence has underwritten that stability. And I believe it remains a priority. I believe that is what the rebalance was about is the recognition that we have to get back at it in the Asia-Pacific by necessity, not by desire but by necessity.
SEN. WICKER: Sir, who are our growing list of partners? Would you outline those?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: We have a strategic partnership in Singapore. We have growing relationships with the -- Malaysia, in the Philippines, Indonesia -- sorry, Malaysia -- Philippine's an ally, but Malaysia and Indonesia, Brunei -- all these countries that are predominantly in Southeast Asia and South Asia that are important to the future security environment.
SEN. WICKER: OK. And so we have obligations to five countries under treaties, and then we have these -- growing list of partners. Help us with the people that might be listening in, the American on the street, the guy at work, the soccer mom taking care of the family -- how does stability affect us in our daily lives, stability in your area of responsibility?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, my area of responsibility is 50 percent of the world. Of that 50 percent, 17 percent of it is land and 83 percent is water. Of that 17 percent of land, six out of every 10 people alive live on that 17 percent. Most of the global economy is generated from there. Most of the type of two-way trade that our country does in this region is generated there. Most of the energy supplies that really influence a global economy flow through this region every day. We're a Pacific nation. Our economy is Pacific-centric. And it's important to all of us for the security of our children and our grandchildren to ensure that a peaceful and stable Asia -- Indo-Asia-Pacific is maintained.
SEN. WICKER: You know, I think you're right, Admiral. And it just concerns me a bit as I look at what's going on now with some of our European allies, countries that have relied, to their detriment, on promises that we've made about the integrity of their territory.
It just seems to me that any signal we send -- you don't even need to comment on this -- but any signal we send that we don't really take seriously our treaty obligations is a worrisome notion for people who might rely on us in the future. And so I wonder -- I just wonder aloud to the members of this committee and to the people within the sound of my voice -- what signals we are sending when we don't come down very hard on violations of the territory of our -- some of our treaty partners.
I'm glad -- let me shift though in the time I have -- I'm glad to know that Senator Reed, who's a distinguished leader on this committee -- has asked you about our amphibious capability. And I believe you said that you had asked for additional ships for your area of responsibility. Is that correct, Admiral?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: That's correct. I mean, as part of the ongoing dialogue about the rebalance the priorities of how you accomplish that rebalance. And part of that discussion was about amphibious shipping.
SEN. WICKER: OK, well, I think you probably have some people on this committee and in the Congress who would like to help you on this. Why do you need more amphibious capability? And would you elaborate on the role of the -- of our Marines, the expeditionary Marines in your area of responsibility? Would the effectiveness of the Marines be diminished if there were insufficient amphibious ships or, I guess, if we don't correct the insufficient number of ships? And how would this affect your abilities as the combatant commander?
Well, certainly I'm not the only combatant commander that desires amphibious shipping or the Marines that are on them. So there is a global competition among us as the world situation kind of moves around and we need different types of forces. And generally the capabilities that the Marine Corps bring with amphibious readiness groups is applicable to almost every scenario from humanitarian assistance disaster relief all the way to high end contingencies.
And so the global demand signal today is less than we can -- I mean, is greater than what we can resource. So as we -- of course, we have to make trade-offs. I mean, we only have so much money, we only
have so much to be dedicated. And I think the Navy and the Marine Corps have teamed together to take a look at that. But in my particular area of responsibility, not only do I have forces that are out and about in the western Pacific predominantly, but I also have amphibious forces that I train and maintain and I send them to other -- to other combatant commands. I send them to Central Command and this -- and to Europe.
And so in the Pacific though, it is my view that as the Marines come back that we should optimize the capability of the Marines in the -- particularly in the area west of the dateline. And to do that, we have to have adequate amphibious lift to do that.
SEN. WICKER: Well, on -- let me just leave you with this request: Tell us what you need and why you need it and what we won't be able to do if you -- if you get -- if you get less than that. And I would hope that members of this committee would do what we could to make sure that we're ready for contingencies in your area. And thank you very much. Thank you to both of you, actually.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Wicker. Senator King.
SENATOR ANGUS KING (I-ME): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, I'd like to begin by -- with a compliment. I was fortunate enough to spend the past weekend on the USS New Mexico Virginia-class submarine doing exercises under the Polar ice cap.
The machine, the device, the ship was extraordinary. But what -- the overwhelming impression I had was of the quality of the sailors on that ship. From the commander to the -- to the mess folks, it was -- they were dedicated, patriotic, passionate about what they were doing. You have an extraordinary organization, and I think sometimes we talk about it in a kind of general sense. But to see these young people and their level of knowledge, I was particularly impressed by enlisted people who had come up through the ranks to have real responsibility on that ship. It's an indication of the quality of the military that we have, and I sometimes feel that we don't -- we don't adequately acknowledge and reward those people for the -- for the extraordinary and uncomfortable -- by definition on a submarine -- work that they do. It was -- it was a riveting experience in terms of the admiration for those -- for those young people. So your organization is to be complimented.
Secondly, I want to associate myself with the comments of Senator Sessions. I worry that we're whistling past the graveyard in terms of the -- of the debt service requirement that's looming as interest rates inevitably rise. Interest rates now are running at about 2 percent, which is a world record of low. If it goes to 4 1/2 percent, then interest charges, just interest charges, will exceed the current defense budget. That's dead money. It doesn't buy any ships, personnel, park rangers, Pell grants or anything else. And I think it's something that we really need to pay some attention to while we're in this interest rate lull because when they go up, it's going to be too late.
Third, in terms of a comment, General, you mentioned that we have an asymmetric cyberadvantage, but it occurs to me that we -- the -- for the same reason we have an asymmetric cybervulnerability because of the advanced nature of our society and the extent to which we depend upon the Internet and interrelationships for everything from the electrical grid to the -- to natural gas to financial services. So I believe we do have -- and I've observed -- that we do have an advantage because of our advanced state, but several of my folks have pointed out to me that it's also -- can be a significant disadvantage.
Admiral, turning to the -- to your responsibilities, what do we need to bolster the security capabilities of our allies and partners in the region, assuming we can't carry the whole burden, especially where we don't have a permanent military presence? Is there more we should be doing in the -- in the area of foreign military sales, foreign military financing, training and those kinds of things in the -- in the Pacific region?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, in general, I'd say that foreign military sales are an exceptional tool to be able to do a couple things. One is to bolster the capacity and capability of our partners and our allies so that they can be more supportive in the security environment, and we're certainly doing that with our key allies. But it -- what it also does is that, when you have FMS sales, it puts you together with a relationship for sometimes 20 or 30 years, depending on the life of the system that you have. So you share training. You share schools. You share common experiences. You share parts supply, all those types of things. So I believe that FMS is a very, very valuable tool for being able to help us shape the security environment, particularly in my area of responsibility.
SEN. KING: Senator Kaine and I were recently in the Middle East and observed the value of the training component where military officers from other countries come here for training, and that serves clearly as a training value, but it's also a kind of America 101 kind of process. Is that -- is that an aspect that takes place also in the Pacific theater?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: It is. Of course, we rely heavily on IMET funding to be able to do that. And I think we could use more IMET -- (inaudible) -- accurately stating it. And it's not just our partners and allies coming this direction; it's also our officers and enlisted going in their direction. Any time you build trust and understanding, it -- that lasts for years, and then it builds a kind of inherent ability in the security environment.
You know, when you have senior officers at my level that have known each other in different countries -- known each other for 20, 30 years, went to school with each other, you know, it makes a difference when you have to deal with a crisis.
SEN. KING: A question for both of you gentlemen. The president's 215 budget -- 2015 budget requests to retire the U-2 manned aircraft in favor of the unmanned Global Hawk for high altitude reconnaissance. Will the Global Hawk be able to provide the capabilities you need or will there gaps be created by the retirement of the U-2? Do you gentlemen feel that the Air Force request is appropriate given you needs and the needs in your region?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, first of all, given the budget constraints, I understand the services' and the Air Force's need to reduce platforms, also aging platforms. But in my particular case as the operational commander in Korea, the U-2 provides some unique capability that at least presently the Global Hawk won't -- won't provide, and it will be a loss in intelligence that's very important to our indicators and warnings. So as we look at this -- as they look at the retirement of the U-2, we have to look at the capabilities of the Global Hawk and perhaps building those capabilities so that I don't have that intelligence loss.
SEN. KING: And isn't the case that you're dealing with a potential adversary that is so unpredictable and can act so rapidly that intelligence is of upmost importance?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: It is. I look for persistence because of that indicator and warning that I need in the short timeline.
SEN. KING: A follow-on question very briefly. The Air Force is also requesting a reduction in Predator and Reaper combat air patrols from 65 to 55. Is that a problem? Admiral, why don't you tackle that?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, in our AOR -- and I think General Scaparrotti will have his own perspective on it -- the type of capabilities that the Reaper brings are -- we live in a contested environment, and so, you know, you can't equate the success you've had with those platforms in areas of the world where you had maritime -- or you had air supremacy or air superiority. What we have to have is survival of the platforms, survival, you know, capabilities. And so the reduction in those platforms I think is less important to us in the Asia-Pacific than it is maybe other parts of the world.
SEN. KING: General, any thoughts on that question?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: No, I agree with Admiral Locklear. I think given the conditions that we have in Korea and high-intensity potential crisis, high-intensity -- we would have to gain air dominance before we employed those.
SEN. KING: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator King.
SENATOR KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you for your service and your leadership, and particularly also your families, for the sacrifices you've made. We appreciate it.
Admiral Locklear, I wanted to follow up on the question that my colleague Senator Shaheen asked you with regard to the submarine capabilities of our country. And I believe you said that you are an advocate for greater capabilities for our attack submarine fleet, if that's right.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: That's correct.
SEN. AYOTTE: Certainly you talked about the importance of the Virginia-class submarine and particularly with our capability in the Asia-Pacific region. One question I wanted to ask you is, what percentage of your combatant commander requirements for attack submarines are being met?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, let me provide you an offline exact percentage --
SEN. AYOTTE: Sure.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: -- but they're not all being met.
SEN. AYOTTE: They're not all being met. In fact, last year I think it was about 50 percent in terms of the combatant commander requirement requests for attack submarines. So I would appreciate an update on that, but my sense is it's probably not -- not much better, or even may not even be any better. It may be lower. So I look forward to those numbers. So we're not meeting all our combatant commander requests for attack submarines.
And as we look forward to the Los Angeles-class submarines retiring in the coming years, and we are replacing them with Virginia-class submarines, as I look at the numbers, our attack submarines will
decline from 55 attack submarines in fiscal year 2013 to -- if we go forward, to a low of actually 42 in 2029.
So we're seeing a diminishing trajectory, despite the fact, I'm very glad, that, you know, there was obviously inclusion of two Virginia-class submarine productions over the FYDP, but I'm seeing a disconnect in terms of our needs not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but this is where I think we see it very much, and the declining capacity we will have under the current predictions for attack submarines.
So if we're rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region -- and really, as we've heard today, it's an environment dominated by maritime presence -- and how can we justify a 24 percent decrease in the size of our attack submarine fleet? And doesn't this suggest that we are not adequately resourcing this rebalancing as we look at the time -- as you've said in your testimony, that in fact China has increasing capability with regard to their submarine fleet and has continued to invest in their submarine fleet? So could you help me with that?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think you accurately represented what the future will be based on even building two a year.
SEN. AYOTTE: Right.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Of course, when the CNO -- I won't speak for him -- but he's the guy who has to manage putting all the requirements into a fixed top line. So it comes down to managing risk and finding where we can absorb risk inside the budgets that we're given. And unfortunately, I think that the best that they've been able to do, even at two a year, is what you just outlined.
SEN. AYOTTE: Well, thank you, Admiral. I just think that people need to understand that this is going to be a significant decrease if we stay where we are with regard to how we're resourcing the overall defense budget, but also in particular our submarine fleet, when there are going to be greater needs, where countries like China are making greater investment and where the value of our attack submarine fleet is paramount in terms of defense of the nation and also our presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
So I -- you know, I think this is an issue we have to pay careful attention to. And it's one that we need to focus on. I also fully agree with my colleague about the value of our workforce that maintains those submarine fleets but also the workforce that has the technical expertise and background. I'm very proud of the workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, but this is something that, as you described, is a treasure that we need to continue to invest in if we're going to have that capacity going forward.
General Scaparrotti, I wanted to ask you about something in your testimony. You talked about missile defense shortfalls in terms of your responsibilities. What is it that are our missile defense shortfalls and what are you concerns there?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, first of all, as you know, we have a challenging environment in terms of North Korea's development of ballistic missiles. And they continue apace at that. It is both a U.S. and ROK concern that I have in terms of the alliance. And it's developing, along with the Republic of Korea, a layered interoperable missile defense system that has the right components and also has the sufficient munitions. And I've made, you know, the specific requirements known.
SEN. AYOTTE: It seems to me, with the often erratic behavior of the new leader in North Korea, that this is an important investment for us if we have needs in missile defense that -- in particular for protecting South Korea and our troops that are there.
I look forward to working with you on this issue because I think this is critical with the threats we face in the region, and also I think with what we've seen is, as you say in your testimony, troubling actions by North Korea in terms of proliferation of weapons as well. I think this is another issue that we need to watch and that is of deep concern to us and our allies.
Admiral Locklear, I wanted to ask you about a particular system and its value to PACOM. And that is the JLENS system which is designed to detect, track and defeat airborne threats, including cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft and, of course, you've already testified about some of that activity already in the Asia-Pacific region, and surface moving targets as well as swarming boats.
I wanted to ask you about the fact -- in fact, Secretary Hagel has said that four combatant commands have -- including your command -- has expressed an interest in the capability provided by JLENS.
Would deployment of JLENS in the Pacific theater help PACOM provide surveillance and fire control required -- the fire control required to better provide missile defense and force protection to forward-deployed troops? Number one, wanted to get your thoughts on the system.
Second, are you aware that there actually is a second JLENS that stands in reserve right now, so it's -- not to put it in more civilian terms, but is kind of in the closet right now in Utah and not being deployed? And can you help me understand why that is?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, first of all, you accurately portrayed -- I have asked -- I sent a letter to Secretary Panetta at that time asking for the capabilities that a JLENS-like system would provide in relation to the sophisticated integrated air missile defense scenarios that we face in the Asia-Pacific. So it would be important. It is important. And it's important, I think, since it's relatively kind of new technology, to kind of get it out and test it, get it into -- you can't just bring these things in overnight and expect them to be properly integrated. So we have to work our way through that.
I was aware that there is another system. I think that the decision was made by the Joint Force to -- because of the capabilities of the system and the uncertainties of other regions of the world -- to keep one in reserve just in case we need it. So I don't -- I don't fault their decision. I think that it probably was, given the fact that we only have two of the systems and the fact that the world's pretty dynamic, keeping one in reserve may be the best solution for now.
SEN. AYOTTE: Thank you very much, both of you. Appreciate it.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Ayotte.
SENATOR MASIE HIRONO: (D-HI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to first associate myself with the comments of Senators King and Ayotte in recognizing the competence and the dedication of the men and women who serve. And admiral Locklear, it is always good to see you once again.
I also want to commend you on releasing PACOM's energy security strategy. It is a concise, clear-eyed assessment of the challenges
and opportunities the U.S. faces with regard to energy matters in this region, and clearly, access to affordable, sustainable energy sources is a key part of security and stability in the region.
To my question: Admiral, you mentioned the value of multilateral engagements within the region. Specifically you were talking about this with regard to Senator Wicker's comments. And at Secretary Hayes (ph) -- Hagel's -- excuse me -- invitation, the ASEAN defense ministers meeting will be held in Hawaii next month. What are your thoughts about the significance of this meeting? And do you have plans or are there plans for other meetings of this sort with countries who are -- partners who are below the alliance level, as you noted?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, one of my objectives as PACOM commander is to be as supportive as possible of the ASEAN nations, the ASEAN organization. So, beyond Secretary Hagel's hosting the end of -- or beginning of April in Hawaii, which I will assist him in hosting them, and we'll talk about many aspects of multilateral cooperation, I also make it a point every time I go to Jakarta to stop in and see the permanent reps of ASEAN, to see the secretary general or his deputy while I'm there and to show generally U.S. support for growing multilateral organizations such as ASEAN.
So there is a place, a growing place, I think, particularly in South Asia, Southeast Asia for these multilateral organizations that when they come together, they won't -- they're a consensus organization, so they're probably not going to -- we have to set our expectations at a certain level, but certainly they should have a voice, and they should have a voice together.
REP. HIRONO: And as you noted, the kind of relationships that we build in these areas and with these countries would be very beneficial to our national security interests also.
With the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific theater, I am having a bit of trouble understanding a new Air Force plan which would move four Air Force KC-135 tankers from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the mainland. And given the space and time needs, it seems to me that keeping the tankers forward deployed in Hawaii would make the most sense.
Would you like to share some -- your perspective on this proposal?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I have not yet seen the formal proposal by the Air Force but, as you know, that proposal would have to come through me for my comment. The decision to move any forces that are COCOM to PACOM or under my command would have to be -- would have to be authorized by Secretary Hagel. So there will be a dialogue about this. I mean, I don't -- I think there will be a lot of perspectives as we -- as we look at it.
I believe those four airplanes were a result of a BRAC initiative of some -- a number of years back. What I understand is that there are some maintenance efficiencies that as we look at across-service efficiencies that are being forced on us by -- "force" is probably the wrong word -- that we're being driven to because of the fiscal realities we're in, that this is probably the reason that the Air Force is pursuing the consolidation of these assets, but we have not made a decision yet.
SEN. HIRONO: I would have an expectation that the National Guard, Air Force and you would be very much engaged. And of course I'd want to be in touch also.
The department has proposed a 36-percent reduction in MILCON funds for fiscal year '15. It is my understanding that these cuts were made to help operations and readiness accounts because of the impact of sequester. How will these budget changes affect your ability to carry out your missions in PACOM, both from the MILCON and operations and readiness standpoints?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, in general, slowing of MILCON that we had anticipated in our program -- to this degree, 36 percent -- will impact the services' ability throughout the world but in particular in my AOR, to be able to move forward with some of their initiatives. So for instance, in Hawaii I think there's been a MILCON reduction at Kaneohe. We are moving to move B-22s there, new Cobras, new Apache helicopters, those type of things -- I mean Huey helicopters. And so it will slow the pace of which we are able to integrate these forces into the AOR.
SEN. HIRONO: Well, my hope also is that the deferred MILCON items will be restored as we go along and as we assess the needs that you have in this area.
You mentioned the cyberthreat that impacts the PACOM AOR, and with the ever-increasing number of cyberattacks everywhere, frankly, but let's focus on your AOR. Would you support a strong cyber team that's made up of active Guard and Reserve personnel?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, generally speaking, the more cyber experts we have, the better. But I would recommend that we -- you know, we refer that over to Cyber Command to take a look at how those forces would be integrated in the overall cyber plan, because the Guard -- as we've seen in the last number of years, the Guard, in times of crisis, goes forward in many cases, and we'd have to understand how they would be manned and trained and maintained to be relevant when they showed up with the active forces in a contingency.
SEN. HIRONO: It's clear that we all ought to be working in parallel course, and that the right hand, left hand, all of us, should be working together. So that's really where I'm going. I'm certainly not advocating that everybody does their own thing in this area, because it's very complicated, I realize.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Hirano.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, both of you, for your service.
General, is it a fair statement that North Korea is one of the most unstable nation states in the world today?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. I agree.
SEN. GRAHAM: And be in the top two or three?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. In terms of their missile program, by 2024 do you expect that they will have ballistic missile capability that could effectively reach our homeland?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. On the pace they're on, yes, sir.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. Do you expect by 2024 that they will have plutonium weapons, not just uranium-based nuclear bombs?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK.
Admiral, by 2024, if China continues on their present pace of building up their military, what will the balance of power be between China and the United States, in your command?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think in the -- in the region the balance of power will continue to shift in the direction of the Chinese, depending on how much more investments they make and depending on whether we -- what our forces look like forward. So it will continue to shift.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, we're uncertain as to what China will do, but it seems like they're intent on building up the military. Is that a fair statement?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: At 12.2 percent, that's a fair statement.
SEN. GRAHAM: So let's look at the pace they're on and what will happen to us over the next -- about 2024. If sequestration's fully implemented -- how much longer realistically do you have in this command? Couple years? What's the normal tour?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: It's about three years. I'm in my last year.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. So as we look forward, we'll probably have two or three commanders by 2024, at least.
Looking down the road, what kind of -- if sequestration's fully implemented, what will that mean in terms of the ability to defend this region and to have a deterring presence? Would it be -- is sequestration a mild, medium or severe effect on future commanders to be able to represent our interest in your area?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think, assuming that the world other than the Asia-Pacific will not be peaceful in 2024, sequestration will have a severe effect on our abilities.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK.
Now, General, the transition of leadership in North Korea -- is it stabilizing or is it still volatile? Do we know who's in charge of the country?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, we do know who's in charge. It's Kim Jong Un. I think recently it has stabilized somewhat. He's displaying a normal -- a normal routine at this point, purposely so, I think, for his regime. But we don't know yet the stability within his close (sic) regime -- significant change in the leadership recently there.
SEN. GRAHAM: Do we have any real leverage to stop their nuclear program from developing at the pace they would desire?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think the sanctions that we've used to this point have not had the impact in that regard.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. South Korea -- are they seeking to enrich uranium?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: As you know, there's discussions with civil nuclear capability.
SEN. GRAHAM: Is it our position to oppose enrichment by the South Koreans for civilian purposes, or do you know?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I don't know.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK.
General -- I mean -- excuses me -- Admiral, you've got a lot of the world to be responsible for. Our military budgets will be at 2.3 percent of GDP. Do you know the last time America spent 2.3 percent of GDP on defense in the modern era?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I couldn't accurately say.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. Isn't this dangerous, what we're doing?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that we have to -- you know, the real question, as we talk about here today, is how do you weigh the -- what appears to the looming threat to the U.S. economy, the U.S. -- (inaudible) -- and then --
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, let's say if you -- eliminated the Department of Defense in perpetuity, would it remotely move us toward balancing the budget?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: From what I can see, it would not.
SEN. GRAHAM: OK. So if we assume that's fairly accurate, the path we've taken as a nation in terms of our defense capabilities -- would you say it's alarming?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I would say that it bears serious watching.
SEN. GRAHAM: What would you say, General?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Sir, I'd say that I'm very concerned about it.
SEN. GRAHAM: From our enemies' point of view, do you see it likely that China will have a confrontation with Japan over the islands that are in question, Admiral?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think the potential for miscalculation if they don't manage it between themselves properly could be high, and it could be very dangerous. That said, I don't see in the near term that they're heading in the direction of confrontation.
SEN. GRAHAM: When you talk to our allies, do they seem concerned about the direction we're heading as a nation -- the United States -- in terms of our defense capability? And have some of the things that have happened in the Mideast -- has that affected at all the idea of American reliability in your area of operation?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think the whole world watches what we do militarily. And, you know, for a long time, we've been kind of the single guarantor of security around the world.
SEN. GRAHAM: (Inaudible) -- beginning to hedge their bets?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: They're starting to -- I think they're starting to look at it, and they're asking the question of our staying power globally, not just in my region.
SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you both.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Graham.
SENATOR TIM KAINE (D-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to our witnesses, thank you for your service and your testimony this morning. I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but we should applaud the work of the Seventh Fleet in assisting -- trying to find the Air Malaysia flight -- just an example of the kind of thing we do every day -- the military does every day to advance humanitarian and other causes, and that work is important work.
And I think many of the questions and comments today have really kind of circled back to budgetary realities -- certainly, Senator Graham's did. We've got two budgetary choices posed for this committee by the president's budget submission. Do we accept the president's budget or some version of it, which is, I call, the half-
sequester budget -- the president's proposal would actually absorb half the sequester cuts over the entire range of the sequester but try to find a replacement for the -- for the other half, and there's a suggested replacement from 16 and out, or do we just accept the full sequester?
There's no way we can do we want if we accept the full sequester, period, full stop. We don't do it. If we're concerned, we have a way to solve it, but the way we've got to solve it is, do what we did in the '14, '15 budget and do sequester relief. And so it's my hope that we'll work in '16 now just like we did in the '14, '15 budget, to do it. That is ultimately the significant way to answer some of the concerns that you're each laying on the table, in my view.
Admiral Locklear, I want to ask you a question about one aspect of this sort of sequester -- full sequester or half sequester budget, and it deals with carriers, because that's one of the items that is sort of most obviously different between the two -- between the president's submitted budget and the full sequester version, and that is scaling back from an 11-carrier Navy to a 10-carrier Navy.
Now, the 11-carrier Navy is a statutory requirement. I believe you testified recently before a House Armed Services where you said 11 carriers continues to be a pretty important components to America's maritime dominance, and I would like it if you would kind of describe that, please.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, you know we've debated for a long time whether the -- what the utility of the carrier would be in the 21st century, and we continue to see it as, I'd say, in the forefront of military instruments that leadership have been able to use to be able to maintain the peace, to maintain stability, and in crisis, to be able to respond quickly.
The benefit of our carrier force today is that it's unequaled in the world. It is nuclear; it's sustainable at sea for many, many -- I don't know -- really for just about as long as you can think about it, and it carries a very credible capability to maintain peace and to be able to prevail in crisis.
The downside to the nuclear carrier force -- or the opportunity costs -- maybe not the downside is that they are nuclear and they have to be maintained as -- in a safe manner, which if you take a look at the history of Navy nuclear power, you've go to give these young men and women who do this a lot of credit. You've got young 19, 20-year-old people running these nuclear reactors, and they've been largely without any incident for the history of the program.
But to do that, you have to bring them back through maintenance, and they have to come back to our shipyards. They have to be in nuclear shipyards to have that done.
And in the kind of day-to-day operations globally to be able to maintain the requirements that I have and the other combatant commanders have, based on the world as it is, about 11 aircraft carriers is just -- is just barely making it today.
SEN. KAINE: What would it mean in PACOM if we dropped back from 11 to 10, changed the statutory requirement, didn't refuel the George Washington and dropped by from 11 to 10? What would it mean in PACOM?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Right. Well, I'm confident we would still maintain a nuclear carrier forward in the Japanese alliance. You know, we've announced recently that the Ronald Reagan would be that replacement. So we're moving in that direction. The implication would be that there would be greater periods of time, not only in my AOR but other AORs, where a combatant commander would say a carrier is needed in this crisis, or needed in this scenario, and there would not be one available.
SEN. KAINE: If I could continue, Admiral, with you, I want to talk a little bit about China. I think as I was hearing your testimony you were indicating that China is pretty rapidly chewing away any dominance that we might have in the region, but that I think you indicated that even at a 12 percent growth in defense expenditures it would be many decades before they could reduce our dominance globally. Did I understand the gist if your testimony correctly?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: That's correct.
SEN. KAINE: Does China have military bases outside of China?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Not that I'm aware of today.
SEN. KAINE: Does China have significant military presence today in the Americas?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Military presence? No.
SEN. KAINE: In Africa?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Military presence, no.
SEN. KAINE: Europe.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: No.
SEN. KAINE: Middle East?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Just in the Gulf of Aden where they've done counterpiracy operations.
SEN. KAINE: So based on that, it is your understanding that China is basically trying to significantly grow the projection of military presence in their region, but is not -- at least to this point -- significantly growing military presence elsewhere?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: The predominance of their efforts are in the region.
SEN. KAINE: And so that kind of explains the testimony you gave earlier. They're chewing away our dominance in their region, but it would take a long time for them, even at significant growth, to chew away our dominance elsewhere.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: That's correct. I mean, I -- when you combine the U.S. global security capability with that of our allies, with that of our significant allies from -- in all parts of the world, they could have a difficult time of -- globally.
SEN. KAINE: Mr. Chairman, I just ask these questions to suggest that, you know, I think most would say that China is our principle competitor -- we'd use that phrase -- in the next century. They have a fundamentally different business model than we do. Our business model is a global projection of presence, both sort of physical with fixed assets, bases and flexible assets like carriers.
At least to now, they're pursuing a very different business model -- military bases, that's not what we're focused on; other regions, that's not what we're focused on. It's as if we pulled all our resources into the Americas, we would be a major force in one part of the world. That's not what we're doing. So our principle competitor sort of has a different business model than we do.
One last question, if I could, on the Senkaku Islands -- I think this is a confusing one for us because these are uninhabited islands. Is the debate -- the debate, the controversy, the skirmish potentially between China and Japan over those islands -- it's not about the islands as an economic source -- unless there are natural resources there. Is it more about, you know, national pride or dominating sea lanes or just for China creating sort of a buffer in that region they care about? How would you describe it?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I would describe it as primarily a sovereignty issue, less economic, in that it's not something new. This has been -- this issue has been around for a long time. Of course, we -- as a government, we don't take sides on territorial disputes but we -- Japan is our ally and we made it pretty clear how we would support our ally in the case of these -- this particular scenario.
SEN. KAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the witnesses.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Kaine. Senator Blumenthal.
SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to begin by pursuing the line of questioning that Senator Kaine began, and his very pertinent observation that China's strategic model is focused on its part of the world, and yet you make the point, I think very tellingly, in your testimony, Admiral, that China will soon have its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of this year.
Now, that ability to project nuclear power beyond its area, if it is further grown and expanded, would somewhat contradict the reasoning that Senator Kaine has just advanced or the model that he's just outlined, would it not? In other words, it projects a nuclear deterrent that potentially could be aimed at this country protecting interests beyond just its immediate area.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Yeah. Well, I think they have a nuclear deterrent -- they've had a nuclear deterrent that could be aimed at this country. So putting in a sea-based I think for them just adds a -- just as it does for us or for the Indians, who are pursuing the same thing, it adds another layer of confidence that their -- that their strategic nuclear deterrent won't be compromised. So what it does for me, a PACOM commander, is that in the event of, if you should ever have crisis -- and I don't think -- I don't think a conflict or crisis with China is inevitable; I don't think it is. And certainly, it's not -- wouldn't be in the best interests of peace and security in the world for that to happen. Sso we got to -- we have to walk ourselves back from that dialogue, I think. But in general, I mean, I think what they're doing would just add more complexity to how we would ever enter a contingency. But we shouldn't talk ourselves into one either.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: On the -- on our strategic laydown in the Pacific, I noted that the notional 2020 strategic laydown -- and I may be misreading it -- seems to contemplate a 20 percent ship increase based in that part of the world. Is that correct?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I think that, you know, when you define my area of responsibility and where the ships and the submarines and airplanes are, it extends from -- basically from California to the intersection of India and Pakistan, so it'll be somewhere in that -- in that large area, not necessarily west of the dateline.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: But in that 22 percent increase based outside of the United States -- in other words, non-U.S.-based?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Not all of it, no.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: What percentage of it?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I'll have to get you the exact percentage. It'll be outside of U.S. bases. I can't give you that off my head -- top of my head.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Is there a way that more of those ships can be based in the United States rather than based abroad? I know I'm putting it in somewhat simplistic terms, but I think the reason for my questioning is, basing more of these ships in the United States means more jobs in the United States and potentially greater levels of scrutiny and oversight about contracting.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, you know, to some degree, we're an island nation -- I mean, when you take a look at us globally, where we're located. And the value of a -- of a -- as a -- as an island nation that predominantly a maritime nation, the value of maritime forces forward is while you have a Navy. Otherwise, you just -- if you just want to bring them all home, because of the vast distances we have to travel, you know, to continually rotate them from home, very -- first of all, it's very expensive. For instance, for every one ship that I have deployed forward somewhere, it takes about four ships back in the United States, CONUS, to be able to support that rotation. So it's a cost-effective solution to be forward, particularly where you have an ally or a host nation that's willing to help support you. So I'm always reticent to say let's just bring everybody -- everything back to the -- to the homeland. It sounds good, but it's not operationally a good thing to do.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Well, I'm not suggesting -- and I'm not in any way arguing with you, so to speak. What I'm suggesting is an analysis that assesses the potential for creating jobs, for sustaining economic activity at those bases, whether it's Hawaii and California, rather than abroad. And I recognize that it may be more cost-effective looking at it solely in terms of the dollars and cents in your budget, but I'm thinking about employment and economic activity.
Anyway, if you get back to me with those numbers, I would very much appreciate it.
General, I noticed that yesterday there was an announcement that the Republic of Korea has officially selected the F-35, the conventional take-off and landing design, and announced the purchase of 40 of them. I'm wondering if you could tell us how that helps you in terms of both a common platform with our ally and also the qualitative military advantage of the F-35.
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: Well, Senator, first of all, the announcement yesterday was one of those that included the Global Hawk, I believe, as well. And those are commitments that, as an alliance, the Republic of Korea has made as a part of the commitments to strategic alliance 2015. So the first part is that they've invested in their -- in the qualities and the capabilities that they bring to this alliance. And both those platforms, in particular the F-35, provides, you know, the state-of-the-art capability, compatible with us and interoperability, and particularly having the same systems gives us a great deal more agility.
And then, finally, their air force is building. It's getting stronger all the time, and that helps us a great deal. And the planes that we have, they're both (in armistice ?). And if we were to go to crisis, the air force and the establishment of air dominance is critical.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: And I understand that there are eight other international partners. I don't know whether there are -- any of those are in the area under your command, but do you know what the state of purchases by those other eight international partners are at this point?
GEN. SCAPARROTTI: No, Senator, not specifically.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Again, thank you both for your extraordinarily distinguished service to our country, and thank you to all the men and women under your command. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Blumenthal.
I just have one additional question. Others will be -- obviously if they have questions, we'll have them addressed as well. In your prepared remarks, Admiral, you said that it would enhance our security cooperation effectiveness with key allies and partners if we had a authority to have $30 million in a security cooperation authority managed by the joint staff under the MILCON appropriation. And I'm wondering whether that request was made of the administration when they put together their budget and whether or not there is something like that in the budget request. We're trying to find out if there is any reference to that.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: The DOD is aware of my desire to do that. I can't tell you if it's actually in (a line ?) somewhere. I'll have to look myself and see if it's in there. The purpose of it is it would give us enhanced flexibility to be able to do some of the things that statutewise we're prevented from doing today, from small dollars, big impact.
SEN. LEVIN: If you can give us that for the record, we'd appreciate it. I have a number of other questions for both of you for the record. Our colleagues may as well. Are there any additional questions?
SENATOR ANGUS KING (I-ME): Did our intelligence provide us any advance warning that China was going to impose the ADIZ in November of 2013?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, we had been observing the dialogue, the potential for that for some time. As far as the exact date and maybe a day or two warning, we did not receive indications of that, so it was a surprise to the region of when they actually announced it. But we knew for some time that there was a contemplation of that.
SEN. KING: So the surprise was the timing rather than that they actually took this step?
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Right. I mean, we -- you know, we came out pretty firm about how we felt about it afterwards, but I mean, in reality, every country should have the, you know, ability to look at their own defenses and to put these types of things in place. We have more ADIZs than any other country in the world, but it's the method and the extra caveats that were put on it that made it unacceptable, and particularly the way instead of being just a -- well, let's have a dialogue with our neighbors and talk about how we're going to defend our territorial airspace, it was laid on as a -- you know, I think a direct issue with Japan and the Senkakus.
There wasn't any dialogue among the region or among the neighbors. There wasn't any dialogue with the United States about it. And so, in the end, it did not -- it didn't sit well with the region in general.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Mr. Chairman, one last quick question, thank you.
Admiral, thank you for being so forthcoming on the bases abroad. One of the reasons for my question is not only the jobs and economic activity, but also some of the reports of corruption or waste in contracting and so forth. And I wonder whether there have been changes in the systems providing for greater oversight and scrutiny, whether the systems of contracting and procurement have been changed at all with respect to those bases abroad.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: Well, I'd have to dig into the specifics of your question, Senator. I'm not sure I know of contracting irregularities that we're talking about. I think we have -- in fact, I know we have -- including General Scaparrotti here, very credible leadership in these -- of these alliance and the bases and the dialogue that goes on about how we share cost, how we share responsibilities.
We just finished negotiating the mutual agreement between us and the South Koreans, which we hope that they ratify as soon as their Congress comes back into session. We have a very deliberate dialogue with our allies in Japan about how the money is spent, and so I think we are doing due diligence.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Let me be more specific, then, just to, you know, give you a little bit more Glenn Defense Marine Asia. I'm sure that name is familiar to you. It's a Singapore-based firm that has serviced Navy vessels throughout Asia -- in fact, continued to do so until its chief executive was recently arrested.
I wonder if you could provide us with the records of contracts that the Navy signed since 2009, and also -- I'm not going to prolong this hearing, but perhaps in a written response, an account of what is being done to prevent occurrences of that kind of issue in the future.
ADM. LOCKLEAR: I will, Senator. I'll have to get with the Navy -- with the CNO. It's his primary oversight of those contracts, even in my AOR, as the Army has primary oversight of the contracts in
Korea, so that we'll try to consolidate an answer for you with the Navy.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Any other questions? If not, we thank you both for your service and for your testimony, and again, please pass along our thanks to the men and women with who you serve. And we will stand adjourned.
— USPACOM (posted March 25, 2014) —