[Senate Hearing 115-448, Part 1]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                               S. Hrg. 115-448, Pt. 1




                               before the

                      COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
                          UNITED STATES SENATE


                             FIRST SESSION


                                S. 1519



                                 PART 1


                         U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND

                         U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND



                      U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND


                           U.S. CYBER COMMAND

                              ARMY POSTURE

                           AIR FORCE POSTURE


                              NAVY POSTURE


    MARCH 9, 23; APRIL 4, 6, 27; MAY 2, 4, 9, 25; JUNE 13, 15, 2017

         Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services


                                                 S. Hrg. 115-448, Pt. 1




                               before the

                      COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
                          UNITED STATES SENATE


                             FIRST SESSION


                                S. 1519



                                 PART 1


                         U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND

                         U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND



                      U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND


                           U.S. CYBER COMMAND

                              ARMY POSTURE

                           AIR FORCE POSTURE


                              NAVY POSTURE


    MARCH 9, 23; APRIL 4, 6, 27; MAY 2, 4, 9, 25; JUNE 13, 15, 2017


         Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services


                 Available via http://www.govinfo.gov/


39-567 PDF                   WASHINGTON : 2020 

                      COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES

JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman		 JACK REED, Rhode Island
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma		 BILL NELSON, Florida
ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi		 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska			 JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire
THOM TILLIS, North Carolina		 MAZIE K. HIRONO, Hawaii
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska			 TIM KAINE, Virginia
DAVID PERDUE, Georgia			 ANGUS S. KING, JR., Maine
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina		 ELIZABETH WARREN, Massachusetts
BEN SASSE, Nebraska			 GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
                Christian D. Brose, Staff Director
                Elizabeth L. King, Minority Staff Director


                            C O N T E N T S
                             March 9, 2017


United States Central Command and United States Africa Command...     1

Votel, General Joseph L., USA, Commander, U.S. Central Command...     5
Waldhauser, General Thomas D., USMC, Commander, U.S. Africa          29

Questions for the Record.........................................    74

                             March 23, 2017

United States European Command...................................    87

Scaparrotti, General Curtis M. USA, Commander, U.S. European         91
  Command/Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

Questions for the Record.........................................   133

                             April 4, 2017

United States Strategic Command Programs.........................   141

Hyten, General John E., USAF, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command..   144

Questions for the Record.........................................   188

                             April 6, 2017

United States Southern Command and United States Northern Command   193

Robinson, General Lori J., USAF, Commander, U.S. Northern Command   196
  and Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Tidd, Admiral Kurt W., USN, Commander, U.S. Southern Command.....   205

Questions for the Record.........................................   249

                             April 27, 2017

United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea.....   261

Harris, Admiral Harry B., JR., USN, Commander, U.S. Pacific         264

Questions for the Record.........................................   321

                              May 2, 2017

United States Transportation Command.............................   341

McDew, General Darren W., USAF, Commander, U.S. Transportation      343

Questions for the Record.........................................   376



                              May 4, 2017

United States Special Operations Command.........................   395

Whelan, Theresa M., Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for       398
  Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict.
Thomas, General Raymond A., III, USA, Commander, U.S. Special       403
  Operations Command.

Questions for the Record.........................................   445

                              May 9, 2017

United States Cyber Command......................................   457

Rogers, Admiral Michael S., USN, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command;     460
  Director, National Security Agency; Chief, Central Security 

Questions for the Record.........................................   517

                              May 25, 2017

The Posture of the Department of the Army........................   521

Speer, Honorable Robert M., Acting Secretary of the Army.........   524
Milley, General Mark A., USA, Chief of Staff of the Army.........   526

Questions for the Record.........................................   562

                              June 6, 2017

The Posture of the Department of the Air Force...................   573

Wilson, Honorable Heather A., Secretary of the Air Force.........   576
Goldfein, General David L., Chief of Staff of the Air Force......   578

Questions for the Record.........................................   628

                             June 13, 2017

The Department of Defense Budget Posture.........................   649

Mattis, Honorable James N., Secretary of Defense, Accompanied by    653
  David L. Norquist, Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller, 
  Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Department of Defense.
Dunford, General Joseph F., Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, Chairman of     662
  the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Questions for the Record.........................................   712

                             June 15, 2017

Navy Posture.....................................................   723

Stackley, Honorable Sean J., Acting Secretary of the Navy........   727
Richardson, Admiral John M., USN, Chief of Naval Operations......   743
Neller, General Robert B., USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps..   747

Questions for the Record.........................................   790

Appendix A.......................................................   804



                        THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2017

                                       U.S. Senate,
                               Committee on Armed Services,
                                                    Washington, DC.


    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:29 a.m. in Room 
SH-216, Hart Senate Office Building, Senator John McCain 
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Committee members present: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, 
Fischer, Cotton, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Perdue, 
Graham, Sasse, Strange, Reed, Nelson, McCaskill, Shaheen, 
Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine, King, 
Heinrich, Warren, and Peters.


    Chairman McCain. Good morning.
    The Senate Armed Services Committee meets this morning to 
receive testimony on the posture of U.S. Central Command and 
Africa Command.
    We are pleased to welcome our witnesses: General Votel and 
General Waldhauser. We thank each of you for your decades of 
distinguished service and for your leadership of our men and 
women in uniform.
    More than a decade and a half since the September 11th 
terrorist attacks, our Nation is still at war with terrorists 
that seek to attack our Homeland, our interests, our allies, 
and our partners. In this fight, our military servicemembers 
are doing everything we ask of them from North Africa to the 
Middle East to South Asia. Thanks to their tremendous talent 
and dedication, we have made important tactical and operational 
    Our military has gradually eroded ISIS's [Islamic State of 
Iraq and Syria] territorial control and removed key personnel 
from the battlefield. ISIS has been expelled from its Libyan 
stronghold in Sirte, and I am confident that soon the same will 
be true in Mosul and Raqqa. Our military has kept up the 
pressure on terrorists operating in countries like Yemen and 
Somalia. In Afghanistan, we have kept al Qaeda on the run and 
helped our Afghan hold the line against renewed Taliban 
    But much to the frustration of the American people, this 
hard-won tactical progress has not led to enduring strategic 
gains. In fact, the sad reality is America's strategic position 
in the Middle East is weaker today than it was 8 years ago. The 
positions of Vladimir Putin's Russia and the Iranian regime and 
its terrorist proxies have improved. This is not a military 
failure. Instead, it is a failure of strategy, a failure of 
policy, and most of all, a failure of leadership.
    The fact is for at last the last 8 years, we have tried to 
isolate the fight against terrorism from its geopolitical 
context. Or as General Mattis put it 2 years ago, we have been 
living in a ``strategy-free environment'' for quite some time. 
The result is that we have failed to address and, at times, 
exacerbated the underlying conflict, the struggles for power 
and sectarian identity now raging across the Middle East. We 
have been unable or unwilling to either ask or answer basic 
questions about American policy in the region. We have been 
reluctant to act, and when compelled to do so, we have pursued 
only the most limited and incremental actions.
    We are fighting ISIS in Syria but ignoring the Syrian civil 
war that was its genesis and fuels it to this day. We are 
fighting ISIS in Iraq but failing to address the growing 
influence of Iran. We are fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan but 
pretending the Taliban is no longer our problem. We are 
fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen but 
refraining from confronting the threat posed by Iran's Houthi 
proxies. In short, we are treating the symptoms and ignoring 
the disease, and we should not be surprised at the results: a 
Middle East aflame, America's influence squandered, America's 
adversaries emboldened, America's friends disheartened, and 
America's policy options narrowed and worsened.
    This is the unfortunate inheritance of the new 
administration. Yet as difficult and complex as our challenges 
are in the Middle East, we have an opportunity to chart a new 
and different course. Seizing this opportunity will require 
more than just a plan for the accelerated defeat of ISIS. We 
have to raise our sights, look beyond the tactical and 
operational fight, and start answering some basic but difficult 
strategic questions. What enduring objectives do we hope to 
achieve across the Middle East? How will we achieve those 
goals, and on what timeline, and at what cost?
    In Iraq, Mosul will be retaken eventually, but that will 
only likely reignite the battle for the future of Iraq, a 
battle in which we have an important stake. What is America's 
policy and strategy to deal with the problems that lie ahead: 
combating the malign influence of Iran and its militias, 
addressing the future of the Kurds and their place in Iraq, and 
attenuating the disenfranchisement of Sunni Iraqis that gave 
rise to ISIS in the first place?
    Likewise in Syria, I believe Raqqa will eventually be 
liberated. But the closer we come to that day, the more it 
becomes clear that we cannot avoid difficult questions about 
Syria any longer. What is America's policy and strategy 
concerning a political transition in Syria, the future of Assad 
and his regime, the fate of the Kurds in Syria, and the 
influence of extremist forces from Sunni terrorists to Iranian-
backed militias? In short, what is America's vision of an end-
state in Syria?
    In Libya, the ISIS stronghold in Sirte has been degraded. 
But what remains is a divided nation littered with independent 
militias, flooded with arms, and searching in vain for 
legitimate governance and political unity. What is America's 
policy and strategy for addressing these conditions, which 
unless confronted will make Libya fertile ground for extremism 
and anti-Western terrorism?
    In Afghanistan, we have settled for a strategy of ``don't 
lose.'' The result is that last month, General Nicholson 
testified before this committee that this war is now in a 
stalemate after 15 years of fighting. After 15 years of 
fighting, we are in a stalemate. What is America's policy and 
strategy for rolling back a resurgent Taliban, for addressing 
the terrorist sanctuaries within Pakistan's borders, and 
pushing back against Iranian and Russian meddling? In short, 
what does victory look like in Afghanistan, and what is our 
strategy for achieving it?
    Across the region, Russian and Iranian influence is growing 
at America's expense. Russia and Iran even hosted Syrian peace 
talks in Moscow last year without America present at the table.
    Russia's cruise missiles crisscross the region while its 
aircraft indiscriminately target Syrian civilians. Iran's 
proxies wield lethal rockets and ballistic missiles with 
impunity, sensing that the nuclear deal shields them from 
American pressure. What is America's policy and strategy to 
counter Russian and Iranian malign influence that often 
manifests itself below the threshold of open conflict? How do 
we restore the trust of our regional allies and partners and 
convince them to forego hedging strategies that only add to 
uncertainty and instability?
    These are the major policy and strategy questions hanging 
in the balance. The stakes are high, not just for the stability 
of the Middle East and Africa, but for America's national 
security. It is not the job of our witnesses to provide answers 
to these questions. That is the job of the President, his 
administration, and the Congress. We owe our witnesses and the 
men and women they lead unambiguous national security 
priorities, clarity in our strategic thinking, and an 
unwavering commitment to provide them the resources required to 
support the necessary courses of action.
    Once again, I want to thank our witnesses for appearing 
before the committee today and look forward to hearing how the 
military efforts will help us achieve favorable strategic 
    Senator Reed?


    Senator Reed. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you 
to our witnesses not only for your appearing here today but for 
your extraordinary service to the Nation over many, many years. 
Also please relay our thanks to the men and women that you 
lead, and we appreciate their efforts extraordinarily so.
    You are in a situation of very challenging times in all of 
the areas of operation. This hearing is especially timely, 
given unfolding events on the ground in Iraq and Syria and the 
reported completion of a proposed strategy to accelerate 
efforts against ISIS. Our assistance to partners on the ground 
is helping them to make steady progress in reclaiming areas of 
Iraq and Syria once held by ISIS, most notably in Mosul.
    However, the situation in Syria seems to get more 
complicated by the day as different actors on the ground pursue 
divergent goals. Russia's continued support for the Assad 
regime fuels the country's civil war, enables the abuse and 
killing of the Syrian population, and allows ISIS to exploit 
the resulting instability for its own gains. Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford met with his Russian and 
Turkish counterparts just this week to discuss deconflicting 
operations in Syria, a battlespace that has become increasingly 
complicated as United States, Turkish, Russian, Iranian, Assad 
regime, and local partner forces converge in northern Syria. 
General Votel, we look forward to your update on these 
particular issues.
    According to public reports, the Defense Department has 
presented the White House with a draft strategy to accelerate 
progress against ISIS. While details of the strategy have not 
been publicly released, reports indicate that it retains many 
of the core elements of the strategy put in place under the 
Obama administration. General Dunford has described the 
strategy as a ``political-military plan'' and a ``whole-of-
government approach'' requiring important contributions from 
other non-DOD departments and agencies, most notably the State 
    This is why it is so concerning to me that the Trump 
administration's budget would apparently cut the State 
Department by a reported 37 percent at the very time that we 
need a surge of diplomatic and other assistance efforts to 
achieve the political conditions necessary to ultimately 
prevail in our fight against ISIS. As then General and now 
Secretary of Defense Mattis warned this committee, ``if you 
don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more 
ammunition.'' We just cannot keep buying bullets as the Trump 
administration is proposing.
    General Waldhauser, the importance of a robust interagency 
is perhaps of even greater importance in your area of 
responsibility, where you are primarily working by, with, and 
through partner military forces in conjunction with United 
States interagency efforts. General, as you share your 
assessment of current and future AFRICOM [United States Africa 
Command] efforts in places like Libya and Somalia, I look 
forward to hearing the ways you are incorporating a whole-of-
government approach into your planning. Such incorporation is 
particularly important in places like these where conflict 
resolution will ultimately rely less on the military toolkit 
and more on generating the proper political conditions to 
sustain and build upon security gains.
    Turning back the CENTCOM [United States Central Command] 
AOR [Area of Responsibility], over the last few years, there 
has been a persistent focus on Iran's nuclear program and 
appropriately so. We passed the 1-year anniversary of the 
implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or 
JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], in January, and 
Iran appears to be living up to its commitments under this 
agreement. However, the JCPOA only addresses one facet of the 
challenge posed by Iran. Its destabilizing activities in the 
region, ballistic missile development efforts, and 
unprofessional and dangerous behavior in the maritime 
environment continue.
    Sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program were successful 
because of the extraordinary unity within the international 
community. We must approach the remaining challenges in a 
similar way if we are to be successful in changing Iran's 
behavior. Any new sanctions must be carefully applied in 
concert with our international partners so that we do not give 
Iran a pretext to withdraw from the JCPOA and risk reversing 
the progress that has been made on limiting their nuclear 
    Last month, as the chairman indicated, General Mick 
Nicholson, Commander of Resolute Support and United States 
Forces-Afghanistan, testified that despite significant security 
gains and political efforts, Afghanistan is currently facing a 
stalemate. Further complicating the security landscape are the 
range of external actors, including Iran, Russia, and Pakistan, 
who seem intent upon interfering with the stability in 
Afghanistan. It was General Nicholson's assessments that 
increased troop levels for the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization] train, advise, and assist mission, as well as the 
continued growth in the size and capability of the Afghan Air 
Force, would be necessary to break the stalemate.
    General Votel, the committee would benefit from hearing 
your assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and 
what can be done to protect the hard-won progress that has been 
achieved and ensure that further progress is made.
    Again, thank you both for your continued service to the 
Nation, and I look forward to your testimony.
    Chairman McCain. I welcome the witnesses. Your written 
statements will be made part of the record. We will begin with 
you, General Votel. Welcome and thanks for the service that you 
both render to our Nation.

                        CENTRAL COMMAND

    General Votel. Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, 
distinguished members of the committee, good morning, and thank 
you for the opportunity to be here today to discuss the current 
posture and state of readiness of the United States Central 
    I am very pleased to appear today with my good friend and 
highly respected brother in arms, General Tom Waldhauser.
    I come before you today on behalf of the outstanding men 
and women of the command, military, civilians, and contractors, 
along with our coalition partners representing nearly 60 
nations. Our people are the very best in the world at what they 
do, and I could not be more proud of them and their families. 
Without question, they are the strength of our Central Command 
    I have been in command of CENTCOM for about a year now. It 
has been an incredibly busy and productive period. Over the 
past 12 months, we have dealt with a number of significant 
challenges in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, 
Egypt in the Sinai, the Bab al Mandeb Strait, and elsewhere 
throughout our area of responsibility. We are making progress 
in many areas, but as you know, there is much work that 
    We are also dealing with a range of malign activities 
perpetrated by Iran and its proxies operating in the region. It 
is my view that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to 
stability for this part of the world.
    Generally speaking, the central region remains a highly 
complex area, widely characterized by pervasive instability and 
conflict. The fragile security environments, which reflect a 
variety of contributing factors, including heightened ethno-
sectarian tensions, economic uncertainty, weak or corrupt 
governance, civil wars, and humanitarian crises are exploited 
by violent extremist organizations and terrorist groups such as 
al Qaeda and ISIS. These groups have clearly indicated their 
desire and intent to attack the U.S. Homeland, our interests 
abroad, and the interests of our partners and allies.
    At the same time, the central region is increasingly 
crowded with external nation states such as Russia and China, 
and they are pursuing their own interests and attempting to 
shift alliances.
    The point that I would emphasize to you is this, that while 
there may be other more strategic or consequential threats in 
regions in the world today, the central region has come to 
represent the nexus for many of the security challenges our 
Nation faces. Most importantly, the threats in region continue 
to pose the most direct threat to the U.S. Homeland and the 
global economy. Thus, it must remain a priority and be 
resourced and supported accordingly.
    The team at U.S. Central Command remains appropriately 
focused on doing what is necessary to protect our national 
interests and those of our partners. Our strategic approach is 
straightforward: prepare, pursue, and prevail. I will explain 
what I mean by that.
    We prepare the environment to ensure an effective posture. 
We actively pursue opportunities to strengthen relationships 
and support our interests, and when we do put our forces into 
action, we prevail in our assigned missions.
    I would also point out to you that today to the credit and 
professionalism of our armed forces and coalition partners, we 
are executing campaigns in the central region with 
significantly fewer U.S. Forces on the ground than in previous 
years. As you have seen clearly demonstrated in Iraq and Syria, 
Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere throughout our area of 
responsibility, we have adopted a by, with, and through 
approach that places a heavy reliance on indigenous forces. 
While this approach does present some challenges and can be 
more time-consuming, it is proving effective and is likely to 
pay significant dividends going forward. Indigenous force 
partners continue to build needed capability and capacity and 
they are personally invested in the conduct of operations and 
thus inclined to do what is necessary to preserve the gains 
they have achieved going forward.
    We also have a vested interest in ensuring increased 
stability and security in this strategically important central 
region. To this end, I will close by highlighting three areas 
where I do believe, if we apply the appropriate amount of 
energy and effort, we can and will have a lasting impact in 
this part of the world.
    First, we must restore trust with our partners in the 
region while at the same time maintaining the strong trust of 
our leadership here in Washington. The fact is we cannot surge 
trust in times of crisis, and we must do what is necessary now 
to assure our partners of our commitment and our staying power.
    Second, we must link our military objectives and campaigns 
as closely as possible to our policy objectives and our other 
instruments of national power. In other words, we must rely on 
our military objectives and our soft power capability with 
desired national and regional strategic end states, recognizing 
that if we do not do this, we risk creating space for our 
adversaries to achieve their strategic aims.
    Finally, we must make sure that we are postured for purpose 
in the region. We must have credible, ready, and present force, 
coupled with foreign military sales and foreign military 
financing programs that serve to build and shape partner 
nations' capability in a timely and effective fashion.
    Ours is a challenging and important mission. Much is at 
stake today in the central region. We recognize this fact, and 
I assure you that the CENTCOM team stands ready and willing to 
do what is necessary to protect our national interests and the 
interests of our allies and partners.
    Let me close by thanking the committee for the strong 
support that you continue to provide to the world-class team at 
United States Central Command and particularly to our forces 
located forward in the region. As I said at the outset, the 
80,000-plus soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast 
guardsmen, and civilians that make up the command are truly the 
very best in the world at what they do, and I could not be more 
proud of them and their families. I know that you are proud of 
them as well.
    Thank you again, and I look forward to answering your 
    [The prepared statement of General Votel follows:]

             Prepared Statement by General Joseph L. Votel
    The outstanding men and women who make up the U.S. Central Command 
(USCENTCOM) Team are the very best in the world at what they do. The 
incredibly dynamic, volatile and tumultuous Central Region presents a 
complex convergence of compounding multi-faceted security challenges. 
Such an environment generates near continuous crisis action planning 
and response. These conditions demand a highly capable, vigilant 
capability at USCENTCOM Headquarters and our Service Component 
Headquarters, as well as forward throughout our area of responsibility 
(AOR). The exceptional individuals on the USCENTCOM Team expertly 
navigate this challenging environment. In doing so, they effectively 
protect and promote our Nation's interests and they represent our 
values wherever they go around the world. They work selflessly each day 
in support of our mission and the exceptional men and women serving in 
harm's way around the globe. We could not be more proud of them and 
proud of their families. They truly are the strength of our USCENTCOM 
    The Central Region is a fascinating area of the world. Spanning 
over 4 million square miles it is populated by 550+ million people from 
more than 20 ethnic groups representing multiple religions and speaking 
eighteen languages with hundreds of dialects. The region lies at the 
intersection of three continents and important commercial sea lanes, 
flight corridors, pipelines, and overland routes run across it 
supporting regional and global economic networks.
    It is also a highly-complex area, widely characterized by pervasive 
instability and conflict. The 20 nations that make up the Central 
Region have various forms of government, ranging from absolute and 
constitutional monarchies to theocratic, parliamentary, and 
presidential republics. The economic and social-political landscape is 
diverse, volatile at times, and rivalries often create tensions that 
affect security and stability. Violent extremist organizations (VEOs), 
such as the terrorist organizations al Qaeda and the Islamic State of 
Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), exploit these conditions to foment unrest, 
challenge or destabilize governments, and threaten the global economy 
and U.S. national interests.
    The turbulence across the region reflects a number of contributing 
factors or ``drivers of instability,'' including ethnic and sectarian 
hostilities between Shiite and Sunnis, and Arabs and Persians; economic 
uncertainty and sustained low oil prices that severely strain energy-
based economies across the region, contributing to reduced government 
services and weakened prospects for economic growth; a 
disproportionately large youth population facing increasing poverty and 
unemployment, which may make them susceptible to unrest, radical 
ideologies, and VEO recruitment; expanding ungoverned or under-governed 
spaces, exploited by VEOs; civil wars, which are ``engines of 
instability'' all by themselves; worsening humanitarian crises, 
contributing to growing refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) 
populations; and, competition among outside actors, including Russia 
and China, seeking to promote their interests and supplant U.S. 
influence in the region. While we must take the necessary actions to 
counter immediate threats, such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we also need 
to find ways to address these and other root causes of instability if 
we hope to achieve lasting positive effects in that part of the world. 
This cannot be accomplished solely through military means. The military 
can help to create the necessary conditions; however, there must be 
concomitant progress in other complementary areas (e.g., 
reconstruction, humanitarian aid, stabilization, political 
reconciliation). There are a variety of interagency programs and 
efforts underway that are essential to translating military gains into 
actual achievement of stated goals and objectives. Support for these 
endeavors is vital to our success.
    The current evolving security environment in the Central Region is 
further complicated by the fact that most challenges transcend borders; 
they are trans-regional (cutting across multiple combatant commands 
(CCMD)), all-domain (land, sea, air, space, cyberspace), and multi-
functional (e.g., conventional, special operations, ballistic missile 
defense, cyber). Of note, the Middle East remains the global epicenter 
for terrorism and violent Islamist extremism. According to the 
Institute for Economics and Peace's 2016 Global Terrorism Index, the 
U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) AOR accounted for 78 percent of all 
terrorism incidents worldwide, and the turmoil stretches across CCMD 
seams into Africa, Europe, South Asia, and beyond.
    The security environment is further challenged by the emergence of 
a ``virtual caliphate'' and increased access and activity in the cyber 
domain. Ready access to the Internet, social media, and other messaging 
platforms has enabled a new generation of extremists to spread their 
radical Islamist views, incite widespread violence, and recruit new 
followers to their cause. As we have seen with the ongoing campaign to 
defeat ISIS, diminishment of the physical organization does not equate 
to the dismantlement of their virtual presence. To the contrary, 
terrorist organizations' activities in cyberspace enable them to remain 
relevant despite setbacks on the battlefield, while reaching out to 
direct, enable, and/or inspire audiences well beyond the region's 
geographic borders. Countering the ``virtual caliphate'' will require a 
concerted ``whole-of-government'' effort led by the people of the 
region. We can support our partners' activities, but their voices and 
influence will be required to achieve enduring positive results.
    We also acknowledge, particularly in the current resource-
constrained environment, the need to find additional means for 
countering existing and emerging threats and deterring potential 
adversaries. No other country in the world has a military with a 
greater ability than the U.S. to achieve kinetic and non-kinetic 
effects and sustain those effects. Through the application of ``hard'' 
and ``soft'' power capabilities, including kinetic strikes, raids, and 
information operations, we have been very effective at degrading and 
disrupting violent extremist networks in the USCENTCOM AOR and 
elsewhere around the world. It is an important and a necessary 
competency. However, a solely military response is not sufficient. We 
must continue to look for ways to further enhance our effectiveness 
through the application of military and non-military activities. 
Ultimately, we want to increasingly involve other elements of the U.S. 
Government and the International Community, recognizing that it is only 
through a combination of capabilities that we will achieve and sustain 
our strongest deterrence posture.
    This is especially true today given the changing character of 
warfare. For much of the past 15+ years our Nation has increasingly 
operated in the ``gray zone'' of military confrontation--that range of 
activities short of conventional conflict; a dangerous space in which 
miscalculation can easily occur, leading to escalatory conflict and 
misunderstanding. In the ``gray zone,'' adversaries employ 
unconventional methods that include cyber warfare, propaganda, and 
support to proxy elements in an effort to achieve their objectives 
while minimizing the scope and scale of actual fighting. At the same 
time, these unconventional methods increase tensions between partners 
by emphasizing competing priorities that detract from support for our 
common objectives (e.g., Turks and Syrian Kurds). To be successful in 
this ambiguous environment, we must find alternate ways to compete 
against our adversaries in the ``gray zone'' short of conflict, while 
collaborating with our partners to achieve our desired end-states.
    We must--and will--continue to pursue the many opportunities that 
exist today throughout the Central Region, recognizing that by pursuing 
these opportunities we will achieve improved stability and security in 
that challenged part of the world. As Sir Winston Churchill wisely 
stated, ``Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.'' The key to 
success is ensuring that we remain ready and capable of effectively 
countering all threats. We need to make sure that we have an accurate 
understanding of the situation. We must take care to build and 
cultivate strong relationships, here at home and abroad. We need to be 
responsive to our partners and always listen and strive to understand 
their points of view and priorities. We also need to be properly 
postured with the necessary capabilities, resources, and appropriate 
authorities to protect and promote U.S. and partner nations' interests.
    In recent years, we have been encouraged to see many of our 
regional partners take a more active role in providing for the security 
of their sovereign spaces. Ultimately, we want to empower our partners 
and allies by helping them build additional capability and capacity 
while strengthening relationships and improving cooperation and 
interoperability among nations. This is--and will remain--a top 
priority for the USCENTCOM Team at our headquarters in Tampa, Florida, 
as well as among our Component Commands, combined/joint task forces, 
and forward in the region.
    U.S. Central Command's Mission. ``USCENTCOM directs and enables 
military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase 
regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. 
    Our Strategic Approach. Our strategic approach is focused on 
protecting our national interests and those of our partners. It is 
designed to reflect our values, align our behaviors, and support the 
National Military Strategy. It is proactive in nature and endeavors to 
set in motion tangible actions in a purposeful, consistent, and 
continuous manner. Each aspect of our approach--Prepare--Pursue--
Prevail--enables the next and collectively contributes to the 
successful achievement of our goals, objectives, and overall mission.
    Prepare the Environment--The volatile nature of the Central Region 
requires that we be well-postured to protect our enduring national 
interests. ``Well-postured'' means that we are ready to execute 
military tasks; physically and virtually present in the AOR; integrated 
in all our actions; responsive to the needs of our partners; and, able 
to provide options for our leadership. Proper preparation in advance of 
crises creates decision space for leaders and allows for the 
responsible and effective employment of available resources and forces. 
Well-prepared and motivated personnel with shared values provide a 
comparative advantage over our adversaries and competitors. Preparation 
of the environment--including agreements for assured access, basing, 
and overflight and the ability to adapt our expeditionary and enduring 
footprint--ultimately ensures a high level of readiness, increased 
responsiveness, and strong and productive relationships with partners 
and allies, all of which serve to enable our success in our various 
    Pursue Opportunities--In a region beset by myriad challenges we 
must always be on the look-out for opportunities to seize the 
initiative to support our objectives and goals. Pursuing opportunities 
means that we are proactive--we don't wait for problems to be 
presented; we look for ways to get ahead of them. It also means that we 
have to become comfortable with transparency and flat communications--
our ability to understand our AOR better than anyone else gives us the 
advantage of knowing where opportunities exist. Pursuing opportunities 
also means we have to take risk--by delegating authority and 
responsibility to the right level, by trusting our partners, and being 
willing to trust our best instincts in order to move faster than our 
    Prevail in Conflict--There are no easy victories or quick wins in 
the USCENTCOM AOR--ours is an area of protracted struggles and 
conflicts. Our overriding objective, despite these challenges, is to 
prevail. Prevailing means winning; coming out on top of our 
adversaries. We prevail when our national interests and objectives are 
preserved; when we maintain decision space for our leaders; and, when 
we maintain and sustain our access, posture, and relationships with our 
vital partners. We choose to prevail ``by, with, and through'' our 
partners. Prevailing in this AOR requires resolve and resiliency--and 
continued momentum.
                    u.s. central command priorities.
    Ensure an Effective Posture--An effective posture with trained and 
ready forward-stationed forces and equipment demonstrates our 
tremendous capability and enduring commitment to our partners and 
allies in the region. It reassures them; it enables access and 
influence; and, it positions us to secure our enduring national 
interests. An effective posture also optimizes freedom of movement, 
deters state aggressors, and provides decision space and flexible 
response options for national-level decision makers.
    Strengthen Allies and Partnerships--A coalition approach--at home 
and abroad--expands our ability to operate on multiple fronts. Strong 
relationships based upon shared values create greater cohesion and 
enhance the effectiveness of available resources and capabilities. 
Integration with partners, within the region and beyond, enriches the 
benefit of our presence, mitigates resource constraints, and expands 
the reach of the force. By building the capacity of regional partners, 
we enable them to assume a larger share of the responsibility for 
securing their sovereign spaces.
    Deter and Counter State Aggressors--Effectively posturing to 
maintain freedom of movement, freedom of action, and freedom of 
navigation is essential to securing our enduring national interests and 
the interests of our partners and allies. We must also actively counter 
malign influence, and be prepared to confront aggression, while 
reducing the freedom of action of surrogates and proxies operating in 
the region.
    Disrupt and Counter Violent Extremist Organizations and their 
Networks--We must protect our Homeland from terrorist threats that 
emanate from the Central Region. We will accomplish this by degrading 
and defeating VEOs and their networks, including ISIS and al Qaeda and 
their associated forces, and by preventing the further spread of 
sectarian-fueled conflict and VEOs. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve 
a Central Region where improved security leads to greater stability, 
and where regional cooperation counters actors that threaten U.S. 
    Desired End States. Our efforts in support of partners throughout 
the USCENTCOM AOR are designed to achieve our desired end states. These 
end states include: USCENTCOM properly postured to protect U.S. 
interests; free flow of commerce and access to areas in accordance with 
international law; strong and supportive allies and partners; state 
aggressors deterred or countered; WMD safeguarded and use prevented; 
VEOs degraded and their influence eroded; and, lasting increased 
regional stability and security. The key to achieving these ends is the 
effective use of available ways and means to address challenges and 
pursue opportunities in the region.
    Challenges and Opportunities in the Central Region. Many conditions 
exist in the strategically-important Central Region that threaten 
stability, access to the region, and transit via maritime chokepoints. 
The resulting challenges--to include the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and 
Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, rising tensions with Iran, and increased 
provocative behavior by Iranian-backed elements in and around the Bab 
al Mandeb (BAM) Strait--clearly demand our attention and directed 
efforts. Among the dynamics contributing to the complexity of the 
current security environment are the same socio-political factors that 
caused the Arab Awakening, fomenting social unrest and creating 
conditions for sectarianism, violence, and extremism. In parts of the 
region, reforms have fallen short, politics remain exclusive, economic 
growth stagnates, education systems under-deliver, and/or social 
contracts are falling out of balance. Opportunities for youth remain 
limited. Concurrently, large-scale displaced populations stress already 
fragile economies, social welfare systems and security architectures. 
The resulting instability provides opportunities for VEOs and 
insurgents and those who actively provide support and sanctuary to 
them. Competition for water, oil, and other natural resources are other 
drivers of instability and conflict. Resurgent geopolitics and the 
continuation of national rivalries fuels inter-state hostility and may 
potentially hasten the pursuit of nuclear weapons. As we look to 
address the multitude of challenges present today across the USCENTCOM 
AOR, it is absolutely essential that we understand the conditions and 
root causes of the instability and turmoil. If not, our efforts are 
likely to be insufficient or even misdirected and any gains achieved, 
    In addition to addressing challenges, we must pursue the many 
opportunities present today throughout the Central Region. Doing so 
will enable us, working together with our partners, to shape the 
security environment and increase stability across our AOR. 
Opportunities manifest in a variety of ways, including bilateral and 
multilateral exercises and training programs, Foreign Military Sales 
(FMS) cases, Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance, information 
operations and messaging, and other cooperative endeavors in support of 
common objectives. Most notably, by supporting and enabling partner-led 
operations we achieve shared goals while limiting U.S. investment and 
troop presence and increasing regional partners' capability, 
confidence, and overall stake in providing for the security of their 
sovereign spaces. For example, we continue to support the Iraqi 
Security Forces (ISF) and the Syrian Democratic Forces in their efforts 
to counter ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Also, in recent months we supported 
successful United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led operations in Yemen against 
the al Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In 
terms of future opportunities, we need to find ways to increase 
information sharing with key partners, like the UAE, to further enable 
their efforts. Enhanced information sharing with regional partners can 
also advance efforts against ISIS and other terrorist facilitation 
networks. We should pursue increasing our support for the Lebanese 
Armed Forces (LAF), which have demonstrated tremendous return on 
investment in recent years. The need for improved communication between 
and among elements, particularly regarding common regional disputes 
(e.g., Sunni-Shiite tensions, Kurdish expansionism) also presents 
opportunities and should be pursued by relevant elements of the U.S. 
Government (USG). The key outcomes achieved through the pursuit of 
these and other opportunities present in the Central Region are 
improved awareness and information-sharing, enhanced capability, and 
increased trust and confidence among partner nations, all of which are 
key components underpinning our mission in pursuit of our national 
interests. Thus, it is essential that we view all challenges with an 
eye for corresponding opportunities that provide the best means for 
addressing those challenges and achieving desired end-states.
    Given the trans-regional nature of the current security environment 
coupled with the competing demands for limited resources and 
capabilities, it is essential that we find efficiencies and alternative 
means for accomplishing stated objectives. This includes building and 
enabling coalitions comprised of willing partners, recognizing that 
collaboration enhances overall capability while providing a stronger, 
united front against potential adversaries; the sum of the parts is 
greater than the whole. The initial building blocks for strong 
coalitions are relationships. The cornerstone for effective enduring 
collaboration among coalition members is information-sharing which 
enables coalition compliant planning, resulting in successful execution 
of campaign goals and objectives. One quick-yield way to enhance the 
capability and effectiveness of our partners is by expanding our 
intelligence sharing with them. To date, we have seen significant 
return on investment each time we have made such allowances in support 
of our partners.
    Key Focus Areas. While the USCENTCOM Team manages a broad range of 
difficult challenges on a daily basis, a significant portion of our 
efforts and resources are necessarily focused in five priority areas. 
These five areas are: Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq and Syria), 
Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support Mission 
(Afghanistan), Iran, Yemen, and Countering Terrorism and Violent 
Extremism. Below are summaries, highlighting substantial challenges and 
efforts underway aimed at improving stability and security in each of 
these critical areas.
    Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq and Syria). The Counter-ISIS (C-
ISIS) Campaign has entered its third year and we are on track with the 
military plan to defeat the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria. 
Our ``by, with, and through'' approach and operational level 
simultaneity strategy are working, and our partner forces continue to 
build momentum across the battlespace as we pressure the enemy on 
multiple fronts and across all domains. Together we are forcing the 
enemy to deal with multiple simultaneous dilemmas (e.g., ground 
operations, airstrikes, cyber activities, information operations, and 
discrete interdictions of resource flows). This is putting increased 
pressure on their operations and command and control capability while 
stretching their limited resources.
    The strength of the C-ISIS Campaign is the C-ISIS Coalition 
consisting of all branches of service and our Interagency and 
international partners, and the many contributions they willingly make 
to the fight against our common enemy--``The whole is greater than the 
sum of its parts.'' Without the support of the Coalition, our ``by, 
with, and through'' approach would not be doable.
    Our stand-off fires, including Coalition air and artillery, remain 
another lynchpin of the C-ISIS Campaign. Improved intelligence has 
enabled the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) to increase the 
number of deliberate strikes conducted in recent months, targeting 
ISIS's infrastructure, oil revenue sources, etc. Over the past year, 
the Coalition's precision effects campaign has removed dozens more ISIS 
senior leaders from the battlefield, attrited large portions of the 
organization's forces, further disrupted its command and control 
capability, and greatly degraded its pool of resources and access to 
replacements and personnel reinforcements. As the campaign progresses, 
and as ISIS shifts actions and behaves increasingly like a terrorist 
organization, hiding amongst civilians as a force protection measure, 
we will continue to make the necessary adjustments to our air 
operations. We want to target the enemy effectively, while also 
ensuring that we minimize collateral damage. International law requires 
it; and, when America's sons and daughters go to war, they go with our 
values. Thus, it is imperative that when we conduct operations we do so 
in such a way that we limit the loss of innocent lives.
    Over the past year, ISIS lost a significant amount of capability 
and large swaths of territory. The Iraqis are now in control of eastern 
Mosul, although clearing operations continue in several areas. In 
Syria, operations are ongoing in three key geographic areas--Raqqa, 
Manbij, and al Bab; it remains a very complex fight given multiple 
simultaneous activities and the management of partners and battlefield 
effects. In Iraq, in the coming weeks and months we will continue to 
support the Iraqi Security Forces as they complete the seizure of 
western Mosul. After Mosul operations are complete, we expect the 
Government of Iraq to prioritize military operations to recapture Tal 
Afar, Sinjar, and Hawija, and to secure the border in order to diminish 
ISIS' freedom of movement and ability to target major population 
centers. In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces have almost completed 
the isolation phase of Raqqa operations and will, in the coming months, 
begin operations to seize Raqqa, dismantling a key node in ISIS' 
external operations network. Additionally, we would look to continue 
our security operations along the Jordanian border to prevent re-
infiltration of ISIS remnants.
    The cumulative effect of operations in Iraq and Syria has cut off 
key lines of communication for ISIS, while restricting their ability to 
bring in additional fighters and curbing their flow of financial 
resources. The terrorist organization is struggling financially and is 
experiencing low morale in its ranks and steady leadership attrition 
due to coalition airstrikes. There has also been a nearly 75 percent 
decline in ISIS's media and propaganda as compared to a year ago.
    Our efforts, in conjunction with our interagency and international 
partners' efforts, to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters--both 
into Syria and Iraq and also those attempting to return to their 
countries of origin--continue to bear fruit. The U.S. and Coalition 
member nations are highly concerned about the threat these experienced 
fighters present to our respective Homelands. We have made considerable 
progress identifying and targeting fighters and insurgent networks, 
principally through our Joint and Interagency targeting processes, and 
this will remain a priority.
    These processes will also help to combat the evolving hybrid threat 
(conventional and irregular warfare). U.S. Special Operations Command 
has been designated lead for external operations (EXOPs) for the U.S. 
military efforts and this has contributed greatly to organizing the 
broader efforts against this threat. Whole of government efforts and 
collaboration with partners have also played a key role in stemming the 
flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF). Spurred by the adoption of UN 
Security Council Resolution 2178 in September 2014, more than 60 
nations have enacted laws to restrict FTF travel. The U.S. now 
collaborates through information-sharing agreements with 59 
international partners to identify and track travel of suspected 
terrorists in real time.
    While we continue to make great strides towards countering ISIS 
trans-regionally, we recognize that we are dealing with a highly 
adaptive enemy. In particular, ISIS' use of chemical weapons and its 
evolving application of available off-the-shelf technologies that 
include unmanned aerial systems now used for both observation and to 
achieve lethal effects, poses a growing threat. For example, ISIS has 
reportedly used chemicals, including sulfur mustard and toxic 
industrial chemicals, in attacks more than 50 times in Iraq and Syria 
since 2014. Although the threat of chemical weapons has not slowed the 
Counter-ISIS Campaign, ISIS could further develop its chemical weapons 
capability. We are committed to working with partners to locate, 
secure, render harmless, eliminate or destroy any chemical and 
biological weapon materials found during the course of operations in 
Iraq and Syria, and to effectively remove this threat from our troops 
and civilian populations.
    We will defeat ISIS militarily; however, a lasting defeat of this 
enemy will not be achieved unless similar progress is made on the 
political front. Instability all but guarantees a resurgence of ISIS or 
the emergence of other terrorist groups seeking to exploit conditions 
to advance their own aims. We remain fully committed to the ``whole-of-
government'' approach and continue to ensure our actions are 
synchronized with and supportive of the efforts of our partners across 
the Interagency and the International Community.
    This also holds true on the humanitarian front. UN-led efforts to 
date are having positive impacts and thousands of internally displaced 
persons (IDPs) have already returned to their homes. However, tough 
work remains, given the enormity of the humanitarian crises in Iraq and 
Syria and in neighboring countries. The growing number of displaced 
persons presents a unique set of challenges that include protection and 
assistance to civilians caught in the various conflicts, as well as 
assistance to those seeking asylum in neighboring countries.
    Regional actors--There is a significant number of players currently 
operating in Iraq and Syria with both common and competing interests. 
While they have been present for many years, several of them have 
become emboldened and have taken a more active role in addressing 
regional issues.
    In Iraq, we have seen encouraging progress made in the relationship 
between the leadership of the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdish 
Regional Government (KRG). This past year, for the first time since 
2013, Prime Minister al-Abadi met with President Barzani in Baghdad to 
discuss expanded cooperation between the ISF and the Kurdish Peshmerga. 
We also see increased collaboration between the ISF and elements of the 
Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). In November 2016, Iraq's parliament 
voted to fully legalize elements of the PMF, including but not limited 
to Shiite militias. While they are achieving some positive effects, 
their participation does present challenges, particularly post-Mosul 
offensive, as Iranian-backed elements of the PMF seek to increase their 
influence in the country through both military and political channels.
    Turkey remains an important NATO ally and Counter-ISIS Coalition 
member that supports the campaign through its operations and by 
providing access, basing, and overflight permissions. Some Turkish 
activities and rhetoric, however, have the potential to impact campaign 
momentum. Turkey's actions in northern Iraq continue to strain 
relations between the GoI and the KRG, which serves to further 
complicate the C-ISIS Campaign. Likewise, in Syria, Turkey has helped 
clear ISIS from its border, but Turkish-backed forces have also clashed 
with the Syrian Democratic Forces near Manbij and al Bab and we 
continue efforts to resolve tensions.
    Since Russia's entry into the Syrian conflict en masse in 2015, 
they have negatively impacted the regional balance of power. Russia's 
primary goal is to maintain Syria as a client state in the future and 
they have propped up the Assad Regime to support this overarching 
objective. Also very concerning is the fact that Russia's air 
operations have targeted civilians and U.S.-supported opposition 
groups. Without effective de-confliction measures, we see increasing 
opportunity for miscalculation and potential for unintended, counter-
productive engagement between nation states. We are not currently 
coordinating or cooperating with the Russians; we are simply de-
conflicting our air operations. This has become increasingly difficult 
in the crowded airspace as our operations come into closer proximity. 
In recent months, the Russians also introduced a number of new surface-
to-air systems which can be employed to impact our freedom of maneuver. 
While our de-confliction efforts have been effective to date, as the 
fight expands in northern Syria and the battlespace becomes more 
congested, we should consider enhancing our de-confliction mechanisms 
with the Russians.
    We continue to see Iranian malign influence across Iraq and Syria. 
While they currently are focused on countering ISIS in Iraq, we remain 
concerned about Iran's efforts to prop up the Syrian regime against the 
opposition and its desire to exploit Shiite population centers to 
increase their malign influence, not just in Syria, but also in Arab 
states across the region. This supports their long-term aspiration to 
achieve regional hegemony. Moreover, we are watching closely for 
indications and warnings of decreasing Iranian concern regarding the 
threat posed by ISIS, leading to a potential shift to targeting U.S. 
and coalition personnel and infrastructure in an effort to influence a 
potential long-term U.S. security presence. Furthermore, we must take 
care to ensure that our actions do not unintentionally strengthen the 
Iranian position within the region.
    The military campaign plan to defeat ISIS is on track in both Iraq 
and Syria. The coalition's ``by, with and through'' approach is proving 
effective. Recognizing that ISIS will be defeated militarily, we want 
to ensure that we have an enduring posture in the region to support and 
enable partners' efforts to preserve security and stability. Iraq 
remains an anchor in the region and we would be wise to continue to 
support their efforts going forward. We have a willing partner in Iraq 
and Prime Minister al-Abadi has clearly articulated a desire for 
continued United States support post-ISIS. We are working with the GoI 
to finalize a Five-Year Plan to ensure enhanced cooperation. This 
presents an opportunity to preserve gains achieved to date, while 
strengthening key relationships and countering malign influence in the 
    Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support Mission 
(Afghanistan). The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) 
are beginning their third year with full responsibility for security 
with limited United States or coalition support. They continue to take 
the fight to the Taliban and, despite some territorial losses, have 
retained control of major population areas and key lines of 
communication. While the Taliban made gains in 2016, namely in the 
north and south, in most cases, the ANDSF quickly responded to and 
reversed some of those gains over the past year. While the balance of 
power favors the government, neither side is currently able to achieve 
its stated objectives. Looking ahead, it is essential that we continue 
to assist the ANDSF in addressing their capability gaps, particularly 
in the areas of aviation, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), personnel 
management and development, logistics, and sustainment. Our sustained 
force presence, over 8,400 U.S. military personnel, will allow us to 
conduct counter-terrorism operations and meet our requirements for 
staffing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute 
Support (RS) Mission. However, the RS Mission still has a shortfall of 
a few thousand personnel needed to conduct the complementary mission of 
training, advising, and assisting the ANDSF.
    In 2015, United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) worked with the 
Afghans to develop a Sustainable Security Strategy based upon three key 
tenets: ``Fight, Hold, Disrupt.'' The strategy identifies areas the 
Afghans will hold, areas they will fight to retain, and areas where 
they will conduct an economy of force effort and disrupt the enemy if 
they appear, Afghan resources permitting. The ANDSF continues to make 
progress in implementing this strategy, thereby assuming a more 
proactive stance in addressing multiple threats while securing the 
population and denying terrorist safe havens. As General Nicholson, the 
commander of the RS Mission and USFOR-A stated, ``[The Afghans'] 
ability to deal with simultaneous crises . . . is a sign of an army 
that's growing in capability, [and] that's maturing in terms of its 
ability to handle simultaneity and complexity on the battlefield.''
    While the ANDSF continues to make progress, they do face a number 
of significant challenges. Poor leadership and corruption are two key 
factors that need further improvement and President Ashraf Ghani has 
made addressing these issues a top priority for the Government of the 
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA). The GIRoA established the 
Anti-Corruption Justice Center in 2016 with the help of the 
international community and has already tried, convicted, and sentenced 
senior Afghan officials for corruption. Below are other challenges and 
critical capability gaps must be addressed.
    ANDSF casualty rates--High ANDSF casualties remain a concern. This 
can be attributed to several factors, including poor leadership, 
corruption, tactics, and training. Deficiencies in ANDSF leadership 
occur primarily because of patronage vice merit-based appointments. The 
extensive use of static checkpoints and the lack of training on how to 
defend them, as well as a more aggressive posture--which has resulted 
in the ANDSF more frequently taking the lead and actively taking the 
fight to the enemy--have also contributed to an increased number of 
casualties. The ANDSF also experienced an increase in the number of 
insurgent attacks on inadequately protected fixed positions, and poor 
and corrupt leadership also may have contributed to higher casualty 
rates. The ANDSF lacked an operational readiness cycle (ORC) to ensure 
forces are well-rested and well-trained before returning to the fight. 
During the Winter Campaign this year, many ANDSF units successfully 
established ORCs, and our advisors have fostered an increased focus on 
company-level training and leadership development.
    Afghan Air Force--The Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission 
Wing (SMW) continue to build capability. Their ability to provide 
airlift, casualty evacuation, and aerial fires has steadily improved as 
the United States provides more aircraft to the AAF and as its pilots 
and crew gain additional operational experience. The Afghans are 
proving effective at integrating their AAF aviation assets as evidenced 
by a number of successful operations conducted over the past year. 
However, significant capability gaps remain. The current rotary wing 
fleet consisting primarily of the Russian-made Mi-17 is both undersized 
and proving to be more expensive and difficult to sustain than 
originally envisioned and is experiencing a higher than expected 
attrition rate. Going forward, transitioning from Russian to United 
States airframes will ensure Afghan forces have a more sustainable 
fleet that is interoperable with U.S. forces and will enhance the 
Afghans' ability to operate independently of coalition forces. The 
United States Government is considering a critical AAF initiative to 
replace the unsustainable Russian-manufactured aircraft fleet and make 
up for combat losses in Afghan transport helicopters by providing U.S. 
UH-60s. The DOD-request of $814.5 million for fiscal year 2017 for the 
first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides 
funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of 
the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-
29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s. The requested fiscal year 2017 
Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) budget, including the additional 
funds for the first year of this proposed aviation initiative, went to 
Congress on 10 November 2016. The fiscal year 2017 proposal is pending 
approval and we appreciate your support in reaching resolution as soon 
as possible to mitigate the gaps in Afghan aerial fires and lift 
capabilities. Transition from Mi-17 to UH-60 airframes will eventually 
eliminate reliance on Russian sourced parts for maintenance 
requirements. With our support, we can expect the AAF will continue to 
build needed capability over the next few years and into the future.
    Influence of external actors--Stability in Afghanistan is further 
challenged by the malign influence of external actors. The enablement 
of violent extremist groups operating inside of Afghanistan and along 
the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, receiving sanctuary or support 
from outside governments, is of particular concern. So long as these 
elements remain, they will threaten our hard-earned gains and regional 
stability writ large.
    Pakistan's shared border with Afghanistan remains a safe haven for 
terrorist and violent extremist elements. There are 20 United States-
designated terrorist organizations present today in Afghanistan and 
Pakistan. The Taliban serves as a facilitator to some of these groups' 
operations. The death of Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour 
in a U.S. strike on 21 May 2016 had a disruptive impact on the Taliban 
and gave a psychological boost to the Afghans. However, the group still 
presents a formidable threat to stability in the Afghanistan-Pakistan 
(Af-Pak) sub-region. The convergence of these groups and, in 
particular, the convergence of the Afghan Taliban and its component, 
the Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, is of particular concern 
given the direct threat posed to United States and Coalition personnel 
and the Afghan Government. Key to improving the security environment in 
Afghanistan is eliminating sanctuary of militant groups in Pakistan's 
territory. The United States maintains consistent diplomatic pressure 
on Pakistan to take appropriate steps to deny safe haven and work to 
improve the security of the tumultuous Af-Pak border region.
    Illicit narcotics production and trafficking--Illicit narcotics 
production and trafficking continue to flourish in Afghanistan, 
particularly in areas where state institutions are weak. The United 
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated 2016 Afghanistan poppy 
cultivation to be 201,000 hectares with a net opium yield of 4,800 
metric tons and a farm gate value of $900 million, which is a 57 
percent increase in revenue generated from the opium trade. In 
Afghanistan, a symbiotic relationship exists between the insurgency and 
narcotics trafficking where traffickers provide weapons, funding, and 
material support to the insurgency in exchange for protection. 
Additionally, some insurgent commanders traffic drugs to finance 
operations. However, trafficking is not limited to insurgent-controlled 
areas. The narcotics trade undermines governance and rule of law 
throughout Afghanistan and plays a critical role in underwriting 
corruption and a loss of confidence by the Afghan people in the GIRoA.
    Regionally, USCENTCOM supports law enforcement counterdrug and 
border security training, equipping of regional partners, construction 
activities, and information sharing initiatives to build the capacity 
of our security force partners that aid in the regional response to 
illicit drugs trafficking. Counterdrug activities are a critical 
component of USCENTCOM's theater security cooperation strategy; provide 
for regional engagement and comprise a significant source of security 
assistance funding in Central Asia. These efforts improve regional 
illicit drug detection and interdiction and improve overall border 
security for the detection of other forms of contraband, including 
weapons and IED materials.
    Amidst the challenges confronting Afghanistan today are many 
opportunities. Most notably, we have willing partners in the GIRoA and 
ANDSF and our collaboration in support of common objectives continues 
to pay significant dividends. Following are three areas in particular 
where potential ``game-changing'' opportunities exist and merit our 
sustained commitment.
    Government of National Unity--The Government of National Unity 
(GNU) survived several political crises in 2016. President Ashraf Ghani 
and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah provided the leadership 
that has enabled progress to be made in a number of areas, as well as 
the development of the framework for enduring partnerships with NATO 
and the United States. Nevertheless, significant challenges still exist 
and must be addressed. While the NUG provides needed structure and a 
source of stability for Afghanistan, it remains fragile. Although the 
ANDSF has remained apolitical so far, failure of the NUG could threaten 
ANDSF cohesion and the progress achieved throughout the country. Our 
message to the political elites of Afghanistan has been that ``we 
respect your political progress, but please do not allow political 
tensions to undo the hard fought gains you have made.''
    The International Community's Demonstrated Commitment to 
Afghanistan--Thirty-nine NATO allies and partner nations committed more 
than 13,500 troops to sustain the Resolute Support Mission beyond 2016. 
Thirty nations have also pledged more than $800 million annually to 
sustain Afghan security forces through 2020. Combined with the 
requested United States commitment of $3.5 billion for fiscal year 2017 
and additional funding from Afghanistan, a total of more than $4.3 
billion has been pledged for the ANDSF for 2017. Additionally, 75 
countries and 26 international organizations confirmed their intention 
in 2016 at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan to provide $15.2 
billion for Afghan development during the 2017-2020 period. The 
International Community's strong showing, coupled with the continued 
commitment of United States troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, has 
bolstered Afghan confidence and resolve and will surely pay dividends 
going forward.
    Counter-terrorism (CT) Platform--The existence of violent extremist 
groups in Afghanistan requires a United States presence in the region 
that can monitor and address threats, even as the United States helps 
to build the Afghans' capability to deter terrorist exploitation of 
Afghan territory. As we adjust the U.S. CT mission, our support to the 
NATO TAA [Train, Advise, and Assist] mission will also evolve in the 
coming year. Currently, advisory efforts are at four of the six corps 
and police zone levels, in addition to the Afghan Special Security 
Forces (ASSF) and the AAF. In 2017, we will advise all six corps and 
police zones to provide critical support where needed to capitalize on 
the success and continued implementation of the sustainable security 
    Although we see encouraging progress being made in Afghanistan, it 
remains a very challenging environment. While the ANDSF confronts 
difficulties in a number of areas, they are providing for the security 
of their country, achieving good effects against the Taliban, and 
building much-needed capacity and momentum while gaining increasing 
confidence in what is still a tough fight. Additionally, although it 
does face significant challenges, the GIRoA, under the leadership of 
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, has 
proven to be a reliable and willing partner. The United States and our 
coalition partners have invested greatly in Afghanistan over the last 
15+ years. The country merits our continued demonstrated commitment 
given our national security interests in the sub-region, namely 
protection of the U.S. Homeland. By strengthening our partners and 
weakening our enemies we will achieve increased stability in that 
strategically important part of the world.
    Iran. Iran poses the most significant threat to the Central Region 
and to our national interests and the interests of our partners and 
allies. We have not seen any improvement in Iran's behavior since the 
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), addressing Iran's nuclear 
program, was finalized in July 2015. Iran aspires to be a regional 
hegemon and its forces and proxies oppose United States interests in 
Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, and seek to hinder achievement 
of United States objectives in Afghanistan and some Central Asian 
States. They also are working to subvert the GoI by establishing a 
long-term presence within Iraq's security forces. Of note, Iran exerts 
influence and a degree of control over the majority of the nearly 
100,000 Shiite militias within the PMF. Furthermore, Iran has expanded 
cooperation with Russia in Syria in ways that threaten United States 
interests in the region.
    The JCPOA removed a key threat posed by Iran for at least a number 
of years. Unfortunately, the agreement has led some to believe that we 
have largely addressed the Iranian problem set and that is not the 
case. In addition to its nuclear weapons potential, Iran presents 
several credible threats. They have a robust theater ballistic missile 
program, and we remain concerned about their cyber and maritime 
activities, as well as the activities of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary 
Guard Corps--Qods Forces (IRGC-QF) and their network of affiliates.
    Iran implements its strategy primarily within the ``gray zone,'' 
the space short of conventional conflict where miscalculation can 
easily occur, leading to escalatory conflict and misunderstanding. Iran 
fosters instability by funding and promoting a threat network that 
employs provocation, violence, and covert arms transfers that serve as 
the stimulants for a range of conflicts across the region. It 
complements this subversive arm with conventional military provocation 
and overt threats to close key maritime sea lanes, especially at 
critical international economic chokepoints, namely the Strait of 
Hormuz and the BAM Strait, which puts global political stability and 
economic prosperity at risk.
    Recognizing that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to United 
States interests in the Central Region, we must seize opportunities to 
both reassure our allies and shape Iran's behavior. In order to contain 
Iranian expansion, roll back its malign influence, and blunt its 
asymmetric advantages, we must engage them more effectively in the 
``gray zone'' through means that include a strong deterrence posture, 
targeted counter-messaging activities, and by building partner nations' 
capacity. Through both messaging and actions, we must also be clear in 
our communications and ensure the credibility of U.S. intentions. Iran 
must believe there will be prohibitive consequences if it chooses to 
continue its malign activities designed to foment instability in the 
region. The United States Government should also consider communicating 
directly with Iran's leadership to improve transparency and lessen the 
potential for miscalculation.
    To further strengthen deterrence against Iran, we must also take 
the necessary proactive measures to build the capacity of partners and 
allies in the region. Ideally we want to improve interoperability, 
expand communication, and enhance security mechanisms. Stronger, more 
capable partners, able and willing to assume a greater role in 
countering Iran, will serve to further enhance deterrence and improve 
stability in the region.
    In addition to ready military actions, we must support the broader 
USG strategy with regard to Iran which should include new diplomatic 
initiatives that provide Iran with viable alternatives to its present 
course. While Iran continues to pose the most significant threat to 
regional security, we remain optimistic and believe that by taking 
proactive measures and reinforcing our resolve we can lessen Iran's 
ability to negatively influence outcomes in the future.
    Yemen. Yemen remains a critically unstable state engrossed in a 
civil war that has produced a significant humanitarian crisis and 
growing instability ripe for exploitation by VEOs, most notably al 
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the ISIS affiliate, IS-Yemen. 
The lack of a comprehensive peace agreement that leads to a durable 
resolution of the conflict under a unified Yemeni Government further 
contributes to continued uncertainty in the country.
    The civil war between the Republic of Yemen Government (RoYG) and 
the alliance of Former President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh- and 
Huthis has entered its third year with little progress made towards 
achieving an enduring resolution despite concerted efforts by the 
United Nations, the broader International Community, and regional 
stakeholders. While the United States is not directly involved in the 
civil war, we are providing limited assistance to the Kingdom of Saudi 
Arabia (KSA)-led coalition in an effort to help protect their 
territorial integrity and sovereign borders. Huthi forces have seized 
and attacked military border outposts inside KSA territory and continue 
to occupy Saudi lands. Ballistic missile attacks launched from Yemen 
have struck deep into the country causing casualties and potentially 
threatening the Islamic holy sites in Mecca. We will continue to work 
to resolve the conflict as an ending to the war through a comprehensive 
political agreement provides the surest security of Saudi's Arabia's 
border and territorial integrity, enables us to conduct counter-
terrorism operations, allows the population to receive food and 
medicine, and blocks Iranian malign activities. Until the war is over, 
we will assist Saudi Arabia in its efforts to defend against these 
attacks and restore the territorial integrity of their country.
    Our primary focus in Yemen remains protecting the United States 
Homeland from threats posed by VEOs operating within Yemen's ungoverned 
spaces, while ensuring freedom of navigation and commerce through the 
southern Red Sea and the Bab al Mandeb (BAM) Strait. Al Qaeda in the 
Arabian Peninsula has indicated clear desire and ability to conduct 
attacks on the U.S. Homeland. Ongoing U.S. unilateral counter-terrorism 
operations and determined efforts by UAE in leading RoYG and Yemeni 
tribal forces, as demonstrated during the Mukalla offensive in April 
2016, have degraded and disrupted AQAP's operational networks and 
reduced their access to sources of financial support. Despite the 
complexity of the environment, our efforts aimed at degrading AQAP 
remain critical to protecting our national security interests in the 
region and must continue.
    In October 2016, the Iranian-supported BAM Maritime Threat Network 
(BMTN) demonstrated the ability to threaten freedom of navigation by 
successfully attacking a UAE vessel and a Saudi warship, and attempting 
to attack U.S. Navy warships in the southern Red Sea. We responded 
swiftly and decisively, destroying several Huthi coastal defense radar 
sites. While the origin of these attacks is found in the ROYG-Huthi 
conflict, the threats posed by the BMTN to the safe passage of vessels, 
either through deliberate action or unintentional acts, has the 
potential for significant strategic and economic impacts throughout the 
region. We continue to closely monitor the BMTN and remain prepared to 
promptly and decisively respond to any threats.
    Going forward, our efforts against violent, non-state actors and 
support for similar efforts by our regional partners will remain our 
primary focus in Yemen. At the same time, we continue to do what we can 
to enable ongoing diplomatic efforts aimed at achieving a resolution to 
the hostilities that pose an enduring threat to stability in the 
country and the region writ large.
    Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism. The Central Region 
remains the global epicenter for terrorism and violent Islamist 
extremism and the resulting turmoil continues to bleed across 
geographic combatant command ``seams.'' Terrorism and violent extremism 
represent trans-regional threats, where malign actors seek to exploit 
ungoverned and under-governed spaces and vulnerable, disenfranchised 
populations worldwide.
    One aspect of this threat that makes it particularly challenging is 
the terrorists' and VEOs' ability to operate across multiple domains 
and in both physical and virtual spaces. Today, the unprecedented 
global access achieved through the use of the Internet and various 
social media platforms enables terrorist and violent extremist groups 
to promulgate their radicalized ideologies while reaching a vast pool 
of potential recruits, many willing to conduct lone wolf-style attacks 
on behalf of these groups. Also, as we have seen with ISIS, the ability 
of violent extremist groups to operate effectively in the virtual 
battlespace, makes them more challenging to defeat due to the nature of 
that domain. As we degrade their physical capability, groups often 
shift focus to the virtual battlespace while their forces consolidate 
and regroup. We must continue to identify attributable and non-
attributable methods and techniques for combatting groups in the 
virtual domain.
    We must also find ways to address the drivers of instability that 
create the conditions that allow these groups to flourish. The root 
causes of instability must be dealt with if we hope to achieve a 
lasting defeat of terrorist and violent extremist groups operating in 
the USCENTCOM AOR. The people of the region must lead this effort; we 
cannot do it for them. However, we can and will continue to support and 
promote their efforts wherever possible.
    We cannot allow terrorist groups and violent extremist 
organizations to operate uncontested, enabling them to grow stronger 
and expand their global reach. By working together with our Interagency 
Partners and the International Community, operating from multiple 
strategic platforms around the globe and across all domains, we will 
reduce the gaps and ``seams'' exploited by these groups and better 
protect our interests against this common threat.
    Our Partner Nations in the Central Region. Below are synopses of 
the current state of affairs, including challenges, opportunities, and 
status of our military-to-military (mil-to-mil) relationships with 
partner nations, except Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Yemen which 
were addressed in the previous section, ``Key Focus Areas'' (see pages 
    The Gulf States--The Gulf States are among our best partners in the 
region. The Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) willingness to provide 
basing and access for U.S. forces is crucial to our ability to operate 
militarily in the USCENTCOM AOR. The GCC countries provide critical 
nodes for achieving operational objectives and continued success 
against ISIS. Their troops and aircraft continue to play a key role in 
the ongoing fight against this terrorist organization. At leader-level 
summits in 2015 and 2015, the GCC countries committed to pursue 
collective defense initiatives, including joint counter-terrorism and 
ballistic missile defense; however, progress towards those ends has 
been relatively slow. Nevertheless, the GCC's desire to create a 
unified military command and more closely coordinated economic policy 
could create opportunities for greater interoperability between GCC and 
coalition forces over the medium- to long-term. While individual GCC 
nations' sometimes divergent foreign policies present an obstacle to 
achieving a unified defense posture, we remain committed to helping 
them achieve this desired end state through senior leader engagements, 
combined exercises, and more standardized equipment and training. As 
agreed upon at the May 2015 Camp David Summit, we have increased 
cooperation on maritime security, military preparedness, arms 
transfers, cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, and logistics 
interoperability. Our total GCC FMS open case portfolio is valued at 
over $150 billion and continues to help our partners defend their 
sovereignty and economic interests against emerging threats. As Gulf 
countries look to the United States for military equipment, training, 
and assistance, it is essential that we reinforce efforts to include 
them in our joint endeavors to defeat regional threats posed by violent 
extremism and Iran's malign influence. Through our continued support 
for and collaboration with our GCC partners we will positively impact 
stability and security in the strategically important Central Region.
    Bahrain is an important partner in the region, hosting USCENTCOM's 
naval component, United States Navy Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. 
Fifth Fleet Headquarters and Combined Maritime Forces in Manama at the 
Naval Support Activity Bahrain and Isa Air Base, respectively. The 
Bahrainis have actively supported coalition operations against ISIS in 
Syria since the start of the C-ISIS Campaign in September 2014, 
primarily by allowing us continued use and access to these facilities. 
They also continue to support Saudi-led operations in Yemen. We are 
making strides in our collaborative efforts to enhance the Bahraini 
Coast Guard's capacity, which aim to enable Bahrain to expand its role 
in countering piracy and violent extremism in the region's maritime 
domain. Internally, the Bahrainis are dealing with a tough domestic 
economic hit by low oil prices and a persistent, low-level threat from 
Iranian-backed militant groups, and we continue to provide appropriate 
assistance to help them address the security threat. While we have 
historically enjoyed a strong mil-to-mil relationship with our Bahraini 
counterparts, the slow progress on key FMS cases, specifically 
additional F-16 aircraft and upgrades to Bahrain's existing F-16 fleet, 
due to concerns of potential human rights abuses in the country, 
continues to strain our relationship. We continue to urge the 
Government of Bahrain to reverse steps it has taken over the past year 
to reduce the space for peaceful political expression in its Shiite 
population and have encouraged the Bahrainis to implement needed 
political reforms in the country while reassuring them of our strong 
commitment to our valued partnership.
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is undertaking potentially far-
reaching economic and related reforms under the banner of Vision 2030 
and the National Transformation Plan. The goal of these measures is to 
diversify the Saudi economy and generate increased economic growth in 
the wake of low oil prices, as well as expanded opportunities for the 
nation's burgeoning youth population. The Kingdom is a key regional 
leader, calling upon partner nations to join them in addressing 
regional challenges, including Iranian malign influence. Having 
actively supported the fight against ISIS in the early stages of the 
campaign, KSA shifted its priority of effort to Yemen in 2015 where it 
leads the coalition against the Saleh- and Iranian-backed Huthis, who 
continue to pose a threat to Yemen's internal stability, security in 
KSA's southern border region, and the flow of commerce through the Bab 
al Mandeb Strait. The Saudis also are concerned about the threat posed 
by VEOs operating in Yemen, including the al Qaeda affiliate, AQAP, and 
the ISIS affiliate, IS-Y. We are principally focused on helping KSA to 
improve its target development and accountability processes in order to 
reduce incidence of civilian casualties, while also providing them with 
focused logistics and intelligence sharing support. Our long-standing 
partnership with KSA remains critical to maintaining stability in the 
region given their influence in the GCC and among many Muslim-majority 
countries. Our mil-to-mil relationship represents the strongest 
component of that partnership and continues to serve as the foundation 
for productive collaboration. By continuing to provide opportunities 
for the Saudis to enhance their defense capabilities, mainly through 
our substantive training and exercise program and robust FMS valued at 
$109 billion in open cases, we aim to improve interoperability while 
effectively addressing challenges in pursuit of our shared security 
goals and objectives.
    Kuwait continues to be one of our strongest allies in the Central 
Region. Owing to the generous provisions of the Defense Cooperation 
Agreement, the Kuwaitis provide one of the most permissive environments 
in the USCENTCOM AOR with respect to access, basing, and overflight in 
support of U.S. and coalition presence in theater. Kuwait hosts the 
forward headquarters of USCENTCOM's army component, U.S. Army Central 
Command (ARCENT). Kuwait is also the most active combat support 
logistics hub globally and plays a critical role in support of ongoing 
operations in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Kuwait utilizes its leadership 
role in the GCC to help mediate internal GCC rifts while promoting a 
regional response to crises. Kuwait has also led the GCC in helping to 
address the regional refugee crisis emanating from Syria and been an 
invaluable partner in supporting the Iraqi Government's C-ISIS efforts. 
Our mil-to-mil relationship with the Kuwaitis remains strong. Going 
forward we will look to pursue additional opportunities for joint 
training and further collaboration in support of common objectives.
    The relationship between the United States and Oman remains strong, 
strengthened by our shared interests in the region and expanding access 
to Omani bases and ports. Oman is consistently viewed as a source of 
stability in the Gulf Region, and its neutral stance has enabled it to 
serve as a key interlocutor, most notably with Yemen and Iran. Of note, 
in October 2016, Oman's leadership facilitated the release of two 
United States citizens held by the Huthis in Sanaa, Yemen. 
Additionally, Oman's strategic location on the Arabian Sea, outside of 
the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz provides USCENTCOM 
with access to key logistical, operational, and contingency 
capabilities that are crucial to maintaining open sea lines of 
communication. While Oman does face significant challenges, namely a 
growing threat from VEOs in neighboring Yemen and a declining economy 
that could potentially impact its youth population, the leadership of 
the country is taking appropriate steps to address these and other 
issues. We enjoy a good relationship with the Omani military and will 
continue to work closely with them in support of shared interests.
    Qatar remains a highly valued partner, providing critical access 
and basing in support of coalition forces and operations being 
conducted in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Central 
Region. The country hosts more than 10,000 U.S. and Coalition 
servicemembers at Al-Udeid Air Base, home of USCENTCOM's Forward 
Headquarters, our air component, U.S. Air Forces Central Command 
(AFCENT), and its Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC). Qatar's Armed 
Forces also continue to support external operations in Syria and Yemen. 
In Syria, given their relationships with a wide range of actors, 
including more moderate elements, the Qataris are well-positioned to 
play an influential role in facilitating a political resolution to the 
conflict. Like most GCC countries, they continue to demand the removal 
of Bashar al-Assad as part of any resolution. Qatar has indicated a 
strong desire to enhance its partnership with the United States, both 
in terms of training engagements with U.S. forces and procurement of 
U.S. military equipment. Our continued role in their military 
modernization and development presents an invaluable opportunity to 
help expand their capability while strengthening our mil-to-mil 
relationship with a key and critical partner in the region.
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of our most steadfast and 
capable partners in the USCENTCOM AOR. The Emirates have clearly 
demonstrated a willingness and ability to take an active role in 
shaping outcomes in the Central Region. The country hosts more than 
4,000 U.S. servicemembers and provides critical support for U.S. 
operations, goals, and objectives. The UAE was among the first 
countries to join the Counter-ISIS Coalition in 2014. While their 
primary focus has since shifted to support the ongoing KSA-led military 
campaign in Yemen, UAE continues to provide support to several of the 
C-ISIS Coalition's key lines of effort, including counter-messaging, 
counter-financing, and stemming the flow of foreign fighters. In Yemen, 
the UAE serves as the leading ground element in ongoing operations 
against the Saleh- and Iranian-backed Huthis. The Emirates are also 
supporting our efforts to counter the al Qaeda affiliate, AQAP. In 
April, using local fighters and tribal militias, the Emirates played a 
critical role in liberating Mukalla, driving AQAP elements out of the 
port city and thereby denying them a key source of revenue. In 
conjunction with its military efforts, the UAE is heavily focused on 
providing humanitarian assistance to ease the crisis facing Yemen's 
population. We value our strong relationship with the Emirates and seek 
to build upon our robust mil-to-mil relationship, including by 
concluding a new Defense Cooperation Agreement that could serve as a 
foundation for expanded, mutually beneficial defense cooperation. We 
will work to expand our collaboration, specifically in the areas of 
security cooperation and foreign military sales. Additionally, we will 
work with the Emirates to promote their leadership role among partner 
nations in the region.
    The Levant--The Levant represents the epicenter of ethno-sectarian 
tension and conflict in the USCENTCOM AOR. Partner nations in this sub-
region continue to struggle with the impacts of the fight against ISIS, 
as well as the ongoing civil war in Syria, which is an ``engine of 
instability'' in and of itself. The persistent conflict and resulting 
widespread unrest have caused an expanding humanitarian crisis with 
ramifications that reach far beyond the USCENTCOM AOR. Stability in the 
Levant is further complicated by competition for influence therein from 
outside actors, principally Iran and Russia. Many of the challenges 
present today in the Levant originate from or affect neighboring 
countries and thus are trans-regional in nature and require cross-COCOM 
coordination. We routinely work closely with our colleagues in United 
States European Command, United States Africa Command, and other USG 
agencies and organizations to ensure that our various efforts are 
complementary and well-synchronized.
    With its strategic location, control of the Suez Canal, enduring 
peace treaty with Israel coupled with a religious and cultural Pan-Arab 
influence, Egypt remains a stalwart partner in pursuit of shared Middle 
East policy objectives that include counter-terrorism, counter-violent 
extremism, and improved regional stability. Of particular concern is 
the threat posed by the ISIS affiliate, IS-Sinai which conducts 
frequent attacks against the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) and security 
services. While the EAF has managed to contain violence in the Sinai 
Peninsula without a comprehensive strategy to defeat IS-Sinai, we have 
a vested interest in helping them to effectively address this threat to 
ensure that the Sinai does not become a safe haven for extremist 
elements, including by providing additional bilateral military and 
security training. Egypt is further challenged by a weak economy and 
widespread unemployment or under-employment, as well as an aggressive 
approach to countering internal threats which makes its population 
highly susceptible to radicalization by extremist elements. Continued 
United States support to Egypt is crucial to our strategic partnership, 
and our long-standing, resilient mil-to-mil relationship represents a 
key pillar of that partnership. Over the past several months, we have 
expanded our collaboration while taking steps to bolster our force 
protection measures and rebalance the Multinational Force Observer 
(MFO) mission in the Sinai. In the coming months, we will continue to 
work closely with the EAF to further enhance their counter-terrorism 
capabilities and improve the security of their borders through 
continued engagement and our robust assistance and security cooperation 
    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of our strongest and most 
reliable partners in the Levant sub-region. Jordan provides access, 
basing, and overflight equal to or greater than that provided by any 
other partner in the USCENTCOM AOR. The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) 
and the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) continue to make key 
contributions in support of the Counter-ISIS Campaign. With United 
States and coalition assistance, the JAF have fortified Jordan's 
borders with Iraq and Syria, while enabling the International 
Community's ongoing efforts to address the burgeoning humanitarian 
crisis manifesting inside of Jordan (8650,000 refugees) and in two 
camps located along the border in southern Syria (855,000-65,000 IDPs) 
. It is imperative that we remain actively engaged with our Jordanian 
partners. Jordan provides a much-needed moderate Islamic voice in the 
region and is a trusted intermediary in efforts to advance progress 
between the Israelis and Palestinians. Our strong mil-to-mil 
relationship and continued demonstrated support for the Government of 
Jordan, the JAF, and the RJAF remains critical to ensuring that Jordan 
is able to effectively manage the broad range of challenges facing the 
country and the region now and in the future.
    Lebanon remains a key partner in our efforts to counter violent 
extremism in the Central Region, and their ground forces offer one of 
the greatest returns on investment in the region. They are routinely 
countering groups that include ISIS and Al Nusra Front, denying them 
freedom of movement, and strengthening the country's border defenses 
with our continued support. United States security assistance to 
Lebanon has enhanced the Lebanese Armed Forces' (LAF) ability to 
counter malign influences and terrorist elements operating within the 
country. A strong and capable LAF acts as a counterweight to the 
militant arm of Lebanese Hezbollah (LH), while diminishing LH's claim 
as the sole ``resistance'' in Lebanon. While LH has been preoccupied 
with its involvement in the fight in Syria in support of the Assad 
Regime, the LAF has gained increasing credibility among the Lebanese 
populace as the most respected institution in the country. On 31 
October 2016, the Lebanese parliament ended the over two-year 
presidential vacancy with the appointment of President Michel Aoun, a 
Maronite Christian and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Party. 
While this positive development ended political gridlock and restored 
government functions, significant challenges remain, exacerbated by the 
civil war in neighboring Syria. Of particular concern are the 
approximately 1+ million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. This population 
presents political, economic, and security challenges to Prime Minister 
Hariri and his newly formed government. In addition to straining 
national resources, the Syrian refugee population is mostly Sunni and 
thus could threaten the fragile sectarian balance of power in the 
country. The humanitarian burden facing Lebanon will require 
significant international assistance to bolster limited local 
resources. Our continued support for this valued partner is both 
merited and has proven to pay tremendous dividends as the LAF has 
routinely demonstrated the ability to make best use of U.S. assistance 
to increase its capability and capacity and bring about positive, 
measurable results.
    Central and South Asia--Our primary interests in the Central and 
South Asia (CASA) sub-region are to prevent the establishment of 
terrorist safe havens, assure continued United States access, and 
support the sovereignty and independence of partner nations. Our 
engagement strategy is focused on these three interests and 
strengthening our bilateral relationships with the seven partner 
nations. We also encourage multi-lateral cooperation amongst these same 
seven nations, and our annual CASA Chiefs of Defense Conference serves 
as a mechanism for facilitating expanded dialogue and increased 
cooperation. This past year, we also held the highly successful 
inaugural CASA Directors of Military Intelligence Conference. The 
increased participation and elevated levels of mil-to-mil discussions 
clearly convey increased appetite for further U.S.-led engagement.
    Despite increasing Russian, Chinese, and Iranian pressure designed 
to limit United States influence in the sub-region, the U.S. maintains 
its regional position by focusing on security cooperation areas where 
we have a comparative advantage such as counter-terrorism, border 
security, defense institution building, and professional development. 
Several CASA governments support transit of supplies to United States 
troops in Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network. We 
anticipate a continued need for these access routes. In this regard, 
our CASA partners have been and continue to be strong partners in our 
efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Other areas of shared interest 
include countering violent extremism and counter-narcotics. Our 
training and exercise programs in the CASA sub-region clearly 
demonstrate our strong commitment to addressing these and other common 
challenges. For example, Exercise Steppe Eagle, traditionally a 
trilateral exercise with the United States, U.K., and Kazakhstan, has 
become more regional in scope with Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic 
also now taking part. Additionally, we are increasing multilateral 
collaboration with our CASA-wide annual USCENTCOM Exercise Regional 
    We share two primary concerns with our CASA partners regarding 
stability and security in the region: 1) persistent worries about the 
long-term stability and viability of Afghanistan and 2) the threat 
posed by returning foreign fighters. The United States and NATO's 
continued commitment to the ongoing Resolute Support Mission in 
Afghanistan is helping to assuage these concerns, primarily by 
bolstering the Afghan security forces' ability to defend their security 
interests. At the same time, we continue to pursue opportunities that 
would allow for increased information sharing, improved border 
security, and enhanced training and multi-lateral collaboration to 
support our shared interests.
    While our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to require 
significant investment, elsewhere in the CASA sub-region we have 
clearly demonstrated the ability to achieve good effects with modest 
investments in terms of building partner nations' capabilities, 
improving multi-lateral cooperation, and addressing common security 
threats. Going forward, we intend to strengthen relationships and build 
on previous accomplishments while working together with our Interagency 
Partners to explore and pursue new opportunities in this strategically 
important part of the world.
    The United States-Kazakhstan relationship is our most advanced 
military relationship in Central Asia. We are making notable progress 
as the Kazakhstani Ministry of Defense continues to focus on 
institutional reform of its NCO corps, training management, human 
resources administration, and professional military education system. 
This progress continues despite enduring Russian influence and a 
Kazakhstani economy that is still recovering from the recent downturn 
in oil and gas prices. Kazakhstan remains the most significant regional 
contributor to Afghan stability, donating money to the ANA Trust Fund, 
continuing to provide educational opportunities to Afghans, and 
offering technical support services. Kazakhstan is also moving closer 
to a United Nations peace-keeping operations deployment with a unit 
that has been trained with U.S. assistance. Looking at future 
opportunities to strengthen our partnership, Kazakhstan has expressed 
interest in working with the United States to improve its logistical, 
medical, and engineering military branches. Kazakhstan also partnered 
with the Arizona National Guard through our State Partnership program, 
providing us the ability to assist in this effort.
    The Kyrgyz Republic, Central Asia's sole democracy, faces a number 
of challenges including economic and border security issues. The Kyrgyz 
Republic sees political pressure from its larger, more powerful 
neighbors, including Russia, hosting a small Russian airbase outside 
the capital, Bishkek. Despite ongoing challenges in our bilateral and 
security cooperation, we continue to seek opportunities to improve our 
mil-to-mil relationship. After a lengthy period of time during which 
few bilateral activities occurred, the Kyrgyz military may be 
increasingly receptive to higher level military engagements and 
expanded cooperation in the areas of border security, counter-
narcotics, counter-terrorism, and countering violent extremism. 
Furthermore, we continue to assist the Kyrgyz in building a deployable 
peace-keeping (PK) hospital capability that should be ready to support 
United Nations PK operations in the near future. Looking ahead, we 
intend to pursue opportunities for increased cooperation while taking 
steps to strengthen our relationships with the Kyrgyz.
    Pakistan remains a critical partner in the counter-terrorism fight. 
Twenty U.S-designated terrorist organizations operate in the 
Afghanistan-Pakistan sub-region; seven of the 20 organizations are in 
Pakistan. So long as these groups maintain safe haven inside of 
Pakistan they will threaten long-term stability in Afghanistan. Of 
particular concern to us is the Haqqani Network (HQN) which poses the 
greatest threat to coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. To date, 
the Pakistan military and security services have not taken lasting 
actions against HQN. We have consistently called upon the Pakistanis to 
take the necessary actions to deny terrorists safe haven and improve 
security in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the 
Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. We have seen some promising 
coordination between the Pakistan and Afghanistan militaries aimed at 
addressing instability in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. The 
Pakistan military in particular continues to conduct counter-terrorism 
and counter-insurgency operations in the FATA and facilitate, via 
ground and air lines of communication, the sustainment of coalition 
operations in Afghanistan.
    This past year we became increasingly concerned about the growing 
threat posed by the ISIS affiliate, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K). 
Although their operational capacity has diminished as a result of 
United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan military operations, we remain 
focused on defeating the group in both countries. Of note, we were 
encouraged to see the Pakistani military plan and execute a recent 
named operation in which they set up simultaneous multiple blocking 
positions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in order to reinforce 
ANDSF efforts to disrupt IS-K activities.
    We also continue to see ongoing tensions between Pakistan and 
neighboring India. India remains concerned about the lack of action 
against India-focused militants based in Pakistan and even responded 
militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this 
year. We assess that these types of attacks and the potential 
reactions, increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both 
countries. Furthermore, India's public policy to ``diplomatically 
isolate'' Pakistan hinders any prospects for improved relations. This 
is especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between 
Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that 
both are nuclear powers. Additionally, Pakistan's increased focus on 
its eastern border detracts from its efforts to secure the western 
border with Afghanistan from incursion by Taliban and al-Qaida 
fighters. Security along the western border will nevertheless remain a 
priority for Islamabad, as the Pakistani military seeks to expand 
border control and improve paramilitary security.
    While there are challenges with respect to the United States-
Pakistani relationship, we have endeavored to maintain a substantial 
level of engagement with our Pakistani military counterparts. We 
continue to execute a robust joint exercise program. Most recently, the 
Pakistani Air Force sent airmen and aircraft to participate in Exercise 
RED FLAG and GREEN FLAG at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada this past 
summer. The Pakistani military also continues to support our efforts 
elsewhere in the region; most notably, the Pakistani Navy is the most 
consistent and longstanding participant, second only to the United 
States, in Combined Task Force (CTF)-150 (counter-terrorism operations) 
and CTF-151 (counter-piracy operations) led by U.S. Naval Forces 
Central (USNAVCENT). Our relationship with Pakistan remains a very 
important one. We look forward to continuing our engagement with the 
Pakistani military leadership, to include the new Chief of the Army 
Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in the days ahead as we work together 
in pursuit of shared interests.
    Our mil-to-mil relationship with Tajikistan is deepening despite 
Moscow's enduring ties and the presence of the 201st Military Base near 
Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe, Russia's largest military base 
outside of its borders. China has also initiated a much stronger 
military cooperation partnership with Tajikistan, adding further 
complexity to Tajikistan's multi-faceted approach to security 
cooperation. Tajikistan's long border with Afghanistan remains the 
nation's top concern, as the Taliban intermittently fights for control 
of Afghanistan's Kunduz province, which is less than 160 miles from 
Dushanbe. These border concerns remain a focus area for U.S. security 
cooperation as we continue to develop the Tajiks' capacity to address 
violent extremism, terrorism, and narco-trafficking; enhance border 
security; and, confront other trans-regional threats.
    Turkmenistan's UN-recognized policy of ``positive neutrality'' 
presents a challenge with respect to U.S. engagement. Our efforts to 
date have focused primarily on training, including in the areas of 
counter-narcotics and medical services. Due to Turkmenistan's shared 
border with Afghanistan, the Turkmen remain concerned about the 
continuing instability in Afghanistan and, separately, the potential 
for the return of foreign fighters. We are encouraged somewhat by 
Turkmenistan's expressed interest in increased mil-to-mil engagement 
with the U.S. within the limits of their ``positive neutrality'' 
    We are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of Uzbekistan's 
improved relations with its neighbors in the region following the first 
presidential succession in the nation's 25-year history. This is a 
promising development given Uzbekistan's central and strategic 
geographic location, in the heart of Central Asia and bordering 
Afghanistan. President Mirziyoyev has reaffirmed the country's 
unwillingness to allow other nations to establish military bases in 
Uzbekistan, its restriction against aligning with foreign military or 
political blocs, and its self-imposed restriction against any type of 
expeditionary military operations. Despite these limitations, our 
bilateral mil-to-mil efforts are focused on helping the Uzbeks improve 
border security, enhance their counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism 
capabilities, and prevent the return of foreign fighters into the 
country, which are shared U.S. interests in the region. We remain 
committed to these security assistance efforts. We also are helping the 
Uzbek military, which is the largest military in Central Asia, to 
professionalize its forces through advisory support and assistance to 
its professional military institutions.
    Required Programs, Capabilities and Resources. The security 
environment in the Central Region remains complex and highly volatile. 
To ensure we are able to effectively achieve our mandate to protect our 
national interests, we must be properly postured with the necessary 
capabilities and resources to pursue opportunities in support of our 
goals and objectives, and to prevail in our various endeavors 
throughout USCENTCOM's 20-country area of responsibility. Below are the 
programs, capabilities, and resources most critical to our success.
    Building Partner Capacity. Building Partner Capacity (BPC) is 
essential to achieving our objectives in the Central Region. To improve 
stability in the USCENTCOM AOR and mitigate the need for costly U.S. 
military intervention, we must be forward-leaning and empower our 
partners to meet internal security challenges and work collectively to 
counter common threats. BPC is a lower-cost alternative to U.S. boots 
on the ground, has longer-term sustainability, and is necessary for 
interoperable, combined coalition operations. As such it represents a 
high return investment in the future of the Central Region. By building 
capacity and enabling partners to assume a larger role in providing for 
the stability and security of their sovereign spaces, we will enhance 
regional stability while still maintaining our critical access and 
influence in the region. Other tangible by-products achieved through 
our BPC efforts include enhanced interoperability, improved security 
for forward deployed forces and diplomatic sites, continued access and 
influence, and more professional regional militaries comprised of 
forces learning the importance of rule of law and compliance with human 
rights norms. Continued support of key partners engaged in the ongoing 
military campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria is particularly 
important. As important as long-term regional stability is BPC's focus 
on the threat environment and shaping the region is critical to better 
prepare and deter and counter state and non-state aggression. Our key 
partners' ability to procure U.S. weapons and equipment and increase 
interoperability with U.S. and coalition forces is critical to our 
success. Any reduction of U.S. assistance risks undermining our allies 
and creating a security vacuum for exploitation by state and non-state 
actors with counter-U.S. or violent intentions.
    Foreign Military Financing and Foreign Military Sales. For decades, 
United States security assistance provided to countries including Saudi 
Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt, has helped create lasting 
partnerships and improve regional stability. Foreign Military Financing 
(FMF) assistance and the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program enable 
countries to meet their defense needs, while also promoting U.S. 
national security interests by strengthening coalitions and enhancing 
interoperability between and among U.S. and coalition forces. When we 
provide defense systems through U.S. security assistance, we are not 
just providing our partners with capabilities, we are committing to a 
long-term relationship that includes sustainment of those capabilities. 
The complex and technical nature of advanced defense systems often 
require continuous collaboration between countries. This may include 
training and support in the use of the equipment, maintenance 
assistance, and, in some cases, continuing help to update and modernize 
the equipment throughout its life-cycle.
    Nevertheless, we must better anticipate our partners' requirements 
and find ways to improve our FMF and FMS programs' processes to better 
meet demand in today's high-paced global security environment. Delays 
in procurement and delivery can, over time, jeopardize relationships 
with buyer nations and the potential for future FMS and FMF 
transactions. It is imperative that we make the FMF and FMS processes 
more responsive to partner needs.
    In recent years we have seen an increase in restrictions placed on 
assistance provided to partner nations, limiting their ability to 
acquire U.S. equipment based on human rights and/or political 
oppression of minority groups. While these are significant challenges 
that must be addressed, the use of FMF and FMS as a mechanism to 
achieve changes in behavior has questionable effectiveness and can have 
unintended consequences. We need to carefully balance these concerns 
against our desired outcomes for U.S. security assistance programs--
both DOD and State-funded--to build and shape partner nations' 
capability, interoperability, and self-reliance in support of broader 
U.S. foreign policy. We should avoid using the programs as a lever of 
influence or denial to our own detriment.
    USCENTCOM Exercise and Training Program. The USCENTCOM Exercise 
Engagement Training Transformation (CE2T2) program enhances U.S. 
capability to support contingency operations while improving readiness 
and maintaining presence and access to the region. At the same time, 
the program indirectly increases partner nations' operational 
capability; demonstrates mutual commitment to regional security; 
ensures an effective coalition posture; strengthens relationships; and, 
improves combined command, control, and communications interoperability 
(C3I). More importantly, in light of the fact that today's conflicts 
are increasingly trans-regional, all-domain, and multi-functional in 
nature, bilateral and multilateral exercises support the unity of 
effort requirement for coalition operations.
    The USCENTCOM CE2T2 program continues to grow in complexity and 
relevance with expanded participation throughout the USCENTCOM AOR 
during fiscal year 2016 and into fiscal year 2017. Last year, the 
command conducted 45 USCENTCOM- and/or Component-sponsored bilateral 
and multilateral exercises with 41 partner nations and spanning seven 
Geographic and Functional Commands. These exercises shape the 
perceptions of key audiences in the USCENTCOM AOR to support U.S. 
strategic goals of reassuring partners and deterring aggressive and 
malign behavior. Exercise objectives and outcomes include maintaining 
key relationships while demonstrating multilateral, as well as 
unilateral, capabilities. They also enable increased cooperation and 
interoperability with our partners and help to reinforce a strong 
military posture in the region. This helps counter any false perception 
of the U.S. ``abandoning'' the region.
    Continued, robust, and reliable funding is necessary to fully 
support exercises as planned. For example, insufficient resourcing of 
component requirements can result in curtailment or even cancellation 
of efforts like Exercise EAGER LION, an annual multi-lateral training 
event in Jordan. This sub-optimization of the USCENTCOM exercise and 
training program ultimately will affect U.S. Joint and Combined Force 
readiness and create a perceived lack of commitment to our coalition 
partners. Combined with BPC, FMS, and FMF, the USCENTCOM CE2T2 program 
also actively promotes and supports regional stability through 
increased partner action and capability. These engagements not only 
build interoperability at the highest levels of command, but the 
benefits derived at the lowest, tactical levels of command and 
logistics manifest in long-term professional and personal relationships 
among participating country staffs.
    Information Operations. Information Operations (IO) will continue 
to serve as a key element in shaping the environment to reduce or avoid 
conflict and as a force multiplier in the information space during and 
after major combat and counter-insurgency operations. We have an 
enduring responsibility to employ IO to counter trans-regional threats. 
By utilizing IO as a comprehensive, long-term capability to degrade 
VEOs' effectiveness and counter state-sponsored destabilizing 
activities across the USCENTCOM AOR, the USG [United States Government] 
helps to improve regional stability while reducing the requirement for 
deployed U.S. forces. The Department of Defense (DOD), in concert with 
other USG agencies, has developed several IO campaigns, leveraging the 
latest technologies, which operate in the information domain. These 
campaigns include counter-propaganda messaging in print media, radio, 
television, short message service, Internet, and social media, and take 
a proactive approach to coordinating these activities with the country 
teams and embassies in our AOR. The nature and scope of threats 
prevalent today in the USCENTCOM AOR necessitates a robust response, 
and IO is a cost-effective application of DOD resources to deter 
aggression, counter destabilizing behavior, and decrease the potential 
for kinetic operations in order to protect USG and partner nation 
interests in the Central Region.
    Cyberspace Operations. USCENTCOM cyberspace operations are built on 
the foundation of cyber readiness and include both Department of 
Defense Information Network (DODIN) Operations and command-centric 
Defensive Cyberspace Operations. Our top cyberspace priority is mission 
assurance; the goal is to preserve freedom of maneuver in cyberspace to 
assure access to both U.S. and foreign assets critical to military 
operations. Efforts include, but are not limited to, helping to set 
priorities and contributing to the desired end-state of denying 
adversaries the ability to operate on our networks and impact our 
missions. We recognize the importance of maintaining a holistic 
approach to this evolving capability that emphasizes the need for a 
synchronized effort across the whole-of-government. While the full and 
proper implementation of all available USG/DOD technical defenses plays 
a vital role, the human element is the most important factor to protect 
and defend from malicious cyber activity. Looking ahead, USCENTCOM will 
continue to adapt our network defenses to detect, deter, and better 
react to known or anticipated threats.
    Anti-Access Area Denial. Potential adversaries are actively 
investing in competitive responses that include anti-access/area denial 
(A2AD) systems to minimize U.S. influence and abilities. Adversaries 
are also pursuing ``layered defenses'' to directly challenge U.S. 
diplomacy and presence. An enemy may use combinations of kinetic (e.g., 
ballistic/cruise missiles, moored/floating mines, small boat swarms, 
submarines, aircraft, drones, irregular warfare using proxies, 
terrorism, WMD) and non-kinetic (e.g., GPS jamming, spoofing, cyber 
hacking, EMP, underground facilities, dispersal/camouflage of weapons/
assets, shielding from aerial/satellite surveillance, decoys) 
capabilities to inhibit projection of force and/or precision strikes.
    Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Assets. USCENTCOM holds 
daily requirements for over 2,800 hours of full-motion video, thousands 
of still images, thousands of hours of signal intelligence, and other 
key intelligence collection sources. These requirements do not reside 
only in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but span the entirety of the 
USCENTCOM AOR. It is the layering, synchronization, and prioritization 
of national, theater, and tactical ISR capabilities that enable 
USCENTCOM force protection of transition, stability, and combat forces. 
This critical capability also performs several key functions including: 
battlespace awareness for partner and U.S. operational commanders, as 
well as indications and warning to guard against strategic threats and 
miscalculation; identification of fixed ground networks and facilities; 
location and tracking of adversary operational elements and units; 
mapping and development of adversary command and control; interdictions 
of facilitation entities, suppliers, and supply routes; and, 
characterization and targeting of funding centers and other support 
nodes. Our greatest difficulties in this fight remain in the 
development of enemy networks, groups, cells, and nodes that fight from 
within the populace. There are critical airborne ISR functions that 
must be present to map this unconventional threat. In priority order 
they are: 1) full-motion video, 2) signals intelligence, and 3) 
geospatial intelligence. USCENTCOM's requirements consistently outpace 
theater airborne ISR capacity and capability and the demand will 
continue to grow. We are able to address some of the shortfall through 
cross-CCMD and partner-nation coordination and capacity development. We 
also need to explore innovative ways to develop capabilities for 
persistent ISR through experimentation and technology maturation and 
demonstration projects. Additionally, we need to address the shortfalls 
associated with processing, exploitation, and dissemination of 
collected intelligence. For the foreseeable future, in the absence of 
additional much-needed ISR assets, maintaining operational awareness on 
threats, risks, regional stability, and humanitarian crises will 
require constant attention, creative application of ISR, hard choices 
on the prioritization of resources, and the determination of acceptable 
risk to mission and forces.
    Precision Munitions. Highly accurate munitions are vital components 
of our kinetic strike and integrated air and missile defense 
capabilities, to dominate and counter our adversaries' increasingly 
sophisticated networks of coastal and air defenses coupled with 
precision ballistic missiles. Missile interceptors, air- and sea-
launched cruise missiles, precision air-to-ground and air-to-air 
missiles, and long-range precision ground-to-ground missiles work in 
concert to counter the growing threats we face today. We appreciate 
Congress' continued support for the procurement/replenishment, 
development, and forward positioning of precision and specific purpose 
munitions that are critical to the way we currently fight--in urban 
areas, with very specific rules of engagement designed to protect 
civilians and limit damage to infrastructure.
    Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS). The enemy Unmanned Aerial 
Systems (UAS) threat and employment in the USCENTCOM AOR is rapidly 
evolving. Numerous non-state actors including ISIS, al Qaida, Taliban, 
Lebanese Hezbollah, and Fatah al-Sham are using both commercial-off-
the-shelf and military drones to conduct operations against United 
States and coalition forces. This threat has evolved from 
reconnaissance and surveillance missions to weaponized drone attacks 
resulting in battlefield casualties. State actors continue to increase 
the sophistication of their UAS with all countries in the USCENTCOM AOR 
utilizing various classes of UAS for operations. Given the evolving 
threat, the need for an effective Counter-UAS capability that can 
defeat all classes of UAS remains a top priority. To address this 
problem, USCENTCOM is working with various defense agencies and 
industry through the Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) process to 
develop and acquire an effective system to employ against UAS. The 
ability to rapidly respond to this emerging threat is critical to 
mission success and requires increased funding to promote innovative 
solutions with expedited testing and rapid acquisition.
    Joint and Interagency Partners. To ensure success in the pursuit of 
shared goals and objectives, our Joint and Interagency Partners must 
also be properly postured with the necessary capabilities and 
resources. Below are two key partners that play a significant role in 
support of USCENTCOM's mission and merit continued Congressional 
    Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO)--JIDO, an 
element of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is an invaluable 
organization that is even more important as we fight by, with and 
through our partners with fewer resources, but more exposed U.S. 
personnel and equipment in the fight. Their ability to rapidly respond 
to emerging threats is essential to enabling our efforts to counter 
improvised threats (e.g., counter-facilitation, counter-tunneling, 
counter-UAS) and build partner capacity in support of our deployed 
warfighters. The expert JIDO personnel embedded within our formations 
at USCENTCOM's headquarters in Tampa, forward deployed, and across the 
globe, provide mission-critical analytical, planning, and rapid 
acquisition support. Having this invaluable joint organization that can 
expose the broader counter-IED network, identify future disruptive 
threats, stay in front of technological changes, and integrate our 
efforts across the Interagency to rapidly implement solutions is 
essential to our ability to protect our forces, defeat threat networks 
and build partner national capacity.
    Global Engagement Center--The best way to defeat an idea is to 
present a better, more appealing idea to vulnerable and undecided 
audiences. The State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) 
effectively coordinates, integrates, and synchronizes messaging to 
foreign audiences designed to undermine the disinformation espoused by 
violent extremist groups, including ISIS and al Qaeda, while offering 
positive alternatives. The Center is focused on empowering and enabling 
partners, governmental and non-governmental, who are able to speak out 
against these groups and provide an alternative to ISIS's nihilist 
vision. To that end, the Center offers services ranging from planning 
thematic social media campaigns to providing factual information that 
counters disinformation to building capacity for third parties to 
effectively utilize social media to research and evaluation.
    Required Authorities and Appropriations. Fluid environments require 
flexible authorities with sustained and timely funding to respond to 
changes in conditions and maintain momentum of operational forces. We 
sincerely appreciate Congress' continued support for key authorities 
and appropriations needed for current and future operations and 
response to unforeseen contingencies. The required authorities and 
resources listed below enable USCENTCOM to accomplish its mission and 
stated objectives in support of U.S. national interests and the 
interests of our partners in the Central Region.
    Iraq Train & Equip Fund (ITEF). Iraq's ability to defeat ISIS 
requires professionalizing and building the capacity of the Iraqi 
Security Forces (ISF), including military or other security forces 
associated with the Government of Iraq, such as Kurdish and tribal 
security forces or other local forces with a national security mission. 
Most notably, the ongoing Coalition Military Campaign to defeat ISIS 
relies on indigenous Iraqi Security Forces to conduct ground operations 
against the enemy and liberate ISIS controlled territory. They have 
risen to the task and are making progress in this ongoing endeavor. 
While the initial training and equipping of the ISF focused heavily on 
developing Iraqi Army (IA) Brigades to conduct offensive operations, 
future efforts will shift to sustainment of combat capability and hold 
forces to ensure that liberated areas remain under the control of the 
GoI and that these forces are able to counter remaining ISIS pockets 
and any other VEOs which may emerge and attempt to fill the void 
created by the defeat of ISIS. These hold forces will be a combination 
of local tribal fighters and police forces.
    Syria Train & Equip Program. Protecting the United States from 
terrorists operating in Syria and setting the ultimate conditions for a 
negotiated settlement to end the conflict in that country will require 
the continued training and equipping of Vetted Syria Opposition (VSO) 
forces. Additional recruitment, retention, resupply, and support are 
central to our strategy to defeat ISIS in Syria. Our revised training 
approach is proving successful, improving the effectiveness and 
lethality of the force on path to a projected strength of up to 35,000 
by the end of fiscal year 2017 and growing to 40,000 in 2018. 
Procurement and manufacturing lead times for non-standard weapons and 
ammunition and delivery from various foreign vendors complicates the 
already complex train and equip mission, so we appreciate as much 
flexibility as possible in authorizing and appropriating funds for this 
effort. The SDF and VSOs continues to advance in defeating ISIS and 
holding and defending liberated areas, while also assisting local 
authorities in providing humanitarian and security assistance to the 
    The Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF). Since 2005, United 
States provision of funds executed through ASFF has provided training, 
equipment, infrastructure, sustainment and salaries for a generated 
force of up to 352,000 Afghan National Defense and Security Forces 
(ANDSF) and 30,000 Afghan Local Police (ALP). ASFF plays a critical 
role in enabling the ANDSF to secure Afghanistan with an effective and 
sustainable force that is central to the United States strategy to 
prevent a Taliban or al Qaeda resurgence, defeat VEOs, and deny safe 
haven for external plotting against the United States Homeland and U.S. 
and partner nation interests in the region.
    Afghanistan Aviation Transition Funding--The proposed Afghan Air 
Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW) aviation transition program 
is critical to addressing capability gaps in Close Air Support (CAS) 
and lift for the ANDSF. The program is designed to address the 
shortfall in available aircraft and trained pilots to ensure Afghan 
forces have the required aviation support and maintenance pipeline to 
move toward self-sustainment and increased independent operations. DOD 
plans to achieve these results by transitioning the AAF and SMW to 
U.S.-manufactured rotary wing platforms. Although the availability of 
trained pilots remains a particular challenge for the ANDSF, recent 
successes are producing capable pilots and the recap plan is designed 
to ease the human capital burden over time. The additional capability 
that would be gained through the aviation transition program will 
provide the Afghans needed overmatch against insurgents and terrorists 
while improving ground forces' effectiveness and reducing ANDSF's 
casualty rates.
    Coalition Support. The authorities and funding that underpin our 
ability to effectively conduct Coalition operations, including in 
support of partners whose contributions are critical, but who lack the 
resources to participate without our assistance, are key to our 
continued success. The Coalition Support Fund (CSF) provides the 
authority to reimburse certain Coalition partners for logistical and 
military support provided by that nation in connection with Iraq, 
Syria, and Afghanistan operations. The CSF also funds the Coalition 
Readiness Support Program (CRSP) which authorizes supplies, the loaning 
of equipment, and specialized training assistance to coalition forces. 
The CSF relieves the operational burden on U.S. forces and enhances the 
visibility of Coalition presence. This authority remains critical to 
our strategic approach to Coalition operations, including, but not 
limited to, the ongoing military campaign to defeat the terrorist 
organization, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and our transition in 
Afghanistan. The capability and interoperability that CSF funding 
facilitates is crucial to our bilateral relations, Coalition operations 
and training with partner nations, and to the success of our broader 
strategic and trans-regional objectives. The Global Lift and Sustain 
and successor authority further complements this approach by enabling 
us to provide transportation and life support to select Coalition 
    Commanders' Emergency Response Program (CERP). CERP is authorized 
for local commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and 
reconstruction requirements in Afghanistan, and may be used to make 
condolence payments for the loss of life, injury, or property damage 
resulting from U.S., coalition, or supporting military operations. The 
NDAA for fiscal year 2017 provides authority for ex gratia payments in 
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria for damage, personal injury, or death that 
is incident to United States combat operations. CERP funded projects 
directly benefit the indigenous civilian populations in Afghanistan and 
demonstrate the positive effects of our presence, while also providing 
tangible, quick mitigation when coalition actions result in casualties 
or property damage to civilians during the course of military 
operations. CERP is a proven force multiplier and a key enabler in 
responding to urgent humanitarian needs and promoting security. Going 
forward, we want to ensure commanders engaged in the Counter-ISIS 
missions can provide immediate, but limited, small scale humanitarian 
assistance to ISIS liberated areas, until national and international 
relief agencies can provide that support. Our responsiveness is 
critical to quickly stabilizing those areas in order to begin the 
holding phase of the campaign and to counter ISIS messaging.
    Military Construction (MILCON). USCENTCOM stewards constrained 
resources and maintains an expeditionary approach to posturing 
capabilities in theater. We leverage existing infrastructure and host 
nation support and funding where possible, as well as maritime posture 
and reach back capabilities to meet steady state and surge 
requirements. In some instances, MILCON is required to establish 
infrastructure to support forces and equipment in the execution of 
their missions. Of note, USCENTCOM requires support for development at 
Muwaffaq-Salti Air Base (MSAB), Jordan and construction of the new 
Consolidated Squadron Operations Facility at Al Udeid, Qatar. These two 
projects are essential to our contingency and steady state operations 
and support the Defense Strategic Guidance. The projects will support 
executing our priority war plans by providing critical dispersed, 
resilient and flexible capacity to accept both steady state and 
enduring joint forces, multiple aircraft types and provide critical air 
C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) for 
current and future contingencies, theater and strategic surge and 
maritime operations within the USCENTCOM AOR. MILCON development is 
critical to support the realignment of U.S. forces operating from an 
expeditionary approach at various contingency bases scattered across 
the AOR to the required enduring posture approach necessary to protect 
U.S. interests and to sustain key bilateral relationships.
    Prepositioned War Reserve Materiel (PWRM). Service Prepositioned 
War Reserve Materiel and capability sets remain critical force 
multipliers required to execute USCENTCOM's most dangerous and critical 
contingency plans. The Services and Defense Agency prepositioned 
capacity provides a shock absorber in rapidly emerging contingencies, 
buys critical decision space for our national leadership, and mitigates 
the risk associated with the tyranny of distance when we are called 
upon to rapidly aggregate and reintroduce forces into the region.
    The U.S. Central Command Team. The outstanding men and women who 
comprise the USCENTCOM Team truly are our most important assets. They 
continue to make tremendous contributions on behalf of our Nation and 
our partners and allies around the globe. We must ensure they have 
everything they need to do their jobs effectively, efficiently, and as 
safely as possible.
    We also continue to benefit from the unique capability provided by 
our Coalition Coordination Center, which consists of more than 200 
foreign military officers from nearly 60 partner nations. They, too, 
are important members of our USCENTOM Team and play a critical role in 
strengthening the partnerships between our nations.
    We remain mindful of the fact that success requires that we work 
together, not just within the command, but also with our teammates from 
other combatant commands, our Component Commands, established combined/
joint task forces, the Central Region's 18 county teams, and various 
agencies and organizations throughout the USG and the Interagency. Our 
close collaboration with counterparts at the U.S. State Department, the 
U.S. Treasury, CIA, FBI, and JIDO, for example, has paid enormous 
dividends in the pursuit of shared national goals and objectives. We 
look forward to continuing to work with them and others on behalf of 
our Nation.
    We also are incredibly grateful for the support of our families. 
They are highly valued members of our USCENTCOM Team and we could not 
do what we do without them. They make important contributions and 
tremendous sacrifices each and every day in support of us and on behalf 
of the command and a grateful Nation.
    The upcoming year promises to be a busy and challenging one in the 
Central Region. You can be assured that the world-class team at U.S. 
Central Command--which includes more than 80,000 soldiers, sailors, 
airmen, marines, coastguardsmen, and civilians stationed today 
throughout the USCENTCOM area of responsibility--is up to the task, and 
is highly-skilled, motivated, and stands ready to do whatever is 
necessary to accomplish the mission: defend our Nation and our 
interests, the interests of partners and allies, and improve stability 
and security in that strategically important part of the world.

                    USCENTCOM: Prepare, Pursue, Prevail!

    Chairman McCain. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser?


    General Waldhauser. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman 
McCain, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished members of the 
committee, thank you for the opportunity to update you on the 
activities and efforts of United States Africa Command.
    I would like to also say it is an honor for me to sit next 
to my battle buddy here, General Votel.
    For the past 9 months, I have been honored to lead the men 
and women of this geographic combatant command. Africa is an 
enduring interest for the United States. Small, but wise 
investments in the capability, legitimacy and accountability of 
African defense institutions offer disproportionate benefits to 
America, our allies, the United States, and most importantly, 
enable African solutions to African problems.
    Parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, 
interests, and values. Equality, prosperity, and peace are 
often pitted against extremism, oppression, and conflict.
    Today trans-regional violent extremist organizations on the 
continent constitute the most direct security threat to the 
United States. To address this threat, our military strategy 
articulates a long-term, regionally focused approach for a safe 
and stable Africa.
    Specifically, the strategy outlines an Africa in which 
regional organizations and states are willing and capable 
partners addressing African security challenges all while 
promoting United States' interests. The Africa Command strategy 
builds our partners' abilities to direct, manage, and operate 
capable and sustainable defense institutions. While we have 
achieved progress in implementing our strategy, threats and 
challenges still remain.
    In East Africa, we support African Union and European Union 
efforts to neutralize al-Shabaab and other violent extremist 
organizations operating in Somalia. We also support the 
eventual transfer of security responsibilities from the African 
Union mission in Somalia to the Somali National Security 
    In 2016, al-Shabaab regained some previously held Somalia 
territory, and today the group continues to conduct attacks on 
AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] forces, the national 
security forces of Somalia, as well as the federal government 
of Somalia.
    Additionally, we have also seen elements of ISIS begin to 
make inroads into Somalia, which will further test AMISOM 
forces and the federal government of Somalia as well.
    The instability in Libya in North Africa caused by years of 
political infighting may be the most significant near-term 
threat to the U.S.'s and allies' interests on the continent. 
Stability in Libya is a long-term proposition. We must maintain 
pressure on the ISIS-Libya network and concurrently support 
Libya's efforts to reestablish a legitimate and unified 
government. This is a significant challenge, and we must 
carefully choose where and with whom we work and support in 
order to counter ISIS-Libya and not to shift the balance 
between various factions and risks of sparking greater conflict 
in Libya.
    In West Africa, our primary focus is countering and 
degrading Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. Since 2011, Boko 
Haram has consistently carried out attacks against civilians 
and targeted partner regional governments and military forces 
in the Lake Chad Basin region. With forces from Benin, 
Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, we are working with the 
multinational joint task force located in Niger to enable 
regional cooperation and expand partner capacity to ensure Boko 
Haram and ISIS-West Africa do not further destabilize the 
    The multinational joint task force has been successful in 
enabling multinational cooperation and coordinating 
multinational operations and placed a significant pressure on 
Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.
    In Central Africa, through the combined efforts of military 
forces, civilian agencies, and nongovernmental organizations, 
we work to build the capacity of our partners to address 
regional threats, such as maritime security, illicit 
trafficking of goods and persons, the Lord's Resistance Army, 
and other criminal networks and enterprises.
    Africa-wide we support the efforts to enable African 
partners to respond to humanitarian crises, mass atrocities, 
disaster contingencies, and to support peace operations. 
Through the United States National Guard's State Partnership 
Program, along with their African partners, we have improved 
disaster management competency and readiness to assist 
civilian-led efforts. We continue to see great value in the 
National Guard's persistent engagement and fully support the 
State Partnership Program's efforts.
    Africa's security environment is dynamic and complex 
requiring innovative solutions. Even with limited resources or 
capabilities, Africa Command aggressively works with partners 
and allies to execute our missions and mitigate risk. Moving 
forward, we continue to focus our decisive effort on building 
African partner capacity and will continue to work closely with 
the international and interagency partners to make small, wise 
investments which pay huge dividends in building stable and 
effective governments, the foundation for long-term security in 
    I am confident with your support Africa Command will 
protect and promote United States' interests and keep the 
United States safe from threats emanating from the African 
    Finally, on behalf of the United States Africa Command, I 
want to thank you for the opportunity to be with you this 
morning, and I also look forward to your questions. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of General Waldhauser follows:]

           Prepared Statement by General Thomas D. Waldhauser
    Chairman, ranking member, distinguished members of the committee, 
thank you for the opportunity to update you on the activities and 
efforts of United States
Africa Command to protect and promote United States national security 
interests in Africa. Since I last spoke with the Senate, I have had 9 
months to examine the opportunities and challenges the United States 
and our partners face in Africa. As expected in an area of 
responsibility covering 53 countries, issues are complex and varied. I 
am confident we have the right strategic approach to meet these 
challenges, and our efforts, in coordination with the efforts of our 
allies and partners, will have a lasting impact on the security and 
stability of the African continent. It is an honor to lead the efforts 
of the men and women of United States Africa Command in this dynamic 
and rapidly changing strategic environment.
    Africa remains an enduring interest for the United States, and the 
53 nations in the Africa Command Area of Responsibility look to the 
United States for assistance but, more importantly, for leadership--
leadership that advantages our partners as they turn challenges into 
opportunities. We can meet our military objectives and advance American 
interests with a combination of strategic patience, targeted 
investments, and strong partnership to achieve shared security 
objectives and maintain our long-term approach which contribute to the 
conditions for development and good governance to take root. If we 
focus on working with our African partners on developing local 
solutions to radicalization, destabilization, and persistent conflict, 
we will remain the security partner of choice for the next decade, all 
while upholding our American values. Africa, our allies, the United 
States, and, indeed, the world will benefit from our actions to promote 
stable and effective nation states and defense institutions in Africa.
    In order to accomplish this goal, the United States must remain 
engaged on the continent, investing in the capability, legitimacy, and 
accountability of African
defense institutions. We must continue to enable African solutions by 
building partner capacity, instilling professionalism within defense 
forces, and increasing their respect for the rule of law. When 
necessary, we must be ready to conduct military operations to protect 
U.S. interests, counter violent extremist organizations, and enable our 
partners' efforts to provide security. To protect and promote United 
States national security interests in Africa, diplomacy and development 
are key efforts, and our partnership with the Department of State and 
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is key to achieve 
enduring success. Together, we work to address the root causes of 
violent extremism, lack of accountable government systems, poor 
education opportunities, and social and economic deficiencies to 
achieve long-term, sustainable impact in Africa. More specifically, I 
want to thank Congress for the authority to support other USG agencies 
under the 2017 National Defense
Authorization Act. We now have the flexibility to facilitate a whole-
of-government approach, which is the best opportunity to assist Africa 
in creating sustainable African solutions. This approach benefits 
Africans and Americans and mitigates the considerable security risks we 
currently face.
                         strategic environment
    Africa's sustained economic growth, improved social development, 
and growing entrepreneur class are unlocking the continent's potential 
for international investment and trade, raising its geostrategic 
importance to the U.S while also attracting international competition 
for access, influence, and trade. Africa's continued commitment to 
democracy, evidenced by the January 2017 actions of the Economic 
Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to uphold the election results in The 
Gambia, reinforces the strong foundation of shared values and 
commitment to good governance the United States has with its African 
partners. As the United States pursues opportunities for greater 
partnership with Africa, we must be cognizant of the negative
external and internal forces seeking to counter our shared goals and 
not be constrained by them.
    Africa links directly to United States strategic interests as the 
continent strives for inclusion in the rules-based international order. 
Just as the United States pursues strategic interests in Africa, 
international competitors, including China and Russia, are doing the 
same. Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons 
sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African 
partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of 
transparency and good governance. These competitors weaken our African 
partners' ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa's long-
term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and 
diminish United States influence--a message we must continue to share 
with our partners.
    Parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, 
interests, and values: equality, prosperity, and peace are often pitted 
against extremism, oppression, and conflict. The strategic environment 
includes instability that allows violent extremist organizations to 
grow and recruit from disenfranchised populations. Currently, the 
greatest threat to United States interests emanating from Africa is 
violent extremist organizations (VEOs). Furthermore, these VEOs are 
competing for primacy over other extremist movements in Africa and 
aspire to incorporate large portions of the continent into their 
respective ideologies. They build partnerships with regional VEOs; 
exploit the vulnerability of Africa's youth population; and take 
advantage of ungoverned and under-governed spaces to target our 
partners, our allies, and the United States Africa's population faces 
large scale unemployment and disenfranchisement from corrupt 
governments and abusive security forces, making them prime targets for 
exploitation by criminal and terrorist organizations across the 
    In addition to the transregional threats of terrorism, Africa is 
vulnerable to conflict and instability from political, social, 
economic, and environmental challenges. These forces are driving the 
current migrant crisis. The migrant flow between Africa and Europe 
greatly concerns our European allies. Europe views the migrant crisis 
as its preeminent security and economic issue. The International 
Monetary Fund estimates the initial cost of direct support to refugee 
inflow into the EU [European Union] will average approximately $16-32 
billion annually. When the secondary costs of migrant integration, 
border policing, and regional support are added, the cost increases to 
an additional $150 billion annually for the EU. Unfortunately, this 
crisis will most likely continue in the near future, as many African 
countries are not able to stem the flow at home.
    Globally, 15 of the top 25 most fragile countries of the world are 
in Africa, according to the 2016 Fund for Peace ``Fragile State 
Index.'' At the root of this fragility is weak governance. While 
governance is not a core mission of the Department of Defense, we 
recognize that building professional, legitimate defense institutions 
is critical to enabling a population-centric approach to governance 
that prioritizes the security of the population over the security of 
the regime. Because of this, our work continues to support the efforts 
of the Department of State and USAID to develop legitimate, rights-
respecting security forces and address the root causes of instability.
                            command approach
Theater Strategy (5-20 Years)
    In order to address the challenges and secure United States 
interests in the Africa, our strategy articulates a long-term, 
regionally-focused approach for a safe and stable Africa. Specifically, 
the strategy outlines an Africa in which regional organizations and 
states are willing and capable partners addressing security challenges, 
the security of the African population, and United States interests in 
Although our strategy is regionally focused, many programs and 
activities are executed bilaterally further stressing the importance of 
willing and capable partners. Transregional VEOs not only constitute 
the most direct security threat to the United States emanating from 
Africa but are also the most dangerous threat to stability in East, 
North, and West Africa. The 2015 National Security Strategy calls on us 
to work with Congress to train and equip partners in the fight against 
VEOs, and the United States Africa Command Area of Responsibility one 
theater in that broader fight. However, training and equipping African 
partners for the tactical fight is insufficient to achieve long-term 
stability. United States and international assistance must build our 
African partners' ability to direct, manage, sustain, and operate their 
own defense sectors over time. Capable and sustainable defense 
institutions are critical in providing a secure environment for the 
deepening of democracy and broad-based development, which together can 
diminish some of the factors that attract vulnerable persons into 
violent extremism and criminality.
    Our approach assumes the continuation of limited available 
resources, both financial and personnel, to accomplish U.S. objectives. 
Thus, Africa Command will continue to operate with security force 
assistance as the decisive effort of our strategy. However, any 
reduction to our already optimized (but limited) resources would impact 
Africa Command's ability to support the National Security Strategy and 
National Military Strategy objectives.
Theater Posture
    Our command approach is driven by a light, adaptable footprint 
enabling joint operations, protection of U.S. personnel and facilities, 
crisis response, and security cooperation. We continue to maintain one 
forward operating site on the continent, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, home 
of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Africa Command's lead for 
East Africa efforts. This base is essential to United States efforts in 
East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Camp Lemonnier serves as a hub 
for multiple operations and security cooperation activities, assuring 
access in the region, freedom of movement through the Gulf of Aden, and 
protecting U.S. interests. The importance of our forward operating site 
was evident during the execution, the past summer, of Operation Oaken 
Steel, the reinforcement of the United States Embassy in Juba, South 
Sudan, to ensure the protection of embassy personnel during the 
conflict between rival factions. For this operation, United States 
Forces based out of Camp Lemonnier, as well as Moron, Spain, deployed 
to our cooperative security location in Entebbe, Uganda, which provided 
an effective staging location for rapid crisis response.
    As part of the 2017 Theater Posture Plan, Africa Command closed 
five contingency locations and designated seven new contingency 
locations on the continent due to shifting requirements and identified 
gaps in our ability to counter threats and support ongoing operations. 
These contingency locations strive to provide the necessary access in 
crucial areas aligned with the Theater Campaign Plan.
Theater Campaign Plan (2-5 Years)
    Africa Command's Theater Campaign Plan seeks to disrupt and 
neutralize transnational threats by building African partner defense 
capability and capacity, as directed in the 2015 National Security 
Strategy, in order to promote regional security, stability, and 
prosperity, while always protecting U.S. personnel and facilities and 
the United States' access on the continent. This approach balances 
efforts to strengthen defense institutions and conduct counterterrorism 
operations with African partners and international allies, such as 
France and the UK, in order to disrupt, degrade, and eventually defeat 
extremists. Additionally, Africa Command conducts assessments to 
measure the effectiveness of our security cooperation activities to 
ensure our Theater Campaign Plan is achieving the desired results.
    Africa Command is currently operating along five Lines of Efforts 
(LOE) 1) Neutralize al-Shabaab and transition the security 
responsibilities of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to 
the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS); 2) Degrade violent extremist 
organizations in the Sahel Maghreb and contain instability in Libya; 3) 
Contain and degrade Boko Haram; 4) Interdict illicit activity in the 
Gulf of Guinea and Central Africa with willing and capable African 
partners; and 5) Build peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and 
disaster response capacity of African partners.
LOE 1:  Neutralize al-Shabaab and Transition AMISOM to the FGS
    In 2015, AMISOM recaptured significant territory from al-Shabaab, 
al-Qaeda's pre-eminent affiliate in East Africa. In 2016 after 
Ethiopian forces, operating independently from AMISOM, withdrew from 
Somalia, al-Shabaab regained some territory, and, today, the group 
continues to conduct attacks on AMISOM forces, the FGS, and the Somali 
National Security Forces (SNSF). We have also seen followers of ISIS 
begin to make in-roads into Somalia, which will further test AMISOM 
forces and the FGS. Sustained conflict and prolonged food insecurity 
have driven approximately one million refugees out of Somalia and into 
neighboring countries, like Kenya, who struggle with overflowing 
refugee settlements. Current and anticipated drought conditions have 
led to poor harvests and increased food insecurity throughout East 
Africa that has increased the risk of famine in Somalia. Large scale 
refugee migrations can destabilize regions already stressed to meet the 
basic needs of its own populations.
    Ten years of operations in Somalia have left AMISOM troop 
contributing countries fatigued. Somalia is dependent on AMISOM forces 
to provide security and conduct counter-terror operations. AMISOM is 
scheduled to begin withdrawing in 2018, and if this departure begins 
prior to Somalia having capable security forces, large portions of 
Somalia are at risk of returning to al-Shabaab control or potentially 
allowing ISIS to gain a stronger foothold in the country.
    Africa Command supports our partners' efforts to neutralize al-
Shabaab and other violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia 
and supports the transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM to 
the SNSF once conditions allow. Africa Command and the Department of 
State, working with a substantial international security assistance 
effort well-coordinated by the UN Special Representative to the 
Secretary General, operates through the venue of the Security Six (UN, 
European Union, United States, UK, Turkey, and the United Arab 
Emirates). This international effort aims to demonstrate sufficient 
progress in building the SNSF in 2017 to justify an extension of AMISOM 
beyond 2019. Central to the United States approach in Somalia is our 
partnership with the FGS. Working with the Department of State, we are 
encouraging the FGS to come to an inclusive agreement on its security 
architecture in order to build a sustainable SNSF that accounts for 
regional dynamics and continue to reach out to the regional and local 
governments of Somalia.
    Africa Command continues to support the counter-terrorism efforts, 
assist AMISOM troop contributing countries, assist in equipping and 
training the SNSF, enable international partners in their training 
efforts, and protect United States personnel in Somalia and the region. 
Our advise, assist, and accompany efforts, paired with our deliberate 
targeting of top-level al-Shabaab leadership, have had a significant 
impact in degrading al-Shabaab's effectiveness in East Africa, but 
those two efforts are not enduring solutions to Somalia's problems.
    With the inauguration of President Mohamed Abdullahi ``Farmajo'' 
Mohamed in February 2017, Somalia has seen its first-ever peaceful 
transition of power and first non-transitional government since 2006. 
President Farmajo's platform promotes good governance and anti-
corruption, and he has indicated further opening the door for increased 
coordination with the United States and the international community. 
His widespread popularity within Somalia suggests he has a personal 
interest in helping push the country towards one-person one-vote 
elections in 2020.
    While we continue to work with the Security Six partners to 
coordinate our efforts in support of the SNSF, our support to AMISOM 
troop contributing countries is constrained by the use of security 
cooperation funding and associated processes designed to train and 
equip forces over the long term rather than to support current 
operations. The new Chapter 16 authorities in the 2017 National Defense 
Authorization Act provide the needed funding flexibility--multi-year 
monies and up to five years sustainment monies--to further the progress 
of degrading and ultimately defeating al-Shabaab while protecting 
United States interests in East Africa. Africa Command is working with 
OSD and Congress to accelerate the notification and approval timelines 
to better tailor our training and equipping efforts with our AMISOM and 
Somalia partners.
LOE 2:  Degrade Violent Extremist Organizations in the Sahel Maghreb 
        and Contain Instability in Libya
    The instability in Libya and North Africa may be the most 
significant, near-term threat to United States and allies' interests on 
the continent. The multiple militias and fractured relationship between 
factions in east and west Libya exacerbate the security situation, 
spilling into Tunisia and Egypt and the broader Maghreb, allowing the 
movement of foreign fighters, enabling the flow of migrants out of 
Libya to Europe and elsewhere. Africa Command is working to ensure 
United States interests are protected and to enable our African 
partners to contain instability originating in Libya, counter violent 
extremist organizations in the Sahel-Maghreb, and develop the requisite 
defense institutions to maintain security in the region.
    Stability in Libya is a long-term proposition requiring strategic 
patience as the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) forms and 
develops. We must maintain pressure on the ISIS-Libya network 
concurrently with Libya's efforts to progress with political 
reconciliation. This is a significant challenge given Libya's 
absorption capacity for international support remains limited, as is 
our ability to influence political reconciliation between competing 
factions, particularly between the GNA and the House of 
Representatives. We must carefully choose where and with whom we work 
with to counter ISIS-Libya in order not to shift the balance between 
factions and risk sparking greater conflict in Libya.
            Degrade ISIS-Libya Network
    Our operations in Libya support the global coalition's efforts to 
defeat ISIS-Libya. Operation Oddysey Lightning (OOL) enabled GNA-
aligned forces to successfully liberate the city of Sirte from ISIS 
control. However, even with the success of Sirte, ISIS-Libya remains a 
regional threat with intent to target United States persons and 
interests. We will continue to support Libyan partners and an 
international coalition to defeat ISIS-Libya and build the capacity of 
the region while limiting civilian casualties. OOL can serve as a model 
for future U.S. operations in the region by improving the battlefield 
capabilities and ethics of a partnered force, working on the partner's 
timeline without following planning-mandated timelines, remaining 
flexible to keep an international force together and most importantly, 
limiting civilian casualties.
            Support the Government of National Accord (GNA)
    Despite its success in Sirte, the GNA continues to struggle with 
controlling Tripoli, providing basic services, and exercising authority 
over security forces. The political situation in Libya remains 
extremely dynamic, and the GNA faces a host of political, economic, and 
security challenges. We continue to support the diplomatic, 
stabilization, and development activities of the U.S. Interagency. We 
must also continue to promote development of responsive and effective 
governance and ensure the rights of all Libyans are respected. These 
are foundational to long-term regional security. Additionally, the 
House of Representatives (HoR)--and their military arm, the Libyan 
National Army (LNA)--must play a constructive role in the development 
of a unified, functioning Libyan Government. While we recognize Libya's 
struggle for a unified government remains uncertain and may not 
materialize within the foreseeable future, a national security 
structure solution accommodating the HoR and LNA provides a path 
    In an effort to counter regional instability, Africa Command 
supports partners like Tunisia, a major non-NATO Ally. Africa Command 
is assisting the Tunisian military to develop and sustain Special 
Forces, border security capabilities and Tunisia's intelligence 
capability. Working with the intelligence community and our component 
commands, Africa Command is training Tunisian intelligence 
organizations through train, advise, and assist mentors. Our efforts 
include helping Tunisia to establish an intelligence school, an 
intelligence fusion center, and the development of a professional 
intelligence career field within the Ministry of Defense. This model 
demonstrates an effective means of building initial counterterrorism 
intelligence capacity, and then transitioning to sustainable 
intelligence capacity building within a partner's intelligence 
organizations, all focused on unit vice individual development. We also 
work with Tunisia to develop and enhance its rotary wing capabilities. 
Through foreign military sales and excess defense articles programs, 
Tunisia has procured eight UH-60M Blackhawks and 24 OH-58D Kiowa 
Warrior helicopters. Tunisia expects the Blackhawks to function as a 
multirole aircraft providing casualty evacuation, troop transport, and 
air assault capabilities, and the Kiowas to provide much needed 
reconnaissance, precision strike, and close air support capabilities. 
With the assistance of ongoing U.S.-provided air-to-ground integration 
training, these helicopters, added to the Tunisian operational 
inventory, sustained in part by the Department of State's Foreign 
Military Financing will provide better speed and response time during 
crises and a major boost to the modernization and capabilities of the 
Tunisian Armed Forces to conduct counterterrorism and border security 
operations in Tunisia.
            Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
    Along with the threat posed by ISIS, AQIM remains a significant 
threat to United States interests and the security of our African 
partners. AQIM in Mali continues to exploit ethnic resentments in 
central Mali and spread their influence rendering large areas of the 
country ungovernable. With Operation BARKHANE, France continues to lead 
the fight to counter violent extremists throughout the Sahel region. 
However, Mali's path toward greater stability and security remains 
unclear. The government, ex-rebel armed groups, and pro-government 
militias have demonstrated little political will to implement the peace 
accord signed in June 2015 and continue to commit human rights 
violations against civilians. The framework of political reforms and 
security measures, though imperfect, are the only existing solution for 
Mali to emerge, without further bloodshed, from the crisis that began 
in 2012.
    We continue to support France's counterterrorism operations in Mali 
against al-Qaeda affiliate groups and seek to increase our 
synchronization and coordination with their efforts. Continued airlift 
and logistical support is essential to France's efforts, and we must 
continue to provide this support if progress is to happen in this 
volatile region. Additionally, with the Department of State, we 
continue to support the troop contributing countries to the UN 
Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, which 
currently provides some measure of security in northern Mali. We 
continue to look for opportunities to take a more active role in 
defeating AQIM and supporting the accountable, inclusive governance 
that is key to durability and protecting our interests throughout the 
LOE 3:  Contain and Degrade Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa
    A primary focus for Africa Command in West Africa is containing and 
degrading Boko Haram and its offshoot since last year, ISIS-West 
Africa. Since 2010, Boko Haram has carried out attacks against 
civilians and directly targeted partner regional governments and 
military forces in the Lake Chad Basin (Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and 
Chad). Africa Command works with our Lake Chad Basin partners to expand 
partner capacity and capabilities to support regional cooperation and 
expand our African partner capacity and capabilities to ensure Boko 
Haram and ISIS-West Africa does not threaten partner, allied, or United 
States interests and do not destabilize the region.
    The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), an African-inspired and 
African-led initiative that includes Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and 
Nigeria, provides a critically important venue for planning and 
coordinating security operations and for linking intelligence to these 
operations. As a result, the MNJTF and its member states have 
considerable successes in enabling multinational cooperation and 
coordinating multinational operations, and have placed significant 
pressure on Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. Thanks to this pressure, 
Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa are less able to inflict mass 
casualties than in the past, and they control only a fraction of the 
territory they occupied in 2014 and early 2015. Nonetheless, through 
the continuing threat of asymmetric attacks, Boko Haram and ISIS-West 
Africa sustain a reign of terror across much of Northeastern Nigeria 
and the border areas of the neighboring Lake Chad Basin countries, thus 
preventing millions of displaced persons from returning to their homes.
    The advent of ISIS-West Africa adds a new dimension to the 
insecurity of the Lake Chad Basin. This group, with official ties to 
ISIS, operates in a more disciplined fashion than Boko Haram; by 
avoiding attacks against Sunni Muslims and by forging relations with 
the local population, ISIS-West Africa could take deeper root in the 
Lake Chad Basin region, thus making it a greater threat to our 
partners. Although determined to defeat Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa 
and return stability to the region, the MNJTF faces significant 
challenges in maintaining pressure on Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa 
while simultaneously addressing competing individual security 
requirements in the face of individual financial constraints.
    Africa Command, while not engaged in direct military operations, 
supports the efforts of our Lake Chad Basin partners to counter Boko 
Haram and ISIS-West Africa by providing advisors, intelligence, 
training and equipment to complement other United States-provided 
equipment and logistical support. The P3 (France, U.K., United States) 
Cellule de Coordination et de Liaison (Coordination and Liaison Cell-
CCL) coordinates international support to the MNJTF and its member 
states to ensure that such support is complementary and effective. This 
past December, the U.S. assumed 6-month rotational leadership of the 
CCL for the first time, and we are taking full advantage of this 
opportunity to strengthen P3 support for the MNJTF and its member 
    Africa Command provides security force assistance directly to 
regional military partners in order to enable operations and build 
institutional capacity over the long term. For example, in 2016, we 
provided Niger two ISR-equipped Cessnas to enhance Niger's capacity to 
collect ISR to support its efforts to fight terrorism. This added 
capacity has had an important impact in bolstering Niger's ability to 
fight the terrorists. In 2017 we intend to provide Chad and Cameroon 
each with two ISR-capable Cessnas. Additionally, in Chad, we are 
working to strengthen border reconnaissance forces with training and 
equipment to bolster its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance 
(ISR) capabilities. Cameroon likewise is a major recipient of United 
States security assistance via train and equip programs. In fiscal year 
2016 and fiscal year 2017, the United States invested over $123 million 
to expand Cameroonian ISR, command and control, and counter-terrorism 
force and logistics capabilities.
    While regional partners have assisted in slowing the progress of 
Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, long-term success requires Nigeria to 
address development, governance, and economic deficiencies exacerbated 
by the humanitarian emergency, which serve as drivers of violent 
extremism in northeastern Nigeria and throughout the Lake Chad Basin 
region. Under the current Government of Nigeria's leadership, Nigeria 
is making progress but must still overcome systemic corruption and 
build the trust of civilian populations, including by protecting human 
rights abuses and holding accountable those who are responsible for 
abuses. Nigeria's success in addressing these governance and 
development issues is key to an enduring solution in the Lake Chad 
    Despite gains made against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, nearly 
two million people remain displaced from their homes in Nigeria, and 
over 400,000 others are displaced in Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. 
Moreover, the international humanitarian community has identified 
famine conditions throughout the areas of hostility in northeast 
Nigeria, and continued violence in these areas prevents responders from 
delivering life-saving assistance, prolonging a man-made food crisis. 
Refugees and internally displaced persons mostly reside informally in 
makeshift camps or mixed in with host communities, which are themselves 
under great stress to meet basic needs and are vulnerable to 
exploitation. The large numbers flowing into receiving communities--
some already stressed to meet basic food and security needs--may have a 
destabilizing effect on these communities. Africa Command continues to 
coordinate with the Department of State and USAID, who work closely 
with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to alleviate 
suffering, implement reintegration programs, and promote stability in 
the region.
LOE 4:  Interdict Illicit Activity in the Gulf of Guinea and Central 
        Africa with Willing and Capable African Partners
    Africa Command also supports our African partners, international 
partners, and Interagency partners to interdict and counter illicit 
actors and their activities in Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. 
Our priority effort is to build the institutional capacity of our 
African partners to address the many forms of illicit activity that 
threaten their security and regional stability. This mission requires a 
whole-of-government approach, and we work closely with the Department 
of State, Department of Treasury/FBI, and components of the Department 
of Homeland Security to synchronize our approach and complement each 
other's efforts. These efforts are enhanced by having the Interagency 
embedded within Africa Command, a benefit to our mission.
            Countering the Lord's Resistance Army
    In Central Africa, led by the efforts of Special Operations 
Command-Africa, we have focused on working with the African Union 
Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) to counter the Lord's Resistance Army 
(LRA), one of the many illicit actors operating in the region. Uganda, 
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and 
South Sudan have contributed forces to the AU-RTF, which has led 
military efforts to reduce the LRA's safe havens, capture key leaders, 
and promote defections. With advice and assistance from U.S. forces, 
the AU-RTF has been largely successful.
    Through the combined efforts of military forces, civilian agencies, 
and non-governmental organizations, the LRA is not a threat to central 
governments and populations centers, but reduced to areas of ungoverned 
spaces. Today, although the group's leader, Joseph Kony, remains at 
large, we estimate fewer than 150 Lord's Resistance Army fighters 
remain, and communities are better prepared to protect themselves.
            Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea
    Despite decreased United States reliance on African oil imports 
over the past three years, the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea region 
remains a strategic interest to the United States due to its role in 
the global oil market, its strategic location close to a major maritime 
trade route, the more than 74,000 American citizens in the area, and 
its exploitation as a transit point for illicit trafficking from the 
Americas to Europe. In the Gulf of Guinea, maritime security sector 
assistance consists of long-term efforts to build the capacity of 
African partners to achieve combined maritime law enforcement 
operations between the partners. Africa Command strongly supports the 
implementation of the 2013 Yaounde Code of Conduct through regional 
strategic zone agreements. The agreements promote shared law 
enforcement responsibility against piracy and armed robbery at sea; 
trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons; and illegal, underreported, 
and unregulated fishing. Cross-water boundary tracking and interdiction 
missions have been widely successful, and we look forward to working 
with our partners in the region to expand the capability in the coming 
    In 2017, the Gulf of Guinea Commission will meet to finalize the 
Code of Conduct, converting the document into a binding agreement 
providing a valuable mechanism to build accountable governance, 
strengthen port and vessel security, and improve transparency. 
Furthering the building of maritime capacity, Belgium, France, Germany, 
and the UK regularly participate in regional maritime exercises and 
operations. Africa Command's efforts, led by United States Naval Forces 
Africa, target assistance and capacity building through the African 
Partnership Station, Exercise Obangame Express, and the Africa Maritime 
Law Enforcement Partnership Program.
LOE 5:  Build Peacekeeping, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster 
        Response Capacity of African Partners
    Africa Command supports United States Governmental efforts that 
enable African partners across the African continent to support 
disaster response and peace operations within their region or 
throughout Africa. Through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), 
our implementing partner, we build our partner's capacity to secure 
pathogens of security concern and improve partners' capabilities to 
respond to the deliberate or accidental release of materials of concern 
and to support civilian-led responses to infectious diseases. The 
Africa Partner Outbreak Response promotes effective military-civilian 
partnerships in the health and security communities and leverages best 
practices among African partners. Africa Command's support to this 
initiative maintains health security and mitigates the risks of another 
epidemic emanating from the continent.
    Another important implementing partner to Africa Command's crisis 
and disaster response efforts is the National Guard's State Partnership 
Program (SPP). The SPP and their African partners have improved 
disaster management competency and readiness to support civilian-led 
efforts. Currently, SPP has established partnerships with thirteen 
African nations to advance Africa Command and partner objectives. 
Africa Command continues to see the value of the National Guard's 
continuous engagement and fully support SPP's efforts.
    Additional programs building the capacity of our African partners 
are the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the African 
Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP) and the Women, Peace, 
and Security (WPS) programs. In partnership with the Department of 
State, GPOI is working to strengthen international capacity and 
capabilities to execute UN and regional peacekeeping operations. Though 
it is a global program, the preponderance of GPOI work is on the 
African continent, with 22 active African partner countries. Through 
GPOI, we aim to build sustainable, self-sufficient peace operations 
proficiencies in almost half of the countries in Africa to deploy and 
operate in UN and regional peace operations. We are also working 
collaboratively with U.S. and international stakeholders to improve the 
operational effectiveness of these missions. APRRP supplements the work 
we do through GPOI, enabling a deeper investment in six of the most 
capable African peacekeeping contributing countries to build their 
capacity to rapidly respond to emerging crises on the continent. 
Through APRRP, we are developing key enabling capabilities such as 
aviation; medical; engineering; logistics; command, control, 
communications, and information systems; and formed police units. GPOI 
and APRRP do not only help us to build the peacekeeping capabilities of 
partners in Africa (both for long-term sustainment or expansion of 
current contributions and for rapid response to emerging crises), but 
they also help to professionalize militaries through our training and 
equipping support, enhance defense institutions through their capacity 
building approach, and deepen our mil-mil partnerships.
    Africa Command recognizes for capacity building efforts to be 
effective, they need to align with Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) 
objectives. We do this by integrating a gender perspective into our 
military activities through two main efforts: 1) staff training and 
awareness, and 2) integration into the Theater Campaign Plan. For 
training and awareness, Africa Command hosts the Gender in Military 
Operations program, which solicits perspectives from African partners 
on gender issues within their military and during operations. For 
campaign planning, we integrate WPS concepts into peacekeeping capacity 
building, mil-to-mil engagements; training on human rights, rule of 
law, gender-based violence; and peacekeeping exercises. WPS works to 
professionalize our partners' militaries and build their effectiveness 
to meet security challenges.
    Africa Command's primary engagement with Southern Africa is also 
through this line of effort. Along with being the most stable region in 
Africa, the region fields some of the most professional and capable 
military forces on the continent. For example, at the August 2016 
Southern Africa Regional Leaders Seminar, topics such as climate 
change, environmental issues, uncontrolled migration, and health and 
disease capacity building were discussed, which speaks to Southern 
Africa's capacity to address advanced, global security issues. In the 
past year, South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi have contributed to United 
Nations peacekeeping operations in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central 
African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Furthermore, 
Malawi will host the upcoming Africa Land Forces Summit and Exercise 
Africa Endeavor, and South Africa is hosting Exercise Shared Accord to 
further develop its capacity to support peacekeeping operations. We are 
complementing Department of State efforts to train and deploy 
peacekeepers with development of the defense institutions necessary to 
promote sustained regional stability over time. Africa Command will 
also continue to develop the capacity of Southern African troop 
contributors to the UN Missions in the Central African Republic, the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.
    Our efforts, and those of the Department of State to build 
sustainable and self-sufficient peace operations capacity, to include 
rapid response capabilities, sustainable force generation and training 
institutions, and modest improvements to strategic mobility, enable our 
partners across East, North, West, Central, and Southern Africa to lead 
the response to the threats, man-made or natural, facing their regions.
                       implementing our approach
            Synchronization with Partners
    Africa Command relies on our strong international, interagency, and 
multinational relationships to achieve our objectives. Africa Command 
works with international partners to synchronize operations and 
security force assistance on the continent. Fourteen of our 
international partners are represented at Africa Command, co-located in 
our Multi-National Coordination Cell (MNCC). One particularly powerful 
enabler is the Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) concept (managed via 
United States Army Africa), which allows for relatively easy access to 
unassigned forces. The RAF executes a significant share of the Theater 
Security Cooperation activities in Africa, contributing meaningfully to 
mission success. Additionally, the United States leads and participates 
in multilateral planning groups for East Africa, North Africa, the 
Sahel Maghreb, and Naval Forces Africa recently concluded flag-level 
staff talks with its French service component counterpart to 
synchronize our combined strategic approach in the Gulf of Guinea. In 
East Africa, we are synchronizing security force assistance to AMISOM 
troop contributing countries and the SNSF. In North Africa, 
international partners are positioned to support international planning 
in support of stabilization efforts in Libya as conditions allow. In 
the Sahel Maghreb, we have begun to coordinate activities and do 
multilateral planning in support to the MNJTF in the Lake Chad Basin 
and operations in Mali.
    Also important to Africa Command's efforts are the diplomatic and 
development efforts of our Interagency partners, Department of State 
and USAID. Over the past three years, we have established an annual 
Africa Strategic Dialogue and Africa Strategic Integration Conference 
to coordinate and integrate our activities with the Department of State 
and USAID, working hand in hand to build the capacity of our partners 
and strengthen African defense institutions. In partnership with the 
Department of State, the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) builds 
the capacity of civilian and defense institutions who provide oversight 
to the security sector. With the six SGI partners (Ghana, Kenya, Mali, 
Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia), we support efforts to strengthen governance 
across the security sector. These long-term SGI efforts will improve 
the effectiveness and sustainability of U.S. security assistance 
investments and activities.
    Also essential to our mission is our relationship with other 
combatant commands. We coordinate with European Command for shared 
response forces. We rely heavily on our European allies such as Spain, 
Italy, and Greece for force projection out of southern Europe. Without 
these relationships, we could not execute our missions on the 
continent. We also coordinate with Central Command for shared response 
forces as well as Egypt and Arabian Peninsula equities. Lastly, we 
coordinate with Special Operations Command (through Special Operations 
Command-Africa) for counter-terrorism strategy and operations. An 
example of our cooperation with other combatant commands, both 
Operation Odyssey Lightning and Operation Oaken Steel required assets 
outside of Africa Command's assigned forces for extended periods of 
time, and this close cooperation helped achieve mission success in an 
efficient manner.
            Security Force Assistance Resources
    Our recent success in building the capacity and defense 
institutions of our African partners was only possible with funding 
provided by Congress through the Counter-Terrorism Partnership Fund 
(CTPF) and other programs. This funding, and the authorities provided 
to build the capacity of foreign security forces, has been essential to 
our success in enabling African partners and enhancing their capability 
to counter extremist organization within their borders and in support 
of collective regional efforts. Africa Command appreciates the 
flexibility provided by Congress with the new section 333 authority. We 
will continue to prioritize crucial airlift, ISR, command and control 
systems, sustainment, and force structure development of our African 
partners. We will ensure our investments in African defense 
institutions continue to directly support United States national 
    Programs such as the before-mentioned Security Governance 
Initiative and Counter-Terrorism Partnership Fund provide us the 
ability to work with our partners to strengthen their institutions. 
Institutions fashioned in accordance with the rule of law, protecting 
African citizens, and providing inclusive opportunities. Sustaining our 
efforts at current if not increased level of priority will ultimately 
determine if building partner capacity succeeds and if our African 
partners can improve security environments and progress toward good 
            Capability Constraints
    Africa's security environment is dynamic and complex requiring 
innovative solutions. Even with limited resources or capabilities, 
Africa Command leans forward, working with partners and allies, to 
execute its mission and mitigate risk. While the command has been able 
to succeed in multiple efforts, our mission is impacted by inconsistent 
resourcing of key requirements and capabilities. These constraints risk 
our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and civilians 
executing activities on the African continent. For example, only 
approximately 20-30 percent of Africa Command's ISR requirements are 
met. This limits situational understanding, support to operations, and 
fails to offer threat indications and warnings. For personnel recovery, 
Africa Command relies heavily on contract Search and Rescue assets due 
to lack of dedicated assets to support operations. Furthermore, African 
partners lack the capability and capacity to assist with personnel 
recovery missions. Integrating personnel recovery and surgical 
stabilization/medical sustainment capabilities are a moral obligation 
and essential for the proper care of U.S. servicemembers who risk their 
lives to protect our nation. Africa lacks a theater distribution 
network to support our forces. This issue manifests itself most 
significantly in West Africa where we have approximately 1,000 
personnel conducting 12 named operations across a nine nation region. 
This capability gap forces our personnel to revert to costly and 
ineffective ad hoc solutions. An effective hub and spoke distribution 
system would consolidate cargo, replace multiple commercial contracts, 
and eliminate the use of heavy military cargo planes and deliver an 
efficient low volume/low frequency sustainment solution. In Operation 
Odyssey Lightning (OOL), the United States military effort to support 
the Libyan Government against the ISIS, incorporating Afloat Forward 
Staging Base and amphibious ship capability into operational planning 
added to the successful execution of the mission. Currently, Africa 
Command has an unfilled requirement to maintain this capability, which 
would serve to fill critical personnel recovery and casualty evacuation 
shortfalls. Additionally, this amphibious capability, during OOL, 
supported maritime-based ISR operations, and Africa Command could 
further exploit this capability to support additional operations 
against regional threats.
    Our capability constraints are most profound in our support to the 
Department of State-led mission to protect U.S. personnel and 
facilities. Flexible posture through our cooperative security locations 
and contingency locations, complemented by the highly-valued Special 
Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response at Moron Air Base, 
Spain the United States Special Operations Force-led Crisis Response 
Force in Baumholder, Germany and the East Africa Response Force in 
Djibouti, provide response options during crises. However, the tyranny 
of distance posed by the continent challenges that responsiveness, and 
we knowingly accept risk for operations. To mitigate this risk, 
finalizing the development of key cooperative security locations 
through Defense Cooperation Agreements with host nations, coupled with 
accurate indications and warnings from increased ISR and the ability to 
recover and evacuate our personnel, will ensure swift crisis response 
to all our embassy locations in Africa.
Looking Toward the Future
    Moving forward, United States Africa Command continues execute its 
mission on the African continent. We continue to focus our decisive 
effort on building African partner capacity--and supporting African 
solutions to African problems. We continue to work closely with 
international and Interagency partners to make small, wise investments 
which pay huge dividends in building stable and effective governments--
the foundation for long-term security in Africa. I am confident that 
with your support, Africa Command will protect and promote United 
States interests and keep the United States safe from threats emanating 
from Africa. Thank you for your continued support to our mission and to 
the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, civilians, 
contractors, and families of the United States Africa Command.

    Chairman McCain. Thank you, General.
    General Votel, do you agree that we are in a stalemate in 
Afghanistan after 15 years?
    General Votel. Mr. Chairman, I do.
    Chairman McCain. In some measurements, maybe you could 
argue that when we go from control of 72 percent of the country 
to 52 percent, that is worse than a stalemate.
    Would you agree that one of the most disturbing things 
about the attack on the hospital yesterday--that attack was 
carried out by ISIS, not by the Taliban, which shows at least 
to this person that we are seeing an increase in influence of 
ISIS, as well as Russia providing weapons and the Iranians 
playing a greater role than in the past.
    I guess my question is, are we developing a strategy to 
break the stalemate, and is it going to require additional U.S. 
    General Votel. Mr. Chairman, the answer to your question is 
yes, we are developing a strategy, and we are in discussions 
with the Secretary and the Department right now. Both General 
Nicholson and I are forming our best advice and recommendations 
to the Secretary, and we look forward to moving forward with 
    I do believe it will involve additional forces to ensure 
that we can make the advise and assist mission more effective.
    Chairman McCain. Already you have received a capability on 
rules of engagement which enhance your abilities to combat the 
enemy. Is that correct?
    General Votel. That is correct.
    Chairman McCain. We have got a very interesting and 
challenging situation in Syria, and that is the whole issue of 
the Kurds, our relationship with them, Erdogan's relationship 
with them, the importance of the use of Insurlik, the 
importance of our relationship with Turkey. I met with 
President Erdogan in Ankara recently. He is passionately 
opposed to Kurdish involvement and our support of the Kurds 
that I understand are going to be a very vital element in 
expediting the retaking of Raqqa.
    This is a complex situation, and it would take all my time, 
as you know, to go through all this. But I think there is a 
possibility of an impending conflict between Turkey and the 
Kurds as opposed to us all working together to try to defeat 
ISIS and remove them from Raqqa. Do you see that as a scenario 
that we should be concerned about?
    General Votel. I do, Mr. Chairman, and to that end, we are 
trying to take actions to prevent that from occurring.
    Chairman McCain. Well, we find ourselves in kind of a 
strange situation that we and the Russians are allied against 
the Turks, as far as the Kurds are concerned. Is that a correct 
    General Votel. I would not necessarily say that we are 
aligned against the Turks. We certainly understand what their 
interests are and we understand their concerns about the 
partners that we are working with. Turkey is a vital partner in 
this effort here. We could not do what we are doing without 
them. Our efforts are to try to work through this tension 
through dialogue, through information, and through identifying 
alternatives that give us a way to move forward against ISIS 
without damaging the long-term relationship with a NATO 
    Chairman McCain. Well, as you know, we are working with the 
Kurds and arming and training them, and they are a very 
effective fighting force, the same Kurds that Erdogan has 
labeled as a terrorist organization and, in the view of some, a 
greater threat to Turkey than ISIS is.
    Who is going to sort all this out?
    General Votel. Well, I think there certainly has to be an 
effort, Mr. Chairman, at the military level, and there has to 
be an effort at the political level to address this.
    Chairman McCain. I am not sure there is an understanding of 
how seriously Erdogan views this issue, and I am not sure we 
appreciate the importance of the role that Turkey plays in our 
effort to retake Raqqa particularly in the use of Insurlik and 
other activities that require Turkish cooperation. Unless 
something changes, I foresee a train wreck here, and I am not 
sure that the administration recognizes how seriously 
particularly President Erdogan views the threat that he views 
that the Kurds oppose.
    Finally, General Waldhauser, let us talk about Libya a 
second. Who is the most powerful influence in Libya today? 
Briefly, what is the answer to this chaos?
    General Waldhauser. Thank you, Senator.
    It is difficult to say who is the most powerful partner 
right now inside Libya. If you took polls, you would see that 
the Libyan National Army has got great support in the east and 
the GNA [Government of National Accord] has support in the 
west. There needs to be accommodation of those two 
organizations in order to get to a political solution there.
    Chairman McCain. Does it bother you that Haftar has been 
visiting with the Russians and went out to a Russian carrier? 
Obviously, now the Russians may be assuming a role in Libya 
that they never had before.
    General Waldhauser. It is very concerning, Senator. Haftar 
has visited, as you said, on the carrier with the Russians. He 
has also visited in the country of Russia. Also this week, as 
reported in the open press, Siraj from the Government of 
National Accord has also visited Russia.
    Chairman McCain. As is the case with Afghanistan that I 
mentioned, I hope we will be developing a strategy as regards 
to Libya as the volatility of that situation can clearly lead 
to the rise of ISIS and other extremist organizations, as I 
know you are well aware, General.
    Senator Reed?
    Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    General Votel, you are now in the process of evaluating the 
mission and the strategy. For many years, the mission seemed to 
be very clear with respect to Syria and to Iraq of degrade and 
defeat ISIS. Now there are activities particularly around 
Manbij where you are in the process of trying to separate 
forces. The issue here really is not only define the mission, 
but preventing mission creep in terms of starting to find 
ourselves committed not just to destroying ISIS but to somehow 
refereeing a very complicated situation with Russians, Assad 
forces, anti-Assad forces, Turkish forces, Kurdish forces, and 
an array of other forces that you can allude to.
    How are you going to prevent that mission creep, or is 
there that possibility?
    General Votel. Well, thank you, Senator. Yes, I do agree. 
If we are not careful, we could find ourselves in a different 
situation. The presence of our forces in Manbij is not new to 
just the current situation. They have actually been on the 
ground since Manbij was secured here six or 7 months ago. They 
are principally there to ensure that ISIS is not able to 
reestablish itself in the area. We have undertaken a number of 
operations in that particular regard.
    As the situation is currently played out, that is the 
principal focus of our elements there. They do have the benefit 
by virtue of being there to also provide overwatch and, I would 
add, a measure of assurance not just for our local partners on 
the ground there, but I would also suggest for our Turkish 
partners. We understand what their concerns are about undue 
Kurdish influence in this particular area. The best way that we 
can keep an eye on that I think is through our well trained SOF 
[Special Operations Forces] forces on the ground.
    Senator Reed. One of the areas I touched upon in my 
comments was the interagency. General Waldhauser, can you 
accomplish your mission in AFRICOM if you do not have rather 
robust support by the State Department and other agencies, 
including our European allies?
    General Waldhauser. The short answer, Senator, is no, we 
cannot. We work very closely with various agencies, USAID, the 
State Department, and the like. I could give numerous examples 
if you would like of how we partner with them and how they 
contribute to development, which is so important in our 
    Senator Reed. Thank you.
    General Votel, likewise?
    General Votel. I absolutely agree.
    Senator Reed. As we go forward in terms of the new strategy 
that the President is asking for, one point he made was 
requesting a recommendation to change any U.S. rules of 
engagement and other U.S. policy restrictions that exceed the 
requirements of an international war. My sense is that the 
requirements and the authorities that the military has asked 
for is, one, they can do the job, but two, they also do things 
like minimize civilian casualties, provide for an appropriate 
relationship with the local populations, which helps you rather 
than hurts you. Is that still the sensitivity that you have? I 
mean, adherence to the minimum international law might not be 
the smartest military approach.
    General Votel. Well, we conduct all of our operations, of 
course, in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict, and we 
bring our values to the fight wherever we are.
    I do not think those are particular limitations on us at 
this particular point. My advice here moving forward has been 
to ensure that our forces have the operational agility to 
maintain pressure and sustain our approach of presenting ISIS 
with multiple dilemmas and really pursuing a military strategy 
of simultaneous operations to really overwhelm them quickly. 
The preponderance of our discussions and our recommendations 
really fell within that area.
    Senator Reed. But again, the rules that we have adopted 
have been based on best military policy, not just adherence to 
arbitrary rules. We minimize casualties because it has an 
effect on the population that will hurt our operations. Is that 
    General Votel. Senator, that is absolutely correct. Seven 
hundred fifty thousand people in the west portion of Mosul. We 
certainly have to conduct our operations with the full 
knowledge that that is the situation.
    Senator Reed. Again, gentlemen, thank you for your service, 
and I look forward to continuing these discussions. Thank you.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Inhofe?
    Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Waldhauser, as you and I discussed in my office, 
Senator Rounds and I just returned from several areas in your 
command. You know, when you stop and look at it, it seems like 
it has been shorter than that, but it has been ten years since 
we started AFRICOM. The continent used to be divided in three 
different commands. Now, since that time, we have had a lot of 
    General Rodriguez, one of your predecessors said, ``Africa 
is an enduring interest to the United States and its importance 
will continue to increase as African economies, population, and 
influence grow.'' Do you agree with that statement?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, I do.
    Senator Inhofe. It was not long ago when Chuck Wald had the 
job that you have right now. He talked about the significance 
of Phase Zero. He actually wrote an article about the Phase 
Zero campaign, why is Phase Zero important, and how does it 
apply to AFRICOM. Could you make any comments about that?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, thank you. What I would say to 
that question is that the ability to engage with the population 
and have such exercises and engagements with agencies, as was 
previously described, things like education, health care, jobs 
for the significant youth bulge that is in Africa is very, very 
important. We have got to get at these drivers that make these 
individuals, young men especially, want to join groups like al-
Shabaab. In order to get at that part of the problem, we need 
to be engaged with education, health care, jobs, and the like.
    Senator Inhofe. To preclude something from happening, head 
it off at the pass. I would agree with that.
    We were also in Afghanistan, General Votel, and we met with 
our servicemembers and, of course, the new President. General 
Nicholson and I--I think maybe we might be in my opinion--and I 
might be influenced by the fact that I knew the new president's 
predecessor, and there is no comparison. Summing up kind of 
what General Nicholson said--I will read this--a need for a 
long-term coalition commitment to Afghanistan, a need for 
increased coalition forces for training and assisting the 
Afghan military, the strength and the commitment of the Afghan 
people who want to take their country back from the insurgents, 
shifting the focus to winning versus not losing, the high 
casualty rate among the Afghan forces, the increase in 
territory controlled by the Taliban, the importance of cutting 
the Taliban's access to financing their operations.
    Do you pretty much agree with his assessment with what the 
situation is there?
    General Votel. I do, Senator.
    Senator Inhofe. Do you think that maybe, when we get some 
of these less than optimistic reports in these committee 
hearings that we have, that you get a little bit different idea 
when you are actually there? One of the things that I think we 
are not factoring in enough would be President Ghani. I would 
like to have your idea as to what a difference that can make 
because I can remember sitting there with his predecessor and 
then evaluating the situation, what his commitment is right now 
and what he really believes his people are going to be able to 
    General Votel. Senator, I absolutely agree with you. I do 
think we cannot overestimate the strategic advantage of having 
a leader like President Ghani in place. His willingness to 
partner, his visionary ideas about this, and his general 
approach to bringing the coalition on board I think have been 
very good, and I think they provide us a very good opportunity 
to build upon.
    Senator Inhofe. With him and with your experience from the 
last fighting season that we had, since we are coming up now to 
the next fighting season, do you have any projection as to 
differences we might see with that leadership and where we are 
right now?
    General Votel. I think that we will continue to see very 
steady leadership from President Ghani and his government 
through the next fighting season. I think the challenge that we 
will have will be sustaining the Afghan forces as they move 
forward. As you have noted, as others have noted, they have 
absorbed a lot of casualties, and yet they have been resilient 
through that. But there is a need to ensure that they get into 
a normal operational cycle that allows them to recover, to 
rebuild themselves, to reset themselves, and then get back into 
the fight. I think that as we move forward, that will be the 
challenge that General Nicholson and I will have to manage.
    Senator Inhofe. I would agree with that. I think that there 
is an effect that the new president has on the fighting troops 
over there, on theirs, that will yield a better performance.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. The fighting season has begun earlier than 
ever in Afghanistan. True, General?
    General Votel. I think the fighting season does not end. I 
agree with you, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Peters?
    Senator Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you to both of you today for testifying. I appreciate 
all that you do. You have a very difficult job and both of you 
do it with honor. Thank you so much for your service to our 
    I represent in Michigan probably the largest Arab American, 
Muslim American community here in the United States and had an 
opportunity just recently to meet with a number of community 
members at the Islamic Center and heard some great concern from 
the Yemeni American community as to what they are seeing in 
Yemen in terms of Saudi Arabia and the operations, what seems 
to be indiscriminate bombing, the killing of large numbers of 
civilians. I think, according to some estimates, close to 4,000 
civilians have been killed in Yemen by a Saudi Arabian-led air 
campaign, which appears to them as indiscriminate and, 
according to them, does great damage to the United States. 
People see those Saudi attacks as related to the United States. 
There has been increasing recruitment for folks who want to do 
harm to the United States because of the actions that are being 
undertaken by the Saudi Arabians.
    So if you could comment, General Votel, a little bit about 
what is happening there to us, and what do you assess the cause 
of the large number of civilian casualties that we are seeing 
in Yemen and what can we do to reduce that?
    General Votel. Thank you for the question, Senator.
    I attribute those types of situations more to the 
competence of the forces that are operating there and their 
ability to properly target. As you are aware, we do not provide 
intelligence for those things. We do not make decisions for 
    But yet, we have a relationship with Saudi Arabia. At my 
level and at levels below me, my air commander, a variety of 
subordinate commanders, we have engaged with our partner 
leaders in Saudi Arabia to talk to them about the effects of 
this and to provide opportunities for them to learn from our 
experience in terms of this and improve their capabilities in 
this particular regard. I think they have done that.
    In addition, I personally have reached out and talked to my 
counterpart about the importance of reaching out to 
international organizations like the ICRC [International 
Committee of the Red Cross], Doctors Without Borders, who also 
operate in these areas, and ask that they establish 
relationships and begin a discussion between the Saudi Arabian 
Government and Ministry of Defense and these particular 
organizations so we can better understand what is happening on 
the ground and we can begin to work through this. I am very 
happy to tell you that that is taking place now.
    Senator Peters. So you would characterize this as a 
training issue as opposed to some other factor that is 
    General Votel. I do not attribute it to deliberate 
decisions to target civilians. I attribute it to a growing need 
to develop a better and more precise targeting process for 
their operations.
    Senator Peters. Are we able to assist them in that?
    General Votel. We do not assist them directly with 
targeting on the ground, but we are able to, through our 
experience and through our people, engage them and help with 
their professionalism and give them the benefit of our 
experience and tactics, techniques, procedures, processes that 
we use to try to absolutely minimize those types of events. We 
are doing that.
    Senator Peters. Well, it is good to hear. Thank you.
    General Votel, to move to Syria now, you were recently 
quoted in The New York Times about saying that we want to bring 
the right capabilities forward, not all of those necessarily 
resident in the special operations community. If we need 
additional artillery or things like that, I want to bring those 
forward to augment our operations. I note today in the news 
there was an artillery unit that I believe is being positioned 
in Syria now.
    In your estimate, what is the right mix of conventional and 
special operations forces that are going to be required to 
succeed in Syria?
    General Votel. Senator, I am not sure I can give you an 
exact percentage-wise mix of this. But what I can tell you is 
that the way that we operate today with our special operations 
forces and unique capabilities they bring, through our 
experience of the last 15 or 16 years, we have become very 
comfortable and capable of operating together.
    What I have pledged to our commanders and what I expect 
from them is for them to ask for the capabilities that we need 
and then for us to ensure that we have the right command and 
control, the right force protection, the right resources in 
place to ensure that it can function properly together. That to 
me is much more important than a particular mix of whatever the 
capabilities are. I think as we move more towards the latter 
part of these operations into more of the stability and other 
aspects of the operations, we will see more conventional forces 
requirements perhaps.
    Senator Peters. Thank you, General.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Wicker?
    Senator Wicker. Let us get back to Afghanistan, General 
Votel. Do the Afghan people support the presence of the United 
States there?
    General Votel. I believe that they do, Senator.
    Senator Wicker. How do you measure that?
    General Votel. I think we measure that by favorability 
ratings that we see of them for the Government of Afghanistan 
and the activities that they are pursuing. I think we measure 
that through our direct contact with them with teams that we 
have out there on the ground and others that interact with the 
Afghan people on a regular basis.
    Senator Wicker. As a matter of fact, several years ago, 
there was a loya jirga convened of most Afghan leaders, and 
they overwhelmingly were in support of the United States 
presence there to protect them against what had happened 
    Has there been another loya jirga, or do we simply assume 
that the elected leadership of the government represents them?
    General Votel. There has not been another loya jirga I 
think of the same scope that you referenced, Senator. But we do 
pay attention to the polling. I would note in some recent polls 
that I have seen, the favorability ratings for the Taliban are 
very low in the 6 to 7 percent range as opposed to much, much 
higher for the Government of Afghanistan.
    Senator Wicker. You had strong praise for President Ghani. 
How is the relationship there between the president and Mr. 
Abdullah who is his nearest competitor?
    General Votel. It has improved significantly. I contribute 
that directly to the engagement of our ambassadors on the 
ground who have personally invested in that and worked that 
relationship, and it has had a positive impact on our 
    Senator Wicker. Well, that is good to hear.
    Now, the information we have--and the chairman alluded to 
this--the Afghan Government controls 57 percent of the 
country's districts. A year and a half ago, that figure was 72 
percent. What happened?
    General Votel. Senator, I would tell you that there are 
other numbers out there. We have some slightly different ones, 
but they are in the general ball park of what you are saying.
    Senator Wicker. Generally, those numbers are correct.
    General Votel. In general.
    Senator Wicker. There has been a significant drop, as the 
chairman said, in a year and a half.
    General Votel. There have been areas that we would put into 
the contested space area here that have increased over the last 
    Senator Wicker. Your testimony would be that this has not 
happened because the support among the Afghan people of our 
efforts has diminished.
    General Votel. I do not think so.
    Senator Wicker. Something we did?
    General Votel. I think this is the effect of the fighting 
that is taking place and of the efforts by the Taliban to be 
more resurgent in specific areas in Afghanistan.
    Senator Wicker. Well, okay. General Nicholson said in 
talking about the stalemate that what will break the stalemate 
are offensive capabilities such as special forces and allowing 
the air force to overmatch the Taliban. Also he said we have a 
shortfall of a few thousand troops in Afghanistan for the 
train, advise, and assist mission. Would you talk about those 
two aspects, and would you support a few thousand more American 
troops to get the job done in this mission?
    General Votel. Senator, with respect to the last part of 
your question, that is certainly a discussion we are having 
with the Secretary right now. I will not pre-stage a decision 
here. That is certainly his regard. But certainly I agree with 
what General Nicholson's approach is. I do agree that one of 
our efforts to improve the capabilities and equipment of the 
Afghan Air Force is a big part of this, as is improving and 
expanding their special operations capability.
    Senator Wicker. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser, the Wasp amphibious expedition did over 
100 consecutive days of strikes. It is considered to be an 
impressive success. What lessons have we learned from that 
deployment, and are we sending you what you need to get the job 
done in that respect?
    General Waldhauser. The Wasp and Marine aviation that was 
on board that ship was a significant contributor to the GNA 
forces and ridding Sirte of ISIS.
    Lessons learned at the tactical level have to do with 
coordination on the ground and special forces who were there on 
the ground, but I think it is important to point out that from 
1 August until middle of December there were nearly 500 
strikes. Most of them came from ISR platforms, but a lot of 
them, as you said, came from the ship. I think the ability to 
have zero civilian casualties in a very, very dense urban 
environment underscores the training and the professionalism of 
those who were conducting that operation.
    In sum, that was a huge asset for us. We actually borrowed 
it from CENTCOM in order to make it happen, but that is how we 
have to do business these days. AFRICOM and CENTCOM coordinate 
on various trans-regional asset changes, and that was an 
example where it worked very well.
    Senator Wicker. Thank you, sir.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Shaheen?
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Votel and General Waldhauser, thank you both for 
your testimony and for your service.
    General Votel, there has already been reference to the 
marines who have arrived in Syria. The Washington Post story 
this morning reports that the battalion landing team, 1st 
Battalion, 4th Marines, will man the guns and deliver fire 
support for U.S.-backed local forces who are preparing an 
assault on the city.
    First of all, is that accurate, and should we take that to 
mean an assault is imminent in Raqqa?
    General Votel. Well, certainly we will not talk about any 
timings of any of our particular operations. But our intention 
here with this--and this fell within the authorities that are 
provided to me right now was to ensure that we had redundant 
capable fire support on the ground to support our partners and 
ensure that we could take advantage of opportunities and ensure 
the continued progress that we have been seeing.
    Senator Shaheen. Are you comfortable that that gives us 
that progress and support that we need?
    General Votel. In conjunction with our excellent coalition 
air forces, yes, I am very confident that that will help us.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you.
    Yesterday in our meeting--and we heard similar comments 
from General Nicholson when he was here talking about Russian 
influence in Afghanistan. They are trying to legitimize the 
Taliban and undermine our mission and NATO's mission there. Can 
you talk about what alternatives we have to respond to Russian 
activities there?
    General Votel. I think the best alternative that we have is 
to ensure that we demonstrate our commitment to the mission 
that we have in place here with the Government of Afghanistan. 
Certainly with our twofold mission, we focused on 
counterterrorism and then, of course, the train, advise, and 
assist mission. The most important thing we can do is send a 
very clear message that we are going to see this mission 
through and support the Government of Afghanistan in the way 
that they require with military capabilities and other things 
to ensure that they can be successful.
    Senator Shaheen. To what extent does our effort in Eastern 
Europe with NATO affect Russia's ability to undermine what we 
are doing in Afghanistan? How much do they need to be focused 
on what is happening in Eastern Europe?
    General Votel. From my perspective, I would like them 
totally focused on Eastern Europe and not on Afghanistan. I am 
being a little facetious here. I am not sure that I can comment 
that there is necessarily a direct relationship between that, 
Senator. Certainly I think if their attention can be drawn to 
other challenges, other problems that they are focused on, that 
helps us.
    Senator Shaheen. General Waldhauser, in your statement, you 
point out that long-term success in slowing the progress of 
Boko Haram and ISIS in West Africa requires Nigeria to address 
development, governance, and economic deficiencies, which are 
drivers of terrorism in that region. As we look at the future 
where one in four Africans are Nigerian, what happens in 
Nigeria has a huge impact on what happens throughout the rest 
of Africa. Do you agree with that?
    General Waldhauser. I most definitely do. With 182 million 
people in that country--it is the seventh largest country in 
the world--what happens there has a significant impact not only 
on the continent, but it could be in Europe and the United 
States as well.
    Senator Shaheen. To what extent do we feel like they are 
addressing the threat from Boko Haram and also addressing those 
deficiencies that have existed there?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, two weeks ago, I was in Abuja 
and talked with the acting vice president, and he is very, very 
aware of the fact that there is still much work that needs to 
be done in northeastern Nigeria both with Boko Haram and ISIS-
West Africa. I came away from that visit in a positive way 
because there have been some human rights issues with the 
Nigerians, but they are taking that on. I mean, they are making 
some progress there. But I think the acting vice president or 
acting president understands there is still a threat. Boko 
Haram has weakened a bit, but they are still a threat. ISIS-
West Africa is still there and they are still a threat. But 
this Lake Chad Basin region task force has been doing fairly 
well with at least trying to keep the problem inside the 
Nigerian borders.
    Senator Shaheen. Are they working to address the historic 
divisions between the Christian southern part of the country 
and the Muslim north? Are there any initiatives underway that 
help to resolve some of those historic conflicts?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, I am not aware of any per se. 
I would just say that in my discussions with senior leadership 
there two weeks ago, they have a fairly wide-ranging and 
overarching strategy of where they want to go which ultimately 
will turn over northeastern Nigeria to the police forces.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Fischer?
    Senator Fischer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Votel, since the nuclear deal with Iran was 
announced, Iran's behavior in the region, its support for 
terrorism, and its domestic repression--it appears to have 
gotten worse. Iran wields significant power in Syria, Lebanon, 
Iraq, and Yemen, and it seeks to destabilize our key allies. 
What do you see as Iran's goal in the region?
    General Votel. Senator, I believe Iran seeks to be the 
regional hegemon, to be the most influential country in the 
    Senator Fischer. How would you characterize Iran's regional 
behavior since the nuclear agreement? Has it improved or has it 
    General Votel. I would describe it as destabilizing to the 
region. It has not been helpful to anything that I can see 
going on across the region.
    Senator Fischer. How would you characterize Iran's 
relationship with Russia in the region?
    General Votel. Again, not having firsthand knowledge on 
that, I guess I would characterize it as they find areas of 
cooperation. I am particularly concerned how both Iran and 
Russia have cooperated to prop up the Assad regime and make 
them stronger. That is certainly of some concern. I do see that 
level of cooperation being very unhelpful to the things that we 
are doing across the region. I do not know what the long-term 
views of each of these countries might be and how that might 
play out, but it certainly looks like they are taking the 
opportunity of convenience to join efforts in some regard.
    Senator Fischer. I wanted to ask you your long-term view 
with regards to the United States and our position in the 
region, first of all, just with Iran's destabilizing activities 
but also with their relationship with Russia. Can you give us 
in your best opinion how that affects the United States and our 
    General Votel. I can, Senator, and I will offer you my 
observation. It is based on my travels throughout the region 
over the last year and meeting with our partners across many of 
the countries. My consistent takeaway here is that the partners 
in the region would strongly prefer to have a relationship with 
the United States over any other nation that might be external 
to the Middle East. I think that is an opportunity for us to 
move forward on. We have long-term historical relationships 
with many of these countries, and we should capitalize on that 
as we move forward. I think that offers us the best 
    Senator Fischer. As we look over the last year, we have 
seen Iran has escalated its harassment of our vessels, our 
personnel in the Persian Gulf. Just last week, multiple fast 
attack vessels from the IRGC came close to a U.S. Navy ship in 
the Strait of Hormuz, and they forced it to change direction.
    What is CENTCOM doing to address that harassment that we 
are seeing by Iran?
    General Votel. First off, we are ensuring that our maritime 
forces have all the right rules of engagement and capabilities 
and training and techniques to deal with that, and I do believe 
they are effectively doing that. One of the first things I did 
after coming into command was get on a ship and go through the 
Straits of Hormuz so I could see it with my own eyes, and I was 
extraordinarily impressed with the maturity of our sailors and 
the judgment of our leaders as we went through that.
    More broadly, I think we have to hold Iran accountable for 
their actions. No other nation operates the way they do in the 
Arabian Gulf. Nobody does that in the Arabian Gulf. They need 
to be held accountable for that and they need to be exposed for 
those types of unprofessional, unsafe, and abnormal activities.
    Senator Fischer. It sounds like you are very concerned with 
Iran's growing asymmetrical capabilities, and that includes its 
acquisition of advanced cruise missiles, I would assume.
    General Votel. It does, Senator.
    Senator Fischer. What about naval mines, ballistic 
missiles, and UAVs [Unmanned Ariel Vehicles]? I guess when we 
are looking at our interests in the Persian Gulf and our 
allies' interests in the Persian Gulf, how do those growing 
threats affect that?
    General Votel. The way they affect us is they provide Iran 
with a layered capability where they can use their fast boats, 
they can use cruise missiles, they can use radars, they can use 
UAVs to potentially dominate specific areas. So this is a 
concern, and it is something that certainly we look at in our 
capabilities and it is something that we have engaged our 
partners in the region on on how we work together to mitigate 
the effects of that layered approach that Iran pursues in these 
critical chokepoints.
    Senator Fischer. Thank you, sir.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Warren?
    Senator Warren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you for being here.
    I would like to return to an issue raised by Senator Reed. 
There is a big debate going on right now, as you know, about 
military spending, and of course, we need a strong military. 
But the military is not the only element of our national 
security strategy. Spending on security outside the military 
budget is very small. Diplomacy and development combined is 
about 1 percent of our annual budget, but it includes programs 
that promote democracy, human rights, the rule of law that 
boost economic growth, that improve access to education, that 
fight hunger, that treat infectious diseases, and it provides 
disaster relief around the world.
    General Votel and General Waldhauser, you command our armed 
forces in some of the most active and dangerous parts of the 
world. Do you think the activities of the State Department and 
other civilian partners are a waste of time and taxpayer money?
    General Votel. I do not, Senator.
    Senator Warren. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser. Senator, nor do I. They are a big part 
of what we do.
    Senator Warren. Thank you. I agree. But the Trump 
administration's blueprint budget would increase defense 
spending in some areas by massively slashing through other 
programs that are critical for our national security. Not every 
international problem is the same and the right tool is not 
always a military response. Recapping our State Department by 
cutting an already small foreign aid budget makes America less 
safe, and that is just not smart.
    I would like to turn to another issue, and that is the 
ongoing fight against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. General Votel, 
you contributed to the Pentagon's plan to accelerate the fight 
against ISIS which Secretary Mattis delivered to the White 
House last week. I have every confidence that the U.S. military 
can defeat ISIS on the battlefield and help retake 
strategically important cities.
    But what I want to ask you is about what comes next. You 
are going to be mediating between armed opposition forces that 
dislike each other intensely in cities where existing 
infrastructure has been completely destroyed with a population 
that has been traumatized and displaced. What will it take to 
create conditions for normal life to resume in Mosul and Raqqa?
    General Votel. I think it starts certainly following up our 
military operations with good local governance and addressing 
humanitarian aid, addressing issues like demining, of restoring 
basic services to the people, of trying to bring additional aid 
in there so small businesses and other things can get going, 
and then the bigger aspects of governance can begin to take 
place. As we look at our military operations, particularly as 
we look at places like Raqqa or Mosul, what we have tried to do 
is ensure that our military planning is very closely linked to 
the political planning, what comes next so that we do not just 
finish a military operation and then just leave. It is 
important that we have local hold forces. It is important that 
we predetermine local governance that is going to come in and 
begin to take this over. I think that is an extraordinarily 
important point. The transition from military operations to the 
stability operations and things that come next I think is a 
significant lesson learned for us--relearned for us many times, 
and it is something that we have specifically focused on in 
this campaign.
    Senator Warren. Thank you. I am very glad to hear that, 
General. Planning for peace is hard. We did not do it after we 
toppled Saddam Hussein, and we are still paying a price for 
that blindness today. I do not want to see us turn around and 
make that same mistake again. I think we need to be very 
careful that we do not create an environment that breeds the 
next generation of extremists, and I am grateful for your work 
in this area. I am grateful to both of you for all that you are 
doing. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Senator Reed [presiding]. On behalf of Chairman McCain, let 
me recognize Senator Cotton.
    Senator Cotton. Thank you.
    Gentlemen, welcome back to the committee.
    General Waldhauser, you were speaking with Senator Shaheen 
about Nigeria and the role that it plays not just in the 
African continent but around the world. Could you speak a 
little bit about what President Buhari's absence from the 
country means and what the status is right now of Nigerian 
politics for the committee?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, I would just have to say that 
open source reporting indicates that he is still in London 
receiving medical help. That was a topic that was not discussed 
with officials when I was there.
    But what I did observe was acting President Osinbajo has 
done extremely well. He is very competent. He has a, I would 
say, very wide view of the problems and issues, and he seems to 
want to get after them. He was definitely genuinely interested 
in making things happen, and I thought we had some very frank 
discussions with him on the way ahead with regard to our 
support for the defeat of ISIL-West Africa and Boko Haram.
    Senator Cotton. What is the level of political consensus 
and stability between the north and the south in that country 
right now?
    General Waldhauser. I really could not give you a fair 
assessment of that. It was not part of the discussion. We did 
not have that topic.
    Senator Cotton. I understand.
    Looking to the east, would you please discuss the strategic 
implications of China's new base in Djibouti and what it means 
for our presence there and throughout the Horn of Africa?
    General Waldhauser. The Chinese base is right outside Camp 
Lemonnier, about 4 miles or so from our base. The intention for 
that location was to provide a port for their ships to have in 
the area. They have about 2,200 peacekeepers on the continent. 
This is the first time for them that they have kind of 
journeyed in that direction. So right now, it is due to be 
completed later this summer.
    I would just say the concern that I have from an 
operational perspective is the operational security when we 
operate so close to a Chinese base. The Camp Lemonnier-Djibouti 
area is not only AFRICOM, but CENTCOM uses it, SOCOM uses it, 
TRANSCOM, EUCOM, and the like. It is a very strategic location, 
and visiting Djiboutian officials twice, I have talked with 
their president and expressed our concerns about some of the 
things that are important to us about what the Chinese can or 
cannot do at that location.
    Senator Cotton. Thank you.
    General Votel, you have already spoken with several 
Senators this morning about the stalemate in Afghanistan. For 
many years now, we on this committee and many leaders in the 
executive branch have been lamenting the existence of 
sanctuaries for the Taliban and other terrorist groups in 
Pakistan. As you think about the strategy to break this 
stalemate, what is the role of eliminating those sanctuaries 
inside of Pakistan? How do you plan to get after this 
longstanding problem?
    General Votel. Thank you, Senator.
    Pakistan, of course, remains a key partner in this fight 
here. I have been encouraged by my meetings with the new Chief 
of Army Staff, General Bajwan, and his commitment to help 
address this. They have done some things that have been helpful 
to us. Most recently they have supported General Nicholson in 
some operations along the border, making sure that they were 
well coordinated and doing the activities on their side of the 
border. That is a very positive sign and a move in the right 
direction. They have done things against the principal concerns 
that we have, the Haqqani Network and Taliban. But what we do 
need is we need that to be more persistent and continue to 
focus in that particular area. We will continue to engage with 
Pakistan throughout this.
    I think it is key to ensure that Pakistan and Afghanistan 
have a very good relationship. There certainly are tensions 
along the common border between those countries. I think a key 
role that we can play is in helping move that relationship 
    Senator Cotton. Let me ask you about a seam on the map 
between you and Harry Harris, but it is an important seam 
because it involves Pakistan and Afghanistan and India and 
PACOM [United States Pacific Command]. To what extent do you 
think Pakistan's Afghan policy is driven in part by its India 
policy and, in particular, whether an independent Afghanistan 
conducting its own foreign policy might be adverse to Pakistani 
    General Votel. Senator, I think Pakistan's view of the 
region I think as they look at their interests, it plays very 
largely in how they look at both sides of their country.
    Senator Cotton. One final question. Since the 1970s, 
Russia's influence throughout the Middle East has been minimal, 
thanks in large part to the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger and 
Presidents Nixon and Ford. How would you assess the level of 
Russia's influence in the region today?
    General Votel. Russia is attempting to increase their 
influence throughout the Middle East, as we have seen in Syria. 
We have seen them do things certainly with our longstanding 
partner Egypt and others across the region. It is my view that 
they are trying to increase their influence in this critical 
part of the globe.
    Senator Cotton. Do you think they have been successful in 
any of those attempts thus far?
    General Votel. Well, they certainly have been successful in 
supporting the Assad regime, and so that is certainly an 
example of that. I am hopeful that we will be able to reassert 
our own relationships as well.
    Senator Cotton. Thank you, gentlemen.
    Senator Reed. On behalf of Chairman McCain, let me 
recognize Senator King.
    Senator King. Thank you, Senator Reed.
    General Votel, let us talk about four areas where we are 
engaged in conflict: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
    By the way, I want to compliment you on your written 
statement. It is a primer on the region that I think should be 
required reading for everyone in this body. It is very well 
done, very thoughtful, and comprehensive.
    Who are our allies in Iraq? Who are we fighting next to? 
The ISF [Iraqi Security Forces]. Right?
    General Votel. That is correct, Senator.
    Senator King. And the Kurds.
    General Votel. The Peshmerga in the northern part of Iraq.
    Senator King. What religion are the members of the ISF and 
the Kurds?
    General Votel. They are Muslims.
    Senator King. In Syria we have got the Syrian Democratic 
Forces and also the Kurds?
    General Votel. We have Syrian Kurds and we are working with 
local Syrian Arabs, Turkmen and in some cases local Christian 
    Senator King. But the vast majority of those forces are 
Muslim. Is that correct?
    General Votel. That is correct.
    Senator King. In Yemen, UAE [United Arab Emirates], Saudi 
Arabia, those forces are Muslim?
    General Votel. Absolutely.
    Senator King. In Afghanistan, the ANSF, the Afghan National 
Security Forces, also Muslim?
    General Votel. They are Muslim.
    Senator King. One of the statements you made in your 
opening comments was that our strategy rests upon, quote, a 
heavy reliance on indigenous forces. Is that correct?
    General Votel. That is correct, Senator.
    Senator King. It is fair to say that the vast majority of 
those indigenous forces are Muslim.
    General Votel. That is the case today.
    Senator King. So it would be a mistake as a matter of 
national policy, rhetoric, or discussion if we attempted to 
alienate or marginalize Muslim citizens of anywhere in the 
world because these are our allies in all of the fights that we 
are engaged in in your area. Is that not correct?
    General Votel. I believe it is correct, Senator.
    Senator King. You talked about restoring trust with our 
partners in the region. Our partners in the region are all 
based upon Muslim societies. Is that not correct?
    General Votel. They largely are. It is largely a Muslim 
    Senator King. The second area--and this has been discussed 
to some extent but again it is in your report on page 3 and 5 
of your statement. The goals that you define cannot be 
accomplished solely through military means, you say. The 
military can help create the necessary conditions. There must 
be concomitant progress in other complementary areas, 
reconstruction, humanitarian aid, stabilization, political 
reconciliation. On page 5, you say, however, solely a military 
response is not sufficient. This must be accomplished through a 
combination of capabilities if we are going to achieve and 
sustain our strongest deterrence posture.
    Again, just to put a fine point on what has been discussed 
previously, to solely rely on military strength in solving 
these very complex and difficult problems would be a serious 
mistake. Would you agree?
    General Votel. I would agree, Senator. I think we have to 
have a combination of all of our elements of power, hard power 
and soft power.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    Next question. This is a slightly different subject. You 
work with a lot of these allies. You work with these countries, 
with Iraq and other countries in the region. How would it be 
received in the Arab world if the United States relocates its 
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem without a settlement of the 
Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
    General Votel. I think from my personal discussions with 
some in the region, I think that it would create some 
challenges for some of those countries.
    Senator King. Some challenges? Can you expand? Serious 
    General Votel. It could potentially be very serious.
    Senator King. Does that include our staunch ally Jordan?
    General Votel. I believe, yes, sir, it does, Senator.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    Final question to both of you. Foreign military sales and 
foreign military financing programs--are they appropriately 
calibrated to meet your needs in the region? My sense is that 
that is an area where we could use some work.
    General Votel. From my perspective, Senator, the importance 
of the foreign military sales and foreign military funding 
programs is to help build capability for our partners that is 
interoperable with us. They generally want to buy U.S. 
equipment because it comes along with training. It comes along 
with sustainment, and it makes them more interoperable with us. 
I think we have to take a long-term view in terms of this, and 
I think it is in our interests for our partners in the region 
to use capabilities that are interoperable with ours.
    Senator King. General Waldhauser, in just a few seconds I 
have left, a quick update on the status of ISIS in Libya.
    General Waldhauser. The status of ISIS in Libya is they 
right now are regrouping. They are in small numbers, small 
groups. We tried to develop the intelligence, but after they 
left Sirte, we developed intelligence. We bombed them on 
January 18th and they were in the southern part of Libya. They 
have scattered again now. They are in small groups trying to 
    Senator King. No longer control Sirte.
    General Waldhauser. Correct. No longer control Sirte. They 
were out of Sirte in the middle of December.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain [presiding]. By the way, General Votel, 
just to complicate things further, Barzani, the leader of the 
Iraqi Kurds, does not support the KRG, the Syrian Kurds. Right?
    General Votel. That is correct, Chairman.
    Senator King. Senator Ernst?
    Senator Ernst. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, gentlemen, for being here today and your time 
and attention to all of our questions.
    General Votel, we had an interesting conversation the other 
day, and as the chair of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities 
Subcommittee, you mentioned something to me that I thought was 
very interesting and something that I am concerned about. That 
is the increasing threat that is posed by ISIS's ability to use 
drones. We had a great conversation about that. What they are 
using you say was kind of a modified commercial, off-the-shelf 
drone. Can you tell us about that emerging threat and maybe 
describe for those on the committee exactly what they are using 
and what those capabilities are?
    General Votel. Thank you, Senator.
    What we are seeing I think are commercially acquired 
drones. They are generally quadcopters that are available I 
think very easily by anybody online or at other places, 
hobbyist locations. What they are able to do is, obviously, 
operate them for purposes of their own surveillance, and as we 
have seen in the news, in some cases they have been able to rig 
grenades and other things to them. They have been able to 
achieve some effects with that.
    It is concerning to our partners. It is certainly 
concerning to us. I think it is a reminder of just how savvy 
and challenging of an enemy that we are dealing with here, and 
I think it requires us to make sure that we are equally savvy 
in our approach to this, making sure we have the right tools to 
defend against these types of threats.
    Senator Ernst. Absolutely. Thank you. It reminds me of the 
early part of the Iraq war when the forces were using remote 
controlled cars with explosives as a first form of IEDs 
[Improvised Explosive Device]. Of course, through the years, 
they grew technologically advanced. I see something so simple 
as this that could become much more complicated over time.
    Do the Iraqi forces have the capabilities to defeat those 
    General Votel. We are working on providing them the 
capabilities. Right now, they enjoy protection against these 
threats in a number of areas largely because we have 
capabilities with our forces that are accompanying them and are 
located in their locations.
    Senator Ernst. Very good. Thank you.
    We also spoke about troop numbers yesterday and how random 
some of those numbers tend to be when you have that artificial 
boundary of a country line between Iraq and Syria. If you 
could, please share with the committee what is our role in 
that. Should that role of troop numbers and where those troops 
are located be left up to our on-the-ground combatant 
commanders? If you could just share a little bit of that 
    General Votel. Senator, I think the more we can provide 
agility for our commanders on the ground to make decisions 
about where they need forces and when they need it, I think 
that is the most appropriate thing that can be done. I think we 
are most successful when we enable our very good and well 
qualified leaders and people on the ground to make decisions in 
the situations in which they see it. I am for making sure that 
we try to provide them the agility and the process around that. 
We certainly understand why it is important to look at things 
like numbers and stuff like that. It certainly drives our 
resources and budgeting and other aspects of that. That 
certainly has to be taken into consideration. But I look at 
this more from a flexibility and agility standpoint for our 
commanders on the ground.
    Senator Ernst. Thank you very much.
    General Waldhauser, thank you as well.
    As you know, Tunisia has sent more foreign fighters than 
any other country to join the ranks of ISIS abroad. In addition 
to supplying the foreign fighters, Tunisia struggles with 
containing the terrorist activity on their own soil, so much 
that they have had a physical wall built along the border with 
Libya in an attempt to deter terrorists from entering their 
    Is AFRICOM currently equipped to address the potential 
influx of ISIS fighters returning home to Tunisia as we strike 
them elsewhere, whether it is in the Middle East or other 
    General Waldhauser. Senator, I would have to characterize 
Tunisia as one of the bright spots on the continent. They are 
in the process of transforming their military to be more 
capable of dealing with terrorist threats. They have purchased 
equipment from the United States, which we are helping them 
with right now, helicopters and the like. We have people on the 
ground who are training, advising, and assisting their special 
operations forces. I believe the wall that you refer to is 
technical equipment provided by DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction 
Agency], as well as Germany, to help them contain the foreign 
fighter flow back and forth between especially Libya and 
    But the bottom line is they are a bright spot. I visited 
them twice, and they are headed in the right direction. They 
are struggling with what to do with foreign fighters who 
return, but again, I think that is not a negative against them.
    Senator Ernst. Very good. Well, I appreciate it. Gentlemen, 
thank you very much for your input.
    Senator Reed [presiding]. Thank you.
    On behalf of Chairman McCain, let me recognize Senator 
    Senator Blumenthal. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank both of you for your service and, as you 
did in your testimony, General Votel, the outstanding men and 
women under both your commands who make us proud and who are 
doing such great work under your command. I want to join 
Senator King in thanking you for your testimony, which is a 
very, very enlightening for me, elucidating outline of the 
challenges and I would note for my colleagues particularly in 
your description of the next generation of cyber warriors or 
the use of cyber warfare by our adversaries going from the 
rather rudimentary weapons of the roadside bombs to the much 
more sophisticated use of cyber and, as my colleague has 
pointed out, drones and other challenges that face us there.
    I want to focus on Iran. In response to Senator Fischer's 
question about whether Iranian aggression has increased since 
the nuclear treaty, you pointed out that their conduct there 
has been destabilizing--the word you used was 
``destabilizing''--and abnormal. Of course, we know Iran has 
tested an anti-ship ballistic missile there, a new Russian made 
S-300 missile air defense system, as well as harassing a Navy 
ship, the USS Invincible, in the Strait of Hormuz by sending an 
Iranian frigate within, I think, 150 yards, smaller boats 
within 600 yards. Last month, the Iranians fired a medium-range 
ballistic missile in violation of the U.S. Security Council 
resolution resulting in United States sanctions enforcement 
against 25 individuals and entities. That action was in 
violation of the U.N. resolution. But none of these other 
activities are in violation of the nuclear agreement. Are they?
    General Votel. My understanding, Senator, is the nuclear 
agreement did not address any of those other aspects of the 
Iranian threat.
    Senator Blumenthal. But would you agree with me that they 
do demand a response from the United States?
    General Votel. I would absolutely agree, Senator.
    Senator Blumenthal. Much more aggressive not only sanctions 
but warnings and actions against their partners in this effort, 
most prominently the Russians.
    General Votel. I would agree. I think we should use a 
combination of both diplomatic and other security-related tools 
here, economic tools to address this concern.
    Senator Blumenthal. Would you agree with me that the 
Russians through the Iranians, in effect, are testing us in 
that area because they are, in effect, aiding and abetting the 
Iranians in this increasing destabilizing activity?
    General Votel. Well, I would, Senator, and I would 
certainly point to a place like Syria where these two countries 
have essentially propped up a regime here and made them more 
capable, more powerful, and kept them from collapsing.
    Senator Blumenthal. But when we complain about the 
Iranians--and all of us probably in this room would agree with 
you that they are the major destabilizing influence in that 
area--we are talking as much about the Russians as we are about 
the Iranians.
    General Votel. Senator, in my comments here I was 
specifically talking about the Iranian threat. That is the one 
that we confront with. Certainly, as I mentioned also in my 
opening statement here, we are concerned about external actors 
and what their interests are in the region as well, and those 
can contribute to more destabilizing aspects as well. I think 
they have to be addressed--they both have to be addressed.
    Senator Blumenthal. How would you suggest that we should 
address the Iranian destabilizing influence of this regime?
    General Votel. I think there are a variety of things. I 
think the most important thing is to work with our regional 
partners here to ensure that we have a common approach to this. 
I think in some cases we should look at ways that we can 
disrupt their activities through a variety of means, not just 
military means. We have to expose them for the things they are 
doing. They should be held accountable for those things. I 
think we have to contest their revolutionary ideology, and it 
is not just the United States, but it has to be those in the 
region. Iran has a role in the region. They have been around 
for a long period of time. Nobody is trying to make Iran go 
away, but we are concerned about the destabilizing behavior 
that they pursue on a regular basis.
    Senator Blumenthal. My time has expired, but this topic is 
one that I think is profoundly important. I will have some more 
questions that I hope you and your staff perhaps can answer and 
maybe in a different setting as well.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Senator Reed. Thank you.
    On behalf of Chairman McCain, let me recognize Senator 
    Senator Perdue. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    It is an honor to be here before you two gentlemen. Thank 
you for your great careers and what you are doing for our 
country today. I hope you will take this message back to your 
troops, that everything they do over there is not missed on us.
    I have a question about ISIS. General Votel, first of all, 
I think one of the first things that the President has done is 
ask for a 30-day review of the current strategy and so forth. 
Where are we in that process? What types of things can we 
expect to see in terms of our strategy there? I would like you 
also to address what is our end game, and can you talk about 
that today or should we wait until we see the 30-day review?
    General Votel. Senator, I think it is most appropriate for 
the Secretary who I believe has presented his findings to the 
new administration, and I think he is probably the person who 
is most appropriate to talk about the decisions and end states 
that will come out of that.
    Senator Perdue. Fair enough.
    With regard to ISIS in the Sinai, right now Egypt--there 
are daily efforts there I think. Can you give us an update on 
what is being done and what other countries are involved in the 
fight with ISIS? Give us an order of magnitude of the size of 
that action in the Sinai.
    General Votel. The Egyptians several months ago have 
deployed forces into the Sinai and specifically around the area 
where the multinational force is. That has been helpful. That 
has helped address a threat that was emerging there, and they 
are engaged on a regular basis in fighting ISIS in that 
particular area.
    Egypt is addressing this. We are helping them in some 
areas, particularly with some of our expertise in improvised 
explosive devices. They have asked for that, and so we have 
been key to help them with that in this particular area.
    Senator Perdue. Do we have any troops on the ground in the 
    General Votel. We do not have any troops on the ground that 
are fighting ISIS. We do have troops on the ground in the Sinai 
that are associated with the multinational force mission.
    Senator Perdue. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser, I want to go back to a question that 
was earlier asked of you about China's presence in Africa and 
particularly the base at Djibouti. Given what Russia has done 
with Crimea and now at Latakia and at Tartus, are you concerned 
that we will see other activity of base building in Africa? 
Have you had any other indications of either Russia or China 
developing permanent positions or presence in that theater?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, in 2013, the Chinese laid out 
a strategic plan of One Belt, One Road where they will have 
commerce that starts in China, goes down to Indonesia, the 
Malacca Straits, across over to Djibouti, up into Europe and 
back. That is roughly 60 countries and 40 percent of the global 
GDP [Gross Domestic Product] that goes on in that area. It is 
all about trade. This is their first endeavor in an overseas 
base, and it will not be their last.
    Senator Perdue. Thank you, sir.
    I want to ask one more question real quick. I am about out 
of time. But in Somalia and Sudan, there is a growing threat 
that there is a real serious famine that is about to happen if 
it has not already started there. What will that do to the 
military situation in that area?
    General Waldhauser. Well, first of all, in Somalia, 
Senator, this right now is the most pressing issue to the brand 
new president who was just elected this last month. Right now, 
there are over 6.2 million individuals who have been affected 
by it, and it has not been, to my knowledge, actually declared 
a famine yet. But in terms of combating al-Shabaab and the 
like, movement of people in those large masses has an impact on 
military operations.
    But the bottom line in Somalia is right now--and we have 
counterterrorism operations. We are trying to build up the 
national security forces. But that famine for the brand new 
president and this fledgling national government is the biggest 
thing on their plate. They have to do well in this because if 
they cannot provide for this famine, then Somalia, who has been 
without a national government for over 20 years, is going to 
question what the purpose and what contributions they will 
    Senator Perdue. Thank you, sir.
    One last real quick question. In Moron, Spain, I was 
fortunate enough to meet and visit with some of your great 
marines there. They have got a very strong mission. 
Unfortunately, late last year, they had to move about half of 
their air assets back to the U.S. for training. Can you talk 
about readiness with regard to their mission in Africa?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, the impact right now is really 
capacity for us. We have had to kind of center their activity 
mostly on western Africa. Some of the missions we have in 
eastern Africa that they would have been able to deploy to in 
the past, we would have to coordinate with CENTCOM, and we have 
actually used marines from the Oregon MEU [Marine Expeditionary 
Unit] in CENTCOM on the ground in Djibouti to take care of 
crisis response activities, specifically South Sudan, that we 
had at that time. The readiness of the airplanes has gotten 
better, but when you go from 12 to 6, the capacity is cut in 
half. The impact is we have got to do a better job coordinating 
and sharing assets because the Africa continent is extremely 
    Senator Perdue. Yes, sir. Thank you. Thank you both.
    Chairman McCain [presiding]. Senator Donnelly?
    Senator Donnelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you both for your service. We are so grateful for 
your hard work.
    General Votel, as we move forward in Mosul and some of the 
ISIS fighters head out, what efforts do we have in place to try 
to capture them before they head to Raqqa or to other areas, or 
where are they heading out to?
    General Votel. Well, Senator, thank you for the question.
    Our intention, of course, is to prevent them from getting 
out. The first part of all of our operations is to isolate the 
areas where we are, where our attacks are taking place by our 
partners, and where we are bringing our enabling capabilities 
so that we do not let anybody get out or get in. Being a 
desert, this is obviously a very porous area, so there probably 
are some that get out. I think they are generally moving into 
the middle Euphrates River valley, which is a location that is 
equidistant between Mosul and Raqqa.
    Senator Donnelly. A while ago, we were just outside 
Hadditha in Anbar Province meeting with the Iraqi leaders 
there. I just wanted to follow up. At that time, they were 
close to starvation, for a lot of their citizens. It was 
extremely difficult for all of their families. Where are we now 
in terms of solidifying Hadditha, Fallujah, Ramadi, those 
areas, and are they working with us and with the central 
    General Votel. Senator, they are and we are making progress 
with the humanitarian aid and the needs of the people out in 
all of those areas. This I think is an area that we have to pay 
particular attention to as we move forward, particularly in the 
large urban areas. Our military operations--planning for those 
has to be done in conjunction with the humanitarian aid 
planning and providing for the needs of the people that will be 
left behind. I think this is a key aspect for us.
    Senator Donnelly. As we head toward Raqqa, we have seen 
that marines have come in. Are you getting everything that you 
need in terms of equipment, manpower, all of those things to 
take Raqqa back?
    General Votel. We are, Senator, and I am certainly in 
discussions with the Secretary about what we might need going 
    Senator Donnelly. Because I think our feeling is we do not 
want to not get this done as soon as possible because we did 
not provide you with the necessary equipment, necessary 
    As we look at Raqqa and moving forward, obviously there is 
a lot of complication with the Turks and with others. How are 
all those pieces coming together for you?
    General Votel. Well, as you know, Senator, this is an 
extraordinarily complex area here. We are trying to work with 
an indigenous force that has tensions with a NATO ally. That is 
not an easy situation to move through. But I think the way we 
are addressing it is in the right way. We are being as 
transparent as we can. We are providing information. We are 
looking for options on a day-to-basis to ensure we can mitigate 
and minimize the tension that exists in this area. I will not 
try to tell you that there is an easy way through all this 
complexity. There is not. It is going to take a lot of hard 
work. It is going to take military work. It is going to take 
diplomatic work as we move forward. I do believe that is the 
approach that we are taking and I think that ultimately it will 
work for us.
    Senator Donnelly. I was going to follow up--you were kind 
enough to come by my office--to follow up and say I think your 
idea of complete transparency, here is what we are doing, here 
is what we are working on, here is how we plan to do it and to 
try to cooperate as much as we can with other countries, but to 
tell them this is the plan and this is where we are going seems 
to make a lot of sense to me.
    As you look at what has gone on in the Arabian Gulf, we 
just saw another incident with our ships recently. As we move 
forward, the distances seem to be less. They get closer. They 
get closer. Do we have a plan ready to go where at some point 
we say, you know, you have crossed the red line, and if they 
continue, that we take appropriate action?
    General Votel. Senator, I am very confident in our ship 
captains and in our crews for them to deal with the situation. 
I do believe they have the right rules of engagement. They have 
the right tools to prevent things, and in the case that 
prevention does not work or deterrence does not work, then they 
have the capabilities to defend themselves and take action. I 
am very confident in our people.
    Senator Donnelly. My guess is that there will become an X 
crosses Y point, and I just want to make sure that our captains 
and all of them are ready. I have the same confidence.
    General Waldhauser, as you look at your area of command, 
what do you see as our biggest challenge right now that you are 
dealing with?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, I think the biggest challenge 
perhaps is the development piece for the demographics of a very 
youthful population. 41 percent of the continent is under the 
age of 15. We have got to find a way to get at education, 
health care, hopelessness, livelihood, and the like in order to 
give those individuals a future because we could knock off all 
the ISIL and Boko Haram this afternoon, but by the end of the 
week, so to speak, those ranks would be filled. We know from 
those who have kind of come out of the forest and given 
themselves up, so to speak, that the reason they joined was 
they needed a job, they needed a livelihood. It is not, for the 
most part, in those regions about ideology. That is not the 
driver. It is those factors I just talked about that drive them 
into that line of work because there is nothing else for them 
to do. I think the youth bulge and the demographics and 
providing development and a way ahead for those youth are very, 
very important.
    Senator Donnelly. We cannot fight our way out of it. What 
we have to do is to try to give them hope and dignity and 
purpose I guess.
    General Waldhauser. Exactly. I am not the first. Many 
people, especially those in uniform, have said we cannot kill 
our way to victory here. This is about the long-term investment 
in capacity building because at the end of the day, that is 
what is going to try to help solve the problem especially on 
the African continent.
    Senator Donnelly. Thank you. Thank you both for your 
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Tillis?
    Senator Tillis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Votel, thank you for spending the time with me in 
my office this week. General Waldhauser, welcome to the 
committee. Thank you both for your service.
    I will ask this of both of you. One area that I would like 
to get your feedback on is foreign military financing, foreign 
military sales and to what extent do we need to focus on that 
with some of our partner nations that you believe is helpful to 
you completing your missions in each of your commands. General 
Votel, we will start with you.
    General Votel. Thank you, Senator.
    I think foreign military funding, foreign military sales 
are extraordinarily important.
    Senator Tillis. Can you get more into specifics about 
certain areas where we need to really look at on a more 
immediate basis?
    General Votel. Yes, I do. I think certainly looking at 
ballistic missile capabilities for some of our Gulf partners is 
an important area. Certainly some of the aircraft programs out 
there--there is a great desire to have U.S. programs in many of 
these countries, and those are certainly areas where we have to 
pay strong attention.
    Senator Tillis. What sort of capabilities in Egypt? Senator 
Perdue asked you questions about the Sinai and increasing 
threat in that region because of the consolidation of ISIS and 
other entities. What kinds of things would be helpful in 
particular to Egypt in that area?
    General Votel. Well, certainly the suite of counter-
improvised explosive device equipment we have out there, 
running from jammers to protected vehicles and a variety of 
things in between, I think would be extraordinarily helpful to 
    Senator Tillis. Do you have any specifics? General 
Waldhauser, I want to go to you with the same line of 
questioning. But any specific things that you can provide us, 
any specific areas where we need to take a look at and maybe 
get back to where we are helping build that partnership with 
    General Votel. Senator, we do, and with your permission, we 
will look for an opportunity to come and talk with you 
specifically about that so we can get into some detail about 
what we think would be most useful for Egypt and in fact for 
other partners across the region.
    Senator Tillis. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser, same line of questions.
    General Waldhauser. Thank you, Senator.
    Interestingly, in Africa, the foreign military sales is a 
very interesting choice. Many of the countries that we deal 
with are not financially in good shape, and consequently the 
ability to pay and the ability to fund for long-term parts 
blocks behind that is a difficult task. I am not suggesting 
that we should alter the rules or change the rules, but I think 
we need to be very flexible when we deal with some of these 
poor countries and make sure we understand their absorptive 
capability so that what we are selling them they not only can 
use them in the first few years, but there will be a parts 
block behind that, if you will. There will be an institution, a 
logistical infrastructure behind that, that will allow them to 
keep these pieces of equipment, whether they be vehicles or 
maybe C-130 airplanes, keep them in good shape for years ahead 
and years to come.
    Senator Tillis. Thank you.
    On another subject--and it relates to foreign military aid. 
General Votel, when you were in my office, we were talking 
about Afghanistan. When I was there the year before last, at 
the time there was a concern that there was going to be a drop-
off in foreign investment and the tools that Afghanistan needed 
for its economic development, which is a key part of 
stabilizing the country--what is the current situation there?
    General Votel. I think the situation looks good, both from 
a NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] standpoint and from 
a much broader international standpoint. The donation 
conferences and other things that have been convened here over 
the last year----
    Senator Tillis. Are we building a reliable stream, or is 
there another cliff that we have to be concerned with?
    General Votel. I think we are building a reliable stream 
out to the 2020 time frame and in some cases beyond that. I 
think the international community has stepped up to the plate 
in this particular area.
    Senator Tillis. Thank you.
    General Waldhauser, when General Votel and the people that 
we have assisting countries in CENTCOM are successful in Mosul 
and Raqqa, it seems to me the good news is maybe we are getting 
some level of success there. But I have got to believe that 
that is going to potentially cause some additional challenges 
for you. Can you talk about the ones that you are specifically 
concerned with?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, anytime you put pressure on 
the network and disrupt or dislodge ISIL from a certain area, 
movement will occur. That means the border countries toward 
that took place are very concerned about foreign fighters 
moving back and forth. That is one of the big concerns that we 
have. One of the issues that we have to deal with when we 
conduct operations, it is important that the neighbors of those 
countries know what we are trying to do and understand why we 
are trying to do that so we can help them with the foreign 
fighter flow if movement should occur.
    Senator Tillis. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Kaine?
    Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thanks to the witnesses.
    The Marine Corps doctrinal publication entitled 
``Strategy'' has this phrase in it. What matters ultimately in 
war is strategic success, attainment of our political aims, and 
the protection of our national interests. History shows that 
national leaders, both political and military, have failed to 
understand this relationship, sow the seeds for ultimate 
failure, even when their armed forces achieve initial 
battlefield success. Battlefield brilliance seldom rescues a 
bad strategy.
    I have been heartened by the American military's 
performance on the battlefield. Very heartened with our 
partners against ISIL in Iraq and now Syria. Although we would 
not want to predict anything about timing, I think that we are 
going to continue to have battlefield success.
    What is our political strategy, say, following the fall of 
Raqqa that would lead us to have a belief that there is going 
to be a better next chapter to follow in Syria especially?
    General Votel. Senator, I am not sure I can comment on what 
the political strategy is. I do believe this is a key aspect of 
what Secretary Mattis and the administration are discussing 
right now with respect to what this looks like long-term.
    Senator Kaine. General Votel, I think that is a good 
answer. You are not commenting because the political strategy 
is really for the political leadership not the military 
leadership. The administration and Congress. You understand 
that Congress has a role in this as well, not just the 
    General Votel. I do, Senator.
    Senator Kaine. We are pursuing a war now based on an 
authorization that was passed in September of 2001. It is now 
nearly 16 years old. Do you think it would be helpful in terms 
of articulating a political strategy that would put the 
military mission into a context and to find an end result and a 
potential desired future state if Congress were to grapple with 
the question of the authorities and this desired end political 
    General Votel. Senator, I think the current AUMF 
[Authorization for Use of Military Force] has provided what we 
needed, but I do believe an updated authorization certainly 
would send a stronger commitment to uniformed military of our 
commitment and desire to support them.
    Senator Kaine. In the CENTCOM space, if the military 
mission succeeds and Raqqa were to fall, do you still believe 
that the American mission against ISIL and al Qaeda will take a 
long time?
    General Votel. I do. This is a very savvy enemy, and they 
are adapting. Like we are adapting on the battlefield, they are 
adapting on the battlefield.
    Senator Kaine. Just like the ISIL attack----
    General Votel. Right.
    Senator Kaine.--in Afghanistan dressed as doctors attacking 
the hospital. This is a threat that is not going to go away 
just because Raqqa were to fall. Correct?
    General Votel. That is right. They will begin to adopt 
other forms, and we will need to be persistent against that and 
we will need to work with our partners to address that in both 
Iraq and Syria.
    Senator Kaine. Well, my colleagues know because I have said 
it a lot and others view it the same way, that this question of 
authorities--I do think it is past time for Congress to address 
it. Whether you think the 9-14-01 AUMF legally covers the 
battle against ISIL or not, I think there are prudent reasons 
at a minimum and I think legal reasons as well that we should 
tackle it.
    On the question of legal authorities, traditionally you 
need two kinds of legal authorities to be engaged in a military 
mission. You need a domestic legal authority and you need an 
international legal justification as well. The most common 
international legal justification for military action in 
somebody else's territory is that they invited you. We are 
conducting military actions in Iraq with the request and 
support of the Iraqi Government. We are conducting military 
operations in Afghanistan with the support and request of the 
Afghan Government. We just conducted a DOD ground operation for 
the first time in Yemen with the request and support of the 
Yemeni Government.
    Are we deploying marines in Syria at the request or with 
the permission of the Syrian Government?
    General Votel. We are not, Senator.
    Senator Kaine. What is the international legal 
justification for the U.S. taking military action in another 
country without the request of that country? We have criticized 
nations such as Russia, for example, for undertaking military 
actions in the Ukraine or Crimea without the request of the 
    General Votel. Thank you, Senator. I think we certainly 
make a judgment about the ability of the government to make a 
decision. In that case I think what we are doing in Syria, we 
are looking at that as an extension of the authority to operate 
from Iraq.
    Senator Kaine. Iraq has had us in and we are cooperating 
with Iraq. We are there in Iraq at their request. But I guess 
the bottom line is there is no such request from Syria. We do 
not judge that government capable of making such a request, and 
we do not really recognize the legitimacy of Bashar al Assad's 
government. But you are saying that the international legal 
justification for American military action in a country that 
has not asked us is the fact that we are engaged in a military 
action in a country next door that has asked us?
    General Votel. I believe we are being extended that 
authority by our leadership to conduct those operations 
principally because we are operating against an enemy that 
operates on both sides of that border.
    Senator Kaine. If I might, one last question with respect 
to Yemen. We have had hearings in this committee about the 
ground operation in Yemen, which to my knowledge was the first 
ground operation by DOD forces in Yemen. There were a number of 
questions raised by that. I do not want to go into the 
classified briefing we had, but questions about was the mission 
compromised in some way in the advance. What intel was gained? 
There was some after-the-fact justification of the mission 
using video that actually had been taken in another mission. Is 
the DOD conducting an ongoing investigation of that mission to 
determine all lessons learned, what worked, what did not, and 
what we can do better?
    General Votel. Senator, thank you, and let me answer this a 
little more comprehensively.
    First and foremost, I am responsible for this mission. I am 
the CENTCOM Commander and I am responsible for what is done in 
my region and what is not done in my region. I accept the 
responsibility for this. We lost a lot on this operation. We 
lost a valued operator. We had people wounded. We caused 
civilian casualties. We lost an expensive aircraft.
    We did gain some valuable information that will be helpful 
for us. Our intention here was to improve our knowledge against 
this threat, a threat that poses a direct threat to us here in 
the Homeland. That was what we were focused on.
    There have been a number of investigations that have been 
initiated. Most of these are regulatory or statutory in terms 
of things that we normally do.
    When we lose an aircraft, there is both a safety 
investigation to ensure that we disseminate lessons learned for 
the broader fleet, and there is also a collateral investigation 
that tries to determine the specific reason why that happened 
and establishes accountability over that.
    We have done an investigation into the civilian casualties. 
That has been completed. The helicopter investigations are 
ongoing. The civilian casualty aspect has been completed, and 
we have made a determination based on our best information 
available that we did cause casualties, somewhere between 4 and 
12 casualties that we accept--I accept responsibility for.
    We have done a line of duty investigation, again a 
statutory investigation, on the death of Senior Chief Owens 
that determined that he was in the line of investigation.
    The key mechanism that I have, Senator, is the after-action 
review, and this is something we do with every operation we do. 
The intention here is to review the operation in great detail 
to understand exactly what happened. It is done with the chain 
of command in place. We have done that and I have presided over 
that. Based on my experience, nearly 37 years of service, I 
have certainly appointed a lot of investigations and I have 
been through a lot of these after-action reviews. When I go 
through these things, there are some specific things that I am 
looking for. I am looking for information gaps where we cannot 
explain what happened in a particular situation or we have 
conflicting information between members of the organization. I 
am looking for indicators of incompetence or poor decision-
making or bad judgment throughout all of this.
    What I can tell you is that we did an exhaustive after-
action review on this. I presided over that. It went down to a 
level that included people who were on the specific objective. 
As a result of that, I was satisfied that none of those 
indicators that I identified to you were present. I think we 
had a good understanding of exactly what happened on this 
objective, and we have been able to pull lessons learned out of 
that that we will apply in future operations. As a result, I 
made the determination that there was no need for an additional 
investigation into this particular operation.
    Senator Kaine. The only investigation that continues is the 
investigation--or the loss of the helicopters is still not 
    General Votel. That is correct, Senator.
    Senator Kaine. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain. Just to follow up, General, there has been 
a lot of conversation about this particular mission and the 
point that some of us are trying to make that the heroism and 
sacrifice of those who served has nothing to do with the 
mission itself. In other words, we honor their sacrifice no 
matter what happened in the mission.
    When you have women and children killed, as you pointed 
out, the loss of a $70 million aircraft, you did not capture 
anyone as was part of the mission, that mission is not a 
success. But that happens in war. There is a thing called the 
fog of war. They did the best they could under very difficult 
circumstances. I hope in the process of your investigation, 
when heavy fire was encountered why the decision was made to 
continue the mission--I still do not think this committee has 
an answer to that question. But it does not question the 
loyalty and sacrifice and bravery when we question the mission.
    Unless we tell the American people the truth, the absolute 
truth, then we are going to revisit another war a long time ago 
where we did tell the American people the truth and we paid a 
very heavy price for it. There are 55,000 names engraved in 
black granite not far from here, and the American people were 
not told the truth about whether we were succeeding or failing 
in that war. Then because of that, it all collapsed. I hope 
that we will not forget that lesson, and in no way does it 
detract from the heroism and professionalism and sacrifice of 
the brave men and women who serve under your command.
    Senator McCaskill?
    Senator McCaskill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to 
underline the comments you just made, and I do think it is 
important that we get answers to the questions about what 
happened at that moment in very difficult circumstances, 
admittedly, that heavy fire occurred and the decision was made 
to continue. I am also anxious to have the questions answered 
about the real value of the intelligence that was gathered. I 
think there have been some mixed signals about the value of the 
intelligence that was gathered.
    I want to talk to you today. I have spent an awful lot of 
time working on contracting in contingencies. I remember my 
very first trip to Iraq included a stop in Kuwait to look at 
contracting. I had an encounter with a general there that I 
will never forget. I will always admire him for being so honest 
with me because I was pointing out all of these massive 
problems with contracting, especially Log Cap 1, Log Cap 2 and 
all of those associated contracts. He looked at me and he said, 
Senator, I wanted three kinds of ice cream in the mess 
yesterday, and I do not care how much it costs.
    Now, while I admired him for his honesty, it kind of 
underscored for me that contracting oversight was not a core 
capability many times within commands within contingencies. If 
it were, we would not have this long trail of mistakes made 
going all the way back to Kosovo on contracting.
    I was upset yesterday when I saw the DOD IG [Inspector 
General] report coming out of Kuwait where they said that 
ineffective monitoring of contractor performance for the Kuwait 
base operations--a particular concern that the contracting 
officer representatives, which we have worked very hard--I 
mean, at the point in time I was over there, it was the worst 
guy in the unit got handed the clipboard, had no idea what he 
was supposed to do in terms of contracting oversight and did 
not do much. We have done a lot of work on this, training, and 
making sure people understand and with the standing up the 
Contracting Command.
    The fact that there is no consistent surveillance of these 
contracts in Kuwait, no assurance that the contract 
requirements have been met, and the entire $13 million 
performance bonus was paid even though it is not clear that it 
was earned, and maybe most worrisome, this environmental and 
health hazard that has been allowed to languish. It is fairly 
clear from reading this report that a stagnant wastewater 
lagoon went unresolved, that it was probably never constructed 
correctly, and it is really impacting the health and safety of 
some of our men and women that are stationed there.
    I need you to reassure me that we have not taken our eye 
off the importance of contracting oversight. This is not just 
you. This is also the ACC [Army Contracting Command] and the 
408th Contracting Support Brigade.
    General Votel. Thank you, Senator.
    I absolutely agree with you, and I recognize my 
responsibility as the CENTCOM Commander and as a senior leader 
in the Department of Defense to ensure that the expenditure of 
our national treasure and our resources is done in an effective 
and efficient manner. I look forward to an opportunity to talk 
with you specifically about this situation in Kuwait.
    Senator McCaskill. I would like that very much, and we will 
look forward to hearing from you directly. The thing that was 
the most frustrating about the contracting through much of the 
Iraq conflict before we did the contracting reforms that the 
Wartime Contracting Commission set out--and we codified all of 
those, most of them in this committee--the amount of money that 
was wasted was astounding. We just cannot afford it. We just 
cannot afford it.
    Let me briefly, in the time I have remaining--I know that 
they have covered Russia as it relates to what has been going 
on in Afghanistan. I am not sure that it has been touched on, 
what is going on in Nigeria, and would love you to speak to 
that, General Waldhauser, about the fact that we refused to 
sell them the Cobra attack helicopters because of the history 
of human rights problems. Undeterred by that history, of 
course, Russia stepped up and now sold them attack helicopters. 
They are now training the Nigerian military, including the 
special forces, instead of the United States.
    Could you give us any assessment of the impact of that, 
that Russia has stepped in where our better judgment said it 
was not a good idea and is now taking on that primary role with 
the Nigerian special forces?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, not only Nigeria but other 
countries on the continent. If there are easier ways to get to 
military sales, if countries come in, China, Russia, North 
Korea, for example--if they come in and do not have a lot of 
strings attached, then sometimes it is easier for those 
countries to purchase weapon systems from others than the U.S.
    We try to accommodate certain financial situations. I know 
the DSCA people that work for OSD try hard to accommodate that. 
When you look closely at the absorption capabilities of these 
countries--but again in many occasions, human rights is not an 
issue when it comes to weapon sales from countries other than 
the United States.
    Senator McCaskill. Well, I think it is something we need to 
worry about because it is, obviously, a powerful way to spread 
the influence and power of Russia. I think we all, no matter 
what our party is, have figured out in the last 6 months that 
this is a real threat to our country and to our national 
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Graham?
    Senator Graham. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I think you have been asked about soft power and the need 
for it. Both of you said it is an important tool in the toolbox 
to win the war. Is that correct?
    General Votel. That is correct, Senator.
    General Waldhauser. Yes, Senator. Yes.
    Senator Graham. You are warfighters extraordinaire. I 
appreciate you putting a plug in for soft power. Let me dig in 
with it. Can you win the war without it?
    General Waldhauser. I do not believe you can, Senator. 
Everything comes from security. Once you have a secure 
environment, development needs to take place, and that is where 
soft power kicks in.
    General Votel. I agree with, General Waldhauser.
    Senator Graham. Really, this war is about a glorious death 
being offered by the terrorists and a hopeful life by the rest 
of the world. Is that a pretty good description of what we are 
trying to do is offer a hopeful life to compete with a glorious 
    General Votel. I think in very general terms, I think it is 
about that. It is about offering alternatives to people to the 
situations that they find themselves in.
    Senator Graham. The good news is that most people over 
there do not want what ISIL is selling. There is not a big 
demand for that product. Is that a fair statement?
    General Waldhauser. Certainly on the African continent that 
is true, very true.
    General Votel. I would agree with that, Senator.
    Senator Graham. Very few fathers and mothers want to turn 
their daughters over to ISIL if they do not have to. Is that a 
fair statement?
    General Votel. It is, Senator.
    General Waldhauser. Yes, Senator, it is fair.
    Senator Graham. Is it a fair statement we are not going to 
win this war without partners in the faith? The only way you 
can win this war is to have fellow Muslims fighting with us 
against ISIL.
    General Votel. It is my view that we have to have local 
forces engaged in this.
    General Waldhauser. That is what by, with, and through is 
all about, Senator.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that most people in the 
faith reject this hateful ideology?
    General Votel. That is true, Senator.
    General Waldhauser. I agree.
    Senator Graham. I want the committee to understand that any 
budget we pass that guts the State Department's budget, you 
will never win this war. As a matter of fact, ISIL will be 
    What is Russia trying to do in Libya, General Waldhauser?
    General Waldhauser. Senator, Russia is trying to exert 
influence on the ultimate decision of who becomes and what 
entity becomes in charge of the government inside Libya. They 
are working to influence that decision.
    Senator Graham. They are trying to do in Libya what they 
have been doing in Syria?
    General Waldhauser. Yes. That is a good way to characterize 
    Senator Graham. It is not in our national interest to let 
that happen. Is it?
    General Waldhauser. It is not.
    Senator Graham. The political situation in Libya is pretty 
    General Waldhauser. It is very fractured, Senator.
    Senator Graham. The commander of their military is at odds 
with the political leader supported by the U.N. Is that fair?
    General Waldhauser. That is fair, yes.
    Senator Graham. If we do not fix that, it is going to be 
tough moving forward?
    General Waldhauser. We have got to get the entities, 
specifically Haftar and the government of national accord, 
together to make an accommodation in order to get any 
government moving forward.
    Senator Graham. Would you say that Secretary Tillerson is 
very important in this regard?
    General Waldhauser. Very important, Senator.
    Senator Graham. We need to put that on his radar screen.
    General Waldhauser. Yes, we do.
    Senator Graham. Syria. The Kurds that we are training, 
General Votel, are they mostly in line with the YPG [Popular 
Protection Units]? Are they YPG Kurds?
    General Votel. They are, Senator.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that in the eyes of the 
Turks, the YPG Kurds are not much better, if any better, than 
the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party]?
    General Votel. Senator, that is the view of the Turks.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that the YPG Kurds have 
sort of a communist/Marxist view of governing? That is what 
their manifesto says anyway.
    General Votel. Senator, I think it is fair to say that 
there is some affinity back towards that.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that we have got to be 
careful about over-utilizing the YPG Kurds? Not only will it 
create problems for Turkey, other Kurds in the region do not 
buy into their agenda also.
    General Votel. I think it is important. That is why as we 
look to a place like Raqqa, we are attempting to do that with 
majority Arab forces.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that how we take Raqqa 
can determine the outcome of Geneva in terms of a political 
    General Votel. It is certainly a key operation. We will 
support that.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that the balance of power 
on the ground in terms of Assad's regime that he is in a good 
    General Votel. He is in a better position than he was a 
year ago.
    Senator Graham. That the opposition has basically melted 
away because Russia, Iran, and Assad have gone after them full 
    General Votel. The support that has been provided by Russia 
and Iran has certainly enabled the regime.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that most Syrians want 
two things: to get rid of ISIL but also to get rid of Assad 
because he slaughtered their families?
    General Votel. The Syrians that I have talked to I think 
would agree with that.
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say it is in our national 
security interests for Damascus not to be handed over to Assad, 
a proxy for Iran, in any final settlement, that you cannot have 
Iran dominating Damascus?
    General Votel. Senator, I think that is certainly a 
decision for our political leadership to make, but I think 
there is a strong consensus.
    Senator Graham. Final thought. How we take Raqqa will 
determine if we can get a political settlement in Geneva if we 
do not change the balance of military power on the ground, go 
outside of this Kurdish construct, reassure the Arabs that we 
are a better partner than we have been in the past, we are 
going to give Damascus to the Iranians, if we help those Syrian 
Arabs who want to fight and take their country back from Assad 
and his brutal dictatorship, I think we can change the balance 
of power on the ground and get a better deal in Geneva. If the 
Trump administration is listening, how you take Raqqa will 
determine how successful we are in neutralizing Iranian 
influence and Russian influence.
    Mr. Chairman, you have been terrific on this issue. I want 
to thank you for your leadership.
    Chairman McCain. I thank you.
    I thank you, Generals, for your appearance here this 
morning. It has been very helpful to the committee and to
    the United States Senate. I know it is not your favorite 
pastime, but I think it is very important that we hear directly 
from you. Thank you for your leadership, and we do want you to 
be assured that we will do everything we can to support you as 
we go through what is a very complicated and difficult 
    Senator Reed?
    Senator Reed. I simply want to thank you, gentlemen, for 
your service and for your testimony today. Please relay our 
thanks to the men and women who serve so well with you. Thank 
you very much.
    Chairman McCain. This hearing is adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 11:40 a.m., the committee adjourned.]

              Questions Submitted by Senator David Perdue
                     avoiding past mistakes in iraq
    1. Senator Perdue. General Votel, I am concerned that we have not 
been setting conditions to make sure our grand gains against ISIS will 
hold and prevent al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (AQAP) or other jihadists 
from backilling after the campaigns for Mosul and Raqqa are completed. 
How do we prevent this scenario going forward to ensure we do not 
repeat the mistakes of our force withdrawal from Iraq?
    General Votel. Our Coalition forces are employing the military 
instrument of power to defeat ISIS militarily in Iraq and Syria. It is 
important to note that the successful defeat of ISIS in Raqqah and 
Mosul does not mark the military defeat of ISIS; there remains more 
work to be done in Iraq and Syria to militarily defeat ISIS. That said, 
it is important to recall that the Coalition Military Campaign Plan to 
defeat ISIS is one part of the broader ``whole-of-government'' effort 
that is required to achieve a sustained defeat of the enemy. An inter-
agency and inter-ministerial approach is required to address political, 
diplomatic and other underlying issues that Iraq and Syria will 
continue to face after the military defeat of ISIS. By defeating ISIS 
militarily, we set the conditions that will allow other agencies and 
ministries to take the necessary actions to achieve improved social, 
governance, and economic advancements in both countries.

    2. Senator Perdue. General Votel, in the counter-ISIS fight in Iraq 
and Syria, how should our plans take into account the political end-
state for Iraq and Syria?
    General Votel. As we seek to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it is 
vital that we coordinate closely with our Interagency partners and 
particularly the Department of State, as well as with our Coalition 
partners to ensure that our military efforts to defeat ISIS contribute 
toward the achievement of broader political endstates in Iraq and Syria 
and enduring improved stability and security in the region. Our 
military actions help set the conditions for broader political and 
diplomatic efforts. In Iraq, for example, we actively work with our 
Embassy to ensure the mix of Iraqi forces engaged in the counter-ISIS 
fight will not complicate post-Defeat governance issues. In Syria, our 
forces have worked with both our Syrian Democratic Forces partners and 
our NATO ally Turkey to mitigate tensions and set the stage for 
locally-rooted governance structures in the aftermath of liberating 
territory previously seized by ISIS. In Iraq, we are also actively 
discussing our longer-term security engagement with the Government of 
Iraq, which can help ensure the lasting security Iraq needs to 
establish greater political and economic stability. Longer-term 
political objectives in Syria are more complicated, but we will ensure 
close alignment of our military and diplomatic efforts as we move ahead 
in the counter-ISIS campaign.
             campaign against isis and its impact on syria
    3. Senator Perdue. General Votel, I understand that your efforts 
are directed at defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. If ISIS is defeated 
how does that affect the Assad Regime, and what will be the impact on 
the civil war in Syria?
    General Votel. The military defeat of ISIS will not, in and of 
itself, resolve the civil war in Syria. Our mission is the defeat of 
ISIS because it poses the greatest threat to U.S. national interests. 
The defeat of ISIS will serve to remove one threat from what is a 
crowded battlespace in Syria where a number of different elements are 
fighting one another. While we cannot presume that all of the same 
players will shift their focus and continue to fight in some capacity 
after ISIS is defeated, the removal of this threat may serve to 
increase pressure on the Assad Regime.

    4. Senator Perdue. General Votel, a post-conflict Syria with the 
murderous Assad regime at the helm will only serve to fuel extremism 
and instability in the region. What is the desired end-state in Iraq 
and Syria and how do we achieve that?
    General Votel. CENTCOM has been directed to militarily defeat ISIS 
in Iraq and Syria. We continue to work by, with and through our 
partners on the ground to ensure a lasting defeat of this enemy. 
Ultimately, we would like to see increased stability and security in 
both countries, borders that are respected by all parties, and 
inclusive governance in place that is characterized by the rule of law. 
To achieve this will require a ``whole-of-government'' effort led by 
the people in the region. We cannot do it for them.
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (isr) needs for centcom 
                              and africom
    5. Senator Perdue. General Votel and General Waldhauser, last year, 
I wrote both your commands to inquire about the importance of the Joint 
Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) platform to operations 
in your areas of responsibility. You both indicated that JSTARS was 
important to accomplishing your mission objectives. In your estimation, 
what percentage of ISR requirements are being met in your areas of 
responsibility with the current resources at your disposal, including 
the JSTARS fleet?
    General Votel. [Deleted.]
    General Waldhauser. USAFRICOM currently receives approximately 1 
percent of its fiscal year 2017 Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) 
requirement. When JSTARS deployed in support of Operation ODYSSEY 
LIGHTNING, the additive collection sourced an additional 6 percent of 
AFRICOM's GMTI requirement. More importantly, JSTARS provided key 
refinement of collection areas, allowed new target discovery, and 
enabled multiple, simultaneous cross-cue events with other collection 
platforms, directly supporting the liberation of Surt, Libya from 
Islamic State in Iraq and al-Shams in Libya (ISIS-L).

    6. Senator Perdue. General Votel and General Waldhauser, despite 
your responses on the importance of JSTARS to your ISR capabilities, 
the JSTARS fleet is in need of recapitalization, and that recap is 
already behind schedule. As currently planned, there will be at least 
one year without any JSTARS online and a decade of decreased fleet size 
and readiness. What would a potential gap in the availability of the 
JSTARS fleet mean for you and your combatant commands' ISR 
    General Votel. [Deleted.]
    General Waldhauser. AFRICOM's current ISR allocation is limited in 
number, and is an economy of force fleet, where each new crisis 
requires trading priority of effort against ongoing counter-VEO 
activities. Adding in the tyranny of distance inherent to the continent 
of Africa, any additional allocated asset that can synchronize 
capabilities, economize time and resources, and maximize operational 
flexibility of AFRICOM's current ISR footprint is an exponential 
enabler. JSTARS is that type of platform, providing that capacity. With 
the wide area search capability and vast sensor array of JSTARS, it 
enables AFRICOM to maximize our other ISR platform capabilities that 
have inherently smaller collection area footprints, reduces required 
collection times for other already overtasked assets, and increases 
correlation and accuracy of actionable intelligence.
                       root causes of instability
    7. Senator Perdue. General Votel, in your written testimony you 
state that, ``While we must take the necessary actions to counter 
immediate threats, such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we also need to find 
ways to address these and other root causes of instability if we hope 
to achieve lasting positive effects in that part of the world. This 
cannot be accomplished solely through military means.'' Can you expand 
upon that, and discuss what non-military means you have in mind for 
complementing our military efforts to address threats emerging from 
your area of responsibility?
    General Votel. Our non-military means must fully integrate our 
interagency capabilities. To address the root causes of the 
instability, our primary goal must be to promote good governance and 
stability. Our interagency efforts could include: disrupting terrorist 
finances by working to enhance our partner nations' finance and money 
laundering laws; encouraging our allies to establish strict border 
security initiatives and synchronizing foreign fighter and facilitator 
lists; deny terrorist freedom of movement by standardizing visa 
security programs and initiatives for better maritime container 
security; and enhance and reinforce the rule of law through expanded 
international law enforcement cooperation including the introduction of 
biometric equipment/training, expanded cooperation on drug enforcement, 
and expanded extradition authorities.

    8. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, what do you see as the role 
of non-military means to combat root causes of instability in Africa?
    General Waldhauser. Non-military solutions are necessary, if not 
always sufficient, to combat the root causes of instability in Africa. 
Instability can be caused by numerous factors, including demographic, 
social, economic, and environmental challenges that are further 
exacerbated by poor governance. Crises, including insecurity caused by 
violent extremism, further complicates already volatile circumstances. 
The extent to which African governments are able to meet the 
expectations of their citizens is key to enhancing stability. At United 
States Africa Command, we recognize that the development of 
institutions, both military and civilian, capable of responding to 
near-term crises while concurrently overcoming long-term challenges, is 
a key starting point to building stability. This is fundamentally a 
non-military task for which the Department of State, the U.S. Agency 
for International Development, and other civilian agencies, have the 
lead. As our Theater Campaign Plan says, United States Africa Command 
operations are intended to create the time and space for institution-
building to occur. Our decisive efforts are building African partner 
capacity and strengthening partnerships. While these efforts are 
directed to building military capacity, we understand that this can 
only be effective if civilian institutions are improving at the same 
time. We therefore seek to work with colleagues from the Department of 
State and U.S. Agency for International Development to ensure that our 
efforts are well coordinated and working towards similar end states. 
More directly, United States Africa Command relies on Embassies to 
provide administrative support for housing, transportation, and 
assistance in visa issuance. These activities ensure host nation 
political actors understand and support United States Africa Command 
efforts, and they fulfill congressional requirements, including Leahy 

    9. Senator Perdue. General Votel, can you talk about how the ``gray 
zone'' of warfare that you described (where adversaries employ 
unconventional methods that include cyber warfare, propaganda, and 
support to proxy elements in an effort to achieve their objectives 
while minimizing the scope and scale of actual fighting) necessitates a 
whole-of-government approach?
    General Votel. The ``gray zone'' of military confrontation 
represents the range of activities short of conventional conflict; a 
dangerous space in which miscalculation can easily occur, leading to 
escalatory conflict and misunderstanding. In the ``gray zone'' 
adversaries employ unconventional methods that include cyber warfare, 
propaganda, and support to proxy elements in an effort to achieve their 
objectives while minimizing the scope and scale of actual fighting. At 
the same time, these unconventional methods increase tensions between 
partners emphasizing competing priorities that detract from support for 
our common objectives. To be successful in this ambiguous environment, 
we must find alternate ways to compete against our adversaries short of 
conflict, while collaborating with our partners to achieve our desired 
end-states. This requires synchronized diplomatic, economic, 
intelligence, information, and law enforcement engagement at the 
national level to maximize the effects of a limited military engagement 
and to reduce the strategic risk.
                            syria safe zones
    10. Senator Perdue. General Votel, earlier this year, President 
Trump said that he would, ``absolutely do safe zones in Syria'' to stem 
the flow of refugees into other countries. What impact would the 
establishment of safe zones in Syria have on the counter-ISIS fight and 
the destabilizing refugee crisis?
    General Votel. Safe zones require enforcement; if we are going to 
implement a safe zone, we will need to clearly determine what it is we 
are trying to accomplish with the establishment of the safe zone and 
dedicate sufficient resources to enforce the zone. If the U.S. military 
is the enforcement mechanism, it would expand our current mission from 
defeating ISIS to countering any actor(s) that poses a threat to 
protected elements within the safe zone. Given the complexity of the 
current security environment in Syria, that may include other extremist 
organizations, Syrian Regime elements, Russian forces, or other Syrian 
opposition elements. Effective protection of a safe zone requires 
significant air and ground assets as well as the requisite command and 
control. The need for additional capabilities would necessitate pulling 
resources away from the counter-ISIS fight and other operations and 
thus would potentially negatively impact the C-ISIS Campaign.
                           virtual caliphate
    11. Senator Perdue. General Votel, in your written remarks, you 
stated concern over the ``virtual caliphate'' that is emerging from 
terror groups' ready access to internet platforms to spread their 
messages of terrorism and hate. You also stated that, ``Countering this 
virutual caliphate will require a concerted `whole-of-government' 
effort led by the people of the region.'' Can you describe what you 
think this approach would or should look like?
    General Votel. Ready access to the Internet, social media, and 
other messaging platforms has enabled a new generation of radicalized 
Islamists to spread their extremist views, incite widespread violence, 
and recruit new followers to their cause. Countering this ``virtual 
caliphate'' will require a concerted `whole-of-government' effort led 
by the people of the region. We can support our partners' activities, 
but their voices and influence will be required to achieve enduring 
positive results. By promoting the voices of moderates in the region 
and helping our regional partners to increase opportunities available 
to their citizens, particularly young, educated and unemployed or 
under-employed individuals, we will help to provide an alternative to 
counter violent extremists. The U.S. should also assist and encourage 
efforts such as the Islamic Coalition, a group of 34 predominately 
Muslim nations formed to fight the ``disease'' of Islamic extremism. 
Partnerships such as this are invaluable to developing effective means 
to protect young people from radicalization and to spread positive 
alternative narratives to ISIS's malevolent story.

    12. Senator Perdue. General Votel, what can we do to support this 
    General Votel. Across the U.S. Government, we have made significant 
progress to counter social media messaging due in part to Congressional 
support for programs such as WebOps. Continued Congressional 
authorities and resourcing are imperative to enhance interagency 
efforts; specifically, the Combatant Command Information Operations and 
the Department of State Global Engagement Center capabilities.
                      iranian influence in africa
    13. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, I've seen concerning open 
source reports regarding growing Iranian influence and popularity among 
Nigeria's Muslim population. Our allies, the Saudis, are reportedly 
alarmed regarding the development of Iran's growing foothold in Africa. 
Could you comment on Iran's influence in Africa?
    General Waldhauser. Overall, Iran's efforts on the continent are 
minimal. Iran maintains embassies and cultural centers throughout 
Africa, and has been reaching out predominantly to the Shiite Muslim 
populations in Africa. Further, they claim Sunni Arabs treat Sunni 
Africans poorly and cite this as a reason for their continent-wide 
Islamic education effort. Some of their engagements appear to be aimed 
at improving Iran's image within Africa, and they leverage Joint 
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to promote more open political and 
economic engagement and, possibly, to reduce Tehran's reputation as a 
foreign sponsor of terrorism.

    14. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, is Iran's growing influence 
in Africa of concern to you?
    General Waldhauser. Iran's efforts on the continent have trended 
more toward diplomatic and economic engagements. Saudi- and UAE-led 
financial contributions in African countries have targeted these 
engagements, and this to some degree is part of the Iran-Saudi (Shia-
Sunni) rivalry. After the Shiite cleric execution in Saudi Arabia, a 
diplomatic row ensued and several African countries severed ties with 
Iran, opting for increased ties with Sunni states.

    15. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, do you think Iran has any 
intention of being a force for good in Nigeria?
    General Waldhauser. At this time, Iran probably wants to continue 
to provide ideological support and diplomatic protection to Nigeria-
borne Shiite. Iran has rejected some Nigerian elite's labeling of the 
Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN)--the predominant Shiite group in 
Nigeria--as a violent extremist organization and has expressed concern 
over IMN's treatment. Iran will likely continue to support Shia 
communities in Africa.
                     magtf/marines in moron, spain
    16. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, last April I had the 
pleasure of visiting with the Special MAGTF that is based in Moron, 
Spain. These Marines are truly at the tip of the spear, especially as 
it relates to crisis operations and embassy emergency response in 
Africa. However, Marines are truly at the tip of the spear, especially 
as it relates to crisis operations and embassy emergency response in 
Africa. Can you speak to how this reduction impacts your ability to 
fulfill the mission?
    General Waldhauser. The January 2017 reduction of the SPMAGTF 
aviation assets by 50 percent has the potential to impact AFRICOM's 
ability to respond to multiple crisis events. The reduction included 
reducing twelve MV-22s to six, and four KC-130s to three. Further, the 
SPMAGTF must still fulfill two simultaneous roles: Operation New Normal 
response, and Personnel Recovery and CASEVAC response. This is not 
ideal, as combined alert and flight times will be over two-times 
greater than our current response time from notification to being 
overhead Misrata, Libya, from Moron, Spain. This makes EUCOM basing in 
Sicily and Souda Bay absolutely crucial as a way to reduce these 
response times.

    17. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, how has the reduction in 
aircraft impacted your ability to conduct training and exercises to do 
capacity building with African forces?
    General Waldhauser. The 50 percent reduction in the SPMAGTF 
aviation element limits AFRICOM's ability to incorporate this force 
into joint exercises that are designed to sustain readiness of our 
rotational forces and build African partner capability. A full 
complement of aircraft would permit their participation in additional 
exercises to improve partner capacity while also providing enough force 
structure to respond to a crisis.

    18. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, what are some of the top 
successes of this MAGTF that you'd like to highlight?
    General Waldhauser. Before their 50 percent reduction direct 
support aviation assets in January 17, the SPMAGTF had the capacity to 
operate from two separate and independent locations for an extended 
period in support of three named operations for AFRICOM. While forward 
deployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti during the unrest in Juba, South 
Sudan they were postured to provide faster response if tasked to 
increase protection of the United States Embassy. In addition to crisis 
response, SPMAGTF-CR-AF conducted 18 theater security cooperation 
missions in Uganda, Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Benin, and 
Tunisia. The SPMAGTF also participated in 11 exercises and bilateral 
engagements with partner nations in the USAFRICOM and USEUCOM area of 
responsibility. They conducted six site surveys to support our 
embassies with validation, planning, and assessment of their Emergency 
Action Plans, thereby providing Department of State with an awareness 
on how DOD can support in operation New Normal reinforcement or 

    19. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, can you speak more broadly 
to the resourcing issue for AFRICOM--are you getting the resources you 
need to meet your requirements?
    General Waldhauser. The vast distances associated with the African 
continent combined with the remote distribution of our forces and 
diplomatic outposts makes resourcing for crisis response and Personnel 
Recovery a challenge. While resources across the continent are limited, 
the safety of our forces are a primary concern, and Personnel Recovery 
will continue as AFRICOM's top priority. We have agreements in place 
for mutual support with several partner nations, and the AFRICOM 
component forces are well integrated to support our requirements as 
best as possible to include those of interagency and international 
partners. In East Africa, we are currently sourced at 50 percent for 
Personnel Recovery Task Forces (PRTFs). A second PRTF is validated by 
the SECDEF as a requirement but is unsourced. With a second PRTF, 
AFRICOM could adequately cover the personnel who are operating outside 
the directed 6-hour response requirement. Risk is mitigated in North 
Africa by relying on the SPMAGTF as a multi-purpose solution; however, 
the aviation element of the SPMAGTF was reduced by half for fiscal year 
2017, limiting its response to a single crisis or operation such as 
either supporting New Normal crisis response or Personnel Recovery for 
Libya. In West Africa, where we have no pre-positioned Response Forces, 
AFRICOM mitigates risk through commercial Search and Rescue and 
casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) contract assets. As operations continue 
to expand, AFRICOM will likely require additional contracts at 
approximately $45 million per year.
             kenya, somalia, and counter-al-shabaab efforts
    20. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, last week, the Military 
Times reported that the DOD sent recommendations to the White House to 
increase assistance to the Somali National Army in their fight against 
al-Shabaab militants. Reports indicate that this would include giving 
U.S. special operations forces greater ability to accompany local 
troops on military operations against al-Shabaab and easing 
restrictions on when the U.S. can conduct airstrikes against the group. 
Could you discuss the current support we are giving to the Somali 
National Army and African Union forces?
    General Waldhauser. Currently in Somalia, our efforts center on 
enhancing the Somalia National Army and supporting the African Union 
Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). We are providing Advise/Assist/Accompany 
teams to facilitate the development of the Somalia National Army, as 
well as providing security force assistance, by way of equipment and 
training, with a focus on logistics, sustainment operations, medical 
capabilities, and institution building. Additionally, Somalia is 
receiving training and equipment from the United Kingdom, United Arab 
Emirates, Turkey, United Nations, and European Union, of which AFRICOM 
is linked. The role of the United Nations Special Representative of the 
Secretary General for Somalia and the emergence of the Security Six 
(S6) group of international donors (U.S., UK, Turkey, UAE, EU, and UN) 
has led to a more cohesive international support structure. With 
regards to African Union forces, or AMISOM, we are enhancing their 
capabilities in Somalia with training in preparation for their 
deployment, non-lethal equipment for the mission, maintenance training 
on that equipment, as well as mission-specific equipment and training 
that address medical needs, counter improvised explosive devices, force 
protection, and information gathering. USAFRICOM efforts focus on 
facilitating AMISOM's mission success while not duplicating efforts of 
the other contributing entities.

    21. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, where does this fall in 
your priority list for the continent?
    General Waldhauser. Enabling the Somali National Security Forces to 
neutralize al-Shabaab and assume responsibility for securing Somalia is 
one of my top priorities. Additional authorities that allow AFRICOM, 
AMISOM, and the SNA to put pressure on al-Shabaab are important. 
Simultaneously, improving Somali governance is equally important.

    22. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, what results are you seeing 
from the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism program?
    General Waldhauser. The Partnership for Regional East Africa 
Counterterrorism (PREACT) is a State Department program, which began in 
2009, and is funded at $10 million providing multi-year authority to 
build sustainable partnership capacity and enhance the long-term 
resilience of governments and communities in East Africa to contain, 
degrade, and ultimately defeat the threat posed by al-Shabaab and 
affiliated violent extremist groups. Twelve countries are eligible for 
PREACT funding: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, 
Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, South Sudan, Comoros, and Burundi. PREACT is 
a critical element of AFRICOM's counterterrorism resourcing strategy by 
providing additional resources to current DOD-funded programs. PREACT 
supports training and equipping of East African partner nation military 
units, specifically communications, logistics, intelligence and 
aviation advisors. Additionally, PREACT has improved regional 
coordination and interoperability by providing regional military 
intelligence training, regional vehicle maintenance and logistics 
training, regional combat medical training and Defense Institution 
Building (DIB). We see positive results from the PREACT program. 
USAFRICOM has used PREACT to the benefit of our CT and CVE initiatives 
in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other countries in the region. 
These initiatives include incorporating USAID, Department of Justice, 
and Department of State towards our security cooperation relationship. 
The program provides partner nations with both hard and soft power 
capabilities through their military, law enforcement, and public 
diplomacy and development tools to 1) Neutralize al-Shabaab; 2) Elevate 
Governance Reform, Human Rights, and Inclusive Economic Growth; and 3) 
Strengthen Regional Cooperation. Between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal 
year 2016, PREACT funds have trained over 2100 counterterrorism 
personnel in a range of skillsets including military intelligence, 
civil-military operations, logistics, communications, and Counter-
Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED). Partner nation personnel train 
both bilaterally and regionally, encouraging network building and 
collaboration in CT operation.

    23. Senator Perdue. General Waldhauser, can we realistically expect 
the Somali National Army to assume responsibility for security across 
the country by the time African Union forces are expected to withdraw 
by 2020?
    General Waldhauser. A complete transfer of responsibility from 
AMISOM to the Somali National Army will be difficult by 2020. However, 
there are two reasons for optimism in expecting significant progress 
toward this goal. In February, Somalia elected its first non-
transitional government in over a decade. President Farmaajo ran on a 
platform of reform and is making great strides to establish a national 
security architecture and to push his government to develop and sustain 
Somali National Security Forces that are able, accountable, affordable, 
and appropriate. Additionally, the international community, to include 
AMISOM, has made great strides in expanding and synchronizing training 
pipelines for Somali National Security Forces, and will continue to do 
so through 2018. The combined thrust of institutional reform and 
increased training capacity will result in a significantly larger and 
more capable Somali National Security Force by 2020. While this may not 
be enough to fully replace AMISOM, it should be enough to enable 
conditions-based drawdown planning and persuade some AMISOM troop 
contributing countries to remain beyond 2020, if required--possibly 
through the next election in 2021. That said, AMISOM's declared 
departure date has been helpful in spurring Somalia and international 
planning efforts. Additionally, AMISOM's drawdown and eventual 
departure will also remove a Somali population grievance that al-
Shabaab has been able to use in its information operations. Finally, 
there is potential for al-Shabaab to be degraded via reconciliation if 
broad Security Sector Reform gains steam. Al-Shabaab reductions via 
reconciliation would reduce the number of Somali National Security 
Forces required to replace AMISOM.
           Questions Submitted by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
            chain of command for counterterrorism operations
    24. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel and General Waldhauser, news 
reports indicate that the Administration is considering delegating the 
decision-making authority for counterterrorism operations to lower 
levels of the chain of command. Presumably, many of these operations 
will occur within your areas of responsibility. If this is done, how do 
we ensure that the impact of tactical and operational decisions made at 
your level do not have unintentional strategic consequences in the 
Middle East and Africa?
    General Votel. Regarding operational authorities, I can assure you 
that delegation occurs at levels that are wholly commensurate with the 
appropriate levels of military experience. Additionally, the rigorous 
processes and procedures ingrained through all levels of the Department 
of Defense--from the Secretary of Defense through the combatant 
commanders to the Combined/Joint Forces Commanders--ensure that, when 
given increased authorities, we have proactive measures in place to 
ensure that actions taken are responsible, appropriate and aligned with 
national objectives. I have the utmost faith in the men and women of 
CENTCOM to accomplish our directed missions. In addition, I'm in 
routine contact with my fellow combatant commanders and my subordinate 
commanders on day-to-day operations. COCOM commanders, including me and 
the commanders of EUCOM and AFRICOM work closely together to ensure 
that actions taken in our individual areas of responsibility do not 
have unintended strategic consequences in other areas.
    General Waldhauser. If there is a policy adjustment (changing the 
Presidential Policy Guidance for Procedures for Approving Direct Action 
Against Terrorist Targets Located Outside the United States and Areas 
of Active Hostilities (CT-PPG)) whereby the President delegates 
decision-making authority for CT operations, there are several existing 
and proposed mechanisms and strategies that ensure the effects of local 
tactical decisions within my area of responsibility do not have 
unintentional [negative] consequences in Africa or in other areas. At 
AFRICOM we exercise a rigorous decision making process whereby we 
continuously question the pros and cons of contemplated actions. We 
``Red Team'' pending operational decisions to determine any unintended 
consequences our actions may have in Africa or other parts of the 
globe. We question whether our adversaries may capitalize on our 
actions in social media or other forums; and then, having decided the 
pros outweigh the potential cons, we use deliberate planning processes 
to develop mitigation strategies against those potential negative 
effects. On a more global basis, the new administration has charged DOD 
with a 30-day push to develop a strategy for the global defeat of ISIS 
and other violent extremist organizations. This effort complemented an 
endeavor ongoing for roughly the last 18 months to develop a DOD plan 
to counter transregional terrorist organizations, having recognized 
that our regionally focused efforts created seams between the Combatant 
Commands that our adversaries were able to exploit. DOD is developing a 
revised Global Campaign Plan to Counter Violent Extremists in response 
to the new administration's direction and policy guidance. This plan is 
designed specifically to ensure that the department applies a global or 
transregional view to its activities and operations to create 
synchronization of our efforts. Organizationally, the Joint Staff 
created a staff section led by a general officer to align our efforts, 
and has reaffirmed Special Operations Command as the combatant 
commander charged with ensuring global coordination of CT efforts. The 
strategies, plans, and organizations within DOD are designed to ensure 
that our local actions do not negatively impact global efforts.

    25. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel and General Waldhauser, are 
you getting the strategic guidance you need to plan and execute these 
types of operations?
    General Votel. Yes, we are getting the strategic guidance necessary 
to plan and execute these types of operations. I'm in frequent contact 
with Secretary Mattis and General Dunford and appreciate their 
continued support.
    General Waldhauser. From my perspective, we are getting the 
strategic guidance necessary to execute CT operations. The Secretary of 
Defense (SECDEF) provides the necessary military guidance. 
Additionally, there is emergent strategic guidance from the 
administration based on National Security Presidential Memorandum-3 
(NSPM-3). At USAFRICOM we seek to link these operations to a whole-of-
government effort that address the long-term drivers of terrorism. The 
strategic guidance is necessary for the effective coordination of USG 
and international partner efforts across a planning horizon that 
includes post-conflict guidance on desired future conditions--both 
political and military. The political end-states also provides guidance 
for follow-on whole-of-government efforts after CT operations have been 
completed. Parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, 
interests, and values. Equality, prosperity, and peace are often pitted 
against extremism, oppression, and conflict. Today, transregional 
violent extremist organizations (VEOs), coupled with an expanding youth 
bulge on the African continent, constitute the most direct security 
threat to our national interests. To address this threat, our military 
strategy articulates a long-term regionally focused approach for a safe 
and stable Africa. However, the military is not the only element of 
national power required to ensure stability on the continent. The 
robust support of our European allies and USG agency partners--the 
Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, in 
particular--are essential for building and maintaining stability. This 
soft power is critical for USAFRICOM to achieve our long-term military 
strategy. Programs that promote democracy, human rights, the rule of 
law, economic growth, improved access to education, and addressing food 
instability are vital to the development of African countries. Factors 
such as lack of education and healthcare, hope for a future, and a 
clear path to an honest livelihood will all impact the expanding youth 
bulge in Africa. Providing a viable alternate path, and thus preventing 
those youth from being radicalized by VEOs, is the biggest challenge in 

    26. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel and General Waldhauser, even 
if the authority to make operational decisions is delegated, do you 
believe that the President, as Commander in Chief, retains 
responsibility for an operation's success or failure?
    General Votel. As Commander-in-Chief, the President provides 
strategic guidance to military and civilian leadership, along with the 
authorities required to execute operations as directed. Military 
commanders retain ultimate responsibility for an operation's success or 
    General Waldhauser. Yes, the President's role as Commander in 
Chief, as articulated in Article II of the Constitution and further 
codified in the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, clearly establishes his 
position as the senior ranking member in the operational chain of 
command of our armed forces.

    27. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel and General Waldhauser, 
please explain the process by which you and your fellow combatant 
command colleagues will ensure that the President has the necessary 
information to make informed decisions about such operations.
    General Votel. As a combatant commander, I provide regular updates 
to the Secretary of Defense who reports to the President. Through these 
updates, along with other routine engagements with the Secretary and 
the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford, I and my 
fellow combatant commanders provide our best military advice and 
recommended courses of action for addressing issues and conducting 
operations. Additionally, major changes to existing operations or the 
introduction of new operations are coordinated through the interagency 
process which allows for concerns from outside Department of Defense to 
be voiced and for all elements of national power to be considered.
    General Waldhauser. The President can delegate to the SECDEF, who 
may further delegate to the combatant commanders a measure of decision 
authority bounded by time and geography to remove adversaries from the 
battlefield. When delegated, every measure will be taken to ensure our 
actions are limited to the minimum necessary to successfully engage 
individuals whose actions pose a threat to U.S. persons and interests 
around the globe. When delegated these counterterrorism authorities, 
current targeting principles will be employed:

    1.  The proposed action must clearly articulate why the targets 
need to be removed from the battlefield based on the threat they 
present to U.S. persons and interest.
    2.  We will ensure there is legal basis to target the individuals 
through consultation with combatant command judge advocates general, 
Office of General Counsel, and the National Security Staff legal 
    3.  We will maintain the standard of near or reasonable certainty 
of positive identification of the targeted individuals or groups.
    4.  We will exercise extreme caution to ensure to best of our 
ability that non-combatants are not affected by our actions. AFRICOM 
regularly reports all its operations to senior leadership through the 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    28. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, Americans still 
remember how a routine raid to capture two Somali rebels in 1993 
disintegrated into one of the most lethal attacks on United States 
troops on African soil. Recent news reports indicate that the United 
States military may be taking a more active role in supporting African 
Union and Somali troops' counter-al-Shabaab efforts. What are the 
criteria by which ``self-defense'' strikes against al-Shabaab are 
currently selected and executed?
    General Waldhauser. Self-defense actions against al-Shabaab are 
conducted pursuant the ground force commander's inherent right and 
obligation to exercise self-defense under the Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE). Under the SROE, 
the U.S. may exercise self-defense to neutralize a hostile act or 
hostile intent when the lives of U.S. forces are at risk. The U.S. 
remains committed to our partners in eliminating terrorism and 
advancing security in the region. In certain circumstances, the U.S. 
may exercise self-defense of a properly designated partner force. In 
every case in which the U.S. takes military action, we are bound to 
adhere, as a matter of international law, to the law of armed conflict. 
This includes, among other things, adherence to the fundamental law of 
armed conflict principles of distinction, proportionality, necessity, 
and humanity.

    29. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, are news reports of 
Pentagon plans to increase U.S. offensive involvement in counter-al-
Shabaab operations accurate?
    General Waldhauser. USAFRICOM has requested additional authority 
that will add flexibility and timeliness to the targeting and decision 
making process. If approved, these authorities will allow us to 
prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion. Employment orders will not 
be given unless we know exactly who we are attacking on the ground.

    30. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, if so, can you tell us 
what the President's response has been to that recommendation?
    General Waldhauser. We are pleased the President approved our 
request for the additional authority on March 29th. This strike 
authority, to be used in conjunction with the Federal Government of 
Somalia, will enhance our ability to support the AMISOM mission and 
troop contributing countries, as well as help us to maintain pressure 
on the VEO network in Somalia.

    31. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, how will the military 
incorporate lessons that we learned from the 1993 operation into any 
such plans?
    General Waldhauser. The 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, to include 
missteps and mistakes, has been a case study from which the Special 
Operations Community and the entire U.S. military has used to learn. In 
today's operating environment, updated tactics, techniques and 
procedures and advanced technologies are now incorporated during 
operations to implement the lessons learned from the Battle of 
                              isil in iraq
    32. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel, media reports indicate that 
ISIL is returning to areas previously cleared by Iraqi security forces, 
such as Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, due to police authorities' 
inability to hold those areas, and a corrupt judiciary that allows some 
ISIL collaborators to abscond. Please share with us any additional 
information on this development that you have. I understand that you 
have a police force training effort underway in Mosul to guard against 
ISIL's resurgence after the city falls.
    General Votel. [Deleted.]

    33. Senator Gillibrand. General Votel, are you planning to expand 
this training effort to other Iraqi provinces?
    General Votel. [Deleted.]
    34. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, one of the issues that 
was raised wherever we went in Africa during a visit in 2015 was the 
limited amount of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets 
and the ability to share the intelligence we gathered with our partners 
on the ground. Do you currently have the necessary ISR capabilities for 
the operations you have described?
    General Waldhauser. AFRICOM's current ISR allocation partially 
satisfies operational requirements. AFRICOM has a Joint Staff validated 
23 Full Motion Video (FMV) orbit requirement, and is currently sourced 
with 7.75 FMV orbits. AFRICOM's current ISR allocation requires monthly 
prioritization for countering violent extremist organizations (VEOs) 
and monitoring emerging crises. Maximum flexibility for steady-state 
operations is achieved through active mission management of apportioned 
ISR platforms. AFRICOM utilizes the Global Force Management process to 
obtain additional ISR enablers appropriate for the threat and mission.

    35. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, are you now able to 
quickly share relevant information with our partners?
    General Waldhauser. Yes, USAFRICOM has established a number of 
sharing processes and procedures in order to support more agile 
information sharing with our partners on the ground. There has been a 
lot of work in the DOD and Intelligence Community Policy realm which 
have supported our efforts. On average, we are turning much of the 
information production the same day and in some instances can surge to 
support in near real time, as dictated by operational requirements.

    36. Senator Gillibrand. General Waldhauser, if not, what more can 
be done to make this process easier?
    General Waldhauser. USAFRICOM still requires input and programmatic 
funding from OSD to support a more robust architecture with which to 
disseminate and share classified information electronically to AFRICOM 
partners. In addition, annually supported OSD led security surveys 
would assist in ensuring information is managed and providing the 
appropriate level of security protection by the host nations. Lastly, 
support from the Air Force Battlefield Information Collection and 
Exploitation Systems (BICES) program office is necessary in 
accelerating AFRICOM's acquisition of the necessary communications 
architecture to be able to share classified information electronically.
           Questions Submitted by Senator Richard Blumenthal
                          iranian belligerence
    37. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, Iran's continued and 
disturbing malign influence and actions over the last several weeks 
remain a key concern of mine. Within the last week, Iran has reportedly 
tested anti-ship ballistic missiles, tested a new Russian-made S-300 
missile air defense system, as well as harassed a U.S. Navy ship in the 
Strait of Hormuz by sending an Iranian frigate within 150 yards and 
smaller boats within 600 yards. Last month, the Iranians fired a 
medium-range ballistic missile in violation of a UN Security Council 
Resolution, resulting in U.S. sanctions enforcement against 25 
individuals and entities. What is CENTCOM doing to address Iran's 
recent actions?
    General Votel. Despite ongoing reductions in U.S. force posture in 
the region, CENTCOM addresses Iranian malign naval actions by 
maintaining a forward presence in the area of responsibility and is 
working to ensure that naval forces are enabled through appropriate 
rules of engagement, capabilities, and training. U.S. and partner 
forces in the region engage regularly in robust planning and training 
exercises to ensure readiness and to leverage complimentary 
capabilities. CENTCOM will continue to expose Iran's unique and 
unprofessional naval actions in order to hold them accountable.

    38. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, how concerned are you with 
Iran's acquisition and testing of the S-300 missile air defense system 
and what is CENTCOM doing to address it?
    General Votel. Senator, it is a significant concern. Delivery of 
the S-300 culminated a sales agreement between Russia and Iran that 
CENTCOM has been monitoring since 2007. This system represents a 
significant improvement to Iranian lethality against conventional and 
fifth-generation advanced aircraft; however, I am confident in our 
tactics, techniques and procedures to defeat the S-300 in an open 
conflict. Of equal concern is how to deal with this system in peacetime 
should Iran choose to employ it to challenge U.S. or Coalition air 
superiority in the Arabian Gulf. While legacy Iranian surface to air 
missile systems, such as the S-200, could be used to threaten or harass 
commercial and military aviation in the Arabian Gulf, the S-300's 
increased lethality and capabilities could significantly expand their 
ability to impact routine CENTCOM operations in international airspace. 
We will continue to monitor the basing and movement of the S-300, 
ensure our aircrews continuously review their capabilities to operate 
safely and effectively in support of our current operations and will 
only alter mission profiles when absolutely necessary.

    39. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, it is well known that Iran 
strongly backs and supports Hezbollah. What steps are you taking to 
counter the threat posed by Hezbollah?
    General Votel. CENTCOM works to Build Partner Capacity through 
Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Loans, exercises and training 
with regional partners in our area of responsibility to enable their 
ability to counter the military threat posed by Lebanese Hezbollah as 
part of the Prepare component of our regional strategy. Our mil-to-mil 
activities focus primarily on the Lebanese Armed Forces, to eventually 
provide a viable alternative to Lebanese Hezbollah. These efforts also 
contribute to diminishing the perception and narrative that Lebanese 
Hezbollah exists to defend Lebanon against the Israeli threat.
    40. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, United States forces in 
Syria are authorized to operate to train, assist, and advise coalition 
partners to defeat ISIL. ISIL is no longer in Manbij. What authority 
justifies the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment's presence?
    General Votel. As part of the campaign against ISIS, the United 
States is using force against elements in Syria. The Coalition Forces 
Commander exercises authority as outlined in Joint Staff order to 
employ his forces in Syria as part of the overall campaign to defeat 
ISIS. As part of the overall campaign plan, small teams of United 
States special operations forces have also deployed to Syria to help 
coordinate United States operations with some of these indigenous 
ground forces. One of these indigenous partnered forces, the SAC/Syrian 
Defense Force, successfully liberated Manbij from ISIS and then 
transitioned governance to the Manbij Council. Coalition forces remain 
to ensure that ISIS is not able to reestablish itself in the area as 
part of the assigned complementary mission to advise and assist partner 
security forces operating in liberated areas, in this case--Manbij. 
Additionally, these forces provide over watch of the situation in 
Manbij and provide a measure of assurance to our partners. Currently, 
elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment are fulfilling this requirement, 
because they constitute the most appropriate and available force for 
the mission.

    41. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, Marines have arrived in 
Syria to establish an outpost near Raqqa to fire artillery in support 
United States-backed forces fighting to retake Raqqa from ISIL. Between 
the Army and the Marines, this is a noticeable escalation of our 
involvement in Syria. How large is our force presence in Syria now?
    General Votel. [Deleted.]

    42. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, Secretary Mattis presented a 
classified plan to the White House to defeat ISIL, as requested by 
President Trump in an Executive Order earlier this year. Although we 
have not seen the plan, there are reports that it could include an 
increased U.S. ground presence and military equipment. What was your 
role in the development of this plan?
    General Votel. Our Coalition Military Campaign Plan remains the 
Coalition's plan to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and of course we 
have shared our plan as well as other contingency plans with Secretary 
Mattis and his staff. My staff is working with the Joint Staff and the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense on the planning efforts to help 
inform the new administration, and I feel comfortable with my level of 
coordination, collaboration, and alignment with the Secretary, the 
Chairman, and our staffs.

    43. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, to defeat ISIL, do you 
believe we need a more robust ground presence? If so, what would it 
consist of?
    General Votel. Our approach of providing advice, assistance, and 
key enabling capabilities in support of the indigenous forces in Iraq 
and Syria is working. Not only is it working, but the approach is 
important for a sustainable victory over ISIS, as it places the 
responsibility of defeating ISIS on those who continue living in the 
area. The ``by, with and through'' approach does require operational 
patience, but the indigenous forces have a vested interest in getting 
it right. I am satisfied with the force structure that we currently 
have in place to support our indigenous partners. However, if 
conditions on the ground dictate that we need additional assets to 
enable their maneuver better, we will make the necessary requests 
through appropriate channels.
    44. Senator Blumenthal. General Waldhauser, a new Chinese base is 
being built just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier. How will it impact 
our own installation and operations? Will we need to make operational 
adjustments? Are you concerned about security risks--be it physical or 
    General Waldhauser. From an operational perspective, we have 
concerns about the Chinese presence in Djibouti. We will continue to 
remain vigilant in order to ensure every aspect of our operational 
security is in place and our operations are not degraded or 
compromised. In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the 
Government of Djibouti on issues that impede an amenable China-United 
States co-existence within their country. We will also look for 
opportunities to engage with China in meaningful ways to support our 
mutual interests for a stable and secure Africa.

    45. Senator Blumenthal. General Waldhauser, Djibouti is a strategic 
location for China, with half its oil imports passing through the 
Mandeb Strait providing a potential choke point. This creates a 
vulnerability requiring escorts for these ships. Do you have concerns 
that China will increase its naval presence in the area? What impact 
will that have on our operations?
    General Waldhauser. Djibouti is not only a strategic location for 
China but for the United States as well. China has contributed some 
naval assets to the Combined Task Force in the counterpiracy effort off 
Somalia, and this has helped the unified international effort. On the 
other hand, we have concerns about China's increasing presence in 
Djibouti. Though China is referring to its base as a ``support 
facility,'' this facility will be an operations base. As the Chinese 
begin to increase their naval presence at this facility, we must be 
vigilant on the possible impact on our operations and the likelihood 
that China could potentially use its base to support forward deployed 
assets, as well as grant access to Russia. With the distinct 
possibility of more naval assets in the area, we may have to increase 
our engagements with the Chinese to deconflict space for our 
                     military presense/force levels
    46. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, an Afghan official disclosed 
to the Wall Street Journal that in December then President-elect Trump, 
in a conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said he would 
support Afghan forces and entertain increasing troops following an 
assessment. Has an assessment been ordered?
    General Votel. Yes, there are parallel efforts ongoing within the 
National Security Council, Department of Defense, and CENTCOM. My 
staff, in conjunction with General Nicholson, is conducting a review 
and will provide recommendations to Secretary Mattis and General 

    47. Senator Blumenthal. General Votel, how important is the 
continuance of the NATO Resolute Support Mission in training, advising 
and assisting the Afghan Security Forces and institutions?
    General Votel. Senator, it is essential that there is a continuance 
of the NATO Resolute Support Mission. I'll echo comments made by 
General Nicholson, commander, Resolute Support that the 39 nations' 
four-year commitment made at the 2016 Warsaw Summit and Brussel's donor 
conference served to strengthen the Afghans' resolve and sent a strong 
message to the enemy. This support demonstrates that the international 
community remains committed to the success of both the mission and the 
Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.



                        THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017

                                       U.S. Senate,
                               Committee on Armed Services,
                                                    Washington, DC.


    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:34 a.m. in Room 
SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator John McCain 
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Committee members present: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, 
Fischer, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Cruz, Sasse, Reed, 
Nelson, McCaskill, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Donnelly, 
Hirono, Kaine, King, Heinrich, Warren, and Peters.


    Chairman McCain. Well, good morning.
    The Senate Armed Services Committee meets this morning to 
receive testimony on the posture of United States European 
Command. I would like to welcome General Scaparrotti, who is 
back before the committee. I am sure he has been eagerly 
awaiting that opportunity. We thank you for your decades of 
distinguished service and for your leadership of our men and 
women in uniform.
    This morning, our thoughts and prayers are with the loved 
ones of the four innocent people killed and dozens more injured 
in an attack in the heart of London that police believe was 
inspired by radical Islamist terrorists. We stands in 
solidarity with the British people, committed as ever to our 
special relationship and to the common defense of our security 
and our values.
    Three years ago this last week, Russia violated Ukrainian 
sovereignty and annexed Crimea, a seminal event that revealed 
what had already been increasingly obvious for years: that the 
United States and our European allies confront an aggressive, 
militarily capable Russian Government that is hostile to our 
interests and our values and willing to use force not as a last 
resort but as a primary tool to achieve its revisionist 
objectives. Many believe this challenge had been consigned to 
the history books. Indeed, the United States operated under 
that assumption for far too long, drastically reducing our 
military presence, allowing our intelligence capabilities to 
wither, and unilaterally disengaging from the information 
    I might add that yesterday we received information that 
Sergei Magnitsky who was murdered by Vladimir Putin's thugs--
his lawyer was thrown from a fourth floor room. I mean, this 
kind of stuff you cannot make up. It is an indication of 
Vladimir Putin's feeling of impunity that he can go around 
killing people without any penalty to pay. I am sure that what 
Mr. Putin was trying to do is send a message to anybody else in 
Russia who wants to stand up against him. I digress.
    Three years later, I regret to say the United States still 
has not adjusted to the scope, scale, and severity of the new 
strategic reality we face in Europe. We continue to lack 
coherent policy and strategy to deter conflict and prevent 
aggression in Europe. Despite important progress made through 
the European Deterrence Initiative, we still have no long-term 
vision for United States force posture in Europe, one that 
accounts for Russia's rapid military modernization, evolving 
nuclear doctrine, violations of the INF [Intermediate-Range 
Nuclear Forces] Treaty, advanced anti-access/area denial threat 
concentrated in Kaliningrad, and significant military buildup 
along its western border.
    Indeed, as General Scaparrotti points out in his written 
testimony--and I quote--``the ground force permanently assigned 
to EUCOM [United States European Command] is inadequate to meet 
the combatant command's directed mission to deter Russia from 
further aggression.''
    The new administration has an opportunity to turn the page 
and design a new policy and strategy in Europe backed by all 
elements of American power and decisive political will. General 
Scaparrotti, we hope you can help this committee begin to think 
through the basic requirements for such a policy and strategy 
and what resources and authority you need both as European 
Commander and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe to deter and, if 
necessary, defeat aggression against the United States and our 
    Some of the features of a new approach in Europe are 
already clear. For example, the need to enhance the forward 
presence of United States military forces and provide defensive 
lethal assistant to Ukraine. But we still have a lot of work to 
do in other areas, particularly in countering Russian 
disinformation and devising gray zone strategies for 
competition below the threshold of major conflict.
    What is also clear is that no United States policy or 
strategy in Europe can be successful without our NATO [North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization] allies. At the 2014 NATO Summit 
in Wales, the leaders of every NATO ally pledged to reach the 
goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP [Gross Domestic 
Product] on defense by 2024. The good news is that according to 
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, defense budgets across 
Europe and Canada increased by 3.8 percent last year, or by 
some $10 billion.
    This is important progress, but we must be careful not to 
reduce the NATO alliance of the notion of burden sharing to 
simply 2 percent. Our allies do not just need to spend more, 
they need to spend better. One senior European official 
recently said that Europe spends roughly 50 percent of the 
United States on defense, but produces just 15 percent of the 
capability because defense purchases are uncoordinated, 
duplicative, and inefficient. That is why enhancing European 
security is not just a job for NATO but also for the European 
Union, which has an important role to play in encouraging 
cooperative defense acquisition and operation of modernized 
defense equipment.
    Finally, we must never forget that the essential 
contributions America's allies make to our national security 
are not measured in dollars alone. After the September 11th 
attacks killed 2,600 Americans and 135 citizens of NATO 
countries, for the first time in history, our NATO allies 
invoked article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO troops 
went to fight side by side with American troops in Afghanistan, 
and over 1,000 of them made the ultimate sacrifice.
    The price our NATO allies paid in blood fighting alongside 
us should never be diminished. We must never forget that 
America is safer and more secure because it has allies that are 
willing to step up and share the burden of collective security.
    Senator Reed?


    Senator Reed. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for 
holding this timely and important hearing.
    I join you in solidarity with our British allies and 
applaud your comments.
    Thanks also to General Scaparrotti for your nearly 40 years 
of service in the military, your leadership in Afghanistan, 
Korea, and now at United States European Command. Also, please 
pass along our sincere gratitude for the outstanding service of 
all the men and women who serve with you in EUCOM. Thank you, 
    The transatlantic relationship is a cornerstone of U.S. 
national security and the international order established at 
the end of World War II. Our European allies and partners have 
stood with us in maintaining the peace, including in coalition 
operations in Afghanistan and fighting terrorist extremists in 
Iraq and Syria. The NATO alliance remains strong and is 
grounded in a shared vision of an integrated and stable Europe 
rooted in respect for sovereignty and political and economic 
    I am concerned, however, about the mixed signals that the 
current administration seems to be sending regarding the United 
States commitment to NATO and the willingness to cut a deal 
with Russia. Secretary Tillerson's reported decision to skip a 
NATO foreign ministers meeting next month and take a trip to 
Moscow prior to a NATO summit in May has raised concerns in 
some European capitals. I urge Secretary Tillerson to 
reconsider his attendance at NATO next month and send a strong 
signal of our unwavering support for the alliance.
    The broad and growing challenges facing the EUCOM Commander 
mean that alliance unity is more important than ever. The 
cohesion of NATO is being directly threatened by Russia. 
President Putin has repeatedly shown he will use military force 
to assert a Russian sphere of influence over its neighbors and 
to undermine their further integration into Europe. Nowhere is 
this more evident than in Ukraine where Russia has used hybrid 
warfare tactics to seize Crimea and continues to support 
militarily and financially Russian-led separatists in eastern 
Ukraine, in violation of Russia's commitments under the Minsk 
agreements. As we heard at Tuesday's panel of distinguished 
former government officials, it is critically important that we 
assist Ukraine in resisting Russian pressure and instituting 
democratic reforms. A successful, reformed Ukraine would 
provide a powerful alternative to Putin's autocratic rule.
    The United States has taken significant steps in recent 
years to rebuild its military presence in Europe and reassure 
our allies and partners threatened by renewed Russian 
aggression. The European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI, and the 
NATO enhanced forward presence have increased the rotational 
presence of forces in Eastern Europe. In addition, while many 
NATO members to fall short of the 2 percent of GDP target for 
defense spending, defense budgets among NATO nations are 
increasing and a number of allies are making significant in-
kind contributions as well. Questions remain, however, whether 
we have the appropriate mix of forces in Europe, both 
quantitatively and qualitatively, and I hope you will address 
these questions this morning.
    Russia is deploying the full array of tools in the Kremlin 
playbook to challenge the West. This includes aggressive 
actions in the nuclear realm. I agree with the experts on 
Tuesday's panel regarding the importance of responding strongly 
to Russia's fielding of a missile system in violation of the 
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty. In addition, 
Russia's nuclear doctrine of escalate to deescalate is not only 
deeply disturbing but potentially catastrophic.
    Also disconcerting is Russia's increasing boldness in using 
non-military tools to target Western democracies and advance 
Putin's strategic aims. Russia is employing an array of covert 
and overt asymmetric weapons in the gray zone short of military 
conflict, including cyber hacking, disinformation, propaganda, 
economic leverage, corruption, and even political 
assassination. To counter this insidious Russian interference, 
we must begin by recognizing it as a national security threat. 
Further, the intelligence community has warned that the kinds 
of Kremlin-directed malign activities witnessed in last year's 
United States presidential election are likely to re-occur in 
the future, including during elections in France, Germany, and 
elsewhere in Europe this year. Responding to this national 
security threat will require a whole-of-government approach and 
a comprehensive strategy for pushing back against Russia 
    EUCOM faces a number of other challenges as well. This 
includes increasing instability in the Balkans where Russian 
influence operations are feeding Serbian resentments both in 
Serbia and among Bosnian Serbs. In addition, in the Balkans, 
where traditionally a moderate form of Islam has been 
practiced, there are growing Islamic Salafist influences as a 
result of a mosque-building campaign funded by Saudi Arabia. On 
its southeastern border, EUCOM must contend with the 
instability arising from Syria and the transnational threats 
emanating from that conflict. To the south, the migration 
crisis in the Mediterranean countries continues to strain 
European resources for security. General, I am interested in 
hearing how NATO is handling these myriad of problems and how 
the United States can be helpful.
    Again, I want to thank General Scaparrotti for his service 
and I look forward to this morning to his testimony.
    Chairman McCain. Good morning, General.


    General Scaparrotti. Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, 
and distinguished members of the committee, I am honored to 
testify today as the Commander of the United States European 
Command. On behalf of over 60,000 permanently assigned 
servicemembers, as well as civilians, contractors, and their 
families who serve and represent our Nation in Europe, thank 
you for your support.
    Before starting, I would like to also express my condolence 
on behalf of the entire European Command team for the civilians 
and policemen killed and wounded in yesterday's terrorist 
attack in the UK [United Kingdom]. Our thoughts and prayers go 
out to these victims and their families impacted by this 
senseless attack. We strongly condemn this attack and will 
continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our NATO ally and 
our partners to defeat terrorism.
    Chairman, the European theater remains critical to our 
national interests. The transatlantic alliance gives us a 
unique advantage over our adversaries, a united, capable 
warfighting alliance resolved in its purpose and strengthened 
by shared values that have been forged in battle. EUCOM's 
relationship with NATO and the 51 countries within our AOR 
[Area of Responsibility] provides the United States with a 
network of willing partners who support global operations and 
secure international rules-based order. Our security 
architecture protects more than one billion people and has 
safeguarded transatlantic trade which now constitutes almost 
half of the world's GDP.
    However, this security architecture is being tested, and 
today we face the most dynamic European strategic environment 
in recent history. Political volatility and economic 
uncertainty are compounded by threats to our security system 
that are trans-regional, multi-domain, and multi-functional. In 
the east, a resurgent Russia has turned from partner to 
antagonist as it seeks to reemerge as a global power. Countries 
along Russia's periphery, including Ukraine and Georgia, 
struggled against Moscow's malign activities and military 
actions. In the southeast, strategic drivers of instability 
converge on key allies, especially Turkey, which has to 
simultaneously manage Russia, terrorists, and refugee flows. In 
the south, violent extremists and transnational criminal 
elements spawn terror and corruption from North Africa to the 
Middle East, while refugees flee to Europe in search of 
security and opportunity. In the high north, Russia is 
reasserting its military presence and positioning itself for 
strategic advantage in the Arctic.
    In response to these challenges, EUCOM has shifted its 
focus from security cooperation and engagement to deterrence 
and defense. Accordingly, we are adjusting our posture, our 
plans, our readiness so that we remain relevant to the threats 
we face. In short, we are returning to the historic role as a 
warfighting command focused on deterrence and defense.
    EUCOM's transition would not be possible without the 
congressional support of the European Deterrence Initiative. 
Thanks in large measure to ERI, or EDI, over the last 12 
months, EUCOM has made clear progress with an enhanced forward 
presence or force presence, complex exercises and training, 
infrastructure improvements, increased prepositioning of 
equipment and supplies, and partner capacity building 
throughout Europe.
    But we cannot meet these challenges alone. In response to 
Russian aggression, EUCOM has continued to strengthen our 
relationship with strategic allies and partners, including the 
Baltic nations, Poland, Turkey, and Ukraine. EUCOM has also 
strengthened ties with Israel, one of our closest allies. Above 
all, EUCOM has supported the NATO alliance which remains, as 
Secretary Mattis said, the bedrock of our transatlantic 
    Thus, EUCOM posture is growing stronger, and I remain 
confident in our ability to affect this transition. But there 
is much work to do. We must not only match but outpace the 
modernization and advances of our adversaries. We must invest 
in the tools and capabilities needed to increase effectiveness 
across the spectrum of conflict. We must ensure that we have a 
force that is credible, agile, and relevant to the dynamic 
demands of this theater.
    To this end, EUCOM has identified the following focus 
areas: ISR collection platforms that improve timely threat 
information and strategic warning; land force capabilities that 
deter Russia from further aggression; enhanced naval 
capabilities for antisubmarine warfare, strike warfare, and 
amphibious operations; prepositioned equipment to increase our 
responsiveness to crisis and enhance missile defense systems.
    Let me conclude by again thanking this committee's members 
and staff for their continued support of EUCOM not only through 
increased funding but also by helping us to articulate the 
challenges that lie before us. Support from other senior 
leaders and, above all, the public at home and across Europe is 
vital to ensuring that we have a ready and relevant force.
    This remains a pivotal time for EUCOM as we transition to 
meet the demands of a dynamic security environment. I remain 
confident that through the strength of our alliances and 
partnerships and with the professionalism of our 
servicemembers, we will adapt and ensure Europe remains whole, 
free, and at peace.
    Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
    [The prepared statement of General Scaparrotti follows:]

          Prepared Statement by General Curtis M. Scaparrotti
                            i. introduction
    Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of this Committee, I am 
honored to testify before you in my first year as the Commander of 
United States European Command (EUCOM). It is a privilege to lead the 
great soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and 
civilians in this Command. They continue to demonstrate remarkable 
commitment, dedication, and selfless service both in Europe and across 
the globe. We all appreciate your continued support.
    The European theater remains critical to our national interests. 
The transatlantic alliance gives us an unmatched advantage over our 
adversaries--a united, capable, warfighting alliance resolved in its 
purpose and strengthened by shared values that have been forged in 
battle. EUCOM's relationship with NATO and the 51 countries within our 
Area of Responsibility (AOR) provides the United States with a network 
of willing partners who support global operations and secure the 
international rules-based order that our nations have defended together 
since World War II. Our security architecture protects more than one 
billion people and has safeguarded transatlantic trade, which now 
constitutes almost half of the world's combined GDP.
    Nevertheless, today we face the most dynamic European security 
environment in history. Political volatility and economic uncertainty 
are compounded by threats to our security system that are trans-
regional, multi-domain, and multi-functional. In the East, a resurgent 
Russia has turned from partner to antagonist. Countries along Russia's 
periphery, especially Ukraine and Georgia, are under threat from 
Moscow's malign influence and military aggression. In the Southeast, 
strategic drivers of instability converge on key allies, especially 
Turkey, which has to simultaneously manage Russia, terrorists, and 
refugee flows. In the South, violent extremists and transnational 
criminal elements spawn terror and corruption from North Africa to the 
Middle East, while refugees and migrants fleeing persecution to Europe 
in search of security and opportunity. In the High North, Russia is 
reasserting its military prowess and positioning itself for strategic 
advantage in the Arctic.
    EUCOM fully recognizes the dynamic nature of this security 
environment, and in response, we are regenerating our abilities for 
deterrence and defense while continuing our security cooperation and 
engagement mission. This requires that we return to our historical role 
as a command that is capable of executing the full-spectrum of joint 
and combined operations in a contested environment. Accordingly, we are 
adjusting our posture, plans, and readiness to respond to possible 
future conflicts.
    This shift would not be possible without congressional support of 
the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). Thanks in large measure to 
ERI, over the last 12 months EUCOM has made demonstrable progress. 
United States tanks have returned to European soil. United States F-15s 
and F-22s have demonstrated air dominance throughout the theater. 
United States naval forces have sailed throughout European waters. 
EUCOM has operationalized its Joint Cyber Center. With the approval of 
former Secretary Carter, EUCOM delivered the first new operational plan 
for the defense of Europe in over 25 years.
    ERI also supports high-end exercises and training, improved 
infrastructure, and enhanced prepositioning of equipment and supplies, 
while State Department and DOD funds build partner capacity throughout 
    EUCOM has also continued to strengthen our relationship with allies 
and partners. Our relationship with Turkey endured a coup attempt with 
minimal disruption to multiple ongoing operations. EUCOM has 
strengthened ties with Israel, one of our closest allies. Above all, 
EUCOM has supported the NATO Alliance, which remains, as Secretary 
Mattis has said, the ``bedrock'' of our transatlantic security. Overall 
EUCOM is growing stronger.
              ii. theater assessment--risks and challenges
    Over the past year I have highlighted three signature issues facing 
us in this dynamic security environment: Russia, radicals or violent 
extremists, and regional unrest--leading to refugee and migrant flows. 
At the same time, managing the political, economic, and social 
challenges posed by refugees and migrants is a consuming concern of our 
allies and partners.
    Russia's malign actions are supported by its diplomatic, 
information, economic, and military initiatives. Moscow intends to 
reemerge as a global power, and views international norms such as the 
rule of law, democracy, and human rights as components of a system 
designed to suppress it. Therefore, Russia seeks to undermine this 
international system and discredit those in the West who have created 
it. For example, Russia is taking steps to influence the internal 
politics of European countries just as it tried to do in the United 
States in an attempt to create disunity and weakness within Europe and 
undermine the transatlantic relationship. Furthermore, Russia has 
repeatedly violated international agreements and treaties that underpin 
European peace and stability, including the Treaty on Intermediate-
Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces 
in Europe (CFE), and it is undermining transparency and confidence 
building regimes such as the Vienna Document and Open Skies, which 
provides greater transparency of posture and exercises in the region
    Russia's political leadership appears to seek a resurgence through 
modernization of its military. Russia is adjusting its doctrine, 
modernizing its weapons, reorganizing the disposition of its forces, 
professionalizing its armed services, and upgrading capabilities in all 
warfighting domains. Russia desires a military force capable of 
achieving its strategic objectives and increasing its power.
    Russia's aggression in Ukraine, including occupation and attempted 
annexation of Crimea, and actions in Syria underscore its willingness 
to use military force to exert its influence in Europe and the Middle 
East. In Ukraine, Russia's willingness to foment a bloody conflict into 
its third year through the use of proxy forces in the Donbas, and 
elsewhere, is deeply troubling to our allies and partners, particularly 
Russia's closest neighbors. In Syria, Russia's military intervention 
has changed the dynamics of the conflict, bolstered the Bashar al-Assad 
regime, targeted moderate opposition elements, and compounded human 
suffering in Syria, and complicated United States and coalition 
operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Russia 
has used this chaos to establish a permanent presence in the Middle 
East and eastern Mediterranean.
    This past year saw other significant demonstrations of Russia's 
renewed military capability, including the first ever combat deployment 
of the KUZNETSOV Task Force, nation-wide strategic exercises, joint 
air, ground, and maritime operations in Syria using new platforms and 
precision-guided munitions, and the deployment of nuclear-capable 
missiles to Kaliningrad. Russia's deployment in Ukraine and Syria also 
revealed increased proficiency in expeditionary combat and sustainment 
    Another key component of Russia's military advancement is its 
Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS). For example, in connection with 
its deployment to support the Assad regime in Syria, Russia fielded 
advanced Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2/AD) systems that combine command 
and control and electronic warfare capabilities, and long range coastal 
defense cruise missiles with advanced air defense platforms. EUCOM 
assesses that Russia plans to meld existing and future IADS systems 
into a central command structure to control all air defense forces and 
    In the High North, Russia continues to strengthen its military 
presence through equipment, infrastructure, training, and other 
activities. Russia is positioning itself to gain strategic advantage if 
the Northern Sea Route opens and becomes a viable shipping lane between 
Europe and Asia.
    Most concerning, however, is Moscow's substantial inventory of non-
strategic nuclear weapons in the EUCOM AOR and its troubling doctrine 
that calls on the potential use of these weapons to escalate its way 
out of a failing conflict. Russia's fielding of a conventional/nuclear 
dual-capable system that is prohibited under the INF Treaty creates a 
mismatch in escalatory options with the West. In the context of Putin's 
highly centralized decision-making structure, Moscow's provocative 
rhetoric and nuclear threats increase the likelihood of 
misunderstanding and miscalculation.
    In addition to recent conventional and nuclear developments, Russia 
has employed a decades-long strategy of indirect action to coerce, 
destabilize, and otherwise exercise a malign influence over other 
nations. In neighboring states, Russia continues to fuel ``protracted 
conflicts.'' In Moldova, for example, Russia has yet to follow through 
on its 1999 Istanbul summit commitments to withdraw an estimated 1,500 
troops--whose presence has no mandate--from the Moldovan breakaway 
region of Transnistria. Russia asserts that it will remove its force 
once a comprehensive settlement to the Transnistrian conflict has been 
reached. However, Russia continued to undermine the discussion of a 
comprehensive settlement to the Transnistrian conflict at the 5+2 
negotiations. Moscow continues to play a role in destabilizing the 
Nagorno-Karabakh dispute by selling arms to both parties--Armenia and 
Azerbaijan--while maintaining troops in Armenia, despite an 
international pledge to co-chair Minsk Group charged with seeking 
resolution of the conflict.
    Russia fiercely opposes one of our strongest EUCOM partners, 
Georgia, in its attempts to align with the European and transatlantic 
communities. Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 
its 2008 invasion the Georgian regions of has created lasting 
    In the Balkans, Russia exploits ethnic tensions to slow progress on 
European and transatlantic integration. In 2016, Russia overtly 
interfered in the political processes of both Bosnia-Herzegovina and 
    Additional Russian activities short of war, range from 
disinformation to manipulation. Examples include Russia's outright 
denial of involvement in the lead up to Russia's occupation and 
attempted annexation in Crimea; attempts to influence elections in the 
United States, France and elsewhere; its aggressive propaganda 
campaigns targeting ethnic Russian populations among its neighbors; and 
cyber activities directed against infrastructure in the Baltic nations 
and Ukraine. In all of these ways and more, Russia is attempting to 
exert its influence, expand its power, and discredit the capability and 
relevance of the West.
    Violent extremists, most notably ISIS, pose a serious, immediate 
threat to United States personnel, our allies, and our infrastructure 
in Europe and worldwide. In 2016, there were major terrorist attacks in 
Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Nice, Paris, and elsewhere. ISIS has made 
its intentions clear: it seeks to overthrow Western civilization and 
establish a world-wide caliphate.
    While it's footprint in Iraq and Syria shrunk in 2016, since 2014, 
ISIS has significantly expanded its operations throughout Europe and 
now leverages its network to enable and inspire attacks by European-
based extremists in their resident countries. Further, ISIS has 
exploited the migration crisis to infiltrate operatives into Europe. 
Since Turkey expanded its counter-ISIS role and advocacy for coalition 
operations in Mosul, it has experienced an increased number of 
terrorist attacks, and ISIS's leaders have called for more. We do not 
expect the threat to diminish in the near future.
    As a consequence of this threat, European nations have been forced 
to divert financial resources and military personnel to internal 
security. The impact of this reallocation is not yet fully appreciated 
and will likely persist for years. In short, violent extremism poses a 
dangerous threat to transatlantic nations and to the international 
order that we value.
Regional Volatility
    In EUCOM's AOR, Russia's indirect actions have sought to exploit 
political unrest and socioeconomic disparities. Russian aggression in 
Ukraine has led to the deaths of approximately 10,000 people since 
April 2014. Recently in eastern Ukraine, Russia controls the battle 
tempo, again ratcheting up the number of daily violations of the cease 
fire and--even more concerning--directing combined Russian-separatist 
forces to target civilian infrastructure and threaten and intimidate 
OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] monitors in 
order to turn up the pressure on Ukraine. Furthermore, Moscow's support 
for so-called ``separatists'' in eastern Ukraine destabilizes Kyiv's 
political structures, particularly as Ukraine undertakes politically-
difficult reforms to combat corruption and comply with IMF 
    Ukraine seeks a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, the withdrawal 
of heavy weapons and Russian forces, full and unfettered access for 
OSCE monitors, and control over its internationally-recognized border 
with Russia. Russian-led separatist forces continue to commit the 
majority of ceasefire violations despite attempts by the OSCE to broker 
a lasting ceasefire along the line of contact.
    Turkey has long been and remains an ally of the United States. It 
now occupies a critical location at the crossroads of multiple 
strategic challenges. To its west, it implements the Montreux 
Convention, which governs transit through the Turkish Straits, and is 
committed to local solutions for Black Sea issues. To its north and 
east, Turkey maintains a complicated relationship with Russia. Ankara 
seeks to resume the level of trade with Moscow that it enjoyed prior to 
Turkey's November 2015 shoot down of a Russian fighter. Turkey has 
absorbed the largest number of refugees from Syria--almost three 
million. Despite these challenges, EUCOM continues to work closely with 
Turkey to enable critical basing and logistical support to the counter 
ISIS fight and supports Turkey to counter its terror threat.
    Although the flow of refugees to Europe has slowed, the refugee 
situation remains a significant challenge to our European allies and 
partners. The strain on the social systems of European nations, 
especially along the Mediterranean Sea, diverts resources that could 
otherwise go toward military and defense spending, and finding 
solutions has tested political relationships. EU [European Union] 
member states struggle to find a common, ``shared'' approach to admit 
and settle migrants. Both NATO and the EU, in conjunction with Turkish 
and Greek authorities, have committed law enforcement and military 
assets to this issue, including a maritime force in the Aegean Sea to 
conduct reconnaissance, monitoring, and surveillance.
    The Syrian civil war and the risk of spillover into neighboring 
states, including Israel, continue to threaten stability in Europe and 
the Levant. Despite assistance from the USG [U.S. Government] and the 
international community, the refugee population in Jordan and Lebanon 
has placed significant burdens on the government and local residents. 
Additionally, factional fighting in Syria has resulted in occasional 
cross-border fire into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Israel has 
avoided being drawn into the conflict in Syria but has taken military 
action to deny the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
    The Balkans' stability since the late 1990's masks political and 
socio-economic fragility. Russia promotes anti-European views in this 
region by exploiting corrupt political systems, poor economic 
performance, and increased ethnic polarization. Additionally, Islamic 
radicals seek to take advantage of high unemployment rates, political 
turmoil, and socioeconomic disparities to recruit violent extremists.
    Iran's regional influence in the Levant continues to grow through 
its ongoing support to radical groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah, 
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and paramilitary groups involved in 
the Syrian conflict and in counter-ISIS efforts across Iraq. Iran, 
which Israel views as its greatest existential threat, continues to 
transfer advanced conventional arms to Hezbollah and is clearly 
committed to maintaining Syria as the key link of the Iran-Hezbollah 
axis, which sustains a terrorist network in Syrian-regime controlled 
territory. Furthermore, Iran has taken advantage of the Syrian crisis 
to militarily coordinate with Russia in support of Assad.
          iii. theater assessment--strengths and opportunities
    EUCOM will meet these challenges and adapt to the new security 
environment by capitalizing on our strengths and building new 
capabilities. We are developing a credible and relevant force structure 
built for deterrence and defense and leveraging a unified and adaptive 
NATO Alliance, and transitioning into a command able to address the 
strategic challenges before us.
Deter Russia
    EUCOM activities, facilitated by ERI funding, continue to be the 
primary demonstration of our deterrent capability.
    Increased Rotational Forces. ERI has directly supported an increase 
in the rotational presence of United States forces in Europe, a 
critical augmentation to EUCOM's assigned forces. For example, ERI 
funded Fort Stewart's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team's deployment to 
Europe from March to September 2016. Also, ERI funded the deployment of 
F-22 fighters, B-52 bombers, and additional combat and lift aircraft to 
Europe as part of the ERI Theater Security Package. Looking ahead, 
continued congressional support for ERI will sustain these rotations 
and enable additional anti-submarine warfare capabilities complementing 
maritime domain awareness assets in Iceland that are included in the 
fiscal year 2017 ERI request. Additionally, rotational Marine units 
will operate from Norway and the Black Sea region.
    Trained and Equipped Component Commands. EUCOM has also used ERI to 
fund and field Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS), providing a rapid 
mobilization capability for additional armored units in Europe. 
Separately, EUCOM advocated for and received full support for a $220 
million NATO Security Investment Program project (i.e., paid for by 
NATO common funding) that will build warehousing and maintenance 
capability for staging APS stocks in Poland. Additionally, ERI funds 
dozens of projects to upgrade flight-line and munitions-storage 
infrastructure across eight NATO nations to support not only rotational 
presence but also training events in Eastern Europe. The Navy is using 
ERI to fund capability enablers and force rotations to support EUCOM 
and NATO exercises, including Mine Countermeasure Teams and additional 
flying hours specifically to enhance EUCOM's deterrence posture.
    Persistent Presence. ERI increased funding for United States forces 
in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Mediterranean during 
2016. In addition, ERI allowed EUCOM to continue our contribution to 
NATO's Air Policing mission by funding a continued fighter presence in 
theater with the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath in the UK.
    Complex Exercises with Allies and Partners. ERI expanded the scope 
of EUCOM's involvement in over 28 joint and multi-national maritime, 
air, amphibious, and ground exercises across 40 countries. In June 
2016, EUCOM participated in the Polish national exercise ANAKONDA, 
which involved approximately 31,000 Allied troops--including over 
14,000 U.S. personnel--and provided a robust demonstration of Allied 
defensive capabilities, readiness, and interoperability. ERI also 
supported Navy-led BALTOPS 16, the premier maritime exercise in the 
Baltic region with over 6,100 troops from participating nations. 
Utilizing ERI resources, the Air Force took part in over 50 exercises 
and training deployments across Europe. An Acquisition and Cross-
Servicing Agreement concluded with the EU last December enables EUCOM 
to cooperate better with EU missions in the Balkans and elsewhere.
    Russia Strategic Initiative (RSI): EUCOM leads the Department of 
Defense's Russia Strategic Initiative (RSI), which provides a framework 
for understanding the Russian threat and a forum for coordinating 
efforts and requirements. RSI allows us to maximize the deterrent value 
of our activities while avoiding inadvertent escalation. In just over a 
year, RSI has created a number of analytic products for combatant 
commanders that will enable a more efficient application of existing 
resources and planning efforts.
    Deterring Russia requires a whole-of-government approach, and EUCOM 
supports the strategy of approaching Russia from a position of strength 
while seeking appropriate military-to-military communication necessary 
to fulfill our defense obligations in accordance with the Fiscal Year 
2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Going forward, we must bring 
the information aspects of our national power more fully to bear on 
Russia, both to amplify our narrative and to draw attention to Russia's 
manipulative, coercive, and malign activities. Finally, NATO and U.S. 
nuclear forces continue to be a vital component of our deterrence. Our 
modernization efforts are crucial; we must preserve a ready, credible, 
and safe nuclear capability.
Enable the NATO Alliance
    As the United States manages multiple strategic challenges, our 
enduring strength remains NATO, the most successful alliance in 
history. NATO's leadership understands that the security environment 
has radically changed over the past few years. The Alliance has placed 
renewed emphasis on deterring further Russian aggression, countering 
transnational threats, such as violent extremist organizations, and 
projecting stability in the Middle East and North Africa, while 
fulfilling its commitments in Afghanistan.
    The Warsaw Summit last July was a significant demonstration of 
unity, cooperation, and strategic adaptation. As the member nations 
declared in NATO's Warsaw Summit Communique, ``We are united in our 
commitment to the Washington Treaty, the purposes and principles of the 
Charter of the United Nations (UN), and the vital transatlantic bond''. 
This unity is NATO's center of gravity, and the United States must 
continue to support solidarity among the Alliance nations.
    Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). The signature outcome of the 2016 
Warsaw Summit was the decision to establish an enhanced Forward 
Presence (eFP) in the Baltics and Poland to demonstrate NATO's cohesion 
in defense of the Alliance. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and 
the United States have begun deploying multinational battalion task 
forces to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland respectively on a 
rotational basis. Defense Cooperation Agreements (DCAs) signed in 2017 
with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are facilitating the deployment of 
U.S forces to the three Baltic states. The United States serves as the 
framework nation for eFP in Poland and is working closely with the 
other framework nations and their host nations to ensure NATO's key 
deterrence and defense measures are capable and integrated.
    European Phased Adapted Approach (EPAA). EUCOM continues to 
implement the EPAA to defend European NATO populations, territory, and 
infrastructure against ballistic missile threats from threats outside 
the Euro-Atlantic region. In July 2016, the United States-funded Aegis 
Ashore facility in Romania became operational and transferred to NATO 
operational control. Work on the Aegis Ashore site in Poland 
(authorized and appropriated in fiscal year 2016 legislation) is 
underway and on track for completion by the end of calendar year 2018 
and operational under NATO operational control in mid-2019.
    Projecting Stability. NATO is a key contributor to ensuring 
security and projecting stability abroad. It is worth remembering that 
the first and only time the Alliance invoked the mutual defense 
provisions of its founding treaty was in response to the 9/11 attacks 
on the United States. Today, through NATO's Resolute Support Mission, 
over 12,000 troops (including over 5,000 non-U.S. personnel) provide 
training and assistance to Afghan security forces and institutions. 
NATO is committed to ensuring a stable Afghanistan that is not a safe 
haven for terrorists.
    Additionally, it is notable that all 28 NATO nations participate in 
the Counter-ISIS coalition. NATO committed AWACS surveillance aircraft 
and actively contributes to capacity building in Iraq. EUCOM actively 
supports NATO's goal of expanding its operations against this terrorist 
    Support to Washington Treaty. EUCOM provides support for key 
articles of the Washington Treaty, enabling NATO members to meet their 
collective security commitments. EUCOM conducts activities, such as 
security cooperation, to help allies meet their article 3 commitment to 
``maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to 
resist attack.'' We have been able to reduce allies' dependencies on 
Russian-sourced, legacy military equipment thanks to ongoing 
congressional support for critical authorities and funding that provide 
shared resources. EUCOM also actively assists the Alliance when an ally 
declares, under article 4, that its territorial integrity, political 
independence, or security is threatened. The last time an ally invoked 
article 4 was 2015, when Turkey sought consultation following terrorist 
attacks. Most importantly, EUCOM is the force that backs the United 
States' commitment to article 5, which declares that an armed attack on 
one ally is an attack on all.
    NATO Spending Trends. At the Wales Summit in 2014, the allies 
pledged to reverse the trend of declining defense budgets and invest in 
the development of highly-capable and deployable forces. Today, in 
addition to the United States, four allies (Estonia, Greece, Poland, 
and the United Kingdom) meet the NATO guidelines for 2 percent of GDP, 
up from three in 2014. Allies' defense expenditures increased in 2015 
for the first time since 2009 and grew at a real rate of 3.8 percent in 
2016, with 22 member nations increasing defense spending. Allies are 
showing demonstrable progress toward their commitment to contribute 2 
percent of their GDP within a decade (by 2024).
    This is a positive trend, but allied nations must meet the 2 
percent mark with 20 percent allocated to the modernization of 
equipment and infrastructure. Critical ally and partner capability 
shortfalls remain, including strategic lift; intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); deployable command and control; 
air to air refueling; and air and missile defense. Further, both EUCOM 
and NATO are hampered by inadequate infrastructure that affects the 
ability to maneuver across the continent. The expansion of the Alliance 
to include former Eastern Bloc countries has exacerbated the lack of 
common transportation networks between the newer NATO members in the 
east and the more established allies in the west. EUCOM is working 
closely with NATO to identify and address infrastructure requirements 
to improve U.S. and NATO freedom of movement throughout the theater.
Build Partner Capacity
    EUCOM has spent several decades working with the Department of 
State to help allied and partner nations develop and improve their 
military and other security forces. This partner capacity building has 
been accomplished with the support of this Committee, which has been 
generous in providing us the authorization we need to accomplish this 
critical task. I would highlight two activities in particular.
    Defense Institution Building (DIB). DIB helps partner nations build 
effective, transparent, and accountable defense institutions. For 
example, EUCOM fully endorses the work of the Defense Reform Advisory 
Board in Ukraine, which is helping to bring about both political and 
military reform as the Ministry of Defense, General Staff, and Armed 
Forces transition from centralized Soviet-style systems and concepts 
towards a Euro-Atlantic model. We also support defense institutions in 
Georgia, helping them improve their strategic logistics, human and 
material resource management, and institutional aspects of their 
training management system. Overall, our DIB efforts lay the groundwork 
for broader security cooperation activities.
    Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine (JMTG-U). Together with 
forces from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the UK, and Canada using State 
Department-provided Foreign Military Financing and Ukraine Security 
Assistance Initiative funds, EUCOM trains, advises, and equips Ukraine 
security forces, helping them build the capacity to defend their 
sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our team, working through the 
Multinational Joint Commission, has developed Ukraine's institutional 
training capability so that Ukraine can create a NATO-interoperable 
armed force. Our efforts include the training of both conventional and 
special operations units, as well as advising Ukraine on defense reform 
Assist Israel
    EUCOM's mission to assist in the defense of Israel, one of our 
closest allies, remains a top priority. Success will depend on the 
continued support of Congress and our strong relationship with the 
Israel Defense Forces. Many aspects of our bilateral relationship have 
been guided by the Strategic Cooperation Initiative Program (SCIP) 
framework, which dates to the Reagan Administration. SCIP enables 
robust cooperation and coordination on a vast range of security 
matters. Going forward, we are working to update the SCIP to 
incorporate an examination of all major exercises to ensure each meets 
the three major pillars of our security relationship: (1) missile 
defense, air operations, and counter-terrorism; (2) managing the Weapon 
Reserve Stockpile for Allies-Israel (WRSA-I); and (3) ensuring Israel's 
qualitative military edge.
Counter Transnational Threats
    Adopting a whole-of-government approach, EUCOM, together with its 
interagency partners, conducts initiatives to counter transnational 
threats including countering terrorism and the flow of foreign 
fighters, countering illicit finance networks, combatting the 
trafficking of persons and illicit substances; and building allied and 
partner security, investigative, and judicial capacity. In conjunction 
with the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and other 
federal law enforcement agencies, EUCOM works to monitor and thwart the 
flow of foreign fighters, support the dismantlement of facilitation 
networks, and build partner nation capacity to defeat violent 
    Through our counter terrorism cell, EUCOM strengthens the global 
Counter-ISIS efforts in coordination with and support of U.S. Central 
(CENTCOM), Africa (AFRICOM), and Special Operations (SOCOM) Commands. 
We have focused on those who facilitate the ISIS brand and network 
through radicalization, financing, and propaganda.
    Also, EUCOM and NATO are working to increase ties with the EU to 
enhance the capabilities Europe can collectively bring to bear against 
transnational threats. These three organizational nodes foster a shared 
understanding of the threats, help match resources accordingly, and can 
address all elements of national power including diplomatic, 
informational, military, and economic. In order to realize this 
networked approach, EUCOM will support NATO efforts to expand the 
capability and capacity of Allied Joint Forces Command--Naples.
Enable Global Operations
    EUCOM personnel actively support operations in AFRICOM and CENTCOM 
AORs. EUCOM's well-developed and tested infrastructure provides 
critical capabilities in strategic locations such as Incirlik, Turkey; 
Sigonella, Italy' and Moron and Rota, Spain. Basing and access in 
Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom 
enable more timely and coordinated trans-regional crisis response.
                       iv. resource requirements
    Significant United States force reductions following the collapse 
of the Soviet Union were based on the assumption that Russia would be a 
strategic partner to the West. These reductions now limit United States 
options for addressing challenges in a changing European strategic 
environment. The strategic rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, combined 
with budget limitations in the Budget Control Act of 2011, have 
contributed to substantial posture reductions across our land and air 
domains. For example, between 2010 and 2013, two fighter squadrons and 
a two-star numbered air force headquarters were inactivated, along with 
associated critical enablers and staff personnel. In addition, the last 
two heavy Brigade Combat Teams (BCT), a two-star division headquarters, 
and a three-star corps headquarters were removed from Europe, leaving 
only one Stryker and one airborne brigade. As a result of the BCT 
losses, without fully-resourced heel-to-toe rotational forces the 
ground force permanently assigned to EUCOM is inadequate to meet the 
combatant command's directed mission to deter Russia from further 
    Deterrence Posture. Going forward, we will need to continue 
maintaining capable forces for effective deterrence. EUCOM is 
coordinating across the DOD to obtain the forces we need in every 
warfare domain. This may include additional maneuver forces, combat air 
squadrons, anti-submarine capabilities, a carrier strike group, and 
maritime amphibious capabilities. We will continue to enhance our plans 
for pre-positioning equipment across the theater as a flexible 
deterrent measure and to exercise the joint reception, staging, and 
onward integration of CONUS-based forces into Europe.
    ERI Requirements. EUCOM's continues to require the ability to deter 
Russian aggression and counter malign influence while assuring allies 
and partners. We anticipate needing to continue deterrence measured 
initiated in previous ERI submissions to include: Army and Air Force 
prepositioning, retention of F-15 presence, improved airfield 
infrastructure improvements, and to address some new capabilities 
needed in the theater.
    Indications and Warnings (I&W). EUCOM's ability to provide 
strategic warning is critical to credible deterrence. A robust 
intelligence capability enables accurate analysis and rapid response in 
a changing theater security environment. This capability also supports 
the design of realistic exercises, posture alignment, and future 
requirements. Furthermore, when completed, EUCOM's Joint Intelligence 
Analytic Center at Royal Air Force Croughton will provide a dedicated, 
purpose-built intelligence facility collocated with NATO and AFRICOM's 
analytic centers that will enhance capability and capacity in both 
combatant commands and NATO. Finally, additional intelligence 
collection platforms in theater, such as the U-2, the RQ-4, and the RC-
135, are required for accurate and timely threat information to support 
strategic decisions.
    Recapitalization Efforts. The European Infrastructure Consolidation 
effort announced in January 2015 enables EUCOM to divest excess 
capacity and consolidate missions and footprints at enduring locations. 
However, with aging infrastructure and little recent investment, 
recapitalization and consolidation projects are required to support 
warfighter readiness, command and control requirements, deployments, 
training, and quality of life. This Committee has been key to these 
critical efforts. We continue to modernize communications facilities 
and schools across Europe. Last year, Congress authorized the final 
increment for the Joint Intelligence Analysis Center, which enables the 
closure of RAFs Molesworth and Alconbury.
                             v. conclusion
    Let me conclude by again thanking this committee's Members and 
staff for their continued support of EUCOM, not only through providing 
our requested funding, but also by helping us to articulate the 
challenges that lie before us. Support from other senior leaders and, 
above all, from the public at home and across Europe is vital to 
ensuring that we remain ready and relevant. This is a pivotal time for 
EUCOM as we transition to meet the demands of a dynamic security 
environment. I remain confident that through the strength of our 
alliance and partnerships, and with the professionalism of our 
servicemembers, we will adapt and ensure that Europe remains whole, 
free and at peace.

    Chairman McCain. Since a quorum is now present, I ask the 
committee to consider a list of 62 pending military 
nominations. All of these nominations have been before the 
committee the required length of time. Is there a motion to 
favorably report these 62 military nominations?
    Senator Reed. So moved.
    Chairman McCain. Is there a second?
    Senator Nelson. Second.
    Chairman McCain. All in favor, say aye.
    [Chorus of ayes.]
    Chairman McCain. The ayes have it.
    [The list of nominees follows:]
 Military Nominations Pending with the Senate Armed Services Committee 
 Which are Proposed for the Committee's Consideration on May 23, 2017.
     1.  BG Sean L. Murphy, USAF to be major general (Reference No. 

     2.  In the Navy there are 2 appointments to the grade of rear 
admiral (lower half) (list begins with John A. Okon) (Reference No. 

     3.  In the Navy there are 19 appointments to the grade of rear 
admiral (lower half) (list begins with Edward L. Anderson) (Reference 
No. 111).

     4.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Susan M. McGarvey) (Reference No. 147).

     5.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of commander 
(Sheila I. Almendras-Flaherty) (Reference No. 168).

     6.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Adrian D. Ragland) (Reference No. 170).

     7.  In the Marine Corps Reserve there are 5 appointments to the 
grade of colonel (list begins with Mark S. Jimison) (Reference No. 

     8.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Christopher R. Desena) (Reference No. 207).

     9.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Kenneth L. Demick, Jr.) (Reference No. 212).

    10.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Michael C. Bratley) (Reference No. 214).

    11.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
lieutenant colonel (Jason G. Lacis) (Reference No. 233).

    12.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
lieutenant colonel (Kevin J. Goodwin) (Reference No. 235).

    13.  MG Bradford J. Shwedo, USAF to be lieutenant general and 
Chief, Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, Office of 
the Secretary of the Air Force (Reference No. 300).

    14.  MG Giovanni K. Tuck, USAF to be lieutenant general and 
Commander, Eighteenth Air Force, Air Mobility Command (Reference No. 

    15.  LTG James C. McConvi11e, USA to be general and Vice Chief of 
Staff of the Army (Reference No. 303).

    16.  BG Stuart W. Risch, USA to be major general (Reference No. 

    17.  MG Thomas C, Seamands, USA to be lieutenant general and Deputy 
Chief of Staff, G-1, U.S. Army (Reference No. 305).

    18.  Col. Mark E. Black, USAR to be brigadier general (Reference 
No. 306).

    19.  Col. Matthew V. Baker, USAR to be brigadier general (Reference 
No. 307).

    20.  BG Chris R. Gentry, USAR to be major general (Reference No. 

    21.  BG Robert A. Karmazin, USAR to be major general (Reference No. 

    22.  BG Marion Garcia, USAR to be major general (Reference No. 

    23.  BG Joseph E. Whitlock, USAR to be major general (Reference No. 

    24.  Col. Miguel A. Castellanos, USAR to be brigadier general 
(Reference No. 312).

    25.  Col. Windsor S. Buzza, USAR to be brigadier general (Reference 
No. 313).

    26.  Col. Randall V. Simmons, Jr., USAR to be brigadier general 
(Reference No. 314).

    27.  Col. Michael D. Wickman, USAR to be brigadier general 
(Reference No. 315).

    28.  In the Army there are 32 appointments to the grade of major 
general (list begins with Carl A. Alex) (Reference No. 316).

    29.  In the Army Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
colonel (Kalie K. Rott) (Reference No. 317).

    30.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Norma A. Hill) (Reference No. 318).

    31.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Frank C. Pescatello, Jr.) (Reference No. 319).

    32.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Basim M. Younis) (Reference No. 320).

    33.  In the Army Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
colonel (Stanley F. Gould) (Reference No. 321).

    34.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Scott W. Fisher) (Reference No. 322).

    35.  In the Army Reserve there are 16 appointments to the grade of 
colonel (list begins with Gary L. Beaty) (Reference No. 323).

    36.  In the Army Reserve there are 2 appointments to the grade of 
colonel (list begins with Daniel J, Convey) (Reference No. 324).

    37.  In the Army there are 2 appointments to the grade of major 
(list begins with Sophia Dalce) (Reference No. 325).

    38.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of colonel 
(Dawn E. Elliott) (Reference No. 326).

    39.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (DO12528) (Reference No. 327).

    40.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Benjamin W. Hillner) (Reference No. 328).

    41.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Celina S. Pargo) (Reference No. 329).

    42.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major (Paul 
R. Ambrose) (Reference No. 330).

    43.  In the Army there are 2 appointments to the grade of major 
(James L. Dungca) (Reference No. 331).

    44.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of colonel 
(Charles R. Burnett) (Reference No. 332).

    45.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of commander 
(Evan M. Colbert) (Reference No. 333).

    46.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(Luciana Sung) (Reference No. 334).

    47.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(William A. Schultz) (Reference No. 335).

    48.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
commander (William L. McCoy) (Reference No. 336).

    49.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of Captain 
(Chris F. White) (Reference No. 337).

    50.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
commander (Karl M. Kingry) (Reference No. 338).

    51.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of commander 
(Michael A. Polito) (Reference No. 339).

    52.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
commander (Raymond J. Carlson, Jr.) (Reference No. 340).

    53.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
lieutenant colonel (Javier E. Vega) (Reference No. 341).

    54.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
major (Sergio L. Sandoval) (Reference No. 342).

    55.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
commander (Christopher M. Allen) (Reference No. 343).

    56.  In the Army there are 3 appointments to the grade of brigadier 
general (list begins with Susan K. Arnold) (Reference No. 377).

    57.  Col. Richard J. Lebel, USAR to be brigadier general (Reference 
No. 378).

    58.  Col. Todd W. Lewis, USAR to be brigadier general (Reference 
No. 379).

    59.  In the Army there are 2 appointments to the grade of brigadier 
general (list begins with George N. Appenzeller) (Reference No. 380).

    60.  MG Steven R. Rudder, USMC to be lieutenant general and Deputy 
Commandant, Aviation, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (Reference No. 

    61.  In the Air Force Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade 
of colonel (James E. Thompson) (Reference No. 382).

    62.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Pablo F. Diaz) (Reference No. 383).

    63.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Craig A. Nazareth) (Reference No. 384).

    64.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Brian C. McLean) (Reference No. 385).

    65.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Raymond C. Casteline) (Reference No. 386).

    66.  In the Army Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
colonel (Daniel J. Shank) (Reference No. 387).

    67.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Christopher W. Degn) (Reference No. 388).

    68.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of colonel 
(Jason T. Kidder) (Reference No. 389).

    69.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of colonel 
(Tito M. Villanueva) (Reference No. 390).

    70.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Philip J. Dacunto) (Reference No. 391).

    71.  In the Army Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
colonel (Stephen R. November) (Reference No. 392).

    72.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of colonel 
(Luisa Santiago) (Reference No. 393).

    73.  In the Army Reserve there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
colonel (Robert J. Bonner) (Reference No. 394).

    74.  In the Air Force there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Johanna K. Ream) (Reference No. 411).

    75.  In the Air Force Reserve there are 118 appointments to the 
grade of colonel (list begins with Paul R. Aguirre) (Reference No. 

    76.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major 
(Mohamad El Samad) (Reference No. 413).

    77.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of major (Lana 
J. Bernat) (Reference No. 414).

    78.  In the Army there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
colonel (Patrick K. Sullivan) (Reference No. 415).

    79.  In the Army Reserve there are 207 appointments to the grade of 
colonel (list begins with Derek L. Adams) (Reference No. 416).

    80.  In the Army Reserve there are 230 appointments to the grade of 
colonel (list begins with Rodney Abrams) (Reference No. 417).

    81.  In the Army Reserve there are 58 appointments to the grade of 
colonel (list begins with Christine N. Adams) (Reference No. 418).

    82.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of lieutenant 
commander (Aaron L. Witherspoon) (Reference No. 430).

    83.  In the Navy there is 1 appointment to the grade of captain 
(John E. Fritz) (Reference No, 437).

    84.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
major (Michael S. Stevens) (Reference No. 451).

    85.  In the Marine Corps there is 1 appointment to the grade of 
major (Patrick J. Mullen) (Reference No. 452).

    86.  In the Marine Corps Reserve there are 45 appointments to the 
grade of colonel (list begins with Raymond L. Adams) (Reference No. 

    87.  MG Laura J. Richardson, USA to be lieutenant general and 
Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Forces Command 
(Reference No. 467).

    88.  BG Charles N. Pede, USA to be lieutenant general and Judge 
Advocate General of the Army (Reference No. 468).

    89.  RADM Phillip G. Sawyer, USN to be vice admiral and Commander, 
Seventh Fleet (Reference No. 469).

    90.  MG Brian D. Beaudreault, USMC to be lieutenant general and 
Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations, Headquarters, 
U.S. Marine Corps (Reference No. 473).

TOTAL: 818

    General, do you have any general comment about the attack 
yesterday in London and the significance of it?
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, the attack in London underscores 
again the dynamic environment in Europe. Europe is challenged 
by both a flow of terrorists returning to Europe from Syria and 
other places. They are challenged by an internal threat of 
those inspired by ISIS or directed by ISIS. This is an example 
of the attacks that we have seen in Europe in the past year. It 
is a difficult challenge. As I said, we remain solid and stand 
shoulder to shoulder with our allies in NATO to defeat this 
    Chairman McCain. The likelihood of further actions like 
this, particularly some that are self-indoctrinated, is very 
hard to stop.
    General Scaparrotti. It is, sir. I would just say that the 
number of threat streams that we have of this type within 
Europe is probably higher in Europe than any other part of the 
globe with the exception of the places that we are actually 
physically fighting in like Syria and Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Chairman McCain. Is there a connection between that and 
    General Scaparrotti. The flow of refugees and those who 
move them, particularly criminal activities that will help move 
them--they also are more than willing to move both equipment, 
personnel, weapons, and people.
    Chairman McCain. As you know, there was an attempted coup 
in Montenegro by the Russians. The Montenegrin membership in 
NATO is pending, and 26 of the 28 nations I believe have 
already registered their approval. It is a small country, only 
650,000 people. It is very strategically located, as you know. 
What is your view of the importance of Montenegro especially 
since they have completed all of the very difficult procedures 
necessary to become eligible--what is your view of the 
importance of their inclusion in NATO?
    General Scaparrotti. Chairman, it is absolutely critical 
that they be brought into NATO. They have had this desire. They 
have met the map. It underscores NATO's outreach and ability to 
bring in those who want to determine their own means of 
government and become a part of NATO. If we were to lose this, 
it would set back many of the other countries and peoples, 
particularly in Eastern Europe, who are looking forward to and 
have their eyes set on the West and becoming a part of NATO.
    Chairman McCain. So it is very important.
    General Scaparrotti. I think it is critical, yes.
    Chairman McCain. I thank you.
    Finally, you talked about the military presence necessary 
for additional forces in Europe, but one of the problems we 
continue to face--for example, one of the causes of the 
attempted coup in Montenegro is the saturation of propaganda 
emanating from Russia. We all know the controversy here in the 
United States about our election, but we now see them active in 
the French election apparently, in the German election. But 
more importantly, they are inundating the Baltics in 
particular. What are our ideas other than ask for a strategy? 
What are our ideas as to how to counter what has emerged as one 
of the greatest threats to stability in Europe?
    General Scaparrotti. Chairman, I think, first of all, we 
have to confront this threat as it is, be sober-minded about 
it. We have to do it as an alliance and with our partners, and 
we have to call it out. We have to confront it. There seems to 
be a reluctance in many of the nations to actually confront it 
when we see it, publicly take it on. I think we as partners 
have to form together and begin to do this. As you said, it is 
prolific, and I believe we have got to confront it.
    Chairman McCain. We countered Russian propaganda during the 
Cold War with Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. All I 
have seen so far is disarray in Prague about the role, the 
funding, the strategies and all that. What do you think we need 
to do there to have our own effective counter-message to be 
sent? I know that is not exactly in your area of 
responsibility, but I think it is a kind of warfare.
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, it is. The Russians see this as a 
part of that spectrum of warfare. That is their asymmetric 
    I will start here. We have information operations that are 
military, and I have those that are countering malign influence 
in Europe. But what we really need is we need a whole-of-
government approach, a whole-of-government information 
campaign, of which I am a small part of that. We need somebody 
in the lead of that, and then we need to finance it and form a 
governmental strategy. As you said, in the Cold War, we had 
one. There is a start on that. We have what is called the RIG, 
the Russian Information Group, which is the beginnings of that. 
But that has to be reinforced. It has to be financed. They have 
to have the authorities that they need to lead that forward.
    Chairman McCain. The lead on that would probably be the 
State Department. Right?
    General Scaparrotti. The RIG is co-chaired with EUCOM and 
the State Department is the lead. Yes, sir.
    Chairman McCain. So it would not help you any if we slashed 
the spending for the State Department.
    General Scaparrotti. No, sir.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Reed?
    Senator Reed. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    In fact, you anticipated one of the questions I wanted to 
raise about the malign influences in elections and 
institutional capacity that are evident in Europe today. I 
think I can safely say that we are really not organized to deal 
with it at this point. Is that correct?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. I agree we can get much 
better organized to deal with this than we are today.
    Senator Reed. Let me just go a step further and say that in 
your estimate, what are the strategic effects that the Russians 
are trying to achieve by these activities? This is not sort of 
a random kind of just stir up trouble for the sake of stirring 
up trouble. What are the strategic objectives?
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, their overall objective is to 
undermine the governments that oppose them, to reinforce the 
political parties in each of those countries that might be 
aligned with them, to demonstrate the weakness of the West and 
undermine the U.S. and the West. They want to ensure that they 
can dominate particularly their periphery. They are doing that 
through this asymmetric approach.
    Senator Reed. Now, you have indicated that particularly 
with the European Defense Initiative and with the response 
initiative, we are beginning to reorganize, re-equip, et 
cetera. Can you give us a sense of your priorities? You had a 
long list of activities that you feel you have to undertake. 
But the top three issues that you have to get accomplished in 
the near future.
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, the top three that we have to get 
accomplished--I think, first of all, is we have to get our 
posture correct for deterrence, and that is across all the 
services. It not just--we tend to focus on the Army part of 
this, but each of the services play a role in that.
    Secondly, we have to ensure that our command has made the 
transition to a command that can command and control in the 
dynamic environment against an aggressor like Russia. We just 
recently had our command post exercise we have every 2 years. 
It was a great exercise, but what it laid out is the changes we 
have yet to make within the component commands in Europe in 
order to fight a foe like Russia.
    Senator Reed. With respect to Ukraine, our expert panel on 
Tuesday, who did a superb job, suggested that is really the 
critical arena at the moment. If they are able to subvert 
Ukraine, then that will send shock waves throughout Europe. Is 
that in your assessment? Just generally, how are we 
collectively, both NATO, the United States, EUCOM, and the EU, 
doing in terms of our efforts in the Ukraine?
    General Scaparrotti. I think the good news with respect to 
Ukraine is that we are unified and we are organized. NATO has a 
defense fund that supports it along very similar lines to the 
United States We are thankful to Congress for its funding of 
our activities there. In fact, we lead a multinational joint 
commission, which is actually the vehicle that among our allies 
and the United States, assesses and then directs the reform 
that needs to take place in conjunction with Ukraine. They also 
do the assessment of the needs in terms of equipment and 
training and guide that training. So we are actually doing that 
together with our partners, as well as NATO through that one 
body. I think it is very effective.
    Senator Reed. In that regard, a great deal--my impression 
is--of the civilian capacity building and the anti-corruption 
efforts is being done by the European Union. So their efforts 
are absolutely critical to U.S. success. Is that fair?
    General Scaparrotti. That is true, sir, and it is critical. 
Our connection to EU, as well as NATO's, has been in the 
forefront here for the past year or so for many reasons, and 
that is one of them.
    Senator Reed. Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Fischer?
    Senator Fischer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Welcome, General. It is nice to see you again.
    As you know, last week General Selva confirmed Russia's 
deployment of a weapon system that violates the INF Treaty. He 
went on to say that, ``the system itself presents a risk to 
most of our facilities in Europe, and we believe that the 
Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a 
threat to NATO and the facilities within the NATO area of 
    You touched on this in your opening statement on page 5, 
and you said that the system creates a mismatch in escalatory 
options. Could you please elaborate on what you mean by that 
and what the implications are of this deployment?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, this deployment gives them some 
advantage in terms of reach and precision within their systems. 
When we talk about escalation management, if there is a tension 
or a crisis with Russia, because of their doctrine and their 
view that they will escalate to dominate or escalate to 
deescalate, it creates a very tight range of options when we 
work through escalation management. So an enhancement like that 
just makes this a very restrictive and difficult management 
process you through in deterrence. It is that much more 
pressurized. So it is a critical enhancement. It is one that we 
need to respond to.
    Senator Fischer. You say we need to respond, and you just 
mentioned options, the word ``option.'' Secretary Carter talked 
about options. He mentioned counter-force, countervailing 
capabilities, active defenses, but we did not see any real 
action in order to pursue those. Do you think that we need to?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, I think we do.
    Senator Fischer. Which of these options do you think would 
be the most effective in dealing with this?
    General Scaparrotti. If I could, I would like to take that 
for a response for the record. I need to think about the 
comparison of those actually and tell you the best response.
    [The information referred to follows:]

    General Scaparrotti. [Deleted.]

    Senator Fischer. Okay. Thank you.
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you.
    Senator Fischer. At a recent hearing of the Strategic 
Forces Subcommittee, which I chair, we discussed the 
implications of Russia's nuclear strategy, often referred to as 
the escalate/deescalate. General Koehler, who is a former 
Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, made the point that 
the Russian approach reinforces the value of NATO remaining a 
nuclear alliance, as well as the need for the deterrent value 
provided by United States nuclear weapons that are stationed in 
    In your written statement, you say that NATO and U.S. 
nuclear forces continue to be a vital component of our 
deterrence. Our modernization efforts are crucial. We must 
preserve a ready, credible, and safe nuclear capability.
    Do you agree that NATO must remain a nuclear alliance and 
that the United States must continue to station those nuclear 
weapons on the European continent?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, Senator, absolutely I do.
    Senator Fischer. Can you outline to us specific benefits 
that we receive by having those stationed there?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, first of all, it provides an 
immediate response that is within the NATO alliance as opposed 
to just the U.S. It represents the alliance in a response by 28 
nations, a commitment by 28 nations that we will deter and we 
will deter their nuclear forces. I think that alone is 
    Secondly, it gives us some other options because we have 
not only the U.S. but other contingents that provide essential 
capabilities within that nuclear capability. So there is more 
agility there as well.
    Senator Fischer. It recognizes the importance of 
deterrence. Thank you, General.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Shaheen?
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, General Scaparrotti, for being here this morning 
and for your service to the country.
    I want to follow up on the line of questioning that 
Senators McCain and Reed started on the whole information 
warfare issue. When former General Breedlove was before the 
committee earlier this week, he pointed out that recently 
Russia has established an information warfare division within 
its armed forces. Do you think NATO should be looking at 
something like that? Are there already efforts underway? You 
talked about the RIG group, but should we be doing more within 
NATO to address the propaganda that Russia is putting out 
throughout Europe and the United States, by the way?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, Senator. I think in the United 
States, we have organization I think to effectively operate. 
What we need to do is policy and then actions that flow from 
that within the United States. That is a whole-of-government 
approach. That is probably not the structure that we have in 
the way that we need it today. So it is more of a whole-of-
government response I would tell you. I think we are pretty 
agile in the military, rather than establishing some 
information command, et cetera. We have smaller units that 
tactically execute these kinds of missions. I have them in 
    Within NATO, NATO has taken this on as well, but it is 
somewhat nascent at this point. I think we do have to pursue 
that. I mean, we have got an adversary here who is using this 
to very good benefit, and we have to compete short of conflict 
in this area as well.
    Senator Shaheen. But as you point out, we do not really 
have a strategy to do that, and we do not have anybody in 
charge of that in the United States Government. I mean, we have 
the Global Engagement Center that is starting up in the State 
Department. I have spoken, as I am sure others have, with the 
continuation of the efforts we had during the Soviet Union when 
we had the Cold War and we had Radio Free Europe, and they did 
a terrific job in those days. But we do not have a continuation 
of that that is part of sharing and cooperating with factually 
presenting what is happening in the West compared to what is 
going on with Russia's propaganda.
    Where should that effort be located? Do you have thoughts 
about who should participate in that and how we better 
coordinate what we are doing?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, Senator, I do. I think actually 
that the RIG, the Russian Information Group, which I mentioned, 
is actually a good structure to start with. It has State as the 
lead, co-chaired with European Command. It has all of the other 
agencies involved in that. The GEC is a key leader in that, 
which has been empowered to do the communication piece of the 
State. But, you know, it is not robustly supported. I do not 
believe that it has the kind of focus and priority that we need 
to have. So, therefore, it exists but it needs to really be 
reinforced, funded. Then as you said, I think we have all the 
talent and creativity we need in this Nation to do this better 
than anybody else. We just need to decide to do it.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you.
    There was a report. Actually I agree with you. I just want 
to make that clear.
    There was a report earlier this week about Russia training 
Kurdish fighters. It was not clear to me to what extent they 
were doing that. But how is Turkey responding to that report? 
Are they concerned about what Russia is doing, and how does 
that affect their sort of growing rapprochement with Russia?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I have not talked to my 
counterpart, the CHOD in Turkey, since this report came out. So 
we have not talked directly. I cannot tell you exactly what 
their response on this would be.
    But given my association with them and their concern about 
the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] and associated groups, Kurd 
groups, that are aligned with them, I think they would have 
great concern about it. They want to ensure that the attacks 
that they have from the PKK are not reinforced in any way--
Turkey does. They also want to ensure that they do not have--
the cantonments in Syria are not connected in Syria so they 
have Kurdish entity across their entire across their entire 
southern border. Given those two objectives, I think they are 
very concerned about it probably.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Inhofe?
    Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, last weekend, I was in the Ukraine and was 
observing their training. The 45th does a great job. In fact, 
that is the same group that not long ago was providing the same 
training of training in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are going to 
be there for a year long. I watched that, and there is really 
an art to that. They are doing a great job because most people 
will think that they are there to train the Ukrainians or 
wherever they are stationed, but they really there to train 
them to train the others, and there is a big difference. So I 
wanted you to know that they are really doing a good job.
    During the parliamentary elections in 2014, I was with 
Poroshenko and the crowd when, of course, they had that huge 
success, the first time in 96 years. No Communist is in the 
parliament there. As you know, it became very controversial 
after that took place and Putin started killing Ukrainians, and 
we wanted to provide the lethal defensive assistance. Our 
committee was pretty much unanimous on that. The administration 
was not that excited about it. So in both the fiscal year 2016, 
we authorized $300,000, in fiscal year 2017, authorized 
$350,000 for the security assistance for Ukraine, including 
lethal assistance such as anti-armor weapons.
    General Dunford during his nomination hearing said this. 
``I think it is reasonable that we provide that lethal support 
for the Ukrainians. Frankly, without that kind of support, we 
are not going to be able to protect themselves against the 
Russia aggression.''
    So I would kind of like to get your idea. Do you agree with 
him? Do you agree also that we need to provide that assistance? 
What are we providing now and how much more should we?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, thank you. In short, yes, I 
do agree with him. I have been there twice recently.
    I would note that I agree. The Guard is doing a very good 
job there and an important one in their training relationship 
with the Ukrainians.
    In terms of lethal support, the Ukrainians are in a very 
tough fight, which you saw. They are very disciplined soldiers. 
But they are facing what we say are separatists. They are 
actually Russian proxies in my mind. They are being provided 
very lethal equipment. The Russians are providing the 
separatists that. The Russians are also testing some of their 
new TTPs there. So we need to reinforce the Ukrainian military 
as much as we can and provide them the best opportunity to 
fight what is a very lethal Russian proxy at this point.
    Senator Inhofe. I agree with that. I have a question for 
the record as to what kind of equipment specifically we should 
    But I want to mention one thing. Do you happen to know--his 
name is Fatmir Mediu. He was the Secretary of Defense in the 
Albanian defense. They had a meeting, and I happened to be 
attending that meeting--it was on January 31st--kind of a 
roundtable talking about ISIS and the threat in the Balkans. It 
was kind of revealing. Apparently a lot of the ISIS recruiting 
is taking place in the Balkans right now. Do you have any 
comment to make as to what our activity is there in terms of 
what the threat is there? Are we working with them as closely 
as we should?
    General Scaparrotti. I am very concerned about the 
stability in the Balkans, and one of the reasons is that what 
is generally a moderate or a Western-looking Islamic population 
is increasingly being affected by extremist influence there. 
Part of that is recruiting for ISIS. It is a trend right now. 
It is one I think we have to pay very close attention to.
    Senator Inhofe. Okay. That is good. I appreciate it.
    Now, my time has expired, but for the record, I would like 
to get as specific information as we could as to what best we 
could afford to send over there against the aggression that 
they have. Okay?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. Thank you.
    [The information referred to follows:]

    General Scaparrotti. [Deleted.]

    Senator Inhofe. Thank you.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Heinrich?
    Senator Heinrich. Welcome, General.
    As was mentioned earlier, it is being reported that our 
Secretary of State will be missing the NATO summit of foreign 
ministers in a couple weeks. This obviously comes at a time 
when the administration has criticized the value of NATO. 
Russia is meddling in European elections, and Russia is 
threatening our NATO allies in the Baltics.
    Do you have any opinions on whether this sends the right 
signal to our NATO allies? What kind of messages do you think 
we should be sending to our NATO allies at this time?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I think it is essential that 
our allies in NATO understand that we are absolutely committed 
to the alliance and continue to be a key leader within the 
    I noted this morning that the Secretary-General and the 
Secretary had met, and they are looking for a date that all of 
the allies can meet for the foreign ministers conference. I 
hope that is, in fact, worked out and that becomes a reality.
    Senator Heinrich. As do I.
    General, Russian denial, deception, disinformation were all 
important parts of the hybrid warfare campaign that we saw 
during the illegal seizure of Crimea and its Russian support 
for separatists in eastern Ukraine. As EUCOM Commander, you 
lead much of the effort to identify and attribute Russian 
disinformation operations. Can you describe for us how Russia 
is organized to conduct this kind of information warfare and 
what techniques you are seeing on display in the Ukraine?
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you.
    When you are talking about this, you think about it in a 
military organization, but frankly, what I think is important 
is that Russia actually has a very broad set of groups to 
include their intelligence groups that are doing this. So they 
actually have a whole-of-government approach on this, which I 
think makes it one more difficult. It is one of the reasons 
that we also see what I think is a pretty rapid or agile use of 
social media, TV----
    Senator Heinrich. Absolutely.
    General Scaparrotti.--cyber, et cetera. So it is a force to 
be reckoned with at this point. I think it is that organization 
that gives them the ability.
    Senator Heinrich. Do you have recommendations in terms of 
building our capacity or that of our allies and partners in the 
region to be able to resist these kinds Russian influence 
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think, first of all, in EUCOM 
we have elements that today have missions to counter Russian 
malign influence, both to identify it, counter it, and then, 
third, we are building partner capacity. We are exchanging 
techniques, et cetera. Estonia has an excellent cyber center of 
excellence, for instance. That is a key node in NATO. We work 
very closely with that. So we need to continue those kinds of 
partnerships and exchange of skill and understanding how they 
are working. I think, particularly as an alliance, we can 
counter this.
    Senator Heinrich. I think because of their proximity, we 
actually have a lot to learn from our Balkan partners, and 
given what we have seen even in our own elections, it is time 
to learn those lessons.
    Russia's air defense systems like the S-300 and S-400 
threaten to block our ability to be able to project power in 
the event of a conflict in the European region, particularly in 
the Baltics. This certainly undermines the United States and 
NATO's article 5 commitment to the defense of these allies and 
raises concerns about the alliance's ability to deter an 
increasingly aggressive Russia.
    How capable are the Russian air defense systems 
particularly in Kaliningrad?
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, I would just state in an 
unclassified venue, they are very capable. The newer systems 
like the S-400 is a definite enhancement in their capabilities. 
That is why we are concerned about it. As you stated, their 
location in Kaliningrad and Crimea and the Mediterranean 
provides difficulty for our access and mobility. We can counter 
this. I am confident of that.
    Senator Heinrich. Do you have opinions in that regard on 
what types of next generation technologies, for example, we 
will need to effectively counter the Russian A2/AD 
    General Scaparrotti. Up front what I talked about in terms 
of our advanced aircraft, fifth generation, enhanced munitions, 
particularly long-range precision munitions, electronic 
warfare, those things generally is what we need to continue our 
modernization efforts on. If you would like, I could give you a 
more specific in a classified response, obviously.
    Senator Heinrich. I would appreciate that, General.
    Thank you, Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Rounds?
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, thank you for your service. I appreciate the 
opportunity to visit for just a few minutes today.
    With regard to Montenegro, the chairman had begun the 
discussion in terms of the possibilities that they could become 
a member of NATO. If they were to become a member of NATO, what 
would you expect the Russian response to be and how would you 
prepare for it?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I think we have probably seen 
their response in terms of their activity and their attempt to 
block that. I think to a certain extent, they know this is 
going to happen. I trust it will.
    In a conversation with one of NATO's ministers, one of the 
countries that has communication with Russian leadership, he 
shared with me that a Russian leader told him that Putin had 
said he lost Montenegro, but there will not be another 
Montenegro. I think that is an indication of how they think and 
how important it is to them that these other nations that seek 
to have a democratic government and turn to the West are under 
threat. It is one of the reasons that I think Russia continues 
to have frozen conflicts and be present in places like Georgia 
and Ukraine because it is their means of controlling that.
    Senator Rounds. You have got extensive background in 
Europe. You know a number of the European leaders. With the 
change in administrations, naturally there are going to be some 
questions in terms of policy changes, decision-making 
processes, and so forth. What questions are you getting from 
your European contacts in terms of leaders and what concerns do 
they have?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think, first of all, as a new 
administration comes in, they want to ensure that we are 
committed to the alliance and the security of the transatlantic 
AOR. For instance, Secretary Mattis at the first NATO meeting 
at the defense ministers conference made our commitment very 
clear, as did Vice President Pence, at Munich. I think that is 
critical. They look to that.
    They also now look to what are the policies and are the 
policies consistent with security in the transatlantic region. 
Of course, in a new administration, they are looking forward to 
policies with respect to NATO, policies with respect to 
Afghanistan and others.
    Senator Rounds. When it comes to doing your job, you 
clearly have to have the tools and the tools in proper working 
order in order to get the job done. If you could give us a list 
of those areas that you have the most concern with our 
capabilities today. I will just give you an example. The fact 
that right now if we have one task force leaving the 
Mediterranean coming through and another one going in, in some 
cases we are actually stopping in the middle of the 
Mediterranean and trading ammo because we do not have enough 
ammo to literally maintain operational capabilities in multiple 
task forces. Those types of things concern us. We have a 
nuclear submarine sitting at the dock because literally we 
cannot get the maintenance done on it so that it is certified 
to die at this stage of the game--a nuclear submarine. The 
readiness clearly is not there in some cases.
    Do you have issues right now under your command that you 
would share with us that you have concerns with?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I would like to get into 
detail in a classified or closed session. But generally I would 
say this. The demands of our security strategy today in the 
dynamic world that we are working in requires us to have more 
capacity than we have today in our armed forces. You noted the 
Navy. So in Europe, I do not have the carrier or the submarine 
capacity that would best enable me to do my job in EUCOM. It is 
sufficient, but it is not what ideally I would like to have to 
deter Russia, assure our allies, build their capacity, work 
with them on the basis that we need to work with them. So that 
is an example of the areas.
    Now, you mentioned munitions. I am concerned about that as 
well because we are using munitions today in those places where 
we are in conflict. The adversaries that we face, for instance, 
Russia or China or North Korea, will be high intensity 
conflicts. We have to invest in the stockpiles that we need, 
and we also have to invest in enhancing those munitions so as 
we look to the future, we do not find ourselves in a position 
where our adversaries have outpaced us.
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, General.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Peters?
    Senator Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, General Scaparrotti, for being here today. I 
certainly appreciate your testimony and also wanted to thank 
you for being very generous with your time at the Munich 
conference where we had an opportunity to discuss many of these 
issues at length.
    General, as you are well aware, we are increasingly relying 
on space, cyberspace, and fiber optic communications cables in 
all aspects of our lives. These systems are also critical for 
social and economic activity, and their assured access and 
availability is vital to the U.S. strategic stability. When you 
look at Russia's navy operations right now in the EUCOM 
theater, which includes a significant footprint in the Arctic, 
which is growing dramatically without necessary response from 
us, and a $2.4 billion expansion of the Black Sea fleet by 
2020, Russia appears committed to bolstering their military 
infrastructure on EUCOM's flanks. This increased OPSTEMPO 
includes naval activity that suggests that Russia right now is 
exploring undersea cable vulnerabilities at much greater 
depths, depths where the cables are difficult to monitor and 
breaks are harder to repair.
    So my question is, in general, what is your assessment as 
to whether or not we have sufficient redundancy within EUCOM's 
command and control architecture, to include ballistic missile 
defense systems, to withstand a coordinated attack on our 
undersea, terrestrial, and space-based communication systems 
that you rely on?
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, what I would like to do is 
respond to that in a classified venue so I can give you a very 
accurate answer.
    Senator Peters. Sure.
    General Scaparrotti. I am confident of our ability to 
operate today. As I just said, we just did our command post 
exercise, and we were looking at that. But we need to modernize 
what we have today in terms of command and control, as you 
noted, in order to have the right kind of resilience with the 
adversary that we face. You need a good deal of redundancy to 
be sure. That is one of the areas. If you note in a classified 
venue, what I have asked of OSD [Office of the Secretary of 
Defense], that is one of the key areas that I think we need to 
work on is the C-4 structure within Europe.
    Senator Peters. Well, I would appreciate that and actually 
following up on Senator Heinrich's questions too as you come 
back to brief on some of the A2/AD capabilities. I would be 
interested in learning more about that, particularly when it 
comes to next generation, what we need to be investing in today 
to be ready for the years ahead as warfare changes dramatically 
in the next few years.
    But based on capabilities, to follow up my last question 
here related to capabilities, in the fiscal year 2016 NDAA 
budget, I co-led an effort to enhance lethality of the Stryker 
vehicles with a 30 millimeter cannon. This was in response to 
an operational needs statement from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment 
where the Strykers were the heaviest vehicles permanently 
stationed in Europe at that time. I understand that the work to 
add the 30 millimeter cannon to Strykers is going well. The 
first prototype was successfully delivered last October, and 
training is beginning on those vehicles.
    The ERI also provides funds for upgrading the Abrams tanks 
to be prepositioned in Europe as well.
    So could you just provide an update on the need for this 
capability and if we need to continue to be moving forward and 
that any lapses in that upgrade either of the Abrams or the 
Stryker is a problem or not for you?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, thank you very much.
    It is not a problem for me, but it is a priority----
    Senator Peters. Right.
    General Scaparrotti.--given the adversary that we have who 
continues to modernize. Particularly Russia is modernizing 
their armored force, as well as in each one of their services, 
they are making advancements. So it is critical that we outpace 
that, that we provide our soldiers in this case the very best 
equipment that we can and we continue to upgrade it.
    Abrams is a fine tank, but as technology changes, we can 
make upgrades to it and make it better, and we make it better 
in terms of defense as well. We owe that to our soldiers.
    Senator Peters. The Stryker as well?
    General Scaparrotti. The Stryker as well, absolutely.
    Senator Peters. Great. Thank you, General. I appreciate it.
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Sullivan?
    Senator Sullivan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, good to see you. Thanks for spending time with a 
number of us in Munich.
    Do you agree that one of the most important strategic 
advantages we have in terms of our national security is that we 
are an ally-rich nation, our adversaries are ally-poor?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, absolutely.
    Senator Sullivan. Do you also agree that the ally-poor 
nations like Russia, China, North Korea, Iran--that they 
recognize that--they do not have many allies at all--and that 
they try to undermine our alliances? Is that not what certainly 
Vladimir Putin is up to?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. I think his intent is 
actually to fracture NATO, and I think it is because he does 
fear NATO. He knows the power of that alliance.
    Senator Sullivan. So given that, are we doing enough 
diplomatically, militarily right now--the Trump 
administration--to reinforce our alliances, expand our 
alliances, deepen our alliances? What is your assessment of 
what we are doing and what we could be doing better whether it 
is in the military realm or diplomatic realm? How are we doing 
on that?
    General Scaparrotti. Sir, I think we absolutely have a 
focus on building partner capacity, building our relationships 
with our partners. We are a leader in NATO. From a EUCOM 
perspective, that is something--I mean, we work on this every 
day. I do not think there is any question of that particularly 
on the military side. It is a very close relationship with our 
partners. It is day to day. It works both ways. We learn from 
our alliance partners as well.
    Senator Sullivan. Are there things that you recommend that 
we could do more of or better in that regard? It is really, 
really an important issue--or the Senate? We play a big role in 
terms of our allies, treaties.
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think in terms of the alliance 
itself, here again, I keep coming back to it, but I think it is 
whole-of-government in the sense that every agency in the 
government does their part and it is clear to our allies that 
from every agency in the United States, that the alliance is 
important and it shows and demonstrates in its actions that the 
alliance is the bedrock of transatlantic security. So there is 
no disagreement in what they see in terms of action, not just 
on the military side but in terms of our diplomacy, our 
information, our economics, et cetera.
    Senator Sullivan. I wanted to switch over to an issue that 
a number of us have been focused on and we have had discussions 
on it, is what is happening in the Arctic and the increasing 
importance of that region in terms of strategic resources, 
transportation, a lot of concerns of our NATO allies like the 
Norwegians and others about the significant Russian buildup in 
the Arctic. As you know, it does not look like a friendly 
buildup: four new brigade combat teams, a new Arctic military 
command, very aggressive actions in the high north, including a 
military exercise that was a SNAP exercise with close to 50,000 
troops that EUCOM was barely aware of, which is kind of, in and 
of itself, not a good sign.
    A number of us, Senator King, the chairman, were concerned 
enough that we did not have a strategy on that. So we required 
the Secretary of Defense to actually put forward a new Arctic 
strategy. There is a classified and unclassified version. Have 
you read that?
    General Scaparrotti. I have not read it, no.
    Senator Sullivan. So I would highly recommend that you take 
a look at it because it is the new DOD strategy. It is not 
perfect, but it is a heck of a lot better than the one that was 
previously published by DOD, which was pretty much a joke. Of 
course, EUCOM has a lot of important elements to play in that 
    But one of the things it emphasizes, it does talk about our 
strategic interests, which the last strategy did not even 
bother to do. But one of the things it emphasizes is looking at 
freedom of navigation operations, the ability to actually push 
back on the Russian buildup, which includes 40 icebreakers, 13 
more under construction, several new seaports and harbors.
    But although it emphasizes FONOPS [Freedom of Navigation 
Operations], do you think right now if Russia decided to deny 
access to vital United States or Arctic shipping lanes in the 
Arctic region, that you as the Commander of EUCOM--could you 
provide the President an option of conducting a surface FONOP 
to challenge that act like we are trying to do in the South 
China Sea, given our assets right now? Because the strategy 
emphasizes FONOPS, but it certainly seems like the means that 
we have right now would not enable you to make such a 
recommendation to the President. What do you think about that, 
    General Scaparrotti. I think it is would depend as well on 
the circumstances in terms of location and time of year because 
of the assets that we have as well. As you know, the northern 
sea route lays in closest proximity to Russia's coastline as 
well, which complicates that given their military buildup. So 
we clearly need to invest more in the kind of assets that help 
us in the Arctic. So that is how I would respond to that, 
    We can give options. We certainly need to improve our 
capabilities. I am concerned as well about our capabilities 
with respect to the high north and security of the North 
Atlantic, et cetera.
    Senator Sullivan. That is just a diagram of what the 
Russians are doing. It is pretty significant.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator King?
    Senator King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    First, General, I want to thank you and your staff for 
preparing and presenting to the committee this map which I 
think is extraordinary. I am a great believer that you cannot 
confront your adversaries unless you understand them, unless 
you understand how they think. To me the amazing or very 
interesting and illuminating part of this map it shows the 
borders of the Soviet Union in 1989 and today the borders or 
Russia. Essentially from Putin's point of view, his border 
retreated about 1,000 miles across a whole front of eastern 
Europe. Clearly that is part of his world view in terms of 
Russia's proper place in the world. Would you agree?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir, I agree. That is why I think 
the map is illustrative because I think if you are Putin, you 
are looking out for Moscow and you see what I think he would 
consider to have been his strategic buffer. It tells you a bit 
about his mindset, and from what we know about him, he feels as 
though he has been encroached upon, that he has this sphere of 
influence that he believes is rightfully his. Of course, these 
are nations that have a right to determine their own 
    [The information referred to follows:]
    Senator King. Part of Russia's history is a kind of 
paranoia about the West, going back to Frederick the Great and 
probably Napoleon. They have, in fact, been invaded from the 
West. Again, that contributes to this mindset. Would you not 
    General Scaparrotti. I agree, sir. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. That gets to my real concern--and I have 
raised this in other hearings--both in the South China Sea or 
in Europe, is the danger of an accidental war, a danger of 
misunderstanding, confusion, leading to some kind of 
    What protections do we have from a misunderstanding? For 
example, we deploy what we consider a defensive rocket battery, 
missile battery in Poland, and the Russians read that as an 
aggressive act, and it goes from there. How do we ensure that 
does not happen? As I view the world today, I think this is our 
gravest sort of state-to-state danger, is misunderstanding and 
leading to accidental conflict.
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. The thing that I worry about 
the most just day to day is that there is a miscalculation or 
an issue where we have forces in close proximity. So how do we 
deal with that?
    First of all, there are international norms in the air, at 
sea, et cetera that day to day the Russians adhere to as well. 
We have seen violations of that on their part. But it enables 
    Senator King. Deconfliction.
    General Scaparrotti. It is deconfliction. That is correct. 
It is a good word.
    The second thing is I think it is important that we 
communicate with them. Today we do that primarily through the 
media, et cetera. But we have, as you know, connection with the 
Russians for deconfliction. I think that communication is 
important because what I try to do in EUCOM----
    Senator King. Do you have direct lines of communication 
with your opposite number in Russia, for example?
    General Scaparrotti. I do not today.
    Senator King. Do you not think that would be a good idea? 
You could say, wait a minute, that missile was launched by 
accident, do not get alarmed. I mean, I think having that kind 
of communication and at the higher level, at the State 
Department or at the White House level, there should be the 
opportunity anyway for this kind of communication.
    General Scaparrotti. We do have communication for 
deconfliction within OSD today. It is limited. I agree with 
you. I think communication is an important component of 
deterrence, for instance. But I think also given Russia's 
behavior, there is some limitation to that. We should not 
reward them for some of their bad behavior as well. So we 
should do what we need to do to ensure we are safe and we 
    Senator King. I am not suggesting warning them. I am just 
suggesting if something occurs, you could get on the line and 
say, wait a minute. Do not misinterpret that. That is where the 
concern comes.
    General Scaparrotti. That is correct.
    Senator King. We talked a lot--and I just want to associate 
myself with many of the other comments about the information 
war. To me, the specific answer to our failure to engage 
successfully in the information war goes back to, I think, 1998 
or 1999 when we abolished USIA [United States Information 
Agency]. There is no single point in the United States 
Government today that is in charge of information, and I think 
it is inexcusable that the country that invented Hollywood and 
Facebook is being defeated on the information battlefield. 
Clearly, that is part of the war that we are engaged in. Putin 
is achieving great success in Europe and across the world and 
one would argue in many areas without firing a shot through 
effective use of information. I think our friends on the 
Foreign Relations Committee perhaps can consider that. But USIA 
was the point and now we do not have it. So I hope we can 
recover that capacity sooner rather than later.
    Thank you very much, General.
    Senator Reed [presiding]. On behalf of Chairman McCain, 
Senator Cruz please.
    Senator Cruz. Thank you very much, Senator Reed.
    General, good morning. Thank you for your service.
    The European theater continues to be a vital concern, a 
critical and complex region that will always be near the top of 
our national security priorities.
    I want to begin by focusing on the repeated reports we are 
seeing of Russia's growing support for the Taliban and for 
ISIS. General Nicholson testified last month that Russia is 
attempting to legitimize the Taliban and undermine the Afghan 
Government. Just a few weeks ago, General Votel expressed his 
concerns regarding the extent to which Russia has managed to 
prop up the Assad regime. In the same hearing, General 
Waldhauser said that Russia is trying to exert influence on the 
outcome of which entity emerges with control of the government 
inside Libya. That is a fairly comprehensive list of radical 
Islamic terrorist hotspots across the globe from Afghanistan to 
the Middle East to Africa and Russia seeking additional 
influence with each.
    How should this inform our future strategic choices with 
respect to Russia, and what impact would that have on your AOR?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, thank you. I think those are 
all accurate. I agree with all their statements.
    I think actually that it is a part of Russia's intent to 
present themselves as a global power. In my view, where they 
are involved, they are not necessarily so concerned about the 
outcome, just that they can be a part of it. They can be seen 
as being a part of that. Whether it is an effective outcome I 
do not think it is as much of a concern to them.
    So that is what we need to take from this, more so from our 
point of view the fact that they are a spoiler often in many of 
these cases. So we also have to engage them in this manner, and 
we have to engage globally as well in these places in order to 
ensure that we have the proper influence.
    Senator Cruz. If Russia were to succeed in undermining the 
Afghan Government, what would the effect of that be on the NATO 
    General Scaparrotti. It would be significant. I mean, NATO 
and the United States in my view must win in Afghanistan. I 
agree. I have seen the influence of Russia of late, an 
increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even 
supply to the Taliban.
    Senator Cruz. We have also seen over the past few months 
numerous instances of Russian aggression or hostile behavior 
such as Russian jets buzzing the United States Navy destroyer 
Porter and numerous intercepts of United States aircraft in the 
Baltic Sea. Some of these incidents have been exceedingly 
unsafe. Recently Russia also deployed a land-based cruise 
missile in clear violation of the INF Treaty. Also, a Russian 
spy auxiliary, gathering intelligence, ship conducted 
operations off the United States coast near our submarine 
    General, in your professional opinion, what should be the 
U.S.'s responses to these actions? How do we reduce Russia's 
flouting of international norms?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, first of all, we must be 
strong in all that we do. We should confront them in each of 
these occasions or each of these incidents. Then we need to 
sail and fly every place that is within international norms and 
international airways and maritime. We just need to keep doing 
that. For instance, in the Baltic or in the Black Sea, these 
encounters are their means of showing us their displeasure for 
us being there. We have every right to be there. We have, in 
fact, increased our presence, and I think that is the right 
step, increase our presence and insist on the fact that we have 
every right within international law to operate there and 
continue to do so.
    Senator Cruz. Let me shift to a different question. 
American forces have conducted several deployments in support 
of Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate our commitment to 
the stability of Europe. Recently 400 soldiers and 24 AH-64 
Apache helicopters deployed to Europe from Fort Bliss. However, 
earlier this month, the Army's Deputy of Chief for Operations, 
Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, expressed concerns 
regarding sustainable readiness for the Army's future 
rotations. In essence, it sounds like soldiers that are coming 
home from one deployment will have less time to get ready and 
train before re-deploying to the European theater. That or the 
Army will be forced to reduce its global commitments.
    General, do you share the same concerns as General Anderson 
regarding this rotation of forces. What impact do you see in 
your AOR, and what do you recommend to improve the situation?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, first of all, it is crucial 
that we continue the rotations within Europe for deterrence of 
Russia and for assurance and support of our allies, the 
commitments that we have made. But I do agree with General 
Anderson that, for instance, in the Army, as an Army officer, 
we are less than a 1-to-2 dwell. We are turning our people very 
quickly. It is the reason that our Chief has said that we need 
to grow our force, and we need to focus on readiness, as he is 
doing, because we are committed today at a very high rate.
    Senator Cruz. Thank you, General.
    Senator Reed. Thank you, Senator Cruz.
    On behalf of the chairman, Senator Donnelly please.
    Senator Donnelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, thank you very much for being here.
    We talk a lot about Russia's escalate to deescalate 
strategy or the idea that Russia has indicated through its 
words and its exercises that it sees the use of tactical 
nuclear weapons to supposedly deescalate a conflict as a 
realistic option.
    How should NATO respond to this? Does the United States 
have the capabilities whether through dual-use aircraft or 
strategic bombers to deter such an escalatory move?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, thank you.
    As I have said, we should be strong in the face of both 
their rhetoric, their actions, and their modernization. We do 
have the capability to deter this. But we must remain strong 
and we must continue to modernize given the pace of their 
modernization so that in the future we continue our dominance.
    Senator Donnelly. I am just wondering personally. Do you 
think that Vladimir Putin and/or the Russians believe that they 
could use a nuclear weapon without a similar scaled response?
    General Scaparrotti. That is a good question. I think that 
about that a lot.
    They have said publicly that they see the potential of the 
use of a nuclear weapon in what we would consider a tactical 
and conventional means. That is just alarming.
    Senator Donnelly. I think it is a clear misunderstanding of 
who we are as well----
    General Scaparrotti. Exactly.
    Senator Donnelly.--is what I think.
    I was privileged to be over in Georgia and Ukraine not too 
long ago. My friend and fellow Hoosier, Senator Lugar, helped 
create the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program to 
combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction. While we were 
there, we spent a lot of time working with the Georgian and 
Ukraine Government in efforts to counter the smuggling of those 
    Russia has destabilized borders in both these countries, 
and I am concerned about the impact that has had on the ability 
to smuggle nuclear material through uncontrolled regions like 
eastern Ukraine. In Georgia, in fact, the special police unit 
calls those kind of areas the black holes. It is a serious 
threat given that the smuggling networks in these regions reach 
to the terrorist networks in the Middle East. That is the 
    I was wondering what EUCOM is doing to counter this effort 
at the present time.
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you, Senator. Your pipeline that 
you described is accurate.
    We have a transnational threats element within EUCOM. It is 
whole-of-government. It relies mostly on not just the military 
piece but mostly on other agencies within our government 
connection with our partners and allies, with Europol within 
EU, et cetera. It is a network essentially to help us highlight 
criminal networks. They are often very closely aligned and 
working with our terrorist networks. So that is one of the 
major things that we do. It is an important function, and it is 
a central part of our counter-transnational threats line of 
effort, which is one of our five lines of effort.
    Senator Donnelly. I want to follow on some of the questions 
my colleague, Senator Fischer, asked earlier about Russia's INF 
violations and their deployment of nuclear-armed ground-
launched cruise missile. They have similar air and sea launch 
capabilities that do not violate the INF. Why do you think they 
are deliberately choosing to deploy a seemingly redundant 
capability on land?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think that it would provide 
them a capability internal to their country that gives much 
great reach, simply put.
    Senator Donnelly. Do you feel that all of the steps being 
taken in Kaliningrad with the Iskander short-range missiles--
that the goal of all of that is to divide us, to undermine 
NATO, to try to separate the commitment from one to the other?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I think that is part of it. I 
think much of what they do is to undermine confidence in NATO, 
undermine confidence in the West. It is to threaten them with 
the idea that we can have control over a swath of your country 
or a number of countries in the region with these systems.
    Senator Donnelly. I want to thank you. You have a real 
challenge on your hands at this time, but we want you to know 
we are 100 percent behind you, that we will do everything we 
can to provide you with all you need and that you can tell all 
of our friends and allies over there that we have their back.
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you, Senator.
    Senator Donnelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Senator Reed. On behalf of Chairman McCain, Senator Ernst 
    Senator Ernst. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, General Scaparrotti, very much.
    It is good to know that you do support providing lethal aid 
to our Ukrainian friends. It seems like we all do agree that 
there should be that lethal assistance out there. I have made 
this clear to this administration. I made it clear to the last 
administration as well. But I do hope that this administration 
decides to provide the assistance as soon as possible.
    Recently I have grown increasingly concerned about Russia's 
use of tactical drones to spot for artillery and advanced 
technology for communication and GPS jamming. What types of 
advanced technologies are the Russians using against Ukraine 
and in other places as well? Is there specific technology that 
we should be considering when we are providing Ukraine the 
opportunity to counter that technology?
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you, Senator.
    Actually in Ukraine what we see the Russians do is somewhat 
what they have done in Syria, and that is use the Ukrainian 
conflict as a place that they can test some of their new 
technologies or TTPs, and one of them, as you mentioned, is the 
sensor to shoot our linkages between weapon systems and the use 
of drones, et cetera. That is a problem that we are working on 
hard ourselves because we are seeing a proliferation of that 
not just with the Russians but in some limited ways as well 
with terrorists. So we are working those technologies. The work 
with Ukraine provides us an opportunity to test some of the 
things that we are doing as well. We simply need to make EW 
[Electronic Warfare] and those kinds of things available to 
them that can help counter what the Russian proxy forces are 
bringing to bear there.
    Senator Ernst. Absolutely. Thank you.
    You also mentioned that you were concerned about the 
stability in the Balkans. On Tuesday, Ambassador Burns joined 
us here and highlighted Russia's increasing influence in 
Serbia. Specifically he did mention the recent coup and 
assassination attempt in Montenegro that was orchestrated by 
the Russians in Belgrade. In light of that effort targeting 
NATO interest, do you think we should have a more robust 
presence in Kosovo as a means to deter the Russians in the 
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I do. I have been to the 
Balkans several times in recent months primarily to learn more 
myself about the actual situation there, but also to bring 
focus to it. The Russians are active in undermining our efforts 
in the Balkans today, and we need to provide additional 
interagency focus. I think this is a matter of not just the 
military support with, say, the Kosovo security force, et 
cetera, which we have troops in. I think it is also a 
diplomatic and informational effort with us and importantly 
with our partners because, as you know, NATO and the EU have a 
large role to play in the Balkans as well today and lead many 
of these organizational efforts. So we all need to work 
together. The military is a part of it. On that point, I would 
say we should not reduce our force size particularly the Kosovo 
security force because it is kind of the bedrock of stability 
right now. But we do need a much more robust diplomatic/
informational effort among the alliance there.
    Senator Ernst. Absolutely. I think everything should be on 
the table at this point in reassuring and assisting our allies, 
our friends in the Balkans.
    Then just very quickly, you have mentioned the cyber center 
and how great it is, the cyber center that we have in Estonia. 
I will be meeting with their ambassador later to discuss their 
cyber defense center of excellence. So I am really excited 
about that opportunity.
    Can you just tell me very briefly how well EUCOM and NATO 
are prepared to defend against cyber attacks, especially those 
that are aimed at disrupting the elections that we will see 
ongoing in Europe?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, first of all, within EUCOM I 
think we are postured well to deal with cyber. Cyber Command 
works very closely with us, and literally it is a dynamic 
relationship because within the cyber domain, things change so 
rapidly. We just had our exercise here last month, we had an 
element from Cyber Command that acted as a component per se in 
EUCOM reporting directly to me. I think we are modernizing, we 
are moving forward. We have got good support. We have got a lot 
of work to do particularly in capacity.
    Within NATO, NATO recently determined that cyber was a 
domain at the Warsaw Summit. That was important because what it 
did is it provided direction to work doctrine and policy in a 
much fuller way which is the commander within NATO I need, and 
it gave me authorities to do more within cyber in NATO, which 
we need to do. So on the defensive side, pretty good. Beyond 
that, we are at the beginning of this in terms of NATO complete 
cyber capability.
    Senator Ernst. I do hope that is something that we can work 
on with them.
    Thank you for your great service, sir. Thank you.
    Chairman McCain [presiding]. Senator Warren?
    Senator Warren. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you for being here, General.
    I want to quickly ask about the importance of our non-
military foreign assistance to your mission. When you appeared 
before this committee last year for your nomination as EUCOM 
Commander, you said--and I am going to quote you here--I 
strongly support the collaborative interagency approach. In my 
experience, it takes a network with all required agencies to 
defeat a threat network.
    So, General, do you still agree with that statement?
    General Scaparrotti. I do, absolutely.
    Senator Warren. The budget proposal put out by the Trump 
administration last week calls for a 29 percent cut to the 
State Department and significant cuts to other agencies with 
international responsibilities. General, would funding cuts to 
agencies that conduct diplomacy and development make your job 
as EUCOM Commander easier or more difficult?
    General Scaparrotti. It will make the job more difficult. I 
rely heavily on our relationships with the other agencies in 
our government. Within my headquarters, my POLAD is essentially 
one of my deputies, Ambassador Elliott. That gives you an 
example of the importance we place on it in EUCOM. Many of the 
things I have talked about this morning, counter-transnational 
terrorism--that is predominantly agency personnel from State 
and Treasury. It is not uniformed personnel that do those 
actions for EUCOM in the United States and Europe.
    Senator Warren. Thank you, General. I agree strongly on 
    Russia is actively working to destabilize countries along 
its border and undermine unity within the European Union and 
NATO. They are doing this through a lot of indirect tactics 
like enabling separatist forces and disseminating propaganda 
and fake news. They even launched a cyber attack to influence 
the results of our election recently.
    But Russia is also investing in other kinds of asymmetric 
capabilities like disrupting communications through electronic 
warfare or working to evade United States and NATO surveillance 
and investing in space and cyber tools. According to press 
reports and arms control analysis, they violated the 
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by deploying ground-
launched cruise missiles.
    The European Reassurance Initiative, ERI, has helped to 
counter some of these destabilizing activities. The United 
States has deployed equipment and rotated forces into Central 
and Eastern Europe, but I am wondering if this standard display 
of force is the best way to deter Russia now that Putin seems 
to rely more on indirect tactics.
    What I want to ask, General, is let us set aside 
conventional forces and prepositioned equipment for just a 
second, that it is there. What more can we do through ERI to 
address Putin's indirect and asymmetric tactics?
    General Scaparrotti. Through ERI, we are actually using 
these funds in some of the areas for the asymmetric activities 
to counter those malign influences. We have special operations 
forces that are supported by this that do military information 
support operations and activities in support of U.S. 
Government, particularly the embassy and the ambassadors in 
each of the countries. It supports us as well in cyber in 
operations. In other ways, there are means that perhaps--for 
instance, support in naval forces are seen as a ship, et 
cetera, but they are actually supporting those capabilities and 
those ships support us in other ways in terms of asymmetric 
means. So I agree with you, and we do have a focus on that.
    I would last say that part of this is we are learning too. 
I mean, part of that effort through ERI is to make sure we 
understand how they operate in this gray zone or hybrid 
activity. That is supported here as well.
    Senator Warren. Thank you very much, General. I think we 
need to be smart about responding to and deterring Russia's 
asymmetric aggression. It seems to me that we cannot think 
solely about deploying more troops and conventional military 
assets in Europe in order to counter Russia. We have got to 
have a very wide perspective on this. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Wicker?
    Senator Wicker. General, you mentioned on page 8 of your 
testimony the ceasefire violations in Ukraine, that the 
majority of them are being committed by Russian-led forces. 
Senator Warren mentioned fake news. How helpful are the OSCE 
monitors in giving us the correct picture there? Then I have a 
couple of other questions about OSCE.
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, thank you.
    OSCE is very important to this. One of the issues is that 
their job is to monitor activities and compliance with the 
agreement on both sides of the line of contact. In fact, 
Russia--it is well known that they intimidate and restrict the 
mission monitors in their job, which is one of the things that 
we need to encourage and insist that Russia stop doing and 
begin to allow the OSCE to do its job properly.
    Senator Wicker. What can we do in that respect?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think in that respect, sir, we 
need to bring the international community together with respect 
to Russia and their lack of movement on the Minsk. They say 
publicly they are in support of the Minsk agreement, but 
personally I think if you watch their actions, there does not 
seem to be steps taken on their part to do just that.
    Senator Wicker. They are doing a lot of exercises there and 
in all of Europe. One of the techniques they use to try to get 
around their commitments is the SNAP exercise designation. Can 
you tell us about that?
    General Scaparrotti. These exercises reflect Putin's focus 
on his modernization. It reflects his intent to make their 
forces more responsive to improve their mobilization, but it 
also is a part of intimidation I would say.
    The SNAP exercises themselves are typically broadcast as 
much smaller than they end up being. Some of them are not 
announced at all in contravention to the Vienna document and 
the treaties that we have there. So that is very disturbing, 
and it is a way that you can have miscalculation. We know in 
the past, at least with Crimea, they have used an exercise to 
shield what was a violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine.
    Senator Wicker. But they also continue to do exercises in 
Crimea. What is the significance of the most recent Russian 
exercise in Crimea?
    General Scaparrotti. To me the significance is that--well, 
there are several of them. One is that they do both defensive 
and offensive operations as a part of that SNAP exercise. They 
rehearsed attacks on the eastern border, actually flew toward 
it, those kinds of activities which are very disturbing and 
create a lot of angst along the eastern border and within EUCOM 
being able to watch this and understand what is their real 
intent. So it is the way they run the operations and without 
transparency that creates the problem.
    They have the right to do military exercises. They need to 
do them in a way that is constructive and aligned with our 
    Senator Wicker. But they do not have a right to do the no-
notice exercises under their agreements.
    General Scaparrotti. Under the agreement, it has to be 
announced if it is over 9,000 troops, and it has to be observed 
if it is 13,000 or more. There has to be an allowance for 
observers if we choose to do so. Their SNAP exercises are much, 
much larger than that, almost 100,000 if you take them in all 
the different exercises that happen simultaneously.
    Senator Wicker. Should we be concerned about trends in 
Russian activity in the North Atlantic?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, we should. They are more 
aggressive. They are reestablishing bases in the Arctic and 
North Atlantic. We have to go back to establishing the same 
deterrence that we practiced during the Cold War in my view.
    Senator Wicker. Is there a forum where we are engaging with 
them diplomatically about that?
    General Scaparrotti. I do not know the forum personally. I 
know that we have engaged with them diplomatically, but I could 
not tell you the forum, sir.
    Senator Wicker. Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Hirono?
    Senator Hirono. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, you have mentioned several times the importance of 
the whole-of-government approach particularly to reassure our 
NATO allies and your concern that the contemplated cuts to the 
State Department, for example, and the Treasury Department by 
this administration would raise major concerns for you, also 
shared by Secretary Mattis. Is that concern that you express 
shared by our other combatant commanders?
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, I would say that you would 
have to ask them directly for their own personal opinion, but I 
will answer it this way. We operate with our interagency, and 
most of what we do today, even in the more direct actions that 
we have taken in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq have relied upon an 
interagency approach, a whole-of-government approach. That is 
the way we traditionally operate.
    Senator Hirono. It sounds as though that your concern or 
your commitment to the importance of a whole-of-government 
approach is one that is shared by our other commanders.
    You mentioned that there is a possibility, of course, of 
Russia's use of nuclear weapons, and there is always that 
possibility. But on the other hand, Russia has cyber capability 
that can be very effective, and one wonders why they should 
resort to conventional warfare if they can use cyber to do all 
kinds of damage. So, for example, Russia is currently 
conducting cyber operations in various countries, such as the 
Ukraine, Montenegro, by attacking military communications and 
secure databases, as well as power grids. In addition, they are 
using fake news and information operations to impact elections 
across the globe. This has magnified a wave of populist 
nationalism in Europe and impacted the recent United States 
    I think that you mentioned or you described that you are 
working with our allies to create a defensive approach to the 
cyber operations that Russia has deployed.
    I am wondering, though, has the question of what the U.S. 
would do if Russia's activities in affecting and disrupting the 
elections of our NATO allies, whether the question has come up 
where at some point we would say that these kinds of cyber 
attacks rise to the level of an act of war that would trigger 
reaction from us to support our NATO allies.
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, that is a matter of policy, 
but I think we are a member of NATO. NATO has said that article 
5 could be triggered by a cyber event. We are a member of that. 
So I think there is the occasion that that could occur. But, 
again, what we would do and what level that would be that would 
create a response is a policy decision.
    Senator Hirono. Something that we need to definitely 
discuss at the policy level.
    I think you mentioned in response to another question 
regarding our mil-to-mil communications with Russia that we do 
not necessarily want to reward their bad behavior. I am 
wondering, based on your communication with the administration, 
do you know what the administration's position is on the 
current Russian sanctions? Would rescinding these sanctions 
affect stability in Europe in your view?
    General Scaparrotti. I have not had the discussion with my 
leadership on the sanctions, Senator. I think that we must 
retain the sanctions. We put them in place as a result of their 
annexation of Crimea. It is another way that we, both the 
United States and the alliance in Europe, strongly show that 
that is unacceptable and we will maintain strength in the face 
of Russia's activities.
    Senator Hirono. So would any kind of cutting back on those 
sanctions not signal some kind of a retreat or weakness on the 
part of our U.S. commitment to NATO, for example?
    General Scaparrotti. Well, I think personally that if we 
were to relieve or cut back on those, Putin would see that as a 
very good thing, and it would reward him standing fast long 
enough to perhaps survive the sanctions themselves.
    Senator Hirono. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Senator McCaskill [presiding]. I am the acting chairman 
right now, and I have the pleasure of calling on myself.
    I am going to say for the record what needs to be said 
here, and that is that if we want to send the right signal to 
Russia, all of the work that we are doing, that you and your 
command are doing, which is so important, is an integral piece 
of that. All of the work we do with our allies in Europe is an 
integral piece of that. But a big piece of it is having a 
Commander in Chief that will say that right things to Russia. 
We do not have a Commander in Chief right now who is willing to 
say out loud what everyone knows about Putin and what he is 
doing in Europe and what he tried to do in the United States. 
Until we have a Commander in Chief that is willing to speak out 
against this thug and his behavior, I do not know that all the 
great work that you and your command can do is ever going to 
move the needle enough.
    I have said it, and I feel better. You do not have to say a 
word, not your place to say a word. I understand the role of 
the Commander in Chief in your life. But I wanted to say it and 
put it on the record.
    I was in Estonia. I would like to talk a little bit about 
what is going on in other places in nontraditional warfare. I 
was in Estonia last summer, and I was shocked how many 
Estonians told me--you know, we went to a coffee shop and we 
were talking to those who spoke English. They were saying how 
they really wanted to be part of NATO, but they were worried 
about the NATO soldiers being able to rape the citizens of 
Estonia and not be held legally accountable. I, of course, 
went, what?
    As it turns out, this is the other thing Russia is doing, 
that Russia is pushing propaganda through Estonia that NATO is 
somehow going to damage their sovereignty in terms of the 
enforcement of rule of law.
    Could you speak to that, General, that method that they use 
to try to undermine the support of NATO in the countries that 
they have designs on?
    General Scaparrotti. You stated it clearly. In fact, we are 
now in NATO--the first forces are going into the four nations, 
Estonia being one of them. We have already had a couple of 
incidents of just complete untruth--the incident never 
occurred--within days of the troops arriving. We prepared for 
this. We expected it. We were able to respond to those 
truthfully and quickly and debunk the false story. But it is 
something that I expect will continue.
    As you said, it obviously has--their disinformation 
obviously has some influence. If there is a consistent message 
from Russia in the east, it is to undercut the credibility of 
the United States and NATO at large, consistently.
    Senator McCaskill. Do we have a robust enough response to 
this kind of disinformation campaign? Are we focusing enough on 
this part of the warfare?
    General Scaparrotti. I think we are focused on it. I do not 
think we have a robust enough response at this point. I think 
we have to, both as the U.S. and also as allies, come together 
and take a more aggressive confrontation of Russia particularly 
in this gray area.
    Senator McCaskill. Yes. I would certainly hope that would 
be on NATO's agenda as to strategies moving forward to combat 
this kind of insidious disinformation that really does 
strengthen the efforts of Russia to use military might to 
intimidate and eventually move into countries that have no 
desire to be occupied.
    I also want to take a brief moment to talk about something 
I am like a broken record on and that is OCO [Overseas 
Contingency Operations]. The Congressional Research Service 
recently published an extensive report on OCO funding, and it 
states the obvious that those of us who are on this committee 
are painfully aware of, that this began truly for a contingency 
after 9/11 and has now morphed into something very ugly off the 
books in that we now have the European Reassurance Initiative 
in the OCO budget. We now even have base budgeting in the OCO 
    Talk, if you will, from your perspective, as you are asked 
to draw up your financial needs for your command, how you all 
are making a decision inside the Pentagon what you put in OCO 
and what you put in the base budget.
    General Scaparrotti. Well, ma'am, for instance, I will 
start with EUCOM. We have the outline of the use of ERI, what 
it is intended to do based on Congress' direction. I have a 
process where my component commands, the other services, make 
recommendations for funding in ERI. I have a board that 
eventually comes to me for a decision that, first of all, asks 
the question, is that in support of the intent of ERI, and if 
not, why is it in here. We will push it off to the base budget. 
Or even those areas where I think, you know what, that is a 
broader activity we are funding. It really ought to be in the 
base, not in ERI. So I have that system myself within EUCOM, 
and we draw that line hard because we appreciate ERI. We want 
to maintain the credibility of it and how we use it. It is 
fundamental to doing our job in EUCOM.
    Within OSD, there is a very deliberate process run by the 
DepSecDef and the Vice Chairman that all of us as combatant 
commands take part in. It is very detailed in terms of a look 
at each command and what we propose for a budget, what we 
intend to put in, and it looks at a cross section, as well, a 
comparison of each other. So it is a deliberate process.
    I would just say that I am in favor of moving funds into 
the base. We need predictable funding----
    Senator McCaskill. Right.
    General Scaparrotti.--so that we can actually make longer-
term decisions and have more continuity. That would be better I 
think for the force as a whole as well.
    Senator McCaskill. This would be a good time for us to have 
the discipline, as the President has presented a budget that 
is--frankly, it is not a huge increase in the military. I think 
he is trying to make everybody believe it is a big increase to 
the military. I think it is only three percent higher than what 
President Obama recommended in his budget. But nonetheless, it 
is an increase. When everything else is getting cut, I think 
this would be a good time for us to bite the bullet--pardon the 
use of that particular analogy, but I think it would be time 
for us to be honest with the American people and put all of 
these items into the base budget so the American people 
understand what we are spending on the military as it compares 
to other parts of our budget.
    I thank you for your service. I thank all of the men and 
women who serve under your command. I think you have got a 
really important job now. I understand the importance of what 
you do now has been exacerbated by what Russia has done over 
the last 12 months and what they continue to do in democracies 
across the world. We are depending on you to be our front line 
eyes and ears to their aggression. I thank you very much.
    Chairman McCain [presiding]. Senator Blumenthal?
    Senator Blumenthal, Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to join in thanking you and the men and women under 
your command for their service in a critical area of the world 
for us and our national security.
    I understand you have just come back from a trip to Israel, 
and I would like to ask you what security concerns the Israelis 
raised with you, focusing specifically on the Iranian 
development, continuing development, of their ballistic 
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. Well, first of all, Israel 
is an extremely close ally of ours, a special ally. We in EUCOM 
have an excellent relationship with them. It is nearly daily 
contact. One of my missions is support of Israel and their 
    As I visited, their CHOD and I and their senior leaders 
obviously talked about their concerns about Iranian malign 
influence, as well as their missile capabilities. We work 
closely with them to support and complement their missile 
defense, for instance. In fact, one day of that trip, I met 
their air missile defense commander and went to look at some of 
their sites to ensure that we in EUCOM were supporting that 
    Beyond that, we discussed, for instance, their concern 
about Hezbollah and fighters gaining experience in Syria and 
other places and returning and what that might mean in the 
future, a concern about, obviously, Syria and the tri-border 
region as the conflict in Syria continues. So they live in a 
very tough neighborhood, and you can look in nearly every 
direction and have a threat.
    Senator Blumenthal, Is there more that we can and should be 
doing to strengthen their defenses against that kind of missile 
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, we are doing all that we can. 
I mean, we work with this closely to ensure that we do, in 
fact, reinforce their defense. In fact, there are more things 
we can do with their missile defense. We have people there this 
week working on that as well. I mean, it is a matter of 
modernization, change in environment. But we are doing that. To 
maintain their military edge is very, very important and also 
to maintain the war stocks that we have committed to them for 
    Senator Blumenthal, But there is more that we can do and we 
are doing it.
    General Scaparrotti. We are, and we are focused on support 
of Israel.
    Senator Blumenthal, I take it, speaking of ballistic 
missiles, that you would agree with General Selva who testified 
earlier this week during the House Armed Services Committee 
that Russia is violating the INF Treaty.
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, I agree.
    Senator Blumenthal, I think in your testimony you used the 
word ``concerning.'' This is an extraordinarily important area. 
Is it not?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir, it is. It is an enhancement 
in capability that has a direct impact throughout the theater 
from my perspective.
    Senator Blumenthal, That is because, as you put it well in 
your testimony, it increases Putin's asymmetric options as this 
missile capability is built. The whole reason that the treaty 
exists is to stop this kind of development because it threatens 
to destabilize the whole confrontation--not confrontation, but 
the array of forces in that part of the world. Correct?
    General Scaparrotti. That is correct.
    Senator Blumenthal, Have you made recommendations as to 
what we should be doing about it?
    General Scaparrotti. I have made recommendations in the 
sense that we need to respond to this. We need to be strong in 
the face of it. I think the actions that we have recommended in 
EUCOM, in terms of posture, force structure, et cetera, are all 
a part of this, a part of the response that we need to have for 
Russia at large.
    Senator Blumenthal, Is there consideration, to the extent 
you may know of it, about additional diplomatic or military 
action that the administration may be taking to counter this 
threat to our security?
    General Scaparrotti. At this time, I have not had that 
discussion yet with that specific topic in terms of policy 
actions or actions that might be taken.
    Senator Blumenthal, Have you any expectation that that 
discussion will occur?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, I do.
    Senator Blumenthal, Can you give us a general time frame?
    General Scaparrotti. No, I cannot, but I would expect we 
will have it. Yes, sir.
    Senator Blumenthal, Well, I would urge that it be done 
sooner rather than later. With all due respect, I am not nearly 
as well informed as you, but I am extremely alarmed by this 
violation of the INF Treaty and what it represents 
strategically in that part of the world and what it reflects in 
the way of Russian intentions around the world. Thank you, 
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you, sir.
    Senator Blumenthal, Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Apparently Senator King has not had 
    Senator King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Fortunately, your 
microphone was off for the editorial comment.
    General, a couple of quick questions. Do you consider RT, 
Russia Television, an agent of the Russian Government?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, I do, sir.
    Senator King. It is my understanding that not only are they 
using RT in Europe, but they are also sniffing around or, in 
fact, looking into acquisitions of commercial television and 
radio capacity in Europe.
    General Scaparrotti. That is correct. I have been told in a 
number of countries that they are using fronts, but essentially 
buying local TV, and in one case recently, a social media 
network that is influential particularly with the young in the 
    Senator King. When you say buying local TV, you are talking 
about TV stations, not airtime.
    General Scaparrotti. That is right. They are buying TV 
stations and a social network company that does work on social 
    Senator King. This is one more area of their what I 
consider very effective playing of a weak hand. They are 
aggressing upon us at a low dollar cost, but aggression 
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir. I agree.
    Senator King. Different subject. Iceland. I was in Iceland 
recently, and it struck me as an incredible strategic location. 
Keflavik air base was dismantled--or not dismantled. It is 
still there, but it was deactivated around 2004 or 2005. It 
strikes me that this is such a strategic location. Do you 
believe that we should at least consider, subject to the 
approval of the people of Iceland, some reconstitution of our 
capacity there? I know we have rotational forces there but 
something more than that.
    General Scaparrotti. Senator, we do have rotational forces 
through there, but I think we should consider it. Again, it 
comes back to my concern about the high north, North Atlantic, 
and the increasing Russian threat from the North Atlantic fleet 
there. So that area is important to us to increase our 
activities with our allies to ensure that we deter Russia and 
we are very knowledgeable of their activities as well.
    Senator King. It struck me as a large, unsinkable aircraft 
carrier in the midst of the most strategic spot in the North 
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator King, I met with the President of 
Iceland, and I know that General Scaparrotti has too. We have a 
PR [Public Relations] challenge there as well with the people 
of Iceland. Is that not true, General?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, I believe we do. I think NATO 
could do more work there as well in terms of perspective or 
receptiveness, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. They would be more receptive if it were a 
NATO kind of commitment rather than just the United States.
    General Scaparrotti. Well, in discussions, that is what has 
been discussed with me as the SACEUR [Supreme Allied Commander 
    Chairman McCain. Well, I thank you, General, and I 
appreciate, obviously, the important information you have 
provided the committee.
    I would just like to mention again what Senator King 
brought up, and that is this whole issue of this information 
warfare that is going on right now is something that crosses a 
lot of boundaries between State and Defense and intelligence 
and other agencies of government. Yet, every time I turn around 
and talk particularly to one of the smaller countries, that is 
one of their biggest issues is this propaganda that the 
Russians--and fake news, et cetera, ranging from what their 
obvious attempts at changing the outcome of the French election 
to the pressure on Latvia to alienate their Russian speaking 
population. So I hope we will move that issue up on our 
priority list. It seems to me it is kind of like the weather. 
We talk about it but we really do not do anything about it.
    There is a precedent for it. It was called the Cold War. 
How many people do we know that after The Wall came down who 
said I listened to Radio Free Europe? I listened to the Voice 
of America. It kept hope alive. Why can we not reconstitute 
something along those lines to get the message out? I do not 
think it would be hard to counter Russian propaganda given the 
kind of lifestyle they have in Russia.
    So I hope you will think about it, and we will continue to 
think about it. But whenever you get one of these issues that 
involves more than one agency of government, as you know, we 
have much more difficulty, whether it be cyber, or whether it 
be this information challenge that we are facing now.
    So we thank you, General, for visiting with us again and 
thanks for the great work. Senator King will come to Brussels 
and spend time with you as well. Thank you.
    General Scaparrotti. Thank you, Chairman. My privilege.
    [Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the committee adjourned.]

    [Questions for the record with answers supplied follow:]

               Questions Submitted by Senator John McCain
colocation of the nato intelligence fusion center (nifc) with the eucom 
               joint intelligence assessment cell (jiac)
    1. Senator McCain. General Scaparrotti, hybrid threats challenge 
the NATO political decision making process because they obfuscate 
attribution. What is your assessment of intelligence sharing in NATO 
and what steps can be taken to improve it?
    General Scaparrotti. The quality and quantity of intelligence 
sharing between allies and NATO varies based on national interests and 
capabilities. There are a number of examples of timely and high quality 
intelligence sharing, such as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Sharing within 
military organizations and Allied Command Operations is robust. 
However, even in the military spectrum, there are high interest areas 
that suffer from a dearth of intelligence sharing. There is also 
significant room for system based virtual collaboration tools to 
improve sharing of NATO products within the U.S. intelligence community 
that would allow more efficient IC exploitation of NATO intelligence 
collection and production. Encouraging nations to share intelligence 
with NATO is a persistent effort. Allies have varying levels of 
capacity and interoperability of systems to share national intel with 
NATO. NATO intelligence production is conducted on both BICES and the 
NATO Secret Wide Area Network (NSWAN), but often, the systems are 
unable to access the other systems data. NATO is hampered with an 
inability to organize, search and discover existing intelligence 
information within the NATO intel system. There is also no central 
designated management authority for that responsibility between the 
civilian and military sides of NATO. This includes RFIs, collection, 
and significant portions of production by NATO elements. Finally, 
outdated processes and system verification of U.S. ``read-ons'' to NATO 
SECRET limits efficient sharing of NATO data back to the U.S. 
Government and thus limits the effectiveness of sharing between the 
U.S. and NATO. Potential Areas for Improvement:

      Encourage allies with robust intelligence capabilities to 
contribute to NATO commensurate with capability.
      Ensure expanded use of BICES and that NSWAN workstations 
are cross-domain enabled.
      Central management and a more organized RFI process 
across NATO. The improvement of tools to allow more robust discovery of 
existing RFIs, finished production, and other structured intelligence 
data is necessary to prevent duplication and lack of access of 
available relevant information.
      Quicker implementation of a PKI-enabled solutions to 
allow those with access to NATO SECRET to access NATO-produced 
intelligence production on U.S. classified networks.

    2. Senator McCain. General Scaparrotti, in the preface to the book 
by General Sir Richard Shirreff, former Deputy SACEUR, titled ``War 
with Russia'', he wrote: ``Back in March 2014, there was a sense of 
incredulity among us western military leaders when it became 
increasingly clear that the ``annexation'' of Crimea was no less than a 
Russian invasion . . . In the days that followed we received regular 
updates from NATO's Intelligence Fusion Centre, as they listed the 
Russian tank armies and airborne divisions now preparing to invade the 
rest of Ukraine.'' It sounds like the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center 
was a vital source of intelligence during the Ukraine crisis in 2014. 
In your opinion and experience, why is the NATO Intelligence Fusion 
Cell important to NATO?
    General Scaparrotti. As a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 
organization, the NIFC operates outside of the NATO Command Structure, 
which allows it greater flexibility than other NATO intelligence 
organizations. The agility of the organization to provide timely 
intelligence and establish a common picture facilitates NATOs ability 
to detect and understand the geopolitical and military challenges in a 
complex and dynamic environment. Additionally, the NIFC's unique 
position as an international military headquarters outside the NATO 
command structure allows the NIFC to serve as a hub for coalition 
intelligence production. In this capacity the NIFC acts as a center for 
Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) of all-source 
intelligence production. Outside of Operation RESOLUTE SUPPORT, NIFC 
intelligence production has accounted for a majority of all NATO 
intelligence enterprise production over the past twelve months. The 
NIFC is the principle producer of GEOINT and targeting intelligence for 
Allied Command Operations. The NIFC continues to build capacity through 
sharing of tradecraft, process and methodology, enhancing 
interoperability and enabling intelligence sharing amongst allies and 
NATO partners.

    3. Senator McCain. General Scaparrotti, why is it important that 
the NATO Intelligence Fusion Cell be collocated with EUCOM's Joint 
Intelligence Analysis Center? What is lost if it is not collocated with 
the Joint Intelligence Analysis Center?
    General Scaparrotti. There are several reasons why it is important 
for the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center (NIFC) to remain collocated 
with the EUCOM Joint Intelligence Analysis Center (JIAC). If NIFC were 
to relocate independent from the JIAC, it would require the U.S., as 
the framework nation, to spend additional money to replicate the 
administrative and operational support presently provided. At a 
minimum, the U.S. would be required to re-create, and in some cases 
replicate, operational and administrative capabilities. NIFC relocation 
to an alternate facility would require increased manpower to sustain 
operations. NIFC relocation outside of the UK would require the 
consensus of all Allied nations, as well as legal and treaty 
negotiations with a new host nation. From an operational standpoint, 
collocation is a key enabler for U.S.-NATO intelligence collaboration. 
This includes promotion of U.S.-NATO intelligence interoperability, 
shared views of common threats, enhanced intelligence sharing, 
federation and burden-sharing, as well as smooth operational transition 
from unilateral/multilateral to NATO operations. Separating the NIFC 
from the JIAC and other collocated intelligence elements within the 
JIAC would degrade these operational advantages and require additional 
investment by the U.S. to replicate the core support capabilities and 
              u.s. force structure requirements in europe
    4. Senator McCain. General Scaparrotti, General Breedlove told the 
committee last year that: `` . . . our current force posture in Europe 
has been based on Russia as a strategic partner . . . '' This year your 
written testimony said: `` . . . the ground force permanently assigned 
to EUCOM is inadequate to meet the combatant command's directed mission 
to deter Russia from further aggression.'' In your opinion, what 
changes must we make to our current military posture in Europe to 
adjust to the current threat reality?
    General Scaparrotti. EUCOM force posture must continue to adapt to 
meet the complex and dynamic strategic challenges in our security 
environment. As I stated in my testimony, this means developing a 
relevant force structure across multiple domains and warfighting 
functions. We need additional Intelligence, Surveillance and 
Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, not only additional platforms, but 
the ability to analyze and disseminate their intelligence information. 
We also need additional land force capabilities, most notably a 
division-sized armor presence that includes a headquarters element; 
enablers such as fires, engineering, and combat aviation; and 
preposition equipment sets. Our naval capabilities must also increase, 
especially in anti-submarine warfare. We need to enhance our integrated 
air and missile defense to meet the strategic challenge of countering 
Russia's growing anti-access area denial capabilities. Lastly, we need 
to modernize and increase our munition stockpiles as our planning and 
targeting processes mature.

    5. Senator McCain. General Scaparrotti, NATO's missile defense was 
designed only to stop Iranian missiles. Do we need a reevaluation of 
European air and missile defense against Russia?
    General Scaparrotti. EUCOM views Russia as a significant threat 
with mature and growing capabilities to conduct comprehensive and 
coordinated attacks in our AOR. To counter this we should reevaluate 
ways to address our air defense capability gaps against advanced 
Russian air and cruise missile threats, but only in ways which will not 
destabilize the region geopolitically. EUCOM supports current U.S. 
national defense policy for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD).

               Questions Submitted by Senator Jim Inhofe
                     u.s. force structure in europe
    6. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, EUCOM has been described as 
a lily pad, a forward staging area for multiple COCOMs to include 
EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM and PACOM. Is that true and why?
    General Scaparrotti. EUCOM's role in enabling global operations for 
not only the Geographic Combatant Commanders but also TRANSCOM, 
STRATCOM and SOCOM is pivotal for the efficient execution of worldwide 
military operations. EUCOM personnel routinely support operations in 
the AFRICOM and CENTCOM areas of responsibility. EUCOM's well-developed 
infrastructure provides critical capabilities in strategic locations 
like Incirlik, Turkey; Sigonella, Italy; Souda Bay, Greece; and Moron 
and Rota, Spain. Basing and access in many European countries (e.g., 
Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey) enable more timely and 
coordinated trans-regional crisis response.

    7. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, is a rotational force as 
effective and efficient as a deterrent force as permanent basing?
    General Scaparrotti. For the challenges we face in the EUCOM 
theater, no, permanent force structure is preferred over rotational 
forces. The Department of Defense evaluates numerous factors, such as 
operational requirements, costs, force management, readiness and 
political-military relationships, in their deliberations of whether to 
permanently station or rotationally deploy forces to a Combatant 
Commander. Numerous benefits would accrue to having additional 
permanent forces structure in Europe:
    1)  Increase operational flexibility and responsiveness;
    2)  Provide persistent presence for deterrence and response;
    3)  Enable dynamic presence for other Combatant Commands;
    4)  Enhance habitual relationships and interoperability with allies 
and partners;
    5)  Improve coalition partner capacity;
    6)  Demonstrate U.S. commitment and resolve;
    7)  Ensure access and bases for global operations;
    8)  Enable U.S. leadership of the NATO Alliance; and
    9)  Decrease costs associated with Operations and Maintenance and 
sustaining readiness of rotational forces.

    8. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, do you support permanent 
basing and additional infrastructure in Europe and specifically Eastern 
Europe? If so, what would that look like?
    General Scaparrotti. I support additional basing of U.S. Forces in 
Europe. Current U.S. national policy prohibits the permanent basing of 
U.S. Forces in parts of Eastern Europe due to the NATO-Russia Founding 
Act. Rotational U.S. and Allied forces in Eastern Europe provides a 
level of deterrence, posturing and assurance without violating U.S., 
NATO and international agreements. Our efforts to provide the austere 
infrastructure in Eastern Europe is to support rotational U.S. forces. 
The European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) program is the current 
funding tool to improve infrastructure in Eastern Europe, both in 
support of rotational presence and to provide infrastructure 
capabilities that may be needed in a crisis.

    9. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, what concrete steps do you 
think need to be taken to change our force posture in Europe to deter 
    General Scaparrotti. To change the force posture in Europe, we 
would need to establish whether we are going to rely on permanent or 
rotational forces, or a mix of the two. Based on that policy decision, 
I believe we need to develop the right mixture of permanent and fully-
resourced heel-to-toe rotational forces in the various combat domains. 
In the land domain I believe we need a Division's worth of armored 
ground power, in addition to the two brigades presently stationed in 
Europe (the 173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the 2nd Cavalry 
Regiment). Additionally, a division headquarters element is required in 
theater, along with enablers such as fires, engineering, and combat 
aviation to support an armored division. Finally, the requisite 
preposition equipment sets are necessary for rapid deployment of combat 
capability into the European theater. In the sea domain, our naval 
capabilities must also increase, especially in anti-submarine warfare. 
We need to enhance our integrated air and missile defense to meet the 
strategic challenge of countering Russia's growing anti-access area 
denial (A2AD) capabilities. In the air domain we need to ensure we have 
air assets with the ability to defeat Russian A2AD systems. EUCOM needs 
to modernize and increase our munition stockpiles as our planning and 
targeting processes mature. Finally, EUCOM needs additional 
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities, not only 
additional platforms, but the ability to analyze and disseminate their 
intelligence information.

    10. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, would it be useful to 
fully exercise NATO's ability to mobilize for combat in Europe, similar 
to what NATO used to do with its REFORGER Exercise from 1967 to 1993, 
to fully task NATO's combat capabilities and identify shortfalls?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, NATO, including the U.S. forces that 
support NATO, should more fully exercise the ability to mobilize for 
combat in Europe. Exercising Allied capabilities alongside the U.S. is 
absolutely central to this effort. ERI has allowed EUCOM to exercise 
more U.S. forces on the European continent. One recent example is the 
Baltic exercise SABER STRIKE 2017 where 22 allies and partners 
participated. In addition to NATO and partner exercises, ERI is also 
facilitating U.S. units' deployment to Europe to train and exercise 
with NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in that unit's 
training and validation events. Finally, as EUCOM rotates forces into 
Europe, it is actively sharing its Joint Reception, Staging, Onward 
Movement, and Integration lessons learned with allies to help inform 
NATO's own efforts to improve mobilization, mobility and freedom of 
movement across Alliance territory.
                      russia inf treaty violation
    11. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, on 8 March, General Selva, 
the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that Russia 
is deploying nuclear-tipped ground-launched cruise missiles in 
violation of the 1987 INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty. 
And you reaffirmed that violation in your opening statement. This is 
the same missile that was tested in 2014 in violation of the INF 
Treaty. These missiles will add to existing Russian nuclear capable 
air- and sea-launched cruise missiles that can range most of Europe and 
the United States when launched off bombers and submarines. General 
Scaparrotti, what should be the U.S. response to their violation?
    General Scaparrotti. Russia's violation of the INF Treaty is but 
one example of their malaign military activity, and the U.S. should use 
all elements of its national power to respond strongly to this INF 
Treaty violation. The Treaty has a provision for a Special Verification 
Commission to resolve questions of compliance. When asked by the 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I will provide my best military 
advice. As you know, the Department of Defense is in the infancy stages 
of conducting its comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review as directed by 
the President in his 27 January 2017 memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. 
Armed Forces. I am confident the review will yield a posture 
recommendation that ensures our nuclear deterrent addresses the Russian 
nuclear situation, and other 21st Century threats while maintaining our 
support to friends and allies.

    12. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, what is the military 
advantage provided to Russia by the deployment of these missiles?
    General Scaparrotti. Russia is developing intermediate-range 
missiles systems, such as the SSC-X-8 ground-launched cruise missile 
and the SS-X-28 ballistic missile, to strike critical infrastructure 
throughout Europe and Asia from behind Russia's air defense umbrella. 
These systems allow Russia to conduct strategic strikes at the same 
time reducing the vulnerability to counterattack.

    13. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, given the threats posed by 
Russian nuclear cruise missiles and other short-range nuclear systems, 
do you believe U.S. and NATO nuclear forces are adequate to counter 
Russian nuclear threats and strategy while assuring allies?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, the U.S. and NATO nuclear deterrent 
posture is credible against the Russian threat. The U.S. strategic 
nuclear forces are the supreme guarantee of the security of the 
Alliance and ensure our ability to respond to Russian nuclear 
developments. In Europe, the combination of modern dual-capable 
aircraft, reliable forward-deployed B61 nuclear weapons, and NATO 
supporting infrastructure assures our allies of continued U.S. support 
for nuclear deterrence in Europe.
                 anti-access, area denial capabilities
    14. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, Russia is developing Anti-
Access and Area Denial, or `A2-AD', capacity in Kaliningrad, Crimea, 
and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. General Scaparrotti, what is your 
assessment of Russian military modernization efforts and what worries 
you most?
    General Scaparrotti. [Deleted.]

    15. Senator Inhofe. General Scaparrotti, in your opinion, what 
should or can NATO do to counter it?
    General Scaparrotti. NATO will require adding new capabilities and 
increase readiness levels to counter the advancing A2/AD defense 
networks. NATO requires a holistic approach which must be implemented 
in peacetime, crisis and conflict. In my 2016 final assessment on 
implications of Russia's evolving A2/AD, I underlined three key 
    1)  NATO has to relook at its peacetime activities and force 
    2)  In crisis, NATO will have to develop military measures to 
sustain a strategic coupling bridge to threatened nations.
    3)  In conflict, NATO will have to possess the right capabilities 
and quantities, also the required readiness to weaken or neutralize 
opposing A2AD. After the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO started to improve its 
strategic and operational plans. NATOs five Graduated Response Plans 
are tailored to specific threats, in which A2AD is addressed. The NAC 
has also tasked the NATO Military Authorities (SHAPE and ACT) to 
conduct an in-house simulation study. This will provide a deeper 
assessment of any potential additional measures, including forces, 
capabilities and readiness levels, required to counter A2/AD in 
               Questions Submitted by Senator Deb Fischer
               response to russia's inf treaty violation:
    16. Senator Fischer. General Scaparrotti, with respect to 
responding to Russia's recent deployment of a ground-launched cruise 
missile in violation the INF Treaty, Secretary Carter previously 
described three sets of options: counter-force capabilities, 
countervailing capabilities, and active defense. Which of these options 
do you think would be the most effective response in dealing with 
Russia's recent missile deployment?
    General Scaparrotti. [Deleted.]
              Questions Submitted by Senator David Perdue
                         nato defense spending
    17. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, there has been a lot of 
attention placed on the 2 percent of GDP spending targets for NATO 
allies. How many of our NATO allies are currently meeting the 2 percent 
    General Scaparrotti. Besides the United States, the United Kingdom, 
Greece, Estonia, and Poland are the other allies that currently meet 
the 2 percent spending targets. Romania is on track to meet 2 percent 
by the end of 2017, and we anticipate Lithuania and Latvia will meet 
the guideline by the end of 2018.

    18. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, do you believe that the 2 
percent spending target is the right way to measure adequate defense 
spending in NATO? If not, what should the benchmark be?
    General Scaparrotti. It is essential that allies display the 
political will to provide required capabilities and deploy forces when 
they are needed. Allies also need to ensure forces are deployable, 
sustainable, and interoperable. The Defense Investment Pledge 
(guideline to spend a minimum of 2 percent of their GDP on defense and 
20 percent of their defense budgets on major equipment, including 
related R&D) agreed at the Wales Summit was an important step in this 
direction and today NATO reaffirms its importance. Derived in 2006, the 
2 percent and 20 percent guidelines were based on ``an average Ally'' . 
. . not those that have underinvested in defense for some time. Many 
allies have numerous capabilities which need replacement that requires 
prioritization and increased investment. Some allies that have endured 
years of military cuts and downsizing would likely have a challenge 
managing a large influx of funds as they no longer have sufficient 
expertise and numbers of staff in requirements, procurement, contract, 
quality assurance and acquisition management. Deployability and 
sustainability of Allied forces is also important. Allies continue to 
make important contributions to NATO operations, missions, and 
activities, as well as the NATO Command and Force Structures. Allies 
invest considerable resources in preparing their forces, capabilities, 
and infrastructure for Alliance operations, missions and activities 
that contribute to our collective security.

    19. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, is there a story we're not 
getting when we see an ally is or is not meeting the 2 percent target 
or not?
    General Scaparrotti. Every nation spends to meet their individual 
National Defense plans and to meet their national security objectives. 
These are independent of NATOs spending target of 2 percent. 
Additionally, many nations measure defense spending differently, such 
as taking into account personnel costs operational costs, and costs 
associated with developing and retaining capabilities. Allies also 
measure the adequacy of their spending differently. Some view this in 
terms of capabilities or output, particularly deployability to support 
operations, missions, and activities to meet their own national 
commitments, within NATO, and in other international organizations such 
as the EU and UN.
                        relationship with turkey
    20. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, during the attempted coup 
d'etat in Turkey last summer, the Turkish government cut off power to 
Incirlik Air Base leaving it without a commercial power supply for more 
than four days. Since the coup attempt, the Turkish government and 
state-controlled media have fueled anti-American sentiment and blamed 
the United States for a myriad of issues. At the same time, Turkey's 
relations with Russia have warmed considerably. Given these troubling 
trends, do you believe it would be prudent to assess alternative basing 
options for the Incirlik Air Base?
    General Scaparrotti. For the purposes of flexibility, we have 
assessed alternative basing options, not only for Incirlik Air Base but 
throughout the EUCOM AOR. Other combatant commands are doing this sort 
of contingency planning as well. While EUCOM is prepared to shift our 
assets from Incirlik if required, we are working closely with Turkish 
military and political leadership to ensure a long, continued basing 
and access relationship with our Turkish Ally.
                      communication with russians
    21. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff General Dunford met with his Russian counterpart twice 
this year--the first such meetings since the two militaries cut off 
communications in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. 
Could you describe to me the status of mil-mil relations and 
communications since 2014?
    General Scaparrotti. Military-to-military activities and 
communications with the Russians is limited by current United States 
law and policy. Section 1233 of the 2017 NDAA prohibits mil-to-mil 
engagement unless Russia ceases occupation of Ukrainian territory and 
abides by the terms and is taking steps to support the Minsk Protocols. 
Exceptions to the NDAA are authorized for items deemed in the U.S. 
national interest, but require a waiver from the Secretary of Defense 
and submission of a report to the appropriate congressional committees. 
We continue to follow Department guidance and coordinate with other 
combatant commands as required to support communications requirements 
in the Middle East, which includes de-confliction procedures for United 
States Forces operating in Syria.

    22. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, do we know who to call 
should we need to de-escalate a situation?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, we have the ability to communicate with 
Russian military officials based on previous agreements and 
communications systems that we have continued to maintain.

    23. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, are you aware of 
communications occurring among your State Department counterparts?
    General Scaparrotti. The RAND sponsored wargame, Reinforcing 
Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank, conducted in September 2016, was a 
unclassified wargame. As such, it was a good overview of the possible 
conflict, but is not fully accurate as it did not include a number of 
classified items that have been used in refining EUCOM's OPLAN such as 
the base planning facts and assumptions. The military OPLAN 
classification prevents us from sharing the full details with RAND and 
others. ERI had also not been fully developed when the study was 
completed. Adding these deterrence forces would have certainly had an 
impact on the outcome. Wargaming is an effective tool to test 
assumptions, synchronize activities and identify gaps in plans and 
operations. While valuable insight was collected from this wargame, it 
must be noted that the outcome represents only one outcome based upon 
one set of variables and conditions.
      rand study on reinforcing deterrence on nato's eastern flank
    24. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, the RAND Corporation 
recently conducted a study entitled Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's 
Eastern Flank: Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics (September 2016). 
This study explored the hypothetical consequences that could occur if 
Russia decided to reclaim the territory of the three Baltic republics. 
Using a war-game model, the study determined that, as presently 
postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of the Baltic 
states. It also concluded that successful defense of the Baltics would 
require a force of about seven brigades, including three heavy armored 
brigades supported by airpower, land-based fires, and other ground 
combat enablers, to prevent the ``rapid overrun'' of the Baltic states. 
These conclusions are extremely troubling. In your view, were there 
things this study didn't take into account? Do you feel that this war-
game framework presents a full and accurate picture of true military 
capabilities and outcomes?
    General Scaparrotti. The UK will remain a staunch United States 
ally and leading European military power. We expect the UK will 
strengthen their resolve within NATO as the country exits the European 
Union. The UK will also strengthen bilateral agreements, including with 
the United States, Germany and France. In the short-term, we don't 
anticipate defense investment will be affected by Brexit, however, if 
the pound does not recover, the UK will likely need to relook their 
defense spending plans.
                  impact of brexit on european defense
    25. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, the United Kingdom serves 
as our storngest transatlantic ally and is the leading souce of NATO 
hard power in Europe. With the UK's exit from the European Union, many 
questions remain regarding whether the UK will still be willing (and/or 
able) to provide the same level of military and defensive capabilities 
to NATO in mainland Europe. In your view, what might be the short and 
longterm impacts of Brexit on European defense?
    General Scaparrotti. The UK will remain a staunch United States 
ally and leading European military power. We expect the UK will 
strengthen their resolve within NATO as the country exits the European 
Union. The UK will also strengthen bilateral agreements, including with 
the United States, Germany and France. In the short-term, we don't 
anticipate defense investment will be affected by Brexit, however, if 
the pound does not recover, the UK will likely need to relook their 
defense spending plans.

    26. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, what impact might Brexit 
have on intelligence sharing and development of shared competencies and 
effectiveness across the continent?
    General Scaparrotti. We don't expect the UK's intelligence 
capability will diminish post Brexit. They will remain an effective and 
capable partner to the U.S., NATO and bilaterally across the continent.

    27. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, should Britain be forced 
to scale down its support of NATO in Europe, do you believe Germany 
and/or France would be willing and able to fill the void of security 
and defense?
    General Scaparrotti. We don't expect the UK will scale down its 
support of NATO, rather, we think that the UK will strengthen their 
resolve within NATO as the country exits the European Union. The UK's 
requirements for continued collective defense and intelligence 
capability will not diminish post-Brexit, and NATO will remain the 
primary vehicle for the UK to address those requirements. In the 
unlikely event that the UK were to scale down NATO support, I believe 
that France and Germany will provide strong support to NATO well into 
the future. In reality, as allies increase capabilities with progress 
toward the Alliance's Wales goals to increase defense spending, this 
will result in increased capabilities available to NATO--including from 
Germany and France.
   counterterrorism (need to focus nato efforts more here to support 
    28. Senator Perdue. General Scaparrotti, counterterrorism is a main 
topic at every NATO gathering. According to NATO's website, NATO 
counterterrorism efforts focus on ``improving awareness of the threat, 
developing capabilities to prepare and respond, and enhancing 
engagement with partner countries and other international actors.'' 
However, as we have seen over the last several years with the rise of 
the number of terrorist attacks--including coordinated attacks--across 
Europe, European countries still struggle with coordination of 
counterterrorism efforts and intelligence sharing. Do you feel that the 
United States should encourage NATO to place more of a focus on 
counterterrorism efforts? If so, how can the U.S. better assist our 
NATO allies in this regard?
    General Scaparrotti. Yes, although the U.S. is encouraging NATO to 
do more to combat terrorism, there is more to be done. NATO's role in 
counterterrorism in European countries is limited due to the fact that 
sovereign nations retain the primary responsibility for their own 
domestic security. In short, NATO's mandate is external defense, not 
internal security. At the same time, NATO has an active role in the 
international community's fight against terrorism outside Europe by 
projecting stability along its periphery. This includes NATOs continued 
support of the Defeat ISIS Coalition, training and capacity building in 
Iraq, and operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. is actively challenging 
allies to further identify ways to increase NATO's support to global 
counter terrorism efforts. As the threat has increased in Europe, the 
U.S. is taking steps to increase assistance through intelligence 
sharing and encouraging allies to reciprocate through participation in 
emerging counter-terrorism structures within NATO. Two examples are the 
establishment of a terrorism intelligence cell within the Joint 
Intelligence and Security Directorate at SHAPE in Belgium, and the 
Regional Hub for the South being stood up at Allied Joint Force Command 
in Naples, Italy. These efforts require additional resources from all 
allies and NATO itself.



                         TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2017

                                       U.S. Senate,
                               Committee on Armed Services,
                                                    Washington, DC.


    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:32 a.m. in Room 
SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator John McCain 
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Committee members present: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, 
Fischer, Cotton, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Perdue, 
Strange, Reed, Nelson, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Blumenthal, 
Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine, King, Heinrich, Warren, and Peters.


    Chairman McCain. Good morning.
    The Senate Armed Services Committee meets today to receive 
testimony on the posture of U.S. Strategic Command.
    We would like to welcome back General Hyten, who is making 
his first appearance before this committee as the Commander of 
U.S. Strategic Command. We thank you for your many years of 
distinguished service, General.
    Over the last 2 years, civilian and military leaders at the 
Department of Defense, from the Secretary of Defense on down, 
have warned this committee about, quote, a return to great-
power competition. Nowhere is this reality more evident than in 
Russia's and China's intensifying efforts in the nuclear, 
cyber, and space domains, which are the focus of Strategic 
Command's mission.
    Russia continues to wield nuclear threats against allies 
that stand up to its aggression in Ukraine. It is well on its 
way toward completing the modernization of its strategic 
nuclear forces and has gone out of its way to deploy new 
nuclear capabilities not limited by the New START [Strategic 
Arms Reduction Treaty].
    Russia's deployment of a new nuclear ground-launched cruise 
missile in violation of the 1987 INF [Intermediate-Range 
Nuclear Forces] Treaty is a clear signal of the elevated role 
of tactical nuclear weapons in Russian military doctrine. 
Moreover, this violation leaves the United States as the only 
country in the world abiding by treaty limits on its 
intermediate-range missile forces, a dangerous asymmetry that 
has implications for effective deterrence not only in Europe, 
but the Asia-Pacific as well. Merely hoping that Russia will 
return to treaty compliance is insufficient to the seriousness 
of this threat. That is why Russia's violation of the INF 
treaty is so significant because it calls into question basic 
assumptions about United States nuclear policy, assumptions we 
must be prepared to reevaluate given the new realities of our 
strategic environment.
    China has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive 
missile forces, continues to modernize its nuclear capabilities 
by adding more road-mobile systems and submarine-carried 
nuclear weapons, and continues to pursue counter-space 
capabilities designed to limit our use of space.
    Beyond Russia and China, the breakneck pace of North Korean 
ballistic missile and nuclear testing in the past few years 
means that a North Korean missile tipped with a nuclear warhead 
capable of reaching our Homeland is no longer a distant 
hypothetical but an imminent danger. Iran's continued 
development and testing of advanced ballistic missiles suggests 
that its nuclear ambitions may have been delayed, but they have 
not been dashed.
    These growing nuclear threats from great powers and rogue 
states indicate that whatever well-intentioned hopes we had 
after the end of the Cold War, the United States can no longer 
seek to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national 
security strategy, or narrow the range of contingencies under 
which we would have to consider their use.
    That is why Congress has demonstrated its support for 
modernizing each leg of the nuclear triad, including a 
replacement for the air-launched cruise missile, through annual 
authorization and appropriations acts. Modernization is not 
cheap, but it is affordable: just 2 percent of the defense 
budget over the next 10 years, according to the CBO 
[Congressional Budget Office].
    General Hyten, you told the committee last year that any 
program delays or reductions in funding will increase the risk 
to strategic and extended deterrence mission requirements, 
negatively impacting global stability and our national 
security. We look forward to your assessment as to whether 
there may be any such delays.
    Finally, we understand that the Department of Defense will 
conduct a nuclear posture review, the first since 2010. That 
previous nuclear posture review stated: ``Russia and the United 
States are no longer adversaries, and prospects for military 
confrontation have declined dramatically.'' What a relief. 
General Hyten, the committee is interested in your assessment 
of how the strategic landscape has changed since the last 
review and what assumptions need to be reexamined.
    With respect to space, after years of prodding from this 
committee, I am pleased and, in some respects, impressed with 
Strategic Command's enhanced focus on responding to Chinese and 
Russian activities in space. We have come a long way in the 
past few years. But the fundamental fact remains: our space 
superiority is at risk. Russia and China are intent on 
exploiting our dependence on space to achieve an asymmetric 
advantage. To that end, both countries are investing 
significant resources and achieving real progress as they 
pursue, test, and demonstrate a full range of capabilities such 
as anti-satellite missiles, co-orbital weapons, jamming, and 
    General Hyten, you were the architect of the Space 
Enterprise Vision when you were Commander of Air Force Space 
Command. I look forward to hearing more from you on what is 
required to sustain our space-based military advantage.
    Senator Reed?

                       SENATOR JACK REED

    Senator Reed. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let 
me join you in welcoming General Hyten to the committee. We are 
grateful for your service and for the dedication of the many 
men and women who serve with you.
    General, in a speech you gave earlier this year at 
Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, 
you talked about the enormous responsibility you have assumed 
in ensuring our nuclear deterrent is capable of deterring 
threats that are existential to our Homeland. It is a sobering 
responsibility to be the one who will give advice to the 
President on the options before him and then be the one who 
must direct the execution of those options, and we appreciate 
the skill and the fidelity you bring to that task. Thank you, 
    The President has directed the Department to conduct a 
nuclear posture review to outline our strategy and posture. I 
look forward to considering that review when it is completed. 
As the chairman noted, the last one was done in 2010 and the 
threat environment today is considerably different. The most 
significant developments are Russia's nuclear modernization and 
its bellicose threats about its nuclear capability and the 
significant advancements made by North Korea in its nuclear 
missile programs.
    But there are other troubling advances. China is fielding 
its own SSBN [ballistic missile submarine] that will patrol the 
Pacific, which will hold most, if not all, of our Homeland at 
risk. In addition, Pakistan and India continue to develop their 
nuclear capabilities with tactical and long-range missiles, 
which in some cases reach well beyond their borders, affecting 
nations to which we have made security commitments.
    In other words, General Hyten, while Russia with its near-
peer nuclear standing is and should be the focus of the next 
nuclear posture review, the landscape is quickly shifting. It 
has become multi-polar, and how we structure our deterrence and 
the military options are changing rapidly.
    Finally, we are now coming to grips with our own nuclear 
modernization. Because of the existential threat it deters, 
there has been bipartisan support for modernization of the 
nuclear triad in this committee. I am hopeful that this 
consensus continues because this is a 20-year acquisition 
program extending well beyond this and future administrations.
    Let me touch on a few other topics.
    In the area of space, we will value your expertise to 
develop long-term requirements and plans to counter the 
asymmetric threats to our space assets. I assume that will be 
discussed further in tomorrow's closed session.
    In the area of missile defense, you are responsible for 
synchronizing global missile defense planning and operations. I 
look forward to hearing your thoughts on the state of our 
Homeland and regional systems. The administration has called 
for a missile defense review, which also needs to address the 
topics contained in a provision of the fiscal year 2017 Defense 
Authorization Act, which include left-of-launch missile defeat 
capabilities, cruise missile defense of the Homeland, and the 
role of deterrence in missile defeat policy. We look forward to 
hearing your thoughts on this review and the ongoing 
improvements to our interceptors, sensors, and command and 
control system.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to the testimony.
    Chairman McCain. Welcome back, General Hyten.

                       STRATEGIC COMMAND

    General Hyten. Thank you very much.
    Chairman McCain. By the way, your complete statement will 
be made part of the record.
    General Hyten. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Good morning, Chairman McCain and Ranking Member Reed, 
members of the committee.
    Since the end of World War II, strategic deterrence has 
underwritten our Nation's security and preserved our way of 
life. Our nuclear force has been and always will be the 
backbone of our Nation's strategic deterrence.
    Today the nuclear force of the United States is safe, 
secure, reliable, and ready. It is the foundation of the 
combatant command I am honored to lead.
    However, in the 21st Century, strategic deterrence is more 
than nuclear. It is the integration of all our capabilities in 
all domains across all the combatant commands, other 
governmental organizations, and alongside our allies.
    The global security environment we operate in has changed. 
Our adversaries are developing advanced nuclear and 
conventional weaponry that rivals our systems and capability 
and capacity. They fully understand the warfighting capability 
that cyber and space can enable. To maintain technological and 
operational superiority, our military must stay ahead of our 
adversaries. We must adapt and modernize.
    The primary focus of our deterrence modernization efforts 
must address the entire nuclear infrastructure: first, the 
platforms, the ICBMs [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles], the 
submarines, nuclear capable heavy bombers with their associated 
tankers. Second, the actual nuclear weapons themselves; and 
finally, the nuclear command and control architecture that 
enables the entire enterprise. They are all essential to this 
security of our Nation.
    At a time when our adversaries have significantly 
modernized and continued to upgrade their nuclear forces, 
nearly all elements of the nuclear triad are operating beyond 
their designed service life. Any recapitalization program 
delays will further diminish these capabilities and affect our 
ability to execute our mission.
    Space is a warfighting domain just like air, ground, 
maritime, and cyber. We must normalize how we plan and operate 
in space. The same concepts that govern other military 
operations also apply in space. Efforts taking place with the 
interagency, allies, partners, and commercial industry to 
develop capabilities, integrate, and execute operations is 
beginning to pay dividends. Our integrated missile defense 
network continues to disseminate across the globe as a sign of 
our commitment to our allies and shared common defense.
    Ballistic missile proliferation is increasing as more 
countries acquire greater numbers of ballistic missiles while 
simultaneously advancing technical sophistication to defeat 
U.S. defense systems. In response, we must continue to advance 
our missile defense capabilities and forces to assure allies 
and deter adversary aggression.
    We are managing the unified command plan elevation of U.S. 
Cyber Command, which I fully support and engage with on a daily 
basis. Meantime, we also remain engaged with the Joint Staff 
and with United States Special Operations Command as they 
assume primary responsibilities to previous STRATCOM [Strategic 
Command] missions of joint intelligence, surveillance, and 
reconnaissance and combating weapons of mass destruction.
    U.S. Strategic Command is a global warfighting command. All 
of our deterrent forces remain safe, secure, reliable, and 
ready. The morale of the force is also very high. They 
understand again the critical importance of our missions. 
Nevertheless, the U.S. faces significant challenges in 
sustaining the critical capabilities that underpin our 
strategic deterrent. Our Nation's strategic capabilities must 
be a core focus of our national security spending, and I am 
sure that sustained congressional support, support from this 
committee, combined with the hard work of the exceptional men 
and women who support U.S. Strategic Command will ensure we 
remain ready, agile, and effective against both current and 
future threats.
    I look forward to engaging with you today and throughout my 
time as the U.S. STRATCOM Commander. Thank you for this 
opportunity, and I look forward to your questions.
    [The prepared statement of General Hyten follows:]

                  Prepared Statement by John E. Hyten
    Strategic deterrence has underwritten our nation's security and 
preserved our way of life since the end of World War II. The early 
deterrence theorists in the 1950s and 1960s were able to make their 
ideas practical during a time of turbulence, rapid technological 
change, and a contest of two starkly different ideologies that divided 
the world in half. During this critical time, our theorists--hand in 
hand with our practitioners--helped carry the Cold War to a successful 
    Today, strategic deterrence is still foundational, but it is also 
different. Its core principles are the same. Our nuclear capabilities 
are the foundation and the bedrock for our defense.
    USSTRATCOM is a global warfighting command. All our forces, in all 
domains, stand ready today. Our nuclear forces are safe, secure, 
reliable, and ready--capable of responding wherever necessary and 
whenever our nation calls. These forces compel all potential 
adversaries to realize that any benefits they see in an attack on our 
nation, or our allies, will be far outweighed by the cost. Our nuclear 
triad provides military capabilities that give our leadership the 
flexibility and decision space to respond to any strategic attack. We 
also have space and cyberspace forces that are critical to the American 
way of war in every theater. We must employ them decisively, to include 
defending the space and cyber domains from threats.
    USSTRATCOM accomplishes seven assigned Unified Command Plan (UCP) 
missions; Strategic Deterrence, Space Operations, Cyberspace 
Operations, Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, Global Strike, 
Missile Defense, and Analysis and Targeting. Our vision is to improve 
our ability to effectively integrate these disparate missions to create 
an even more effective deterrent. We are working to identify gaps, and 
work with the services to program and organize for success. With this 
in mind, USSTRATCOM will continue to change to respond to this dynamic 
world. We are transitioning to a new Command and Control Facility and 
will continue to advocate for essential modernization programs. 
Simultaneously, we are ``in the fight'' every day, everywhere--which 
requires a constant focus on today with an eye toward tomorrow.
    Our ability to deter major power conflict also depends on our 
ability to deter in all domains--particularly space and cyber. We must 
think about any future national security construct from a multi-domain 
perspective and this involves strategic deterrence. Since 1992, 
USSTRATCOM has been the primary combatant command responsible for 
providing strategic deterrence for the United States. The ways and 
means have evolved, but the end state has endured. Peace is still our 
                      global security environment
    Russia warrants constant attention. Its security strategy makes 
clear that it is re-asserting itself as a global power. It is 
modernizing its conventional and strategic military programs, 
emphasizing new strategic approaches, declaring and demonstrating an 
ability to escalate, maintaining a significant quantity and variety of 
nuclear weapons, and according to Russian media reports, is developing 
hypersonic glide vehicles. Furthermore, Russia has engaged in 
destabilizing actions in Syria and Ukraine, while also developing and 
deploying weapons that violate the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces 
(INF) Treaty. Russia is also advancing development of counter-space and 
cyber capabilities.
    China is pursuing a long-term military modernization program across 
a range of conventional and strategic domains with implications in the 
Pacific region and beyond. Simultaneously, it is modernizing nuclear 
missile forces, and building out a secure, second-strike capability. 
Although China still professes a ``No First-Use'' doctrine, it is re-
engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear 
warheads. It also continues to develop and test its hypersonic-glide 
vehicle capability. China's pursuit of conventional global strike 
capabilities, offensive counter-space technologies, and exploitation of 
computer networks also raises questions about its global aspirations. 
These developments--coupled with a lack of transparency on nuclear 
issues such as force disposition and size--impact regional and 
strategic stability.
    Although North Korea is not an existential threat to the United 
States, it remains the most dangerous and unpredictable actor in the 
Pacific region. Pyongyang's evolving ballistic missile and nuclear 
weapons program underscore the growing threat. It continues to defy 
international norms and resolutions, as demonstrated by a number of 
provocative actions this past year, including their fourth and fifth 
nuclear tests. North Korea is also pursuing development of 
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and Submarine Launched 
Ballistic Missiles capabilities, and an improved Intermediate Range 
Ballistic Missile. These developments highlight its commitment to 
diversify its missile forces and nuclear delivery options, while 
strengthening missile force survivability. North Korea also continues 
efforts to expand its stockpile of weapons-grade fissile material and 
has demonstrated its capability and willingness to conduct destructive 
cyber-attacks against the United States and its allies.
    Iran continues to develop ballistic missile, space, and cyberspace 
capabilities--and we remain focused on preventing the development of 
new threats in the region. While Iran continues to follow the mandates 
of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we must remain vigilant to 
any Iranian intentions that indicate it will pursue nuclear weapons.
    Ungoverned or ineffectively governed regions remain incubators for 
those who seek to attack the world's peaceful societies. Transregional 
Terrorist Organizations (TTOs) recruit and operate freely across 
political, social, and cyberspace boundaries. The effect of weapons of 
mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of TTOs could be catastrophic, 
which highlights the importance of our national non-proliferation and 
counter-WMD efforts. The counter-WMD mission is now led by U.S. Special 
Operations Command (USSOCOM) but USSTRATCOM is committed to maintaining 
a close partnership. It is another essential element of deterrence.
                              the problem
    For decades now, we have held a military advantage over our 
adversaries, both from a nuclear and conventional standpoint. That is 
starting to change. As our nation rightly focused on combating violent 
extremist organizations and the states that support them, other 
adversaries have taken the opportunity to develop advanced nuclear and 
conventional weaponry that rival many of our systems. That is not all: 
our adversaries are learning from each other and demonstrating advanced 
understanding of the cyber and space domains.
    One of our biggest challenges in the future will be staying ahead 
of the pace of change we see in our adversaries. We have a problem 
delivering timely responses to new threats. We don't move fast enough 
from concept to capability. The pace of change is rapid and demands us 
to change ahead of the evolving threats, but our processes favor 
preserving the status quo. We are risk averse, while our adversaries 
have not. Our industrial base is also fragile in many areas, which 
complicates our ability to stay ahead of, or in some regards stay even 
with, our adversaries.
    I have three fundamental priorities in my command.
    Above all else, USSTRATCOM will provide strategic deterrence 
against any potential adversary. Our operations must be ceaseless, 
deliberate, and enabled by a focus on today's operations and a 
commitment to modernize our triad, our weapons, our command and 
control, our space, cyberspace, and missile defense capabilities. Our 
deterrence efforts must include proactively shaping and messaging any 
potential adversary.
    If deterrence fails, the nation counts on us for a decisive 
response. These responses must defeat any adversary with all the 
elements of our command's power, in all domains. We must work with all 
our components and task forces to achieve this outcome. However, mere 
execution will not suffice in the current strategic environment.
    Neither strategic deterrence nor decisive response will function 
without a resilient, equipped, trained, and combat-ready force. To that 
end, we must embrace the mentality that USSTRATCOM is a warfighting 
command. Our fight is each day, around the globe. This requires our 
forces to have depth in capability and breadth in capacity--we cannot 
do it alone. We must constantly challenge ourselves to integrate with 
allies, partners, the interagency, DOD, the Joint Staff, and other 
commands to cover our seams and gaps, and to ensure we capitalize on 
the unique capabilities that USSTRATCOM can bring to bear.
                           the nuclear force
    All elements of our nuclear forces will be assessed in the 
Administration's coming Nuclear Posture Review--but we have an 
excellent basis to begin this analysis.
    With regard to our nuclear weapons, I serve as a principal member 
of the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC): the interagency organization 
responsible for maintaining and managing the Nation's nuclear weapons 
stockpile. To ensure synchronization and unity of effort across the 
Department of Defense and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear 
Security Administration (NNSA) priorities, the NWC-approved Strategic 
Plan outlines an approach to sustain the enduring stockpile, align 
warhead and platform modernization efforts, and identify the essential 
NNSA industrial capacity required to maintain the Triad. A key element 
of the current strategy is the ``3+2'' vision to transition the 
stockpile of 11 warheads to three ballistic warheads and two air-
delivered warheads. Assuming it remains consistent with the current 
Nuclear Posture Review, full realization of ``3+2'' requires long-term 
sustained commitment to the modernization and recapitalization of 
NNSA's infrastructure, as well as continued development of the human 
capital and science-based stewardship tools needed to certify and 
assess the stockpile.
    Our land-based ICBMs, sea-based Ballistic Missile Submarines 
(SSBNs), and nuclear-capable heavy bombers--with their associated 
tankers--provide strategic deterrence and stability. Considering this, 
our ICBM's are the most responsive, our submarines are the most 
survivable, and our bombers are the most flexible. Each element is 
essential to the security of our nation. The synergistic capabilities 
of the Triad present adversaries with a complex, multi-layered 
challenge that also hedges against unforeseen technical problems or 
changes in the security environment.
    The U.S. faces significant challenges to sustain the capabilities 
that will meet our enduring national security objectives. At a time 
when Russia and other countries continue to modernize and upgrade 
nuclear capabilities, nearly all elements of the U.S. nuclear weapon 
stockpile, delivery systems, and other infrastructure are operating 
beyond their designed service life. Maintaining strategic deterrence, 
assurance, and escalation control capabilities requires a continuing, 
multi-faceted, long-term investment approach.
    The investment in, and commitment to, our Nation's strategic 
capabilities must continue and planned sustainment and modernization 
activities must be completed on schedule. Any recapitalization program 
delay will adversely impact the execution of our strategic deterrence 
mission and degrade our ability--and ultimately our credibility--to 
deter and assure. Sustained Congressional support, stable and timely 
budgets, combined with the hard work of the exceptional men and women 
who support United States Strategic Command, will ensure that we 
continue to effectively deter strategic attack, assure our allies and 
partners, and address both current and future threats.
           nuclear command, control, and communications (nc3)
    Our nation's nuclear deterrent is only as effective as the command 
and control networks that enable it to function. Therefore, the NC3 
system must also be assured, reliable, and resilient across the full 
spectrum of conflict. Maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent requires 
modernization and recapitalization of key systems and capabilities 
throughout the NC3 architecture. The challenges posed by today's 
security environment make it increasingly important to optimize our NC3 
systems architecture while leveraging new technologies. Through 
continued funding for NC3 modernization programs, we will ensure 
effective command and control of the Nation's forces for many years to 
    USSTRATCOM requires a NC3 capability comprised of interdependent 
systems, facilities, and platforms operating throughout the space, air, 
and terrestrial domains to both effectively execute strategic 
deterrence operations and provide support for the President as an 
essential component of the National Leadership Command Capability. As 
an example of this, USSTRATCOM is working with the White House, 
national laboratories, and the private sector to improve decision 
support capabilities, setting the conditions for timely and informed 
senior leader decision-making under any circumstance, in transit or at 
fixed locations.
    In the space domain, we are transitioning from the Milstar 
satellite communications system to the Advanced Extremely High 
Frequency (AEHF) satellite communications systems. AEHF, coupled with 
the requisite ground node and airborne platform Family of Advanced 
Beyond Line-of-Sight terminals (FAB-T) will extend capabilities to 
enable collaboration between the President and senior advisors under 
any circumstance to improve connectivity with our nuclear forces.
    Within the air layer, we are continuing efforts to replace the 
communications systems on the E-6B Airborne Command Post (ABNCP) and 
Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) aircraft as well as the E-4B National 
Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) to provide world-wide connectivity to 
the nuclear forces. In conjunction with communications update efforts 
such as the Low Frequency Transmit System (LFTS), the Air Force is 
pursuing a course of action to recapitalize the E-4B platform, which is 
approaching its end of service life. The selected platform must be 
capable of meeting all mission requirements assigned to the E-4B NAOC. 
Additionally, the Air Force continues efforts to field a very low 
frequency (VLF) and AEHF capability for the B-2 bomber fleet that will 
ensure beyond line-of sight connectivity throughout the spectrum of 
    Within the terrestrial domain, the Air Force completed high 
altitude electromagnetic pulse hardening upgrades to its early warning 
radar sites and continues to modernize its Nuclear Planning and 
Execution Systems (NPES). The construction of the new USSTRATCOM 
Command and Control (C2) Facility, which will be a key component of 
nuclear and national C2 architecture. Although we still have some 
funding challenges and schedule risks, we remain on track for occupancy 
in 2018. This new facility will serve as a visible reminder to 
adversaries of our national commitment to maintain modern and effective 
NC3 capabilities.
    With smart and consistent sustainment, modernization, and 
recapitalization, the ICBM force will continue to provide a responsive, 
reliable, safe, secure, and effective deterrent force for many decades. 
However, the Minuteman weapon system is far beyond its intended 
lifespan. Launch Facilities and Launch Control Centers require 
investment in repair and modernization. Additionally, vehicles and 
equipment used to support the Minuteman weapon system require an 
immediate, long-term investment. USSTRATCOM supports ongoing 
sustainment and modernization investments in the current Minuteman 
weapon system.
    Minuteman recapitalization is necessary to address the issues 
associated with operating a weapon system beyond its planned design 
life, and we must continue that sustainment until the deployment of the 
Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which will begin initial 
deployment in 2028.
    The GBSD program successfully completed Milestone-A last year and 
is progressing toward an integrated weapon system solution, including 
the flight system, weapon system C2 ground launch systems, and 
facilities. We continue to encourage cooperation between the Air Force, 
Navy, and industry as they develop the technologies to meet our 
deterrence needs.
    Protecting our force remains a top priority and USSTRATCOM supports 
completing the UH-1N Helicopter Replacement program, Payload 
Transporter Replacement, and the ICBM Cryptographic upgrade. These 
programs should not be difficult and the need is now. Additionally, we 
must update legal guidance, policy frameworks, and Rules of Engagement 
to defend all threats, particularly new threats like unmanned aerial 
    The Ohio-class submarine has been life-extended from 30 to 42 
years. Starting in 2027, one Ohio-class SSBN will retire each year, 
with no margin to extend them further. Continued support for staffing 
and improvements at naval shipyards, Trident Refit Facilities, and 
Strategic Weapons Facilities are critical to maintaining the necessary 
operational availability of the Ohio-class as it approaches end-of-
life. USSTRATCOM continues to support and work with the Navy as it 
modernizes their SSBN force. As the Navy's ``number-one'' priority and 
USSTRATCOM's top modernization item, the design and production of the 
Columbia-class SSBN must continue for on-time delivery to meet its 
first strategic deterrent patrol in 2031. The 12 submarines in the 
class will serve as the survivable leg of the Triad through the 2080s. 
Ensuring that the Columbia-class SSBN remains on schedule and funded 
throughout the next decade is vital to prevent any capability gaps. Any 
delay will assert unacceptable risk on our sea-based nuclear deterrent.
    We fielded the Trident II D5 missile more than 25 years ago. The 
Navy has taken steps to extend the life of the Trident missile through 
the life of the Ohio-class, which enables it to serve as the initial 
baseline ballistic missile for the Columbia-class submarine. We share 
the Trident II system with the United Kingdom, as well as the design 
for the Common Missile Compartment for both countries' ballistic 
missile submarine classes. We must continue our commitment to the 
United Kingdom to ensure our strategic forces are equipped with the 
weapons systems needed to meet operational requirements into the 
    To ensure our bombers provide a credible deterrence and assurance 
capability, ongoing sustainment and planned modernization activities 
must remain on track. I support and appreciate the Air Force's 
continued emphasis to provide an effective and ready force.
    The B-52 will receive a radar system upgrade that will enhance 
weapons delivery, improve weather detection and avoidance, and aid 
aerial refueling operations. Potential advantages include range 
improvements, reduced air refueling demand, longer time-on-station, and 
a reduced maintenance footprint. The B-52's radar is a 1960s analog 
system, updated in the 1980s, and is now more than 20 years beyond its 
service life. Its Current Mean-Time-Between-Failure rate indicates a 
likelihood the radar will delay, degrade, or fail during a 20-hour 
    The B-52's structural life extends beyond 2050, but the B-52 TF-33 
engine has been in service since 1961 and is facing component wear and 
diminishing manufacturing sources. USSTRATCOM supports Air Force 
studies investigating the benefits of replacing B-52 engines. I support 
an engine upgrade for the B-52, as the result will be increased range, 
longer combat time-on-station, smaller maintenance footprint, and less 
of a tanker bill. The upgrade will ensure that the B-52 remains a 
viable component of the bomber force in the face of advanced threats.
    The B-2 fleet will receive the next generation of assured and 
survivable communication, VLF receivers, and survivability upgrades 
against modern threats to retain the platform's stealth attributes. 
Difficulty maintaining stealth attributes is the primary reason for 
downtime on B-2 aircraft. USSTRATCOM supports Air Force initiatives to 
fund upgrades to B-2 survivability, communications, and 
maintainability--this is critical to mission effectiveness and 
longevity of the nation's only penetrating bomber.
    As potential adversaries develop and deploy increasingly 
sophisticated anti-air defenses, the new B-21 will ensure we maintain 
an effective penetrating bomber capable of striking any target around 
the world. The B-21 is a key component of the Air Force Family of 
Systems portfolio, including ISR, electronic warfare, and long-range 
strike. It will provide the President with capabilities to hold targets 
at risk around the globe regardless of anti-access/area denial 
environments. Coupled with the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise 
missile, the B-21 will deny adversaries safe havens and sanctuary.
    As is the case with other Triad systems, our bombers and their 
associated weapons are well beyond their intended service lives, 
requiring attention to maintain combat readiness. Legacy gravity bombs 
and the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) meet current military 
requirements, but declining sustainability and survivability challenges 
require replacement systems. The B61-12 gravity bomb and LRSO must 
deliver on schedule to avoid any strategic or extended deterrence 
capability gaps.
    The B61-12 Life Extension and tail-kit adaptor programs are 
currently on schedule to deliver on time and preclude a capability gap, 
as both have progressed satisfactorily in engineering, manufacturing, 
and development. Both programs met fiscal year 2012-2016 milestones. 
The first production unit is planned for March 2020. Testing to date 
has shown the B61-12 accuracy requirement is achievable and the weapon 
will function as designed against required target sets. The B61-12 is a 
key element of the future air-leg of the strategic Triad and is 
required to maintain a continuous gravity nuclear capability by arming 
the B-2, B-21, legacy dual capable aircraft, and the F-35A. It will 
ensure continued support to NATO and our other partners around the 
    The ALCM carries the W80-1 warhead and is launched solely from the 
B-52. Intended for Soviet-era threats, the ALCM's survivability in 
modern air defense environments is deteriorating. Designed in the 1970s 
and fielded in the early 1980s with an expected 10-year service life, 
the ALCM is encountering sustainability and viability issues from age 
related material failures, advancing adversary capabilities and 
diminishing manufacturing sources. Parts and materials designed for a 
10-year service life are now 35 years old, and are obsolete. Three 
Service Life Extension Programs (SLEP) are funded, but cannot keep pace 
with the rate of discovery of deficiencies. Funding for SLEPs and other 
sustainment issues are straining Operation & Maintenance funding. 
Operational and surveillance testing will reduce ALCM quantities below 
operational needs in 2030.
    The LRSO cruise missile will replace the ALCM. It will provide the 
President with a range of deterrent options consistent with nuclear 
policy objectives. It provides an effective counter to adversary 
capabilities and a challenge to their own defenses. The LRSO is the 
first missile system developed in unison with a nuclear warhead for 
many decades. Limiting resources or funding of either component will 
disrupt its entire concept-to-capability timeline. To conclude, the 
LRSO and W80-4 LEP programs must remain in synch and on time to 
preclude a capability gap.
    Space is a warfighting domain just like the air, ground, maritime, 
and cyber domains. The DOD with the National Reconnaissance Office and 
Air Force Space Command have embarked on implementing their shared 
Space Enterprise Vision, which supports the National Space Policy and 
focuses on the concepts of operation, crew force, and systems required 
to prevail in a conflict that extends into space. I support this effort 
because we must normalize how we think of space, how we operate in it, 
and how we describe it to each other. It is unique for many reasons, 
but the concepts that govern other military operations: intelligence, 
maneuver, fires, protection, logistics, and C2 apply just the same.
    As of November of 2016, the Joint Interagency Combined Space 
Operations Center (JICSpOC) entered its initial phase of operations. 
The JICSpOC is a center that synergizes the National Reconnaissance 
Office, the National Intel Community and the DOD. It is focused on 
achieving interagency unity of effort while defending against space 
threats. In coordination with our partners and to eliminate confusion, 
we have decided to rename the JICSpOC to better describe its actual 
purpose. As of 1 April 2017, the JICSpOC will be called the National 
Space Defense Center. (NSDC).
    We have a combined space operations initiative with Australia, 
Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The MOU, signed in 2013, 
continues in the spirit of cooperation with regular boards that make or 
recommend space policy decisions. A board in November 2016 directed the 
formation of general officer-led working groups for operations and 
exercises, capabilities and architectures, and policy. These working 
groups cross military and policy positions reside in the participant 
    We have other multi-national space operations initiatives as well. 
Notably, France and Germany were included for the first time in the 
Schriever Wargames in 2016.
    We conducted a Space Situational Awareness Table-Top Exercise in 
September of 2016, with partner nation participation from the UK, 
Canada, Australia, Japan, France and Germany. We are examining the 
prospect of inviting Italy and the Republic of Korea to follow-on 
exercises later this year. These initiatives are part of the multi-
national collaborative environment we are fostering to expand 
international cooperation, strengthen stability in the space domain, 
and increase assurance and resilience.
    While we continue to build partnerships, new satellite 
communication (SATCOM) capabilities face significant funding 
challenges. These fielding issues must be resolved to prepare the U.S. 
to fight effectively in future conflicts. SATCOM capabilities 
associated with the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Wideband Code 
Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) are constrained by the availability of 
tactical terminals and issues in bringing the MUOS Radio Access 
Facility gateways into operation. The fielding of new AEHF Extended 
Data Rate (XDR) capabilities is improving over time, but delayed XDR 
terminal programs are hampering the transitions from Milstar to AEHF. 
Protecting wideband communications is essential to fighting effectively 
in the future. We must unify these separate service efforts under an 
interoperable standard to enable joint operations in contested 
environments. I support future operations leveraging the burgeoning 
commercial SATCOM industry.
    Joint force capability development notwithstanding, we have been 
successful in integrating the three-year Cooperative Research and 
Development Agreement (CRADA) initiative at the Joint Space Operations 
Center (JSpOC), with six commercial industry satellite systems and 
services owner operators. These owner operators are DigitalGlobe, 
Eutelsat, Intelsat, Inmarsat, Iridium, and SES-GS; and our objective is 
to improve the ability to deliver operational capability, lower cost, 
and reduce risk.
    These commercial partners are not under contract. The industry 
provides representatives to collaborate directly on the JSpOC floor in 
the areas of space operations and resiliency, decision support, threat 
mitigation, automated tools analysis, exercise participation, space 
catalog, common data standards and protocols. Current law does not 
allow government sponsorship of security clearances, badging and 
accesses unless under contract, and we could use some help in this 
    USSTRATCOM is also actively engaged in DOD support to the Civil 
Space Traffic Management effort directed by the National Security 
Council, and led by the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of 
the Secretary of Transportation. USSTRATCOM must continue to track all 
objects in space for national security purposes but we can share the 
data with others. We see a potential where the DOD and DOT jointly 
operate a mutually-supportive U.S. space traffic management enterprise 
that will foster more enhanced spaceflight safety for all operators 
including from government, civil, and commercial sectors across the 
globe, but we must be careful to do so in a way that does not adversely 
impact our national security.
                        joint electronic warfare
    Our peer and near-peer adversaries have studied U.S. capabilities 
and our ability to dominate the electro-magnetic spectrum is at risk. 
Many countries have organized for spectrum warfare with specific EW/
spectrum warfare units. They have built electronic attack capabilities 
to counter virtually all of our spectrum dependent systems. Our 
military once had a focus and drive in this area, but we have lost much 
of our expertise. We must recommit our investments in systems, 
personnel, and training.
    The EW Executive Committee (EXCOM) is a step in the right direction 
to address the criticality of gaining and maintaining EMS superiority, 
which affects all domains. The Joint Concept for EMSO (JCEMSO), signed 
by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in March 2015 provides an initial 
concept vision for future electromagnetic spectrum operations. With a 
global perspective and UCP Joint EW mission area responsibilities, 
USSTRATCOM is engaged in Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations 
(JEMSO) advocacy across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, 
leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy on behalf of 
the Department.
                            missile defense
    Ballistic missile proliferation and lethality continues to increase 
as more countries acquire greater numbers of ballistic missiles and are 
increasing their technical sophistication to specifically defeat U.S. 
ballistic missile defense systems. In the past year, we continue to see 
missile tests from North Korea and Iran that cause us and our allies 
continued concerns. Their efforts to advance missile technologies 
threaten stability. In response, we must continue our efforts to 
advance capabilities and missile defense forces to assure allies of our 
commitment for a common defense and to deter further aggressions from 
these regional and transregional actors.
    As an essential element of the U.S. commitment to strengthen 
strategic and regional deterrence against states of concern, we 
continue to deploy missile defense capabilities and strengthen our 
missile defense postures. During the past year, we have operationally 
deployed the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Complex in Romania as part of 
the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase II and added additional 
Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) as we remain on track to meet the 
objective of 44 GBIs by end of this calendar year. Continued 
investments toward our warfighter missile defense priorities are 
essential. Priority missile defense upgrades and capability 
advancements include:

      Increase of reliability and lethality of our interceptors 
to include the continued development of the Redesigned Kill Vehicles 
(RKV) for the GBI, completion of testing and deployment of the SM-3 
Block IIA capability, and future enhancements to the GBI, most notably 
the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV).
      Sensor and discrimination capabilities to include the 
continued development of the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) and 
increasing the sensor network based on the conclusion of the 
Department's Sensor Analysis of Alternatives. At some point soon our 
nation must commit to deployment of a global space-based sensor system 
with discrimination capability.
      Increase the robustness of regional missile defense 
capability and capacity to include continued deployment of the Aegis 
Ballistic Missile Defense and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense 
(THAAD) capabilities and implementation of the recommendations from the 
Department's Joint Regional Integrated Air and Missile Defense 
Capability Mix (JRICM) study.

    We cannot be successful in this endeavor by investing solely in 
active missile defense capabilities--we must strengthen all pillars of 
missile defense including the capability to enable a left-of-launch 
capability in the Missile Defeat enterprise. We are exploring 
efficiencies that can be gained by fusing non-kinetic, cyber, 
electromagnetic, and kinetic capabilities to deny, defend, and defeat 
adversary threats. Furthermore, additional efforts should be invested 
in the Department's ability to find, fix, track, target, engage, and 
assess (F2T2EA) threats and the adoption of corresponding policy and 
organizational constructs.
    We must strengthen our collaboration with our allies and explore 
further integration of our collective capabilities toward an effective 
mutual defense. We are investing in collaboration with our allies 
across multiple venues, including the USSTRATCOM-hosted Nimble Titan 
wargame. This biennial wargame is conducted with our key allies in 
partnership with the Department of State and our Geographic Combatant 
Commands. We continually explore and experiment with potential 
collaboration and integration approaches with our allies to inform 
development of policy, military, and investment options.
    Finally, we depend on flight-testing--it is critical to assessing 
and validating the performance of the operational system in actual 
flight environments. The high cost of flight-testing often limits the 
number of flight test opportunities. The Missile Defense Agency 
endeavors to maximize the opportunity for learning to advance 
capability development through flight test success or failure. The body 
of data collected in flight-testing is robust, and we discover 
unexpected findings in every test. Flight test failures are unplanned, 
but when failures happen--learning occurs. The root cause is 
determined, corrective actions are implemented, and the overall 
capability of the system improves.
    Cyber is still a critical mission assigned to USSTRATCOM. We 
continue to work closely with U.S. Cyber Command to ensure our nation 
is prepared to respond to any and all challenges within this domain. I 
applaud the direction signed into law in the fiscal year 2017 National 
Defense Authorization Act and remain committed to the elevation of U.S. 
Cyber Command to be a unified command as soon as possible. They will be 
providing a detailed posture statement on cyber in the near future.
    To ensure U.S. conventional power and deterrence are just as strong 
in the future as they are today, technological and operational 
innovation is crucial. The pace at which potential adversaries are 
improving their capability is a challenge. Holding adversary targets at 
risk will continue to be challenged as advanced offensive and defensive 
systems hinder our ability to effectively maneuver in anti-access/area 
denial environments. One of my top priorities is anticipating change 
and confronting uncertainty with agility and innovation. USSTRATCOM has 
been a participant with Third Offset Strategic Portfolio Reviews that 
ultimately lead up to Investment Decisions. One example of USSTRATCOM's 
contribution is the Global Operations Innovation Initiative (GOII).
    USSTRATCOM continues to be the lead advocate for development and 
deployment of Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapons systems, which 
can influence all forms of conflict and offset adversary advantages. 
While there are many hypersonic activities ongoing within the 
Department, I support CPS as the leading technology maturation effort 
in the realm of hypersonics.
    The challenge of holding adversary targets at risk will continue to 
grow as advanced offensive and defensive systems hinder our ability to 
maneuver in anti-access / area denial (A2AD) environments. CPS weapons 
will provide a responsive, long-range, non-nuclear strike capability 
against distant, defended, time-critical threats. Having a hypersonic 
strike capability enhances our overall deterrent posture by providing 
the President additional options to hold targets at risk that do not 
justify crossing the nuclear threshold.
    I support ongoing Department efforts to mature hypersonic boost-
glide vehicles and non-nuclear warhead technologies through ground and 
flight-testing, as well as modeling and simulation efforts--we foresee 
an operational need for a CPS capability by the mid-2020s. While the 
next CPS flight test, scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2017, will 
demonstrate operationally representative flight components, our 
adversaries are developing similar long-range hypersonic strike 
    USSTRATCOM is a global warfighting command. Today's deterrence 
forces remain safe, secure, reliable, and ready. Nevertheless, the U.S. 
faces significant challenges in sustaining the required capabilities to 
continue to provide strategic deterrence on behalf of our nation. Our 
Nation's strategic capabilities must be a core focus of our national 
security spending. I am sure that sustained Congressional support, 
combined with the hard work of the exceptional men and women who 
support United States Strategic Command, will ensure that we remain 
ready, agile, and effective in deterring strategic attack, assuring our 
allies and partners, and addressing both current and future threats.

    Chairman McCain. General Hyten, as we discussed and has 
been made well known, the Russians are in violation of the INF 
treaty. Is that true?
    General Hyten. Yes, Chairman, that is true.
    Chairman McCain. What does this mean for the threat to the 
United States and our European allies?
    General Hyten. It is a concern that we have to look at 
across the entire spectrum of what Russia has been doing. 
Russia has been modernizing their entire nuclear force. They 
started an aggressive effort in 2006. They continue that to 
this day. This breach of the INF Treaty that caused the 
deployment of a ground-launched cruise missile is a concern to 
us because we have not seen that for quite some time. It is 
another element we are going to have to consider as we look 
forward to how we deal with Russia.
    Chairman McCain. How would we deal with the ground-launched 
cruise missile itself?
    General Hyten. A single ground-launched cruise missile is 
not a significant threat to the United States or our allies. It 
shows the beginning of a deployment of a structure that could 
be a threat in the future.
    Chairman McCain. If it is deployed in a significant number, 
what does that do?
    General Hyten. We have no defense for it, especially in 
defense of our European allies. That system can range and 
threaten most of the continent of Europe, depending on where it 
is deployed. We will talk about that in detail in the closed 
hearing tomorrow, Senator. But it is a concern, and we are 
going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a Nation.
    Chairman McCain. There is certainly a compelling argument 
for Vladimir Putin's disregard for most norms of behavior that 
Russia, post Soviet Union, used to adhere to or even during the 
Soviet Union times.
    General Hyten. I believe that the United States has only 
effectively dealt with Russia over the years from a position of 
strength. I think the only way we can deal with them in the 
future is from a position of strength. I think the work of this 
committee and the work of my command can help that strength be 
established so we are in a good position to have future 
discussions with the Russians.
    Chairman McCain. It seems to me to regain that position of 
strength, we need to give you some help. Is that right?
    General Hyten. Yes, sir. I am asking for help on 
modernizing our entire forces and making sure we have the force 
structure that is needed to make sure we can deter not only 
today but in the future.
    Chairman McCain. What would be your priorities?
    General Hyten. Senator, my priorities are, first, to 
modernize the platform elements of the triad. I think when you 
look across the force----
    Chairman McCain. Which are?
    General Hyten. The platform elements of the triad are, 
first, the submarine, the Ohio-class replacement program, the 
Columbia. That is number one. The next is the GBSD, the ground-
based strategic deterrent, the replacement for our Minuteman 
ICBMs. The third piece is the B-21 bomber, which the long-range 
standoff weapon associated with that. That is the replacement 
to the air-launched cruise missile.
    The second piece of the puzzle is the modernization of the 
nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons themselves have to be 
modernized so they can last well into the coming decades.
    Finally, a very important piece that I am probably most 
concerned about right now is the nuclear command and control 
modernization that we have to have as we move into the coming 
    Chairman McCain. Under the present circumstances of 
sequestration, do you see any way of achieving all those goals?
    General Hyten. Senator, if we do not get stable budgets--
when I spread all those programs out across the table--and I 
have--and I look at when they all deliver, they all deliver 
just in time. Take one example. The Columbia submarine. Every 
year that that program--if it slips 1 year, then the future 
commander of STRATCOM is down one nuclear submarine. Two years, 
two nuclear submarines. We know that because there is a certain 
time in the future where the Ohio-class submarine just will not 
go under the water anymore. Just the pressure on the vessel 
itself will not allow it to go down. That has to stay on time. 
If each of those programs delivers just in time and we do not 
have stable budgets, we know we already have a broken program. 
I am very concerned about the ability to have stable budgets to 
support those programs.
    Chairman McCain. What does a continuing resolution do to 
you and your plans that you just outlined?
    General Hyten. A continuing resolution makes it very hard 
to start new programs, which many of these programs will be new 
program starts. Each of these programs will ramp up in terms of 
funding over the years as we move from the development phase 
into a production phase. Every time you have a continuing 
resolution, you cannot ramp up the funding you need in order to 
do that. Every time that happens, you have a delay to the 
program. Every time that happens, you have a break to a 
contract. It is a very significant issue in terms of cost to 
the taxpayers, as well as risk to our national security.
    Chairman McCain. The men and women who are serving under 
your command?
    General Hyten. Yes, sir. I talked a while ago about the 
improved morale. One of the great things I saw when I came back 
to U.S. Strategic Command was the morale in the submarines and 
the missile fields and the bombers and the space capabilities, 
the cyber capabilities. They understand how important it is 
what they do, but they also are dealing with very old 
equipment. We have a commitment to them as a Nation that we 
need to give them the tools that they need in order to do their 
job. Their enthusiasm can only last a certain amount of time. 
If we do not follow through on that commitment, that morale 
will be brought into question.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Reed?
    Senator Reed. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Again, General, thank you for your service.
    In last year's National Defense Act, we asked for a review 
of all the options against our potential threats left-of-launch 
and right-of-launch. One of the issues that I think you will 
talk about in detail tomorrow but in public is the very little 
short time between a warning and a launch in many of our 
adversaries. The left-of-launch is something we have to look 
at. Right-of-launch, the first issue is boost phase.
    Can you give us an idea here of where we are with respect 
to boost phase interceptors?
    General Hyten. I can give more information in the closed 
hearing tomorrow. But at a general level, we do not have a 
significant or really any boost phase intercept capability. It 
is a very challenging technology because you basically have to 
be properly positioned with the right kind of weapons 
capability in order to respond to an immediate launch. If you 
look at the North Korean launch on February the 11th, out of a 
new location, a new capability, a new transporter, erector, 
launcher, all those things bring the time of warning down to a 
very small number. Therefore, you have to be properly 
    Now, I will talk tomorrow about some new technologies that 
are becoming available that I think can begin to address that 
for the first time. But it is not in the near term, Senator.
    Senator Reed. But if we can pursue these technologies 
successfully, it would provide a significant advantage given 
the current deterrence we have.
    General Hyten. Yes, Senator. I cannot think of a better 
thing than if somebody launched a threat missile, to drop it 
right back on their head.
    Senator Reed. The nuclear posture review, as we both noted, 
is underway. Can you give us kind of an overview of the 
significant threats that this review will deal with and 
illustrate for us?
    General Hyten. The nuclear posture review just kicked off a 
6-month timing asked for by the administration and the 
Secretary of Defense. We are going at that. The first thing we 
will look at is the threat scenario. We will look at Russia, 
China, North Korea, and Iran in particular to make sure we 
understand what those threats are. Iran is in compliance with 
JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran] right now, 
which is keeping that nuclear capability down, but they still 
have aggressive missile programs that we need to look at. We 
will look across that spectrum of the threat. We will look at 
what Russia is doing in terms of violation of the INF treaty, 
and then we will look at military options in order to respond 
to what we see in the threat. That is the basic structure of 
the nuclear posture review.
    Senator Reed. One of the disconcerting comments that the 
Russians continue to make is that they have a strategy now of 
escalate to deescalate with nuclear weapons. I think you quite 
succinctly describe that escalate to deescalate is not that. It 
is escalate to win, which forces us to escalate to stop them 
from winning. You know, no pun intended, but it is an escalator 
to catastrophe in my view.
    Can you comment upon that statement? You know, how do we 
deal with that?
    General Hyten. I think it is one of the most challenging 
military questions you have. The good news is that we are 
addressing it with our geographic combatant commanders in 
large-scale exercises. We just did one with the European 
Command. We will do one with the Pacific where we actually 
address what those situations really would look like. It is 
important that we look at them seriously, understand what those 
pieces are. When we say escalate to win, what does that really 
mean? In order for us to win, we have two choices: one, to 
prevent that escalation; or two, respond in such a way after 
that escalation that they would want to stop any aggression 
that they have going on. Both of those are challenging 
situations, and we have to walk through the various options, 
which we are.
    Senator Reed. It would seem to me also that there has to be 
some means to communicate to avoid sort of the misstep, if you 
will. Is that part of the gaming you are doing, kind of how do 
we communicate our intention not to accept this but to engage 
again? Is that part of it?
    General Hyten. I continue to advocate engagement. I know 
Secretary Mattis has said we have had a long history of 
engagement, not a long history of success. I certainly agree 
with that statement. But, nonetheless, I would like to have an 
aggressive State Department engagement, an aggressive 
Department of Defense engagement that includes mil-to-mil 
engagements with my counterparts in Russia, China in 
particular. I think it is always better to be able to pick up 
the phone and talk to somebody before something bad really 
happens to have some kind of relationship. Also I want to look 
across the table and make sure they understand I am very 
serious about this business.
    Senator Reed. Thank you very much, General.
    General Hyten. Thank you, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Inhofe?
    Senator Inhofe. General Hyten, I think we would all ask 
about the same questions that have been asked by the previous 
two members, and it is always a surprise when people find out 
that there is some question as to whether or not we have the 
capability that we know around this table and that you know we 
do not. You have said, of course--you made it very clear we 
have the oldest nuclear arsenal in the world, warheads and 
bombs produced 30-40 years ago, B-52 and all of that.
    The last time the 10-year posture review took place, there 
were assumptions. The chairman mentioned this in his opening 
statement. One of the assumptions--and this was for the 2010. 
Number one, Russia is no longer an adversary, and number two--
and this is kind of disturbing--though the role of nuclear 
weapons in the United States national security and U.S. 
military strategy has been reduced significantly in recent 
decades, further reductions can and should be taken. How do you 
respond to those two assumptions? Bring that forward to the 
current day.
    General Hyten. From a military perspective, I think it is 
always important that anybody that has the threat to 
fundamentally destroy your nation, which is what Russia and 
China both have, they have to be considered an adversary. I 
think not considering them an adversary causes you to make 
decisions that could put the Nation at risk. Therefore, I have 
always considered Russia to be an adversary, a strategic 
competitor. I think it is important for us to look at Russia 
that way.
    The second piece of the equation. If you look back not just 
to the 2010 nuclear posture review, but if you look back 20 
years--and that is across multiple administrations, multiple 
Congresses, change of leadership in the military--you see a 
fundamental de-emphasis of nuclear weapons in our national 
security strategy. Then look at what our adversaries have done 
in response to that.
    I think the assumption would be if we lower the reliance on 
nuclear weapons and our adversaries do the same thing, they did 
just the opposite. Russia in 2006 started a huge, aggressive 
program to modernize and build new nuclear capabilities. They 
continue that to this day. New ballistic missiles, new weapons, 
new cruise missiles, significant air-launched cruise missile 
capabilities, now the ground-launched cruise missile 
capabilities. China has done the same thing. Hypersonic glide 
vehicles on both sides that bring new threats to bear. Our 
adversaries have taken the exact opposite view of our de-
emphasis and have emphasized those nuclear capabilities once 
    Senator Inhofe. That is right. They say further reductions 
can and should be taken. That is where we have been. It is very 
disturbing. I think tomorrow in a closed session, you might be 
thinking about an answer to the question because you say that 
Russia has always operated from a position of strength. We need 
to talk about the relative strength between us and Russia.
    The last thing I would mention is we have not spent quite 
as much time that I feel would be justified with North Korea. 
Admiral Gortney said it was prudent to assume--now this is a 
year ago--that North Korea could conduct a nuclear strike on 
the United States despite assessments of a very low probability 
of success. Well, that has changed now I think. They have 
advanced a long ways.
    I think in your statement, North Korea are actively 
developing ballistic missiles that could range the continental 
United States, conducted a nuclear test in September of last 
year, and appeared to be preparing to conduct another test in 
the near future. It is very disturbing.
    If you were to look at Russia, China, and North Korea and 
Iran, what would you believe would be the greatest threat? What 
bothers you the most?
    General Hyten. I think Russia is the greatest threat. What 
I am concerned about most nights is North Korea because we do 
have an effective deterrent today that I believe deters our 
adversaries, and if you watch the way Russia acts, every step 
is slow, but they are taking steps forward. China. They are 
acting, but every step is measured. North Korea. I am not sure 
exactly what they are going to do tonight. Every time there is 
a launch, February 11th, March the 5th this year, the whole 
network comes up. We bring the entire power of my command to 
bear on the problem, the power of Northern Command. We are 
looking at what we have to do. The Pacific. They are all 
involved. Those are very concerning moments to me because every 
time they launch, we are not sure if this is a threat missile 
or not.
    Senator Inhofe. Well, yes. I think you could probably say 
that North Korea is different from the rest in that they are 
totally unpredictable. Is that accurate?
    General Hyten. They are. I guess totally unpredictable 
would be a fair statement, sir, because every time they launch, 
I am not sure what that launch is going to be. That would be 
the definition of unpredictable.
    Senator Inhofe. Thank you, General.
    General Hyten. Thank you, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Shaheen?
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, General, for being here today.
    I want to follow that line of thinking because in your 
statement, you have been clear with us that our nuclear 
capabilities are the foundation and the bedrock of our defense. 
Certainly we saw that deterrence model during the Cold War, and 
you talked about it just now in terms of China and Russia. But 
do we have any reason to believe that North Korea is deterred 
at all by our nuclear armaments?
    General Hyten. I would have to say that they are deterred 
to a certain extent because fundamentally the existence of 
their nation is threatened by our strategic deterrent 
capability. There is a deterrent value.
    But their actions clearly show that the deterrent is 
fundamentally different when we think about North Korea. What 
impacts Kim Jong-un, what impacts the North Korean actions is a 
very difficult thing to understand, to get after. But the thing 
about North Korea is that given where it is on the globe, it is 
very important that our actions are in line with our allies, 
especially South Korea and Japan, because talk about in your 
back yard, it is in the back yard of South Korea and Japan.
    Senator Shaheen. As we look at what options we have to 
respond to what North Korea is doing, clearly sanctions are 
one, and we have imposed those and there is an effort to look 
at even stricter sanctions. What other options do we have in 
response to what North Korea is doing?
    General Hyten. I think any solution to the North Korean 
problem has to involve China. I am a military officer. My job 
is to provide military options to the President, and along with 
the other combatant commanders, I will always have military 
options ready for the President if he deems, in association 
with Congress, that there is something that we have to do. I 
will provide those military options. That is my job.
    But I look at it from a strategic perspective, and I cannot 
see a solution that does not involve China.
    Senator Shaheen. But China has suggested they do not have 
as much influence as we think that they do. Do you think that 
is accurate?
    General Hyten. Again, if you talk about in your back yard, 
China is the definition of North Korea's back yard. The trade 
that North Korea has really goes north across the Chinese 
border and south from China into North Korea. That is a 
significant element. But I am a military officer, not a State 
Department official or an economic expert. But I just look at 
the world and it is hard for me to see a solution without 
    Senator Shaheen. You briefly touched on cybersecurity in 
your opening statement. More and more we are seeing that cyber 
is being used as a weapon by our opponents. I have asked this 
question to several generals and have not gotten a very clear 
answer about how we better coordinate our cyber activities and 
whether we have a cyber strategy that involves not just 
responding but also being aggressive about how we use cyber. 
How should we be thinking about that? Do you think that is an 
accurate assessment, or am I missing something?
    General Hyten. I think it is still an element that is the 
subject of significant discussion. I will try to clarify it 
from my perspective, and hopefully that is helpful to you.
    From my perspective, there are two elements of cyber. One 
is the military element, and the other is the broader civilian 
use of cyber. They require two different sets of authorities. 
But when I look at the cyberspace domain, the authorities that 
I think we need as a nation are no different than any of the 
authorities that we have in space, and air and land and 
maritime. We need to have the authorities that if there is a 
bad actor, a bad guy that is in the cyberspace domain, the 
focus of our military has to be to attack and eliminate the bad 
actor. But we cannot do that in a way that impacts the domain 
that we are operating in. But we should not be restricted on 
following that actor, wherever that actor goes.
    Senator Shaheen. Well, in fact, do we not have blurred 
lines when it comes to cyber today because we have--or at least 
based on what I have read, it appears that we have cyber actors 
that are doing the work for nation states, but they may not be 
in the military. How do we address those kinds of threats?
    General Hyten. To me, if the question is what effect are 
they trying to create, if the effect they are trying to create 
is a military effect, then it is the responsibility of U.S. 
Cyber Command to be able to respond to that. If it is a 
criminal effect, it is not the responsibility of Cyber Command. 
It is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland 
Security, working with the FBI [Federal Bureau of 
Investigation] and other elements to work with those kind of 
pieces. We need to draw those lines clearly and focus on the 
effect and the target not on the domain itself. When we just 
focus on the domain itself, that is when we get all the 
confusion because cyber is everywhere. Why should we stop a 
military action because a server happens to be located in a 
specific territory, including the United States? We have to 
look at it as an operating domain. The effect and the target 
are the key.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you very much.
    General Hyten. Thank you, ma'am.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Wicker?
    Senator Wicker. General Hyten, thank you for your service 
and for your testimony today.
    Mr. Chairman, I would like to add into record at this point 
an article in DOD [Department of Defense] News by Jim Garamone, 
published March 31st of this year.
    Chairman McCain. Without objection.
    [The information referred to follows:]


March 31, 2017
By Jim Garamone
DOD News, Defense Media Activity

    ROSSLYN, VA--Nuclear capabilities are the bedrock of American 
defense and will remain so, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command 
said at the Military Reporters and Editors annual meeting here today.

  Air Force General John E. Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, 
and members of his staff depart a 37th Helicopter Squadron UH-1N Huey 
near a missile alert facility on the F.E. Warren Air Force Base, 
Wyoming, missile complex, February 22, 2017. Hyten toured the facility, 
giving him insight into the responsibilities of the airmen executing 
the nation's nuclear deterrence mission. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. 
Christopher Ruano

    Air Force General John E. Hyten said the United States has about 
the right numbers of nuclear weapons, but they need to be modernized.
                       Saluting Stratcom's People
    Hyten saluted the sacrifices of the servicemembers under his 
command who stand watch as they maintain America's nuclear deterrent 
and other missions.
    ``Deterrence will always be cheaper than war, and there is nothing 
more expensive than losing a war,'' the general said, quoting from Air 
Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein.
    Hyten said it will take roughly 6 percent of the defense budget to 
modernize the country's nuclear arsenal. Right now, nuclear arms take 
about 3.5 percent of the budget.
    ``We have to increase [spending] somewhere between 2.5 and 3 
percent,'' he said. ``That leaves 94 percent of our defense budget to 
do the things we have to. When you think of the survival of our 
nation--and I think that is the most important reason we have a 
military . . . the backstop of all of that is the nuclear enterprise.''
            Nuclear Deterrent: Backbone of Homeland Defense
    The general said it would irresponsible to not fund nuclear 
modernization, as the nuclear deterrent is the backbone of Homeland 
    Hyten said people often ask him if it is possible to eliminate 
nuclear weapons. They want to know if he can imagine a world without 
nukes. ``And the answer is yes, I can imagine a world without nuclear 
weapons,'' he said. ``In fact, I know what a world without nuclear 
weapons looks like, because we had a world without nuclear weapons 
until 1945.''
    He asked the reporters to imagine what the world was like in the 6 
years preceding the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ``In 
those 6 years, the world in conflict killed somewhere between 60 
million and 80 million people,'' he said. ``That's about 33,000 people 
a day, a million people a month.''
    As horrible as the world is today, he said, there is nothing 
remotely resembling this situation. The world has seen bloody 
conflicts--Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi 
Freedom were awful, but nowhere near the level of carnage the world had 
experienced, he said.
    What changed in 1945, Hyten said, was the reality of nuclear 
weapons. Nuclear weapons, he added, prevented the major power conflict 
that had plagued the world in previous centuries.
    ``They prevented the kind of wanton destruction that you saw in 
World War II, and somehow the world has stayed that way,'' the general 
             Necessity to Modernize Nation's Nuclear Triad
    Hyten said nuclear weapons undergird the motto of Strategic Command 
and its predecessor organization, the Strategic Air Command: Peace is 
our profession.
    Deterrence has changed in the 21st Century, Hyten said, and the 
command must modernize the nuclear triad and the command-and-control 
systems that are part of them.
    ``The submarines are the most survivable element of it; the ICBMs 
are the most ready; the bombers are the most flexible,'' he said. 
``When you put those pieces together, it gives our nation the ability 
to withstand any attack and respond if we are attacked, which means we 
won't be attacked.''

    Senator Wicker. General, in this article, you state that we 
need to spend roughly 6 percent of the defense budget to 
modernize our country's nuclear arsenal. That would be an 
increase from 3.5 percent currently. Over what period of time 
do we need to increase from 3.5 percent to 6 percent of the 
defense budget?
    General Hyten. In broadest terms, it is 30 years, but that 
is not perfectly accurate because there will be a peak and a 
valley. It will peak as we go into significant production 
levels. That will happen in approximately 10 years. That 
production peak will continue for roughly another decade as we 
deploy the new capabilities across each of the platforms I 
discussed earlier. Then it will drop off again over the last. 
But roughly, it is a 30-year time frame.
    Senator Wicker. Well, how about for the next few years?
    General Hyten. For the next few years, there will be a 
significant plus-up, but it will not grow to 6.5 percent until 
we actually get into the development programs, which are a 
couple years away.
    Senator Wicker. You quote approvingly the Air Force Chief 
of Staff General Goldfein in this article. Is this a position 
of General Goldfein?
    General Hyten. That is the position of the United States 
Air Force and General Goldfein and the Acting Secretary 
    Senator Wicker. Is it the position, to your knowledge, of 
the Secretary of Defense?
    General Hyten. To my knowledge, the Secretary of Defense 
supports--I know he supports modernizing the triad. He 
testified in front of this committee to that effect. But we 
will address all those issues in the nuclear posture review 
with the new administration. Just to emphasize that point 
again, I think it is a point to remember. The new 
administration will take a look at the entire threat posture, 
the entire modernization plan, but the Secretary of Defense, 
the Air Force leadership, and the Navy leadership have all 
pledged support to modernizing the triad.
    Senator Wicker. Now, in mentioning your priorities in 
response to an earlier question, you mentioned five priorities 
in modernization, and the first one you mentioned was 
submarines, the Ohio replacement or the Columbia-class. I was 
interested to see that you listed that first. Would it be 
correct to say that not only is the first thing you mentioned, 
but it is your first priority?
    General Hyten. The first priority is the triad. Inside the 
triad, the first priority is the submarine. But it is important 
to note that the triad as a whole has to be modernized. 
Nonetheless, if we do not get after the submarine, then we run 
a very precipitous risk in about a decade as the Ohio-class 
reaches end of life.
    Senator Wicker. That was going to be my next question. You 
painted a painted a pretty grim picture of the future of the 
Ohio-class if we do not start moving. I think you said that it 
will be dangerous to actually put it under the water.
    General Hyten. You can probably tell from my uniform I am 
not a naval officer.
    Senator Wicker. I do see that.
    General Hyten. But I do have good friends who are naval 
officers, who are submariners, and they have gone through the 
analysis with me in detail, including my deputy, Vice Admiral 
Chas Richard. We have gone through that in detail, and they can 
tell me that each submarine is built to go down under pressure 
a certain number of times, and once you reach the end of life, 
you know when that is and you can predict very accurately when 
that is. Once you reach the end of life, it cannot go down 
anymore. A submarine on the top of the water is not an 
effective deterrent.
    Senator Wicker. That end of life might occur as soon as 
    General Hyten. It starts towards the end of the next 
decade. I can go into the details of when that would be in the 
closed hearing tomorrow, but it is towards the end of the next 
    Senator Wicker. What can you tell us in this venue today 
about the modernized features of this new Columbia-class 
    General Hyten. I think the most significant element of the 
modernized feature is the actual nuclear reactor. The nuclear 
reactor on the Ohio-class systems basically required refuel and 
refit midway through its service life. The Columbia-class will 
have a 42-year reactor. Once it goes in service, besides the 
normal maintenance and routine servicing, it will not have to 
come back for a refueling of the reactor, which will allow us 
to operate with 12 Columbia submarines versus 14 of the Ohio-
    Senator Wicker. What about advanced materials in these new 
    General Hyten. There will be significant advanced 
materials, but I cannot talk about that in detail in this 
hearing. But it will be materials that will increase the 
survivability and performance of the submarine in a threat 
    Senator Wicker. Thank you, sir.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Kaine?
    Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, General Hyten.
    For the hearing last year, this posture hearing, the 
written testimony had this quote in it. There is continued 
adherence to the new strategic arms reduction, New START, by 
both nations. That is a quote, and that meant the United States 
and Russia. Is that still the case?
    General Hyten. That is still the case, Senator. The next 
key date is 2018. That is when we have to meet the New START 
limits. We are on track to do that. As far as we can tell, the 
Russians are on track to do that. But that 2018 date, early 
2018, we will watch that very closely.
    Senator Kaine. That testimony was also in the testimony 
from last year. We are on track to achieve New START limits of 
1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems by 
February 2018. As far as you know, we are on track and the 
Russians are on track for their obligations as well.
    General Hyten. I know we are on track, and the reports I 
get from the intelligence community and from the State 
Department is the Russians are on track as well.
    Senator Kaine. Have you been directed to review the 
agreement or in any change our plans for compliance with the 
    General Hyten. I have not been directed to review the New 
START agreement. I am reviewing the INF agreement based on the 
    Senator Kaine. Russian activity.
    General Hyten. Russian activity.
    Senator Kaine. But in terms of compliance with the New 
START agreement, you have not been directed to review or offer 
advice about changing strategies on compliance with New START.
    General Hyten. No specific direction on that, Senator.
    Senator Kaine. In your opinion, would it be in the U.S.'s 
strategic interests to increase our nuclear weapons stockpiles?
    General Hyten. I have stated on the record multiple times--
I will state it on the record again today--I support the limits 
that are in the New START. I also look out to the future and 
understand there are non-accountable weapons especially in the 
Russian side that we need to start addressing. But from a 
strategic weapons perspective, I support the limits that are in 
the New START.
    Senator Kaine. Senator Wicker was asking you about the 
Columbia-class. Will the Columbia-class require a change in the 
design and plans for the Trident missile, kind of a design 
    General Hyten. It will not require a design change. We will 
be able to walk into that. But Admiral Terry Benedict, the 
Director of Strategic Programs in the Navy, has begun to look 
at the Trident to make sure that we have a plan for how we 
would modernize that capability sometime in the future. But 
that is not on the near term list or on my priority list to 
worry about right now.
    Senator Kaine. Thank you for that.
    You have a brief section of testimony at page 13 of your 
written testimony about cyber. I applaud the direction signed 
into law in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization 
Act and remain committed to the elevation of U.S. Cyber Command 
to a unified command as soon as possible.
    Could you talk a little bit about what is the status of 
efforts to do that? Are there milestone dates that have been 
set, and what is our progress towards those milestones?
    General Hyten. Admiral Rogers, the Commander of U.S. Cyber 
Command--we have submitted our plan to the administration. It 
is now going through their evaluation. The administration gets 
a vote. The Secretary of Defense gets a vote. I will just say 
that both Admiral Rogers and I would like that to happen sooner 
rather than later just to normalize that command and make sure 
that we can kind of develop normal command relationships 
between Cyber Command and all the combatant commanders, 
including U.S. Strategic Command.
    Senator Kaine. This is a consensus set of recommendations 
that you have delivered to the administration.
    General Hyten. We have.
    Senator Kaine. The last question is this. Anti-access/area 
denial systems are more commonplace now. Does that render 
weapons like the B-61 sort of becoming obsolete, and is there a 
need for additional systems like gravity bombs as part of a 
future deterrent to take care of the A2/AD [Anti Access/Area 
Denial] systems?
    General Hyten. I think from the air perspective of the 
triad, the three elements: a stealth bomber, which is the B-21 
that can penetrate air defense systems; a gravity bomb that 
could provide flexible options because that provides the most 
flexible element of the triad because that gives the President 
the most time to make a decision; and then the air-launched 
cruise missile, which basically improves the flexibility of the 
B-21 because really the last thing you want to do is have a 
bomber that is only able to attack a target right below it. You 
want it to be able to reach out. Those three elements together 
create the most flexibility in the air leg of the triad, and 
that is our recommended program that the Congress has 
    Senator Kaine. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Fischer?
    Senator Fischer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Welcome, General. It is a pleasure to see you again.
    We have had some discussion on this in previous questions 
about the different geopolitical landscape that we are living 
in today, and some describe it as a return to the great-power 
competition. Russia and China are deploying far more capable 
nuclear systems than they were in 2010.
    What implications do you think that this has on our nuclear 
forces? Specifically, do you believe it increases their 
importance and the need to modernize them? You have touched on 
this, but I would like to hear your firm answer.
    General Hyten. The key element is always having a ready, 
reliable strategic deterrent. We have that today. Even though 
our adversaries have modernized their nuclear capabilities, we 
still have an effective deterrent. The question will we have an 
effective deterrent 10 years from now and 20 years from now. 
The answer to that has to be yes. That is why we have to 
modernize, and that is why it has to be a significant priority 
for this country.
    Deterrence is going to be expensive, but war is always more 
expensive than deterrence.
    Senator Fischer. The chairman asked you about the platforms 
and the need to modernize those. You were referring to the B-1 
and the GBSD [Ground Based Strategic Deterrent], the LRSO [Long 
Range Stand-Off], the Columbia-class, and the need to continue 
on and meet those deadlines and meet them in a timely manner to 
make sure that we do have the resources necessary.
    When we look at the new posture report that is going to be 
coming out, do you believe that that report should validate 
those programs?
    General Hyten. I do, and I have stated that to the 
administration. I have stated that to my boss. But the nuclear 
posture review should look at the entire enterprise. It should 
also look at things beyond what is in the triad. We should look 
at what do we have to do to respond to the INF breakout. What 
do we have to do to respond to now a ground-launched cruise 
missile? Hypersonic glide vehicles are threats that both Russia 
and China are building now. They are very significant in terms 
of our ability to see them and provide warning. We need to 
figure out how to deal with those. But I think the baseline is 
the triad, and the baseline is modernizing the triad.
    Senator Fischer. In response to Senator Inhofe, you were 
talking about the escalate/deescalate in our relationship with 
Russia. A former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown said in 1979 
that the Soviet spending has shown no response to United States 
restraint. When we build, they build. When we cut, they build.
    From your comments, I would assume that you agree with 
those remarks from Secretary Brown.
    General Hyten. Well, I look at the evidence, and the 
evidence is when we de-emphasize nuclear weapons, both our 
primary adversaries, Russia and China, have both increased 
their focus on nuclear weapons. Advanced capabilities. They 
also looked at now threatening space and threatening 
cyberspace. They went a significant direction and a different 
deterrent element than we did. I believe you always have to 
look at your adversaries and understand what they do and then 
make sure you are in a position of strength relative to your 
adversaries. That is what deterrence is all about.
    Senator Fischer. The chairman also asked you about Russia's 
violation of the INF treaty. Do you believe that we need to 
respond to that violation? The previous administration talked 
about counterforce options and countervailing capabilities, 
active defenses, but ultimately took no action to develop 
those. Do you think that we need to now?
    General Hyten. I think every step that Russia takes has to 
be responded to. This is just the next step, and we have to 
figure out as a Nation how to respond. It is not necessarily a 
military response, but the Nation has to figure out how to 
    Senator Fischer. In this setting, can you tell us which 
options you believe would be the most effective?
    General Hyten. No, ma'am, not in this setting. Those 
choices are my boss' choices as well. But I will be glad to 
talk to that in a closed hearing tomorrow.
    Senator Fischer. Thank you.
    In your opening statement, you note the unauthorized 
flights of unmanned aerial systems over Navy and Air Force 
installations. Can you discuss this in greater detail? Are 
these incidental activities, or do you believe they are 
deliberate actions?
    General Hyten. I think so far they have been incidental 
activities, but the fact that they are occurring and then if 
you watch what is happening overseas in the CENTCOM [Central 
Command] theater with the use of lethal UAVs [unmanned aerial 
vehicles] and the use of UAVs for surveillance on the part of a 
terrorist adversary, I am very concerned that those same kind 
of UAVs could be employed against our weapon storage 
facilities, especially on the nuclear weapon storage 
    Just in the last week, I have signed out guidance to my 
forces to give them kind of parameters on how they should 
respond if they see a threat UAV or a surveillance UAV and to 
give them specific guidance. A young marine at King's Bay or an 
airman at F.E. Warren does not have to worry about what should 
I be doing when I see that. I provided very specific guidance 
that is classified guidance, but I would be glad to share that 
with the committee.
    Senator Fischer. Thank you, sir.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Warren?
    Senator Warren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, General Hyten, for your leadership and for your 
generosity with your time yesterday visiting my office.
    I just quickly want to ask you about the importance of our 
non-military foreign assistance and other civilian instruments 
of national power to your mission. General, is it accurate to 
say that you work with the State Department and other civilian 
partners on nuclear nonproliferation and other efforts to 
detect and deter strategic threats to the United States?
    General Hyten. We have a very active role with the State 
Department not just on the nuclear side but on space and cyber 
as well because each of those is a very international set of 
issues, and the State Department has been very aggressive in 
working those issues along with U.S. Strategic Command and the 
other combatant commands as well.
    Senator Warren. Thank you.
    The budget proposal put out by the Trump administration 
calls for about a 29 percent cut to the State Department and 
significant cuts to other agencies with international 
    General, I want to ask you a narrower question. Would 
funding cuts to agencies that conduct diplomacy and other 
civilian functions make your job easier or more difficult?
    General Hyten. I am not an expert on the budgets----
    Senator Warren. I am not asking you to be one.
    General Hyten. But I can tell you that I feel I desperately 
need and all the military commanders need an active foreign 
engagement process that uses the Department of State. We need 
that kind of partnership. We need the State Department reaching 
out into the international community. It cannot be left to the 
military to do those kind of pieces. The State Department does. 
I have had great relationships with men and women in the State 
Department that have helped us significantly over the years. We 
need to have that continue into the future, as well as other 
departments that reach out.
    Senator Warren. I take it from what you are saying--I am 
sorry to interrupt, but I just have limited time here--that 
significant cuts would make it more difficult for you to do 
your part of your job.
    General Hyten. I would have to look at where the cuts are, 
and I have not looked at where the cuts are. But I need that 
    Senator Warren. You need that support.
    Let me ask you another question, General. As you know, the 
nuclear command, control, and communications, NC3 [Nuclear 
Command and Control], system is critically important to 
providing secure and agile communications between our field 
forces and the President in case of a nuclear attack or other 
nuclear-related emergency. You expressed concern before this 
committee last year about the aging capabilities of the NC3 
system and the need to modernize it. As Chairman McCain noted 
earlier, you publicly said just last month that, quote, any 
delay, deferment, or cancellation of NC3 modernization will 
create a capability gap potentially degrading the President's 
ability to respond appropriately to a strategic threat.
    I assume you still feel that way. Is that right?
    General Hyten. I do. It is my biggest concern on the 
modernization effort.
    Senator Warren. Biggest concern.
    Let me ask you, are you confident that the Department is 
providing the funding and staffing necessary to keep NC3 on 
    General Hyten. I am confident that the Department has taken 
the right steps. The funding is now rolling in the right place. 
The staffing is not quite there yet, especially on the Air 
Force side. We had a hiring plan that was delayed slightly by 
the hiring freeze. We were given authority to waive that for 
critical nuclear missions. We have done that through the Air 
Force. The Air Force is now beginning to hire those folks.
    But the challenge is once you start hiring those people, it 
is not like overnight that all of a sudden the problem is 
solved. They have to come on board, become experts. That takes 
a matter of time. Even though the funding is flowing, we have a 
good plan, people are coming, it is not an overnight solution 
to the problem which is why it requires constant attention.
    Senator Warren. I appreciate that.
    We need to have a secure and reliable NC3 capability, which 
is why I agree that NC3 modernization without delay should be a 
top priority. We have the most potent nuclear triad on earth, 
but it becomes much less useful if NC3 ages out and does not 
work effectively.
    I have just under a minute left, but I would like to ask 
you very briefly about the resiliency of the satellite 
constellations that we rely on for civilian and military 
communications. Do you have confidence in the ability of our 
communications satellites to withstand jamming? How are you 
thinking about integrating our satellites into the Department's 
overall operational plan?
    General Hyten. I have not been happy with how we are 
structured from a resilient perspective with satellite 
communications. There are two elements. Number one, I think we 
need to change our architectures and build a more resilient 
architecture so that we can more effectively fight in the 
future. The second piece of that is that we have to figure out 
how to use the capabilities we have today in a better way. We 
have actually built significant anti-jam and warfighting 
capability into many of our satellites, but we do not have the 
means to effectively command and control it at the time of a 
fight. We need to work both of those things, Senator, in the 
    Senator Warren. Thank you, and we can do more follow-up on 
this later. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Rounds?
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Hyten, first of all, thank you for your service to 
our country.
    In the Defense Science Board's February of 2017 task force 
report on cyber deterrence, two recommendations are provided to 
improve the cyber resilience of the U.S. nuclear forces. One 
recommendation was that the Secretary of Defense direct you to 
conduct an annual assessment of the cyber resilience of the 
U.S. nuclear deterrent, including all essential nuclear 
components. These would include nuclear command, control, and 
communications, as Senator Warren was alluding to, the 
platforms, the delivery systems, and the warheads. 
Specifically, you would be directed to state your degree of 
confidence in the mission assurance of the nuclear deterrent 
against a top tier cyber threat.
    What do you consider to be a top tier cyber threat to our 
Nation's nuclear systems?
    General Hyten. I see a top tier cyber threat being Russia 
and China in particular because they have the ability to 
threaten the existence of this Nation. One of the reasons you 
have to be able to protect the nuclear command and control 
capability is that is fundamental to deterrence. If that is 
ever brought into question, that lowers our deterrent posture 
to top tier threats, and we have to make sure we never allow 
that to happen.
    Senator Rounds. What can Congress do to help you mitigate 
this threat to our nuclear systems?
    General Hyten. I think the Congress can be very demanding 
of the services to make sure that as we modernize our nuclear 
command and control capability, we just do not modernize a 20th 
century architecture, in other words, move from 8\1/2\-inch 
floppy disks to 5-inch floppy disks. That is really not of 
interest. We have to modernize the entire architecture. As you 
see the modernization plans coming in, make sure, number one, 
it is a 21st Century information architecture, and number two, 
make sure that we are cyber secure as we go through that 
because we will introduce cyber vulnerabilities as we walk into 
that. But if you work it right from the beginning, you can make 
sure that that threat is mitigated as we go forward.
    Senator Rounds. The Defense Science Board also recommended 
that the DOD acquisition executive oversee immediate 
establishment of a program of action with milestones to support 
cyber certification of U.S. nuclear forces, as well as nuclear 
command, control, and communications. This certification 
process would assume considered adversary attack against 
nuclear systems based on extensive preparation. Examples are 
attacks via the supply chain, insider threats, and physical 
sabotage or attack, in addition to remote cyber attacks.
    Are you confident that the timeline for initial and full 
operational capability of the cyber mission teams that are 
tasked to support your command are proceeding at a pace that 
would enable you to meet such a certification? I noticed that 
you indicated that perhaps the Air Force is a little bit behind 
in their time frame.
    General Hyten. The answer is yes and no, Senator. Yes, I am 
happy with where the cyber mission force is going right now, 
but the no part is that I do not think the cyber mission force 
currently has the capacity necessary to meet all of the 
requirements that we have across the Department.
    We have also divided the cyber mission force, you know, 
assigned to different combatant commanders. I have certain 
assigned elements of the cyber mission force. General 
Scaparrotti does. Admiral Harris does. I think we have to start 
looking at cyber like we look at special operations, as a high-
demand, low-density element that we need to allocate to the 
highest priority, and we have to look at that from the top 
level down. I will work inside the Department to advocate for 
those kind of capabilities because the demand signal is going 
to go nowhere but up and the capacity is not sufficient to meet 
all of the demand.
    Senator Rounds. As you know, until now, DOD has envisioned 
a force of up to 100 combat-coded B-21 bombers. I am very 
concerned this number may be a budget rather than strategy-
driven determinative. Also I have heard discussion within the 
Air Force circles of the need for a larger number of these 
aircraft based purely on operational requirements. Do you think 
we may need more than 100 of these aircraft?
    General Hyten. I have not seen the bomber vector road map 
yet from the Air Force. I put a demand signal out from my 
command to the Air Force to let me see that plan because I want 
to be able to support that plan, but I have to see it. I have 
to see the details to understand it.
    From the top level, I think 100 is sufficient from an 
operational perspective, not a budget perspective. The reason I 
think it from a top level is that I have a certain requirement 
in the New START for a certain number of nuclear capable 
bombers, and then we have an additional capacity on the 
conventional side. When you put that together, you come to 
about 100.
    Nonetheless, I have not seen the details yet from the Air 
Force. I will see the details shortly. I know it is done. 
General Rand and General Goldfein have both told me it is about 
done. But I need to see that so I can better answer that 
question, Senator.
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, General.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Peters?
    Senator Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Hyten, thank you for being here. Thank you for your 
leadership as well.
    General Hyten, in your response to advance questions that 
you submitted to this committee last September, you agreed that 
additional analysis is needed before making a decision on 
whether to deploy an additional missile defense site, including 
an analysis of the missile threat specifically from Iran. You 
have also indicated that you believe the response to missile 
threats must consider, quote, the entire package of capability 
from additional interceptors to supporting sensors and command 
and control.
    In your testimony today, you identify three necessary 
missile defense upgrades including upgrading the kill vehicle 
of ground-based interceptors, continued development of long-
range discriminating radar, and improving regional missile 
defense capabilities. I understand that some of these 
investments would improve a potential additional missile 
defense site. It would also be a part of that package and may 
make sense to make that investment.
    But in a March of 2015 briefing to the Subcommittee on 
Strategic Forces, Lieutenant General Mann, former Commander of 
the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, affirmed that 
the ground-based mid-course defense system remains our Nation's 
only defense against an ICBM attack.
    Without making a judgment--the question is without making a 
judgment on deploying an additional missile defense site--I do 
not expect that today. But if the decision is to deploy a new 
missile defense site, how long do you expect that construction 
would take? How long would it take to come online?
    General Hyten. The specific question is once you make a 
decision on an additional site, you are many years, 5 to 10 
years, away from that site being able to come online.
    Based on my confirmation hearing and my lack of full depth 
into it, I met with Admiral Sering, the Director of the Missile 
Defense Agency a few times now. We have gone through his 
programs. We can talk about that in a little more detail in the 
closed hearing. But fundamentally I see a need to have a 
reliable kill vehicle, a multi-object kill vehicle, better 
sensors, including a space-based layer for the mid-course 
discrimination, and then additional capacity.
    But I want to make sure that those priorities are 
understood to the committee because those priorities are 
important to me because if we just go for the additional 
capacity, I am not sure we are going to be making the right 
architectural decisions about how we deal with the pending 
threat in the future. I want to make sure we do that right. We 
have some time, not a lot of time, but we have some time to 
make those decisions.
    We will have a ballistic missile defense review in this 
administration in addition to the nuclear posture review. That 
will be another 6-month study that is not yet to kick off but 
will soon.
    Senator Peters. I want to expand a little on the `some 
time.' As you mentioned, you have to make the decision first to 
go forward with the site, but then you are looking to anywhere 
from 5 to 10 years before that site actually becomes 
operational. My concern is that if we wait until a country like 
Iran, for example, develops missiles that threaten the 
Homeland, we may be too late given that long timeline. That is 
why I know the work on an environmental impact study for 
potential sites is already underway.
    But maybe your assessment--are you confident that even if 
we started today, over 5 years or the 10 years, we would be 
able to construct these sites, that the missile threat from 
Iran and elsewhere will not continue to grow or eventually 
outpace our ability to bring these defenses online?
    General Hyten. I am always concerned about timelines 
because our acquisition system has not been very effective in 
the last 10 years in delivering things on time. When I give 
broad statements like 5 to 10 years, it is broad because the 
acquisition system is not very reliable in terms of defining 
what those pieces are. It is broad because there are policy 
debates that have to happen. But I think we are going to have 
to make that decision pretty soon about where we are going to 
    I think we have the data we need, and we will feed that 
into the ballistic missile defense review. I would expect 
coming out of the ballistic missile defense review some very 
specific recommendations about what we have to do that will 
probably come from the Missile Defense Agency.
    Senator Peters. Thank you, General.
    General Hyten. Thank you.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Ernst?
    Senator Ernst. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thanks for your testimony today, General Hyten. I 
appreciate your candid comments, the comments that we had in 
our discussion yesterday in the office. I am grateful that we 
can have an open session so the folks in the Midwest can hear 
how important STRATCOM is to our global safety. The fact that 
STRATCOM is only 45 minutes from my hometown of Red Oak makes 
it even that much more important to the folks living in 
southwest Iowa. I look forward to hearing more on your answers 
    We did talk a little bit about the Emerging Threats and 
Capabilities Subcommittee that I chair. I do appreciate your 
comments about STRATCOM and its contribution to developing the 
third offset strategy. That is very important in our 
discussions in that subcommittee.
    Yesterday in the meeting, you highlighted the need to also 
incorporate the concept of operations associated with the third 
offset strategy as we look towards defining it. From our 
nuclear triad to the stealth capabilities, it is vital to 
national security that the United States continues to stay 
ahead of its adversaries. You have talked about a number of 
those today.
    Can you explain the importance of developing a third offset 
strategy specifically as we watch our adversaries develop 
capabilities that match our own?
    General Hyten. I think the third offset strategy in its 
most simple terms is what is the next fundamental step that we 
have to take as a Nation to jump ahead of our adversaries. That 
is what the first two offsets basically were when you look back 
in time. I think the opportunity we have right now is how do we 
fundamentally change the human-machine interface. How do we 
change the whole command and control structure? How do we 
actually get to new capabilities?
    But as we look at these technologies and we look at the 
technologies both in Silicon Valley and Cambridge and a number 
of places where the Department of Defense is engaging, we have 
to put that in an operational context. You just cannot take a 
commercial technology and say, boom, there is your magic third 
offset. You have to figure out what is the operational 
construct that we are going to use in order to do that.
    In space, the Deputy Secretary of Defense has said that the 
interagency space operations center, which we just renamed the 
National Space Defense Center, so that everybody can understand 
finally what it is--it is a national space defense center--was 
the first operational element of that because basically we put 
a bunch of smart people in the room with a bunch of 
capabilities and said figure out how to go faster. It is 
amazing how fast they have been able to go when you break down 
all the barriers. This Nation can go fast. That is what the 
third offset is really about.
    But our acquisition process likes to go slow. That will be 
the challenge. How do we go fast in defining what the third 
offset is? How do we define those things and build them 
quickly, how to deploy it in the force to stay ahead of our 
adversaries and not become too bureaucratic about the next 
    Senator Ernst. I appreciate that.
    You mentioned breaking down the barriers. We had a great 
conversation, a little off topic, but a great conversation 
about acquisition yesterday in the office. Do you think our 
failing acquisition system is impacting our ability to develop 
and procure the new technologies that are necessary for that 
third offset?
    General Hyten. I think the challenge that we have is it is 
not the people that do the acquisition. They are still 
spectacular people. But we have not delegated them the 
authority and responsibility, and we do not hold them 
accountable for making the decisions to deliver capabilities. 
All those decisions are brought up into this town into the 
Pentagon, into the Capitol, and it hurts the ability of a 
program director to actually make the decisions, work with the 
industry, and deliver those capabilities. They spend all their 
time trying to get a program through the Pentagon, not trying 
to deliver the capability we need as a Nation. I think 
fundamentally we have to change that focus to let those great 
people that do that business every day focus on delivering 
those capabilities and then hold them accountable because I 
grew up in that business as a young lieutenant and a captain 
and my bosses were held accountable. There were some 
spectacular failures. But I always remember there are 10 people 
in line to step and take those jobs because they wanted the 
authority and responsibility.
    Senator Ernst. I absolutely agree, and I think that is 
something that this committee should work on. Thank you, 
General Hyten, for your time.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Blumenthal?
    Senator Blumenthal. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
    I know that you recently toured the 37th Helicopter 
Squadron at Warren Air Force Base, and my question really 
concerns the fleet that protects the ICBM fleet and the 
national capital region. In early February, the Air Force 
announced their anticipated request for proposal for the Huey 
replacement program--as you know, that was to be released at 
the end of February--would not occur until this summer because 
none of the companies offering a replacement helicopter were 
able to meet all the threshold requirements. The Huey 
replacement program has been discussed in some form or fashion 
since, I think, 2001. The most recent acquisition strategy had 
the first operational helicopter delivery scheduled for the 
first quarter of fiscal year 2020, and it is now another year 
delayed by Air Force estimates to the second quarter of fiscal 
year 2021.
    In my view, we can ill afford this kind of delay. I have 
written numerous letters to the previous administration urging 
that they expedite this replacement.
    Do you have any opinions as to what can be done to expedite 
this program? Do you agree that it should be expedited I guess 
is the first question.
    General Hyten. Of all the things in my portfolio, I cannot 
even describe how upset I get about the helicopter replacement 
program. It is a helicopter, for gosh sakes. We ought to be 
able to go out and buy a helicopter and put it in the hands of 
the people that need it, and we should be able to do that 
quickly. We have been building combat helicopters for a long 
time in this country. I do not understand why the heck it is so 
hard to buy. I wrote the requirements document for that 
helicopter when I was Director of Requirements at Air Force 
Space Command in 2007, and now it is 2017, 10 years later, and 
we are still arguing about a helicopter.
    We had a request for forces in to provide a temporary 
replacement. I pulled that request for forces from STRATCOM 
because I want all hands on deck to get a new helicopter into 
the force that we should--as soon as possible. All I can tell 
you, Senator, as the Commander of Strategic Command, I will put 
every influence I can on the United States Air Force to deliver 
that capability sooner rather than later. I cannot tell you how 
upset I was when I pulled the RFF and shortly thereafter was 
told that there would be a delay in the program. That is just 
unacceptable to me.
    Senator Blumenthal. Well, your very forthright and valuable 
response has just eliminated a whole line of questions that I 
was going to have for you.
    Senator Blumenthal. But I do have one more question which 
concerns the Columbia-class.
    By the way, very seriously, I welcome your focus on this 
issue, and if there is anything I can do or I hope the 
committee can do--I do not mean to speak for the committee, but 
it is a simple but profoundly important problem to safeguard 
the ICBMs in the north capital region.
    General Hyten. Hugely important.
    Senator Blumenthal. Thank you.
    On the Columbia-class, are you satisfied with the pace of 
development of the Columbia-class, which is so important, as 
you mentioned earlier, to the triad program?
    General Hyten. I am. I am very appreciative of the United 
States Navy for making it the number one program in the United 
States Navy. I certainly agree with that priority. But there 
are a lot of challenges in the Navy portfolio, and the fact 
that they have made that the number one priority and the fact 
that the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Richardson, is 
going to be looking at that very closely gives me confidence 
that we will get there.
    Nonetheless, we require a stable budget, stable funding, 
aggressive approach by the United States Navy in order to do 
that. All those things are challenging in today's environment. 
But I am comfortable with where the Navy is right now.
    Senator Blumenthal. Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Cotton?
    Senator Cotton. I would like to associate myself with the 
remarks of Senator Blumenthal on the helicopter program. I 
appreciate that you take the issue so seriously, General.
    Some claim that the long-range stand-off cruise missile, a 
new air-launched cruise missile, would be destabilizing. Do you 
believe the LRSO would be destabilizing, and if so, why? If 
not, why not?
    General Hyten. Senator, I do not believe it is 
destabilizing. I believe it is a critical element of our 
architecture. We have had air-launched cruise missiles, nuclear 
cruise missiles since 1960. The current fleet was first 
declared operational in 1981. An element of our architecture 
that our adversaries have significant numbers of like and 
modernized air-launched cruise missiles that can bring a threat 
to the United States tells me that we have to be able to have 
that capability as we look to the future. I do not believe it 
is destabilizing. I think it is a critical element of the 
architecture, and it has been an element of the architecture 
for many, many decades.
    Senator Cotton. Your recommendation is that we proceed with 
an LRSO program.
    General Hyten. I think it is essential to the modernization 
of the triad.
    Senator Cotton. You touched briefly earlier on the concept 
of having a stealth aircraft that has to be directly over the 
target. You are referring to the B-21 I presume.
    General Hyten. Yes, sir.
    Senator Cotton. Without a new air-launched cruise missile, 
you foresee a future in which that B-21 might have to penetrate 
into advanced air defenses rather than being able to use a 
stand-off cruise missile?
    General Hyten. I can show you the details tomorrow. I will 
bring a map tomorrow to show you why we need a mix of 
capabilities, B-21, gravity bombs, as well as the air-launched 
cruise missiles, so you can see the details. But those three 
elements are a critical part of the architecture. You want a 
bomber to be able to range beyond single point targets. It is 
not the survivability of the bomber. It is the ability of the 
bomber to access targets.
    Senator Cotton. But in an unclassified setting, it stands 
to reason if you do not have an air-launched cruise missile and 
the bomber has to be essential over the target, which means----
    General Hyten. It has to be over the target.
    Senator Cotton.--over the air defense systems.
    General Hyten. Which is over the air defense systems in 
many cases. But it also means that I am limited to the number 
of targets I can access.
    Senator Cotton. Stealth technology has advanced 
considerably over the last 30 years. Are our adversaries' 
radars advancing as well to counteract our advances in stealth 
    General Hyten. They are, and it is a game of point and 
counterpoint. We make an advance; they make an advance. The B-
21 will stay ahead of those advances. We have to continue to 
stay ahead of those advances. That is another reason why the B-
21 is an important element of the architecture.
    Senator Cotton. Another reason why the long-range stand-off 
cruise missile is an important development because we have to 
expect our adversaries' radars will continue to improve?
    General Hyten. There is always the opportunity of a 
breakout too. You do not want to be stuck in a one-solution 
game when you have the opportunity to have multiple solutions.
    Senator Cotton. I want to turn to the Intermediate-Range 
Nuclear Forces Treaty. You touched on that briefly earlier. 
General Selva has stated to the House Armed Services Committee 
that now Russia has deployed in operational mode a ground-
launched cruise missile that violates the INF Treaty.
    How destabilizing is it to Europe and how threatening is it 
to our citizens and troops and interests in Europe for Russia 
to have that capability?
    General Hyten. The single missile is--and I will show you 
were it is deployed tomorrow. A single missile is not that 
destabilizing. The action of breaching that treaty and moving 
into that area and if they deploy large numbers and they move 
them into the west of Russia, that creates a very significant 
threat to our European allies. That is why I believe we need to 
address it right up front. As a whole-of-government, how do we 
respond to that decision by the Russians to break out of that 
    Senator Cotton. Is it fair to say the INF Treaty is a 
treaty that is more beneficial to the United States than it is 
to Russia or was for the Soviet Union since we do not have many 
enemies on our borders who want to fire ground-launched cruise 
missiles at us?
    General Hyten. We have notified Congress and the 
administration that we are going to do a detailed assessment of 
the INF Treaty from all military aspects. We will do that as 
part of the nuclear posture review. But we are also going to do 
that as a--provide our military judgment to the political 
leadership of what that INF Treaty really means to the United 
    Senator Cotton. When you say a whole-of-government effort, 
your point there is that the Department of State and the 
various international and economic agencies and organizations 
in our government have some role to play as well in determining 
what the American response to these INF Treaty violations will 
    General Hyten. Especially the Department of State.
    Senator Cotton. From a military standpoint, is it 
threatening to U.S. interests to have potential Russian ground-
launched cruise missiles counteracted only by 30-year-old 
aircraft and aging warheads in Europe?
    General Hyten. It is a concern to the European theater, a 
concern to NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization]. We have 
to work it as well inside the NATO alliance. Again, I am not in 
NATO. I do not have a NATO hat. I am not a diplomat. But 
fundamentally all of those elements have to look at the problem 
of a ground-launched cruise missile again which we have not 
seen in that part of the world for quite some time.
    Senator Cotton. Thank you, General. My time has expired.
    General Hyten. Thank you, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. Senator King?
    Senator King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I would appreciate it, General, if you scientists could 
figure out a way that we could be in two places at once. This 
morning ironically there is a hearing upstairs in the Energy 
Committee where I just went and came back on cyber and our 
    Let me ask a couple of questions. CYBERCOM is being 
elevated to a full combatant command, and you have talked about 
how that is proceeding. The next question is splitting CYBERCOM 
and NSA [National Security Agency] of the dual hat role. What 
has to happen for that to occur? In other words, where is the 
benchmark where we can start to talk about it? Because a full 
combatant command in CYBERCOM is a big responsibility.
    General Hyten. I will describe that in kind of two levels. 
We can have a more detailed discussion in the closed hearing 
    But at the broadest level at the unclassified side, before 
we separate Cyber Command from the National Security Agency, we 
need to have Department of Defense service-owned cyber 
platforms to operate on. Again at the broadest unclassified 
terms, one of the reasons that Cyber Command and the National 
Security Agency are combined today is because they use the same 
platform. We need to have a different set of platforms.
    Now, there are acquisition programs of record being 
instituted to build those capabilities. Once those capabilities 
are built, I would be supportive of separating the two. But I 
will not advocate separating the two until we have a separate 
platform in the services that Cyber Command can operate on.
    Senator King. I appreciate that, and we can go into that in 
more detail.
    This is an interesting hearing because we are talking about 
cyber. We are also talking about nuclear. When we talk about 
nuclear, all the discussion is about a deterrent. That is what 
you have been talking about all morning. As near as I can 
tell--I have been going to these hearings for 3 or 4 years 
now--there is no coherent cyber deterrent strategy or doctrine. 
Do you agree that that should be a priority for our country to 
develop that strategy and doctrine and to make it public so our 
adversaries know that there will be consequences to results 
from a cyber attack?
    General Hyten. I think what is missing is a broader 
discussion of what 21st Century deterrence really means. That 
involves the nuclear capabilities as the backstop, but 
fundamentally space, cyber, conventional, all the other 
elements as well.
    When we talk about deterrence, we tend to fall back 50 
years ago to the deterrence model of the 1960s, 1970s, and 
1980s when it was a very broad nuclear deterrence discussion 
where we had mutually assured destruction----
    Senator King. It was a binary analysis.
    General Hyten. It was a binary analysis. Now it is a multi-
variable analysis. Each of those has to be put in context. The 
context has to be the fact that we are actually not deterring 
cyber. We are not deterring space. We are deterring an 
adversary that wants to operate and do damage in those domains. 
That is what we have to deter.
    Senator King. We are deterring aggression, which may come 
in a variety of forms, one of which could be cyber.
    General Hyten. Yes, Senator. That is exactly right. At 
STRATCOM, we have created an academic alliance now with 35 
academic FFRDC partners to look at what 21st Century deterrence 
really means and trying to stimulate that debate in the Nation 
because I think it is an important discussion to have inside 
this Nation. What do we really mean by deterrence in the 21st 
Century? I think it is fundamentally different, but we have not 
fully defined it, thought through it, and had that public date.
    Senator King. I agree with you, but I agree that we need to 
have that public debate sooner rather than later.
    General Hyten. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. These attacks are occurring virtually daily.
    General Hyten. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. One other point on the CYBERCOM elevation. 
When you are talking about EUCOM [European Command] or NORTHCOM 
[Northern Command], you are talking about bombers and tanks and 
submarines and aircraft carriers. One of the different parts of 
cyber, it seems to me, is the interrelationship with the 
private sector, and that a cyber attack most likely will come 
on the private sector. The hearing we are having upstairs is 
about cyber in the energy sector. CYBERCOM cannot be simply 
military. There has got to be some, it seems to me, structural 
relationship to the private sector, particularly critical 
infrastructure. Would you agree?
    General Hyten. I think when it comes to cyber, we need to 
focus on the effect that is being created. There has got to be 
a common shared situational awareness in the cyber domain of 
what is going on. But the action to respond to whatever the 
issue happens to be has to be what the threat is and what that 
threat is trying to create in terms of harm to the United 
States. If it is criminal, then that is the Homeland Security 
side. If it is a military action against the United States, 
then it is the Cyber Command side. But the situational 
awareness has to be common.
    Senator King. But the defensive side of it may often take 
place within the private sector.
    General Hyten. The defensive side may be in the private 
sector. It may be in the private-public sector. It may be in a 
number of different places. But the situational awareness is 
the key.
    Senator King. I am just suggesting that the new CYBERCOM, 
when it is elevated, needs to think more broadly than simply 
within the Pentagon. It has to think in terms of relationships 
to these private sector critical infrastructure. It is not a 
typical guns and tanks analysis because you are dealing with so 
many of these--the threats are in the private sector.
    The nuclear posture review that is going on--I am looking 
forward to the results of that. Are there things we could and 
should be doing now on nuclear command and control? That seems 
to me one of the most serious vulnerabilities.
    General Hyten. It is. We have been a little slow in 
stepping up the hiring for the NC3 center inside the United 
States Air Force. That is now proceeding. But we have the 
resources going to the right place. We are hiring the right 
people, but it is not going to be an overnight solution because 
once you hire new people, they still have to figure out what 
they are going to do so they can move forward.
    But we need to be aggressive and have very tight oversight 
of what is going on there to make sure that that does not slow 
down. I think both the Air Force and the Navy have taken it 
seriously now, but it is building up from a very deficient 
    Senator King. I just do not want command and control to be 
lost when we are talking about submarines and bombers.
    General Hyten. Absolutely. It is my number one concern from 
a modernization perspective.
    Senator King. Thank you, General.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Perdue?
    Senator Perdue. Thank you, Chairman.
    General, thank you for being here.
    I want to echo Senator Blumenthal's comments about your 
forthrightness. It is very refreshing. Thank you, sir.
    I want to pursue the nuclear development in Russia just a 
little bit. General Robinson in February of this year told the 
Toronto Star--and I quote--today Russian cruise missiles can 
reach us from ranges we are not used to. No longer do they have 
to enter or come close to North American airspace. That is a 
game changer. Do you agree with that observation, sir?
    General Hyten. I do agree with that.
    Senator Perdue. Sir, in 2012, the National Intelligence 
Council report stated, quote, nuclear ambitions in the United 
States and Russia over the past 20 years have evolved in 
totally opposite directions. Reducing the role of nuclear 
weapons in the United States strategy is a United States 
objective while Russia is pursuing new concepts and 
capabilities for expanding the role of nuclear weapons in its 
security strategy.
    Do you identify with that observation, sir?
    General Hyten. I do, and I cannot help but look at history 
and say when we started to de-emphasize nuclear weapons, our 
adversaries, not just Russia, but all our adversaries, started 
to modernize and build up their nuclear capabilities.
    Senator Perdue. There is some correlation to the North 
Korean development and Iran and China.
    General Hyten. China.
    Senator Perdue. Yes, sir. What we have seen in Russia then, 
by 2020 it is projected, I think, that Russia's nuclear triad--
70 percent of its nuclear forces will be replaced by new 
systems. Sir, if we continue on the current path without a 
major radical change, what percentage of our triad will be 
supported by new systems?
    General Hyten. By what date?
    Senator Perdue. By 2020, which is the estimate in Russia. 
2020, 70 percent of their triad will be new.
    General Hyten. We will not be modernized by 2020.
    Senator Perdue. Right.
    General Hyten. Then I look at the INF Treaty to develop 
nuclear--these are all things they are doing just in the last 4 
years. They violated the INF Treaty. We talked about that. 
Their expanded deployment of air- and sea-launched nuclear 
cruise missiles not limited by the New START--you know, what 
they did in Crimea. They are threatening our allies with 
nuclear attack. They are actually using it in rhetoric openly 
now about intermediate-controlled nuclear acceleration to--
accelerated to get a deceleration in aggressive posture. But 
they have also developed things in the sea, the underwater 
nuclear drone, the new nuclear submarine.
    My question is all of this rhetoric, the buildup in cruise 
missiles, intermediate-range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, 
and their modernization of their nuclear force--what does all 
this suggest about the role of nuclear weapons in Russia's 
nuclear or their total national security strategy?
    General Hyten. It suggests that the nuclear weapons are a 
primary element of their overall national security strategy. 
You have to look at their investment. You look at their 
finances and how much money they are spending in this 
capability and the vast majority of their capability is going 
at strategic forces. That is primarily nuclear but also space 
and cyberspace to a smaller amount. But when you put those 
pieces together, you cannot help but say that that is their 
strategy for national security.
    Senator Perdue. What does that say to us in terms of our 
strategy of de-emphasizing this deterrent that we have had for 
70 years?
    General Hyten. Well, I believe that the last 20 years we 
have de-emphasized nuclear weapons, and that has created an 
imbalance in the approach of our adversaries that we have to 
address. That is why we need to modernize our capabilities 
across the board. We have to meet strength with strength. I 
never want to be able to have to sit down with a potential 
adversary and have a negotiation from a position of weakness.
    Senator Perdue. I agree, sir.
    General Hyten. Ever.
    Senator Perdue. Given that, how long will it take us, given 
the current procedures of acquisition and development to 
modernize the ICBMs over the entire triad?
    General Hyten. Sir, we are talking about a 30-year 
modernization program. We are talking about 15 years of 
development and production, and then modification and support 
as we go into----
    Senator Perdue. What we are really saying--I know that we 
are not in a classified environment, and I look forward to that 
conversation. What we are saying is from the reality today, 
given our past practice, is that from 2020 going forward, 
Russia is in a much more modernized position of acuity than the 
United States, and that will occur over the next 20 to 30 
years. Is that correct?
    General Hyten. Then we will modernize and then we will have 
a modernized capability.
    But the thing about a deterrent capability is it does not 
matter how old it is. It just matters whether it works.
    Senator Perdue. You are confident today that the triad is--
    General Hyten. The stuff that we have today will work. The 
question is will it work 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 
20 years from now. That is where the risk comes in. That is why 
modernization has to be a priority. But we are ready today. The 
force is ready today. The force is motivated and understands 
they are the critical element of our Nation's security.
    Senator Perdue. That is comforting.
    I have one last question in my time remaining. You 
addressed it earlier about the helicopter, and I appreciate 
your anger about that, to be candid, sir.
    But we have also got a situation where in modernizing, you 
have to go through 60 stakeholders basically. I think that has 
been documented. You have said we do not move fast enough from 
concept to capability. What can we do to help you? What can you 
do to help us accelerate our ability to be fast?
    General Hyten. To me, the fundamental change that has to be 
is we have to put somebody in charge and just hold them 
accountable and let them go do their job. If they fail, get 
somebody else to go do that job. But we have so many people 
that make decisions. That takes forever to get through the 
process and get everybody to dot the I's and cross the T's and 
make sure everything is okay. It is almost impossible with the 
structure that we have created to go fast.
    That structure was created because of problems in the 
acquisition business. It was created because we had overruns 
and problems in the past. The way we fixed the problem is we 
did not hold somebody accountable. We created a new oversight 
mechanism to make sure that whether it is test or development 
or whatever it is, we have an oversight mechanism to look at 
everything and make sure that it is right. We have got to get 
back to the point where we put somebody in charge and hold them 
    Senator Perdue. Well, that is very refreshing, General. 
Thank you for your testimony and your service.
    Thank you, Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. I would point out we made some progress in 
that direction by putting the service chiefs in the position of 
responsibility, but we certainly have a lot more to do.
    Senator Heinrich?
    Senator Heinrich. Thank you, Chairman McCain.
    Welcome, General Hyten.
    For starters, I want to ask, given the very real budget 
pressures that we find ourselves in, in your professional 
opinion should our priority at this point be modernization of 
our nuclear forces through completion of our life extension 
programs or should we be prioritizing the expansion of our 
nuclear forces with brand new weapon designs at this juncture?
    General Hyten. Are you talking about the nuclear weapons 
themselves or the----
    Senator Heinrich. Not the personnel. The weapons 
    General Hyten. The weapons themselves. I think the focus 
has to be always ready, reliable weapons. The priority has to 
be the service life extension before we get to new weapons. But 
fundamentally at some point in the future, we have to be able 
to transition to those new weapons. The labs are very engaged 
in making sure we know exactly what the status is. I think the 
lab directors are some of the most incredible people that I 
have probably ever met, and they give me very good advice about 
how to do that. But the priority has to be the life extension 
first because you always have to be ready, and then when and if 
do we have to modernize and change the structure.
    Senator Heinrich. Well, I share your sentiments about the 
lab directors. We had a good briefing with them recently.
    Do you want to say anything else about the sort of sequence 
of the LEPs [Life Extension Programs] to ensure that we 
continue to have the near-term risk mitigated, or would you 
rather save that for another setting?
    General Hyten. I think I would like to save that for a 
closed session.
    Senator Heinrich. That is fine.
    Let us go on to talk a little bit about New START. What are 
the defense and intelligence benefits of the inspections, the 
database, the unique identifiers of Russia's strategic nuclear 
forces that we have secured through that arrangement? What 
would be the implications if those provisions went away?
    General Hyten. I cannot give you the details of what we 
learned in this forum, but what I can say at an unclassified 
level is that we get huge value from a bilateral verifiable 
treaty that allows us to see exactly what our adversaries are 
doing from a strategic weapons perspective. Now, the thing 
about a bilateral verifiable treaty is they also get that kind 
of insight from us. That always has to be part of the 
calculation as you go through.
    But we have an understanding of exactly what those 
capabilities are. They have those understandings of what our 
capabilities are. I think when they look at them, they get an 
assessment of the readiness of our force and the ability to 
provide a deterrent. I think that is a powerful message, and we 
get a message in return.
    Senator Heinrich. Do you think that both sides obviously 
get a little bit of a window into intent and posture that 
mitigates risk so that unintended consequences do not lead to 
an unnecessary escalation?
    General Hyten. Absolutely. I think every time that--well, I 
will just say when you walk in and you see a nuclear weapon for 
real and you see the readiness of the force to do that, you do 
not want that to be employed against you. That is an element of 
deterrence that is I think one of the most powerful elements of 
deterrence there is. You actually have to see it to embrace it. 
When the Russians see it, when we see it when we go there, that 
helps the deterrent posture across the globe.
    Senator Heinrich. Yes. I have to say I think that is a very 
insightful comment, and I would encourage all of my colleagues 
to make the effort to see our deterrent up close and personal. 
It is a very sobering impact that that has, and as somebody 
whose father lived through some of the test phases, I think the 
closer people can come to seeing the reality of that, I think 
the better their decisions will be made down the road.
    I want to ask you one last question before my time expires. 
Los Alamos Lab is the designated center of excellence for 
plutonium research. In your view, does our current strategy 
maintain the critical facilities and the capabilities for 
plutonium technology? Are we on schedule to meet the required 
production of plutonium pits by the late 2020s?
    General Hyten. The answer is yes, but I have concerns about 
the requirement in the late 2020s. I cannot remember if the 
number is classified. I just will not say the number.
    Senator Heinrich. That is fine.
    But the focus on those facilities needs to be acute.
    General Hyten. The focus on that facility has to be there 
all the time. In the near term, I am very comfortable with 
where we are. It is really 10-15 years from now that I have 
concern about maintaining the necessary capability to generate 
what we need for weapons.
    Senator Heinrich. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will yield 
    Chairman McCain. Senator Tillis?
    Senator Tillis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Hyten, thank you for being here, and thank you for 
wearing that Carolina blue shirt. The Tar Heels wore it last 
night when they won the national championship or a similar 
    General Hyten. I am glad I could help you out, Senator.
    Chairman McCain. It is breaking news.
    Senator Tillis. I wanted to really follow on to some 
questions that I think Senator Perdue got to at the end of it 
and it really made me think about asking you when you responded 
to the question from Senator Blumenthal regarding the 
helicopters. You know, we have got an acquisition environment 
now across all of DOD that thinks it is okay to take 10 years 
and 700 pages to spec the next generation handgun, fairly 
simple. The kind of weapons you are talking about are slightly 
more complicated.
    I would like to talk more about things that you would like 
for us to consider in terms of authorities or constraints that 
we have placed on you or the Department to really get to the 
root causes of some of these problems and delays that are very 
costly and, at the end of the day, threaten our national 
    General Hyten. It is interesting for me. I started off in 
the acquisition business and then I went into operations, and I 
was happily an operator for almost 2 decades. Then the Air 
Force called me back in to be in acquisition again as a two-
    I came back in, and there were all these things that were 
broken. The first thing I did is I read the federal acquisition 
regulations. I actually read them. It was quite painful, but I 
read them. Then I read the JCIDS process for requirements, the 
DOD instruction that talks about--the chairman's instruction 
that talks about how you do requirements.
    What struck me as interesting is the law, the regulations, 
and the policy that has been put in place for requirements and 
acquisition actually allows you to be as streamlined as you 
want to be. It is all written right there. It is legal. You can 
do all those things. We just have chosen to implement a process 
that is not responsive.
    Senator Tillis. How do we fix that?
    General Hyten. I think what we have to do is you have to 
eliminate a lot of the bureaucracy that is in the middle.
    Senator Tillis. Who is that on?
    General Hyten. I think most of it is in--well, I will just 
describe from my perspective the way it was built. The way it 
was built was first we said we are going reform acquisition 
with the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, and 
that was about 25 years ago. We said we are going to have a 
streamlined authority from a program director to a program 
executive officer to a service acquisition executive to a 
defense acquisition executive. At that time, those staffs were 
very small. In fact, the PEO staffs, the program executive 
officer's staffs, were in some cases 9 to 14 people.
    But then the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] staff 
grew, and then the service staff had to grow to match the OSD 
staff. Then the PEO [Program Executive Office] staff had to 
grow to match the service staff. Then the program office had to 
grow in order to match those pieces.
    To me, you have to take every one of those and cut it out 
and go back to what was the intent of the law 25 years ago, 
which is the chain of command is the program director to the 
PEO, to the SAE [Service Acquisition Executive], to the DAE 
[Defense Acquisition Executive], and nobody else can get in 
    Senator Tillis. Do you see any evidence that that is being 
addressed seriously?
    General Hyten. No, sir.
    Senator Tillis. Without that, then our modernization, the 
things that we are doing for service extension, they all suffer 
because there is an inherent cost in delay in new capabilities. 
Is that correct?
    General Hyten. That is correct.
    Senator Tillis. Somebody needs to own that. Actually 
somebody somewhere in these organizations--they need to own it. 
It is remarkable to me in just the 2 years that I have been 
here that we are having the same circular discussions at the 
expense of you being able to do your job even better than you 
are already doing it.
    General Hyten. The other thing I will point is we also need 
stable budgets.
    Senator Tillis. Well, I agree. That is where I think we 
have become the root cause of the problem because if you are 
making long-term investments and we are living paycheck to 
paycheck through 1-year CRs and we consider that success, we 
are a part of that problem.
    But it would really help us I think to get some incites 
into exactly what you talked about. We will follow up with your 
    The last question I had--and it just reminded me based on 
something you said earlier about you have certain weapons that 
have reached their end of life or appear to. There were some 
people in the prior administration who were concerned that that 
maybe we were moving too quickly to decommission certain 
weapons. I thought I heard from you all that in fact they had 
reached their usable life, and if you did not decommission 
them, that there was just going to be additional cost and risk 
in maintaining them. Is that still a problem?
    General Hyten. I do not think it is a problem. We have a 
significant weapons inventory. When we get down to 1,550 
accountable warheads, we have significant warheads in the 
inventory to allow us to do that now and for the foreseeable 
future. I supported the decommissioning of those weapons. My 
predecessor did as well just because we have a number that we 
have to meet and we have the capabilities that were needed to 
meet it. We do not have to walk down any further.
    Senator Tillis. Thank you. I look forward to the hearing 
    Chairman McCain. Senator Sullivan?
    Senator Sullivan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, thank you for your testimony and your service and 
your frank assessment on some of these issues.
    I appreciate your written testimony focusing on missile 
defense, and I would like to dig into some of those issues this 
    It is when, not if that North Korea is going to be able to 
range the continental United States with an intercontinental 
ballistic nuclear missile. Is that not correct?
    General Hyten. I believe it is, sir. I think they already 
have the capability to deploy an intercontinental ballistic 
missile. The question is when will they be able to mate a 
nuclear weapon to it.
    Senator Sullivan. It is going to happen. We have classified 
estimates of when it is going to happen, but you can say 
publicly that is going to happen.
    General Hyten. Yes. I will show you the dates the 
intelligence community predicts that it will happen when we 
talk tomorrow. It is fairly broad, but I will show you those 
    Senator Sullivan. One of my concerns has been if we know 
that that is going to happen, which we do, and the day that 
that does become public that they can do that, I think there is 
going to be a big demand that will be on the front page of all 
the newspapers and magazines that the leader of North Korea can 
range Chicago or Miami or New York City with a nuke. There will 
be a lot of demands to do something immediately because of 
    If we know that is happening, it is my view that we should 
be focusing a lot on missile defense to make sure that we will 
have a 99.9 percent chance of shooting one or two or three of 
those down and be able to say publicly if you do do that, we 
will retaliate massively. That will buy whoever is in the White 
House some time.
    We talk about sooner. I think it is sooner rather than 
later. Can you give the committee a sense of why the date, 
February 11th, was so important in terms of this very troubling 
    General Hyten. Thank you, Senator. I am a big supporter of 
missile defense. I have been for my whole career.
    But February 11th was a very important date because that is 
the date----
    Senator Sullivan. February 11th of this year.
    General Hyten. Of this year. The North Koreans launched a 
new, solid, medium-range ballistic missile off a new 
transporter-erector-launcher. They published pictures for the 
entire world to see out of a place we had never seen before. 
That showed a new technology, a new North Korean capability to 
employ a very challenging technology for us because a liquid 
missile has----
    Senator Sullivan. Liquid fuel you are talking about.
    General Hyten. A liquid fueled----
    Senator Sullivan. Versus solid fuel.
    General Hyten.--versus solid has to be stacked, fueled. It 
takes time and we can watch. A solid rocket can be rolled out 
and launched at a moment's notice. If you noticed our history 
of building ballistic missiles, in the early days we built 
liquid fueled rockets, and we had some challenges because 
liquid fuel is a dangerous thing to try to keep ready and on 
alert. A solid is a much better solution. All of our inventory 
now is solids.
    Senator Sullivan. That was a major advancement by North 
    General Hyten. It was. They moved what was demonstrated at 
sea onto land, onto a new launcher, and did it in a very quick 
    Senator Sullivan. Let me ask you a related question. You 
talked about the history of our programs in terms of rockets. 
Do you think there is a culture that we have now with regard to 
missile defense? We had a provision in the NDAA last year that 
required the Missile Defense Agency to test at least once a 
year--try to test at least once a year. Do you believe we have 
a culture that focuses too much on always having successful 
operations in terms of testing? Why is it important to also 
allow us to fail?
    General Hyten. I think I have become part of that problem 
too because when Admiral Sering tests, I am either on the phone 
or waiting for that email that said did it work, did it work, 
did it work. That fundamentally creates the wrong kind of test 
    If you look at what North Korea is doing, test/fail, test/
fail. I look at what I did when I was a younger officer in the 
space business. That is how you go fast. Von Braun in the early 
days of the rocket business--he had a 60 percent failure rate, 
maybe the greatest rocket scientist of all time. Can you 
imagine, if Admiral Sering in the Missile Defense Agency had a 
60 percent failure rate, what the newspapers would say? In 
reality, we should be asking was that a successful test. Did we 
learn what we needed to do to advance the system? Are we 
testing fast enough? Because North Korea is going fast, test/
fail, test/fail, test/succeed, and they are learning. You can 
see them learning because that is the way you do the rocket 
    Senator Sullivan. You think we should be doing at least 
testing once a year? Can we help with regard to that narrative 
and culture to make sure you are learning but not always having 
to make sure it is, quote/unquote, a successful test? Can a 
test that does not hit the target still be a successful test?
    General Hyten. In many case, we will create conditions 
where we do not want to hit the target, and then somehow it 
will still be portrayed as a failure. But we need to understand 
how long the interceptor can fly. We need to understand various 
things about a test. A test program is not just about hitting 
the target. Ultimately, the system is about hitting the target, 
and we have to learn fast as we go through that.
    Senator Sullivan. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Cruz?
    Senator Cruz. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General, it is good to see you. Thank you for your service. 
Thank you for being here. I enjoyed our visiting last month 
about the priorities for strategic deterrence and how to 
improve our capacities going forward.
    I want to focus a few minutes on questions involving space, 
which is one of the topics you and I discussed. Last week, your 
deputy, Vice Admiral Richard, testified before a Space Security 
Conference about offensive space capabilities and weapons that 
are being developed by China and Russia. He said that, quote, 
while we are not at war in space, I do not think we can say we 
are exactly at peace either. With rapidly growing threats to 
our space systems, as well as the threat of a degraded space 
environment, we must prepare for a conflict that extends into 
    General, in your judgment, how significant is the threat to 
our space-based assets, and what would the impact be to our 
operations if they were degraded?
    General Hyten. It is significant and it is growing. You 
have to ask yourself why we have adversaries that are building 
weapons in space, weapons that can deploy into space, weapons 
that can jam our satellites, weapons that can jam GPS [Global 
Positioning System]. Why are they building that entire 
infrastructure? It is not because they are interested in the 
peaceful use of outer space. It is because they are looking to 
threaten the United States, and they have watched us for the 
last 20-plus years, ever since Desert Storm. They have watched 
us employ space to create a fundamental asymmetric advantage on 
every battlefield we are in. They understand if they are ever 
in a conflict with us, if they cannot challenge that advantage, 
they have a significant potential to lose. That is why they are 
committing such a huge amount of their national treasure to 
building those kind of weapons and capabilities.
    Our job is to make sure that we can always respond, always 
defend ourselves, always make sure that the asymmetric 
advantage that we have built over the years can be maintained 
in any conflict. We have to do that.
    Now, we hope to deter that conflict by demonstrating that 
to our adversaries, but nonetheless, if it does extend into 
space, we have to be ready to fight it.
    Senator Cruz. To what extent does our weapons targeting and 
navigation depend upon active GPS and live satellites?
    General Hyten. You know, it is interesting. The first space 
war is often referred to as the Desert Storm, the first Gulf 
War. But in that war, very few precision munitions--in fact, no 
precision munitions were dropped with GPS guidance. The only 
precision munitions were laser-guided munitions. Everybody 
remembers the video on television from that.
    But now almost every weapon we drop is a GPS-guided weapon. 
Almost our entire force structure is built on GPS guidance as 
we go through that. Our dropping of logistics off of aircraft 
are GPS-guided air drop systems now. The timing system for many 
of our weapons is GPS. Our artillery systems are guided by GPS. 
The guided multiple launcher rocket systems, the MLRS [Multiple 
Launch Rocket System], is a GPS-guided system in the Army. The 
Navy systems are GPS-guided. We have basically taken that huge 
    In the future, we have to look at precision navigation and 
timing as a mission and build a resilience into that 
architecture, as well as defending GPS on orbit.
    Senator Cruz. What failsafes are there in the event of GPS 
or other satellite systems going down for our weapon systems 
still being able to operate, or for that matter, to what extent 
are our troops drilling in a no-satellite environment regarding 
navigation or weapon systems or otherwise?
    General Hyten. About 6 years ago, the Air Force did a study 
called a Day Without Space, and in that, they basically went to 
Nellis and on the range took GPS and satellite communications 
away from the aviators. It was not good. We were not ready to 
do that.
    But since that time, we have basically relearned how to 
operate in a GPS-denied environment, in a SATCOM-denied 
environment. We actually have a lot of those capabilities built 
in. We have the ability to use inertial navigation systems. We 
have the ability to use a compass and a map. Maybe we were 
spoiled because space was a benign environment. GPS was always 
there, and so we just assumed that it was going to be there.
    We cannot assume that anymore. We have to train for that. 
We have to train in all services and then build resilient 
systems to make sure that we have the capability to fight in 
any situation.
    Senator Cruz. Russia's aerospace forces are potentially 
working to deploy an anti-satellite weapon on its interceptor 
aircraft. A VKF [Russia's Aerospace Forces] squadron commander 
was quoted as saying, quote, a new missile is being developed 
for this aircraft capable of destroying targets in near space.
    General, how realistic is the threat to our satellites from 
Russia, and how should the United States respond to that 
    General Hyten. The threat from China is actually more near-
term than Russia. I will show you the specifics tomorrow in the 
closed hearing of what those threats are.
    But I can tell you that it is real and they would not be 
committing resources to building that if they did not have some 
intent to use it in a conflict. When you see statements by 
Russian officers and Russian leaders about building 
capabilities to do that, I mean, why would they do that unless 
they were sending a message?
    Senator Cruz. What should we be doing about it?
    General Hyten. Number one, we have to always defend 
ourselves. We have to build the ability to defend ourselves 
against any of those threats. Number two, we have to build an 
offensive capability to challenge their capabilities in space 
as well. We will talk about what we are doing in that in the 
closed hearing tomorrow as well, Senator.
    Senator Cruz. Very good. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. General, thanks very much, and we look 
forward to tomorrow. Thank you for a very informative and 
helpful and important hearing. Thank you.
    We are adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 11:26 a.m., the committee adjourned.]

    [Questions for the record with answers supplied follow:]

           Questions Submitted by Senator Richard Blumenthal
                             uk submarines
    1. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, in 2014, Scotland held an 
independence referendum in which they voted to remain in the UK. When 
the Brexit referendum was held last year, the majority of Scotland did 
not support leaving the EU. Just last week, the Scottish Parliament 
held a non-binding vote in favor of holding a second independence 
referendum. Although the actual independence vote may be some time off, 
the leader of the Scottish Parliament would like to hold a vote between 
fall 2018 and spring 2019, while Prime Minister Theresa May would like 
to postpone until after Brexit in 2019. Scotland will need 
Westminster's consent to hold the independence vote. Scotland has 
expressed its desire to be a nuclear weapons-free state if it becomes 
independent. Currently, all four of the UK's Vanguard-class ballistic 
missile submarines are based in Scotland and there is no other base 
able to home port these boats in the UK. The Vanguard-class boats are a 
critical element of NATO deterrence, particularly when we are seeing 
increased Russian submarine patrols. Could this issue have any 
potential implications for the operations of our own ballistic missile 
    General Hyten. We do not foresee a decision on Scottish 
independence and/or a nuclear free state impacting U.S. ballistic 
missile submarine operations.

    2. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, have you engaged with EUCOM 
or the UK regarding the basing of the UK's ballistic missile submarines 
or discussed contingency operations to address this potential issue?
    General Hyten. Yes, my staff and I conduct regular dialogues with 
the UK Ministry of Defense with respect to a wide range of contingency 
                          inf treaty violation
    3. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, Russia has deployed two 
brigades of ground-launched cruise missiles that United States 
officials say violate the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces 
Treaty). The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 to eliminate land-based 
intermediate and short-range ballistic and cruise missiles (310-3,400 
mile range). The Obama Administration claimed since 2014 that Russia 
had been developing this ground-launched cruise missile in violation of 
the INF Treaty, and Russia has continued to deny wrongdoing. By not 
voluntarily withdrawing from the treaty, and violating it instead, 
Russia's actions put the United States in a precarious predicament. 
Does the United States remain bound by the treaty when Russia is 
clearly not abiding by the terms, do we withdraw, or do we respond with 
sanctions or other countermeasures? Last month at the EUCOM hearing, 
GEN Scaparrotti told me that he agreed that Russia had violated the INF 
Treaty and had provided internal recommendations to DOD. This past 
Friday at a joint news conference with the British Defense Secretary, 
Secretary Mattis said, ``On the INF issue, we're in consultation with 
our allies and we are still formulating a way ahead. In fact, it will 
be addressed, I think, very, very soon as a matter of highest-level 
concern.'' In what ways can the United States pressure Russia to return 
or come into compliance? How can we convince Russia that violating this 
treaty is not worth the cost?
    General Hyten. We have no doubts that Russia possesses and is 
deploying weapons in direct violation of the INF Treaty. Russia shows 
no signs of coming back into compliance with its obligations. The 
status quo is untenable and the United States must consider all 
possibilities including a world without the INF Treaty Our nuclear 
modernization efforts are central to minimizing any advantages Russia 
seeks through violation of the INF Treaty The United States is also 
pursuing a strategy to improve coordination and integration among NATO 
states, while USSTRATCOM and USEUCOM work collaboratively to enhance 
integration and planning to mitigate any threats posed by this INF 

    4. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, how can we best protect our 
troops and allies from these deployed missiles without escalating the 
situation and while staying in compliance with the INF Treaty?
    General Hyten. The Department is examining this issue and potential 
response options within the series of ongoing strategy reviews In 
January, the President ordered a Ballistic Missile Defense Review to 
identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, 
rebalancing Homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting 
priority funding areas. How to best protect U.S. equities along with 
those of our allies from emerging threats such as these missiles will 
be considered in the review.

    5. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, how does Russia's violation 
of the INF Treaty impact efforts to renew New START (New Strategic Arms 
Reduction Treaty), which reduces Russia and our strategic nuclear 
arsenals? Do you believe we should continue to implement this treaty?
    General Hyten. It is too early to consider extending New START. We 
are focused this year on completing our reductions under the Treaty and 
ensuring Russia meets its obligations by February 2018 when the 
Treaty's limits go into effect Russia remains in compliance with New 
START and I support continued implementation. New START continues to 
provide predictability of, and transparency into, Russia's strategic 
forces However, I anticipate Russia's violation of its international 
commitments such as the INF Treaty will be a consideration in any 
future arms control discussions.

                            huey replacement
    6. Senator Blumenthal. General Hyten, at the hearing you testified 
that STRATCOM had a request for forces in to provide a temporary 
replacement. You pulled that request from STRATCOM because you wanted 
``all hands on deck to get a new helicopter into the force as soon as 
possible.'' You went on to note, ``I can't tell you how upset I was 
when I pulled the RFF and shortly thereafter was told there would be a 
delay in the program. That's just unacceptable to me.'' Can you please 
explain why this request was rescinded?
    General Hyten. My rescission of the Request For Forces (RFF) was 
not intended to diminish the need for a replacement helicopter, but to 
support a focused effort on fielding a replacement aircraft as soon as 
possible As I stated in my hearing, this should be a simple and 
straight forward acquisition; I will continue to monitor this closely
              Questions Submitted by Senator Joe Donnelly
                    conventional prompt strike (cps)
    7. Senator Donnelly. General Hyten, you dedicated a significant 
portion of your written testimony to efforts by both the U.S. and our 
adversaries to develop hypersonic capabilities. Is the United States 
leading the way in the development of hypersonic glide vehicles, or are 
we behind the curve relative to countries like Russia and China?
    General Hyten. [Deleted.]

    8. Senator Donnelly. General Hyten, the conventional prompt strike 
activity is developing a non-nuclear capability for U.S. forces to hit 
highly defended, time-critical targets. In your testimony for this 
hearing, you wrote, ``Having a hypersonic strike capability enhances 
our overall deterrent posture by providing the President additional 
options to hold targets at risk that do not justify crossing the 
nuclear threshold.'' Do you see value in addressing conventional prompt 
strike in the upcoming nuclear posture review or other similar 
dialogues on deterrence?
    General Hyten. It would be premature for me to comment on the 
issues or scope of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). However, I see 
utility in the role conventional prompt strike (CPS) capabilities 
provide towards enhancing U.S. deterrence or influencing strategic 
stability. Ongoing Departmental discussions on CPS policy and 
operations will continue and may be informed by the NPR or broader 
strategy reviews.

    9. Senator Donnelly. General Hyten, you stated in your written 
testimony that STRATCOM foresees an operational need for CPS by the 
mid-2020s. What factors are driving that timeline from your 
    General Hyten. Proliferation of advanced air defense systems, 
development of long-range strike weapons, coupled with a long standing 
Combatant Command requirement to hold time sensitive targets at risk 
necessitate delivery of an operational CPS capability as soon as 

    10. Senator Donnelly. General Hyten, would a sea-based CPS 
capability meet STRATCOM's operational needs?
    General Hyten. Yes.

    11. Senator Donnelly. General Hyten, what are the advantages and 
disadvantages from your perspective of a sea-based versus land-based 
CPS capability?
    General Hyten. A flexible mix of sea and land-based capabilities 
offers important deterrent and warfighting attributes Land-based weapon 
systems provide a responsive, visible and persistent capability to 
address challenging targets Sea-based option allows global presence and 
an ability to operate in a contested environment to hold additional 
targets at risk.
              Questions Submitted by Senator Mazie Hirono
             partnering with industry for space technology
    12. Senator Hirono. General Hyten, we continue to see rapid growth 
in both the commercial and government space sector. U.S. Strategic 
Command has been successful in developing a cooperative research and 
development agreement with six commercial industry satellite systems 
and services operators to develop new space technologies. What 
additional ways can the DOD leverage the commercial sector capabilities 
in the growth of space technologies and advanced resources?
    General Hyten. To ensure our military can dominate in all phases of 
conflict, we need to think bigger and go faster to address rapid 
improvements in space and we can best do this by harnessing industry 
Low cost / rapid launch services, big data analytics, visualization 
tool and algorithm development, artificial intelligence, self-
protecting networks, space debris removal, and satellite servicing are 
all areas ripe for further commercial sector partnering opportunities.
                      maui space surveillance site
    13. Senator Hirono. General Hyten, the Maui Space Surveillance Site 
combines operational satellite tracking facilities with a research and 
development facility. It is a unique facility with state-of-the-art 
electro-optical capabilities. How does this facility impact national 
security objectives and how important is it to keep this facility 
modernized and capable can this facility grow and modernize to retain 
the military advantage in the ever changing threat picture?
    General Hyten. The Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) is an 
integral part of the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) designed to 
detect, identify, catalogue and track on-orbit man-made objects to 
facilitate safety of flight operations and/or provide warning of 
hostile actions in space MSSS hosts a unique mix of operational and 
research assets provisioned with visible and infrared sensors, adaptive 
optics, and telescopes to collect imaging and signature date on objects 
ranging from near-earth to deep space The geographic location and 
unique SSN capabilities provided by MSSS mandate continued sustainment 
and modernization of the facility.
                         threat of north korea
    14. Senator Hirono. General Hyten, it is clear that North Korea is 
committed to developing long-range missile technology. Most recently 
North Korea tested a solid-propellant SLBM variant. These types of 
weapons have very few indications and warnings. How well is the United 
States protected from the North Korean threat? What future requirements 
would you identify as necessary to defend the United States and in 
particular Hawaii from these types of threats?
    General Hyten. I believe we are postured to defeat a limited ICBM 
threat from North Korea with our current sensor architecture and 
Ground-based Midcourse Defense System In the future, as threats from 
North Korea evolve and grow more complex, continued and predictable 
funding is needed for persistent sensor tracking and advanced 
discrimination improvements; improved Ground Based Interceptor 
capacity; and programmed production of next generation Aegis BMD 
capable ships and interceptors, such as the Standard Missile (SM) IIA & 
SM-6. Finally, we need to continually invest in all pillars of missile 
defense (including passive defense, offensive operations, and command 
and control) to holistically address the evolving ballistic missile 
threats. Our priorities are improved sensors, improved kill vehicles, 
then increased capacity.
                        relationship with allies
    15. Senator Hirono. General Hyten, relationships with allies in the 
Asia Pacific are important to our overall national security in that 
region. Both Japan and Korea have Aegis equipped ships and the SM-3 
Block II missile is being developed in cooperation with Japan. How 
important are cooperative efforts such as this to improve missile 
defense capabilities? As space becomes more and more important to the 
United States and our allies, how important is cooperation in this 
    General Hyten. These activities are very important; one of the best 
ways we can mitigate potential adversary missile programs is to 
establish cooperative air and missile defense efforts with our partners 
and allies Moreover, improved cooperation in the space domain with 
foreign nations and commercial companies will preserve the space 
environment for the responsible, peaceful, and safe use for all.
            Questions Submitted by Senator Elizabeth Warren
                               new start
    16. Senator Warren. General Hyten, Russian President Vladimir Putin 
is reported to have raised the idea of extending the New START beyond 
its current end date. But some have called for the United States to 
build and deploy new nuclear weapons, potentially even above New START 
levels. Do you believe that this would adversely affect United States 
national security and strategic stability with Russia?
    General Hyten. It is too early to consider extending New START. We 
are focused this year on completing our reductions under the Treaty and 
ensuring Russia meets its obligations by February 2018 when the 
Treaty's limits go into effect Russia remains in compliance with New 
START and I support continued implementation. New START continues to 
provide predictability of, and transparency into, Russia's strategic 
forces However, I anticipate Russia's violation of its international 
commitments such as the INF Treaty will be a consideration in any 
future arms control discussions.

    17. Senator Warren. General Hyten, the United States has said that 
it will retain no more than 60 nuclear-capable deployed bombers in 
order to comply with New START. Yet the Air Force plans to acquire 100 
B-21 bombers. Will only 60 of them be nuclear-capable, or are we 
planning for a fleet that will violate New START?
    General Hyten. Fielding of a nuclear capable B-21 does not 
represent a violation of New START. The planned fleet of 100 B-21s will 
be both conventional and nuclear capable. The New START provides each 
side with the flexibility to alter its force mix of strategic offensive 
arms to stay within applicable treaty limits. The United States will 
adjust its force structure as necessary to meet its arms control 
    18. Senator Warren. General Hyten, you testified that the proposed 
new nuclear-armed cruise missile, the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon 
(LRSO), is not destabilizing because it replaces an existing weapon 
system. However, the current nuclear-armed Air-Launched Cruise Missile 
(ALCM) was only deployed on the B-52, not the B-2. In contrast, the Air 
Force plans to deploy LRSO on both its stealthy and non-stealthy 
bombers. Will our adversaries consider the deployment of a new stealthy 
bomber with a new stealthy nuclear-armed cruise missile to be a new and 
potentially destabilizing development?
    General Hyten. No, this development does not represent a 
significant change to an adversary's strategic decision calculus. Air-
launched cruise missiles are not destabilizing because they do not pose 
the threat of disarming first strikes against Russia or China, 
regardless of whether they are deployed on penetrating or non-
penetrating bombers The AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile, which has 
been deployed since 1982, and the low observable Advanced Cruise 
Missile in-service from 1990-2012, significantly complicated adversary 
air defense problems and posed a key element of the unsolvable dilemma 
essential to maintaining strategic stability Failure to recapitalize 
our bomber and cruise missile fleet in the face of continued 
advancements in integrated air defense systems (IADS) negates the 
effectiveness of the air leg of the Triad and simplifies the 
adversary's problem set. This, in turn, would incentivize a potential 
adversary to develop capabilities to degrade or defeat our remaining 
legs--an outcome which could be viewed as destabilizing on the face.

    19. Senator Warren. General Hyten, if China was developing a new, 
stealthy long-range bomber in combination with a stealthy long-range 
nuclear-armed cruise missile, would the United States consider that 
development destabilizing?
    General Hyten. Such a development would not impact strategic 
stability because it would not provide China the capability to conduct 
a disarming first strike against the United States.

    20. Senator Warren. General Hyten, the Air Force plans to produce 
LRSO cruise missiles in numbers roughly equal to the size of the 
current ALCM arsenal. The ALCM was fielded in the early 1980s when 
there was little conventional long-range standoff capability for 
bombers. Since then, several conventional standoff weapons have been 
introduced, and others have been significantly enhanced. Given these 
developments, can some of the LRSO scenarios be covered by conventional 
    General Hyten. The nuclear cruise missile force is sized to meet 
enduring strategic deterrence requirements; the unique contributions 
provided by a nuclear cruise missile (range, penetrating capability and 
destructive power) cannot be replicated using conventional weapons LRSO 
provides flexible options across the full range of threats, provides 
the ability to respond rapidly to technical challenges in other legs of 
the triad, and is a visible United States signal to deter adversaries 
and assure allies.
                          strategic stability
    21. Senator Warren. General Hyten, last week, you indicated that 
Strategic Command programs have made the world more stable. Do you 
believe that State Department and other international programs also 
contribute to international stability?
    General Hyten. Yes, military commanders rely on a whole-of-
government approach to achieve national security objectives, including 
active foreign engagement from the Department of State.



                        THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017

                                       U.S. Senate,
                               Committee on Armed Services,
                                                    Washington, DC.


    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:32 a.m. in Room 
SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator John McCain 
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Committee members present: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, 
Fischer, Cotton, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Perdue, 
Graham, Sasse, Reed, McCaskill, Shaheen, Gillibrand, 
Blumenthal, Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine, King, Heinrich, Warren, 
and Peters.


    Chairman McCain. Well, good morning.
    Since there is going to be a vote starting at 11:00, I 
believe we will try to expedite the process here, and I will 
forgo my opening statement except to welcome the witnesses and 
ask Senator Reed if he has an opening statement so we could get 
right through the witnesses after he completes that.
    Senator Reed. I am tempted to say yes, but smart enough to 
say no.
    Would you please include my opening statement in the 
record, Mr. Chairman?
    Chairman McCain. Both moving and important opening 
statements will be made part of the record.
    [The prepared opening statements of Chairman McCain and 
Senator Reed follows:]

           prepared opening statement by senator john mccain
    Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the 
Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening 
statement today at a hearing on the posture of U.S. Northern Command, 
U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Strategic Command:
    ``The Committee meets today to receive testimony on the posture of 
U.S. Northern Command, Southern Command, and Strategic Command to 
inform its review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 
2017. I'd like to extend our appreciation to the witnesses for their 
many years of distinguished service and to the men and women of our 
military who defend our Nation every day.
    ``Admiral Tidd, this is your first time testifying before the 
Committee as the Commander of U.S. Southern Command. After nearly two 
months in command, I look forward to your assessment of the challenges 
within your area of responsibility as well as your strategy to confront 
them. It's clear that you face a daunting array of security and 
governance challenges in the region, yet SOUTHCOM continues to suffer 
from persistent resource shortfalls that undermine efforts to confront 
these challenges. I hope you will outline for the committee where you 
are being forced to accept the greatest risk as a result of these 
    ``Of particular concern is the deteriorating situation in Central 
America, where feeble governance, endemic corruption, and weak security 
institutions are allowing transnational criminal organizations to 
operate with impunity. We of course must improve and adequately 
resource our drug interdiction strategy to combat these groups, but we 
must also renew our efforts to combat the real driver of drug 
trafficking--the demand here at home. The demand for the drugs that 
these groups traffic-heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine--is too high 
and the profits too great to dissuade these criminals from their 
illicit actions.
    ``To be clear, the threat posed by these groups extends beyond the 
drugs they smuggle into our communities. The smuggling routes they 
control are also used to traffic weapons, bulk cash, and human beings. 
And as your predecessor General Kelly testified before this committee, 
`terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling 
routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our 
citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United 
    ``On a more positive note, I am interested in your assessment of 
the ongoing talks in Colombia, and how you believe the United States 
can best support our partners as they enter a new and likely more 
challenging era. Colombia, once on the cusp of becoming a failed state, 
has emerged from decades of conflict as a stark example of what 
sustained United States support and engagement can achieve. It's 
vitally important that we continue to invest in our relationship during 
this critical period so as not to squander the extraordinary progress 
that has been achieved.
    ``I would like to take a moment recognize the military 
servicemembers conducting detention operations at Guantanamo Bay. Too 
often in the course of debating the future of the detention facility we 
lose sight of the remarkable men and women who serve honorably under 
extraordinarily difficult conditions. Admiral, please convey our 
deepest appreciation for their service and the professionalism they 
display each and every day on behalf of our nation.
    ``Admiral Gortney, I look to you for an update on the current state 
of United States-Mexican security cooperation and opportunities for our 
two nations two to strengthen this vital partnership. While Mexico's 
efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations have resulted in 
notable successes by capturing or killing senior cartel leaders such as 
El Chapo, the security situation remains highly volatile and continues 
to directly impact the security of our southern border. Heroin, largely 
produced in Mexico, continues to ravage communities all across the 
nation and demands a renewed effort to combat this scourge both in our 
streets and also at its source. I also look forward to your assessment 
of the increasing threat posed to the Homeland by the development of 
advanced missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads by Russia, Iran, 
and North Korea.
    ``Admiral Haney, strategic threats to the United States and its 
allies have increased exponentially in just the few short years since 
you've taken the helm of Strategic Command. While nuclear, cyber, and 
counter-space threats generally have been on the rise, Secretary 
Carter's warning that `we're entering a new strategic era' has great 
implications for STRATCOM.
    ``The `return to great power competition' noted by the Secretary 
means that deterring Russia and China once again assumes primacy in 
your planning and operations. Whatever President Obama may have hoped 
for, the United States can no longer seek to reduce the role of nuclear 
weapons in our national security strategy, or narrow the range of 
contingencies under which we would have to consider their use.
    ``U.S. Strategic Command faces significant near and longer-term 
challenges. In about 15-20 years, U.S. nuclear submarines, ICBMs, air 
launched cruise missiles, heavy bombers, and nuclear-capable tactical 
fighters will have to be withdrawn from operational service, having 
been extended well beyond their original service lives. Modernization 
programs are in place to replace these systems, but there is no slack 
left in the schedule. Today's Congress supports fully the modernization 
of the United States nuclear deterrent. Any reduction in funding over 
the next decade, however, could delay the development of these 
replacement systems, increasing strategic risk at a time when Russia 
and other countries continue to modernize their nuclear capabilities.
    ``Russia, then, is your near term challenge. Russia's aggression in 
Ukraine and destabilizing actions in Syria take place under a nuclear 
shadow. Russia has threatened our NATO allies with nuclear strikes, is 
developing a new nuclear ground-launched cruise missile capable of 
ranging most of Europe, and has fired air- and sea-launched cruise 
missiles against targets in Syria--missiles that could be armed with 
nuclear warheads and flown against European and United States targets. 
So your task, Admiral Haney, is to ensure that Strategic Command is 
prepared to deter Russian nuclear provocations. This requires better 
intelligence about Russian nuclear capabilities and plans, a nuclear 
planning process tied to EUCOM and NATO operations, and a survivable, 
well-exercised, and ready nuclear force.
    ``Finally, as this Committee continues its review of the Goldwater-
Nichols Act, we are interested to hear your views as to whether our 
defense enterprise is organized properly to perform the missions that 
cut across the functional and geographic boundaries we have drawn. We 
also welcome any ideas on reforms we might consider to make our defense 
enterprise more effective without minimizing the vital tasks that must 
be done.''

            prepared opening statement by senator jack reed
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to welcome our witnesses, 
General Robinson and Admiral Tidd. Thank you for your many years of 
service. I also want to thank your families, and the many men and women 
who serve in your commands for their commitment to our nation.
    General Robinson, your mission is to protect the Homeland, to deter 
and defeat attacks on the United States, and to support civil 
authorities in mitigating the effects of potential attacks and natural 
disasters. You are also dual-hatted as the Commander of the North 
American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which brings unique 
responsibilities and partnering opportunities with Canada to deter and 
defend against threats to our nations. I look forward to hearing about 
your collaboration with Canada, especially as they prepare to unveil 
their defense review in the coming month.
    You are also responsible for the operation of our Homeland 
ballistic missile defense system. We look forward to hearing about your 
priorities for further improvements to the ground-based missile defense 
system. This is particularly important in light of North Korea's 
missile launches, which are occurring with increased frequency.
    Lastly, your relationship with the military leadership in Mexico, 
along with your collaboration with Admiral Tidd and other federal 
agencies, is critical to promoting security across our southern border. 
A number of problems along that border originate in the SOUTHCOM AOR, 
and efforts to address those problems require a whole-of-government 
    Admiral Tidd, I am quite concerned that the proposed cuts to the 
budget of non-defense agencies would be devastating to SOUTHCOM's 
mission, which is primarily a counter-narcotics and threat networks 
mission. While SOUTHCOM is focused on the supply of drugs, perhaps the 
larger problem is drug demand in this country. In 2015, more than 
52,000 Americans died from drug overdoses--more people than homicides 
and car crashes combined. We have lost half a million people in the 
last 15 years to the opioid epidemic. My state, Rhode Island, along 
with New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Ohio have been particularly hard 
hit by this epidemic.
    If we are serious about the drug epidemic in this country, we need 
to adequately fund not only fund our crucial military effort in 
SOUTHCOM, but also Health and Human Services, the FBI, the DEA, the 
Coast Guard, the FDA, and all the other agencies that are working to 
ensure the health and safety of the American public. Admiral Tidd, I am 
interested in hearing about how you work with other government agencies 
in your AOR.
    Finally, Admiral Tidd, we are all observing the humanitarian crisis 
in Venezuela and would like your perspective on how much longer the 
regime there can survive and how the crisis might spill over into 
neighboring countries.
    Admiral Tidd, General Robinson, thank you again for your service 
and appearing here today. I look forward to your testimony.

    Chairman McCain. Welcome to the witnesses, Admiral Tidd and 
General Robinson. Please proceed, General Robinson.

                        DEFENSE COMMAND

    General Robinson. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ranking 
Member Reed, distinguished members of the committee. I 
certainly am honored to be here today, pleased to testify with 
my very, very good friend, Admiral Kurt Tidd.
    North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United 
States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) are two distinct commands, 
but they are unified in a common purpose. Every day, the men 
and women of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, soldiers, sailors, airmen, 
marines, coast guardsmen, and civilians, Americans and 
Canadians, stand ready to defend two great countries, the 
United States and Canada.
    Today our adversaries are seeking ways to extend their 
operational reach into North America and to hold us at risk. 
The men and women of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command stand 
watch, ready to defend against these adversaries. Today we have 
a competitive advantage against them.
    This advantage will not continue in the future, however, if 
we continue to operate under continuing resolutions. I echo the 
Secretary, the Chairman, the service chiefs in saying that 
developing the joint force we need in the future requires an 
actual budget this year. Continuing resolutions do not enable 
continuity of effort. We need an appropriations bill 
unrestricted by sequestration to upgrade our warfighting 
capabilities against threats to us here in the Homeland.
    These adversaries include North Korea, where Kim Jong-un 
continues his provocative behavior. He has conducted nearly 
three times as many ballistic missile tests as his father and 
grandfather did combined. North Korea uses what they learn from 
each test to make improvements to their missile capabilities. 
We are watching them very closely.
    We are also watching Iran as it develops a space program 
with potential dual-use technology.
    NORTHCOM is prepared to counter ballistic missiles should 
North Korea attempt to launch an attack on the United States. 
While I am confident in our ability to defend the Homeland 
today, we must keep improving. We are working in close 
partnership with the Missile Defense Agency to improve our 
sensors and the reliability of our ground-based interceptors.
    Also today, Russian cruise missiles can reach us from 
greater ranges than ever before. No longer do they have to come 
close to North American airspace to hold us at risk. But I am 
also confident in NORAD's layered approach to cruise missile 
defense. But again, we must evolve and we are doing so as our 
adversaries' capabilities increase.
    Senator McCain, at my confirmation hearing, you asked if I 
had ever visited the southwest border. 1 year later, I can tell 
you that I visited our southwest border on foot, by boat, by 
air, in a tunnel, and yes, sir, even on horseback. I have 
gained an appreciation for the incredible variety of terrain 
along the southwest border and how transnational criminal 
organizations and their networks can exploit that terrain.
    I have also stood with my great friend, Kurt, on the 
Guatemalan soil looking north to see firsthand the network 
challenges that SEDENA [Secretariat of National Defense] and 
SEMAR [Secretaria de Marina] face and what they are going to 
strengthen Mexico's southern border.
    To counter these threat networks, NORTHCOM [Northern 
Command] partners with law enforcement agencies, SOUTHCOM 
[Southern Command], other combatant commands, the intelligence 
community, military partners such as SEDENA and SEMAR, all the 
while supporting Secretary Kelly's requests. The men and women 
of NORTHCOM stand united in a common purpose, ready to face the 
threats of the United States and Canada today, and we are 
evolving to face the threats of tomorrow. Sir, we have the 
    Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to speak, and 
I look forward to your questions.
    [The prepared statement of General Robinson follows:]

             Prepared Statement by General Lori J. Robinson
    Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished members of 
the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to 
provide my assessment of the posture and future of United States 
Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense 
Command (NORAD). I am here today on behalf of the active soldiers, 
sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, National Guardsmen, 
Reservists, DOD civilians, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces who 
are the foundation and the future of the defense of the United States 
and Canada. Strengthened by robust relationships with our interagency 
and regional partners, the men and women of USNORTHCOM and NORAD are 
dedicated to defending the United States and Canada; we accept this 
obligation as the most fundamental and enduring of our 
    USNORTHCOM and NORAD operate in a strategic environment that is as 
ambiguous and dangerous as any in our recent history. Threats to the 
United States and Canada are increasingly global, transregional, all-
domain, and multi-functional in nature. Forged by an indispensable 
partnership, the Commands operate both independently and 
synergistically, conducting complementary missions with a shared 
purpose of common defense. The synergies that exist between the two 
Commands enable us to conduct our missions expeditiously and seamlessly 
in the face of very real threats.
    As those who would do harm to our two countries develop new 
capabilities and harden their intentions, we have never had a greater 
need for agile, responsive capabilities to defend and protect our 
citizens. In the long term, strained resources, competing priorities, 
and emerging threats challenge our ability to meet all of our 
commitments, a dilemma that requires innovative solutions, including 
new ways of cooperating with allies and trusted partners. I believe our 
ability to maintain a resilient and flexible force that can respond in 
a crisis requires prudent and stable funding. As a Combatant Commander, 
I rely on the Services to provide me with ready and capable forces and 
equipment to defend the United States and Canada. While I am grateful 
for the support of this Committee, sequestration and a series of 
Continuing Resolutions have introduced resource uncertainty and 
compelled the Services to prioritize current readiness over end-
strength and modernization, a decision that translates into risk to our 
strategic advantage and technological edge in future conflicts.
    USNORTHCOM and NORAD--two distinct Commands with a common purpose--
remain steadfast in our responsibility to provide for the defense of 
the United States and Canada. Our Commands are working diligently with 
fellow Combatant Commands, our North American neighbors, and our 
interagency partners to defend the United States and Canada in depth.
                         strategic environment
    Today, the strategic environment we face is complex, characterized 
by a growing number of strategically significant actors who represent 
real challenges and risks to the United States and our regional 
partners. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and non-nation-state 
violent extremist forces are capable of varied attacks against North 
America in multiple domains, from multiple approaches, and at 
increasingly greater ranges. States and non-state actors have devoted 
significant research and resources to erode our physical standoff and 
decision space. The Homeland is no longer a sanctuary protected by 
oceans and other geography.
    Globalization and access to advanced technology gives a greater 
number of adversaries, both state and non-state entities, the ability 
to reach us conventionally and asymmetrically while obscuring their 
intentions. I believe a range of competitors will confront the United 
States and its partners and interests through intimidation, 
destabilization, and the use of force. The threats to the Homeland 
remain diffuse, less attributable, and increasingly complex. This 
outlook is challenging but not insurmountable, and it serves to 
reinforce the importance of USNORTHCOM and NORAD readiness to adapt and 
evolve to meet the demands of tomorrow.
    In an attempt to retain a sphere of influence in the post-Soviet 
era, Russia continues to exhibit increasingly aggressive behavior, both 
regionally and globally. Despite a declining economy and domestic 
pressures, Vladimir Putin continues to expand and diversify Russia's 
long-range strike capability, including land- and sea-based ballistic 
missiles, cyber weapons, and most recently, a new generation of highly 
precise, conventionally armed cruise missiles that can reach the United 
States and Canada. I know that these advanced capabilities provide a 
range of strike options that Russia could use to hold targets at risk 
in the United States and Canada in a crisis. Russia has chosen to be a 
strategic competitor with the United States, and their capabilities 
present an all-domain threat to USNORTHCOM and NORAD interests.
    China's efforts to achieve regional preeminence and undermine U.S. 
influence are a growing concern. Beijing continues to modernize its 
military and pursue an expansion and diversification of its strategic 
forces capable of holding the United States at risk. China has added 
dozens of road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles to its 
longstanding force of silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles 
and has begun operating its first viable class of ballistic missile 
submarines, which adds a long-range, sea-based leg to China's nuclear 
retaliatory capability.
                              north korea
    As part of its decades-long quest for strategic nuclear weapons, 
North Korea continues its provocative, coercive patterns and aggressive 
weapons development activity. 2016 was one of North Korea's most active 
years in terms of nuclear weapon and missile program development in 
pursuit of weaponizing a nuclear ballistic missile capable of reaching 
the United States. Pyongyang completed its fourth and fifth nuclear 
detonations, as well as its second consecutive successful satellite 
launch using an intercontinental ballistic missile-class booster, and 
conducted the nation's first successful tests of an intermediate-range 
ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile. In his 
five years as Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un has conducted nearly three 
times as many ballistic missile tests as his father and grandfather did 
in their combined 63 years in power.
    In 2016, North Korea suffered a series of embarrassing test 
failures, which could lead to some dismissive conclusions about the 
maturity of their development. However, it is Kim Jong Un's willingness 
to accept public failure that worries me the most. In contrast to his 
father, who used missile and nuclear tests primarily to extract 
diplomatic concessions, Kim is pursuing a systematic program to 
develop, test, and field a viable weapon system as a deterrent to a 
regime-ending attack. In many cases, failed tests provide just as much 
insight, if not more, than a successful test.
    Amidst an unprecedented pace of North Korean strategic weapons 
testing, our ability to provide actionable warning continues to 
diminish. North Korea's closed society and robust denial and deception 
capabilities challenge our ability to observe missile and nuclear test 
preparations, a concern that would be exacerbated in crisis or in 
wartime and complicate our ability to defend the United States.
    In contrast to Russia, China, and North Korea, Iran does not 
possess a nuclear weapon. Iran has committed considerable resources to 
a space launch program that has achieved technological milestones that 
could contribute to the development of longer-range missiles including 
intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iranian officials have announced a 
self-imposed 2,000 kilometer limit on missile ranges, providing the 
capability to strike Israel from launch sites in central Iran, but 
insufficient to threaten Western Europe or North America. However, Iran 
is developing advanced missile capabilities and conducting flight tests 
of systems--such as the medium-range missile Iran launched on January 
29th--that incorporate technologies that could be used to develop 
longer range systems. Those advancements could include future 
intercontinental ballistic missile technology capable of holding the 
United States at risk.
                            threat networks
    The emergence of adaptive threat networks introduces a range of 
challenges to the United States and our regional partners. Threat 
networks tend to operate in the seams of society and may traffic in 
licit or illicit goods and services. These networks are sophisticated 
and resilient, joining with other networks around the world and 
engaging in a wide array of threatening activities. The destabilizing 
and corruptive influence of these networks creates vulnerabilities that 
can be exploited by our adversaries and threaten our national security.
    I am concerned by an increasing convergence of activity over threat 
networks resulting in a multi-layered and asymmetric threat to our 
national security. The nexus between transnational criminals and 
transnational terrorists is not an operational one--the two groups do 
not appear to be actively collaborating today to conduct attacks in the 
United States. What concerns me more are the ways the transnational 
terrorists may be able to leverage the pathways established by threat 
networks, especially as their capabilities are diminished from 
operational setbacks overseas.
                          usnorthcom and norad
    USNORTHCOM and NORAD, in collaboration with key stakeholders, 
defend the United States and Canada from threats and aggression through 
an adaptive, flexible, and resilient defense enterprise underpinned by 
strong relationships, ready Commands, and responsive capabilities to 
fulfill the Commands' roles in the shared responsibility of the defense 
of our nations. Our combined and complementary USNORTHCOM and NORAD 
defensive capabilities must counter threats across all domains and be 
able to adapt and outpace evolving threats. We are proud of the 
histories of our Commands, but we will not rest there. Looking to the 
future, we will continue to adapt and evolve to meet ever-changing 
                            homeland defense
Ballistic Missile Defense
    One of the prominent aspects of my role as the Commander of 
USNORTHCOM is our Ballistic Missile Defense mission. North Korea's 
unprecedented level of nuclear testing and ballistic missile 
development offers a sobering reminder that the United States must 
remain vigilant against rogue nation-states that are able to threaten 
the Homeland. I am confident in our ability to employ the Ground-based 
Midcourse Defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System to 
defend the Homeland against a limited long-range ballistic missile 
attack from North Korea. As adversaries continue to pursue credible and 
advanced capabilities, we too must evolve our missile defense 
capabilities to outpace increasingly complex threats. The relationship 
between USNORTHCOM, supporting Combatant Commands, and the Missile 
Defense Agency is the cornerstone of our ability to outpace these 
evolving threats.
    Today's Ballistic Missile Defense System's Ground-based Midcourse 
Defense is designed to intercept incoming threats in the midcourse 
phase of flight, a strategy which provides the largest window of 
intercept and maximizes the use of our interceptors. Synergistic and 
comprehensive improvements across the entirety of the Ballistic Missile 
Defense System, including advanced sensors and enhanced interceptors, 
are foundational to maximizing system performance. I support the 
Ballistic Missile Defense System development path set by Vice Admiral 
Jim Syring and his team at the Missile Defense Agency, whose priorities 
include, improving our persistent sensor architecture, operational 
effectiveness of our interceptors, lethality of our kill vehicles, and 
robust sustainment and testing.
    Modernization of our sensor architecture is essential to 
maintaining our strategic advantage and confidence in our ability to 
defeat evolving, more complex threats. Thanks to the men and women at 
the Missile Defense Agency, and the support of this Committee, we are 
on track to deploy the Long Range Discrimination Radar. This critical 
midcourse sensor will improve persistent coverage of the United States 
and improve our target tracking and discrimination capability against 
potential countermeasures, thereby improving the effectiveness of our 
ground-based interceptors.
    The Missile Defense Agency is in the final phase of fielding 
additional ground-based interceptors, which will result in a total 
inventory of 44 by the end of calendar year 2017. This robust inventory 
is essential to our ability to engage multiple threats, but it alone is 
not sufficient to address evolving future threats. In addition to 
continued modernization of the current Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicles, I 
believe it is imperative we continue with the engineering, design, and 
test work currently underway on the Redesigned Kill Vehicle. 
Furthermore, we need to explore innovative technical solutions such as 
the upgraded tactical ground-based interceptor booster with a 2- or 3-
stage selectable mode designed to increase battlespace and, as we learn 
more from the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, explore the development of 
interceptor variants like the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle.
    Foundational to our confidence in the Ballistic Missile Defense 
System, and how we operationally employ it, are robust test and 
sustainment programs. I support the Missile Defense Agency's efforts to 
maintain a regular ground-based interceptor flight test cadence and a 
vigorous ground test program. With every flight and ground test, we 
learn more about the system's capabilities and discover new ways to 
optimize its performance.
    Our ability to defend the United States against ballistic missile 
threats is underpinned by the dedication of Missile Defenders like 
Staff Sergeant Caroline Domenich. Staff Sergeant Domenich is a member 
of the Alaska Army National Guard assigned to the 49th Missile Defense 
Battalion. She has served as a communications officer, is now a weapons 
officer in the Fire Direction Center at Fort Greely, Alaska, and was 
recently named the Missile Defender of the Year. I am grateful for the 
professionalism and proficiency of Staff Sergeant Domenich and her 
fellow Missile Defenders who stand ready to engage inbound threats when 
called upon to protect the United States.
Aerospace Warning and Aerospace Control
    NORAD's Aerospace Warning and Aerospace Control missions are a 
vital component of the defense of the United States and Canada. Through 
the execution of Operation NOBLE EAGLE, NORAD defends our Nations' 
airspace around the clock and accomplishes this critical mission with a 
combination of armed fighters on alert, air patrols, aerial refueling, 
Airborne Warning and Control System surveillance platforms, the 
Integrated Air Defense System in the National Capital Region, and our 
ground-based Air Defense Sector surveillance detection capabilities. 
These assets allow NORAD to respond to both symmetric and asymmetric 
air threats to the United States and Canada.
    Since 9/11, more than 70,000 sorties have been flown in support of 
Operation NOBLE EAGLE. Continuous improvement of air domain awareness 
and intercept capabilities will ensure that NORAD forces can protect 
our most critical national infrastructure and maintain a basing 
architecture that defends key terrain and our most critical national 
    With almost 58,000 general aviation aircraft registered within 250 
miles of the National Capital Region, we continue to look for ways to 
ensure we are using our Operation NOBLE EAGLE assets efficiently and 
effectively. In the years after 9/11, NORAD was frequently launching 
Operation NOBLE EAGLE assets to intercept general aviation aircraft 
that unintentionally violated restricted airspace around the National 
Capital Region. In an effort to reduce preventable intercepts, we 
started working with our interagency partners on a proactive outreach 
campaign to educate the general aviation community about restricted 
airspace and notify aircraft owners and pilots of upcoming airspace 
restrictions. The foundation of our ability to conduct meaningful 
community outreach is the tenacity of airmen such as Major Andrew 
Scott, a Public Affairs Officer assigned to our 601st Air Operations 
Center. Major Scott has been a member of the Florida Air National Guard 
since 2005 and is a key leader in our combat information cell. Major 
Scott and the 601st team have fostered strong relationships with our 
interagency partners, including the Federal Aviation Administration, 
the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol. As a result of the 
community outreach program, we are seeing a significant decrease in 
accidental airspace incursions, which lead to an 80 percent reduction 
in unnecessary launches of intercept aircraft and other tactical 
    In the late 1950s, when NORAD was established to defend North 
American airspace, the Soviet Union was the only nation-state capable 
of striking North America militarily. We were able to maintain physical 
standoff from our adversary by keeping Russian bombers out of missile 
range of North America. Today, that physical standoff has eroded due to 
technological advancements by our adversaries. Commanders today have 
much less decision space, in part because hostile actions can occur 
from greater ranges with little or no warning.
    Russia continues to use heavy bombers, surface vessels, and 
submarines to demonstrate its ability to launch advanced, long-range, 
conventionally-armed cruise missiles. These emerging capabilities 
constitute a real challenge to our air defense architecture, and NORAD 
faces an increased risk to our ability to defend the United States and 
Canada against Russian cruise missile threats. The increased standoff 
capability, low altitude, and small radar signature of cruise missiles 
make defending against them a technical and operational challenge. I am 
confident in the layered approach provided by our family of systems to 
conduct cruise missile defense. We continue to work with the Joint 
Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, the Missile Defense 
Agency, and other stakeholders to pursue improvements to our 
indications and warnings, surveillance, and engagement capabilities to 
meet the evolving challenges posed by advanced threats.
    We are nearly finished with the first part of our three-phase 
Homeland Defense Design effort, which is intended to enhance our 
ability to detect, track, and investigate suspicious aircraft, cruise 
missiles, and unmanned aircraft systems, and when necessary, cue our 
defense systems against the full spectrum of air threats. This year, we 
will continue to integrate advanced sensors in the National Capital 
Region and are on track to begin the second phase of the Homeland 
Defense Design in FY18 to expand aerospace surveillance capabilities. 
Phase 3 of our Homeland Defense Design is in concept development and is 
intended to validate and incorporate emerging technology and explore 
scalable and deployable options for the rest of North America.
    Our ability to find, fix, and finish air threats is largely 
dependent on the capability of the fighter aircraft that conduct 
NORAD's Aerospace Control Alert mission. Fundamental to the aircrafts' 
detect and track capability is the modernization of its radar systems. 
We are working with the U.S. Air Force to procure and field Active 
Electronically Scanned Array radars for our Aerospace Control Alert 
fighters, starting with the aircraft that defend the National Capital 
    In recent years, Russia's Long Range Aviation Command has assumed 
an increasingly significant role in Russia's military assertiveness, 
starting with regular out-of-area patrols in 2007 and spiking in 2014 
with more out-of-area patrols than in any year since the Cold War. 
Russian heavy bomber activity in the approaches to North America 
declined sharply in 2016, but a closer look reveals troubling new 
capabilities. Russia's strategic air forces spent much of the year 
cycling bombers through a modernization program that enables their 
aircraft to carry an advanced family of cruise missiles capable of 
holding the United States and Canada at risk.
    With our Canadian teammates, we continue to capitalize on existing 
synergies and identify opportunities to evolve NORAD into a more agile 
Command capable of outpacing the full spectrum of threats. We will 
continue to prioritize investments in detection and surveillance 
through advanced indications and warning technology to ensure we are 
able to deter and, if necessary, defeat the full spectrum of aerospace 
and other attacks on the United States and Canada.
The Arctic
    The harsh Arctic environment and polar icecap have long enhanced 
North American security by providing a physical barrier in the northern 
approaches to the United States and Canada. Today, receding sea ice and 
growing interest in Arctic economic prospects are increasing human 
presence and activity in the region. I consider the foundation for 
defense, security, and safety in the Arctic to be whole-of-government 
cooperation and collaboration with our trusted partners. In 2016, 
USNORTHCOM and NORAD supported the development of the 2016 DOD Arctic 
Strategy and we will continue to focus on ways to ensure the Arctic is 
a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are 
safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is defended, and nations work 
cooperatively to address challenges. For USNORTHCOM and NORAD, the 
Arctic remains a strategic avenue of approach and a region with 
evolving challenges. I believe it is important that USNORTHCOM and 
NORAD be prepared to operate in the this harsh environment for missions 
such as search and rescue, patrolling, or maintaining Aerospace Warning 
and Aerospace Control along the Alaskan and Canadian coastlines.
    In the near term, increased human activity in the region will 
demand close maritime coordination and unity of effort between 
international, interagency, and industry partners in response to an 
emergency. Last year, the U.S. Coast Guard and USNORTHCOM sponsored the 
Arctic-focused search and rescue exercise ARCTIC CHINOOK, a partnership 
field training exercise based on a maritime mass rescue scenario 
involving an adventure-class cruise ship operating in the Arctic that 
is forced to abandon ship after a catastrophic event.
    One of my roles is to be the DOD advocate for Arctic capabilities. 
I am responsible for collaborating with Arctic stakeholders to enable a 
holistic view of Arctic capabilities. Our Arctic Capabilities Advocacy 
Working Group provides a forum for DOD, interagency, and trusted 
international partners to identify requirements, capabilities, and 
shortfalls across the spectrum of DOD Arctic operations. Constrained 
budgets and demands from competing global priorities compel us to 
identify prudent opportunities to invest in material and non-material 
capabilities that enable us to ensure security and support safety in 
the Arctic.
    We are primarily focused on improving fundamental operational 
capabilities that support domain awareness, communications, 
infrastructure, and sustainable presence in the Arctic. For instance, 
with the support of the working group, we successfully advocated for 
the construction of an open-bay barracks in Utqiagvik (formerly known 
as Barrow), Alaska. This 40-person facility opened in January and is 
supporting Alaska Army National Guard exercises and training. In 
addition, through NORAD's collaboration with the Department of Defense 
and the Canadian Department of National Defence, we facilitated the 
release of the Mobile User Objective System to Canada, which will 
provide better communications commonality among the bi-national NORAD 
                  defense support of civil authorities
    As the Commander of USNORTHCOM, I provide DOD assistance to 
federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities. Defense 
Support of Civil Authorities is a unique mission in that we facilitate 
DOD support in response to requests for assistance from civil 
authorities for a range of needs, including domestic emergencies, law 
enforcement support, man-made incidents, and natural disasters. Our 
civil partners are charged with the direct responsibility to respond to 
these crises and we work hard to develop and maintain the relationships 
necessary to deliver responsive capabilities when our partners request 
                           natural disasters
    Our disaster response actions are most often in support of the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency, with whom we plan and train to be 
ready to provide timely and tailored DOD capabilities for a spectrum of 
    One of our key DOD partners in this endeavor is U.S. Transportation 
Command, on whom we rely to provide timely support of Federal Emergency 
Management Agency requirements. In addition to the transportation 
support they provide, their Joint Enabling Capabilities Command 
provides a trained and ready cadre of key subject matter experts to 
augment our Headquarters and deployed command and control forces with 
specialized transportation planning and communications capabilities.
    In 2016, we partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
and a host of other federal, state, local, and Canadian provincial 
authorities to conduct Exercise ARDENT SENTRY, our annual Tier 1 
disaster response exercise. The exercise simulated a 9.0-magnitude 
earthquake occurring in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, followed by a 
tsunami and several aftershocks along the coast of Washington, Oregon, 
Northern California, and British Columbia. This complex, integrated 
training environment offered USNORTHCOM an opportunity to practice our 
procedures and validate our processes with our federal, state, local, 
and multinational emergency responders.
    This year, our ARDENT SENTRY exercise will give us an opportunity 
to plan and exercise a bilateral and whole-of-government response to an 
improvised nuclear threat in the New York City region and in Halifax 
Canada. The scenario will enable Canadian and United States forces to 
practice collaboratively rendering safe several devices near Halifax. 
The next phase of the exercise will challenge our consequence 
management procedures with Canada, our Federal Emergency Management 
Agency Region II partners, the Department of Justice, and our 
interagency partners in response to two subsequent improvised nuclear 
device detonations and the resulting counterterrorism crime scene.
    DOD capabilities are only useful if they are accessible and 
responsive to emergent relief requests. Our rigorous training regimen 
was put to the test in October, 2016 when Hurricane Matthew was 
developing in the eastern Caribbean. To provide ready support to the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency's response plan, USNORTHCOM 
coordinated with the Services to provide six DOD installations as 
incident staging bases to facilitate the deployment of commodities 
(e.g. water, food, blankets, cots, and generators) by staging these 
items closer to the expected impacted areas, thereby reducing response 
                            threat networks
    In my first eleven months as Commander of USNORTHCOM and NORAD, I 
have invested highly productive time visiting our southwest border and 
Mexico, garnering an increased appreciation of the threats to our 
borders. Transnational Criminal Organizations and their networks 
continue to affect conditions in Mexico and Central America, which 
introduces instability and creates challenges for our U.S. law 
enforcement partners responsible for securing our borders.
    The threat is fueled primarily by Transnational Criminal 
Organizations which function through vast networks that transcend 
physical, geographic, and societal boundaries. These networks are able 
to operate in legitimate society, which increases the likelihood of 
their survival despite the best efforts of law enforcement 
professionals. This challenge exists in the seams among U.S. 
institutions and far exceeds the ability of any one agency or nation to 
confront it. The global nature of these networks necessitates an 
unprecedented level of cooperative effort among federal, state, local, 
international law enforcement, and intelligence community partners and 
combatant commands. I believe countering threat networks is a long-term 
proposition that will require continuous effort, creative solutions, 
and a strengthening of the unified network of law enforcement, DOD, 
intelligence community, and international partners.
    USNORTHCOM continues to develop strong strategic security 
partnerships and foster opportunities to support to our domestic law 
enforcement partners. Our subordinate command, Joint Task Force North, 
recruits and employs Title 10 units to provide support to federal, 
state, and local law enforcement agencies. When requested, DOD assets 
are employed in support of an intelligence-driven, counter-network 
approach that simultaneously enhances unit readiness by allowing units 
to train on their mission essential tasks in a setting that 
approximates the environment common to many forward-deployed locations. 
In 2016, USNORTHCOM supported more than 150 all-domain, multi-agency 
domestic law enforcement operations, providing detection and monitoring 
capabilities, ground sensor platoons, unmanned aerial systems, mobility 
support, and analytical services. Our support contributed to law 
enforcement interdiction of $150M in illicit goods.
    The support we provide to our law enforcement partners is enabled 
through the determination and expertise of patriots like Sergeant 
Tanner Richie, a U.S. Marine Corps maintenance chief assigned to the 
2nd Ground Sensor Platoon at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Originally 
from Santa Cruz, California, Sergeant Richie is a trained ground sensor 
operator and sensor system maintainer who has deployed on four Joint 
Task Force North missions in support of the U.S. Border Patrol. As the 
maintenance chief for the platoon, Sergeant Richie identified a way to 
leverage satellite communications infrastructure to provide expanded 
sensor capability in areas along the border that were previously 
unreachable by Very High Frequency radio employment. Through Sergeant 
Richie's ingenuity, USNORTHCOM is now able to provide increased ground 
sensor support to our law enforcement partners. The technical solution 
he tested along the border will have a lasting positive impact on 
ground sensor employment in the future.
    We continue to pursue opportunities to mature synchronization and 
interoperability among all the stakeholders operating on both sides of 
the U.S.-Mexico border. What began as an annual Border Commanders 
Conference to conduct senior-leader dialogue has developed into monthly 
cross-border coordination engagements, facilitated by USNORTHCOM's 
component command, United States Army North, to enable collaboration 
among U.S. law enforcement agencies and Mexican Military Region and 
Zone Commands. These engagements are an opportunity to share best 
practices and bilateral solutions designed to disrupt Transnational 
Criminal Organizations along the border. This bilateral collaboration 
further matured into concurrent patrols conducted by U.S. law 
enforcement and Mexico's Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) on 
respective sides of the border. The information sharing conducted 
through these concurrent patrols resulted in a recent seizure by SEDENA 
of 10,000 pounds of marijuana at the border.
    I see the DOD support role in this highly complex problem as 
critical, and I intend to improve the relationships and strengthen the 
support USNORTHCOM is able to provide to domestic law enforcement 
agencies and our international partners. In the near term, we will 
continue to explore options for enhancing our support to our law 
enforcement partners at the ports of entry who work tirelessly to stem 
the flow of illicit trafficking into the U.S. In addition, we will 
pursue synchronized planning and coordinated operations with our 
partners to illuminate the networks that threaten our National 
                      theater security cooperation
    The United States and Canada share the longest international border 
in the world, and our collaborative relationship is one of the closest 
and most extensive in history. This relationship reflects a unique 
friendship, underpinned by common values, that has evolved over the 
course of the last century. Our bi-national command, NORAD, is the gold 
standard for military collaboration providing for the common defense of 
our nations and people.
    A critical component of our operational defense framework is the 
tri-command relationship between USNORTHCOM, NORAD, and the Canadian 
Joint Operations Command. This steadfast relationship extends beyond 
our integrated USNORTHCOM and NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force 
Base to the Canadian commanders who have established relationships with 
U.S. counterparts across the border to ensure our countries can support 
each other when needed. Together, we are working to further integrate 
our operational framework into an adaptive continental defense 
arrangement that can function across multiple domains to defend the 
United States and Canada, while preserving each nations' unilateral 
ability to conduct national missions.
    As NORAD approaches our 60th year defending the United States and 
Canada, we need to evolve our bi-national defense to deter, and if 
necessary, defeat potential future attacks. We will continue to 
prioritize interoperability and all-domain command and control through 
regular operations, combined training and exercises, combined planning, 
information and intelligence sharing, and personnel exchanges to ensure 
we are capable of conducting operations together, across the spectrum 
of conflict.
    The relationship USNORTHCOM enjoys with Mexico's Secretariat of 
National Defense (SEDENA) and the Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) 
continues to evolve as a strategic institutional partnership. We 
routinely collaborate with the Mexican military as it seeks to prepare 
for and respond to internal security crises, contribute to regional 
security, and assume greater global responsibilities. They share our 
concerns over the negative impact of illicit flows on both sides of the 
border, and we are on a path toward a common military-to-military 
vision and strategy to address the mutual challenges that impact the 
security of both Nations.
    USNORTHCOM continues to pursue opportunities to build 
interoperability with our Mexican military partners through combined 
training and exercises. We focus on ensuring the timely delivery of a 
record Foreign Military Sales of over a billion dollars in UH-60 Black 
Hawk helicopters and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. We 
work closely with the U.S. interagency community and Mexican 
interagency organizations to support the Government of Mexico's 
Southern Border Strategy to improve security on their border with 
Guatemala and Belize.
    USNORTHCOM's ability to provide focused engagements, professional 
exchanges, and military training with Mexico is dependent on the many 
warrior-diplomats who build trust and confidence with their military 
counterparts. Master Gunnery Sergeant Cesar Huezo, is a U.S. Marine 
Corps Reserve liaison officer assigned to the Theater Security 
Cooperation Detachment at Marine Forces North. Master Gunnery Sergeant 
Huezo draws upon his personal experiences as an infantryman, light 
armored reconnaissance section leader, and intelligence Marine--as well 
as his civilian career as a trauma nurse--to develop a cadre of combat-
skills instructors who provide focused training to the Mexican Marines. 
Since 2012, Master Gunnery Sergeant Huezo has developed instructional 
material and overseen training programs that enhanced the capacity of 
nearly 8,000 Mexican Marines.
    Today, we are witnessing an evolution of the Mexican military from 
an internally focused force to one that is willing and increasingly 
capable of providing security leadership in Latin America. Recently, 
and for the first time in their institutional history, Mexico agreed to 
co-host the April 2017 Central American Security Conference with U.S. 
Southern Command and USNORTHCOM. This forum will reinforce Mexican 
Armed Forces regional leadership throughout Central America, and I am 
confident it will serve as a catalyst for greater involvement in 
strengthening regional security. In the near term, both SEDENA and 
SEMAR are actively preparing to become force providers in United 
Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
The Bahamas
    The U.S. and The Bahamas share a strong bilateral relationship 
founded on common interests in security, trade, and disaster response. 
Like many nations in the region, The Bahamas suffers from a surge in 
human and narcotics trafficking that contribute to a corresponding rise 
in violent crime. The Bahamian government is committed to close 
cooperation with the United States on law enforcement and maritime 
security concerns, as well as ways to counter illicit trafficking. This 
past December, we conducted our annual bilateral security cooperation 
table-top exercise with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and mission 
partners in the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The 
exercise challenged command and control structures, validated plans and 
procedures, and improved the Royal Bahamas Defence Force capability to 
provide maritime domain awareness, interdiction, and military 
assistance to civil authorities. We will continue our security 
cooperation efforts with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force with a 
priority focus on emphasizing maritime domain awareness, interdiction 
capabilities to counter illicit flows, and increasing disaster response 
    The men and women of USNORTHCOM and NORAD remain diligent and 
undeterred as we stand watch. The evolving nature of global, 
transregional, all-domain, and multi-functional challenges have erased 
the lines on the map, necessitating an integrated and synchronized 
approach to defending the United States and Canada. To meet the 
challenges ahead, we actively pursue opportunities to strengthen our 
relationships with fellow combatant commands, our North American 
partners, and the interagency community. We will emphasize precision, 
agility, and resilience to ensure we are ready to execute in the 
ambiguity of a crisis.
    We defend our countries by remaining ever vigilant, ever watching, 
and ever training as we fulfill our Commands' roles in the sacred 
responsibility of defending the United States and Canada. I am grateful 
for the support this Committee has provided our Commands and am truly 
honored to serve as the Commander of USNORTHCOM and NORAD. I look 
forward to your questions.

    ``We have the watch''

    Chairman McCain. Thank you.
    Admiral Tidd?

                        SOUTHERN COMMAND

    Admiral Tidd. Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, members 
of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you 
    I am pleased to be here with my NORTHCOM teammate, General 
Lori Robinson. Although we focus on distinctly different 
mission sets, our teams work together to keep our Nation safe 
from a range of challenges. While General Robinson and her team 
are directly responsible for defending our Homeland, SOUTHCOM 
extends that defense well beyond our borders throughout our 
southern approaches.
    Now, I want to do something a little bit different today 
with my opening remarks. I want to tell you a story. Picture 
this. We gain information on a group of individuals who are 
planning to make their way to the United States. They are 
carrying a weapon that will kill dozens of people and put 
hundreds more in the hospital. This powerful weapon will drain 
millions from our economy in terms of health care costs, crime, 
and lost productivity. It is neither high-tech nor new. We know 
exactly how dangerous it is. This weapon passes freely through 
our defenses as do hundreds more just like it.
    Chairman, members, I tell you this true story to point out 
an uncomfortable fact. Those people are members of a threat 
network, and the weapon that they move today is drugs. On 
average, 1 metric ton of cocaine will kill 10 Americans every 
year and harm hundreds more. Last year, we watched almost 450 
tons pass freely towards our country. What made it through 
translates into American lives lost and illicit profit that 
fuels instability and violence.
    Now, I tell you this story focused on drugs today because 
it is the scenario on which we have the best information, but 
these adaptive threat networks can move anything. What keeps me 
up at night is the potential for even more deadly cargo moving 
through these networks and directly into our cities. ISIS has 
encouraged its followers to exploit the vulnerability of the 
pathways leading directly into the United States in order to 
move weapons of mass destruction.
    To address this challenge, we are changing our approach to 
better understand and disrupt the immediate threats. We are 
working with our partners to reduce the vulnerabilities that 
allow these networks to exist in the first place, and we are 
expanding information sharing and building the capacity of our 
partners so that they can better secure their territory against 
these challenges.
    Now, today I also look forward to talking to you about 
other issues that we are addressing. Extremist networks like 
ISIS are radicalizing and recruiting individuals, and they are 
encouraging them to conduct attacks on U.S. and partner 
interests in our region. Russia, China, and Iran are actively 
engaging in Latin America. While most of their activities are 
not military threats yet, some do warrant examination.
    Even seemingly benign activities can build malign 
influence. With the peace accord now final in Colombia, a firm 
anchor for regional stability and one of our most trusted 
partners, Colombia still faces a challenging road ahead. We 
continue to stand together in defense of our shared interests.
    Lastly, detention operations at Joint Task Force Guantanamo 
remain a sensitive and a demanding mission that our men and 
women continue to execute with discipline and professionalism. 
Now it is time to address the infrastructure requirements that 
we have been putting off. The safety and the security of our 
troops depend on it.
    Finally, I would like to thank this committee for its 
unwavering support to the men and women both in uniform and out 
who serve our country. I look forward to answering your 
questions. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Admiral Tidd follows:]

               Prepared Statement by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd
    Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished Members of 
the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. On 
behalf of the men and women of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), we 
appreciate your support to our team and to our partners in Central 
America, South America, and the Caribbean. I look forward to providing 
an update on our work defending the southern approaches to the U.S. 
homeland and promoting regional security and stability.
    Although other regions may figure more prominently on U.S. foreign 
policy and national security agendas, Latin America and the Caribbean 
is the region most connected to our own society, prosperity, and 
security. We are inextricably linked by our shared values, cultures, 
and the rapid flows of goods, services, people, and information 
throughout our hemisphere. Coupled with geographic proximity, these 
interconnections mean there's no such thing as a purely ``Latin 
American and Caribbean problem.'' Simply stated, security challenges in 
the region are likely to become security challenges to the U.S. 
    Just consider the following. Threat networks aggressively operate 
across borders (including our own), moving anything and anyone and 
fueling violent crime on the streets of Tegucigalpa and Tucson. 
Individuals from across the world--some fleeing conflict and 
insecurity, some seeking economic opportunity, and some with possible 
ties to terrorism--can exploit the region's security vulnerabilities to 
attempt illegal entry into the United States. A mosquito-borne virus 
crosses an ocean and causes a regional and domestic health crisis. 
China, Russia, and Iran seek to expand their influence and challenge 
the international order and democratic principles of transparency, good 
governance, and rule of law abroad--and much closer to home.
    Although USSOUTHCOM has a tradition of excellence in interagency 
and regional cooperation, we believe `business as usual' is no longer 
sufficient to address these types of transregional challenges, or to 
embrace transregional opportunities. Higher-level guidance also demands 
we adjust our approach; the National Military Strategy directs the 
entire Joint Force to work in a more integrated manner to address the 
increasingly transnational, transregional, multi-domain, and 
multifunctional nature of today's security challenges. In response, 
USSOUTHCOM is becoming a more agile organization and redoubling our 
commitment to--and integration with--our partners. This isn't a matter 
of altruism; it's a matter of our national interests, because in this 
uncertain world our security partnerships are more important than ever 
before. Trust and understanding can't be surged when crisis hits, and 
complex threats can't be addressed by any one nation or agency. Mr. 
Chairman, it's simple, really: our security partnerships help create a 
layered defense of our homeland by keeping our shared home stable and 
                              our approach
    USSOUTHCOM's main effort is countering threat networks. We also 
prepare for and respond to disasters and crises; and we build 
relationships to meet global challenges. We employ a networked approach 
that stops threats before they reach our nation's borders, destabilize 
our partners, or undermine the security of the Western Hemisphere. Our 
components and task forces--U.S. Army South, U.S. Air Forces Southern/
12th Air Force, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet, 
U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, U.S. Special Operations Command South, 
Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, Joint Task Force (JTF) 
Bravo, and JTF Guantanamo (GTMO)--are often at the forefront of these 
efforts, and we appreciate the Committee's continued support to the 
entire USSOUTHCOM team.
                 security environment (the challenges)
    Threat Networks. Mr. Chairman, Members, if I were appearing before 
you in 1987, 1997, or even 2007, I would tell you that drug trafficking 
is the most significant security challenge in Latin America and the 
Caribbean. But it's 2017, and drugs--or any of the illegal commodities 
that move through our hemisphere--are not the only thing we have to 
worry about. The illicit flows of goods and people, and the violence 
and corruption these flows fuel at home and abroad, are the visible 
manifestations of complex, adaptive, networked threats. Transregional 
and transnational threat networks are now the principal threat to 
regional security and stability. These networks operate unconstrained 
by legal and geographic boundaries, unimpeded by morality, and fueled 
by enormous profits. Their interests, influence, capabilities, and 
reach extend beyond the responsibilities of any one Geographic or 
Functional Combatant Command, undercutting our national interests in 
multiple domains and many regions. They prey on weak institutions and 
exploit the interconnected nature of our modern financial, 
transportation and communication systems and the seams in our 
organizational boundaries. \1\
    \1\ Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age 
of Globalization. Center for Complex Operations, National Defense 
University, 2013.
    Threat networks engage in a range of destabilizing illicit 
activities that further dangerous ideologies or generate profit. 
Violent extremist organizations like ISIS seek to radicalize and 
recruit vulnerable populations in the Caribbean and parts of Central 
and South America. Hezbollah members, facilitators, and supporters 
engage in licit and illicit activities in support of the organization, 
moving weapons, cash, and other contraband to raise funds and build 
Hezbollah's infrastructure in the region.

    Criminal networks, in contrast, are motivated by wealth and power. 
Some are globally-integrated enterprises with worldwide reach--and 
profit margins that rival Fortune 500 companies. Some smuggle precursor 
chemicals and fentanyl from China into Central America and Mexico, 
where they produce extremely potent heroin that is driving overdose 
epidemics across the United States. Other networks move large shipments 
of cocaine to markets in the United States, West Africa, Europe, and 
Australia, while some reap enormous profits by illegally mining gold in 
Guyana, Peru, and Colombia. Many dabble in poly-crime activities, 
including kidnapping, money laundering, and extortion. Still other 
networks have diversified into the smuggling of weapons and people, 
including individuals who pose a potential threat to national 
security--through the region and into the United States.
    Although each of these activities undermines regional security, the 
most dangerous scenario is that terrorist organizations will exploit 
criminal capabilities or human smuggling routes to enter the United 
States. The most chilling manifestation, of course, is the possibility 
that terrorists with chemical or biological weapons--or the knowledge 
of how to build and employ them--will move through the region and 
attempt to infiltrate our Southwest border. This potential threat 
raises the question of criminal-terrorist collusion, which has been a 
topic of significant debate within the U.S. Government. I'd like to 
share my view on the subject.
    Conventional wisdom downplays the possibility that criminal and 
terrorist networks would actively collaborate in this part of the 
world. Observers are correct when they say that drug traffickers are 
likely reluctant to work with terrorists, and vice-versa. But here are 
the shortcomings I and many of our interagency partners see with this 
view: it presumes criminal networks exercise absolute oversight and 
control over their smuggling routes. It presumes they conduct thorough 
background checks and screen everyone and everything that moves along 
the region's illicit superhighways. It presumes that just because 
witting collaboration might not take place, unwitting collaboration 
couldn't. While this scenario may be unlikely, we and our partners know 
it is also not totally impossible.
    Mr. Chairman, I think about those smuggling routes that thread 
through our southern approaches and into our Homeland. Despite the 
heroic efforts of law enforcement, these are highly efficient systems 
that can move just about anything and anyone into our country. And what 
keeps me up at night is knowing I'm not the only one thinking about 
those routes--extremist networks like ISIS are thinking about them too, 
and how to use them.

    Ultimately, the argument about whether criminal and terrorist 
networks collaborate or keep their distance from one another in Latin 
America distracts from the most important point. Both groups inhabit 
the same illegal orbits. They both seek to circumvent or subvert the 
rule of law. They both exploit the same permissive environment and 
could use the same key facilitators (money launderers, document 
forgers, and corrupt officials) to support their operations. By 
affecting the permissive environment, functions, and enabling 
activities that both types of networks rely on, we can help degrade 
criminal and terrorist networks alike.
    Regional Stability. In addition to the challenge posed by threat 
networks, Latin America and the Caribbean are also vulnerable to 
disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and the 
outbreak of infectious diseases with the potential for secondary impact 
in the United States. Varying prevention, management, and response 
capabilities in the region--coupled with underlying challenges like 
chronic poverty and economic insecurity--can amplify the impact of 
disasters, contributing to other `push factors' that drive illegal 

                                         Apprehensions and Interdictions
                                      Source: Customs and Border Protection
                                                                  Fiscal Year 2015          Fiscal Year 2016
Cubans (land and sea).......................................                   48,549                    60,311
Haitians (land and sea).....................................                    3,435                     7,932
Unaccompanied Children (from Northern Triangle).............                   28,396                    42,405

    Overall the region is stable, although the gap between public 
expectations and government performance manifests itself in social 
protests, most often against corruption and mismanagement of public 
resources. Bolivian citizens have engaged in mass protests to demand 
resolution to a severe water shortage, while Venezuela faces 
significant instability in the coming year due to widespread food, and 
medicine shortages; continued political uncertainty; and a worsening 
economic situation. The growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could 
eventually compel a regional response.
    Activities of China, Russia, and Iran. While threat networks and 
potential crises are immediate concerns, we also face strategic 
challenges. Over the past decade, China, Russia, and Iran have 
established a greater presence in the region. These ``external actors'' 
require separate and serious consideration, especially as it relates to 
the broader global security environment. Knowing the political 
establishment in China, Russia, and Iran will likely scrutinize this 
testimony--and in the case of Russia, attempt to distort it--I'm going 
to choose my words with care.
    Mr. Chairman, I'll speak plainly: if we care about what's going on 
in the South China Sea, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, it's worth 
keeping an eye on Chinese, Russian, and Iranian activity in this part 
of the world, too. For Russia, China, and Iran, Latin America is not an 
afterthought. These global actors view the Latin American economic, 
political, and security arena as an opportunity to achieve their 
respective long-term objectives and advance interests that may be 
incompatible with ours and those of our partners. Their vision for an 
alternative international order poses a challenge to every nation that 
values non-aggression, rule of law, and respect for human rights--the 
very same principles that underlie the Inter-American system of peace 
and cooperation. Some of what they're doing--while not a direct 
military threat--does warrant examination. Even seemingly benign 
activities can be used to build malign influence.
    Now the region's number two trading partner, China has courted 
Latin America through economic diplomacy, importing more and more raw 
materials, offering loans, and pledging billions in investments in 
infrastructure development. It sees its own development as contingent 
on the development of other countries, including those in Latin America 
and the Caribbean. \2\ Beijing cooperates with Latin America on space, 
potential nuclear power projects, and telecommunications networks, 
which could pose security concerns to the United States. China's 
military soft power lies in its ability to engage through offers of 
all-expenses-paid training, no-strings-attached defense sales and 
financing to regional militaries, and donations of equipment and 
humanitarian aid. China prioritizes engagement with regional 
organizations like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States 
(CELAC) that exclude the United States, and seeks to leverage regional 
relationships to reshape international economic and financial 
institutions to its advantage. \3\
    \2\ The People's Republic of China, Policy Paper on Latin America. 
November 24, 2016.
    \3\ Ibid.
    As part of the Kremlin's aim to regain its status as a global power 
and prove its prowess to domestic audiences, Russia uses soft power 
tools in an attempt to challenge United States leadership in the 
Western Hemisphere and displace traditional U.S. Goodwill initiatives. 
Examples include the construction of an international police training 
facility in Nicaragua that will be used to provide regional 
counternarcotics training and the funding of a vaccine production plant 
that will supposedly make drugs accessible and affordable throughout 
Central America. Additionally, Russia seeks to discredit the United 
States through state-owned media like RT-Espanol and SputnikMundo, 
which spread misinformation to create doubts and distrust about U.S. 
intentions and policy towards the region and other parts of the world. 
The Russians are also engaging in some disquieting behavior, such as 
providing battle tanks to Nicaragua, which impacts regional stability 
and could cause its neighbors to divert vital resources (needed to 
fight threat networks and address developmental challenges) to maintain 
    As a continuing state sponsor of terrorism, Iranian involvement in 
the Western Hemisphere is always a matter of concern. With the easing 
of economic sanctions, Iran may be seeking to rebuild its relationships 
in the region. Tehran uses cooperative technological, economic, and 
diplomatic interests as the centerpiece of its regional diplomacy. 
Although on the surface it portrays its actions as innocuous, Iran 
could exploit its cultural centers to build networks, which could be 
leveraged to extend its influence and advance its interests.
    Broadly speaking, some of this outreach is concerning, especially 
to those of us who care about advancing human rights and promoting 
regional peace and stability. Keep in mind there's no Chinese, Russian, 
or Iranian equivalent of a Leahy Law, no comparable conditions on 
security assistance, no independent domestic media that carefully 
scrutinizes their activities. Their arms sales aren't tied to 
international protocols or human rights vetting. Their loans don't come 
with requirements to follow strict environmental or anti-corruption 
standards, or even clear terms and conditions for repayment. Their 
unscrupulous business practices and disregard for rule of law 
facilitates corruption, reduces trust in governments, and poses 
challenges to the norms and values that have brought prosperity and 
security for millions of people across our hemisphere.
    It's also worth noting that in recent years these actors have 
capitalized on the perception that the U.S. is disengaging from the 
region. Our partners plainly see that we are conducting fewer 
engagements; holding smaller and less frequent exercises; and that we 
have smaller U.S. military presence in regional embassies and fewer 
forces and platforms than ever before. When budget constraints limit 
our ability to engage with our regional partners, it sends a message 
that others can, and do, exploit.
    And while we should work harder to understand the true intentions 
of these actors, whatever they intend, in most cases our best response 
is to strengthen our own security relationships, rather than focus on 
``countering'' or ``competing'' with the likes of China or Russia. At 
times--when it supports our interests and those of our partners--we 
should follow avenues for cooperation. At others, we might find we need 
to work with our partners to address negative influence or 
destabilizing actions. At all times, we should focus on being the best 
possible partner to the region.
    So it's on us to demonstrate our commitment by being an equal and 
principled partner; it's on us to earn, and keep, the region's trust. 
It's on us, because we lose relationships not as a result of any 
Chinese or Russian actions; we lose them, in large part, by not 
demonstrating the depth of our commitment to the region. Our leadership 
is weakened not because China or Russia offer compelling alternatives, 
but because it's not always clear to our network of allies and partners 
what's important to us. American (and Inter-American) principles are 
undermined not because they no longer matter, but because we and our 
partners don't do everything we can to protect and promote them. Mr. 
Chairman, it comes down to this: we have a choice. Success or failure 
in this region depends on us, what we stand for, and what we do, much 
more than it depends on anyone else.
     defending our southern approaches (what we're doing about it)
    To address many of these security challenges, we work with our 
network of interagency, regional, and non-governmental partners. I look 
forward to describing how our networked approach keeps our southern 
approaches defended, our nation safe, and our shared home secure.
    Countering Threat Networks. To keep pace with the challenge of 
threat networks, we must do more than just stop illicit commodities, 
and our Southwest border must be our last--not our first--line of 
defense. To that end, we are working with our interagency and regional 
partners to pressure threat networks along multiple fronts. We aim to 
degrade threat network capabilities, disrupt their operations, and 
affect the underlying conditions that allow them to flourish.
    Strengthening Interagency Partnerships. We have stood up 
communities of interests (COIs), meetings that bring together 
stakeholders from across the U.S. Government to share information and 
intelligence, expand understanding and awareness about networks and our 
activities to counter them, and predict how our efforts will affect 
their illicit operations. Last year, information sharing and support to 
tactical operations through our Central America COI--which is hosted by 
Joint Task Force (JTF) Bravo and includes over 700 participants from 
various U.S. Government agencies--helped dismantle major threat 
networks by targeting their leadership structure. While we've always 
supported our interagency partners, what's changed is how we're 
supporting them--and the combined effect we're having, together.

Last year, our Countering Weapons of Mass
 Destruction (CWMD) COI, hosted the first of its
 kind regional conference on non-proliferation
 and WMD.

    By sharing information in the Central America COI, interagency 
participants are better prepared to enable one another to apply 
pressure across threat networks, forcing them to adapt on our terms--
not theirs. As we put pressure on these networks, they are forced to 
move their operations and change their tactics, exposing them and their 
vulnerabilities. As law enforcement is able to arrest individuals, the 
group quickly analyzes and predicts the expected reaction across the 
entire network, which leads to a better understanding of how members of 
one network interact with each other and with other networks in the 

In 2016, the CENTAM COI supported a multinational
 intelligence-driven operation that resulted in
 the arrest of Wilter Blanco (the head of the
 Atlantic Cartel who reportedly plotted the
 assassination of the U.S. Ambassador and the
 Honduran President) by Costa Rican law

    Building on this COI success, we are establishing a permanent 
counter-threat network team inside our headquarters. In support of U.S. 
Government and regional partners, this team will analyze, fuse, and 
synchronize intelligence and operations to illuminate and affect threat 
networks. Through network mapping and outreach, elements of this team 
will also provide an amplifying capability to efforts by U.S. country 
teams, U.S. and partner nation law enforcement, U.S. Special Operations 
Command (USSOCOM) and other Combatant Commands to disrupt the flow of 
SIAs and the potential return of foreign terrorist fighters to the 
region. As part of this effort, we're partnering with the Intelligence 
Community to pursue innovative approaches to integrate unclassified 
open source, social media, and publicly available information (PAI) to 
better characterize the regional security environment and facilitate 
increased information and intelligence exchanges with regional and 
interagency partners.
    We also collaborate with the Department of State to encourage our 
partner nations to define and develop legal instruments against 
terrorism. Such legislation is critical to addressing radicalization 
and the return of battle-hardened ISIS fighters with combat experience. 
These individuals pose a significant threat, as they will be well-
positioned to spread an extremist message and potentially execute acts 
of terror against our partner nations and U.S. citizens in the region. 
As this Committee knows, ISIS is emphasizing external attacks in 
response to increasing pressure in Syria and Iraq, and some of our 
partners have expressed concerns over the potential for ISIS-directed 
or inspired attacks in this part of the world. I share these concerns.
    To complement these efforts, we are expanding our coordination with 
U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and USSOCOM to support the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as they target the smuggling 
operations of individuals who may pose terrorist risks. Last year we 
expanded our support to Homeland Security Investigation's (HSI) 
Operation CITADEL, a multi-year, multi-agency effort to dismantle human 
smuggling networks and identify migrants that may represent security 
threats while undertaking protection screening for those who may have a 
credible fear of persecution. Our planning support, intelligence 
capabilities, and airlift are enhancing HSI's ability to prevent 
persons of interest from transiting the region, reaching our borders, 
and potentially gaining entry into the U.S. Homeland.
    As this Committee knows, JIATF South is the gold standard of 
interagency cooperation. They were doing counter-threat network 
operations (if by a different name) long before the term existed. JIATF 
South supports interdiction operations that are force multipliers for 
evidence collection, grand jury proceedings, indictments, and 
extraditions, all of which lead to the eventual dismantlement of threat 
networks. While JIATF South's core detection and monitoring mission 
continues to support law enforcement efforts to stem record detected 
flows of cocaine and other illicit drugs, the task force is also 
broadening its support to interagency operations targeting global money 
laundering, bulk cash smuggling, and counter proliferation.

In FY16, JIATF-S operations resulted in the
 detention of 780 drug traffickers and the
 disruption of 282MT of cocaine valued at over
 $5.5 billion.

    Enabling partner nations. One key to addressing the illicit pathway 
and threat networks in the region is to help improve the capability of 
partner nations in the region to investigate, interdict and dismantle 
the networks. Enabling partner nation capacity is essential if we hope 
to address the permissive environment that permits these networks and 
pathways to operate.

In 2016, USSOUTHCOM's DOD Rewards Program enabled
 our Colombian, Peruvian, and Panamanian partners
 to bring 26 members of terrorist organizations
 to justice.

    Cooperation with Colombia remains essential as the National 
Liberation Army (ELN) and criminal networks seek to move in on former 
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) held zones to fill the 
power vacuum and take over the lucrative global cocaine market. With 
coca cultivation and production in the Andean region approaching all-
time highs, these networks could jeopardize recent Colombian security 
gains. To help Colombia contain this threat, we will continue to train, 
equip, and sustain key specialized units with Department of Defense 
authorities as well as via our partnership with the Department of 
State's Bureau of Political Military Affairs and Foreign Military 
Financing. We're also leveraging the U.S.- Colombia Action Plan for 
Regional Security (USCAP) to synchronize the delivery of counter-
network capacity building efforts to confront the effects of 
transnational criminal networks and drug trafficking in the region. 
This program helps deepen the partnership between USSOUTHCOM, the State 
Department, the Colombian Ministry of Defense, and the six Central 
American and Caribbean recipient countries \4\ to improve 
interoperability against criminal networks.
    \4\ The six USCAP recipient countries are Costa Rica, Dominican 
Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. To date, the 
USCAP program has trained 4,008 partner nation personnel (3,095 
military and 912 public security forces).
    Elsewhere, USSOUTHCOM and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency 
(DTRA) joined the Department of State and the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation in cooperating with Brazil during the Rio Olympics. This 
successful partnership has provided new opportunities to work with 
Brazil in the areas of threat networks, CWMD, cyber, space, and 
information sharing. In the Caribbean, we are partnering with the 
Caribbean Community's Implementing Agency for Crime and Security 
(CARICOM IMPACS) and the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (RIFC) to 
facilitate greater information sharing and close our capability gaps in 
addressing illicit flows of drugs, people with potential ties to 
terrorism, and foreign fighters. Along with the State Department, we 
are also supporting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in their 
development of a regional counterterrorism strategy and working with 
key partners like Trinidad and Tobago to illuminate and degrade 
extremist networks with global ties to ISIS and other dangerous groups.
    With the help of this Committee, our counternarcotics (CN) programs 
in Central America--including train and equip, infrastructure, and 
building partner nation capacity--play an important role in stabilizing 
the sub-region from the effects of threat networks. Our maritime 
capacity building efforts in the region have better enabled us to meet 
our detection and monitoring statutory obligations while ensuring the 
layered defense of the U.S. homeland. Central American partners are 
increasingly capable, playing a significant role in almost a quarter of 
JIATF South's maritime interdiction operations and conducting 
operations on their own, and with one another.

    We've also helped enhance their land interdiction capabilities 
through training, essential infrastructure, and mobility and 
communication equipment. As a result, we've seen significant 
improvements across Central American security and military forces. 
Guatemala's Interagency Task Forces (IATFs) combine the best of 
military and law enforcement authorities and capabilities, helping 
control Guatemala's borders and stopping the illegal flow of people, 
drugs, and other threat network activity. Honduras has also made a 
concerted effort to dismantle threat networks, extradite suspected drug 
traffickers to the U.S., and eliminate corruption. Panama is coming off 
a record year disrupting threat network operations. As we seek to 
intensify combined operations, Panamanian efforts to counter a wide 
spectrum of threats showcase them as an increasingly capable partner 
and force multiplier at a critical geographic chokepoint. In the coming 
year, we will expand our support to Panama and Costa Rica to deter 
threat networks from moving into the southern portion of Central 
America's isthmus.
    Empowering public-private collaboration. Since threat networks are 
enabled by exploiting socio-economic vulnerabilities in the region, we 
seek to integrate the efforts and expertise of the private sector, 
NGOs, and civil society to mitigate those vulnerabilities and help 
create communities less vulnerable to criminal exploitation. We 
routinely conduct community support activities in Central America, 
South America, and the Caribbean as part of our humanitarian assistance 
program. Rather than the U.S. Government repairing schools, wells, and 
improving local hygiene and sanitation on its own, we instead work 
alongside our partner nations and NGOs, business, and academic partners 
to expand the reach and effect of these programs. This also supports 
our partner nations in acquiring these skills, which they can use to 
demonstrate state presence and reduce the influence of criminal 
    Preparing for and Responding to Disasters and Crises. Given the 
inevitability of natural disasters in Latin America, we work with our 
partners to improve our collective preparedness and response 
capabilities. Within our headquarters, we are focused on 
institutionalizing our own capabilities to provide agile and effective 
support to our interagency and regional partners. Within the region, we 
are strengthening our linkages to the very network of regional 
militaries, civilian agencies, and experts that we will cooperate with 
in the event of a crisis.

During the early stages of last year's Zika
 outbreak, the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 6
 (NAMRU-6) became the only U.S. Bio Safety Level
 III laboratory capable of testing for the Zika
 virus in South America, helping the Centers for
 Disease Control, Health and Human Services, and
 the Pan American Health Organization quickly
 track the progress of the virus.

    Strengthening Interagency Partnerships. That cooperation starts 
with trust; it is the lynchpin of our ability to rapidly respond and 
work seamlessly with our partners. We build this trust during routine 
exercises and deepen it during crisis response operations. While most 
of our exercises involve multiple partner nations, INTEGRATED ADVANCE 
is dedicated to improving our integration with DHS, the Departments of 
State and Health and Human Services, and the State of Florida in the 
event of a Caribbean mass migration. This year's exercise stressed our 
ability to conduct migrant operations at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay 
and support interagency partners in responding to migrant landings in 
the United States.
    Last year, we deepened our already strong partnership with the U.S. 
Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster 
Assistance (USAID/OFDA). In April, we immediately responded to a 
request from USAID/OFDA to support the government of Ecuador in the 
aftermath of a devastating 7.8 earthquake. We deployed an airfield 
assessment team and a mobile air traffic control tower to increase the 
flow of humanitarian aid into Manta, one of the hardest-hit areas. In 
October, USSOUTHCOM stood up and rapidly deployed Joint Task Force 
(JTF) Matthew to support USAID/OFDA's Hurricane Matthew response 
efforts in Haiti.
    By leveraging forward-deployed forces already in the region, JTF 
Matthew provided a tailored, rapid response that was critical during 
the early stages of relief operations. Utilizing our presence at Soto 
Cano Air Base in Honduras and the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, we 
moved elements from JTF-Bravo and a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground 
Task Force (SPMAGTF) to Haiti within 24 hours. JTF-Bravo and the 
SPMAGTF team--which had previously been conducting security cooperation 
activities in Central America--provided unique U.S. military 
capabilities that significantly aided the delivery of humanitarian 
supplies and alleviated the suffering of hundreds of thousands of 
    Additionally, the immediate deployment of elements from U.S. 
Transportation Command's (USTRANSCOM) Joint Enabling Capabilities 
Command (JECC) was absolutely critical to our effective response. U.S.-
based forces deployed aboard the USS MESA VERDE and USS IWO JIMA also 
provided robust relief from the sea. During the relief mission, we also 
coordinated with our U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) partners to deter 
potential migration in the aftermath of the hurricane and supported the 
Department of State's outreach to regional partners seeking to 
contribute to the response effort.

    Finally, one of the most important response tools lies in our 
ability to predict crises and, if possible, avert their onset or 
mitigate their impact. We are analyzing early-warning signs of latent 
risks and underlying vulnerabilities to better identify potential 
instability or crises. This understanding will help us plan and execute 
activities that align with USAID's Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and 
enhance our longstanding partnership to build local, national, and 
regional response capabilities. We have also partnered with the Pacific 
Disaster Center to utilize their risk management tool to simplify, 
integrate, and expedite the flow of information before, during, and 
after disaster strikes. Our assessments, which we conduct with our 
partner nations' FEMA-equivalents, civilian ministries, NGOs, and 
universities, provide a comprehensive understanding of partner nation 
disaster preparedness capabilities.
    Enabling Partner Nations. Exercises like PANAMAX, FUSED RESPONSE, 
responses to an attack on the Panama Canal, the trafficking of WMD, a 
terrorist act, and natural disasters. Multinational exercises are the 
most important way we train with our partner nations and Allied 
military and security forces, helping improve interoperability, 
institutionalize preparedness and response measures, and building 
confidence in the United States as a reliable partner. These 
relationships and trust can help reduce the scope and duration of a 
crisis and increase the likelihood our partners can respond to crises 
on their own.

2,500 personnel from 20 nations participated in
 PANAMAX 2016. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru
 played major leadership roles in the
 multinational and functional commands.

    Along with DTRA, we are working with a diverse group of nations--
Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, 
and Brazil--to develop and enable WMD crisis response capabilities for 
both military and civilian first responders. This year, we look forward 
to deepening our collaboration with Chile and Argentina in this 
important effort. These partnerships demonstrate our enduring resolve 
and commitment to our partners in the face of the worst of potential 
disasters. We also include Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) 
workshops in exercises like PANAMAX and UNITAS to help our partners 
understand and respond to the growing challenge posed by proliferation 
of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials.
    Regionally, our health and medical readiness engagements build 
partner nation capacity--including infrastructure, equipment, and 
skilled personnel--to prevent, detect, and respond to disease 
outbreaks. At the early stages of the Zika outbreak, the U.S. Naval 
Medical Research Unit 6 (NAMRU-6), based in Peru, established research 
sites in partnership with Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, 
Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru to actively support partner nation Zika 
response efforts. We also implemented a disease surveillance tool that 
strengthens Honduras' capabilities to address global health threats, 
and are working with Guatemala to do the same this year.

    Many of our capacity-building efforts would not be possible without 
the dedication of our Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve forces, 
especially in our Components and the National Guard State Partnership 
Program (SPP). Last year, the partnership between the Florida National 
Guard and Barbados strengthened the Barbadian government's ability to 
respond to natural disasters with a focus on critical infrastructure 
and interagency collaboration. Massachusetts' partnership with Paraguay 
allows governmental agencies to access outlying communities that are 
often far from first responders. We appreciate the support Congress 
provides to SPP, which enables us to leverage the strength of our 
National Guard.

USSOUTHCOM is proud of the newest SPP
 partnership between Argentina and
 Georgia's National Guard, our 23rd
 State Partnership.

    Empowering public-private collaboration. In addition to 
collaborating with our interagency and regional partners, we also seek 
to build a culture of crisis management and trust across our network of 
non-governmental partners. During the lead-up to the Rio Olympics, we 
partnered with international cruise lines and law enforcement agencies 
to share information about potential threats and ensure security 
protocols were in place. We are beginning work with the College of 
William & Mary's Violent International Political Conflict and Terrorism 
(VIPCAT) lab to help predict violence in partner nations, assess 
deterrence option effectiveness, and forecast tactical successes. We 
also regularly join chaplains in our partner nation militaries to 
engage religious leaders in the region about their role in disaster 
recovery and potential opportunities to work together when crisis hits.
    Led by U.S. Army South and U.S. Air Forces Southern/12th Air Force, 
our Beyond The Horizon and New Horizons humanitarian and civic 
assistance exercises incorporated more than 2,000 U.S., partner nation, 
and public/private participants from seven nations. This network 
treated nearly 30,000 patients, conducted 242 surgeries, and 
constructed schools and clinics in remote areas. Similarly, our 
training missions like JTF-Bravo's medical engagements and Continuing 
Promise bring together U.S. military personnel, partner nation forces 
and civilian volunteers to treat tens of thousands of the region's 
citizens. We are also building basic infrastructure like schools, 
medical clinics, and emergency operations centers and warehouses for 
relief supplies. These activities provide training opportunities for 
our own personnel, while also improving the ability of our partners to 
provide essential services to their citizens and meet their 
humanitarian needs during a disaster or emergency response, enhancing 
the legitimacy of regional governments.

    Building relationships to meet global challenges. Whether we're 
remaining vigilant of the activities of Russia, China, and Iran, 
fostering greater regional and multinational cooperation against shared 
challenges, or reinforcing the rules-based international order, 
security partnerships are the foundation of everything we do. These 
partnerships--based on shared values, mutual respect, and principled 
U.S. and regional leadership--ensure our hemisphere remains a beacon of 
peace and prosperity.

Last year we integrated 18 different U.S. and
 regional NGO, private sector, and academic
 organizations into various exercises and
 humanitarian missions. In total, these groups
 provided $2.5 million in gifts-in-kind donations
 of services and goods like medicine and food.

    Strengthening interagency partnerships. Over the past year we have 
expanded our support to our interagency partners and fellow Combatant 
Commands to address the global challenges of Russia, China, and Iran. 
We work with the Intelligence Community and our diplomatic colleagues 
to build a better shared understanding of what they intend by their 
actions and how their activities in Latin America advance their 
respective global strategies. We routinely share information with U.S. 
European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), and 
USCENTCOM on issues of mutual interest and concern. We also contribute 
to Department of Defense-wide deliberations on our strategic approach 
to the Russian problem set, and to the USPACOM-led China Strategic 
Initiative (CSI) to inform whole-of-government efforts. In the coming 
year, USSOUTHCOM and USPACOM will host a meeting with our Allies and 
partners in Southeast Asia and South America to share information on 
Asia-Pacific security and transregional threat networks.
    Enabling partner nations. While our capacity building efforts help 
partner nations address immediate threats, over time we seek to 
encourage a network of capable partners who contribute to international 
security and advance shared principles like good governance and human 
rights. Chile is a regular participant in USPACOM's annual RIMPAC 
exercise and will assume a greater exercise leadership role in the 
future. Colombia is leading an effort to integrate a block of Pacific 
Alliance nations into the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, and is 
expanding defense cooperation with South Korea, Japan, and potentially 
Vietnam. Colombia has entered into a partnership agreement with NATO, 
and we are working closely together on deepening this cooperation. 
Brazil is deepening its maritime security cooperation with West Africa, 
focusing on countering illicit trade between the South American and 
African continents. Many nations in the hemisphere have joined many 
other regional leaders in supporting UN peacekeeping operations around 
the world, including the UN mission in Haiti. Through the Global Peace 
Operations Initiative (GPOI), we have helped sustain critical partner 
capabilities for Guatemala and Uruguay peacekeepers in the Democratic 
Republic of Congo and Haiti; helped El Salvador deploy helicopters to 
the UN mission in Mali; and supported Peruvian airfield engineers to 
the Central African Republic.
    In Colombia, the 52-year conflict has also left the country among 
the world's most heavily contaminated by landmines, improvised 
explosive devices (IED), and unexploded ordnance (UXO), which affect 31 
of Colombia's 32 departments. As part of an interagency effort, 
USSOUTHCOM's Humanitarian Mine Action program provides `train-the-
trainer' courses to instructors at the Colombian military's 
International Demining Training Center (CIDES), helping meet the 
Colombian government's goal by training 41 Army Platoons and 5 Marine 
Platoons. In this effort we are joined by the Department of State and 
the twenty other countries and European Union that came together as 
part of the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia. Humanitarian 
demining will spare thousands of additional victims, facilitate land 
restitution and resettlement of internally displaced persons, and help 
lay a foundation for rural economic opportunity--all essential steps 
for this valued partner to consolidate lasting peace. As they work 
through this process, Colombia and the Colombian people are counting on 
our steadfast commitment, and I thank the Congress for its continued 
support to this important bilateral partnership.

    We also promote the continued professionalization of regional 
defense and security institutions. Transparent, accountable militaries 
and security forces help reinforce good governance by being responsive 
to civil authority and respectful of the rule of law. They are also 
better able to resist unwelcome coercive pressure by state (and non-
state) actors. We have identified four key military imperatives to 
enhance professionalism in militaries across the region: respect for 
human rights; the institutionalization of a culture of enhanced 
`jointness;' \5\ the development of a professional non-commissioned 
officer (NCO) corps; and the pragmatic integration of gender 
perspectives into military operations. We consider these 
``imperatives,'' as these interlocking, interdependent, and mutually 
supporting characteristics are the hallmarks of modern security forces, 
the foundation for successful coalition operations, and the bedrock of 
legitimacy with civilian populations.
    \5\ As part of enhanced `jointness' we encourage our partners to 
embrace inter-service, interagency, and inter-organizational mindsets.
    We advance these four areas in several ways. Now in its 20th year, 
our landmark Human Rights Initiative brings together representatives of 
military, security forces, civilian government, and civil society to 
work together to develop and strengthen human rights programs within 
the region's armed forces. We continue to see significant progress in 
this area; Guatemala recently announced its military will begin to 
withdraw from civilian policing duties, an important step heralded by 
many human rights NGOs. Educational institutions like the Inter-
American Defense College (IADC), the William J. Perry Center for 
Hemispheric Defense Studies, and the Western Hemisphere Institute for 
Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) help our partners institutionalize these 
concepts and build their own network of civilian and military defense 
professionals. In Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Chile, and 
Colombia, our Defense Institution Building and Defense Institution 
Reform Initiative programs promote the development of effective 
institutions that embrace interagency, joint, and public-private 

Since its creation, the IADC has graduated 2,732
 students from 26 nations. Alumni from the region
 include 3 presidents, 31 Ministers of State, 11
 senior level government officials, and 775
 generals and admirals.

    Through our NCO development program, we supported the development 
of a Senior NCO Course in the Dominican Republic; the first designated 
Sergeant Major of the Army for Brazil and Chile; and joint senior 
enlisted meetings across multiple countries. We have also brought on a 
dedicated combat-proven Gender Integration Advisor to promote the 
inclusion of diverse perspectives in partner nation military 
operations. As part of this effort, we will host our second Women in 
the Military Conference in Guatemala, which will focus on effectively 
integrating fully trained and qualified military women into operational 
and peacekeeping units.
    Empowering public-private collaboration. We routinely engage with 
U.S. and regional academic centers and the private sector to discuss 
the implications of Chinese, Russian, and Iranian engagement in the 
region. This network of experts, economists, and business 
representatives can also help us, and our partners in the region, 
better understand potentially exploitative behavior by state and non-
state actors alike. We also hold regular dialogues with members of the 
human rights community, including routine outreach to influential (and 
often critical) NGOs. This frank exchange of perspectives helps us 
better understand and address NGO concerns, and has also led to 
improved NGO awareness and support of USSOUTHCOM's mission and human 
rights efforts.
    Our no-fail mission: detention operations. Although most of our 
efforts are focused on engaging with our partners in Latin America, we 
also continue the safe, humane, legal, and transparent care and custody 
of the remaining detainees at JTF-GTMO. As many members of Congress 
have witnessed firsthand, the medical and guard force at JTF-GTMO are 
not merely caring for these detainees; they are providing the best of 
care. Our troops in close contact with detainees face periodic assaults 
and threats to them and their families, yet they remain steadfast in 
their principled care and custody role. Every day they demonstrate the 
same discipline, professionalism, and integrity as they confront the 
same dangerous adversaries as our men and women fighting in 
Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the world. I know this 
Committee, our Secretary of Defense, and our President applaud their 
commitment and share my pride in these young troops serving in this 
enormously sensitive and demanding mission, and we thank you for your 
continued support.

     initiatives: harnessing innovation & taking care of our people
    To support our efforts, we've dedicated ourselves to becoming a 
platform for experimentation and innovation. We actively collaborate 
with our partner nations and the Services, and the defense technology 
enterprise, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense 
for Research and Engineering and the Defense Innovation Unit 
Experimental (DIUx), private industry, and academia to test a range of 
technologies in the region. These collaborations have yielded some 
promising and ongoing experimentation with unmanned platforms, advanced 
sensor and communications systems, and small spacecraft technologies.
    In addition to embracing a culture of innovation, we're 
implementing several initiatives to improve how we support our team 
members. We deeply value the investment made by our partners in 
strengthening hemispheric cooperation by placing foreign liaison 
officers in our headquarters and subordinate staffs. We do not take 
those partnerships for granted, and are doing everything we can to 
strengthen and deepen them. We now include our partner nation liaison 
officers in many of our operations and intelligence briefings. Along 
those same lines, we are also expanding the use of communication 
platforms in our multinational exercises to improve real-time 
information sharing with participating partner nations and Allies.
    At USSOUTHCOM our people are more than just our most important 
asset; our people are largely our only assets and they are absolutely 
essential to our ability to do our mission. Previous reductions have 
had a disproportionate impact on our ability to engage with the region 
and within the U.S. Government. As an example, without intervention or 
staff realignment, we will soon have no liaisons placed with several 
key interagency partners--something I'm committed to fixing. So while 
we are not seeking to expand our headquarters staff, we are seeking to 
strengthen it. In an effort to improve interagency integration, we are 
committed to finding the right people from within our headquarters to 
serve as liaison officers across different agencies in the U.S. 
Government and in regional information-sharing centers. Not only does 
this improve awareness and collaboration, but also realigns our 
headquarters staff to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. We're also 
working to develop an agile workforce by equipping our team with 
skillsets and technologies needed to address complex challenges.
    As we continue adapting to the evolving security environment and 
supporting efforts to enhance the defense-in-depth of our Southwest 
border, I will work with Congress to secure our southern approaches and 
enable our regional partners to address our common challenges. We 
appreciate the greater flexibility provided in the FY17 National 
Defense Authorization Act, as well as this Committee's efforts to 
codify the counterdrug authorities that are so critical to our efforts 
in the Western Hemisphere. We are concerned, however about some 
potential negative impacts these changes may have on our ability to 
equip our partner nations. We look forward to working with the 
Committee to ensure we minimize disruption to these effective programs 
that help build a layered defense of our homeland, and to discussing 
the best ways to support an effective counter-threat network approach.
    As this Committee knows, USSOUTHCOM has historically received 
minimal allocated and assigned forces. Until capabilities like 
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), maritime support 
platforms; and analysis of open source/publicly available information 
(PAI) no longer outpace supply, commercial alternatives will remain the 
only immediately feasible options available to USSOUTHCOM.
    Mr. Chairman, I'd like to provide a more detailed overview of our 
main requirements.
    Countering threat networks. A critical element of dismantling 
threat networks involves affecting their financial and transportation 
sub-networks. Cocaine remains a source of enormous profit for many 
networks operating in the region, but we face significant limitations 
in stopping the deluge of drugs that reach our shores and streets. As 
this Committee knows, USSOUTHCOM has traditionally faced significant 
resource constraints. For the past several years, our Intelligence, 
Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and other force requirements have 
not been met due to competing global priorities. We have felt these 
impacts most acutely in our Detection and Monitoring (D&M) mission, 
where we have long received less than a quarter of our maritime and 
airborne requirements. The consequence is well-known to this Committee: 
although JIATF South detected a record amount of cocaine moving in the 
maritime domain last year, they were unable to target 75 percent of 
validated events due to a shortage of forces. That equates to hundreds 
of tons of additional cocaine on our streets, and nodes in that network 
that continue to operate rather than face disruption and prosecution. 
To that end, we greatly appreciate the additional funding from the 
Congress that allowed us to work with the U.S. Air Force to purchase 
contract aircraft to off-set the loss of Maritime Patrol Aircraft 
    Our detection and monitoring challenges are due in part to the low 
number of U.S. Navy platforms available to support JIATF South's 
mission. Since 2007, Navy long and medium range ship allocation has 
steadily decreased. The last time we were above 1.0 was 2014--and not 
by much. Since 2015, when the Navy's frigates were decommissioned, we 
have averaged a Navy presence of less than .50. Under the Commandant's 
superb leadership, our Coast Guard partners are doing everything they 
can, punching well above their weight by helping us partially fulfill a 
portion of our Title 10 detection and monitoring obligations. The USCG, 
however, cannot be the indefinite bill-payer for our statutory mission. 
This Committee is well aware of the maritime platform gaps we have 
experienced for the past few years. In the near term, we are exploring 
non-traditional alternatives to fill these requirements until more 
Littoral Combat Ships are in the fleet and available for assignment to 

    A biometrics machine, similar to this one used in a board, search 
and seizure exercise aboard the USS Jason Dunham, is used to confirm 
identity. This technology catches people using fraudulent passports to 
travel and exposes criminal records. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass 
Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deven B. King/Released)
    To effectively counter threat networks, we need two types of tools: 
interoperable, multi-domain, tools that help us understand the 
environment, capture weak signals, and anticipate change (all-source 
intelligence capabilities and analysis); and tools that help us conduct 
sustained engagement and build capacity (Civil Affairs, MISO, medical 
teams, SOF capabilities, and SCO personnel). We also require biometrics 
equipment to identify and track individuals who may represent security 
threats; biometrics analytical capability to process, exploit and 
disseminate biometric collected data; and visualization technology to 
better coordinate and integrate operations with our partners. With 
these capabilities, we can do more than just chase after shifting 
trafficking routes or disrupt illicit commodities--we can have a more 
lasting and transformative effect countering the networks doing those 
activities. We also need staying power on land and at sea. A sustained 
Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) deployment and 
maritime forces would generate endurance and increase reach and impact 
in all of our counter-network operations. Given its dual use that 
supports both rapid response and countering threat networks, the 
SPMAGTF is extremely valuable, and we greatly appreciate Congressional 
support to the U.S. Marine Corps to resource this multi-mission force.
    As the Congress takes steps to address border security, I urge 
Members not to forget about the Caribbean. Like our USNORTHCOM 
partners, we are concerned by the vulnerability of this ``Third 
Border''--the Caribbean, where documented cocaine flow is the highest 
in 10 years. Improved security along the U.S.-Mexico border will likely 
increase security challenges in the Caribbean. Our island nation 
partners are ill-equipped to deal with an influx of threat networks and 
our force limitations hinder our ability to fully secure the Caribbean 
from illicit flows of SIAs, weapons, and narcotics.
    On a related note, our current long-distance radar solution in the 
Caribbean and Central America--the Relocatable Over-The-Horizon Radar 
(ROTHR) radar system--faces operational challenges. I am becoming very 
concerned over the construction of several hundred wind turbines as 
part of wind farms in Virginia and Texas. These farms could, and likely 
will, adversely impact our radar systems that provide a critical 
detection and monitoring capability to track illicit aircraft. This 
interference will degrade our capability to use these same systems to 
detect and track threat network operations in the maritime domain. We 
are working within the Department of Defense and with developers and 
stakeholders to develop potential mitigation solutions and exploring 
alternative technical solutions. Current law, however, dictates the 
Department assume the operational risk as well as the cost burden for 
testing, modeling, and risk mitigation for these types of projects--a 
potentially unlimited drain on resources.
    I would also like to go on record to express my unqualified support 
for resourcing our U.S. law enforcement, diplomatic, and development 
partners. Effectively securing our southern approaches requires a true 
team effort. The Department of Defense is just one contributor to the 
counter-network fight in the Caribbean and Americas; DHS, the 
Department of Justice, the Department of State, the USAID, and members 
of our Intelligence Community are key for any lasting success. 
Degrading threat networks requires effective partner nation law 
enforcement, judicial, and prison systems. A balanced package that 
includes assistance to strengthen governance, economic development, 
intelligence, and security is needed, as well as comprehensive efforts 
to stem our country's insatiable demand for illicit goods.
    Preparing to and responding to disasters and crises. Unfortunately, 
previous budget constraints on the Department of Defense's Combatant 
Commanders Exercise and Engagement (CE2) Program have forced us to 
reduce or significantly de-scope our exercise program. This impacts the 
readiness of our force and limits our ability to build and strengthen 
relationships. It's also a missed opportunity to project U.S. presence, 
which can affect the calculations of threat networks and potential 
competitors alike.
    When it comes to presence, the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay 
plays a major role in the interception, screening, and repatriation of 
migrants as well as a place of protection for those who have a credible 
fear of persecution. It is also a critical distribution and staging 
area for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the 
Caribbean, as well as logistical support for forces conducting our 
detection and monitoring mission. Similarly, Soto Cano Air Base--which 
houses JTF-Bravo, Special Operations Forces, and the SPMAGTF 
headquarters--provides our only forward presence in Central America and 
allows us to efficiently support willing regional partners, provide 
continuous, adaptive support to counter-network operations, and respond 
immediately to natural disasters. Both these assets are critical to 
USSOUTHCOM, and we thank the Committee for its support to their 
continued operations and for the additional MILCON to address migrant 
operations at Guantanamo.
    Given the minimal forces traditionally allocated to USSOUTHCOM, it 
would be impossible for us to respond effectively to a crisis absent 
the depth and breadth of expertise available via U.S. Transportation 
Command's Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC). I would like to 
go on record expressing my unqualified support for this capability. Any 
move to disestablish and redistribute those resources back to 
individual Combatant Commands could deprive USSOUTHCOM of this 
invaluable resource.
    As this Committee knows, the U.S. military's unique capabilities, 
while exceptional, play a small role of short duration in any disaster 
response. We appreciate the support of the Congress to USAID, whose 
OFDA office provides our nation's frontline responders. These partners 
are the appropriate lead for addressing humanitarian crises and long-
term development challenges that affect regional stability.
    Building relationships to meet global challenges. Programs like 
Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Foreign Military Sales (FMS), and 
International Military Education and Training (IMET) will remain 
foundational tools for building partner capacity, sustaining trust, and 
improving interoperability. Compared with the U.S. defense industry, 
Russian and Chinese arms are less reliable, significantly less capable, 
and come with almost non-existent maintenance or logistical support. 
They beat us handily, however, when it comes to faster and more 
efficient procurement.
    IMET is a critical program in this region that helps build a 
network of former students who understand our approach, share our 
values, and are willing and eager to work with us. Every seat in one of 
our courses is an opportunity to build partnerships with a new 
generation of leaders. The IMET experience also demonstrates that what 
we build lasts and that we are committed to the long-term investment of 
developing strong regional institutions.
    Detention Operations. Troop housing for our JTF-Guantanamo forces 
remains a priority concern. The facilities still fail to meet 
standards, and routinely suffer leaks and structural damage with every 
passing storm. While we escaped the brunt of Hurricane Matthew last 
year, a direct hit (even by a Category 2 storm) will have significant 
consequences. Our men and women deserve better.
    Mr. Chairman, some may ask if we can afford to remain engaged in 
Latin America, especially given the scope of challenges we face across 
the world. I believe, quite frankly, that we can't afford not to. To 
echo Secretary Mattis' statements during his confirmation hearing, 
``islands of stability in our hemisphere are under attack by non-state 
actors and nations that mistakenly see their security in the insecurity 
of others.'' \6\ As I said earlier, when it comes to this region, we 
have a choice. With the support of the Members of this Committee, I am 
confident we will choose wisely. Thank you for your continued support 
to the men and women of USSOUTHCOM as they work to defend our southern 
approaches. I stand ready to answer your questions and look forward to 
our discussion.
    \6\ James N. Mattis, Nomination Hearing Statement before the Senate 
Armed Services Committee

    Chairman McCain. Thank you very much, Admiral.
    General Robinson, North Korea tested another medium-range 
ballistic missile this week. Kim Jong-un, known to some as the 
crazy, fat kid, has stated his intention to test an ICBM. How 
confident are you that you can intercept a North Korean ICBM 
targeting the Homeland?
    General Robinson. Senator McCain, I am extremely confident 
of our capability to defend the United States of America and be 
able to intercept an ICBM should it reach our Homeland. Right 
now, as you know, he cannot reach our Homeland, but I am 
confident, should he do that.
    Chairman McCain. Admiral Tidd, your predecessor once 
testified before the Homeland Security Committee that he 
watches drug trafficking take place, particularly in the 
Caribbean, but does not have the equipment and funding 
necessary to intercept some of that drug trafficking. What is 
your assessment of your ability to intercept and stop drug 
trafficking that you can see but do not have the capability to 
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, we continue to have those 
shortfalls. We continue to be able to see a significant amount 
of traffic heading towards the Central American peninsula. 
Unfortunately, we only have the resources to be able to 
intercept about 25 percent.
    Chairman McCain. Would you supply for the record what you 
need in order to be able to intercept 100 percent?
    Admiral Tidd. Simply put, more ships, more aircraft.
    Chairman McCain. Again, would you be a little more 
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, sir. For the record, we will provide the 
exact calculations.
    [The information referred to follows:]

    Admiral Tidd. [Deleted.]

    Chairman McCain. I think we all know that there is an 
epidemic of fatalities due to some of these drugs being used by 
more and more Americans such as oxycontin, et cetera. So I 
think it is even more important now for us to have the ability 
to intercept these drug shipments.
    Are you seeing an increase or decrease or the same?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, we are seeing the volume continuing 
to go up. We are seeing some significant improvement on the 
part of some of our partner nations in their ability to be able 
to conduct intercepts. But we still watch far more go by than 
we can actually act on.
    Chairman McCain. The volume of what drugs have you seen?
    Admiral Tidd. We are focusing on cocaine. That is what we 
principally see because it departs the SOUTHCOM region and 
heads north, but we are also aware that these threat networks 
that I spoke of previously are also actively engaged in the 
movement of precursor chemicals that produce the other drugs 
that you mentioned.
    Chairman McCain. In the NDAA, we called for greater 
cooperation with our military assets with our Border Patrol and 
other civilian agencies of government. Have we seen any 
progress in that area, General Robinson?
    General Robinson. Sir, I would say we actually have. In 
fact, last summer when I went down on the southwest border, I 
saw Marine Corps ground sensor platoons providing information 
to Border Patrol folks. I saw UASs on the border.
    Chairman McCain. Drones?
    General Robinson. Drones on the border providing 
intelligence capability, and I watched Army reconnaissance 
    Chairman McCain. Are you satisfied with the level of the 
use and cooperative effort, understanding we have posse 
comitatus and we do not put our military in direct contact, but 
we are utilizing the assets of the military as well as we 
    General Robinson. Sir, we are looking at ways, how can we 
continue to maximize our capability and capacity. I am working 
very closely with Army North Commander, Jeff Buchanan, 
specifically with Fort Huachuca and the drone capability and 
capacity there.
    Chairman McCain. Finally--and both of you may answer--if we 
continue sequestration, what does that do to your ability to 
carry out these responsibilities? I am specifically speaking 
about this flood of Mexican manufactured heroin, opioids, and 
others that are creating havoc in some parts of our society. 
Whichever one. Admiral Tidd?
    Admiral Tidd. In our case, anything that restricts the 
ability of the services to provide forces----
    Chairman McCain. Yes, but I am talking about sequestration 
    Admiral Tidd. Sequestration will further limit the ability 
of the services to provide any resources to us.
    Chairman McCain. General?
    General Robinson. Sir, I totally work closely with the 
interagency, and so anything that takes away from----
    Chairman McCain. I am talking about sequestration 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Chairman McCain. What are the effects of it on your ability 
to carry out your mission?
    General Robinson. Sir, the President nominated me and you 
confirmed me to defend the Homeland. If I looked at what the 
United States Air Force talks about in their ability to provide 
pilot capability, trained, ready pilots to defend the United 
States of America and in a year or so, they will be down 1,000 
pilots, will I be able to have the aircraft availability that I 
need to.
    If I look at ballistic missile defense and our ability to 
look at long-range discriminating radar and the capabilities as 
we move forward, I get concerned that that will have an effect 
on that.
    Those would be two things that I would say to you 
    Chairman McCain. Thank you.
    Senator Reed?
    Senator Reed. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, Admiral Tidd and General Robinson, for your 
service. Please thank the men and women who every day support 
you and support us.
    Your commands depend significantly on other federal 
agencies. You both brought up the issue of drugs infiltration 
to the United States. That involves the Treasury Department in 
terms of going after the financial backers that are involved. 
Obviously, Homeland Security, the Coast Guard. Those are the 
ships I think you are talking about, Admiral, in terms of the 
more ships you need. They are not Navy ships. They are Coast 
Guard ships and aircraft.
    We have to reduce the demand. That means health care in the 
United States so that someone who has a problem does not go to 
the street and get drugs. They go to a health clinic and get 
rehabilitation, one hopes.
    So the point I would ask both Admiral Tidd and General 
Robinson is just the essential need to adequately fund and 
resources for other agencies that you work with. Is that 
essential to your mission? That is, even if we gave you 
everything you asked for, if you did not have those other 
components, you could not accomplish your mission.
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, that is correct. Particularly in the 
SOUTHCOM region, it is a team effort, and that team requires 
significant contributions to be made by the State Department, 
by the intelligence community, by our federal law enforcement 
agencies. The Department of Homeland Security is probably our 
staunchest ally in the work that we do. As I point out 
frequently, because of the commitment of Navy ships to other 
regions around the world, my Navy in the SOUTHCOM region all 
has white hulls and orange stripes. We could not do our job 
without the U.S. Coast Guard.
    Senator Reed. Thank you.
    General Robinson, your comments?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. If you go back to Admiral 
Tidd's conversation about the networks and understanding about 
the commodity on the network, I want to understand what the 
commodity is on the network because everything I do to 
illuminate it, the disruption part of it comes to other lead 
federal agencies, whether it is DHS or CBP or whomever, and so 
any cuts that any of those folks take does not allow that 
disruption and end game of what happens to the information that 
I provide to them. So it is incredibly important as a team that 
we bring this together.
    Senator Reed. Thank you very much.
    Admiral Tidd, one of the interesting things in your 
testimony and in our discussions is the presence of China and 
Russia. It is interesting that Russia has built an 
international police training facility in Nicaragua so that 
they are actively training Nicaraguans. That is a surprise to 
me because that used to be sort of a no-go zone. The only 
trainers were the United States.
    But the point is that it comes down to matching and 
exceeding that with our IMET program, which is a State 
Department program. Is that a fair judgment?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, programs like IMET that you 
mentioned are critical to our ability to build the partnerships 
with the countries throughout the region to ensure that they 
have the trained individuals. It also creates partners who have 
a profound understanding of the United States because they come 
and they spend time in our schools. It pays enormous dividends. 
It is an investment often that does not pay off for 10 or 20 or 
sometimes 30 years, but it is an incredible investment in 
future relationships for our countries.
    We do watch closely what Russia and China and Iran are up 
to. They are countries that are countries of global concern, 
and it is important that we pay attention to what they do here 
in this theater.
    Senator Reed. Just a final question, Admiral Tidd, if I 
could. Venezuela is under huge pressure because of economics, 
politics, everything. Can you give us sort of a sense of the 
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, the entire region is watching 
closely what happens in Venezuela. As you are well aware, when 
I mention the word ``Venezuela,'' tomorrow in the newspapers of 
Caracas will be stories that USSOUTHCOM is engaged in 
operations against Venezuela. Nothing could be further from the 
truth, but the reality is that the enormous economic 
instability that is taking place in Venezuela affects the 
entire region. The OAS is watching that very closely and taking 
very, I think, important action.
    Senator Reed. Just quickly. Are there Chinese, Russian 
interests in Venezuela? Would they take advantage of that type 
of disruption?
    Admiral Tidd. Both countries have significant economic 
involvement in Venezuela, and it would be difficult to imagine 
that they would not look to take advantage of further 
instability in that country.
    Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Inhofe?
    Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Robinson, first of all, I am sure that you 
developed your horse skills during your tenure as the wing 
commander at Tinker Air Force Base. It has obviously come in 
    As I mentioned to you when you were in my office, I wanted 
to lay the groundwork for a question that I think is 
significant. Before this committee, General David Mann had 
said, and this is his quote. He said that there are nearly 30 
countries that possess ballistic missile capability. Together 
these countries have approximately 50 different variants of 
ballistic missiles. Additionally, there are currently 13 new 
intermediate-range and 8 intercontinental ballistic missile 
variants under development.
    Now, in 2009, the administration cut the missile defense 
budget by $1.4 billion, and then ultimately terminated the 
system that had been set up in both the Czech Republic and 
Poland for a ground-based interceptor. They terminated the 
multiple-kill vehicle and decreased the number of ground-based 
interceptors from 44 to 30.
    Now, you testified that the MDA [Missile Defense Agency] is 
really doing four things right now. One would be to increase 
the interceptors back to 44 from 30; secondly, upgrading the 
ground system hardware and software; number three, continuing 
development efforts on the re-designed kill vehicle; and number 
four, to deploy the long-range radar.
    Now, my question would be, do you think that these actions 
are sufficient to overcome the problems that you and I talked 
about and that you mentioned in your opening statement, if you 
do these things like additional improved sensors, additional 
improved ground-based interceptors? What else needs to be done, 
or is this enough?
    General Robinson. Well, sir, first of all, Happy Quail 
Breakfast Day. I apologize for not being there.
    Senator Inhofe. It is our 55th consecutive year I might 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir, I know that, and it is a 
wonderful event.
    I believe the MDA strategy as they have laid out, improving 
the sensors for better discrimination, improving the 
reliability of the kill vehicle, and then looking at the number 
of ground-based interceptors is exactly the strategy that we 
should go based on what we see today.
    Senator Inhofe. I appreciate that.
    Admiral Tidd, I think it is safe to say that the under-
resourced commands would be your command and AFRICOM. That is 
my opinion. Do you agree with that?
    Admiral Tidd. I do.
    Senator Inhofe. If you look at some of the programs--and 
Senator Reed mentioned the IMET [International Military 
Education & Training] program. I often look at these programs 
in the under-resourced area of AFRICOM such as the IMET 
program, which I have always thought is great. Once you develop 
a relationship at that stage of the careers of individuals, you 
got them. The obvious point is if we do not do it, China will.
    Secondly, the foreign military sales and foreign military 
financing. Is that something that should be expanded?
    So on those two programs, what do you think can be 
expanded, and are there any barriers to you from being able to 
expand those programs?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, I think that the IMET program, as 
you describe, is probably one of the single most important, 
long-term investments that we can make in establishing 
positive, constructive relationships based on trust with our 
partners. There is nothing like an officer coming or a senior 
enlisted coming and studying in our schools and living in the 
United States and experiencing for themselves all that this 
country represents to be able to counteract the sometimes 
negative messages that they might see in the international 
press. When we have those opportunities, they are absolutely 
priceless. They pay off because we see time after time after 
time, particularly throughout our region, the senior military 
leaders of many of the services in the countries have trained 
in the United States. They have lived in our country. They know 
who we are. Frankly, I think our country and our culture sells 
itself. So I cannot place enough value on a program like IMET. 
We could always use more.
    One of the challenges is it is like most of the resources 
allocated based on a regional prioritization, and SOUTHCOM 
typically comes in at the bottom of that prioritization.
    Senator Inhofe. What about barriers to you improving these 
    Admiral Tidd. Thus far, we have not run into any other 
barriers except that we run out of money.
    Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Shaheen?
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you both for being here and for your service to this 
    You both mentioned the threats that transnational crime 
networks pose to the United States and to global stability for 
that matter. Admiral Tidd, you started out with a story about 
drug traffickers, which we have seen very directly in the State 
of New Hampshire where the heroin and opioid epidemic is a huge 
threat where we have the third highest overdose rate in the 
country. As Senator McCain pointed out, your predecessor talked 
about his inability to be able to intercept some of those 
traffickers because he did not have the equipment and the 
resources to do that.
    Can you talk about what you are doing currently to work 
with authorities in this country to intercept those drug 
    Admiral Tidd. I will address the southern most part of that 
point, and then I would defer to General Robinson to address as 
it comes closer to our border.
    Because we recognize the shortfall in U.S. platforms 
available to conduct the detection and monitoring mission, that 
is one of the reasons why we have shifted our focus from 
exclusively on the commodity itself to a focus on the networks 
that engage in the trafficking, thinking that if we can focus 
on those networks and find the areas where the networks overlap 
and then working with partner nations so that their law 
enforcement or their military or, in some cases, our U.S. 
federal law enforcement agencies have the authorities to be 
able to engage in that end game, we use our abilities to build 
the picture and then to share that picture in a way that can be 
used by those with the authorities to be able to conduct the 
disruption action.
    We think that by building a stronger interagency team that 
we will be able to apply pressure across the length and the 
breadth of the networks, recognizing that we may not directly 
touch the networks that are directly responsible for the 
movement of the opioids that are wreaking such havoc in your 
State but that any pressure that we apply across these networks 
will have a beneficial effect across the length and breadth.
    General Robinson. So, ma'am, you heard Admiral Tidd talk 
about that. One thing I think that is incredibly important for 
you and this committee to know, that Admiral Tidd and I meet 
about every other month to sit down and discuss what he just 
talked about. So the information that he has and that he is 
sharing with the lead federal agencies with his partner nations 
is the same information that I am sharing. So as we stood in 
Guatemala and the river that defined the barrier between 
Guatemala and Mexico, that information does not stop at that 
    If you think about it then as a larger network, the things 
that he shares with my staff and my folks, whether it is intel 
sharing at border points, whether it is building partnership 
capacity to help partner nations, or whether it is direct 
linkages with Border Patrol and DHS, that information that he 
gets, that I get, that I provide either to lead federal 
agencies or partner nations so that they can take care of 
business at the end game.
    This relationship between the two of us is very strong, and 
we have a third partner that we bring into it, General Tony 
Thomas of Special Operations Command, to talk to us what is 
happening overseas to help inform that larger network.
    Senator Shaheen. The National Guard has a counter-drug task 
force that has provided critical support to law enforcement in 
New Hampshire. Do you all work with that counter-drug task 
force with the Guard as well?
    General Robinson. Ma'am, we work very closely with the 
Guard. The information that we get that I provide to lead 
federal agencies goes out to other agencies throughout the 
    Senator Shaheen. When you and I met yesterday--and I 
appreciated the opportunity to sit down with you--one of the 
things we talked about was the northern border and the fact 
that what we have seen in New Hampshire is that there are some 
drugs going back and forth across our northern border as well, 
and I think that is less well known.
    General Robinson. Yes, ma'am. Again, I would say, as I 
mentioned yesterday, we have a very close relationship with the 
lead federal agencies in Canada as well with us. So that 
information not just stops at our southern border, but also 
goes to our northern border to share with our partners there.
    Senator Shaheen. Thank you.
    Just quickly. I am almost out of time, but I know you 
talked yesterday and again today in response to Senator Inhofe 
about sensors and kill vehicles and the need to continue with 
those programs. Are there any other improvements that you think 
we should take in order to address missile defense given North 
Korea's rising capabilities?
    General Robinson. Ma'am, I think we are on a very good, 
solid track where we are going and the strategy that we have 
today. Again, I would urge for a budget to have predictability 
so we can keep on that track.
    Senator Shaheen. I agree. Thanks very much.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Rounds?
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Admiral Tidd and General Robinson, first of all, let me 
thank you both for your service to our country.
    General Robinson, on page 12 of your statement, you say the 
increased standoff capability, low altitude, and small radar 
signature of cruise missiles make defending against them a 
technical and operational challenge. Yet, in the very next 
sentence, you say I am confident in a layered approach provided 
by our family of systems to conduct cruise missile defense.
    What is this layered family of systems that we would be 
using in cruise missile defense? If you could describe those 
family members for me, please.
    General Robinson. Sir, I would tell you it comes on two 
approaches. If you look on the northern approach from Russia 
over Canada and Alaska, we are doing an analysis of 
alternatives to upgrade the radars that are there so that we 
can be able to detect, track, identify, and if necessary, 
engage at ranges to defend Canada and the United States.
    Senator Rounds. These are land-based radar systems.
    General Robinson. Sir, right now they are, but what I have 
done from a requirements process is defined, hey, I want to be 
able to do that at ranges to defend. I do not want to just say 
upgrade my radar because then you do not allow the people that 
think differently or different ways to look at that problem. So 
that is from the northern approach.
    Now here in the National Capital Region is the first part 
where we have sensors and capability here in the National 
Capital Region. If I go back out and then I look at my F-16's 
with the AESA radars and the ability to use them to be able to 
detect at longer ranges, we can do that.
    Senator Rounds. These are found in Block 50's?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. I think it is Block 50's. All I 
have asked for the requirement is to be AESA radars. So we can 
be able to detect at ranges but, most importantly, sir, to be 
able to identify at ranges to be able to defend the National 
Capital Region.
    Then the last part of the layer for phase one is to what 
kind of radar or what kind of capability can I get to be able 
to look at longer ranges out over the eastern part of the 
United States and the ocean to be able to detect at even 
    So those are some of the layers that I talk about.
    As we go further, phase two and three is now more part of 
the country.
    Senator Rounds. I understand.
    You did not mention the F-15C models. Do they play into the 
when defending against the cruise missile threat?
    General Robinson. The F-15's? Yes, sir, they play into 
defending where in the United States. Yes, sir.
    Senator Rounds. My understanding is that there is a 
possibility that we will be looking at perhaps reducing the 
number of F-15C's due to the increasing costs of maintaining 
the structural integrity of that aircraft between now and the 
year 2020. Is that figured into your plans?
    General Robinson. Sir, from the conversations that I have 
had with the Air Force, which have been very small, I know that 
that is something they are looking at. Obviously, my voice 
would come into this to make sure that we have enough capacity 
to defend the United States from an air threat.
    Senator Rounds. What is the split between the number of F-
15's that you have available versus the current number of Block 
50 or the F-16's that have the appropriate radar in them today?
    General Robinson. Sir, I do not have that number. I will 
take it for the record.
    Senator Rounds. Would you please?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir, I will.
    [The information referred to follows:]

    General Robinson. The U.S. Air Force provides NORAD with Aerospace 
Control Alert (ACA) alert fighter aircraft. 58 of the USAF F-15C 
aircraft are equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) 
radar. At this time, no NORAD ACA F-16 aircraft are equipped with AESA 
Radar. The U.S. Air Force is in the process of modifying an additional 
47 F-15C ACA aircraft with AESA radar. In addition, the NORAD Joint 
Emergent Operational Need (JEON) for all 72 ACA F-16s was fully funded 
in H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. Phase 1 of 
the NORAD JEON is scheduled to modify 24 aircraft (8 aircraft at the 
first three ACA bases). The first three ACA bases to receive AESA 
radars in Phase 1 are: 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City Air National 
Guard Base, NJ (F-16 Block 30); 113th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Andrews, 
MD (F-16 Block 30); and 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National 
Guard Base, SC (F-16 Block 52). In Phase 2 of the AESA fielding plan, 
48 additional F-16 ACA aircraft (of various Blocks, including 30, 40, 
and 42) from NORAD's other main operating bases will be modified with 
the AESA radar.

    Senator Rounds. I am just curious. Is there a plan in place 
to begin using F-35A's in the middle of this for this 
particular defense system?
    General Robinson. Sir, I know as the Air Force brings the 
F-35's on board, that will be a conversation that we will have, 
making sure that I have the right capability and the right 
capacity to defend in the air domain.
    Senator Rounds. The reason that I ask is it appears to me 
that this is one of the more serious threats that we have with 
air-launched cruise missiles. The second part is you have 
currently got F-15's and apparently there is some concern about 
their long-term viability. Your F-16's, which you have right 
now--you have got Block 30's, Block 40's and some Block 50's I 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Rounds. The Block 40's which we have in South 
Dakota may very well be--if properly equipped with the 
appropriate radar, may very well be stand-in or at least be 
capable of handling part of that as the F-15's go on.
    I guess I am getting back down to is that part of the 
discussion that you are having, or are we not that far along?
    General Robinson. We are not that far along. The Air Force 
I think is just looking into that. As I can tell you, sir, I 
will assure you my voice will be a part of that conversation 
because of the importance of defending in the air domain the 
United States. Those are the capabilities that I use.
    Senator Rounds. Thank you.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Rounds. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Peters?
    Senator Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you to our witnesses. I appreciate, Admiral Tidd and 
General Robinson, your patriotism and your work in a very 
difficult job, and you do it with distinction. Thank you so 
    First, Admiral Tidd, I want to have you kind of elaborate a 
little more on a point that you brought up to a question that 
Senator Reed asked related to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 
addition, to serving on this committee, I am the ranking member 
of a subcommittee that oversees the Coast Guard and am very 
concerned, as I know you have expressed, with some potential 
budget cuts for the Coast Guard.
    I would like you to elaborate a little more on what I think 
is a very powerful statement that you made that your Navy has 
white hulls and orange stripes, as to the impact that the Coast 
Guard has. Certainly we need to protect their resources so they 
continue to execute that mission. But I would like you to go a 
step further as to what additional resources do you think would 
be necessary for them to enhance their capabilities to support 
    You have talked in your testimony about how this maritime 
border is certainly one that we have to pay a great deal of 
attention to, and perhaps our discussion should not be about 
defending funding for the Coast Guard. It should be about 
additional resources they need or could use to supplement the 
great work that you are doing now.
    Admiral Tidd. Well, Senator, obviously, I would defer to 
the expertise of the Commandant of the Coast Guard in terms of 
building the plan that would be required. But as I have said 
before, because of higher priority commitments for U.S. Navy 
warships in other parts of the world, the U.S. Coast Guard has 
surged additional capacity, almost doubling the number of 
cutters devoted to the USSOUTHCOM region. I know that that is a 
challenging responsibility that they are shouldering. We are 
very concerned that we are already shorthanded in the number of 
ships that we have available on the high seas and the Caribbean 
and in the eastern Pacific to be able to deal with the known 
cases of movement along those pathways. My concern is that the 
Coast Guard be able to continue to meet the commitments that 
they have established.
    Senator Peters. Well, I appreciate that.
    In your written testimony, you discussed as well the impact 
of your Navy ships in the area, and you talk about exploring 
nontraditional alternatives to fill these requirements until 
more littoral combat ships are in the fleet.
    Could you describe some of these nontraditional 
alternatives and also explain how they may compare to the 
capabilities of the littoral combat ship?
    Admiral Tidd. Not having yet had the luxury of having a 
littoral combat ship down in our region, I cannot tell you 
exactly how it would compare. But what we are trying to do is 
sensors on other types of platforms that come down there to be 
able to share information, working very closely with our 
partner nations, ensuring that they have the capability to be 
able to be out and to operate in the seas. We have tremendous 
support provided by other countries that also have interest in 
the region. For instance, France, the Netherlands, and Canada 
all periodically provide warships that contribute to that 
    But I very much look forward to the arrival of the first 
littoral combat ships in our theater. I think they have 
capabilities that are ideally suited for the theater that we 
are talking about.
    Senator Peters. Very good.
    General Robinson, also talking about Coast Guard assets but 
in the area of responsibility that you have, which is the 
Arctic, and the receding ice and the opening up of those sea 
lanes and the very significant Russian presence that exists up 
there. Could you speak a little bit about the importance of the 
U.S. Coast Guard in the Arctic region and how assets certainly 
cannot be reduced? In fact, we should be thinking about having 
a larger presence to counter a growing Russian presence.
    General Robinson. Sir, I would tell you that the Coast 
Guard presence in the Arctic is very important. If you recall, 
last summer, the cruise ship, Crystal Serenity, that went 
through for the first time having a cruise ship go through the 
Arctic, it talks about the need for the Coast Guard there in 
the Arctic. So I certainly support the Coast Guard and all 
their endeavors to be a part of that.
    Senator Peters. Great. Thank you very much.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Ernst?
    Senator Ernst. Thank you, Admiral. Thank you both for being 
here, Admiral Tidd, General Robinson. Thank you so much for the 
great work that you are doing on behalf of NORTHCOM and 
    Admiral Tidd, I will start with you and want to thank you. 
I see that the great State of Iowa has been able to provide yet 
a second sergeant major to SOUTHCOM. We are pleased that you 
are both here with us.
    I did appreciate meeting with you last week--last month. 
Excuse me. We had a very good conversation. During that 
conversation, you brought up the fact that you have seen more 
activities from the Russians. You mentioned that just a little 
bit earlier, as well as some other countries. You stated that 
it may not be with a military bent, but that there were some 
other activities that they were engaging in. Can you enlighten 
us as to the types of activities you are seeing from the 
Russians and why that would be of a national security interest 
to us?
    Admiral Tidd. Thank you, Senator.
    We have seen the deployment of ships, particularly frequent 
deployment of intelligence collection ships, that we know 
operate frequently on the east coast of the United States and 
then spend time down in the Caribbean. We have seen 
periodically the deployment of long-range aviation that comes 
down and spends a bit of time down in our theater.
    But probably of greater long-term concern is the very 
aggressive arms sales programs where Russia is down and talking 
with our traditional partners and attempting to displace the 
United States as the partner of choice.
    The part that I think is most troubling is we see they are 
engaged in a very aggressive misinformation campaign, basically 
peddling the story that the United States is not a reliable 
partner in Latin America, that we are not interested in the 
region, and that we are withdrawing from the region. It is 
troubling because of resource constraints that we have had and 
the requirement for the number of forces available in our 
theater. As that has declined, that plays directly into that 
narrative that Russia has been peddling.
    So these are relationships that we have with strong 
partners, and it is just up to us to be able to prove that we 
are the partner of choice.
    Senator Ernst. So not only do we need to maintain a 
presence there, but we also need to reinforce our own message 
to those areas.
    Admiral Tidd. Absolutely.
    Senator Ernst. Admiral Tidd, in February of 2017, the 
Associated Press reported that Trinidad and Tobago has become 
the largest per capita source of ISIS recruits in the western 
hemisphere. According to the report, as many as 125 fighters 
have traveled from the island to ISIS-controlled areas over the 
past 4 years.
    So are you concerned about the rise of ISIS [Islamic State 
of Iraq and Syria] in SOUTHCOM?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, we are very concerned. There is, I 
think, a tendency often to think that ISIS is only present in 
the Middle East or North Africa, and the reality is ISIS is 
present here in the western hemisphere.
    You cited the case of foreign fighters that have gone over 
to Iraq and Syria to fight. Obviously, we are very concerned 
about the return of those fighters. But what has become more 
troubling is an active effort on the part of ISIS to 
communicate to radicalized individuals telling them stay home 
and conduct attacks in your home countries against your 
countries and the United States and our interests in this 
region. So you cited Trinidad and Tobago, but that is not the 
only country where we know that there is a presence of 
radicalized individuals to whom the ISIS message is very 
appealing, and I think it is an area that we have to pay close 
    Our counter-network approach that we are applying enables 
us to recognize this presence of ISIS in the theater when 
previously, when we focused exclusively on commodities, 
oftentimes we focused more on the criminal networks and did not 
pay attention to the fact that there are also terrorist 
networks as well.
    Senator Ernst. So those terrorist networks--they understand 
those pathways that are being used by various cartels and so 
forth, moving goods into the NORTHCOM area. Do you think those 
could be exploited then by those terrorist organizations?
    Admiral Tidd. ISIS, in one of the recent issues of Dabiq 
magazine, communicates directly in English language to 
radicalized individuals to attempt to exploit those pathways 
into the United States. So we have to assume that they are 
going to try.
    Senator Ernst. Those that are fighting in Iraq and Syria--
how are they able to reach back into the Caribbean and 
radicalize the folks there? What do you think is the primary 
means of communication?
    Admiral Tidd. I think it is Internet. It is by cyber means.
    Senator Ernst. Cyber is something that you believe we 
should pay attention to then.
    Admiral Tidd. I think we all recognize that it is a domain 
that must bear increasing attention.
    Senator Ernst. Absolutely. I appreciate that.
    Do you think we are doing enough to counter ISIS's 
recruiting efforts in the SOUTHCOM region?
    Admiral Tidd. That is probably one of the areas of greatest 
work that we are engaged in. In order to work with our partner 
nations and in our discussions with them, they now recognize 
that they must pay attention to the radicalization phenomenon. 
We all, I think, had a wakeup call with the attacks that 
occurred in Paris, in Brussels, but also in San Bernardino and 
in Orlando that individuals can become radicalized and can 
conduct horrific attacks. It is up to all of us to work 
together, exchange information, and attempt to remove the 
conditions that lead to radicalization.
    Senator Ernst. Thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain. Before I call on Senator King, I just want 
to make it clear to everyone, Admiral Tidd, if we are really 
serious about addressing this issue of flow of drugs into the 
United States of America that Senator Shaheen has described as 
so dramatically affecting her State, that we need to provide 
the assets. It is not something that is a mystery. Is that 
right? If we want to be far more effective, you would need the 
assets in order to do that. Is that correct?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, that is correct.
    Chairman McCain. Senator King?
    Senator King. Thank you for asking my first question, Mr. 
    Senator King. Admiral Tidd, your opening statement was very 
powerful and also disturbing, powerful because you describe 
this in terms of an attack, and that is what it is. It is an 
attack on our country. To talk about the numbers, since we have 
been sitting here, four people have died of overdoses in the 
United States. It is about four an hour, 37,000 people a year, 
one a day in my State of Maine. It is absolutely unacceptable 
to know that that is happening and to couple it with your 
testimony that you are only able to interdict 25 percent of the 
shipments you know of because of a lack of resources in the 
Coast Guard. Couple that with a proposed 15 percent cut in the 
Coast Guard budget, I just do not know how we can possibly turn 
a blind eye to the implications of this.
    I just want you to reiterate. Your testimony was that you 
are only able to interdict 25 percent of shipments you know of 
because of a lack of essentially Coast Guard assets. Is that 
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, it is due to a lack of any surface 
assets, whether it is U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, partner 
nations. I mean, it is a shortfall of platforms that are 
capable of conducting intercepts on tracks that we know are out 
    Senator King. A cut in the Coast Guard budget, which would 
further constrain the provision of those assets, would not be 
in the national interest. Would it?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, all I will say is I am absolutely 
dependent on the Coast Guard to conduct the operations that we 
are able to conduct.
    Senator King. There are not sufficient assets today. Is 
that correct?
    Admiral Tidd. That is correct.
    Senator King. Thank you. Your answer was very diplomatic.
    General Robinson, let us go to missile defense. You 
testified you have confidence in the missile defense structure 
that we have today, but we do not live in a static world. The 
North Koreans just in the last few months have gone from liquid 
fuel to solid fuel, which drastically cuts our warning time. 
Are we continuing to develop our capability, and what are the 
gaps? Where should we be focusing in order to strengthen our 
nuclear defense system?
    General Robinson. Sir, thank you for that.
    As you so rightly said, our lack of indications of warning 
is increasing. As we look to the future how do we ensure not 
just that but then when something launches to make sure that we 
have the right radar in the right place.
    Senator King. And discrimination in radar is also----
    General Robinson. You took the words right out of my mouth. 
I was going to talk about the ability to ensure that we have 
discrimination as we move to the future. So when you talk about 
our radars, it is to ensure that we have discrimination and 
ensure that we have an architecture that today is terrestrial, 
but tomorrow or maybe even more in the future will move to 
space. Those are the things that we need to continue looking as 
we move to the future is ensuring we have got the right radar 
at the right place at the right capability and with reliable 
kill vehicles.
    Senator King. So if you were granted a billion dollars to 
spend in this area, do you I take it that radar and 
particularly the discrimination radar would be where you would 
go first?
    General Robinson. That is where I would go first, sir.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    General, do you have any idea offhand an approximate number 
of Russian icebreakers that they have available in the Arctic 
    General Robinson. No, sir, I do not. But I know they have 
more than we do.
    Senator King. If I said it was a low of 17 and a high of 
40, would that sound reasonable?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. How many icebreakers do we have available?
    General Robinson. I believe it is one.
    Senator King. One and a half.
    General Robinson. Okay, one and a half.
    Senator King. But the one that we have actually transits 
between Antarctica and the Arctic. Is that not correct?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. So the icebreakers, the essential 
infrastructure of the Arctic region, is the road builder in 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. This is a place where we really are in a 
serious deficit situation. The prior administration proposed 
the additional building of one icebreaker, but that is still a 
long way off.
    But do you see this as an important priority even though 
this would not be a naval asset but probably be a Coast Guard 
asset? But it is one that is crucial to our future in the 
Arctic. Is it not?
    General Robinson. Sir, I absolutely support the Coast 
Guard's endeavors to bring more icebreakers to the Arctic. As 
you suggested, it is a pathway for them.
    Senator King. One of the things that you are seeing in your 
command is a significant Russian buildup of military assets 
along their shore of the Arctic.
    General Robinson. Sir, I have seen their buildup. What I 
have also seen is Russian long-range aviation that comes east 
of the Urals that often does out-of-area flights that are in my 
AOR [area of operation].
    Senator King. That is another threat. We talked prior about 
the North Korean threat, but that is another threat that is--
particularly that is the NORAD [North American Aerospace 
Defense Commnad] mission. Is it not?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. You are exactly correct, 
defending the airspace both for the United States and Canada 
from the air domain.
    Senator King. A final short question. We have a seamless 
cooperation and agreement, arrangement, and working 
relationship with the Canadians in terms of NORAD?
    General Robinson. Absolutely, sir. It is a bi-national 
    Senator King. Thank you.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Perdue?
    Senator Perdue. Thank you, Chairman. I really appreciate 
you bringing both these combatant commanders together.
    I have a particular concern about what Russia is doing in 
our hemisphere. I have a quick question for both of you.
    When you look at Russia--how they bracketed Europe with 
their facilities in Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Crimea, now Tortus 
and Latakia, I see them attempting to do the same thing here. 
So the Arctic, which was just mentioned--it looks like to me 
they have opened up a new Arctic command. They have got four 
Arctic BCTs [Brigade Combat Teams] they have now assigned up 
there. They have got 16 deep water ports north of the Arctic, 
40 icebreakers, plus 11 more on order, and we are down to one 
and a half icebreakers. I would like to know what your 
assessment--first of all, do you agree with that assessment, 
General? What is our--that you can talk about here--what is our 
tactical response to that buildup in the Arctic?
    General Robinson. So, sir, I would agree with your 
assessment. What I would tell you about response--I will parse 
it in a couple of different bins.
    First, as we watch the Russians come east of the Urals in 
the air domain, I ensure on my NORAD side that I have the right 
capability and capacity with adequate indications and warnings 
to make sure that we can defend Canada and the United States, 
specifically Alaska. So in the air domain, I do that.
    From a policy perspective, at the end of 2016, the 
Department policy put out an Arctic strategy, and that Arctic 
strategy talked about ensuring security, promoting safety, and 
promoting defense cooperation.
    Senator Perdue. I am sorry. Do we have an Arctic command 
    General Robinson. No, sir. My job as the Commander of 
Northern Command is to provide--I am the advocate for Arctic 
capabilities. That is what I do. But I am in the process of 
writing a strategic estimate for the Arctic where I will be 
able to talk about theater security cooperation, talk about 
capabilities, and then kind of put my role out there with----
    Senator Perdue. Will you share that with the committee?
    General Robinson. I will when we are done. In fact, we 
should probably be done this fall, and I would be happy to 
share that estimate with you.
    Senator Perdue. Thank you.
    Admiral, in the Southern Command likewise--and this is not 
a recent development. It looks to me it is very obvious what 
Russia is trying to do here. They are bracketing us. They are 
already playing in our elections the same way they are playing 
in cyber warfare in Eastern Europe.
    In Latin America between 2001 and 2013, Russia sold Latin 
America $15 billion worth of arms. That is about 40 percent of 
what was sold in the region. When I look at what they are doing 
with Nicaragua particularly--oh, and between 2008 and 2011--I 
did not know this. If you look at what Russia sold, they have 
sold more than 3,000 surface-to-air missiles to the region, 
just in that 3-year period.
    In the last couple of years, particularly since 2014, in 
Nicaragua alone 50 combat tanks, an established ground station 
for a Russian satellite network, and they are talking about 
Russian-made fighter jets now to add to their fleet. As was 
reported last week in TASS, they are announcing joint military 
drills together in Nicaragua. I find this to be very 
    Do you agree with that assessment? If so, what is our 
response to Russia specifically in Nicaragua and Venezuela 
relative to the fact that we have got troubled governments 
there anyway? How do we manage the diplomatic development and 
defense efforts in that area specifically relating to what 
Russia is doing?
    Admiral Tidd. Well, Senator, I think the first 
responsibility we have is to pay attention to it and not to 
ignore it and to ensure that if we are concerned about what 
Russia is engaged in in Eastern Europe, that we pay at least as 
much attention to what they are engaged in in our own 
    As you point out, they have got historic relationships 
going back to the era of the Soviet Union with Nicaragua and 
with Cuba. They have developed them with Venezuela. They are 
one of the largest suppliers of high capability arms to 
Venezuela. So it is very troubling that as they establish 
themselves and become I suppose both the arms supplier but also 
having greater influence in those two countries right close to 
our own Nation, that ought to be a matter of some concern. We 
have to continue to pay attention to it.
    Our relationships with the countries in Latin America is 
strong, but they are relationships that must be tended to. We 
must continue to engage and we must continue to demonstrate not 
just by words but also by our action, our engagement, that we 
are reliable partners.
    Senator Perdue. Thank you both.
    Chairman, General Milley this week said that the lack of a 
budget and the potential danger of going to a CR [Continuing 
Resolution] bordered on professional malpractice. I want you 
two combatant commanders to know that at least one Senator here 
agrees with that 100 percent.
    I do not fully understand what a CR does to tie your hands 
in terms of moving money back and forth, but I take you at your 
word that it totally limits you from doing that. That to me is 
more dangerous than the total number. For one, I am standing 
firm with the chairman here that this is the most dangerous 
thing that we are facing right now.
    General Mattis said earlier this year that the debt was the 
greatest threat in the national security. Well, here is where 
the rubber meets the road. I want to pledge to both of you guys 
my personal full support to do whatever we can to make sure 
that we avoid that debacle.
    Thank you, Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Warren?
    Senator Warren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Thank you, Admiral Tidd and General Robinson for being here 
and for your leadership.
    I just want to quickly underline a point that was raised by 
Senator King and Senator Reed, and that is about the importance 
of our non-military foreign assistance and other civilian 
instruments of our national power to your missions.
    So is it accurate to say that you work with the State 
Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and other 
civilian agencies in efforts to maintain security and stability 
in your regional areas of responsibility? General Robinson?
    General Robinson. Yes, ma'am.
    Senator Warren. Thank you.
    Admiral Tidd?
    Admiral Tidd. Absolutely.
    Senator Warren. You know, the budget proposal put out by 
the Trump administration calls for about a 29 percent cut to 
the State Department and significant cuts to FEMA [Federal 
Emergency Management Agency] and other domestic agencies. I 
just want to ask in general, would funding cuts to agencies 
that conduct diplomacy, provide disaster relief, and perform 
other civilian functions make your job easier or make your job 
more difficult? General Robinson?
    General Robinson. It would make it more difficult, ma'am.
    Senator Warren. Admiral Tidd?
    Admiral Tidd. More difficult.
    Senator Warren. Thank you. I agree.
    Admiral Tidd, I want to turn back, if I can, to something 
you said last year. In your posture statement, you expressed 
concern about economic conditions and persistent threats to 
people's safety that caused the mass migration of unaccompanied 
children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras back in 
2014. Are you still concerned about these underlying factors?
    Admiral Tidd. We think that we must continue to pay 
attention to the push factors. Insecurity in Central America is 
a significant push factor.
    Senator Warren. But are you worried about the gangs and 
other criminal networks that take advantage of these conditions 
to be able to recruit and to stay in business?
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, we are.
    Senator Warren. Do you think that lack of security and 
economic opportunity provide an opening for some of our 
adversaries to exert influence in these areas?
    Admiral Tidd. I think we are seeing that in a number of 
countries in Central America.
    Senator Warren. So let me ask you, Admiral Tidd. What more 
should the United States Government be doing to address these 
underlying conditions?
    Admiral Tidd. I think the efforts to provide some limited 
resources that are available in the case of Guatemala, 
Honduras, El Salvador, for them to develop a regional solution 
to a regional problem is very important. A very high bar 
condition has been set for them to receive those resources, but 
I think we must be realistic and we must help them achieve 
those standards because it is ultimately in all of our 
interests that they achieve them.
    Senator Warren. This is something you are working on now 
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, it is.
    Senator Warren. I appreciate it.
    I also want to note that in your posture statement last 
year, you thanked Congress for funding the State Department and 
USAID to implement the U.S. strategy for engagement in Central 
America to help address these root causes of migration.
    There has been a lot of talk about how to address unlawful 
immigration. By itself the tallest wall in the world will not 
help us if we choke off funding for non-military strategies to 
address the root causes of migration from Central America. I 
think that would be bad for regional stability and for our 
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Wicker?
    Senator Wicker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Admiral Tidd, you state that the southern border should be 
the last line of defense not the first. Given the diminishing 
Navy presence dedicated to Southern Command, is the Coast Guard 
an increasingly valuable partner as a forward line of defense?
    Admiral Tidd. Sir, you know, we also talk about there is a 
third border, and that is the maritime border up through the 
Caribbean. The Coast Guard right now is the principal U.S. 
maritime force that is present in the Caribbean.
    Senator Wicker. I think they do a good job for you.
    Your testimony states that SOUTHCOM lacks the forces 
necessary to interdict about 75 percent of identified and 
validated drug trafficking targets. A successful interdiction 
requires two things: an end game asset, a boat or a helicopter, 
to stop the trafficker, and law enforcement authority to make 
the arrest. Does the Coast Guard's new national security cutter 
have these two attributes?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, they do. The national security 
cutters are a superb platform, very capable, and frankly, they 
also have the sea-keeping abilities to operate in the eastern 
Pacific further offshore where the vast majority of the 
trafficking is occurring today. They are very valuable 
    Senator Wicker. A U.S. national security cutter recently 
seized 16 tons of cocaine worth $400 million. In fact, the 
Coast Guard has reportedly seized about 100 metric tons of 
cocaine, about $3 billion worth since its first operational 
    Do these national security cutters arguably pay for 
themselves in this regard?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, I would never turn down an 
additional national security cutter operating in the SOUTHCOM 
    Senator Wicker. One other thing. Your testimony states that 
Southern Command is dedicated to becoming a platform for 
experimentation and innovation, and this includes unmanned 
platforms and advanced sensors. So tell us about that. Expand 
on that testimony, if you will, sir.
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, in our efforts to find new and 
innovative ways to get after the resourcing problem, we have 
aggressively discussed with services and with the research and 
development organizations that we would be an ideal region to 
come and test out new technologies, perhaps new technologies 
that are being developed for a different theater, for a 
different problem set, but that we have a meaningful 
operational mission. We can provide real feedback and that my 
commitment as the combatant commander is to ensure that we 
eliminate any bureaucratic impediments to being able to bring 
them down and operate them, test them out for a period of time, 
and provide that feedback.
    Senator Wicker. Well, thank you very much, Admiral. I would 
like to invite you down to the Gulf Coast to the Stennis Space 
Center to see the cutting-edge research being done at the Naval 
Research Lab with regard to unmanned underwater vehicles and 
also the Navy Meteorological and Oceanographic Command 
operating a large fleet of UUVs [Unmanned Underwater Vehicles]. 
You might want to come down and visit us, and perhaps you could 
leverage these installations as you push for new innovations.
    Admiral Tidd. Thank you very much, Senator.
    Senator Wicker. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Donnelly?
    Senator Donnelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank you both for being here today.
    I appreciate you taking the time to come by my office, both 
of you, to talk about the heroin crisis that is impacting 
Indiana and so many other States. We have heard from other 
members here today. It may be the single biggest threat to the 
safety and security of the people of my State, and I am 
convinced we need to everything--everything we can--to stop it. 
This is a whole-of-government effort.
    We heard the chairman talking about the 75 percent figure, 
and we have been talking about that for a while.
    As we look at this, in Indiana in 2015, we lost more people 
to opioid and heroin deaths than in car crashes, which forever 
was the biggest thing. Now this has changed it. The heroin is 
coming in from Mexico and it is coming in across borders that 
we actively monitor. It is not coming through the desert or 
over hills or over here or over there. It is coming through our 
cross points.
    So as we look at this, Admiral Tidd, we talk about the 25 
percent figure, that we catch 25 percent of what is coming in. 
The other 75 percent are killing my friends and neighbors. We 
have lost so many families, children and brothers and sisters.
    What I would love to see is, as the chairman was talking 
about, a plan. If we had all the resources, how much resources 
do you need? How much time will it take? What will we do? How 
do we stop it? Can you put that together for us?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, we will be happy to work with our 
partners in Northern Command.
    I think as we discussed in your office, though, the 
challenge that we have is we are not going to interdict our way 
out of this crisis. This is going to be a challenge that will 
require a significant amount of work on the demand reduction 
side of the problem, as well as on----
    Chairman McCain. Could I interrupt, Admiral? We are not 
asking you to address the demand side. But if you are capable 
of stopping some of the flow, let us have that.
    Sorry, Senator Donnelly.
    Senator Donnelly. That is okay, sir.
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, Senator.
    General Robinson. Sir, if I could add. As we discussed in 
your office too, all the support that we give to Department of 
Homeland Security on the border is incredibly important, 
whether it is intel sharing or providing detection and 
monitoring to help them do their jobs there on the border.
    Senator Donnelly. I know you know the real-world effects. 
Let me tell you just a couple.
    I have a small town in southern Indiana, a town of 4,200 
people. The opioid crisis has hit it so hard--and this was a 
few years ago--174 cases of HIV in a town of 4,200 people.
    In another small town or small county, rural county, we had 
a shipment of heroin come in from Ohio. It was laced with 
fentanyl, which is 10 times more powerful than the heroin. In a 
2-hour period in one county, we had 10 overdoses and 1 death in 
a 2-hour period from this.
    As Senator Shaheen and others have said, this is not just 
an Indiana problem. This is a nationwide problem that is eating 
us alive. I always look and I go this might have been the young 
person who would have cured cancer, who would have found the 
key to ending diabetes.
    If we can stop that other 75 percent--and we can, and it is 
a resource issue. That is why I am so eager to get the plan of 
if we gave you the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, you have 
the resources, you have everything you need, so how do we do 
this because every day as we are sitting here right now, it is 
coming through the checkpoints.
    General Robinson, I wanted to ask you about Mexico's 
ability and willingness to work with us on this in 
collaboration. In your written testimony, you indicated Mexico 
is growing increasingly capable of helping us. What is your 
assessment of the capability and the will of the Mexican 
Government and security forces to work with us on combating 
    General Robinson. Sir, I will tell you, having been on 
Mexico's southern border talking to their senior leadership 
about their strategy on the southern border, in addition to 
working very closely on the border with their military, the 
willingness of the Mexican military and them to work with us is 
very, very great. I have been very impressed.
    Senator Donnelly. The more you can send that message to 
them, the stronger and better off we will be because this 
really is a national emergency.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Cotton?
    Senator Cotton. Thank you, Admiral Tidd and General 
Robinson, for your testimony today and for your continuing 
service to our country.
    Admiral Tidd, how different is Russia's activities in Latin 
America today from the Soviet Union's activities there in the 
Cold War, if different at all?
    Admiral Tidd. I think that it is certainly not 
ideologically motivated like it was during the Cold War. It is 
motivated for economic reasons and for the ability to gain 
influence with countries in the region.
    Senator Cotton. To what extent is Russia and, for that 
matter, other hostile powers in the old world aiming to tie 
down the United States, our attention, and our resources in the 
new world so we cannot project power and influence into the old 
    General Robinson. So, sir, I would say if you look 
specifically, as you mentioned, Russia as they have increased 
their capability and capacity, as they continue to work west of 
the Urals, the thing that I watch is them coming east of the 
Urals. On occasions, they will come over and power project or 
do out-of-area operations. That makes me then, as the Commander 
of NORAD, increase my levels of responsiveness and put force 
structure in the right place at the right time, should they 
power project.
    Admiral Tidd. I think if I could add to that, certainly in 
Latin America, they do not have vital strategic interests, and 
so they see these as opportunities to take advantage of at 
least a perception of the United States being focused in other 
crises in other parts of the world.
    Senator Cotton. Speaking of countries without vital 
strategic interest in Latin America, let us turn to Iran. 
Admiral Tidd, you state on page 9 of your written testimony, 
with the easing of economic sanctions, Iran may be seeking to 
rebuild its relationships in the region. Tehran uses 
cooperative technology, economic and diplomatic interests as a 
centerpiece of its regional diplomacy. Although on the surface, 
it portrays its actions as innocuous, Iran could exploit its 
cultural centers to develop networks, which could be leveraged 
to extend its influence and advance its interests.
    To your knowledge, are there deep cultural, historical, 
religious ties between Latin Americans and Persian Shiites?
    Admiral Tidd. No, Senator, not longstanding.
    Senator Cotton. I did not think so.
    You state earlier in your written testimony on page 4 and 
5, Hezbollah members, facilitators, supporters engage in licit 
and illicit activities in support of the organization, moving 
weapons, cash and other contraband to raise funds and build 
Hezbollah's infrastructure in the region. Hezbollah is the 
terrorist organization based in Lebanon, a cat's paw of Iran. 
To your knowledge, do Arab Shiites have deep cultural and 
historical ties with Latin America?
    Admiral Tidd. What I would observe is that Hezbollah has 
been present in this region in small pockets scattered 
throughout the region for decades. They have been actively 
engaged largely in criminal activities to raise funds to 
support the terrorist activities of Hezbollah in other parts of 
the world. But we also recognize that Hezbollah was responsible 
for the two terrible terrorist attacks on Jewish sites in an 
Israeli consular center in Argentina back in the 1990s. So they 
have been present here and we view them as probably the most 
dangerous of the terrorist groups present in this region.
    Senator Cotton. I want to zero in on one phrase in that 
statement: moving weapons, cash, and other contraband to raise 
funds. What kind of other contraband is Hezbollah moving in 
Latin America?
    Admiral Tidd. I think one of the more interesting ones, 
cars, basically movement of cars to raise money, to launder 
money in order to develop the resources to fund Hezbollah 
activities in the Middle East.
    Senator Cotton. What about drugs?
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, sir, drugs also.
    Senator Cotton. So Hezbollah, a declared terrorist 
organization that operates in the Middle East, is responsible 
in part for the drug flow in Latin America that has had the 
impact that you have heard Senators on this dais talk about 
today, killing Americans in our hometowns.
    Admiral Tidd. I would say they are one of a number. They 
certainly are not the largest, but they play a contributing 
    Senator Cotton. Thank you.
    Senator Reed [presiding]. On behalf of Chairman McCain, 
Senator Kaine.
    Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thanks to our witnesses for your testimony.
    I want to just follow up on a couple of points that Senator 
Cotton was making. General Robinson, we talked, had a good 
visit in my office yesterday. You talked about the flows of 
drugs on the seam between NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM as sort of a 
system of systems. We have to look at it as networks and 
systems. If these distribution networks can bring drugs here, 
they could bring human trafficking. They could potentially get 
people in the United States, terrorists in the United States. 
They could bring weapons of mass destruction, biological 
agents. Is that how you both kind of look at this challenge? 
The interdiction of drugs is really important, but also it is 
important to disrupt these networks because they could also do 
us harm in other ways.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. As we discussed, it is the 
importance of illuminating that network, understanding what is 
on it, and then whatever that commodity is, is making sure that 
the information for the customer of the commodity gets it so 
that can finish whatever activity they are doing. So your point 
is exactly right. That is why it is incredibly important that 
Admiral Tidd and I and our staffs share information because, 
again, it just does not stop at the river.
    Senator Kaine. Let us just focus on the commodity. There 
are all kinds of commodities we could worry about, but just the 
commodity of the drug trade. Admiral Tidd, you have talked 
about this, you know, 25 percent of what you know you can stop, 
and if you had more assets, you could stop more. I am all for 
that. So Coast Guard, military assets to stop more.
    But let us drill down on this. If you had enough assets to 
try to stop everything you knew about but there was still a 
significant demand for drugs in the United States, there would 
still be drugs that would get to the United States. Correct?
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, Senator. Unfortunately, I believe that 
to be true. These networks are very adaptive. If the price is 
right, they will work very, very hard to work around the bars 
that we try and put in their place. So it is a dynamic problem 
that we will continuously have to work at.
    Senator Kaine. Is there anything you can do within your 
military lane that would bring down drug demand, or is that 
other parts of our government?
    Admiral Tidd. I am not aware, at least not in USSOUTHCOM 
[U.S. Southern Command].
    Senator Kaine. So it is other parts of our government. So 
if we are going to deal with this significant national security 
issue, we ought to be funding the interdiction efforts to the 
degree that you talk about. But if we do not do anything on the 
demand side, we are going to continue to see the national 
security problem.
    Ultimately, this is about the budget. In the submitted 
budget, there is not only a proposed cut to the Coast Guard, 
there is a $100 million reduction of funds to SAMHSA, the 
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 
There are dramatic cuts to CDBG [Community Development Block 
Grant] funds, which are often used by community drug 
prevention/drug treatment programs. This is an example of how a 
defense budget, SOUTHCOM, fits together with the non-defense 
budget, Coast Guard, which is under DOT [Department of 
Transportation]. It is part of non-defense discretionary. 
SAMHSA is part of non-defense discretionary. CDBG's funds are 
part of non-defense discretionary.
    So as we look at the sequester, there are so many things 
that are in the non-defense discretionary budget that are 
really about our defense. If we are not wise in those 
investments, we are going to continue to have this challenge of 
drugs flowing south to north and potentially creating networks 
that can move other commodities as well.
    Do either of you disagree with that?
    Admiral Tidd. Senator, what I would just observe is if 
somehow you could wave your hand and the drugs disappeared 
overnight, these same threat networks would engage in other 
activities in order to preserve their power and their access to 
resources. So that is why we focus on the networks. We have got 
to be able to bring pressure to bear on the networks.
    Senator Kaine. The chair and ranking on this committee have 
been so eloquent really since I got here to the Senate about 
the foolishness of the sequester. I understand why it was put 
in place in a vote in the summer of 2011, and then it went 
active March 1, 2013. But it was put in place at a time of a 
political reality where there were significant Republican 
majority in one house and then two but a Democratic President. 
So it was going to be kind of a budgetary check.
    I would just argue the GOP now has all the leverage, the 
White House and both houses. These non-defense expenditures of 
the kind that we are talking about, Coast Guard, SAMHSA 
funding, could help us deal with the drug problem. They are 
really important to our national security.
    I think the time is just to get rid of the caps, not just 
lift the caps on defense and then keep capping non-defense. 
Just lift the caps on both and let everybody make the case for 
what we need to interdict or make the case for what we need to 
bring down the demand on drugs. Especially with power all in 
the hands of one party right now, there is no danger that the 
Dems would sort of roll the majority on the budgetary side.
    But I think lifting the budgetary cap on defense without 
doing it on non-defense means we are going to hurt an awful lot 
of priorities that are in the non-defense side that actually 
directly contribute to some of these national security 
challenges that we are talking about.
    One other quick question. Activity of China in SOUTHCOM, to 
follow up on Senator Cotton. He asked really good questions 
about Russia and Iran. How about activities of China, military 
    Admiral Tidd. I would say right now that the activity is 
largely economic in nature. The military-focused activities--
they are very aggressively engaged in an IMET-like program 
where they will seek to bring senior military leaders from 
throughout the region to Beijing for all expense paid trips. 
Again, it is an opportunity to influence the region and to 
displace the United States as the partner of choice in Latin 
    Senator Kaine. Thank you.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    Chairman McCain [presiding]. Senator Sullivan?
    Senator Sullivan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I appreciate the witnesses' testimony.
    I think you are seeing this is helpful. I think is as 
important to this committee as it is to all of you, some 
bipartisan consensus on some key issues. A lot of us, my State 
of Alaska, is also dealing with the opioid problem in a massive 
way. There is concern about the Coast Guard's budget. I chair 
the subcommittee on the Commerce Committee that oversees the 
Coast Guard. I can tell you it is clear to me Secretary Kelly 
does not agree with cutting the Coast Guard's budget. So we are 
all going to work together on that, and I think it is a seam 
some ways between this committee and the Commerce Committee 
because the Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. military and it 
is a very important branch of the U.S. military. So I think a 
lot of us are concerned on that.
    Then you have seen a lot of concern and interest in the 
Arctic, not just coming from the Senator from Alaska, but a 
bipartisan group of Senators are concerned about that.
    So, General Robinson, you are the advocate for the Arctic 
in terms of capabilities. There is a lot of talk about 
icebreakers. We have really one and a half. The Russians have 
40, building 13 more. Senator Perdue talked a lot about that.
    Have you actually been on one of the icebreakers that we 
    General Robinson. No, sir, I have not.
    Senator Sullivan. So I was this weekend. The Polar Star, 
which is the heavy icebreaker, and the Healy, which is the 
medium icebreaker.
    I want to mention--and again, I am not sure which 
jurisdiction it is in terms of committees, but they are 
shameful. Shameful. The Polar Star was built in the 1970s with 
technologies from the 1960s. As Senator King mentioned, it 
deploys down to Antarctica. We should never--never--allow the 
men and women who serve in the U.S. military to deploy on such 
a bucket. This ship is a joke and it is dangerous. I encourage 
you as the advocate for the Arctic to go out and look at what 
our men and women who volunteer deploy on. These guys have to 
go on eBay to get parts for this ship. It is shameful. We 
should not have the men and women of the Coast Guard deploying 
on such an unseaworthy vessel, and we need to do something 
about it.
    You mentioned the new strategy on the Arctic. It talks 
about FONOPS [Freedom of Navigation Operations], which I think 
it is important. Do you think we have any remote capability of 
conducting FONOPS if the Russians tried to, say, block off sea 
transportation routes or block off access to resource 
development, all of which I guarantee at some point they are 
going to try and test us on? That is why they are building up 
so much capacity. Do we have any kind of capacity right now to 
conduct a FONOP that would try to push back on Russian 
aggression buildup in the Arctic?
    General Robinson. Sir, we have discussed that briefly, but 
I have not taken it to the next level of discussion.
    Senator Sullivan. I think the answer is no. But that is my 
view having been out there. Do you have an answer on that?
    General Robinson. Sir, we have discussed it briefly, but we 
have not taken it to the next level of discussion. I do watch 
where Russian ships are each and every day. I can tell you 
    Senator Sullivan. Well, it is one of these things. We put 
out a strategy. It is the new DOD strategy. We say we are going 
to do this. My view is we do not have even the remote 
capability to do this. When we have a strategy that says we are 
going to do something and we do not have the capability to 
actually do it, it undermines U.S. credibility in the world. 
Lord knows, we need to get credibility back in our foreign 
policy and national security.
    Let me talk about missile defense. Do you agree that the 
threat to the Homeland is increasing almost daily?
    General Robinson. I think that Kim Jong-un very much wants 
to reach out and touch the Homeland.
    Senator Sullivan. So General Hyten said February 11th was a 
real, real important date, a bad date with regard to the 
security of the continental United States and Kim Jong-un's 
capability because they tested solid fuel rockets.
    I am not convinced at all. As a matter of fact, I do not 
think we have--I think we need to do a lot more with regard to 
missile defense. Do you agree with that?
    General Robinson. Sir, given the budget where we are today 
and today's budget and the strategy that we have of making our 
sensors better and making our kill vehicles better is the right 
strategy. I think if we have a different budget, then we can 
have a different strategy.
    Senator Sullivan. So let me ask you the question without 
your reference to the budget. Given the increasing threat, 
which everybody sees, given the likelihood--not the likelihood, 
the certainty that within 1, 2, 3, 4 years Kim Jong-un is going 
to be able to reach us with an intercontinental ballistic 
nuclear missile--do not worry about the budget. Just give me 
your military answer. Do you think we have done enough? Are you 
satisfied where we are on missile defense right now for our 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir, I am.
    Senator Sullivan. I am not and we need to do a lot, lot 
more given this threat is going to be on our shores. He is 
going to have the capability to nuke cities in the Lower 48 at 
some point in the future. We know that. I do not think we have 
done enough on missile defense. I think we need to do a lot 
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Senator Graham?
    Senator Graham. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    General Robinson, if we did a CR, would it substantially 
hurt your capability to defend the Homeland from such attacks?
    General Robinson. Sir, as you know, as a consumer of the 
services? capabilities, the U.S. Air Force--the chief testified 
yesterday about being down 1,000 pilots. I need trained and 
ready and qualified pilots to defend our airspace. If you look 
at the things that we are doing to delay maintenance and AWACS 
[Airborne Warning and Control] being one of those things to 
delay maintenance, I need an E-3 airborne also to help defend--
    Senator Graham. So a CR would be hurtful.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. If we went back into sequestration next 
year, would that be disastrous?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. The same for you, Admiral.
    Admiral Tidd. Sir, the services are already challenged to 
provide resources for SOUTHCOM, and so anything that decreased 
the available resources is only going to make the matter worse.
    Senator Graham. That would include a CR and sequestration.
    Admiral Tidd. In my understanding, yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. How many ships do you need to cover your 
theater in not a perfect world but in a better world?
    Admiral Tidd. We have had a longstanding requirement for a 
combination of medium and high endurance platforms for as many 
as 23 surface combatants and accompanying aircraft.
    Senator Graham. How many do you have now?
    Admiral Tidd. On any given day, probably about six.
    Senator Graham. So do you think at the time they did the 
survey for 23, things have gotten better or worse in terms of 
the theater?
    Admiral Tidd. Sir, in that particular regard, they are 
    Senator Graham. So you got six ships. A long time ago, you 
said you needed 23 and things are worse now than they were when 
you said you needed 23. Okay.
    So, General Robinson, let us get back to North Korea. Do 
you believe that it is the intention of the regime to develop 
an ICBM that can hit the Homeland?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. Do you believe it is just a matter of time 
until they achieve that capability, unless something changes?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. Do you believe it is just a matter of time 
until they can miniaturize a nuclear to put on top of the ICBM?
    General Robinson. In my discussions with General Hyten, 
yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. So I guess there are two ways to deal with 
that threat. Never let the missile program mature to the point 
it can hit the Homeland. That is one. Is that correct?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. The other would be to have a missile 
defense system that could knock it down.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. What do you prefer?
    General Robinson. I prefer both.
    Senator Graham. I agree. That was like the best answer 
anybody could give.
    Do we have both?
    General Robinson. Today we have exactly what we need to 
defend the United States of America against North Korea.
    Senator Graham. So if a missile were launched from North 
Korea next year, we could knock it down?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. Do you agree with me it is better not to 
let them have that missile?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Senator Graham. So in terms of Homeland defense, what is 
the biggest threat to the Homeland, starting with North Korea 
and kind of listing threats that you see?
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. I worry about North Korea, as 
we were just discussing, from a ballistic missile defense 
perspective when I look at Kim Jong-un and his lack of 
indications and warning, as General Hyten talked about the 
other day, and all of that.
    I also look at Russia and their long-range aviation and the 
capability that they have provided.
    Right now, I pay attention to Iran because of some of the 
technologies that they are using.
    I also, obviously, watch China as they continue to go 
further and further away from----
    Senator Graham. So these are nation-state threats.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    But I also am very concerned about the homegrown violent 
extremists and the things that can happen with them. This goes 
back to the conversation that Admiral Tidd and I had about the 
networks and what is on the networks.
    Senator Graham. Speaking of emerging threats, are you 
familiar with the increased use of drones by terrorist 
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. I read that.
    Senator Graham. Do we need to up our game when it comes to 
dealing with potential drone attacks on the country?
    General Robinson. Sir, so as the person responsible for 
force protection over installations, I pay attention to that 
each and every day. I know that the Department--we are working 
very hard on a policy on what we do with that.
    Senator Graham. Do you think we need to change our laws at 
all to be able to deal with this threat?
    General Robinson. I think we need to understand what it 
could be and what it could do--from an installation 
perspective, what do we need----
    Senator Graham. Is it fair to say that in 5 years, this 
threat, if not unchecked, is going to get worse and more 
    General Robinson. Sir, if you just look at the 
proliferation of drones itself and then you add to what you 
were just talking about and you mate those two together, I can 
only imagine.
    Senator Graham. Thank you both.
    Chairman McCain. Admiral Tidd, we would like to have a 
letter from you describing what additional assets that you 
could use effectively to apprehend all of those drugs, 
particularly in the Caribbean. That seems to be an area, as we 
tighten the border, of increased trafficking.
    General Robinson, we would like to know from you also if 
you could write us a letter how we can fully utilize the assets 
of our uniformed military in keeping with the posse comitatus 
rule so that we can maximize border security.
    Finally, General, would you believe that a definition of a 
wall could be electronics, could be towers, could be UAVs, 
could be anti-tunneling capabilities, surveillance towers, in 
other words dramatically increasing our capabilities through 
the use of technology?
    General Robinson. Sir, anything that disturbs, disrupts, 
and gets after the flow----
    Chairman McCain. I am asking would technology--that it be 
more effectively utilized. I am talking about towers. I am 
talking about----
    General Robinson. Yes, sir. Those are helpful as part of a 
    Chairman McCain. Well, then write us a note, would you, as 
to what assets you think could be used and construction and 
ways of preventing the flow not only of drugs, which has been a 
central theme of this hearing, but also the possible 
infiltration of terrorists as we see Mosul and Raqqa fall. We 
all know that these individuals are spreading out throughout 
the world. So we would appreciate that information from both of 
you, and I hope it is not too tough a task.
    General Robinson. Yes, sir.
    Chairman McCain. I am certainly glad to see this inter-
service cooperation. It is a rare and beautiful event. Thank 
    This hearing is adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 11:06 a.m., the committee adjourned.]

    [Questions for the record with answers supplied follow:]

               Questions Submitted by Senator John McCain
                      support for border security
    1. Senator McCain. General Robinson, how much support has NORTHCOM 
given to law enforcement addressing border security while training in 
terms of flight hours and man hours?
    General Robinson. USNORTHCOM provides title 10 operational support 
to U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) primarily through Joint Task 
Force North, a USNORTHCOM subordinate joint service command. USNORTHCOM 
provides military-unique support to LEAs under Fiscal Year 2019 NDAA 
Section 1004 authority within six support categories: 1) operational, 
2) intelligence, 3) general, 4) interagency synchronization, 5) 
engineering, and 6) technology integration. During fiscal year 2016, 
USNORTHCOM provided 10,417 flight hours and 159,053 man-days in support 
of federal LEA requests, providing support to LEA requests across all 
six categories.
             Questions Submitted by Senator James M. Inhofe
                         engagement in southcom
    2. Senator Inhofe. Admiral Tidd, in your written statement, you 
noted that adversarial nations are growing their influence in the 
SOUTHCOM AOR through outreach programs. You pointed out that nations 
like Russia, China, and Iran have no equivalent of a Leahy Law, and 
``no comparable conditions on security assistance.'' How do we overcome 
our potential disadvantage to exert influence in the region?
    Admiral Tidd. It really boils down to being good partners and 
setting a good example that our partner nations will want to emulate--
we must always strive to grow and strengthen our security partnerships 
throughout the region. One of the ways we do this is by building our 
partners' capacity to address shared threats. These efforts are often 
done by small mobile training teams that work closely with partners. We 
don't need brigades of people and aircraft carriers in this region. 
Small teams engaging at the right level are our strongest assets. Cuts 
to our personnel and programs in this theater are quickly noticed and 
feed into the misinformation campaign by Russia that we are no longer 
interested and withdrawing from the region. To thwart this 
misinformation, we need to continue activities like Information 
Operations to counter Russian propaganda and to stay engaged in the 
region by maintaining efforts to build partner nation capacity, to 
include programs funded by other agencies such as the State 
Department's IMET program. These programs allow us to strengthen 
relationships with like-minded nations, advance our security interests, 
share our views on the imperative of respecting human rights, the 
importance of rule of law, and respect for the rules-based, 
international order.

    3. Senator Inhofe. Admiral Tidd, is the Leahy Law impacting your 
ability to influence and shape behavior in the region?
    Admiral Tidd. The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) is 
strongly committed to the Leahy Law. The law accomplishes our goal of 
ensuring that our partner nation military counterparts understand and 
comply with respect for human rights, a core U.S. value, and as we are 
seeing increasingly a shared value. Overall, we have seen that the law 
has had a net positive effect on a number of our Partner Nation 
military counterparts in the region, such as Colombia, leading them 
over time to place greater emphasis on their responsibility to respect 
and protect human rights. However, implementation of the vetting 
procedures has become increasingly more challenging as we adapt to 
congressionally mandated personnel cuts within the Department of 
Defense. Moreover, budget cuts to the Department of State would also 
significantly impact implementation of the law, and thus our security 
cooperation efforts, curbing our ability to influence and shape our 
partner nation military counterparts' human rights compliance 
throughout the region. If we are restricted from engaging with our 
partners, we can't help them make the very progress that Congress wants 
to see. Notably, our ability to work with partners who would benefit 
most from our engagement to support their continued progress on human 
rights is frequently restricted by conditions unrelated to the Leahy 
Law. One example of this was the conditions placed on security 
assistance for the Guatemalan Armed Forces in fiscal year 2014. Funds 
for security engagement were tied to the Government of Guatemala paying 
reparations for the construction of the Chixoy Dam and to the 
resolution of international private adoption cases between Guatemalan 
children and United States parents. One of the unintended consequences 
of this was that our Human Rights training for the Guatemalan Army had 
to be canceled. Conditions on assistance in fiscal year 2016 for 
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to implement the U.S. Strategy for 
Engagement in Central America in support of the Alliance for Prosperity 
in the Northern Triangle of Central America came with a series of 
conditions each of the Central American governments had to meet before 
75 percent of funds were able to be released. Withholding such a high 
percentage of funding, and tying it to such a broad list of conditions, 
may send the message to our military partners that the intent of the 
conditions is to withhold assistance, and not to promote positive 
                           southcom resources
    4. Senator Inhofe. Admiral Tidd, in your written statement, you 
highlighted resource shortfalls that have negatively impacted your 
ability to accomplish SOUTHCOM missions. Can you briefly highlight 
national security implications of these shortfalls?
    Admiral Tidd. I support the prioritization of global challenges. 
However, as we resource the higher priority challenges, USSOUTHCOM's 
requirements, closer to the United States, are not being met. In some 
cases, previously allocated assets are being reassigned to Combatant 
Commands with higher priority missions, further exacerbating our 
shortfalls. As to national security implications, to give you one 
example, last year, we had very precise information on 449MTs of drugs 
en route to the United States that we could not target for interdiction 
because of lack of forces. That translates into thousands of American 
deaths and over $5Billion in illicit profits that fuel corruption and 
violence. USSOUTHCOM is also contending with compounding effects 
resulting from several years of undersourcing in the area of 
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). As a Combatant 
Command charged with defending the southern approaches to the United 
States, lack of persistent ISR presents significant risk and a clear 
threat to national security. Shortfalls in posture and presence 
continue to present blind spots for us and a vacuum for our rivals to 

    5. Senator Inhofe. Admiral Tidd, how would the planned buildup of 
our military across the services--personnel, ships, vehicles and 
aircraft--impact the ability of SOUTHCOM to execute its mission?
    Admiral Tidd. As a Combatant Command (CCMD), our requirements are 
sourced by the Services. Right now, the Services simply do not have 
enough forces to go around to fill all the CCMD requirements. Any 
buildup, maintenance, and modernization efforts for the Services could 
potentially lead to better resourcing of USSOUTHCOM requirements and 
increase our ability to execute our mission.

    6. Senator Inhofe. Admiral Tidd, what are your top three 
prioritized funding shortfalls?
    Admiral Tidd. Broadly speaking, our requirements fall into three 
primary categories--tools that allow us to (1) maintain awareness of 
and ability to effect the threat environment (ISR and analysis, 
maritime force packages, special forces activities, etc), (2) remain 
engaged with our partners (efforts to build partner capacity, special 
forces capabilities, International Military Education and Training, 
information operations, and conventional forces), and (3) 
Infrastructure upgrades and repairs to maintain health and welfare of 
U.S. servicemembers operating in the AOR. More specifically aimed at 
our requirement to execute our title 10 mission to detect and monitor 
illicit traffic heading toward the United States, we need what we call 
force packages. A force package consists of a medium to long range ship 
hosting a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment and capable of 
launching and recovering an over the horizon interceptor boat supported 
by a day/night airborne use of force capable helicopter along with a 
maritime patrol aircraft equipped with wide-area maritime search radar 
and infrared detection set (FLIR). We are required by the White House 
Office of National Drug Control Policy to stop 40 percent of the drug 
flow. Given the total amount of drugs that left the source zone last 
year (3,225 metric tons), we would have required 38 force packages to 
interdict 40 percent. On an average day, we have five. We also require 
ISR outside of the counternarcotics mission; persistent undersourcing 
of ISR over several years has created a serious challenge and lack of 
awareness of a spectrum of threats. People are our greatest resource. 
The personnel that make up USSOUTHCOM headquarters are our maneuver 
force--we have very few assigned or allocated forces in this region and 
rely heavily on headquarters manpower and contractors. We do not 
require a large footprint of forces, but the cuts to our Headquarters/
maneuver force impact our ability to stay engaged in the region, 
feeding directly into the perception that the United States is 
withdrawing from the region, a perception on which Russia is quick to 
capitalize. Finally, after so many years of putting off infrastructure 
replacements at Guantanamo, we owe it to our Servicemembers to ensure 
their housing and other facilities are up to standards.
                 strategic threats to the united states
    7. Senator Inhofe. General Robinson, in February, you told the 
Toronto Star that, ``Today, Russian cruise missiles can reach us from 
ranges we're not used to. No longer do they have to enter or come close 
to North American airspace . . . this is a game changer.'' What are the 
implications of the deployment of these missiles on your ability to 
protect the United States?
    General Robinson. Deployment of Russian cruise missiles challenges 
our air defense architecture. I believe our way forward is to continue 
improving our indications and warning, as well as detection, tracking, 
and engagement capabilities, to enable interdiction of these cruise 
missile threats as far forward as possible.

    8. Senator Inhofe. General Robinson, what are we doing to defeat or 
at least mitigate this threat in the near and long term?
    General Robinson. There are no single-system ``silver bullet'' 
options to address cruise missile threats. Current capabilities against 
cruise missile threats to the National Capital Region include Sentinel 
radars, limited surveillance coverage from advanced sensors, Aerospace 
Control Alert fighter aircraft, and ground-based air defense for cruise 
missile engagement. We are confident in the Department's Homeland 
Defense Design approach going forward, which will provide additional 
capabilities to better detect, track, and engage advanced cruise 
missiles, both within and beyond the National Capital Region.

    9. Senator Inhofe. General Robinson, in March, General Selva 
confirmed that Russia is deploying nuclear-tipped ground-launched 
cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 INF (Intermediate-Range 
Nuclear Forces) Treaty. What are the implications of the deployment of 
these missiles on your ability to protect the United States?
    General Robinson. Cruise missiles are a threat to the United States 
whether they are nuclear tipped or conventional. Our approach to defeat 
them is the same.

    10. Senator Inhofe. General Robinson, you have stated that North 
Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ``unpredictable and volatile'' and that 
``North Korea uses what they learn from each and every test they do to 
make improvements to their missile capabilities.'' Are you able to 
accurately rely on North Korean indicators and warnings in order to 
take actions to protect the United States?
    General Robinson. We've made appropriate adjustments in light of 
shifts in North Korea warning timelines and capabilities, while working 
with our mission partners to enhance our ballistic missile defense 
capabilities to remain in an advantageous position going forward. I 
remain confident we can defend the United States against the current 
threat posed by North Korea.
               Questions Submitted by Senator Mike Rounds
                         cruise missile defense
    11. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, I am concerned that progress 
on the issues surrounding cruise missile defense (CMD) have remained 
stagnant over the past few years, after the previous NORTHCOM commander 
and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff started to sound the 
warning. Just last year Admiral Gortney testified on the need to 
develop effective responses to outpace the cruise missile threat. Yet 
this year's posture statement seems to counter this concern. What has 
changed between last year and this year concerning cruise missile 
    General Robinson. Nothing has changed from last year regarding the 
need to develop capabilities to outpace the cruise missile threat. This 
threat is very real and becoming more of a challenge each day. We rely 
on indications and warning and require detection capabilities to 
identify the threat as early as possible to engage it before it 
threatens our Homelands. I am confident, however, in our strategy going 
forward to enhance and obtain the required capabilities to defend both 
within, and beyond the National Capital Region, against the cruise 
missile threat.
               layered approach to cruise missile defense
    12. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, when dealing with near and 
long term capabilities and potential gaps, I am concerned there is some 
disconnect between you as the combatant commander, and the Air Force as 
a force-provider. Specifically, this concerns the role of the F-15C and 
F-16 to support the CMD mission. In the context of the layered approach 
to CMD described in your testimony, has the Air Force requested your 
input to define requirements to counter this threat?
    General Robinson. We work closely, and routinely, with all of the 
Services and the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure the capabilities 
required to execute NORAD's layered cruise missile defense (CMD) 
strategy for North America are fully understood. Specifically, within 
the past five years, the U.S. Air Force has made significant 
investments in support of our CMD requirements for enhanced detection, 
tracking, and engagement capabilities against emergent threats through 
the Wide Area Surveillance radar program, F-15C, and F-16 AESA radar 
programs. We currently have F-15Cs that provide NORAD with AESA alert 
fighter capabilities and are working with the Air Force to upgrade F-
16s with AESA capabilities to meet our urgent requirements. In the 
coming year, we are also working with the Air Force in the bi-national 
Northern Approaches Surveillance Analysis of Alternatives. This 
analysis will evaluate alternatives for future persistent, wide area 
air surveillance capabilities as the aging North Warning System reaches 
            cruise missile defense--urgent operational need
    13. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, in 2015, First Air Force, the 
numbered Air Force tasked to assure air superiority and air sovereignty 
of the U.S., submitted an urgent operational need (UON) request to the 
Air Force Requirements Council. I understand this UON was to update 
block 30 F-16s with APG-83 AESA radars. However, the service did not 
fund it in fiscal year 2015, fiscal year 2016, or fiscal year 2017. I 
understand that having an AESA radar is necessary in performing the CMD 
mission. Are you consulted by the Air Force as they determine the final 
UON priority for all the combatant commands?
    General Robinson. Yes, NORAD works closely with all the Services, 
including the U.S. Air Force, to ensure our requirements are fully 
considered through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development 
System and the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution 
processes. NORAD's urgent need addresses a capability gap within our 
Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission. This request was validated by 
the Joint Requirements Oversight Council in 2015 and divided into two 
phases of a Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON). Phase 1 of the JUON 
upgrades 24 Air National Guard (ANG) F-16 aircraft with Active 
Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; Phase 2 of the JUON upgrades 
48 additional ANG F-16 Aircraft with AESA radar. All 72 aircraft are 
projected to be modified with AESA radar by the end of 2020.
                            f-16 role in cmd
    14. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, since this AESA radar UON is 
now going on 2 years old, and given the potential for fighter force 
structure changes to include divestment of the F-15C, acquisition of 
the F-35A and the Air Force's desire to grow from 55 to 60 fighter 
squadrons, would you agree that this UON should be updated to reflect 
these changing conditions? Would one option be to expand the UON to 
encompass other variants of the Air National Guard F-16s beyond the 
block 30s?
    General Robinson. I believe we are on track to address our 
capability requirements as a result of recent activity with our Joint 
Urgent Operational Need (JUON) submission. The 2015 NORAD JUON was 
recently superseded by a NORAD Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) 
which was validated by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council on 18 
April 2017. The U.S. Air Force provides NORAD with F-15C, and F-16 
aircraft to support the Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission. All of 
the F-15C ACA aircraft are either already equipped or scheduled to be 
equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. Of the 
fourteen NORAD main operating bases included in our JEON, nine bases 
operate various blocks of the F-16 aircraft, including Block 30, 40, 
42, and 52.
                          f-16 radar upgrades
    15. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, a Government Accountability 
Office report released in late 2012 estimated that the F-16 AESA 
upgrades would cost about $1.8 billion for about 350 jets, or about 
$5.2 million per F-16. Recent testimony from the Air Force predicts 
that the F-15C will require upwards of $40 million of structural 
modernization each in order to keep these aircraft flying beyond the 
mid-2020s. F-16s with AESA radars are already sold to Taiwan (F-16V) 
and the United Arab Emirates (F-16 block 60) so it would appear the 
developmental costs and risk reduction have been mitigated. Is the 
decision to not fulfill the UON a fiscal one?
    General Robinson. The decision to not fulfill the JUON in 2016 was 
a fiscal one that is now resolved. The NORAD Active Electronically 
Scanned Array (AESA) urgent requirement for all 72 Aerospace Control 
Alert (ACA) F-16s was fully funded in H.R. 244, the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act of 2017.
             northcom relationship with the force provider
    16. Senator Rounds. General Robinson, I would like to further 
understand the role of a combatant commander as a product consumer vis-
a-vis the services' role to organize, train, and equip. Please comment 
on NORTHCOM's decision making process with regard to accepting risk and 
making ``strategic tradeoffs'' in fulfilling the Homeland defense 
mission if a service does not meet your requirements.
    General Robinson. As the Commander of USNORTHCOM, I advocate for my 
capability requirements throughout a collaborative decision-making 
cycle involving the Combatant Commands, Services, and other 
organizations throughout the Department of Defense. For example, I 
communicate my requirements via the Global Force Management (GFM) 
process in coordination with the Office of the Secretary of Defense 
(OSD), the Joint Staff, and the Services. I also work through the Joint 
Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) to identify 
gaps and associated capability requirements. We assess and mitigate 
those gaps via the Programming, Planning, Budgeting, and Execution 
(PPBE) process and through continual engagement with the Services and 
relevant entities within the Department of Defense.
               Questions Submitted by Senator Bill Nelson
              southcom response to large-scale emergencies
    17. Senator Nelson. Admiral Tidd, given the relative lack of assets 
and resources dedicated to the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility (AOR), 
how does the Command plan to respond to large-scale emergencies, should 
one occur?
    Admiral Tidd. In the event of a large-scale emergency or crisis, we 
follow standard procedures within the Department of Defense to request 
the forces needed to respond once we are directed to do so. We rely 
mainly on capabilities from the Global ResponseForce (GRF) and U.S. 
Transportation Command's Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC) for 
immediate response. These forces remain on a permanent ``Prepare to 
Deploy'' order and can deploy on short notice. For follow-on response, 
we request capabilities via the Global Force Management (GFM) Emergent 
process for requesting forces. Once the Joint Staff validates our 
request, the Services then work to fill those requirements as quickly 
as possible from available/ready forces. One of the most critical 
requirements in responding to a large-scale crisis is the ability to 
anticipate its onset, and if possible, prevent its impact. Capabilities 
that allow us to anticipate crises (visualization tools, analytic 
capability, and awareness gained through ISR and regional engagements 
and persistent presence) can significantly improve decision-making when 
every second counts. Maintaining real time situational awareness of 
potential natural hazards, along with building Partner Nation disaster 
preparedness and disaster risk reduction capacity through our 
Humanitarian Assistance Program, we maintain a posture to respond 
rapidly and mitigate the effects of crises.
proposed cuts to u.s coast guard, department of state, and u.s. agency 
                     for international development
    18. Senator Nelson. Admiral Tidd, effectively addressing the 
challenges you face in SOUTHCOM requires close coordination with and 
the support of agencies and departments like U.S. Coast Guard, the 
Department of State, and the United States Agency for International 
Development. How would cuts to these agencies and departments impact 
the work of SOUTHCOM?
    Admiral Tidd. Security is a team sport, especially in this region, 
where DOD does not have many resources. If we lose players from the 
field, it could have significant effects on our ability to defend the 
Southern approaches. Our partners across the U.S. Government are vital 
to our ability to accomplish this mission, and we are often in support 
of other lead federal agencies as we protect against threats to the 
Homeland. As an example, due to higher global priorities, USSOUTHCOM is 
assigned less than one Navy ship per year to execute our statutorily 
directed mission to detect and monitor illicit drugs heading to the 
United States. However, the U. S. Coast Guard provides an average of 
six ships per year for this mission. We would be completely unable to 
execute our Congressionally-mandated, statutory requirement without the 
support of the Coast Guard. Similarly, with a region at risk for 
natural disasters, drivers of instability and migration, and food 
insecurity, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for 
International Development sponsor internal security and development 
programs that we complement and support through our theater security 
cooperation programs. Finally, without the professionals in the law 
enforcement and intelligence community, we would not be able to take a 
whole-of-government approach to detect and degrade the threat networks 
that challenge our national security.
           Questions Submitted by Senator Richard Blumenthal
    19. Senator Blumenthal. Admiral Tidd, Hezbollah has long been known 
for its support and activity--noticeably money laundering, terrorist 
attacks, and drug trafficking--in South America. Hezbollah first 
appeared in the region during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1980s. In 
1992, they were linked to an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos 
Aires (29 deaths, 200+ injured) and in 1994 the bombing of a Jewish 
cultural center in the same city (killing 85). Hezbollah remains 
particularly active in the Tri-Border Area (where Argentina, Brazil, 
and Paraguay meet)--an area plagued by drug smuggling, money 
laundering, arms trading, counterfeiting, and unregulated borders. But 
it does not stop here--Hezbollah also has developed a drug trafficking 
and money laundering networks to launder from South America to the 
Middle East, facilitated by Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President 
(sanctioned by Treasury for drug trafficking in February) also has 
connections to Hezbollah, as highlighted by press reports alleging his 
involvement in the fraudulent issuance of Venezuelan passports to 
people in the Middle East, noticeably people connected to Hezbollah. 
How would you characterize the threat from Hezbollah in your area of 
    Admiral Tidd. Hezbollah is the most capable terrorist group in the 
region, maintaining a regional infrastructure capable of supporting 
terrorist attacks with little to no warning. In contrast to al Qaida 
and ISIS, Hezbollah does not ask or expect its supporters and 
sympathizers to conduct terrorist attacks. Instead, Hezbollah has a 
dedicated military unit in Lebanon to accomplish terrorist attacks 
outside of the LEVANT, using that pre-established infrastructure 
throughout the world. Hezbollah is motivated to cultivate a 
relationship with the diaspora to maintain and develop an alternate 
source of funding to augments Iran's primary funding, to garner 
absentee political support and financing, and to develop contingency 
plans for Hezbollah in the event they decide to execute an attack. 
While Hezbollah does employ terrorist tactics, they only attack in 
response to perceived threats. Hezbollah would only escalate to an 
external attack against U.S. interest in the event there was 
significant cause based on potentially geopolitical issues with Iran or 
with the Hezbollah leadership cadre. To accomplish this mission 
Hezbollah develops contingency plans years in advance across the globe 
that would enable Hezbollah's terrorist branch to execute an attack 
with little to no warning, should they feel they need to conduct a 
response to an event. Unfortunately, to defeat any potential Hezbollah 
attack, we must disrupt attack infrastructure development before 
triggers or red lines are crossed.

    20. Senator Blumenthal. Admiral Tidd, what are you doing to address 
the threat--including Hezbollah's terrorist activities, money 
laundering, and drug trafficking?
    Admiral Tidd. As previously mentioned, to defeat any potential 
Hezbollah attack, we must first detect and then disrupt attack 
infrastructure development before Hezbollah employs it. Therefore, in 
order to understand this threat network, USSOUTHCOM has been 
extensively involved in intelligence cooperation and sharing to include 
several multi-lateral and bi-lateral engagements with regional 
partners. Additionally, we routinely collaborate with and provide 
strategic analysis to support other U.S. Government Agencies such as 
the Department of Treasury and the law enforcement community to support 
operations that target Hezbollah and the involvement of Hezbollah 
supporters and members in drug trafficking and other illicit activity. 
We also continue to build our own networks of regional allies, 
organizations and agencies to enhance our partners' capacities to 
address security challenges writ large. Stronger regional allied 
networks build our partners' capacities by giving them access to 
greater resources to detect, attack, and reduce Hezbollah 
infrastructure in the region before it can be leveraged to threaten our 
interests or those of our partners in the region.

    21. Senator Blumenthal. Admiral Tidd, what percentage of Hezbollah 
fundraising is derived from drug trafficking and what are the other 
major sources of profit?
    Admiral Tidd. Hezbollah benefits from funds generated by the 
loosely-connected enterprise of Lebanese Shi'a Muslim, clan-based, 
business networks involved in licit and illicit activity. Hezbollah 
benefits from a portion of these networks profits via family 
remittances, religious tithings, charitable organizations, and direct 
contributions. Collectively this augments Hezbollah's primary funding 
source coming from Iran. There is little risk and long term 
profitability associated with the sale of counterfeit goods vice the 
high risk drug trafficking activities some choose as a means to earn 
money. As a result, there is very likely far more illicit activity 
involving the sale of counterfeit merchandise compared to drug 
trafficking or involvement in weapons smuggling. Lebanese expats in the 
region are also involved in many other illicit businesses, just not 
equal to the extent of sale of all types of counterfeit products that 
range from purses to high end electronics.

    22. Senator Blumenthal. Admiral Tidd, are you working to build the 
capacity of regional allies to address Hezbollah's malign activities?
    Admiral Tidd. Many of the skills gained by our partners from 
USSOUTHCOM's broader capacity building activities to address other 
regional security challenges are transferrable. Skills used to counter 
threat networks, threat finance, and narcotics can be applied across 
many other threats to include Hezbollah. Additionally, working with our 
partners, regional organizations, and other U.S. Government agencies to 
reduce corruption as well as un- and under-governed spaces (while not 
specifically targeted at Hezbollah) will counter many of Hezbollah's 
activities to build and maintain additional infrastructure in the 

    23. Senator Blumenthal. Admiral Tidd, what do you know about the 
links between Venezuela's Government and Hezbollah?
    Admiral Tidd. There have been a number of individuals within the 
Venezuelan government who are ideologically aligned with Hezbollah. A 
very small number of these individuals were involved in illicit 
activity that, via third party donations, likely resulted in an 
insignificant financial profit for Hezbollah. Additionally, Venezuelan 
travel documents have been sold to members of the Lebanese community. 
The Lebanese diaspora in Venezuela likely has relationships with a 
small number of local and regional Venezuelan officials to facilitate 
the transportation and sale of counterfeit merchandise. Additionally, 
some members of the Lebanese community are involved in drug trafficking 
and money laundering which is possibly facilitated by lower level law 
enforcement, military, or government officials. However, there is no 
official relationship between the government of Venezuela and 
                               the arctic
    24. Senator Blumenthal. General Robinson, a March 22 article in the 
Washington Post noted that sea ice levels in the Arctic Ocean hit a 
record low--the smallest since record keeping began in 1979. This is 
troubling from an environmental standpoint, but more importantly for 
this hearing, it opens sea lanes in areas we did not have to worry 
about protecting in the past. Russia is expanding its capabilities in 
the arctic, the largest since the end of the Cold War, including 
reopening or building of six military bases. Russia is also expanding 
its reach and laying claim to part of the estimated 22 percent of the 
undiscovered gas and oil reserves located in the Arctic. The disparity 
in our icebreaker fleet is another area of concern. Russia's aggressive 
activity in the Artic is concerning and the U.S. needs to do more to 
assert its presence in the region. How is climate change impacting 
NORTHCOM operations? Is the thawing of the Artic impacted mission 
    General Robinson. At this time, climate change and the thawing of 
sea ice in the Arctic do not affect my ability to conduct my Homeland 
defense and defense support of civil authority missions. The Arctic is 
a vast and harsh operating environment that requires uniquely trained 
and equipped forces to operate in this austere region. When we develop 
plans and strategies, we consider many factors, such as Russian 
military capabilities, the capabilities and capacities of our partners, 
and the operational environment. We are cognizant of the differences 
between the Eurasian Arctic and the North American Arctic and 
continuously evaluate changes in the operational environment to 
determine if those changes drive new capability requirements. We 
continue to look for opportunities to advocate for capabilities that 
will enable us to perform missions throughout our Area of 
Responsibility, to include safety, security, and defense of the Arctic.

    25. Senator Blumenthal. General Robinson, if this trend continues, 
there will be additional ocean to patrol and sea lanes to protect to 
our north. Has this impacted the number of ships and patrols required 
in the Arctic?
    General Robinson. Climate change has not impacted the number of 
ships and patrols I require in the Arctic. However, diminishing sea ice 
will eventually open a northern maritime avenue of approach to North 
America, highlighting the importance of the maritime warning mission 
for NORAD and the Homeland Defense mission for USNORTHCOM.
             Questions Submitted by Senator Mazie K. Hirono
                  impact of partnerships on the region
    26. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, with regard to interagency and 
regional cooperation, in your written testimony you state that ``our 
security partnerships help create a layered defense of our Homeland by 
keeping our shared home stable and secure.'' Would you agree that the 
security of the region is not based solely on military might but also 
on diplomacy and developing relationships with allies?
    Admiral Tidd. Yes, I agree with that statement.

    27. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, what is your opinion of the 
border wall and its impact on relationships with our allies?
    General Robinson. In my role as the USNORTHCOM Commander, I am 
confident in the strength of the military-to-military relationships 
between my Commands and our international military partners within my 
Area of Responsibility.

    28. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, in your opinion, will our 
national security be increased by building a border wall?
    General Robinson. As the Commander of USNORTHCOM, I respectfully 
defer to national civilian leaders on matters of policy.

    29. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, if our relationship with 
Mexico is impacted negatively, how would it affect our ability to 
combat drug trafficking, human trafficking and anti-terrorism on the 
Southern border?
    General Robinson. The military-to-military relationship between the 
United States and Mexico is extremely strong and absolutely at an all-
time high. I am confident in the strength of this important 
relationship and believe our shared goals on the U.S. southern border 
will remain a priority.

    30. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd and General Robinson, what impact 
does President Trump's ``America First'' policy have on relationships 
with our allies in the region?
    Admiral Tidd. We have not noticed any difference in our 
relationships with our partners in the region as a result of President 
Trump's policies. With very few exceptions, we enjoy strong 
partnerships with the countries in this region, who want to partner 
with the United States. I will comment that there are other countries, 
namely Russia and China, who are positioning themselves to step in as 
partners to these nations if there is a perception that the United 
States is withdrawing from the region.
    General Robinson. As the USNORTHCOM Commander, I can only speak to 
the mil-to-mil relationships with our partners within my Area of 
Responsibility. Those relationships remain strong, and I will continue 
to place great importance on continually building on our mil-to-mil 
                 funding to supporting federal agencies
    31. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, in your statement you commented 
on the importance of other governmental agencies on the success of your 
mission. President Trump's budget prosed to cut a substantial portion 
of funding to the Department of State and USAID. If Department of State 
and USAID were forced to reduce their mission in the region due to 
funding issues, what impact would that have on your mission, 
particularly the humanitarian missions?
    Admiral Tidd. The United States military is never the lead in the 
event of a response to a humanitarian crisis. If DOD unique 
capabilities are required, we are called in to support USAID, the lead 
federal agency for humanitarian crisis response, with those 
capabilities (such as heavy air-lift). This region is particularly 
prone to natural disasters, averaging about 50 every year. If USAID 
funding is cut, I suspect that cost and duration of U.S. military 
involvement in humanitarian responses could increase, though I defer to 
USAID for more specific information on impact of funding cuts. 
Additionally, the development programs that are sponsored by USAID are 
incredibly important to mitigate the drivers of instability and 
migration in the region. The State Department is also a critical 
partner in this region. State programs such as FMS, FMF, and IMET are 
key to our relationship-building in the region--facilitating long-term 
relationships with future leaders of our partner nations. Also, the 
State Department has a robust program aimed at countering international 
crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad that very closely 
complements the efforts of USSOUTHCOM in the Western Hemisphere. Given 
the already limited resources of DOD in this region, cuts to these 
vital programs run by our interagency partners would have a significant 
impact on regional security and our bilateral partnerships.

    32. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, another agency that is facing 
potential reductions in the President's budget is the U.S. Coast Guard. 
You stated that the Coast Guard is ``punching well above their weight'' 
by helping fulfill a portion of your title 10 detection and monitoring 
obligations. This is largely due to the maritime platform gaps that are 
occurring across the services and that Littoral Combat Ships play an 
important part in SOUTHCOM's mission. What impact would a Coast Guard 
budget reduction have on the security of the U.S. and defense of our 
    Admiral Tidd. I would defer to the Commandant of the Coast Guard 
for specifics on how cuts would impact his ability to execute his 
mission. What I can tell you is that the U.S. Coast Guard is currently 
our primary maritime force provider for our title 10 directed mission 
to detect and monitor illicit drugs heading toward the United States. 
If the Coast Guard receives significant cuts to its budget, that could 
impact its ability to source this critical mission.

    33. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, can you describe in more detail 
what those platform gaps include? What additional resources would you 
need to cover all of the title 10 requirements that you have?
    Admiral Tidd. In order to target, detect, and disrupt illicit 
maritime traffic, we require what's called force packages. One force 
package consists of a medium to long range ship (hosting a Coast Guard 
Law Enforcement Detachment with an interceptor boat and one or more 
day/night capable helicopters with aerial use of force capability) and 
a maritime patrol aircraft equipped with wide-area maritime search 
radar and infrared detection set (FLIR). The White House's Office of 
National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) provides guidance to interdict 40 
percent of the known cocaine flow. This number was deemed the level at 
which the drug trafficking model would break or be seriously comprised. 
Based on the documented cocaine flow (3,225 metric tons) in 2016, we 
would have required 38 force packages to disrupt 40 percent of that 
flow. On any given day, we have five force packages available to 
support interdiction efforts. In addition to force packages, we also 
need to continue our efforts to build the capacity of our very willing 
partners to support the regional efforts to stem the flow of illicit 
traffic. We recognize that we cannot stop this illicit flow alone. The 
better trained and equipped our partners are to support these efforts, 
the more successful we will all be. As an example of our efforts in 
this area, we have provided interceptor boats and communications 
equipment to our partner nations to enable them to directly support the 
interdiction efforts of the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-
South) in Key West, which leads our mission to detect and monitor. As a 
result, in 2016, 42 percent of all JIATF-South supported disruptions 
involved our partner nations, in most of those, partner nation 
participation was critical to the success of the disruption. Finally, 
it is important that we continue to share intelligence and cooperate 
with the U.S. interagency and our partner nations. One critical 
component of that is to maintain the Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar 
system (ROTHR) fully functional and free of interference from wind 
farms that will likely degrade our capability to use these systems to 
detect and track threat network operations in the air and maritime 
                          littoral combat ship
    34. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, in your written testimony you 
stated that no Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) have been assigned to your 
command so you have had to utilize other means, including relying on 
foreign allies, to accomplish SOUTHCOM's mission. Can you describe the 
importance of LCSs to SOUTHCOM's mission?
    Admiral Tidd. To execute our mission to detect and monitor illicit 
drugs, we require surface assets that have the capability to launch and 
recover helicopters and over-the-horizon interceptor boats. As you 
know, the LCS is equipped with those capabilities, which make it a very 
suitable platform for the missions in this region. Right now, 
USSOUTHCOM is allocated less than one Navy ship per year. Any 
opportunity to use LCS in this region would greatly increase 
USSOUTHCOM's ability to execute its mission.

    35. Senator Hirono. Admiral Tidd, what level of LCS assets would 
best enable SOUTHCOM to accomplish its mission?
    Admiral Tidd. As mentioned above, in order to meet the White 
House's requirement to interdict 40 percent of illicit flow in 2016, we 
would have required 38 force packages that include a surface asset with 
the capabilities available on the LCS--ability to launch and recover 
helicopters and over-the-horizon interceptor boats. As a CCMD, we 
outline our requirements broadly and rely on the different Services to 
source those requirements with appropriate platforms.
              relationship with allies for missile defense
    36. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, relationships with allies in 
the Asia Pacific are important to our overall security strategy in that 
region. Both Japan and Korea have Aegis equipped ships and Japan has 
been a great partner in developing the SM-3 Block II A missiles. What 
additional steps should the U.S. take in order to continue to develop 
missile defense technologies with our allies?
    General Robinson. I defer to ADM Harris regarding efforts in his 
Area of Responsibility and to VADM Syring at the Missile Defense Agency 
regarding the potential benefits of joint program development with our 

    37. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, how important is the concept 
of working with our allies on missile defense?
    General Robinson. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which 
I use to defend the United States, is not jointly developed with any 
allies. However, some of our supporting radars are located outside of 
the U.S. and provide benefit to our defense, as well as the host nation 
and region.
                             role of china
    38. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, president Trump has stated 
that the U.S. will act alone if China does not take action to intervene 
in North Korea's quest for a nuclear capable ballistic missile. In your 
opinion, what is best policy toward China concerning the North Korean 
    General Robinson. As the USNORTHCOM mission is focused on the 
defense of the United States, I respectfully defer to others on matters 
of policy.
                      maui space surveillance site
    39. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, the Maui Space Surveillance 
Site combines operational satellite tracking facilities with a research 
and development facility. It is the only facility of its kind in the 
world and provides state-of-the-art electro-optical capabilities. What 
is the importance of this facility to national security and how 
important is it to continue to modernize the capabilities of this 
facility to continue to meet the emerging threats?
    General Robinson. USNORTHCOM relies heavily on space-based assets 
to defend our Homeland. However, because the Department of Defense's 
space surveillance mission falls under the purview of Air Force Space 
Command, I respectfully defer to General John Raymond for a more 
specific response to your question.
                         threat of north korea
    40. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, it is clear that North Korea 
is committed to developing long-range missile technology. Most recently 
North Korea tested a solid-propellant SLBM variant. These types of 
weapons have very few indications and warnings. From a missile defense 
perspective, how well is the U.S. protected from the North Korean 
    General Robinson. I am confident that we can defend the U.S. from 
the threat currently posed by North Korea. However, we closely monitor 
advancements and evolutions in their missile program to inform best use 
of our current capabilities, as well as capabilities required in the 

    41. Senator Hirono. General Robinson, what future requirements 
would you identify as necessary to defend the U.S. and in particular 
Hawaii from the North Korean missile threat?
    General Robinson. We have the capability to defend the Homeland 
today from the North Korean threat, including Hawaii. My priorities 
remain to improve our persistent sensor architecture, as well as 
interceptor reliability and lethality. We are currently working with 
the Department through the Ballistic Missile Defense Review that may 
identify and prioritize potential improvements to further enhance 
ballistic missile defense protection of Hawaii.



                        THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2017

                                       U.S. Senate,
                               Committee on Armed Services,
                                                    Washington, DC.


    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 
SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator John McCain 
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Committee members present: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, 
Fischer, Cotton, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Perdue, Cruz, 
Graham, Sasse, Strange, Reed, Nelson, McCaskill, Shaheen, 
Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine, King, 
Heinrich, Warren, and Peters.


    Chairman McCain. Well, good morning.
    The Senate Armed Services Committee meets this morning to 
receive testimony on the posture of U.S. Pacific Command and 
U.S. Forces in Korea.
    Admiral Harris, I appreciate your appearance before the 
committee during this tense period in your area of 
responsibility. I want to express the appreciation of this 
committee for the service of the men and women you lead who 
defend our Nation every day.
    America's interests in the Asia-Pacific region are deep and 
enduring. That is why for the past 70 years we have worked with 
our allies and partners to uphold a rules-based order based on 
the principles of free peoples and free markets, open seas and 
open skies, and the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of 
disputes. These ideas have produced unprecedented peace and 
prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, but now the challenges to this 
rules-based order are mounting and they threaten not just the 
nations of the Asia-Pacific region but the United States as 
    The most immediate threat is the situation on the Korean 
Peninsula. Kim Jong-un's regime has thrown its full weight 
behind its quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver 
them. Unfortunately, the regime is making real progress. A 
North Korean missile with a nuclear payload capable of striking 
an American city is no longer a distant hypothetical but an 
imminent danger, one that poses a real and rising risk of 
conflict. Indeed, as Admiral Harris said yesterday in testimony 
before the House, North Korea already has the conventional 
capability to strike United States territory. I look forward to 
hearing your assessment of North Korea's nuclear and missile 
programs, the military options your forces offer to our 
Commander in Chief and their readiness to carry them out if 
called upon.
    I welcome the news that the deployment of the THAAD 
[Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] missile defense system to 
South Korea and other capabilities in the region will soon be 
completed. It is shameful that China has retaliated against 
South Korea with economic and cyber means in response to its 
support for this deployment. This committee understands that 
deploying this system is a joint alliance decision that is 
necessary to defend our ally, South Korea. Admiral Harris, we 
welcome your views on whether further enhancements to United 
States missile defenses or our conventional military posture 
are required in Northeast Asia to counter the threat from North 
    For years, the United States has looked to China, North 
Korea's longtime patron and sole strategic ally, to bring the 
regime to the negotiating table and achieve progress toward a 
denuclearized Korean Peninsula. We have done so for the simple 
reason that China is the only country that may have the 
influence to truly curb North Korea's destabilizing behavior. 
China has repeatedly refused to exercise that influence.
    I welcome the Trump administration's outreach to China on 
the issue of North Korea. As these discussions continue, the 
United States should be clear that while we earnestly seek 
China's cooperation on North Korea, we do not seek such 
cooperation at the expense of our other vital interests. We 
must not and will not bargain over our alliances or over 
fundamental principles of the rules-based order.
    As its behavior toward South Korea indicates, over the last 
several years, China has acted less and less like a responsible 
stakeholder of the rules-based order in the region and more 
like a bully. It has economically coerced its neighbors, 
increased its provocations in the East China Sea, and 
militarized the South China Sea. Meanwhile, with a rebalance 
policy too heavy on rhetoric and too light on action, years of 
senseless defense cuts, and now the disastrous decision to 
withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, United States 
policy has failed to adapt to the scale and velocity of China's 
challenge to the rules-based order. That failure has called 
into question the credibility of America's security commitments 
in the region.
    This committee has grown increasingly concerned about the 
erosion of America's conventional military overmatch as states 
like China and North Korea develop advanced capabilities to 
counter our ability to project military power. While America's 
military remains the most powerful on Earth, we must adapt to 
the new realities we face. We must think differently about 
forward basing and force posture, logistics and mobilization, 
and take steps to reshape the capabilities of our joint force 
for the renewed reality of great power competition.
    Specifically on the issue of munitions, this committee has 
heard testimony each year about the qualitative and 
quantitative shortfalls we have in our munitions, but we have 
seen little action from the services to finally turn the corner 
and address this issue with the seriousness it requires. 
Admiral Harris, I am interested in your views on munitions 
requirements and what it will take to meet them.
    The new administration has an important opportunity to 
chart a different and better course. At our hearing earlier 
this week, our panel of expert witnesses agreed there was a 
strong merit for a, quote, ``Asia-Pacific Stability 
Initiative.'' This initiative could enhance U.S. military power 
through targeted funding to realign our force posture in the 
region, improve operationally relevant infrastructure, fund 
additional exercises, preposition equipment, and build capacity 
with our allies and partners. Admiral Harris, I am eager to 
hear your thoughts on this kind of an initiative.
    Admiral, I think there is some symbolism in your appearance 
today and the information that the Chinese are now building 
their own aircraft carrier. I am sure that as an old naval 
aviator, that that has some interest for you.
    Senator Reed?


    Senator Reed. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank you, Admiral Harris, for being here today. 
We understand how difficult this time must be for you and for 
General Brooks and all the men and women that you lead. We want 
you to express our great appreciation for their efforts.
    It is clear to me, especially after the thoughtful 
discussion we had on Tuesday with our outside panel, that there 
is no set of options that lead to quick and certain strategy on 
North Korea. While I believe that we should pursue and exhaust 
every diplomatic option to bring the North Korean regime to the 
negotiating table, those options are somewhat limited. China 
provides the lifeline for North Korea, and China, for its own 
national security interests, seems unwilling to exert the type 
of pressure that is needed to convince the regime that 
denuclearization is the only path forward. Even if China were 
willing to exert that type of pressure, it seems that Kim Jong-
un is so determined to pursue his nuclear program that he is 
willing to risk impoverishing and starving his own population 
to achieve his dream of becoming a nuclear-capable state.
    There are military options, but they are risky. A 
comprehensive strike on nuclear facilities may precipitate a 
catastrophic retaliation against the civilian population of 
Seoul or against our bases and servicemembers in South Korea or 
Japan. A surgical strike, while less risky, may not deter the 
North Korean regime and runs the risk of emboldening Kim Jong-
un. Complicating factors, of course, are the stockpile of 
chemical and biological weapons at his disposal and road-mobile 
missile launchers spread across the countryside.
    North Korea's nuclear and missile program is an immediate 
and grave national security threat. Admiral Harris, I ask that 
you tell us how you are preparing for every contingency on the 
    While North Korea poses an immediate national security 
threat, we must not lose sight of the potential long-term 
threat that China poses to the rules-based order in the Asia-
Pacific region. Whether it be economic coercion of its smaller, 
more vulnerable neighbors or undermining the freedom of 
navigation that we all depend upon, China has not demonstrated 
a willingness to rise as a responsible global leader. 
Therefore, I believe it is critical that we empower and engage 
countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia to protect their own 
waterways and provide them with economic alternatives to main 
regional stability, preserve United States standing in Asia, 
and allow the economic growth and stability that has 
characterized the region for the last 50 years to continue.
    Again, thank you, Admiral, for your service, and thank you, 
Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman McCain. Admiral?


    Admiral Harris. Thank you, Chairman McCain and Senator Reed 
and distinguished members. It is an honor for me to appear 
before this committee.
    There are many things to talk about since my last testimony 
14 months ago, and I regret that I am not here with my 
testimony battle buddy, General Vince Brooks, but I think you 
would all agree that he is where he is needed most right now on 
the Korean Peninsula.
    Mr. Chairman, I request that my written posture statement 
be submitted for the record.
    Chairman McCain. Without objection.
    Admiral Harris. As the PACOM Commander, I have the 
extraordinary privilege of leading about 375,000 soldiers, 
sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and DOD civilians 
serving our Nation over half the globe. These dedicated 
patriots are doing an amazing job, and thanks to them, America 
remains the security partner of choice in the region.
    That is important because I believe that America's future 
and economic prosperity are inextricably linked to the Indo-
Asia-Pacific, a region that is poised at the strategic nexus 
where opportunity meets the four considerable challenges of 
North Korea, China, Russia, and ISIS.
    It is clear to me that ISIS is a threat that must be 
destroyed now, but as we eliminate ISIS in the Middle East and 
North Africa, some of the surviving fighters will likely 
repatriate to their home countries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. We 
must continue to work with likeminded nations to eradicate ISIS 
before it grows in the PACOM area of responsibility.
    Then there is North Korea, which remains the most immediate 
threat to the security of the United States and our allies in 
Japan and Korea. North Korea has vigorously pursued a strategic 
strike capability with nuclear tests and ballistic missile 
launches which it claims are intended to target the United 
States, South Korea, Japan, and just earlier this week, 
Australia. Make no mistake. Kim Jong-un is making progress on 
his quest for nuclear weapons and a means to deliver them 
intercontinentally. All nations need to take this threat 
seriously because North Korea's missiles point in all 
directions. North Korea's capabilities are not yet an 
existential threat to America, but if left unchecked, it will 
eventually match the capability to hostile rhetoric.
    I know that there is some debate about North Korea's intent 
and the miniaturization advancements made by Pyongyang, and I 
will not add to that speculation. Regardless, my job is to 
provide military options to the President, and because PACOM 
must be ready to fight tonight, I must assume that Kim Jong-
un's nuclear claims are true. I know his aspirations certainly 
    That is why General Brooks and I are doing everything 
possible to defend the American Homeland and our allies and the 
Republic of Korea and Japan. That is why the ROK [Republic of 
Korea]-United States Alliance decided last July to deploy 
THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, which 
would be operational in the coming days and able to better 
defend South Korea against the growing North Korean threat.
    That is why the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is 
back on patrol in Northeast Asia.
    That is why we must continue to debuted America's newest 
and best military platforms in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
    That is why we want to continue to emphasize trilateral 
cooperation between the United States, South Korea, and Japan, 
a partnership with a purpose if there ever was one.
    That is why we continue to call on China to exert its 
considerable influence to stop Pyongyang's unprecedented 
weapons testing. While recent actions by Beijing are 
encouraging, the fact remains that China is as responsible for 
where North Korea is as North Korea itself.
    In confronting the reckless North Korean regime, it is 
critical that we are guided by a strong sense of resolve both 
privately and publicly, both diplomatically and militarily. As 
President Trump and Secretary Mattis have made clear, all 
options are on the table. We want to bring Kim Jong-un to his 
senses and not to his knees.
    We are also challenged in the Indo-Asia-Pacific by an 
aggressive China and a revanchist Russia. China continues a 
methodical strategy to control the South China Sea. I testified 
last year that China was militarizing this critical 
international waterway and the airspace above it by building 
air and naval bases on seven Chinese manmade islands in the 
disputed Spratlys. Despite subsequent Chinese assurances at the 
highest levels that they would not militarize these bases, 
today they have these facilities that support long-range 
weapons emplacements, fighter aircraft hangars, radar towers, 
and barracks for their troops. China's militarization of the 
South China Sea is real.
    I am also not taking my eyes off of Russia, which just last 
week flew bomber missions near Alaska on successive days for 
the first time since 2014. Russia continues to modernize its 
military and exercise its considerable conventional and nuclear 
forces in the Pacific.
    Despite the region's four significant challenges since my 
last report to you, we have strengthened America's network of 
alliances and partnerships. Working with likeminded partners on 
shared security threats like North Korea and ISIS is a key 
component of our regional strategy. Our five bilateral defense 
treaty alliances, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the 
Philippines, and Thailand, anchor our joint force efforts in 
the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
    We have also advanced important partnerships with India and 
Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand, Singapore and Sri Lanka, 
Vietnam and others, all with a view toward reinforcing the 
rules-based security order that has helped underwrite peace and 
stability and prosperity throughout the region for decades.
    But there is more work to do. We must be ready to confront 
all challenges from a position of strength and with credible 
combat power.
    I ask this committee to support continued investment to 
improve military capabilities. I need weapon systems of 
increased lethality, precision, speed, and range that are 
networked and cost effective. Restricting ourselves with 
funding uncertainties reduces warfighting readiness. I urge 
Congress to repeal sequestration and to approve the proposed 
Defense Department budget.
    Finally, I would like to thank Chairman McCain and this 
committee for proposing and supporting the Asia-Pacific 
Stability Initiative. This effort will reassure our regional 
partners and send a strong signal to potential adversaries of 
our persistent commitment to the region.
    As always, I thank the Congress for your enduring support 
to the men and women of PACOM and to our families who care for 
us. Thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions.
    [The prepared statement of Admiral Harris follows:]

           Prepared Statement by Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr.
    Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished members of 
the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you 
today. This is my second posture assessment since taking command of 
U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) in 2015. During this time, I've had the 
extraordinary privilege to lead the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, 
coast guardsmen, and Department of Defense civilians standing the watch 
in the vast Indo-Asia-Pacific region. These men and women and their 
families inspire me with their relentless devotion to duty, and I'm 
proud to serve alongside them.
    This past January 1st, USPACOM commemorated its 70th birthday. For 
70 years, our joint military forces have protected the territory of the 
United States, its people, and its interests throughout the Indo-Asia-
Pacific region. Working in close concert with other U.S. Government 
agencies, defending our Homeland and our citizens is always ``Job 
number one'' at USPACOM. It is my top command priority. Together with 
our allies and partners, USPACOM enhances stability in the region by 
promoting security cooperation, responding to contingencies, deterring 
aggression, and, when necessary, fighting to win. This security 
approach is based on shared interests, partnerships, military presence, 
and readiness.
    The United States has enduring national interests in the Indo-Asia-
Pacific. In fact, I believe America's future security and economic 
prosperity are indelibly linked to this critical region, which is now 
at a strategic crossroads where real opportunities meet real 
challenges. Of the five global challenges that currently drive United 
States defense planning and budgeting--ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and 
Syria), North Korea, China, Russia and Iran--four are in the Indo-Asia-
Pacific. We cannot turn a blind eye to these challenges. We must not 
give any country or insidious non-state actor a pass if they purposely 
erode the rules-based security order that has served America and this 
region so well for so long.
    Rising from the ashes of World War II, the rules-based 
international order, or what I sometimes call, ``the Global Operating 
System,'' has kept the Indo-Asia-Pacific largely peaceful and created 
the stability necessary for economic prosperity in the United States 
and countries throughout the region. Ironically, China is the country 
that has benefitted the most. The collective respect for, and adherence 
to, international rules and standards have produced the longest era of 
peace and prosperity in modern times. These conditions are not 
happenstance. In my opinion, they have been made possible by a security 
order underwritten by seven decades of robust and persistent U.S. 
military presence and credible combat power. This security order has 
been reinforced by America's five bilateral security alliances with 
Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Philippines, and 
Thailand. This order is further bolstered by our growing partnerships 
with India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, 
Mongolia, and Vietnam.
    This Global Operating System upholds critical principles--the rule 
of law, adherence to standards, peaceful resolution of disputes, 
freedom of navigation for all civilian and military vessels and 
aircraft, and open access to the sea, air, space, and cyberspace 
domains. Its outcomes are two-fold: enhanced security and unimpeded 
lawful commerce. Sustainable security requires effective and enduring 
institutions, both civilian and military, that are guided by these 
principles. Defense, diplomatic, and development efforts are 
intertwined and continue to reinforce each other to promote stability 
in both conflict-affected and steady state environments to build and 
sustain stable democratic states.
    The Indian and Pacific Oceans are the economic lifeblood linking 
the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Australia, Northeast Asia, 
Oceania and the United States Oceans that once were physical and 
psychological barriers that kept us apart are now maritime 
superhighways that bring us together. Each year, approximately $5.3 
trillion in global trade transits the South China Sea and $1.2 trillion 
of this sea-based trade involves the United States fifty-five percent 
(55 percent) of the global gross domestic product (GDP) comes from this 
region (including the U.S.). Five of America's top ten trading partners 
are in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and it's a destination for one-fourth of 
our exports. The diverse region drives global economic growth and is 
home to the world's two largest economies after the United States 
(China and Japan) and led by the three fastest growing large economies 
(China, India, and the `ASEAN Five' (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, 
Thailand, and Vietnam)). Nine of ten megacities in the world are in 
this region (including Karachi, Pakistan).
    The Indo-Asia-Pacific has the world's most populous democracy 
(India), and is home to more than half the world's population. Some 
estimates predict that percentage could rise to near 70 percent by 
2050, which will lead to further competition for dwindling resources. 
Indonesia, an important security partner of the United States, is a 
maturing democracy, and the world's largest Muslim-majority state. 
Eleven of the top 15 largest militaries in the world are in or adjacent 
to the region, as are two-thirds of the nine countries that possess 
nuclear weapons.
    Simply stated, what happens in the Indo-Asia-Pacific matters to 
America. The region needs a strong America, just as America needs the 
    In fact, the need for American engagement in the Indo-Asia-Pacific 
is demonstrated in the long history of United States commitment to the 
region. It's overwhelmingly in America's security and economic 
interests to defend the rules-based order against challengers that 
would seek to unilaterally rewrite it or alter its fundamental 
principles. It's overwhelmingly in America's interests to deepen our 
diplomacy in the region while backing up peaceful resolution of 
disputes with undisputed, credible combat power. It's overwhelmingly in 
America's interests to remain the region's security partner of choice 
by working closely with our allies and partners who share our 
commitment to uphold peace, economic prosperity and security.
    This document is my assessment of the regional security challenges 
and opportunities of strategic value. First, I will outline some of the 
specific challenges we face in the Indo-Asia-Pacific including threats 
to the Homeland. I will highlight critical needs in order to seek your 
support for budgetary and legislative actions to improve United States 
military readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. I will discuss the 
value of U.S. strategic force posture and forward presence and how 
these preconditions improve the readiness of our joint force to fight 
tonight, enhance our ability to reassure allies and partners, and 
maintain regional stability. Finally, I will discuss how USPACOM 
strengthens existing alliances and cultivates critical partnerships 
with regional actors--both of which deliver strategic benefits and 
improve readiness to protect and defend U.S. interests.
    As we look ahead to the next quarter century, if not the next few 
months or years, security and stability are threatened by a range of 
regional state and non-state actors who are challenging the rules-based 
security order that has helped underwrite peace and prosperity for 
America and throughout the region for over 70 years.
    North Korea continues to disregard United Nations sanctions by 
developing, and threatening to use intercontinental ballistic missiles 
and nuclear weapons that will threaten the United States Homeland. 
China has fundamentally altered the physical and political landscape in 
the South China Sea through large scale land reclamation and by 
militarizing these reclaimed features. Beijing continues to press Japan 
in the East China Sea, is stepping up diplomatic and economic pressure 
against Taiwan, and is methodically trying to supplant United States 
influence with our friends and allies in the region. Furthermore, China 
is rapidly building a modern, capable military that appears to far 
exceed its stated defensive purpose or potential regional needs. 
China's military modernization is focused on defeating the United 
States in Asia by countering United States asymmetric advantages. 
China's military modernization cannot be understated, especially when 
we consider the Communist regime's lack of transparency and apparent 
strategy. China is committed to developing a hypersonic glide weapon 
and advanced cyber and anti-satellite capabilities that present direct 
threats to the Homeland. China's near term strategy is focused on 
building up combat power and positional advantage to be able to 
restrict freedom of navigation and overflight while asserting de facto 
sovereignty over disputed maritime features and spaces in the region. 
Russia is modernizing its military and once again exercising its 
conventional forces and nuclear strike capabilities in the Pacific, 
which also threaten the Homeland. Transnational terrorists, inspired by 
and in some cases led by ISIS, have set their sights on the Indo-Asia-
Pacific by supporting and encouraging attacks in Indonesia, Bangladesh, 
Philippines, and Malaysia while recruiting and fund-raising there and 
elsewhere. Drug trafficking, human smuggling, piracy, weapons 
proliferation, natural disasters--as well as illegal, unreported, and 
unregulated fishing--further challenge regional peace and prosperity.
    To counter these challenges, USPACOM is enhancing U.S. force 
posture, presence, and resiliency, while modernizing U.S. force 
capability and training to ensure our forces are ready to fight tonight 
and win in any contingency. USPACOM is working with our many and 
invaluable allies and partners on a bilateral--and increasingly 
multilateral--basis to address these common challenges. The growth in 
multinational ``partnerships with a purpose'' demonstrates that the 
countries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific view the United States as the 
security partner of choice. By working together, we enhance capability 
and capacity to respond to the range of threats endemic to the region.
                             key challenges
    North Korea: North Korea remains our most immediate threat in the 
Indo-Asia-Pacific. It dangerously distinguishes itself as the only 
country to have tested nuclear weapons in this century. As former 
Secretary of Defense William Perry once said, we must deal with North 
Korea ``as it is, not as we wish it to be.'' Kim Jong-un has stated 
repeatedly that denuclearization is not an option. He is on a quest for 
nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles capable of delivering them 
intercontinentally. The words and actions of North Korea threaten the 
United States Homeland and that of our allies in South Korea and Japan. 
That's North Korea as it is.
    I know there's some debate about the miniaturization and other 
technological advancements made by Pyongyang. An aggressive weapons 
test schedule, as demonstrated by yet another ballistic missile launch 
this April, moves North Korea closer to its stated goals. As a military 
commander, I must assume that Kim Jong-un's claims are true--his 
aspirations certainly are. USPACOM must be prepared to fight tonight, 
so I take him at his word. That means we must consider every possible 
step to defend the United States Homeland and our allies. That's why 
the ROK-United States alliance has decided to deploy THAAD--the 
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system--in South Korea as soon as 
possible. That's why the United States continues to call on China--
North Korea's principal ally--to exert its considerable influence to 
stop Pyongyang's unprecedented campaign of nuclear weapons ballistic 
missile tests. That's why we continue to emphasize trilateral 
cooperation between Japan, ROK, and the United States That's why 
American leaders and diplomats continue to rally the international 
community to loudly condemn North Korea's unacceptable behavior.
    North Korea vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability in 
2016. We assess that the progress made in several areas will encourage 
Kim Jong-un to continue down this reckless and dangerous path. 
Pyongyang launched more ballistic missiles last year than it did in the 
previous few years combined. This included the first launches of the 
Musudan intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and the 
developmental submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Both systems 
experienced noteworthy--and often spectacular--failures, but they also 
both achieved some successes. Just as Thomas Edison is believed to have 
failed 1000 times before successfully inventing the electric light 
bulb, so too, Kim Jong-un will keep trying. One of these days soon, he 
will succeed. The 2016 SLBM test and the numerous land-based tests 
employed solid-fuel engines, another indication that Kim Jong-un is 
continuing to modify and improve missile reliability and performance. 
Those successes advance North Korea's technical and operational base 
and allow continued development. Aggressive rhetoric since the New Year 
strongly suggests North Korea will not only continue to test these 
proscribed systems, but is also likely to attempt a first launch of a 
similarly prohibited intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
    At the same time, North Korea's nuclear scientists and engineers 
are hard at work attempting to transform fissile nuclear materials into 
reliable nuclear weapons. Pyongyang defied the international community 
and detonated nuclear devices five times--including two in 2016. Kim 
Jong-un has threatened the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against 
the United States and other regional targets. Kim's strategic 
capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the United States, 
but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to match his 
rhetoric. At that point we will wake up to a new world. North Korea's 
existing capabilities are already a significant threat to several of 
our regional treaty allies and the 90,000 United States troops 
stationed in the Western Pacific.
    North Korea fields the fourth largest conventional military in the 
world. Despite a number of noteworthy shortfalls in training and 
equipment, we must take seriously the substantial inventory of long-
range rockets, artillery, close-range ballistic missiles, and expansive 
chemical weaponry aimed across the Demilitarized Zone at the Republic 
of Korea and United States forces stationed there. North Korea also 
maintains sizeable numbers of well-trained, highly disciplined special 
operations forces. Pyongyang made a point recently of publicizing a 
Special Forces exercise that attacked and destroyed a detailed mock-up 
of the ROK Presidential complex in an attempt to underscore the 
capability and lethality of its forces.
    Pyongyang's emphasis on strategic and military capabilities comes 
at the expense of the North Korean people, who continue to struggle 
with a lifeless economy and international isolation.
    In confronting the North Korean threat, it is critical that the 
United States be guided by a strong sense of resolve both publicly and 
privately in order to bring Kim Jong-un to his senses, not his knees.
    China: The rapid transformation of China's military into a high-
tech force capable of regional dominance and a growing ability to 
support aspirations for global reach and influence is concerning. A 
February 2017 study from the International Institute for Strategic 
Studies (IISS) concluded that Chinese weapons and air power in 
particular are ``reaching near-parity with the west.'' Studies from 
DOD's Office of Net Assessment further confirm this trend in our 
decreasing capability overmatch. I agree with these reports. Our 
dominance in high tech advanced weapons cannot be taken for granted. To 
do so would be a strategic mistake.
    China's activities on the seas, in the air, and in cyberspace have 
generated concerns about its strategic intentions. For the past 2 
years, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been implementing an 
extensive reorganization which has so far included the creation of 
geographically focused Theater Commands, each organized and equipped 
for specific regional contingencies. This reorganization may be the 
most important development in the PLA's growing ability to organize for 
modern combat. The structural reforms that created the Theater Commands 
institutionalized a joint command and control concept to allow the PLA 
to maximize the individual services' warfighting strengths into a more 
cohesive joint force. However, it is likely to take several years 
before the full benefit of this change is realized. One early indicator 
that China is already addressing some of the challenges of joint 
operations is the recent unprecedented appointment of a Navy Admiral to 
replace an Army General as the commander of the largely maritime-
focused Southern Theater.
    China's equipment development and fielding programs are 
comprehensive and impressive. The PLA Navy (PLAN) boasts some of the 
most advanced warships in the region, including the Type 052D (Luyang-
III) guided missile destroyer and the Type 039A (Shang) attack 
submarine. Within the next 2 years the first Type 055 (Renhai) guided 
missile cruisers will join the fleet. These modern, multi-functional 
ships can support a range of missions and employ sophisticated air 
defense, surface attack, and subsurface munitions, including anti-ship 
missiles with ranges far exceeding existing U.S. Navy anti-ship 
weapons. The PLAN's aircraft carrier program is progressing with the 
CV-16 (Liaoning) serving as a test and development platform while China 
builds its first indigenous aircraft carrier, anticipated to be at full 
operational capability early in the 2020s, and expected to be a spiral 
upgrade in capabilities. CV-16's deployment to the South China Sea in 
December and January showed China's growing ability to employ carrier-
based aviation. The Type 094 (Jin) ballistic missile submarine can 
launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching parts of the continental 
    The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and Naval Air Force (PLANAF) are 
similarly fielding greater numbers of advanced fighters, bombers, and 
special mission aircraft while aggressively developing new platforms. 
Flying prototypes of J20 and J31 multi-role fighters portend a near-
term capability to field near-5th generation fighters. A new heavy lift 
transport (Y-20) will give China a greater ability to move troops and 
equipment anywhere in the world. New and/or upgraded bombers, 
electronic warfare, command and control, and anti-submarine aircraft 
all expand PLA abilities to conduct a wide range of operations.
    PLA ground forces are large, modern, and well trained. Also 
reorganized in 2016, the PLA increasingly operates in combined arms 
formations--integrating attack helicopters, artillery, electronic 
warfare, and other arms into their training activities. They've 
incorporated some of the training methods used by the U.S. (e.g., 
combat training centers with dedicated opposing forces and 
instrumentation) to increase realism and sophistication in their 
    Another component of the ongoing PLA reorganization is the 
expansion of capabilities and numbers of the PLA Navy Marines. While 
the full scope of the change is unclear--some reports have the number 
of marines increasing five-fold to as many as 100,000 troops--what is 
clear is the growing importance China places on building the ability to 
project power using an expeditionary capability. PRC media has 
highlighted recent marine deployments for training in harsh weather 
conditions and on unfamiliar terrain. Chinese leadership likely 
envisions using the expanded marine capability as an expeditionary 
force to both seize Taiwan and protect Chinese interests overseas.
    The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) controls the largest and most diverse 
missile force in the world, with an inventory of more than 2,000 
ballistic and cruise missiles. This fact is significant because the 
U.S. has no comparable capability due to our adherence to the 
Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. 
(Approximately, 95 percent of the PLARF's missiles would violate the 
INF if China was a signatory.) The PLARF is organized for a range of 
missions, with large numbers of missiles targeted against Taiwan, and 
others intended to strike targets as far away as Guam and the so-called 
second island chain, and intercontinental-range missile capable of 
delivering nuclear weapons to strike the continental United States. 
China is also heavily investing in advanced missile technologies like 
hypersonics and, on average, launches more than 100 missiles each year 
for training or research and development.
    The PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) was established last year 
to better manage and employ the PLA's impressive array of cyber, space, 
and other specialized capabilities. The PLASSF is a potential game-
changer if it succeeds in denying other countries the use of space, the 
electromagnetic spectrum, and networks.
    To train and integrate these capabilities, Chinese forces have 
increased the scope of operations in number, complexity, and geographic 
range. Submarine deployments to the Indian Ocean, air exercises in the 
Middle East, and port visits to Europe or South America are on the 
rise. For example, President Xi will travel to Djibouti in the near 
future to officially open the Chinese naval base there. The base is 
strategically positioned on the narrowest point of the strategic strait 
of Bab al Mandeb, a key intersection for international commercial and 
defense related navigation. This base could support Chinese force 
projection through the Indian Ocean and into the Mediterranean and 
    An encouraging sign that China is willing to shoulder a greater 
role in international affairs is the expansion of Chinese peacekeeping 
missions, something we promote in our interactions with the PLA. My 
goal remains to convince China that its best future comes from peaceful 
cooperation, meaningful participation in the current rules-based 
security order, and honoring its international commitments.
    Territorial Disputes and Maritime Claims:  A number of friction 
points where competing territorial claims overlap exist throughout the 
Indo-Asia-Pacific, e.g., between Russia and Japan (Northern 
Territories) and between the Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah)--but none 
are as fraught with the potential for escalation and military conflict 
as the South and East China Seas.
    South China Sea: The United States takes no position on competing 
sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, but we encourage all 
countries to uphold international law, including the law of the sea as 
reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, and to respect unimpeded 
lawful commerce, freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful 
dispute resolution.
    There are three notable disputes over territorial sovereignty in 
the South China Sea. The first dispute is between China, Taiwan, and 
Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, which China took by force from 
Vietnam and has occupied since 1974. The second dispute is between 
China, Taiwan, and the Philippines over Scarborough Reef. In 2012, the 
United States brokered a deal between the Philippines and China where 
both countries committed to keep their naval forces away from 
Scarborough. While the Philippines honored the commitment, China 
continued to operate with its Navy and Coast Guard and, soon after, 
expelled Philippine fishermen. The third dispute involves multiple 
claimants within the Spratly Islands where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, 
Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines each claim sovereignty over some 
or all of the features.
    The past year included some major developments in the status of 
these disputes. The landmark ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal under the 
Law of the Sea Convention (the Tribunal) in July 2016 addressed the 
status of features and maritime claims specified in the Philippines' 
arbitration case. While the tribunal did not rule on the sovereignty of 
specific features, the tribunal did declare a number of China's 
maritime claims and actions unlawful. However, China ignored the ruling 
and maintains and even articulated new excessive maritime claims 
throughout the South China Sea. All the activities underway before the 
ruling, including the militarization of the artificial landforms 
created by China and the provocative actions of military and law 
enforcement forces, continue unabated.
    China's military-specific construction in the Spratly islands 
includes the construction of 72 fighter aircraft hangars--which could 
support three fighter regiments--and about ten larger hangars that 
could support larger airframes, such as bombers or special mission 
aircraft. All of these hangars should be completed this year. During 
the initial phases of construction China emplaced tank farms, 
presumably for fuel and water, at Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs. 
These could support substantial numbers of personnel as well as 
deployed aircraft and/or ships. All seven outposts are armed with a 
large number of artillery and gun systems, ostensibly for defensive 
missions. The recent identification of buildings that appear to have 
been built specifically to house long-rang surface-to-air missiles is 
the latest indication China intends to deploy military systems to the 
Spratlys. During my Congressional testimony last year, I reported my 
belief that China was clearly militarizing the South China Sea. China's 
activities since then have only reinforced this belief. We should cease 
to be cautious about the language we use to describe these activities. 
Despite its claims to the contrary, China has militarized the South 
China Sea through the building of seven military bases on artificial 
islands constructed through the large-scale damage of a fragile 
environment in disputed areas.
    The presence of these military capabilities undermines China's 
consistent claim that these massively expanded features are for safety 
and humanitarian purposes. Recently China has tried to obscure the 
military purposes of its Spratly Islands efforts by calling for private 
investment, residential settlement, and tourism. The latter may prove 
especially problematic as China's land creation effort over the past 
few years has destroyed the once vibrant marine ecosystem surrounding 
the features.
    China's naval, coast guard, maritime militia, State Oceanic 
Administration, and air force presence in the South China Sea remains 
substantial. China Coast Guard (CCG) ships remain present near Chinese 
outposts and other features. CCG and PLAN ships also continue to 
control activities near Scarborough Reef, a feature also claimed by the 
Philippines. In February, China announced it was seeking to revise its 
domestic Maritime Traffic Safety Law to empower its maritime services 
to control or penalize foreign ships operating in ``other sea areas 
under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China'' beyond those 
allowed under international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea 
Convention. Given China's continued rejection of the Tribunal ruling 
and continued articulation that much of the South China Sea is ``under 
its jurisdiction,'' we can only assume China intends to improperly 
apply its domestic law to foreign ships operating lawfully in the area.
    China protests the legal and long-standing United States presence 
in the South China Sea by falsely claiming Washington is the cause for 
tensions. United States military forces have been operating routinely 
and persistently on, below, and above the South China Sea for more than 
70 years--this hasn't changed. What has changed the status quo in the 
South China Sea in recent years is the increased coercive behavior by 
China's military, Coast Guard, and a vast network of private vessels 
controlled by the PRC that act as a maritime militia of ``little green 
fishermen.'' Furthermore, China's unprecedented artificial island 
construction and land reclamation has increased tensions with other 
claimants and its neighbors. The United States has consistently called 
for all claimants to find a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to their 
land and maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
    Specifically, since 1979, the U.S. Freedom of Navigation program 
has peacefully challenged excessive maritime claims by coastal states 
all around the world (including those of our friends and allies). This 
program consists of diplomatic communications and operational 
assertions, which are not provocative and are not a threat to any 
country. These operations are conducted globally to maintain open seas 
and open skies, which underpins economic prosperity for the U.S. and 
all countries.
    Freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) are conducted for exactly 
what the title says--to exercise the right of all nations to operate 
freely at sea and in the air wherever international law allows. In 
2016, USPACOM forces conducted three FONOPs near disputed features in 
the South China Sea. These and future routine FONOPs demonstrate that 
the U.S. military will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever 
international law allows, especially where excessive maritime claims 
attempt to erode the freedom of the seas.
    East China Sea: Tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku 
Islands continue to worsen. This past year saw a sharp rise in the 
number PLAAF aircraft operating over the East China Sea. China 
persistently challenges Japan's administration over the islands by 
deploying warships into the area, sailing Coast Guard ships inside the 
territorial waters surrounding the Senkakus, and protesting Japanese 
reconnaissance flights. The presence of military and law enforcement 
assets in close proximity to one another and the accompanying rhetoric 
create an environment conducive to miscalculation and unintended 
incidents. United States policy is clear here: the Senkakus are under 
the administration of Japan and we will defend them in accordance with 
the United States-Japan Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security. 
Secretary Mattis recently said during his trip to Japan that, `` . . . 
our longstanding policy on the Senkaku islands stands. The United 
States will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the 
islands and as such Article 5 of the United States-Japan Security 
Treaty applies.''
    Russia: Although focused on Europe and the Middle East, Russia is 
engaged militarily and politically in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. I share 
General Lori Robinson's view that Russia continues to exhibit 
increasingly aggressive behavior, both regionally and globally.
    The Russian Pacific Fleet operates and exercises throughout the 
region. The second Borey (Dolgorukiy-class) nuclear ballistic missile 
submarine transferred to the Pacific Fleet last fall, and the Kremlin 
announced the acquisition of 6 new advanced Kilo attack submarines for 
the Pacific by 2021. The Russian Pacific Fleet's five Project 949A 
(Oscar II) nuclear-powered guided missile submarines have a mission to 
track and attack aircraft carriers and other priority targets--
including land targets--in the event of war. In late 2015 Russia 
announced a plan to upgrade the Oscar II to fire new, more-advanced 
long-range missiles. The first Steregushchy-class guided missile